Blum, Howard. Out There. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990. 300 pages.

It wasn't that long ago that anyone who claimed to have seen a "flying saucer" was dismissed as loony or at least unreliable. But with increasing reports of UFO sightings and related phenomena, this is rapidly changing. This book shows that government officials -- particularly the U.S. military and science advisors with security clearances above Top Secret -- have formed various study groups over the years while denying their ongoing interest in the phenomenon. However, cracks in the official edifice have appeared. Since even mass-market U.S. television documentaries are now taking UFOs seriously, we can expect to hear much more on this in coming years.

Howard Blum is a former New York Times investigative journalist with a book on Nazi-hunting and another on U.S. spy John Walker to his credit. He starts out this book as a skeptic, using his contacts in U.S. intelligence and plenty of shoe leather to try and get a handle on this UFO thing. One section deals with the debate over the authenticity of the MJ-12 documents -- a classified report of the 1948 recovery of a crashed UFO and four bodies. UFO enthusiasts Bill Moore and Stanton Friedman defend the documents, Phil Klass tries to debunk them, and even the FBI's counterintelligence team gets stonewalled by the official secrecy. Blum comes away from this book feeling that the government has something to hide.

Corso, Philip J. (with William J. Birnes). The Day After Roswell. New York: Pocket Books, 1997. 341 pages.

This book makes the sensational claim that debris from the 1947 UFO crash at Roswell spurred the development of high technology in the U.S., thanks to reverse engineering after the author's secret "leaks" to defense contractors. Col. Philip J. Corso was an army intelligence officer for 21 years, and served on Gen. MacArthur's staff in Korea, on Eisenhower's National Security Council, and in the Pentagon under Lt. Gen. Arthur G. Trudeau. It was for Trudeau that Corso did his UFO work, mostly in the areas of integrated circuits, lasers, and fiber optics. Corso also says that he saw one of the alien bodies from Roswell in 1947, and that the Star Wars program was developed as a deterrent to hostile UFO activity. In other areas, Corso, who died in 1998 at the age of 83, and was a something of a rabid right-winger who was deeply suspicious of the comsymps at the CIA.

Either this book is essentially true or it isn't. If not true, Corso might be motivated by greed, or he might have been easily manipulated in his old age. It's also possible that there's a larger disinformation project in the works: if you read 50 books like this, and watch 100 episodes of "The X Files," you soon become politically neutralized ("Why Johnny Can't Dissent"). Even UFO researchers don't know what to make of this book. (Or perhaps the phrase should read, "Particularly UFO researchers....")

Friedman, Stanton T. and Berliner, Don. Crash at Corona: The U.S. Military Retrieval and Cover-up of a UFO. New York: Paragon House, 1992. 217 pages.

In July, 1947, there was unusual activity at Roswell Army Air Field in New Mexico. The public information officer announced that a "flying disc" had been recovered on a ranch near Corona. After this went out on the wires, they corrected themselves and said that it was merely a weather balloon. The press dutifully lost interest for the next 45 years -- in 1947 it was not considered proper to question the official line.

The rancher who found the wreck, William "Mac" Brazel, was taken into custody for a week and then kept his mouth shut, but his son remembers plenty. Another witness was Major Jesse A. Marcel, an intelligence officer from Roswell who was dispatched to the crash site to pick up the pieces (as light as balsa wood, flexible, utterly indestructible, and with strange hieroglyphic markings on them). And there is Glenn Dennis, a civilian mortician who normally did work for Roswell. He showed up one day in July on routine business, and briefly exchanged words with a nurse on duty ("How did you get in here?") before he was forcibly ejected by MPs. The next day, emotionally distraught, she described to him the three small humanoid bodies that were being autopsied at the base hospital. Authors Friedman and Berliner interviewed more than 100 witnesses, making this the most thorough account of a crucial event in human history.

Good, Timothy. Above Top Secret: The Worldwide UFO Cover-Up. With a foreword by the former Chief of Defense Staff, Lord Hill-Norton, G.C.B. New York: Morrow (Quill), 1988. First published in Great Britain in 1987 by Sidgwick and Jackson. 592 pages.

Timothy Good is a professional violinist and amateur UFO enthusiast. Half of his book is a review of UFO sightings in various countries and the reactions of their governments. For the sake of credibility, he deals only with sightings and not with closer encounters such as alleged abductions. The other half deals specifically with the U.S. government: CIA, NSA, NASA, and DIA. A 106-page appendix prints a variety of documents and reports, both classified and declassified, from various governments.

Good, Timothy. Alien Contact: Top-Secret UFO Files Revealed. New York: Morrow (Quill), 1993. First published in Great Britain in 1991 by Random Century Group as Alien Liaison: The Ultimate Secret. 288 pages.

In an earlier work, Above Top Secret (1988), Timothy Good concentrated on establishing the existence of UFOs by examining the evidence available from official sources in various countries. This book goes further. It looks into the evidence that alien craft and bodies have been recovered, and that secret contacts between aliens and some government officials in the U.S. have already occurred.

This book must depend on eyewitnesses who seem credible, but who can only be weakly corroborated. One example is Robert Lazar, who was employed briefly by Naval Intelligence to work on a secret base in the Nevada desert. Lazar claims that he did research into the propulsion systems of recovered alien craft. Another chapter deals with the phenomenon of cattle mutilations -- which are, admittedly, difficult to explain unless alien technology is assumed. Timothy Good himself feels that "the evidence available to me suggests that we are being visited by a number of extraterrestrial groups," and that "those few within governments who are aware of the situation are acting in our best interests by gradually presenting the information in such a way that it will lessen the political, economic, religious, and psychological shock."

Picknett, Lynn and Prince, Clive. The Stargate Conspiracy: The Truth About Extraterrestrial Life and the Mysteries of Ancient Egypt. New York: Berkley Books, 2001. 425 pages.

What do Egyptology, the secrets of the pyramids, remote viewing, Freemasonry, Henry Wallace, NASA missions that return photographs that look like faces on Mars, New Age groups in California, the Gorbachev Foundation, Uri Geller, Aleister Crowley, L. Ron Hubbard, Edgar Cayce, ufology, and SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) have in common? You may be surprised. Some of the same names run through many of these, and they have connections to U.S. intelligence. That's what these authors call the "conspiracy." It's all apparently orchestrated by an elite group of elders that go back nearly fifty years, and are connected at the highest political levels.

To what purpose? Well, it seems that "the conspirators are creating the perfect conditions for something to happen to effectively give them control over the masses -- over us. As we have seen, this could amount to the return of the ancient gods [who may have built the pyramids], or -- much more likely -- merely empty promises and cynically manufactured expectations." (p.331) The truth be known, at NameBase we're new to all this esoterica. But we know a spook vibe when we feel one, and there are some noteworthy intelligence connections mentioned in this book.

Pope, Nick. Open Skies, Closed Minds: For the First Time a Government UFO Expert Speaks Out. Woodstock NY: Overlook Press, 1999. 270 pages.

Nick Pope was in charge of the "UFO desk" in Britain's Ministry of Defense from 1991 to 1994. His job was to interface with the public on UFO sightings, collect and analyze evidence, and assess any potential threat to national security. This book is not sensational by the standards of other UFO books, but instead is objective and cautious. The bottom line is that Pope believes that many reported observations are best explained as being of extraterrestrial origin.

Pope was apparently not privy to much information that was not also available publicly, and there is nothing in this book that can be considered new. The jacket says this book remained on the Sunday Times top ten list for over ten weeks, and the blurb from the Sunday Times on the back says that it's "the first book on UFOs from someone with inside knowledge and access to Top Secret material. The Ministry of Defense tried to stop this book." Sounds like hype to us, but perhaps something was deleted between its publication in Britain in 1998 and the edition we have. Even without any smoking guns, this book is a well-written, reasonable overview of the history and extent of the public's experiences, exposure, and knowledge of UFO phenomena, from strange lights and crop circles, to missing time and abductions.

Randle, Kevin D. Conspiracy of Silence. New York: Avon Books, 1998. 368 pages. Foreword by Jack Anderson.

Kevin Randle, a captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and a former Air Force intelligence officer, has been writing about UFOs for 25 years. This one offers a history of official investigations of the UFO phenomenon, as well as tantalizing hints of what was really happening behind the scenes. One chapter is about the "Washington Nationals," the UFOs that appeared over Washington DC in 1952. They were tracked by three radar sites, spotted visually by numerous people, and an F-94 was scrambled to intercept. After the report came out of committee, the incident was explained as weather phenomena. Shades of the famous Roswell weather balloon cover story!

This pattern was repeated by most of the official committees that have studied UFOs, whose final reports were scripted before the evidence was even considered. Simultaneously, there was ongoing, secret investigative activity by the government, and teams have been established that specialized in "collection responsibilities" and the "retrieval of space fragments." The two worlds were entirely separate. Amazingly, one UFO researcher, William L. Moore, even admitted to a UFO convention in 1990 that he had been helping the government spread disinformation. (Regrettably, the infighting among UFO researchers has become as time-consuming and debilitating as the infighting among JFK assassination researchers -- and probably for the same reason.)

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