Conspiracy or cock-up?

Jenny Randles. The UFO Conspiracy: The First Forty Years. Blandford Press, 1987.
Reviewed by John Rimmer. First published in Magonia 27, September 1987.
This book has a curious nineteen-fifties feel about it, We appear to be back in a simpler era of Donald Keyhoe ufology. Cases are presented to the reader in a totally uncritical manner, and time after time the ETH is hinted at as the only realistic explanation for the events described, The broader perspectives on UFOs which opened in the sixties and seventies (and which Jenny Randles has written on as well as anybody) might never have happened, Alternative viewpoints are ruthlessly suppressed, sceptics are presented as a group of malicious characters who either get sadistic pleasure out of humiliating witnesses, or are in the pay of intelligence organisations,

In her early books Ms Randles never gave great attention to conspiracy theories of ufology, taking the line that yes, governments do investigate UFO reports, they'd be mad not to, after all one of then could be an enemy aircraft, Having done that, governments being secretive by nature, would not shout the fact from the rooftops, ergo, a cover-up. A reasonable view and few would dissent, It would appear to be her involvement with Rendlesham which has changed her mind on this issue: "it literally changed my life". Naturally Rendlesham is featured in this book, and her treatment of it is revealing,

She describes the action of three USAF personnel moving into Rendlesham Forest to investigate a mysterious light, that fateful day in 1980: "They had to continue into the forest on foot, The only llght they could see ahead was the beacon of Orford Ness lighthouse, five miles distant... it blinked on and off as it constantly did", But is this a true account? Did their report say 'We saw Orford Ness Lighthouse as we entered the forest'? No, it certainly didn't, Orford Ness was not brought into the discussion until much later, when the sceptics came on the scene, But of course, by putting that little phrase in, on no authority whatsoever, Randies is able to pre-empt the sceptical argument. Whatever one may think of the Orford Ness theory, the fact remains that the people who first entered the Forest did not report seeing the lighthouse as such

The misdirection continues in the next sentence: "...once outside the gate the proximity of the trees swallowed this up and they could see nothing but blackness," This is just not true, The lights of Orford Ness can be seen from within the forest as other investigators both sceptical and pro-UFO have testified, But by putting in this little phrase argument is again pre-empted,

Sceptics of the Randles view must have some ulterior motive - "Whether the promotion of the absurd 'solution' to this case, initially by journalist Ian Ridpath then by the BBC and all those big-league newspapers, is coincidental or part of a carefully engineered plot is another thing you must make up your own mind about". Ms Randles leaves us in no doubt about which way we should make up our mind,

The plot goes further than Ian Ridpath, In Northern UFO News May-June 1997 Ms Randles suggests that recent media coverage of the high profile but rather nutty Aetherius Society is part of a carefully organised plot, to overshadow the launch of this book, It seems a good way to explain possible poor sales: there was obviously such a plot to scupper my Evidence for Alien Abductions!

Another disturbing piece of partial reporting occurs over the Trans-en-Provence (Southern France) landing case, which is introduced here here as an example of physical evidence (alleged radio-active damage to plants). Not the slightest doubt of the physical reality of this case is allowed to sully this account. A much less exotic account of events at Trans has been presented by a group of French ufologists, and has been published in a journal (UFO Présence) which I know Ms Randles reads. In fact she's had an article published in a recent issue accusing Magonia of deliberateiy ignoring physical aspects of the UFO phenomenon! Either the promotion of this case is through ignorance, or as part of a carefully engineered plot to cobble together a book out of nothing is another thing you must make up your own mind about!

It disturbing to see the sad death of Zigmund Adamski again being paraded in one of Ms Randles books, There is no connection whatsoever except for a coincidence of name between Mr Adamski's death and UFOs. Jenny Randles has admitted this, in Magonla and elsewhere. To introduce this tragedy into a book about UFO conspiracy and cover-up can only be for sensationalist motives, compounded by introductory sentences like "The evidence was so circumstantial that I refused to be associated with that particular story, Sensationalism of that kind helps nobody. Nevertheless facts are facts". What hypocrisy! Here's another fact: ln 1983 Jenny Randles wrote in The Pennine UFO Mystery, concluding her first account of Adanski`s death, "His family ought to be left in peace," What a pity she did not take her own advice,

Jenny Randles does not seem to understand the nature of the bureaucratic brush-off letter in dealing with annoying enquiries from members of the public. Because Ms Randles takes her role as Britain's "only professional UFO researcher" very seriously, there is no obligation on any government servant to do so. Letters or telephone calls from Ms Randles may be regarded with as much dread amongst MOD bureaucrats as they are amongst some ufologists. Evidence from this book and Sky Crash suggests that officials have developed considerable skills at avoiding sending replies - especially replies that might evoke a further response.

Jenny Randles hints several times in this book that the US and UK governments may have allowed certain potentially awkward incidents to become deliberatly 'tainted' with UFOs to preclude serious consideration by the media. This is quite a plausible idea, which leads on to an interesting conspiritorial conjecture. If Rendlesham was, say, a nasty incident with a Cruise missile, and you were the government and you wanted to deliberately bring in UFOs as a red-herring, who would you send for? Or, more likely who could you use, without their knowledge, who would be sure to bring any, odd event - the death of a miner, for instance - into a UFO context? Such people, unwitting agents and dupes are know in the intelligence world as 'useful idiots'. This is yet another thing about which you must make up your own mind.


No comments: