Moondust or Moonshine?

Kevin D. Randle. Project Moon Dust: Beyond Roswell – Exposing the Government’s Continuing Covert UFO Investigations and Cover-ups. Avon Books, 1998.

The reader who hopes that this book will reveal the startling secrets of the amazing top secret Project Moon Dust will be disappointed, there are none. Instead what we get is yet another reprise of the some of the better known UFO cases of the last fifty years. Randle is something of a puzzle, he clearly possess a fair degree of critical faculty, especially when discussing other peoples researches, is aware of the problem of radical misperception, yet still seems wedded to a belief in the ETH, and grand conspiracies.

Faced with the absence of any paper trail indicating that a flying saucer crashed at Roswell, he interprets this as showing just how tight the conspiracy of silence was, because he knows, on the basis of 30 – 50 year old alleged memories, that it must be true. Randle now has the minutes of a meeting in which the Chief of the Intelligence Section of the Air Material Command says in effect that he would give his eye teeth for a crashed flying saucer, clearly indicating that one did not exist. This does indeed disturb Randle, but in the end he has only the old memories of a changing band of elderly blabbermouths to go on. This must be the first conspiracy in which all sorts of nobodies are in the know, but a Chief Intelligence Officer is kept in the dark. Magonia has pointed out time and again that conspiracies only make sense when you are in charge of events and can predict what will happen next.

What use would be a conspiracy of silence if you had found a genuine alien device, when for all you knew the aliens might land in Washington next week and demand their wreckage back? A conspiracy kept for fifty years, through administration after administration. Never once a President, with his back against the wall, like the zipper king, determined to make his mark on history come what may, and dish the dirt on predecessors, breaks rank to reveal the truth. No foreign government, however hostile to the United States, however barking its leaders produces their evidence. The reason is obvious, their is no smoking gun. Indeed, as I have pointed out previously, the very fact that the news conference was scheduled at Roswell is proof positive that at the time Marcel and his colleagues did not believe they had found anything really exotic, which might have been an ultra-secret US weapon, or even worse a Soviet spy device.

What writers like Randle and many other Ufologists are unwilling to realise is that in all probability attitudes among US military personnel closely mirrored those in the wider community, ranging from the most credulous true believers (America’s answer to Nick Pope perhaps) all the way to the most diehard debunkers, with all points in between, and that a uniform does not give anyone special authority or credibility in these matters (Knowing that some of our most senior military officers, take Air Marshall Dowding for example, were to put in bluntly, barmpots, gives us Brits some detachment in these matters).

I suspect that the majority USAF position was that it was very probable that nothing would come of UFO research, there was never any really persuasive physical evidence, nothing to get a handle on, a bit of a waste of time. But you still had to watch your ass just in case you were wrong. If you had a department dealing with recovering crashed satellites, why not give them the added paper responsibility of dealing with anything else which was alleged to have come down from the skies, especially if it kept some true believing congressman or top brass happy. And in the extremely unlikely event there were flying saucers, you could say you had the situation covered. -- Peter Rogerson

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