Government Work

Lawrence Fawcett and Barry Greenwood. Clear Intent: The Government Cover-up of the UFO Experience. Prentice-Hall, 1984.
This book is the product of the cases brought by Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) against various agencies of the US government to force them to release documents on UFOs, under the Freedom of Information Act. Documents were released by the USAF, the CIA, the FBI and the National Security Agency. Readers hoping for amazing revelations, or even detailed investigations of high-strangeness cases, will be disappointed. There is little that is new: the earlier chapters give an account of 'mystery helicopters' at various Air Force bases in 1975. From what is printed here there seems little that could not be explained by a mixture of unauthorised helicopter flights, and the usual bright stars and planets, misinterpreted in an atmosphere of anxiety and panic.

Much of the book is devoted to already well-known cases better reported elsewhere, and masses of trivia. The authors, having gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to recover the information, are inclined to treasure every scrap, thus the mixture of gossip, news-clippings and barmpot speculation (including one hilarious piece which reads as though it was written by Howard, from Hill Street Blues) emanating from various government agencies is treated with the utmost respect. Although the authors criticise government action, the reverence for authority and 'expert' witnesses shines through.

What seems apparent from this book is that no evidence has been produced for a secret, government-sponsored study of the UFO experience in the USA. The standard of case investigation revealed is below that of all but the most naive amateur ufologists, and beliefs about UFOs amongst personnel of government agencies mirror those in society at large. One the basis of their evidence the authors conclude that unknown machines piloted by "advanced biological life-forms" are monitoring United States military bases with a "clear intent" to do something unspecified. That sounds very familiar - no doubt because it is the conclusion Donald Keyhoe came to in classics such as Flying Saucers from Outer Space, back in the early 1950's. Peter Rogerson. Magonia 23, July 1986.

No comments: