Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Continental Airlines Pilot Reports UFO - FBI Investigates (May 26th 2008)

The FBI are investigating this incident although all early reports tend to suggest that it was little more than an amateur ‘rocket enthusiast’.

Is this public announcement of an imminent investigation because the fact that a smoke trail was present and it’s a relatively safe bet that this was the result of an amateur rocketeer?

The main reason for the investigation if early media reports are to be believed isn’t to identify the UFO but rather to assess exactly how close the object was and if it posed any kind of threat.

No doubt model rocket enthusiasts will bear the brunt of this investigations as it has already been reported that those in and around the Houston area have already been approached and questioned by the authorities.

Or is this an all too convenient explanation? Unfortunately (and with the information available) as well as being the most convenient it's also undoubtedly the most likely....

HOUSTON -- The FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration said they are investigating a report from a Continental Airlines pilot, who told air-traffic controllers that a possible model rocket with a flaming tail and a trail of smoke was flying ahead of the plane shortly after takeoff Monday.

Although the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is involved in the investigation, officials said they believe the object was a model rocket.

FAA spokesman Roland Herwig stated: " We don't know for sure what the object was. But we think it might be somebody doing model rocketing…..The pilot saw the rocket and some people saw the rocket's trail. Building rockets is a legitimate hobby, but hobbyists have to let the FAA know what they're doing. "

The pilot spotted the object flying at 5,000 feet about 11 miles east of George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston . Flight 1544 continued its trip from Houston to Cleveland after reporting the object to air traffic controllers. Scott Wilson, a spokesman for the FBI's Cleveland office, said in a story in The Plain Dealer that the plane wasn't in danger and landed safely. Continental Airlines spokeswoman Kelly Cripe declined to discuss what crew members had seen aboard the Boeing 737, which carried 148 passengers. The plane did not change course and was not damaged.

FBI spokeswoman Shauna Dunlap said::

"We don't know if it was a rocket or what…..We will interview everyone and determine the validity of what was seen. "

Robert Morehead, an engineer and president of the Amateur Spaceflight Association in Houston , said model rockets routinely can reach as high as 40,000 feet. He said model rocket enthusiasts are supposed to notify the FAA if a rocket is entering controlled airspace.

Laura Brown, an FAA spokeswoman in Washington D.C. told the Chronicle that model rockets have crossed paths with planes before but have never struck them. She also said that the Memorial Day holiday weekend was a good time for a launch.


Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Ministry Of Defence Starts UK UFO Archive Release (14th May 2008)

The National Archives (TNA) had a release scheduled for the 14th May, apparently there was an embargoed press announcement which was circulated from Monday. There was also an earlier pre-emptive warning circulated to the national press last week which was also embargoed.

The National Archives virtual press event - UFOs

The National ArchivesFor first time, The National Archives is making 8 Ministry of Defence (MoD) files relating to (Unidentified Flying Objects) UFOs available on Monday 12 May 2008.

The files will be available to download at no charge for the first month, online at the TNA website.

These are the first files to be released by the MoD as part of a 4-year transfer project relating to UFOs. The files are under embargo until the 00.01am 14 May 2008.

Visitors to the site will, in addition to downloading the files, be able to listen to a Podcast from Dr David Clarke, senior lecturer, Hallam University , discussing the files and the release. He has also written a background briefing on UFO files held at The National Archives.

There is also a short videocast from Nick Pope, a British UFO specialist presents a short videocast providing additional explanations. The files cover 1978 to 1987 and contain details on recorded incidents from the Ministry of Defence during this time.

Some of the highlights include:

DEFE 24/1925 - this file contains a long letter and drawings from a member of the public describing his 'physical and psychic contact' with green aliens since he was a child. One of them called Algar was killed in 1984 by another race of beings. The writer says that he visited their bases in the Wirral and Cheshire , whilst his wife reported seeing a UFO shot down over Wallasey Town.

DEFE 31/172 - On 21 February 1982, a group of customers and staff in Tunbridge Wells report an unknown object with green and red flashing lights - seen heading in the direction of Gatwick. (p.22)

DEFE 31/172 - A detailed briefing prepared by the Ministry of Defence for Lord Strabolgi, Government Chief Whip, for debate on UFO's in the House of Lords in January 1979. Paddy Stevens who briefed the Government spokesperson, said, "there is nothing to indicate that UFOlogy is anything but claptrap..." (Page 126-135)

Plus many more.

If you would like any further information, please contact Tim Matthews on 020 8392 5277, or tim.matthews@nationalarchives.gov.uk.

Press Officer
The National Archives,
Tel: 0208 392 5277 ext 2578

Indeed, far from this being a surprise it has been a long promised and much anticipated event, regular (and attentive!!) readers may remember that I posted about the MOD release back on the 24th December (2007), writing:

(UK) UFO Researchers Secure Release Of MoD UFO Documentation. “Following sustained pressure by a small number of UFO researchers during the last 8 years, the British Ministry of Defence have decided to release all of their UFO files. (For the full details of the planned release, visit: UK-UFO.org).

Visit: UK-UFO.org

Gary Anthony, Dave Clarke, and Joe McGonagle have been making full use of the Freedom of Information Act and its precursor, the Code of Practice on access to Government information. At considerable personal expense, effort, and investment of time the three of us have submitted a steady stream of requests. As well as making requests ourselves, we actively encouraged and assisted other ufologists to make their own requests.”

Click here to read the full post.

So when you read further articles or postings regarding this imminent disclosure, or when the release of these documents is finally realised, I urge you not to forget the efforts of Dave Clarke et al. Whose efforts are directly responsible for this landmark event, the results of their collective efforts should stand as irrefutable testimony to the enormity of what can be achieved with perseverance, dedication and determination.

In fact, why not visit their website at UK-UFO.org and thank them right now?

But I certainly wouldn't get too excited about the release and I feel it important to stress that there will be NO SMOKING GUN found, or even implications of such but that's not why this is such an interesting release. I personally believe it's such an interesting release so that the general public may finally have some inkling into the inner-workings of the MOD as it relates to UFO reports and I also believe the ineptitude and 'couldn't care less' attitude will prove to be more shocking than yet another ‘aliens stole my dog' report (which the media take a little too much delight in reporting on).

That's not to say there aren't any interesting cases included of course.....

Like the account from air traffic controllers, each with over eight years in the job, they reported that at 4 p.m. on April 19, 1984 a UFO landed at the airport they were working at then took off at an incredible speed.

The men, each with more than eight years on the job, described how they were helping guide a small plane to a landing on runway 22 when they were distracted by a brightly lit object approaching a different runway without clearance.

“Everyone became aware that the object was unidentified…..SATCO (code name for a controller with 14 years experience) reports that the object came in at speed, made a touch and go on runway 27, then departed at terrific speed in a near vertical climb.”

But of course this is merely one of the hundreds of *credible* reports that poses no kind of threat or no *defence significance* or so we're told. Still I don't doubt for a second that the conspiracy theorists will have a field day with what they think has been retained…..

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Heavyweight Digital Image Expert Weighs In On Drones, Calling Hoax (Again!!)

Back in May last year (2007) The Paracast broadcast their regular podcast with Gene Steinberg & David Biedny, on it they covered the California Drone Flap. This was a fairly discreet offering and passed under the radar of a lot of people who are interested in the Drones. Proponents of the Drones are quick to shout that no known professional digital image analysts are willing to go on record with any kind of judgement regarding the images, well enter David Biedny, as far as expert analysts go they don't come with credentials much more impeccable than Biedny's!!

David Biedny has been interested in the hard science aspects of the paranormal world since youth, and especially due to his formative years spent in Caracas, Venezuela . He has personally witnessed the range of the absurd to the truly unexplainable in the realm of paranormal phenomenon, and these experiences have forged the foundation of his curiosity and desire to uncover the truth of the limitations of our knowledge of the wondrous possibilities of nature and the Universe.

Listen to the relevant section of the Paracast.

David Biedny on why he thinks the Californian Drones are hoax.

"David Biedny is the President & Technical Director of IDIG, Inc. he is a leading digital effects, graphics and multimedia expert. His writing, educational efforts, multimedia and special effects work have enjoyed global exposure. He is considered by many longtime industry players to be one of the technical and creative pioneers of personal computer-based multimedia.

Biedny was formerly President and Technical Director of Incredible Interactivity Inc., a pioneering New York based firm which created multimedia projects and products for companies such as General Motors, Knoll International, Apple Computer, HBO, American Express, The American International Group and AT&T, among others. In recent years, he has participated as a project director/interface designer/consultant for a variety of CD-ROM/software projects, including BeInfinite Infinite FX(TM) for Adobe Illustrator (special effects plug-in product, first commercially shipping plug-in for Illustrator in the U.S.), Penthouse Interactive (Project Director), The Haight-Ashbury in the Sixties! CD-ROM (Biedny is a technical advisor for Rockument, Inc ., the publisher) and Quantum Gate I and II (Biedny is on the advisory board of Hyperbole Studios ).

Biedny has also been a key interface/feature consultant/beta tester for many of the major multimedia tools currently on the market. His involvement with computer graphics includes participating as a feature and interface consultant for key applications such as ImageStudio (the first mass market digital retouching software for the Macintosh platform), PixelPaint, ColorStudio (Biedny conceived the Shapes vector graphics capabilities unique to that product), Altamira Composer (which was acquired by Microsoft) and Photoshop (David was user #4, spec'd many of the key features of the product, and was included in the credits for Photoshop 1.0). Most recently, David conceived of the name for Eric Wenger's ArtMatic texture generation and animation software. David was also a seed site for the original Power Macintosh computer, and has been credited with helping conceive of the "Power Macintosh" name. David is an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop, and IDIG is an Adobe Authorized Training Provider.

Other technology consulting clients also include Landor Associates, LucasArts Entertainment, Microsoft, Broderbund Software, Ressmeyer Starlight (Roger Ressmeyer is the world's leading space photographer) and Kraft Robot. IDIG is also involved in designing graphics for a variety of WWW pages, including the infamous Surfing Monkey site and Chuck Farnham's Weird World (both recently taken offline), among others. IDIG has also recently produced graphics and processed digital imagery for the McGuire Real Estate web site, one of the larger real estate agents in the Bay area.

Biedny was a founding editor of MacUser and Macintosh Today, formerly a Contributing Editor for MacWorld , New Media and the Macromedia User Journal and, and has written for Windows Sources, ID, MacUser, MacWeek, The New Media Showcase, Morph's Outpost on the Digital Frontier and Computer Graphics World, among others. He co-authored, with Bert Monroy, the award winning, best selling Official Adobe Photoshop Handbook , published by Bantam/Random House, as well as Adobe Photoshop: A Visual Guide (published by Addison-Wesley). His newest book, Photoshop Channel Chops (co-authored with collaborators Bert Monroy and Nathan Moody), is published by New Riders Publishing. He is currently producing a leading Photoshop video series, Photoshop Inside & Out™ , and is hosting the definitive Photoshop web portal, Photoshop Central .

He has taught Interactive Multimedia Design and Advanced Imaging for the MFA program of the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and rejoined the faculty in the spring of 1993 as an ISDN-based TeleTeacher from his Marin home. Recently a faculty member of the San Francisco State University Multimedia Studies Program, Biedny has been a top-rated lecturer and speaker at the Kodak Center for Creative Imaging, Seybold Seminars, Stanford University, UCSC Multimedia Extensions Program, Pratt, MacWorld and NCGA, among others."[1]

After reading the above I'm sure you can appreciate that David Biedny is possibly one of the most qualified people around today regarding digital imaging and so his opinion undoubtedly carries more weight than your average hobbyist and indeed more than the vast majority of professionals.

Just recently he posted a comment at the ATS forum (3rd May 2008) on the Drone thread stating that:

I'm one of the people who instantly saw that these images were fakes, CG elements composited onto photographic background plates. Jeff Ritzmann & I could immediately tell that the first image was a total fake, and the silly story from "Chad" made if painfully clear that this was all nonsense, perhaps perpetrated by C2C & LMH in order to drum up some traffic and interest. Subsequent images were increasingly more ridiculous. From the fact that these images don't match up to any morphology we've seen in over 60 years of publicly reported UFO sightings, to the childish typefaces, the obvious rendered look of the "craft", the lighting mismatch between the CG element and the background plates, what more do you need?”[2]

So now we have David Biedny & Jeff Ritzman to add to the list of at least another five professionals in the digital imagery/analysis field who say that these images are obvious fakes.

Mr Steve Reichmuth (Mufon - Northern California, SSD - Alameda / Contra Costa Co.) announced in May of last year that Mufon had contacted two outside specialists to undertake an evaluation of these images, these are Mr Steve Neil who has and continues to do computer generated images for the History channels television program 'UFO Files'.

And a Mr. Marc D'Antonio, who owns and operates a business in Connecticut named FX Models. Also, I personally exchanged several emails with Mr D'Antonio last year and as well as the original images, Mr. D'Antonio was also convinced that all of the subsequent images as well as those of the antigrav device which was included in the Isaac documentation were obvious fakes.

Steve Reichmuth wrote, “Marc is a former MUFON Field investigator, and has taught Astronomy for a number of years at a local area east coast college. Both Marc & Steve I would consider well grounded and I would consider them both 'non-skeptics' related to 'UFO's. They think UFO's are 'real' and likely 'extraterrestrial' in origin. Marc works with computer generated images every day. Both experts state all images of this object are clearly fakes. Mr. D' Antonio is one of my valued expert contacts I network with in studying UFO photographs. He has volunteered to assist in future cases.

Marc examined the Coast to Coast images days earlier week (May 10) earlier. I contacted Marc again when this latest witness report was posted on CMS shortly later (May 12, 2007). Attached images have been studied by these two friends in the Special visual computer effects industry. They both independently state this object is clearly a CG fake.”[3]

Again by way of Mufon and Steve Reichmuth we have been told that that Dr Bruce Maccabee (optical physicist employed by the U.S. Navy and leading UFO researcher) and Mr. Jeff Sainio also believed that the images were faked, Steve Reichmuth wrote:

Later with permission from Mufon, our own Mufon photo consultants, Dr. Bruce Maccabee, and Mr. Jeff Sainio. It was felt important for MUFON experts to also verify the other experts to either confirm or dispute everyone's findings. The result was unanimous the images were fakes. Interestingly, peer review brought out new different reasons among the main reasons they were regarded as hoaxes. So apparently, there are a number of 'red flags' as to why the images are untruthful being claimed to be authentic. The analysis was objective, knowing all these experts opinions lean toward that UFO's being likely alien craft. Two of the outside experts are even possible abductees, so their 'slant' if anything is pre-existing.... it is towards UFO's being extraterrestrial in a very personal way. Still, the outside Mufon experts emphatically stated they were most definitely bogus.”[4]

Again I've personally contacted Dr. Maccabee myself and as recently as the 16 th April 2008 he confirmed that he's highly suspicious of the authenticity of the images, and James Carrion (Director of Mufon) also confirmed to me personally that Dr Maccabee and Mr. Jeff Sainio were in fact consulted by Mufon in their capacity as digital imaging experts to offer an analysis of the Drone images.

And lastly we have Kris Avery who has stated his belief that the Drone images were faked since they first appeared, you will probably recognise the name as he's the person who along with fellow forum member, “DroneOnline” created the Drone music video which was such a success that it led to many people who were unfamiliar with the Drone case claiming that he was actually the original hoaxer. Kris is a CGI artist based in the UK and his business website, “Kaptive Studios” may be viewed here.

I guess the question is how much expert analysis will suffice before it is accepted?

IDIG - Personnel (David Biedny)
[2] ATS Forums
[3] Steve Reichmuth email to UFOUpdates