Thursday, 31 December 2009

Balloon Boy Hoax ‘09

UPDATE: 8th Jan 2010:

$48,000 in restitution from Balloon Boy dad Richard Heene.

In a 13-page filing, prosecutors said Richard Heene should pay $47,809.04 to local law enforcement, the National Guard, firefighters and the U.S. Forest Service for the search and the subsequent investigation into the family. Some of the costs were for public information officers loaned from other agencies to help answer reporters' phone calls.

The filing also notes that the Federal Aviation Administration is pursuing a civil fine against the family. The FAA has proposed they pay $11,000 for temporarily disrupting air traffic around Denver International Airport, but the two sides are negotiating, Richard Heene's lawyer said.

=======================

The following was a story I normally wouldn't mention but seeing as I learned of it when the news was actually breaking (mid-pursuit) I Blogged about it (here), so consider this a follow-up of sorts. Well that and the paths that all hoaxes travel (via the internet) has always been of personal interest to me. In this case however within a matter of hours questions were raised and in a day or so accusations were levelled, as I'm sure you're aware the event led to a prosecution and ultimately sentencing, if you actually look back at how the events transpired on the 15th October it quickly becomes apparent that it was indeed little more than a self-promotional publicity seeking attempt (ultimately aimed at garnering interest prior to a foray into reality television).



Balloon parents plead guilty to hoax charges
Fri Nov 13 2009

A couple who pretended their son had floated away in a homemade balloon have pleaded guilty to hoax charges. Richard and Mayumi Heene's six-year-old boy Falcon hit the headlines when it was believed he had climbed into the UFO-shaped helium balloon and drifted away. But the incident was an elaborate publicity stunt the couple hoped would secure them fame on a reality TV show. Richard Heene pleaded guilty to attempting to influence a public servant, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of up to six years in prison, while Mayumi Heene admitted a less serious charge of making a false report to authorities.

The Heenes drew worldwide attention on October 15 when they reported that Falcon had sailed away in a silver airship. The inflatable drifted over Colorado for 50 miles, chased by National Guard helicopters, as authorities mounted a search operation that riveted TV viewers. The balloon later landed empty and it turned out the boy had been hiding safely in the family attic. Public sympathy turned to outrage when Falcon gave away the hoax in a live interview. An investigation was launched and the mother admitted the incident was a publicity stunt.

Source: ITN



I say it quickly became apparent it was a hoax of course as when the father (Richard Heene) originally reported it the news-media showed little to no interest so Heene promptly called the FAA to report that his balloon was airborne, not being controlled and that there was a *possibility* his six year old son was inside, all of this was within minutes of the balloons launch at 11am. Then at 11:15 when apparently the story was still flying under the radar of the media Heene decided to call local news-media and request for their helicopter to locate and follow the balloon, still not content Heene then gets his wife to contact police and describe the massive current/voltage that builds up in Mylar balloons every few minutes. It has since been claimed the police were rightly sceptical of the entire fiasco but obviously once the news-chopper was in pursuit and live coverage being streamed they had to at least appear to be taking the claims seriously.

Roll on the 16th October and several interviews later Falcon lets slip that he was hiding in the attic under his father's instruction and ‘for a TV show,' cue the parents disbelief & denial. Two days later the Colorado Sheriff announced that it was indeed a hoax and the parents were to be arrested, on November 13th the parents entered a guilty plea finally on the 23rd December the parents were sentenced. The following was posted to the BBC on December 23rd (2009):



A US man who triggered a major alert by falsely claiming his son was adrift in a helium balloon has been sentenced to 90 days in jail - and his wife to 20. Richard Heene, 48, and his 45-year-old wife Mayumi said in October their son had been carried off by the balloon. Six-year-old Falcon Heene was finally found hiding at home. In court in Colorado, Heene appeared to fight back tears as he apologised to rescue workers and the community, saying he was " very, very sorry ". The judge also ordered four years of supervised probation for the couple and banned them from receiving any form of financial benefit from the case. Heene and his wife Mayumi had pleaded guilty to charges that they carried out the balloon stunt to promote a reality TV show.

'Wasted money'

The prosecutor had argued the couple should face time in jail to act as a deterrent to others who may be considering mounting similar stunts for financial gain and publicity. Prosecutors had asked for a jail sentence to deter others , he said Heene had, " wasted a lot of man power and a lot of money in wanting to get himself some publicity ". He argued that the couple had acted not on the behest of any TV companies, but that " they came up with it all on their own, not necessarily just to get a TV show but at least to put their name out there again and maybe in hopes that somebody would pick them up ".

"For that, they do need to be punished".

Richard Heene will be allowed to serve 60 days of his 90-day sentence on release, allowing him to work as a construction contractor during the day, while spending the night in jail. He will start his sentence on 11 January 2010. Mayumi Heene will begin her sentence after her husband's to ensure their children are still cared for. She will be allowed to report to jail on two days a week, return home at night, and serve the sentence through jail-supervised community service. The judge also ruled that her husband must serve 100 hours of community service and write a letter of apology to the community and public service agencies which helped search for his son. The couple have already been ordered to pay $42,000 (£26,000) in restitution for the emergency services' rescue efforts.

Source: BBC



Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Mothman UK?

The following account was posted on the 20th December (2009) by a “Davey (Geordie Dave) Curtis” and was titled, “Mothman in Seaham on Sea? Hmmmmm”.

Obviously it's not my usual fare but due both to the close proximity to me and the fact that it is involving one of my favourite mythological (?) creatures complete with Keel references then I thought it warranted a mention.

There are images of the locations available at the Cryptozoology Online Blog (here).



Dear Jon,

I have written up this story because I think the people concerned are telling the truth, but you never know. An interesting story has came to my attention about a possible Mothman/Owlman-type sighting that warranted closer inspection. I don't know what to make of it, but this is what I have learnt so far. I have had to change the names of the people concerned for reasons I will explain later. On the outskirts of Seaham on the northeast coast of England there is a pub called the Pemberton Arms, known to everybody as the `White House` because for as long as anyone can remember, it has been... wait for it... painted white. A married couple in their early 40s (Phil and Kate, I'll call them) had gone there on Saturday evening (10th of October) to watch a live band.

Now, I don't if the band they had wanted to see had not turned up or what, but they had decided to leave early (Just after 10pm, they tell me) and because it was unusually warm for that time of year, walk back into town for a few jars to finish off the night. They left the pub, turned right and walked down the lane that would lead them to the well-lit main road into town. As they got to the end of the lane something caught their eye in the field next to the fence. At first they thought it was a Shire horse because of its size but it was definitely not a Shire horse. Phil and Kate both told me that it was man-shaped, at least 7 feet tall, jet black with piercing red eyes, and it just stood there, motionless.

Phil and Kate looked at it in disbelief for about 15 seconds, then it let out a scream like a fox before “disappearing straight down like it had fell down a well or trap door!” That did it! Phil and Kate then ran like Hell onto the main road until they stopped near the recently built water treatment plant, exhausted and out of breath. Phil tried to phone a taxi but found his mobile phone was dead , although it was working fine back at the pub. So half running, half walking, constantly looking about them, they got back home, terrified out of their wits, unable to understand what they had just witnessed.

Three weeks later, when they felt able to, they wanted to talk to me.

I have known this couple for about 20 years and I don't think it is a hoax. They are very upset that this has happened to them and did not want to talk about it to anyone for fear of ridicule. They are angry and confused, “Why us?” They said. They want to put it all behind them. They only came to me because they remember me talking a few years back about my visit to Loch Morar in Scotland to look into sightings of a creature there and so thought I may be able to help them. But apart from recommending they read Alien Animals and me assuring them they are not alone in witnessing strange beings, I could offer little help. What can you say to somebody who has witnessed the unexplainable?

Now things get weirder!

The name of the place where this thing was seen is Cold Hesledon. As soon as I made the Cold connection to Indrid Cold, Mothman and Point Pleasant, a lot of other things that John Keel had written about in The Moth Man Prophecies started falling into place. I re-read his book and discovered that according to John Keel, phenomena like this is attracted to certain things.

He mentioned power lines - there is a sub station approx 50 feet from the sighting

He mentioned military bases - there is a old R.A.F radar and underground bunker approx 200 feet away

He mentioned ley lines and the name Cold cropping up in ancient settlements - (this is the icing on the cake for me) it just so happens that the original Cold Hesledon was an medieval village, long deserted!

So there you have it: food for thought!

If our Tall Dark Friend turns up again I'll let you know.

Regards

Davy C

Source: Cryptozoology Online



Monday, 28 December 2009

California UFO Drone Detectives (Conference Audio)

Dronology 101

The “2009 UFO Crash Retrieval Conference" was held in Vegas (8th & 9th November, 2009) and had a good array of speakers assembled to speak, but the ones I wanted to highlight was TK Davis and Frank Dixon (pictured left) who for the uninitiated are the two private investigators charged with what was billed as the, "California Drone Investigation."

Unfortunately I was unable to attend in person but due to the wonders of the internet was able to listen to it courtesy of *Tomi01UK* a member at the UfoCasebook forums (as well of course as the OM forums and founder member of the Drone Research Team as well as the -London- woman whom the investigator/s talk about contacting them) who posted an audio link to parts of the presentation.

Below is a screen-grab detailing their appearance at the conference courtesy of the official 2009 UFO Crash Retrieval Conference website:

California Drone Investigation PI Conference
Click here or on image for larger image.




The Art Of The Hoax

Smithsonian recently posted a short article online by Rob Irving and Peter Brookesmith charting Crop Circles and their origins and was somewhat contentiously titled, “Crop Circles: The Art of the Hoax,” well, I suppose it's contentious among certain groups it is however a title that I personally thought befitting of its content. Anyway, irrespective of where you believe the origins of the circle-makers may really stem from I still found it a thought-provoking article, sections of which can effortlessly be applied to all broader anomalous phenomena, an excerpt of the article follows:



Crop circles are a lens through which we can explore the nature and appeal of hoaxes. Fakes, counterfeits and forgeries are all around us in the everyday world—from dud $50 bills to spurious Picassos. People's motives for taking the unreal as real are easily discerned: we trust our currency, and many people would like to own a Picasso. The nebulous world of the anomalous and the paranormal is even richer soil for hoaxers. A large proportion of the population believes in ghosts, angels, UFOs and ET visitations, fairies, psychokinesis and other strange phenomena. These beliefs elude scientific examination and proof. And it's just such proof that the hoaxer brings to the table for those hungry for evidence that their beliefs are not deluded.

False evidence intended to corroborate an existing legend is known to folklorists as “ostension.” This process also inevitably extends the legend. For, even if the evidence is eventually exposed as false, it will have affected people's perceptions of the phenomenon it was intended to represent. Faked photographs of UFOs, Loch Ness monsters and ghosts generally fall under the heading of ostension. Another example is the series of photographs of fairies taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths at Cottingley, Yorkshire, between 1917 and 1920. These show that the motive for producing such evidence may come from belief, rather than from any wish to mislead or play pranks. One of the girls insisted till her dying day that she really had seen fairies—the manufactured pictures were a memento of her real experience. And the photos were taken as genuine by such luminaries as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—the great exponent, in his Sherlock Holmes stories, of logic.

The desire to promote evidence of anomalous and paranormal events as genuine springs from deep human longings. One is a gesture toward rationalism—the notion that nothing is quite real unless it's endorsed by reasoned argument, and underwritten by more or less scientific proofs. But the human soul longs for enchantment. Those who don't find their instinctive sense of the numinous satisfied by art, literature or music—let alone the discoveries of science itself—may well turn to the paranormal to gratify an intuition that mystery dwells at the heart of existence. Such people are perfectly placed to accept hoaxed evidence of unexplained powers and entities as real.

Source: Smithsonian



Saturday, 19 December 2009

UK UFO Research: BOAC Labrador Report (1954)

The BOAC Labrador sighting of June 29, 1954

One of the UK's respected and prolific (serious) researchers, “Martin Shough” recently authored a research report on the infamous 1954 BOAC UFO incident. I’ve been lucky enough to correspond with Martin a few times and his reasoned approach has always been fair, penetrative & erudite, whether you're aware of Martin Shough or not if you have read any reports involving UFO/UAP reports in the UK and if they were approached from a more scientific angle then you will undoubtedly have read some of the research that he has either personally conducted or assisted with, including the vast majority of radar-related (UK) UFO reports.

And to be honest it’s a little puzzling why I haven’t seen (m)any references to this particular report and if I were to hazard a guess then it’s perhaps its because its presented as a sober and scientific report and of course doesn’t wildly promote the ETH as the most likely explanation. If this is indeed the case then it‘s a sad reflection on the broader online UFO community, the majority of whom are quick to pick up on the most obscure of possible UFO reports often presenting no viable working hypothesis or even additional information regarding the report. Not of course that this is –always- necessarily a bad thing, but then to neglect exhaustive reports on historical UFO events such as this one, it just doesn’t make sense, does it?

Martin is listed (in his capacity as author of this report) as a, “UK Research Associate of the US National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP)”.

The report is published in its entirety on the Caelestia.be website which itself is an excellent resource to the serious UFO researcher as it offers a wealth of information on a wide variety of aerial phenomena.


A short video clip of the pilot speaking about his experience is available at: Commercial Flight JFK to London BOAC UFO (1954) Video

The following is posted on the lead page of the relevant section on Caelestia.be (summary):
BOAC 1954

This classic observation was made by crew and passengers of a 4-engine Boeing Stratocruiser of the British Overseas Airways Corporation. Flight 510-196 was a luxury flight bound for London on the "champagne and caviar run", departing New York at 17:03 local (21:03 GMT) on June 29, 1954 with 51 passengers aboard. Four hours later at sunset, 19,000 ft (5,791 m) over Labrador, Newfoundland, and en route for Goose Bay, an apparently huge shape-changing UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon) and a swarm of small attendant objects was seen against the bright sky off the left wing. The strange display persisted for 18 minutes.

After a refuelling stop at Goose where they were met and questioned by US Air Force intelligence officers the crew proceeded to London, where the story rapidly appeared in national papers and magazines. Capt. James R. HOWARD was filmed for BBC TV and cinema newsreels. It became big news and went around the world within days via the Associated Press syndicated wire. The standing of the witnesses, in particular 33-year-old Capt. HOWARD, a highly respected former RAF Squadron Leader with 7500 hours commercial flying on 256 Atlantic crossings to his credit at the time of the sighting, has never been called in question. They were convinced that their airliner was followed for 80 miles by a formation of solid flying objects under intelligent control. To this day the case is still hailed by many ufologists as unexplained and one of the most significant "British" cases.

Several theories have been advanced. Were these objects spaceships, a giant flock of migrating starlings, balloons, or perhaps a mirage? Whilst the evidence is not conclusive, we present evidence that the most likely explanation seems to be an unusual mirage of a type which, whilst rare, appears to have been observed several times in similar conditions in other parts of the world.

Source: Caelestia.be



And here are three sketches that the pilot made after his sighting:







The full report is available at the
Caelestia.be website.

UK-UFO: A70 Abduction Case (Scotland)

Malcolm Robinson has been circulating emails for a while regarding his new book, “UFO Case Files Of Scotland” and recently (19th December 2009) the Daily Telegraph has dedicated a substantial article on their website publicising this, an article which deals mainly with the intriguing, “A70 Abduction Case.”

This is a well known and alarming abduction scenario in which practically every researcher who has met/interviewed the original witnesses says that they believe that the witnesses are grounded and are very sure that they (witnesses) believe this event actually happened. As one would perhaps expect after such an incident the witnesses entrenched themselves into the UFO/abduction phenomenon and much was made of this as being an influential factor revealing itself in their later testimonies, however this doesn't detract from their original claims and the immediate events surrounding them.


What follows is a transcript of a session in an A70 related typical hypnotic regression supervised and conducted by Helen Walters:

• Helen: “I want you to relive that night Colin, see it, feel it where are you?”

• Colin: “Nowhere”.

• Helen: “Where is nowhere”. Colin: “Just nowhere, complete blackness”.

• Helen: “What are you looking at, what are you trying to see?”

• Colin: “I feel I'm going up”.

• Helen: “Going up?”

• Colin: “Uh huh”.

• Helen: “See it, feel it, can you hear anything”?

• Colin: “Nothing” Helen: “See it Colin, nothing can harm you at this moment, listen to the sound of my voice”, Colin's body jerked suddenly.

• Colin: “ Creatures, I'm telling them to get lost”.

• Helen: “Where are you”?

• Colin: “I'm in a Bright room”.

• Helen: “What are they doing”?

• Colin: “They're trying to undress me”.

• Helen: “Tell me what's happening Colin”.

• Colin: “I'm sitting with no clothes on”.

• Helen: “Where are you sitting”?

• Colin: “A metal chair, it's smooth and cold”.

• Helen: “How do you feel”?

• Colin: “Just cold”.

• Helen: “Tell me what is happening Colin”?

• Colin: “Something's in my right eye”.

• Helen: “What's in your right eye”?

• Colin: “I don't know, it's uncomfortable, like a red hot poker in the centre of my eye, it's really sore”.

• Helen: “Who is putting this hot poker I to your eye”?

• Colin: “I can't see anything”.

• Helen: “Is your left eye open”?

• Colin: “Uh huh”

• Helen: “Why are you shaking your head”? At this point Colin was moving his head from side to side.

• Colin: “I'm trying to get a good look at the thing, the thing that's doing this to me to me”. Helen: “What's Happening now”?

• Colin: “Just took it out of my eye, my right eye's really burning, my eye's really watering, it's gushing”.

• Helen; “What kind of material was it, what did it feel like”?

• Colin; “It felt like there was something clamped on it, that there was something going into my eye”.

• Helen: “How did you get there Colin, how did you get there? I want you to relive your journey”

• Colin: “The car is in a big, bright, metallic room”.

• Helen: “How did it get there”?

• Colin: “It was lifted”.

• Helen: “How was it lifted”?

• Colin: “I don't know, I just feel it juddering and being lifted”.

• Helen: “OK, go back to the beginning of your journey”.

• Colin: “Just passing the reservoir on the left hand side, just passing the farmhouse on the right. Doesn't make sense, there's no road, nothing; the car is definitely off it. There seems to be some kind of force, there is nothing physical that I can see. I'm cold; I'm getting carried along at some rate”. Colin's body gave a powerful twitch. “I'm in that chair again…something's looking at me back in the corridor, it's…it was…ahhh…it's ugly”.

• Helen: “Describe it Colin, describe the ugly thing”.

• Colin: “It's ugly and it's lurking in that corridor, it comes and goes, it seems ancient to me. Ugly…it's really badly deformed, I'm not scared of it any more”. Colin began to laugh. “It seems that this thing has been in a fight and it's the loser. I think it's trying to manipulate me”.

• Helen: “In what way”?

• Colin: “I don't know, ii think I'm pissing it off because I'm not scared any more. I'm laughing at it, it's weird it's away”. Colin's head turned to the right. “ I can hear a noise behind me, I can't think of a word to describe it”. His body convulsed briefly. “I'm staring at a wee one”.

• Helen: “A wee what”?

• Colin: “ A wee creature, it's not very happy with me, I don't think I was supposed to look behind my chair for some reason. It's looking at me with those black eyes but I'll not give in”. Helen: “You won't give in to what”?

• Colin: “It's trying to outstare me. It's away; I don't think it was very pleased with me. It just doesn't want me to see what is behind me for some reason. If I try to do anything they'll come round the corner and stop me”.

• Helen: “What do you have on Colin”?

• Colin: “Nothing, the chair is freezing, I keep wanting to get out of the chair but I bet it will be a big mistake”.

• Helen: “Did they speak to you”?

• Colin: “No, but I could tell it was pissed off. I'm looking at something, it looks like some sort of surgery tool, I think that's what went into my eye”.

• Helen: “Can you describe it”?

• Colin: “It sort of comes down and bends to the left and then bends down again, it's hard to describe. I've never see anything like it, it separates into four and there's all just things hanging from it”.

• Helen: “Move on from there Colin”. He convulsed again. “What's happening Colin”?

• Colin: “Two of them have got me by the feet and are dragging me toward a small archway”.

• Helen “How did you get out of the chair”? Colin: “They grabbed me by the feet, I think I pushed them off”.

• Helen: “What's happening now”?

• Colin: “They're dragging me back to the car, they're not fussy about hurting me”. More convulsions

• Helen: “Where are you now”?

• Colin: “Back in the car, back in the seat”.

• Helen: “Do you have your clothes on”?

• Colin: “Yes”.

• Helen: “Go back to when you put your clothes on, what's happening”?

• Colin: “Putting my clothes on”.

• Helen: “Who”?

• Colin: “The wee aliens”.

• Helen: “How many are there”?

• Colin: “Four”. Again more convulsions. “There is a big alien in front of me doing something, my head is pounding. I don't know if it's giving me something or taking something out of my head. My mind goes black, then lighter, my head feels numb, it feels massive, it feels as if I've got a big forehead”. Colin's hand came up and he rubbed forehead vigorously”

• Helen: “What's happening”?

• Colin: “Shooting pain, I don't know what they have done but it's weird, my brain feels like it's swollen and pushing my head out like it's going to burst. I can't handle this, it's stopped, it's weird”.

• Helen: “Can you move on, where are you now”?

• Colin: “Back on the road”.

• Helen: “How did you get there”?

• Colin: “Big bang then a thud”.

• Helen: “Anyone in the car with you”?

• Colin: “Gary's looking at m, he's bewildered, Garry's asking me, did you see what I saw”?

• Helen: “ Did you see Garry on your travels”?

• Colin: “No, just now”.

Source: fsr.org.uk




Click here or on image for the, "
UFO Case Files of Scotland
" at Amazon.

There is also a wealth of information and a detailed study of the case at the link provided above which offers several hypothesis regarding the incident as well as a brief analysis of the possible validity of each suggested scenario with MILAB's afforded quite a bit of attention.

And finally here's the Daily Record article:



Scotland's biggest UFO mystery comes to light in startling new book

A REMARKABLE new book explores the mysterious world of UFO sightings in Scotland and tells in full detail the country's first reported case of alien abduction. Author and investigator Malcolm Robinson probed the incident which took place as friends Garry Wood and Colin Wright, now 46 and 42, were driving to the village of Tarbrax, West Lothian 17 years ago. Their journey was supposed to take 30 minutes. When they reached their destination, they were an hour and a half late and could not account for the time. They later recalled, in amazing detail under hypnosis, how a space ship hovered in front of them before they were beamed on board the craft, stripped and examined by strange creatures before being beamed back to earth. The men have never changed their stories and even passed a lie detector test on TV. Their experiences are now referred to as the ' A70 Incident '. Malcolm, founder of Strange Phenomena Investigations and an acknowledged UFO expert, carried out an inquiry into their claims, which had a massive impact on him. After the case emerged he stated:

"I was an ardent sceptic. I really didn't think there was any validity to these tales of machines flying about the Scottish skies. But once you physically get involved in investigating these subjects, then you come off the fence. After a few years of investigation, there's enough substantial data to validate the people that have been saying these things."

The A70 Incident forms a major section of Malcolm's new book UFO Case Files of Scotland, which analyses various sightings across Scotland in recent years. He's now helping film producers who plan to turn the story into a movie. Malcolm and the two men are contracted to the film-makers and are not permitted to speak in public about the A70 Incident. When their story is told on the big screen the world will astounded by the events of that night in 1992. Almost all UFO reports have natural identifiable explanations - as many as 95 per cent. That leaves only a small five per cent of unidentified cases. Malcolm Robinson set up Strange Phenomena Investigations (SPI) to research UFOs and the paranormal in the Seventies, but it wasn't until the Nineties that his hardened scepticism was broken.

It was August 17, 1992, just after 11.30pm, when Garry Wood and his friend Colin Wright left Edinburgh, heading to a friend's house in Tarbrax to drop off a satellite system. Garry's car was travelling at 40mph and there was little traffic about. The car had just passed Harperrig Reservoir when Colin and Garry saw a two-tiered disc-shaped object hovering 20ft above the road - and it definitely wasn't an aircraft or helicopter. Both were scared and ambulance repair man Garry put his foot down and screamed under the object, using his elbow to lock the doors. The object emitted a silver, shimmering mist and as it touched the car, both men were enveloped in total darkness. What seemed to be second later, the pair regained their sight. Garry, still driving like a madman, was fighting hard to control the car but managed to regain his composure. Reaching their destination, Garry recalls frantically banging on the door. His concerned friend answered wondering where the two of them had been as they were 90 minutes late. They described their experience and asked for pens and paper to draw what they had seen. They left to return to Edinburgh, taking a different route home, but Garry had the feeling something else had happened. Soon after the encounter, he was bothered by strange dreams, he developed severe headaches and even had a CAT scan - but nothing unusual was found. He began to think perhaps it was a UFO, but didn't want to accept that possibility. After all, he had no interest in such tales and Colin certainly didn't believe in such things. Garry visited his library in the hope of finding UFO literature. He came across details for Strange Phenomena Investigations and decided to contact its founder Malcolm Robinson. Robinson listened intently and knew something very strange had occurred to both men - head and shoulders above the usual close encounter experience. A meeting was arranged and Robinson invited Garry and Colin to his home, Robinson said:

“I have never met such honest and sincere individuals. One could see the trauma they had suffered and were still suffering. It sent shivers down my spine. I believed in them."

Helen Walters, a qualified hypnotherapist and psychic, was called in to help get to the bottom of the mystery through hypnotic regression. During his first session, Garry burst into tears and was distraught, but Colin remained calm. Over the course of several weeks, Garry recalled seeing vague shapes, while both men's bodies jolted as they recalled the encounter. The results of the hypnotic regression made for startling and harrowing reading. Both men stated the car was stopped, after which the doors were opened by three small entities. Colin recalled Garry being placed on a free-floating stretcher. Garry experienced tremendous abdominal pain and recalled another entity lurking behind part of the UFO. Colin was led up a ramp into the object, where he found himself in a round room with a curved chair. Colin was stripped naked and placed on the chair, where a medical examination was conducted on him. Gary remembers being taken into a round room with a raised table. He too was stripped and placed on the table. Here are both men's stories:

GARRY'S STORY

A grey arm was dropped on to his chest. The small being was four and a half feet tall with a child-like body, a large pear-shaped head with black eyes. Garry also saw small brown beings with folds of skin covering their faces and a small man dressed in a black suit with tie. He recalled lying naked with two small creatures at the foot of the table, one holding a bright diamond-shaped object, which pulsated with an orange light. The creature then began moving the diamond over his body. To his left, sitting on the floor, was a naked female who was crying and shivering. He said in his mind, "Why are you doing this?"

The reply he got was simply, "Sanctuary."

COLIN'S STORY

Colin found himself in a large glass or perspex chamber, naked and strapped by the wrists and ankles. Although he could only move his head slightly, he observed many other chambers containing people. He also recalled feeling as if a red hot poker was being inserted into his eye and his brain feeling as if it had swollen. He was then dragged across the room by creatures before being dressed by "the wee aliens" and put back in the car. Both men came back from their encounter with scars which previously were not there, which further added to the mystery. Robinson observed afterwards:

"By far this is probably Scotland's biggest UFO case. This case not only dealt with a close proximity UFO, it also dealt with 'beings'. For me, this was the case which took me off the proverbial sceptical fence. I dealt with it hands on and saw the trauma both men experienced. I felt their pain. I was totally convinced these men did not make it up, far from it. They wanted no publicity. It came purely because I advocated it. I needed Garry and Colin to come out, whereby it was hoped similar abductees would come forward. I was gobsmacked by world reaction and the intense media frenzy."

Garry and Colin were left bemused by the whole episode. Their lives may have changed, but they are still the men they were - albeit with a different perspective on life.

Source: The Daily Record



Click here for the, "UFO Case Files of Scotland: Amazing Real Life Alien Encounters" at Amazon.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Richard (Dick) Hall – MI5 Sponsored (Dis)information?

UK Ufologist Dick Hall has excelled himself by publishing a list of UK based researchers (including Ufologists) whom he believes are MI5 agents, however there's one small problem with this list…..

THERE IS NO PROOF PROVIDED WHATSOEVER!!

So forgive me for not providing a link to what for all intents & purposes appears to be completely unfounded allegations fuelled by seemingly little more than Dick's personal green-eyed monster, if you want to read it I'm sure you'll have no problems locating it. Unfortunately these (what are in my humble opinion) vicious, slanderous & baseless accusations will undoubtedly be perpetuated throughout the inter-web because as I'm sure you all know that if it's on the internet then it *MUST* be true.

Don't get me wrong as IF MI5 were sponsoring people within the UFO community to derail the subject and IF there was any proof of this then I'd be at the front of the queue naming and shaming them and calling for action, but that's two very big "if's".

It's a sad day for UK Ufology as yet again it has devolved into school-yard style shenanigans and from what I can gather these are based on little more than the fact that Dick disagrees with the (in my experience often factually correct) data presented by those on his personal shit-list.

Let's face facts it's certainly no “UFOWatchdog.com” mainly as there is absolutely NO corroborating information presented by Dick, and of course the Ufologist's in question just happen to disagree with the assertions of Dick regarding one of his 'pet' UFO cases.

Hmm, what are the chances?

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Dragonfly Drone UFO Report - Ohio (2nd August 2009)

I'll admit I was hesitant in posting this firstly because the witness sounds overly familiar with the debacle that was the California Drones (2007), what with phrases like, “winged object like a dragonfly drone” & “holographic image being projected” and secondly after watching the video and looking at the image I can't for the life of me see what the witness is referring to!!

However due to the inexorable allegations of, “HOAX!!” which were justifiably levelled at the original Drone reports and as this witness drew the correlation between their report and the original Drone hoax themselves I thought what the hell as if nothing else -and as I've said several times previously- it shows the lingering appeal that the original Drone reports/images had and the dogged determination with which the (original) Drones themselves seem to exude whilst they strive for myth-status.

A status which will never be achieved due in no small part to the anonymous witnesses, their CGI images, their self-evident & outright deceptive statements in which they apparently lied about everything, from their names to their email addresses. And of course more telling was the fact that *every* location discovered to date has been coupled with the discovery that the original witness statement was inexcusably blatant lies, and not just about the physical location but the entire back-story was exposed as no more than fantasy.

The Rajman1977 report is a prime example of this as it showed undeniably that the timeframe in which the Drone was alleged to have been captured was a physical impossibility!! This of course being due to the distance between the locations where it was claimed the images were captured being impossible to traverse in the allotted time dictated by the time-stamp on the images, which in turn directly condemned the entire witness statement as a fabrication.

Anyway the following was submitted to Mufon on the 5th December 2009 and was accompanied by an mpeg video and an image (which as I mention above is entirely inconclusive), links to these are located below the following report:



California Drone Hoax

Attached Media:

  1. Stealth Drone Video (.mpg) file.
  2. Stealth Drone Image (.jpeg) file.

Source: Mufon CMS



Saturday, 5 December 2009

MoD Closes Door On UFOs

It was recently announced/released (via FoIA) on the MoD website that after fifty years they are finally washing their hands of the UFO phenomenon as they have announced that they will no longer be collecting UFO reports from the public. Personally I don't think this is anywhere near as significant as it is being reported as, mainly because the lacklustre approach adopted by the MoD over the last fifty years or so has been dismissive at best and criminally negligible at worst.

Also, you can’t help but wonder if this closure is merely the culmination of a plan that was set into motion several years ago when the FoIA requests were at a peak and which ultimately led to the decision to publicly disclose the files in their entirety…..

MoD + UFO = No Defence Significance

That's not to say they are *really* to blame as the public face of the MoD, i.e. the ‘UFO desk', that dealt with this was little more than a public relations exercise anyway, an exercise which if nothing else proved a useful springboard for Nick Pope being established as the ‘go-to man' for the British (gutter) press as well as for various UFO-related documentaries, publications, radio-shows etc. etc. etc. And in case there is any doubt about the capacity of involvement allowed to those who ‘man' the UFO desk this was stated in writing by the MoD, below is a section from the FoIA document in question which was sent to Mr James Easton back in 1999:


“Mr Pope was employed as an executive Officer in Secretariat (Air Staff) 2. His post was designated Sec(AS)2a. The main duties of the post concern non-operational RAF activities overseas and diplomatic clearance policy for military flights abroad. A small percentage of time is spent dealing with reports from the public about alleged ‘UFO' sightings and associated public correspondence.”

(The scanned document can be viewed here).



The only reason I highlight this is so that one can see the prior level of commitment that the MoD awarded the UFO reports anyway, so is the loss really that great?

And the following was posted by Nick to his website on the 3rd December (2009):



MoD Terminate UFO Project

With effect from 1st December 2009, the Ministry of Defence terminated their UFO project, ending over 50 years of research and investigation. The news was slipped out in a way designed not to attract attention, by making an amendment to an existing document in the Freedom of Information section of the MoD website, entitled "How to report a UFO sighting". The announcement states that "in over fifty years, no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom" and goes on to say that "MOD will no longer respond to reported UFO sightings or investigate them". Having worked on the UFO project from 1991 to 1994 I am sorry to see MoD disengage in this way. I believe that where evidence suggests that UK airspace has been penetrated by an unidentified object, this must automatically be of defence interest and should be investigated properly. Indeed, I am sure that sightings from pilots and uncorrelated targets tracked on radar will continue to be looked at, albeit outside of a formally constituted UFO project. From the Fifties to the present day, MoD received around 12,000 UFO reports. While most were misidentifications of ordinary objects and phenomena, around 5% remained unexplained.

Source: Nickpope.net



And the following was posted to DefenceManagement.com on the 4th December:



UFO investigation service shut down

The Ministry of Defence has stopped investigating reported sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in the UK. A telephone number and email address which allowed the public to report sightings for investigation was closed on 1 December after the MoD decided the service was an "inappropriate use of defence resources."

The closure was revealed in a Freedom of Information request released via the MoD website. The MoD had dealt with more than 12,000 reports since it launched the reporting service in 1950 - including 135 last year. The service had cost around £50,000 a year to run and was based at RAF Command in High Wycombe. In a statement, the ministry said:

"The MoD has no opinion on the existence or otherwise of extra-terrestrial life …..However, in over fifty years, no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom….. The MoD has no specific capability for identifying the nature of such sightings …..There is no defence benefit in such investigation and it would be an inappropriate use of defence resources. Furthermore, responding to reported UFO sightings diverts MoD resources from tasks that are relevant to defence…..Accordingly, and in order to make best use of defence resources, we have decided that from the 1st December 2009 the dedicated UFO hotline answer-phone service and e-mail address will be withdrawn. MoD will no longer respond to reported UFO sightings or investigate them…..The ongoing programme to release departmental files on UFO matters to the National Archive will continue."

Source: DefenceManagement.com



Wednesday, 11 November 2009

UK UFO Report South Shields – Halloween ‘09

To be honest the following report sounds remarkably like yet another Chinese lantern but I always try and Blog about sightings in and around the North East of England regardless of what I personally believe they are, mainly as it's my local area and as such I try to keep an informal record of sorts…..

Anyway the following was originally posted in the Jarrow & Hebburn Gazette who -by the sounds of it- scavenged the report up from an undisclosed website where the UFO sighting was originally reported.



Did you see a UFO over Shields?

Published Date : Wednesday, 11th November 2009
Location: South Shields

SOMETHING strange was flying about on Halloween according to a South Tyneside man – and it wasn't a witch. Gary Sinclair said he saw a bright orange light hovering in the sky as he peered out of his sitting room window in Bluebell Way, South Shields, at 5.30pm. The 34–year–old said:

"It was very strange, it was almost slow at approaching and then it just vanished. I thought it was a plane on fire. It just seem [sic] to shoot off in a northern direction. It's something I'm certainly not going to forget in a hurry."

Mr Sinclair reported his sighting online where other people – as far away as Merseyside and Northampton – claim they had a similar experience. There was speculation the light could have been a Chinese lantern - often mistaken as UFOs – but Mr Sinclair is adamant this was not the case.

The article also states that anyone with any information should contact them at:

mailto:verity.ward@northeast-press.co.uk

Source: Jarrow & Hebburn Gazette

UK UFO Reports 2009



Sunday, 8 November 2009

8th November 2009 - Remembrance Sunday - Lest We Forget

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

UFO Balloon Lands With Still No Sign Of Missing Boy

Update - Boy Found

A couple of hours after my original Blog post the following was published online:



The six-year-old boy who was allegedly involved in a UFO helium balloon incident has been found safe at his home. *There have been no details as to where the boy has been for past few hours. The incident involved an experimental helium balloon, which was not intended for flight, found speeding through the Colorado sky. It was believed at the time that a six-year-old boy had wandered into the basket of the UFO-looking balloon and the tether had broken releasing the balloon into the air. When the balloon crash landed it was surrounded by emergency services who quickly cut at the balloon to find any sign of the child, however it was discovered he was not in fact there. The boy was found safe at his home by authorities, however there are no details at the moment as to the child’s whereabouts for the past few hours.

*Update: Officials have said that the boy was hiding in a box in his home garage.

(Source)



A tragic story is unfolding involving the disappearance of a six year old boy.

A small homemade helium balloon resembling a flying saucer and believed to be containing a 6-year-old boy is pictured floating thousands of feet above Colorado, October 15, 2009. The boy is thought to have climbed inside a home-made helium balloon which is described by a Larimer County Sheriff's spokeswoman as "a homemade helium balloon made to look like a UFO."

The reports filtering through from the local media are sketchy at best but current reports are now stating that the balloon has landed and there is no sign of the little boy. If the actual events are being are being reported without error then unfortunately it doesn't bode well for the youngster but here's hoping and Godspeed ……



Balloon lands in Colorado, boy not inside (Thu Oct 15)

DENVER (Reuters) - A helium balloon that flew out of control over Colorado landed on Thursday but a 6-year-old boy who had been thought to be on board was not in the craft, local media said. It was not known where the boy was. The boy, who was not identified, was reported to have climbed into the small homemade craft at his family's home before it floated away and across the Colorado skies at up to 7,000 feet.

Television images showed the silver ballon, resembling a flying saucer and about 20 feet (six meters) across, floating above Colorado before it landed, as authorities scrambled to find a way to bring it down safely. A Larimer County Sheriff's spokeswoman described the craft as "a homemade helium balloon made to look like a UFO." She said the boy climbed into the balloon at his family's home in Fort Collins. The craft then apparently broke away from a pair of tethers holding it to the ground and floated away. Aviation experts said that the boy could survive the flight but would be cold and possibly disoriented at high altitudes.


Source:
Reuters



Fort Collins, CO - A homemade balloon that took off unattended has landed without anyone inside. Initial reports said that a 6-year-old boy may have climbed inside. A representative of the sheriff's department says the child may have fallen out early in the flight. Officials say the balloon is owned by the boy's parents, and that it was tethered behind their home. They say the boy and his older brother were playing outside when the older boy saw the younger one go into a compartment at the bottom of the balloon, which then flew away. The balloon was rotating slowly in the wind during the flight, sometimes tipping precariously. It landed around 3:40pm Eastern Time.

(Source)




Image source:
Reuters



Sunday, 4 October 2009

UFO Disclosure - Brazil Release More UFO Files

Last week many sites covered the recently posted of the Brazilian disclosure courtesy of A. J. Gevaerd and was as follows:



This is to inform that Brazilian Government has just declassified a new set of significant previously secret UFO documents, now covering the 80s. We already had disclosures covering the 50s, 60s and 70s, all with very important documents and information. So far over 4,000 pages have been disclosed.

The recent disclosure is particularly powerful because it contains dozens of reports of UFOs on May 19, 1986, considered the “Official UFO Night in Brazil”, when 21 spherical objects, estimated 100 meters in diameter – according to military sources – were detected by radars and spotted by civilian pilots, and literally jammed air traffic over the major Brazilian Airports, such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Then, several Mirage and F5 jets were scrambled to pursue them.

As a result of that “invasion”, the Air Force minister brigadier Octavio Moreira Lima went public about it the other morning on the national TV network, declaring all facts openly. The pilots who took part in the pursue and their commanders also spoke freely about the pursuits, which occurred over several hours.

We've had several other disclosures since 2007, all as a direct result of the campaign UFOs: Freedom Of Information Now , promoted since 2004 by the Brazilian Committee of UFO Researchers . The latest disclosure comprises over 2,200 new pages of formerly secret UFO documents that were given to the Committee and also sent to the Brazilian National Archives.

In late July, hundreds of papers from the Brazilian Air Force's official System for the Investigation of Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (SIOANI) have demonstrated how the nation's military authorities dealt with the UFO Phenomena in the 60s and 70s.

Considering that SIOANI wasn't a top secret agency and that even civilian researchers took part in its procedures, the structure and functionality of which proves that Brazil is the first country in the world to officially and publicly admit the reality of the UFO Phenomena, and the first to investigate it openly.

For instance, where have you ever seen color drawings of flying saucers reported by witnesses and investigated by military personnel , such as these ones?

Caso_SIOANI_007_Croqui_Colorido.jpg
Caso_SIOANI_034_Croqui_Colorido.jpg
Caso_SIOANI_035_Croqui_Colorido.jpg
Caso_SIOANI_063_Croqui_Colorido.jpg
Caso_SIOANI_064_Croqui_Colorido.jpg

These are only a few links to recently discovered colored drawings of UFOs seen in Brazil and investigated in the 60s and 70s by the Brazilian Air Force's official System for the Investigation of Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (SIOANI). Much more is about to be disclosed.

The Brazilian UFO Magazine website – http://www.ufo.com.br/– already has thousands of pages for download, such as over 1,200 pages of documents, 200 photos of SIOANI's activities and Operation Saucer, carried out in the Amazonian region in 1977. Along with documents received by the Committee from other military sources.

Included in the recently revealed documents are the detailed research proceedings carried out in dozens of UFO-related incidents which had not been made public previously. Some of the colored sketches of UFO incidents investigated by SIOANI are here:

http://www.ufo.com.br/documentos/sioani/Novos_documentos

Other documents can be found here:

www.ufo.com.br/documentos/sioani/
www.ufo.com.br/documentos/prato/
www.ufo.com.br/documentos/extra/
www.ufo.com.br/documentos/geral/

A. J. Gevaerd,

Editor, Brazilian UFO Magazine
Coordinator,
Brazilian Committee of UFO Researchers (CBU)
National Director, Mutual UFO Network (MUFON)

http://www.ufo.com.br/
gevaerd@ufo.com.br
aj@gevaerd.com



There are a couple of links to images in the article and poses the question, “Where have you ever seen color drawings of flying saucers reported by witnesses and investigated by military personnel , such as these ones?

I visited the URL's as well as a few others and above is a selection of the images which I completely agree are more aesthetically pleasing than the normal scribblings proffered, perhaps because due to being somewhat culturally conformant they are best described as the ‘classic' flying saucer shape. (Art imitating life or…..)

But I hasten to add I'm not being dismissive, in fact the complete opposite as it seems as if the “Disclosure Bandwagon” is well and truly rolling and gathering speed, but of course while there's evidently no, “Proof of contact” (as it were) these are undoubtedly exciting times that we're living in as more and more previously classified UFO-related information becomes readily available than ever has before.

I guess the dilemma faced now is whether the broader UFO community will accept that the slew of documents released (& to be released) from several countries do indeed represent disclosure, because sadly it seems unless the documents tout definitive proof of the ETH then there will always be a large faction that doubts this is the case and so subsequently –albeit inadvertently- somewhat undermining the oft unreferenced efforts of the many UFOlogists actively involved in securing, and in some cases policing, the respective release of information.

Well this was what happened in the UK recently and I do sort of understand their gripes because if EVERY country were indeed to declassify their UFO files then this would surely lead to the unemployment of the many UFO ‘celebrities' and more importantly their revenue currently earned from the lecture/conference circuit and of course book sales. (Not to mention Greer et al).

I suspect that they'd still survive though because lets face it, and from what I've seen, the majority of them are peddling belief and rarely bother themselves with mundane things such as independently verifiable fact…..

“Yep, son, we have met the enemy….and he is us”

(Img source)

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Justice For Gary McKinnon?

Well, yesterday (26th September, 2009) saw UK based “Tribune magazine” who describe themselves as, “A thorn in the side of all governments, constructively to Labour, unforgiving to Conservatives” posted about the plight of Mckinnon in an article called, “Securing Labour's future.”

The opening paragraph stated:



Ann Black identifies the priorities for Labour in the time remaining before the general election.

"As Labour gathers for its conference in Brighton, penned behind the ring of steel, the omens are mixed. The recession is easing, but the summer saw errors over Gurkhas' settlement rights, compensation for wounded soldiers and the lingering MPs' expenses scandal. Blaming the SNP for freeing Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, will not wash. Instead Labour hits out at soft targets in agreeing to deport Gary McKinnon, the hacker with Asperger's syndrome, to face rough justice in the United States for accessing military computers in search of evidence of UFOs.”

Source: Tribune Magazine



It seems as if the general consensus has gradually swung in favour of McKinnon, ComputerWeekly.com posted under their, “Legislation and Regulation” section on 14th July, 2009 that:


US allegations against UFO hacker Gary McKinnon were 'over baked'

US allegations about the severity of Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon's crimes were trumped up, a court heard today.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, McKinnon's barrister, argued that the Director of Public Prosecutions decided wrongly in February not to prosecute the hacker in the UK and so allow his extradition to face charges in the US instead. Fitzgerald told the court that US allegations that McKinnon was guilty of "the worst crimes of the century" were over baked. He submitted a file said to contain DPP evidence that demonstrated how the US did not have evidence to support these allegations. The actual US indictments - as apposed to allegations - were for computer fraud and damages. These charges were comparable with those listed under the British Computer Misuse act, the court heard.

McKinnon, who is accused of causing £475,000 worth of damage to computers by hacking into computer systems belonging to the Pentagon, Nasa and the US military from his home in North London, claims that under human rights law he has a right to be tried in the UK. McKinnon hacked military systems in the search for suppressed evidence of UFOs. He found little evidence of other-world natives or technology, except for a spreadsheet that listed "non-terrestrial officers, ships' names and goods movements", and a picture of what he said was a UFO with a perfectly smooth surface.

Source: ComputerWeekly



Back on the 10th September we were told that the presentation made on behalf of McKinnon by several MPs was apparently dismissed:



McKinnon plea falls on deaf ears

LABOUR, CONSERVATIVE and Lib Dem MPs who argued the case for protecting Palmers Green hacker Gary McKinnon from extradition in the US have drawn a blank. Michael Meacher, for Labour, former shadow Home Secretary David Davis and Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne had a 30-minute audience with Home Secretary Alan Johnson yesterday, but were disappointed by his response. The senior cross-party trio relayed arguments made by leading human rights lawyers concerned for the welfare of the 43-year-old Asperger's sufferer if the planned extradition took place.

Mr McKinnon admits cracking NASA codes, but says he was looking for evidence of UFOs, while the US says he is guilty of the biggest military computer hack and could send him to prison for up to 60 years if he is found guilty. The MPs will now take their case to the new US ambassador Louis Susman, who recently backed a sponsored walk for an autism charity.

Mr Meacher, who has criticised the UK's Extradition Act as being unfairly weighted in favour of the US, said:

“Alan Johnson made clear that in his view, after a string of court decisions at all levels over the last seven years, it would be very difficult for him to [intervene]…..It was also quite clear that Alan Johnson was concerned about the precedent that would be set in regard to other current cases, notably that of the alleged terrorist Abu Hamza…..We pointed out that this showed how poorly drafted the Extradition Act 2003 had been when not only was it gave rights to the US that were denied to the UK, but it bizarrely applied the same rules to a misguided but innocuous young man as to a serious alleged terrorist. A more common-sense and proportional approach was needed.”

Mr McKinnon is now waiting to hear if his legal battle will be taken on by the new Supreme Court, which replaces the House of Lords as the highest appeal court in the UK and starts to hear cases from October 1.

Source: Enfield Independent



Putting political agendas aside and again with ComputerWeekly.com who posted the following on September 22nd (2009) in their, “Risk Management” section:



Expert challenges UFO hacker's $700k bill

The US inflated the $700,000 bill for damages it slapped on UFO hacker Gary McKinnon by stuffing it with costs incurred for patching the gaping holes the hacker had exposed in its computer security, according to a document filed with the Supreme Court. The US had not taken reasonable steps to protect its security and now expects McKinnon to pick up the bill, said an expert witness statement made in McKinnon's ongoing appeal against a US extradition order.

Peter Sommer, professor of security at the London School of Economics, said damage assessments of computer security breaches should consider, "whether the victims have taken reasonable steps to limit the damage."

McKinnon had used Remotely Anywhere, a software tool, to hack US military computers in search of UFO secrets. The 42-year-old faces extradition after being accused of hacking into 97 US government computers causing $700,000 of damage.

But Sommer said, "Every intrusion detection system I have come across would flag up the installation of a remote control program like Remotely Anywhere……Any firewall also ought to block the 'ports' [internet access points on a computer] used by Remotely Anywhere. On this basis, the costs claimed for are features that should have been there in the first place."

Sommer, who once advised insurers underwriting the risks of computer damage, said hackers could not be held accountable for the, "consequential loss" resulting from their intrusion into systems unprotected by "preventative measures for reasonably foreseeable hazards ….. Insurers will not insure computers or computer-dependent businesses in the absence of reasonable levels of protection and means of recovery.”

But security experts in the US said McKinnon should be liable for the full $700,000 of security checks performed in his wake.

Professor Eugene Spafford, founder of the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security at Indiana's Purdue University, said the victim of a cybercrime should not take the blame. If someone broke a door to rob a store, he said, it was usual to charge them the cost of the door. Anthony Reyes, a former cybercrime detective who helped develop the US Cyber Counter Terrorism Investigations Program, said, " Just because security is weak, it doesn't give you a red flag to go into a computer system and start browsing around ."

Source: Computer Weekly



Apart from the discrepancies between the dollar amounts stated to date regarding the alleged damage McKinnon caused (apparently depending entirely on which webpage the information was posted) this is the first time I've seen the allegation that the, “Damages” were nothing of the sort but instead are down to the cost of plugging the holes in the amateurish system setup that McKinnon exposed. While I agree that just because the security is weak it doesn't give you free licence to breech the network at will, but when someone exposes the system weaknesses to then try and also pass the cost of fixing these flaws onto them (which are there due to your own incompetence) doesn't seem right, does it?

And if the damages being pursued are just for locating and correcting his edits then it's still ridiculously overpriced at $700,000. Plus, if McKinnon is to be believed and this security flaw was indeed directly due to no more than the machines not having been assigned a password and so were still operating on the default settings, then I would tend to agree with McKinnon in that this estimate is massively inflated for the sole reason of obtaining extradition to the US, which in turn means I also share McKinnon's apprehension in that this is quite a risk to take if the US are just planning to extradite him for a lenient sentence.

I appreciate that the only reason I'm even mentioning McKinnon is due to what he claimed he found while browsing through the -less than- secure system and for what it's worth I don't believe McKinnon saw what he thinks he did, I wouldn't go as far as to say McKinnon is lying but I feel he is at best mistaken. However, that doesn't and shouldn't in any way affect the bigger picture which is surely that extradition while always accepted as a possibility is one I feel was never really expected to go as far as it has and especially so when several high-profile UK hackers have been tried for similar offences here in the UK (i.e. where the people were located when the cyber-crimes were committed).

I should also point out that I believe, “Team McKinnon” should have long since dropped the UFO angle, if absolutely necessary then perhaps play on McKinnon's (alleged) naivety in searching for answers to one of the most profound questions we as a species have ever asked, but to continue pushing the fact that McKinnon actually found evidence of this at the exact some moment being ‘caught in the act' is a very difficult coincidence to accept. Basically they are saying that after at least 96 fruitless attempts at discovering ANY information and many, many hours spent searching for it, Mckinnon finally stumbles upon the evidence he has been relentlessly questing for at the exact same moment that someone happens to notice he is online and has unauthorised access, the EXACT same time after so long undetected (in the act)?

And in what appears to be something of a contradiction McKinnon when appearing on the Hackers' Panel at the Infosecurity Europe 2006 conference (April 27th, London) and upon being asked how his exploits were first discovered, answered that he had miscalculated the timezone. He further claimed that this led to him actually using remote desktop software to operate a Windows computer while its user was sitting in front of it.

But yet also in 2006 when specifically asked, “What did you find inside Nasa?” McKinnon told the BBC's, “Click” programme:



“I got one picture out of the folder, and bearing in mind this is a 56k dial-up, so a very slow internet connection, in dial-up days, using the remote control programme I turned the colour down to 4bit colour and the screen resolution really, really low, and even then the picture was still juddering as it came onto the screen…..But what came on to the screen was amazing. It was a culmination of all my efforts. It was a picture of something that definitely wasn't man-made…..It was above the Earth's hemisphere. It kind of looked like a satellite. It was cigar-shaped and had geodesic domes above, below, to the left, the right and both ends of it, and although it was a low-resolution picture it was very close up…..This thing was hanging in space, the earth's hemisphere visible below it, and no rivets, no seams, none of the stuff associated with normal man-made manufacturing.”

Source: Click (BBC)



So from what information is available something doesn't seem to jibe as how was McKinnon able to locate and commence the download of an image on a PC on which a user was logged in and actually using at the time? Of course this is purely my unlearned opinion and either way I suppose this is something of a minor discrepancy and pales into insignificance when compared to the charges and the possible repercussions faced should extradition go ahead and McKinnon faces trial in the US.

And let's not forget that searching for UFOs/free energy etc. may be what Gary is claiming as the reason behind his foray into cybercrime it would be negligent to omit the statement he left on the system while hacking under the guise of, “Solo”:


“U.S. foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these days ... It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand-down on September 11 last year... I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels.”


Remember this is post 9/11 and personally speaking this is not only in very bad taste but for all intents and purposes it certainly sounds like the words of a terrorist, cyber or otherwise.

Anyway that's more than enough rambling from me so I‘ll wind up by saying:

Support Gary McKinnon!!

But perhaps just not for the reasons you might have thought.....





A few earlier Blog posts:

(29 Aug 2008) Gary McKinnon Loses European Appeal
(31 Aug 2008) Protest For Gary McKinnon , Home Office (London) Tuesday
(31 Jan 2009) Boris Johnson criticised for defending UFO Hacker
(06 Apr 2007) Gary McKinnon Faces US Extradition On Hacking Charges, (+ Video)

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The UFO Files - The inside story of real-life sightings

David Clarke, who has helped The National Archives during the UFO file releases of the UK UFO related documents has recently published a book which extensively details certain reports collected over the years as well as the nature and trends of their content.

The official blurb from The National Archives is as follows:



The UFO Files by David Clarke
The inside story of real-life sightings

The UFO Files reveals extraordinary reports by ordinary people along with details of official interest and investigations stretching back to before the First World War – for although the terms UFO and Flying Saucer were not coined until the middle of the twentieth century, people have long seen things in the sky that they could not explain.

David Clarke uncovers an array of startling stories from possible UFO reports hidden among Met Office investigations of aerial phenomena in the 1920s to the conclusions of Project Condign, the hush-hush British Intelligence UFO study completed in 2000. As well as covering Roswell and Britain’s own Rendlesham Forest mystery, Clarke raids the records for dramatic stories of abductions and close encounters, ghost aircraft and crop circles, and UFO reports by civilian aircrew and military personnel. Dramatic witness statements and interviews – many undertaken by the author himself – combine with rarely seen photographs, drawings and newly available documents to offer a unique guide to one of our most intriguing mysteries.

Contents: Introduction; 1. Strange Lights in the Skies; 2. The Flying Saucer Age; 3. Cold War UFOs; 4. Close Encounters; 5. Crop Circles and Alien Abductions; 6. Turn of the Century UFOs; Afterword.



And to herald this release The National Archives currently has an edited extract from Chapter 2 of The UFO Files by David Clarke (published September 2009) available for free download as a PDF document from the main UFO page.



The following is an excerpt from Dave's Blog last month just after the most recent (4th) release of documents:

“News of the latest UFO files released by The National Archives has travelled around the world.

I spent most of yesterday dealing with calls from the national and international media and shuttling between BBC, ITN, Channel 4 and Sky News studios in London to comment on the significance of the new files. Public interest in the contents has been unprecedented and once again, most of the UK media have treated the topic in a serious and mature way. Yesterday morning I was able to explain the historical importance of the files to Evan Davies on BBC Radio 4's prestigious Today programme, which in itself is a measure of the impact the release has had.

The Rendlesham forest incident was discussed and a short interview with one of the key witnesses, John Burroughs, was used. This in itself was significant because Burroughs said he was unconvinced the incident was of an extraterrestrial nature - he suspects it was some kind of military experiment.

For once it was good to hear an alternative viewpoint expressed coherently and lucidly, rather than the usual tired debates about whether you "believe" or "don't believe" (who cares?). Coverage was extensive in the national and regional press, with leading articles in The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Independent and Scotsman. BBC News Online ran a lead article and a more in-depth look at the connection between UFO sightings and science fiction in popular culture.”



Details of how to obtain Dave's new book is available at The National Archives online book store (here).