Friday, 20 April 2012

Kean & Chile UFO Update – Early Conclusions Inconclusive!!

I've posted about the Chilean UFO's a few times and followed the story closely since it first broke but when Leslie Kean posted an update a few days ago (13th April) a month to the day after her original story I initially decided I wasn't going to comment on it, mostly because it offered nothing new.

However I've since decided to address a couple of the points it raised mainly as they appeared to be directed at people such as myself, the article by Kean was titled, "Update on Chilean UFO Videos: Getting the Bugs Out" and it opened with the following:

On March 13, Ralph Blumenthal and I published a story about a case from Chile which has since sparked considerable controversy.


Perhaps Blumenthal and I asked too many provocative rhetorical questions and did not stress enough that this investigation is continuing

I don't think 'considerable controversy' is entirely accurate as a handful of people –including myself- commented and posted information to the effect that it looked like an insect close to the camera and as for the 'provocative rhetorical questions,' as far as I could see there was only one and whilst it could be described as provocative it's not the word I would have used, I am of course referring to Kean's opening gambit of, "Is this the case UFO skeptics have been dreading?"

Regarding her claim that that she didn't, "stress enough that this investigation is continuing" the fact that the investigation is still on-going was never alluded to or even hinted at, the following is from the first article where Kean claims the fact that the investigation was still underway was allegedly stressed (emphasis mine): 

"An engineer from the adjacent Pillán aircraft factory noticed something bizarre while viewing his footage in slow motion. He turned it over to the government's well known Committee for the Study of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena, or CEFAA, for analysis.

The stunning conclusion: The Chilean jets were being stalked by a UFO. 


CEFAA officials collected seven videos of the El Bosque UFO taken from different vantage points. Bermúdez commissioned scientists from many disciplines, aeronautical experts, and air force and army photogrametric technicians to subject the videos to intense scrutiny. They all came to the same conclusions."

Just to summarise, after analysis and intense scrutiny all analysts involved arrived at an identical conclusion. I guess I wrongly assumed that the term conclusion was being used literally to mean the end, the finish, the result or outcome of an act or process etc. etc.

In her most recent article Kean also stated that:
It is clear to me why Bermúdez isn't going to prematurely toss the videos out onto the Internet to be played with by unqualified people -- especially after what happened with the first clips

Skeptics caused quite a stir by taking it upon themselves to do their own "analysis" of the video clips and then to declare, with bravado, that the object of concern was simply a bug. Often this involved misquoting or misrepresenting me and the CEFAA in accompanying text. The question of qualifications aside, these individuals were handicapped by one even more overwhelming problem: Tthey [sic] were working without the necessary data required to make a proper analysis, and, most importantly, they were looking at video clips pulled from only one of the multiple cameras.

Again with the skeptics label?

This must be the same as the term, "conclusion" because this evidently means something entirely different to Kean, the following is what it means to me:
"Skeptic - One who practices the method of suspended judgment, engages in rational and dispassionate reasoning as exemplified by the scientific method, shows willingness to consider alternative explanations without prejudice based on prior beliefs, and who seeks out evidence and carefully scrutinizes its validity."
Whereas "skeptic" in the context in which Kean uses it seems like it is nothing but a catch-all term used to label everyone who doesn't see things the exact same way as herself, also labelling all opposition with a term that –rightly or wrongly- has negative connotations appears to me to simply be an attempt to diminish the relevance of any valid points that may be raised.

I guess I just can't see the rationale behind promoting this pervasive "us & them" mentality as it is both self-defeating and wholly unnecessary.
"To be played with by unqualified people." & "Skeptics caused quite a stir by taking it upon themselves to do their own "analysis" of the video clips and then to declare, with bravado, that the object of concern was simply a bug."
Say what?!

So analysis by several people with many years of experience researching digital UFO images & video footage analysed what little footage was released and just because they didn't agree with earlier 'conclusions' they are ALL dismissed with an unsubstantiated allegation of misrepresentation and a snide comment about qualifications?


I wonder if this dismissive attitude would be evident if they had actually agreed with the earlier conclusions. ("conclusions" being used literally here) and besides which I'm unsure what the alternatives could be as Kean doesn't say, perhaps everyone who is interested should accept everything Kean writes as beyond reproach (regardless of accuracy) and be grateful for the slow drip-feed of information?

Because judging by the most recent article those who do dare to analyse the footage will apparently find their hard-work, beliefs & qualifications (or presumed lack thereof) publicly questioned and yet Kean complains about her words being misquoted & misrepresented.

And regarding "to declare with bavado" well at least I only worked with the image data rather than second-guessing how relevant her personal beliefs & qualifications were to what she had previously wrote, and as for the claim that Kean & the CEFAA were misrepresented, I personally exchanged several emails with one of the researchers as well as with NARCAP, both of whom were named as having analysed the footage (I also tried to open a line of communication via Kean's FB page), I did this purely so that I wouldn't misrepresent anybody.

Also the astronomer/researcher in question told me that 'they had analysed the footage for over a year' and Dr Haines of NARCAP handed his COMPLETED analysis to CEFAA many, many months ago and that's not to mention the veritable plethora of other qualified analysts from many different scientific disciplines who completed their analysis and, "came to the same conclusions".

Bruce Maccabee was also cited as agreeing with the conclusions of the CEFAA analysts, Maccabee has been contacted by Robert Sheaffer regarding this claim and (Sheaffer) recently wrote that:

"General Bermúdez has been stating that UFO photo analyst Dr. Bruce Maccabee has examined the video, and has concluded that it represents an unknown object. However, there is nothing about this on Maccabee's website, or anywhere else I could find. I asked Maccabee about it. He replied, "As for the CEFAA video, I have been studying it or them, but things are not straightened out yet as to how many independent videos there are, what they show and when they show it.  No conclusion yet." In other words, he hasn't had any more success getting the full data from the CEFAA than anyone else has!" (Source)

"No conclusion yet" is the complete opposite of what we were previously told and from what General Bermúdez claimed at his presentation.

In Kean's recent article we also learn for the first time that the "Seven spectators [were] located in different places, each with his own camera," and also that the footage came from "digital cameras and cell phones."

So whilst the dreaded skeptics may have been, "working without the necessary data required to make a proper analysis, and, most importantly, they were looking at video clips pulled from only one of the multiple cameras" and regardless of the fact that this was solely because it is all that was released (labelled as 'originals' with a massively reduced frame-rate) it is worth mentioning that on her own website Kean wrote that:
"There are 7 videos of the three flybys from different vantage points. This is the best of the seven."
So if this is the best of the seven videos I think we can safely assume that it is most likely the clearest image of the object in question and so very probably the closest in proximity to the object. If so then the remaining six videos which are filmed from different locations, locations which Kean states are "too far apart to capture the same insect" well then, I assume this means that they are a considerable distance from each other and furthermore some of them are recorded on camera phones which by their very design offer an inferior image quality.

So evidently there is not a great deal more that could be learned from the missing footage, apart of course to lend weight to her earlier claims as essentially the data being withheld is the only method we have of validating Kean's claims, i.e. by confirming it's the same object, and if confirmed then triangulating & calculating size & speed would be possible, now that's a game-changer.

What possible reasons can Kean & the CEFAA have for withholding the ONLY data that can authenticate their earlier analysis & statements? Just one of the videos showing the same object from a different location would be enough to silence ALL critics yet instead she pens a vitriolic rant directed at those who apparently aren't qualified to think for themselves, who dare to do their own analysis and then have the sheer audacity to point out the glaring inconsistencies between what was being claimed and what the evidence actually shows.

Incidentally while we're discussing this aspect have a look at the following video, it's a very brief excerpt from the talk that General Bermúdez gave at the International UFO Conference in February and the presentation that kick-started the whole shebang:

As you can see he specifically states that:
"Okay, here we have ANOTHER picture.
Come from ANOTHER camera.
On ANOTHER person of course.
Where appear again."
Now compare and contrast with what Kean wrote and as you can see nobody needs to misrepresent either of them as they do a bang-up job of contradicting themselves. It is specifically stated that this is from a different camera and person yet Kean claims we've only seen one of the videos, this isn't just a slip of the tongue or even a slip of the pen as it's hardly an inconsequential point, mainly because Kean made it the onus of her article and General Bermúdez used it to bolster his case at the International UFO Conference.

As the video says, they both can't be right.

I'm not sure why but the remainder of Kean's article is dedicated to debunking beetles, three entomologists are quoted (although how many were contacted isn't disclosed) and to cut a long story short whilst they couldn't dismiss the possibility it was bugs none of them thought it likely:
  • Jason J. Dombroskie: "Could this be a bug? It's possible, but I would be very surprised."
  • Brett C. Ratcliffe: "No idea what it is but it does not seem to be an insect . . . altho very fast flying insects captured on slow shutter speeds do look like amorphous blurs or blobs."
  • Elizabeth Arias: "I talked with a friend from Chile about this photo and he says that it might be an insect only if the insect passed CLOSE to the camera [emphasis hers]."
And Kean closes with the statement:
"If they couldn't tell it was a bug, how could anyone else be so sure?"

Perhaps someone else can be so sure because the BEST footage has been released and
-regardless of what it is- it clearly shows the (alleged 5 to 10 metre) 'UFO' moving above a road. A road which is literally a few feet from the cameraman!! 

Here's an animated .gif showing the full sequence:

And here is the earlier part of the sequence broke down:

(All images courtesy of The Hoaxkiller)

I wonder if this particular analysis was shared with the eminent entomologists?

Somehow I doubt it but perhaps it wasn't shared because (as Kean claims) this is merely a bravado–driven declaration by (presumed) unqualified armchair skeptics, and has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it also happens to directly refute the earlier claims?

Not forgetting of course that very similar (i.e. almost identical) anomalies were found by myself and others (Stiver) when reviewing independently recorded and otherwise unrelated footage of the air-show in question:

Anomalies which were also evident in a completely different air-show at the same location that was recorded several months earlier.

So just to recap, Kean and the CEFAA appeared to be all good to go a month back, they released a couple of the videos along with a brief analysis & conclusion as well as stating that many other qualified experts had analysed the footage, all were in agreement and all arrived independently at the exact same conclusion.

And now a mere four weeks later we are told that the earlier analysis wasn't really complete and if that is the case then what of the earlier conclusions, were they incomplete as well?

Kean, apparently happy with the fact that all the 'analysis & conclusion' talk in her first article has been explained away, writes:

"And now the search for the "scientific conclusion" has been given new life. After the story broke, photo analysts and investigators from several countries approached the CEFAA and asked if they could study the videos. A few, because of their qualifications, have already begun detailed, independent work on the case. They will remain anonymous for now. Further questions, some of which have been raised in response to our story, will be addressed by them during this process."

So now we also learn that 'new' analysis has been sanctioned and better still the new independent experts undertaking this new analysis will answer all of the questions raised by the old analysis!!

Smoke & mirrors, the way it's always been, and the beat goes on…..

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out,
which is the exact opposite.

~ Bertrand Russell


James Carlson said...

Like you, I'm wondering if it's possible to reach a "stunning conclusion" in regard to an incident that's still under investigation?

And what exactly is the forensic reason for withholding publication of a video? It's not like we're talking about a frozen sperm sample, or something, where you take the risk of destroying the sample being tested. So what if you "prematurely toss the videos out onto the internet"? After all, doing so does tend to promote peer review of the issue. Are we supposed to simply accept her conclusions without testing the claim? She's already proven her inability or refusal to properly measure the issues, so why would let the matter rest on her claims alone? If she thinks skeptics don't possess the data necessary to reach a valid conclusion, then she needs to publish it, because "trust" isn't supposed to be relied upon to establish claims in regard to a well-measured argument, let alone one as characterized by incompetence, untrustworthiness, a proven history of lies and hoaxes, and the arrogance established by one's tendency to ignore or "wave off" or casually dismiss any contrary conclusions represented by this particular topic.

You don't need further data to recognize an insect on the lens; all you have to do is recognize it. If Kean can establish multiple cameras, then she should damn well do so. Post them. A child could do it. Frankly, my experiences with these ridiculous "salesmen" demands of me nothing but contempt. She's as bad as Robert Hastings, insisting that data she has yet to present confirms her UFO assertions. I think she should mirror my contempt with her shame, but these people never feel ashamed, even when their caught in numerous lies -- they just keep telling them with no concern for the truth. It's ludicrous behavior.

Funny how the most egregious acts in regard to the UFO issue all publish out of Warren's "UFO Chronicles". What is it -- a hotbed of idiocy and lies? These people will literally say and do anything to establish a fictional argument as fact -- and as you've detailed so well, the evidence to support this deceit is profound and plentiful.

Good job summarizing it all so thoroughly.

Kandinsky said...

Thanks for an interesting perspective on the video. I found the comments about the quality of the footage rather thought provoking. As you note, it seems reasonable to suspect the released video is the highest quality.

If this is the case, one could extrapolate that the other examples are in descending orders of quality. Taking this to its logical conclusion, it's quite difficult to conceive how lower-quality footage could emphatically support the claim that the object is a fast-moving unknown object.

I read Kean's updated comments a couple of days ago. One thing that concerned me was the appeal to authority regarding bug-experts. It's entirely proper to lean on experts for support (that's why they're there) however they would also need some experience of camera artefacts to put their comments in context. In similar circumstances, an ornithologist might have a problem identifying photos of sea-gulls when the shutter speed has captured them as 'saucers.'

The elements of this case in particular have many weaknesses; I've no argument with Leslie Kean or CEFAA.

Michael Naisbitt said...

Hi Kandinsky,

I too have no quarrel with either of them. All I am ever interested in is the facts & ultimately the truth, regardless of where it leads or whose pet-theory it disputes (including my own).