Sunday, 21 November 2010


“…An industry whose task should be to filter out falsehood has become a conduit for propaganda…” Nick Davies, Flat Earth News

The media tends to regard UFO stories as light entertainment rather than hard news. Proof of this was provided by the widely reported Flat Earth story that aliens had interfered with US and Soviet nuclear weapons during the Cold War (published uncritically by the Mail, Express and Telegraph in September). If that claim wasn’t remarkable enough, we were then asked to believe both governments had – despite their massive Cold War differences - collectively and successfully concealed the extraterrestrial threat from the public ever since.

Extraordinary, if true. And anyone who suspected this was either April 1st or a poor re-working of the script from Independence Day should think again, because “upstanding, dry former military chiefs who were trusted with our nuclear security” said so (Daily Mail, 27 September).

But cut through the spin and it becomes clear there was and is no senior credible military source. The story originates from a publicity-hungry American UFOlogist, Robert Hastings. Hastings worked as a lab technician before retirement and now devotes himself full-time to pushing the UFO Disclosure agenda via books and lectures. He appears to have no particular expertise other than an obsession with proving a link between UFOs and nuclear weapons.

Hastings feels it is his “patriotic duty as an American citizen” to break the international cover-up and bring The Truth to the attention of the public. Let’s be clear what Hastings believes: according to the Daily Mail, he claims “Earth is being visited by beings from another world who for whatever reason have taken an interest in the nuclear arms race”.

Fair enough. Hastings is entitled to believe what he likes. But it’s equally fair for me to compare his beliefs with those of other ‘independent thinkers’, as Patrick Moore calls them, who have – at various points in the past 60 years - tried to persuade us that aliens are coming here to follow ley lines, to collect water from our reservoirs or drill holes in livestock.

The idea that flying saucers have been coming here in increasing numbers since we first tested nuclear weapons is nothing new. It was a common theme in the writings of contactees such as George Adamski and George King at the opening of the ‘flying saucer’ age. They were equally obsessed with drawing links between UFO sightings and the Cold War arms race. During the 1950s warnings were channelled by these individuals and the quasi-religious sects which they founded, warning that Martians and Venusians were concerned by our nuclear experiments.

In my view, Robert Hastings is simply following in the footsteps of Adamski and King but dressing up his beliefs in a way that appeals to “scientific UFOlogists” of the 21st century who would not want to be associated with contactee cults.


In September Hastings hired the Washington Press Club as a platform to reveal his “evidence”. It consisted of testimony from a tiny group of ex-military “credible witnesses” who have joined the ET/disclosure bandwagon.

One of Hastings’s key witnesses is Captain Robert Salas who claims that on one occasion in 1967 a UFO hovered directly over a nuclear weapons store at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. Salas maintains that as a direct result of this incident ten Minuteman nuclear missiles malfunctioned. Taken at face value, Salas’s story sounds impressive. But virtually every evidential detail has been questioned by James Carlson, whose father Eric, also a Captain in the USAF, was present during the incident. Carlson senior insists that UFOs had absolutely nothing to do with the failure of the missile system and his son has published factual evidence that points to a complex equipment malfunction. There is also clear evidence that Salas has changed his story on several occasions.

Hastings and Carlson jnr are now locked in an online flame war over Salas’s claims and the interpretation of statements made by a third USAF officer, Walt Figel. Carlson says Figel’s testimony is consistent with his father’s evidence that no UFOs were involved. Hastings has published tape transcripts that suggest Figel was told about a UFO sighting by technicians working on the missiles. But reading the transcript one cannot escape the impression that Figel didn’t take the story seriously and regarded it as a leg pull of ‘the dog ate my homework’ type.

The whole story is so riddled with contradiction and ambiguity that it is impossible to say anything more than "not proven". But you can read Carlsons’s dissection of the claims made by Salas here while Hasting’s detailed rebuttal can be followed here.


Another of Hastings’s “credible witnesses" is Col Charles Halt, of Rendlesham forest fame. Halt’s story has grown over the years from a straightforward sighting of “unexplained lights” (his words) in the forest near RAF Woodbridge, Suffolk, into something that resembles a script for a science fiction film.

In the space of three decades “unexplained lights” have been transformed into intelligently controlled craft of ET origin whose occupants “directed laser-like beams of light down into or near” the nuclear weapons store at nearby RAF Bentwaters. Like Hastings, since retirement Halt has become convinced the US and UK governments – including his own former colleagues - are conspiring to hide The Truth from the public.

Again, this type of claim can sound convincing to those who are impressed by military ranks and titles. For those unfamiliar with the minutiae of the Rendlesham legend, or too lazy to critically examine the evidence it can be easier just to follow the herd and churn out another Flat Earth story. But anyone who puts the Rendlesham legend under the a critical microscope will realise that Halt’s claims simply do not stand up to scrutiny.

Like Salas, Halt’s testimony has grown and become more elaborate in the constant re-telling, encouraged by his UFOlogical minders. Like Hastings and the others, he is now part of the UFO Disclosure movement and appears to see every new development through the lens of his belief in a conspiracy to hide evidence of ET visits. For that reason, he cannot be described as a “credible witness".

Furthermore, as I have revealed in New Light on Rendlesham, Halt’s former boss, the RAF Bentwaters base commander Col Ted Conrad, has gone on record to say he was in direct radio contact with his deputy as Halt’s experience in the forest unfolded. Conrad says he had trained Security Police on patrol looking out for anything unusual. But despite “a sparkling, clear, fogless night with a good field of view in all directions” they saw nothing. Neither was anything unusual reported by RAF Air Defence radars. That led him to conclude there was no hard evidence that required further action.

Even worse, Halt’s own laconic official account of the events, set out in his famous memo to the British Ministry of Defence makes no mention any threat to base security or the nuclear weapons store. By his own account, after several hours spent pursuing UFOs through the forest he simply turned around and went home to bed, leaving lights still visible in the sky as dawn broke (which strongly suggests they were bright stars as identified by astronomer Ian Ridpath).

Having failed to persuade his own superior officers in the USAF chain of command to take his story seriously Halt waited a further two weeks, until the British base commander Don Moreland returned from Christmas holidays, before he informed the Ministry of Defence.

Halt’s memo was dated 13 January 1981 and described events that took place on 27/28 December the previous year. The memo contains no mention of UFO interest in the weapons store at Bentwaters, nor does it highlight any perceived threat to British sovereignty. For that very reason the British authorities chose to ignore it. Yet incredibly Halt is on record as expressing puzzlement as to why no higher authority, British or American, took the story seriously or instigated a full investigation.

Hastings makes a big deal of the fact that Halt waited until retirement from the USAF in 1991 before he revealed, on a US TV show, that he saw UFOs shining beams upon the weapons store at RAF Bentwaters. Apparently he was concerned about the impact this might have on his career.

So we are asked to believe that Halt, “an upstanding dry former military chief” neglected to mention a possible direct threat to a frontline NATO base either to his own superiors or the MoD, because he was concerned he would not be taken seriously.

But he then expects us to take him seriously when he reveals this same information on a TV programme 11 years after the event?

If the evidence for aliens interfering with nuclear weapons is so good – then why does Robert Hastings pick such poor examples to prove his case?

The bottom line is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. In both the Malmstrom and RAF Woodbridge cases there is absolutely no evidence.

What we actually have is a mass of deeply conflicting and contradictory testimony concerning ambiguous events that happened decades ago. Testimony that is being filtered through the subjective and selective agenda of those who want us to believe in ETs and government cover-ups. None of these stories would stand up to the vigorous standards required of evidence presented in a courtroom.


So is there really any credible evidence to support Hastings’s claims about alien interest in our nuclear weapons?

If the security and intelligence agencies really were concerned about UFO sightings in the vicinity of nuclear facilities, as Hastings claims, one would expect there to be some official, corroborating documentary evidence, either from the paper trail the events produced or through leaks from senior, credible sources within the military/intelligence community.

In pursuit of such evidence I found that one British intelligence agency has indeed examined the assertion “that UFOs are ‘spying’ on strategic installations such as power stations, airfields and nuclear facilities”.

But they concluded “there is no evidence whatsoever to substantiate this claim.”

This document, once classified “Secret – UK Eyes Only” was released under the UK Freedom of Information Act in 2006, yet there was no mention of this at the UFO-Nukes press conference.

The nuclear issue was just one of a number of questions scrutinised by the anonymous author of the Defence Intelligence Staff study. The author was a senior intelligence officer with expertise in air defence and radar systems who was contracted to work for the Ministry of Defence’s during the late 1990s.

During the project, he studied a sample of 850 UFO reports collected by the MoD during a 4-year period towards the end of the Cold War. These were entered into a computer database and scrutinised for patterns. He specifically looked for evidence of reports concentrated around strategic military assets in the UK.

Unsurprisingly, he found most UFO reports clustered around areas of population density (like central London) and in the air corridors and Air Traffic Control Zones linking airports. His analysis is worth quoting in detail:

“UAP events reported from RAF stations were examined…for a four year period for a repeated UAP presence. Only six widely-dispersed RAF stations reported one event each. These locations were found to operate in a variety of roles, rather than together representing a group with specific strategic (for example, nuclear) importance, which some have suggested attract higher than expected UAP activity…It is probably the case, because of the radar and visual look out maintained as part of the normal role of the station, that in most cases if any UAP is present near a RAF station it is quite likely to be seen and reported.

“From the information examined: contrary to certain media suggestions that there is some sinister UAP agenda or that there are repeated UAP visits to locations of national importance, no evidence has been found that RAF strategic sites are some sort of target at which UAP appear more often than over certain other areas (eg over highly populated areas or along air corridors). [On the contrary] there is no evidence that regular or irregular repeat visits occur at any RAF site, strategic in nature or otherwise.”

The study concludes:

“There is, therefore, no firm evidence which points to the repeated presence of UAP at, for example, US or RAF strategic or tactical bases (airfields), Army assets or RAF or Naval HQ or special asserts (in particular, at nuclear assets such as Faslane, Aldermaston, Capenhurst, etc)…
"The fact that [UFOs] are seen at all, at some service locations, is undoubtedly because they are manned 24 hours a day with staff who are likely to be observant by virtue of their normal tasks....” [my emphasis]
(Source: UAPs in the UK Air Defence Region, DI55 Report, vol 1, pg 13).

From the point of view of the tabloids, a story that reads “MoD study debunks claims that UFOs are messing with our nukes” isn’t half as news-worthy one that reads “Aliens tampered with our nukes.”

But why let the facts get in the way of a good story?