Welcome to the fifth installment in my examination of high weirdness among the far right. For my purposes here I am using "high weirdness" as a catchall for a host of arcane and fringe topics including UFOs, the occult, psi, psychedelics and "human potential." As for "far right," this network is being examined through the prism of several NGOs and think tanks largely driven by the military-industrial complex (the chief patrons of the American far right). This shall be elaborated upon in just a moment.
At the onset of this series I briefly outlined the bizarre Sikh temple shooting of 2012 and its possible deep political implications as well as the two principal factions amongst the American ruling elite, namely the "traditional conservative establishment" of Wall Street and assorted organizations (i.e. the Council on Foreign Relations and many of the other long time bugaboos of the conspiratorial right) and the far right.
With the second installment I moved on to the origins of the military-industrial complex, which resided with a cabal of middle managers and technocrats of the traditional conservative establishment. Chief among these was legendary scientist Vannevar Bush, who co-founded the Committee of the Present Danger Mach I (the first military-industrial complex lobbying group) and played a crucial role in enshrining the modern national security state.
With part three I considered Douglas MacArthur and the military officers surrounding him who played a key role in driving the far right out of their post-WWII "isolationism" and who, along with the CPD, would form the linchpin on the emerging military-industrial complex. As I was wrapping up with that installment I also began to consider the extensive ties the MacArthur boys had to the Roswell incident.
|General Douglas MacArthur|
Having pretty thoroughly covered the early years of the national security state in the prior three installments, it is now time to fast forward a few years. By the mid-1950s much of the military-industrial complex and far right had rallied behind one particular think tank: the American Security Council (ASC).
The ASC still exists to this day but is now largely a shadow of its former self. But during its heyday it appeared frequently in many of the darkest intrigues of the deep state. While officially described as a lobby group, the ASC, from its inception, was always intended as a private intelligence network. Initially its primary concern was with blacklisting. As was noted before here, it maintained files on millions of Americans suspected of "subversive" activities that it shared with both its corporate clients as well as its patrons with the Pentagon, CIA and FBI.
As time went on the ASC became even more ambitious. Its members and affiliates have been linked to arms and drug trafficking, state-sanctioned terrorism, death squads, the Kennedy assassination (noted before here), Watergate (noted before here), Iran-Contra and even the Pentagon/CIA behavior modification experiments (noted before here and here). Much more information on the dark legacy of the ASC can be found here. The great Institute for the Study of Globalization and Covert Politics also has an excellent article on the ASC and its significance.
With so many intrigues cropping up in its murky history, it should come as little surprise to the reader that the ASC also appears to have been extensively involved in the UFO question and other fringe pursuits. Some of this was already hinted at in part three and four when it was noted that several of the military officers linked to the Roswell incident (most notably General Curtis LeMay and General Nathan Twining) would later turn up in the ASC. But this was not the extent of the ASC's involvement in the UFO question, not by a long shot.
Some other obvious links reside with the ASC's scientific advisers. At least three of them were veterans of the Manhattan project overseen by Vannevar Bush: Samuel T. Cohen, Eugene P. Wigner and the infamous Edward Teller. As we've seen through out this series (as well as here), the scientist who worked with Bush in the National Defense Research Committee and the Office of Scientific Research and Development would go on to participate in some very strange and highly classified work for the deep state throughout the Cold War. Edward Teller in particular shows up in some very strange places and has in fact been linked to Roswell and other aspects of UFOlogy. Teller was close to Bush and would join his former mentor in cheer-leading the military-industrial complex through out the Cold War.
|Edward Teller (left) and Vannevar Bush (right) sharing a laugh in between their congressional testimonies|
When this post was originally published, I had been unable to determine who it originated with and from what year. Typically it is either credited to "The One Who Knows" or the "Committee of Twelve." I have been unable to turn up much about the former, but the latter are closely linked to "Commander X," an alleged former military intelligence officer. Rumors have circulated for years, however, that Commander X is actually a group that included the late conspiracy researcher Jim Keith or solely Keith himself having a bit of fun.
This is most interesting. Beter was a Washington D.C.-based attorney whom JFK had appointed as general counsel Export-Import Bank of the United States, where he served from 1961 till 1967. He then ran in the Republican primary for the governorship of West Virginia in 1968, but lost. Then, in 1973, he published Conspiracy Against the Dollar: The Spirit of the New Imperialism. As the title indicates, this was the standard Bircher claptrap linking the Rockefellers to an elaborate conspiracy with the Soviet Union to impose world government.
By the late 1970s Beter stepped up his game. At this point he unveiled his theories of "robotoids," technology used to create organic copies of famous people. Naturally, Beter alleged that much of the ruling elite were comprised of these beings. Their brains were allegedly copied before they shed their mortal coil and then the copy was transferred to one of the robotoids. Or something along those lines.
|apparently Beter's "robotoid" theories have been making a comeback in recent years...|
"General Keegan and Carter’s Secretary of Defense Harold Brown did not see eye to eye - could the fact that Brown’s father was a Russian Jew (I forget his real name) have had anything to do with it? As a military officer, Keegan was forbidden to say anything to the public, so in January 1977 Keegan resigned and set up the civilian American Security Council and began traveling over the country giving speeches to try to awaken everybody. He failed."This was the second reference to the ASC in part one of this piece, the first being another offhand reference to Keegan founding the ASC in addition to Beter (or whomever is writing in this part) actually claiming to be a member of the ASC's National Advisory Board. While Keegan does appear to have had ties to the ASC, the dating here is way off as the ASC had been around for almost twenty years by 1977. And there is no evidence that Keegan played a key role. Curiously, in a later section of the piece the author seems to acknowledge the slip up in time frame when referring to the ASC being active when NICAP was going through another shakeup in the late 1970s.
Unsurprisingly, Beter appears to have had ties to both the ASC and the John Birch Society (of which there was much overlap in membership), though I have been unable to reliably confirm this. It would appear that Beter's theories became so unhinged in the last decade or so of his life that many of his former allies began to distance themselves from him, hence firm linkage is rather scarce. While virtually everything in the Fire From the Sky document is bogus concerning the ASC (and practically everything else), it's linkage of the Council to NICAP is very perceptive and little remarked upon by researchers of either organization. Let us now consider this overlap.
The ASC appears to have possessed an early interest in the UFO question. Beginning in the 1950s and continuing on until the 1970s, the ASC's hierarchy would stealthy work their way into the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon (NICAP), the premier civilian UFO organization from the late 1950s until its demise in 1980. The actual history of NICAP is arguably even more interesting than the phenomenon it was established to research. Here's a bit more about this checkered history:
"The air force's monopoly on UFO information could not last forever. Although other civilian UFO groups had emerged in the 1950s, none challenged the authority of the air force to have the final word. NICAP did. Founded on August 29, 1956, by Townsend Brown in Washington D.C., it soon developed into an organization dedicated to ending UFO secrecy.
"Brown's leadership was brief... he had been conducting experiments in electromagnetism and gravity. In 1956, he joined an informal flying saucer discussion group and immediately envisioned a larger organization to collect, analyze, and disperse information about UFO reports, and also to promote his own research. He soon appointed an acting treasurer, acquired a secretary, and obtained office space. When NICAP's corporate charter was approved on October 24, 1956, Brown appeared ready for business. However, NICAP quickly ran into financial trouble. At a meeting in January 1957, Brown and NICAP member Donald Keyhoe argued open;y about Brown's leadership, and Brown resigned from the organization. Keyhoe became the new director.
"From the outset, NICAP was packed with navy men. Brown and Keyhoe both had strong navy connections and both recruited board members. As a result, NICAP started its existence with three admirals on its board of governors: Rear Adm. Delmar Fahrney, known in the navy as the 'father of the guided missile;' Vice Adm. Roscoe Hillenkoetter, better known for having been the first director of the CIA; and WWII submarine commander Rear Adm. H.B. Knowles. Other early governing members were Dr. Earl Douglas, Maj. Dewey Fournet, J.B. Hartranft, Col. Robert B. Emerson, Frank Edwards, Prof. Charles A. Maney, Rev. Albert Baller, Dr. Marcus Bach, and Rev. Leon C. Le Van. Soon after, NICAP added such people as Leonard Springfield, who served as public relations director until 1972, and Delbert Newhouse, of Utah film fame. This board of governors remained remarkably stable for most of the organization's existence.
"Keyhoe, however, was the driving force. Unlike Brown, he was no scientist; his interests were far more political. Under Keyhoe, NICAP continued to define itself as a collection center for UFO reports, just as Brown had wanted. But the scientific impetus that Brown had given NICAP was now replaced by the force of Keyhoe's personality, and the organization took on a new mission: to end UFO secrecy once and for all.
"An interesting twist to the history of NICAP was that it was not merely the home of many former navy men. Unknown to other members, a number of 'ex-CIA' people were also involved in the formation of NICAP. Count Nicolas de Rochefort, a Russian immigrant and scriptwriter for the Voice of America, was NICAP's first vice-chairman. He was also a member of the CIA's psychological warfare staff. Bernard J. Carvalho, connected to the Fairway Corporation, one of the CIA's dummy companies, was another early member; he later chaired NICAP's membership committee.
"Links to the agency continued over the years. Rochefort's boss at CIA was Col. Joseph Bryan, who joined the NICAP board in 1960. A bit later, former CIA briefing officer Karl Pflock joined, chairing NICAP's Washington. D.C., subcommittee in the 1960s. Over the years, Pflock denied that the CIA ever asked him for information on either UFOs or NICAP. During NICAP's decline in the late 1960s and the early 1960s, more individuals associated with the CIA became involved in the organization. Several of these were central in replacing Keyhoe as director, just as he began to focus on the CIA instead of the air force as the source of the UFO cover-up."
(UFOs and the National Security State, Richard Dolan, pgs. 190-191)
There's a lot to take in here. CIA infiltration of NICAP at the founding is so well known now that it hardly warrants commentary. And yet many researchers still give the early NICAP, headed by Donald Keyhoe, the benefit of the doubt. As indicated above by Dolan, the prevailing perception is that it was essentially a benevolent organization set up by former Naval officers with a genuine desire to explain the UFO phenomenon, but was subverted over the years by the persistent efforts of the CIA. It was only after Keyhoe was ousted in 1969 by a CIA coup that the organization lost all legitimacy.
There are some major issues with this perspective. For starters, let us consider the backgrounds of NICAP's founder, Thomas Townsend Brown, and Keyhoe, the man who turned it into the nation's premier civilian UFO research group. Brown is curiously little remarked upon by researchers despite the fact he had years of experience in highly classified projects.
"One of the pioneers in gravitational theory, and a man whose career also intersected with the UFO, was Thomas Townsend Brown. Born in 1905, he studied physics at Caltech and Denison University. In 1930, he joined the navy and conducted advanced research in electromagnetism, radiation, field physics, spectroscopy, gravitation, and more. After joined the reserves, he worked for Glenn L. Martin, then returned to active service in 1939. With the rank of lieutenant commander, he was assigned to the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) and later its successor, the Office of Scientific Research, headed by Vannevar Bush. For several years, Brown also served under Adm. Arthur Radford. In 1944, following an illness and discharge from military service, he worked is a radar consultant for the advanced design section of Lockheed-Vega Aircraft Corporation in California."
(UFOs and the National Security State, Richard Dolan, pg. 175)Brown appears then to have directly worked under Vannevar Bush in the OSRD, and the NDRC before that. While the Majestic 12 documents are almost surely a hoax, Bush does appear to have been involved in a group studying UFOs by the 1950s (noted before here). What's more, several of his former subordinates in the NDRC and OSRD also appear to have been active in Project ARTICHOKE by then. Brown was also reputed to have been involved in the Philadelphia experiment, but this is no solid evidence of this and the Philadelphia experiment itself is also surely a hoax.
|Thomas Townsend Brown|
From practically its inception in the mid-1950s Lockheed was one of the most generous supporters of the American Security Council. Brown, however, appears to have left Lockheed by 1950. His patronage from Admiral Arthur Radford, however, is another link to the ASC. Radford would later join the ASC's National Strategy Committee (where he was joined by fellow military men such as Curtis LeMay and Nathan Twining) after retiring from the military. By the early 1950s Radford had become a major proponent of Brown's work. This was around the same time that he and Secretary of the Navy Dan Kimball apparently had a UFO encounter in 1952:
"... While flying to Hawaii, Kimball saw two disc-shaped objects moving at about 1,500 mph. The UFOs circled his plane twice, then headed to another navy plane, which was carrying Radford, fifty miles east. The objects circled Radford's plane and zoomed up out of sight. Upon landing, Kimball sent a report of the encounter to the air force. But despite repeated inquiries, he received no information on his case. Instead, he learned the air force was aggressively demanding all copies of UFO reports from navy and Marine Corp witnesses, even before preliminary navy investigations had been made. Kimball therefore decided to initiate naval intelligence reports on UFOs --independent from Blue Book. He told the Office of Naval Research to start a special investigation 'to be kept separate from the air force project.'.."
(UFOs and the National Security State, Richard Dolan, pg. 99)Allegedly this investigative project was soon scuttled once the Air Force got wind of it. But the source for these reports was Keyhoe, which automatically puts the legitimacy of the accounts in question. And would you be surprised, dear reader, to learn that Radford was also close to Keyhoe? In point of fact, Radford maintained contact with Keyhoe even after he had become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
"Donald Keyhoe had an eventful fall of 1953. He learned of AFR 200-2 in September, then he met with Adm. Arthur W. Radford, Chairman of the JCS, for an article on national defense. Years before, Keyhoe and Radford had trained together, and Keyhoe had served under him in Washington during the war. During this meeting, UFOs were not mentioned, although it will be recalled that Radford had his own UFO sighting in 1952..."
(UFOs and the National Security State, Richard Dolan, pg. 139)
|Admiral Arthur Radford|
Remember that Brown had wanted to take NICAP in a more "scientific direction." It is possible that this may have involved examining the relationship between UFOs and Brown's own research into "anti-gravity." This may well have proven to be a more fruitful direction that Keyhoe's crusade to "expose" government secrecy.
Just how serious Keyhoe was in this regard is highly debatable. In addition to Radford, Keyhoe also had a longstanding relationship to former CIA director Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter. Hillenkoetter was involved with NICAP from a very early date and yet was allegedly unaware that the organization was being infiltrated by lower level CIA personnel at its literal inception.
Or so the story goes. But it seems inexplicable that Hillenkoetter could have been this clueless as to what his former subordinates were getting up too. Hillenkoetter had been the DCI at a crucial time and had been the first director to authorize covert operations. More importantly, however, he was also the DCI to officially launch Project BLUEBIRD in 1950. BLUEBIRD would eventually become ARTICHOKE. Hillenkoetter joined the CIA from the Navy in 1947, just as Project CHATTER was getting off the ground. By 1949 the CIA was well on its way down the path trailblazed by the Navy. This researcher suspects that Hillenkoetter played a far more crucial role in the early days of the Pentagon/CIA behavior modification experiments than he is often credited with.
It is also interesting to note that Hillenkoetter appears to have had ties to the MacArthur family as well. During the early 1940s Hillenkoetter was detached to Vichy France while serving with the ONI. As was noted before here, Douglas MacArthur II (the nephew of General Douglas MacArthur) was also attached to the French embassy at this time and appears to have also been carrying out some intelligence functions. MacArthur II became close to Admiral William D. Leahy in Vichy France. Hillenkoetter was also close to Leahy, who was also his commanding officers at the time. Thus, the possibility exists that both MacArthur II and Hillenkoetter were working for the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) together under Leahy. Hillenkoetter also had dealings with Admiral Franois Darlan during this time as well. At one point Darlan was close to the synarchist underground in France, as noted before here.
|Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter|
Regardless, Hillenkoetter clearly had connections. As such, it is simply not credible that he was unaware of CIA infiltration of NICAP. Thus, Hillenkoetter either neglected to inform his old friend Donald Keyhoe (they had attended the Naval Academy together) of this or Keyhoe was aware of this fact and simply pressed on. Regardless, either scenario indicates that NICAP was some type of intelligence operation from the get go.
The waters are further muddied by the presence of another curious admiral in NICAP. This would be Rear Admiral Herbert Bain Knowles, yet another veteran of the Pacific Theater of World War II. The possibility thus exists that he was friendly with Hillenkoetter (whom he'd later end up on the board of NICAP with) or the fascist clique surrounding Douglas MacArthur. Regardless, Knowles would turn up in some of the strangest corners of the early UFO scene in the post war years.
Admiral Knowles was friendly with both Wilbert Smith, a Canadian researcher who headed Project Magnet and whose "Smith memo" famously exposed Vannevar Bush's involvement in a UFO group (noted in part two), and Frances Swan, a medium who claimed to be in contact with an alien race called "Affa." Knowles, who was the medium's neighbor, apparently encouraged Swan's contacts with "Affa" and even kept the ONI appraised of these developments. Reportedly other elements of the US intelligence community was also curious about the musings of Swan/"Affa." Eventually, Smith would also get into the act, leading to the ruin of his career.
|Wilbert B. Smith|
Despite being on the board of NICAP, Knowles' private views on UFOs appear to contradict NICAP's public interpretation. Under Keyhoe, NICAP exclusively promoted the idea that UFOs were physical, nuts-and-bolt flying saucers piloted by extraterrestrials. On the whole, Knowles was reported to have had quite a mystical take on the UFO question. He appears to have had an interest in the occult and had even introduced the Hills to such circles. The great Christopher Knowles (no relation) of The Secret Sun has an outstanding rundown of Knowles' curious associates here.
There's not much more I can add that Chris Knowles has not already covered concerning the admiral, except for one curious associate he may have had. It would appear that during World War II Admiral Knowles had served with Marine Corps General Lemuel Shepherd. Knowles was primarily tasked with transporting troops, especially Marines, in the Pacific Theater, so it is quite possible he developed an extensive working relationship with General Shepherd.
|Admiral Herbert B. Knowles (left) and General Lemuel Shepherd (center) during WWII|
Both Shepherd and Corso were active in the SOSJ at the same time. Both men were members of its "Military Affairs Committee." Shepherd was also listed as a "Associate Justice" of the SOSJ's "Supreme Court." Here he served with other such luminaries of the far right as fellow Marine Corps General Pedro del Valle, another ASC man as well as a vigorous supporter of the Liberty Lobby and the American Nazi Party.
Was Admiral Herbert B. Knowles also a part of this far right clique? I've found no indication of such as his post-war years appear to have been far more focused on metaphysics than politics and thus Knowles does not appear to have been a member of any major think tank or NGO. But he certainly would have been exposed to the American Security Council via NICAP.
Naturally the far right's involvement with NICAP came from a very early date. While Arthur Radford lingered in the background of NICAP during the early days, another ASC luminary would sign up shortly after the founding. This would be none other than General Albert Wedemeyer, who was first linked to NICAP in 1957 or 1958. Wedemeyer had spent time in Nazi Germany during the late 1930s and had become close to the military during that time. He would later be accused of leaking Allied battle plans to the Nazis.
"...On Dec. 4, 1941, the pro-fascist Chicago Tribune and its sister publication, the Washington Times Herald, printed the plans for the top-secret Rainbow 5 Plan.
"Rainbow 5 was the battle plan developed by the military in case war broke out. Publishing the plan or leaking information about it would be the equivalent of publishing or leaking the battle order of the Pentagon during the Cold War – unquestionably, an act of treason. In Hitler's speech declaring war against the United States on Dec. 11, 1941, he cited the final straw: 'With no attempt at official denial there has now been revealed in America, President Roosevelt's plan by which, at the latest in 1943, Germany and Italy are to be attacked in Europe by military means.'...
"The author of the report on Rainbow 5 was Col. Albert Wedemeyer, who had been educated at the German War College. While in Berlin, he rented an apartment with a member of the Nazi Party. Wedemeyer became a close friend of Gen. Ludwig Beck, Chief of the German General Staff. He was friendly with Lindbergh and acted as his interpreter when the aviator toured Germany. He was also close to Gen. Robert Woods, president of America First. Wedemeyer attended several America First meetings.
"Hoover strongly believed that Wedemeyer leaked the plans to Wheeler. Of special note, Reagan resurrected Wedemeyer's career as a special military adviser in the 1980s, yet another of the many seemingly innocent connections between Reagan and the Nazis...
"Wedemeyer's career deserves scrutiny. He was part of a military circle that was anti-Jewish. A few years after the war, Wedemeyer wrote in a letter to his close friend, retired Col. Truman Smith, that Zionists, the British and communist made America's entry into the war certain. Later, Wedemeyer stated that 'most of the people associated with communism in the early days were Jews.'
"He further claims that Roosevelt's Jewish advisers did everything possible to spread venom and hatred against the Nazis. He stated that during his attendance at the German War College in 1936, his eyes were open to the number of Jews in the American government by reading the Die Frankfurter Zietung and Die Berliner. The Nazis controlled both papers.
"In 1937, Wedemeyer linked the shortage of food in Germany to the Jewish question. Using the embassy's attaché stationery, Wedemeyer wrote to friends dismissing the food shortage as caused by poor weather and crop failures. He claimed that Jews in other countries had bought up the enormous quantities of foodstuffs and intentionally diverted shipments from Germany.
"As late as 1958, Wedemeyer was still voicing pro-Nazi opinions. He ignored the Nazis' racial ideology, describing Lebensraum as merely a national movement to when living space. Wedemeyer used the same historical analogies as the Nazi propagandist, comparing the German invasion and expansions eastward with the American expansion westward."
(The Nazi Hydra in America, Glen Yeadon & John Hawkins, pgs. 242-243)
|General Albert Wedemeyer|
Unsurprisingly, Wedemeyer was also close to MacArthur despite the fact the two men never served together. Both were major backers of the Nationalist Chinese interests. Wedemeyer would also have a decades spanning association with the ASC.
The presence of Radford and Wedemeyer in the early NICAP strongly indicates that the ASC had designs on it from the get go. This is hardly surprising given the extensive involvement that ASC had in the murky netherworld of "industrial security." As no doubt a fair amount of UFO reports are of classified aircrafts, NICAP would provide the ASC with an effective way of stealthy tracking such leaks. But was there more at stake?
Certainly it is curious that a new crop of ASC men signed up with NICAP in the wake of the ousting of Keyhoe, which some sources describe as a CIA coup. Two of these most notable additions were General Robert Richardson III (1971) and John Fischer (1978). Richardson was a longtime member of the ASC's National Strategy Committee while Fischer was the public founder of the ASC and longtime president. Another ASC heavyweight to sign on in 1974 was Senator Barry Goldwater, a former Air Force general and a candidate for president of the United States in 1964. Goldwater, as we shall see in a future installment, had a longstanding interest in the UFO question.
And with that I shall wrap things up for now. In the next installment I'll consider more of the ACS ties to the UFO movement. They ended ended up supporting some very curious takes on the phenomenon, in stark contrast to Rockefellers, their chief rivals in such circles. This dispute will also be considered. Stay tuned.