Friday, December 22, 2017

Fringe: The Strange Dealings of Bob Bigelow

With the recent bombshell revelations concerning a secret UFO program being run by the Pentagon, I thought the time was right for an update in an ongoing series I've been working on for over a year that I've dubbed "Fringe." It was originally focused on the connections between the far right and a host of arcane topics ranging from UFOs, psi, mind control, Tesla weapons, human potential, the occult and so on. The series thus far has generated over ten installments, plus two appendix, one dealing with the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon and another (which can be found here and here) focused on the ties between these bizarre topics and a highly classified national security project typically referred to as Continuity of Government (COG).

As such, the reader is strongly advised to check out several of these posts for further background on the present matter at hand.

And with the introductions out of the way, let us get to the matter at hand. I'm sure many of you already have some awareness of the UFO program, but for those living under a rock, here's a rundown from The New York Times, one of the first publications to "break" the story:
"In the $600 billion annual Defense Department budgets, the $22 million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was almost impossible to find.
"Which was how the Pentagon wanted it.
"For years, the program investigated reports of unidentified flying objects, according to Defense Department officials, interviews with program participants and records obtained by The New York Times. It was run by a military intelligence official, Luis Elizondo, on the fifth floor of the Pentagon’s C Ring, deep within the building’s maze.
"The Defense Department has never before acknowledged the existence of the program, which it says it shut down in 2012. But its backers say that, while the Pentagon ended funding for the effort at that time, the program remains in existence. For the past five years, they say, officials with the program have continued to investigate episodes brought to them by service members, while also carrying out their other Defense Department duties.
"The shadowy program — parts of it remain classified — began in 2007, and initially it was largely funded at the request of Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who was the Senate majority leader at the time and who has long had an interest in space phenomena. Most of the money went to an aerospace research company run by a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Mr. Reid’s, Robert Bigelow, who is currently working with NASA to produce expandable craft for humans to use in space." 
It is also interesting to note that this project was apparently largely overseen by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). The DIA is the Pentagon's largest intelligence service, though it is largely overshadowed by the CIA, FBI and NSA in the public consciousness. Conspiracy researchers are generally not very impressed by the DIA either. To this researcher's mind, this is a grave oversight as the DIA has been at the heart of strange dealings inside the US intelligence community for decades.

The High Weirdness of the DIA

The DIA first officially waded into such murky waters when it was tapped to take on the Pentagon's legendary remote viewing program, variously known by such handles as GRILL FLAME and later, under the DIA, STARGATE. The DIA officially expressed interest in ESP as far back in 1972, when they issued an alarmist account of Soviet efforts in said field.
"By the late 1960s the US intelligence community was becoming aware of all this, by way of popular books, official studies, Pentagon and CIA translations of foreign psi research papers, and agents and émigré reports. The first big result was a curiously titled Defense Intelligence Agency report, Controlled Offensive Behavior РUSSR, which appeared in 1972. It noted that 'the major impetus behind the Soviet drive to harness the possible capabilities of telepathic communication, telekinetics, and bionics are said to come from the Soviet military and the KGB.'...
"Thanks to the Soviet 'head start' in psi research, argued the DIA report-writer, 'Soviet knowledge in this field is superior to that of the West.' In other words, the United States, which already had to worry about a possible missile gap – a Soviet numerical superiority in ICBMs – now faced the prospect of a devastating 'psi gap.' "
(Remote Viewers, Jim Schnabel, pgs. 94-95)

By decade's end,  the DIA was well on its way to closing the "psi gap," real or imagined. In 1979 it had taken on funding and coordination of the Pentagon's remote viewing program and took over complete control of it by the mid-1980s. The program would remain under DIA control until 1995, when it was shuttered.

For our purposes here, it is interesting to note that the DIA remote viewing program spawned an 1980s exploration of the UFO question known as the UFO Working Group that has curious links to the modern program. The UFO Working Group was first exposed in 1990 by another New York Times journalist, one Howard Blum, in his classic Out There. Blum was first clued into the existence of the UFO Working Group in the mid-1980s.
"The UFO Working Group was a spin-off of the remote viewing program and known more accurately as the 'coordinate remote viewing' CRV program. One version of the account told by Blum states the whole thing started in the fall of 1985 during a meeting held in the secure vault of President Reagan's Scientific Advisor, George Keyworth.
"Dr. Hal Puthoff, then running the SRI remote viewing program, explained that Ingo Swann, a remote viewer, would demonstrate 'A new perceptual channel through which individuals are able to perceive and describe remote data not presented to any known sense.'
"A short series of precise geographical coordinates were read to Swann, and he proceeded to describe a building. Once revealed the target turned out to be the country dacha of Mikhail Gorbachev.
"Following this, a demonstration took place to show how the displayed 'Scannate' technology was proficient in antisubmarine warfare. They showed Ingo Swan a series of pictures of submarines, some American, some Soviet, some in dry docks, some not built yet. His job was to provide the exact coordinates for each submarine.
"As he was set to call up the coordinates of the Soviet Delta-class submarine in one of the photographs, he stopped and reported that he saw something above submarine. Swann was asked to draw what he saw on a piece of paper, and he proceeded to render a sketch of classic flying saucer. 
"A report was made by the SRI team of the incident and sent to the DIA who was the 'primary client.' About this same time, money from the Army for the CRV program ended, and the entire program moved to the DIA. 
"The Swan submarine incident led to a DIA/Navy Intelligence sponsored program to use 'Scannate' to search for Soviet submarines. According to Blum's information, the DIA was able to detect at least 17 UFO objects connected to Soviet submarines over the next 14 months. The project was called Project Magnet, and the DIA Directorate for Management and Operations supervised it. 
"Moreover, the incidents of the 'hovering UFOs' around submarines provided inspiration to Col. John Alexander, then Director, advanced concepts U.S. Army Lab. Command, Adelphi, M.D. 
"Alexander was a Colonel in the US Army and had been interested in the UFO mystery since 1947 when he was young boy. He also had done work on 'esoteric projects, specifically in the intelligence community was psychokinesis.' 
"Alexander wrote a book on his UFO investigations called UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities. In the book, Alexander pointed out that although UFOs are real, they are of no interest to the American government, and therefore there is no cover-up of the facts by American officials. 
"Alexander is also well-known in the UFO community for hosting a Top Secret – Special Access series of meetings in the mid-1980s to evaluate a possible new way of the government's approach to the UFO question. Alexander's group was known as the Advanced Theoretical Physics Group and bore the same 'Top Secret – Restricted Classification' found on the MJ-12 set of documents. 
"According to Blum, Alexander proposed that the DIA Project Aquarius viewers should view an area above Kickapoo, Texas. It was there that NORAD reported an unknown object had tripped a man-made electromagnetic fence extending up to 15,000 miles above the earth. 
"The three viewers were all asked to view anything unusual at that latitude and longitude in the last 48 hours. But in the day, on three CRV viewers had sent back drawing of a UFO. With this additional evidence in hand, Alexander convinced the DIA to set up a 'top-secret working group to investigate the possibility that extraterrestrials with making contact with this planet'... 
"Based on this psyche confirmation of a UFO been obtained by radar, the UFO Working Group formed in February 1985. Col. Alexander sent out the invitations for others he had chosen to generate a top-secret review of the UFO situation."
(Managing Magic, Grant Cameron, pgs. 107-109)

There's a lot to take in here and I will pick up the thread of this 1980s-era UFO group and its connection to the Pentagon's most recent one, but first a few points must be made.

First, the DIA appears to have been very active in the UFO field in general during the 1980s. Infamous Ufologist Bill Moore was in contact with a group of US intelligence officers that have sense been dubbed "the Aviary" on account of their use of bird names. The above-mentioned Colonel John Alexander was a part of this group and allegedly used the handle "Penguin." Moore's chief informant, who is still unknown, went by the codename "Falcon" and is widely suspected of being a DIA agent. As was noted before here and here, Moore threw the UFO community into a tailspin in the 1980s that it still hasn't fully recovered from and it would appear that the DIA was at the forefront of this disinformation campaign.

Another point that should be made are the allegations, first raised nationally by Jon Ronson in his classic The Men Who Stare At Goats, that the Pentagon's remote viewing program had been reactivated with the onset of the War on Terror. This is rather ominous in light of reports that the DIA, along with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have initiated Project ARTICHOKE-like "interrogation" methods, some including mind altering drugs. As was noted before here and here, the CIA/Pentagon remote viewing programs largely grew out of ARTICHOKE's 1950s forays into psi.

And with that out of the way, let us move along to the really juicy stuff.


Colonel John Alexander is a figure readers of my "Fringe" series should be well aware of by now. As was noted before here and here, he has been involved in the development of so-called "nonlethal" weapons for decades, more than a few of which may have been partly inspired by research conducted by ARTICHOKE, MK-ULTRA and like programs in prior decades. What's more, Alexander also appears to have been extensively involved in efforts by the Pentagon to create so-called "supersoldiers" (which, as was noted before here, was one of the original objectives of ARTICHOKE) during his time with Project Jedi. And despite becoming something of a New Age superstar in recent years, Alexander has decades-spanning ties to the most far right elements of the United States national security complex. In fact, Alexander appears to have first gained a foothold in this type of fringe research thanks to such elements.

Colonel John Alexander
But back to the matter at hand. After retiring from the Army, Alexander found himself playing a key role in one of the premier civilian groups dedicated to investigating unexplained phenomena. It was known as the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS). Alexander described the NIDS as such:
"... NIDS had been established by a local real estate developer, Robert Bigelow, to examine scientifically two specific anomalous areas. One was the continuation of consciousness beyond physical death, and the other was UFOs..."
(UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities, John Alexander, pg. 41)
Yes, the above-mentioned Robert Bigelow whose Bigelow Aerospace ran the most recent Pentagon forays into the UFO question. The NIDS, which Bigelow was the founder and president of, was established in 1995 and officially shuttered its doors in 2004. In addition to Alexander, it also featured the above-mentioned Hal Puthoff on its scientific advisory board.

Puthoff was of course a founder of the CIA-sponsored SRI remote viewing program (after having previously served in the Office of Naval Intelligence) that spurred the DIA's 1980s-era investigations into UFOs. Alexander and Puthoff were but two of numerous other-intelligence linked personnel who became involved with NIDS in its less than-a-decade of existence.

Hal Puthoff
Easily the most famous investigation launched by the NIDS involved the infamous "Skinwalker" ranch in Utah. By all accounts, Bigelow went all in on this mecca of high weirdness.
"... The organization called NIDS has been mentioned as was its mission to explore UFO sightings. Some readers also will be aware of the most unusual ranch in southeastern Utah that was acquired by Robert Bigelow. Sometimes known as Skinwalker Ranch, it has been a focal point for a wide range of phenomena for at least decades, possibly centuries... 
"It was the UFO reports that attracted Bob's attention to the property. However, what happened there did not fit into any neatly organized box...
"Orbs or balls of light were often reported by the Gormans, who worked the ranch. They were very troublesome and contributed to the decision to sell the ranch. In one memorable instance, three of the Gormans' dogs were observed snapping at the orbs as they floated through the eastern part of the ranch close to where they lived. These orbs seemed to tease the dogs and led them off into a nearby pasture. The dogs never returned to the house. When Gorman searched for dogs the following day, all he found were three grease spots on the ground, which he took to be the remains of the dogs. Fearing that his teenaged sons might provoke the orbs, he decided to vacate the premises, selling it to Bob."
(UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities, John Alexander, pgs. 232-233)
In addition to the UFOs and orbs, there were also frequent reports of cryptids (the infamous Skinwalkers, somewhat related to Bigfoot-like creatures), poltergeist activity and a host of other strange activity.

On the whole then it would seems that the NIDS had interests that went far beyond UFOs or even near death experiences (NDEs). The presence of famed Ufologist Jacques Vallee, who frequently drew comparisons between UFOs and supernatural encounters from earlier eras, has led many to believe that the NIDS developed a working hypothesis concerning UFOs that was stranger than mere spaceships from another planet.

Putting It All Together

Now, let's take a look at the timeline of these events:
  • the mid-1980s: Colonel Alexander allegedly forms the first DIA-linked UFO study group around 1985, thanks in no small part to interest raised in the subject by the CIA/Pentagon remote viewing program. During this same time the DIA also appears to have been running interference in the UFO community at large
  •  1988-1990: Alexander retired from the Army in 1988 and shortly thereafter his UFO Working Group was exposed by Howard Blum in Out There. This appears to have briefly brought the UFO Working Group to a halt
  • 1995: Project Stargate, the final name of the DIA's remote viewing program, is officially shuttered this year. At the same time Bigelow launches the NIDS with several key figures from the remote viewing program. 
  • 2001: 9/11 unfolds, unleashing the War on Terror. Rumors persist of a reactivation of the CIA/Pentagon remote viewing program while both outfits roll back out techniques they spent decades researching under the banner of programs such as ARTICHOKE and MK-ULTRA in the name of "enhanced" interrogation methods
  • 2004-2007: the NIDS is shuttered after allegedly inconclusive results. Despite this, the Pentagon taps Bigelow three years later to launch a highly secretive UFO program under the guise of his aerospace company. 

For years there were rumblings that the NIDS was simply a front for further CIA/Pentagon forays into high weirdness and recent revelations concerning Bigelow seem to confirm this. It would appear that the Pentagon's most recent investigation into UFOs had its origins with Alexander's 1980s-era UFO Working Group, which relocated into the deep private after the end of the Cold War. For years it was nurtured there by the generous contributions of Bigelow and the US intelligence community. This ensured that whatever discoveries made in these investigations would be well beyond the eyes of the public.

The question then becomes, why is this now being revealed to the public?

It would seem that this is partly the result of the ongoing civil war within the American power elite. The project was chiefly exposed by its former head, Luis Elizondo, who protested these program's secrecy to Secretary of Defense James "Mad Dog" Mattis shortly before going public. Since then Elizondo has attached himself to the disclosure project of Blink 182's Tom DeLonge.

DeLonge's project in turn appears to be little more than a continuation of a similar disclosure project effort launched by Laurence Rockefeller in the early 1990s. A key source to both efforts was none other than the infamous John Podesta, whose interests in UFOs became a lightening rod for controversy during the 2016 US presidential election (noted before here). These claims were of course latter overshadowed by Pizzagate, but there is no question the strange dealings of Podesta, a long time Clinton alley, had disastrous effects on Hillary's campaign.

John Podesta
By contrast, Robert Bigelow was an early backer of the Orange One and appears poised to receive ample government funding for his aerospace industry. Bigelow, who is based out of Las Vegas, may have had prior dealings with Trump of a less than legal nature, given the Orange One's roots in organized crime.

Robert Bigelow
On the whole, Las Vegas looms over all this like a specter. John Alexander is a key figure in the Las Vegas chapter of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), an organization believed to covertly manage the US intelligence community. Another key figure there is Alexander's friend, Colonel Michael Aquino, another figure with extensive ties to the far right (noted before here) who appears to have been running disinformation campaign in the UFO community for years as well.

And then there's the nearby Area 51, a long time staple of UFO lore that was largely leaked by the far right (noted before here). Curiously, Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock is believed to have been taking shots at a classified airline that supplied Area 51 shortly before beginning his killing spree. There is of course much speculation online at present that Paddock was a gun runner for some branch of the US intelligence community and with the covert revival of ARTICHOKE/MKULTRA, this raises some strange questions about the actual motive of Paddock's shooting spree.

It would seem then that Vegas is at the absolute black heart of much of the deep private's forays into high weirdness. But whether these recent revelations (and attacks) were simply payback for the 2016 election and outing of the Podesta brothers, or something far stranger and sinister is impossible to say at this point.

All that really can be said is that its been that kind of year.