Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Making the Grade

The Atacama remains
A recently published paper on the infamous "Atacama humanoid" set off criticisms of poor ethical practices from qualified experts throughout the international professional research community. If you haven't heard by now, the tiny remains featured in a Steven Greer crowd-funded documentary are conclusively human. More at issue have been the research protocols - or lack thereof - observed by those who handled and dissected the six-inch mummified female body. Also of concern is the lack of attention given to such issues by the publishing journal, Genome Research.

Scientists quoted by The Atlantic say the researchers, which included Dr. Garry Nolan of Stanford and (for better or worse) To The Stars Academy, feel the mummified remains were obtained under extremely questionable circumstances. This, they say, makes any subsequent research unethical. The rationale of the researchers - and their facilities and funding entities - is called into question for failure to adhere to established protocols for working with human remains and verifying a proper chain of custody. What's more, so is Genome Research, for publishing the paper absent what scientists recognize as complete documentation.

In layman and UFO blogger terms, if somebody emerges with a corpse or a skull they call alien, a team of educated scientists is supposed to have a better idea of what to do than what apparently went down. I'm far from the first to notice things often go way outside the lines when ufology tries to swerve around real life, but such issues are pretty much why people with credentials and respected reputations often avoid the genre altogether.

There are a number of ideas about what may be taking place when educated and/or what should be competent people seem to suddenly forget how to present a point in a cohesive and documented manner. I'm not going to dive into why that may happen, as there are certainly several reasons, but ambiguity indeed often reigns when speculative UFO talk overlaps into reality. Perhaps most frustrating to those who long for fact-based info, many in the UFO community don't even care about chains of custody and such as long as UFOs get headlines.

To The Stars Academy

Meanwhile, the boys in the band over at TTSA have repeatedly made numerous claims about videos and implications about how they were obtained, yet, as of this writing, remain clouded in much more convoluted confusion than they've served up verifiable information. Several researchers, including this one, filed multiple FOIA requests on the much discussed Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, but are yet to obtain documents. Some requests were submitted to the Defense Intelligence Agency, identified as an overseer of the project.

Sen. Reid
Throwing gas on the fire, Sen. Harry Reid stated there are "hundreds and hundreds of papers" on the project, "80 percent, at least is public," and "the press has never even looked at it." Maybe he'd like to tell FOIA officers where to look, because they're yet to produce any of those hundreds of public papers.

To be clear, the AATIP was confirmed by the Pentagon to have existed. It is much less clear why Sen. Reid and those acting on behalf of TTSA have failed so miserably at presenting proper documentation of their claims, or why AATIP docs have not yet surfaced.

Luis Elizondo, a Pentagon-slash-TTSA name now familiar to those following the narrative, identified the Navy as a source of reports obtained by the AATIP. John Greenewald of The Black Vault made a social media post explaining he submitted an FOIA request to the Navy, specifically citing Elizondo's statement. The Navy responded it's got nothin'.

A lack of ability to present documentation of one's assertions does not bode well. Similarly, when a person's education and career path suggest they should fully well know how to present evidence and follow established norms of research protocols, yet fail to do so, conspiracies are often born because it can be difficult to think them incompetent. Whatever the reasons may be from one instance to the next for credentialed people entering the UFO fray yet failing to present work up to professional standards, it should neither be overlooked nor rationalized. They, of all people, should be making the grade. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Deception and Fake Videos: It's Not Just for YouTubers


The majority in the UFO community are clueless about the depths that an intelligence agency can go to manage people of interest.”
- James Carrion, commenting in The Greys Have Been Framed: Exploitation in the UFO Community 


People interested in UFOs often possess vast amounts of knowledge on popular cases and intricate details of happenings within the community. High profile ufology personalities and their followings know their UFO stuff. Unfortunately, we might sometimes be viewed as knowing a lot about a little, and those observations may at times have merit.

The genre is rather infamously notable for neglecting to give adequate study to topics often found less enthralling than saucer stories, yet nonetheless extremely relevant. Procedures of the intelligence community is one such relevant topic, among many. Let's take a relatively brief look at how better understanding the intelligence community might be important for those desiring to know more about events taking place within ufology.

The Pentagon spent over $500 million – half a billion bucks – to create fake videos, according to sources such as Independent and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. But it was much more than perception management. As a matter of fact, the videos were designed to appeal to Al-Qaeda members and sympathizers, not change their minds. This particular batch of propaganda consisted of fake terrorist vids that tracked the locations of viewers. The material was created by a UK-based public relations firm hired by the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Former video editor Martin Wells reportedly worked on the project, which took place between about 2006 and 2011. Requirements included specific format and code, he explained. Marines would leave copies of the completed videos, contained on compact discs, at the scenes of raids and ransacked houses in Iraq so that enemies would later find them. According to Independent, Wells further explained: 
If one if looked at in the middle of Baghdad… you know there’s a hit there,” Mr. Wells said. “If one, 48 hours or a week later shows up in another part of the world, then that’s the more interesting one, and that’s what they’re looking for more, because that gives you a trail.”

A former chairman of Bell Pottinger, the PR firm, reportedly confirmed the existence of its contract with the Pentagon. Likewise, the Pentagon also confirmed the contract, while insisting all material distributed was truthful. That may actually be the case while the videos nonetheless fall well under the definition of Al-Qaeda propaganda.

Bell Pottinger was first tasked by the interim Iraqi government in 2004 to promote democratic elections,” Independent reported. “They received $540m between May 2007 and December 2011, but could have earned as much as $120m from the US in 2006.”

Howard Hughes, 1938
We might also consider what history teaches us about relationships between intelligence agencies and wealthy eccentrics. The CIA recruited Howard Hughes to supply cover for Project Azorian, a multi-million dollar effort to secretly raise a sunken Russian submarine from the bottom of the ocean. The project took years to fully execute and involved Hughes announcing a fabricated plan to mine the seafloor. In actuality, sailors would work to raise the sub under the guise of mining, which, by the way, was reasonably successful. The CIA eventually released documents indicating about 40 feet of the over 300-foot vessel was retrieved.

We might be wise to familiarize ourselves with such operations and keep them in mind when contemplating the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program and its close relations to Robert Bigelow and To The Stars Academy. Every instance of career intelligence officials moonlighting as ufologists is certainly not the tip of a far reaching conspiracy. That stated, it is not unreasonable by any means to expect verification of evidence presented. The same can be said for claims asserted. That might particularly be considered the case when To The Stars claimed able to present a verifiable chain of custody of videos published, yet has failed to do so.

There is not a lot of wiggle room in the definition of a fact. It can be publicly reviewed and confirmed by third parties or it can't. When it can't, it simply shouldn't yet be accepted as a fact.

It's reasonable to be open-minded. It's also reasonable to be inquisitive and interested in what might be navigating the skies.

But don't be gullible. Don't be guilty of confirmation bias. Demand professionally presented evidence. The truth depends on it.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Who's Been Running MUFON?

The Mutual UFO Network recently announced a new Director of Research, Dr. Christopher Cogswell. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering and "hopes to bring a seriousness and strong research focus to this field," according to the MUFON website.

While we wish the doctor the highest degree of success, we would be remiss if we failed to observe the organization where he chooses to volunteer has an infamous history of substantially obstructing the very efforts he claims to undertake. His predecessor, Robert Powell, bailed for reasons reportedly including the MUFON choices of speakers at its annual symposium in 2017. In a nutshell, the organization's mission statement of dedication to scientific study is miles apart from many of its actual activities. If Dr. Cogswell is going to help the situation a number of circumstances will need to be addressed, from employing hypnosis as a memory retrieval tool to endorsing psychic channeling, and those are just some of the problems.





A lack of transparency and public accountability has long plagued MUFON. We have explored it at length on The UFO Trail, including posts such as UFO Community Members Weigh in on Dubious MUFON Speakers. Long before Powell's concerns became more widely known, writers and researchers such as Nigel Watson, Frank Warren, Robert Sheaffer, and several more expressed relevant points about the quality of MUFON speakers and contributed to the 2015 post. 

Back in 2014 we attempted to obtain explanations of what MUFON termed a collaboration with a French government agency, GEIPAN, that investigates unexplained aerial phenomena. Statements from MUFON leadership arguably were embarrassingly vague, while, in stark contrast, the head of GEIPAN proved quite willing to discuss the circumstances when contacted.

Other posts, such as parts one and two of the 2013 offering, MUFON, Science and Deception, further demonstrated the leadership's lack of willingness to field questions. MUFON's Jan Harzan has been contacted numerous times, including for comment on how an org dedicated to scientific study could promote such entirely speculative notions as Barbara Lamb's claims surrounding ET-human hybrids, but did not respond. 

Likewise, Harzan failed to respond to inquiries about the criteria used to grant David Jacobs a lifetime achievement award. Jacobs is a historian who practices hypnosis as a memory enhancer, claimed to have been harassed by an ET-human hybrid that sent him instant messages, and suggested to Emma Woods to wear a chastity belt during a long distance telephone hypnosis session, among numerous other dubious actions.

In preparation for a 2013 article on a reported UFO crash in Casselberry, Florida, attempts were made to consult several MUFON personnel. Multiple emails inquiring about the case were sent to the Executive Director, Director of Investigations, Florida State Director, and a former Florida Chief Field Investigator. None responded. We could go on at length, but the issues run even deeper still than irresponsibly promoting unsubstantiated conjecture under the guise of science or failing to share information about investigations.

From where I sit, it is significant that the Pentagon indirectly admitted funneling funds to MUFON via Robert Bigelow. This was clearly done through Bigelow's now known receipt of funds and subsequent MUFON-BAASS initiative, yet it is virtually a non-story in UFO Land. Community members for years accused MUFON of acting as an arm of the federal government, and are now validated for all practical purposes, yet the wheels of sensationalism continue to turn with hardly a pause. You can't say we weren't warned.

After serving as MUFON International Director from 2006 to 2009, James Carrion wrote in a 2011 blog post that it was not Robert Bigelow who funded MUFON's work for Bigelow Aerospace, but "sponsors" Bigelow revealed to John Schuessler but not the rest of the MUFON Board of Directors. Carrion's statements have aged well (See my post, Pentagon-UFO Story Reflects Fundamental Problems, for further info and commentary).

The Pentagon acknowledges the Defense Intelligence Agency invested money in the UFO community. Up until that time, such interests and circumstances were officially denied. They were taboo, scandalous. It was out of bounds to so much as speculate the IC was in bed with UFO researchers and their organizations. Capital "S" Skeptics cried conspiracy and called for proof. Now it's confirmed and met with a shrug on both sides of the UFO community aisle.

I'd like to direct our attention for a while, please, to the fact the intelligence community has full on acknowledged involvement in the UFO community - this century, here and now. Others told us so and they are now validated, yet it's seemingly not a story, in lieu of analyzing film clips, exchanging opinions on inconclusive claims about alleged aliens, and minimizing its potential significance. In my opinion, if funding sources for one project are called into question, then funding sources for many projects are called into question, especially those involving the same individuals and organizations.

MUFON has a long way to go to gain any credibility, not to mention competently addressing who's been running its organization. Please join me in considering some of the circumstances that brought us to the point in which the Pentagon casually confirmed what amounts to funding the Mutual UFO Network.

Carpenter Affair

The Carpenter Affair. Let's start there. 

During the 1990's, the org's lead alien abduction researcher "confidentially," as he put it to me in a series of emails, provided Robert Bigelow - the guy who would later play point man on the DIA's Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program - with data from case files of alleged abductees in exchange for a reported $14,000. John Carpenter, a Missouri social worker and hypnosis advocate, defended his actions, which included choosing not to obtain consent from the 140 people prior to releasing their files to Bigelow and his National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS). 

MUFON officials, including John Schuessler, who sat on a NIDS board, primarily chose the stance of silence on the topic. Col. John Alexander, a former employee of the Bigelow-founded NIDS, declined comment in 2013. Alexander was asked about any interest he may have had in the files; why he suspected his employer, Bigelow, may have desired to obtain them; if other alien abduction researchers also shared files with Bigelow as Carpenter claimed may have been the case; and if Alexander was at liberty to discuss any relationships between Bigelow corporations and intelligence agencies. Alexander, a man who has repeatedly presented himself as willing and able to talk inside baseball on UFOs and the intelligence community, didn't want to discuss it.



The above image is a copy of the second page of a 1996 letter apparently composed from Carpenter to Bigelow, discussing copying and sending 140 case files, as well as expressing thanks for payment. The image was obtained from researcher Gary Hart, who included the letter and other items in complaints filed to MUFON and the State of Missouri Division of Professional Registration. Read more in the 2013 blog post on the Carpenter Affair linked above.

NSA Memo

In 2017 I published a post about NSA largely releasing a document via my FOIA request about an NSA assignee's attendance at a UFO symposium. The existence of the document, though previously withheld, was long known to researchers such as Philip Klass. Although we did not previously know its specific contents, Klass confidently suspected it was authored by Tom Deuley. Klass was in all likelihood correct for reasons provided and linked in my 2017 post. The document proved to be a memo, titled Information request solicitation, in which its author informed NSA of events and actions of researchers at the 1978 MUFON Symposium. From the now mostly declassified memo:



Ambient Monitoring Project

In 2014 I did a blog post on the ill-fated Ambient Monitoring Project (AMP). The undertaking was initially titled the Abduction Monitoring Project, but was changed for reasons that reportedly included efforts to increase credibility and attract qualified researchers. The initiative involved placing instruments to measure environmental changes in the homes of individuals reporting alien abductions. It was headed up by long time ufology staple and career intelligence officer Tom Deuley, who likely composed the above NSA memo and served in leadership capacities of multiple UFO organizations, including MUFON. Funding sources for the AMP were not clearly disclosed and details of project results were never released. From the 2014 blog post:

Deuley wrote in the 2008 Journal article that the AMP was jointly proposed to MUFON, FUFOR [Fund for UFO Research] and the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS). The collaboration reportedly resulted in the UFO Research Coalition, or the URC, as Deuley dubbed it. Exactly where the funding originated, however, was not clear, and Deuley did not at all address the amount and specific terms of project funding.
The proposal was given to the Fund for UFO Research, Deuley stated in the article, “with the intention that they in turn offer the idea to some prospective donors who might be interested in this project.”
“Over time,” he continued, “the Fund’s efforts led to sufficient funding for the work.”
“With a good prospect for a sponsor,” Deuley not so clearly explained further, “the URC continued to fine-tune the proposal. After several rounds of changes and negotiation with the prospective funding organization, the proposal for the Ambient Monitoring Project was accepted.”
Who ever the “prospective funding organization” of which Deuley may have been referring, how ever the proposal may specifically have been “accepted,” and where ever reported “sufficient funding” may have actually originated, Richard Hall told UFO Updates List the project was out of money. Hall informed them of that nine months before Deuley's July, 2008, article which suggested funding was in hand and data was in the process of being analyzed.
[...]
In 2008 I emailed inquiries about the project to various board members of the UFO organizations involved. An email was sent to Deuley, who I requested provide details that might be available for public release, particularly concerning such information as final analysis and project personnel. He replied August 2, 2008: 
The analysis is in progress and will include a full report when all of the cases have been analyzed. Until then we feel it is prudent to not publicize who is doing the analysis or where it is being conducted. The report is most likely to be printed in the MUFON Journal, and if extensive to be published for sale by the UFO Research Coalition.”
I sent a similar inquiry to David Boras of CUFOS, who briefly replied on August 3, 2008, “Statistical analyses are ongoing and not yet available.”
Astronomer Dr. John Carlson, also of FUFOR, and I exchanged some brief messages. Even after I made him aware Deuley had just days prior stated in an email to me that AMP data was in the process of being analyzed, Carlson wrote in an August 5, 2008 email there were no funds to analyze the data, so he believed the project was effectively dormant.

Such discrepancies and contradictions within MUFON and UFO orgs have now become common to the point of no longer attracting meaningful discussion. Inaccuracy and a lack of direct answers from leadership have come to be expected. 

UFO Research Coalition

Robert Bigelow
It was repeatedly stated by those familiar with and involved in the AMP that it was a collaboration of CUFOS, MUFON and FUFOR. Tom Deuley reported in his 2008 MUFON Journal article that the collaboration resulted in the forming of the UFO Research Coalition. The FUFOR website indicated the Coalition was formed at the suggestion of Robert Bigelow.

"Disagreement over control of the UFO Research Coalition lead to a complete break with Robert Bigelow," the website further stated, indicating the "disagreement" culminated in 1994. The conflict was apparently resolved by the time of the MUFON-BAASS venture of 2009, when many of the same organizational leaders were on deck, as can be explored in detail at the bottom of the 2014 blog post, What Happened to the Ambient Monitoring Project?

Conclusions

There may be some events of interest under the descriptions of high strangeness or things in the sky. I don't claim to know, and as regular readers are aware, my primary area of focus migrated into social aspects of the UFO community. While I don't profess to conclusively know much about what all is being reported and witnessed, I'm pretty confident you aren't going to get any substantial explanations from the latest crowd of self-proclaimed insiders, researchers, and disclosure activists. We simply have no reason to think so, barring extreme changes of operating procedures. It is more than reasonable at this point, if not arguably naive not to call into question the funding sources and agendas of those directing the UFO research community.

It is also reasonable to desire financial accountability from tax-funded projects, such as the AATIP, and nonprofit corporations, namely MUFON, that collect public financial support while enjoying tax benefits. You are entitled to expect accurate and reasonably transparent reporting of budgets and activities. We clearly have a long, long way to go to achieve such transparency in the UFO community. I am strongly of the opinion its obstruction and the related issues are much more worthy of attention than the unsubstantiated sensational claims promoted by the involved parties.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

FOIA Tips

In this post we'll take a look at some resources and tips for submitting Freedom of Information Act requests. You may send requests to virtually any type of government body or agency, and submissions are typically accepted via websites, email, fax or standard mail. 

First we'll consider where to send an FOIA request, then we'll explore how you might choose to compose your submission. Below are just a few potential sources. 

FOIA Sources

FOIA requests may be emailed to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at FOIA@dodiis.mil. This is where you submit requests about the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program. A current Pentagon spokesperson verified the existence of the former project and DIA was identified as responsible for it. You might therefore choose to cite such statements. Calls for proposals, project reports and budgets are all fair game. So are details of the modified buildings for storing alloys recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena, as well as physical examinations of UFO witnesses reported by the NYT. Learn more about the Agency's FOIA procedures at the DIA website

Requests to the National Security Agency (NSA) may be submitted online. While it is a simple and user-friendly set up, you might want to have the body of your request already composed on a word processing program for easy copy and paste to the NSA website form.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offers a similar FOIA procedure as NSA. Most requests can be submitted online.

Learn about FOIA requests to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at the Bureau website. Requests may be sent online.

You might choose to inquire to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) when seeking some older files. Read about the Admin's FOIA process at the NARA website and email your requests to foia@nara.gov. You can check out my pending FOIA appeal to NARA about circumstances surrounding historical context of 1946-47 UFO reports and inspired by the work of James Carrion.

Composing a Request

Many government websites provide sample requests. Below is an outline of a somewhat typical request, followed by some brief explanations:


[Title and mailing address of agency]

[Your name, address, and contact info]

[Date]

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
[Description of files and documents sought]
A fee waiver is requested on the grounds I am a freelance writer, the requested information will be published in ways that are not primarily commercial, and the requested information stands to assist the public in understanding government operations. If fees are deemed applicable, please notify me before processing if costs are estimated to exceed $30.
I prefer the requested files be delivered electronically, but agree to other delivery means if considered more practical or efficient.
Thank you for your attention to my request.
Sincerely,

[Your name]



Most of it is pretty self-explanatory, such as you'll want to be as clear as possible about files requested. More on that shortly.

If you desire to request a fee waiver, you might want to familiarize yourself with the related protocols and explain some grounds for the requested waiver. One way or the other, be sure to provide an amount you are willing to pay, specifying you want to be notified prior to processing if costs are estimated to exceed the amount. You might also choose to clarify how you prefer the files be delivered, such as emailed or saved on a disc and shipped. 

FOIA Tips

While you may compose your request around virtually any topic, you definitely want to form your query in a way that seeks documents. There are a number of ways to do this effectively. One is to cite an already public document that establishes the existence of another document, the file you seek.

For instance, I obtained a previously unreleased 1978 NSA memo on events occurring at the annual MUFON Symposium of the same year. This was achieved by citing the statements of NSA man Eugene F. Yeates, who, in a document known as the Yeates affidavit, referenced a document authored by an NSA assignee pertaining to a UFO symposium. Following an FOIA request to NSA for the specific doc mentioned by Yeates, NSA released the majority of the memo. You may view the memo and read more in a related blog post. Such documents as the Yeates affidavit may be excellent sources for FOIA topics. 

You might want to spend some time browsing the online reading rooms of such agencies as listed above. Then, when you find something that peaks your interest, file some FOIA requests around it, citing the related document. I include a web link to the cited doc in the request, along with identifiers such as its title and date, as well as the page number quoted.

Another option is to request what is known as a Mandatory Declassification Review, or MDR, of a fully or partially withheld document. A bit of success was achieved when I filed an FOIA request to NSA, asking it to conduct a declassification review of a partially withheld doc titled UFOs and the Intelligence Community Blind Spot to Surprise and Deceptive Data. NSA subsequently released the item in full, and you can read more about it in my blog post on the topic. An MDR may be an effective way to get more information released.

As you compose requests and obtain files, let the community and other researchers know what's effective. You might blog about your work and upload files for public viewing to websites such as keepandshare.com, among others. Read more about my efforts by clicking on the FOIA blog label

We must wade in and start filing to gain some experience, and, as is the case with anything, skills improve over time. Good luck. Post about how it goes, and, remember, we can't succeed if we don't try.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Updates on Paracast Host Gene Steinberg 'Emergency' Cash Solicitations

[Last updated April 1, 2018]

This is a follow up to a Jan. 2, 2018, blog post, Gene Steinberg Personal 'Emergency' Cash Solicitations Span Years, Hundreds of Emails. See the original post for information on Steinberg's years of repetitive cash solicitations framed as emergencies. This post will serve as a place to publish ongoing updates and developments. Check back for periodic updates.

For more info on Steinberg's email cash solicitations, follow @SchemeGeneRC on Twitter. You may also choose to keep an eye on a UFO Trail Twitter thread tracking a year to date total of Steinberg's email solicitations. 


Steinberg 2018 email solicitations, last updated March 31, 2018:


March (32)

Nearly homeless!                                                     Mar 31

A critical progress report!                                         Mar 30

Trying to find a new home!                                       Mar 29

One day at a time!                                                   Mar 28

A Wednesday deadline!                                             Mar 27

A two-day reprieve from homelessness!                     Mar 26

Rush update!                                                           Mar 25

I'm hours from being homeless!                                Mar 25

I'm hours from being homeless!                                Mar 25
[same title, different email and e-list]

Last minute emergency!                                           Mar 23

I'm a day from being homeless!                                Mar 23

Wednesday update!                                                  Mar 22

Running out of motel money!                                    Mar 21

Memo from the cheap motel!                                    Mar 20

A Monday emergency!                                              Mar 18

I need a place to live!                                               Mar 17

We lost our home!                                                    Mar 16

I don't know if this is my last day!                             Mar 16

Update on the lock out threat!                                   Mar 15

I'll probably lose my apartment today!                       Mar 15

The final warning from the property manager!            Mar 14

I hope it's not too late!                                             Mar 13

Still waiting to be forced out!                                    Mar 12

Waiting to be locked out!                                          Mar 12

Second weekend update!                                          Mar 11

I'm out of answers!                                                  Mar 10

It's time for desperate measures!                              Mar 9

I don't think I have a solution this time!                     Mar 7

Waiting for the end!                                                 Mar 6

Bringing you up to date!                                           Mar 4

I'm desperate so I took a chance!                              Mar 1

I hope this isn't my last update!                                Mar 1


February (10)

The final days!                                                         Feb 27

Troubles are piling up!                                              Feb 27

A setback!                                                               Feb 24

They keep finding more things!                                 Feb 22

Still living in suspense!                                             Feb 21

Update on Barbara's medical issues!                          Feb 16

No answers yet!                                                       Feb 13

Maybe a problem!                                                    Feb 8

I'm still fighting for my future!                                   Feb 7

Early February Update!                                             Feb 2


January (10)

There is still time!                                                    Jan 29

Waiting for the constable!                                         Jan 25

It's panic time!                                                        Jan 24

The Assistant Property Manager Sets a Date!             Jan 22

It's down to just a few days once again!                    Jan 22

I may need a place to live soon!                               Jan 18

Living under a new threat!                                       Jan 16

Not a happy Tuesday!                                              Jan 9

Seeking a final solution!                                           Jan 8

An Early January Update!                                         Jan 2


------------------------------------------------


Updated April 1, 2018



Gene Steinberg sent more email solicitations during March than days in the month. The at least 32 messages described housing crises, perpetual past due rent, and eventual hit and miss motel reservations. Each email contained a PayPal link and/or instructions for donating via other means, such as wiring money to the Paracast host.

Following his latest eviction, Steinberg explained to email recipients he needed cash for a motel room while also requiring donations for an “affordable” new home. It was unclear what he defined as affordable, and to whom, given his past emails indicate he, personally, has failed to be financially responsible for a residence for years. As one individual put it, the only person who doesn't seem to realize this doesn't work is Gene – which brings us to what many interpret to be two primary points:

First of all, those who choose to consider donating to Steinberg would be well advised to fully understand the history of the circumstances. Some ten-plus years of past emails and website posts give no indication whatsoever the situation will ever be resolved to Steinberg's satisfaction. It has gone on and on, there is no reason to suspect “emergency” solicitations to cease, and every reason to suspect they will continue, given the observable history and lack of viable plan for improvement. Donors should be advised their money is requested and apparently required on a monthly, if not daily, basis.

Secondly, we might collectively consider, as a community, the implications of the actions. We have both the right and responsibility to do so. The inherent contradictions are profound of an individual conducting their affairs in this manner who bills them self as a high quality standard of community reporting. It arguably epitomizes the challenges faced by ufology, and why the genre chronically remains relegated to the punch line of jokes. In summary, the actions of any given individual cannot logically suggest them completely incompetent at financial and personal responsibility, if not seemingly oblivious to the situation, yet simultaneously qualified in an expert capacity to analyze and sort out complex issues that are part and parcel of the ufology landscape. It is simply irrational.

In a March 25 email, Steinberg wrote, "I didn't think it would come to this after all these years."

We might, however, question how that could possibly be, given a sample of Steinberg quotes using the search term "homeless" and drawn from emails dated from 2014 to present:





It is difficult to accept these as the actions of a person we should either enable or rely upon for accurate information. 

Similarly, @SchemeGeneRC offered a sample of Steinberg quotes concerning his rent status and emailed between early February and mid-March:










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Updated March 1, 2018

Gene Steinberg email blasts for cash continued to mount through February, including ten more with such subject lines as The final days!, Troubles are piling up!, and I'm fighting for my future!. The latest reports of poverty brought the 2018 total to 20 email solicitations distributed by the Paracast host. The circumstances, described by Steinberg as setbacks, chronically include costs of rent, utilities and groceries, as, according to the podcaster, he has been without for many years. His 2018 current average of ten per month put him on pace for a few less total email cash solicitations than the 139 sent in 2017. The emails consistently contain descriptions of situations framed as emergencies along with PayPal links for sending cash.

"I don't have enough cash for groceries and other needs, and the property manager needs the rent in full, through March, to allow us to live here," Steinberg wrote in his Feb. 24 email titled A setback!.

"Despite the setback," he continued, "I will get out of this nightmare - with your help."

The statements prompted one Twitter user to ponder the exact nature of the "setback." There's nothing to indicate any sort of setback, they observed, just that Steinberg is expected to pay his rent and bills like everybody else. 

"This truly has caught me off guard," another Twitter user responded sarcastically. "I sure hope rent won't be due next month or that we ever have to eat again."

The criticism results from Steinberg's very similar emails sent in January, at which time he was reportedly raising funds for rent and living expenses. The same was the case in December, as well as a seemingly never ending trail of cash requests before that: quite literally years of solicitations for rent, utilities, and miscellaneous bills. The theme is long recurring.

Meanwhile, Steinberg continued using his affiliation with the Paracast as a means to promote his personal fundraising activities, as pictured below.



The connection between the Paracast and Steinberg's cash requests became a bone of contention with current and former co-hosts. Steinberg claimed his soliciting is "not at all connected with the radio show, the Paracast newsletter or the forum," an assertion which proved patently false.

The longtime Paracast host has yet to describe how the e-list was otherwise compiled. Similarly, Steinberg's email solicitations continue to be noticeably absent specific details of his monthly living expenses, his monthly income, and explanations why potential donors should think it wise to contribute to what, by his own account, is perpetually a financial failure.


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Posted Feb. 1, 2018

Following the initial UFO Trail blog post on Steinberg's email campaign, his Paracast co-host Christopher O'Brien weighed in. O'Brien expressed concerns surrounding the chronic cash requests and subsequent integrity of the show. Following up on his concerns, O'Brien stated in a Feb. 1 email, quoted with his permission:
I'm looking to shake some things up in my life, Jack. I've grown tired of being taken for granted by some folks in this field and I'm tired of being ignored by others in these so-called fields of "research." I'm leaving Arizona and am returning to the East Coast (where I lived for 16 years) for a few months to finish up several projects and to help out a longtime friend. I am also planning changes in my broadcasting pursuits and am considering some exciting potential opportunities. Also, very soon there will be an important announcement about the San Luis Valley Camera/Monitoring Project. 

Steinberg's stance, as demonstrated in public comments, was that his solicitations have nothing to do with Paracast, specifically stating his cash requests are "not at all connected with the radio show, the Paracast newsletter or the forum." No explanation was offered, however, of how the e-list used for solicitations was compiled if not from the Paracast following and the interest generated by its co-hosts and guests. Moreover, a review of facts directly and firmly contradicts Steinberg's assertion.

The cash requests, which number well into the hundreds, have been broadcast for several years from a paracast.com email address. That continues to be the case in 2018. Steinberg emailed ten such solicitations during January, 2018, originating from a paracast.com address. 

A Twitter account operated by Steinberg, titled @theparacast and displaying a Paracast logo, is commonly used to promote Steinberg's purported plight and subsequent cash requests. A couple 2018 tweets, dated Jan. 25 and Jan. 24:




Examples of Steinberg's similar use of the social media site and his Paracast affiliation from 2017:






The initial UFO Trail blog post, the very article where Steinberg left comments asserting his personal cash solicitations are "not at all connected with the radio show," contained a link to a Paracast web page on which Steinberg wrote about his purported plight at length. Descriptions of his financial challenges, rent, food costs and several more such items were outlined. Steinberg did not acknowledge in his comments the contradiction between the link contained in the post and his claim the Paracast is in no way connected to his ongoing cash requests. 

There are many such examples. At this writing, a Paracast web page contains a typical Steinberg email solicitation, this one titled, Here We Go Again!. In the Nov. 28, 2017, message Steinberg tells readers how a housing move decimated his finances. Cash donations were therefore needed for rent, as well as utilities, internet, "and other important bills" for which he "received shutoff notices," he wrote. No information was included on why such reported decimation remains a constant state. 

A thread currently exists on the Paracast forum titled, LET'S HELP GENE!. Readers are encouraged to donate cash to Steinberg for situations he describes as "complicated." The thread, started Dec. 26, 2015, includes a post by Steinberg in which he references the long recurring theme of rent problems.

"Still fighting the good fight," Steinberg informs Paracast forum members in a Feb. 28, 2016, post in the thread. "The creditor/landlord threats are still there, but I won't give up."

Comments submitted at The UFO Trail and emails received from a variety of individuals repeatedly further contradicted Steinberg's claim the Paracast is off limits to his solicitations. One comment explained how during the first ever email exchange between the person and who they termed the host of the Paracast, Steinberg asked for cash because "his wife had screwed up their checkbook for the weekend, there was no food in the house, and they had no access to money." Another comment indicated it was after signing up for the Paracast forum that the individual "started receiving the constant begging emails." 

The above narratives and examples are common. Further citations are available with a frequency making them repetitive. The claimed separation of Paracast and Steinberg's continuous calls for emergency funding is markedly inaccurate.

Steinberg's email solicitations so far in 2018 focus primarily upon his latest reported eviction, which is no less than the third time he has used an eviction to fuel a series of email solicitations since the 2016-17 turn of the year. It was also a common theme long before that. He sent 139 total email cash solicitations in 2017 (See the previously referenced post for more info). 

As suggested by the email subject lines, Steinberg tends to write of a "faceless corporation" attempting to collect rent he admittedly owes yet does not pay, all allegedly under the looming threat of a constable. His fate is in our hands, he often writes, adding, "The best way to help me keep a roof over my head is to send a PayPal donation." A PayPal link and related instructions are included in each email.