Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Leah Haley Case: The Intelligence Community

This is one in a series of posts on the Leah Haley Case.

Exploration of the Leah Haley Case and the fateful weekend of July 6, 1990, leads to Gulf Breeze, Florida. In order to more completely grasp the impact the Gulf Breeze supposed flap had upon ufology and subsequently Haley, let us first consider the manners the intelligence community asserted itself into ufology and Gulf Breeze. 

The Gulf Breeze Six

There may very well not be a more curious chain of events within ufology and abduction lore than the story of the Gulf Breeze Six – and that's sayin' something. Writer/researcher Philip Coppens has a well presented summary of the saga in which quality references and supporting documents are provided.

In early July, 1990, Specialist Vance Davis and five more National Security Agency intelligence analysts, consisting of four men and one woman, went AWOL. As the story goes, they were under the direction of aliens and the Virgin Mary, armed with supposedly divine instructions to save the world from the anti-Christ and certain ruin. The GB6 abandoned their posts in West Germany, at what was at the time the largest NSA base in the world outside the States. The six mysterious deserters then somehow evaded arrest while flying to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and purchased a van they drove to Gulf Breeze, Florida.

They claimed to have experienced direct interactions with extraterrestrials and religious icons. They additionally claimed to have regularly communicated with such entities via a Ouija board. The GB6 seemed to have prophesied, studied their claimed paranormal experiences in depth and left long, detailed notes behind that described their claimed beliefs of the impending end of the world and their intentions to save it.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Vivian Johnson, one of the contacts of the GB6 who resided in Tennessee and assisted them in purchasing the van, stated it was “supposed to be Rapture time.” Johnson further stated that the six led her to believe they were on their way to greet an alien spacecraft on the shores of Gulf Breeze.

The apparent deserters were eventually taken into custody by local law enforcement officers in Gulf Breeze on July 14 and July 15, 1990. They were, for whatever reasons, curiously near the site of the eventful MUFON 1990 International UFO Symposium described in my previous post, The Leah Haley Case: Life-Changing Saucers and a Fateful Weekend. The arrests created numerous questions related to why military or federal authorities did not apprehend them, particularly considering their cross continental journey took them through international airports.

The maximum possible punishment for their actions, according to the Chicago Tribune, included dishonorable discharge and three years of confinement. A judgment was handed down three weeks following the arrests that the GB6 would be discharged with full honors. You read that right: discharged with full honors.

The incredible case caught the attention of VIPs, however, including Senator Bob Dole and General Colin Powell, resulting in deliberations that revised the initial ruling. The GB6 were subsequently reduced to the lowest rank and docked a half-month of pay.

By all interpretations, the circumstance was a personnel catastrophe and security compromise of extreme proportion. However, the following year, 1991, the 701st Military Intelligence Brigade was awarded the prestigious Director of the National Security Agency's Travis Trophy. The unit was recognized as having made the most significant contribution in signals intelligence in the entire nation, second to none.

We will probably never know exactly what happened to the Gulf Breeze Six. Books have been written and interviews have been granted, but we will likely never conclusively know what they each honestly believed. It is doubtful we will ever learn the extents some or all of them may have been manipulated, whether or not any of them may have been involuntary research subjects, or if the entire story served as some kind of cover for psychological operations of which some or all of them may have been well aware.

I do not claim to have the answers to the implied questions. In order to continue exploring such possibilities, and how they may relate to Leah Haley, we might take a closer look at the intelligence community.

I am not accusing any officers or officials of any wrong doing. I only wish to accomplish presenting a reasonable argument that further research is justified into the likelihood that phenomena such as formerly reported by Haley may in some circumstances be attributable to quite human-instigated events.

Major General Albert “Bert” N. Stubblebine III

MG Stubblebine was prominently featured in Jon Ronson's, The Men Who Stare at Goats, a book about the Army's attempts to explore and ultimately use the paranormal to create weapons and related military applications. Stubblebine graduated from West Point in 1952, a time that we of course now know the intelligence community to have been extremely dedicated to perfecting mind control techniques, and the man went on to an accomplished career in military intelligence.

Among other points of interest, Stubblebine was largely credited with initially developing the technique of remote viewing. He was an integral part of the CIA-funded Project STAR GATE, an initiative that explored such psychic phenomena as remote viewing and overlapped with mind control operations.

Stubblebine extensively delved into psychological operations, including neuro-linguistic programming, a controversial activity that has been used as a subliminal persuasion tool and continues to incite debate. He pursued such lines of research on behalf of military intelligence interests and with his long-time associate, Colonel John B. Alexander.

Stubblebine retired in 1984 as commanding general of the US Army Intelligence and Security Command. He formerly led the Electronics Research and Development Command. Stubblebine was inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, largely due to having been credited with completely restructuring the intelligence architecture of the entire US Army.

He is married to Dr. Rima Laibow, a ufologist, proponent of the use of hypnosis as a memory retrieval tool for self-described alien abductees, and who was lecturing at the MUFON symposium during the fateful weekend of July 6, 1990. The command of MG Stubblebine formerly included responsibility for the 701st Military Intelligence Brigade, which was the unit of the Gulf Breeze Six. Vance Davis claimed during a Coast to Coast interview to have directly spoken with Stubblebine on multiple occasions prior to Davis going AWOL. The two were apparently acquainted, at the least.

Colonel John B. Alexander

According to Jim Harold and Colonel John Alexander on The Paranormal Podcast, Alexander gave his first presentation on flying saucers in 1947 and joined the Army in 1956. He served extensively throughout Southeast Asia as a Green Beret during the Vietnam War. His impressive career in military intelligence included acting as a consultant to the CIA and Washington officials.

Mr. Non-Lethal,” as Alexander came to be known due to his lobbying on behalf of research and development of non-lethal weapons, studied psychic phenomena in professional capacities and at length with MG Stubblebine. While earning the status of a renowned non-lethal weapons expert, Alexander was simultaneously delving extensively into the UFO community, including sitting on a Robert Bigelow/NIDS advisory board.

The Bigelow camp was the driving force behind the Carpenter Affair. The Affair took place when mental health counselor, MUFON alien abduction researcher and hypnotist John Carpenter was persuaded to sell Bigelow the case files of 140 clients, including Leah Haley, without the knowledge or consent of the clients.

Alexander's work became a point of interest to investigative journalist Sharon Weinberger, author of the book, Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagon's Scientific Underworld. She wrote an article titled, Mind Games, published by The Washington Post in 2007, presenting certain accusations of mind control as well as an interview with Alexander. Weinberger wrote:
...John Alexander, one of the people whom Harlan Girard holds personally responsible for the voices in his head, is at a Chili's restaurant in Crystal City explaining over a Philly cheese steak and fries why the United States needs mind-control weapons.

A former Green Beret who served in Vietnam, Alexander went on to a number of national security jobs, and rubbed shoulders with prominent military and political leaders. Long known for taking an interest in exotic weapons, his 1980 article, "The New Mental Battlefield," published in the Army journal Military Review, is cited by self-described victims as proof of his complicity in mind control. Now retired from the government and living in Las Vegas, Alexander continues to advise the military. He is in the Washington area that day for an official meeting.

Beneath a shock of white hair is the mind of a self-styled military thinker. Alexander belongs to a particular set of Pentagon advisers who consider themselves defense intellectuals, focusing on big-picture issues, future threats and new capabilities. Alexander's career led him from work on sticky foam that would stop an enemy in his or her tracks to dalliances in paranormal studies and psychics, which he still defends as operationally useful.
In an earlier phone conversation, Alexander said that in the 1990s, when he took part in briefings at the CIA, there was never any talk of "mind control, or mind-altering drugs or technologies, or anything like that."
According to Alexander, the military and intelligence agencies were still scared by the excesses of MK-ULTRA, the infamous CIA program that involved, in part, slipping LSD to unsuspecting victims. "Until recently, anything that smacked of [mind control] was extremely dangerous" because Congress would simply take the money away, he said.

Alexander acknowledged that "there were some abuses that took place," but added that, on the whole, "I would argue we threw the baby out with the bath water."

But September 11, 2001, changed the mood in Washington, and some in the national security community are again expressing interest in mind control, particularly a younger generation of officials who weren't around for MK-ULTRA. "It's interesting, that it's coming back," Alexander observed.

While Alexander scoffs at the notion that he is somehow part of an elaborate plot to control people's minds, he acknowledges support for learning how to tap into a potential enemy's brain. He gives as an example the possible use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, for lie detection.
Alexander also is intrigued by the possibility of using electronic means to modify behavior. The dilemma of the war on terrorism, he notes, is that it never ends. So what do you do with enemies, such as those at Guantanamo: keep them there forever? That's impractical. Behavior modification could be an alternative, he says.

"Maybe I can fix you, or electronically neuter you, so it's safe to release you into society, so you won't come back and kill me," Alexander says. It's only a matter of time before technology allows that scenario to come true, he continues. "We're now getting to where we can do that." He pauses for a moment to take a bite of his sandwich. "Where does that fall in the ethics spectrum? That's a really tough question."

When Alexander encounters a query he doesn't want to answer, such as one about the ethics of mind control, he smiles and raises his hands level to his chest, as if balancing two imaginary weights. In one hand is mind control and the sanctity of free thought -- and in the other hand, a tad higher -- is the war on terrorism.
Weinberger began Mind Games with the opening line, “If Harlan Girard is crazy, he doesn't act the part.” In spite of such observations, Alexander has long asserted mental illness as virtually the sole explanation for why some people report themselves to be victims of mind control and, more specifically, directly name him as their abuser in some cases.

Alexander is most certainly correct some of the time, as the mental health community indeed recognizes belief of being harassed by covert government agencies as a symptom of certain mental disorders. I present for consideration, however, that Alexander's ongoing suggestions that all claims be dismissed as those of the delusional does not adhere to neither rationality nor critical thinking.

This is the case because we conclusively know such involuntary human research subjects exist. It is therefore not reasonable to suppose all who claim to be suffering from such trauma are incorrect. It is a contradiction in logic.

Alexander further suggested during a relatively recent podcast interview that all members of the Gulf Breeze Six are crazy. I take issue with such an assertion for no less than two reasons:

One, I find it very difficult to accept they all coincidentally took leave of their senses at the same time - at least not unless a specific stimulus caused it. While a solid argument can certainly be made that a disturbed individual may be extremely talented in the art of persuasion, hypothetically leading others into the land of comets and Kool-Aid, such an argument nonetheless takes us to...

Two, I simply cannot accept without question how their collective behavior could have snowballed and escaped evaluation within a high profile National Security Agency facility. After all, Major General Stubblebine himself seems to have known then-Specialist Davis, and these were not your garden variety Army deserters. They were military intelligence analysts who claimed contact with aliens and divine entities on an NSA base. This, in itself, is absolutely extraordinary.

The possibilities should motivate ambitious researchers for years to come: non-lethal weapons testing, mind control, spy games, and considerations that such operations spiraled out of control. The implications are nearly as broad as interesting.

In the end, I think we must consider the significance of how the Gulf Breeze Six and their superiors were in the business of paying attention, particularly to potential security breeches and weak links in the chain. Any way we might choose to look at it, I cannot accept without question how such personnel could have been spending their time playing with a Ouija board and narrating stories of alien visitations without the NSA taking significant responsibility for the situation.

Major General Stubblebine and Colonel Alexander were exemplary soldiers, regardless of their involvement in controversial operations, and they were apparently ahead of their time. They were creative thinkers, at least as would be described within a military world which does not traditionally produce or reward 'idea men.' They each gave their country what it asked of them - whatever, exactly, it may have been that was asked. It is unfortunate we will never know the entire extent the Stubblebine-Alexander generation of intelligence officers shaped our global culture. Neither will we ever know the extents we might approve or disapprove of their activities, because we will simply never fully know what they did.

Future Topics

In order to more thoroughly grasp the potential significance to Leah Haley of the events that emerged from July of 1990, we might consider how her life unfolded thereafter. Those were eventful times in UFO Land. About the same time the Gulf Breeze Six were reportedly perceiving themselves to have been developing a relationship with the Blessed Virgin in June, 1990, a hand-held model of a UFO, bearing a striking resemblance to alleged craft photographed by Gulf Breeze front man Ed Walters, was found in the attic of Walters' former home. Meanwhile, the UFO community was continuing to flock to Gulf Breeze and greater Pensacola. Haley, too, would eventually become a part of the incredible saga of Gulf Breeze, but not before contacting Budd Hopkins.

Haley contacted Hopkins shortly after the weekend of July 6, 1990, when she had visited the home of her parents in Alabama and discussed her childhood UFO sighting. Hopkins referred her to mental health counselor turned hypnotist and case file salesman John Carpenter, who hypnotized Leah throughout 1991. She made her first trip to Gulf Breeze by 1992, leading to a series of interesting and bizarre interactions with a wide variety of people.

I am suggesting that further research is well justified into the likelihood the Gulf Breeze UFO craze involved planned and orchestrated psychological operations. I am further suggesting the members of the UFO community Leah came to know may have been involved, either knowingly or inadvertently, to various extents in such ops. I present for reasonable consideration that if such circumstances are in fact the case, Leah Haley, as well as other Gulf Breeze researchers and self-described experiencers, may have become pawns. They may have become unwitting participants in a game they never even suspected was taking place until they were deeply involved, and of which a majority of them remain unaware or silent, at least publicly.


  1. Fascinating! i feel dumb for asking such an obvious ?, but have you read Vallee's "Revelations"? he delves into just these type of ops and has a section on the Gulf Breeze Six as well.

    It's also of note how these types who claim to bring new resources, $$$, focus, etc. to the paranormal use these resources to hoover up all types of info. that could shed light on the phenom, but which conveniently never again sees the light of day. Frankly, this is one of the aspects of Project Core which i find disturbing (tho i DO NOT suspect Mr. Ritzman or Mr. Vaeni's motivations. but they aren't the only ones involved in/influencing this project).

    Thank you again! i will endeavour to chime in with more in future, take care, steph

  2. Hi, Steph,

    Yes, I have read "Revelations" and much more of Vallee's work, although it has been a few years now. I continue to consider his books to be some of the more thoroughly researched and competently presented work in the field.

    His Boingboing blog has some interesting posts on crop formations. I read it with great interest.

  3. When one considers the current treatment of Bradley Manning, the decision of the military to let the Gulf Breeze Six off with essentially no punishment is astounding. Definitely was something going on behind the scenes in this case.

    1. I agree something was likely going on behind the scenes with the Gulf Breeze Six. Philip Coppens reported that when the case was declassified, some 1400 of its 1600 pages remained withheld...

  4. What you need to know is that once the government determined that the 6 never divulged any secrets the easiest thing to do was to put them out of the Army, Would it have made sense to send them back to Germany since they deserted their posts? Their clearances had all been revoked so putting them out was a natural reaction. There is no conspiracy here, I worked with all of the 6 and they were all either with little or no knowledge or a liar like Vance Davis. Annette Eclesson was the only SGT who knew anything.

  5. The religious zealots the GB6 were made out to be is just governmental cover and misdirection. Make them out to be crazies and the public response would be dismissive. I was told Crispy was a code genius and, perhaps, out of curiosity, decoded internal information he wasn't supposed to?... and suddenly, it was time to leave Augsburg. Quirky, perhaps impressionable, non-mainstream thinkers, yes. Cult members? Nah. At least Annette, Mike, Ken (and Anna.) The truth isn't in the media story, But, the truth has a gag, with nasty consequences if it comes off.