Thursday, October 27, 2016

Classified Science: The Search for 'Truth That Works'

In developments surrounding the intelligence community, Science reports the forming of an "unprecedented" alliance between intel agencies and "the nation's most prestigious scientific body." VIPs at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) reportedly aim to strengthen national security through the use of what they termed an Intelligence Community Studies Board. It will be made up of top social and behavioral scientists. A two-day summit on the venture was recently held.

DNI James R. Clapper
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper and staff want to better understand things like when people are lying. Scientists recruited for the project "will help to protect us from armies of snake oil salesmen." Obviously, they're unhappy with results of past attempts to identify deception. 

As a matter of fact, Robert Fein, referred to as "a national security psychologist," described a 2006 ODNI study on interrogation techniques as "disappointing." He should know, he led the projectHow disappointing? He said there were serious flaws and few useful results even after millions of dollars were spent.

"For example," Fein explained, "none of the studies [of deception] involved people who didn't speak English."

I BS you not.

Some scientists expressed concern over the prospect of participating on the board and working with intelligence agencies. Career setbacks are subject to arise due to conspiracy theories resulting from a lack of public trust. Others are no doubt cautious due to the challenges that come with applying their expertise to classified projects in which ethics, competence, adequate peer review and the implementation of the scientific process itself have been called into serious question.    

Additional comment on the board and its purpose was offered to Science by Charles Gaukel of the National Intelligence Council. "We're looking for truth. But we're particularly looking for truth that works," he said.

I still BS you not.


The two-day summit was conducted in DC, where presenters included doctors with decades of intelligence experience. Researchers, psychologists, behavioral specialists and others whose careers are essentially sponsored by agencies such as the CIA made their case for "looking for truth that works." 

While the forming of the Intelligence Community Studies Board may very well be unprecedented in some way or other, the mingling of spies and psychologists is certainly not. Attempts to perfect interrogation techniques and behavior modification - and extremely questionable tactics - have a dark, well documented history. Perhaps first to come to mind would be Project MKULTRA, its sister operations, and the CIA recruitment of such leading academics and medical experts of the mid-20th century as Martin Orne, Harold WolffGeorge Estabrooks and Ewen Cameron, among many more. The projects are now infamous for their exploitation and abuse of involuntary human research subjects.

Camp Delta of Guantanamo Bay
Much more recent times saw turmoil arise when a partnership was once again struck between the CIA and American Psychological Association (APA). The CIA-APA alignment and the interrogation-related activities it undertook at prisons such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay were sharply criticized, and in some instances labeled involuntary human experimentation. The physical and psychological responses of prisoners to torture sessions were monitored, studied, and attempted to be maximized.

International courts ruled CIA "extraordinary rendition" programs were in violation of human rights in Italy, Poland, and Macedonia, among other nations. At least 54 countries were reportedly complicit in allowing operation of CIA secret prisons, or "black sites," where prisoners were indefinitely detained and tortured, often without being charged with crimes. In October, 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against two CIA-contracted psychologists, James Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen, whose consulting company was paid some $81 million to design and facilitate the "enhanced interrogation techniques" employed.

Hypnosis and Implications

The use of hypnosis is one of the many ways the intelligence and UFO communities overlap. In spite of all that leading experts such as Elizabeth Loftus reported on the lack of reliability and even potential damage done by implementing hypnosis as a memory enhancer, the UFO community persists in doing so. Those familiar with the work of so-called investigators of alleged alien abduction are well acquainted with popular reliance on hypnotic regression and its induced mental imagery as literal interpretations of objective reality. 

Similar to Loftus, experimental psychologist and memory expert Julia Shaw reports false memories and resulting confessions are surprisingly simple to create. All it takes, her work shows, is a friendly interview environment, mixing incorrect details with some accurate information, and the use of faulty memory enhancing techniques - and people will "remember" and confess to crimes they never committed.

Are such tactics employed by UFO researchers primarily for the purpose of manufacturing extraordinary tales among susceptible subjects? It could quite likely be the case, at least some of the time. But what about the intelligence community? Is it intentionally inducing false memories and confessions to shape an agenda?

The Hoffman Report is a 500-plus page document on national security interrogations and torture compiled by the law offices of Sidley Austin LLP. It was presented to the APA and included information on the case of Navy Petty Officer Daniel King. He was detained from 1999-2001 under suspicion of spying. King was eventually released without charges, but not before being visited by psychologist Michael Gelles who acted as an agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). 

The actions of Gelles were questioned during an APA ethics investigation because he arguably undertook dual and conflicting roles, as both a doctor for King and an asset for NCIS. The psychologist defended his position, explaining he was not serving in two capacities, but "assisting NCIS in determining whether or not Petty Officer King was a proper subject for hypnosis," whatever that's supposed to mean exactly.

APA Ethics Committee liaison Elizabeth Swenson described Gelles' actions with King, who was emotionally overwrought from interrogation techniques and sleep deprivation, as "ethically very marginal." She added Gelles was "misleading" and "omitted information that could have really helped [King] about how false memories can be established and solidified."

Gitmo detainees, 2002
It may be noteworthy Gelles maintained his status with NCIS and was appointed in 2002 to the Criminal Investigations Task Force (CITF), where he was deployed to Afghanistan to train interrogators. He was later sent to Guantanamo Bay.

Prominent psychologist Mel Gravitz served on a "Professional Standards Advisory Committee" for the CIA, where he was employed for many years as a contractor. The memory and hypnosis expert declined requests to meet with authors of the Hoffman Report or answer their questions.

This week Miami Herald reporter and veteran Gitmo journalist Carol Rosenberg sued the Pentagon for information it refused to disclose about $340 million in planned upgrades at the facility. Rosenberg filed an FOIA complaint, citing the dissonance between Obama's statements the base will close and the Department of Defense increased investments. The upgrades reportedly include new construction and staff.

"Despite the shrinking prison population, the Obama Administration's stated intent to close the base, and presidential candidate [Hillary] Clinton's support for closing the base, evidence suggests that the level of staffing at Guantanamo is nearing a historic high," the complaint states.

Whatever one may choose to think about covert interrogation techniques, the induction of false confessions, and the actual purposes behind detaining the so-called "worst of the worst" without charges at Guantanamo, one thing should be easy enough to surmise about hypnosis in UFO investigation: There's no place for it in a sincere search for truth. That is, of course, unless you're only looking for truth that works.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

IC Contractors, Leaked Emails and Gitmo

Let's start this roundup off with a link to a VICE News story which cites recently declassified documents demonstrating what some contractors and employees of U.S. intelligence agencies are doing on the job. Seems members of the intelligence community check out porn, browse online dating services, hang out on social media and even engage in illegal internet activity while on the taxpayers' dime - and it happens a lot. 

The Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General oversees 16 federal intel agencies and investigated dozens of instances of spy misconduct between 2013 and 2015. The hundreds of pages released by the watchdog entity to VICE resulting from an FOIA lawsuit documented widespread contracting fraud involving millions of dollars.

A worker at Science Applications International Corporation, a Virginia-based company consisting of some 15,000 employees, admitted 95% of his time on the internet was for personal use while contracting with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The man, who spent the vast majority of his workdays emailing and instant-messaging friends, was also contracted with the National Counterintelligence Center, which collects, monitors and analyzes information on potential terrorist threats. In some instances, contractors were engaging in "sex chats" with minors. VICE reports such fraud and illegal activity involved employees assigned to highly classified intelligence programs with the NSA, CIA, and ODNI on behalf of contractors such as IBM, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boeing and General Dynamics.  

Readers of The Greys Have Been Framed will recall in Chapter 13 I explained how during the pre-Snowden years I developed suspicions intel analysts were overemphasizing various questionable threats for reasons possibly most motivated by creating job security. I suspected analysts were subsequently compiling lists of names of citizens and conducting surveillance. I speculated the UFO community was adversely effected by such circumstances, given its members commonly hold counterculture and conspiratorial perspectives. The Snowden revelations and ongoing reports of lack of accountability continue to strengthen my suspicions that, in at least some cases, UFO enthusiasts and intel assets engage in self-perpetuating and largely inconsequential exchanges, in addition to whatever more significant spy games may influence ufology.

Emails to Podesta

Meanwhile, Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been rattling the ufology cage by way of publishing private emails apparently obtained from the Clinton camp. How the leaked emails, which in some cases contain discussion of an alleged extraterrestrial presence and related matters, were obtained is not clarified. Not surprisingly, the ET-related emails surround John Podesta, a Washington VIP currently serving as Secretary Clinton's campaign chairman who publicly demonstrated a willingness to pursue the UFO topic. 

An August 18, 2015, email appears to contain a message from the late Edgar Mitchell and was sent from disclosure activist Terri Mansfield to Podesta. Mitchell mentions a war in space, adding that "our nonviolent ETI from the contiguous universe" is bringing zero point energy to the planet and will not tolerate any forms of military violence, whatever you care to make of that.

Rocker-turned-ufologist Tom DeLonge courted Podesta, as well. DeLonge apparently informed the longtime political insider that a "General McCasland" was in charge of a laboratory "up to a couple years ago" at Wright Patterson Air Force Base designated to hold Roswell crash artifacts. DeLonge described McCasland in the January 25, 2016, email as "a very important man" who helped assemble his advisory team.  

A November 16, 2015, email apparently sent from DeLonge to Podesta by way of a Clinton staffer contained a link and password to a private trailer for DeLonge's upcoming film. The clip consisted of warnings the public can't handle the truth and testimony from a silhouette figure describing knowledge of an extraterrestrial presence, among other items.

I'm not going to venture at this time to thoroughly inventory the many possible scenarios of such potentially complex dynamics involving the merging of disclosure activists, the staff of a presidential candidate, intelligence officials, and an outfit such as Wikileaks. That's a mouthful in itself, and suffice it to say it would be wise to tread lightly in forming conclusions. I will say, though, that my initial thoughts turn to possibilities of "canary in a coal mine," counterintelligence operations; intel agencies might investigate potential adversaries who demonstrate disproportionate interest in people holding security clearances in the circles kept by figures such as DeLonge. Who is feeding the young man such narratives and why might also be questioned, among other reasonable concerns.     

Dr. Jeffrey Kaye

From the "last but not least" file: In The Greys Have Been Framed I wrote about how my interest in social dynamics within the UFO community bled into exploring human rights issues. Psychologist Jeffrey Kaye was among the qualified experts and researchers whose articles I cited. Kaye recently published new work readers may find interesting, Cover-up at Guantanamo: The NCIS Investigation into the “Suicides” of Mohammed Al Hanashi and Abdul Rahman Al Amri. It is a 119-page gripping and thought provocative account of the doctor's descent into events surrounding Gitmo, including some of his personal experience. Footnotes and citations are more than adequately offered in this exploration of two of the prisoner deaths documented at the facility.

Kaye's latest work also includes scoring an FOIA win as described in a recent blog post, Documents on Guantanamo as "'America's Battle Lab' in the Global War on Terrorism". The article addresses events surrounding a formerly classified 2002 report composed by Joint Chiefs of Staff on intelligence operations at Gitmo. Even after 14 years, Kaye notes, the mission statement for the report remains classified. Additionally, all discussion of PSYOPS, or psychological operations, is redacted. 

However, Kaye's latest article contains the report and its references to interagency intelligence gathering efforts which involve use of Guantanamo as "America's battle lab". Such documents offer relevant insight into mentalities prevailing at the Pentagon and among intelligence personnel, which, in my opinion, stands to provide deeper understanding of why the intelligence and UFO communities frequently overlap: the exploitation of people and circumstances for strategic purposes, either perceived, actual or unduly inflated.