Whitley's Journal

The Goldwater UFO Files and the Mystery of the Cover-Up

Some of the late Barry Goldwater's UFO-related correspondence has recently been released, and it makes shocking reading, for a reason that I will detail in a moment. After I read it, though, I found myself thinking about the present state of the UFO mystery, how we have gotten here, and what has been lost.

When Goldwater's first letters were written, in the late 1960s, it was still possible for respected media to publish UFO stories. It didn't happen often, even then, but it did happen. Not anymore, and I think that some of Goldwater's statements, and some things revealed in his letters, tell us why it is that the media and the scientific community absolutely reject the whole subject as nonsense.

As I pointed out in Solving the Communion Enigma, one of the greatest aerospace scientists of all time, Paul Hill, wrote a book called Unconventional Flying Objects that detailed his own sightings, but which he was not allowed by his employer, NASA, to publish in his lifetime. One of his sightings is among those that Project Blue Book admits remains unresolved. Had a man with such authority in aerospace been allowed to advocate for his discoveries, this might be a very different world. But NASA somehow censored him, and by the time his daughter discovered the manuscript and got it published, death had silenced him.

In a 1967 letter to a reported for the Bradenton, Florida Herald, Goldwater says, "The policy of the Air Force is to allow no one to see the UFO files at Wright-Patterson and, frankly, I can't argue with this regulation at all. I did attempt to get in but I was told that no one was allowed and I can understand the sensitive and secret nature of these files so I didn't press the point."

But that would not seem to be entirely true. He may have pressed the point a bit harder than he was willing to tell the reporter. The most telling of the Goldwater letters are two to Dr. James E. McDonald, a senior physicist at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Arizona. Dr. McDonald, who later committed suicide, was a tireless UFO researcher. He says to McDonald in a 1968 letter, "Frankly, I am a little surprised to lear than you had such ease in seeing the files at Wright Patterson because I have been denied that privilege by people as high as General LeMay."

Going all the way to the Air Force Chief of Staff would, I think, qualify as pressing the point, and pressing it hard.

In a 1974 letter to UFO investigator Leonard Stringfield, he says, "I mand a effort to get in the room at Wright-Patterson Field where the information was stored, and I was denied this request, understandably."

From these comments, there can be little question that he knew about the 'blue room' where secret UFO information is, or was, stored at Wright-Patterson. He also knew that this information was classified, and therefore was not willing to press the matter. He says, in 1974, to a Mr. C. William George, "I have no information on UFOs that it not available to you and I'm not aware exactly of what the Air Force might have and I will not make inquiries until they are willing to downgrade the classification."

In 1973, he wrote to Norman Payne of Payne Aviation that "There is no US Government group dedicated to observing or studying unidentified flying objects. The US Air Force gave up its efforts some years ago."

So, according to these various statements, in 1974 the matter was still so highly classified that Senator Goldwater would not even query the Air Force about it. But in 1973, he was saying that the Air Force "gave up its efforts some years ago."

Both things, I think, could be true. In fact, I suspect that they are true, and that they are one of the primary reasons for the long years not only of denial, but also of persecution of people who threaten the system in any serious way.

In the Senator's papers there is a very telling series of letters and some additional documentation from a UN employee, a US citizen called Colman VonKeviczy, whose life was methodically destroyed after he suggested that the UN investigate UFOs. He presented an analysis of non-terrestrial space craft to U Thant and his cabinet. Immediately thereafter he was forced to take a compulsory vacation. When he returned, he had a conference with C. V. Narasimhan, U Thant's Cabinet Chief, regarding the "establishment of a UFO analytic group within the UN secretariat." He was then dismissed from the service and spent the next five years protesting his dismissal, which was allegedly for age-related reasons when, in fact, the UN routinely kept on employees past the 60 year retirement age if their service continued to be wanted.

Once again, in 1978, when reporter Lee Speigel enlisted the Grenada's Prime Minister, Eric Gairy, to back an effort to present UFO information at the United Nations, the US government was a behind the scenes opponent, and the British government actively attempted to prevent the presentation from moving ahead. In a document referring to Speigel's effort and Gairy's previous efforts to involve the UN, a US Mission employee commented, "Last year Grenada requested our support and Misoff had to scramble hard behind the scenes to water down the resolution and, in effect, delay the vote for one year. As Project Blue Book had already been completed by that time and the US Air Force had allegedly left the field entirely as there was nothing of any significance happening, why would the US care one way or another whether or not the head of a small nation gathered UFO experts at the UN?

But it did care, and very much, and there is a very clear pattern, at this point, of sub-rosa attempts to suppress this information. In Dr. Hill's book, he comments that NASA did not want him to draw attention to his UFO interest while an employee, and that he expected to publish after his retirement. But that is not what happened. Instead, the manuscript was found among his personal effects after he died. So additional pressure must have been put on him. Additionally, VonKeviczy's effort to enlist the UN in the discussion was obviously met with firm resistance from the US. He not only lost his UN position, but was shut out of the US corporate world as well. In 1970, he wrote, in a despairing letter to President Nixon, "I am repeatedly requesting your respected attention and prompt action concerning my moral, and full financial rehabilitation for my lost career at the United Nations, and the loss of numerous career job opportunities at wealthy US corporations."

Right now, if I called up a reporter at the New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC, CNN, Fox or any major media outlet and suggested a story on UFOs, I would be, at best, treated with condescension. The US government has had its way: the intellectual establishment, across the board, rejects the idea the UFOs are anything more than folklore. The suppression is so total that not even social scientists can get grants to study UFO stories as modern folklore. (The reason, of course, is that, if they engage in such study, they will soon realize that folklore is not the answer.)

When we were at the International UFO Conference last weekend in Phoenix, we saw a presentation by Chilean Air Force General Ricardo Bermudez of the Committee of the Study of Anomalous Aeronautical Phenomena, who showed videos that had been anlyzed at a professional level of skill as part of Chile's ongoing official effort to document the phenomenon in its airspace. I was interested to find that General Bermudez is hoping to take the issue to the United Nations once again, and wondered what sort of resistance the US government will offer this time.

People are constantly asking why the US is so resistant, and it's a very interesting question for which there are probably a number of answers. One, that is almost certainly true, is that, if even the slightest official acknowledgement of the reality of these objects is made, then it will also be necessary to admit that they cannot be controlled in any significant way, and possibly that mistakes made in the past, shooting at them and confronting them with armed resistance, have caused them to present a belligerent face to mankind that might not have been done, had we acted early on in a more carefully considered manner.

In other words, the Air Force, in the early days, essentially ruined contact, then discovered that our visitors had, instead of leaving, simply altered their agenda. There followed, perhaps, a long effort on their part to determine what was wrong with us that led to abductions and worse, and has now left us more or less isolated from help at a time when, as will be seen in a few years, we are in absolutely desperate need.

There might be another reason, also, one which has profoundly affected me and colored my own work. It is the notion that there is a social tripwire somewhere that, if we ever cross it, will enable the visitors compltely unfettered access to our reality, which, for whatever reason, they cannot get until we grant it to them.

Government admission that they are real might be such a tripwire, which would explain the long-standing official policy of absolute, blanket denial. However, gradual public acceptance might work just as well, which would explain the pro-active efforts to suppress any really convincing arguments for their existence to be put forward, and what appears to have been a long standing effort to suppress meaningful reporting on the matter and scientific research of any kind.

In 1988, I had a couple of conversations with General Arthur Exon, who was an old friend of one of my uncles and was then the retired commandant of Wright-Patterson. He told me that, far from getting out of the UFO business with the publication of the Condon Report, there was still a scientific effort going on to understand the debris that had been found at Roswell and other materials that had been obtained since then. He also said, of the secrecy, that there had been "speculation" put forth in a short memo by a famous sicentist in 1952 to the effect that, if they were from a parallel universe rather than another planet, they might not be able to fully invest themselves in our reality until and if our assumption that they are real becomes as fundamental as our assumption that another person or a table or anything around us is real.

It didn't take me long to determine that this scientist was probably John von Neumann, who wrote brlliantly on the 'qantum perception problem' and also created the idea of the 'Von Neumann Machine,' which would be a machine set to travel the galaxy and replicate the species that created it every time it found a planet suitable for their habitation. It would contain a complete 'image' of the species and be able to artifically grown living representatives of it.

When I was face to face with the visitors, I was often struck by their uncanny combination of rich emotional affect and machine-like precision, and I have wondered if von Newmann might not have been speculating at all, but might have known that such a machine had arrived here.

But speculations about machine intelligence are for another commentary. If you want to know what I think about this possibility, read my novel Hybrids. (Or even, if you don't, spring for it anyway. If you're an Unknowncountry subscriber, you can use the coupon provided in the subscriber area to get it for a dollar plus shipping.)

In any case, General Exon's brief comment really worried me. So much so that I wrote a story about Dr. von Neumann called the Open Doors, which speculates about the horrible conundrum that his speculation (if it was his) presents: we cannot know what is behind the door to the visitors until we open it by officially admitting that they are real, but once it is opened, it can never be closed again.

This has colored the entire body of my own work. It's why I will never allow myself to be pinned down. It's why I say, again and again, that we must keep the whole thing in question--while at the same time describing my own experiences in as much detail and with as much accuracy as I can manage.

It is also why we collect, on this website, narratives of close encounter and why Anne was inspired to read so many thousands of such narratives on behalf of both of us. We have been trying for years to get a look behind the door without opening it, and to help others, including, hopefully, some in official positions, to get the same sort of glimpse.

What have we found? First, something that is, if anything, more various and complex than we are, both individually and socially. If these beings have been grown in a von Neumann machine, its designers did a very good job. Second, we have seen that the rules of being on the other side of the door are radically different from those on this one. Our visitors are not 'alive' in the same way that we are. For them, reality is a continuity of some sort. There is no barrier between the living and the dead. Among them the perception of 'the dead' doesn't even exist, I don't think. And when we draw close to them, the barrier drops for us, too.

One is left, though, with the notion that both our religious proposition, with its elaborate pantheons and complicated moral rules, and our secular proposition, that there is nothing but the physical world, are both so profoundly flawed as to be most accurately described as fallacies.

As I have said in these pages before, I think that it's probable that, at some point, whatever wall now exists between us and this other consiciousness, is going to collapse. I believe that, after a long, slow period of change, it is apt to happen quite suddenly. Whether that will happen in five minutes or five thousand years, I don't know.

But it will happen. Inevitably. Certainly. Or they would not be here, and they would not be acting as they do. Of that I have little doubt. 

There is problems with the Roswell story:
that said, the vast amount of testimony of alien contact cannot be denied by any sane openminded human. I had believed in the "Philadelphia Experiment" in 25 years only to find out it didn't happen (investigator on TV) and: http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4016

All I'm saying is that if anyone wants to believe in a Roswell UFO they have to explain why Brian Dunning (from skeptoid) is wrong. I don't agree with Brian Dunning on everything, he dismisses too many things, but he lists some facts regarding Roswell that doesn't add up. And if Roswell falls apart so does a lot of other things (from Corso and Friedmann right?). So why is Brian Dunning wrong and Your uncle not misinformed? Thank You (if You have the time to answer).
Everything is not a conspiracy, sometimes people just don't believe that the pyramids are a heavenly stargate to the realms of cosmic consioussnes or that a missile hit the WTC. Sometimes it is me who are the sheep.

I believe in the Roswell story because my uncle was one of the people who analyzed the debris at Wright Field in 1947, and his commanding officer, Gen. Art Exon told me personally, "everyone from Truman on down knew that what we had found was not of this world within twenty-four hours of our finding it." That's the truth, as far as I am concerned. Why would my uncle lie to me? Why would a lifelong family friend? The answer is, they told the truth, and all of these elegant "skeptoid" stories are the exact opposite of the truth.

It's no secret that you can spin any story any which way you choose, so long as you leave out a key piece of information or two, and all of the arguments against the Roswell crash case have proven the rule, rather than the exception. Dunning is continuing this age-old tradition, and blatantly so. The problem with his argument is summed up in this (otherwise false) statement:
"Virtually all popular details of the story of an alien crash at Roswell are based upon the personal recollections of Glenn Dennis."
And this is ALL he discusses, the Glen Dennis angle. Dunning doesn't even address the testimony of the dozens of witnesses that came forward before Dennis, including, but far from limited to, an USAAF intelligence expert that handled the material--of whom couldn't identify the material--namely, then Major Jessie Marcel. Nor does Dunning actually address the circumstances that led to the famous news release, what happened afterward.
Not to mention, I have a lot of trouble taking seriously authors that resort to name-calling, in place of a valid argument.
I could blather on about the details regarding the Roswell case, but, by-and-large, I'd be preaching to the choir here. For an excellent (and far more serious) collection of articles discussing the case, visit: http://www.ufoevidence.org/topics/roswell.htm

Thank You, never mind Roswell. It is not that interesting compared to tripwires, the dead are not dead and the rules behind the door. Reminds me of Carlos Castaneda's books. A separate reality indeed. Much like the spirit world of some native tribes. Which until You experience them or really read about them are just words without meaning. I remember Carlos and his female companion allmost becomming lost in another world because they came close to forgetting where they came from (this world). Maybe the alien world would be like being dead (aka a drifting spirit??) or being on drugs if we encountered it raw. One thing is for sure, there really are weird worlds out there of the grays, the dead, the shamans and maybe more. I don't go there but find it interesting. Since "The Key" book I know I have a soul and cheer every day! One more word that now has meaning.

Skeptics are not witnesses. They people who pass judgement on other people's experiences. And it is based on their desire to not see the world in any other way than the one that they feel superior in. They also have the hardest time adjusting to truth when it knocks on their door.

@ Dani

Excellent points, Dani.
Thank you.

How can I obtain a copy of Whitley's story "Open Doors"?


The "Open Doors" novella is available in the Special Collection section as a PDF, and as a two-part mp3 audiobook in Whitley's Room.

Keep the question open…quite possibly the very best reason for the secrecy we’re seeing. And I think I’m able to argue that there’s good reasoning behind it. I posit the following:
1. First impressions are the most lasting impressions
2. A thing can only be understood to the extent there exist concepts that may be ascribed it

Lacking the required concepts, or more accurately, the memes, to which to describe these “others” we are left 3 options:
Grossly distort their reality by choosing to identify them with wholly primitive labels (e.g. space aliens) that conjure fear and suspicion.
Preclude it altogether as unfathomable and seek to revere it
Admit that any perceptions you have of the phenomena are incorrect, while accepting the extraordinary intellectual effort necessary to understanding it.

If there were disclosure today which option do you think most people would choose. Pure speculation on my part but I’d gather that 99.99999% of the folk out there would choose 1 and 2. So how would “they” deal with that? Mass-marketing? Even for “them” some things are impossible; if you’ve a populace lacking the internal lexicon to appreciate the phenomenon you’ve little opportunity to constructively dialogue and without dialogue you become a menacing threat. Millions of years of successful evolution have left us with an otherwise useful reaction -- where comprehension fails the next best things are to fight or flee.

How would it ever be possible for such a complicated phenomenon to introduce to introduce itself to this society? Well I think we’re seeing it in process now, seeking to avoid universal and limiting prejudice while slowly introducing concepts that will eventually make some form of communication possible if and when full revelation occurs. A geologically slow revelation…taking many thousands of years. Starved for conversation this bunch seems

Maximizing the effectiveness of this long revelation process is where the dire secrecy comes into play. I don’t see otherwise sane governments making pronouncements like “we can’t tell you, it would ruin the surprise” anytime soon. Worse yet, officially sanctioned statements would only serve to explain this phenomenon as everything it’s not, something unavoidable in common public dialogue. I believe it’s a very small group of people from an even smaller set of governments that truly recognize the risks and rewards of the situation. I also think they’d not hesitate to kill to protect the secret. If I understand the situation correctly I can’t blame them.

When we can know them, we will know them. Until then, we just have to keep guessing. But I’m terribly afraid that this process is being rushed by some unavoidable catastrophe.

Dani, I've found this to be true, myself. In my hometown newspaper chat forum there is a tag-team of narcissistic and mean-spirited men who belittle the experiences of others and pride themselves in their skeptic abilities. They are very good at debate and argument, but...short on real life experience. The fella even got angry at me when I asked him to expound on the incidents he claimed he'd had that led him to investigate and thus come eventually to skepticism. He claimed that was "distracting" from the real discussion. I suspect he had not really had any experiences with psi or other unexplainable phenomenon. One woman replied to them that they seemed to value only something that can be proven scientifically in a lab, and she wondered how they were able to get through a day intact without going on gut feeling or instinct at some point.

For myself, I know what I have seen, alone, and with others. I don't care, really, if anyone believes me. I know it wasn't a phenomenon that can be explained by our current knowledge of science. In time, more will be revealed.

Thanks for this discussion, I am so acutely aware of those that are interested in this topic and those that have had expereinces vs. those that adamantly refuse to even talk about this or open up to it. Has anyone read an article about any research on those that donot believe or who will not talk about this?? For example I was at a dinner table here in Los Angeles and the hostes of the dinner party responded to a guest who wanted to talk about UFOS, "There will be NO talk of UFO's in this house!". She was the daughter of an Airforce Officer out of Nevada. She suddenly got up form the table and ran into the kitchen. One of the guests then said,"Well I guess the rest of you want to hear my story ? AND of course they were very itnerested and he shared his sighting he had while driving near a small river in a twon in Ohio some yers ago. I can say from of my own expereinces I had back in the 70's, my previous husband was so terrified about just me talking about it...and as Whitely says above we have to talk...we have too.. it all lead to the divorce. I have become curious now about those that will not open up and or talk and I wonder now about "who they really are" It just adds another demension to this body of research so to speak. joylight

In regards to the period of adjustment to a new reality: At work a month or so ago a friend offered me an Australian woman's magazine to look at during a lull in our work.
Tucked in among all the recipes and celebrity gossip was an article about two Australian women who (separately) have had contact with UFOs. One of them draws pictures based on strange hieroglyphs. This was all told in a very matter-of-fact manner with no hint of irony or criticism - as if it were just another variety of interesting experience. Australia is a very secular country and there is not the same danger of being accused of doing the devil's work etc as this type of magazine might run in America, as religious fundamentalism is not a strong force here. But it showed that acceptance of what was once a taboo subject seems to be simply sliding into our reality without a great deal of fanfare or publicity. The magazine was not in any way 'alternative' or 'New Age' and obviously reflecting what the editors thought its readership might be interested in.

I was rather taken by Whitley's idea in one of his novels that the world governments may be being forced to suppress any mention of the visitors as a specific demand by the visitors themselves rather than the other way round. At the moment there are so many possible explanations - but it does seem that something has to give soon.

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