Dr. Steven Greer and members of CSETI (Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and Project Starlight hosted a series of invitation-only events in Washington, DC in early April for the purpose of presenting eyewitness testimony and documents on UFOs to interested members of Congress and other government leaders. Greer hopes this and followup efforts will result in Congressional hearings on the UFO controversy.
Immediately following the events, which occurred mainly on April 9 and 10, 1997, Greer issued a number of reports and press releases which have circulated widely on the internet. As might be expected, the mainstream press mostly ignored the story -- mostly, but not entirely. A number of major news publications actually covered the events in some depth, including U.S. News & World Report (4/14 issue) and the Fort Worth Star Telegram (Ft. Worth, Texas, 4/15). One of the best stories ran in the London Sunday Times on April 27, 1997. The full text of that story is presented below.
But not everyone was pleased with Greer's efforts, notably MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) headquarters in Seguin, Texas. MUFON issued a memo suggesting Greer might have done more harm than good, and might have misappropriated UFO briefing documents as well. The text of MUFON's statement follows the Sunday Times story.
One of the least expected responses came from well-known UFO skeptic James Oberg, who said he was favorably impressed with Greer's efforts and offered some ideas for further action. CNI News thanks Mr. Oberg for permission to reprint his statement as the concluding part of this story.
[Note: The following texts are reprinted as originally received and may contain minor factual errors.]
UFO GROUP WANTS CONGRESS TO EXAMINE "PROOF" OF ALIENS
The Sunday Times
April 27, 1997
An American UFO research group says it will go public with its evidence of aliens if a congressional hearing is not held into the existence of extraterrestrial spacecraft.
The Centre for the Study of ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (CSETI) claims to have 50 witnesses of UFOs who have, or have had, high-level security clearance positions in America's armed forces, intelligence services and military contractors.
The hearing would be needed because it would protect witnesses who would be breaking national-security oaths if they gave evidence elsewhere. Also, a congressional hearing could subpoena additional witnesses who could be imprisoned if they lied under oath.
Steven Greer, a casualty doctor who is the leader of CSETI, arranged a briefing this month at which he claimed representatives from 30 congressmen's offices were present, including several congressmen.
Greer says 11 people told the briefing of their encounters with UFOs. He hopes that those who attended will take CSETI's claims more seriously and back his call for a full hearing.
"We're not asking anybody suddenly to believe in UFOs, because nine out of every 10 times, what you hear is absolute rubbish," says Greer. "We just want them to see there is sufficient evidence to warrant a hearing where we can present our case. That is all we are asking. We hope at least one of them is brave enough to back us."
Greer claims to have photographic, video and documentary evidence that shows the military has tracked and even recovered UFO craft, as well as their occupants.
Greer's campaign has the backing of Edgar Mitchell, a former astronaut who in 1971 became the sixth man to walk on the moon.
"The body of evidence is just so overwhelming," says Mitchell. "The real thing here is that the witnesses are not just everyday people who have seen a UFO. These people have had top-security clearance within the military and their contractors. They deserve to be able to tell Congress what they know so we can begin to get to the bottom of this thing."
Greer claims that among his witnesses is a man who held a senior position in the intelligence unit at the MacGuire airforce base in 1978 when an alien that had left his craft was allegedly shot dead and taken to a top-secret corner of the Wright Patterson air base.
There is also a high-ranking officer who was part of a team that tracked a massive craft, which, he claims, was capable of travelling the length of the American coast in a single sweep of the radar.
He also claims to have material samples that levitate when placed in an electric field and which a government expert has certified as not being of earth origin.
Greer is not willing to reveal the identity of any of his witnesses. He says this is to protect those who, if approached, would be forced to break their national-security oaths.
If a congressional hearing is not forthcoming within the next few months, though, he claims that some of his witnesses are still willing to come forward to tell of their experiences. Greer says his approach has been to gather a group of witnesses relating to several events rather than concentrate on a single sighting. This he believes will confront a hearing with a mass of evidence at the same time as allowing witnesses to come forward as a single group.
Despite Greer claiming those present at his briefing were "shocked" by the evidence that was presented, no congressman has yet backed his appeal for a full hearing.
[The following statement was issued on April 26 by "MUFON Staff" at "MUFON HQ," in Seguin, Texas. Thanks to Ed Komarek of Operation Right to Know and Skye Turell for circulating this memo.]
MUFON wants everyone on this list to know that Greer is not the only person or group that is trying to work on capital hill.
The UFO Research Coalition [MUFON, Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) and Fund for UFO Research (FUFOR)] has been working for over two years at grooming contacts in Washington, and we are sure Greer was aware of that. It has been brought to our attention that the briefing document Greer used looks very much like the one we paid to have put together. If he did use our material he did it without permission and against our wishes. [This is a reference to "The Unidentified Flying Objects Briefing Document" published in 1996 with the financial backing of Laurance Rockefeller.]
We have not fully assessed the impact of Greer's overstated claims, or the validity of the claimed witnesses he presented, but our suspicion is that he has set back our 2 years of efforts, creating work instead of making progress. Since the press seemed to ignore the Greer move we hope that this is an indicator that only a little damage was done.
If Greer really wants to do something, he needs to persuade his money support to get behind our effort, so we can make some real progress with a common sense, conservative, well thought through planned approach using people that know there [sic] way around, and know how to conduct themselves.
Any one having deep detail as to what went on in Washington; who was there, by name and position, and who said what, or any other details that would allow us to make a damage assessment, it would be appreciated if you would pass it to us.
[A completely different kind of response comes from James Oberg, reprinted here with his permission. Mr. Oberg, considered by some UFO researchers to be an arch debunker like Phil Klass, describes himself as follows:
"I am a lifelong UFO buff, a founding fellow of CSICOP and longtime associate of Phil Klass, a colleague and friend of J. A. Hynek from Northwestern days, am fascinated with the folklore aspects of the UFO beliefs in our culture, and a specialist in spaceflight operations, both American and Russian... My book 'UFOs and Outer Space Mysteries', Donning Press, 1982, is subtitled 'Suggestions from a sympathetic skeptic', and that's how I still see myself."
Mr. Oberg's letter contains highly intriguing references to government use of UFO information for purposes largely unanticipated or ignored by UFO researchers. His full text follows.]
Open letter to Dr. Greer of CSETI:
I applaud CSETI's efforts to strip away the "government secrets prosecution" barrier to the disclosure of people's stories about UFO experiences and I fully support the call for a government declaration that all legal constraints against disclosure be dissolved. I've always felt that claims of fear of such prosecution as an excuse by people not to "go public" was often merely a gimmick not to have to take responsibility for the authenticity of such stories, since as far as I've been able to tell -- and through OMNI's "Project Open Book" we searched far and wide for examples -- nobody has ever been arrested or charged -- much less convicted and sentenced -- for actually doing so.
But don't stop merely with legalizing disclosure of all -- if any -- government secrets about "real UFOs". I believe there is a far more valuable body of "secrets" that will help understand the decades of UFO phenomena that the world has experienced. This deals with government-related activities which directly or indirectly led to public perceptions that UFOs might be real when they weren't. Sometimes these actions were carefully orchestrated in advance, sometimes they were localized impromptu ad hoc damage-limitation tactics. But from my own experience, they seem to have played a tremendous and widely unappreciated role in inciting and enflaming public interests in UFOs while deflecting public attention from real highly-classified government activities.
I'm referring to situations where government representatives -- officials, military officers, any employees -- used "UFO" as a convenient camouflage for other official classified activities (such as retrieval of crashed aircraft or nuclear weapons or other objects), or used artificial "UFO stories" (in oral, written, photographic, film, etc.) form as "tracers" in studying the function of security safeguards and personnel psychological responses, or used "UFO" as an excuse (either intended or accidental) to cover-up improper, forbidden, or diplomatically delicate activities (such as aviation incidents involving dangerous accidental or deliberate close passes or intercepts of civilian airliners, or overseas excursions of agents on intelligence missions where deflection of local perceptions was useful, or to conceal from the country of origin the possession of foreign military hardware), or played pranks and jokes on intended or accidental targets, or any other activity that the government -- or any part of it -- wanted to keep hidden, knowing that having it thought of as "UFO-related" would consign it to the never-never-land of myth and nuttiness, thus keeping mainstream media attention to a minimum. And it's worked!!
Please include such "UFO secrets" in your list of disclosure demands, and ask that any government personnel involved in the use (or misuse and abuse) of such practices be immune from any government prosecution for the actions which led them to take such measures. Once such immunity is verifiably granted, I have my own list of people who have privately talked to me over the years and who were involved in government activities leading to a number of well-known "UFO cases", which can be released and which can help understand where and how much of today's UFO mythology originated.
This is a serious proposal deserving of serious consideration, and promises immensely fruitful results.
Original file name: CNI - CSETI.Times/Oberg
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