[Texas-based writer Jim Marrs is perhaps best known for his landmark, bestselling study of the JFK assassination, "Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy," which became a key source for the controversial Oliver Stone film JFK. In "Crossfire," Marrs proved that he is a meticulous, thoughtful investigative journalist daring enough to insist that President Kennedy was killed by an organized team of assassins with links to the underworld as well as to various intelligence agencies.
More recently, Marrs turned his attention to the equally controversial subject of UFOs and alien contact. The result is "Alien Agenda: Investigating the Extraterrestrial Presence Among Us" (HarperCollins, 1997), regarded by many reviewers as the best UFO book of 1997 and perhaps the best general UFO study to come along since Timothy Good's "Above Top Secret" a decade ago.
CNI News editor Michael Lindemann interviewed Jim Marrs by phone on February 7, 1998, while Marrs was participating in the International UFO Congress in Laughlin, Nevada.]
Michael Lindemann: What you got you started researching UFOs?
Jim Marrs: I don't consider myself a UFO researcher. I'm a journalist. That's my training and my career. But a journalist isn't necessarily stuck in one area. Believe it or not, the connecting point was my work on the JFK assassination which, as I think is becoming obvious to most people now, involves a big government cover-up. As I went around the country, I asked people, "What do you think is the NEXT big, deep, dark secret government cover-up?" And almost unanimously, people would say, "We want to know about UFOs." I think there is a great desire for information out there. But it's the same problem as with the JFK assassination. There is so much contradictory information that the average person just finally gets confused and says, "Aw, I don't think I want to hear about that anymore." It is tough fighting your way through this morass of claim and counterclaim, charge and countercharge. But it is not apathy. You know as well as I do that people do care. People are really looking for legitimate, credible sources of information, and I am trying to provide that.
ML: When did you actually start working on this book project?
JM: I know it seems like I'm a Johnny-come-lately, but that's really not the case. I've been actively looking and researching the UFO situation since I was a young guy in the 1950s. But where it finally got to the point of "let's focus on this" was about 1992-93, when I was investigating the U.S. Army's remote viewing program. Once I found out and was satisfied that this [remote viewing] was legitimate, then I suddenly realized that every single government-trained remote viewer had had contact and knowledge of UFOs. The way that worked was, they had what they called open searches. Instead of being sent to look at a particular target, they would be sent just to see what's going on, particularly looking for high-performance, high-flying aircraft. Well, they would go up, see these things flitting through the skies, go take a look at them mentally and, as one of them said, "They weren't the Russians, and they weren't us. They weren't even from the neighorhood."
ML: Give us one specific instance of this. Who was the remote viewer, and what was the incident?
JM: This fascinating incident, to me, proves that there's something going on. One of the best remote viewers they had was one of the earliest, a man by the name of Mel Riley, who tells this story. Keep in mind that they were never officially tasked by the government to go look at these things. According to the government, [UFOs] didn't exist, and most of their superiors didn't even want to hear about it. But they would see something here, something there, and they all finally agreed that there seems to be a method to this madness. These aren't just things coming and going with no apparent reason. There is some sort of underlying purpose, a controlling aspect to all this.
So Mel and some others decided, "Well, let's cut to the chase. Let's go right to the headquarters, to the central controlling point, and see what's going on here." For want of a better expression -- and please understand that this is not reality, this is just what they called it -- they called it Intergalactic Federation Headquarters. Mel Riley went on a formal remote viewing study. I have a copy of the report. He said he found himself on a distant world. There was a high plateau. There was a mountain range ringing the whole thing, and a very placid lake. The whole scene reminded him of pictures he had seen of Lake Titicaca. He said that on this plateau was a huge ziggurat or pyramid, and a long ramp leading up to a doorway on this thing, flanked on both sides by two tall obelisks. He said that he mentally went up the ramp into this thing, and there was a huge central chamber with a dias or an alter in the center of the room, which he went and lay upon. There was a light that came down from the ceiling. He felt very warm, very loved, very much at home, and also had a very distinct feeling that he had been there before. That's all in his report. This was done back in the late 1980s, I guess.
In the mid-1990s, I met a man who had been practicing remote viewing for about 20 years, and has been tested and is obviously very good at it. He had no connection to the military program, and had never met Mel Riley -- didn't even know the name. I was having lunch with this fellow, and he began to say that there was a controlling point out in the galaxy. I laughed and said, "Kind of like Galactic Federation Headquarters?" He laughed and said, "Yes, I guess you could say that." So I asked if he'd gone and looked at that place, and he said yes. I asked him what it looked like. He said, "Well, it's on a high plateau on a distant world, with high mountain ranges around it and a still, quiet lake, and there's this tall pyramid with a long ramp going up with two obelisks on either side. And when you go inside there's this huge vaulted room and a raised portion in the center of the room. And a light comes down, and the light changes color depending on the person who's in the room." My mouth was just hanging open, because here is an exact repetition of the description that had come from a government-trained remote viewer. Now,what's going on here? Either this is some kind of heretofore undiagnosed contagious psychosis, or you've got these two people describing the same thing, which means that they were looking at some sort of objective reality outside of this planet.
ML: I'm obliged to play devil's advocate here. You're a first-rate journalist, so I'm sure you thought of this yourself, but what are the chances that the second man had seen Mel Riley's report?
JM: You can always say that's a possibility, but to the best of my knowledge, he had no knowledge of those military guys and absolutely no opportunity to have seen that report. Besides that, I would think that, unless he was on a conscious mission of deception or disinformation, that he would have started off saying that he had seen a report years ago and then went there himself. He would have included that if he was an honest person, and I happen to believe he is an honest person.
You asked for one example, and that's one example. I should add, since you're playing devil's advocate, that I could give you a hundred examples like that. It's [because of] the cumulative effect that you finally begin to go, "Whoa, wait a minute, there's something really going on here."
ML: I understand that while attending the UFO Congress in Laughlin, Nevada, you heard remote viewer F.H. "Skip" Atwater, Research Director at Monroe Institute, whose lecture was titled, "Using Remote Viewing to Access UFO and High Strangeness Targets." Give us a thumbnail idea of what he said.
JM: If there [had been] any real news media around, they should have had somebody covering this. And the headline would have stated: "Decorated Military Intelligence Officer Confirms Four Alien Bases On the Earth." Basically, Skip Atwater, who was the operations officer for the military remote viewing unit I've been talking about, said that one of the best people they had was a former police officer by the name of Pat Price. Price was instrumental back in the 1970s in developing the protocols and technology for using remote viewing, the ability to see persons, places and things outside of the normal five senses. The fact is that first the CIA and then the U.S. Army and the Defense Intelligence Agency continued to fund and use this operationally for a quarter of a century, through four administrations, so obviously somebody thought they were getting something out of it. Skip Atwater, who was operations officer, I believe, from the early 1980s to the late 1980s, said that Pat Price, without being asked -- this was not something that tax money was used for -- came up one day and handed him a report and said he had found something interesting. Using remote viewing, he said, he had found four bases on this planet that were staffed by people he said were not human. One of them was Mount Hayes in Alaska [southeast of Fairbanks], one was a mountain in the Pyrenees near the border of Spain and France, another was in Zimbabwe, Africa, and the fourth one was at the bottom of the ocean, out in the Pacific. At each of these, he said, there were different things going on. One seemed to be an observation point, one seemed to be a maintenance and service area for what he called "flying units." The ocean one was an R&R facility, he said, where personnel from the other three bases could come and relax. He described some of the equipment he saw in these. And keep in mind, this was all back in the 1970s.
Skip said that somewhere in the mid-1980s, before he left the remote viewing unit, one of the things he was tasked to do was to train these remote viewers and to occasionally give them "challenging targets." He remembered the report he had gotten from Pat Price, so he targeted several of the remote viewers -- I think, if I'm not mistake, Mel Riley was also part of this project. You have to understand that to prevent any "front-loading" or preconceived ideas of what it is they're looking at, they use what they call coordinate remote viewing, which means they were simply given a set of numbers representing the target. Just by looking at these numbers, they had no idea what the target was. So several of these remote viewers were targeted to these bases, and lo and behold, they came back and wrote very similar descriptions of the very same thing that Pat Price had said. So Atwater is saying that they confirmed what this very good remote viewer had seen: four alien bases still operating on this planet today.
I'm a reporter and journalist. I'm telling you what was said. And the thing that torques me off is that this is a story from a credible person connected to a credible government program who was using credible, established protocols -- and saying there's four alien bases on this planet -- yet that information doesn't seem to go anywhere.
ML: Like so much UFO evidence from apparently credible sources, it falls on deaf ears. But you alluded to aliens in these bases, and I know you've been exposed to a great many claims and theories about alien activity on this planet. What conclusions have you drawn about the so-called aliens? In your view, are they real? If so, are they of one type, several types, many types? And what kinds of alleged alien activities do you take seriously?
JM: Based on my studies, the conclusion I've come to, number one, is that there is just abundant intelligent life throughout the universe. But I don't think that most of it has anything to do with us. We're just a backwater world around a third rate sun at the edge of the Milky Way galaxy. Based on everything I know, I believe that at the current time there are several dozen E.T. races interacting with the earth. Some are working in concert, some are working in conflict. But it's not a war in the sense we think of war, where they're trying to annihilate each other. One of the remote viewers who looked at this situation may have accurately described it when he said that it's more like a dog-fight. One faction wants their views to dominate over another faction. They're not out to destroy or kill each other, they simply want the other side to yield. Unfortunately, it seems to me that the hawkish, conservative faction of these E.T.s, which is not necessarily overtly hostile to humans but really doesn't take our presence much into consideration, seems to be the very faction that may have had contact, and may be in some way working with certain people within our government leadership. And these very people are the conservative, hawkish faction too. I don't think that either of them are necessarily working toward the benefit of the general public.
ML: Overall, do you see a danger to the human future in the way these activities are being conducted? There are, of course, some people who think we're in an "end-game" -- especially the abduction scenario -- leading toward a decimation of the human race. What do you see in this regard?
JM: I tend to take a more positive attitude. I think one of the real ironies today is that at the very time when our society and culture is starting to wrestle with the ethical and moral questions concerning DNA gene splicing and cloning, that we are now coming to the understanding that very probably that's where we came from. But even if we were created as a slave race 250,000 years ago by aliens [a reference to the theory of Zecharia Sitchin described in "The Twelfth Planet," "Genesis Revisited" and other books] -- even if that happens to be true -- so what? We have to use common sense here. If there were alien races out there who wanted to come and somehow enslave this world, particularly in an overt fashion, I think they would have done it long before now. The historical record shows that this alien presence has been here since before the recorded history of mankind. Surely they wouldn't have waited until we've got the capability of going off planet, laser weaponry and so forth. They wouldn't have waited until now. So I don't see any reason to get overly fearful at this point.
Fear seems to be the key word here. Fear leads to all the hatred, violence, everything that's plaguing this world. I think that there are people -- both E.T.s and human leaders -- who are promoting fear and divisiveness. You've heard for years [that] the reason our leadership is maintaining such secrecy about UFOs is that they fear "social disruption," disruption of the financial and religious systems and all that. I think it's the exact opposite. If you stop and look at what happens when there's a major catastrophe, a hurricane, a flood -- what happens? Does everyone go berserk and start looting? No. They pull together and put their petty differences aside and begin to work in concert for the betterment of the community. THAT's what [our leaders] fear. They don't want us getting together, comparing notes, figuring out what's really going on and working for the benefit of everybody. They want to keep the status quo as it is, so that they can maintain their power, wealth and position.
ML: Since you spent a lot of time investigating the Kennedy assassination as well as the UFO subject, you obviously have a very developed view of the nature of high-level conspiracy or collusion in government to maintain control and to hide the truth. But where, do you think, is the core of this alleged conspiracy? Where does it reside, who's in charge, and what's the bottom-line agenda, as you see it?
JM: There are layers within layers. The top level and the most obvious explanation -- the one I give when I have a 15-second sound bite -- is that it's obvious from the government documents that have been obtained that the military and intelligence chiefs are predominently in charge of the UFO issue. To that mindset, UFOs represent advanced technology, and as such they view this as potential weapons. Therefore it's got to be kept a deep dark secret so that they can maintain control over this technology and see to it that our enemies don't get it. But that's a superficial explanation. It goes deeper than that, because you have to consider who really pulls the chain of the military and the defense agencies in this country. It would have to come back to what Eisenhower called the Military Industrial Complex. It is the business and corporate people who really control this country. And what they are playing on, largely, is a human predeliction to not want to break up the status quo. We're all more comfortable with what we really know, going about our daily routines. I'm the same way. And that has led to widespread self-denial as to the reality of UFOs and extraterrestrials. That's been compounded by a conscious government effort, a campaign of dismissal and ridicule, beginning in the 1950s. That has been very effective in keeping this issue off the table.
ML: Do you see any change in the pattern of public denial lately? If so, what are the causes?
JM: What's changed about it? One thing is the advent of the camcorder. With availability of cheap, accessible camcorders all over the world now, hardly a day goes by that somebody doesn't get a really good videotape of a UFO. There are hoaxes, sure, but not all of them. That takes care of the argument that there's no such thing, or it's a hallucination or mass psychosis -- because you can't take a picture of a hallucination. They do represent a tangible, three dimensional reality. But beyond that, as a race, we're just beginning to come of age. That's why, today, leading edge quantum physics is beginning to conceive that it's theoretically possible that we can travel faster than light, that we can travel to another star system, that we can travel interdimensionally. We're barely able to conceive of these ideas, and yet there are some folks [ETs] who are obviously already using this technology.
ML: Bottom line: are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
JM: I think this is great. I think we're living in the most exciting moment of history, because we're all changing, all growing, and each and every one of us are part of this. Think back twenty years ago. Think about what you were doing, who you were, what job you had, what your attitudes were, what you knew. If you're honest with yourself, you have to admit that today you're no longer that person. You have changed, evolved, grown. And that's what's going on.
ML: Since you firmly believe in extraterrestrial visitation and see it in basically positive terms, how do claims of alien abduction fit into your understanding?
JM: I found something astounding when I was researching for "Alien Agenda." We have all seen the numbers of people who have come forward and claim to have been abducted. Now abduction is a pretty negative word to begin with -- taken against your will. That's a frightening concept. These people have had essentially negative or fearful or traumatic experiences. The reason we hear from them is that they go to seek professional help, like to Dr. John Mack, and he then reports on his case studies. Or they go on the talk shows and say what happened to them. It sounds negative and traumatic. But I've found and continue to find more and more people who say, "Listen, I have had the same experience, but I did not find it to be negative or traumatic. I thought it was kind of neat." There's a woman I'm working with in Dallas who refers to herself as an "honored guest." She feels honored that she was selected to have these experiences. As a result, these people don't go to seek professional help, because they're not traumatized. And they don't go on the talk shows, because they don't want the public ridicule. From my perspective, this whole contact issue, to get away from the word abduction, is much broader than we even suspect.
ML: I also find many people expressing views like that. But there are counter-views, some of them very strongly stated -- notably, for example, the new book by David Jacobs called "The Threat," which says that a very elaborate and widespread abduction program is aimed at creating a race of hybrids who will soon join with the aliens in taking control of the earth from the humans. This is the bleakest scenario I know of, yet there are many people who seem to believe this is the real story, and who might say that a person like you, though well-meaning, is either misreading the data or is talking to experiencers who are deluding themselves.
JM: That's always a possibility. But here's a key point. In my book "Alien Agenda," I start off by saying that this isn't about UFOs, it's about mind-set. We have to start dealing with our mind-sets. David Jacobs has one mind-set, I have one mind-set. I have seen no substantial, documented evidence to show that anyone who's ever been abducted has been killed or never came back. They're all back. They may have a mark or something on them. They've been traumatized, which I think is pretty terrible, but I also think that we don't understand the broad view of that whole thing. We don't know if it's good or bad. I can picture myself waking up with the bright lights, and the hazy figures with large eyes hanging over me and poking and probing, and I'd be terrified. Yet, is it an abduction experience? Not necessarily. Maybe I was just in a car wreck and these are cold, calculating medical authorities working to save my life. We don't really know what all this is about. Until I can see something that convinces me there's something to be afraid about, I'm not going to be afraid about it.
[Jim Marrs' book "Alien Agenda" is due in paperback this summer.]
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