International Space Sciences
November 25, 1999
The following document briefly summarizes early findings of ISSO's ongoing
research into the authenticity of the so-called "MJ-12" documents concerning
the U.S. military's alleged recovery of extraterrestrial spacecraft in the
In the quest to better understand a phenomenon defined as Unidentified,
researchers have over the years specialized into diverse and sometimes
conflicting domains of study related to the UFO enigma. Inquisitive students
unfamiliar with the history of such research - rich as it is in
interpretation - can often be shocked and intimidated by the extent of
materials to consider reading. It can be very hard to identify the most
important veins of writings to consider.
The first book one is likely to pick up relates
yet another experiential story with circumstantial reporting - tough to
accept as sufficient evidence for a transformation of worldview. Thus many
rational, intelligent people who might otherwise be persuaded to think
differently do not ever find their way to the most important research, and
reject the entire UFO question is irrelevant fantasy.
We find ourselves in this circumstance partly because of the lack of a tree
of dependency for the various hypotheses circulating as currency within the
What aspects of alleged UFO phenomena
depend upon validity of what other aspects?
What are the root questions that shape
the tree of answers in print?
What ideas in UFO research are most
central for us to consider?
A possible structure of such a tree of
dependency can be organized as follows, each category of question more
fundamental than the next.
Have unidentified objects been observed
flying about in our atmosphere?
What is the simplest model capable of
integrating the observations with existing science?
What other predictions does the model
offer beyond the observed phenomena itself?
How might our future change if such
predictions are valid?
What aspects of the phenomena may have
been studied in secret?
My own answers to the first, second, third, and
fourth order questions are:
UFOs have been witnessed by tens of
thousands of people
the scientific revolution fits
hand-in-glove with the trajectory of leading-edge physics,
suggesting significant corrections to early-20th century assumptions
experimental studies are now revealing
new secrets of Nature appearing to confirm these corrections
the possible near-term transformative
effects upon humanity could be extremely large
In this context, containment of extraterrestrial
technology by a compartmentalized body of humans is not hard to imagine, but
the question of the authenticity of certain documents alleging such is a
fifth order question. It is therefore not in my mind the primary driver of
any of the most vital answers we seek to UFO phenomena. It is simply one of
many fascinating and important tributaries of a raging, rising river of
All things considered, and acknowledging substantial dependence upon first
and second hand interviews with highly reputable individuals, I presently
hold the belief that a quasi-governmental body maintains substantial
non-public information and very possibly physical materials related to the
If this belief turns out to be false, then,
there has been a startlingly extensive
intelligence effort aimed at convincing certain people and nations
that we have such materials,
the anomaly research community, as
tattered a bunch as it is, is in fact at the arrowhead of one of the
most important revolutions in human history, with no government body
better informed on the UFO question.
Granting real extraterrestrial UFO phenomena for
a moment, the realization that governing bodies have no superior secret
knowledge of it would be almost as surprising as learning of actual hardware
recovery. Yes, even the fifth order questions in this domain are important
Having thus set for forth my view of the category of question into which the
authenticity of any of the MJ-12 documents falls, the status of ISSO's
review of the MJ-12 documents is described in the body of this report.
The MJ-12 Documents
updated March 20, 2000
Deception in statecraft is a widespread practice not limited to any one
theme nor provenance, not confined to any specific period of history nor to
only a few countries and governments. For obvious reasons, it is a practice
little revealed and rarely discussed. Were much said, it would be
ineffective and would, therefore, soon cease. Deception is widely practiced
by military and intelligence organizations of many countries on a broad
scale throughout history.
Deception in statecraft has been variously defined, never with certainty.
One imminent scholar of its recent history, Charles Cruickshank (1979), says
that deception is the art of misleading an enemy into doing something or not
doing something so that his strategic or tactical position will be weakened.
Once it becomes even more obvious that all of the so-called MJ-12 documents
were officially fabricated as instruments of U.S. covert psychological
warfare, beginning in 1950 during the most threatening period of the Korean
War, extending into at least the first Nixon Administration, the daunting
question arises: what then; what next?
It no longer matters that there never was a
widely-accepted definition and practice of psychological warfare, whether
covert or overt, during the early Cold War; what matters is the issue of
official falsification in relation to ufology in general.
For example, does the psychological warfare clarification, striking on its
own terms, mean that the whole history of governments' involvements with UFO
crash recoveries, however construed, is suspect? Intriguing questions stem
from a realization that the MJ-12 documents, both the earlier ones and the
later ones, were or may have been contrived to mislead foreign, inimical
(usually Communist or once-Communist) governments.
Were UFO crash recoveries staged
for the same purpose, augmented by subsequent foistings of clever but
deceptive, official-appearing documents to persuade adversaries that the
U.S. might enjoy certain unique advantages gotten from recovering and
studying crashed UFOs?
Indeed, have there been any actual such exploitations
and technology transfers as has been contended by some claiming to have been
Is it all something else, secretive and important, but not ufological?
It is not the objective of such questions to impune the motives and methods
of covert operations. Guilt by association is an ineffective form of
criticism. When major, rival powers possess nuclear weapons, deception is a
small price to pay to avoid nuclear war. It is much preferred to try to
misdirect or mis-cue weapons research and development than to decide
controversies with weapons themselves. Any workable theme of deception is
ridiculously cheap by comparison with the alternatives.
Rather, an objective is to question not just the documents but the extent to
which the UFO phenomenon is understandable and creditable when based on
reflections of it that involve policies and practices of governments.
Covertly fabricated deceptive documents are genuine in the sense of being
created by security and intelligence organizations to appear to be authentic
and realistic in order to convince skeptical, foreign intelligence experts
and political leaders to accept them as genuine and to alter their
perceptions and behaviors accordingly; yet, the content information of such
documents is carefully contrived to frighten, misconstrue and confuse target
audiences. Serious, deliberate trade-offs are considered in such matters:
what and how much of what truths to tell in what ways to convey artful
fictions as if they were facts.
This covert tradecraft is endemic in the history of statecraft and is not
unique to a UFO-related theme. It is as old as official documentation
For example, some 3,400 years ago, Hittite King Mursili II
discovered that his temple officials, his keepers of the kingdom's rituals,
records and official knowledge, had falsified certain wax-tablet recorded
instructions in order to alter solemn, religious practices of crucial
importance. Mursili II took immediate security remedy and
had the proper, authentic instructions re-recorded on hard clay tablets (in
lieu of by re-useable wax tablets) to preclude future instances of official
Deceptions, little or never coming to light, are ever-present thorns in the
sides of historians, journalists and intelligence organizations. Because no
one knows how many times he or she has been successfully deceived, the
potential effects of deceptions, often promoted by documents, on any
scientific research and development program is immeasurable and, even if
nominally, of great consequence.
Early Cold War nuclear and other weapons
development programs, together with the development of means and methods to
collect and evaluate scientific, technical and political intelligence, would
have been susceptible to the information contained in several MJ-12
If one notices and accepts a host of irregularities and alterations of all
of the MJ-12 documents as indicative of a covert psychological warfare
operation then the deception cannot be adjusted, explained away,
trivialized, excused or denied, neither of the earlier nor of the later
documents surfaced between 1984 and 1999 by Shandera, Moore and
terms of the techniques of questioned document examination, all of the
documents are in some respects persuasive and convincing while in other ways
dubious and suspicious.
In general, they make verifiable sense
chronologically, stylistically, typographically and in terms of
separately-researched historical and organizational contexts. They also make
sense in terms of various artifacts of the originals faithfully transformed
by xerographic and film copying processes. Many of them show signs of having
been film-copied by microfilming or video filming.
Document examination and authentication is a science of expert opinion; so
are other sciences, generally probabilistic, but document examination is an
empirical not a statistical science. There is no criterion for how many of
what kinds of flaws determine inauthenticity. Historiographers, faces
inevitable problems of remoteness from document sources and must make
peer-acceptable adjustments for that gap.
Adjustments include learning the details of the
governing milieu of any questioned document according to its puted or
imputed date. It is spurious to argue that fabricators and forgers strive
for blemish-free reproductions whereas real bureaucrats composing altogether
genuine documents make casual mistakes both in drafts and in edited finals.
Such an argument would be discriminating only in an errorless world. Some
errors are casual; others are not; indeed the difference often is a matter
Of the many examples among the MJ-12 documents of such expert discernment is
the cover page of
the SOM 1-01 document by itself. Despite
and apart from any debate about the authenticity of its contents, and
caveats (or lack of them), the cover alone reflects irregularities of
presented data not consonant with its contents and its date. Among these is
that the expansion and derivation of its technical order nomenclature
denotes subject material having nothing to do with the contents of the
By itself this would make the document
suspicious were it not for precedents of Soviet deceptive fabrications of
U.S. military field manuals during the Cold War. (The USAF technical order
(TO) identifier is of Korean War vintage and denotes operating instructions
for airborne psychological warfare equipment.)
Withal, the MJ-12 documents are professionally, artfully crafted,
good enough to fool informed, perceptive analysts. In that quality, the
documents are not the work of amateurs or casual hoaxers. They were not
created for monetary profit but for national security purposes supplementary
to larger, often crucial issues and goals.
Nevertheless, each document, including the
Eisenhower Briefing Document
and its companion, the
Truman-Forrestal Memorandum, also
reveal often subtle indications of having been trade-crafted to the ends of
covert psychological warfare.
These include numerous flaws and alterations of
content, administrative data, composition, style and original construction
of which arguably the most interesting are anachronisms of state-of-the-art
knowledge and of terms of reference and other elements of language peculiar
to certain times and places. Some of these indicators thus far have escaped
the published notice of critics.
A favorite of critics has been the word "retro-virus" in the questioned
document called "1st Annual Report," undated but initially dated from its
obvious content to some time in 1952; yet, "retro-virus" is a word not in
either the technical nor the popular language before the early 1970s.
Viruses characterized as "retro-grade organisms" by University of Minnesota
Professor Robert Green in 1935 nor the normative term "retra-virus"
suggested at a conference of cancer specialists in 1960 do not resolve the
issue and must be regarded as futile attempts to explain away the obvious.
What seems to have escaped the critics is that "retrovirus" appears in
Russian medical literature in the late 1960s and might, therefore, be an apt
word, a fearsome, threatening word, to incorporate into a deceptive U.S.
psychological warfare document created during the same Cold War period.
Perhaps, then, 1st Annual Report is itself a fabrication, but does that
condemn the others?
This is an interesting question in terms of the
operandi of historiographers to examine suspicious documents as individual
pieces of a collection of documents, the principle of reinforcement either
for or against authenticity. Of the instances of appearance in 1st Annual
Report of the word "celestial," it is misspelled in half of those instances
in precisely the same way in which it is, in all instances, misspelled in
the questioned document called the Oppenheimer-Einstein draft essay dated
June 1947, i.e., "celestrial," as in "extraterrestrial."
One of the more obvious machinations of six or seven of the MJ-12 documents
is that their contents and style emulate those of other, known-authentic
historical documents but of subject material having nothing to do with UFOs.
These we may call the General-Twining-Mission-to-New Mexico documents of
mid-1947 to conduct with a party of experts and officials an investigation
of one or more crashed UFOs.
These questioned documents emulate real,
authentic documents concerning General Albert Wedemeyer's mission to China
and Korea, also in mid-1947, to investigate the political, economic and
military situations in those two countries then hotly contested by active
Communist forces and influences. The emulations are by no definition
parodies; rather, they are professional creations--a common practice in
fabricating deceptive documents for purposes of covert psychological warfare
based on the premise that nothing better conveys genuineness than does
What critics who would claim common fraudulence in this particular instance
omit to consider is that about three and one-half years after the Wedemeyer
Mission, during the darkest days of the Korean War that Wedemeyer predicted
in 1947, official records about U.S. China policy of the State Department's
Far Eastern Affairs Bureau were collected and studied in private by the
Secretary of State, Dean Acheson.
It is a matter of official U.S. Department
of Defense history that in late November 1950, Dean Acheson sanctioned
covert operations against Peking and Pyongyang at a point in the history of
U.S. national security when the Department of State was the leading
practitioner and pace-setter, among all agencies, of psychological warfare.
Nevertheless, the emulation instance is but among several indicators across
all of the MJ-12 documents of their having been trade-crafted to deceive
Communist policy-makers and their intelligence people, no mean fakers
themselves. Interestingly, at least one covert (and clandestine)
intelligence cum diplomacy insider, the late Miles Copeland, told at least
one leading UFO researcher, Timothy Good, that in the early 1960s, the CIA
conducted covert, UFO-related deception operations against the Peoples'
Republic of China to keep the Chinese off balance and persuade them that we
were doing things that we were, in fact, not doing. (Good, 1996,
Secret, p. 424.)
It is no secret over the last twenty to thirty years that there existed in
the U.S. Government's executive branch an elaborate structure and function
for conducting covert and overt psychological warfare against the Communist
nations, part of larger capabilities, that included fabrication and foisting
of genuine-appearing but deceptively-informing documents the themes of which
varied as appropriate to desired ends. A variety of responsible histories
published from at least the mid-1960s inform readers, often in verifiable,
scholarly detail, of various aspects of the organization and activities of
this extensive capability.
It is easy to trivialize and sensationalize this kind of thing, but as
instruments of covert psychological warfare, the MJ-12 documents were made
decades in the past to suit threats and other security issues of the times,
particularly the early Cold War including the hot Korean War, now largely
lost to living memory. Like all such deceptions, their perpetrators foresaw
in them limited, temporal means and aims not intended to survive beyond
There always is uncertainty in such operations, which
largely is why they are regarded as ancillary or supplemental to more
concrete, overt policies and operations. The elements of risk of detection
and of ineffective disseminations mean that covert psychological warfare
operation should never be undertaken to carry the main weight of critical
national security problem-solving.
Yet, how can we be sure that the MJ-12 documents remain questionable
documents of overall authenticity; can we wrap up their original provenance
one way or the other? In effect, we can.
Assembling a body of experts to
identity, collect and essentially characterize all issues and points of both
whole genuiness and of genuiness distorted to the aims discussed above will
produce two lists of approximately equal weight.
Any such divided results
ipso facto diminish whole genuineness argument while substantiating official
stratagem simply because all such deceptive documents are crafted to appear
genuine and do, hopefully cleverly, blend, hopefully seamlessly, fact and
fiction. Amateur fakers do not have the means and knowledge to fabricate
documents as convincing as are most of the MJ-12 documents.
There cannot be
such contrast of pluses and minuses if the MJ-12 QDs are both genuine
(officially made) and authentic (accurate and truthful as to content and
administrative production.) In real document examination science, unlike in
agriculture, there are no hybrids. In historical research of statecraft,
fact and fiction mixed together is always deception, not just be definition
but by practice and by logic.
That, however, is not end of the story but only its condition as we now find
In view of the once-enacted psychological warfare operation (itself
explicitly discussed in three of the documents, a fact that should alert
even non-specialists) involving the MJ-12 documents,
Is the UFO phenomenon
as a whole believable?
Perhaps governments would surreptitiously lie about
it to other governments, but what about independent world-wide sightings,
abductions, contacts, electromagnetic interferences, altered terrain, radar
cases, pilot encounters and the like--all of these apparently apart from
What about the hundreds of pages of UFO-related governments' documents
released to the public under provisions such as the U.S. Freedom of
Information Act or of scheduled reviews and declassifications of not just
the U.S. but of Britain, Russia, Spain, France and elsewhere?
officially-released documents questionable as well, even if not once part of
Is there an overall UFO documents pattern; if there is,
what does it connote?
Before these individual manifestations of the UFO phenomenon in general can
be allowed to contribute to any pattern, each must be substantiated or
dismissed on its own merits. Not all that glitters is gold, but some glitter
is from gold. Very few UFO researchers undertake the expensive, critical
effort to differentiate among the obvious, the not-obvious and the deep or
obscure manifestations of the whole UFO phenomenon.
Because of the relative ease of staging phoney UFO crash recovery
operations, especially in little-populated, remote areas, witness accounts
of such presumed events are a special case of differentiation and cannot be
included among the spontaneous or extemporaneous manifestations.
to such events may believe what they experienced and may be convinced they
are reporting what actually happened, but contrived UFO crash recovery
operations can be staged with the same skill to the same end as deceptive
documents fabricated and forwarded to strengthen and round out the overall
ploy. Any reading of the history of the Bodyguard-Fortitude stratagem
incident to D-Day, June 1944, (the Allied invasion of the European
Continent,) will show how field-staging, deceptive documents, planted rumors
and so forth all must be taken up together to be sufficiently persuasive.
In the end, daunting questions remain to be answered:
What then, what next?
Do the MJ-12 documents contain any truthful, reliable information about
What is it?
Are any UFO crash recoveries valid events?
Have any UFO
technologies been exploited?
Are UFOs all man-made; is the whole phenomenon,
if distinctly its own, in some ways manipulated to conceal or disguise
actual manageable projects?
What is left creditable of the whole phenomenon?
If any government, with great resources, goes to the extent and cost of
staging phoney UFO crash recovery operations to mislead foreign intelligence
collectors and contrives fabricated, official-appearing documents to
buttress the impression, what is such a government really concealing or
diverting attention from? All such operations, when they occur, are costly,
troublesome, risky and uncertain; therefore, they obligate commensurate
benefits or pay-offs. It is not a willy-nilly kind of thing casually
undertaken and trivially compensated.
In any case, old, decrepit psychological warfare documents were "then;"
questions they naturally raise are "now."
Where do we go from here?
In a writing of this length, it is infeasible to cover the whole depth and
breadth of the issue of the MJ-12 documents authenticity, as issue that
never can be responsibly addressed apart from informed criticism and
skepticism. Even in the best of circumstances, the many problems of the
UFO-related questioned documents (QDs) do not yield to wistful reasonings
and allowable excuses.
The fact that the documents raise irremediable doubts
is itself the best indication of their dubious origins. This pertains
especially to the documents about Twining's 1947 mission to New Mexico that
emulate genuine, authentic documents about Wedemeyer's 1947 mission to China
and New Mexico.
It is a matter of record that from his service as Supreme Allied Commander
in Europe in World War II, superintending the June 1944 invasion, General
Eisenhower was particularly, personally interested in the complicated cover
and deception operations enacted to divide and weaken the German defense.
It is a matter of record that later, when Eisenhower was U.S. Army Chief of
Staff, some 16 days prior to the alleged crash and recovery of a UFO in New
Mexico (June 16 and July 4, 1947 respectively) Eisenhower sent a memorandum
to his director of plans and operations, Major General Lauris Norstad,
directing that the War Department (which included the USAAF) take necessary
steps to rejuvenate and keep vital,
"the arts of psychological warfare and of
cover and deception ... in case an emergency arises."
It is a matter of record that the subsequent Army G-3 who replaced
in the fall of 1947 and who took several steps thereafter to integrate
psychological warfare into military planning was Lieutenant General Albert Wedemeyer.
It is a matter of record that in June 1947, the Army established an
operating psychological warfare (PW) unit at Fort Riley, Kansas and began at
Fort Riley's Army General School a course of instruction in PW.
It is a matter of originally secret record, declassified in 1952, that the
recommendations and conclusions of the Air Force's Air Mobility Command (AMC) August 1949
GRUDGE report state that the UFO (flying discs) theme should be considered
by Air Force headquarters' PW division for its potential in coordination
with other agencies having PW missions (which included the Army, CIA and
State Department) and that it also states that one prospect as seen by AMC/ATIC
would be to combine the release of UFOs per se with the release of
information about them.
Project SIGN's final report
of December 1948 also discussed PW and flying saucers as one of four
It is a matter of fact that four of the questionable documents surfaced by
Cooper explicitly discuss the prospect of UFO-centered psychological warfare vis-a-vis the Soviet Union.
It is a matter of opinion that some of the documents represent no device
beyond office practice or classroom PW training exercises while others
appear at least ready for operational introduction into foreign intelligence
During the last quarter-century, many hundreds of pages of UFO-related
governments' documents have been declassified and released to the public
world-wide, in the U.S. often in response to FOIA requests. Their contents
often are banal, not particularly breathtaking, as are the contents of the
MJ-12 documents; nevertheless they are interesting.
What such U.S.
Government documents show collectively is that from 1944 through the 1960s,
security, intelligence, foreign affairs and publicity agencies and offices
were collecting data and information domestically and abroad and conducting
studies simply to try to come to grips with the UFO phenomenon itself, to
get their arms around it and understand it.
During this period of over twenty years, in the latter part of 1952, the
released documents show that the Chairman of the covert operations panel of
President Truman's National Security Council (a panel called the
Psychological Warfare Strategy Board chaired by the Director of Central
Intelligence) recommended to the PWSB and to the NSC (chaired by the
President) that the UFO phenomenon be employed for psychological warfare
purposes both offensively and defensively, in the same vein as had been
recommended three years earlier by the Air Force's Project GRUDGE report.
There is no released documentation to the effect that this actually was done
or not, though any such record would not be expected to survive in official
history files; however, by 1957-1958 there occurs a subtle shift in the UFO
data collection emphasis that began a dozen years earlier.
What is seen from
the released materials dated from at least 1957-58 to 1996 is a steady,
unremitting, collection of information (intelligence) from several foreign
countries, including Communist foreign nations, of these governments' and
foreign publics' reactions to, impressions of, attitudes towards and
military and political responses to the UFO phenomenon.
One of the released
documents shows that CIA began assessing Russian reactions to UFOs at the
same time that the GRUDGE report recommended UFOs as a psychological warfare
After approximately 1958 and more certainly after 1968, there was no longer
data collection for the sake of phenomenological interpretations; rather,
for the sake of assessing foreign neutrals and non-friendlies psychologies,
sociologies and political attitudes about the UFO phenomenon. This is the
marriage of psychological operations and intelligence, in the trade called
There are in the UFO questioned documents several different terms of
reference, acronyms, argots and ideas that simply were not extant in the
American English language in 1947, some not until 1950, others not until
1959-60, still others not until the early 1970s. Such "fingerprints" are
immutable: there are no ideas before their natural times in history.
Once all of the dubious MJ-12 documents are seen as examples, whether
rudimentary or polished, of the tradecraft of deception in statecraft, all
of their benefits and blemishes evaporate.