Brand new signs at Area 51 main gate on Groom Lake Road

New Sign at Area 51

(courtesy of Amateur Radio Club)

NO DRONE Signs, Barbed Wire and New Monitoring Camera inside the paved Groom Lake Road…..as of December 5, 2015:

SEE THIS VIDEO by Amateur Radio Club:

Brand new signs at Area 51 main gate on Groom Lake Road

barbed wire

barbed wire right next to the warning sign  (photo, courtesy of Amateur Radio Club)    

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new monitoring camera just inside the perimeter line on paved Groom Lake Road  (photo, courtesy of Amateur Radio Club)

no drone sign (1)

NO DRONE sign added to the warning signs at the perimeter line on Groom Lake Road  (photo, courtesy of Amateur Radio Club)

 

Norio Hayakawa’s CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE NEWS SERVICE

E-mail = noriohayakawa@gmail.com

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Exploitation in the UFO community……a must-read, written by Jack Brewer

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Deception, sensationalism and questionable ethics characterize the UFO genre and distort perception of the UFO phenomenon……AN EXCELLENT BOOK BY JACK BREWER:

Introduction to his book, written by Jack Brewer.

(QUOTE)

“I came to the dance for the same reasons as lots of people.  UFOs and seemingly related phenomena were a longtime interest for a variety of reasons and I desired to learn more.

My on again, off again journey through the UFO community went on for decades.  While there were times I thought I was learning some things about reported UFO sightings and alleged alien abduction, I eventually came to the realization I had actually been learning more about people and dynamics that make up the UFO community.  In the vast majority of circumstances, I think much more can be learned about the people, organizations and government agencies participating in the steeplechase than the often nebulous and unverifiable things they claim and promote.

In 2010 I began writing a blog, The UFO Trail.  I made intentional efforts to explore people of interest and the related circumstances in credible manners, including holding some of the players accountable for their actions.  I wrote about individuals and organizations that claim to investigate UFOs and alleged alien abductions, often concluding that the researchers and their groups should be considered much more critically than typically the case.

Other demographics explored included alleged alien abductees, self-described experiencers of high strangeness and UFO witnesses.  I also blogged about members of the intelligence community, as well as people who suspected themselves to be targets of human-instigated covert operations.  Interestingly, the demographics often overlapped.

The UFO Trail included posts about and submissions from scientists, mental health professionals, authors, filmmakers, researchers, scholars, skeptics and more.  My intention was to provide a factual account and well rounded view of what came to be known as ufology.  It became abundantly clear there were relevant aspects of the UFO genre typically being overlooked for a variety of reasons, none of which are conducive to better understanding what’s actually going on.

The general thesis I developed is that a genuine mystery may lie at the heart of humankind’s fascination with the unknown, but public perception of whatever phenomena it may include has been exploited, distorted and manipulated for a variety of reasons.  The perpetrators span several demographics, including the intelligence community, hoaxers, disingenuous writers, con men and, in all reasonable likelihood, lunatics, among others.

I think it likely the mid 20th century U.S. intelligence community conducted a variety of deception operations mistaken for UFO-related phenomena.  Some of those operations were intended to create confusion surrounding airborne objects.  However, I am reasonably confident in some of the cases it was colorful writers and overactive imaginations, not intelligence officials, that encouraged the public to prematurely conclude phenomena, such as the so-called ghost rockets, had something to do with extraterrestrials.  I do not think it was the specific intent of the architects of the operations, at least not always. Sometimes it was just a byproduct.  Other times it appears to have been more intentional.

Yet other times there may have been truly unusual phenomena involved. After all, reasonable arguments have been made that such phenomena have been with humankind for a long, long time.  Perhaps that is correct. Unfortunately, the tainting of the well as perpetrated by both the intelligence and UFO communities, which are ironically at times one and the same, has often rendered the task virtually impossible of sorting fact from fiction.

As the situation continued to progress, public fascination with UFOs and aliens mushroomed.  In the process, more opportunities and reasons developed to produce state-sponsored propaganda related to UFOs. Further comprising the self-perpetuating snowball effect were filmmakers, authors, upstart research organizations and entrepreneurs marketing wide varieties of products and services.  Hypnotists found a niche, with or without reasonable training, as did self-styled investigators who churned out books, movies and so-called instructional workshops to most anyone who was willing to ante up registration fees. Lots of people wanted in on the act.  Trouble was, none of them were presenting any proof to support their claims of aliens among us, while a large percentage of the UFO community was nonetheless driven to near hysterics while becoming convinced of alien intervention in the sometimes most mundane of events.  I came to strongly suspect the reason conclusive proof of an extraterrestrial presence remained ever elusive was simple: it was an incorrect explanation for the reported sightings and experiences.

I suspect what became known as the modern day UFO phenomenon arose out of a combination of potentially legitimately unusual occurrences, covert operations conducted by the intelligence community and a public willing to be deceived.  Charlatans substantially contributed to the effect, as did some sincere yet entirely incorrect researchers.

Much of the material in this book is subsequently presented from a position of being rather unimpressed with sensational stories of aliens.  That is not to necessarily suggest there are no reports of high strangeness of interest, but the focus of this offering is the exploitation of public perception of what may sometimes be genuinely mysterious phenomena, and the related cultivation of inaccurate beliefs that such circumstances represent extraterrestrial visitation.

Basically, I think the greys have been framed.  That doesn’t have to mean there is nothing of interest under the sun, but I am indeed suggesting that ufology, by and large, has not taught us much about it.  People have been hurt in the process.  They’ve also been misled.  Lots and lots of them.  I think that deserves its share of attention, at least in proportion to the continuing parade of self-described investigators who chronically assert increasingly wild speculation as fact while consequences are enabled and ignored.

“The Greys Have Been Framed: EXPLOITATION IN THE UFO COMMUNITY” is dedicated to the countless individuals who approached the UFO community seeking reliable information, yet found their lives forever detrimentally changed amid deception and obfuscation.  Many encountered unethical agendas, mystery mongering and a lack of accountability among investigators and organizations designating themselves as qualified to help.  Exactly why such exploitation and manipulation occurs continues to remain unknown in many specific situations.”

(UNQUOTE)

Above, from:  ufotrail.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-greys-have-been-framed-published.html

 

Norio Hayakawa’s CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE NEWS SERVICE

E-mail = noriohayakawa@gmail.com

Maybe there’s nothing to cattle mutilations, after all

Cattle Mutilations

MAYBE THERE’S NOTHING TO CATTLE MUTILATIONS, AFTER ALL:

A thought-provoking comment by Rottenberg  (of rotten book reviews, written on August 6, 2000):

“I first read “Mute Evidence” – a journalistic dissection of the “cattle mutilation” craze of the late 1970’s-early 1980’s – in 1989, and find much of it fresh today.  For roughly a decade following the end of the war in Vietnam, cattle farmers of the southwest reported finding numerous steers dead and, apparently deliberately mutilated.

Dead cows appeared to have body parts selectively and precisely removed in ways that suggested something other than feral scavengers.  Blame for these incidents soon took a turn for the sinister, with sentiment hinting at the use of cattle carcasses for secret experiments by the government, sinister corporations, secret paramilitary organizations, aliens, devil worshippers or some weird combination involving all of them.

With no plan to turn up little green men out for a quick chorizo, Kagan and Summers find that the truth, even when plausible, can often chill more than fiction.  In their journeys, they encounter the usual suspects – crackpots and the ambitious small-town media hounds that exploit them.  While the authors wisely refrain from attempts to avoid explaining the phenomenon of cattle mutilation, Kagan and Summer also offer competent evidence suggesting that there was no phenomenon to explain – just overzealous reporting of typical and perfectly natural cases of bovine mortality, combined with an unwillingness to recognize perfectly natural indicia of scavengers.  With no indication that the frequency of cattle deaths was actually within normal limits, slipshod reporting overlooked evidence that would have explained the indicia of mutilation.

I’ve since edited this review in-light of another review which doesn’t do this book justice. “Evidence” does not condescend towards the die-hard UFOlogists convinced of a link between aliens and the dead cows, nor attack the notion of intelligent extra terrestrials in general (or specifically the idea that ET’s, for their advanced technology, would need to experiment on cows).
Kagan and Summers provide a wealth of alternative theories ruling out alien involvement, and never go out of their way to condemn as liars those who steadfastly claim otherwise.  Theories implicating corporations, the military, Satanists or simply those inspired to commit acts as copycats are inherently more plausible than UFO’s.  That is not to say that Kagan and Summers don’t detail the subjectivity of those believing in the ET’s, or reveal the paucity of their claims or their willingness to jump to UFO as the solution of first resort.  Neither does it mean that Kagan and Summers must ignore how UFO enthusiasts like TV reporter Linda Moulton Howe play-up the alien-angle from both sides – as fervent proponents of a theory as well as seemingly impartial reporters ready to look at a story from all angles.

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While obviously unfavorable to Howe, Kagan and Summers never came close to slandering her – their reporting was consistently objective, looking into her claims and explaining them. The controversy seems laughable to us, but its principle that bothers Kagan and Summers.

There are no shortage of minds in America ready, willing and able to apply Moulton-Howe’s brand of deceptively objective reporting to more critical matters, like the search for WMD’s in Iraq or (just to keep things even) the search for episodes of financial, political, sexual or otherwise unethical wrongdoing by the Clinton administration.

Though Kagan and Summers steer away from the exotic legends underlying cattle mutilation, “Evidence” retains the chill of the legends nonetheless.  While the stories of alien scientists probing the southwest night may be entirely fanciful, the fear upon which they rely is very real – a product (the author’s are willing to speculate) of uncertainties generated by the Vietnam war, Watergate, Ab-Scam, the oil-embargo, Iran, Stagflation and the other assorted horrors of the Nixon-Carter years.  That thousands of Americans could readily accept the cattle mutilation phenomenon as true seems at least as chilling as the phenomenon itself.

Norio Hayakawa’s CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE NEWS SERVICE

E-mail = noriohayakawa@gmail.com

Phil Schneider’s Dulce base “delusions”

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Courtesy of THE ALIEN CASEBOOK:

The numerous lies and fabrications of Phil Schneider are so multiple and so atrocious that they need to be exposed.

There is a website called Phil Schneider Memorial.

They’re actually calling it a website for a murdered patriot.

If Phil Schneider is a patriot of anything, he’s a patriot of disinformation.

He started giving lectures from 1995, mainly among “survival” groups.

He usually started off his talks by saying that the major reason for going public was that his best friend, Ron Rummel, was murdered in a park and had been in the Air Force as an intelligence agent.

Ron Rummel had never been in the Air Force, as far as we know.

Rummel was found in a park in Portland in 1993.

The police had determined that he had committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth with a pistol on August 6, 1993.

Ron, Philip and 5 other individuals had been collaborating on a little magazine called “The Alien Digest”:

(CLICK ABOVE FOR ENLARGEMENT – – Creston was Ron Rummel)

It was starting to get a fairly wide circulation when Ron was found in the park.

Phil Schneider, with his one-track conspiracy mind-set, immediately decided that his friend had been murdered.

Because this story was posted when the Internet was just beginning in the ‘90s, it has taken on a life of its own and been copied and circulated over and over.

Circular knowledge is not knowledge at all, it is just repeating what someone else says.

By the way, the proof of Schneider’s lies in the math.

Take Phil’s age and his time on various jobs he claimed to do, certainly try and consider time at college for his supposed degrees, which never existed anyway so scratch the college time and you’ll see that he would have been 17 years old when he went to work for the government.  Phil stated that he worked in Dulce in 1979.

He claimed he was one of three people to survive the 1979 fire fight between the Greys and the US intelligence and military at the Dulce underground base.

Phil was found dead in January of 1996, supposedly due to what some one-track conspiracy-minded folks like to claim as an “execution style murder”.

The  Clackamas County Coroner’s office finally concluded that it was suicide.

No, Schneider was not murdered.

Schneider had suffered from multiple physical illnesses  (brittle bone syndrome – osteoporosis, cancer and self-inflicted injuries.)

He had intense chronic pain all of the time.

But above all, Phil Schneider suffered from self-inflicting, self-mutilating psychological disorder, mental instability and delusive illness.

Here is his Social Security disability income (SSI):

(CLICK ABOVE FOR A SLIGHT ENLARGEMENT)

An autopsy was performed at the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s office in Portland, Oregon by Dr. Gunson, and she determined that Philip had committed suicide by wrapping a rubber catheter hose three times around his neck, and half-knotting in front.

The late Gabe Valdez who was the State Patrol Officer in charge of the Dulce area for many years, also stated that Schneider’s death was a suicide, after examining the autopsy report:

(ABOVE – – an excellent book written by Gabe Valdez’s son, Greg Valdez, in which he exposes Phil Schneider as a fraud)

(QUOTING FROM GREG VALDEZ):

Cynthia Schneider Drayer was the person who actually came up with the murder theory.

Cynthia didn’t get this idea from actual evidence but from her mother, who had a psychic vision and concluded that Phil was murdered.

Cynthia also claimed that her dad, Frank Martain, was killed in Albuquerque in 1952 as part of another conspiracy involving the government.

Her inconsistent story also claimed that Phil’s hands were tied when he was found dead and then later claimed they were by his side.

Her story has many inconsistencies, making Phil’s involvement in Dulce extremely unlikely and not credible.

Cynthia Drayer quickly started requesting money in her correspondence with Gabe Valdez because, she claimed, Phil did not have life insurance.

Cynthia has provided much of the rumors about Phil.

There are claims that Phil was killed with piano wire, but the autopsy report clearly indicates that he died with surgical tubing around his neck.

The piano wire theory was part of the psychic vision and not actual evidence.

Take caution with any website or person claiming he was killed with piano wire, because he was not.”

(UNQUOTE)

 

Phil Schneider did not tell his bogus story till 1995.

Phil had never heard of “Project Gasbuggy”.

(ABOVE – – schematic drawing of Project Gasbuggy, conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission on December 10, 1967, about 22 miles southwest of Dulce, New Mexico to ease the flow of natural gas in the area)

Yet Schneider claimed to be a knowledgeable “geologist” and explosive expert.

Schneider was never able or willing to prove his allegations, such as showing the entrance to the Dulce base or where tunnels he drilled were located.

Phil Schneider repeated information about underground bases that was already in print.

Phil Schneider quoted “word for word” material already written by other researchers:

(ABOVE – – another con artist Cherry Hinkle who initially went by “Anne West”)

(ABOVE – – the alleged Thomas E. Castello, whose existence has never been proven)

(ABOVE — the late Paul Bennewitz of Albuquerque, New Mexico who first became convinced in 1979 of the existence of the Dulce underground base under the Archuleta Mesa)

(ABOVE – – John Lear, propagator of “alien myths”)

(ABOVE – -another con artist, Al Bielek)

(ABOVE – – BRANTON, a.k.a., Alan B. deWalton, author of “Dulce Wars”)

(ABOVE – – Tal Levesque, a.k.a., Jason Bishop III, early promoter of the Dulce Base myth and originator of the underground tunnels map of the United States):

(ABOVE – – Bob Lazar, who was said to have manipulated his buddy John Lear‘s insinuation of 1989 that in 1975, there was an altercation between U.S. Delta Forces and alien entities in a U.S. underground facility, suggesting that it was under Groom Lake/Area 51)

 

In other words, Phil Schneider practically “hijacked” Bob Lazar’s dubious insinuation of 1989  that in 1975 there was an altercation between a U.S. elite military force and alien entities in an underground base, suggested to be under Groom Lake/Area 51   (John Lear credited this allegation to Bob Lazar, Lear’s good buddy)   and then Schneider, in turn, conveniently made himself a “protagonist” in a new fabricated tale  (changing the location to Dulce, New Mexico and the year to 1979)  since no one else had done it before.

Phil Schneider did not bring forward any new information, not already in circulation.

Schneider did put on a good show for any “newbie” to the Info.

He did tie together many aspects of the material.

He did correlate the data in a dramatic “story” format that flowed well.

He put a personal face on all the material and that was compelling.

Phil said “I got shot in the chest with one of the aliens’ weapons, which was a box on their body, that blew a hole in me and gave me a nasty dose of cobalt radiation.  I have had cancer because of that”.

Radioactive cobalt is used for commercial and medical purposes.  Exposure to high levels of cobalt can result in lung and heart effects and dermatitis.  Phil may have gotten his exposure to cobalt by undergoing radiation therapy treatment of deep-seated cancer.

But, there are no “Cobalt Weapons” except in “Flash Gordon” stories.

Later, Phil said “right now I am dying of cancer that I contracted because of my work for the federal government”.

Phil said he had a “Rhyolite-38” clearance factor – one of the highest in the world.

Rhyolite was a top-secret surveillance satellite system developed at TRW.   Rhyolite is referred in SIGINT (Signal Intelligence)  satellites.  Phil was not involved with this type of work.

No, he did not have a Rhyolite clearance.

No, Phil Schneider was nothing more than a narcissistic liar and fabricator.

But one thing Schneider succeeded was in staging his own “murder” as a last resort in order to relieve himself of physical pain and, at the same time, creating a legacy of immortal personality cult among many of the brainwashed, gullible folks who inhabit the world of Ufology.

 

HERE IS A VERY INTERESTING COMMENT FROM HIS ONE-TIME ROOMMATE:

From G. Clinton:

What I know about Phil Schneider:

(QUOTE)

“This morning in the state of boredom I decided to look up and see if I can find anything about people I used to know on Google.

Imagine my surprise to find that there was a cult of Phil Schneider who I knew very well in 1977 though 1980.

I moved to Portland, Oregon in 1977,  unemployed and very short on funds.  I moved into a very cheap rooming house

Shortly after I moved in,  Phil Schneider moved in.  It didn’t take me very long at all to realize that he was a liar.  And I thought he was mentally ill.

His missing fingers:

He told me that he had lost them when he was working in eastern Oregon as a lineman when he had some sort of mishap on a pole  (frankly I no longer recall the details; it has been nearly 40 years).

His chest wound:

I took him to the hospital.

One day as I was talking to other roomers in the common room, Phil came down the stairs with blood on his shirt saying he’d been shot.  A story he quickly changed to somehow being inflicted by a passing car having losing a snow stud which struck him in the chest causing the wounds.  No one present believed him, of course, but it was certainly not the time for discussions of his credibility.  I took him to the hospital.

After a short time one of the ER doctors came up to me and asked if I had any influence with Phil.  I said,”not really.”  The doctor said that they would like to keep him for a psych evaluation but had no grounds to do so.  I was asked to try to convince Phil to voluntarily submit.

At this point and having my own suspicions I said to the doctor, ” you suspect it’s self-inflicted?”  The doctor said, yes.

I did talk to Phil a little bit, of course he refused.

I wish I could remember which hospital in Portland it was.  Unfortunately I just don’t.  But there should be records.

This happened in possibly late 77 more likely 78 perhaps even early 79.

There is more I could talk about.  But none of it would be particularly germaine.

By the time I parted company with Phil, entirely, probably sometime in 1980, I was of the very solid opinion that Phil was disturbed and probably a danger to himself but not others   (I should note here that I’m completely unqualified in any clinical sense to say these things.)

Now I know that no one has any particular reason to give my testimony any credibility.

But, there it is.  I hope that this may help slightly for some people to be suspicious of anything he said.  I certainly was and am.

Phil Schneider was not a horrible person.  He was certainly at some level delusional.  He was for a short time a very flawed friend of mine.”

UNQUOTE

Please click and read the following item:

PERSONALITIES BEHIND THE INITIAL DULCE BASE RUMORS

…………

Here is the YouTube format of:

– – – – – – – – – – –

Norio Hayakawa’s CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE NEWS SERVICE

E-mail = noriohayakawa@gmail.com

FACEBOOK = https://www.facebook.com/fernandon.hayakawa

S-4 at Air Force’s Plant 42 in Palmdale, CA will be the production site of the new Long Range Strike Bomber

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S-4 (Hangar/Building 401) at Air Force’s Plant 42 in Palmdale, CA, will be the production site of the new Long Range Strike Bomber which is certain to be tested at Area 51 in Nevada in the very near future (as imagined in this illustration).
Together with S-3 and S-4, the expanded footprint of Northrop’s production site will grow to a total of around 3 million square feet with the addition of Sites 7 and 8:

December 15, 2015

Despite Northrop being gagged from discussing the Long Range Strike-Bomber pending the verdict of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) bid protest review there is some information.  Northrop has hinted that if its plan prevails final assembly will occupy the same Building 401 hangar at Palmdale’s Plant 42 site used for the construction of the B-2 stealth bomber in the 1980s and 1990s.  Although only 21 B-2s were built, the east side of Building 401 supported up to 11 bombers on the line during peak production.

In 2014, Northrop received a $10 billion contract to modernize and sustain the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 stealth bomber for a decade.  In 2014, Northrop Grumman completed a USAF review of a new software package for the fleet.  The upgrade, known as the USAF’s ‘Flexible Strike Phase 1’ program, was created to streamline weapons management software on the aircraft, according to Northrop Grumman.  The aircraft previously had several standalone software programs that each managed a specific mission.

The Flexible Strike program is the first B-2 modernization effort to take advantage of the new communications infrastructure Northrop Grumman created for the first increment of the B-2 EHF satellite communications program.  That infrastructure included faster processors, a fibre optic network, and increased onboard data storage.

With concerns about the size and availability of the B-2 bomber fleet, Northrop is meanwhile speeding up maintenance on the 1980s-era aircraft. The company sought to reduce the time that it takes to overhaul each of the 20 bombers in the Air Force’s fleet from 560 days down to one year.

Advancements in the stealth coatings — from the initial days of painting the B-2 by hand to today’s robot-based application — are helping to keep more B-2s in operation.  Previously the coatings had to be replaced every seven years to maintain their low radar cross section, but the Air Force has agreed to extend that to every nine years.

Along with a faster maintenance schedule, the B-2 has seen a number of upgrades to its radar system, adding Link 16 communications and new weapons, including the ability to carry two Boeing-made Massive Ordnance Penetrator bombs. Future enhancements are planned as well. Engineers are working to integrate the B-61 tactical nuclear bomb and Northrop is in the acquisition planning phase of adding protections for nuclear missions via the use of Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications.

The Air Force plans to buy up to 100 LRS-Bs to replace B-52s and B-1s, which are slated to retire in the mid-2040s.  Initial operating capability is expected in the mid-2020s, with nuclear certification planned two years after service entry.   The program is targeting a cost of around $550 million per aircraft; a basic enabler of this price point will be a mature production system.  Together with Sites 3 and 4, the expanded footprint of Northrop’s production sites at Plant 42 will grow to a total of around 3 million square feet with the addition of Sites 7 and 8.:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/12/northrop-accelerating-b-2-bomber.html

 

Norio Hayakawa’s CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE NEWS SERVICE

E-mail = noriohayakawa@gmail.com

Conspiracies exist……but delusional conspiracy theories only exist in the mind of the misinformed

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An excellent article by Edward Epstein, WSJ, December 18, 2015:

Conspiracy, a word derived from the Latin “to breathe together,” has been a salient part of the darker side of recorded history ever since some 60 conspirators in the Roman senate, including Brutus and Cassius, plotted together to assassinate Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.  Nowadays the “C” word does not always sit well with journalists, who commonly employ it in conjunction with “theory” to describe paranoid distortions of reality.

Even so, a criminal conspiracy is not a rare phenomenon.  Not only was a foreign conspiracy responsible for the monstrous 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center (as well as the previous attempt to blow it up in 1993) but, according to the Center on Law and Security at Fordham University, over 90% of routine federal indictments for terrorist attacks since 9/11 contain at least one conspiracy charge.  The government’s pursuit of conspiracies is by no means limited to terrorism.  Conspiracy charges are the rule rather than the exception in cases brought against businessmen accused of fixing prices, evading environmental regulations, using insider information or laundering money.

But there are also pseudo-conspiracies that exist only in a delusionary or misinformed mind.  And some of them achieve a huge following.  In Pakistan, according to public opinion polls, a majority of the population believes that the 9/11 attack was staged by President George W. Bush to launch a war on Islam.  The claim that the 1969 moon landing was faked is still around.  Just two days ago a crew from a Russian TV channel rushed to my apartment to interview me about a viral post on YouTube in which the deceased director Stanley Kubrick supposedly made a deathbed confession to having filmed the landing in a Hollywood studio—even though everything about the post, including a fake Kubrick, was untrue.

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Why people believe in pseudo-conspiracies (delusional conspiracy theories) is the focus of Rob Brotherton’s fascinating book “Suspicious Minds.”  Mr. Brotherton, an academic psychologist, advances the thesis that the belief in pseudo-conspiracies proceeds from the “quirks and foibles” in the way that the human brain, or at least some human brains, process evidence.  He lucidly reviews studies showing common defects in the brain’s wiring, such as the bias that selects evidence to confirm rather than undermine a pre-adopted thesis.  “We seek what we expect to find,” as Mr. Brotherton puts it.  Relatedly, “biased assimilation” causes us to “interpret ambiguous events in light of what we already believe.”

Until the controversy over the validity of Warren Commission’s 1966 report on the Kennedy assassination, the phrase “conspiracy theory” had a more neutral meaning, suggesting a plausible yet unproven claim about multiple actors in a single event.  Only in the aftermath of the Warren Commission did it become a derogatory term used to suggest theories that subvert conventional wisdom.  To those who doubted the commission’s finding that a single gunman killed Kennedy, Earl Warren became, Mr. Brotherton’s says, the “figurehead in a vast cover-up.”

It is not easy to find an objective criterion that distinguishes the inquiry into a real conspiracy from one that chases a pseudo-conspiracy.  Both types rely are the eyewitnesses, documents and forensic evidence.  The best that Mr. Brotherton can offer on this score is to cite Stewart Potter’s famous comment on pornography: “I know it when I see it.”  In the context of suspicious minds, though, one person might see a plausible case for a conspiracy and another only outlandish connections.  The distinction is in the mind of the beholder.

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Mr. Brotherton offers a sample list of conspiracy theories, including ones alleging that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on the orders of his vice president;  that the moon landing was faked;  that Area 51 in Nevada is home to extra-terrestrial technology under government auspices; that President Obama is “a communist Muslim from Kenya.” Such theories are meant to show that suspicious minds leap to absurd conclusions.  These are chosen because there is no evidence to support them.

The picture changes, however, if we consider, for example, the theory claiming that Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth was part of a larger conspiracy backed by the Confederacy.  On April 14, 1865, at about the same time that Booth shot Lincoln, one of his associates stabbed Secretary of State William Seward and another stalked Vice President Andrew Johnson with a loaded gun.  The military commission appointed by President Johnson, after hearing 371 witnesses testify and after examining Confederate bank transfers and cipher communications, concluded that the three attacks were part of a conspiracy sponsored by the Confederacy and convicted eight of Booth’s associates, four of whom were hanged.  Here we have a conspiracy theory proceeding not from crackpots but from a government commission backed by the new president and most members of Lincoln’s cabinet.

Clearly the defects in the brain’s wiring that lead to crazy theories may lead to the confirmation of theories that are adopted by rational people. Indeed, the confirmation bias can work in contradictory ways: confirming not only conspiracy theories but the impulse to reject them in favor of conventional wisdom.  Can this defect be corrected?  Here I am reminded of a Woody Allen’s 1996 comedy “Everyone Says I Love You,” in which the once-liberal son of a New York liberal family starts spouting conservative theories until a doctor solves the problem by restoring the proper flow of oxygen to his brain.  The movie has a happy ending when the son goes back to spouting his family’s liberal theories. While Mr. Brotherton offers no such remedy to our brain’s defects, he does offer a thought-provoking analysis and an appealing guide to thinking about conspiracies, real and imagined.

ABOVE, BY EDWARD EPSTEIN, Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2015:  http://www.wsj.com/articles/theyre-not-really-out-to-get-you-1450471512

 

PLEASE ALSO READ THE RELATED ARTICLE:

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CONSPIRACY THEORIES…WHY WE BELIEVE IN CONSPIRACY THEORIES

 

Norio Hayakawa’s CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE NEWS SERVICE

E-mail = noriohayakawa@gmail.com

 

Los Alamos turns its nuclear weapons power to War on Cancer

1995 aerial TA-3 south to north

(from NBC News, December 16, 2015:   http://www.nbcnews.com/health/cancer/los-alamos-turns-its-nuclear-weapons-power-war-cancer-n481386)

“Hidden amid the mountains and mesas of northern New Mexico lies Los Alamos National Laboratory.  It’s shrouded in secrecy.  Once known simply as Project Y, it was a classified lab where scientists built the atomic bomb.

Now, 70 years later, scientists there still work on nuclear weapons, but they’re also using some of that same knowledge to battle cancer.

NBC News got exclusive access to the secure facility, where physicist Eva Birnbaum is working to use radioactive elements to battle cancer.

Image: Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico
Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. NBC News

She works with actinium 225 or ac-225, one of a new class of radioactive therapies called alpha-emitting isotopes.  It’s unique because of its ability to destroy cancer without hurting healthy tissue.

The alpha particles emitted by ac-225 are relatively feeble, so they don’t do much damage past the targeted area.  Even a little healthy skin stops them dead.  And its half-life is 10 days, meaning half of it’s gone after 10 days, so it doesn’t hang out in the body for long.

“I think we’re very hopeful that this will have tremendous impact for some cancers right now that really don’t have highly effective treatments,” Birnbaum said.

Early clinical trials have found that ac- 225 has the potential to treat leukemia, melanoma and other cancers, like those of the breast and the prostate.

Related: Quick Treatment Saves Women With Breast Cancer: Studies

But the issue that concerns cancer experts isn’t whether actinium is promising.  It’s whether there’s enough of the precious substance to use in clinical trials.  The supply has been quite limited because it’s so hard to produce.

The scientists at Los Alamos can use particle accelerators built to make nuclear products for weapons and energy generation to make ac-225 from another radioactive element called thorium.

Image: Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico
Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. NBC News

“This project is aimed at making 50 times more material available than is available right now,” said Kevin John, the project manager at Los Alamos.

It takes Los Alamos’ half-mile-long proton accelerator.  The team starts with a disc of thorium, blasting it with the stream of protons.  This knocks off the charged particles called isotopes — some of which are Ac-225 particles.

To use it for cancer therapy, scientists outside Los Alamos bind the isotope with an antibody — a human immune system protein engineered in the lab to find tumor cells. When injected into the body, it homes in on the targeted tumor and destroys the cancer.

“This is more focused radiation.  It’s more precise, and it allows for efficient killing of the targeted cell alone,” said Joseph Jurcic, a hematologist and oncologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

Related: Common Prostate Cancer Treatment May Double Risk for Alzheimer’s

Jurcic conducted some of the early clinical trials, and he’s on the board of Actinium Pharmaceuticals, a company that’s working to develop cancer treatments using ac-225.

He said it can help people with smaller tumors or those that have metastasized. More research is needed before it can be approved.

And that research can now be done in large part thanks to the scientists at Los Alamos who are helping create a new type of weapon. This time, though, it’s to fight cancer.”

OTHER LOS ALAMOS NEWS:

New security firm takes over at Los Alamos National Laboratory

 

Norio Hayakawa’s CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE NEWS SERVICE

E-mail = noriohayakawa@gmail.com