Stanton Friedman


OPEN CHALLENGE TO THE HISTORY CHANNEL


December 21, 1999

History Channel
235 East 45th St.
New York, NY l0017

Subject: December 13, 1999 program Roswell: Secrets Revealed

Dear History Channel:

As the nuclear physicist who began the civilian investigation of the Roswell Incident back in the 1970s, who has co-authored a book “Crash at Corona: The Definitive Story of the Roswell Incident” and numerous papers about Roswell, and, of course, was the first to talk to many of the key witnesses (almost all of whom you somehow missed), I naturally viewed the subject program with great interest, especially since I was in Roswell on December 13… I must congratulate you on providing a Masterpiece of Misrepresentation. A splendid example of propaganda, excellent for teaching purposes. You demonstrated the primary rules such as selective choice of data, false reasoning, positive and negative name calling. You also demonstrated the 4 basic rules of UFO debunkery:
  1. What the public doesn’t know, we are not going to tell them.

  2. Don’t bother us with the facts, our minds are made up.

  3. If we can’t attack the data, we will attack the people; it is much easier.

  4. Do one’s research by proclamation, rather than investigation. It is much easier and most people won’t know the difference.

I have discussed the two Air Force reports in my enclosed papers "The Roswell Incident, the USAF, and the NY Times” (28 pages) and my Review of “The Roswell Report: Case Closed.” You seem to have blindly accepted any comment from a noisy negativist and didn’t bother with the work of professionals such as myself. Let me give some specific examples, although I found that I can’t get a copy of the show for 4-6 weeks to give precise quotes.

A. How do you dare to show a small heap of wreckage? In my first conversation with Major Jesse Marcel, the Intelligence Officer for the 509th Composite Bomb Group, in 1978, he described wreckage strewn out over an area 3/4 of a mile long. The Roswell Daily Record cover-up article of July 9, 1947, stated the wreckage covered an area 200 yards in diameter. Your depiction was at most a few yards across. If that is all there had been, rancher Mack Brazel would have taken it all in his truck to the Sheriff’s office and there would have been no reason for Major Marcel and Captain Cavitt to have followed him on the long rough journey back to the Foster Ranch operated by Mack. You have blindly accepted a fairly recent statement by Cavitt to Colonel Weaver about him recalling it was just a balloon covering an area only 20' square and easily fitting in one vehicle. Apparently Cavitt wasn’t told it was supposed to be a MOGUL balloon which included 23 standard helium filled neoprene balloons (at 20' intervals) and a whole bunch of radar reflectors, sonobuoys, ballast tanks, etc all strung together. Some small pile. Of course Cavitt hadn’t remembered that simple fact when asked many times by many people for the previous fifteen years, even denying that he had been on the base at the time.

B. Dr. C.B. Moore, whom I have met, himself strongly claimed that neoprene out in the sun for weeks would be totally degraded. Did he forget that little detail? A June 4 or June 14 launching could not possibly have survived so well until early July. You also neglected to mention that many of the July 8 newspaper articles claimed the wreckage was found “last week.” But Rancher Brazel had been in the area just a few days earlier and could never have left that mountain of garbage where the sheep could ingest it. Mack had of course previously found two balloons. The newspaper of July 9 quotes him saying he was sure what he found wasn’t any weather balloon.

Colonel Weaver left this quote out of his recital of the article.

C. Too bad you couldn’t mention that the 509th was the most elite military group in the world with hand picked officers and men, and high security. They had dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the two tested in the Pacific in July, 1946, in Operation Crossroads. You noted the July 9, 1947, press release and then stated nobody knows why it was issued. Why didn’t you bother to ask Walter Haut who issued it? He still lives in Roswell and has been interviewed hundreds of times. His story hasn’t changed since I first spoke to him more than twenty years ago. Incidentally he also had been a bombardier on thirty raids over Japan and dropped the instrument package over one of the Crossroads tests. He issued the press release because he was ordered to do so by Colonel William Blanchard, Commander of the 509th and of Roswell Army Air Field. Before suggesting he must have been incompetent, as have some who haven’t done their homework, I should add he was a member of the West Point All Star class of 1938, became a four-star general by the time he was 48 and was Vice Chief of Staff of the USAF when he died of a massive heart attack at the Pentagon in 1966. There was ,of course, a lengthy obituary in the NY times. Doesn’t sound much like he was thought to be incompetent, does it?

It was stated that Blanchard retracted the press release four hours later. This is nonsense. Blanchard’s boss, General Roger Ramey in Fort Worth, Texas, (Blanchard was in Roswell) issued a new story after being informed by hisChief of Staff, Colonel Thomas J. DuBose that Ramey’s boss, General Clements McMullen, had given orders to cover up the story. I heard that first hand from retired General DuBose whose testimony is available on film. He was a West Pointer as well and had 18,000 hours as a pilot and set up the USAF Search and Rescue command. No slouch at all.

D. Why do you show only the Roswell Daily Record? After all there were front page headline stories in the Chicago Daily News, the Sacramento Bee, the Los Angeles Herald Express, the Spokane Chronicle, etc all evening papers for July 8. The West coast papers in general had done a lot of checking before publishing detailed articles. Too bad you did none.

E. Where did the comment come from about bodies cold to touch?

F. The notion that Pilot Kittinger was the red haired officer is more absurdity. After all he wasn’t at the Roswell hospital until 1959. I was the first to hear two independent stories about a nasty red haired officer and a black Sergeant. Both events taking place in 1947. Has the air force invented time travel? There is no other way to get crash test dummies, all of whom were the height and weight of pilots, back to 1947 from 1953 at the earliest or to get Kittinger to the Roswell hospital in 1947. This is flat out fiction.

G. Why did you not talk to others still alive who had first hand involvement such as Jesse A. Marcel Jr., a medical doctor, who handled wreckage, has served on military aircraft accident investigative teams and was a pilot? Or Loretta Proctor, neighbor of Mack Brazel, who handled wreckage? or Mack Brazel’s son Bill who found strange (thin strong memory material) wreckage out in the pasture? How about the sheriff’s two daughters? All this testimony has been readily available for many years.

H. One of the first things Major Jesse Marcel told me is that there was nothing conventional to be found on the debris field. No wires, no vacuum tubes, no rivets. He was very familiar with aircraft and aircraft wreckage and balloons and radar reflectors and rockets. The notion that he wouldn’t have recognized balloon wreckage or radar reflectors is frankly absurd. You are also implying that Blanchard, who had also served in the Pacific, would have ordered the press release and the B-29 flight with the wreckage brought back from the ranch and Marcel to Fort Worth is equally absurd, if all there was was totally conventional stuff. You know of any materials such as the I-beam like pieces with strange symbols that couldn’t be cut, burned, or broken? Or memory metals that were like foil but couldn’t be cut and, when folded over and over, would unfold on their own? Why couldn’t the USAF find any of that toy maker tape in the pictures taken in Ramey’s office?

I. Brazel didn’t make his discovery on July 5th. It was earlier. He did go to the store-pool hall in Corona on the 5th which is when, not having electricity or a phone or a radio, he first heard about all the saucer sightings and a reward and was told he ought to go to the Sheriff in Roswell which he did on the 6th — NOT on the 7th as you claimed. You made it sound as though Sheriff Wilcox looked in the phone book to find a nearby Air Base. There was a standing arrangement that anything that might effect the military would be reported to Roswell Army Air Field. There was no other base in the area.

J. I have met with Dr. Schirmer, Dr. Moore, Mr. Gildenberg. They haven’t investigated the case. They have made proclamation after proclamation about second and third hand testimony. Why use the term “conspiracy theorist” so many times without ever justifying it? Who are these theorists? I began the investigation and have always provided evidence for the claims that I make which is more than can be said for your trio. They have actually created a conspiracy theory namely that a bunch of stupid UFO researchers and lying witnesses have created a fantastic story for fun and profit. This, of course, ignores the fact that loads of testimony was obtained by us serious researchers long before the cameras started rolling. My phone bills used to run several hundred dollars a month.

By the way, I do know something about security having worked as a nuclear physicist on a wide variety of highly classified advanced nuclear and space system programs for such companies as General Electric, General Motors, Westinghouse, TRW Systems, McDonnell Douglas, and Aerojet General Nucleonics. I have also been to nineteen different government document archives.

Just how much experience with security has Dr. Schirmer had?

K. What was this nonsense about a 1956 plane crash somehow confusing Glenn Dennis about bodies at the base in 1947? A few years ago I went with Glenn to the Ballard funeral home. We reviewed records with full permission of the operator there who obviously respected Glenn. There were a number of military plane crashes for which he handled the bodies even after bad fires. That was his job. No possible way such a crash could have confused him. Yet another false conspiracy theory from your trio.

L. At one point early on in the program the word UFO was used. Sorry. It was not used until after 1951. Several times when showing balloons and talking about Mogul you showed tear drop shaped polyethylene balloons. Round standard Neoprene balloons were used for all MOGUL launches before July — the same kind that Mack had retrieved. And that rapidly disintegrate in the sun.

In summary then, the History Channel has presented myth and propaganda in the guise of truth.

You have supplied misrepresentation instead of investigative journalism. You should be ashamed and should apologize to your audience. It seems to me you have also violated FCC rules with regard to fairness, honesty, and accuracy in so doing. My colleagues and I would be happy to debate your trio of amateurs any time. I would suggest that they do their homework first.

Cordially,
Stanton T. Friedman

Enclosures.