Secrecy and Skepticism

Posted on September 8, 2009 by


Today we feature another guest article, from a skeptical slant, by Oliver Hallen. While it’s no secret that I am in no way a proponent of the Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis (ETH), I do believe in the reality of the phenomenon. Whether it eventually proves to be more physical, more psychological, or something altogether unimaginable (supposing it is, or ever can be, proven) it is real to those individuals experiencing it. The sociology and psychology student in me is honestly more interested in why people interpret the phenomenon the way they do than the physical reality of those phenomenon. That said, the individuals that Mr. Hallen speaks of in his article interest me because they believe in the government conspiracy, regardless of the reality or unreality of any such conspiracy. I also, however, must acknowledge the accounts put forward by respected researchers that include physical traces, such as the Australian landings referenced by Jacques Vallee that left circular depressions in tall grass and the physical reactions resembling radiation sickness reported by some UFO witnesses as intriguing (whether real, psychosomatic, or bizarre coincidence) in contrast to Mr. Hallen’s statements regarding the lack of physical evidence. There is evidence, however circumstantial in nature or irrelevant to those who did not themselves experience the phenomenon. I must also point out that part of Mr. Hallen’s argument about the inherent sloppiness of a secret organization about which so much rumor circulates fails to acknowledge the potential of such purposeful sloppiness as a tool for misinformation. Overall, however, he makes a rather interesting argument about the difficulty of maintaining big secrets and raises some intriguing questions. I know, with the varied opinions of our readers, someone will have issue, or be thrilled by something herein.

As always the views of Mr. Hallen do not necessarily represent the views of myself or, but are presented here in the nature of free information and debate.  Please read, consider, and comment.

Secrecy… but not as you know it

by Oliver Hallen

The famous nuclear physicist Edward Teller well described the effects of confidentiality in this short yet inquisitive way: “Secrecy, once accepted, becomes an addiction”. I find that this quote is no truer than in ufology where not only is secrecy seen as commonplace, but it’s expected as a primary part concerning the so-called official forces apparently at work regarding the field. The history of this subject is inundated with alleged instances of how complex and well organized actions work to keep that all ambiguous truth concealed. Even though it can’t be proven, you’d imagine that if this were true the resources needed would be rather substantial and the people involved beyond trustworthy; then factoring this in over long periods of time, different departments, and even countries, it makes it all the more unlikely.

The fact of the matter is humans are lousy at keeping secrets and controlling sensitive information. As we’ve seen in the news, to the dismay of many, the British government has certainly shown how inept it can be at handling data with occurrences such as the mislaid personal details of millions of people which they were entrusted with. These incidents included factions like the Ministry of Defence, Home Office, and Foreign Office. If these important agencies, as an example, can’t even perform such duties what hope would there be of keeping a major cover-up under constant wraps and in operation regardless of size, scope, or country? This is one of numerous questions that have never been satisfactorily answered by ardent supporters of this, at least not to me anyway. What’s been claimed as evidence has absolutely no solidity when faced with serious questioning. There is real contradiction here; people claim that the authorities have a large, secretive, and well-oiled operation, yet this same project is not only common knowledge, but the perpetrators of this can’t even contain information which people use against them as alleged evidence of this so-called esoteric conspiracy. But if it’s anything to go off regarding previous lapses of security, like the ones mentioned above for instance, we most probably would have found out the truth long ago or at least have some idea about what’s going on concerning anything strange. However, no conclusive data has ever come to light to back a paranormal perspective which for me says much about the weakness of such accusations.

One well known and controversial element in all this is the Men in Black whose duty is to seemingly hassle and silence UFO witnesses. Surely if a special government program to keep this issue under control and wraps was being conducted in such a comprehensive and ruthless way as proposed, there wouldn’t be much need for individuals like this to perform these tasks (if we presume that they are in some way connected). Considering for a moment an ‘MIB division’ or ‘divisions’ exist, whatever jurisdiction, if any, it might be under (earth-based or otherwise) it certainly shows that the cover up effort in this area is performed in a rather insecure, reckless, and ineffective way. Especially when you think you’ve got suspicious looking and acting spooks making the rounds on particular cases and that details, unconfirmed though they are, are publicly available on them in different forms. Logically though, what harm could a witness do with no irrefutable evidence and no means by which to threaten the authorities purported program? There must definitely be more pressing things on a government’s alleged secret ufological agenda than a collection of witnesses who will probably not be taken that seriously or receive a great amount of attention except within the UFO scene which, by all rights if accurate, they should already be very well-informed on. To take such a needless risk like this is nothing short of crazy when, if true, you have so much to lose.

The reality of the situation is a lot more mundane however, as we’ve seen internationally regarding the various releases, statements, and investigations over the years which have gained much attention. Whilst there is interest here it’s definitely not to the style and depth of what has been claimed for so long by particular parties. No doubt a counter to this argument is that we’re being fobbed off with more ordinary and safe data whilst the real stuff is locked away in top secret, all the while government’s can claim good PR for their frankness having superficially answered the allegations. This, again, is totally unfounded.

When calls for openness are met, rejection is expected due to the fact that said calls run in opposition to established conspiracy lore held so dear by its proponents. Nonetheless, it’s a win-win situation for them as if the release is positive they get what they want and, if not, they can call foul and continue to point the finger at whomever they see fit. Sadly, all the information in the world would not satisfy them if it went against what they believed. Everyone must be reminded that releases generally come when it’s best for the authorities, not the public. Regarding the uses of data though, people need to recognize that it’s not enough to just know, it must be understood and applied in an appropriate way relevant to what you’re doing.

If I could pass on a good piece of advice it would be the need to look at yourself and the secrets you have; then place this in the context of governmental circumstances. It’s always been in the interests and nature of command to employ confidentiality as a valuable tool and asset concerning its work. With regards to ufology this fact has shown how erroneous the conspiracy angle actually is.

Finally, it’s important to mention that one of the many reasons I have such a skeptical attitude towards this field is not just because the answers are usually very normal, but because they can be overlooked in favor of the fantastic. It seems the last thing most ufologist’s want is a simple answer and if that requires self deception, then god help them.