The book in question is UFOs, Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record by Leslie Kean. It is a well researched and carefully written book by a serious and well respected investigative journalist with chapters written by first hand UFO observers in multiple witness cases who are also (as the title suggests) generals, pilots and government officials. Mostly the book does not champion a source of these craft which behave as though intelligently controlled and appear to be metallic, however several of the witnesses propose the ETH (extraterrestrial hypothesis) as the most likely scenario. Other ideas put forth (not in the book) are that the craft are crypto-terrestrial, demonic, inter-dimensional, or time traveling. I personally have no trouble thinking of them as possibly both inter-dimensional and extraterrestrial but that may be fodder for another article.
Leslie Kean’s book is now on the New York Times bestseller list as well it should be. I recommend purchasing the book as a holiday or birthday gift for your skeptical friends because it makes a rather air tight case that the phenomena is real. Ms. Kean is also a founder of the Coalition for Freedom of Information and has pressed forward for US government documents using the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) particularly around the 1965 Kecksburg incident in Pennsylvania.
The book goes on to explore the possible dangers to aviation that UFOs pose and makes a case for a serious UFO government agency to be established in the United States as such agencies have been established in other countries.
Ms. Kean has been interviewed on many mainstream news shows as well as UFO-interest radio shows and podcasts. I chanced to read James Oberg’s piece , an NBC reporter’s very biased critique of her book about a week ago and was stunned that he had the nerve to trot out the old debunker’s patently ridiculous statement that career pilots are no better observers of aerial phenomena than the average person. When anyone makes such an outrageous statement, for me, the argument is over. It defies imagination that he should expect anyone to believe him. I don’t think he believes that himself or he would be well advised not to travel by air. It can only be that he has another agenda, a reason that he wants the public to discount all reports of UFOs. It is the height of humano-centric hubris to steadfastly hold that there is no other intelligent life in our vast cosmos. Is Mr. Oberg a disinformation agent? I don’t know, but he definitely has an agenda and that agenda is not to promote open minded inquiry. We must wonder why.
Today I came across a rebuttal of James Oberg by Leslie Kean herself and I reprint it here with the object that more readers will realize that Mr. Oberg is an agenda driven debunker:
SKEPTIC MISSES POINT BEHIND UFO BOOK
SOLID SIGHTINGS CITED IN UFOS¹; SERIOUS INVESTIGATION NEEDED
By Leslie Kean
September 7, 2010
When I wrote my book about officially documented UFO reports, I fully
expected the skeptics to react. That¹s why I was careful to focus only on
the very best evidence from the most credible sources in “UFOs: Generals,
Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record.” <http://bit.ly/cH72wg>
Since 95 percent of all sightings are eventually identified, the book is
concerned only with the remaining 5 percent — those UFO events that have
been thoroughly investigated, involve multiple witnesses and ample data, but
still cannot be explained.
That didn¹t stop James Oberg, a space analyst for NBC News, from complaining
that the book was based on a ³questionable foundation.²
STORY: UFO BOOK BASED ON QUESTIONABLE FOUNDATION
By James Oberg
August 27, 2010
In the biographical note appended to his commentary, he notes that he spent
22 years at NASA¹s Mission Control and has written books about space policy
and exploration. But he neglects to inform readers of something UFO
researchers already know all too well: that he is a founding fellow of the
Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI, formerly CSICOP), a group whose aim is
to debunk UFOs and any other unexplained phenomena that challenge our
familiar ways of thinking.
For many years, Oberg, while retaining his stance as an objective student of
the UFO phenomenon, has been a consistently vocal skeptic. His long list of
articles dealing with UFOs date from the 1970s and are posted on his website
under the heading “space folklore,” which accurately sums up his attitude
towards the subject. He may be qualified to serve as an unbiased, expert
consultant on Russian or Chinese missile systems, but not on UFOs.
His objection to my many varied cases has to do with his notion that pilots
are poor observers. To buttress this idea, he quotes J. Allen Hynek
referring to questionable statistics compiled in the 1960s by Project Blue
Book. He also cites Russian researchers describing two events in 1982 when
pilot sightings were accurately identified as “military balloons” after the
This is not surprising, since the vast majority of sightings can be
explained, and this kind of identification is made all the time. However,
such solved sightings — whether made by pilots or anyone else — have
absolutely nothing to do with the cases presented in my book.
I wonder if Oberg gave “UFOs” a careful read. He spent many paragraphs
quoting me concerning a report on aviation cases by French researcher
Dominique Weinstein. The problem is, those are not my quotes. The chapter
from which he extracted them was written by Jean-Jacques Velasco, head of
the French government’s UFO agency for over 20 years, as is obvious in his
byline and narrative about French research.
Oberg gleefully proclaims that I have ³faithfully vouched for² the cases in
Weinstein’s list, but actually, I have respectfully allowed Velasco to write
his own chapter. (About half the chapters in my book were written by highly
credentialed authorities and expert witnesses.) If Oberg wants to discuss
the Weinstein study, he’ll have to contact Velasco.
Oberg¹s fixation on the question of the reliability of pilots as witnesses
is not raised by the generals and aviation experts I have interviewed —
officials who have studied pilot cases and interviewed pilot witnesses for
decades. As described in “UFOs,” French Air Force Maj. Gen. Denis Letty
initiated an extensive study of UFO data because competent pilots he knew
personally were confronted by the phenomenon. Chilean Gen. Ricardo Bermudez
was instrumental in the founding of his country’s official UFO investigative
agency in 1997 because of inexplicable sightings involving pilots.
Richard Haines, who has written more than 70 papers in leading scientific
journals and published more than 25 U.S. government reports for NASA, was
formerly chief of the space agency’s Space Human Factors Office and served
for 21 years as a retired senior aerospace scientist at NASA’s Ames Research
Center. Having studied pilot sightings and related aviation safety issues
for more than 30 years, and having personally interviewed hundreds of pilots
during that time, Haines has concluded that pilots are indeed excellent
witnesses, given their thorough training, expertise and hours of flying
Haines is now chief scientist for the National Aviation Reporting Center on
Anomalous Phenomena. Sadly, most pilots never report their sightings, as he
points out in “UFOs.”
Most importantly, the aerial cases documented in “UFOs” — and many more on
the record elsewhere — involve multiple factors such as:
– Sightings of long duration, allowing for accurate voice transmissions and
the refinement of the initial identification.
– Multiple witnesses — co-pilot, crew, passengers, other aircraft in
different locations, and occasionally observers from the ground.
– Onboard radar and ground radar recording the presence of a physical
object, often corresponding exactly to the visual sighting.
– Direct physical effects on the aircraft, such as equipment malfunction.
As an example, Brig. Gen. Jose Periera of Brazil, commander of air force
operations until 2005, reports on an “array of UFOs” observed over his
country in 1986. Two pilots chased one of the objects for 30 minutes.
Numerous other pilots saw the objects. Radar recorded them. Six jets were
scrambled from two Brazilian air force bases to pursue them. Some of the
pilots made visual contact corresponding to radar registrations. Both
military and commercial pilots were involved. Onboard as well as ground
radar systems confirmed the presence of the objects.
³We have the correlation of independent readings from different sources,²
Periera writes. ³These data have nothing to do with human eyes. When, along
with the radar, a pilot’s pair of eyes sees that same thing, and then
another pilot’s, and so on, the incident has real credibility and stands on
a solid foundation.²
In 2007, airline captain Ray Bowyer saw two gigantic, bright yellow objects
suspended over the English Channel, which he observed carefully for 15
minutes. His passengers saw them, another pilot on a second aircraft was
also a witness, and an object was registered on radar.
In 1986, three Japan Airlines pilots watched a series of UFOs for 30
minutes, communicating with air traffic control while radar operators picked
up the objects in corresponding locations.
I could go on with many more examples, presented in detail in the book.
Oberg says pilots may misinterpret visual phenomena when forced to make a
split-second diagnosis before taking immediate action — very rare cases, I
would assume — and no one would disagree with that. But, just as was the
case with the solved Russian sightings I discussed earlier, this is entirely
beside the point with respect to my book, because the cases presented do not
involve such a scenario.
In addition, “UFOs: General, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the
Record” presents many other cases that do not involve pilots at all — but
often military personnel and police officers — including:
– The famous 1980 incident near RAF Bentwaters in Britain, involving the
landing of a UFO and objects sending beams of light to the ground.
– The 1981 “Trans-en-Provence” landing case in France, investigated by the
official French agency GEPAN.
– Belgian Maj. Gen. Wilfried De Brouwer’s report on the wave of sightings in
Belgium in 1989-90, which includes a spectacular photograph.
– The 1993 “Cosford Incident” involving a UFO over two Air Force bases in
Britain, investigated by the Ministry of Defense.
– The 1997 Phoenix Lights incident that former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington
These are just a few of a host of cases with abundant data that don’t rely
on pilot observations — and which are still unsolved. It’s the aggregate of
cases, the accumulation of evidence and the long-running but unsuccessful
attempts of qualified experts to resolve them that establishes the reality
of a yet-unexplained physical phenomenon with extraordinary capabilities.
Oberg says that “if investigators are unable to find the explanation for a
particular UFO case, that doesn’t constitute proof that the case is
unexplainable.² Fair enough. Perhaps there is some prosaic explanation still
to be discovered. ThereŒs always that possibility, no matter how small.
But we remain in a state of ignorance concerning UFOs, leaving us with the
conclusion presented in the book: We need a systematic, scientific
investigation of the skies that actively looks for these mysterious and
elusive objects. In the meantime, all I ask is that devout skeptics like
Oberg read the entire book before raising objections that actually have no
bearing on the matter at hand.
On October 10, 2010 I have discovered a very good article by another paranormal blogger about this subject and the airport shutdowns by UFOs in China.