Saturday, September 15, 2018

Robert Morningstar an investigative journalist. Wait.. WHAT???

James Concannon writes...

        This week, on the FarceBook, Robert Morningstar described himself as an investigative journalist. I had a good laugh over that.

A scene that has not yet happened...
[Cue the Harp arpeggios...]

- "Come in Mr. Morningstar, take a seat. So, you want a job as investigative journalist, and you say you have lots of experience?"

- "That's right, I've been doing it for twenty years and my intuition is great."

- "What we're really looking for is facts, rather than intuition. What kind of stories have you investigated?"

- "Paranormal phenomena mostly, anomalies on the Moon and Mars, that kind of thing."

- "For example?"

- "Well, I investigated the Apollo 20 crashed alien spaceship on the far side of the Moon."


- "But you were wrong about that, weren't you? Examination of the high-definition image from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter shows that this is just a 10km long natural depression, cratered to the same extent as its surroundings.


You also said that the Apollo-era photo that shows it, AS15-P-9625, was from Apollo 12 Magazine P. In fact it's from Apollo 15's Pan camera.

-  "I investigated what are obviously hangars for alien spaceships in Mare Imbrium."


- "Those "hangars" (and by the way you mis-spelled them as hangers in your report) are about 8km wide. Even in lunar gravity, an unsupported roof 8km wide is impossible. Here's a link to the LRO image. Your "hangars" are the two knobby hills at 24.06°W, 19.87°N. Zoom in as far as you like, see if you think there are any UFOs in there. Just like the "crashed spaceship," the hangar roofs are cratered just like all the surrounding terrain. You also said in your report that the image that shows them, AS17-M-2444, is from Lunar Orbiter. In fact, it's from the Apollo 17 Mapping camera. I see, too, that in your report you labeled seven craters in Mare Imbrium and got all seven wrong. We expect better accuracy that that."

- "One of my greatest revelations was of a space station in lunar orbit. I call it "Station Luna" and I have calculated that it must be 166 miles wide."


- "You are wrong about that. The image that shows it, AS10-28-3988, is of an 18-inch piece of mylar insulation that broke away as the Apollo 10 LM separated from the CM. John Young took several shots of it because he was slightly concerned that it was a hazard. Anything in lunar orbit 166 miles wide would be extremely obvious to every astronomer on Earth. This thing cannot be permanently hidden behind the Moon because a selenosynchronous orbit is an impossibility."

- "I investigated an anomaly on Mars that I called TMA-1. The investigation took five months. Finally I published this in UFO Digest: "TMA-1 clearly appears to be an intelligently conceived and designed form.. If so, this alone, of course, would indicate (and prove) the presence or ,more likely, the previous existence of intelligent life on the Red Planet. … I now believe that this artifact, TMA-1, may be a "Time Capsule", or the remnant of a larger one, intended to call attention to the region or, perhaps, to record the circumstances or forces, which caused a cataclysm that destroyed Mars' once Earth-like ecosystem."



- "You are wrong about that. The "anomaly" is "Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)" on 5 April 2004. It shows the mark made by the Opportunity rover's Rock Abrasion Tool. What took you five months?"

- "When you have the world-class intuition I have, you need to be certain. It took me a long time to conclude that AS17-M-2366 shows a 10-mile high clock tower on the Moon. I call it "Big Ben on the Moon."


- "You are wrong about that, too. The version of AS17-M-2366 you analyzed was a preliminary rough, containing scanner lint. In the next frame in series, AS17-M-2367, the lint you call "Big Ben" has migrated off to the right.


Moreover, the technique you used in what you call your investigation—pointing a digital camera at your computer monitor—is highly unprofessional. If you worked for us we would not put up with utter bullshit like that. Anything else?"

- "My intuition has led me to many inexplicable anomalies that NASA has obviously covered up. But those are perhaps my best work."

- "Well, Mr. Morningstar, thank you for coming in today. Be sure to let us know if you ever get anything right. We may offer you the position in the event that all the other applicants are even more incompetent than you. My assistant will show you out."

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Point-by-point critique of Mike Bara's "Ancient Aliens & JFK"

        Things are looking up slightly over at Adventures Unlimited Press, where fantasist David Hatcher Childress presides. Bara's new book may still be a load of trash, but in terms of presentation, production and editing this is a much better job than its five predecessors.The whole 230-page book is virtually free of keyboard errors, the running chapter titles are all correct, and three pages of nicely-produced color photos are included. My only complaint is that, as usual, there's no index. If Childress refuses to pay for indexing, I wonder why he doesn't get one of his minions to learn computer-assisted indexing and do it all in-house. He could get a permanent license for TExtract, for example, for $395 (cf. up to twice that for agency indexing, just for one book.) An idea for you, David. Yer welcome, mate.

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Thumbnail synopsis: JFK decided to end the Space Race and mount a joint expedition to the Moon with the Soviets. (That part is true). He knew there was useful alien technology on the Moon and wanted to retrieve it for reverse engineering. (That part is bollocks).  Certain political factions were appalled that Kennedy would be willing to share this technology with Russia. (Tiny grain of truth).  One or other of these factions conspired to have JFK assassinated to prevent this from happening. (Highly unlikely). It was probably LBJ. (It probably wasn't). THE END.
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         If this all seems familiar, it is. Bara told the same story, at reduced length, in his previous book Hidden Agenda which I critiqued almost a year ago. In last year's book Bara seemed certain that the LEET technology on the Moon was left there by the Anunnaki. This year he's much less certain—in fact if he mentions the wretched Anunnaki at all I missed it. So the title of this new book is deliberately misleading as there's nothing much here about ancient aliens.

Now for the errors and questionable logic...

1. Chapter 1. This is 19 pages of absolutely standard JFK biography which Bara could have copy/pasted from any number of sources, even Wikipedia plus its references. I suppose it had to be done but perhaps 5 pages would have sufficed.

2. p.16. Bara writes of Joe Kennedy Sr that he married off his daughter Kathleen to the son of the Duke of Devonshire, as "a transparent effort to cull favor with the English nobility." Surely you curry favor, not cull it... [Also see Comment #10, it seems Joe wasn't currying or culling]

3. Chapter 2. Another 20 pages of highly unoriginal material, this time about Majestic-12, a favorite topic of gullible UFO fans such as Linda Moulton Howe. In this case Bara's text follows the Wikipage quite closely, but not word-for-word so I should perhaps not asperse plagiarism. Bara is obviously aware that MJ-12 is ridiculed as a hoax by most researchers, but he thinks there's a good chance that it was genuine. He writes (p.33) "If MJ-12 existed—and I believe that it did—then Kennedy, of all people, would have been aware of its existence and purpose." Later, on p.71, Bara strongly implies that MJ-12 itself is a suspect in the JFK assassination. That's poppycock in my opinion.

MJ-12 is all bound up with Project Serpo, which Bara has said he also believes is a true story. There's not the slightest doubt in my mind that Serpo was a hoax designed to sell a book. MJ-12 was either a complete hoax or deliberate FBI disinformation.

4. p.40. Bara writes that The United States was shocked by Gagarin's first spaceflight, on April 12, 1961, "...and six days later, NASA finally delivered a report... commonly known as 'The Brookings Report' to Congress." This is inaccurate. NASA delivered the report on 24th March, to the Committee on Science and Astronautics of the US House of Representatives. It was that committee that read the report into the record of the full House on 18th April. NASA had had the report from The Brookings Institution since the end of November 1960.

That damned Brookings Report. Ever since Hoagland dug it up (with the help of Don Ecker) all the conspiracy theorists have been metaphorically waving it around making totally false claims about it. Mike Bara himself, on Ancient Aliens S4E5, said "The Brookings Report said very specifically, 'Don't tell anyone'" That's completely false, and I thought I saw signs from this new book that he was softening on that point. On p.41 he writes that the report called for NASA "to consider suppression of the discovery of alien artifacts," (emph. added) which is almost true. However, on p.54 we find him backsliding to the point of writing about the report expounding "the necessity for concealing information from the public if need be" (emph. in the original this time). He then re-iterates (p.55) that NASA submitted the report to Congress as a direct reaction to Gagarin's triumphant orbit, which is not the case.

On the same page he writes "...the US wasn't even remotely close to being able to put a man in orbit." I take issue with that. After all, Alan Shepard's suborbital flight in Freedom 7 took place less than a month later. John Glenn was probably in training already, and his first orbital flight, in Friendship 7, would have taken place on 16th January 1962 but for a series of technical and weather delays (it actually lifted off on 20th February.)

5. pp. 73-74. It really does seem as if Bara has his dates all wrong in the early history of the US Space Program. He writes "As we look back on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs he initiated in his May 1961 "We Choose to go to the Moon" speech, it seems to me that Kennedy was very frustrated by his inability to find out what the CIA, MJ-12 and the shadow government were up to." Mercury and Gemini were initiated before Kennedy was president (in the case of Gemini, only just before), and the "We choose to go to the Moon..." was not delivered to Congress in April 1961 but to an audience at Rice University on 12th September 1962. Plus the fact that, in the opinion of many space historians, it was Lyndon Johnson, not Jack Kennedy, who actually decided to force NASA to "take longer strides" (and by the way, be sure to build the new Manned Spaceflight Center in Texas.) The first episode of that lovely 1998 TV series From The Earth To The Moon was accurate on this point. The episode title was Can We Do This?

6. p.76. Bara returns to the subject of that damned Brookings Report again, writing that what it "essentially did was give NASA political cover for what its real mission was all along—the retrieval of alien technology from the surface of the Moon." That's the really bad one. It marks the transition of Bara's writing from mere inaccuracy to total fantasy. There is not, and never has been, the slightest evidence that this was Apollo's real mission. Bara can't produce any such evidence, so by default he merely asserts it.

7. pp78-83. A virtually word-for-word repeat of the section of Hidden Agenda describing Project Horizon, the 1959 military project to place a 20-man permanent base on the Moon. Once again Bara shows that he has no concept of the immensity of the task that would be required. He acknowledges that Horizon was canceled, but he writes "It would have been a fairly simple thing to implement this plan over the next few decades.... My suspicion and speculation is that that is exactly what they did."

As I wrote when critiquing Hidden Agenda, the illustrations in Bara's own book make it obvious that before Horizon was half built every amateur astronomer on Earth would be saying "Er...excuse me.. what's THAT THING?"

8. p.85. I scared the office cat with my explosive reaction when I turned to this page. Here, believe it or not, is this disgraceful bit of flim-flam:

credit: Barefaced lie by Mike Bara

First appearing on p.117 of Hidden Agenda, this nonsense was created by turning a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image upside down. The original shows landslides down the rim of Marius crater, in Oceanus Procellarum. Take a look.

Also on p. 85, Bara seems to have backed off a bit on his often-claimed pseudo-fact that glass manufactured on the Moon is twice as strong as steel. Here he writes "about as strong as steel."  Actually Blacic (1985)note 1 gives the following figures for Young's Modulus:
Lunar glass: 100 GPa, cf. alloy steel 224 GPa, terrestrial glass 68 GPa. So the true statement would be "less than half as strong." We may all pray for the day when Bara makes true statements.

9. pp. 83-87. A repeat of Bara's utterly ridiculous accusation, first trotted out in Hidden Agenda, that the color TV camera on Apollo 12 was deliberately ruined to avoid showing alien ruins. I commented enough about it at the time that I don't feel the need to get all hot under the collar again.

10. 88-94. Here Bara tacks on six pages alleging that the Apollo 12 astronauts conducted a covert and undocumented Standup EVA (SEVA) before the publicly announced EVAs. This fairy story is copied without attribution from somebody using the nickname Luna Cognita. This person posted an hour-long video about the allegation to Youtube in 2011. The video is quite well-made but it rests on a document dated September 2006: The Apollo Experience: Lessons Learned for Constellation Lunar Dust Management by Sandra A. Wagner. And indeed, on page 1 we find this paragraph:

"The blowing dust caused by the Apollo 12 LM landing appears to have been worse than that of Apollo 11. In fact, a standup extravehicular activity (EVA) was performed by the crew to assess the site prior to performing lunar surface EVAs because blowing dust completely obscured the view during landing."

        Seems straightforward. However, Robert Pearlman, editor of collectSpace, contacted Sandra Wagner about this and she confessed that it was an error. She simply wrote 12 when she meant 15. Scroll down to Pearlman's 3-19-2014 post in this forum. I commented further on Luna Cognita's (and now Mike Bara's) misapprehensions in November 2014.

11. Chapter 5, "Oswald and the Magic Bullet," and Chapter 6, "The Badge Man and the Beast." Quite why Bara felt it was worth devoting 36 pages of this book to the minute details of what happened in Dealey Plaza and shortly afterward I cannot say. In terms of his overall thesis, who cares what Mary Moorman filmed or what Howard Brennan says he saw?

Oh, wait... I do know why. Because it was only too easy. Bara and his co-author had already written this up, for their 2007 book Dark Mission. Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V is your friend, if you're a lazy author.

Specifically, from "Whenever anyone brings up..." on p.98 to "...to the Soviets" on p.99 is a direct copy from pp.171-2 of Dark Mission, and from "It makes little difference..." to "...the fatal shot" on pp.99-100 is a direct copy from p. 172 of Dark Mission. The only edits are changes such as "It is for this reason that we.." to "It is for this reason that I.." and "We felt compelled to review..." to "I felt compelled to review..." It would be interesting to know what Bara's co-author thinks about that.

12. Chapter 7, "The Wink of an Eye." Finally, Bara gets down to his business of accusing Lyndon Johnson of masterminding the assassination. Frankly, his so-called "evidence" strikes me as pathetic.  The fact that Jacqueline Kennedy was given red roses, not yellow ones, on arrival in Dallas. Bara calls this "a bizarre occult ritual" (p.138.) Then there's the fact that the blue carpet in the Oval Office was replaced (at the behest of Jackie, in fact) with a red one while the Kennedys were in Dallas. Bara writes (p.140):
"What a lot of people don't know is that Lyndon Johnson was a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Freemason ... and as such was very aware of the trappings of office and the power of symbolism. To me, the red carpet is symbolic of the blood of the King, Kennedy, who he had killed. He even used Kennedy's old rocking chair in the Oval Office for several years. The symbolism is Johnson sitting on the throne of his predecessor, while symbolically swimming in his blood."
Oh, brother! Talk about stretching a metaphor!!!

13. This famous photograph, from p. 141:


The same pic was used in Dark Mission (p.182) with the same ridiculous interpretation: The interpretation is that LBJ and Congressman Albert Thomas are exchanging a "Got him!" moment. Bara writes that Johnson has "a broad smile" and that Thomas is winking. Other writers have used the word "smirk." I can't do bettter than to refer you to the "Piece of Mindful" blog from 2nd March 2017. The title is One of the Most Fake Photos of All Time.

14. Chapter 8: "Who Mourns for Apollo?" (the title is a nod to a famous episode of Star Trek 1967. That title was "Who Mourns for Adonais?")

This is, unbelievably, 28 pages debunking the many theories that hold that the entire Apollo program was faked. Although I heartily endorse Bara's text here, I'd like to know what TF this material is doing in a book that is supposed to be unmasking villainy in 1963, and to be concerned with ancient aliens?

Once again, the answer is Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V. Huge swaths of this text are directly copied from a long essay Bara wrote in 2001, of the same title. The co-authors on that project were Richard Hoagland and Steve Troy.

15. p.211. Bara here momentarily fools us into thinking he's about to answer the burning question: What exactly were the astronauts sent to look for, and what did they find? Those are his exact words, in fact.

What follows reminds me powerfully of Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip, yanking the football away just as Charlie Brown goes to kick it. Bara makes passing mention of the rock called (by him and Hoagland) Data's Head, and then refers the reader to one of his previous books for details. Any reader not already familiar with the mythology of Hoagland would not have the slightest clue what that's all about. I've written about it several times, including this post from 2007 citing five reasons why Cernan and Schmitt could not possibly have retrieved that rock, or even noticed it.

In the next few pages Bara brings up the so-called "alien spaceship" seen in a stereo pair from the Apollo 15 pan camera. Here's a short briefing on that. It's about 10 km long and hardly an answer to the question What did they bring back? Plus it's nowhere near any of the Apollo landing sites, so why even mention it? Lucy snatches the football again...

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OK, enough of the carping from me. I'd just like to add an approximate tally of the pages in this 230-page book that are copied from other sources.

Chapter 1, 19 pp. Copied from standard political history.
Chapter 2, 20 pp. Copied from standard conspiracy theorists
pp. 78-83 Project Horizon, copied from Hidden Agenda
pp. 83-87 Apollo 12, copied from Hidden Agenda
Chapter 5, "Oswald and the Magic Bullet," and Chapter 6, "The Badge Man and the Beast."  36 pp copied from Dark Mission
 Chapter 8: "Who Mourns for Apollo?" 28 pp. Copied from Bara, Hoagland & Troy 2001

I make the total 113 pp, or almost exactly 50% of the book. 

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[1] Blacic, J. D.; Mechanical Properties of Lunar Materials Under Anhydrous, Hard Vacuum Conditions: Applications of Lunar Glass Structural Components (1985.)