December 19, 2018
Dr. Richard Daystrom: 5 years ago I contacted Stanton Friedman. I asked him what he knew about Project SERPO. The following is a column he sent to me about Project SERPO.
SERPO MJ Col. March 10, 2006 Stanton Friedman
FYI, column I wrote
(Stanton Terry Friedman 1934-2019)
For a variety of reasons, I am often asked my opinion on recent topics in ufology. If I know enough to have an opinion, not being a shrinking violet, I give it. This includes topics such as Bob Lazar, Philip Corso, SETI, etc. On other occasions I have to say, “It is in my “gray” basket.”
I don’t know enough to have a scientific opinion. The world is often not black or white but “gray”. This covers such areas as string theory, dark matter, dark energy, and other far out physics. I know I don’t have the math background to follow these arguments closely.
Based on my professional work in industry, I am much more impressed with observations than with theory. Gray Basket is sort of an extension of the category “Insufficient Information” for some of the 3201 sightings in Project Blue Book Special Report 14.
Whether it is ufology, physics, or astronomy I have to remind people that theoretical proclamations have very often been wrong. Think of claims that Mars was never wet, that Venus was a tropical paradise, that the speed of sound cannot be exceeded by an airplane, that space travel is utter bilge.
Recently I have been asked about SERPO a supposed planet in the Zeta Reticulum double star system to which a dozen Americans were secretly taken back in 1965 and returned 13 years later; those who survived and wanted to come back.
I had read bits and pieces but couldn’t resist reading more when I got the February-March edition of UFO Magazine with the word SERPO in 4” high letters on the cover. I had been sent the issue because of my article about the late Walter Haut of Roswell, NM, who had released the press release on July 8, 1947, saying that the 509th Bomb Group had obtained the wreckage of a flying saucer that had crashed North of Roswell.
The magazine carries separate streams of articles including Claims by Mr. Anonymous about the journey, background by Rick Doty who was heavily involved with UFOs when he as an officer in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and by Victor Martinez who maintains a list that covers a wide variety of topics not just UFOs and other related matter.. Victor is now a schoolteacher in Southern California and has carried many entries about SERPO on his internet list.
The basic idea of an exchange program (one ET stayed here) doesn’t particularly bother me. It ties together reports of a supposed meeting at Holloman Air Force Base in April, 1964, between visiting aliens and Air Force officers.
It reinforces the notion that Zeta 1 and Zeta 2 Reticuli are stars likely to be inhabited by advanced aliens. Since I was the first to publish an article about Marjorie Fish’s outstanding research on the Betty Hill Star map which focused on ZR 1 and Zr-2 (SAGA Magazine ___) and also stimulated the publication by outstanding astronomy writer Terence Dickinson (then editor of ASTRONOMY) of “The Zeta Reticuli Incident”, I was particularly intrigued having almost run out of the 18,000 copies of the 32 page booklet with Dickinson’s original article and a bunch of responses published in ASTRONOMY.
There are obviously a lot of possibilities. Perhaps it is all a science fiction story. There have been far wilder plots published. It could be repetition of secondhand stories by people who believe them but have no real verification that they are true. It could be that the whole business is a fairly elaborate disinformation scheme to set ufologists off following false trails. Maybe it is a mix of misinformation and disinformation. There are internal inconsistencies.
In one place it is claimed that 12 men were selected and trained and shipped off. In another it was 10 men and two women. One place says 7 men and one woman returned, 2 died on SERPO and 4 chose to remain. That adds up to 14. In one place it is claimed that the Roswell crash happened southeast of Corona. In another it says Southwest.
Some people get upset when I talk of disinformation and claim that governments can both keep large secrets and lie to the public. I should point out that the first nuclear explosion took place at Trinity site on the White Sands Missile Range in Southeastern NM on July 16, 1947, at about 5:30AM. Because the explosion was very powerful it was seen from over 100 miles away.
A press release was issued saying that an ammunition dump had blown up and fortunately nobody was injured… a flat out lie. Can’t keep secrets? In late 2005 the National Reconnaissance office noted for the first time that it had launched 7 “Poppy” Spy Satellites between 1962 and 1971. These were very sophisticated and expensive. No previous public discussion. Along the same lines, the Naval Research Laboratory first admitted it had launched a number of Corona Electronic Intelligence satellites beginning in 1960. The first successful launch followed 12 failures all covered up as scientific satellites. It obtained more data about Soviet radar and other electronic installations then all the U-2 spy plane flights that preceded it… all in secret and involving hundreds if not thousands of people and big budgets...
A good example of false information being presented unintentionally by somebody who almost certainly believed it turned up on the Discovery Channel documentary “Conspiracy Files: Roswell” on March 2, 2006. Kent Jeffrey, an airline pilot, who had originally been very strongly pro-Roswell, even circulating a petition to get government data released etc, turned 180 degrees.
He made 4 arguments on the show all of which I had long ago shown to be false. He had admitted he had never had a security clearance which helps explain his naive views.
1. He had spoken to 16 B-29 Pilots who had been based at Roswell and they all dismissed the flying saucer story. Sounds impressive. However, one has to ask why would B-29 pilots training to drop nuclear weapons have had a need-to-know for classified information about the recovery of an alien spacecraft? If by chance they had been informed, why in the world would they reveal classified information to somebody without a clearance and without a need to know?
2. Kent talked to people who, well after 1947, had served at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. He had expressed the strange belief that they would necessarily have known about classified wreckage being brought in years earlier! There had been over 20,000 people working at WPAF. General Exxon had told me in person that when he was Base Commander in the mid-1960s, he did NOT have a need to know for everything going on at the base. Even if the people Kent talked to had known anything, they would not have passed the classified information on to somebody without a clearance or need-to-know.
3. Kent referred to a statement made by an intelligence Officer (Colonel McCoy) at the base to a large group of scientists indicating how much he would like to have a crashed saucer in hand. Kent never mentions that the document containing these remarks was only classified SECRET , Not TOP SECRET Code Word as are the “released” highly classified NSA and CIA blacked-out and whited-out UFO documents, and that most of the group would certainly not have had a need-to-know.
Finally, hypnotic regression of Dr. (Colonel) Jesse Marcel Jr. didn’t bring out a new analysis of the I beam observed when he was 11! What was Kent expecting? The hypnosis did refine Jesse’s memory of the exact shapes of the symbols...
In short, Kent may have believed everything he said was the gospel truth and shows there was no Roswell. It is simply not true. The people talking about SERPO may believe what they are saying. But why is the distance given in one place as 37 light years (the old estimate) when the fine measurements by the European Space Agency’s Hipparcos Space satellite show it is 39.2 light years? Why is it claimed that the planet is one Astronomical Unit (92 Million miles) from each of the 2 stars? It would be impossible to have a stable orbit with 2 stars that close.
The Hipparcos measurements indicate the separation is about 9000 AU or about 1/8th light year. quite suitable for stable orbits. SERPO supposedly has only 600,000 people mostly living in very simple structures. Why (and how) come to Earth in a huge mother ship? It is claimed that the beings there don’t like cool weather and have no means of refrigeration. Betty and Barney Hill had both noted it was cold on board the spacecraft.
It supposedly took about 9 months (crew time) to reach SERPO which would mean traveling at about 99.95% of the speed of light. This should mean that when the travelers came back, they were much younger than those who stayed on Earth.
They weren’t. Supposedly Serpans (hard to accept EBEns as the name for them) have no weapons. So why have there been a number of cases in which military jets were apparently disintegrated when making threatening movements towards the alien craft?
There is mention of communication back and forth in less than a year, but no indication of how that was done or of nearby support bases within the solar system. Supposedly there was a terribly destructive war a few thousand years ago with another civilization, and Dr. Carl Sagan signed off on the final report... maybe 3000 pages in a Red Book? Evidence? NONE.
Rick Doty noted that he had heard rumors of such a project and got surprised reactions when he mentioned it to other intelligence officers. Was it because they too had heard similar rumors or were aware that this was a disinformation scheme devised years ago in case public pressure, perhaps because of Roswell, got too strong?
I am not happy to say so, but the SERPO story is still very much in my gray basket. Certainly, absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence, but much more is needed to put me in the SERPAN believer camp.
W. O. Belfield, Jr.