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The Eisenhower Briefing Document

A Majestic Cold War Gambit

The latest cover story for the Roswell Incident may suggest even darker secrets.

THE EXISTENCE of a highly secret US government project known as Operation Majestic Twelve, Majestic, or simply MJ12, to reap the alien harvest of the Roswell Incident, first appeared before a startled world through a roll of undeveloped film in a plain envelope bearing an Albuquerque, New Mexico, postmark, anonymously sent to UFO researcher Jaime Shandera in December, 1984.

Other researchers since then, most notably Timothy S. Cooper, have found many more packets related to the alleged project in their mailboxes. From a trickle, it has swollen into a veritable flood, and studies of a number of excellent researchers, such as Stanton Friedman, are proceeding to discover what, if any of it, is true. The documents themselves, and some analysis, can be found at the invaluable site, The Majestic Documents, at which location the documents listed below may be found.

Most of the investigation naturally concerns the authenticity of these alleged top-secret documents. This intends to establish if, in fact, the papers conform to government standards, equipment and ideas of the time. The goal is to identify who wrote them and why: hoax, disinformation, or the real thing.

In my own ponderings, I have taken a somewhat different track. As an historian, I want to see the big picture. I’m willing to accept it all as conditionally true until it is shown not to be. Instead of concentrating at the important minutiae of official document formats or manual typewriters, my focus has been on the grand interrelationships between the documents, to see if they fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Comparing the documents, I feel, would at least allow us to check them for consistency and thereby group them together in terms of similarity. While such an approach could not prove the truth of any particular one, it might help separate the wheat from the chaff. And I believe it has.

Contradictory stories

Not all the papers coming forth deal with the Roswell events in detail. The most important ones that do are the Air Accident Report, Counter Intelligence Corps/Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit Report, the Majestic Twelve Project, First Annual Report, (in several parts), the White Hot Report, and of course, the one that started it all: the infamous Eisenhower Briefing Document.

It becomes clear even from a superficial reading of these that there are some very intriguing and significant contradictions between that first MJ12 paper, the Eisenhower Briefing Document (or EBD), the first and most important of them all, and the others.

For instance, the EBD states that:

…aerial reconnaissance discovered that four small human-like beings had apparently ejected from the craft at some point before it had exploded. These had fallen to earth about two miles east of the wreckage site. All four were dead and badly decomposed…
(Emphasis added)

Whereas the Annual Report in “Annex A” says:

…the objects under study, are the result of a high altitude ejection of a escape cylinder from a fatal mid-air collision of two unidentified circular planform [sic] aircraft of interplanetary nature.
…There were five recovered bodies, two of which were found in a severely damaged escape cylinder, and the remaining three were found some distance away… All five appeared to have suffered from sudden decompression and heat suffocation.

(Emphasis added)

This document speaks not only of five aliens, but also of three crash sites (those of the two craft, plus the escape pod) and the debris field. (Also, it only implies that all the aliens were dead but never actually says so.)

These are not minor differences. Are they even discussing the same event?

The EBD only lists one site, presumably that of the debris field found by Mac Brazel. This is consistent with the recovery operation of the material on the Foster ranch, which is known to have begun on the date the EBD assigns to it, “7 July 1947”. Compare this with the Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit Summary, which gives the retrieval dates of the crashes as between “4 July - 6 July 1947”, dealing instead with the two crash sites, escape capsule, and the five bodies, as if the debris field cleanup was too minor to even list.

Another crash mentioned by the EBD on December 6, 1950 on the Texas-Mexican border also gave little to work with: “what remained of the object had been almost totally incinerated.” This crash is also mentioned in the Annual Report. (Most surprising in this batch is a mention in the White Hot Report of a crash in 1941 that somehow contributed to the Manhattan Project.)

It is interesting that the EBD says:

Equally unsuccessful have been efforts to determine the method of propulsion… It is assumed the propulsion unit was completely destroyed by the explosion that caused the crash.

However, in the Air Accident Report a detailed description of the supposed “power plant” is given. What’s going on here? Maybe both the EBD and these other documents are wrong; in any case, both versions can’t be right. However, a pattern revealed in the discrepancies may be very significant. It indicates that the Eisenhower Briefing Document, at least, is Cold War disinformation designed to lull the Soviets about the extent of the Roswell finds.

Looking closely at the EBD, it states the aliens ejected before the craft “exploded” in mid-air, and the bodies were in very poor condition by the time they were found. And in any case, the military didn’t find anything resembling an engine, there or at the later crash. The upshot throughout the report is that though there were dead aliens, some wreckage, and a top-secret effort to investigate them, not much militarily useful was recovered.

However, these other documents speak of five aliens and at least one nearly-intact saucer. The IPU Summary also speaks alarmingly of “bodies… that looked like they had been dissected as you would a frog” and “animal parts” found in the wreckage. Were these bodies human? It’s all very oddly put, as if there were more to be said, and not a statement designed to divert attention.

There are other ambiguities too. Several documents mention three (or four) technicians that died from exposure to a deadly “bio agent.” In the Annual Report, this is termed a “retro-virus,” which may be a tellingly anachronistic use of the term which would point to some kind of fraud.

Spies everywhere

Robert S. Ryan in his paper, Psychological Warfare and the Majestic Documents (found at the Majestic documents site) concludes that the body of documents are not disinformation, for a variety of reasons, including that the documents would attract the attention of spies rather than diminish it. He asks, somewhat rhetorically, “Or do the documents create a ‘fire break’ against learning an even deeper secret?”

I believe that is precisely correct, at least as far as the EBD is concerned.

The overall picture remains murky and complex, yet it seems to me that the whole purpose of the Eisenhower Briefing Document was to minimize attention. It was to conveniently suggest that all that was retrieved were just a few decomposed bodies and some scraps of debris, but nothing of immediate strategic import.

Why seek to diminish the size and significance of the crash? Because New Mexico was crawling with Commie spies, of course. Why? New Mexico was at the heart of the most important technological developments of the times. It turns out the Manhattan Project was compromised beyond even Joe McCarthy’s worst nightmares. Stalin, it is said, could not only double-check, but even triple-check the data on atomic-bomb construction that his espionage agents were feeding him from Los Alamos. He undoubtedly had heard about Roswell and maybe even had a recovery of his own..

Then there were those V-2s launched down at White Sands. And anything the 509th Bomber Wing did, being the only operational atomically-armed air force anywhere, would be bound to catch the attention of Russian agents. Especially once the 509th publicly announced that they had recovered a “flying disc.”

The authorities must have quickly realized that they couldn’t completely hide the fact that something very strange was found or keep the wild tales of little gray bodies from the Soviets. (Perhaps that was why the famous press release was issued in the first place.) In any case, the military tried to put forth instead the notion that nothing militarily usable was recovered.

As the Annual Report says, a “multilayered security structure” was put in place. This is entirely consistent for the way the cover-up seems to work. When the weather balloon story finally popped, re-inflate Project Mogul and drop in crash-test dummies from trials done years later for good measure, and so on.

In any case, the military would not want anyone to know that two alien craft, possibly even from different species, had collided near several of our most sensitive installations until they understood just what that meant. It would have been totally irresponsible to do otherwise at that time.

Undeniably, they wouldn’t want to give the Reds the idea we had at least one spaceship complete with an engine and maybe even a live pilot!

So the Eisenhower Briefing Document was created, probably based on an authentic original with enough verifiable detail to make it seem real. It’s a logical and attractive target for a spy. Even though it’s likely Ike knew about Roswell long before he reached the Oval Office, the incoming President would be expected to be fully informed about the situation.

(One can only wonder how much Eisenhower actually knew. Even though he was rumored to have actually met with an alien delegation at Edwards Air Force Base, he also uttered the memorable warning about the power of the military-industrial complex in his Farewell Address to the nation.)

To make it believable to agents who had already gained some level of access, the document might even have to bear the correct names of the program and the main players. But it was disinformation nonetheless for those spies who had already penetrated the top-secret world of bombs and rockets. Only in majestic isolation even from that black realm could the secrets of Roswell possibly remain secure.

That’s not all, folks. . .

It is interesting to note that some of the documents have large areas blacked out, suggestive that they were at one time even more highly classified, and later released to lower levels of the program. Also, these documents, though closer to what some of the alleged eyewitness accounts say, are not in agreement with the numerous first-hand stories which indicate that not all the aliens were dead.

It is therefore quite possible that these later documents are disinformation too. If so, why not be totally consistent with the EBD? The only reason that comes to mind would be to “tag” the information so as to be able to determine which level the leak had occurred at. But it would be far simpler and less suspicious to vary small but telling details, like the number of fingers on the aliens’ hands. The number of occupants is too important to get wrong, and too easy to get right. A more plausible explanation, I feel, might be that there were only four bodies whose autopsy results would be in the files because the fifth was still alive.

Perhaps this means that there was a policy in effect to never mention our “guest” in writing even at the lower levels of Majestic. There are probably still more and more layers of secrecy and deception to unravel before the whole truth stands revealed. Almost certainly, there are even more incredible surprises from the Roswell Incident than have been leaked so far.

UPDATE: The horrible truth?

It took a few years for the cover-up crew to come up with a new explanation after being so roundly humiliated for suggesting that the aliens were crash-test dummies, but they finally did so. And it's a sci-fi whopper worthy of The X-Files, once again just in time for the anniversary of the crash.

Nick Redfern, a British researcher with a sound reputation (until now), has recently written a book entitled Body Snatchers in the Desert: The Horrible Truth At The Heart Of The Roswell Story. I've not had the pleasure of reading it yet, but have gotten the gist from an extensive interview and lively discussions in various online forums. I think this summation of his thesis by Stanton Friedman from his review is probably accurate: 

“...what crashed was a Horton Brothers Flying wing supported by a huge Japanese designed balloon and containing disabled or genetically damaged Japanese who were used as human guinea pigs to provide data on the effects of radiation...

So, instead of a weather balloon, secret of otherwise, plus crash-test dummies dropped years later, the latest explanation says the Roswell crash was of a top-secret Japanese balloon, carrying a secret German experimental aircraft and some mutants!

Once one stops laughing, it almost makes sense... almost. There are the odd symbols on portions of the balloon-like debris, the reported shape of the craft, more triangle than disk, the wierd bodies, and above all, the extreme secrecy. Many of the details fit the historical circumstances of the time. The Germans were known to experimenting with advanced aircraft shapes. And the Japanese, after all, had launched a number of trans-Pacific unmanned balloon flights during the war — the infamous “fugoballoons, some of which carried biological agents — which just may be how the deadly Hanta virus arrived in the southwestern United States from China, too.

And given what we now know of the horrific experiments the Japanese with their biowarfare Unit 731 and the Germans in their death-camps were doing, as well as research atrocities committed on the mentally ill and diseased here by our own government during the Cold War, there is a certain grim logic to the argument.

However, it’s really just as silly an idea as all those previous debunking efforts. For when one considers the details of the testimony of the eyewitnesses, everything else that was going on in New Mexico at that time, and above all, the risk of discovery that would be run by doing that kind of experiment, which, as Stanton Friedman, a nuclear engineer who actually worked on an atomic aviation project, notes does not make sense — the story is revealed for what it really is: another laughable attempt to keep the aliens covered up.

In the interview mentioned above, Nick claims that he pieced together the tale from several mysterious insider informants. He seems sincere, but I think he has been used as a patsy. In intelligence circles, this sort of ploy is known as a “limited hang-out.” When an operation becomes known or is compromised, often a certain amount of truthful details will be leaked with a false, incomplete, or misleading explanation, in the hopes of preserving at least part of the cover story or diverting attention from the real mission. It’s a bit like pleading guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of avoiding a more serious one.

Perhaps this, then, is the ultimate cover story. Something so shocking, so utterly despicable that suddenly the urgent secrecy actually makes some kind of sense, an element lacking even in the Mogul balloon scenario. But instead of aliens providing cover for mad scientists, it’s more likely the other way around.

This implies that not only are those who are trying to maintain the cover-up becoming increasingly desperate, willing to condemn themselves rather than admit the truth, but that the ultimate secret of Roswell might involve something very nasty indeed.

For, as mentioned above, there are some disquiting references in some of the Roswell documents. Just what, for example, were the “body parts” that were found near the crash scene? Is it just more comforting, then, to believe the “body snatchers in the desert” were merely human?


Most of the documents referred to in this essay and a great deal of background information as well may be found at The Majestic Documents website.

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