Friday, 28 August 2015

John Callahan of Japan Airlines 1628 Fame:       

 Federal Aviation Administration Career Credentials Finally Confirmed         Part 1

One of my favourite UFO cases is the infamous Japan Airlines flight 1628 event which occurred on November 17th, 1986, over Alaska. So wide spread was the media coverage of this incident that even people who know little to nothing about the UFO matter have at least vaguely heard of it. For anyone who doesn’t recognize the case, put simply, a cargo flight from Paris to Tokyo encountered three UFO’s for a duration of 31 minutes, all of which were picked up, to varying degrees, by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) primary radar and United States Air Force (USAF) primary radar. The voice tapes of the radio communications, target data print outs, Air Traffic Controller statements, etc were all released in 1987 and make for some of the most powerfully compelling evidence found regarding the UFO matter. Probably the best report on the event was written by retired United States Navy physicist Bruce Maccabee. His final report can be viewed here:

Adding even more weight to the event was the testimony of retired official John Callahan who was, in 1986, the FAA’s Accidents, Evaluations and Investigations Division Chief. Callahan came forward and blew the whistle in 2001, and, came forward with hitherto unknown paper records, video tapes, voice tapes and other material to back up his claims. Since then, Callahan has participated in two documentaries, three “disclosure” style conferences, and made numerous statements for researchers concerning his involvement with the JAL 1628 case – and the cover-up of the event, as we shall see.

The JAL 1628 case is, to me at least, a key event in UFO history. I have periodically – as anyone who knows me would expect – studied it at some length. One issue key to the case has, however, troubled me for some time: Despite the wealth of information, much of it official record, about this extraordinary event, it seems that no one thus far has been willing or able to actually verify John Callahan’s exact role at the FAA. Some armchair debunkers have even claimed he may even be a fraud. In both this post, and a sequel, I shall present an appraisal of Callahan’s employment with the FAA, and the various high level positions he held in the late 1980’s. Through substantial digging, plus lengthy discussions with Callahan himself, I am now entirely satisfied with his public statements and assertions.

 For those who are unfamiliar with John Callahan’s side of the story, the long-and-the-short of it is this: Firstly, no one in FAA officialdom outside Alaska was aware of the incident until the pilot of the JAL flight, Kenji Teriuchi, decided he would no longer stay silent. In early-December, weeks after the UFO encounter, Teriuchi contacted the huge Kyoda News Agency for a private meeting in his London hotel room. Kyoda subsequently contacted the FAA’s Alaska Region Headquarters on the 24th of December. They were informed by an off-guard Public Information Officer at Anchorage, Paul Steucke, that a UFO event had indeed taken place. Throughout the last days of December and throughout January, 1987, the story exploded across the worlds press. As this played out, Alaska Region HQ contacted John Callahan, who, as stated, was the Division Chief of Accidents, Evaluations and Investigations in Washington DC. Callahan had been entirely unaware of the UFO incident and told the Alaskan FAA officials to inform the media, and anyone else who came knocking, that “the event was under investigation”. Callahan further asked Alaska Region to forward the relevant data to the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City, where he and his superior, Harvey Safeer, analysed the evidence, and, most importantly, played back the radar data on a Plan View Display. The radar data was matched in with the voice tapes of the conversation that had occurred between the pilot and Air Traffic Controllers from both the FAA and the USAF. This playback and tie-in was filmed on a video recorder for later use.

The same day Callahan and Safeer briefed FAA Administrator Vice Admiral Donald D. Engen. Adm. Engen initially gave them five minutes of his time. When he realised the gravity of the event he started cancelling his upcoming meetings. Engen watched the whole of the video recording that had been made earlier in the day, and, furthermore, instructed Callahan and Safeer not do discuss the situation with anyone to prepare an encompassing presentation, or “dog and pony show” as Callahan likes to call it, for various officials the following day at the FAA Round Room. Engen had even spoken to the President to facilitate the attendance of the upcoming meeting by Presidential scientific and technical staff. This presentation went ahead as scheduled and was attended by a number of FAA technical specialists, plus, perhaps more ominously, three representatives of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), three representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and three scientists from President Reagan’s Scientific Study Team, among unknown others. At the end of the meeting, one of the CIA staff stated:

 “This even never happened. We were never here. We are confiscating all this data, and you are sworn to secrecy.”.

Moreover, the same CIA staff instructed Callahan that they were taking all the data, the paperwork, the video tape, any-and-all material that the FAA had accumulated. What no one knew was this: Callahan kept copies, in some cases originals, of everything, including the primary radar target printouts, the video tape of the first analysis on the Plan View Display, the pilots report, the first FAA report, first generation copies of the voice communications tapes, etc. Callahan has allowed serious researchers to study this material, and is willing to further testify that all of what he, and his documented evidence, says is true.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, John Callahan’s employment history and career credentials, especially his claimed role as Division Chief of the FAA’s Accidents, Evaluations and Investigations area, have barely, if at all, been verified. I wished, this year, to change that. Without detailing every investigative step, I have variously searched for records – in US Government directories, FAA press releases, etc both the existence of a John Callahan ever being at the FAA in the 1980’s, and, the existence of an “Accidents, Evaluations and Investigations” branch or division within the FAA in the 1980’s. Worryingly, only a handful – and by that I mean literally four – referances came up for a John Callahan being at the FAA, and none of them really matched his claimed “Accidents, Evaluations and Investigations” area. In fact, all I could find was a John Callahan who was “Quality Control Branch Manager” of the “Quality Assurance Staff” under the “Associate Administrator for Air Traffic”. Below is a capture of one such listing.

Not knowing how to track down Callahan directly, on the 10th June this year I got in contact with author and journalist Leslie Kean who has spoken to him at length. The JAL 1628 story appears in Kean’s excellent book “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record”. Luckily I had been in contact with Kean previously, so it was not an issue for me to ask her for a favour: Get Callahan to contact me, and iron this FAA employment issue out once and for all. Within a day, she got back to me and indicated that she would ask Callahan if I could contact him. He was agreeable to this, and on the 12th of June I introduced myself via email, and outlined some of the questions I would be presenting him in the future. Over the next few months – and indeed even to this day – Callahan and I have been in contact, and we have covered a lot of ground regarding his role at the FAA and the infamous Japan Airlines 1628 case itself. In my next blog post I will detail, with documentation, Callahan’s FAA career; especially during the mid-1980’s when the UFO event occurred. For now, a teaser – I am entirely satisfied that Callahan is the real deal, and hopefully all of you will be too.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Department of Defence "Unusual Aerial Sightings" Policy Cancellation? Not So Fast...


Up until two years ago, Australia’s Department of Defence (DOD) maintained one scant policy regarding UFO sightings, or, as they term it, “Unusual Aerial Sightings” (UAS). It was titled “Defence Instructions (General) ADMIN 55-1, Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy” and, with minor changes in 1996 and 2000, had existed as a Defence Instruction (General) since 1994. I found out, inadvertently through other UFO research, that this policy was cancelled in May, 2013. In January 2015, I initiated a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the DOD asking for all records that “went in to” cancelling this already near useless “policy”. I published two pieces on this sad and sorry matter in April and May. They can be seen here:
But was this really the last hoorah? Aside from the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) “Contacts of Interest” (COI) – the term given to unknown or unresponsive radar tracks picked up by various radar surveillance units of the 41 Wing – there are seemingly no channels within the DOD, at least not that I have yet found, that accept UFO sightings, study them, respond to witnesses, compile data, formulate reports and the like. It really does seem that the cancellation of “Defence Instructions (General) ADMIN 55-1, Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy” was the final say. No more policy paperwork. Cancelled. Indefinitely.

Except, one thing. There is still a “policy” after all. In fact there is quite a few.

In the 58 pages of documentation I received when I asked for all records related to the 2013 cancellation, I noted two passages of text which alluded to a possible continuation of the old policy in the form of SOP’s at RAAF bases. In military jargon, SOP stands for “Standard Operating Procedure”. On the 8th of July, 2015, I submitted an FOI request to the DOD asking what became of this proposal. On the 10th of August, at surprisingly no cost, I received a series of documents which were responsive to my request.

The first “file” is title “RAAF BASE AMBERLY STANDING INSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION 05-01 DUTY MEMBER ANNEX E” and at two pages contains a front cover, and a second page about the RAAF’s stance, at least at Amberley Air Force Base in Queensland, on reports or enquiries regarding “Unusual Aerial Sightings”. It is part of a larger “Standing Instruction” promulgated by the RAAF at the base. The text is extremely similar to the old, full Defence Instruction of the last two decades, and it states, in full:


1.         In past the RAAF was responsible for handling a1l queries for Unusual Aerial Sightings (UAS) at an official level until J996 when the function ceased to operate. Scientific records suggested there was no compelling reason for the RAAF to continue to devote resources to recording and investigating of UAS.


2.         The ADF does not accept reports on UAS. If the DM receives a phone call for a sighting, they are to refer the caller to local police authorities. The ADF does not have an affiliation with any existing civil UFO organisations.

3.         Some UAS relate to events that have a defence, security or public safety implication which include man-made debris falling from space or burning aircraft. If members of the community have witnessed an occurrence of this type they are to contact the police or the civilian aviation authorities. Any identified aerial activity which appears to have an obvious
defence implication, will be investigated.

Media Organisations.

4.         There are occasions when media organisations will seek information regarding a sighting or policy issues UAS. The DM is to obtain the media contact numbers and inform the ABXO on XXXXXXXXX  The ABXO may then have the DM contact Defence Public Relations on XXXXXXXXX and pass on the media contact information or ABXO will advise DM to stand-down on the issue.

Below is an image of the above mentioned page.

 The above nonsense is so similar to the previous statements of the last 20 years, it is hard to tell the difference now between any of them. The only sliver of information that interests me is the statement “Any identified aerial activity which appears to have an obvious defence implication, will be investigated.”. I mean, what constitutes an “obvious defence implication” and who makes such calls? Even though they are talking about “identified” aerial activity, I will be still looking into this matter in due course. Also, as a matter of interest, I clarified that “ABXO”, mentioned in the final paragraph, is merely short for Air Base Executive Officer.

The next “file” I received is, at one page, titled “RAAF RICHMOND DUTY MEMBER INSTRUCTIONS-NUMBER 43: UNUSUAL AERIAL SIGHTINGS”. The content is part of Richmond Air Force Base’s Duty Member Instructions, a larger document related to low-level base activity, basic logistics, etc. It has the usual, well-worn declarations like: “For many years the RAAF has been formally responsible for handling Unusual Aerial Sightings (UAS) at the official level. Consideration of the scientific record suggests that not all UAS have a ready explanation; there is no compelling reason for the RMF to continue to devote resources to recording, investigating and attempting to explain UAS.” 

However, it does list a few UFO groups in NSW, with full contact details. These are listed simply in-case the Duty Member at RAAF Richmond receive a moderately serious enquiry or sighting report, the caller can be fobbed off to UFO groups. Have a look for yourself below. 

The next document I received is titled “RAAF Base Edinburgh Duty Member Instruction 064: Unusual Aerial Sightings” and is hales from none other than the 24 Squadron at Edinburgh Air Force Base in South Australia. At one page, it contains similar statements to the above Amberley document. The one reasonably big difference is the passage regarding media organisations:

“5.       There are occasions when the media might seek information regarding the ADF policy on UAS. Inquiries of this nature should be directed to the Defence Public Affairs Operations Centre at Air Force Headquarters on 0262653343.”

Below is an image of the Edinburgh Air Force Base document.

The final document, a two page file, from Williamtown Air Force Base, and, again, part of a larger base Instruction, is titled “RAAF Base Williamtown Duty Member Instruction (ADMIN) 05-06”. The first page is entirely redacted (blacked out), and the second page isn’t much better. However, before anyone gets excited about some mini-cover-up, the redaction is in place “in accordance with section 22 of the FOI Act, on the grounds that the deleted material is irrelevant.” Anyway, the section of interest to us is exactly the same brief dryness seen over and over again:

3. Unusual Aerial Sighting. The ADF does not accept reports on unusual aerial sightings (UAS). The DM is to direct any such calls from the public to their local Police authority. Any UAS that may have a Defence, security or public safety implication, such as man made debris falling from space or burning aircraft, are also to be referred to the local Police or Civil Aviation Authorities. If the DM is contacted by media organisations regarding UAS, they are to redirect them IAW the DM Media Contacts instruction.

Below is an image of this page.

The final word on this is that clearly the DOD feel they have to have some sort of response to public or media enquiries, but, as we have seen, those responses are nothing more than passages of text within wider base-level Administrative Instructions. The RAAF are not interested in UFO’s unless the highly unlikely scenario of say a distressed, burning aircraft or massive re-entry of space junk occurs. Having said that, as I have published previously, the RAAF’s 41 Wing handles primary radar detection and tracking of “Contacts of Interest”, which is a whole different ball game kept, understandably, for restricted eyes only. One wonders if they have plotted anything really unusual on their systems as has happened elsewhere around the globe. For now though, they aren’t talking to the likes of us about it.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

NORAD And The UFO Smokescreen

Part 2


Continuing on from my Part 1 of my series, titled “NORAD And The UFO Smokescreen I will carry on presenting evidence, in the form of declassified documents, that the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) has been heavily involved in significant, inexplicable and unexplainable UFO events since its formation in 1957. Even when given the opportunity to disclose UFO case and study records to the flawed the University of Colorado’s “UFO Study (the US Air Force’s final word on the UFO matter in 1969), NORAD managed to stay nearly silent on the matter despite evidence they were sitting on vital, even startling information. I am not attempting here to analysis the actual cases as such. This would not be the appropriate platform to do so, and, much work has been done of these events already. What I am attempting to do is prove NORAD, like so many other agencies, have not been truthful, which is getting seemingly easier every day.

 “Unidentified Flying Objects”         

Take, for example, a 10th of April, 1964 information relay message found in the US Air Force’s (USAF) Project Blue Book records. The document highlights and summarises the contents of previous information moving around US Air Force Headquarters (USAF/HQ), USAF Air Staff, and the National Military Command Center (NMCC). In the subject line there are three very familiar words: “Unidentified Flying Objects”. Under this, two pieces of sectioned information state:

“NMCC, NORAD advised that there were 6 to 12 unidentified flying objects at 30 miles East of Merced, California. Radar picked up 12 objects at altitudes 60,000 ft., 90,000 ft., and higher elevations. F-106’s were scrambled at Castle Air Force Base. There were no results because of high altitudes. They are checking the possibility of sending U-2’s.”


“Objects were following a 60 mile race-track pattern. F-106’s were flying a 90,000 ft. altitude. Pilots locked on to some of the objects but could not keep the lock. NORAD said they were sending 2 more XXXXX aircraft with pilots in pressure suits.”

The case was later dismissed by the USAF as one mere weather balloon. Whether that conclusion is accurate has been debated ad nauseam, but for the purposes of my study it is interesting to note that NORAD is mentioned not once, but twice, in the message text. Specifically, “NMCC, NORAD advised that there were 6 to 12 unidentified flying objects...” and “NORAD said they were sending 2 more XXXXX aircraft with pilots in pressure suits.”. So, for NORAD to state – as they did throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s – that they had no interest or “records held” relating to unidentified flying objects is clearly deceptive. Below is an image of this record.

Another record, dated September 10, 1972, and sent from 22 NORAD Region Headquarters, (22NRHQ) North Bay, Ontario, Canada to both the Canadian Forces Headquarters (CFHQ) and the National Research Council (NRC) is an unclassified telex discovered in the Canadian Archives, along with dozens of others like it. It details an object seen visually, and, tracked on radar by two tower operators at North Bay Airport, which is connected to Canada’s NORAD Operations Headquarters. Described visually as “one object flashing red and green lights, speed very slow to 300 knots at 4000 to 6000 feet estimated”, the report then gives the following further  description:

“Visual sighting correlated with a North Bay terminal radar return at 340 degrees, six miles. Object appeared to turn in tight circles or hover for approx. 15 minutes and then lose altitude steadily with flashing lights becoming dimmer until visual contact lost at 0345Z. Radar contact lost prior to visual contact.”

Below is an image of the telex.

          Aside from the obvious fact that NORAD, again, is mentioned in what can only be described as some sort of UFO event, two interesting issues are raised here. Firstly, the message reads “UNLCAS” in the security classification line – meaning “unclassified”. In other words, the contents of the message are not security or intelligence sensitive. From this, one can’t help but wonder what sort of material is held in NORAD records which are classified. Apparently there are many. Secondly, it is interesting to note that the telex was sent from NORAD, not to NORAD – further rubbishing the assertions that they have not one scrap of interest in odd aerial incidents. 

           In another Canadian telex, again sent from 22NRHQ to the CFHQ and NRC, dated 4th July, 1972, states that Captain Sorefleet and Captain Drury, stationed at Canadian Forces Base Bagotville, Quebec, reported one “white oval” while flying in a fighter jet at 35,000 feet. The description indicates a “small red tail”. This, of course, could be a meteor sighting. However, the telex finally states “observed for 2 minutes about 40 miles”. Whatever the object was, it was clearly unidentifiable enough that the pilots wished to report it, and NORAD was part of that process. The page is imaged below.

           These events occurred in 1972, only 2 years after the Secretary of the USAF, Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr, famously announced, on the 17th of December, 1969, that no US military agency will continue the reporting, or receiving of reports, of UFO events, and, that:

“No UFO reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force was ever an indication of threat to our national security.”

But did the US Department of Defence – especially the commands dealing with air defence and air warfare – really accept this? Do we have any evidence that the above statement is complete rubbish barely fit for the trash bin?

Who’s Got Their Stories Straight At Air Force Headquarters This Week?      

          In 1979, researcher Robert Todd had the USAF release some of the documents related to the closure of Project Blue Book – the USAF’s 17 year study (one of three such study’s) into the UFO phenomenon. One of the documents was a 20th October, 1969 memo known as the “Bolender Memo”. Signed by Brigadier General Carrol H. Bolender, Deputy Director of Development, USAF, the second page of the memo contains two passages which depart radically from the USAF’s above mentioned statement that no UFO event reported or investigated was a threat to national security. Those passages are:

“Moreover, reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146 or Air Force Manual 55-11, and are not part of the Blue Book system.”


“However, as already stated, reports of UFOs which could affect national security would continue to be handled through the standard Air Force procedures designed for this purpose.”

Below is an image of the page in question.

The Bolender Memo, quite simply, admits that some UFO reports can, and do affect national security. This flies in the face of what the public were being told. Also, the memo indicates that Project Blue Book was never supposed to receive the most alarming, security-vital UFO reports, and, specifically, such reports were being made using the “Joint Army Navy Air Force Publication 146(E)” (JANAP 146E) system or Air Force Manual 55-11” (AFM 55-11). In fact, at this time Project Blue Book, and the University of Colorado’s flawed “UFO Study”, was only receiving reports filed using Air Force Regulation 80-17” (AFR 80-17). This raises awkward questions. For example, if Project Blue Book staff were not getting a chance to evaluate the most sensitive UFO reports submitted by USAF airmen and other military professionals, then who was? As I highlighted in my Part 1 of this series, the USAF and NORAD were in fact at the receiving end of UFO reports made using JANAP 146E’s Communication Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings (CIRVIS) procedures. UFO reports made using AFM 55-11, using the “Air Force Operational Reporting System” (AFOREP), were likely occurring too.  

America’s political leaders have not been told about all this, even when they have asked specific questions. In a reply letter to Senator Patty Murray, dated August 25, 1993, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Shubert, USAF, stated:

“As information, the Air force began investigating UFOs in 1948 under a program called Project Sign. Later, the program's name was changed to Project Grudge and, in 1953, it became known as Project Blue Book. On December 17, 1969, the Secretary of the Air Force announced the termination of Project Blue Book... ...As a result of these investigations, studies, and experience, the conclusions of Project Blue book were: 1)  no UFO reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security…”

Again, compare this with the contents of the Bolender Memo: “…reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146 or Air Force Manual 55-11, and are not part of the Blue Book system.”. Since the public and Congress did not, and do not, know about this JANAP 146 and AFM 55-11 business, the impression can be easily given, as it was to Senator Murray, that the USAF had then, and have now, no reason to take whatsoever the UFO matter seriously. Below is an image of the USAF letter to Patty Murray.

The above examples are only a handful of quite contradictory pieces of information that have managed to find their way out of NORAD, and the wider US military. I have countless more on file. Thousands. Why are we consistently finding that the press, the public, and even politicians were, and still are now, told one thing, but, in classified documents, meant for very restricted readership, the exact opposite is stated? Recently, retired USAF Colonel Charles Halt, who was Deputy Base Commander of the Bentwaters Air Force Base during the famous Rendlesham Forest event, stated:

“Ive heard many people say that its time for the government to appoint an agency to investigate. Folks, there is an agency, a very close-held, compartmentalized agency thats been investigating this for years, and theres a very active role played by many of our intelligence agencies that probably dont even know the details of what happens once they collect the data and forward it. Its kind of scary, isnt it?”

Should we brush these sort of comments aside? Maybe not. He may just be confirming what government documents have been telling us all along. In Part 3 of this series I will go deeper into NORAD’s relationship with the UFO issue.