Wednesday, 30 September 2015

John Callahan of Japan Airlines 1628 Fame:       

 Federal Aviation Administration Career Credentials Finally Confirmed         Part 2

By anyone’s measure, the skies of Alaska were visited by something extraordinary during the evening of the 17th of November, 1986. Flight 1628, Japan Airlines had front row seats. Very briefly, for 31 minutes, three UFO’s of varying forms were witnessed by a flight crew of three, as well as ground-based air traffic controllers watching primary radar display screens. Hundreds of pages of authorized, officially released records appeared in the public domain within months of the event. Furthermore, John Callahan, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Chief of Accidents, Evaluations and Investigations came forward in 2001 with far more to add to the story. The question I have attempted, in the last four months, to answer is whether John Callahan did indeed head the FAA roles he has always claimed; and, if so, how can we verify those claims, and to what degree of satisfaction. As this is Part 2 of this series, for anyone not up to speed, I would encourage them to appraise Part 1, which can be found here:

After lengthy email exchanges, on the 19th of June, 2015, Callahan posted to me an impressive 51 pages of resume material and official FAA employment documents which detailed his entire career. What surprised me the most was that these records were not copies, but originals. These were old – the paper, the ink, the rubber stamping – certainly none of it was thrown together recently. Space and time restrict me from displaying the entire 51 page file here, but I will most certainly present some of the more important pages.
           Some examples of this primary documentation include a multi-page Federal Office of Management and Budget “Form 171”. On the “Personal Qualifications Statement” continuation-from-page-1 sheet a section titled “Name and address of employer’s organization” resulted in a type-writer entry of “FAA ATS-1 Washington Headquarters”. The box to the right of asks for “Dates employed (provide month and year)” to which was answered “Oct. 1986 to present”. Most importantly, a third box asks for “Exact title of your position”. The phrase “Division Mgr. Investigations/Evaluations” answers this section, and thankfully so. “Name of immediate supervisor” is entered as “Harvey B. Safeer”. The actual page itself is here:

Thus it is established, on a legally binding Federal Government form, that Callahan was indeed employed with the FAA in Washington DC in the year 1986. This is precisely the first claim I wanted to verify. The second issue was the not-insignificant matter of all this “Accidents, Evaluations and Investigations” business that he says he managed. As one can see above, the term “Investigations/Evaluations” is listed. But where is the term “Accidents”? Callahan consistently claims that he ran “Accidents, Evaluations and Investigations”. The answer to this can be found when we move on to another page of his employment records. It turns out that just prior to him managing “Investigations/Evaluations” (or as Callahan usually says “….Evaluations and Investigations”) his role happened to be manager of the “Accident/Incident Analysis” branch. Also, during that time period he was also manager of the “Quality Control” branch.

Confused yet? To simplify all this, I highlight his “FAA Headquarters Experience” page of his lengthy resume. The top few line items read:

John J. Callahan



Oct      86        to         Present           Division Manager Investigation and
           Evaluation Division, ATS 100.

Jul       85       to         Oct 86              Branch Manager Quality Control Branch
            and Accident/Incident Analysis Branch, AAT 60

Below is the copy of this page.

So, to sum up, in a two year period, Callahan had run both the “Accidents/Incident Analysis Branch” and the “Investigation and Evaluation Division”. Critically, this period was from July 1985 to after the beginning of 1987 – which is precisely when the JAL 1628 incident occurred. One may ask why Callahan never made any of this clearer in the various documentary appearances and conference presentations he has been a part of. Obviously, to list the above position titles in full is not what listeners or viewers quite need to hear. The general notion that he was managing multiple areas of critical FAA officialdom in a very short period of time is more than enough. However, two things were entirely new news to me. Keen readers may have noticed that his “Accidents” Branch was actually titled “Accident/Incident Analysis” Branch, and, while managing it he was also managing the “Quality Control Branch”! Much of this is mere semantics, but it does make clear the exact nature of the roles and responsibilities Callahan had in this 1985 to 1987 time period.

More specific than the above imaged list of roles, another page in Callahan’s resume contains a full paragraph of summarised roles he held going back to the late 1970’s. This page acts as a cover sheet to a dozen pages of far more detailed position duties and role responsibilities, and the core of it matter-of-factually reads:

Presently assigned as Division Manager Investigation/Evaluation Division, ATS-100. Prior to this assignment I held the position of Branch Manager for both the Quality Control Branch, AAT-63 and the Accident/Incident Branch, AAT-340. I have also held the following positions: Assistant Staff Manager, Quality Assurance Division, ACT-60; Assistant Division Manager, Test and Evaluation Division, ACT-500; Branch Manager, National Automation Support Branch, AAT-550; Assistant Chief, National Enroute Data System Branch-540, and other managerial and supervisory positions in Air Route Traffic Control Facilities.

Here it is, imaged from John Callahan’s resume material:

To sum up, there are over 50 pages of material similar to what I have been able to present here. As stated before, Callahan sent me the original file, and it held up to scrutiny. So armchair sceptics can move on to greener pastures, because the providence of John J. Callahan is firmly and finally established. So does any of this matter? I argue that it matters enormously. Testing the credentials of someone directly involved with one of the most potent UFO cases in history is surely of great significance as we painstakingly continue to compile the history of the UFO matter for future generations. Possibly of greater importance is that it may encourage other high ranking officials to also come forward and risk disclosing their role in the UFO matter. Of course, none of this solves the actual case. I often wonder what became of pilot Kenji Teriuchi. Maybe one day we will know what engaged his aircraft that night, and he, and John Callahan, can be vindicated. 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

NORAD And The UFO Smokescreen

Part 3


This blogpost is the third in a series which aims to link, through official and documented record, the UFO matter with the huge North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD). For over 50 years, NORAD’s stance on so-called “UFOs” – and I don’t mean merely stray aircraft – is that they know nothing, see nothing and hold nothing on record. However, myriad US military documents prove that NORAD has not been entirely honest. In this post I will highlight two especially unusual occasions where they were certainly involved. But, beforehand, if my readers need to catch up, I have linked is Part 1 and Part 2.

UFOs Are Tracked On NORAD Systems: And That’s Fact        

Now down to business. A little known fact concerning the infamous Japan Airlines sighting in 1986 is that NORAD almost definitely played a role in the extraordinary event, completely aside from the FAA and even the USAF. For those that do not know about this case, I will only briefly summarise it. On November 17th, 1986, Japan Airlines (JAL) cargo flight 1628 was flying at nearly 900 kilometres an hour over Alaska. Just after sunset, the three crew witnessed a series of UFO encounters that last for 31 minutes, and, the entire fiasco was watched on both FAA primary radar, and, USAF primary radar. The case made headlines around the world. In 2000, John Callahan, Chief of the FAA’s Accidents, Evaluations and Investigations division confirmed the seriousness of the event, and the involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency and the President’s Scientific Staff. He also came forward with more FAA evidence, on top of the hundreds of pages of official documentation already released.

 NORAD’s involvement has been overlooked in this case, I believe. At the heart of the matter, we know for an absolute fact that both the primary radar at the FAA’s Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center (AARTCC), and the primary radar at the USAF’s Elmendorf Air Force Base Regional Operations Command Center (ROCC) picked up “surge primary returns” next to the JAL flight. As these returns were being watched on the screens, the crew were discussing with the FAA, over radio, the worrisome traffic they had around them. It’s a classic radar-visual case, pure and simply. The actual voice tapes of this event are available, and one can actually hear the gravity of the situation in the voices of the pilot, as well as those of the air traffic controllers at FAA AARTCC and USAF ROCC. The important thing here is that there may have been, in some no-doubt complex way, a third set of air traffic controllers, using a third system, watching the event. In the official FAA voice tape transcript, the USAF’s ROCC controller says, at 5:38:51:

“Ah, I’m gonna talk to my other radar man here has gotta, he’s got some other equipment watching this aircraft.”

At 5:38:58, the same ROCC controller stays:

“Ya, this is one dash two again. On some other equipment here we have confirmed there is a flight size of two around. One primary return only.”

Note the first statements, “…my other radar man here…” and “…some other equipment…”, and then the subsequent statement “…some other equipment here we have confirmed…”. Considering it is a USAF controller who was talking, one can’t help but question who “my other radar man” could be, and, what “other equipment” was “watching” the UFOs around the JAL flight? It turns out it was probably NORAD. Elmendorf Air Force Base had, in the 1980’s, a more classified system operated by NORAD, which complemented the USAF hardware. The two merged in Year 2000, but, back in 1986, NORAD’s presence wasn’t exactly advertised at the time of the JAL 1628 UFO sightings. In fact, when one reads that dismal FAA paperwork on the incident, even the USAF’s involvement, let alone NORAD’s, was barely mentioned, despite the fact that they were watching the same thing on their screens, and stating such to the FAA controllers and the JAL pilots. 

Whatever the exact situation, speculation that NORAD was involved in this event is strengthened when one reads a particular FAA document from the FAA’s JAL 1628 report. After one of the post-landing interviews between the JAL crew and FAA Special Agents James Derry and Ronald Mickle, Special Agent Derry wrote a one page statement. The final paragraph states:

“Upon completion of my discussion with the crew, I called Captain Stevens (Duty Officer to NORAD) and asked if he had any questions other than what I had asked. He said he had no other questions, but they also showed two targets on radar (one was JAL). He stated that they would give all data to Intelligence in the morning. I then asked Bobby Lamkin by phone if the Air Force was holding the data and he said yes”

Below is an image of this document. 

NORAD On Alert          

Another incident where NORAD paperwork connects them, very strongly I might add, to serious UFO events, is the extraordinary October-November, 1975 “over flights” of a dozen US military bases by unknown aircraft, variously described as mundane helicopters right through to totally unfamiliar and oddly performing craft that appeared repeatedly on ground-based radar and utterly eluded USAF authorities for weeks. These events were highlighted in Barry Greenwood and Lawrence Fawcett’s game-changing 1984 book “Clear Intent”, later published with the title “UFO Cover Up: What the Government Won’t Say”. I will not even attempt here to give an overview of the wave of UFO activity that occurred at that time. What does need to be said though is that hundreds and hundreds of pages of official documents were released from nearly two dozen commands and agencies within the US military throughout 1976 to 1983. Barry Greenwood and Robert Todd accessed most of them, and Barry fondly tells me how stunned he was – time after time – that such raw intelligence and front-line reporting was being furnished to him. These researchers cannot be thanked enough for their work.

Amongst those piles of gold, was a four page release of “incident” summaries extracted from both the NORAD Command Directors Log and the 24th NORAD Region Senior Director’s Log. The time period for released material was from the 29th of October to the 10th of November, 1975. The actual documents were released to researcher Todd Zechel on the 4th of October, 1977. Despite the fact these are quite well known, I wish to highlight some of the contents, and provide imagery of the offending pages. The first page details various worrisome intrusions by “unknown helicopters” over Loring Air Force Base, Maine, Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan, and Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana – all of which maintained mission-ready nuclear weapons. See below. 

The stakes are raised on page 2 of the release where the 24th NORAD Region Senior Director's Log (Malmstrom AFB, Montana) The most alarming incident summaries are probably:

“7 Nov 75 (1035Z) - Received a call from the 341st Strategic Air Command Post (SAC CP), saying that the following missile locationsreported seeing a large red to orange to yellow object:  M-1, L-3, LIMA and L-6.  The general object location would be 10 miles south of Moore, Montana, and 20 miles east of Buffalo, Montana.  Commander and Deputy for Operations (DO) informed.”

And, for the actual word “UFO”,

“7 Nov 75 (1429Z) - From SAC CP:  As the sun rose, the UFOs disappeared.  Commander and DO notified.”

         On page 3, the continuing NORAD summaries mention the term UFO” five times, plus radar tracks of “unknowns”, “objects”, plus the inspection of such events by fighter jets, which met with failure. The page is imaged below.

The final page summarises a continuation of similar events that kept plaguing nuclear-weapon equipped bases along the US-Canadian untill mid-November. One piece of text, which brought Minot Air Force Base into the spectacle states:

“10 Nov 75 (1125Z) - UFO sighting reported by Minot Air Force Station, a bright  star-like object in the west, moving east, about the size of a car.  First seen approximately 1015Z.     Approximately 1120Z, the object passed over the radar station, 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet high, no noise heard.  Three people from the site or local area saw the object.  NCOC notified.”

Finally, this 4 page NORAD release was finalised with some interesting statements which alluded to more material that related to the over flights of these bases, and, thus, Todd Zechel's FOI request. The text indicates that more documents of NORAD providence are in existence, but that they are not fit for release to the public due to legal exemptions. Specifically:

“2.  HQ USAF/DADF also forwarded a copy of NORAD document for a review for possible downgrade and release.  We have determined the document if properly and currently classified and is exempt from disclosure under Public Law 90-23, 5 USC 552b(1).”

These pages were signed off by one Colonel Terrance C. James, USAF, Director of Administration. The USAF and NORAD run administrative and functional operations hand-in-hand, thus, a USAF Colonel was able to clear this material for release. Also, aside from the above releases, there were actually a great deal more documents of NORAD providence, or, that mentioned NORAD, released to the likes of Barry Greenwood, Robert Todd, Lawrence Fawcett, Todd Zechel and others in that extraordinary period of FOI openness. In one, which Barry Greenwood has on file, the Commander-in-Chief of NORAD sent a four-part message to various NORAD units on November 11, 1975 summarizing the events. The introduction stated:

“Since 28 Oct 75 numerous reports of suspicious objects have been received at the NORAD CU; reliable military personnel at Loring AFB, Maine, Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan, Malmstrom AFB, Mt, Minot AFB, ND, and Canadian Forces Station, Falconbridge, Ontario, Canada have visually sighted suspicious objects.”

Regardless of who released what, clearly any NORAD Log Extracts that contain the phraseology like  “UFOs”, radar tracks of low-flying “unknowns”, “objects” and “unknown helicopters” indeed fall within our area of interest. NORAD, as well as other US military branches, stated that these incidents were “isolated”, but even the most bone-headed skeptic would not accept that. In Part 4 of this series I will be further discuss NORAD's capabilities and mission.