Thursday, 25 June 2020

The Fake 1961 "Special National Intelligence Estimate", and a $1000 Offer To Prove It Genuine...


Usually, when I study a UFO related topic, I offer a full, foundational treatment, complete with in-text-referencing from primary sources, images of old records, and a complete chronological history of whatever matter I’m exploring. The subject I aim to discuss here, however, is not worth such a laborious or scholarly effort. In fact, dealing with it at all brings my conscience out in a rash.

A four-page document, which purports to be a top-echelon “Special National Intelligence Estimate” (SNIE) has been circulating, and gaining traction, within the UFO community. Pretending to have been completed on the 5th of November, 1961, the SNIE is titled “US INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY AND MJTWELVE OPERATIONS  A SPECIAL NATIONAL INTELLEGENCE ESTIMATE” and was purportedly prepared for the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) by a handful of high-level national security entities. The subtitle of this discombobulated mess is “Critical Aspects of Unidentified Flying Objects and the Nuclear Threat to the Defense of the United States and Allies”, and the supposed serial number is “No. 1-61-E”. Briefly, the subject matter relates to the retrieval of crashed UFO’s, and the risks of nuclear war with the Soviet Union after such events. Researchers Danny Silva and Joe Murgia have presented the document here, here and here. The Black Vault dealt with some of the technical points to the document here.

I first saw this document quite some time ago, and it was the spelling and grammatical errors which immediately caught my attention. The word “Israelis” is misspelt as “Israelies”. The word “parody” should be the word “parity”. And, most outrageously, in the capitalised title, the word “Intelligence” is misspelt as “Intellegence”. Are we expected to believe that senior intelligence officials cannot even spell the very word that their life-long craft is based on? The grammar is just as bad. The phrase “In pursuant to…” should be “In pursuance to…”. The phrase “misguided suspicions…” should probably be “misplaced suspicions…”. And what the hell are “…CIA and DoD postmortem studies…” for a nuclear war that has never occurred? Also stated is that “…It is doubtful that China has a nuclear attack capability at the present time…”. One would think that real authors, being at this level of national security governance and critical intelligence evaluation, would have had a better handle on China’s  nuclear weapons status, or total lack-thereof, by 1961. In fact, China didn’t conduct its first atomic test until October, 1964, and any “nuclear attack capability” came nearly a decade later. There are half a dozen similar historical problems with the obviously problematic SNIE document, but there’s only so much time one can spend raising them all.

The mention of certain government agencies, which didn't even exist in 1961, is far worse. The Joint Research and Development Board (JRBB) went out of existence in late 1948, and was replaced by the Research and Development Board (RDB), which was then abolished in 1953. Then, we see the Joint Nuclear Energy Intelligence Committee (JNEIC) named, yet it was replaced by the Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee (JAEIC) in 1948. In fact both are named, but only the JAEIC existed in 1961 when the document was allegedly authored. The hoaxers should have made up their minds and settled only on the JAEIC. Even worse is the listing of the CIA’s Deputy Director for Operations (DD/O). This is impossible because it didn’t exist until 1973. In 1961 it was called the Deputy Director for Plans (DD/P). Just as bad is the mention of the CIA’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS). It didn’t exist, as an organisation at least, in 1961 either. It was technically called the Foreign Broadcast Information Division (FBID) back then, and wasn't until 1965 that the FBID transitioned to the fully office level FBIS. Ooops. The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is mentioned, but in 1961 it was the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (LASL). It wasn’t until 1981 that LASL became LANL. Having said that, some LASL staffers, ostensibly, used the term “Los Alamos National Laboratory” or “LANL” on select formal LASL documents. One researcher, who would prefer not to be named, remembers seeing such records, but none have been openly supplied. Either way, the use of incorrect, if otherwise internally utilised, terminology in such an important document seems unlikely. The impossible organisational red flags I've highlighted are more than enough to warrant extreme suspicion, if not outright scorn. Finally, the document mentions the hoax “MJTWELVE” group, and we all know where that leads. No more discussion on that affair is worth anyone’s time, especially mine.

         As but one primary source example of the aforementioned impossibilities, I have imaged a page, below, from the “History of the the Central Intelligence Agency” section contained in the US Senates April, 1976, publication titled Final Report of the Select Committee To Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities. Both the DD/O and the FBIS are indexed as only coming into being years after the fake 1961 SNIE hoax document pretends to be from. Specifically, and as I found two years ago, and find yet again for this piece, the Directorate for Plans, otherwise known as the DD/P, is listed as being “renamed” as the Directorate for Operations, or DD/O, in 1973. Further down, we note that the Foreign Broadcast Information Division, or merely the “FBID”, was “renamed” as the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, or “FBIS”, in 1965. Unless someone was time travelling, the creation of the 1961 SNIE with such post-1961 government entities, is utterly impossible.

Other red flag issues involve a handful of government entities that should have been involved in the production of such an SNIE, but oddly weren't. The NSA's Scientific Advisory Board is listed as being one of the authors, but not the United States Intelligence Board's (USBI) powerful and vital Signals Intelligence Committee (SIGINT Committee). Other USIB committees were involved, but not them. More tellingly, the USIB's Watch Committee (WATCHCOM) wasn't part of the story, yet they were, in the 1960's, responsible for early warning intelligence, which is exactly what the fake SNIE is all about! Another committee which should certainly have aided in penning such a document was the USIB's Critical Collections Problems Committee (CCPC), but they are suspiciously missing as well. Problems, too, arise in relation to the SNIE's dubious referencing of two high level, but legitimate, documents some time earlier. “DCID 5/1” was issued in December, 1959, by the Director of the CIA, and was titled “Coordination of US Clandestine Foreign Intelligence Activities Abroad”. While it hasn't been released in full, it had nothing to do with UFO’s. An associated Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) memoranda discusses its contents at length. “NASM 70” was issued in August, 1961, and was titled “Request for Report on Berlin Situation”. It's been released in its entirety, and it had nothing to do with UFO’s either.

Even the security classification, which is “TOP SECRET UMBRA”, is highly questionable. To date, no early 1960's “UMBRA” codenamed records have been discovered. Before “UMBRA”, the equivalent codewords were “TRINE” and “DINAR”, and examples of such material is myriad. My rigorous study of declassified intelligence records from the early 1960's yielded hundreds and hundreds of varied items with the “TRINE” and “DINAR” compartment. Significantly, the term “UMBRA” is utterly missing from the record prior to the late 1960's, and no serious historian has cited any earlier records with the “UMBRA” stamp. In fact, according to one US Navy cryptology history group, the “UMBRA” codeword wasn't in use until December, 1968. They should know. The old Naval Security Group (NSG) was responsible for highly classified USN message traffic and cryptography across the globe. Performing a range of scrambling and de-scrambling, signals intelligence processing, radio traffic encryption and message relay, the NSG worked, in part, for the Central Security Service (CSS). The CSS, of course, was the military arm of the NSA, and the use of the “TRINE”, “DINAR” and “UMBRA” codewords was routine.

Finally, the most suspicious issue with this SNIE document is where it was first place online, and by whom. A discussion of the document, along with links to the actual images, has been sitting here for a decade. Down the bottom there is the name “Peregrine Communications”. And who might they be? They are the one-time publisher of the book “Exempt from Disclosure”. The authors of this short tome are none other than Robert M. Collins, Richard C. Doty, and Timothy Cooper. There are no greater document fakers in UFO history than these three. If one goes to an Amazon listing for this book, which can be found here, the publisher is listed as, you guessed it, “Peregrine Communications”.

So, with all this in mind, I am offering $1000 (USD) to the first person who obtains a formally, officially declassified version of this SNIE record. We know the name of it. We know the date. We know that SNIE’s are top-level records. It even has a code number. With Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) work, or some other archival access provision, in mind, the document should be sitting there in a box just waiting to be requested and released. SNIE’s are not written lightly, or in large volumes. Researcher Jeffrey T. Richelson, whom I worked with extensively before his untimely death, wrote about their significance in his famed book “The US Intelligence Community”. Further, real SNIE’s from the 1960’s have been released in the last twenty years, so it's not like they are untouchable. In anyone wants to take me up on this offer, I’m all ears. It’s an easy $1000 right? We can work out the finer points later, but I think we all know there's little need. My money is safe. The document is a fake. And it's a bad one. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) Admits to "TOP SECRET" Records and "SECRET" Video From USS Nimitz "Tic Tac" UFO Incident   

           On October the 28th, 2019, long-time researcher and friend Christian Lambright submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the US Navy’s (USN) Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) for records relating to the famed USS Nimitz “Tic Tac” UFO encounter. In it, he stated:
“This is a request for records under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) as amended including the E-FOIA amendments. Because I am unsure of what department or agency retains the records I am requesting, I ask that you forward a copy of this request to all locations that would have been in position to receive any of the material(s) detailed in the following paragraphs.
This request is to include all releasable portions of records and reports related to investigation of the detection of and encounter(s) with Anomalous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs) by personnel involved with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) operations off the western coast of the United States during the period of approximately 10-16 November, 2004. The designation ‘AAVs’ is used here because it appeared in a summary of these events, so there may also be other terms used in the material I am requesting.

Information supportive of my request comes from a former pilot and now writer who has publicly stated he was allowed to see an exhaustive classified ONI report on these events prior to an article he published in 2015. Other supportive information comes from a contractor/analyst who has stated that an investigation had been conducted by a “GS-15” with the Office of Naval Intelligence.

If any records responsive to my request originated with another agency and require review or handling by that agency, I request that I be informed appropriately of the agency(ies) involved and actions in this regard.

I also request that ANY and ALL partially releasable information be forwarded to the appropriate agency(ies) specified for review, if any, and that I be informed appropriately of actions in this regard.

In order to help determine the category in which to place this request, please know that I am a private individual requesting records for noncommercial research and study purposes. Therefore, I believe this request belongs in the “all other” fee category. However, I am willing to pay reasonable search and reproduction fees up to a maximum of $50.00 over and above the ‘2 hours’ research time and first 100 pages free’ provisions of the FOIA for costs associated with this request if necessary.

If my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you explain all deletions by reference to specific categories of exempted information, but as required by law, release any segregable portions that are left after the exempted material has been redacted. I also request that redactions be made using blackout not white-out.”

Less than two months later, on December 9th, 2019, the ONI’s FOIA/PA Coordinator, Camille V’Estres, sent Lambright her reply. Her letter states, in part:

“This is a final response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of October 28, 2019, addressed to the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). Your request was assigned the above referenced Department of Navy FOIA number. You request all releasable portions of records and reports related to investigation of the detection of and encounter(s) with Anomalous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs) by personnel involved with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) operations off the western coast of the United States during the period of approximately 10-16 November, 2004.

Our review of our records and systems reveal that ONI has no releasable records related to your request. ONI has searched our records for responsive documents. We have discovered certain briefing slides that are classified TOP SECRET. A review of these materials indicates that are currently and appropriate Marked and Classified TOP SECRET under Executive Order 13526, and the Original Classification Authority has determined that the release of these materials would cause exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United States. Specifically, under Section 1.4, the materials would trigger protections under subcategory c), the Intelligence Activities of the United States, as well as the Sources and Methods that are being used to gather information in support of the National Security of the United States. In addition, the materials would trigger protections under subcategory e), Scientific and Technological Matters related to the National Security of the United States. For this reason, the materials are exempt from release under the (b) (1) Exemption for Classified Matters of National Defense. As a result these records may not be released and are being withheld.

We have also determined that ONI possesses a video classified SECRET that ONI is not the Original Classification Authority for. ONI has forwarded your request to Naval Air Systems Command to make a determination on releasability…”

From there, Ms. V’Estres goes on to offer Lambright his standard rights of appeal, and a non-determination of fee waiver.

Evidently, the ONI’s response contains numerous issues worth raising. The ONI reviewed their “records and systems” but found “no releasable records” regarding the USS Nimitz “Tic Tac” UFO event. At first glance, this implies that they have nothing themselves to release. But interpreted slightly differently, the statement could also suggest that they in fact do have internal, homegrown records, but those records off limits. This, however, seems unlikely, due to the candid admissions that come next. During these searches, ONI discovered records originating from another agency. Designated as “briefing slides”, these items were deemed to be “classified TOP SECRET” under the well-worn Executive Order 13526, and the originating authority determined that they must stay that way. The reasons given relate, firstly, to “Intelligence Activities of the United States” and “Sources and Methods” which are used to collection national security information, and, secondly, to “Scientific and Technological Matters” related, again, to national security. Finally, the ONI admits to possessing a video which is currently classified “SECRET”. Again, the ONI has no authority to declassify it, but they did at least confess to who does. The originating agency is acknowledged as the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). Ms. V’Estres reply letter is imaged below.

At this point, we can have no firm ideas as to what this material is. Moreover, the main purpose of this short piece is not to dissect each-and-every possibility, much of which would be based on assumption. Succinctly though, at first glance one may presume that the “briefing slides” relate to a series of briefings involving the USN. Research partner Keith Basterfield has elaborated on such events here. This, however, is pure supposition. Also, it is important, I think, to reiterate that this material classified TOP SECRET, and we don’t even know who by. The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA)? A successor to the elusive Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP)? Whatever the situation, we can say that it relates to USS Nimitz’s UFO encounter of November, 2004. Afterall, Lambright’s FOIA request asked for nothing else. As for the video, which is apparently classified SECRET and owned by NAVAIR, one is bound to think it relates to the short “Tic Tac” footage taken by pilot Chat Underwood during the famed and still unsolved encounter. Again, this mightn’t be the case. In the meantime, the ever patient Christian Lambright has taken an appropriate course of action to move all this further ahead.

Friday, 23 August 2019

The Middlemount, Australia UFO Video Case, July 2019

Investigation Report: Part 1

By Brad Morris, Keith Basterfield 

and Paul Dean

Location: A worksite near Middlemount, Queensland which is some 150kms NW of Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. Middlemount is at latitude 22.81 degrees south, longitude 148.6 degrees east.

Dates: Sunday 28th and Monday 29th July 2019

Times: Both events commenced around 8.30am Eastern Standard Time. 

Witness 1: Male (L) from Townsville, who took video of the event and watched visually. 

Witness 2: Male, a second worker from the mine site, who was the first person to notice the object on both days.

Other witnesses: Males. Workers at the mine site, whose voices are heard on the videos, via UHF radio link. None of whom we have been able to interview. 

Summary of the events:

1.  On Sunday 28 July 2019 while at work, at about 8.30 am (Eastern Standard Time) witness 1 was alerted to an airborne object by another employee on the work site (witness 2.) In the north-eastern sky witness 1 watched an object, white/grey in color for several minutes before it departed to the north, at great speed. The object was low to the visible horizon. There was no associated sound. It was lost to view over a mine mound.

Witness 2, when interviewed, said that in the clear blue sky, he had first noticed what he took to be a white "cloud" hovering above the ground. It seemed to be 500 metres up. It went North at speed. He stated that he first saw it at 8.30am.
2. On Monday 29 July 2019 while at work, at about 8.30am EST, witness 1 was again alerted to the presence of an object by witness 2. Witness 1 saw an object to the east/north-east which according to video clip 1, travelled slowly horizontally. In video clip 2 it is seen to descend to the horizon, and then below the horizon, where it is lost to view obscured by trees. He did not see it ascend from this position.

Witness 1 then noticed, what he thought was the same object to the NNE and then to the NNW. At this time he took several video clips (3-7.) In these clips the object appears almost stationary. In the video it changes shape, from pyramid, to triangle, to disc flattening out and continuing to roll and change shape.

In clip 8 the Sun is in the picture (Sun roughly north-east) and then the camera pans to the left (ie to the west) where the object is seen with no zoom as a white dot in the sky, and then pans in to show a shape. By this time it was around 9-9.15am EST.

All of the videos were shot from the inside of a front end loader cabin, however videos 6 and 7 were taken out an open window so had no obstruction, save for the case which his phone is housed in. The remainder of the footage was shot through the glass windscreen and windows that were dirty, and at times obscure the video. 

Questions: Witness 1.

Witness 1 was kind enough to answer a series of questions, as follows:

(A) Asked by Brad Morris.

28 July 2019 Sighting
Number of objects: 1, no set shape, white/grey in colour.

2. Date: 28 July 2019.

3. Time: About 0830hrs EST (UTC plus 10 hours.)

4. Duration: 2-3 minutes.

5. Location: A mine site.

6. Weather: Clear and calm.

7. How first sighted.Work mate notified him to the presence of an airborne object, which he watched in the north-eastern sky for several minutes, before it departed at great speed to the north. Object was low to the visible horizon due to a mine material dump in the direct field of view.

8. Was there any associated sound? No.

9. How did you lose sight of it? Disappeared rapidly to the north over a mine mound.

10. Two witnesses.

11. Any photos of images? No.

29 July 2019 Sighting

1. Number of objects: 1, no set shape, white/grey, sparkling, changing hue.
2. Date: 29 July 2019.

3. Approximate start time: 0830hrs EST (UTC plus 10 hours.)

4. Duration: 30 + minutes.

5. Location: Mine site.

6. Weather: Calm and clear.

7. How first sighted. Object was first sighted in the E/NE and descended into a distant clearing; later re-emerging in the air after I finished doing some more work, and recommenced filming. The object changed shape rapidly from pyramid, triangle, and disc, flattening out and continuing to roll and change shape. The object went to position 3 marked on the satellite picture (see Appendix three), west, and dropped a small fuzzy but well-defined spherical object that I believe landed. The main object continued to track west until I lost sight of it.

8. Sound: No.

9. How did you lose sight of it? Departed slowly to the west after it dropped a small sphere.

10. Witnesses: 3, maybe 2 more.

11. Images: Yes. 9 pieces of video.

(B) Asked by Paul Dean (Regarding 29 July Event)

Q1. Do you use cloud storage on your phone, ie does your phone back up to the cloud?

A1. I did use Google drive but need to set this phone up for it. I don’t think it backs up at this stage.

Q2. May I check if video clips 1 and 2 which show the object travelling right to left and then descending to the ground are taken to the NE of you?

A2. Yes location 1 (on the satellite picture – see Appendix three) is approx. where the object was in videos one and two.

Q3. You mentioned to Brad that the object descended then later re-emerged. Did you see it travelling upwards from the same spot? I note there is no footage showing it going upwards.

A3. No. I can not 100% confirm that they are the same object, only that shortly after the one landed, another identical object appeared in the sky. It was an assumption that they would be one and the same even though I did not see it rise and as such have no footage of it doing it.

Q4. Video clips 3-7 show the object almost stationary. In what compass direction was it in during this stationary phase?

A4. In video 3, when I first noticed it had reappeared was approx. NNE-NE sector close to where I had seen the object descend but a little more west. Then the other 4-7 were more NNW as it has moved location further westward.

Q5. It seems that video clips 8-9 were taken to the west. May I confirm this with you?

A5. Yes, that is correct.

Q6. You mentioned to Brad that the object went to position 3 on your map, which is to the west. Did it traverse across the sky from the NE via north, to the west, or did it simply disappear from view in the NE and simply appear in the west?

A6. It traversed. Although I did not have eyes on it at all times, while I was watching it, it was moving from the position in the 7thvideo to the 8th. I was still required to perform my duties at work so my attention was drawn away periodically. 

Q7. What does the arrow marked 2 on your aerial photo refer to? 1 is to the NE where the object descended and 3 is the object in the west. But what is 2?

A7. It was a quick reference to approximately where videos 3-7 were but has been superseded by the drawing with the two yellow circles, which is a more accurate approximation. 

(C) Questions asked by Keith Basterfield (Regarding 29 July Event)

Q1. At any time, was there more than one object visible in the sky? If so, how many; which compass directions were they in, and roughly what time was this?

A1. There was only one object at any one time (It is only by a fairly confident assumption that I believe it is the same object in all the videos, as I did not actually see the one which landed rise again.) Apart from when the small piece broke away and descended (you can just see this at the very beginning of video 9 before the camera shakes.) This was the only time there was multiple objects. This would have been around 9.00am – 9.15am (ish).

Q2. Were any of the videos taken from inside a vehicle or were they all taken from outside? If any were taken from inside a vehicle are you able to nominate which ones?

A2. All the videos were shot from the inside of my front end loader cabin, however videos 6 and 7 were taken out an open window so had no obstruction save for the case which my phone is housed in. The remainder of the footage was shot through the glass windscreen and windows that were dirty and at times obscure the video. This can be especially noticed in video 9 when I ask if the object just disappeared, but then realize that the camera focus had switched to the dirt on the glass.

Q3. Do you know the rough (Eastern Standard Time) when your attention was drawn to the first object in the NE sky, the one which descended? I know we have the time stamp on the video but wanted to check this against your EST recollections.

A3. It was approx. 8.30am I believe. I only know this from one of the other witnesses who mentions that it was the same time as the day before being 8.30am. I did not personally consciously look at the time while filming. So, any time estimates are just that, estimates.

Q4. To the naked eye, as opposed to through the zoomed phone camera, was the object a point source like a star, or did it have some angular size, eg a quarter of; or a half of the size of the full moon near the horizon?

A4. When I first noticed the object, it appeared to be approximately the size of the nail of my little finger at outstretched arm’s length. To begin with, the object was a ball of cloud that had a form but no fixed shape, like ferrets fighting in a sack. It remained in this appearance while it landed. When it reappeared, it was morphing into more angular shapes from a dome with a flat bottom to a more triangular shape and at times just a flat disc. At this stage it appeared slightly smaller in relative size. When it moved to the west, the distance attributed for the remarkably smaller appearance.

Q5. At the end to the west, one of the voices audible on the video clips 8 or 9 says that something fell off the main object and dropped towards the ground. Am I correct in saying that after the smaller object fell away, that the main object rose higher in the sky rather than continued descending downwards towards the horizon?

A5. As seen in video 9, a small “ball” broke away from the main object, maybe 1/10ththe size and made a controlled descent straight down to earth while the main body seemingly continued flying westward over the viewing horizon. From my observation and my perception of the two objects’ trajectories, I do not think the large object descended, rather continued accelerating away from me until it was beyond my field of view.

Q6. On clip 5 a voice says “Another one back towards…” Do you know what this refers to?

A6. No. To my knowledge there was only the one object. The man who says that line was one of the other witnesses you may want to talk to as well. He was the first one to see the object on both days.

Witness 2:

What witness 2 saw on Monday 29 July 2019

At around the same time, ie 8.30am he had seen what appeared to be the same thing as on the Sunday, ie a white cloud in the clear blue sky. He thought, “it’s back again,” and told witness 1 about it. Witness 1 then took some video of it. It then started to move and landed to the east of them. He did not see it rise from the ground, but sometime later saw it to their north, where it seemed to hover. Finally, they saw it to their west, where a bit dropped off and came down to the ground. The main object then went higher in the sky, and finally it was lost to view (in the sky not over the horizon.

Other pieces of information then came forward from witness 2.

1. Speaking to some of the other men working on site – some of them said they had seen the same thing a “couple of days before.” This would place these observations, before witnesses 1 and 2 saw it on the Sunday.

2. They were situated only a couple of hundred metres off the highway.

3. I asked him if he could estimate the distance from witness 1 and himself and the object when it went down behind a tree line, and in front of another tree line. Witness 2 estimated that the front tree line was only some 400-500 metres from him and witness 1.

4. Referring to the fact that someone on the UHF radio, had said, when the object was to the west, something like “another one towards...” implying there was more than one object in the sky at one time, I asked witness 2 if he knew what this meant? He said that the voice was himself, and he was referring to the fact that at one point a small object had dropped from the main object and went towards the ground. I clarified this by asking if at any other time there was more than one object visible to him? He said, not, the only time he saw two objects was when the small one detached from the main one. Description of each video segment: Taken on a Samsung Galaxy 9 phone with a maximum zoom of x 8

Video clip 1: File name – 20190729_084922

This is 2 mins 6 seconds in length and shows the horizon in the bottom quarter of the screen. The object is first seen zoomed in It travels slowly, from right to left, northwards across the eastern horizon. The object appears to have a triangular or diamond or pyramid shape with the outer edges having darker shading or density. The object is close to the visual horizon.

The horizon reveals several ridge lines with a likely gully or depression between, the object is moving very slowly at this stage.

Lapse 31 seconds between clip 1 and 2.

Video clip 2: File name – 20190729_085159

This is 1 minute 5 seconds in length and shows the horizon in the bottom half of the screen. The object is close to the visual horizon. 

The object is descending towards the gully between the ridges to the E/NE of the witness’ location, whilst UHF chatter is becoming apparent but not associated to the airborne object.

38 seconds: object descends in front of distant ridge.

58 seconds: object descends behind the closer ridge line and into the gully beyond sight and the witness re commences work.

Lapse 3.46 between clip 2 and 3. 

Video clip 3: File name – 20190729_085650

This is 2 minutes 43 seconds in length and shows the horizon in the bottom quarter at the star. There is a horizontal trail of cloud above the object, reference to which seems to show that the object is gaining angular elevation. Seen to the NNE/NNW.  Voice says, “Looks like cloud but just saw one landing in the trees.” There is also a white glint on the object’s top (Sunlight?). The object is close to the visual horizon. 

The object takes on triangular shape, whilst tracking further north, with the witness commenting at the end of the scene “the object is changing shape”.

Lapse 23 seconds between clip 3 and 4. 

Video clip 4: File name – 20190729_085956

This is 3 minutes 9 seconds in length and the object appears to be slowly descending again, although footage throughout this segment is quite shaky. Seen to the NNE/NNW. Moves slightly right to left across screen. The object is close to the visual horizon.

At 1.59 witness describes object to be changing shape. It begins to appear as cone shape with a dark rectangular bottom before flattening out. White on top (Sunlight?) 

Lapse 3 seconds between clips 4 and 5. 

Video clip 5: File name – 20190729_090308

This is 2 minutes 1 second in length. The object is close to the visual horizon.

By now the object is in the NNE/NNW part of the sky. White on right hand side (reflecting sunlight?)

At 1.00 The UHF radio chat turns towards the presence of the airborne anomaly, with one comment “I’m looking at it from the highway here………….F’N.HELL like a big bloody bean bag”.

This indicates object was visible from off site, on the main rd. Another voice comment is “Another one back there towards…” 

Lapse 6.40 between video clips 5 and 6. 

Video clip 6: File name – 20190729_091149

This is 1 minute 41 seconds in length and starts off with radio chatter about the anomaly.

The object appears in the NNE/ NNW in this clip. The object is close to the visual horizon.

With the blue-sky background, the colour and shading is better contrasted showing true tones of white, grey and black in some cases.

30 seconds in, we start to see protrusions and better definition on the object in question.

53 seconds witness zooms back revealing the objects true size in comparison to the focal length before zooming back in.

58 seconds other witness discussing the similarity to the sighting on the previous day.

Voice says “Come up about the same time as yesterday about half past eight.”

7 second lapse between clips 6 and 7. 

Video clip 7: File name – 20190729_091337

This is 59 seconds in length and the object takes on the diamond or triangle shape, then appearing to have a double layer as it turns front on. Seen to the NNE/NNW, most likely NNW by now.  It is almost all white colour at this point (reflected sunlight?) No horizon shown in this one. 

Lapse 4.27 between clips 7 and 8. 

Video clip 8: File name – 20190729_091903

This is 1 minute 48 seconds in length and starts with the witness describing the direction the object has travelled throughout the sky, whilst sitting in his vehicle. There is another vehicle, a truck visible in the foreground. The clip starts shooting towards the Sun, then pans left over the truck where there is a white light visible in the blue sky. Voice says, “I have no idea what this thing is.” White light on object’s right-hand side (reflecting sunlight?)  The object is close to the visual horizon. 

The object appears to have taken on boomerang shape and is further to the west, yet still visually large.

The object gains width in the arms of the boomerang.

2.37 lapse between clip 8 and 9.

Video clip 9: File name – 20190729_092328

This is 2 minutes 43 seconds in length and stating off in the Western sky. The object is close to the visual horizon. 

The object begins the scene just after ejecting a smaller fuzzy sphere (hard to see but visible on video). Voice says, “A little piece just broke off.” Trees are much nearer to the camera than in other clips. 

Witness 1 later describes the sphere to be landing (not visible on video), but this is verbally confirmed by the other truck driver on UHF radio.

Camera goes in and out of focus several times and witness 1 gives up recording.

Based on the fact that the first video file name is 20190729_084922, which is the end time of the first video, then the object was visible to witness 1, from between 8.47am and 9:24am.
Angular size of object?

Is it possible to work out the angular size of the object from the videos? The following is a rough calculation:

1. Using the known distance of a known width of an object in a still photograph taken with a Samsung Galaxy S9 mobile phone, the angular diameter of the image you obtain, using the phone in portrait mode is roughly 4.4 degrees, when using full zoom. 

2. Using a still picture of video one, reveals that you could fit approximately 30 of the object across the width of the screen. Thus, the rough angular diameter of the object at this point is 1/30thof 4.4 degrees, ie roughly 0.14 degrees. Witness 1 estimated that the object appeared to be the width of his little finger nail at arm’s length. This works out to be equal to about 0.7 degree. Contrast these figures with the Moon’s angular size of 0.5 degrees. 

3. Using this angular size for the object allows one to calculate a distance versus real diameter for the object as follows:

Distance in Meters to the Object       Calculated Diameter in Meters

100                                                    2.6

500                                                    13

1000                                                  26

2000                                                  52

3000                                                  78

Other data:

1. Weather details:f or four nearest stations (for tables, see Appendix one.)

035134 Blackwater Qld 88.3km away south of Middlemount.

035264 Emerald Qld 98.9kms away south-west of Middlemount.

033210 St Lawrence Qld 99.4kms away north-east of Middlemount.

034035 Moranbah Qld 103.6kms away north-west of Middlemount.

2. Astronomical:

Using the “Stellarium” astronomical software program reveals that:

a. At 0830hrs EST the Sun was at 22 degrees elevation, azimuth 57 degrees, ie roughly north-east. Further, at 0915hrs EST the Sun was at 30 degrees elevation, azimuth 49 degrees, almost north-east.

b. The 17% illuminated Moon at 0830hrs ETS was at 45 degrees elevation, 12 degrees azimuth ie almost due north. At 0915hrs EST the Moon was at 45 degrees elevation, azimuth 358 degrees, ie just slightly west of due north.





As is usual, when investigating what appears to be an unknown object, the task is to analyse the available data, and firstly eliminate potential mundane causes.

Potential mundane causes:

Event 1. 28 July 2019 Sighting.

Few details are available on the this sighting, other than that it was at about 8.30am; the object seen was white/grey in colour, and viewed to the north-east for several (2-3 minutes) and then departed at speed to the north. No associated noise was audible to the witnesses. There is no video evidence on that day. One cannot discount an aircraft, rising from the Middlemount airport, which is approximately 40 kms north-east of the mine site. The single airport runway is aligned north-west to south-east. The Flightradar24 website doesn’t have any information about flights into/out of theairport.

Conclusion: Given the available data it is not possible to state with any certainty what was seen this day.

Event 2. 29 July 2019 Sighting.

1. Aircraft:

The movements of the object appear too slow to be an aircraft of any kind. There is no condensation trail in the blue sky; and the images of the nine video series do not look like an aircraft.

2. Helicopter:

Helicopters can hover, and land vertically. The slow movement of the object, especially in videos 1 and 2 and then 3-7 could possibly support a helicopter. However, the shapes in the images would seem to preclude this possibility. In addition, helicopters are very noisy.

3. Drones:

Drones can of course move slowly and even hover. However, the calculated angular size and the distance table in the report; plus the fact that one gets the impression that the object which descended in video 2 into trees, does seem some distance away; seem to argue against the possibility of a drone. Paul Dean did a search for both local rocket or drone clubs but found nothing.

4. Parachutes:

Could the object have been a person using a rectangular shaped parachute, which are of quite a large size? It would account for the slow horizontal and downward movement seen, as well as the object which descended below tree level. No evidence has been found to support this.

5. Balloon:

The slow movement and appearance of the object in videos 1 and 2, gives the impression of a balloon-like object descending to the ground. The slow movement, almost stationary at times, of the object in videos 3-7 would support a balloon hypothesis. The observation in video 9 that a small object fell from the main object, and a voice says the main object then rose higher, might argue for balloon ballast being released.

If it was a balloon, travelling with the wind, what direction was the wind coming from that morning?

Witness 1 says the weather was clear and calm, meaning no wind at all.

The weather data from the nearest weather stations suggests that at Middleton the wind, if any, was from the south-east to east, thus moving any object to the north-east of the mine area, to the north and west. This is exactly the trajectory of the object seen. The speed of the wind at the mine area would have been perhaps 5-6 km/hr or less. Thus a wind borne object would have travelled slowly over the area, exactly as the object did.

Thus, it is possible that the object seen was a balloon? What type of balloon? Not a weather balloon; but possibly a gas-driven, manned basket balloon, similar to hot air balloons which are used to provide tourist experiences – flown in clear, calm weather, in the relatively early morning.

A search was undertaken for any hot air balloon tourist experiences in the area. An email was despatched to the both the Rockhampton and Emerald visitor information centres asking about any hot air balloon operators in their area. The Emerald Visitor Information Center advised that they used to have an operator at Emerald, but no longer did. No reply has been received from the Rockhampton Visitor Information Center as at the date of this report.

There is an issue regarding the eyewitness testimony for any hypothesis involving one object. If there was a single object which travelled from near the horizon in the north-east to near the horizon in the west; then at some point as it travelled in a continuously straight line between these two points, its angular elevation at its nearest point to the observer should have placed it higher in the sky (eg 45 degrees). The videos show that the object is always relatively close to the horizon, ie a low angular elevation. Based on the data one could argue that the trajectory of the object was not a straight line from north-east through north, to the west; but an arc from the north-east to the west, always staying near the observer’s horizon. If the trajectory was such an arc not a straight line, thenif the object could not have been blown by the wind as at some point its trajectory in an arc would have been across the wind or even against the wind.

This argument could be invalidated by suggesting there were two balloons. One to the north-east travelling westwards through north in a straight line; and another balloon which travelled in a straight line, invisible to witness one from his cabin, which he only saw when it was to the west, travelling westwards.

Were there two objects visible at any one time? Indeed, at one point, video five, a voice on the radio(when witness one was videoing an object to the NNE/NNW) says “Another one back there towards...” Witness one, when asked if he knew what this meant, did not. I asked witness 2 if he knew about this. He said yes, the voice was him, but this referred to the later point where a small object fell off the larger one. I clarified this by asking witness 2 if at any point, he had seen two objects? Only when the larger object dropped the smaller one, he responded. So, the question of whether or not there was ever two large objects in the sky at the same time, remains a little unclear.

Are there any other possible high-altitude balloons, ie large size and high up, that could have been traversing the Queensland sky that morning? 

Interestingly, there is a possibility. Google’s ProjectLoon balloons.

Project Loon is an effort to bring the internet to remote communities around the world. Both in 2014 and 2017 Loon balloons flew over Queensland. For details, see


On the Professional Pilots website I found a thread discussing sightings of Loon balloons over:

Western Australia, on 6 April 2019 flight N245LB at 63,000 feet.

Northern Territoy, at the beginning of April 2019 – 2 Loon balloons were sighted within 30 miles of each other.

On 13 May 2019 another pilot commented “13 balloons out today over WA, NT and QLD.”

A number of Loon balloons have landed back to earth, as listed in the Wikipedia Loon balloon entry. None listed for Australia.

Generally though, these balloons, which fly in clusters of up to 14 or so, spread out over a wide area, are up at 60,000 feet. If one takes a 20 degree elevation angle for looking at a Loon balloon from the ground, then this would place the balloon some 50 kms away. They are huge balloons, said to be as big as a football field when up at 60,000 feet.

I would like to see this possibility explored further. I have despatched an email to Loon balloon head office, asking if they had balloons over Qld on 28/28 July 2019. As at the date of this report I have not received a response.

The 24hrflight radar website has an altitude filter which you can set to 50,000 – 60,000 feet which then clearly shows Loon balloons anywhere in the world. This morning I checked the website and a couple of dozen loon balloons are visible over Ecuador and Brazil with one off the coast of California. I have worked out a way to get historical data off the website, but it relies on you knowing the identification number of the object whose history you wish to determine. As I know these details for the May 2019 overflights of Australia, I was able to locate maps of their tracks. At the moment I have no evidence that any Loon balloons were near Middlemount on 28/29 July 2019.

Other sightings:

A check of the websites for UFO Research Qld and UFO Research New South Wales failed to find any mention of the Middlemount sightings; nor any similar such events in recent times in Queensland. A check by email with UFORQLD revealed they were unaware of the sightings. I contacted Roger Stankovic from MUFON Australia, and asked about any sightings he had received? He advised me that the MUFON case management system had one relevant sighting.

This occurred at 1921hrs on Monday 22 July 2019 at Moranbah, Queensland, some 100 kms to the NW of Middlemount. The text of the report states:

“Seen what appeared to be a plane coming into land from the North with landing lights on whilst taking the rubbish out. (I do live on the local airport flight path, small aircraft only.  Turbo props only, no jets.)

I was observing the light through what appeared to be cloud, however I noted that there were stars behind and around the light. There was no cloud apparent. I continued watching as the light travelled from a Northly position across the sky until it was approximately in a North Eastern position. I ran inside and grabbed my phone to video. Video was very poor quality with only 4x zoom. Called my sister out she seen the end of the fuzzy aurora disappear in the eastern sky. Snapshot from video taken, all you can see if a few fuzzy pixels, sorry for the low resolution. Pause the video at 54 seconds and look slightly left of centre and approximately 30 % down from the top of the screen, a bit of fuzz on the otherwise black screen.”
I checked the weather details for Moranbah. 1500hrs 22 July 2019. Temperature was 25.5c; 38% relative humidity; wind from the ESE at 17 knots. Pressure 1015.1 hPa. Clear sky.

The object remains unidentified. Quite a bit of the data suggests the possibility of large sized balloons, of the type used by tourist hot air balloon experience operators, with a lesser possibility of Loon balloons. However, no evidence has been obtained to show that there were such balloons in the area at the time.