The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Edward U Condon and pink UFOs


Way back when, before many readers here were even extant, we pursued the allegation that Edward U Condon, the person responsible for the flawed Air Force/Condon Report on UFOs, was a communist sympathizer, a "pinko" as The John Birch Society called him and his ilk.

We posted our inquiry online, earlier at his blog and others, but provide it again for your edification.

We believe that if Condon was, indeed, a commie sympathizer (or worse), his perversion of the Colorado Study of UFOs was compromised for reasons more substantial than stupidity.

Click here to see our paperwork for what we call The Condon Affair.

23 Comments:

  • The christine-keelerish self-transformation of the Republican Party from peacenik isolationism to ferocious-anti-communist-warriorism is a wonderous story.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Tuesday, February 22, 2011  

  • very interestng. Nice spap shot of that era!

    1951, Corning Glass Works. Then 1954...what did the Navy want him for?

    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • Applying this principle, would you say that Oppenheimer, had he been chosen to head an official enquiry into UFOs, would have been a bad choice because of his communist leanings? Should one's political views come into ufology?

    I do not understand Don's reference to Christine Keeler in this context, How does she come into it?!

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • CDA:

    There's a book by Paul Johnson: Intellectuals.

    The argument therein is should we just look at a person's work, alone, or does their background and prejudices count.

    I've taken the tack that one should know what a person's leanings are so one can determine if what they're presenting has a bias or an agenda.

    Oppenheimer could have either sabotaged the Manhattan Project or pass vital information on to the Soviets.

    I think he did the latter.

    Condon would want the Soviets apprised of anything secret he might come across.

    I talked with Condon at the time, and he said he'd resign the AF commission if the security thing was broached again.

    Unfortunately we didn't press the issue; otherwise we'd have gotten a new man in charge and an objective UFO study.

    (You are better able to determine how the Keeler affair factors in to Don's assesment.)

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • "I do not understand Don's reference to Christine Keeler..."

    And so you shouldn't as my brain cramped up and "keeler" went to my fingers rather than "jorgensen". It began as political campaign rhetoric and quickly became a radical and unreversable transformation.

    Thinking Condon was a comsymp is about as realistic as calling the investment banker's darling Obama a socialist.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • WTF?

    Don, you don't think Condon was a communist sympathizer?

    Actually he was cited for having rendevouz with Soviet agents, and by the Navy.

    His security clearance was removed and how he got the AF assignment baffles, as his previous security status was never reinstated.

    He was only cleared for the Colorado study by an AF fiat, not by a revocation of the formal rescinding of his former security
    clearance.

    Condon was an iffy choice, with access to secret and top secret files as part of the Colorado study, and he shouldn't have had access.

    And since we all know how the Colorado study ended, doesn't that raise a suspicion on your part?

    Was Condon just stupid or a calculating person with an agenda that was anti-UFO (or worse)?

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • "Don, you don't think Condon was a communist sympathizer?"

    Nope. I do not know why Condon had the aquaintences he had (or was alleged to have had). Possibly he was a left-wing pacifist. There are other possibilities.

    "And since we all know how the Colorado study ended, doesn't that raise a suspicion on your part?"

    Are you suggesting that debunking the saucers was a commie plot...should I wonder about Klass, too?

    During the 1947-1952 wave, I think there was a belief that the commies were out there hoaxing saucers for the purpose of spreading confusion and "mass hysteria" while burning US military and intelligence resources in the pursuit of the saucers.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • Don:

    You're a good guy, and I get the impression you are loath to think ill of others.

    But Condon was iffy, and that alone should have prevented the AF from giving him leadership of the Colorado study.

    But the Air Force didn't care. It just wanted to get out of the flying saucer business, publically anyway.

    Condon was their patsy or dupe.

    But that aside, he shouldn't have had access to secret materials, based upon his secuirty status.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • "But Condon was iffy, and that alone should have prevented the AF from giving him leadership of the Colorado study."

    Yet, they did.

    "But the Air Force didn't care. It just wanted to get out of the flying saucer business, publically anyway."

    There was a shortage of scientists who were not ETHsymps?

    "Condon was their patsy or dupe."

    Page through some membership lists of various professional societies of sciences of interest to study of ufos and one ought to be able to compile a list of hundreds of names of perfectly suitable candidates for the task who either had security clearance or would have no issue obtaining one.

    So, really, why Condon?

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • So why Condon?

    That's the $64,000 question Don.

    What do you think?

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • Condon a commie? No way. He got caught up in the extreme right-wing hysteria of the late 40's and early 50's of the Joe McCarthy era witchhunts of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), ultra-conservative media, and extremist, opportunistic Republican right-wingers, etc.

    See: http://tinyurl.com/4jwtcx4

    While Condon, during that earlier period, may have known some "pinkos" or left-wing sympathizers, I think he was falsely accused of being a security risk, just like Oppenheimer by Teller, among others in secret, and both were victims of the anti-Soviet hysteria of those times.

    Even Truman condemned HUAC and it's ravenous, rabid pursuit and attack on "commie-sympathizers" and alleged "pinkos" such as Condon was falsely accused of being. And no Top Secret data was ever provided to the Condon study participants, btw.

    I know Rich considers Sen. Joe McCarthy some kind of "hero,' which I find truly baffling, but to me he was a vicious, unstable, drunkard who, with attorney Roy Cohn's deeply divisive and darkly antagonistic help, subjected many, many people to unsubstantiated and false charges of "communist" or subversive interests and intent, purely for personal self-aggrandizement and as an attempt to justify their extremist, far right-wing power grab and loony politics. To me, McCarthy was both a reckless demagogue and deeply disturbed human being, as was Cohn and some of their HUAC members.

    See: http://tinyurl.com/n7dqn
    http://tinyurl.com/cqtv2
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HUAC

    By late 1954, McCarthy had been censured by the Senate, and thorougly discredited by his own inflammatory words and actions.

    Both Condon and Oppenheimer, among many others, were unfairly smeared and banned (by withdrawal of their security clearances, among other practices) from continuing in their chosen line of work, like the Hollywood Ten. Diversity of viewpoint and political affiliation throughout the conformist, fearful, and homogeneous late 40's and 50's was often thought to be subversive and un-American (and which, considering our diverse immigrant origins and democratic principles as a pluralistic country, was itself an inverted, retrograde perversion of constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and affiliation itself. That's one reason why we have the Bill of Rights).

    Appeals to H.L. Hunt for funds, and association with the extreme right such as the John Birch Society is far more telling than raising old and false allegations about Condon once again.

    Also, whatever Condon's earlier views or political leanings _might_ have been, he was the perfect choice for the US government's Colorado UFO investigation, since by that time, in the late 60's, he was attempting to "redeem" himself so badly with the PTB and USG, that he was a willing and able pseudo-skeptic who was bound to toe the USAF and government line that there were no UFOs that indicated any form of non-human intelligence or advanced technology, regardless of the facts (such as that at least 30% of the UFO incidents Condon's committee investigated remained "unknowns" despite the attempt to refute them).

    Need I remind anyone knowledgeable here about the scandal of Condon and Low firing committee personnel who disagreed with the pre-established USAF/USG line that Condon was directed to dismiss the UFO phenomenon out of hand without adequate investigation or honest and objective procedures?

    Condon was chosen in order to fulfill his master's premise, and he did his job very well, and in disregard of the facts that were and still are evident about the UFO phenomenon, that it represents a true unknown, and in some incidents it's unavoidable to seriously consider some form(s) of advanced non-human intelligence are most probably involved, IMHO.

    Of course, I would express this opinion, being an anti-communist, liberal-left agnostic, myself. YMMV. 8^}

    By Blogger steve sawyer, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • Ah, Steverino...

    The old House UnAmerican Activities Committee?

    It's the House Committee on UnAmerican Actvities.

    Your epithet was a ploy of leftists who, as the Alger Hiss case showed, were rife in the State Department and Army.

    As the Rosenberg trial also showed, Commies and Commie sympathizers were all over the place.

    Joe McCarthy has been redeeemed, somewhat, by disclosures that his accusations were not as false as some have tried to make it out to be.

    See Buckley's defense, and that of Brent Bozell, among others.

    The Communist Party was vivid in its intent to subvert the American government and way of life.

    You know this, I'm sure.

    But all that aside, Condon was an iffy bugger, and as has been pointed out, there were others of his academic ilk who could have been placed at the head of the UFO study.

    The Colorado UFO study was subverted, as history and various revelations have shown.

    Was that just coincidence? Or part of a plan by Condon? Or the Air Force? (Where's the great Joe McCarthy when you need him?)

    As a section leader of the John Birch Society, at the time, maybe I was bit more rabid about such things, but I relented after I was excoriated at JBS meetings for reading Freud (as part of my college studies).

    The Birchers were as much for book-burning as they said the Communists were.

    I'm a bit more liberal nowadays, but still worship Joe McCarthy, and hate(d) that simp, Joseph Welch....talk about a grand-stander.

    My point was and is this: Condon was, like Oppenheimer, iffy. That alone, whether right or wrong, did not allow him access to secret and top secret materials.

    Read Johnson's "Intellectuals" for a rationale of why we should all know what hidden premises a person holds.

    Had this been done with Hitler, a lot of innocent Jews would still be alive today.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • "Ah, Steverino...

    "The old House UnAmerican Activities Committee?

    "It's the House Committee on UnAmerican Actvities.

    "Your epithet was a ploy of leftists..."


    From the wiki link I provided, above, first sentence, on HCUA, aka HUAC:

    "The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA) or House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC),[1] 1938–1975) was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives."

    While HCUA is more technically correct, the committee was most often known as and commonly termed as HUAC, as I noted.

    See the detailed explanation of footnote one on this terminology difference, which was not really pejorative, or a "leftist ploy."

    And I do think HUAC's activities in large part were both Un-American and ineffective, due to their own unjustified overreaching which impugned their integrity and assigned responsibilities, personally. YMMV. FWIW.

    I "agree to disagree" with your viewpoint about McCarthy, HUAC, Condon, and the belated revisionist histories (based in part on the Venona decrypts) of Buckley and Bozell.

    Of course Hiss was a spy, as were the Rosenbergs, among many others within elements of the US government. But McCarthy and HUAC could and should have been more discreet and objective than they obviously were and became toward their irrational ends, as they engaged in falsely smearing many and being demigogues appealing to popular belief and prejudice, not honest or empirical investigation, just like the anti-Obama neo-cons, birthers, and Tea Partiers so often also engage in today. But this is not the place for extended political debate, which would be a diversionary distraction.

    We'll just have to disagree about our differing perspectives and political interpretations, OK?

    To answer your latter question, again, I think Condon was a willing dupe, working at the behest and direction of the USAF, who simply wanted to get out of their public responsibility for the UFO conundrum after so many years of incompetent investigation and "benign neglect," as Moynihan once so infamously spoke of, and Condon was more than willing to subvert an open, empirical investigation of the UFO phenomenon due to his personal beliefs and for a variety of other institutional, governmental, and culturally sanctioned reasons.

    Wendt and Duvall do a pretty good job of explaining this political issue in regard to the UFO controversy, in their "Political Theory" magazine article, "Sovereignty and the UFO."

    I strongly recommend reading it:

    http://tinyurl.com/4mnd9bz

    As for ..."Steverino"? May I call you a foreshortened version of Richard? And I don't mean Rich. No, I thought not.

    I guess I could quote Johnny Cash from his song Folsom Prison Blues... "I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die...." Heh! 6^}

    Oh, and Hitler? Let's not descend to the level of "Godwin's Law," if you please.

    By Blogger steve sawyer, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • "My point was and is this: Condon was, like Oppenheimer, iffy. That alone, whether right or wrong, did not allow him access to secret and top secret materials."

    Aren't you referring to some Blue Book case files?

    Condon was a 'political' choice -- 'political' in the UFO sense. He was not known to be either a believer or debunker, acceptable to scientists and ufologists, and very well qualified for the task. He was also willing to clear the UFOs off the USAF plate.

    Of course it all fell apart. Maybe that's it. Condon did his commie work by sabotaging the USAF attempt to debunk saucery.

    Among the people who generally had no respect for McCarthy or HCUA were military officers, the media, and scientists, as well as ufologists. Many had very good reasons for their lack of respect. For many, Condon was a hero for his stand. They would be unlikely to take seriously the charge that Eisenhower was a (communist or communist inspired) traitor. So, the JBS might as well be the aluminum-foil-hat contactee brigade to them back then.

    Senator Parnell who was responsible for the "weakest link" polemic would a few years later do time for salary fraud and resign (Truman pardoned him in 1952, no doubt relishing the moment). I wonder if anyone has done a study of the rest of the 1945 HCUA members' vicissitudes.

    It is all political sociopathy that got out of hand, as the Republicans tried to figure out a way to get to the White House again. The Iron Law of Irony required that it be via one of their whipping boys, Eisenhower.


    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • Ah, Steven...

    Richard/Dick Hall and I had a colloquy at UpDates years ago, about our names.

    Steverino was the sobriquet of Louis Nye for Steve Allen for Allen's man on the street skits.

    I remain pissed, as they say, about Condon's perversion of the opportunity to clarify the UFO phenomenon with the tools and people at his disposal.

    I'm still smarting, obviously.

    Never take my quasi-belligerent patina in comments here as personal.

    Since I don't use emoticoms or LOL, my comments often come off as smart-alecky when I don't mean them to be.

    (And I never use the phrase "we can agree to disagree" because it is so banal, and overworked by friends such as Paul Kimball.)

    I hated that the Rosenbergs were executed.

    Their crimes were egregious but not to the level of life-taking.

    McCarthy was over-the-top in his political machinations but, at the time, I thought it appropriate, and still do.

    And Roy Cohn gave fags a bad name.

    (I can say that since Wendy Connors told The List I was the King of the Fairies in Fort Wayne; not true, of course...a prince maybe, but not a king.)

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • Don:

    McCarthy wasn't, as you know, a part of the House Committee.

    His hearings were centered in the Senate.

    Robert Welch's book about Eisenhower, which I have, is titled The Politician, not The Communist.

    Eisenhower was no commie, even though his warning about the military-industrial complex hinted at such.

    But he did use such scalawags as Allen Dulles, who was in the thick of UFO matters for the CIA, which I'll be doing a thing on upcoming.

    McCarthy was the first anti-establishment hippie, as it were, and prepared the way for the 60s anti-government, anti-Viet Nam movements.

    Liberals should love the guy.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • Steve wrote: "Oh, and Hitler? Let's not descend to the level of "Godwin's Law," if you please."

    A usenettism on Iconoclasts? You old codger, you!

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • "Liberals should love the guy."

    One of the disagreeable things about intellectual discussion these days is the assumption there are two sides to every issue (of which, one is right and true, and that's what is debated). It seems to have taken hold prior the internet and became the defacto standard for discussion thanks to the influence of the Point Counterpoint segment of 60 Minutes -- one of the (many, many) things that made the 1970s so tedious.

    So, there are liberals vs conservatives, right vs left, pc vs Mac, digital vs film, Chevy vs Ford, skeptics vs believers.

    Having a third position, as I do, on all of the above, tends to eventually result in the two sides joining against the interloper with the 'alien' viewpoint.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • Why Don, you are the voice of abstruse reason here.

    Without your comments, we'd be a poor imitation of UFO UpDates.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, February 23, 2011  

  • It did seem like Condon was oveertly disrupting the investigation from the start, and I feel you are correct in asking why. The "Whos side aree you on?" question is actually valid. And figuring out the why would tell us a lot about the whole subject.

    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Thursday, February 24, 2011  

  • Enough of US politics!

    McCarthy once referred to Senator Fulbright as "half bright".

    This is one reason why British MPs NEVER use actual names when referring to fellow MPs in parliament. Names give too much scope for puns, jokes, etc.

    However, enough of US politics, and back to UFOs. I understood Condon was chosen (i.e. Univ of Colorado was chosen) because it was hard to find any US university or other reputable scientific minstitution to take on a study of UFOs. Nobody wanted to touch the subject. Colorado eventually accepted, rather reluctantly I believe, though it may not have been Condon who made the final decision on this. "UFOs, Yes" by Saunders and Harkins may give the answer - I have not looked.

    By Blogger cda, at Thursday, February 24, 2011  

  • Condon sabotaged the Colorado study.

    Why?

    That question doesn't get to the heart of the UFO phenomenon, but it is interesting in other ways.

    However, CDA is right....as usual we stray from UFOs to peripheral matters.

    But that's "ufology" as Gilles Fernandez often reminds us.

    (Maybe that's why we're concentrating on other areas of interest.)

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, February 24, 2011  

  • I don't think there is anything peripheral about the cultural context (including the political culture) in re "UFOs".

    Reading Condon interviews from the time, it is obvious he was bitter about the HCUA and the redbaiting phenomenon generally and its effect on him and others. Two decades later and he was still seething about it. It leads me to think he was emotionally 'brittle' and something set him off during the project.

    We saw two cultures in collision: scientists (physicists mostly in the nuclear field) and politicians (and their public including media).

    The scientists knew it would take only a few years for others to get the bomb and that it would change the world. They were rather concerned and some were proactive about it.

    The politicians seemed to think the US had a monopoly on it which would continue for decades. They saw a geopolitical opportunity. I don't think they understood that nuclear physics was not a US top secret, that the English, Germans, and Soviets, for example, knew a lot about it.

    For the politicians, that the Soviets knew anything at all must be due to espionage. At best such stupidity rankled the scientists, as they are often enough rankled by the non-scientist dummies. I think skeptics would recognize the attitude, as it is bred in their bones.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Friday, February 25, 2011  

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