by Ryan Wood
The theory that the professional hands
of psychological warfare and propaganda experts are or were involved
with the Majestic documents has been advanced. Be it modern day
covert planning and leaking or old psychological warfare documents
that leaked out of the garage into mailboxes and via personal
meetings. This paper seeks to examine these theories and other
relevant probabilities along with expert testimony as they relate to
psychological warfare and propaganda operations.
AN UNKNOWN AUTHOR on
International Space Sciences Organization
web site (www.isso.org)
has proposed the theory that the professional hands of psychological warfare
and propaganda experts were involved with the Majestic documents — be it
modern day covert planning and leaking or old psychological warfare
documents that have leaked “out of the garage” into mailboxes and personal
This paper seeks to examine these theories and
other relevant probabilities along with expert testimony as they relate to
psychological warfare and propaganda operations.
Let’s begin with a couple of modern definitions
of psychological warfare and psychological operations both from the Joint
Chiefs of Staff Publication 1, 1987.
PSYWAR: The planned use of
propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary
purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes and
behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support
achievement of national objectives.
PSYOP: Planned operations to
convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to
influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning and
ultimately the behavior of foreign government, organizations,
groups, and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations is
to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to
the originator’s objectives.
Most experienced corporate citizens will
recognize the above basic principles of marketing, “spin” and salesmanship.
What is different is the focus on national objectives and foreign audiences.
The reader should feel comfortable that these
are not exotic, exclusive, expert-only skills: it is really just standard
marketing practices, except the stakes may be higher and the tools to
deliver the message may be forged documents delivered by covert means.
"If you give a man the correct information
for seven years, he may believe the incorrect information on the first
day of the eighth year when it is necessary, from your point of view,
that he should do so. Your first job is to build credibility and the
authenticity of your propaganda, and persuade the enemy to trust you
although you are his enemy.”
—Psychological Warfare Casebook,
Operations Research John Hopkins University, 1958
Do the Majestic documents show any evidence of a
history of building credibility, let alone a long one, with potential
targets of deception, such as the Soviet Union or China? If so, for what
purpose? Is there any specific evidence in the papers themselves that proves
they are fakes?
The goal of this paper is answer these questions
and determine the extent to which there is any hard and specific evidence
that covert psychological warfare techniques were used in conjunction with
the Majestic documents.
It is generally conceded that only a foreign or domestic intelligence agency
has the resources, intelligence and sophistication to deliver an alleged
psychological warfare deception using the comprehensive,
often-sophisticated, intertwined Majestic documents. Such an undertaking, if
true, would have started at least as early as 1981 (Air Force Office of
Special Investigations Telex 1) and
used six different sources, as well as physically planted documents in
government archives and mailboxes. They would have had numerous trained
psywar experts thoughtfully creating an expensive, clever deception targeted
at a foreign power for the past 19 years.
Does that sound credible?
It is certainly not beyond modern intelligence service capabilities to have
fabricated some or all these documents, and it is not beyond thinking they
would mount such an effort for marginal or even illogical reasons. Even that
a psywar team would intentionally or carelessly include some anachronistic
“ringers” is believable.
However, there are sharp disconnects between the wide scope, possible
purpose(s), presumed target(s), likely risk(s), and extended duration of
this alleged psywar operation.
The real question is how do we test for the use of psychological warfare and
propaganda? Ask yourself the following questions.
Determining Psychological Warfare In Documents
Is there low risk of attracting foreign
intelligence organizations to the targeted topic? What is the extent
of the risk involved with such a deception? Is it worth the
Has there been a long multi-year history
of credible relationship between the target of deception and the
authors of the deception?
Is the reaction of the target
predicable; will they swallow the bait and move in the desired
direction for some length of time?
Is there a specific purpose, goal,
objective or intent of the deception; can it be clearly stated?
Does the phrase, sentence or document
establish believability in the eye of the target of deception?
Is there any direct evidence that the
documents were ever launched at the target?
Are there a credible number of unique
language words to draw suspicion about authorship?
Do the historically competent experts in
Psychological Warfare agree with the answers to these questions?
How Does Reason Stand Up To
First, if we are intellectually honest, we cannot discard the possibility
that the documents are genuine and represent the intent of the authors at
the time they were written, even with their misspellings, currently
unresolved “anachronisms-” and occasional errors. It is important not to
think that discrepancies — such as the misspelling of “celestial,”
(Einstein, Oppenheimer June 19472) or “several B-36’s on arctic patrol”
(Majestic Annual Report, 19523) instead of the current evidence of “one” on
arctic patrol — are evidence of psychological warfare.
To date there is not a single anachronism or
other error that has been raised and then thoroughly researched that clearly
shows the documents to be false. An error may be misleading or it may be
incomplete, but the examples are not outside the scope of reasonable error
in human bureaucracies.
Now who might be the authors and who might be their target?
We know, by
analysis yet to be published that
SOM 1-01 is on original 1954 paper and
that other documents are on original paper with watermarks from the proper
period. Thus, if there were a psywar operation, it could have been created
and launched on its target during the cold war of the 50’s by someone with
access to such materials.
Using the law of Occam’s razor, the simplest
source for such materials is the United States. Targeted against whom?
Naturally, the only believable target is the Soviet Union: they had nuclear
capability and so did we.
The alleged deception foisted on them via the
documents could be,
“Don’t mess with the United States — we have
extraterrestrials and their technology and amazing advanced weaponry.”
Is creating an elaborate series of mutually
reinforcing, incredible documents over nearly two decades necessary to
accomplish credible deterrence?
Is North Korea a viable target of deception for the Majestic documents dated
No, not really. It defies most military historians to believe
that any leaked UFO document, even something as intriguing as, “SOM
1-01: Extraterrestrial Entities and Technology Recovery and Disposal”
would have changed any tactical or strategic objective, troop movement or
Psywar was certainly used during the Korean
conflict — with typical operations involving dropping leaflets out of
airplanes urging surrender. “Genuine” UFO reports from soldiers during
military action seemed to have had no impact on the course of battles.
How do these documents serve a valid,
officially authorized Cold War purpose, assuming they were
U.S.-produced. Would they desensitize Soviet air defenses to the meaning
of sudden unexplained radar returns?
If so, how does that square with the
Robertson Panel’s public report available to the Soviets, which debunked
UFO reports as a valid input to air defense calculations?
Would they conceal experimental aircraft
development — as if anyone would doubt that we are proceeding in this
Would they mask some other terrestrial but
overwhelming American super-technology?
This would stimulate greater espionage to
acquire it, clearly undesirable.
Or do the documents create a “fire break” against learning an even deeper
Suppose that any one of the explicit and controversial sentences,
let alone entire documents, of the MJ-12 material is genuine in the sense
that it was produced by a real psywar organization. It is conceivable to
concoct a very closely similar, but intentionally different, project as a
smokescreen or firebreak against a deeper secret.
Is the secret being concealed one of those
truths so precious that a “bodyguard of lies” must protect it?
would warrant such an effort?
Is the current Majestic discussion of
crashed extraterrestrial discs and technology a smokescreen for live ETs
and fully functional lines of communication and technology transfer?
This argument leads deeper than the debunkers
can dare imagine.
If the Majestic documents are mere fabrications, how far must we go to
rationalize creation of such documents? Is it credible that a crack psywar
disinformation team — whether operating out of the bowels of the NSA, the
underground Groom Lake mine or elsewhere — would decide to be “really
clever” and try to hide some super secret, or divert the enemy’s attention
by taking an existing highly secure project (MJ-12), use its actual name,
along with identifying scores of living personnel, then change presumably
key details and reveal this alleged deception to a target, and potentially
As one fellow researcher said to me, “it’s —
like doing the dance of the seven veils with wet Kleenex.”
A logical conclusion might be that one of the most highly protected super
secrets of our time was intentionally revealed (whether to a wider public,
or to foreign intelligence — it does not matter).
The initial disclosure would be very risky, as
it would draw attention to the general nature of the UFO and ET matter — or
at least some highly provocative presumed secret irrespective of clouding
the details, and would certainly prompt more intensive and sophisticated
targeting by foreign intelligence assets. In short, if it is a psywar
operation, revealing the MJ-12 documents is inept because it will attract —
and has attracted — much new attention. I can say this based on just looking
at where the www.majesticdocuments.com website visitors come from.
Alternatively, did the Soviets or Chinese create these materials, insert
some in the files of the National Archives and Records Administration, then
release most of them in the 1990s after the fall of the Berlin Wall in order
to bring the capitalist enemy to its knees? America, your government is
hiding UFOs: throw off your chains and embrace the glorious socialist
Judge for yourself.
From one Senior
“My gut says they’re real; contain the usual
inconsistencies, mistakes and anomalies that derive from government work
every day (even at the highest levels, especially where there is no
effort to make things ‘credible’ for outside view, since they were never
intended for outside view); and correspond to a set of phenomena that
have been too consistently reported for too long by too many sane
What otherwise do we do with apparently
authentic letters like that from Sarbacher 4?
Tools of the same disinformation campaign?
Or if from the Soviets (who else?), is it to promote distrust and
cynicism toward our ‘government conspiracy’ and foster social unrest?
so, they spent a lot of time and money and incredibly detailed research
to little effect, since the vast majority of Americans have no knowledge
of these documents, and the few who do are in conflict over them.
“Perhaps now with publication of the Sturrock scientific report and the
French defense committee’s findings, there will be more context for
considering the Majestic documents sensibly. Bearing in mind Kuhn’s
classic model of the structure of scientific revolutions, we might
transcend the “urbane sneers” of some interview-show astronomer who has
obviously never studied the evidence (the amusing thing is that despite
the symbolic idea of star gazing, most astronomers spend little time in
their careers scanning the skies, and they know virtually nothing of
politico-military discourse in classified channels).
We might then conduct honest inquiry on the
leading, not the trailing, edge of knowledge. If the Majestic documents
are fakes, they’re too damn good to have been done as a hobby by UFO
nuts. The external referent of credible observations is there. The
internal referent of the documents is there. There’s something there.”
[ Private correspondence, 1999 ]
Do the Majestic Documents
Specifically Mention Psywar?
What is the internal evidence of the documents themselves? What posture do
they assume? The 19-page White Hot 5 technical report discusses psywar (in
military “bureacrat-ese”) in the following way.
“There is a good chance that the Russians
may try to make use of the flying saucer scare by public news media and
diplomatic means [sic] of a technological breakthrough in aircraft and
missile development. We feel that such a disclosure would most certainly
cause great embarrassment to our elected officials and to the military,
not to mention the panic felt by the citizenry.
To counter such a threat, it is recommended
that a counterintelligence program be drawn up and held in abeyance if
at such time the situation should present itself. It might be suggested
that we should make a preemptive use of these objects for the purpose of
psychological warfare once the true nature of these objects are known
and understood. …It would be advisable for the respective Secretaries of
the Armed Forces to devise a security policy of plausible denial, if and
when the public becomes aware of the reality of these objects and the
interest of the military in such incidents.
In conclusion, for reasons of national security and the public well
being, the US must be perceived as being the top of the heap, and every
effort must be made to insure that there is [sic], and never has been, a
threat to the country.”
So in September of 1947, top military leaders
were recommending to the President that the U.S. consider using our existing
crashed hardware and proof of the reality of UFOs as a tool to deceive the
Soviets once we figured out the technology. If this document is psywar
propaganda, why include this paragraph? It just attracts attention to the
topic and makes alleged foreign intelligence analysts view the document with
There is another brief explicit discussion of psychological warfare, from
the “Annual Report” of Majestic page 3, IV-Discussion, A. Nature of the
Investigation, point 5:
“MAJESTIC SS&P are currently focused on Psy-op
development for Cold War CI activities.”
So what does this mean?
We know that the National Security Council
(NSC) authorized an interdisciplinary Special Studies group
consisting of Army, Navy, Air Force and CIA with their May 5, 1948
directive6. We also know that Truman made the decision to establish the
Psychological Strategy Board (PSB) on 4 April 1951.
This further relates to UFOs when you consider
the high officials of the War Department and the Army who
actively promoted the immediate post-war development of the psychological
warfare in 1946 through 1950, which include:
Secretary of the Army, the Honorable
Secretary of War, the Honorable
Assistant Secretary of the Army, the
Honorable Gordon Gray
Chief of Staff & General of the
Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower
Lt. General Albert C. Wedemeyer, USA
Brigadier General Robert McClure,
Lt. General J. Lawton Collins, USA
Major General Charles Bolte, USA
Undersecretary of War, the Honorable
Major General Stephen Chamberlain,
Many of these people are deeply involved with
MAJESTIC-12 according to other documents.
Note the similarity of panel personnel between
the November 1952
Eisenhower Briefing Document
and the Majestic Annual Report; the team distribution has the
same interagency structure.
Is this a coincidence, standard procedure,
or is it the same MAJESTIC committee just six years later?
What is the mission of “Cold War CI
activities” as it relates to UFOs?
Who is the target and what are the
The second explicit mention of psychological
warfare is from the “Annual Report” on Majestic, page 10, Annex B, point 10:
“MAJCOM-1 with the assistance of the Panel
persuades the President to establish a Psychological Strategy Board on 4
April 1951.” 7
This is an obscure fact that the strategy board
was authorized on 4 April 1951. To discover this would take intense digging
nowadays and would be known to only a few insiders in 1951. This is powerful
evidence in favor of Majestic document authenticity.
However, following disinformation theory, why
attract attention to the fact (verifiable and known today) that you
established a very secret board with staff, plans, and very likely
operational capabilities to mislead the enemy. Now consider this, because
the sentence does not deliberately misdirect, as it might if this was a
psywar document — by saying,
“MAJCOM-1 was unable to persuade the President
to establish any sort of Psychological Strategy Board.”
Here is a missed
opportunity to spring misdirection on the enemy.
Is it logical to believe that if the Majestic Annual Report document was
part of psywar deception that it would highlight that very fact to the
target of such a deception? I don’t think so. In addition to the examples
above, here is more evidence that such a deception is not a factor.
would the following paragraph be included if the goal were to deceive?
Based on what is known of the technology and
intelligence of the visitors, it is fairly certain there will be other
sightings and encounters of a spectacular nature.8
Wouldn’t it be more logical to change phrases to
leave the impression that the July 1947 events were a random miracle so that
the Soviets would be less vigilant for such an intriguing phenomenon?
Otherwise, if they believe the document (if this is psywar, aren’t they
supposed to believe it?), their vigilance is heightened.
For what purpose?
Does this relate to the Majestic mention of Nuclear Energy for the
Propulsion of Aircraft (NEPA)? The once highly classified NEPA
project, an actual initiative and logical extension of the Manhattan
project, was to provide the U.S. with an atomic -powered aircraft. Why
specifically mention it in these documents, if they were designed to be
“leaked,” thereby encouraging spy activities and intelligence collection
around atomic airplanes?
This could be viewed as a far more important
secret to keep than telling the Soviets about crashed flying saucers; yet,
the statements in the documents are not deceptive (the NEPA initiative was
real) and would encourage espionage.
Are we to believe that the psywar experts
revealed this top secret project, then sought to discredit potential aerial
sightings by heightening Soviet surveillance for an even more fascinating
presumed aerial phenomenon – “real” UFOs?
Is There Any Evidence
Of Official Governmental Falsification In Relation To UFOs?
Speculation about UFOs could offer a powerful tool to the military and
intelligence communities. Early on, as evidenced from official declassified
documents NASA was ordered by President Kennedy to communicate clearly to
the Soviets about known and “unknown” (UFO) aircraft and spacecraft.9-10
Some have made the obvious suggestion that we could build military or
intelligence craft that “look like” UFOs and will thus be ignored, since it
is understood that modern defense systems are looking for specific
anticipated targets with established “signatures,” not “erratic” UFOs.
There is a recently declassified top secret
technical report called Silverbug 11
that describes a Mach 3 single seat UFO that was written in 1955. It would
be logical to assume that other more modern craft have been made.
Elsewhere, the CIA has published that UFO
reports were considered a “cover” for high-flying U-2 or other
reconnaissance aircraft — these assertions contrary to the disparity between
frequency of UFO reports declining at the same time that reconnaissance
flights were increasing, as well as the markedly different flight signatures
of reported UFOs versus advanced conventional aircraft virtually invisible
(except for contrails) at high altitude.
Reference to “psywar” in the Majestic documents is paralleled by a CIA
document released under FOIA (below image) that the UFO
phenomenon was indeed of interest in "psychological strategy."
The crucial difference between saying the
Majestic documents were forged, however, and the above reference is this:
the “faking” allegation by debunkers always explicitly posits no real UFO
phenomenon, while the CIA reference above depends on acknowledging the
phenomenon as the basis for subsequent treatment.
Government officials with genuine experience
handling issues that draw direct, written comment from the Director of
Central Intelligence (DCI) for referral to the National Security Council (NSC)
know that such issues are too thoroughly reviewed to be trivial or marginal.
The phenomenon - in this case, the otherwise ridiculous subject of “flying
saucers” - had sufficient weight and substance for DCI Walter Bedel Smith 12
himself to refer it to the NSC for strategic consideration.
Other than these recently made CIA references, to date there has not been a
single, classified psywar product that has come to light, either through
official declassification or through leaks, that justifies the major
investment purportedly made in the Majestic documents — documents revealed
in the 1990s allegedly as cover for strategic reconnaissance in the 1960s
If such were the case, it was an absurd failure!
Have The Skeptics
Raised Any Valid Objections Or Evidence?
Recently posted to the ISSO Website (International
Space Sciences Organization) is a paper from an anonymous
author with unknown and unverified credentials titled:
Documents - Doubt Debate and Daunting Questions.
The paper states the obvious
concerning the polarizing debate in Ufology and provides no detailed
evidence of deception in the Majestic documents.
Take this statement for example,
“Ongoing research indicates that many,
possibly all, of the so called MJ-12 UFO documents were officially
fabricated as instruments of U.S. covert psychological warfare, perhaps
beginning in 1950 during the most threatening period of the Korean War.”
Whose research? What specifics are being alluded
to? Without clear answers, this statement is simply an argument-by-assertion
and is just pontificating by an unknown author.
Or the ISSO author’s critical assertion is made:
“Document examination and authentication is
a science of expert opinion, and are, as other sciences, generally
probabilistic; however, it is an empirical and not a statistical
To the contrary: document examination and
authentication is not a matter of expert opinion according to Dr. James
Black, 30-year practitioner in document forensics and past president of the
questioned documents professional organization but is a matter of applying
key straightforward tests and presenting a logical set of evidence.
Or the critical assertion is made:
“If one notices and accepts irregularities
and alterations of all the MJ-12 documents as indicative of covert
psychological warfare operation, then the deception cannot be adjusted,
explained away, trivialized, excused or denied….”
This concept is very weak and unsubstantiated,
just because there are irregularities does not mean they are psywar.
Furthermore, if a crack psywar team had created these documents, would there
not be far fewer mistakes? Don’t we want the enemy to believe these
documents? What’s the objective? Why attract attention?
The psywar theory fails before it even gets to
the starting gate.
See what an identified, accountable expert has to say.
What Does a Real
Psychological Operations Officer Say About The Majestic Documents?
A Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army – Ret, who I met at a meeting of the Association
of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), spent his entire 24-year
career both creating and managing enemy deception in psychological
operations and propaganda, had this to say after studying
1-01 and the
I don’t see the MJ-12 documents as
comprising an effective psyop campaign of any sort. What would be the
If MJ-12 existed and the docs were supposed to be believable, they would
just draw more attention to the Majestic program that the government
wanted under wraps. If the docs’ occasional format errors were supposed
to be deliberate, what would be the point of creating & disseminating
such docs? All they would do would be to attract presumably unwanted
amateur interest in MJ-12, which again the government would presumably
PSYOP, despite the ‘ooga-booga’ mythology around it, is not a very
complicated process. A target audience is thinking about a subject one
way, and you want to get them to think about it another way. So an
audience analysis is performed to find out how to talk to them, how to
gain credibility with them, and how to appeal to their needs and
interests. Then phrase your objective accordingly and communicate it. If
you do all this correctly, their minds change and they think/act the way
you want them to. That’s it.
If MJ-12 were in fact a real, top-secret government operation, which the
government intended to keep secret, then anything using its name or
orbiting around its business (such as the MJ-12 docs or SOM1-01 manual)
would not be remotely appropriate for any advertisement or publicity
The only situation in which I could see PSYOP resources playing a part
would be one in which the cat were out of the bag about MJ-12’s
existence, and the government then acted to trivialize or minimize it.
When I saw Dark Skies on television
(below video), it occurred to me that this could be one way of turning
the entire topic into a ‘science fiction cartoon’, in much the same way
that the movie
Philadelphia Experiment and its even zanier sequel did
for that topic.”
He further added in a conversation that he would
be very surprised if there was not a blue ribbon panel such as the
membership of MJ-12 to investigate UFOs.
After all there are high-ranking panels on all
sorts of threats to national security, such as domestic biological weapons
Why PSYWAR Theory Is
Fundamentally the basic discriminates for determining the chance of official
government psywar and propaganda fail.
Are the risks low and the tradeoffs
No. If the documents are to be believed, they would
engender extraordinary espionage against an extraordinary target.
The documents are rich in provocative detail. If they are not to be
believed, how could they be worth the intensive investment allegedly
made to fake them?
Is there an established relationship
between the purported target(s) and the psywar fakers?
unless we think someone in the U.S. wanted to dandle “alien
spacecraft” stories in front of Cold War adversaries, possibly to
mask other secrets (or to convince the Soviets that the U.S. was
incapacitated with hallucinogens and not worth the trouble of
overtaking?). What would be the purpose of releasing these documents
in the 1990s to deal with Cold War problems that fell with the
Is target reaction predictable and
No, except perhaps guffaws of laughter. If the Majestic
documents are not truthful, the debunkers’ own arguments that they
are ludicrous presumably would not escape the amusement of officers
of Soviet State security and military intelligence.
Is there a purpose that can be clearly
No, the content is too varied and a multitude objectives
seem to be present — as would be the case with genuine documents
written by different authors over a course of years. Most documents
were publicly released well after the height of the Cold War and
could have had no reasonable effect on the outcome.
Does the internal quality of the
documents establish believability in the eyes of the deception
Not likely. The same critique of alleged “errors” that
debunkers have raised would also have dissuaded intelligence
adversaries looking at such inherently incredible material.
Allegations that the Majestic documents are
dismissed with the spooky label of “psywar” do not withstand scrutiny.
One may speculate, as discussed in the recently
published book “Mind Shift,” that there may be a systematic desensitization
of the world public to the idea of
extraterrestrial contact through a
variety of media outlets — with movies such as “Independence Day,” TV
programs, print articles, advertisements, and the proliferation of little
alien figures in toy stores and popular culture. Psywar and propaganda may
well be at play in the public’s mind.
Yet, there is no sensible evidence to support
the ISSO author’s assertion that the Majestic documents are mere fakes and
derive from psywar operations targeting Cold War adversaries.
Air Force Office of Special
Investigations, 17, Nov. 1980, Secret –
Relationships with Inhabitants of
Celestial Bodies, Top Secret, June 1947,
Majestic Twelve Project, Annual Report,
page 14, item 5, Top Secret
Letter from Dr. Robert I Sarbacher, 29,
November 1983 to William Steinman – Personal correspondence about
MJ-12, Sarbacher was President and COB of the Washington Institute
of Technology Oceanographics and Physical Sciences
Majestic Documents – Top Secret White
Hot, page 20-21
NARA – Record Group 273, NSC 10/2 – Top
Secret - declassified
Ibid. page 10, Annex A item 10 -
Top Secret Majestic Operation Annual
Report, page 6 item K – Intelligence Gathering and Analysis –
NARA - National Security Action
Memorandum 271, 12 Nov. 1963, Confidential - declassified
Top Secret Memo to Director CIA and
James Webb, NASA, 12 Nov 1963, signed by JFK
Project Silverbug No 9961, Declassified
29, March 1995 - Air Technical Intelligence Center TR-AC-47,
February 1955, DS55-1272-2, Released 5 October 1997. –
www.majesticdocuments.com (not available-existent)
Memo from DCI Walter B. Smith ER – 3
–2808 to Executive Sec of NSC, 3 Dec 1952 –