We’ve All Heard of “Leaked UFO Documents” Like the MJ-12 Papers. But, Where Did They Originate?

If you’re interested in UFOs, then of course you will know of the Majestic 12 documents. But, are you aware of the findings and surfacings of the documents? It’ a a complicated situation. It goes like this: December 11, 1984 was a date destined to become infamous in the field of Ufology. On that day, a man named Jaime Shandera, who was a television producer at the time, received in the mail a thick, manila envelope. It was postmarked Albuquerque, New Mexico and lacked a return address. Greg Bishop says that “two more envelopes were inside, each enclosed within the next like Russian dolls.” As will soon become apparent, Bishop’s Russian analogy proves to be a highly apt one. It still is. Bishop added: “From the third one, a 35mm roll of film rolled out of a black canister. When developed, the black-and-white film revealed two sequences of eight pictures each – pictures of something that would pass into history as the notorious ‘MJ-12 document’ or ‘Presidential Briefing Papers.’” They appeared to be nothing less than decades-old, highly-classified papers on a Top Secret program of the U.S. Government. Those same papers revolved around crashed saucers, dead aliens, autopsies of extraterrestrial creatures, and a secret agency or think-tank – maybe even a full-on cabal – known as Majestic 12. 

(Nick Redfern) Is our history not what it seems to be?

In September 1980, while promoting The Roswell Incident, Moore took part in a number of radio-based interviews around the United States. At the end of one such interview, a secretary told Moore that there was someone on the line who wanted to speak privately with Moore. The voice at the other end belonged to a colonel who was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, which is located in Sarpy County, Nebraska. The man said to Moore, as Greg Bishop tells it in his 2005 book, Project Beta: “We think you’re the only one we’ve heard that seems to know what he’s talking about.” The colonel desired a meeting. And soon, too. Moore scribbled down the colonel’s number, promising to get back in touch as soon as possible. The proactive colonel didn’t wait for Moore to reach him, however. Instead, he contacted Moore – for a second time. Once again, the man trotted out those same sixteen words: “We think you’re the only one we’ve heard that seems to know what he’s talking about.” By now, Moore was more than intrigued. A meeting was quickly arranged. The pair was to rendezvous in an Albuquerque restaurant, one which was on Moore’s journey home, for good food and – hopefully – enlightening conversation. The mysterious informant was described by Moore as being elderly and gaunt. Greg Bishop said that the man had a “hint of an Eastern European accent.” From that day on, the wizened old man would become known to Moore as “The Falcon.”

Greg Bishop says that, “…[Moore’s] new acquaintance told [him] that he represented a group of intelligence agents in the U.S. Government who were tired of the secrecy surrounding the UFO subject and were eager to release more accurate information to the public. They wanted to do this through a reputable researcher. He would be given small bites of the story over time, and could do with it as he wished. Would Moore be interested in participating in such a program?” Yes, Moore was interested. Very much so. But, there was the matter of that aforementioned unholy alliance, which Moore knew he would have to enter into; like it or not. He knew that if he didn’t play the game, then his chance of getting to the heart of what Uncle Sam knew of UFOs and aliens – dead, alive or even both – would irreversibly slip out of his grip. So, Moore agreed to do whatever had to be done. And fuck the cost. Maybe, even the consequences, too. Everything soon took off: in the early 1980s, Moore found himself periodically on the receiving end of instructions to travel to certain locations around the United States, where he would meet with anonymous, insider-type characters, including, yet again, the Falcon. 

On each occasion seemingly highly-classified material on UFOs was handed over to Moore – always in manila envelopes and in various, widespread places. Those locations included a motel-room in upstate New York, and a certain building in the heart of Los Angeles, California. On one occasion, in April 1983, a friend of Moore, Nic Magnuson, picked up a collection of documents for Moore at Seattle, Washington’s Sea-Tac International Airport. The handover was made by “a short, elderly, balding man” who gave to Magnuson a newspaper that contained hidden within its pages one of those priceless manila envelopes. The collective documentation referred to such enigmas as “Project Aquarius,” “MJ12 [an alternative term for Majestic 12],” “communications with aliens,” even to decisions taken by elite figures in the domain of intelligence-gathering to keep the White House firmly out of the ufological loop. A secret that was so astounding that not even the president of the United States could be told the truth? Possibly, yes. For Moore there was very little doubt the papers amounted to absolute dynamite. If they were true, that is. That was the biggest issue of all: were they genuine? Or, was Moore being used by people in the intelligence community; manipulative characters who were trying to push Moore away from his genuinely significant Roswell research and further down a pathway filled with questionable document upon questionable document? And, still hanging over Moore’s head like the sword of Damocles, there was that part of the deal which Moore had to fulfil if he was to continue to receive regular supplies of those seemingly priceless papers. Moore’s part in all of this revolved around a man named Paul Bennewitz.

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An Albuquerque, New Mexico physicist who died in 2003, Paul Bennewitz spent a significant amount of time digging into U.S. Air Force- and National Security Agency-based top secret projects which, from the late-seventies to the early-eighties, were housed at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. Bennewitz believed those projects were connected to the activities of sinister extraterrestrials. They soared across the skies above Kirtland AFB by star-filled, moonlit nights, demonstrating their extraterrestrial invulnerability and power. It’s hardly surprising that, for years, Bennewitz was put under deep surveillance by the U.S. military and a numbers of intelligence services. He was, as a consequence of his digging, bombarded by the murky world of officialdom with a mass of disinformation, faked stories, and outright lies in order to divert him from his research. It worked. In fact, and to Bennewitz’s eternal cost, it worked just too damned well. By the mid-eighties, he was heading for complete mental disintegration. The intelligence community cared not a bit that Bennewitz thought their secret operations were UFO-related – precisely because the UFO connection was one of Bennewitz’s very own making. There was, however, deep concern on the part of the world of officialdom that by digging into classified activities at Kirtland in search of UFOs, Bennewitz just might inadvertently reveal – to the spies of the Soviet Union, in a worst-case scenario – information and technology that had to be kept secret at all costs, even if those costs included Bennewitz’s own sanity and health. Which, ultimately, they did. And, so, a grim plan was initiated.

(Nick Redfern) The grave of Paul Bennewitz.

U.S. agents learned the essential parts of Bennewitz’s theories from the man himself, by actually breaking into his home while he was out and checking his files and research notes. Bennewitz’s beliefs were astounding and controversial: aliens were mutilating cattle as part of some weird genetic experiment. The E.T.s were abducting American citizens and implanting them with small devices for purposes disturbingly unknown. Those same aliens were living deep underground in a secure fortress below the Archuleta Mesa at Dulce, New Mexico. And everyone was soon going to be in deep and dire trouble as a direct result of the presence of this brewing, intergalactic threat. So, the Air Force gave Bennewitz precisely what he was looking for: confirmation that his theories were all true, and more. This was, however, all just a carefully-planned ruse to bombard Bennewitz with so much faked UFO data in the hope that it would steer him away from the classified military projects of a non-UFO nature that he had uncovered. And, sure enough, it all worked very well. For the government. Far less so for Bennewitz.

When Bennewitz received confirmation (albeit carefully controlled and utterly fabricated confirmation) that, yes, he had stumbled upon the horrible truth and that, yes, there really was an alien base deep below Dulce, the actions of the Intelligence community had the desired effect: Bennewitz became increasingly paranoid and unstable, and he began looking away from Kirtland (the hub of the down-to-earth secrets of the NSA and the Air Force that had to be kept) and harmlessly towards the vicinity of Dulce, where his actions, research, and theories could be carefully controlled and manipulated by the government. At this time American Intelligence brought Bill Moore into the secret scheme and asked him to keep them informed of how well – from their perspective – the disinformation operations against Bennewitz were working. In return, Moore was promised – and provided with – data and documents on super-secret, official UFO projects, crashed saucers, dead aliens, and more. That, then, was the nature of the bleak agreement between Moore and the man with the European accent, the Falcon. 

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All of which brings us to what happened after December 11, 1984, the date on which Jaime Shandera received the ever-controversial Majestic 12 documents. It’s a story as mind-blowing as that of Paul Bennewitz – partly because it was interconnected, as we shall further see. It caused the FBI’s counterintelligence staff to suspect that those same documents were the creations of no less than disinformation agents of the Russian government. In the summer of 1987, Sidgwick & Jackson published Timothy Good’s book, Above Top Secret: The Worldwide UFO Cover-Up. It contained copies of the same controversial Majestic 12 documents which had been dropped through Jaime Shandera’s mailbox some three years earlier. According to Good, he got his copies of the pages in March 1987 from “a CIA source.” Good has been consistently cagey when it comes to the matter of how, precisely, he obtained his copies of the files. And from whom, too. Two months after Good’s CIA insider provided him with the documents, the London Observer newspaper mentioned the Majestic 12 documents. The date of the article was May 31, 1987. Written by Martin Bailey it had the lengthy title of “Close encounters of an alien kind – and now if you’ve read enough about the election, here’s news from another world.” In no time, Moore, Shandera and Friedman chose to release their copies into the public domain, which is hardly surprising, given the fact that word of the Majestic 12 papers was now starting to trickle and circulate outside of the confines of the trio. This was completely understandable: after all, the three had done all of the groundwork, and the very last thing they wanted was to be written out of the story – or, at the absolute least, left marginalized and sitting frustratingly on the sidelines. 

(Nick Redfern) Majestic 12 and dead aliens? Or a hoax?

Now, onto the Rendlesham Forest affair of December 1980. It, too, has its own “leaked document.” As a (kind of) follow-up to my article on the controversy surrounding Marilyn Monroe, UFOs, and a questionable document, there is the matter of an equally controversial document that concerns the famous December 1980 UFO event at Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England. The most widely accepted scenario within the UFO research community is that extraterrestrials landed/manifested in those dark woods in late December. There is talk of a small, intelligently controlled vehicle moving through the trees, of lights beaming down to a weapons-storage area in the vicinity, of bizarre activity in the woods, and of strange, dwarfish entities seen at close quarters. There is, however, absolutely no doubt at all that this particular document is completely and utterly bogus. I mention it, though, in the event that it might catch your attention and provoke a “WTF?!” response. The document is actually a letter, written on British Ministry of Defense paperwork and is undated. It reads (without interruption) as follows:

QUOTE: “Dear [Deleted], As you know, OSI has completed a report on the landing of a craft of unknown origin crewed by several entities near RAF Bentwaters on the night of December 29/30 1980. Interestingly, OSI reports that the entities were approximately 1 1/2 metres tall, wore what appeared to be nylon-coated pressure suits, but no helmets. Conditions on the night were misty, giving the appearance that the entities were hovering above ground level.Tape recordings were made on which the entities are heard to speak in an electronically synthesized version of English, with a strong American accent. Similar transmissions intercepted (possible word omitted) irregularly by NSA since 1975. According to OSI, entities had claw-like hands with three digits and an opposable thumb. Despite original reports, OSI said the craft was not damaged but landed deliberately as part of a series of visits to SAC bases in USA and Europe. Reports that craft was repaired by US servicemen or was taken on to the base are not confirmed by OSI Landing is not considered a Defence issue in view of the overt peaceful nature of the contact, but investigations by DS8 are to be continued on [Deleted] authority. Precautionary plan for counter-information at a local level involving [Deleted] and a [Deleted] is strongly recommended.” END OF QUOTE.

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(Nick Redfern) Rendlesham Forest: Aliens or military hazmats?

The document was reproduced in the 1986 paperback edition of a book on the Rendlesham Forest affair titled Sky Crash. The authors were Brenda Butler, Dot Street, and Jenny Randles. In their book, the authors note that the “memo” – sent to the team as a photocopy – was received in early 1984. They added that, “We have investigated it…and our conclusion is that it is a deliberate fake by certain parties, whose identities are strongly suspected by us.” They concluded: “This hoax has clearly been planned to test us or, more likely, to impugn our credibility should we fall for the trick. We call their bluff.” I recall how several colleagues in Ufology, in the 1990s, sent copies of the “document” to the British Ministry of Defense, asking for an opinion on it. MoD staff did not avoid commenting on it. They were careful to make it very clear that it was what it really is: a hoax. Ironically, because copies of the document were sent to the MoD for comment, they ended up in the MoD’s “Rendlesham File.” And when, years later, that same “Rendlesham File” was finally declassified, people who accessed it saw the fake document in the file! I know from emails I got at the time, that this created a few issues for people who assumed the document was the real deal! It is, perhaps, for this very reason that I know some people still hang onto the possibility that the document is genuine. But, trust me, it’s not.

As for that alleged Marilyn Monroe document, well, there’s very little to go with. Except for this: It was 1990 when Timothy Cooper, of Big Bear Lake, California, began to publicly dig deep into the world of aliens. Cooper had every reason to do that. It all came down to Cooper’s father, Harry Bob Cooper. He was someone who spent a number of years in the U.S. Air Force; specifically from 1941 to 1945 and from 1947 to 1960. A few years ago I was able to get a full history of Cooper Sr.’s career from the National Archives. The papers show he was stationed at, among others, the Hawaiian Islands; the Marianas Islands; Alamogordo, New Mexico; and Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. Cooper was given the Good Conduct Medal; the WWII Victory Medal; the American Defense Service Medal; and more, too. He died on September 2, 2000. Cooper Sr. confided in his son something incredible: nothing less than disturbing knowledge of what the U.S. government knew about aliens from other worlds – and of what was being kept from the public. Interestingly, but also frustratingly, Harry Cooper’s material was only spread by the use of aliases. For example, in his 1991 book, UFO Crash/Retrievals: The Inner Sanctum, Leonard Stringfield described Harry Cooper as an “enlisted man” and called him “Bob.” And that’s all Stringfield would call Cooper.

(Nick Redfern) The controversial Marilyn document.

Meantime, Ufologist Ryan Wood addded a bit by saying that Harry Cooper was a “conduit” of many “document leaks.” One of those “leaks” was said to have been the Marilyn Monroe-UFO document. In essence, It was the leaking – by someone who was murmured to have been an elderly, government archivist – of an alleged CIA document that summarized an incredible story of Marilyn and what she knew all about Flying Saucers. So, whatever the truth is, although many such documents turn out to be fakes, the fact is that many are shown to be put together very well. So, be careful  the next time someone gives you a questionable UFO document – even if it looks really good.

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