Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Public relations nightmare at MUFON

NOTE: several addendums added at the end of this post: 


I need to chime in about this whole MUFON mess. For anyone out there who hasn’t followed the fiasco on social media, here is a brief run down.

On May 14 Lon Strickler, from the website Phantoms and Monsters, posted a screen-grab on Facebook. This is a weird racist rant by senior MUFON member John Ventre. (below) It is my understanding that this is not a stand alone statement, but is part of a long pattern of similar pronouncements by Ventre.
Please read this. Click on image for a HI-rez view
That posting lead to a flood of comments as well as a lot of other postings across the net. My sense is that pretty much everybody within this small pool of folks who take the UFO issue seriously had a similar reaction. There was a lot of anger in what was being posted.

On May 18th, Jan Harzan, the executive director at MUFON, put out an official statement on the MUFON website. It is linked HERE, and should be read. I feel Harzan was apathetic in his response. There were at least 23 comments posted below his statement. Nearly all expressing emotions from disappointment to outright disgust.

Roger Marsh, as the communications director at MUFON, wrote this in the comment thread:
Everyone in and out of MUFON feels the same pain. This is embarrassing. No one is defending Mr. Ventre. His words are appalling.
On May 24, all the comments were deleted and any option to respond was closed.

Here are two blog posts, both should be read. One from Regan Lee at The Orange Orb. The other from Lorin Cutts at High Strangeness. I consider both of these bloggers friends and comrades.

This morning (May 24) Nick Redfern posted this on his Facebook page:
Some of you may have seen all the controversy surrounding MUFON this past week or thereabouts. As a result of all this outrageous crap, I have told MUFON that I will no longer be writing my monthly column for their magazine, and I have severed ties with them. Period.
There is little I can add that hasn’t been said already. Racism and sexism have no place in an organization like MUFON. John Ventre is entitled to his beliefs, but I feel it’s unacceptable in his very public role at that organization. What happens when a black woman sees a UFO in Pennsylvania and calls MUFON for help?

Beyond all the stuff about racist comments within an organization run by old white men, here are my two complaints about MUFON.

One. 
MUFON is collecting sighting reports. and these are investigated by dedicated members. I am assuming that many of these are very good reports. These are then sent to MUFON where they are put in a filing cabinet and locked away. All the information collected for the last 48 years has been vacuumed up into a black hole—never to be seen again. Their data is neither shared or available. I don’t see them making any meaningful contribution to the subject of UFOs.

I feel that MUFON is not living up to its mission statement or stated goals.
Here is the mission statement of MUFON:

"The Scientific Study of UFOs for the Benefit of Humanity"

MUFON's stated Goals:

I. Investigate UFO sightings and collect the data in the MUFON Database for use by researchers worldwide.

II. Promote research on UFOs to discover the true nature of the phenomenon, with an eye towards scientific breakthroughs, and improving life on our planet.

III. Educate the public on the UFO phenomenon and its potential impact on society.
Two.
MUFON has, for the most part, ignored the abduction phenomenon. At best they are tepid. At worse they have dismissed the abduction reports with contempt. This has changed a bit in the last few years, but I see nothing emerging from MUFON to tell me they are dealing with abduction experiences seriously. I know and respect Kathleen Marden. She is noted as “Director of Experiencer Research” on the MUFON website. She is doing excellent work on her own, and I feel strongly that she is trying hard to create something more up-to-date and meaningful within MUFON. (see addendum below)

I had to grit my teeth writing this post. I wanted to say more, but I felt it was important not to feed the fires of emotion. Here is my three word summation of this post: MUFON is irrelevant.
_________________________________________

I have done audio interviews with five of the people mentioned in this article. 
Regan Lee  
Lorin Cutts
Kathleen Marden
Nick Redfern 
Lon Strickler interviews me on the Phantoms and Monsters podcast. 
Also of note:

I spoke with Jan Harzan on the phone shortly after he took on the role of Executive Director at MUFON. I just emailed him and he replied with his number so I called him. We spoke for about a half hour and he seemed happy to talk with me. He confirmed a few things to me in this conversation. Those are listed as points one and two above.


I have also spoken and corresponded with Roger Marsh, and I like him enormously. He is doing important work in his journalistic postings of UFO reports. These are archived on the Open Minds site.
_________________________________________

Addendum below added later the same day as the above post:
I contacted Kathleen Marden shortly after this essay was posted. She clarified her role at MUFON. She heads a 15 member team within that organization. She assures me that the people she is working with "take ET contact/ abduction very seriously and assist up to 100 experiencers a month in finding the help they have requested." I talked with her at length in the autumn of 2014, and she spoke plainly about her goals and challenges within MUFON. Hearing this two and a half years later is heartening. This is precisely the kind of change that I have been hoping to see at MUFON. Kathleen is dedicated to both this very challenging issue, and I am certain she will be sharing her findings. 
_________________________________________

Addendum: Statement from Kathleen Marden from Friday May 26, 2017



The public voiced their disapproval of the racist comments voiced by one of its high profile members and MUFON took action. Jan Harzan, MUFON's Executive Director has announced that "MUFON does not condone racial discrimination in any form and has always provided equal opportunity to all regardless of race, religion, sex, age or national origin and will proudly continue to do so." The offender has been removed from his position of power and will no longer have a public voice as a representative for MUFON. I can now proudly continue in my role as MUFON's Director of Experiencer Research knowing that racism will not be tolerated by MUFON. Congratulations MUFON for making the right decision.
______________________________________ 
Statement from Jan Harzan, Executive Director at MUFON
__________________________________________
Facebook posting from May 26, 2017 

Sadly, it seems that nobody was fired. Just that there was a change in his title. It is my understanding that Mr. Ventre has long been involved with organizing the conferences. Thank you Lon for sharing this.
__________________________________________

22 comments:

Rey Hernandez said...

My name is Rey Hernandez and I am one of the co-founders of the Dr. Edgar Mitchell Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial Encounters. FREE is an academic research institute comprised of 7 Ph.D. and 5 lay researchers undertaking the world's first comprehensive academic research study who have had UFO related contact experiences with Non Human Intelligence-- The FREE Exeriencer Research Study. http://www.experiencer.org/

FREE was co-founded by Apollo Astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, Harvard Astrophysicist Dr. Rudy Schild, who is FREE's Executive Director, and Australian researcher Mary Rodwell. I am writing on my personal behalf and I am not representing the FREE organization.

If John Ventre is allowed to stay with MUFON, then MUFON tolerates a racist in their leadership hierarchy. Period. If this happens, I, and I am sure the entire Board of Directors of the Dr. Edgar Mitchell FREE Foundation, will have absolutely nothing to do with MUFON. It has been 2 weeks since Jan Harzan's (MUFON's Executive Dirrector) horrendous non-response to Mr. Ventre's continued racist outbursts, which have been consistent over many years. Mr. Harzan's response was one that did not even mention the word "RACISM" or Ventre's racist language. Instead, Harzan restated that the issue was tolerance of different "opinions". I greatly differ with Jan Harzan-- the issue is not tolerating freedom of speech, as Harzan argued, but one of having an open and public RACIST SUPREMACIST within the MUFON leadership hierarchy. From Mr. Harzan's non action, it thus appears that MUFON has decided to align itself with an open RACIST and thus, as Mike Clelland has stated in the above post, shall continue to remain "IRRELEVANT".

Rey Hernandez
JD, MCP, Ph.D. Candidate UC Berkeley
Co-Founder, The Dr. Edgar Mitchell
Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial Encounters (FREE)
FREE Foundation email: info@Experiencer.org
FREE Foundation website: https://www.Experiencer.Org
Please Support FREE: https://www.paypal.me/ExperiencerOrg

Mike Clelland! said...

Thank you Rey. I appreciate the passion in your comment. I tried to remain very measured and unemotional when writing this post.

My deeper concern is that the people who are suffering because of these experiences are being ignored by MUFON. This is a very complex and mysterious phenomenon. I am trying to do my own hard work and make all of it available.

Peace to you my friend!
Mike

John Burke said...

Mike --

As Rey pointed out, the fact that Jan Harzan sat on his hands for two weeks and tried to ride out the storm sends out a bad signal.

IMHO, there is nothing that can be done to salvage MUFON. The membership will probably file a class action suit against the organization's officers and directors to demand release of all the withheld investigation files.

My own involvement with MUFON ended when Walt Andrus dismissed Rex and Carol Salisbury from the organization (I believe they were the Florida State Section Directors) because they attempted to conduct an objective investigation into the Ed Walters case. Walt called me on the phone and tried to talk me out of quitting. (Because I was professionally employed, I was automatically placed on MUFON's Advisory Board of Consultants -- BFD). During the conversation, Walt referred to all critics of MUFON's handling of the Walters case as "skeptics and debunkers". I emphasized that this was not fair to Rex, Carol or everyone else. In fact, MUFON was enforcing belief in the Walters case and the obsession with that POS case had completely stolen all attention to the more important, more thoroughly witnessed, documented and photographed, Wytheville, Virginia sightings. The Wytheville sightings were discussed in Danny Gordon's book, "Don't Look Up". I remain suspicious that this result was no accident.

Since that time, MUFON has continued to experience turmoil for various reasons, as some of your other friends, such as Elaine Douglass, have discussed in podcasts.

It's time to make MUFON's case files available to other investigators, and for another organization to better serve the needs of those interested in UFO investigation.
-- John Burke

Lorin Cutts said...

Mike, Thanks for writing this and your take on things. As regards to the addendum regarding abduction research - this is only meaningful in any way if DETAILED results and stats are actually published to the public or even MUFON membership - otherwise it's all just privileged information that is patently not "for the benefit of humanity".

Also:

I. Investigate UFO sightings and collect the data in the MUFON Database for use by researchers worldwide.

How's that then? Where's the finished reports on the Bledsoe case, the Reed case, the American Airlines Nephi, Utah case or any other detailed reports on anything? CMS is the fluff. And then there's the elephant in the room - Bigelow, Star team and SAT team cases didn't or don't go into CMS. The best cases just get wished away from public and membership view. I could go on and on, but there's very little point. You don't have to be a Boeing rocket scientist to figure out what's been going on at MUFON for years.

Greg said...

Mike, nice summation. I feel for the 4000 members, many of whom are sincere and in my experience, more open to change and new ideas than much of the leadership. I agree that the organization has made itself irrelevant, even as a data-collecting entity, which I held out hope as being their only legitimate reason to continue to exist. In the coming days and weeks, I suspect that the floodgates will be opened for frustrated and disgruntled members to more freely express their concerns. I don't know if the organization will survive, but change was defintely needed. Once again, I very much appreciate your thoughts on this matter.

Dave said...

Kathleen Marden posted earlier that she is considering pulling out of MUFON now to. And KGRA radio is also thinking of doing it to. It is owned my Race Hobbs so he can pull out if he wants. Can you say "days are numbered". Science.. Yea.. Sure..

Lucas Wellness Shaklee Distributor said...

Awesome synopsis! I myself pulled out of MUFON as a State Director in 2016. I did foresee troubled waters ahead for the organization. MUFON still has some very good people within the organization that are good friends of mine. To bad it has come down to this.

MJ Lucas
Co-Owner
Inception Radio Network

Michael Redmond said...

It gets worse, actually. John Ventre remains as MUFON state director for Pennsylvania. That means,for reseachers and any news media who would contact MUFON, Ventre holds an official position within MUFON and can act as a public spokesman. Think about that for a minute. He should resign, of course. Or be replaced.

Uriah said...

You know as a hybrid and a realist I find racism ludicrous. No I don't mean hybrid alien. I mean basically every race on the planet combined. The whole reason we all are here today in America is because our own races in our home lands used familiarity and likeness to con all our ancestors out of a future, a present, and our real past. So we flooded over hear because our own people screwed us all over and we had nothing left to do to survive.

As a realist come on unless you are a secluded tribe of inbreeders nobody is pure anything when it comes to race. This is why I hate my last name personally. It makes people prejudge me and most people think it means they need to defend a race. I can't wait for the day when all people are hybrids like me then we'll just have the problem of dark skin versus light skin hybrids, you know because humans are so great and spiritual and evolved its the only ration logical thing to find any difference and use demonization to divide and exploit. Uriah

Anonymous said...

Uriah, interesting comments and very wise. Most Americans are hybridized already, whether they know or will admit. And it's a wonderful thing. I take special exception to Ventre's claim that everything good came from Europeans. With one sentence, he admits he knows nothing of the ages of rich history of South America, China, India, Japan, Africa, and many many other places. Mr Ventre is in a prison of his own unpleasant and paranoid beliefs. Apparently others in MUFON share his racism, paranoia and hatred. T'Mara

Lon Strickler said...

Hey Mike...thanks for your post, and offering your opinions. This situation was not one that I really wanted to get involved with, but I felt my readers and friends needed to be aware of what was actually happening. Take care...Lon

Unknown said...

MUFON is a joke. They never do anything but rehash the same old stuff. So I let my membership expire.

Unknown said...

MUFON HAS BEEN FARE LEFT IN THEIR WAYS. WHAT REALLY GOING ON IS JOHN V HAS BEEN A OUT BOX RESEARCHER. HE WAS TALK ABOUT A SHOW ON NET FLIX THAT THE MOVIE SUPPORT A BLACK SIDE OF THE COIN. SO IF YOU TALK THE TRUTH YOU GET THE BOOT NOW..I RESEARCH UFO OUT SIDE THE BOX AND GAVE MUFON 2 GREAT CASES. THEY JUST PUT THEM UN THE RUG AND WENT ON..MUFON KNOW WHAT REALLY GOING ON WITH THE COVER UP ON UFO AND GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION. JHON V JUST START YOU OWN RESEARCH GROUP DARKMATTERS WITH HELP YOU.. LET START A REAL RESEACH GROUP THAT ANT HAVE ANYTHING DO WITH MUFON. LET THE REAL PEOPLE OUT THEY FIND OUT WHAT REALLY GOING ON.. MIND CONTROL OF THE MEDIA AND PROJECT MOUTALK AND PROJECT BLUE BEAM..WE HAVE NOW THE DEEP STATE IN PLace that cover up what really going on. THE NEW WORLD ORDER WANTS US TO FIGHT AND KILL EACH OTHER OVER SKIN AND RACE.. JESUS CREW WILL BE BACK HEAR VERY SOON.. THE DEVIL WILL GET WHAT HE IS DEW. WE AS AMERICA NEED SUPPORT JHON V HE IS A GOOD GUY.. PLEASE SUPORT MUFON FROM A FARE.. PEOPLE IN CONGRESS AND THE WHITE HOUSE AS WELL CIA HAVE THE REAL CONTROL OF MUFON FOR YEAR. ALL THEIR PC AT MUFON HAVE A BACK DOOR KEY THAT THE MEN IN BLACK CAN TAKE YOU OUT IF HAVE A REAL UFO.. 3% ARE REAL UFO

John Morrissey said...

All caps Unknown guy, Dude... Learn to spell AND learn correct grammar! What are you, some semi literate white trash cornjob? Fuck Ventre and fuck you, you inbred Bible thumping Neanderthal, you and Jesus.

Mike Clelland! said...

Golly, I may need to delete som angry mean spirited posts.

Note my statement about commenting here:

"Hi there. I am eager to hear your comments, especially if you have similar stories. I'm happy to answer any questions you have.

And - I reserve the right to delete any comments that are offensive or excessively harsh."

Have a nice day everyone!
:)

Anonymous said...

My name is Miriam Delicado and I am a UFO contactee. It is never acceptable for a person to post remarks that resemble a white supremacist as John Ventre has done. This goes far beyond any acceptable personal views or beliefs and should not be allowed to represent any group, let alone OUR group within ufology.

It harms our collective efforts to find the truth on the subject of UFOs and makes our entire community look bad.

It is good to see how many people stood up and have spoken in the public regarding Mr Ventre's racist hate filled remarks. Behind the scenes, I have received many messages of people who have shared with me that they had concerns regarding his conduct for years.

Our community needs to not attend any events he organizes as well as not invite him to any public events to represent us.

Mufon needs to not allow him to be part of the organization.

BTW, Mike, you do also make a point that MUFON does nothing with the information they collect. Time for a change. Thank you for posting here for everyone. Miriam Delicado

Mike Clelland! said...

Miriam,

I tried to write that post without too much editorializing. The story speaks for itself, I don't need to add much.

The whole set of events are so lame, all of it. Just embarrassing and pathetic.

Mike Clelland

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike - just a thought: you might want to put your name at the top as author of the post - when I first read the post, I thought it had been written by Kathleen instead of you.

re: morrissey - my God - look at his blog. It's beyond racist. It's has images involving animal cruelty as a "joke."

In all sincerity,

A longtime friend

Jim Abbott said...

Everyone as a story.

My name is Jim A, and I’m an artist / experiencer. After a sibling and I had a significant daytime UFO sighting at Red Rock Canyon in 2010, we decided to get video cameras just in case the experience ever happened again. They did, and since then I’ve been sharing some of my daytime UFO/UAP captures on the forums.

I turned to them because I thought they would be a resource of informed, enthusiastic people sincerely researching and discussing this topic.

I had to take an extended break from them, however, because of some of the rude and racist elements became just a bit much.

I am saddened that such a vocal and public member of MUFON actually believes that 12% of the US population, a large percentage of which is in prison or in dire poverty, can somehow how successfully spearhead the genocide of anyone….anywhere…at anytime. Ironically, the same night of that Red Rock UFO sighting, I was racially profiled, or, stopped for “walking while black”, and accused of being in the neighborhood with the intent to break in someone’s place. I had to plead for 20 minutes that I was a veteran, an AF Academy graduate, and was outside smoking because none was allowed in the house I was staying at, and after running my license number, he finally let me go.

I share this to point out that more people believed my UFO story than my profiling story. In fact, the typical “it’s a balloon, bird, bug…” video deflection was replaced by “well, you shouldn’t have been outside so late”.

So I’m not surprised this eventually happened, and I would imagine perhaps within MUFON, this guy is not alone in his views.

The insult is that MUFON is supposed to be one of our supposed “leaders” in the field of ufology, and the inherent study of the origins and evolution of mankind that inevitably goes with that. Compare the rant above with various accounts of “earth history” by contactees, and this “leader” of ufology sounds like a dissociated mess who has no business speaking for this organization.

One can’t be lazy in this field, yet most people are. When presented with information past their capacity, they get threatened and shut down, or worse, make stuff up with random associations and go on the attack. Telling someone else’s story FOR them.

Evidence actually exists that several of the Egyptian dynasties were Black, and suddenly a MUFON official…a steward for exo-political study and truth states “blacks didn’t even have a calendar, a wheel, or a numbering system until the Brits showed up?” Has he never even heard of Napta Playa?

A black man was slaughtered by a white-supremacist in NYC, yet the media focused on the victims drug arrest and marital issues… Is this an example of showing how a white male is incompetent, according to this rant?

But perhaps there is a silver lining to this….although some may see Harzan a bit insensitive in his response, he has a good point….AND he needs to take action to , actually expand and act on it. Now. And in actuality, I'm taking a bit of his advice and at least engaging about the subject in the best way I know how...for healing.

When you start to cross reference the research, much of which has been shared in MUFON addresses, its more and more obvious that this planet is a former ET colony that has either been stealthily taken over or forgotten it’s identity, or both. More information has come out about the vast diversity of races that seeded this planet. The stories of the Hopi. The stories of the Dogon. The stories of the Celts. Many of the divisions coming to the surface are old wounds needing to be healed now, and so many stories of off-planet influence have yet to be shared.

AND many, if not most of these past accounts have been passed on to contactees. Why isn’t MUFON sharing this information and making an effort to bridge the divides?

To inform us? To help fill in the gaps of our actual earth history...which will explain much more truth behind the racial histories on this planet?

Jim Abbott said...

A lot of the contactee archives help to explain what has happened here, how the multitude of races accumulated here, and how we can now bring it together. Why is no one sharing these experiences on the MUFON site? I have never once seen a black speaker on any of MUFONs videotaped forums. Are there really no people of color whatsoever in this field? After reading his rant, there seems to be no mystery why. Perhaps they are not welcome, whatsoever? I doubt that, but this rant makes me wonder.

The discussions of race and the gift of diversity that has been given to this planet are overdue, and the field of UFOlogy and Exopolitics as it applies to Planet Earth will inevitably cross those paths of research, sooner or later. So learn how to speak about it now.

And no, Mr. Harzan. There are way more than “both sides” to planet earth, so this is not just about acknowledging people are divided. Speaking of symptoms is not the same as taking also about the roots and causes of said symptoms. Eschew the right/left division paradigm that has been placed over us, because it forces us to only focus on like 10% of the available information. There are many gradations in between…MUFON should be on the forefront of this thinking.

This puts the impetus on MUFON to share more contactee information and research as it relates to Earth History…now. It’s the next step beyond just accumulating videos and stories of sightings. Please do your job, now, because when disclosure REALLY hits the fan, if MUFON has not made an effort to address this, respectfully, the organization will find itself obsolete and considered a fraud withholding information in the blink of an eye.

John Burke said...

Jim Abbott --
Although it is not my intention to defend MUFON, I must point out in fairness that I know of one very important situation wherein an African-American spoke at the MUFON Annual Symposium. It happened in either 1987 or 1988. Henry Monteith, a physicist at Sandia Labs, gave a presentation in which he basically explained how flying saucers work, and why the pilots do not experience the high-g impacts from abrupt acceleration and other maneuvers. His explanation was not much different from that offered by Bob Lazar. Instead of discussing "gravity amplifiers", Monteith discussed what he called "contrabators" (not to be confused with auto-erotic Nicaraguan rebels). His lecture was published in the MUFON Annual Symposium Proceedings booklet for that year (87 or 88) which used to be available from MUFON. (It might still be.) As an aside, Henry Monteith's former wife was an abductee. I doubt whether he is still involved with MUFON. His aforementioned lecture was brutally important and I have often wondered why it did not receive more attention. I suspect that these recent events might help explain why.

Anonymous said...

Response to Jim Abbott:

I thought I’d provide a few URLs in case you were interested in checking out these individuals further:

Henry Monteith:

http://db.naturalphilosophy.org/member/?memberid=33

http://www.ivantic.info/Slike%20i%20kratki%20filmovi/The_Alien_Digest.pdf

Jim, here are some personal contact accounts by men who describe themselves as African-Americans. I met EJM several years ago – a very nice person, and was in contact with TC for many years via email, also very nice.

http://hybridsrising.com/Articles/Hybrids-Rising-Panama-HQ517-Arti.html

http://hybridsrising.com/Articles/Hybrids-Rising-My-Other-Family-Art.html

A “wise being” with dark skin:

http://hybridsrising.com/Articles/Hybrids-Rising-Double-Abduction-Art.html