A Skeptical Point of View - What if the Drone Witnesses Were Not Anonymous?
I know what you're thinking...
What good is a 'what if' scenario? It can only contain conjecture and supposition. That is very true. What I am going to do is suppose what would or could have happened if the witnesses would have behaved as many skeptics claim they should have. The anonymity factor is very damning to the drone case in many skeptics' eyes. Many well seasoned skeptics believe anonymity leaves the chance of a hoax at the forefront. The thing is, if you want to perform a hoax and not get caught, submitting it anonymously is a prudent thing to do. On the flipside, if you have the most stunning, crystal clear, daytime photos ever taken of an Unidentified Flying Object, presenting them and your camera and memory card to the nearest University for analysis seems prudent. The pictures themselves would be the defense against ridicule and scoffing. Once verified as real and authentic, such a witness would be ready for whatever skepticism may arise.
With authenticated photo data from independent analysis, and other witness sightings and photographs, this multiple source of authentication would have undoubtedly aroused serious mainstream media attention. The focus would have dramatically shifted from the witnesses themselves to the actual object of the photos. "Thank you, witnesses, for what you have captured on camera and brought to our attention, but just what the hell is it that thing?"
With multiple witnesses on record and the best authenticated photos ever taken, the first priority would be to find out what it is. With its existence already established, the focus would be to identify the object. With the war on terror in full force, Home Land Security would surely be interested in what is in our skies over California .
Now here is where we find a hurdle from the people that already suppose the drones are real. If it is being flown by the government, they would hush it up. Silence the story. Suppress the witnesses. Crystal clear photos would never make it to the media in the first place. This is a valid concern and point. If someone happened to photograph something top secret, the lid would be closed rapidly and damage control initiated.
In the same light, I think if someone posted anonymously to the internet photos of a top secret aircraft, they would be removed from the net as fast as possible and the source of the photos tracked down so as to plug whatever leak there may be.
What do you do if you are the government and your top-secret drone technology is all over the internet? Do you silence people, use scare tactics and suppress further testimony? Or do you wonder how and why your most sensitive project is all over the internet in the first place. I can buy the premise that something beyond top secret malfunctions and loses its invisibility or cloak ability, but harder to buy is that then for days and even weeks, it finds its way in front of numerous cameras, close enough even for a secret alien language to be photographed. Something that top secret would have been under intense observation and security. Something like that would have malfunctioned and been photographed over a single day or a few short hours if at all. To think a top secret program with a security flaw would have been allowed to continue over a period of time is preposterous.
Then comes ISAAC/CARET
So if the secret project malfunctioned, and photos were taken from multiple sources and different areas, what do you do if you are the government? Do you try to make it look like a hoax? Do you discredit the witnesses? Well, luckily for the government, all of the witnesses remained anonymous on their own. None of them went public with cameras, memory cards, or their identity. They remained committed to cyber testimony. None chose to report their sighting to authorities, at least in Capitola, where the Police Dept received no such reports. None chose to allow onsite investigation by sharing the locations. They submitted their photos to internet sites and remained anonymous. Now enter Isaac/CARET, full of top secret info on the drones with pictures, diagrams, and history. He set up a site that explains top secret alien technology and explains the drone case with detailed history and does it all anonymously. I assume that since the drone case is mostly associated to anonymous people that Isaac's anonymity is to be expected. If the case had gone mainstream with documented witnesses and authenticated photos, and been deemed a real event, Isaac would have been arrested on serious charges of violating national security. Once in the mainstream media, Isaac would not have been needed anyway. In my opinion, Isaac was/is purely for the internet audience's benefit. Isaac showed us a primer but actually Isaac is the Primer! He puts the whole thing together and gives it a history. It is alien technology. It must be true. Isaac said so.
What of the possibility that the whole thing is a hoax? How would it go then? Perhaps just the way it has. I have to exclude any witness testimony at this point that is separate from the photograph witnesses. After all the internet coverage and recent news coverage, some witnesses could be jumping on the band wagon. It has happened before. George Adamski claimed to be in touch with Venusians in the 1950's. His story was followed by others who claimed the same thing. So others claiming to see a drone (with no photos, fake or real) could be latching on, so to speak. Our best bet is to stick with the photographic witnesses while determining if their actions are indeed the actions of hoaxers.
Objectivity and Skepticism
Ufology has had its share of hoaxes. In the 21st century, we have your average hoaxer armed with digital manipulation software and computer generated imagery. Digital photography itself is a catalyst for the new age hoaxer. Combine that with the modern internet of today and you can see how what you find on the internet should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. A first priority in any UFO case should be witness verification. An interview with the witness to determine sincerity and willingness to help with the investigation should be a priority to establishing verification. With all the tools available to create hoaxes and the vulnerability of digital photography, observing witness behavior is tantamount to establishing any credibility for any given case.
When a case arises where witnesses remain anonymous, a red flag should go up immediately. Certainly not all witnesses who wish to remain anonymous are hoaxers but hoaxers frequently like to remain anonymous. When a case is void of police reports and includes anonymous witnesses, the lack of a police report could be construed as an attempt to protect anonymity. Police reports are public records. An anonymous hoaxer would not include the police in a hoax event for two reasons. 1) To protect their identity. 2) To avoid prosecution for making a bogus report to the police.
Who would perform such a hoax and why?
The reasons for any hoax can be long and complicated. The simple answer is just to see if they can do it. Each hoax can have its own level of complexity. The higher the complexity, the more elaborate a hoax can become.
Consider the field of Ufology for moment.
A group of people studying the UFO phenomenon who are open to the possibility of Alien visitation from other worlds.
Ufologists are simply perfect targets for hoaxes.
A hoax could be intended to embarrass the field into ridicule. Or could be aimed at gauging what is believable and what is not. Certainly the best Ufologists in the field employ a strong sense of skepticism to try and avoid the pitfalls of hoaxers. A UFO case can rise and fall on its own merit. With strong evidence, documentation, and forthcoming witness testimony and cooperation, the best cases from Ufology are hardly considered to be hoaxes. An example would be the recent sightings in and around Stephenville , Texas .
With multiple witnesses who actually helped with the investigation and who went on record with the sighting, there is little doubt that something was seen in the skies over Texas . But in the Drone case we have none of this witness corroboration. We are left with an enigma wrapped in a mystery.
Some say that hoaxers eventually come forward to take credit and be in the spotlight. Some do but not all. If the intent of a hoax is to study the resulting behavior of the targeted group, the hoax may play out indefinitely.
Is it possible to mistake a real event for a hoax? Sure it is. But the very nature of hoaxing is to cause the targeted group to mistake the hoax for a real event. If we learn anything from Isaac/CARET and the drones, it should be this. Raise the bar for what is expected of a real sighting. Remain open minded but protect yourself with skepticism. A case should not have to have excuses made for it. It should stand on its own feet and be analyzed for exactly what it is and what it attempts to portray. Remember that today's digital world all but makes digital photographs a moot point. Strong witness participation and cooperation is needed to back any claim. If we allow ourselves to believe photographs without witness corroboration, we stand the chance of being led by the nose down any path that a hoaxer may choose. We must always be on the guard. Skepticism is my shield. I wield it carefully but faithfully.
I'm sure there will be opposing viewpoints and that is to be expected. But this is just the way I view the drone case from a skeptical position.
Thank you for your time. This article is strictly my opinion only and in no way speaks for the Staff at Openmindsforum.com.
Source: A Skeptical Point of View - Jeddyhi (9th April, 2008)