Mapping the UFO scene using association charts
Updated: Sep 10
In any complex narrative, it can be tricky to keep track of all the players, who is talking to who, and where everyone fits in. Visual aids can help, so I've endeavored to map out narratives that I read about in books and articles using association charts. At a glance, one can be reminded of the links among the various players and the possible common threads of interest among them or the institutions involved. These charts do not necessarily tell us what's causally taking place (unless this is explicitly built into the visual cues used in the chart, which at present I have not done) but they do help to keep track of many interrelated and convoluted happenings and personalities.
Here are some charts that I've made using the excellent Lucid app and information gleaned from my readings. There is plenty more to add, and these charts only represent initial forays into this murky, troublesome and at times just ridiculous "field":
The Paul Bennewitz/Richard Doty/AFOSI/Dulce saga:
Updated 8/27/2022 to correct typo in legend. Download image here or click on the image. Updated 12/15/2021 to include Greg Bishop, Mark Pilkington and items related to Bill Cooper, Paul Bennewitz and Greg Gorightly. Updated 10/25/2021 to include colors highlighting links connecting AFOSI, Richard Doty and Paul Bennewitz. Updated 10/22/2021 to include Jerry Miller, Craig Weitzel and Project Blue Book. The information used in this chart comes from Adam Gorightly's "Saucers, Spooks and Kooks" (2021; Daily Grail Publishing), Greg Bishop's "Project Beta" (2005; Gallery Books) and Mark Pilkington's "Mirage Men" (2010; Constable & Robinson).
Paul Bennewitz (1927-2003) was an engineer and businessman living near Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, New Mexico, who became swept up in an unfortunate series of events connected to the goings-on at the base in the late 1970s and into the 1980s, and was eventually driven to the brink of insanity. Air Force Office of Special Investigations officer Richard Doty features prominently in this story, ostensibly as the point-man feeding Bennewitz disinformation and goading him into believing in an alien presence in order to shoo him away from sensitive weapons projects on the base that it was feared he had become privy to. The "Dulce base" was also put on the UFO map by Bennewitz. Investigative journalist and author Bill Moore features in this story as well, as an initial conduit for Doty's disinformation, but who eventually came clean (by his account) at a now notorious 1989 MUFON conference where he spilled the beans on his role as a reluctant government disinfo agent who had "played along" with Doty's spiel in order to obtain insider information from him and thereby help put the pieces together. Then there is the "Aviary" (also associated with Moore), a famous staple of UFO lore that would make an appearance in the 1988 UFO TV special "UFO Cover-Up? Live!", which presented the core UFO story that was shortly thereafter tweaked by the likes of Bob Lazar. Linda Moulton Howe, of cattle mutilation fame, also features, as does police officer Gabe Valdez, who suspected a government program of staging UFOs in order to muddy the waters about an actual radiation detection program connected to nuclear weapons tests. Yes, this saga is fucking weird.
The NICAP/Intelligence Community saga:
Updated 9/10/2022 to include publications by Donald Keyhoe and Frank Stranges (as well as Stranges' Pentagon-loitering alien "Valiant Thor"). Download image here or click on the image. Updated 3/15/2022 to include Carleton Alsop. Updated 12/15/2021 to include some additional people and institutions. Updated 10/24/2021 to include new colors for CIA, NICAP, USN, Counsel Services and USAF. The information used in this chart comes from Jack Brewer's "Wayward Sons - NICAP and the IC" (2021; independently published) and an important document put out in 1964 by NICAP titled "The UFO Evidence", which found its way into the CIA's archives (and is available here from the agency's online reading room). Be sure to check out Brewer's blog The UFO Trail for ongoing updates on his research into this saga.
Did the CIA destroy NICAP, as is often claimed? Or did it, as Jack Brewer suggests in his book, help to establish it? The details are still unclear, but Brewer has started to shed light on some of the connections linking various NICAP people (including none other than the first director of the CIA, Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter) who held senior positions within the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, a prominent civilian UFO group that was made most famous by the exertions of former Marine Corps and Navy officer Donald Keyhoe. Brewer has used FOIA requests, historical records and newspaper clippings to try to piece together the context of these interconnections and what they might indicate. The involvement of the intelligence agencies, such as it was, could have been for any number of reasons. Most likely, there was no over-arching X Files-style conspiracy, but rather a series of ad hoc motivations within these agencies that changed through time and that served a number of purposes.
The Lue Elizondo/Tom DeLonge/AATIP/TTSA saga:
Updated 8/26/2022 to include legislative items that mention "unidentified aerial phenomena", "unidentified undersea phenomena" and/or "unidentified aerospace phenomena"; the late NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell (connections with him brought to my attention in Ross Coulthart's "In Plain Sight"); UAPTF, Travis Taylor, John F. Stratton, Jr and ONI. Download image here or click on the image. Updated 5/19/2022 to include AAWSAP - which was the real "AATIP" - as well as Elizondo's personal initiative that he called "AATIP", which was not funded or sanctioned by the Department of Defense. See Steven Greenstreet's detailed breakdown of the confusion. Updated 4/20/2022 to include Kit Green connection to Robert Bigelow, Colm Kelleher and Garry Nolan, Garry Nolan connection to Diana Pasulka and Steven Greer, Jacques Vallee connection to Diana Pasulka and Kit Green, and Jim Semivan connection to John Ramirez. Updated 3/15/2022 to include Kevin Day connection to UAPx, Saphire Project and Earthtech connection to Hal Puthoff, and Harry Reid connection to James Lacatski. Updated 12/30/2021 to include Coast to Coast AM and Altamira Corporation (both connected to George Knapp), as well as James Lacatski (connected to Lue Elizondo and DIA). Updated 12/15/2021 to include Representative Ruben Gallego and correspondence between Nick Pope and George Knapp. Updated 12/11/2021 to include Avi Loeb's Galileo Project initiative and connections, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and her legislative amendment 4810 (plus updated version 1638), highlighting of "Senate" box and connections, and addition of Gary Voorhis and his UAPx initiative. Updated 11/7/2021 to include John Podesta connection to CFI (Center for Freedom of Information), as well as connections between Kit Green, Hal Puthoff and Jacques Vallée. DoD links also highlighted with red. Updated 10/24/2021 to include new colors to highly key institutions involved in/that have historical significance to this saga, and increased line thicknesses for some connections. The information used in this chart comes from various Internet articles, newspaper reports and TTSA's own website. I've tried to only include information for which there is overlapping corroboration from multiple sources.
This one provides endless fascination and entertainment for people today since it is an ongoing saga, with many people feeling they have a "stake" in it (just see Twitter for regular flame-wars and accusations/counter-accusations among people have nothing directly to do with any of this business but who somehow feel that they "own" it). People are often ignorant about the historical precedents pertaining to government involvement in the UFO narrative, and therefore imagine the current spat to be something totally new under the sun. However, to return to NICAP, it is noteworthy that there are some striking parallels between Tom DeLonge's "To The Stars Academy" and the early NICAP initiatives that called upon crowd-funding to finance UFO investigations and to crack open new vistas of knowledge. Another key similarity is the central role played by former intelligence, counter-intelligence and military people in pushing the narrative. Note also the role of investigate journalist George Knapp (of Bob Lazar and now Skinwalker fame), Jeremy Corbell (a major mouthpiece for dubious UFO cases, as well as a promoter of Lazar and the Skinwalker mythos), and Leslie Kean (a journalist and author who helped bring the famous US Navy footage into the limelight and who authored a rather credulous book about UFO cases).
In reading these diagrams, please again be aware that the lines of connection among people and institutions should not be taken to mean that this or that person is controlling or even influencing some other person (though in some cases, the connections could entail such relationships). Rather, use the charts to simply keep track of the various players involved. Additional information about causality and true shared interests can only be gleaned from independent evidence and investigation. If you spot any errors or have any questions, or know of any connections that I have not included, please feel free to leave a comment below or contact me.