Monthly Archives: November 2016

Book review: “Fact, Fiction and Flying Saucers” by Stanton T. Friedman and Kathleen Marden

“Fact, Fiction and Flying Saucers” by Stanton T. Friedman and Kathleen Marden

Subtitled “The Truth Behind the Misinformation, Distortion, and Derision by Debunkers, Government Agencies, and Conspiracy Conmen”

New Page Books, 2016

ISBN 978-1-63265-065-8

$16.99/£14.99

One of the running themes of this book is that governments can keep secrets, and that it is rather naïve to think otherwise. That may fly in the face of the impression we sometimes get of the impact organisations like Wikileaks can have, as they release thousands of classified documents onto the Internet.

But consider this: Stanton Friedman has long paraded a basketful of heavily redacted declassified government agency files about UFOs as evidence that freedom of information simply does not apply to this subject, and that Western governments continue to keep a cupola-shaped lid on it.  To my knowledge, Wikileaks et al have not managed to acquire, or publish, the full versions of said files – even though knowledge of their existence is already in the public domain. Given the kinds of other sensitive materials they have sourced and released down the years, I find this surprising – and also illuminating.  This kind of material is clearly buried very deeply, and remains highly sensitive despite the passing of many decades.  Why is that?

There is a misperception generally of the efficacy of government secrecy, which this book goes some way to address.  In the light of this consideration, the fact that this book (like so many UFO books) tends to concentrate upon the events in the decades following the Second World War is both a strength and a weakness.  A strength because the history of the UFO subject is now so old that there seems very little reason why any kind of information restriction should still be applied to it by government.  Sensitive intelligence sources are now dead, their gathering methods well known, the technology of the time is now obsolete, and the politics forgotten. A weakness because we’ve heard it all before, many times.  Yes, diligent researchers like Friedman and Marden continue to unearth new materials from archives, but really the story has remained largely the same for many years.

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