'UFOs and Nukes'
by Robert Hastings
Subtitled: "Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites"
2008 Author House, $23.95
Weighing in at 600 pages, this book is extraordinary value for money. It took me a while to read; not just because of the length of the book, but because the material contained within its covers is thorough and involved. The Devil is in the detail, it is said, and Robert Hastings has decided to publish just as much detail as he can. It's a strategy that works. You need detail when assessing written and verbal UFO reports, and, when looking at the proposed tie-in with nuclear missile bases, the reports need to be very sound indeed.
Here's an apt example, which occurred during a weapons test in the Nevada desert in July 1957:
"Using the site's search radar, [Airman 2nd Class Walter] Lyons tracked the inbound target flying an average speed of 6,200 mph for 48 seconds. It then "stopped abruptly" and "remained stationary" for 12 seconds, about 85 miles ENE of the radar site. The unknown object then resumed flight, travelling outbound at about 7,000 mph for 72 seconds before disappearing at the radar's maximum range of 224 miles, near Marble Canyon, Arizona. One other fascinating detail is worth noting: the UFO responded to encrypted military IFF transponder signals and transmitted encrypted responses, although its enormous speed and momentary hovering obviously rule out the possibility that it was a military aircraft." [pp82-3]
I have to say that I am very impressed with the extent of the correlation between UFO activity and nuclear sites and nuclear activity discussed in this book. The case is well made, and leads one to appreciate the potential motivation lying behind the incursions into our skies by our mysterious visitors. It is not just that UFOs have often been reported hanging around missile silos, and other secure, sensitive sites. That's intriguing enough. It's also the extent to which the UFO activity has been associated with a direct physical effect upon the stored missiles, including temporary shutdowns. This seems to have occurred through the direct injection of a 'noise' signal into the logic couplers in the cables connecting adjacent ICBM launch sites. That intervention moves the story from intriguing to downright terrifying. As Robert Hastings describes:
"The missile shutdowns are important because, in addition to their impact on U.S. national security, they conceivably provide insight into the motivations of those operating the UFOs. Unlike the cases of mere surveillance at ICBM sites, these incidents may well represent an intentional effort to interfere with our ability to launch nuclear missiles." [p263]
The reaction of the military and intelligence authorities to this threat is mixed, ranging from simply ignoring the activity, to a heightened security alert and intervention by scrambled jets, and/or personnel. The said personnel are often debriefed, and the issue is then put away in a drawer to be forgotten forever. Often, the personnel at these sites neglect to report the incursion of unidentified flying objects over their bases. Why? Because their jobs depend upon their mental stability, and any discussion of visiting little green men is a quick route to a desk job. The reliability and even-minded temperament of these highly trained observers is central to their believability, too. After all, if we rely upon them in an area as critical as the care of nuclear weaponry, then it is difficult to justify rubbishing their UFO reports. But this works both ways too, because there is a constant onus on these military men to prove to their superiors that they have an outstanding psychological profile:
"Here is yet another instance in which the mere mention of the PRP - Personnel Reliability Program - effectively intimidated military UFO witnesses into silence. As stated earlier, this Department of Defense directive pertains to those who work with or around nuclear weapons, and dictates their conduct both on and off the job. If an individual's commanding officer judges his or her behaviour to be unreliable, and a potential threat to the security of the weapons, a psychological examination of that person is usually ordered. Depending upon the outcome, the individual under scrutiny risk being relieved of duty." [p443]
The hush-hush mentality prevalent at these sites is sometimes ordered, and sometimes self-induced. It's not until many years later when the witnesses to these extraordinary encounters feel comfortable to come forward and report them publicly. It is to Robert Hastings' credit that he has compiled such an excellent dossier. He is a determined researcher whose perseverance is admirable. He often successfully chases up leads along trails that have grown as cold as the winters around the missile silos of Montana. It is no mean task.
A book of 600 pages is inevitably going to cover a lot of material. Set out roughly chronologically, 'UFOs and Nukes' moves through the decades, through the hay-days of UFOs in the late 40s, 50s and 60s, to the present day. Connections with Roswell are discussed (the military base near Roswell was the 509th bomber group, the world's only nuclear weapon bomber squadron, which is surely not a coincidence), as well as the almost-as-remarkable Rendlesham Forest incident (where the airspace over a nuclear weapons storage area at RAF Bentwaters was allegedly compromised by a UFO). The author offers new material on both these subjects, including an excellent interview with Chet Lytle on page 510. There is also an excellent discussion of the correlation between the radioactive fallout clouds following nuclear weapons tests and the observation of green fireballs (pp65-6). This work is largely attributable to the researcher Dan Wilson, but is very usefully included in this book. I'm at a complete loss to explain this enigmatic phenomenon.
There are things I would do to improve this book on an editorial level. It suffers from a lack of index, exacerbated by the fact that the chapter headings are cute rather than descriptive. Whilst the chronological layout mitigates this problem a little, there are sections of the book (like the Roswell incident) that pop up out of sequence. There are also several chapters that go off-topic, acting almost like a commercial break. They serve to highlight the author's opinions about mainstream science's attitude to UFOs, or conjecture about possible UFO propulsion systems. But in a book this long, they simply create a bulkier text. In general, I think this literary bush needs a bit more pruning.
An off-shoot of reading this book is a revisitation of the fear of nuclear war. The Cold War is over, and Communism is defeated (and unfettered free-market Capitalism too, it would seem from the events of the last few weeks). We sleep safer in our beds. But perhaps we have simply become complacent. The missiles are still there, en masse. They still pose a threat to the entire planet. It is also clear that the UFO activity that has occurred over launch facilities is a warning to us that intervention by outside parties remains a constant possibility. It is our species' gamble that that intervention would probably be positive, rather than catastrophically negative.
'UFOs and Nukes' can be ordered directly from Robert Hastings: http://www.ufohastings.com/BookOrderPage.html
An open letter from Robert Hastings regarding translations and interviews
Book review by Andy Lloyd, 14th October 2008
Books for review can be sent to Andy Lloyd at the author/publisher's own risk.
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