Dr./Colonel John Alexander has seen a lot that can’t be dismissed or explained… but is he willing to admit UFOs are real?
photo by: Skeptiko
Today we welcome Dr. John Alexander to Skeptiko to talk about his new book, Reality Denied: Firsthand Experiences with Things that Can’t Happen – But Did.
Dr. Alexander is a retired US Army Colonel, with a list of military and non-military distinctions, which are way too long to mention on this show. He’s one of those people, as you’ll hear about when he talks about this book, who really has seen it all and done it all, at least it seems that way. Fortunately, he has written a book about it.
John, welcome to Skeptiko, thanks for joining me.
Dr. John Alexander: Glad to be here.
(later in the interview)
Alex Tsakiris: You know, John, I’m reading this amazing book of yours and I’m reading these amazing stories, some of which we just have to cover because we have to get this out there, for folks who don’t have a chance to read it, and you really should read Reality Denied. If you can’t find a dozen just completely paradigm shattering stories there, just by sticking your thumb into the book at any random place, well then, I don’t know how you couldn’t, I guess, is my point. But I kept reading this book and I’m trying to square it with what, I guess is, for a long time been the general overriding meme associated with John Alexander, which is, this guy who debates people at UFO conferences, saying that, “The government doesn’t know anything about UFOs and if they did, I would know that they did, and I know, and they don’t and…” What is that whole meme all about, is that an accurate characterization of the way a lot of people think of you? It seems to be out there and is it true?
Dr. John Alexander: I can’t speak to what other people think, but I don’t think, particularly with the recent revelations, that I can say, if it were there I would know about it.
I think you’re talking about the recent stuff that [unclear 00:20:12] has been fortunate enough to release on studies that are going on. What you find is, you have tiny pockets of people who have had personal experience and the ability to research that. One of the things I mention in all of these phenomena, UFOs, near-death experiences, precognition, you know, take your phenomena, remember the government, whatever that is, is made up of millions of individuals, and what we know is, across the board, that a vast number of them, probably more than a majority, have had some kind of psychic experience in their life. If it’s UFOS, probably 10% have actually seen something that they believe. [Adult 00:21:05] and particularly in the military, who have been in threatening situations, you find people who have had near-death experiences.
Now, one of the areas where I get into some difficulty in, is that when you get into these areas, and say, “Well, the government should study this,” I’m talking about the US government now, I argue that’s not necessarily the case. You do not expect that the government is responsible for confirming one’s individual belief system. Although, to be fair, and this goes to, I think, to all of the various phenomena, you do find that each individual comes to the institution with their set belief system, and there certainly have been some who have used that in ways that would be, probably inappropriate.
One of the things that just came out in the recent, again, release, is that there were people who believed in UFOs but said, “We shouldn’t do that because these are demonic, and we shouldn’t be involved.” We saw that in the remote viewing program, we have opponents who said, “Yeah, you can probably do that, but we should not be involved, because it’s the work of the devil.”
So, in all cases, you have individuals, both pro and con, bringing individual belief systems into a potential study or looking at these issues and are terribly, terribly complex, whatever we’re dealing with.
Alex Tsakiris: Let me try and pin it down with a breaking story. In the last couple of weeks, and I don’t know if you were referring to that in a couple of things you say but…?
Dr. John Alexander: I am.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay. So, everyone’s heard of the New York Times, UFO story, right?
Dr. John Alexander: Right.
Alex Tsakiris: We can also talk about Tom Delonge, but the UFO story breaks in the New York Times. For people who are connected to the UFO community, they’re like, “Well, this is the tip of iceberg, we’ve known about this stuff forever,” but for the general population it still seems to be more of a bombshell than, I guess I could have anticipated, that people are going, “Look, look, it’s real. The government has known about UFOs.”
I just want you to clarify where you stood in the past on this kind of information, because it just seems to me, just being totally blunt, that you’ve always been a guy who’s said, “This kind of stuff couldn’t possibly be happening and if it was happening, I would know about it.”
Dr. John Alexander: Well, let’s understand, I retired in ’88. So, I certainly didn’t know everything, but I think I can say… Well first of all, I ran such a study throughout most of the 1980s, up until the time that I retired. Now, the difference between what [Lou 00:24:22] was able to do and me is, he got funded, we did not. Many of the same players, I had representatives from all of the services, across the intelligence community and aerospace industry involved.
One of the things we found, by the way, which is identical to what they discovered, is nobody’s in charge. So, what you had in this case, is an individual who was responsible, or interested, just GS15 and able to put together a tiny study.
Now, when you say, “The government says…” One of the things I used to do, when I was assigned in the Pentagon is to run around and say, “Where is this guy?” because, “The Pentagon says this, and the Pentagon says that,” the Pentagon doesn’t say anything, it’s a big stone building. There are tens of thousands of people who work there with a wide variety of beliefs.
One of the things I’ve just heard, I have to confirm yet, is that Secretary Mattis learned about this program a few hours before the New York Times broke. Meaning, this is not a concerted effort, it was an individual putting together the resources that he could.
By the way, one of the things that does pop up, is the Bigelow connection, and I do understand that that was a competitive bid and that BAS or Bigelow Aerospace actually won it. But that you have pockets that are involved should not surprise people.
I also see big discussions about whether the threat-based aspect of this, that does not surprise me at all. It’s exactly what I did 30 years ago, and the point is, it is the Department of Defense, not the department of interesting ideas or weird stuff to cover. So, in order to get funding, you had to put it in some kind of context where it could withstand a degree of scrutiny.
You also find out that over time, it was a very small group, which is definitely the way to do it, but as the program became visible, it came under more and more attacks and eventually, as I’ve always said, even in the black world, it’s a zero-sum game, there is competition for the resources and what did happen here is they got to a point where other people wanted the money, quite frankly, so we saw a discontinuation.
Remember, we’re talking $22 million over five years, which I actually ran the numbers, we were talking about 0.001% over budget, i.e. small.
Alex Tsakiris: Yes. Let’s touch on another topic in the news, because it again directly relates, directly back to the book, Reality Denied, and some of the important people in that book, in this case Hal Puthoff. I’m referring to the Tom Delonge disclosure, which a lot of people look at as some kind of controlled disclosure. I don’t know if there’s any other way to look at it. Of course, Tom Delonge is this famous rockstar of Blink-182 guy, close associations with the democratic side of the equation, with his association with the Clinton campaign and Podesta and the supposed disclosure that was going to come about.
So, now Tom Delonge has come out with this Blue-Ribbon Committee, “We’re going to take this stuff to the stars.” Again, the government, if you’ll forgive me, I mean, that’s the only term we can use, but there’s top ranking officials within the military intelligence community and the government community that are joining onboard. One of them is Hal Puthoff and there’s this other group of star-studded people in the know, both from the military contractors and from the military themselves, and, “We’re going to build this spacecraft based on this technology that’s been revealed to us and here we go. Forget about the larger social implications of visitation by aliens from another planet, we’re just going to go and grind out some technology.”
The whole thing looks completely contrived to me, and yet, at the same time, it does seem to have some reality to it.
Tell us what you make of Hal Puthoff. Tell us what you make of Tom Delonge. Tell us what you make of, what appears to be controlled and deliberate, drip by drip disclosure.
Dr. John Alexander: Okay, for the next three days we’re going to… First of all, for disclosure, Hal has been a personal friend for decades. So, I know him very well, and you’ll also find, one of the things I mention in the book, by the way, is that certain people seem to reappear from time to time in different areas. He was instrumental in the remote viewing program, interested in the PK and of course has an independent lab down there in Austin.
Delonge, I have spoken with him once. I have never met him, so I don’t know. I know a number of the other people who were integrally involved, but not all of them, and you’re right in describing it as quite a stellar group.
Where I would disagree, is that this is any kind of contrived release of information. Again, it was a very small study. Pieces of it are ongoing by all accounts. Whether it’s getting funded or if it’s getting funded, does not seem to be clear. But, there are individuals, and where I do agree strongly with most of the people from To The Stars, is that there is a huge problem with over classification and one of the things I’ve gone, kind of out on a limb on, in saying, studying this strictly from a government or military perspective, I think is wrong, because while the study, as far as I know, what they looked at were cases that did happen to the military, I understand all of that, but there are far more things happening to just everybody.
Remember, this is a global phenomenon and it seems to have intensified over time, but the reports go back millennia, and you had raised the question of contact and my point is, that there have been reports or allegations of contact between humans and sentient non-humans throughout the entirety of human history, throughout every culture. This is why, when I get back to saying, whatever we’re dealing with is terribly, terribly complex.
So, I think this is just one of the many data points, I think that they have acquired some data that looks interesting, but having said that, I think when it gets down to the bottom line questions, like, what is it? Where has it come from? How can this all be? I don’t think they’re any closer than anybody else.
Alex Tsakiris: So, let’s assumed that they’re somewhat earnest in what they’re putting forth. Do you say that that’s a valid approach to just go in there and grab what you can and just say, “Okay, let’s just try and engineer it from a technology standpoint,” and not worry about what you’re finding in the jungles of the Amazon with your wife and being possessed by spirits and [unclear 00:33:12] spirits around the entire world? And I’m overstating that. okay, forgive me, but is it valid to just take a wrench and try and…?
Dr. John Alexander: When I ran the study 30 years ago, one of the things that we put forward… Again, it was in the Defense Department and trying to make a case to get funded but didn’t, but the reality of it and why you would want to do it, there were two issues. One is threat, you’ve got something flying around you don’t understand. The other was advance and technology, that whether or not you actually had your hands-on hardware or something like that, that if you just understood the principles. For instance, we saw the avionics, rapid acceleration, g-force turns that nobody could have survived, and all of these have been reported, again, at least since the 40s, that if we had an understanding of what would be required to do that, that there was a potential for a leap frog in technology, not successful but the approach is totally valid.
Alex Tsakiris: So again, let’s just suppose that, with the spiritual actions and the spiritual questions, because, fundamentally, spirituality comes down to action, in the same way that military operations come down to action, and what is right action? What is non-action? What difference does action make in this spiritual realm in which we find ourselves?
Many times, in the book, you allude to the idea that we are spiritual beings living a physical life. I mean, you allude to that several times in the book and I think it’s, kind of, at the core of what you seem to be about.
There does, for a lot of folks, seem to be a contradiction in terms of what it takes to be a soldier and what it takes to, the work threats, and what it takes to live a spiritual life, I mean, it’s a big question but it’s the question.
Dr. John Alexander: But the concept of the warrior monk has been around for eons.
Alex Tsakiris: Tell us, tell us, you wrote a book on that. This has been your life, so expand on that.
Dr. John Alexander: Well no, the concept that you come to understand these things, and you do encounter paradoxes, I mean, I must say that, and we’ll get into some of the personal aspects of this.
But, I go back to Vietnam, because I was there. I was also in Afghanistan in 2003, and looking at the physical actions there and the questions become, how do you take life if you believe that all things are interconnected, and that life is worth living, as I mentioned, being a spiritual being? It is difficult to explain.
I think what we see is, kind of, spiritual evolution that takes time with the realities that faces individuals.
I might mention that we spent a huge amount of money, and over the last 16 years exposed a lot of people to combat, and I think we do not begin to understand the cost of that, not in dollars in cents, but the impact of the people who have been exposed to violent conflict, who have inflicted violent conflict. What I can tell you is that, over time, those things do come back to revisit you.
Alex Tsakiris: Well, there is another side of that too, that I think definitely needs to be brought on the table and talked about. I’ve interviewed, several times, David Jacobs, of course, abduction researcher who’s come to a very different conclusion. He claims he’s come to that conclusion independently and scientifically and he does have a scientific background. He claims, along with other abduction researchers, that these experiences might be characterized by some as transformative spiritually, but for many they are true abductions, in every sense of the word. And, you have been associated with having knowledge of that experience, and in particular, a knowledge of military involvement in some of those abductions. I definitely want to give you a chance to clarify that, and to just come out and tell us. Are you aware of any government involvement in programs related to alien abductions?
Dr. John Alexander: Well, my whole, my [00:50:13] thing and my view is totally ridiculous, and I have written to this guy from Austria who was one of the major proponents and if you look at, strictly the requirements that would be necessary, the resources that you’d have to apply to this, it is, you know, just beyond ridiculous. There’s no way that you could take that number of resources, particularly when you look at the downsizing that’s gone on in the military and how you would apply resources. You would be involving thousands and thousands of people, if you tended to believe that.
I do think that some of these experiences are certainly real. There’s probably others that are purely psychological as well. But returning to a comment I made earlier, these have been reported throughout the entirety of human history, all over the globe, every culture, and by the way, that they happen to come in on little silver discs or something akin to that, is actually a fairly new wrinkle to the interaction and abduction phenomenon, again, globally report.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay. Related to that, another thing to either clear up or to, I don’t know, add any information to, you are, consistently John, mentioned as being a member of The Aviary Group, actually having a code name. You’re laughing so I assume that… Anyone can find…
Dr. John Alexander: That’s actually true, but not The Aviary Group. This is something that was created, and I can never remember what the name was, but Hal and I and Scott Jones were at a meeting in Ohio at the time and they gave us Aviary names and supposedly it was just so that they could talk freely on the telephone and use names that, if it were being intercepted, nobody would know who they’re talking about. But there is no Aviary, per se or group that gets together or anything like that. You haven’t brought up MJ12. I’ve been accused of running that and all I’d say is, if true, would you send them a message because I’ve been missing my paycheck from the beginning.
Alex Tsakiris: Fair enough. As long as we’re going through a list of things to clarify, misinformation, disinformation, Paul Bennewitz, people associated with projects to distort or mind control folks, any knowledge of that at any time, any awareness of those programs running?
Dr. John Alexander: No, I know the individuals involved. My position on that is, if they did what they said they did, they belong in jail.