Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lazar as a Fictional Character

Also in response to an inquiry, here is an article I wrote in 1994 for MUFON UFO Journal:

Lazar as a Fictional Character (MUFON Journal, Feb. 1994)
In my view, the Lazar question is like the riddle that Captain Kirk would pose to the evil robot to make the robot overload its memory banks and self-destruct. You can debate this one for hours and not get anywhere.
Also see my later article on Lazar.

Jerry Freeman: The Guy Who Visited Papoose Lake

Someone recently emailed me to help them find a 1997 Las Vegas Sun article on Jerry Freeman. Freeman was an amateur archeologist from California who held the distinction of being the only person without a security clearance to have visited the Papoose Lake area since Bob Lazar made his claims about flying saucers there. In the mid-1990s, Freeman was determined to follow, on foot, the trail of the "Lost 49'ers" who nearly died when they took a "short cut" through Death Valley in 1849 (giving it its name), but he was thwarted by the government when they refused to let him pass through the Nellis Range and the Nevada Test Site.

But he did it anyway! After some research, he crossed 100 miles of Restricted Area on foot, without government permission, and lived.

Well, not exactly. He's dead now, but that happened four years after he completed the trek. The point is, it can be done, if you are determined or foolhardy enough: Just march into Papoose Lake and see for yourself whether Lazar's claims are true.

In July 1997, The Sun published a story on Freeman's trek. (Apparently because he himself contacted them.) The article had been available on the Sun's website until recently, when it mysteriously vanished. I was contacted because I had made reference to it in a 1997 mailing list posting. The correspondent wondered whether I had saved a copy.

I hadn't, but I still managed to find it. As I suspected, the article was still there on the Sun's website but was poorly indexed. Here it is...

Stealth Search for History (Las Vegas Sun, 7/19/97)

I recall there being photos of Freeman in the print version of the article, but they're not attached to the online one. (And I couldn't find any photos of him on the web.)

I met Freeman at least twice, both before and after he made his trek. My memory is hazy, but we may have discussed the logistics of make such a journey, and I certainly would have advised against it. When he actually completed it, I was surprised. I was halfway between admiring his balls and shaking my head at his stupidity. (He reminded me, both then and now, of Mathias Rust, the German teenager who landed a plane in Red Square in 1987.)

Of course, I debriefed him on what he saw when he passed by Papoose Lake, but nothing sticks in my mind as memorable. I recall he passed to the south of the lake, never actually touching the dry lake bed. I think he camped in that vicinity. He may have described to me some ambiguous lights or glints he saw on the ground, but there was nothing I could do anything with at the time, and I don't recall any of the details now.

What sort of security did he encounter? None whatsoever. This is exactly what one would expect if the land is what it claims to be: a mostly vacant testing and training ground. With a land area equivalent to Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, the Restricted Zone is virtually unpatrollable, except where there are specific assets to protect. (Papoose Lake is in the next valley over from Area 51.) If you come in by vehicle on a road, you are going to be detected, but maybe not on foot.

Freeman's obsession was following the 49ers route, not the UFO lore, but he was happy to share information with me. It's just that his information wasn't very interesting. It certainly wasn't worth putting ones life at risk as he did.

A 100-mile trek across the desert might have killed anyone else, but Freeman had the survival skills to pull it off. As I recall, his life depended on being able to access certain springs on the Nevada Test Site that maps said were there but that he couldn't verify until he actually arrived. Would the water still be there? Would it be radioactive? If he hadn't found water, he would have had to deliberately get himself arrested. This alone might have been a major feat: finding someone to turn himself in to.

Keep in mind, this was a family man. In my mind, if you have people depending on you, you don't put yourself at risk like that. I saw Freeman as another victim of "Male Data Collection Syndrome" (MDCS), a disease that I myself am in recovery from. (5 years sober.) If the MDCS sufferer needs certain data, he'll stop at nothing to collect it, even if isn't really meaningful in the bigger scheme of life.

Freeman died of cancer in 2001. Here is an obituary. For the record, the cancer started before he took his hike, since the obit says he was first diagnosed 5-1/2 years prior.

Just an odd little footnote to history.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Investigation: Secret Underground Facility in Washington, D.C.

I had an opportunity to spend a few hours in Washington, D.C. last week, so I checked out a TOP SECRET NAVY TUNNELING PROJECT described in the Washington Post over four years ago. In spite of the Post article, which provided all the elements of a Great Conspiracy, the facility seems to have gotten no attention on the internet, and no one from the online secret base contingent seems to have accepted the open invitation to snoop around.

What's with you people? Psychospy vanishes for ten years and NOTHING GETS DONE! If those guys over at Dreamland Resort had been on the ball, they would have been all over this four years ago, but they're apparently more concerned with maintaining the purity of their organization.

My inquiry was based on this Nov. 26, 2004 article in the Washington Post

Navy Keeps A Secret in Plain Sight: Hush-Hush Project Underway by Potomac

The article describes a mysterious construction project in East Potomac Park near the Jefferson Memorial that was started in secret without going through any of the usual approval channels for construction in the historic capital area. It just "appeared" on Park Service land, apparently without even the Park Service knowing about it. The purpose of the work site was obviously digging, but no one in the government would say what the digging was for. It would seem to be a project born out of the post 9-11 security hysteria, but even that wasn't clear. Underground bunker for Dick Cheney? Evacuation tunnel under the Potomac? The article raised plenty of questions, but nobody seems to have followed up on them.

Four and a half years later, I decided to drop by. I was interested in it in part because I knew the area: I had walked close to the facility following the Obama Inauguration (photos), although at that time I wasn't aware of it. After an internet buddy clued me in to the Post article, I studied the article, did my Google Earthing and was reasonably prepared.
My full photo tour is contained in an annotated Facebook album that I invite you to examine:
My tour started at the Jefferson Memorial, which seemed like a good reference point. The cherry blossoms happened to be out, which is a big fricking deal in Washington. (I gather cherry blossoms are the dividing line between the miserable cold/rainy and the beastly hot/humid in our Nation's Capital.) I climbed the steps to talk to Tom, and from directly behind him I could see the facility.

The construction site, surrounded by a stockade fence, occupies former parkland between the highway and a Park Service office complex (so someone there had to know about it). It is on a peninsula jutting into the Potomac, but the fenced-in area is land-locked, with no direct access to the water. I decided to walk the perimeter of the facility to see what I could find.

The facility consisted of several big warehouse-type buildings. Of course I couldn't see inside, but like any black box, I could always analyze how they connected to the outside world. There was only a single gate (shown above), and there were no obvious utilities coming into the complex. No power lines, water mains or gas lines, and no obvious evidence of excavation to bring in these services underground. The facility would have to been self-sufficient for these things. There was, however, a small amount of water flowing out of the facility and into a storm drain.

Although the entire facility was surrounded by a tall wooden fence, I had no difficulty using my X-Ray Vision to see through it. Actually, there were tiny gaps in the slats that I could peer though, and one side of the site was adjacent to some raised railroad tracks. There was no fence or warning signs on the railroad tracks, so I could easily walk up to track level and poke my nose over the fence.

There was plenty of data to analyze! The power needs of the project were met by four big truck-size diesel generators (with one of them running). I have no idea about mega-wattage or any that technobabble, but I do know they can produce a shitload of power. I have seen similar-size generators in back of casinos in Las Vegas. (For example, there's one outside Palace Station.) The casino generators are designed to keep the slot machines and flashing lights running in case of a power outage, so if ONE generator could keep a casino running, FOUR generators was enough for all sorts of nefarious things.

The facility looks pretty much the same as it was pictured and described in 2004. It appeared to still be active, but not wildly so. I saw one worker in street clothes leave and another one inside the compound in a hard hat and safety vest, but no vehicles entered or left in the 45 minutes I was scoping out the perimeter. I was there roughly between 4:15 and 5:00pm (on April 6, 2009), which could have meant that most work was completed for the day and workers had already left.

It is pretty clear that whatever is happening at the project, it is happening underground. Since the intention is to return the land to park condition (according to the article), "down" is the only direction they can go.

As I walked the perimeter, I looked for signs of tunneling. There were no tailings piles (just some sand and gravel caches), and no obvious elevator tower, but the main building looked like it was designed to allow full size trucks to enter. The trucks could be filled with debris from the tunnel and then driven off. Unfortunately, I have no handle on how many trucks full of dirt have left the place in the past five years, so it's hard to judge how much tunneling has been going on.

Any underground facility also needs ventilation. I found the intake for that on the north side of the main warehouse building. The intake pipe was some 3-5 feet in diameter, and I could hear the woosh of air being sucked into it.

The land in this area, at least the top layers of it, is mucky fill, more like Jello than concrete. (The foundations of the Jefferson Memorial had to be sunk down 75 feet before they came to reliable bedrock.) The water table is very high—like six inches below the surface—so if you are going to tunnel here, you'll probably need to line your tunnel with concrete and pump out a lot of water as you do. A finished tunnel is probably also going to require continuous pumping. What happens to this water?

I think I found a processing system for the pump water, which you see in the album. I theorize that what is pumped out of the hole goes into a settling tank, is filtered a bit and then is released into a storm drain, probably consistent with environmental regulations. (Have appropriate environmental reports been filed?) The really big pipes suggest a facility that can process a LOT of pump water, but there seemed to be only a relative trickle being processed at the moment. Clear-looking water was flowing into the settling tank through a small three-inch pipe, and a comparable amount of water seemed to be flowing into a storm drain near the entry gate. I don't know if this was pump water or perhaps flushing water from an interior tank.

I didn't see any signs of recent changes in the facilities. I previously obtained top secret satellite images from the Google spy agency, and everything I saw on the ground was consistent with them (i.e. no significant changes between the time the images were taken and today). What I saw was also consistent with the descriptions in the Post four years ago. The project is STILL THERE, although the article suggested that it would be done by now.

As I left the facility and headed back to the Jefferson Memorial, I did a survey of something else that might be associated with digging: subsidence. If land was collapsing around the facility, that might suggest action underground.

Subsidence? Is there ever! ALL the land between the facility and the Memorial seems to be sinking, probably much worse than Venice, Italy. (You'll see it clearly in my photos.) The trouble is I have no evidence that it's been sinking recently. Since the whole area was built on crappy fill, the walkways and seawalls are a mess. One section of seawall near the Jefferson Memorial, originally about 3 feet above water, had sunk virtually to water level.

I asked a Park Ranger in the Memorial about it, using the clever cover story that I was a civil engineering fan who was just fascinated by seawalls. He assured me that the land had been sinking for decades, and he didn't think it had been sinking any faster in the past five years. He showed me a map of where the Tidal Basin had been filled in during construction of the Memorial in the 1930s, and sure enough, the portions of the seawall that have sunk roughly correspond to the areas that were filled in.

Then I came out of the closet, and asked him about that secret facility over yon. What was it for? Of course, he's working for the government (the sinister Ministry of the Interior), so I didn't expect a straight answer, but I got one anyway. He said it was a project of Homeland Security to allow the scanning of freight cars entering the capital. That threw me for a minute.The location might seem perfect for it, since this is the entry point for a rail line into Washington, but I didn't buy it. There is no direct connection between the facility and the railroad tracks. If you wanted to scan rail cars, you'd do it from a structure immediately adjacent to the tracks. Further probing revealed that this was merely his own theory about what the facility is for. In fact, he didn't know.

So what is the Navy digging for? I haven't a clue. Based on my political leanings, I can speculate that it's a crackpot terrorist defense scheme cooked up in the days immediately following 9-11 when terrorists seemed capable of anything, but I really don't know.

I think I covered just about everything I could from the field in 45 minutes. I've done the groundwork, and now I encourage others to do that Googling thing you do where you don't actually leave your home. For example, tell me about those contractors mentioned in the Post article.

If someone has more questions about the facility on the ground, perhaps I can answer them or maybe even go back there for a second look.

—Glenn Campbell

Thursday, April 9, 2009

L.A. Times: The Road to Area 51

This article appears in the Los Angeles Times a few days ago (April 5)...

Area 51. It's the most famous military institution in the world that doesn't officially exist. If it did, it would be found about 100 miles outside Las Vegas in Nevada's high desert, tucked between an Air Force base and an abandoned nuclear testing ground. Then again, maybe not— the U.S. government refuses to say. You can't drive anywhere close to it, and until recently, the airspace overhead was restricted—all the way to outer space. Any mention of Area 51 gets redacted from official documents, even those that have been declassified for decades.

It has become the holy grail for conspiracy theorists, with UFOlogists positing that the Pentagon reverse engineers flying saucers and keeps extraterrestrial beings stored in freezers. Urban legend has it that Area 51 is connected by underground tunnels and trains to other secret facilities around the country. In 2001, Katie Couric told Today Show audiences that 7 percent of Americans doubt the moon landing happened—that it was staged in the Nevada desert. Millions of X-Files fans believe the truth may be "out there," but more likely it's concealed inside Area 51's Strangelove-esque hangars—buildings that, though confirmed by Google Earth, the government refuses to acknowledge.

The problem is the myths of Area 51 are hard to dispute if no one can speak on the record about what actually happened there. Well, now, for the first time, someone is ready to talk—in fact, five men are, and their stories rival the most outrageous of rumors.
But alas, no UFOs! (Don't give up faith, guys!)