Today - For Oct. 10, 1998
media rapped at UFO conference
By Billy Cox
Fla. - Although NASA made an easy target during Friday afternoon's opening session of the
Space Coast UFO Conference at the Hilton, the most rousing applause erupted after a swipe
at the news media.
listeners gathered for an event billed as the NASA Forum, which - for the first time,
ccording to conference sponsors - featured a space agency representative, Thomas
researcher/author Stanton Friedman scored a crowd pleaser when he charged, during the
question-and-answer session, "If any newspaper spent one-fifth of what they've spent
(investigating) Monica Lewinsky, we'd have the answers to flying saucers."
ago, Friedman, a nuclear physicist whose contracts included classified projects, was the
first to investigate the 1947 accounts of a controversial crash in the New Mexico desert.
Now popularized as the Roswell Incident, that event has become what Friedman contends was
the beginning of a "Cosmic Watergate" engineered by the military and
civilian intelligence machinery.
But with a NASA
rep sitting at his elbow, Friedman couldn't resist venting some frustration at the space
agency - "we don't have a project, we don't have goals" - and he wondered what
happened to the UFO data supposedly collected by NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory
Committee for Aeronautics.
Smith, a space
station and human exploration specialist, preferred to talk about NASA's more conventional
history and a discussion of upcoming projects. He described himself as a "sympathetic
nonbeliever" who wasn't here "to deliver any kind of revelation. It would be
fine. It would also be career limiting," he added, provoking laughter.
Vincent DiPietro also had a major bone to pick with NASA. A senior systems engineer
employed as a contractor at Goddard Space Flight Center for 23 years, DiPietro was the
first to study enigmatic Martian surface features photographed during the 1976 Viking
September Space News report on the growing number of planetary scientists disgruntled over
the slow release of photo data from the ongoing Mars Global Surveyor project, DiPietro
suggested compelling new images were being consciously withheld.
criticized MGS camera operator Michael Malin, whose contract gives him a six-month
proprietary embargo on the images. He said other scientists reported Malin had taken
numerous pictures of the so-called Face on Mars, other than the single one released to
NASA in April that appeared to reflect natural terrain rather than artificial features.
leads me to believe we are not getting all the facts from Malin Enterprises,"
But not all the
barbs came from the panelists; the audience took their shots, too.
One man asked
Smith a question he said he couldn't get NASA Administrator Dan Goldin to answer several
years ago during a public forum: "When (are you) going to tell the public about the
UFO presence?" The perplexed Smith replied, "The next time I play golf with him,
I'll ask him."
exasperated audience member wondered where the space agency's curiosity was when it came
to UFOs, given the level of public interest. "I've never heard a NASA official say,
'Y'know, this is interesting." '
the problem was with "ancient academics and fossilized physicists" and "a
failure of leadership."
guts to say, 'I don't know' or, 'that's interesting,' as you suggest."
The Space Coast
UFO Conference, sponsored by Project Awareness of Gulf Breeze, continues its lineup of
speakers and workshops today and Sunday.