Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Camouflage Through Limited Disclosure

In the October 2007 issue of Fortean Times, I published a review of Randy Koppang’s book, Camouflage Through Limited Disclosure:  Deconstructing a Cover-up of the Extraterrestrial Presence (Book Tree, 2006).  Due to space restrictions, the review had to be edited severely.  I’ve always wanted to see the complete review in print, so I decided to post it here.

On February 10, 2007, at the Conscious Life Expo (held annually at the LAX Hilton Hotel), I met Richard Hoagland, author of The Monuments of Mars and Dark Mission:  The Secret History of NASA, and heard him tell the standing-room-only audience that Camouflage Through Limited Disclosure was (and this is an exact quote) “the most important exopolitical critique of the UFO subject to date I’ve read in decades.” 

Months later, the book was praised by no less an authority than Richard Dolan, author of the excellent book UFOs and the National Security State.  Dolan said, in part, “Koppang takes on issues most UFO researchers avoid... going beyond simple black and white arguments.”

I happen to know that Koppang is hard at work on a follow-up book (a voluminous tome) that’s going to blow quite a few minds when it’s published.  It will definitely turn your conception of UFOlogy upside down and inside-out.  Keep your eyes peeled for it.

Here’s what I wrote about Koppang’s first book back in 2007: 


Author:  Randy Koppang
Publisher:  Book Tree
Price:  $15.95 (US)/£8.95 (UK)
Isbn:  978-1-58509-110-2

Since the birth of the UFO phenomenon sixty years ago when pilot Kenneth Arnold first coined the phrase “flying saucer” upon witnessing strange aerial craft hovering over Mt. Rainier in Washington State way back in 1947, numerous authors have published books that attempt to peel back the lid of secrecy on this taboo subject and reveal the inner workings of the government cover-up.  Randy Koppang’s new book, Camouflage Through Limited Disclosure, differs from almost all of them in one crucial respect:  it does not miss the main point.  There is no government cover-up of the UFO phenomenon.

Is Koppang’s book written from a skeptical point of view, like one of those many pseudo-academic tomes published by Prometheus Books’ stable of Skeptical Inquirer authors that attempt to explain away every anomalous phenomenon that has ever occurred as mass hysteria or errant swamp gas?  No, it’s not.  It’s written from the point of view of somebody who has studied the most basic tools of behavioral psychology and Madison Avenue mind-manipulation techniques to understand that the most effective cover-up is the one that doesn’t exist.

Consider the lesson of Edgar Allan Poe.  In 1841 Poe created the very first literary detective, Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin, in his celebrated short story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.”  Fifty years later this story will inspire Arthur Conan Doyle to create the most famous literary detective of all time, Sherlock Holmes.  In 1844 Poe writes a sequel to “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” titled “The Purloined Letter” in which Dupin outsmarts the Prefect of the Parisian Police by doing what the Prefect cannot:  retrieve a most incriminating letter that has been stolen from a member of the royal family.  The entire police department has searched the room of the thief and come up empty-handed.  It takes Dupin to point out the obvious to the Prefect:  this entire time the envelope they’re searching for has been sitting safely in the letter holder perched on the mantle piece, hidden in plain view.

In Philip J. Corso’s 1997 book, The Day After Roswell, a memoir detailing his involvement with the aftermath of the infamous UFO crash at Roswell, the retired Army Colonel discusses the method his superiors decided to employ in order to most effectively distract public attention away from the UFO topic (a topic that consistently appeared emblazoned in the headlines in almost every major newspaper, almost every single day, during the late 1940s and early 1950s).  It’s a method still used to this day—to this very second, in fact—and Corso sums it up in a single sentence:  “The cover-up is the disclosure and the disclosure is the cover-up.” 

Back in 2001 and 2002 I published a two-part article in the pages of Paranoia Magazine (Issues 28 and 29) titled “Science Fiction As Manipulation:  SF’s Intersection with the Intelligence Community” in which I delineated the intimate link between various intelligence agencies and the field of science fiction going all the way back to the 1890s.  In the second part of that article I briefly mentioned the vast number of documented military and intelligence agents who were involved in the flood of science fiction B-films that poured out of Hollywood beginning in 1951.  In his book Corso claims that his military team influenced from behind the scenes the production of such films as The Man From Planet X (United Artists, 1951), the first movie to feature the alien-from-outer-space meme.  “This was called camouflage through limited disclosure,” Corso writes, “and it worked.  If people could enjoy it as entertainment, get duly frightened, and follow trails to nowhere that the working group had planted, then they’d be less likely to stumble over what we were really doing.” 

Koppang takes his cue from Corso and applies this principle to the various “limited disclosures” we’ve seen leak out of the military and the media (is there a difference?) over the past six decades.  The book is divided into three sections.  Part One, simply titled “Overview,” is among the most dense and keenly observed analyses of the current state of the UFO field I’ve ever read.  Koppang demonstrates that the UFO issue is the missing piece of the puzzle in any mainstream analysis of world affairs.  For sixty years the UFO subject has been the proverbial elephant in the room, and the purpose of this book is not only to admit that the elephant exists, but to explain how it got there in the first place and where it’s headed from here.  After all, an elephant can’t just stand there unseen in the middle of the room forever, can it?  In only 66 pages Koppang illustrates in this “Overview” how politics, psychology, media studies, and the transgressive UFO subject are all converging to form a post-postmodern field of exopolitics, a proscenium arch under which the entire theatre of geopolitics is now being enacted. 

After the neophyte student of UFOlogy has managed to plow through a curriculum of increasingly more in-depth fare like Timothy Good’s Above Top Secret, Richard Dolan’s UFOs and the National Security State, and Paul Hill’s Unconventional Flying Objects (in that order), Koppang’s “Overview” is the perfect post-graduate text to be assigned to the most dedicated student of the UFO conundrum.

In Part Two of this book, Koppang offers a brief but illuminating interview with Melinda Leslie, one of the best kept secrets in the UFO field.  Leslie claims to be an alien abductee who, following her various close encounters, has been repeatedly reabducted by military-style commandos and interrogated by them with cavalier interrogation techniques that sound suspiciously similar to those used by private corporations such as Blackwater, the company responsible for the illegal interrogation of suspected terrorists in Abu Ghraib and other concentration-camp-style prisons in the Middle East.  After reading Leslie’s highly convincing testimony, which does not lack corroborating evidence, one wonders if Blackwater has been contracted to handle interrogations of a different kind on top of their rather lucrative deal in the Middle East.

Part Three, titled “Ace in the Hole,” is devoted to Koppang’s transcription of testimony far more obscure than even Melinda Leslie’s:  that of a former Marine Corps fighter pilot named Bill Uhouse who claims to have played a formative role in perfecting anti-gravity technology back-engineered from recovered extraterrestrial spacecraft.  Uhouse’s plain spoken, non-sensational reportage gives his testimony a ring of truth lacking in those who claim to be insiders while actively seeking the spotlight of media attention.  Uhouse’s disclosure of this Unacknowledged Special Access Project was so “limited” as to be almost nonexistent.  If not for Koppang going out of his way to hunt down this information and transcribe it, the public wouldn’t even know it existed.

In this relatively short but comprehensive analysis of the cover-up that doesn’t exist, Koppang never once takes his eye off the envelope sitting on the mantle for everybody to see, if only they were willing to open their eyes. 

To order Camouflage Through Limited Disclosure, visit the publisher’s website.


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