Il n'y a pas de commentaires associés a cet article. Vous pouvez réagir.
Notre idée de départ est qu’aujourd’hui, la principale, — et même, la seule force “organisée” aux USA est le complexe militaro-industriel. (Il existe certes une puissance générale qu’on nomme corporate power mais il s’agit plus d’une structure générale, avec ses processus et ses acteurs divers, — circuits d’argent, d’influence, lobbying, etc, ; le complexe, lui, est organisé, identifié précisément, il constitue une structure cohérente à l’intérieur du corporate power, et la seule avec des liens extrêmement forts, quasiment structurels et certainement fonctionnels, avec la structure de sécurité nationale qui est le bras armé du pouvoir.)
• Nous utilisons le terme “organisée” pour le complexe dans son sens le plus fort. Nous entendons, par son emploi, caractériser une force consciente de sa puissance, de ses composants, de ses buts et de son ambition générale, et, au-delà, de son organisation elle-même.
• Nous désignons le complexe sous ses initiales CMI tout en reconnaissant que les composants ont varié et changé depuis l’origine, — et c’est d’ailleurs un des points que nous entendons mettre en évidence dans cette présentation. Ce fut d’abord un complexe scientifico-industriel, c’est aujourd’hui le complexe militaro-industriel-communicationnel. Par “communicationnel” (d’autres, comme William Pfaff, ont utilisé le terme entertainment), on désigne toutes les activités de communication utilisant l’image au propre et au figuré, ou le concept, — bref, tout ce qui offre un formatage de la pensée et écarte l’approche des composants de la réalité qui permettent d’habitude de former sa propre pensée pour procurer un cadre d’évaluation du réel. Dans tous les cas, dans le CMI sous toutes ses formes il y a une dimension politique (politicienne) constante, qui va de soi. Les initiales CMI sont utilisées pour la facilité du propos.
Nous présentons deux textes qui nous permettent de mieux comprendre les origines du CMI. Ces textes présentent des faits et restituent une “atmosphère”, un “état d’esprit”. Les deux éléments sont essentiels, aucun ne doit le céder à l’autre, l’un sera mieux compris, voire renforcé en fonction de l’autre et ainsi de suite.
Cette information et cette documentation sur le CMI sont aujourd’hui essentielles, parce que ce regroupement est effectivement la force qu’on décrit, — la seule force organisée, d’une puissance considérable, dans un système (le système américaniste) entré dans un processus accéléré qui est jugé comme une transformation (tiens, le mot favori de Rumsfeld) par l’observateur qui se veut objectif et qui est peut-être intéressé ; qui est jugé également, peut-être et même sans doute selon l’analyse que nous en faisons, comme un processus de décomposition. C’est une force évidemment à prétention et à dimension internationaliste et globalisante, ou “américaniste” si l’on veut, dont le but est la déstructuration des structures en place ; pour les remplacer par quoi ? La réponse est en général assez vague, impliquant la croyance probable que le processus même de déstructuration engendrera une structure nouvelle, une “structure déstructurée” si l’on veut, qui sera elle-même la réponse. C’est un processus basé à la fois sur une croyance générale fervente mais assez vague pour ce qui concerne les moyens, et spécifiquement nihiliste quant à ses fins.
[Nota Bene : dans les deux cas, ces deux textes sont présentés avec la mention restrictive suivante : “Notre recommandation est que ce texte doit être lu avec la mention classique à l'esprit, — “Disclaimer: In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.”
Les deux textes sont les suivants :
• Une interview de Nick Cook, journaliste de Jane’s Defence Weekly, publié sur le site Atlantic.com, à propos de son livre The Hunt for Zero Point, publié chez Broadway Books.
Selon l’intervieweur : « For his work at Jane's, Nick Cook has received the Royal Aeronautical Society's Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award four times, in the Defence, Business, Technology, and Propulsion categories. He also writes for The Financial Times, The London Times and often comments on defense and security for the BBC and CNN. »
• Un extrait du livre City of Quartz de Mike Davis paru en 1992 chez Vintage, traduction française (même titre) à La Découverte.
Nick Cook a écrit The Hunt for Zero Point (que nous n’avons pas lu), dont il s’entretient avec Frank Budes, de Atlantic Monthly. Le sujet du livre de Cook est le “monde black” du Pentagone, c’est-à-dire tout ce qui fait partie des black programs : ces programmes protégés par le secret, dont l’accès n’est autorisé qu’à 1% des parlementaires US (les chefs des deux partis, les présidents de certaines commissions, etc), et encore d’une manière très peu documentée. Les black programs sont des programmes militaires “protégés”, dont certains deviennent en partie “ouverts” lorsqu’ils passent au stade opérationnel (la stealth technology est le plus célèbre de ces programmes black devenus opérationnels). Les black programs atteignent des budgets considérables, couverts eux aussi par le secret, et ainsi protégés de l’attention critique du Congrès. Dans les années Reagan, qui virent leur prolifération, ils dépassèrent les $30 milliards (annuels), jusqu’à un peu plus de $34 milliards en 1984. Après un très fort recul du à la fin de la Guerre froide, ils sont à nouveau en forte expansion : $16,2 milliards en 2001, $20,3 milliards en 2002, ce qui constitue le budget d’un État militairement important (pour comparaison : le budget militaire de l’Inde est de $15,9 milliards, celui de l’Allemagne de $23,3 milliards).
A l’intérieur du “monde black”, Cook s’attache à un programme général qui est aussi un mythe : les recherches sur l’anti-gravité. Ce n’est pas tant ce thème qui nous paraît intéressant que les détails que donne Cook sur certains aspects du CMI, à l’occasion de ses recherches sur l’anti-gravité. En effet, les recherches sur l’anti-gravité ont pris un essor important dans les bureaux de recherche de l’Allemagne nazie, qui était contrôlée par la SS, sous la direction du général Hans Kammler, lequel fut également l’organisateur des camps d’extermination. Kammler fut capturé par les Américains dans le cadre d’une énorme opération de récupération des savants et scientifiques nazis (Opération Paperclip). Kammler disparut peu après sa capture et aucune trace de lui ne subsiste dans les National Archives US, ce qui indique, comme le pense Cook, qu’il s’agit d’un dossier redlined (dossier supprimé des archives sur l’intervention d’un service de sécurité nationale).
L’intérêt des recherches de Cook est qu’il a mis en évidence une organisation secrète au coeur du CMI, dans le monde des black programs, qui semble inspirée de l’organisation scientifique de la SS. Quoique parlant très prudemment de ce sujet extrêmement délicat, Cook laisse entendre qu’il y a là une réalité extrêmement inquiétante. Voici quelques extraits sur cette question :
« ...we know the size and scope of Operation Paperclip, which was huge. And we know that the U.S. operates a very deeply secret defense architecture for secret-weapons programs that we know as the black world. It is a highly compartmentalized system and one of the things that's intrigued me over the years is, How did they develop that? What model did they base it on?
» It is remarkably similar to the system that was operated by the Germans —specifically the SS — for their top-secret weapons programs during the Second World War. Now, did someone, Hans Kammler or anyone else, provide that model lock, stock, and barrel to the U.S. government at the end of the war? I don't know the answer to that, but given the massive recruitment that went on under Paperclip, and given what we see in the black world, it might not be unreasonable to ask those questions. [...]
» I'm not for a second saying that there is direct linkage there. What I do mean is that if you follow the trail of Nazi scientists and engineers who were recruited by America at the end of the Second World War, the unfortunate corollary is that by taking on the science, you take on—unwittingly—some of the ideology. The science comes over tainted with something else. And that something else you have to be very careful of. It carries unpleasant side effects with it, in that if you're not careful, you lose sight of what it is you're protecting. What you're ultimately trying to protect is U.S. national interest and U.S. security. But not at any cost. I think that's the point that many people make who've brushed up against the black world and found their human rights violated by it. Not many have, but certainly some have. Those people question whether that unswerving loyalty to protecting high technology was worth it. What do you lose along the way? You lose some democracy, perhaps. »
On comprend combien ce sujet apparaît troublant, et qu’il l’est d’autant plus si on le considère à la lumière des événements courants, où le CMI ne cesse de prendre ses aises et où l’on voit certaines de ses entreprises et certains de ses hommes prendre une dimension idéologique très marquée.
...C’est un sujet d’autant plus troublant si on y ajoute d’autres lumières. Nous avons choisi celle de Mike Davis, talentueux et original sociologue de la ville de Los Angeles.
Davis a étudié la structure sociologique, professionnelle, idéologique et mythique de Los Angeles, ville tentaculaire, complètement artificielle, archétypique du monde californien qui est un monde américaniste poussé à son extrême (un monde américaniste reborn en un sens). On trouve à Los Angeles des éléments fondamentaux de diverses activités qui sont fondatrices du mythe américaniste moderne, et qui alimentent directement la puissance de domination et d’influence de l’Amérique, — dans les domaines industriel, technolofique et culturel ; on veut parler évidemment de centres tels que le cinéma, l’industrie aéronautique, la technologie de l’informatique.
Nous proposons, après l’interview de Cook, la lecture d’un chapitre de City of Quartz, qui concerne notamment la fondation à la fois matérielle et mythique du CMI en Californie du Sud, dans les années 1935-36. On aura à l’esprit plusieurs caractéristiques de cette fondation:
• Elle se fait alors que le pays est encore au coeur de la Grande Dépression, et conscient de se trouver devant un danger mortel, et le développement de ce qui deviendra le CMI est perçu comme une riposte à ce danger.
• Elle se fait complètement en dehors des structures du gouvernement, et même contre ses structures dans la mesure où celles-ci sont identifiées à Roosevelt et au New Deal, tout cela qualifié de “socialiste” alors que le soutien politique du CMI en formation est nettement républicain de droite. L’élément du gouvernement du CMI, l’armée, n’entrera en scène qu’au début des années 1940, avec la guerre.
Ce que nous montre ce chapitre de City of Quartz, c’est combien le CMI fut marqué, outre ses aspects matériels, industriels, financiers et politiques, par des dimensions nettement idéologiques, mystiques, voire ésotériques. Les promoteurs de cette entreprise professaient une croyance en la puissance de la science et de la science appliquée (industrie et surtout technologie), qui était également caractétisée par une dimension suprémaciste (plus que raciste) : la notion de supériorité des “races nordiques”. D’autre part, il y a les accointances de cette entreprise avec le milieu général de Los Angeles, que ce soit le cinéma, que ce soit, surtout, certaines tendances spiritualistes et ésotériques qui trouveraient leur relais dans l’Église de Scientologie de 1952 (très populaire dans le cinéma US, comme on le voit aujourd’hui avec l’affiliation scientologique d’acteurs tels que Tom Cruise et John Travolta).
On comprend combien ce “tableau” général, le “climat” qu’il restitue, sont évidemment complémentaires des hypothèses plus industrielles et strictement militaires sur lesquelles a travaillé Cook. Le modéle de la SS duquel le monde des “black programs” s’est inspiré avait évidemment une orientation suprématiste et des accointances ésotériques, tout comme le nazisme en général.
By Frank Bures, 5 September 2002, The Atlantic Monthly
Black projects? Nazi weapons programs? Antigravity? UFOs? A lot of people are going to read the dust jacket of your book and think you've fallen out of your tree. What's the reception been?
The response to the UK edition has been remarkably good. The really pleasing thing has been the reaction of people within the aerospace business. Everything in this book had to pass muster with me, through a set of criteria that I would apply to any Jane's story. I've read a lot of conspiracy-based books—UFO treatises and heaven knows what—none of which satisfied my professional curiosity. I realized that to go that extra mile, I was going to have to be rigorous in my research. And if what I found didn't match my own criteria, I wasn't going to put it down on the page. Consequently, there's reams of stuff I left out because it didn't match up to the professional standards that I, as a Jane's-trained journalist, had come to expect in other stories.
The subject has been kind of a poison pill in the past, hasn't it?
Yes, I guess so. People were begging me, urging me, not to get involved in this story. But in the end I couldn't ignore the evidence that I was uncovering and that was being presented to me. You can only stare at evidence so long before it starts to pull you in. I was really dragged reluctantly, kicking and screaming, into the story, as you can see from the book.
I found the evidence overwhelming that something—and I stress something—is going on. I don't reach any definitive, Holy Grail conclusions about antigravity beyond the fact that there are people out there who are regularly practicing it. People have asked me, ''Well, do you know that the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. military have this squirreled away somewhere and are developing hardware?'' No, I don't. And I don't dress up The Hunt for Zero Point in that way. Where I do have evidence I present it. For example, I think the evidence of what the Germans were doing during the Second World War is overwhelming. But I don't make any bold claims for what the U.S. is doing, simply because I don't have the evidence for it. Also, I think my experience in covering aerospace programs has been beneficial, in that I'm able to extrapolate a little. And where I do extrapolate in the book, I make it clear that it is my own extrapolation.
For instance, based on what we know of black program activity in the States, based on what we know the black budget is worth, and based on what I know the U.S. Air Force is capable of in terms of turning vision into reality, I extrapolate that it is not unreasonable to think that they have taken antigravity technology, which has been around for fifty years, and put it to some use.
Throughout the book, one of the themes seems to be how your world gradually splits into a white world, where everything is open and aboveboard and accessible—the one you report on for Jane's—and a black one that you can just make out the shape of, and that swallows billions of dollars developing experimental technologies, but that slips away whenever you get close. What can you tell us about this black world?
You're right in that most of my reporting for Jane's is on the white world. That's the visible and accessible side of the U.S. aerospace and defense industry. On the other hand, I have made extensive investigations into the black world as well—that world in which America develops systems it doesn't want anyone else to know about. What really got me into it was one of the most significant aerospace and defense technologies to come out of the black world in living memory—and that's stealth. Stealth is a technology that I was forced to investigate, along with many of my colleagues, because it became the most dominant military aerospace technology of the past two decades. And in investigating stealth I and, I stress, my colleagues became exposed to other black-world technologies, some of which are detailed in the book.
A very small proportion of the reporting was deep throat, cloak-and-dagger activity. Much of it was simply going to people who had worked on stealth programs and were now free to talk about them. Through that kind of exposure, you do get a very good idea of what goes on inside the black world and of its worth. It has a vast and sprawling architecture funded by tens of billions of classified dollars every year. The height of its powers was probably in the Reagan era. But it has not stopped since then. In fact, under the Bush Administration it is having something of a resurgence. So the black world is real, it's there.
In The Hunt for Zero Point you wrote that, ''Like an unsinkable ship, the black world had been built up around multiple, layered compartments, each securely sealed. Some of these compartments, it is now clear, had been designed never to be opened again. Ever.'' Why ever?
There are some technologies, I think, that are so significant merely in the ideas behind them that to allow those ideas to percolate into the wider world would give other people those same ideas about developing real hardware. And part of the trick behind really advanced technology is sometimes to not even let your enemies know you've got the idea in the first place. Stealth technology is a primary example of that. But if you go back even further and think about the atomic bomb, that was another one.
During the Second World War, when it became clear that an atomic bomb was feasible, the U.S. scientific community voluntarily purged official documentation of all references to the potential of fission. Sometimes, born of radical science, you can get radical weapons systems that most people haven't even thought of.
In your experience, just how black are these programs? Don't they have to be reported to certain U.S. Congress members?
Well, the black world has opened up. There are reporting mechanisms designed to keep Congress, or certain very highly cleared members of Congress, aware of what is happening in the black world. However, having said that, there are degrees of black, and at the blackest, there are undoubtedly programs that are not cleared by Congress, again for the very reasons that I have just discussed.
For the TV program Billion Dollar Secret I interviewed a congressman called Dana Rohrabacher, who was the chair of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee and of the House Science Committee. Now, he was convinced that the U.S. military had developed an aircraft like the one referred to in the book as Aurora, which is a hypersonic, very fast spy-plane prototype. But he said that his efforts to get any information on that program, if indeed it exists, were constantly frustrated. And he's an influential member of the science panel in Congress.
You went from thinking the existence of antigravity technology was ''sheer fantasy'' to saying there is ''clear evidence'' of it. What changed your mind?
Well, it was a gradual transition. But it was a combination of things, really. The whole black world that we've discussed was the place where those sorts of technologies could come together, for a start. Secondly, the documented progress that was being made on certain physics problems in the antigravity field. In the book I go into the Podkletnov case, this Russian scientist who is able to generate a reduction in the weight of objects that he puts above rapidly rotating superconductors. Now, Podkletnov is undeniably generating a weight reduction. And he's doing it on a shoestring. So that was another nail in the coffin for me. And thirdly, by going back in history to a period where research was unfettered—seeing what the Nazis were doing in the science field when they had absolutely no restraints on them. The SS in particular had a pretty much unrestrained budget. They documented what they did, and uncovering that documentation allowed me to see that this research into antigravity technology was not a recent phenomenon, but had been going on for quite some time.
So it was a combination of those things. The history—the fact that it had been going on a long time ago—mirrored in a real sense by what people are doing on a shoestring today. Couple that with what is potentially achievable in the black world, and you start to see that the potential payoff for this research is enormous. For payoff, you go to people like Hal Puthoff, a very respected scientist in the field, and say, ''All right Hal, gaze into your crystal ball and tell me what you think might be achievable.'' And the guy says, ''There's enough energy in your coffee cup to evaporate the world's oceans many times over.'' Now, I'm a hard-bitten defense reporter, but that gets my attention.
So the other side of the antigravity coin seems to be ''zero-point energy,'' this energy that exists in the quantum vacuum—a kind of subatomic froth that may even give electrons their charge. Some scientists say the amount of energy we're talking about here is a lot. Some say it's a little. Where do you come down on that?
Puthoff's theories lead him to the belief that the zero-point field is not simply a vast sea of untapped energy, but that it is also responsible for some of the underpinnings of physics—things like gravity and inertia, for example. Certainly that seems to be borne out by more and more experimentation—and more and more people are coming round to that point of view.
Anybody recently who's come around to that?
NASA's breakthrough propulsion physics program is interesting, in that here is a mainstream body—you can't get much more mainstream or respectable than NASA—which is funding experiments into breakthrough propulsion physics, one of which is Podkletnov's claim that you can get an object to lose some of its weight by suspending it above rotating superconductors.
Going back to the weapons that are too dangerous to be let out, do you think that zero-point energy could possibly be one of those technologies? What kind of explosive could result from it? I'm just thinking of the Canadian researcher John Hutchison and the things he was doing.
Hutchison is interesting, He's not a trained scientist. He's not an academic. He's just one of these guys who has an intuitive feel for electricity in particular, and other aspects of physics. He puts bits of machinery together. He tunes them. He adapts them. And from those pieces of machinery he's able to transmute metals—steel into lead, or lead into steel. But he doesn't understand how he's doing it. He feels intuitively that he's pulling these effects from the zero-point field. Now, normally to transmute a metal, you need about the same amount of energy as you get out of a low-yield nuclear weapon. And Hutchison's doing that from his wall socket.
Those transmutations were documented by a Pentagon team. Now, I tend to sit up and listen when Pentagon evaluation experts are themselves paying attention to things like that. If somebody like Hutchison can do transmutations on a shoestring, that clearly is of concern—particularly as he doesn't fully understand how he's producing these very curious results. And I don't think anyone else does either. People are beginning to postulate that from the zero-point field—if we can call it a field—you could eventually get truly awesome weapons. People were saying similar kinds of things about fission in the late 1930s, and look where that got us.
One of the most gripping parts of your book is the description of ''Operation Paperclip''—the dismantling and retrieval of all known German technology, science, and related expertise at the end of World War II. You write that this ''state within a state had been transported four thousand miles to the west''—to the United States. When learning about today's black world, why is it important to go back and study Operation Paperclip?
Two things. First of all, we know the size and scope of Operation Paperclip, which was huge. And we know that the U.S. operates a very deeply secret defense architecture for secret-weapons programs that we know as the black world. It is a highly compartmentalized system and one of the things that's intrigued me over the years is, How did they develop that? What model did they base it on?
It is remarkably similar to the system that was operated by the Germans—specifically the SS—for their top-secret weapons programs during the Second World War. Now, did someone, Hans Kammler or anyone else, provide that model lock, stock, and barrel to the U.S. government at the end of the war? I don't know the answer to that, but given the massive recruitment that went on under Paperclip, and given what we see in the black world, it might not be unreasonable to ask those questions.
For those who haven't read the book, can you say briefly who Hans Kammler is?
He was an SS general who, by the end of the Second World War, was in charge of all of the Nazis' secret-weapons programs. He was an extremely powerful man. He was up to his neck in the Holocaust as well, and amongst his earlier responsibilities he had been one of the main architects of the death camps. Now, at the end of the Second World War, he disappeared. And from what little documentary history he left behind, we know that he was thinking of trading his war crimes for technology, which he wanted to give to the Americans in order to buy himself immunity. But his crimes were so heinous that immunity for someone like Kammler wouldn't be enough. He'd actually have to buy disappearance. So Kammler disappeared, and no one knows where he went.
What is remarkable about Kammler is that so few people know his name. And yet at the end of the Second World War, he was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany. He should have been tried in absentia at the Nuremberg war-crimes trials. But his name didn't even surface there, even though others who couldn't be found were tried in absentia.
So it's very strange, but his hold over the high-technology weapons—the wonder weapons, the Germans called them, these weapons that they thought would win them the war right at the last minute—his hold over those weapons at the end of the war was absolute. And in the book, we glimpse some of those weapons. Who knows what else was in his Pandora's box of technologies?
When I started the book I thought all this stuff about the Germans was mythology peddled by cranks and weirdoes and conspiracy nuts. But one of the most satisfying aspects of the research for me was going into modern day Germany, Austria, and the former Czechoslovakia and finding that, contrary to all my expectations, there actually is real, tangible evidence that what the Germans were doing in this field was true. That's not to say it's all true. But in some cases there is real documented evidence, evidence that I was able to look at: diaries I was able to touch and see, plans I was able to look at—original plans—for these devices.
Ones that A) generated an antigravity effect, and that B) were tapping into the zero-point field to produce energy. Even if you don't want to believe that that's what they were doing—generating an antigravity effect or a zero point energy effect—it's clear that the Germans themselves believed this stuff. And that they threw real money at these programs to get them to work.
That was the thing that really made me sit up and take note. The Germans, who aren't known as slouches in the engineering field, truly believed that by throwing money at these programs, they could get them to work. As an old skeptic, what I do is follow the money trail. And I followed the money trail in Nazi Germany just as I followed the money trail in the black world. At the end of that trail, you often come across a real program, a real piece of technology that, when you throw a brick at it, it goes clang. It's real.
The archivist at Modern Military Records in Maryland told you that Hans Kammler had been ''redlined.'' Can you explain what that means?
I made a lot of inquiries through her, and she found it extraordinary, given what I told her about Kammler—I had to tell her about Kammler—that there was absolutely nothing on him in the National Archive, given that just about everything he was doing should have been documented in the files somewhere. The fact that there was nothing on him was therefore highly suspicious, and in her view tended to support the theory that he'd been redlined. In other words, somebody had gone in and cleared out any meaningful documents on him.
You also write that the black world in America is a “low-grade reflection” of the system Kammler built to protect Nazi weapons research.
I'm not for a second saying that there is direct linkage there. What I do mean is that if you follow the trail of Nazi scientists and engineers who were recruited by America at the end of the Second World War, the unfortunate corollary is that by taking on the science, you take on—unwittingly—some of the ideology. The science comes over tainted with something else. And that something else you have to be very careful of. It carries unpleasant side effects with it, in that if you're not careful, you lose sight of what it is you're protecting. What you're ultimately trying to protect is U.S. national interest and U.S. security. But not at any cost. I think that's the point that many people make who've brushed up against the black world and found their human rights violated by it. Not many have, but certainly some have. Those people question whether that unswerving loyalty to protecting high technology was worth it. What do you lose along the way? You lose some democracy, perhaps.
Another thing I found interesting was your point that the Nazis had developed an entirely different approach to science, because they thought Einsteinian physics was ''Jewish science.'' What was different about the Nazi scientific culture?
I think a lot of things, but in simple terms, it was an extraordinary time. Basically, these people came to power in 1933 and by 1945 they were defeated. So there was this small window of time—twelve years—in which things were really turned on their heads in Germany. And during that period, science along with many other things developed in a kind of vacuum. They were certainly aware of things that were going on outside Germany. But inside Germany they often developed very different approaches to things. Certainly the approaches that they were using to develop the bomb were dissimilar to the techniques being used by the Americans. Whereas most of the rest of the world was absorbed by Einstein's views of relativity and a big-picture view of the universe, the Germans were very interested in quantum science, in quantum mechanics, and what was happening on a micro scale—on a subatomic scale. So you had two markedly different scientific cultures developing at the same time.
In the book you touch a bit on the sticky issue of UFOs. Do you think the UFOs people saw during and after the war are experimental military craft?
I'd hoped at the beginning of the book that I might be able to shed some light on what the UFO phenomenon is all about. But at the end of the book I say, Look, I don't have enough evidence to reach any firm conclusions on that subject. But all I can say is that, given that we know that the Germans—at least I know to my satisfaction, based on what I uncovered—were looking at disc-shaped aircraft during the Second World War and that there were various other programs looking into similar such fields, you can probably say that there are disk-shaped vehicles out there that have been developed in a prototype kind of sense, which may explain some sightings.
If the body of sightings is any kind of yardstick of whether UFOs are real, then some of those sightings, I think, could be explained by experimental military vehicles. But not all of them. At that point the trained skeptic in me says, enough, I'm not going to postulate on that. It's a swamp. It's a bottomless swamp, and I didn't want to get involved in it.
One of your conclusions was that the UFO obsession serves as kind of a cheap security measure to keep serious investigators from looking into black technologies. Is that right?
Yes, I think that's unquestionably true. Whether that's intentional or a neat bit of happenstance for the U.S. military, I don't know. There is certainly evidence that they have manipulated the phenomenon from time to time to obscure their very real developments. The CIA recently admitted that it had given UFO stories a spin from time to time in the fifties and sixties to hide what they were up to in the spy-plane field during that same time period.
Now, as a defense program, how do you think antigravity technology would change the face of warfare?
Well, in a number of basic ways. First of all, you don't need a propellant. It's a reactionless motor, so that would be immensely beneficial simply in terms of fuel consumption. But that's a very menial advantage, in a sense. I think the real potential is that if what you are doing is manipulating the forces of nature, you may get untold effects from that manipulation, effects that we can probably only guess at right now, but which would lead to ultra-fast flight, extraordinary maneuverability, and stealth—the ultimate stealth vehicle, if you like.
All the things that the military is really striving for may be possible through this technology, or though this field. And it is born of pure physics, which the military always loves. Pure physics gave rise to the bomb. Pure physics also gave rise to stealth. If you can crack the physics, a whole new world opens up to you. That is a very powerful and seductive idea. And the military loves those powerful and seductive ideas. But it's afraid of them as well, because if it can get a hold of them, other people can too.
In the epilogue you say there's been a change in the climate around issues like antigravity and zero-point energy. What has that change been?
I detect it in a lot of literature—newspapers, that sort of thing. But it's difficult to hang my hat on, really. I guess my experience that's come out of the writing of the book would bear this out as well, which is that at the beginning of this story, I go into it incredibly concerned about my reputation, worried that I, who am interested in solid aerospace and defense programs, should be drawn into this field, much against my will. But by the end of the story—and now—I can hardly believe I had all those concerns. It seems that in the ten years I've been researching the book, we have become much more willing to accept non-mainstream ideas, or ideas that a few years ago were considered taboo. People are asking the questions. That's the good thing. And as long as they keep asking the questions in this field, which is really what I'm trying to do, I think that's a positive development.
I think what is less than helpful is when people just dismiss these ideas out of hand, and by the same token accept them out of hand. At the moment, I'm trying to stick to a middle ground and ask the questions, because I think they deserve to be asked.
«If Southern California is to continue to meet the challenge of her environment ... her supreme need ... is for able, creative, highly endowed, highly trained men in science and its appplications.» (Robert Millikan)
«In the South of California has gathered the largest and most miscellaneous assortment of Messiahs, Sorcerers, Saints and Seers known to the history of aberrations.» (Farnsworth Crowder)
Not every Los Angeles intellectual of renown ended up behind a studio gate in the 1940s. Even adjusting for the relative exchange values of literary and scientific prestiges, the famed writers' stable at MGM was small cheese compared to the extraordinary concentration of Nobel laureates gathered around the recently founded California Institute of Technology in Pasadena from the mid 1920s onward. With a permanent or visiting faculty that included Einstein, Millikan, Michelson, von Karman, Oppenheimer, Dobzhansky, Pauling and Noyes, Cal Tech was the first institution in the West to claim national preeminence in a major science, physics. More importantly, Cal Tech was no mere ivory tower, but the dynamic nucleus of an emergent technostructure that held one of the keys to Southern California's future. While its aeronautics engineers tested airframe designs for Donald Douglas's DC-3 in their wind tunnel and its geologists solved technical problems for the California oil industry, other Cal Tech scientiste were in Pasadena's Arroyo Seco, above Devil's Gate Dam (where NASA's jet Propulsion Laboratory stands today), helping launch the space age with their pathbreaking rocket experiments. Cal Tech, together with the Department of Defense, substantially invented Southern California's postwar, science-based economy.
But Cal Tech itself was largely the invention of George Ellery Hale, pioneering astrophysicist and founder of the Mount Wilson Observatory. Smitten with Pasadena and its extraordinary concentration of retired, `surplus' wealth, Hale envisioned a vast scientific-cultural triangle around the Observatory (`already the greatest asset possessed by Southern California, not excluding the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce'), the Institute, and the Huntington Library (whose creation he also influenced). The indefatigable Hale (closely associated with the Carnegie interests) was also the chief catalyst in organizing the National Research Council in 1917 to support Woodrow Wilson's war mobilization. The NRC was the scientific-military-industrial complex in embryo, bringing together the nation's leading physical scientiste, the military's chief engineers, and the heads of science-based corporations like AT&T and GE. Moreover it was the model for the triangular regional collaboration that Hale wanted to establish 'around Cal Tech, and whose ultimate offshoot was the Los Angeles aerospace industry.
In order to realize this dream, Hale convinced one of his NRC colleagues, and America's leading physicist, Robert A. Millikan, to forsake his beloved Ulniversity of Chicago for the presidency of Cal Tech. A key factor in Millikan's recruitment was apparently a promise by Southern California Edison to provide him with a high-voltage laboratory for experi-ments in atomic physics. Hale and Millikan shared an almost fanatical belief in the partnership of science and big business. It was their policy that Cal Tech be allied to 'aristocracy and patronage' and shielded 'from meddling congressmen and other representatives of the people'.
Their chief apostle in mobilizing the local aristocracy was Edison director Henry M. Robinson, also president of the First National Bank and intimate of Herbert Hoover ('his Colonel House'). Robinson had personally advanced science in Southern California by applying Einstein's theories to capitalism in a little book entitled Relativity in Business Morals. (Critics suggested that Robinson had acquired experimental evidence for his treatise while participating in the great Julian Petroleum swindle of the 1920s.) With un-bounded enthusiasm for alloying physics and plutocracy, Robinson helped Millikan and Hale recruit more than sixty local millionaires (Mudd, Kerckhoff, O'Melveny, Patton, Chandler, and so on) into the California Institute Associates, the most comprehensive elite group of the era in Southern California.
In his role as Cal Tech's chief booster, Millikan increasingly became an ideologue for a specific vision of science in Southern California. Speaking typically to luncheon meetings at the elite California Club in Downtown Los Angeles, or to banquets for the Associates at the Huntington mansion, Millikan adumbrated two fundamental points. First, Southern California was a unique scientific frontier where industry and academic research were joining hands to solve such fundamental challenges as the long-distance transmission of power and the generation of energy from sunlight. Secondly, and even more importantly, Southern California 'is today, as was England two hundred years ago, the westernmost outpost of Nordic civilization', with the 'exceptional opportunity' of having 'a population which is twice as Anglo-Saxon as that existing in New York, Chicago or any of the great cities of this country.
Millikan's image of science and business reproducing Aryan supremacy on the shores of the Pacific undoubtedly warmed the hearts of his listeners, who like himself were conservative Taft-Hoover Republicans. An orthodox Social Darwinist, Millikan frequently invoked Herbert Spencer (the `great thinker') in his fulminations against socialism ('the coming slavery'), the New Deal (`political royalists'), Franklin Roosevelt (`Tammanyizing the United States'), and `statism' in general. In the face of breadlines, he boasted 'the common man ... is vastly better off here today in depressed America than he has ever been at any other epoch in society'. Yet, as private support for scientific research collapsed during the Depression years, Millikan reconciled his anti-statism with Cal Tech's financial needs by advocating military research as the one permissible arena where science and industry could accept federal partnership - an $80 million windfall to Cal Tech in the war years.
In an important sense, this utter reactionary, who was totally out of step with younger, more progressive scientific leaderships in places like Berkeley and Chicago, defined the parameters - illiberal, militarized and profit-driven - for the incorporation of science into the economy and culture of Southern California. Nowhere else in the country did there develop such a seamless continuum between the corporation, laboratory and classroom as in Los Angeles, where Cal Tech via continuums cloning and spinoff became the hub of a vast wherl of public-private research and development that eventually included the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Hughes Aircraft (the world center of airborne electronics), the Air Force's Space Technology Laboratory, Aerojet General (a spinoff of the latter), TRW, the Rand Institute, and so on.
But the rise of science in Southern California had stranger resonances as well. Just like Hollywood, that other exotic enclave, Cal Tech struck sparks as it scraped against the local bedrock of Midwestern fundamentalism. It was not unusual for Albert Einstein to be lecturing at Cal Tech on his photoelectric equation, while a few blocks away Aimée Semple McPherson was casting out the devil before her Pasadena congregation. At the height of the Scopes Trial controversy, and amid the efforts of the Bryan Bible League of California to make the King James Bible a required textbook in schools, Millikan - `to a great many people in Southern California (Babbitts and quacks included) the greatest man in the world' - intervened to reconcile God and Science. Millikan went on the stump as a `Christian scientist' proclaiming, via radio, a national lecture tour and a book, that there was 'no contradiction between real science and real religion'. The 'debunker' Morrow Mayo, disgusted by the capitulation of America's leading scientist to the fundamentalist backlash of the 1920s, described his performance as follows:
« When he got through with science and religion, they were so wrapped up in each other that a Philadelphia lawyer could never untangle them. The closest this great scientist ever came to a definite stand was a full gallop on a supernatural race-track running from Fundamentalism to theism, but his powers of occult observation would have done credit to any crystal-gazer in Los Angeles.... The whole thing was a conglomeration of metaphysical aphorisms and theological sophistry, suffused in a weird and ghostly atmosphere of obscurantism, with occasional and literal references to Santa Claus. »
At the same time that Millikan was trying to soothe evangelical ire with reassurances about Jesus, the electron and Santa Claus, Los Angeles's powerful 'New Thought' movement was avidly assimilating Einstein and Millikan to Nostradamus and Annie Besant as 'Masters of the Ages'. Con-temporary 'science', in the guise of astounding powers and arcane revelations, became the progenitor of an entire Southern California cult stratum. As Farnsworth Crowder explains the origin of 'good vibrations' in his 'Little Blue Book' classic, 'Los Angeles - The Heaven of Bunk-Shooters':
« Science is the first-assistant Messiah inspiring many a sect.... What psychology will not supply can be lifted from the physical sciences. Einstein, Michaelson,''.Millikan and company are unwitting contributors.. . . Whatever waves, oscillates, vibrates, pulses or surges contributes, by analogy, to the explanations of harmony, absent treatment, telepathy, magnetic healing, vibratory equilibrium, spiritualism or any other cloudy wonder. Surpassing are the powers of these scientific sects. One awed citizen referring to a busy group of vibrators cloistered in the hills, whispered, 'My lord, man! - they wouldn't dare release their secrets. The race isn't ready - not advanced enough. The world would go to pieces. It would be like giving everybody a handful of radium. Ignorant people would have too much power.' »
In Southern California physics and metaphysics continued to tub shoulders in a variety of weird circumstances. Crowder specifically had in mind those 'superscientists', the Rosicrucians and Theosophists, as well as more ephemeral sects (the Church of Psychic Science, the Metaphysical Science Association, and so on), who exploited the public's simultaneous' awe and mystification in the face of strange new disciplines like quantum mechanics and psychoanalysis. Before the emergence of a full-fledged, alternative `science fiction' milieu in the 1940s, and in the absence of any truly popular culture of science, they filled in the cracks between ignorance and invention, and mediated between science and theology. A more bizarre liaison, however, directly connected the oldest metaphysic, the Luciferian Magick or Black Art, to Cal Tech and the founders of the American Rocket State, and then, through an extraordinary ménage á trois, to the first world religion created by a science-fiction writer.
Cal Tech's connection with the emergence of Scientology can be briefly retold here (relying heavily on Russell Miller's account). Sometime during the 1930s one Wilfred Smith founded a Pasadena branch ('the Agape Lodge') of the Ordo Tem pli Orientis (OTO) - a German-origin brotherhood of magicians (and spies) that had corne under the spell of Aleister Crowley, the notorious Edwardian sorcerer and 'most hated man in England'. For several years the Agape Lodge quietly succored Satan and his 'Great Beast' (Crowley) with contributions, while secretly diverting Pasadenans with the amusements of sexual necromancy. Then, sometime in 1939, the Lodge fell under the patronage and leadership of John Parsons, a young L.A. aristocrat and pioneer of Cal Tech rocketry (later a founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory). During the day, Parsons worked at the Cal Tech labs or the Devil's Gate test range with the great Theodore von Karman, perfecting propellant systems for liquid-fuel rockets; at night, he returned to his mansion on Pasadena' s 'millionaires row' (South Orange Grove Avenue) to perform blasphemous rituals (with, for example, naked pregnant women leaping through fire circles) in his secret OTO `temple' under the long-distance direction of Crowley.
Aside from being a world-famous rocket pioneer and a secret wizard, Parsons was also a devoted science fiction fan who attended meetings of the Los Angeles Fantasy and Science Fiction Society to hear writers talk about their books. One day in August 1945, to Parsons's delight, a LAFSFS acquaintance showed up at the Orange Grove mansion with a young naval officer, Lt. Commander L. Ron Hubbard, who had already established a reputation as a master of sci-fi pulp. Captivated by Hubbard's `charm' and expressed desire to become a practitioner of Magick, Parsons welcomed him as house guest and sorcerer's apprentice. Hubbard reciprocated by sleeping with Parsons's mistress. Perturbed by this development, but not wishing to show open jealousy, Parsons instead embarked on a vast diabolical experiment, under Crowley's reluctant supervision, to call up a true `whore of Babylon' so that she and Parsons might procreate a literal Antichrist in Pasadena.
'With Prokofiev's Irolin Concerto playing in the background', Hubbard joined Parsons in the 'unspeakable' rites necessary to summon the 'scarlet woman', who, after many mysterious happenings (inexplicable power failures, occult lights, and so on), was found walking down South Orange. Grove Avenue in broad daylight. After Parsons seduced the young woman in question, Hubbard and Parsons's previous mistress ran off with the rocket scientist's money to Florida. There is no need to relate the ensuing complex chain of events, except to say that Parsons - the renowned explosives expert - managed to blow himself and his Orange Grove mansion skyhigh in June 1952. Debate still rages as to whether it was an accident, suicide or murder.
Hubbard, meanwhile, was ready to employ the occult dramaturgy and incantatory skills that he had imbibed in Parsons's OTO temple to more lucrative uses. Frustrated with the small-change earnings of a pulp sci-fi writer, he founded a pseudo-science, Dianetics, which he eventually trans-formed into a full-fledged religion, Scientology, with a cosmology derived from the pages of Astounding Science Fiction. Russell Miller, in his fascinating biographical debunking of the Hubbard myth, described the notorious Shrine Auditorium rally, at the height of the original Dianetics craze in 1950, when Hubbard introduced the world to his own equivalent of Parsons's 'scarlet woman':
« As the highlight of the evening approached, there was a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation in the packed hall. A hush descended on the audience when at last Hubbard stepped up to the microphone to introduce the 'world's first clear'. She was, he said, a young woman by the name of Sonya Bianca, a physics major and pianist from Boston. Among her many newly acquired attributes, he claimed she had 'full and perfect recall of every moment of her life', which she would be happy to demonstrate.
« 'What did you have for breakfast on 3 October 1942?' somebody yelled. . . . 'What's on page 122 of Dianetics?' ... someone else asked. Miss Bianca opened lier mouth but no words came out.... As people began getting up and walking out of the auditorium, one man noticed that Hubbard had momentarily turned his back on the girl and shouted, 'OK, what colour necktie is Mr Hubbard wearing?' The world's first 'clear' screwed up her face in a frantic effort to remember, stared into the hostile blackness of the auditorium, then hung lier head in misery. It was an awful moment. »
Despite this temporary setback, Hubbard went on to become filthy rich (and increasingly paranoid) from peddling his amalgam of black magic, psychotherapy and science fiction to gullible hippies in the 1960s. Five years after his death was nnounced to two thousand of his followers gathered in the Hollywood Palladium, Hubbard's original Dianetics was enjoying a resurrection on bestseller lists - a discouraging reminder of science's fate in local culture.