144/154 11 Jun 90 12:32:00 To: All Subj: Skeptics BBS Attr: The following series of messag

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144/154 11 Jun 90 12:32:00 From: Jim Speiser To: All Subj: Skeptics BBS Attr: ------------------------------------------------ The following series of messages originated on the Skeptic's BBS, ParaNet Alpha-Centauri. Due to the confusion of the recent past, the restructuring, etc., no mail is being received back from Alpha-Centauri, although they do seem to be getting all the message traffic. This situation will be cleared up ASAP, hopefully. In the meantime, just as I'd hoped, this BBS continues to provide ParaNet with some outstanding, balanced input. Our apologies to Rick Moen, the Bay Area Skeptics, and Phil Klass for the technical screw-up. Mr. Klass has provided us with a comprehensive rebuttal to the messages I posted insinuating that he had "scuttled" the UNL UFO conference of 1983. Some of the information he provides has never come out before, and I think it is incumbent upon ParaNet to investigate this incident further. I am requesting that our MUFONet affiliates provide copies of the three messages involving the UNL incident to Walt Andrus for comment. Thanks again to Rick for providing these messages to me in a private upload. Jim --- FD 1.99c * Origin: -==- ParaNet[sm] Zeta-Reticuli Scottsdale AZ (1:114/37) 145/154 11 Jun 90 12:33:00 From: Jim Speiser To: All Subj: Misc Attr: ------------------------------------------------ Msg #: 516 Security: 1 PARANET Subboard From: SYSOP Sent: 04-20-90 21:43 To: JIM SPEISER Rcvd: -NO- Re: (R)MISC > > > > Klass Acts: I finally saw the 1987 Omni > > article by Jerome Clark as a reprint in Schulz's > > "Fringes of Reason." I must say that I see no reason > > to believe any of Clark's scurrilous and unsupported > > attacks on CSICOP and Klass. --- John > > Apparently, John, you not only have seen nothing to support the > attacks, you have also seen positive evidence that they are untrue, > since you classify them as "scurrilous". Can you share your evidence > with us? Does Shulz defend Klass, and if so, how? > > Jim Jim -- I sent Klass a printout of recent ParaNet message traffic on this subject, and he had plenty to say about it. As soon as I have the time and energy to enter and upload some three pages of text, I will do so on this echo. Stay tuned! Yrs. Truly, Rick Moen, Secretary Bay Area Skeptics --- RBBSMail 17.3A * Origin: -==- ParaNet[sm] Zeta-Reticuli Scottsdale AZ (1:114/37) 146/154 11 Jun 90 12:33:00 From: Jim Speiser To: All Subj: Through a Klass, Darkly Attr: ------------------------------------------------ Msg #: 517 Security: 1 PARANET Subboard From: SYSOP Sent: 04-23-90 18:50 To: ALL Rcvd: 05-21-90 06:29 Re: THROUGH A KLASS, DARKLY Dear Folks: I sent Phil Klass a printout of recent ParaNet traffic concerning him, as I mentioned recently. Here's the text of his rejoinder. All text is as in the original (barring typing mistakes), except where I have had to replace underlining with other means of emphasis. ---------------- Dear Rick Moen: Although I should be smart and let "sleeping University of Nebraska dogs lie," in view of questions (and misinformation) raised in the recent Paranet material you sent, you are welcome to input the following into Paranet, if you have the patience to do so. MANY OF THESE DETAILS HAVE NEVER BEFORE BEEN MADE PUBLIC. I HAVE DOCUMENTATION TO SUPPORT ALL CLAIMS. In mid-1983, a concerned Nebraska high-school teacher (former APRO state official) sent me the advance program for an upcoming UFO symposium being _sponsored by_ the Univ. of Nebraska at Lincoln -- its _second_ such conference. As with the first conference, there was not a single skeptic on the program. I sat down to write a short article for "Skeptical Inquirer" to needle the University for seeming to promote belief in the paranormal, but decided that out of fairness I should talk to University officials involved. So, on Aug. 23, 1983, I called and talked to a man named Russ Free -- the program coordinator. During our discussion, Free claimed that the University is obliged to sponsor any conference that rents its facilities. I responded that I understood why a state-owned institution might be obliged to RENT ITS FACILITIES to all "askers" but found it surprising that it was "obliged to sponsor" all such conferences. I asked if the American Nazi Party wanted to rent its facilities for a meeting, whether the University would "sponsor" said meeting. Free referred me to his boss, Dr. Robert Mortenson. Later that day I talked by telephone with Mortenson. I identified myself as being a senior editor with Av Week, and a member of CSICOP's council -- but emphasized that I was NOT CALLING IN EITHER OF THOSE CAPACITIES -- BUT HAD PLANNED TO WRITE A PIECE ABOUT THE UPCOMING CONFERENCE WHOSE THEME WAS "GOVERNMENT'S COSMIC WATERGATE COVERUP." My conversation with Mortenson was a friendly one in which he _professed_ to be unaware that the panel of speakers was so unbalanced and did not have a single skeptic. At one point, Mortenson inquired if I would be willing to speak if he could arrange it. I replied that I already was committed to give a lecture in Philadelphia on the same date -- but even if I weren't, I would not accept under those conditions. Mortenson asked if I and/or CSICOP would be willing to participate the following year if such a conference were held, and I said I thought we would. At one point in our conversation, lest Mortenson misunderstand my purpose in calling, I said: "Let me emphasize to you...that I am not, _repeat not_, suggesting that you cancel or terminate the conference. I would not want to be a party to that." And a short time later, I told Mortenson: "I emphasize to you that I am not recommending or urging (conference) cancellation." Based on Mortenson's claim that he was unaware of the extreme bias in the choice of speakers, and his expressed desire to achieve a better balance in any subsequent conference, I tabled my plans to do a short needling article for "SI". Following our conversation, Mortenson wrote a brief memo to Dr. John Yost, assistant to the Chancellor, reporting the highlights of our telcon. If his recollections had been more accurate, or IF A COPY OF HIS INACCURATE AUG. 23 MEMO HAD NOT BEEN LEAKED TO MUFON, REPRODUCED AND WIDELY DISTRIBUTED -- THE MATTER WOULD HAVE ENDED AT THAT POINT. Shortly after the conference on Nov. 11-13, I learned that copies of Mortenson's Aug. 23 memo to the Chancellor had been handed out to the attendees. Someone sent me a copy for comment. On Nov. 23, 1983, I wrote Mortenson informing him that his private memo to the Chancellor had been distributed publicly. Therefore it was appropriate for me to correct it errors and I QUOTED VERBATIM FROM MY REMARKS TO HIM -- WHICH I HAD TAPE RECORDED JUST IN CASE SOMEONE MIGHT LATER CLAIM I HAD TRIED TO SCUTTLE THE CONFERENCE. I had expected that Mortenson would reply IMMEDIATELY, EXPRESSING SHOCK THAT HIS PERSONAL MEMO TO THE CHANCELLOR HAD BEEN MADE PUBLIC, AND APOLOGIZING FOR ITS ERRORS, WHICH SEEMED TO PUT ME IN A BAD LIGHT. When nearly a month had passes _without a word_ from Mortenson, I wrote again on Dec. 18, in case he had not received the original. _Still no reply_. On Jan. 11, 1984, having still not heard from Mortenson, I then wrote Dr. John Yost, in the Chancellor's office, enclosing copies of my two earlier letters to Mortenson. In my brief letter, I said that failure to hear from Mortenson had caused me to wonder if the release of his inaccurate memo was intentional. I wrote that this was "his perogative. But if that be the case, then it is my perogative to take appropriate legal action to set the record straight and clear my name." (NOTE: THIS WAS THE ONLY MENTION OF POSSIBLE LEGAL ACTION ON MY PART DURING THIS LENGTHY EXCHANGE AND IT WAS INTENDED TO PROMPT A RESPONSE -- WHICH IT DID.) [continued...] --- RBBSMail 17.3A * Origin: -==- ParaNet[sm] Zeta-Reticuli Scottsdale AZ (1:114/37) 147/154 11 Jun 90 12:34:00 From: Jim Speiser To: All Subj: Through a Klass Darkly Attr: ------------------------------------------------ Msg #: 518 Security: 1 PARANET Subboard From: SYSOP Sent: 04-23-90 19:23 To: ALL Rcvd: 05-21-90 06:29 Re: THROUGH A KLASS, DARKLY [...continued] Shortly after writing this letter, the then new issue (Oct. 1983) of "MUFON UFO Journal" arrived. MUFON director Walt Andrus devoted much of his column to this matter, charging I had tried to "scuttle the University of Nebraska's conference on UFOs and the Government coverup," as well as making other spurious charges. THE CONTENTS OF THIS ANDRUS COMMENTARY STRONGLY SUGGESTED THAT MORTENSON AND/OR FREE WAS HIS SOURCE. On Jan 22, not having heard from Yost, I wrote again, detailing also the spurious charges in the just-received MUFON Journal, including the _false_ claim that I had telephoned the Chancellor's office to try to get the conference cancelled. With my letter, I enclosed a copy of the MUFON article in which Andrus (indiscretely) reported that he had been supplied with "A COPY OF FIVE PAGES OF NOTES TAKEN DURING THE ACTUAL TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS." OBVIOUSLY THESE HAD BEEN SUPPLIED BY MORTENSON OR FREE. In my letter to Yost I concluded: "I seek your assistance in establishing the _source_ of the gross errors in MUFON's charges." My two letters to Yost finally evoked a reply from Mortenson, dated Feb. 1. He told me that his Aug. 23 memo was "confidential to Dr. Yost" and that the only other person to receive a copy was Russ Free. Mortenson said that "The Univesity does wish to inform you that they had nothing to do with this memorandum going beyond its original purpose." Note the clever wording of this statement. It _implies_ that neither Mortenson nor Free had any role in leaking his memo to MUFON. By the time I received this Mortenson letter I knew this claim was FALSE BECAUSE ANDRUS HIMSELF HAD SENT ME A COPY OF A ONE-PAGE LETTER HE HAD RECEIVED FROM MORTENSON, DATED DEC. 23, 1983. This Mortenson letter revealed his relations with Andrus were so close and cozy that before publication Andrus had sent him a copy of the MUFON article, which quoted from Mortenson's Aug. 23 memo, seeking Mortenson's comments. And that on Dec. 23, 1983 -- A MONTH AFTER I HAD FIRST WRITTEN MORTENSON TO QUOTE VERBATIM WHAT I HAD SAID IN OUR TELCON TO CORRECT ERRORS IN HIS AUG. 23 MEMO, MORTENSON DID NOT EVEN TRY TO CORRECT THOSE ERRORS IN HIS DEC. 23 LETTER TO ANDRUS. HE POINTED OUT ONLY ONE ERROR -- NOTING THAT I HAD _NOT_ CALLED THE CHANCELLOR, AS ANDRUS HAD WRITTEN. ANDRUS HAD (FOOLISHLY) SENT ME (AND OTHERS) THE MORTENSON LETTER WITH THE ANNOTATION THAT IT WAS RECEIVED TOO LATE TO CORRECT THE LATTER ERROR IN THE OCT. OR NOV. ISSUE. The reply to my Jan. 11/22 letters to Yost came from Richard R. Wood, General Counsel to the University. Wood repeated Mortenson's claim that "Copies of this memorandum _were not_ distributed to any other party. Further, neither the University nor any of its employees has authorized nor consented to any publication by MUFON concerning Dr. Mortenson's August 23, 1983 memorandum, WHICH WAS OBTAINED BY THAT ORGANIZATION WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OR ANY OF ITS EMPLOYEES." (Latter emphasis added." Wood concluded: "This letter will conclude correspondence by the University with you concerning this matter." I replied on March 7, 1984, noting: "Either one of your employees illicitly provided a copy of that Aug. 23 memo to a MUFON representative, or a thief gained entry to your offices and took only one item -- the Mortenson memo -- and then gave it to MUFON. Curiously, your University seemingly has never bothered to investigate this impropriety, or crime." I then enclosed a photocopy of Mortenson's letter of Dec. 23 to MUFON's Andrus. I pointed out that Mortenson never once objected to Andrus quoting from his Aug. 23 memo. I added that it seemed that Wood was unaware of this Mortenson-to-Andrus letter, which contradicted Wood's claims. My letter concluded: "Now that you have these facts, I expect a more accurate response from you as to the involvement and culpability of University employees in this incident." On March 20, Wood replied, saying he had again discussed the matter with Mortenson and Free. "Based upon these discussions, I am convinced that Dr. Mortenson's Aug. 23 memo was not distributed, leaked, or otherwise given by any member of the University staff to any third party." Despite Wood now having a copy of Mortenson's Dec. 23 letter to Andrus, which Mortenson posed NO OBJECTION TO ANDRUS QUOTING FROM HIS AUG. 23 MEMO TO YOST, WOOD SAID: "I AM FURTHER CONVINCED THAT DR. MORTENSON DID NOT CONSENT TO SUCH PUBLICATION AND IN FACT WAS NOT AWARE THAT MUFON INTENDED TO MAKE REFERENCE TO OR EXCERPT FROM HIS AUG. 23 MEMO IN ANY OF ITS PUBLICATONS." Wood concluded with his "sincere expression of regret" over the matter. My reply of March 27 began as follows: "As I read, and re-read your letter of March 20...my thoughts went back a decade to the Watergate Scandal. And I recalled some basically decent people who became entrapped in the web of coverup even though they had not been a party to the original machinations. "If I were convinced, as claimed in your letter, that you are `convinced that Dr. Mortenson's Aug. 23 memo was not distributed, leaked, or otherwise given by any member of the University staff to any third party...' [continued...] --- RBBSMail 17.3A * Origin: -==- ParaNet[sm] Zeta-Reticuli Scottsdale AZ (1:114/37) 148/154 11 Jun 90 12:34:00 From: Jim Speiser To: All Subj: Through a Klass, Darkly Attr: ------------------------------------------------ Msg #: 519 Security: 1 PARANET Subboard From: SYSOP Sent: 04-23-90 19:50 To: ALL Rcvd: 05-21-90 06:30 Re: THROUGH A KLASS, DARKLY [continued...] "And if I were convinced that you are `convinced that Dr. Mortenson did not consent to such publication and in fact was not aware that MUFON intended to make any reference to or excerpt from his August 23 memo in any of its publications...' "Then I should consider you an excellent prospect to buy the Chesapeake Bay Bridges at a great bargain price: $199.95 for one span, or $299.95 for both!" I then summarized the hard evidence to show that Wood's claims were not true. I concluded: "Possibly some small good has come of all this. Surely it has provided the Chancellor's office with better insight into the character of some members of the University staff. And it has certainly demonstrated that you, Mr. Wood, are a game fighter against overwhelming evidence held by the adverse party. In recognition of the dirty task given you to perform you have my sympathy and admiration." Wood never replied. There you have it, Rick -- the background highlights of my _alleged_ threat to sue to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. You are welcome to supply a copy to John Chalmers. This annual conference was terminated after the 1983 meeting, and Jerry Clark charged "...the university withdrew its sponsorship of future conferences following Phil's threat to sue the institution." ("Saucer Smear", Oct. 10, 1984.) The Oct. 14, 1984 edition of the "Omaha World Herald" carried a story headlined: "UFO Conference Loses Money: UNL Declines Any Sponsorship." The story began: "University of Nebraska-Lincoln officials say they decided not to sponsor a conference on unexplained phenomena this year because similar conferences in 1982 and 1983 lost money. "But members of the Nebraska Association for the Study of the Unexplained, one of the co-sponsors of the event last year, said the university backed out...because of the controversy surrounding flying saucers. "Bob Mortenson, director of conferences and institutes...said the meetings that dealt primarily with unidentified flying objects DID NOT BRING IN ENOUGH PARTICIPANTS TO COVER THE UNIVERSITY'S COSTS... (Emphasis added) "Mortenson said he had received complaints from several UNL faculty members about the fact that only believers in UFOs spoke at last year's conference. `If we were to do another, it would definitely be a forum where both sides could be presented,' he said." Even though all of the foregoing info was supplied to Jerry Clark in 1984, including a copy of the Omaha newspaper article, he has never retracted his accusation that I was responsible for UNL terminating its sponsorship of conferences on UFOs and the paranormal. Corially, Phil Klass ----------------- Now, there you have Phil Klass's side of the story. Further, he specifically states that he is willing to document all his claims. I'd be glad to help anyone wishing to see that documentation. Since I don't know whether I should be giving out Phil's address, you are welcome to write Bay Area Skeptics, 4030 Moraga, San Francisco, CA 94122, or netmail me here at Paranet Alpha-Centauri, FidoNet 1:125/27. Yours Truly, Rick Moen, Secretary Do I speak for Bay Area Skeptics? Bay Area Skeptics Is the pope Polish? Sysop, The Skeptic's Board --- RBBSMail 17.3A * Origin: -==- ParaNet[sm] Zeta-Reticuli Scottsdale AZ (1:114/37)

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