Showing posts with label BAASS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BAASS. Show all posts

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Pentagon-funded Paranormal Research at Skinwalker Ranch

The UFO program by the US Defense Intelligence Agency contracted Robert Bigelow in 2008 to gather information for the stated purpose of developing advancements in aerospace and weapons technology. The name on the original documents was the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP), but it later became known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). 


Due in part to the non-disclosures required of participants, few people involved have been willing to talk, especially on the record, and details and documentation about the true nature of the program have been slow to emerge. In working with Roger Glassel on the AATIP story, we reached out to former participants and heard from some of the MUFON players. This article presents the story of one Robert Bigelow’s employees, one the men hired to protect what was hidden at Skinwalker Ranch. His memories provide new details about the BAASS investigations under the AAWSAP contract, with insight into the people doing the work, and just what kind of  research was funded.

Chris J. Marx became a naturalized citizen of the US in 1992 after moving here from his birthplace of Germany. Before his military service, he worked in Law Enforcement in New Mexico from 1995 to 2004, as a Sheriff’s Sergeant and an Investigator. In 2006 he joined the U.S. Army Military Police Corps, deploying for two tours of combat in Iraq between 2007 and 2009, and in his second tour, held a top-secret clearance and worked in military intelligence. After returning to civilian life, in April 2010 Marx was selected to work for Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS), providing security and assisting research at Robert Bigelow’s Skinwalker Ranch property in Utah. 


In the two weeks between his hiring and first deployment, Marx was instructed to read at the library at Bigleow’s offices at 4975 Polaris Avenue, Las Vegas. There, he studied material that included Hunt for the Skinwalker by Colm Kelleher and George Knapp, and a dossier on the 1947 Roswell UFO incident. If that wasn’t strange enough, for his first task,” they handed me a stack of orders... from 1942... about a German excursion, a U-Boat excursion to find the sunken city of Agartha. I spent at least 10 days on translating that.” He’d been given the task, because, “that’s my native language.”

Bigelow HQ at Polaris Ave. in Las Vegas
He said that all guards hired had to have security clearances, and many were former Air Force, law enforcement, or other military. On his first deployment to Skinwalker Ranch, he received a tour of the property, and instructed that in addition to patrols, guards were required to routinely perform experiments “to document anomalies” as directed by BAASS scientists. There were about ten guards total, and they worked there for two weeks at a time, then relieved by the next team, typically with a partial one-day overlap. They’d return to Las Vegas for other duties, debriefings, and time off until their next rotation.

Ranch photo by Chris Marx
With all the property he owned and leased, Bigelow's ranch consisted of about 1000 acres. Marx explained that the land itself was beautiful, but the structures on the property were in poor condition, and the newest one, the double-wide trailer that served as their base was sitting on blocks and had a dilapidated deck behind it. There were three dogs there, but not trained canine guards, just pets, really. “Bio sensors,” was the BAASS designation for the dogs, the same as the cattle on the property. 

Part of the attraction of working for a technological company like Bigelow’s must be the access to cool toys, but if that was what Marx had expected, he was in for a letdown. The trailer had some equipment, but it was old and in poor working condition, and he described a collection of low-quality digital cameras, an antiquated night vision unit that was shoddy and grainy, and a thermal imaging system also in poor working condition. There was also an old laptop with Ethernet but no WiFi, a telephone and an old paper-fed FAX machine. Marx said personnel filed reports by Fax, one sent to BAASS, with a copy also sent to the “government sponsor,” but at the time, he had no idea what agency it represented.  

Undated photos of the trailer interior by Chris Marx.
As for the chain of command, Marx described the people he interacted with; Robert Eickenhorst was first-line supervisor or manager, above him, Loran Huffman and Doug Kurth as Ranch co-administrators, then Dr. Colm Kelleher, and at the head, owner Robert Bigelow. 

The guards were left on their own, and for military men, it was strange to have no SOP (standard operating procedure), with almost no guidelines provided and no oversight. They were required to make a daily report, but some guards spent most of their time watching television and wrote a token three-line report without receiving negative consequences.

Chris Marx on duty at the Bigelow ranch
With his background in investigations, Marx was compelled to do more than was asked of him. Since the tools provided were so poor, Marx asked Kelleher if he could bring his own equipment and was given permission to do so. Marx said that since he started bringing his own equipment, he had “hundreds upon hundreds” of photos, and has records of almost everything from the experiments and investigations he conducted at the Ranch, with the exception of the DNA samples he’d sent off to back to BAASS.

In September 2010,  Marx was paired with a new hire, Chris Bartel. Marx said they were instructed to report on “phenomena” at the Ranch. He had a number of unusual experiences while there, noting that several key locations each had their own particular characteristics. In particular, he cited the trailer, Homestead 2, Homestead 3, the Mesa, and the river, each seeming to produce different effects, such as emotional changes, physical sensations, and electromagnetic interference. Marx described a debriefing where he was questioned by Bigelow, who was interested in the emotional changes and asked detailed follow-up questions about specific physical effects. He noted that Bigelow and the others accepted the accounts uncritically, as if it was what they expected to hear, and he got the feeling that they were comparing it with previous similar reports. Marx said that the ten guards in rotation all had similar experiences, which they would discuss in their overlap between the shift changes. 

Marx stated the guards furnished their own weapons, “Everything that you used was supplied by you, from your weaponry to whatever else.” Some guards carried AR-15 or M4s, but Marx preferred a tactical shotgun at night, since the most likely threat was unfriendly mountain lions rather than trespassers.

In discussing the funding, he said at the BAASS headquarters in Las Vegas on Polaris, he saw 10 Canon cameras. He asked if he could use those for the ranch and was told no. there was a deck in disrepair behind the trailer and he was not allowed to repair or replace it when the ranch vehicle needed new tires they were purchased on the cheap.

In discussing the finances, he said there was no money, that it was a cheap operation and he noted that they were the facilities and equipment were in disrepair, and when he asked for permission to upgrade them it was denied. There was no indication of any money put into the ranch. When the septic system broke, it took weeks to get it fixed by the lowest bidder. The trailers were plagued by rats and mice, and standard mouse traps were used, which he noted was the cheapest solution, and the guards themselves were expected to solve the problem rather than engage a professional  exterminator.

BAASS Leadership: Douglas Kurth and Loran Huffman

Douglas S. Kurth had an interesting role in the Bigelow organization, but little is known about it . As Lt. Col. “Cheeks” Kurth, he was a key witness in the 2004 Nimitz UFO encounter, and in Dec. 2007 was the first known hire for Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies, LLC, which was registered as a Nevada business the next month. At Kurth’s LinkedIn profile, he lists his role as “Program Manager”and left BAASS in June 2013. He’s documented as part of the BAASS team, along with Colm Kelleher, but he doesn’t want to talk about it

Clips from STAR Team Impact Project (SIP) update to the MUFON Board of Directors, 2009
When Chris Marx was asked about the roles and job titles of Douglas Kurth and Loran Huffman, he said, “I dealt with Kurth sporadically. Kurth was not really a people person kind of guy. I had brief conversations with him. I knew he was a fighter pilot at some point, I did not know he was part of that Nimitz issue, and quite frankly, I’d never heard of the Nimitz [UFO encounter] at that point, I had no idea. I mostly dealt with Loran, Kurth seemed more in the background of it all, and I never dealt with him a whole bunch, just here and there... All I knew was he was Ranch administrator along with Loran Huffman, but what his specific role was, I have no idea. And even with Loran’s specific role, he dealt with personnel, he was more like the HR kind of guy, but what his specific scope was I don't know.” 
The LinkedIn profile for Loran Huffman states the he was:
“Director of Investigations and Security (FSO) [Facility Security Officer], Bigelow Aerospace
Jan 2009 - June 2012”

(Kurth left BAASS in 2013, Huffman in 2012.)
BAASS Experiments on the Ranch during AAWSAP

Marx said that while he was there, he never saw or heard about government officials visiting the ranch, and that visits from BAASS scientists were rare. The experiments Marx described below all took place between early 2010 and 2012.

Bean sprouts - Marx mentioned this one in passing, but described it in greater detail in an interview with the Black Vault. Two female BAASS scientists “set up the bean sprout [experiment] for a couple of hours and then immediately left. They planted bean sprouts in several locations, and a control group was grown back at BAASS headquarters on Polaris for comparison. Marx thought the experiment lacked a scientific basis due to the great differences in climate, humidity, elevation etc., but later realized it must have been a test to measure radiation exposure at the Ranch.

Electromagnetic anomalies - Marx said, “The only [other] scientist that ever came up during that time was Jason Viggato, who from what I understood was a physicist. We set up a daisy chain of laptops around Homestead 2 to measure, what was explained to me, electromagnetic pulse. We hooked them up, turned them on - I was there with him, and they would flatline. There was some sort of a measuring capacity that they had, to measure the electromagnetic pulse - phenomena, I guess, so it was explained.

We did this for 4 days because they would all fire up fine and then would baseline where nothing was measured for anywhere from fifteen seconds to a minute - minute and half after they were turned on. All of a sudden there would be some sort of a spike, and all - it was the seven or eight laptops, all would shut down at this exact moment and they all batteries were completely depleted. These were freshly charged, coming off the wall chargers. We did this for about 4 days, did it in a radius of about maybe a hundred feet, 75 to 100 feet around Homestead 2 with the same results every single time. They would fire up, and it was like somebody clicked that magic switch and all of them were dead.”

Psychic contact - Another experiment Marx mentioned was not set up by scientists, but by BAASS management. Quoting from Chris Marx on Skinwalker Ranch & Human Experimentation, The Black Vault Radio. Ep-46: 

“When I talk occult, what opened the door to that was we - actually, this was an experiment that was designed by Doug and Loran, Loran Huffman, Douglas Kurth, who were overseeing the Ranch prop, well, some of the experiments, and came up with different methodologies. Loran and I walked the Ranch together, identifying what we believed to be hotspots... and we came up with 13…” Marx said they had 13 tamper-proof evidence bags each with written questions that had been prepared, the contents known only by one person controlling the experiment. “We placed those evidence bags at those locations, and... when the new guards came in, Loran and Doug were up there, and we set up video cameras and audio equipment, and all that. They had designed a Ouija board that would basically show the thirteen different bags, and then through Ouija, ask what the answer to question number one is, or number two, or number three. So we were trying to communicate with it through Ouija. ...this is not anything that was just done on the fly, this was very well thought out, that was very much designed, and there were seven of us total that were in the room in, the kitchen, in the trailer, and four of us sitting [at] the table...”

Those management-directed experiments came to an end around 2011, matching the timeframe when Bigelow lost his government funding. Several things changed around that time, and he says the Faxed reports to the government also ceased. The skeleton crew at the property was cut in half, from two men, to one per deployment to guard the billionaire's entire Skinwalker Ranch acreage.


The Bigelow Pama Lane Complex

When researching The Pentagon UFO Money Trail, we found a stray puzzle piece. Former BAASS guards working at Bigelow’s Skinwalker Ranch say that while back in Las Vegas from their two-week deployments, they were sometimes assigned to provide security for another Bigelow property, a building complex on Pama Lane. Chris Marx described it as four different buildings that included offices and laboratories, completely built and finished, but for some reason, never occupied. According to real estate listings, the facilities were built in 2007, currently offered for sale at a price of about $7.5M.

Bigelow's Pama Lane Campus in Las Vegas
The AATIP New York Times story from 2017 stated that Bigelow’s “company modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials.” The timeline suggests that Bigelow intended for the Pama Lane complex to house BAASS for its work on the DIA, and one of the conditions from AAWSAP stipulates: “Contractor shall provide a work facility (including unclassified information systems) with a Top Secret Facility Clearance granted by the Defense Security Service (DSS).” Marx didn’t know if any of the Pentagon’s $22M went towards funding the project, but notes it was put up for sale after the AAWSAP funding was withdrawn and BAASS folded. 


The Puzzle: Medical Tests on Skinwalker Ranch Personnel

The dogs at Skinwalker ranch were designated “bio-sensors” by BAASS, and it may be the guards served a similar function. Marx talked about tests done on BAASS employees working the Ranch, saying, “I know there was a fridge up there that held bodily fluids, like urine and so forth, people had to pee in bottles.” When asked how the samples were collected and analyzed, he said, “They were taken back to Las Vegas at shift turnover, and I don’t know who they ended up with, but they were taken back by the guards themselves.” 

Marx said that in July 2011, BAASS ordered them to undergo medical examinations. “Bartel and I, my partner, were pulled aside by Loran [Huffman] ...and he said, you guys are scheduled to go to Reno.” They were to fly there for MRI tests, “and we asked of course, why? We were told that they wanted to check if us being in contact with these anomalies, if that somehow... changed our brain.”

BAASS MRI consent form
While at the Reno clinic, “...we both underwent the MRI... What else was tested? I don't know, I think there may have been more from evidence that has come out since then.” When they asked about the results, “we were told that we would not receive that information,” just that they would be notified if there was a “brain tumor, or a life-threatening condition.” When asked about the frequency of this testing, he said, “Chris and I only went up there once... but, I know of at least 5, possibly 6 MRIs that were conducted on Ranch personnel.” 

Marx took a leave from BAASS for a military tour of service in Afghanistan, and when he returned in 2016, he found Bigelow had sold the Ranch to a new owner. BAASS was being dissolved and he says that he and Colm Kelleher were its last two employees, both transferred to the main company, Bigelow Aerospace, and Marx stayed there until February 2019. 

After Marx left Bigelow, he found some of the news stories about AATIP, and “ began to put the pieces of the puzzle together.” He read the AAWSAP solicitation contract, and knew that the DIA was the “government sponsor” that had received the Fax reports from the Ranch. The stated purpose of the program was to develop advanced aerospace propulsion, cloaking techniques and Radio Frequency Directed Energy Weapons. It also called for the study of “human effects.” Marx began pursuing the possibility that he and the other Ranch guards were used as human test subjects, either from the alleged energies at the Ranch, or for weapons research and testing done there under Bigelow’s government contract. He began asking questions to see if there was a connection.

Recently, Bartel and Marx requested and received copies of their MRI tests from the Reno clinic, and the paperwork. “It was funny because a while prior to that,  Eric Davis had said - he’s been very critical of all of this... (saying, Chris and I are... just in this to make a quick buck and to sue somebody... crazies with a crazy theory…) saying it was just a pre-employment test. And so when I got this letter back, it was very peculiar for me to see that it actually said on the letter that it was pre-employment.” Marx says that’s nonsense, because he’d “already been working there for a year and a half, so it definitely wasn't a pre-employment anything.”

He went on to say, “So, long story short, it dawned on me, no this wasn’t just an MRI, because the people who were CC'd on these findings were - first of all, were not just ordinary physicians, and second of all, there’s a HIPAA issue with sharing medical information across the board. So there were a few red flags that popped up, and like I said, it became a puzzle, and the more pieces of that puzzle became available, the more it created a picture, and the more it answered the questions that I had early on, how it was such a Mickey Mouse operation up there and nobody cared what you did, all they cared about was what you experienced and the questions they were so specific [about] your own physiological changes and into your mental state,  it all of a sudden started making sense. Why would you publish a book, Hunt for the Skinwalker, and then on the other hand, try to be all hush-hush? There are so many contradictions, the bean sprout experiment is another one, I mean there are so many…”

A possible answer comes from a “Senior Manager of BAASS,” published a statement on May 4, 2018:
“The BAASS approach was to view the human body as a readout system for UFO effects by utilizing forensic technology, the tools of immunology, cell biology, genomics and neuroanatomy for in depth study of the effects of UFOs on humans.”  

Marx now believes that whatever may (or may not) be at Skinwalker Ranch, there’s been a deliberate agenda to create a myth by exploiting Native American tribal lore to blame anything strange that happens there on, “the unexplained - the anomalous.” He also has reason to suspect that the AATIP story may have been a part of it.


Afterword

Chris Marx is just one of 50 or more employees of BAASS from the AAWSAP contract era, and there were many others involved, subcontractors, from MUFON, EarthTech, and the authors of the 38 technical studies used as DIRDs. All these people hold pieces of the puzzle, and bit by bit, the truth will come out.

. . . 

For Further Information

There’s more to Chris Marx’s story, but the focus of this article was on the BAASS operations, funding, and investigations, so we’ve mostly omitted his accounts of unusual encounters while at Skinwalker Ranch, but more information can be found at the sources below.

Chris Marx interviewed on UFO Classified with Erica Lukes:

In Inside the Pentagon's Secret UFO Program, Tim McMillan described reviewing a copy of the 2009 “BAASS Ten Month Report” for AAWSAP, and stated that it included a passage on Skinwalker Ranch as a “possible laboratory for studying other intelligences and possible interdimensional phenomena.” Elsewhere, he said the report discussed it as a “living laboratory of interaction with non-human intelligences,” and his impression was that BAASS interested in physiological changes resulting from that interaction.

Keith Basterfield’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena - scientific research, on Chris Marx, BAASS and Skinwalker Ranch

John Greenewald interview: Chris Marx on Skinwalker Ranch & Human Experimentation, The Black Vault Radio. Ep-46 


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Pentagon UFO Program’s Secret Partner


By Roger Glassel and Curt Collins, © 2020


The Pentagon’s UFO program was exposed on December 16, 2017, but details of substance have been very slow in surfacing. The exposure of the project has been a tremendous boost for the UFO topic, putting it back in mainstream conversations as a serious subject, for the first time in years. However, the lack of transparency has been a concern, not only from the US government, but also from the contracting parties involved, the reporting of the story, and those exploiting it for commercial enterprises.

With the disclosure of the “MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment,” details have emerged to show just what the Pentagon project was really about, and the role of the civilian UFO group that was secretly responsible for much of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program’s content and operations. It also reveals a lot about how significant the project truly was. We’ll examine all that, and at the end of the article, present a collection of supporting documents.


Aerospace developer and billionaire Robert Bigelow has an extensive history of interest in the UFO topic, but this story really begins with his creation of the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) in 1995. Like Bigelow Aerospace, NIDS was located in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was described on their (now defunct) website as “a privately funded science institute engaged in research of aerial phenomena, animal mutilations, and other related anomalous phenomena.” Their all-star science advisory board included; Colm A. Kelleher, (Administrator), Harold E. Puthoff (Chairman of the Board), John B. Alexander, Jacques Vallee, and John F. Schuessler

In 1996 Robert Bigelow purchased the Skinwalker Ranch in Utah to have the organization study its alleged unearthly events. TV journalist George Knapp worked closely with Bigelow’s organization, and “maintained a working relationship with NIDS since its inception and had earned the trust of principal figures in the organization. [Bigelow] shared, on a confidential basis, incident reports and a comprehensive chronology of [Skinwalker Ranch] incidents… In late 2002, Knapp received permission from NIDS to write an account of the ranch activities…” Several of the NIDS studies of paranormal research were represented by papers on their site in categories: Anomalous Aerial Phenomena, Animal Pathology Research, Astrobiology/SETI, and Consciousness Studies.

Despite the money and talent, NIDS was deactivated in October 2004, with Bigelow saying, “It is unfortunate that there isn't more activity, as there was in the past, that warrants investigation.” However, he went on to say, “Should substantial activity occur with a need for investigation then NIDS will be reactivated with new personnel.” After the closing of NIDS, there was a coda of sorts, a book published the next year, Hunt for the Skinwalker by Colm A. Kelleher and George Knapp. 

AAWSAP and the Twelve Labors of BAASS

The Advanced Aerospace Weapon Systems Applications Program? By now almost everyone has heard of AATIP - the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which is said to have been created at the request of Senator Harry Reid, a friend of Robert Bigelow. There's some pre-history that has yet to be documented, but Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) was in the works in 2007, and retired Marine Corps Commander, Douglas Kurth (a USS Nimitz UFO witness) was hired in December as the Program Manager ahead of the company’s official formation. On Jan. 28, 2008, Bigelow made it legal by registering BAASS as an LLC in Nevada. The specialty company was created to secure the bid for the research for the Advanced Aerospace Weapon Systems Applications Program (AAWSAP), known better today by the nickname AATIP. Dr. James T. Lacatski directed AAWSAP, which was under the control of the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Attached to the AAWSAP contractor bid form were the project’s objectives:

“One aspect of the future threat environment involves advanced aerospace weapon system applications. The objective of this program is to understand the physics and engineering of these applications as they apply to the foreign threat out to the far-term, i.e., from now through the year 2050. Primary focus is on breakthrough technologies and applications that create discontinuities in currently evolving technology trends. The focus is not on extrapolations of current aerospace technology. The proposal shall describe a technical approach which discusses how the breakthrough technologies and applications listed below would be studied and include proposed key personnel that have experience in those areas.

 The AAWSAP contractor bid form 
"REQUIREMENTS: The contractor shall complete advanced aerospace weapon system technical studies in the following areas:
1. lift
2. propulsion
3. control
4. power generation
5. spatial/temporal translation
6. materials
7. configuration, structure
8. signature reduction (optical, infrared, radiofrequency, acoustic)
9. human interface
10. human effects
11. armament (RF and DEW)
12. other peripheral areas in support of (1-11)”
Robert Bigelow needed to shore up a few things in order to secure the contract. He began hiring a team of scientists and technicians for BAASS, and it’s since become known that several of Bigelow’s NIDS associates came back into play as the project developed. Colm Kelleher became Deputy Administrator and Hal Puthoff was engaged as a subcontractor. John Schuessler of MUFON played an important role as well.


A Contract with MUFON

“The Scientific Study of UFOs for the Benefit of Humanity” is the motto of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), a civilian organization launched in 1969, founded on the premise that UFOs are real, “in spite of the government’s declarations that nothing was going on.” In the late 2000s, the organization reportedly had 2,800 members. When the AAWSAP project was gelling in 2007, Robert Bigelow consulted ex-NIDS player John F. Schuessler, who gave him some direction on how to structure the project, and suggested that he employ some of MUFON’s resources. Schuessler was a former aerospace engineer, and a co-founder of MUFON, and its former International Director. At the time, MUFON headquarters were in Bellvue, Colorado, with James Carrion serving as its International Director.

On Sept. 20, 2008, Robert Bigelow contacted John Schuessler, who in turn shared the word with colleagues about a “contract for MUFON and some MUFON teammates. The work is proprietary...” When pressed for more details, Schuessler said, “Sorry to be so tight with the information... The name of the company is [BAASS] ...a new research arm of Bigelow Aerospace that focuses on the identification, evaluation, and acquisition of novel and emerging future technologies worldwide as they specifically relate to spacecraft. We will have a telecon tomorrow afternoon with... Robert Bigelow... he tried working with some of the UFO organizations several years ago... It was an embarrassing situation. I proposed this idea to him and he was willing to give it another try. You will note that UFOs are not a part of the above job description.”

Bigelow said he had backers,’ whose identity was kept secret, known only to John Schuessler. BAASS’s backer (now known to be the DIA) was referred to as “the sponsor.” James Carrion has stated that Schuessler “was offered a U.S. government security clearance allegedly related to his consulting work for Mr. Bigelow…” He didn’t know for certain the clearance was actually granted, “but I was one of the people interviewed as part of his background investigation.” 

MUFON’s email contact with Bigelow was always through executive assistants, Janice Barragan and Donna Stauch. On Sept. 21, 2008, BAASS emailed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to be signed by Schuessler and other MUFON principals: James Carrion, Robert Powell, Chuck Modlin, Chuck Reever, and Robert Wood. Once the NDAs were signed, a series of conversations between BAASS and MUFON began.

Meanwhile, George Knapp helped Robert Bigelow by interviewing him on the radio program 
Coast to Coast, Sept. 28, 2008. Bigelow used the show as some sort of substitute for a BAASS press release, laying it all out, just not the fact that the DIA was funding the operation:
“The mission for this company is to pursue exotic, novel technologies. We would like to come across something that levitates for example... We have sponsors. We have partners, in this effort... And these sponsors and partners do not need to be convinced, at all, that this topic is real.” He described the initial stage, that he would be hiring a number of people with “...diverse backgrounds; that are all experts in a variety of fields. We have to organize offices and office facilities. ...we’re going to be initiating relationships and contracts with various organizations and people...”


MATE, the MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment

Robert Bigelow wanted MUFON to produce a series of papers, and to do so, they formed a work team called MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment (MATE) to write them. On Oct. 1, 2008, Bigelow’s executive assistant sent a list of the items he’d discussed in their teleconference, the topics for the 12 technical areas. On Oct. 2, 2008, a MUFON Board of Directors member summarized an organizational MATE meeting:
“We discussed the fact that Mr. Bigelow would like the papers to be no longer than 4-5 pages. He prefers that the papers are more generic in nature and are not limited to UFOs. They should relate to Aerospace and Aerospace products. In effect, it is as if BAASS will be using MUFON as a futuristic think tank. This is not in conflict with MUFON's mission.”

On Oct. 3, 2008, John Schuessler emailed the MATE team, explaining that due to his work with Bigelow that he should not participate. “I spent a lot of time working on the startup plans for BAASS and in particular carving out a niche for MUFON... Therefore, it would not be ethical for me to write any of the papers on behalf of MUFON.” Instead, Dr. Robert M. Wood took the lead.

The MATE contract with BAASS signed Oct. 17, 2008, stated:

“Subcontractor agrees to provide the engineering, labor and materials required
to prepare twelve (12) overview papers each focusing on the following twelve (12) technical areas:
1.) lift, 2.) propulsion, 3.) control, 4.) power generation, 5.) spatial/temporal translation, 6.) materials, 7.) configuration, structure, 8.) signature reduction (optical, infrared, radiofrequency, acoustic), 9.) human interface, 10.) Human effects, 11.) armament (RF and DEW), 12.) other peripheral areas in support of (1-11). 
Each paper shall address possible plans of action… describe technical approaches which discuss how breakthrough technologies applied in the twelve (12) technical areas mentioned above may produce advanced spacecraft concepts and technologies through the year 2050 and beyond.”

Those 12 technical areas were the same as in the DIA’s contract proposal, probably a list created by Dr. James T. Lacatski. However, Bigelow directed them that the papers should be “more generic in nature and are not limited to UFOs.” 

MATE papers and team: Bob Wood, Charles W. Modlin, Robert Powell, and Chuck Reever

The MATE team consisted primarily of Dr. Bob Wood, Charles W. Modlin, Robert Powell, and Chuck Reever, who would conduct the work under the condition of their NDAs. To guide MATE, MUFON board member Bob Wood (a retired aerospace engineer) wrote a piece with a few ideas to get them started on the 12 papers. In Wood’s memo we begin to see the obfuscation ordered by BAASS, where UFO-related topics were discussed, but with conventional aerospace principles and terminology. (Still, there were a few direct references to UFO events including a telepathic alien story and alien abductee implants.) Based on Wood’s direction, a handful of MATE papers were written by the team:

“Lift” discussed unconventional possibilities for generating flight and made numerous references to reported UFO performance.

“Power Generation” contained no reference to UFOs, and was more technical than the other papers. It discussed cold fusion as a power source for aerospace vehicles.

“Human Interface” discussed the possible methods of using technological or psychic means to connect the human brain to control aircraft. It did contain references to UFOs, including abductees and MUFON’s study of alleged extraterrestrial “implants.”

“Propulsion for Interstellar Travel” discussed the possibility of anti-gravity propulsion for interstellar vehicles, and compared it to the reported characteristics of “unidentified aerial phenomena.”

“Control” discussed the possibility of modulating current in a superconductor to control lift/propulsion in an advanced aerospace vehicle.

All the MATE studies were written as suggestions for further studies in their respective areas. For whatever reason, the authors’ names were not given on the papers themselves, each only identifying the team and where the document was written. On Nov. 9, 2008, the MATE papers were delivered to BAASS in Las Vegas, for which MUFON was subsequently paid about $10,000. 

With the first transaction satisfactorily completed, both parties began talks about possibilities for other projects, including field investigations and analysis of material related to sightings. A MUFON memo on their teleconference of Nov. 14, 2008, shows that they expected to conduct all the scientific studies themselves, and were discussing building facilities to house a laboratory, which would also serve as a base for investigations. Most of that never came to pass, since Bigelow wanted to conduct any scientific analysis at his own facilities.

Leaked internal emails show discussions between Board members struggling with issues of transparency about the BAASS funding and whether to create a new business entity for the contract so as to not jeopardize MUFON’s tax status as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. It was ultimately decided that since the money would be used for the organization’s basic financial needs, it was legitimate. 

The Second Contract: Acquiring UFO Field Reports and Case Files

The second project Bigelow had for MUFON was unambiguously related to UFOs. BAASS wanted to fund investigations of UFO sightings, and also to have access to MUFON’s databases. MUFON had been developing a “Strike Team Area Research” (STAR) program to deploy members with special training and equipment. The STAR Team was sort of a SWAT team of UFO field investigators, and Bigelow wanted to fund them to be on call 24/7. There were again concerns by the MUFON Board of Directors, this time about the data shared with BAASS, but it was justified by saying that case information provided was (supposedly) no different than what they presented publicly on the CMS site or published in MUFON Journal

In December 2008, Bigelow was nervous about ”the sponsor” continuing funding, and he was putting pressure on MUFON to get the field investigations up and running. This prompted a meeting in Las Vegas on January 23 and 24, 2009, to work out the details. Attending were MUFON players: James Carrion, Jan Harzan, John Schuessler, and Chuck Modlin Among those present for BAASS were: Robert Bigelow, Hal Puthoff, Jacques Vallee, and Colm Kelleher. At the meeting, James Carrion gave a detailed slide presentation of the proposed plan and financials to demonstrate how BAASS funds would be allocated for salaries of field investigators, travel expenses, and so on.
          A) Chuck Modlin, Jan Harzan, Hal Puthoff, Jacques Vallee and John F. Schuessler.
          B) Hal Puthoff, Jacques Vallee and John F. Schuessler.
          Only three of the participants pictured knew who they were really working for.
The Las Vegas meeting would have been a perfect time for Robert Bigelow to show and tell the MUFON crew about the facilities and team he was building for BAASS, but according to Carrion, they scarcely left the confines of Bigelow’s office or conference room.
As before, the second BAASS contract went through several versions to define the terms involved, and after weeks of negotiations, on Feb. 18, 2009 it was signed by MUFON and faxed to Bigelow. It was a purchase agreement for the acquisition of services and information from MUFON in three specific areas: 

MUFON Field investigation services (the STAR Team’s work).
MUFON’s database of UFO sightings (called the Case Management System or CMS).
All “product” from field investigations, “all information and material derived from those services,” which included everything from witness interview transcripts to physical evidence.

Bigelow’s contract also made it coldly explicit that this was nothing more than an engagement of services between buyer and seller: “This Agreement shall not be interpreted as having any characteristics or force as a partnership agreement of any kind between the parties hereto.”

MUFON was panicked by premature disclosure of the BAASS deal on March 6, 2009, in the Examiner.com article, “MUFON to receive major funding from billionaire backer” by (Tennessee State Director) Eddie Middleton. Responding to the leak, Schuessler said, “Some of the information in the release was covered by a non-disclosure agreement and that has been violated. It makes MUFON look untrustworthy.” The public heard about it before most of their membership.

A formal slide presentation to the MUFON Board explained the relationship and responsibilities and named both organization’s management teams as of April 2009. For MUFON: Richard Lang, James Carrion, Jan Harzan and Chuck Modlin. For BAASS: Colm Kelleher, Douglas Kurth, and James Johnson. 

In a slide introducing SIP to MUFON investigators, director James Carrion relayed the cover story he’d been told, “SIP data that is collected will be shared with BAASS with the goal of BAASS achieving breakthroughs in commercial technology.” The MUFON UFO Journal, April 2009, carried their formal announcement to members in a cover story and editorial by Carrion. He stated that MUFON “has been subcontracted to provide rapid response UFO investigation services to (BAASS) and has initiated the STAR Team Impact Project (SIP) to provide these services…” 

MUFON Journal announcement of SIP, and internal organizational chart.
Per the contract, BAASS funded the SIP team to be deployed for UFO investigations. Unlike the typical volunteer MUFON Field Investigators, with BAASS funding, SIP members would be paid for their work. BAASS also was granted read-only access to the non-public sections of MUFON’s Case Management System (CMS), a computerized database of UFO current and historical reports submitted via the MUFON website.

MUFON’s STAR Impact Program became operational under the leadership of Richard Lang in the first week in April of 2009. This generated the action Bigelow needed; MUFON finally had cases flowing and could send BAASS investigators to gather samples at UFO sighting locations for analysis. 

During the same time, Bigelow was creating his own UFO team in Las Vegas. According to some of the earliest press on BAASS, they hired ”50 top-flight scientists to assist MUFON in this endeavor who will function as consultants and do expensive lab analysis…” To educate the Bigelow team on the UFO topic and familiarize them with the methods of their contracting partners, on Feb, 20, 2009, BAASS ordered 40 MUFON Field Investigator manuals at the price of $1,800 for the team. Essentially, MUFON’s SIP served as local cops, while BAASS was like the FBI swooping in on the really important cases. They also analyzed the data and compiled the reports, packaging them for “the sponsor.”

On another front, BAASS contracted Hal Puthoff to subcontract the writing of Defense Intelligence Reference Documents (DIRDs) for AAWSAP. These studies were based on the same original 12 areas of interest MUFON had been asked to develop. 26 were produced in 2009.

The monthly MUFON Journal featured a column by Richard Lang on SIP case investigations, and several interesting cases were jointly worked by the BAASS team. Meanwhile, the bureaucratic requirements kept management busy, weekly teleconferences, progress reports, financial statements, and so on. 

MUFON Symposium advertising, James Carrion and Robert Bigelow at awards ceremony.
On Aug. 6-9, 2009, the MUFON Symposium was held in Denver, Colorado. On the second day, making a rare public appearance in connection to UFOs, Robert Bigelow attended, accompanied by Colm Kelleher, BAASS Deputy Administrator. During the night’s award ceremony, Bigelow was honored for funding the Star Team field investigations. In retrospect it was a historic occasion, since it was the only public exhibition of AATIP subcontractors.

In July of 2009, The BAASS Ten Month Report was delivered to DIA as contractually obligated. According to the reporting of Tim McMillan, it was a 494-page textbook-sized hardcover report.
“The first pages list the names of every contractor working for BAASS with appropriate security clearances... some of those listed are very familiar to the UFO community, including (Hal) Puthoff, (Eric) Davis, Jacques Vallee, and Colm Kelleher.” It was “full of strategic plans, project summaries, data tables, charts, descriptions of biological field effects, physical characteristics, methods of detection, theoretical capabilities, witness interviews, photographs, and case synopses,” including, “A possible UAP landing reported to BAASS by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and its STAR Team.”

The UFO Crash of January 2010

The MUFON relationship with BAASS had become increasingly troubled, with a series of territorial arguments over procedure and policy. As the relationship played out, it was realized that BAASS was demanding that every dollar spent went into the work produced, and nothing was left for MUFON’s operating expenses. In an unlikely use of his skills, molecular biochemist Dr. Colm Kelleher was BAASS Deputy Administrator, and he became involved in disputes over management fees, receipts, and invoices. It all came to an end when Bigelow’s accountants could not figure out the financial reports sent from MUFON. The drama that resulted is difficult to sort out, but it seems that it was caused by typical bookkeeping gaffes. It also cost MUFON its International Director. James Carrion says, he uncovered damaging information about Bigelow’s Skinwalker Ranch, and relayed it to the Board, “along with my doubts about the true agenda of the BAASS-MUFON relationship, the MUFON Board unethically bypassed me and communicated in secret with BAASS...When I found out about this unethical behavior... I resigned immediately...” Clifford Clift took over as director, and Jan Harzan took over the job of the MUFON-BAASS relationship. 

Instead of being renewed, the BAASS-MUFON SIP Project came to an unexpected end in January of 2010. Along with it, the paid position for SIP investigators also came to an end. Richard Lang said, “The Contract Agreement provided for the amount of $56,000 to be paid to MUFON each month… In total, MUFON received only about $324,000 from the BAASS SIP Project, which was a little less than half of the original contract deal that could have paid a total of $672,000 in the first year to MUFON.” 

 The BAASS deal had forced MUFON to restructure and commit to paid positions and other expenses to support the SIP investigations. When the funding was first cut, and then withdrawn, it crippled them. It was a fiasco, a sudden reversal of fortune, and an embarrassment for MUFON, who was left flat broke. In a way, it’s a bit like following a very bad stock tip from your dad, but it couldn’t have been much worse had it been intentional sabotage. 

The DIA continued the BAASS contract for another year for $12M. As a result, Bigelow’s team produced another 12 DIRDs via Hal Puthoff and subcontracted authors. BAASS continued with data gathering and analysis, and also reportedly, the study of metamaterials recovered from UFO incidents. In the end, the Pentagon wasn’t satisfied with what BAASS produced. Spokesperson Susan Gough said, “in late 2009, it was determined the reports were of limited value to DIA... and DoD elected not to continue the program after the work contracted under the FY2010 NDAA was completed." A big layoff of BAASS staff occurred in June of 2010, which probably indicates a reduction or elimination of field investigations. When the Pentagon money dried up for Bigelow, BAASS did too.

On Jan. 15, 2011 the BAASS-MUFON contract was leaked, then shared by Elaine Douglass. This led to erroneous speculation that Robert Bigelow now owned MUFON, and that his “sponsor” was the US government. It took many years before the truth came out. 

The Disclosure of 2017

In October 2017, three key players from the AAWSAP project joined Tom DeLonge in the launch of his company, To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science: Luis Elizondo, Dr. Colm Kelleher, and Harold Puthoff, in a commercial enterprise to “achieve our mission via an entertainment, science and aerospace consortium...” The project didn’t make a big splash until a major news story was released along with two UFO videos. The Dec. 16, 2017, New York Times article by Helen Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal and Leslie Kean, “Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program,” disclosed Robert Bigelow’s involvement, and discussed the money involved. “The funding went to Mr. Bigelow’s company, Bigelow Aerospace, which hired subcontractors and solicited research for the program.” The NYT story concealed the involvement of MUFON, but UFO researchers remembered the BAASS partnership with the SIP program and made the connection.

To date, MUFON has not commented on their involvement in the Pentagon’s AATIP program, but they have capitalized on the publicity that resulted. Jan Harzan is the present Executive Director of MUFON, and he has commented on the AATIP story and said in Jan. 2018:
“Now that the spill gates have been opened a little, it is time for the rest to come out in an orderly fashion, and in so doing make it safe for our scientists and engineers to study this phenomenon without fear of ridicule or retribution, but with funding provided by Congress and private industry."

That interview would have been a good time for Harzan to spill the beans about MUFON’s relationship to AATIP, but then ufology has a few secrets of its own.

Scenes from the 2018 MUFON Symposium and related advertisements.
In July 2018, MUFON proudly featured Luis Elizondo as the keynote speaker for their annual MUFON Symposium. In promoting the event, Harzan and Elizondo were interviewed together by George Knapp on Coast to Coast, July 15, 2018. Knapp asked for the MUFON director to comment on Government secrecy. Harzan found a silver lining, citing how government insiders like Robert Salas and Elizondo had the ability to get data released, and said, “I think that's the power that we have here with someone like Lue, and so the other folks who are part of this TTSA team is they worked in government, they worked in the military, they know where these things are, and they can go get them and ask to have them released, and so I think that's to our benefit, to all of our benefit.”

At the Symposium, Harzan posed with, and even enjoyed a meal with Elizondo, but no statements about the BAASS-MUFON secrets emerged. 

"...explaining the secret histories..."
However, there’s another chance to get it right. George Knapp will be speaking at the MUFON Symposium in Las Vegas on July 18, 2020, on:
 “AAWSAP, AATIP, and BAASS–the secret UFO investigations.” 


Watch the Guys that Watch the Skies

In the words of Roy Neary, “This means something. This is important.”

The hype from the original reporting on AATIP led us to believe this project was an elite squad operating out of the Pentagon doing hands-on UFO investigations, but it’s slowly come out that at their end, it was a “portfolio,” mainly a part-time job for one guy to collect the material packaged and delivered by Bigelow’s company. The disappointing thing in the AATIP story is that it doesn’t provide us with any good answers about UFOs. Almost the opposite. The disclosure of the MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment research raises questions. If the government knows half of what they are suspected of knowing, why would it be necessary for them to initiate a technological study of UFO characteristics? Since the program paperwork remains elusive, we also can’t say whether Bigelow’s company strayed from the contracted mission by purchasing MUFON’s data and funding field investigations of sighting reports. 

The direction of the arrows indicate the one-way flow of information, but reverse that, and it also works for the flow of money to contractors. 

It’s hard to find a meaningful message in this, but it’s strange that the US government (via Bigelow) had to hire a UFO club to do research for them. Odder still that MUFON unknowingly contributed to producing UFO files that are now locked up, classified by the government - or hidden away as the property of Bigelow Aerospace.

We’ve reached out to those involved in the 2008 - 2009 BAASS contracts for comment, including MUFON leadership and Bigelow Aerospace. In our follow up article, we’ll present their replies, an interview, and further information on how MUFON was part of AATIP. The conclusion is titled:


This article was put together drawing from a great many sources. In the link below, we’ve gathered the primary new material into a PDF, which includes the two BAASS-MUFON contracts, leaked emails, other documents, and four of the MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment papers produced for BAASS.



. . .


Special thanks to Clas Svahn, Isaac Koi, Keith Basterfield, Ricky Poole, and the late Elaine Douglass for research materials, documents and fact-checking. And to “David Vincent,” without whom none of this would have been possible.


Sources, Resources, and  Further Details on BAASS and MUFON’s SIP

Freedom of Information Act Requests have not yet produced any material of substance on AATIP, in part because of the “commercial in confidence” nature of the AAWSAP contract with BAASS. Most of the other sources remain bound by NDAs relating to long-dead projects, but journalists such as George Knapp and Tim McMillan have presented documents from unnamed anonymous sources relating to the Pentagon’s AATIP study. In our report, we’ve depended chiefly on items of demonstrable provenance, but also have referenced a dossier of BAASS-MUFON documents from a confidential, but verified source. Some of the material used in this story references previous leaks of BAASS-MUFON documents.

MUFON’s SIP training materials. Archived page:

Keith Basterfield, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena - scientific research, 
an invaluable resource on the AATIP saga: BAASS articles

Jack Brewer, “UFO-Pentagon Story Reflects Fundamental Problems,” Dec. 20, 2017
This article contains a post-AATIP reveal statement by James Carrion.

James Carrion, “Strange Bedfellows,” Jan. 31, 2011

Curt Collins, “UFOs, the Media, the Military & Dreams of Discovery,” Dec. 27, 2017

Elaine Douglass, “The Gagged-for-life Star Team Confidentiality Agreement”, May 12, 2011
The Elaine Douglass Files includes a dossier on Bigelow and his UFO-related activity. 

Richard Lang, “What caused the Failure of the BAASS - MUFON SIP Program?,” March 6, 2011. “During the period from February 2009 until the end of January 2010, I served as the STAR Team Manager and SIP Project Coordinator.”