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Leslie Kean: Doing well, Martin, how are you? Thanks for having me on.
Martin: Uh, I’m thrilled that you’re on, and, you call yourself a UFO agnostic. I like that, and, it gives you a great sense of integrity while you’re doing your researching and writing. Can you tell the listener, who may not know your story, how, as a journalist, you got involved in the UFO phenomena.
Leslie Kean: Sure, uh, ’cause I never expected to get involved. So, um, what happened was back in 1999 I was working at a public radio station in the San Francisco Bay Area producing and co-hosting a daily investigative news program, there, and a colleague in France sent me this extraordinary report written by high-level military people in that country and it was – a, a, a – an English translation of this ninety-page study that was eventually going to be released in the States, but he gave me, kind of, an advanced copy of it, and what it was a three-year study performed by – among the group were four generals, an admiral, the former head of the National Space Studies Center in France, which is the equivalent of NASA in this country, some scientists, some engineers, these very, very sophisticated, knowledgeable, and high-level people had, had focused on this issue for a number of years and they issued a report because they were concerned about the national security implications, the defense implications, of these things that were being seen by pilots and aviation people around the world and they studied only the mo – the official cases that they – and the most official and the best cases – the cases for which we have so much evidence that you really can’t find an – a conventional explanation for anything, so – at least for the cases they studied. So, I received this report and I was s – just very, very struck by, the conclusion – not only the cases presented, but the conclusions of these high-level people, which was that, uh, the phenomenon, in the cases they studied – which, again, are the cases with the best evidence, officially investigated – the phenomenon in – the best explanation that they could come up with, for those cases, was what they called the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis, and they said this was the most valid, the most likely explanation for these objects that were being seen and I thought, as a journalist, then, just, sort of, looking for a good story – I thought when you have generals and admirals saying that it’s very likely that we are being visited by extraterrestrial craft, of some sort – I thought this was a big news story. I mean, imagine if the equivalent officials in America came out with a statement like that – it would be a huge thing. So I was very struck by the power of their conclusion and the writing in this report was also very, very strong and powerful and interesting, and that’s what got me started – I, I wanted to look into it based on their conclusions and I wrote a story for the Boston Globe based on this French report, which is known as the COMETA report, and that story came out in the spring of 2000, and that’s how I got started and ever since then I’ve been, pretty much, primarily focused on this.
Martin: you’ve done some great work and, uh, I’m – I’d love to say that I’m finished your book – I’m in the middle of it – it’s great book and I’d highly recommend our listeners to check the book out. Um, also, there’s some videos up on YouTube that I’ve seen, um – uh, what’s the name of the movie that’s up there?
Leslie Kean: You mean…that I’m involved with?
Martin: Yes, uh huh.
Leslie Kean: Or, well, well, there was a – uh, you may be thinking of the one that was aired on The History Channel last summer which was called UFOs On The Record and it –
Martin: That’s it, yes.
Leslie Kean: – was – yeah, was based on my book, basically, and I worked as a producer with a independent production company to create that film and then it was, you know, it was commissioned by The History Channel, basically.
Martin: Uh huh.
Leslie Kean: So…that might be the one you’re thinking of.
Martin: Yes, it is – yes. So, before we talk more about your book, um, I have a few other questions for you. Um, basically the facts and evidence point to something in our skies, uh, which, as you mentioned, way beyond our technological capabilities. What are, what are your thoughts? Uh, do you go along with the hypothesis?
Leslie Kean: Uh, the hypothesis that –
Martin: Of the French?
Leslie Kean: – that they may be extraterrestrial? Yeah, uh –
Leslie Kean: I mean, I definitely think it’s a valid hypothesis. I don’t think anyone who studies the evidence can argue with that. Again, it’s a hypothesis, though, which means a theory. It’s not proven. So, what we’re stuck with is a, a compelling body of data that suggests something that is not manmade and, and that is technological, as you said. So, what do you do with that data? And you have to think about – well maybe it could be x, y, and z. And it seems like, you know, the leading hypothesis seems to be the extraterrestrial one – that this is some kind of a vehicle from another planet, somewhere. There’s also, uh, possible hypothesis that had been for – put forward that it might from another dimension or it could be time travelers. I mean people have a lot of ideas about it, and it’s, it’s possible that every single one of these – I mean, there’s always the remote possibility – you can’t rule it out a hundred percent – that every one of these cases has some kind of conventional explanation, but…that’s such a minute chance because the ones that I feature in my book, and some of them are the same ones that were in the French report, have been so thoroughly investigated and there’s so much data involved with these cases that you really can eliminate all conventional explanations. It’s possible to do that in some of these cases and then you’re stuck with the data. So, yes, obviously, I’m going to honor the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis, as do many of the officials that have written chapters for my book and have investigated these, including five generals that I’ve interviewed and have written for my book. Um, they would agree with that – that it’s a valid hypothesis – that we have no choice but to consider it but, you know, it shakes up all the paradigms, uh, that we know. The scientists don’t think it’s possible, but then, again, we’re stuck with the data, and by – when, when you said, earlier, that I’m an agnostic, what, what I me – what I mean by that is that I’m, I’m agnostic as to what the UFOs actually are, because science has not been able to prove, yet, for us, what they are. Are they extraterrestrial? Are they time travelers? Are they something – a – are some of the cases, perhaps, something manmade and highly secret technology? I mean, we have to look at the fact that we really don’t know, and I think one of the problems we have is that many people assume that a UFO is, by definition, something extraterrestrial, and it’s not, and that’s a very important distinction that I – I feel – I make throughout my book and I think is extremely important for people to understand. We’re dealing with an unknown physical phenomenon, but we have – we don’t know what it is, yet.
Martin: That’s right, that’s right, and, uh, a lot of people will go ex – to the extreme one way or the other, you know.
Leslie Kean: Absolutely. Yep.
Martin: Yeah. Now, uh, the Mars rover Curiosity has recently landed as we’re recording this podcast and it’s sending back, uh, images currently. Luckily it landed safely. So, we’re out there, uh, exploring another planet in our solar system, which is very, very young compared to other solar systems out there. Why do you suppose that it’s so difficult for the scientific community to explore the possibility that we may be visited by civilizations that could be millions of years advanced of us?
Leslie Kean: Well, it’s a really, really great question, Martin. I mean, there are some scientists who do consider that question, such as Michio Kaku, who talks about it all the time and Brian Greene also, the, uh, physicist from Columbia, who’s done shows for Nova, is also, sort of, open to all kinds of possibilities that are suggested by the cutting-edge physics that we are now dealing with – and string theory and all the new ideas that these physicists have about the cosmos. Certainly, they open the door to the possibility of, you know, advanced civilizations being able to learn how to travel through vast distances. So, it seems logical. I agree with you that it seems logical if you’re dealing with a civilization that’s say a million years advanced from us they are going to know how to do the kinds of things that we can’t even imagine are possible so, I think s – a lot of scientists are just sort of – they’re so wedded to their – the thinking that they ha – they have spent years developing and studying and their, their whole careers are tied in with the way they think and look at the universe and they’re just, sort of, set in their ways. I think the other problem is – the ridicule factor is a big problem. Scientists feel y – they can’t even look at this because it’s too risky for their careers, unfortunately, because of the negative attitudes that exist in our culture towards doing so. Um, they’re not going to get grant money if they start playing around with UFOs. This is a big barrier because some of them are, are interested on a personal level, but on a professional level they feel it’s way too risky to get involved with it and I think a third problem is that there isn’t enough – what they consider to be hard data to work with. I mean, there’s, there are interesting cases but they don’t have some physical material that they can take into a lab and study, which is the way they’re used to working on things. They have to develop a new methodology, here. I would suggest if, if, if I was, you know, telling the scientists what to do would be to, to form an international coalition and to develop a methodology by which they could study sightings that are going on all the time, whether it be setting up radar stations or new kinds of cameras, or whatever. They have to, kind of, get proactive and find a way to study the phenomenon that’s different because just looking at the cases that we already have isn’t going to solve the mystery of what they actually are. That’s what we need. So, scientists have to decide they want to do that, and, you know, and then they can do it. I believe that we have brilliant scientists that can do whatever they set out to do, but they haven’t set out to do it for the reasons I’ve stated and, you know, so we have a big problem here which is, as you point out, that scientists aren’t more open to it. They may entertain the possibility that, yeah, advanced civilizations can do a lot of things we can’t imagine, but actually getting down and studying UFOs is a whole other order of magnitude for them.
Martin: I hope we see a day when this changes and this is really taken serious and studied properly because it would be the greatest answer of the millennia or of all time, I believe.
Leslie Kean: I agree. I think it’s one of the most interesting and most significant questions facing ours, us, as a s – you know, s – facing civilization here on the planet. Are we alone? I mean, every – you know, that’s a very, very big question and, I think, if we found out we were not it, it could have huge ramifications for – hopefully for the better in terms of unifying the planet and giving us a different perspective on, on our – where we fit in the universe – that we’re not the only species around, but we don’t know. There’s all kinds of possible scenarios: that it could be dangerous, that, you know, that people have proposed that if they’re much more advanced than us of course they would have complete control over us. So, who knows what to make of the whole thing but I think it’s important to know the truth regardless of its implications and so, when sci – we have this recurring phenomenon that science completely ignores we’re just delaying the discovery of what it actually is which is inevitable, at some point, that we’re going to find out, and, as far as I see it.
Martin: You know, uh, this – the conversation leads me to think about the possibility of government cover-up and that the government or part – a part of the government may know that this already exists yet billions of dollars are spent, for instance, on the rover, and other science exploration – the Kepler and, uh, looking for life out there, and what if there is a part of the government that already knows there is.
Leslie Kean: It’s a good question and I think we don’t have the answer as to – definitive answer, obviously, as to whether that knowledge is there or not because it’s a secret, therefore we don’t know it if it’s there. Um, I think that, um, regardless of the – what we know or don’t know I think the, the Kepler and the, uh, rover and all the exploration we’re doing is completely valid and, and should continue. You can’t just, sort of, drop that because of this other thing, but the question of whether there is some kind of a cover-up within a s – some – s – tight group of people who control this information is one that’s really, really hard to answer. I think a lot of it boils down to the question of the Roswell case and if, indeed there was a – an alien craft that crashed in Roswell then there is a cover-up. I mean, it’s that simple because if that was alien we know that it was retrieved and we know that it’s somewhere buried within the government. Um, and if that – if Roswell was not an alien craft then, I think, it’s an open question as to how much our government knows, but it’s quite possible that there is a, a secret project. I, I’ve talked to people who I trust who have told me that there is such a project. I’ve also heard very compelling arguments from very intelligent investigators that would argue why there isn’t one. So I’ve sort of explored both of those scenarios in my book – in one of the chapters in my book. So, I think we’re, sort of, stuck without knowing much about it, at this point, but there’s evidence pointing in, in all kinds of different directions in terms of what the government knows and doesn’t know. So, uh, but, uh, the, the bottom line, as far as I see it, is that even if there is this small, secret group that knows something the vast majority of, of government officials don’t know about it. I mean you could say just about all of them don’t, so the only choice we have is to proceed as if we don’t have that knowledge because it’s not being provided to us. So, therefore, we need to proceed along a track assuming that we don’t so that, the, the, the, so that it can be discovered and provided for everybody and it can be done in a public way to actually make these discoveries. That’s, that’s the way we have to, to go because we don’t have access to that information.
Martin: That’s a, a very, very good point. I appreciate you, you, uh, putting that to light. A, a couple questions I have about skeptics. Do you consider any skeptic out there that you know of, doing any major research into this evidence that you’ve gone through?
Leslie Kean: Well, it depends how you define major research. I don’t think most of the skeptics spent time doing the level of research that the government officials have done in – that I’ve cited in my book or who have written for my book where they’ve thoroughly dug into a case and collec – done all the interviews with witnesses, etc. In fact, there are many skeptics, or debunkers is the word I really like to use if you – I think you’re talking more about debunkers the ones that are –
Leslie Kean: – actually have their mind – yeah. I mean, there is a difference between a skeptic and, and a debunker and I think skepticism is healthy and I, I define what genuine skepticism really means in my book and I think we all need to be circumspect and skeptical and – in a healthy way, but when you come to debunkers whose, you know, who have really just decided that this can’t possibly be and they’re going to provide any answer they can possibly come up with to de – to debunk various UFO cases – I’ve been told that they don’t do interviews with witnesses. They will form an opinion on a case without interviewing one witness. This happens over and over again. So, you know, major research – I think some of them, I think, my – I have great respect for Seth Shostak who – with SETI who, I think, does really know something about the subject and has looked into some of the cases, uh, more than many of the others have, anyway. So, but I think most of them don’t take the time because they’re on a mission to just come up with whatever explanation they can to, to get rid of a case and that’s what they do and – but, you know, what’s interesting now, as a result of my book I have received many letters – emails from skeptics who have been – whose minds have been changed as a result of reading the book and that’s made – that’s given me a lot of satisfaction.
Martin: Wow! That’s, that’s really nice to hear. I was going –
Leslie Kean: Yeah.
Martin: – to – yeah – so, I was going to ask you if you’ve had – what is some other feedback from skeptics that you had about your book?
Leslie Kean: Well, I mean, a number of them who are just individual people, let’s say from a university or something, they’re not, they’re not skeptics that have been out there, publically, but they’re people who have written me and said, you know, I’ve never taken this seriously – I’ve never thought anything of it and when I read your book I’ve been completely transformed, now, because of the book and, of course, that’s satisfying to me but, I think, one story – this might be of interest to your readers. One of the more famous people that has been affected by the book, and I, and I want to make the point, Martin, that this book – fifty percent of this book was actually written by other people –
Leslie Kean: – than myself, which, I think, is why a lot of – what a lot of its power is that I invited these officials, these generals, pilots, and government officials, to write their own chapters for my book so you’re hearing directly from them. It’s not just all myself. So that’s why I feel a little more comfortable talking about the power of the book I’m not just, sort of, trying to promote myself, you know, but there are about fifteen others that have contributed to this book along with me. So, back to the story of the, of the skeptics. Derrick Pitts is a fairy, fairly well known skeptic. He’s, he’s was the chi – he’s the chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute, which is a well known museum in, um, Philadelphia and he used to go on television all the time debunking UFO cases. He was on MSNBC a lot. He was, sort of, one of the scientists that they called on for whenever there was a scientific event he would be called on to comment and so he was also called on to comment about UFO events, among everything else and I was so, uh, shocked when I saw him, years ago, commenting on the O’Hare incident. We can talk about that later, but he was a total debunker. So, he is, he’s example of somebody who has been absolutely transformed by the book to the extent that he invited me to come to the Franklin Institute and give a talk about it –
Leslie Kean: – and I – when I was invited by him I thought, oh, he said he said he wanted to have a conversation – a public conversation with me and discuss the book, right? So I immediately thought, oh –
Martin: A debate.
Leslie Kean: – my god – yeah, I thought, he’s a debunker. He’s going to want to get me up there on a stage and debunk everything and have a battle with me and, and I – so I said to him I – if you want me to come give this talk I – you – I only ask one thing of you and that, that is that you promise me you will read the whole book – every page of it before I get there and he pro – I said, all I ask of people is that they read it then they can have any opinion that they want and he promised he would read it and he did and he was completely transformed by this book and he got up on the stage with me and praised the book up the wazoo and kept asking the question, I don’t understand why scientists don’t take this seriously –
Leslie Kean: – look at what we’ve got and so he was a man that was, just by reading this book, you know, was transformed in his approach to this subject and I think – I admire him for reading it because I think a lot of the, the issue is, with the skeptics, that they won’t read things like this. They just avoid them, and, I think, it’s impossible for anybody to read this book, because of the chapters written by these authorities from around the world – I don’t think people can read this book – anyone can and come away from it and still feel like they can debunk every single case. It’s just an impossibility. You can’t do it. So, I think most skeptics won’t want to read something like this and the ones that do are really changed by it as – and with Derrick Pitts being an example. He even wrote a blurb for the paperback edition which came out, you know, a year later after the hardback. He wrote a, a blurb for the book praising it and it’s, it’s right here on the – in the inside cover of my book, so that’s a – that’s just a – an – an example of one person who I’m very happy about that has taken the book seriously and really changed because of it.
Martin: That is really great. I’m –
Leslie Kean: Yeah.
Martin: I’m really, really glad to hear that someone of that stature, and I know who you’re talking about, as well, he’s actually come around, like that – that’s great.
Leslie Kean: It is really great.
Martin: Uh, that shows, shows that some people do have an o – a mind open enough to, uh, to deal with this.
Leslie Kean: Absolutely, and he, I think, he’s always had an open mind but I can tell you when I saw him talking about O’Hare, and that was only in 2007, it wasn’t that long ago – before he read the book – maybe four years before he read it, he was just laughing and accusing the pilots of being drunk. I mean, he was –
Leslie Kean: – absolutely dir – so debunking – so much of a debunker that, obviously, hadn’t looked into any of the evidence for this particular event that it was just shocking, to me, and I even kept a record of it because when I wrote cases – when I wrote a paper for the International UFO, uh, Re – Reporter, the, the, the journal from the, from the, uh, UFO Center for – the – what is it called? The Center For UFO Studies in, you know, the Hynek organization. I wrote this long piece about, um, the O’Hare case which I studied in some detail, and kept it because I wanted to quote him as an example of how, how these debunkers operate and there was Derrick Pitts’s quote and, then, who would have ever thought that years later he would have invited me to give a talk and praise my book, you know, like he did. I, I never would have expected that, but it happens, so, it gives us hope.
Martin: That’s right. Now, was he the person that was claiming that it was a, a cloud formation or phenomena, uh, weather, situation?
Leslie Kean: Uh, actually that was the FAA. I don’t think he ever studied the case enough to claim that. I mean, he just was just in – totally flippant about it and no that, that was, that was the FAA that got into that and which I think I dealt with very well in, in my own investigation – put that one to bed.
Martin: Yes. So, I do want to talk about your book in general, but while we’re on the O’Hare case, uh, uh, a question that comes to mind on that uh, was there anyone that you talked to off the record?
Leslie Kean: There were witnesses, yes, and there were witnesses, I think – well, certainly, the names were off the record, what’s one thing that’s interesting about that case is that not one witness was willing to go on the record with their name and there were probably thirteen, fourteen, fifteen of them that, eventually, spoke to various investigators, uh, mainly Dr. Richard Haines from NARCAP who did a thorough study of it, but I think that’s very telling that, that you have a case of this – that was covered in the national media and was very, very significant case involving an aviation safety issue, really and not one witness was willing to put their name on the record because they were afraid for their, basically, for their jobs, and that’s just such a, a telling situation because it shows the problem that we face, here, in this country where witnesses are so afraid to be public about it because of the repercussions that they face. They should not be facing any repercussions for reporting what they’re seeing over a major airport, on – at rush hour – something that’s dangerous. So, it’s – it’s just a completely irrational problem and it’s not like this in other countries where these things are reported much more easily without a lot of repercussions. So, I’m glad you raised that point, and yes, I did speak to a couple of witnesses. I think that, as I recall they – one of them allowed me to quote him without his name, but it was extremely delicate and I had to get the quote approved and lots of stuff that he told me I could not quote. So, there was some off the record stuff, um, mainly with – and I think that’s true for all the investigators that talked to the witnesses – they were the ones that were so concerned about going on the record.
Now, this was just a – it was a simple disc just hovering over a gate, um, steady for so many minutes. Is that right? And then all of a sudden it shot straight up. That’s exactly right. It was kind of a metallic looking disc-shaped object that was hovering over a specific gate: Gate C-17 at the United Airlines terminal at O’Hare airport. It was rush hour – just a normal day. The weather was normal – slight drizzle but, you know, nothing at – abnormal going on and it was witnessed by many aviation people including pilots from the ground just, sort of, sitting up there for at least five minutes, it might have been longer, and then, as you said, there was a cloud bank – a thick cloud bank above where the object was hovering – it was about fifteen, eighteen hundred feet up. Suddenly the object just shot straight up – literally straight up through that cloud bank and cut a very clear hole in it as if someone had taken a cookie cutter from above the, the cloud bank and just cut this crisp hole in it with a clear outline and people describe being able to see the blue sky through the hole on the other side of the cloud bank. So, there’s nothing we know of, in our technology that can do that. That’s the bottom line. This is what was reported and many of the witnesses were concerned about the aviation safety implications of – when you have something hovering over a major airport at rush hour that doesn’t have a transponder, that can’t be communicated with, you don’t know why it’s there, what it is, how long it’s going to stay, what it’s going to do next – all these, all these very, very significant questions that arise when something like this happens and the FAA was not interested in it – they didn’t – investigate, they didn’t address it, they only provided ridiculous, phony explanations for it when they were forced to and that’s how things – that’s how these events are handled in this country. It’s, it’s – and I think this case is so important because it illustrates the problem that we have, here, so dramatically, not only with witnesses being afraid to talk about it, but with the, the non-interest and the non-engagement that is – that goes on within our government – the fact that we don’t investigate and we don’t provide any explanation, or even statement, to the witnesses and to the general public who are very concerned about something like this. They don’t get any response, even a statement saying we can’t explain what this was. That’s all we’re really asking for from our government. We don’t even get that. We just get silly explanations that that can be dismissed if you look into the, the facts of the case, which is what others and I did. There were two, two or three different explanations that were provided and none of them m – made – were possibilities – were even possibilities for what actually happened, so –
Martin: Right. Right. Now, when you decided to write this book was there any case out there that you wanted to add to this book but you couldn’t get cooperation?
Leslie Kean: No that really didn’t happen. There was one potential contributor who was a general from Russia who had told me that he did want to write something for the book, um, but never did, for whatever reasons I don’t know, but, um –
Leslie Kean: – terms of actual cases, and, and really I was very, very fortunate to get the people who I invited to contribute – they were all willing to do it and I think it’s partly because I had spent many years developing connections and – with these people, so I knew most of them, and I’ve met many of them, and, so, they trusted me enough to be willing to do this and they worked very hard on the chapters that they wrote. I was extremely grateful for that and I, I just think the – hearing the, the, you know – I – hearing about something in a, a detailed chapter ins – in the, in the words of the actual person involved is so much more powerful than hearing me tell the story and quoting somebody, which is what you c – that’s all you can do in a short article that you might write for a magazine or a newspaper, which is what I’d done, previously, and I realized that it’s, it’s not going to do the job – that these people – we need more detail because the subject is so complicated and controversial and I thought, what is better than asking these people to tell their stories in their own words, so that’s what, that’s what the book does.
Would you mind just going through each case and just a real quick one or two line synopsis of the, the chapters in your book?
Leslie Kean: Sure, and I, I won’t be able to cover each case ’cause some, some of the writers, in – including myself, include cases within a broader – a bigger chapter so there’s actually a lot, a lot of cases that are touched upon, but some of the major ones, where there’s whole chapters about them, are the, the Belgian Wave from 1989, 1990, which – and that chapter was written by Major General Wilfried de Brouwer, who was the head investigator for the Air Force at the time of the event, and Dr. Richard Haines from NARCAP – a former NASA senior scientist – wrote a chapter about aviation safety cases which covers a, a number of fascinating cases, including the Valentich case from Australia, and then I have Captain Julio Miguel Guerra, who’s now a pilot for Portugal, the, the leading airline in Portugal. He, he wrote a chapter about an event he ex – hi – his experience of a – encountering a UFO for over twenty minutes that, kind of, did elliptical loops around his airplane while another plane was watching. That event, um, occurred in the 1980s, I believe, and he’s, he’s written a chapter about it, um, and then the O’Hare airport case I wrote a chapter about that ’cause I did a lot of work on that case. The English Channel case of 2007, by Captain Ray Bowyer. He was, um, a p – a pilot for a small airline and he, he witnessed two gigantic UFOs in 2007, along with his passengers, and that, that event was also picked up on radar. So, I mean, there’s many, many others. I can go on and on. The, the famous case in, in Iran, written, um, by General Parviz Jafari, 1976 – the dogfight case – he wrote about his own experience in that case and Oscar Santa Maria from Peru also wrote about his experience trying to shoot down a UFO over an Air Force base in Peru in 1980. It’s fascinating to read that because, you, you’re hearing about – from these guys you’re hearing, not only what actually happened, but you get their reactions to it. Were they afraid? How did they respond when they had these close encounters? Why did they try to shoot them down? I – my job as a, sort of, an editor for them was to, to work with them to, to draw out, from them, what their emotional responses were as well as the actual storytelling – the narrative of what actually happened and I found that to be the most interesting aspect and I knew that that would be what would be interesting to the readers is, you know, the more personal side of their stories and, and military guys don’t normally talk about those, those aspects of a story. So, I was – because I knew these guys I was able to, kind of, work with them and draw out that side of the story which, I think, makes them a lot more interesting because they get so personal in their reactions and then – Rendelsham Forest case is also included in the book. I have pieces, both by Sergeant James Penniston and Colonel Charles Halt, which are fascinating cases out of Chile, cases out of Brazil that are very compelling, written by a General from that country, uh, and John Callahan wrote a chapter about the event over Alaska that’s quite well known, at this point, in which he has radar – gigantic, kind of, almond-shaped object seen by Japanese pilots and the story of Fife Symington is also a very interesting one, and he’s written a piece – a short piece for the book about why he, initially, ridiculed the subject at a press conference and, and, and why he’s changed his position today and what he thinks should happen in terms of government policy. So, those are just some of the cases. Nick Pope has also written a chapter about many cases in the UK and the French head of the agency there – of GEPAN, for twenty years: Jean Jacques Velasco, has written a very interesting chapter about some of the cases from France that are the most compelling cases that he was directly involved with, so, that’s just a taste of some highlights of the book.
Martin: Yeah, it’s a, it’s a great book. Uh –
Leslie Kean: Thank you.
Martin: In your opinion is there one that stands out as the most compelling case, to you?
Leslie Kean: Boy, that’s a hard question to answer. I would say that the Belgian Wave I find extremely compelling because – partly because it happened repeatedly, you know, most UFO cases occur once.
Leslie Kean: These objects that kept returning to Belgium. I find that so fascinating because they were – the Belgians were able to collect so much data. They have – I’ve been over there and they have twenty-five gigantic notebooks full of hard copy reports that were filed on this case. Drawings, descriptions, interviews with, with witnesses and with investigators – many police officer were involved – military people saw the objects and they kept recurring so that the government actually became proactive. The, the Air Force sent, sent up F-16s – developed a whole protocol by which what was needed before they would send up the F-16s – certain things were needed to, you know, to establish that something was actually there. So, they, they really got into trying to identify what these objects were because they were invading, sort of, you know, intruding into protected airspace with impunity and nobody could do anything about it and so the Air Force, of course, was concerned about that. So, I think, it’s fascinating, I mean, that case – I learned a lot about that case in writing the book and, and, when I was working with the production company for the History Channel piece, was able to go over there and meet some of the people who I had not met, yet, and who were actually involved with it – some of the police officers and the pilot from the F-16 who was sent up to take a closer look at it, at one point.
So, it’s extremely compelling because of the repetition in that case and the volume of evidence that’s been collected on it and the fact that General deBrouwer is such a authority on it, uh, and is willing to speak a – out about it and was so meticulous in his studies of the case, so it’s, it’s really a strong one and I, I find it extremely interesting but so are all – a lot of the other cases, so it’s hard to pick one.
Martin: That’s right. Yes. Uh, I agree with that. You mentioned Rendlesham Forest, uh, that’s another one, for me, that I think is pretty solid.
Leslie Kean: I think it’s very, very solid. I would absolutely agree with you – has a lot of physical evidence which is so important and radiation readings, documented by the MOD, and physical marks on the ground when the craft landed and many, many witnesses to s – and, and – do – and Colonel Halt’s tape recording, of course, which –
Leslie Kean: – people have listened to, which involved his immediate, real-time observations along with a whole group of other people who were seeing the same things – very extraordinary things that happened, there.
Martin: – right. That’s, that’s a – an amazing story, right there. You mentioned the former Arizona Governor Fife Symington and he came forward and set the record straight and Larry King had a wonderful series talking about this seriously and you would think that would be enough for the mainstream media to be all over this. Why, do you suppose, the mainstream media – is it ridicule – why they stay away?
Leslie Kean: Um, well, it’s interesting, Martin, because the mainstream media has a very short attention span. I think this is one of the problems. Now, when, when Fife Symington originally came out with his acknowledgement that he had actually been a witness to that UFO, back in 1997, and I was the person that broke that story I, I – ’cause I had exclusive access to him. I wrote a story about it for the – a small paper in Arizona. Well, the mainstream media was all over it, I mean, they did cover that story. They all wanted interviews with him. He wouldn’t – he would not provide interviews to the lot of them because he just didn’t want to do this, but it was a big, big story and it was covered by CNN, but what happens is the mainstream will get on these stories and then they just forget about them. They don’t pursue. They don’t follow up and dig deeper and, maybe, try to look into other cases that might have happened, you know – that could be similar, or – they just do a one-shot thing and then they’re on to something else. So, I think, that’s the way they work, which is – we – what we need are investigative journalists that will take months to dig into a case and then do a story about it, but they don’t do it that way. That’s the problem.
Martin: Yeah – then – you’re right. They’re very ephemeral. Everything –
Leslie Kean: Yeah. Yeah.
Martin: – is right at the moment or it’s old news.
Leslie Kean: And they do cover things, though. The O’Hare case also was major media story. You know, CNN and other, other stations covered it. It was the front page in the Chicago Tribune – got huge number of hits on the website, but then it’s over in a day or two. That’s it. It’s gone. They just don’t stay with anything, and that’s why, I think, I play a particular role, here, in being a journalist who has, actually, stayed with this topic and really dug into it for years and years and years. I don’t know of any other journalist that’s even done it for months. Other researchers have, but not journalists, so it’s just the way the media operates. They’re, they’re assigned a story by their bosses. They go out and cover the story for a day or two and it’s – and then they’re on – they’re assigned something else, and that’s it.
Martin: Well, I, I hope I’m speaking for a lot of people out there – really appreciate what you’re doing. We’re just about out of time and um, another question – just one more question I have for you. Since you’ve written this book have you been researching any new, credible accounts, and, if so, can you talk about it?
Leslie Kean: Yeah, I have, actually, been researching some cases from the country of Chile, which I’ve become very interested in. I’ve written two stories, uh, in last spring on the El Bosque videos that were taken at – the place is – it’s called the El Bosque Air Force Base, which is in Santiago, Chile, and there were some extraordinary videos taken there during an air show, in which some kind of an object flew by these, these airplanes that were flying over the base as a – part of a ceremony, um, and this case r – really intrigued me, uh – did two pieces on it a – a lot of the debunkers said that they thought that the image was a bug, so it’s not completely clear. I don’t know if it can be proven what the objects were or, or – it – we can’t even determine that much about them, but I’m about to write another story to, kind of, try to lay this, this case to rest, although we’re not going to have a definitive answer to the case, but further studies have been done on it since I wrote the initial story and I’ve, actually, been to Chile and have met with people from the agency, there, and I’m very interested in, in, not only the cases that they have and, and – the one I – this one I’m mentioning is just one of many really interesting cases, but also the way they operate I – in, in Chile – the government agency, there, has four full-time staff people that do nothing but look into these cases and it’s very, very impressive what they’ve been able to do and, and the way that the whole country – that all the official branches: the military, the aviation community, the radar controllers, the pilots – everybody’s plugged in to this system in which reports are filed immediately with this agency when anything happens and, yeah, it’s very, very impressive and, I think, it serves as a model for the rest of the world in terms of how governments should handle this issue and, and the way it can work, effectively, within a country. So, I’m interested in trying to learn more about how they operate, and, and – o – and eventually bringing back some of that information to the States and, and trying to use it to influence our own government as a, sort of, a model for how things can actually work. So, I, I – that’s, sort of, been a focus of mine since – in the last six months, or so, has been the, um, situation in Chile.
Martin: Wow! Great! Well, you’ve been absolutely spectacular. Thank you so much, and your website is ufosontherecord.com, is that right?
Leslie Kean: That’s right. Yes and there’s a, a link there if you want to buy the book. It’s out in paperback, so it’s not expensive, and, also, I’m very active on my Facebook page if people want to go there and write a comment or a question or anything like that – that’s, that’s great, too.
Martin: Yes. Now, that’s, actually, how I got in touch with you.
Leslie Kean: Yeah, so, and, uh, that’s, that’s – I mean, I’ve been a little bit off it a little bit more than usual because I’ve been away with family in the – for the month of July, but I’m, sort of, getting back in the groove, groove now, so –
Leslie Kean: – I hope to hear from people and thanks very much, Martin, for doing the interview. I really appreciate it.
Martin: Yes. So, this is Martin with Leslie Kean and that’s it for today.