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Thanks Lawrence. I agree 100% with your analysis.
On Jun 1, 2011, at 9:31 PM, Lemke, Lawrence G. (ARC-RD) wrote:
"I sometimes think that I am the only one blogging about Annie Jacobsen’s book “Area 51—an uncensored history of America’s top secret military base” in the last two weeks who has actually read it. There is a lot of uninformed, incorrect, and irrelevant “debate” about the book on the blogosphere that is generating more heat and smoke than light.   
Let’s start with some basics.  If you actually read it you will find that the concept for the book started when the author was approached a few years ago by a retired worker from Area 51 who stated that he was willing to start telling his story about some of what went on there because the CIA and DOD had recently decided to declassify some of the information.   He put the author in touch with one of his friends who put her in touch with one of his friends, and so on, with a total of about 74 or so “old-timers” eventually coming forward to tell their individual parts of the story. All but one of the testimonials have to do with developing and operating secret but conventional aircraft such as the U-2, A-12, SR-71, F-117, etc. and are therefore of no particular relevance to the UFO topic.
Annie claims to have checked all of the testimonial stories against the declassified records, and I have no reason to doubt her.  Having said that, however, she does make some errors of fact which are annoying, but probably don’t fundamentally distort the basic story.  For example, and contrary to her claim, in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s nuclear tests were generally announced ahead of time publicly in the vicinity of the American Southwest.  Also, LBJ revealed the existence of the A-12 when he was president, etc., etc.
Only a single individual—Mr. “X”—had anything substantive to say about Roswell.  Annie did not connect Mr. X to Roswell by his name, but it has subsequently been revealed that Mr. X is Alfred O’Donell. Annie claims to have seen documents that support his claims that he worked for EG&G by 1946 (for Operation Crossroads) and had a Q clearance. Alfred is now about 90 years old, so in 1951, he would have been about 30 years old.  
The essence of Annie’s claims that are relevant to the Roswell story are as follows:  1) Alfred said that he was one of 5 employees of EG&G who were contracted by the AEC in 1951 to design, build, and operate a covert facility located on an isolated piece of land inside what were then the boundaries of the Nevada nuclear test site.  2) Alfred said that the designation of the facility was S-4, an abbreviation of the longer name “Sigma-4”.  3) Alfred said that the purpose of the S-4 facility was to receive material being transferred from Wright Patterson Air Force Base, where it had originally been stored after recovery from Roswell in 1947.  4) Alfred said that the material included parts of a damaged discoid aerial vehicle and the bodies of some unusual humanoid creatures, two of which were still alive enough to occasionally display movement, but were “comatose”.  5) Alfred said that he was told the material was being moved to the S-4 facility for further analysis and reverse engineering because during the 5 years the material was held at Wright Patterson, they had failed to figure out how the vehicle worked.  6) Then Alfred said he was given the Stalin-Mengele-Horten (SMH) story by the AEC.  An abbreviated version of the SMH story is that Stalin ordered that an air vehicle designed by the Horten brothers and containing humans modified by Mengele to resemble aliens be sent to fly to the US for purposes of stimulating public panic in the same manner as Orson Wells’ War of the Worlds radio broadcast. 7) Alfred said that he was told that the SMH material was what was actually recovered from Roswell.
With this as background, let’s note that Alfred never claimed to have designed and built Area 51 at Groom Lake; he claimed to have participated in designing and building Area S-4—a functionally and geographically separate facility.  Annie and much of the public sometimes erroneously use the term “Area 51” to refer to any secret location in the Nevada desert without regard to its specific location, owner, or purpose.  The fact that the real Area 51 got under way in 1955 in support of the CIA U-2 program is true, but basically orthogonal to Alfred’s claim that area S-4 got under way in 1951 with the AEC as sponsor.  Annie’s recounting of where S-4 is located does not agree with popular UFO lore, which places it about 15 miles south of Groom Lake.  Instead, her story places it about 16 miles west.  This could be another error on her part.
Alfred never claimed that the content of the SMH story was true or was not true; he simply said that it is what he was told by the AEC.  According to Annie’s narrative, he never expressed an opinion on its truthfulness, one way or another.  
Annie’s position is distinct from Alfred’s position, however.  She seems to accept and endorse the truthfulness of the content of the SMH story without qualification. Since the content of the SMH story seems to be impossible to most people (including me) her position has brought down heaps of ridicule upon her for being so gullible.  From what I can tell, she has no scientific or technical training and no significant experience in the classified world; thus she has no basis for forming an informed and independent opinion about the truthfulness of the SMH story.
I think she has arrived at her position because she accepts as true Alfred’s claim that he was told the SMH story by the AEC.  If you believe that, and you believe that the content of the SMH story is false, then you pretty much have to come to the conclusion that Alfred was told the false SMH story as a cover for his job in designing and building the S-4 facility.  Seemingly, the only fact the story could be covering is that the Roswell event really was the recovery of an unconventional, exotic object and its inhabitants.  Thus, Annie is accepting that the SMH story is true in order to avoid accepting that the Roswell UFO story is true.  I think, ironically, that most of the MSM don’t get it that Annie is probably taking what she believes to be the more conservative position by accepting the SMH story as true.
The only good debunking position is to believe that Alfred is lying and therefore that the content of the SMH story is also false."

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