+quot;BOOK, HYPE, AND SNOOKERED+quot; by Robert Sheaffer (Book Review reprinted from the N
"BOOK, HYPE, AND SNOOKERED"
by Robert Sheaffer
(Book Review reprinted from the Nov.Dec., 1979 issue of
the now-defunct magazine, "Second Look")
by Leslie Watkins, David Ambrose and Christopher Miles.
New York: Avon Books, 1979.
Can a book be banned from sale in the United States? Well-
known UFOlogist Gray Barker [died 1984] claims in his regular
column in UFO Review (June, 1979) that this one was. The book's
thesis that the end of life on earth is coming, and that only the
elite of the world can be rescued, is purportedly too shocking
for the government to permit the book's release. "I'm not going
to risk trouble by trying to get a copy," Barker shudders
(although after I effortlessly obtained a copy of the original
British edition, no "Men In Black" came pounding on my door).
An American edition of "Alternative 3" is available now. It
is not difficult to see why the government might want to suppress
the book, *if* what it says is true*. East/West tensions are a
deliberate fraud, it says, a smokescreen thrown up to divert
attention from the real danger now reportedly facing the world.
The eco-alarmists are right, the authors contend: the world is
now facing certain extinction due to an accelerating runaway
greenhouse effect resulting from the buildup of carbon dioxide in
the atmosphere from the combustion of fossil fuels. Alternative 1
was supposedly discussed by an elite panel of end-of-the-world
brainstormers, and rejected as being impractical and hazardous:
using a series of nuclear explosions to "punch holes" in the
supposed envelope of carbon dioxide. Alternative 2 - moving the
elite of mankind to live in underground cities - was also
rejected as impractical and undesirable.
That leaves us with Alternative 3: transporting the world's
intellectual and governmental elite off the earth completely,
using the moon as a way-station in the colonization, and eventual
terraforming, of Mars. The technology to accomplish this is
alleged to already be in existence: the space program as we know
it is said to be just a diversion from the *real* space effort, a
joint US/USSR venture, which is far more advanced than everyone
has been led to believe. A lunar colony is claimed to already
exist, managed by the elite "designated movers," where a corps of
de-sexed, lobotomized slaves, tactlessly called "batch
consignments," performs all of the manual labor.
It is difficult for the casual reader to know what to make
of Alternative 3. The book purports to be non-fictional (the
British edition carries the categorization "World Affairs/
Speculation"), an adaptation of a supposedly earth-shaking TV
documentary produced by Anglia TV. It is filled with references
to real persons and real events. Otto Binder *did* make wild
claims about weird objects that the astronauts supposedly sighted
in space. Gerard O'Neill [died 1992] *did* make headlines with
his advocacy of space colonies (the US/USSR conspirators are said
to have debated whether Professor O'Neill should be done away
with, since he knows so much: "not necessary," they decided. I
wonder if he realizes how close to death he came!) We find
references to Senator Edward Kennedy, astronauts Mitchell, Aldrin
and Armstrong (as well as a fictitious moon-walker named
"Grodin"), UFOlogist Dr. David Saunders and many others. We find
many apparently authentic quotes from newspapers and magazines.
Yet the book is obviously a novel. The dialogue is too
contrived, and the protagonists' slam-bang uncovering of layer
after layer or treachery and conspiracy is typical of low-grade
spy novels. Can anyone truly convince himself that top American
and Soviet officials meet regularly in docking submarines beneath
the arctic ice cap to review conspiracy developments, and that
the transcript of their ultra-secret deliberations would read
American 2: I told you we should have killed that guy
Gerstein . . . way back in February . . . I said that he was
dangerous . . .
Russian 4: My friend is right . . . he did say that. And I
pointed out that Gerstein's talk could start a panic among
the masses . . .
A 8: . . . and I propose an expediency.
A 2: Seconded.
R 8: Those in favour? . . . then that is unanimous. The
A 3: How about a telepathic sleep job . . . maybe with a
R 8: that seems sensible . . . it's too soon after
Ballantine for another hot job.
Gray Barker devoted a full column to the book because of
information received from an unnamed Major so-and-so. (The hints
Barker drops appear to be chosen to make us immediately conclude
"The Major" to be former NICAP director Major Keyhoe. But it is
not. It is a different retired Major [Wayne Aho], living on the
West coast, not nearly as well-known as Keyhoe, who has long been
associated with Adamski-style contactees.) The Major attempted to
buy one hundred copies of "Alternative 3" from the Canadian
publishing firm or Thomas Nelson & Sons. Jim Gifford, the manager
of the paperback division, informed the Major that the order
could not be filled because, in his ill-chosen phrase, "the above
title has been banned from sale in the United States."
The Major apparently sent a copy of this letter to Barker,
who picked up the football and ran a hundred yards, charging that
this book was suppressed in the U.S. because it was embarrassing
to the authorities, and that the "space program is a hoax" movie,
"Capricorn One", was canned prematurely, supposedly for the same
Since, however, the full letterhead of Thomas Nelson & Sons
is reproduced in the Barker piece, I wrote to Gifford asking if
"Alternative 3" really was banned in the United States. He
replied that it is unfortunate that Barker did not contact him
before rushing off to print, as it would have saved considerable
embarrassment on both their behalfs! The reason the book was
supposedly "banned" in the U.S. , he explained, was that Avon
Books had purchased the U.S. paperback rights. Had the Canadian
firm filled the Major's order, it faced the risk of a whopping
lawsuit from Avon Books.
But are the startling claims of "Alternative 3" true? How do
we explain the interviews with whistle-blowers, the tie-in with
missing persons, the clues to allegedly mysterious deaths of
prominent persons? Our British readers already know the answer:
April Fool! As reported in "The Times" of London on June 21,
1977, the day after the TV version was presented, "Independent
television companies last night received hundreds of protest
calls after an Anglia programme, "Alternative 3", giving alarming
"facts" about changes in the earth's atmosphere. It was a hoax,
originally intended for April 1." Reporter Alan Coren observed
that "the year's worst kept secret was that Alternative 3 was a
spoof . . . if you know that 'a hoax is a hoax, how can you
possibly attack it for lacking authenticity?" He suggested that
had he not been in on the "secret" in advance, while the total
preposterousness of the story itself might not have deterred
belief, the acting was so unconvincing as to remove all doubt.
It seems that we Americans, who almost never read the
British press and whose own media have said virtually nothing
about this matter, are having our credulity tested by the
promoters of "Alternative 3". Some of us have already risen to
the occasion, mustering credulity above and beyond the call of
duty: Major A., Gray Barker (the first to write a book about the
supposedly mysterious "Men In Black," whose existence has now
been swallowed by Hynek, Vallee, Keel, Clark and many others), as
well as Timothy Green Beckley, editor of "UFO Review". Don't be
the next to bite the hook. The marketing of "Alternative 3"
represents a real-world test of the old adage that a fool and his
money are soon parted.
Robert Sheaffer - Scepticus Maximus - email@example.com
Past Chairman, The Bay Area Skeptics - for whom I speak only when authorized!
"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet.
Then all things are at risk. It is as when a conflagration has
broken out in a great city, and no man knows what is safe, or
where it will end."
- Emerson: Essay, "Circles"
"Alternative 3": April Fool!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeff Papineau)
Although I do hate to beat a dead horse, it does seem that
we need to set the record straight here with the pertinent
facts such that people will not feel inclinded to subscribe to
any proffered party line...
Contrary to what people have written about reading in the Fortean
Times and in Roberts latest post about Alternative 3, there are many
issues surrounding the original broadcast in the UK Commonweath, and the
subsequent book that are simply not addressed by cries of
"hoax' and "april fools, ect."
This initial airing on UK television was quit a stir for the
folks over there. The show that originally broadcast and produced
it was called the Science Report, a documentary non-fictional
program, up until the time that the Alternative 3 program had been
aired. So the folks tuning in were expecting non-fiction. Part of
the mystery here all along was, "What had prompted the producers to
deviate from the regular menu of documentary programing?
It seemed very out of charactor, and must have been prompted by
some interesting ideas they wished to promote.
The book was published in 1978, the documentary in 1977. The authors
of the book were Leslie Watkins and David Ambrose. The TV program
aired with actors credits following the program at the end. This
program aired June 20, 1977, so it seems that the April Fools pitch
is contrived at best.
Anyway, the different network presidents quickly issued statements in
Britain, Cananda, and Australia claiming the show to be a hoax...
seemingly by preasure from above. And the author Watkins has publicly
stated that the book is 65% true, and 35% fiction. So in reality it is
many facts collected together to support a fictional(?) conspiracy
theory in the grand tradition that all conspiracy theories are
postulated and proposed.
Some of the ideas proposed in 1977's Alternative 3 were somewhat ahead of
great public exposure to a host of environmental threats that we
hear of daily in 1992;
Overpopulation - Well, this one's been around a while, but it seems to
be the one that no matter what, will bring use face to face with
the mortality of the race, regardless of how well the planet can handle
the first two issues in the next decades.
These topics were first brought to light in a conference held in
Huntsville AL in 1957, the main topic even back then being the
Greenhouse effect. One of the actors who was in the TV production
actually attended the conference.
One of the most interesting things about Alternative 3 is that there were
facts reported on the show that were not released to the press untill
over a decade later, and issues came up that seemed to be verifyable
concerning Mars by visual evidence observable from Earth.
First, the actor portraying a Prof. Girstin reported that a Russion
missile carrying an atomic warhead had blown up on the pad in 1960,
killing hundreds of Russian scientists. The reported mission of the
rocket was to deliver it's warhead to Mars in the attempted terra
forming of the planet. Life magazine stated NASA has
openly discussed the terraforming of Mars, in its May 1991 issue
"Our Next Home, Mars, Bringing
a Dead World to Life"...
It was not reported until 1991 by Russian authorities that in fact a
rocket had exploded in 1960, killing more than 200 Soviet space experts,
a missile reported to be part of thier balistics program (nuclear).
So it becomes clear that the producers of the program had access to
secret information at the time the program was aired.
If you look closely, it becomes obvious that the program contained
information that was much more than just vivid imagination, it was
a product of investigative journalism, with some explainations for
anomylous observations thrown in, such as never seen before cloud
formations on Mars, observed from earth.
Although officially, these observations were attributed to violent
storms more powerful than ANY previously seen, could it be that
the US/USSR does have a secret space program, they are actively
attempting to terraform Mars, and we are seeing the effects of
nuclear detonations that are creating these cloud formations on
These are the questions that the book and the TV production ask,
and it would seem that the authors were somehow privy to information
the public was not...
There are many books on the theory of the secret space effort, and
while many of these theorys upon first investigation seem to be
very far out, even outlandish, there is one thing you can be very
NASA is charged with many duties that they do not speak of, there is
a space effort by the US that is not publicised, there are
technologies being used that could be far in advance of what we
consider to be possible at this time, and that they won't tell use
about it until they feel it will somehow promote thier agenda. What
ever that agenda is; we don't know what it is, because of
a trite little expression called 'national security' that has outlived
Furthur reading if your interested includes:
International UFO Library magazine - Vol. 2, Article by Tony Dodd
Moongate: Suppressed Findings of the US Space Program - W. Brian II
We found alien bases on the Moon (or somesuch book I have seen around,
but don't have yet.)
The Secret Space Program - Herbert G. dorsey III (this book seems to have
more information regarding Alternative 3 than anyother I have seen.)
Cosmic Top Secret - William Hamilton
The Vindicator Scrolls - Stan Deyo
The Cosmic Conspiracy - Stan Deyo
Behold a Pale Horse - William Cooper
The Anit-gravity Handbook - Dr. Childress
UFO Crash at Aztec - William Steinman
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank