Guy Lyon Playfair on Project Stargate

#1
This is a shorter version of an article I wrote for my blog. All of the pertinent stuff is here, but if you want to see the full version, with links and illustrations, you can find it here

http://ersby.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/guy-lyon-playfair-on-project-stargate.html

There are two articles on Skeptical about Skeptics about Project Stargate. The first is Military Remote Viewing: The Story, and the other is The Stargate Conspiracy.

Of the successes that Guy Lyon Playfair writes about, only one seems to be backed up by original documentation. On the “Military Remote Viewing” page, he writes that psychic was able to locate a crashed Soviet aircraft in Zaire. President Carter mentioned this in 1995 and there is a memo from May 1979 which talks about a psychic choosing a location “which appears to be a crash site.”

He mentions the case of Charlie Jordan. In this case, a team of remote viewers were given the task of locating the fugitive Customs Supervisor Charles Jordan, who’d been on the run for some years. While most of the viewers were Mexico or Florida, one remote viewer said he was in Lovell, Wyoming, which is very near where he turned out to be. This session took place on the 10 April 1989, and on the 16 June 1989 Charlie Jordan was arrested.

Playfair implies that the credit should go to the remote viewers for the arrest, but the book “The FBI” by Ronald Kessler says that he “was caught when his case appeared on America’s Most Wanted and tips came in that gave the FBI probable cause to search the home of Jordan’s parents. There, agents found a videotape Jordan had made when his wife gave birth to a baby [...] The videotape showed the couple’s license tag number. It also showed the name of the hospital imprinted on a pillow case at the hospital where Jordan’s wife gave birth.”

So, it seems that the remote viewers were not involved in the capture of Charlie Jordan, and that episode of America’s Most Wanted, aired a few months before this particular project began, could be how one remote viewer (although, to be exact, she was a psychic medium, not a remote viewer) was able to guess so close to his location. It would be useful to see the show to understand the kind of information it contained.

Playfair writes that McMoneagle gives details about projects to find the hostages Dozier, Higgins and Buckley. I’ve already written on my blog and here on Skeptiko about the remote viewers’ unsuccessful attempts to remote view Gen. Dozier. As for the other two, the story that the original documentation reveals is, if anything, even worse than that.

LTC Higgins was kidnapped in South Lebanon on 17 February 1989. At first, in that same month, there was a spate of half a dozen remote viewing sessions on him, but it wasn’t until later that year that he was targetted repeatedly. Between September and December 1989 he was the target several times as part of a larger project regarding the Lebanon Hostage Crisis.

A recurring theme of these sessions was that Higgins was about to be released. Throughout these four months, it was reported that his captors would release him in two weeks’ time, or he will be the next to be released.

In the end, he was never released at all. In late August 1989, the US authorities received a video from Hezbollah apparently showing the death of LTC Higgins. On the following days, the remote viewers were asked to view Higgins and determine if he was dead or alive. Of the four remote viewers, two said he was still alive, another couldn’t tell, and the fourth didn’t answer the question.

Finally, William Buckley was kidnapped in Beirut on 16 March 1984. The remote viewing team conducted eleven sessions targeting him and, interestingly, this information was passed onto the CIA.

There is a positive report, written at the end of April, about the use of remote viewers in this search but it concluded by saying that the remote viewing sessions had stopped since the CIA could no longer supply the remote viewing team with any new leads. I thought the whole point of remote viewing was to avoid the need for intelligence gathered on the ground.

The next attempt at remote viewing Buckley was in July of 1984. One viewer said Buckley was in good health and would be released around the 22 (this was on the 17 July). The other also spoke about Buckley’s release, saying it would take place south of the Commodore Hotel.

Buckley was never released and was never in good health. He was systematically tortured and died in captivity, his death being announced on 4 October 1985.

Next, Guy Lyon Playfair mentions Joe’s claims regarding a Soviet submarine and predicted where Skylab was going to fall. The submarine “hit” was towards the end of six sessions with an interviewer who was not blind to the target. Joe mentioned a submarine in the first session, but it wasn’t until the fifth that he talks about a submarine again. At this point, the interviewer asks him to talk in more detail about the submarine.

Joe’s version of event is that he described a huge submarine of a type never seen before in a land-locked hangar and was ridiculed for it by officials. In the original documents, though, once he finally starts talking about submarines, he describes alterations being made to an existing one, rather than a brand new one. Also, the sketches resemble more the old Delta type of submarine than the new Typhoon class. Finally, the US officials giving this tasking would’ve already known about a submarine being built there, due to information from satellite photographs in 1977.

As for the Skylab prediction, there’s no sign of it in the declassified papers. But since Joe, in his book, describes it as a task he set himself and not an official request, perhaps that’s not surprising.

While I have some admiration for the remote viewing project and its attempt at trying something new, it is clear that almost all the claims of success have been exaggerated greatly. And those that haven’t, well, isn’t that to be expected in twenty-three years?
 
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#2
He mentions the case of Charlie Jordan. In this case, a team of remote viewers were given the task of locating the fugitive Customs Supervisor Charles Jordan, who’d been on the run for some years. While most of the viewers were Mexico or Florida, one remote viewer said he was in Lovell, Wyoming, which is very near where he turned out to be. This session took place on the 10 April 1989, and on the 16 June 1989 Charlie Jordan was arrested.

Playfair implies that the credit should go to the remote viewers for the arrest, but the book “The FBI” by Ronald Kessler says that he “was caught when his case appeared on America’s Most Wanted and tips came in that gave the FBI probable cause to search the home of Jordan’s parents. There, agents found a videotape Jordan had made when his wife gave birth to a baby [...] The videotape showed the couple’s license tag number. It also showed the name of the hospital imprinted on a pillow case at the hospital where Jordan’s wife gave birth.”

So, it seems that the remote viewers were not involved in the capture of Charlie Jordan, and that episode of America’s Most Wanted, aired a few months before this particular project began, could be how one remote viewer (although, to be exact, she was a psychic medium, not a remote viewer) was able to guess so close to his location. It would be useful to see the show to understand the kind of information it contained.
Another possible story is that this person became notorious enough to warrant having a television spot about them, and somebody thought that if nobody is having any luck finding the guy then maybe we should try this research division we have lying around to see if anything comes up (IIRC, McMoneagle mentioned that they often received cases last after people had already lost faith in intelligence coming up regardless.) They could have then reported all of the potential target locations as tips (ref: this is a known technique; intelligence outfits are not allowed to spy on US soil, so they enact "parallel reconstruction", a policy of using anonymous tips and other such stories so that people just "happen" to be there at the time.) One of these locations could have actually been correct. The FBI would have then, of course, said it was the result of anonymous tips (which isn't untrue, as intelligence outfits like to use tip lines to pass intelligence along that may not exactly be legally used in court.)

This is of course counting on top of whatever information they were already working on.

I think its fallacious to say that the medium's result "doesn't count" because a book about an agency with a proven history of participating in deception and committing domestic terrorism says a tipline did it.
 
#4
I think what you really mean is "official" documentation. And given the nature of things that's not surprising.
But the appeal to the nature of these agencies only goes so far; the premise can enter other possibilities in line with what we know, and there is a landmine of fallacious from there on out.

The sticking point here is if one were to ask, "Are we spying on Egypt?" and the claim was that a satellite was being used to spy on Egypt.

Code:
|                        | Official Response |
|------------------------+-------------------|
| There is a satellite   | No.               |
| There is no satellite  | No.               |
The official documentation is at best worthless, simply because if it was a valuable asset they would say no and if it was a useless asset they would say no. An agency saying no doesn't necessarily prove that something was valuable, though.
 
#5
The official documentation is at best worthless, simply because if it was a valuable asset they would say no and if it was a useless asset they would say no. An agency saying no doesn't necessarily prove that something was valuable, though.
But isn't this just a cop out? When I first heard about Project Stargate, a couple of decades ago, I often read that "oh, it must be true because it's still classified" Now it's unclassified, now I read, "oh, that's all fake. The good stuff is still classified." It's kind of frustrating.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say "an agency saying no..." Saying no to what?
 
#7
No it isn't. Do you really think that across the board declassified means "revealing the whole truth and nothing but the truth."?
No the whole truth? No. But it tells us enough that we're able to assess the claims.

Bear in mind, not one person connected to the program has come forward and said the declassified papers are forged.

Out of interest, what kind of evidence should we use to assess claims of remote viewing in the military?
 
#8
it tells us enough that we're able to assess the claims.
No it doesn't. Okay sometimes it does. But the thing is that the only people who know when that's so are those who have controlled the flow of info from the get-go. IOW overall it doesn't give us the ability to accurately assess.

I didn't say anything was forged.

I only know how I go about assessing.

You really think people in government are usually open and above-board huh?
 
#9
No it doesn't. Okay sometimes it does. But the thing is that the only people who know when that's so are those who have controlled the flow of info from the get-go. IOW overall it doesn't give us the ability to accurately assess.
So you have no opinion about the remote viewing project? That's cool. And you don't want to share what evidence you find compelling, well, fine I suppose. This whole notion of "They wouldn't tell us the truth if it works, and they're telling us it didn't work so that means they must be lying," presupposes that it works. But on what basis can one come to that conclusion? Reason? Faith?

You really think people in government are usually open and above-board huh?
No. But that doesn't mean you should dismiss what they say. Look at the evidence with an open mind, without prejudice against governments or psychics and see if it stacks up.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#10
I emailed the contact email on the Skeptical about Skeptics page about Ersby's article.

Will let y'all know if they respond.
 
#11
So you have no opinion about the remote viewing project? That's cool. And you don't want to share what evidence you find compelling, well, fine I suppose.
So now you're just making things up about me as you please?

This whole notion of "They wouldn't tell us the truth if it works, and they're telling us it didn't work so that means they must be lying,"
Is this more making things up or just poor comprehension

No. But that doesn't mean you should dismiss what they say. Look at the evidence with an open mind, without prejudice against governments or psychics and see if it stacks up.
Again. Can you point out where I stated "dismiss it"? And as for looking with an "open mind" - you're not doing that. There is no such thing as purely objective evidence. And even if there was -in cases like this you are not privy to it. You are reading reports written by people.

BTW if you think that RV isn't an actuality, you most definitely either don't have a mind that's even nearly open or you haven't read enough of available material. Until this post of yours, it didn't even cross my mind that this was about you not accepting that RV exists. I wouldn't have bothered if I'd realized that.
 
#13
When you agreed with JCealey that the official documentation was "at best useless."
Alright. I'll give you that. Not much difference practical difference there. But to clarify my take is : as being a primary factor in assessing the actualities within classified government projects, official documentation is often not complete and/or transparent. And since there is rarely any way to determine when it is or isn't, it's a crap shoot.
 
#14
The declassified documents are not complete, of course, but it is possible to work out at least some of which is missing, such as gaps in serial numbers given to sets of documents, blanked out pages and paragraphs which still have their headings or titles showing. And occasionally, there are duplicate documents, one of which has some bits blanked out and the other doesn't. So it's not a complete shot in the dark.
 
#15
The declassified documents are not complete, of course, but it is possible to work out at least some of which is missing, such as gaps in serial numbers given to sets of documents, blanked out pages and paragraphs which still have their headings or titles showing. And occasionally, there are duplicate documents, one of which has some bits blanked out and the other doesn't. So it's not a complete shot in the dark.
It is not possible to intellectually work out what is missing. And although it may not be a complete shot in the dark it's not far off. IOW perhaps things were recorded close to what transpired but how will you know? You believe that they were.

BTW As I see it if you applied the same approach to your analysis as you do to topics you are questioning your article would be very different.
 
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#17
But isn't this just a cop out? When I first heard about Project Stargate, a couple of decades ago, I often read that "oh, it must be true because it's still classified" Now it's unclassified, now I read, "oh, that's all fake. The good stuff is still classified." It's kind of frustrating.
Both of those are equally illogical. It would be better to go with resources such as Persinger working with Ingo Swann; their work has the benefit of experimenting to see how to make the effect bigger or smaller using synchronous brainwave equipment.


I'm not sure what you mean when you say "an agency saying no..." Saying no to what?
I specified it right above, with a small table. Regardless of whether or not a spy satellite was operating over Egypt, the answer to "Are we spying on Egypt with a satellite?" would be "No."
 
#18
Both of those are equally illogical. It would be better to go with resources such as Persinger working with Ingo Swann; their work has the benefit of experimenting to see how to make the effect bigger or smaller using synchronous brainwave equipment.
That's really a completely different subject and deserves its own thread.

I specified it right above, with a small table. Regardless of whether or not a spy satellite was operating over Egypt, the answer to "Are we spying on Egypt with a satellite?" would be "No."
Okay, may I ask you the same question I asked Saiko. What kind of evidence should we use to assess claims of using remote viewing in the military?
 
#19
It is not possible to intellectually work out what is missing. And although it may not be a complete shot in the dark it's not far off. IOW perhaps things were recorded close to what transpired but how will you know? You believe that they were.
I can't work out the content of missing articles, so I don't make a judgement on them. As it happens, though, most of the examples in Guy Lyon Playfair's article are available.
 
#20
Okay, may I ask you the same question I asked Saiko. What kind of evidence should we use to assess claims of using remote viewing in the military?
I don't believe trying to assess what the military does is going to work out well. If you absolutely must, then by all means use declassified papers (or better, leaks, though leaks only tend to happen if something is highly illegal; and its not impossible for some leaks to be forged regardless.) Just keep in mind that anything an intelligence or military outfit says has to be cross validated like a hawk with outside sources.

That was the purpose of the Egypt example. Strategically it would be superior for people to think satellite imaging is bad, so people are less willing to invest/pay attention to it. But that doesn't mean it does or doesn't exist, because tactically it would be better to deny interest in it either way. Unless you were absolutely sure it would never work, in which case you would want as many people as possible wasting money on it--which is a bad move, because somebody might make it work. So the answer to "Do you do this potentially highly useful thing if it existed?" is always going to be "No."
 
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