JAMES PENNISTON AND JOHN BURROUGHS Bentwaters Case CHD 4-30

MADAM CHAIRWOMAN, MY NAME IS PAT FRASCOGNA, LEGAL COUNSEL TO JAMES PENNISTON AND JOHN BURROUGHS, BOTH OF WHOM PROUDLY AND PASSIONATELY SERVED OUR COUNTRY IN THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE. MR. BURROUGHS AND MR. PENNISTON ARE SEATED WITH ME THIS MORNING ALONG WITH NICK POPE, FORMERLY WITH THE UNITED KINGDOM’S MINISTRY OF DEFENCE. MR. POPE HAS BEEN A LONGTIME ADVOCATE FOR FULL DISCLOSURE OF THE EVENTS FOR WHICH WE WILL DISCUSS TODAY. IT IS INDEED NOTHING SHORT OF AN HONOR FOR ME TO BE SEATED BESIDE THESE GENTLEMEN TODAY.
THIRTY-THREE (33) YEARS AGO AT THE ZENITH OF THE COLD WAR IN 1980, STAFF SERGEANT JAMES PENNISTON AND AIRMAN FIRST CLASS JOHN BURROUGHS WERE ASSIGNED TO THE TWIN ROYAL AIR FORCE BASES (“RAF”) OF BENTWATERS AND WOODBRIDGE NEAR SUFFOLK, ENGLAND. AT THAT TIME RAF BENTWATERS AND WOODBRIDGE WERE LEASED BY THE UNITED KINGDOM TO THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE. TOGETHER THE TWIN BASES WERE HOME TO THE LARGEST TACTICAL FIGHTER WING IN EXISTENCE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD AT THAT TIME. JAMES PENNISTON HELD U.S. AS WELL AS N.A.T.O. SECURITY
1
CLEARANCES, AND WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROTECTION OF SOPHISTICATED WAR-MAKING ASSETS IN ADDITION TO THE PERSONNEL LOCATED AT BENTWATERS AND WOODBRIDGE. BY DECEMBER OF 1980 HE WAS THE SENIOR SECURITY OFFICER IN CHARGE OF BASE SECURITY AT THE TWIN BASE FACILITY.
AFTER MIDNIGHT ON DECEMBER 26, 1980 AIRMAN BURROUGHS, ALONG WITH STAFF SERGEANT BUD STEFFENS, WERE ON PATROL TOGETHER WHEN THEY NOTICED STRANGE LIGHTS EMANATING FROM JUST OUTSIDE THE EAST GATE OF THE BENTWATERS BASE IN THE ADJACENT RENDLESHAM FOREST. MR. BURROUGHS HAD BEEN STATIONED AT THE TWIN BASE FACILITY FOR NEARLY TWO (2) YEARS AND HAD NEVER SEEN SUCH AN UNUSUAL PHENOMENON PREVIOUSLY IN RENDLESHAM FOREST. SERGEANT STEFFENS AND AIRMAN BURROUGHS TELEPHONED CENTRAL SECURITY CONTROL (“CSC”) FROM THE KIOSK AT THE EAST GATE TO REPORT THE UNIDENTIFIED LIGHTS JUST BEYOND THE BASE PERIMETER. SHORTLY THEREAFTER, MR. PENNISTON WAS BRIEFED BY STAFF SERGEANT STEFFENS REGARDING THE STRANGE LIGHTS THEY HAD SEEN IN THE FOREST. MR. PENNISTON WAS FURTHER INFORMED THAT THE
2
LIGHTS DID NOT RESULT FROM A CRASH BUT HAD “LANDED” IN THE FOREST BUT HE DISCOUNTED THIS REMARK BY SERGEANT STEFFENS AND PROCEEDED TO NOTIFY THE BASE CONTROL CENTER THAT THERE WAS, INSTEAD, A POSSIBLE DOWNED AIRCRAFT JUST OUTSIDE THE BASE. MR. PENNISTON ALSO LEARNED THAT AN OBJECT HAD BEEN SEEN ON RADAR OVER RENDLESHAM FOREST. MOREOVER, A CALL CAME OVER HIS RADIO THAT EASTERN RADAR HAD ALSO CONFIRMED AN OBJECT THAT DISAPPEARED FROM THEIR SCREENS OVER THE FOREST. THE TEAM MR. PENNISTON ASSEMBLED TO INVESTIGATE THE LIGHTS IN RENDLESHAM FOREST CONSISTED OF HIMSELF, AIRMAN BURROUGHS, AND AIRMAN ED CABANSAG (kuh-bann-sac). AS HE AND THE REST OF THE TEAM APPROACHED THE FOREST THEY EXPERIENCED UNCHARACTERISTIC PROBLEMS WITH THEIR RADIOS. AS A RESULT, MR. PENNISTON INSTRUCTED AIRMAN CABANSAG TO REMAIN AT THE EDGE OF THE FOREST TO ACT AS A RELAY FOR TRANSMISSIONS FROM HE AND MR. BURROUGHS AS THEY ENTERED THE FOREST ITSELF. AS THESE TWO GENTLEMEN PROCEEDED INTO THE FOREST THEY WERE EXPECTING TO FIND A DOWNED AIRCRAFT.
3
UPON ARRIVING AT THE SUSPECTED CRASH SITE, IT IMMEDIATELY BECAME APPARENT TO BOTH PENNISTON AND BURROUGHS THAT THEY WERE NOT LOOKING AT A CRASHED AERIAL VEHICLE OR, FOR THAT MATTER, ANY KIND OF AERIAL VEHICLE THEY HAD EVER SEEN. SUDDENLY, A BLINDING FLASH OF WHITE LIGHT EMANATED FROM THE CRAFT INSTINCTIVELY CAUSING PENNISTON AND BURROUGHS TO DROP TO THE GROUND. AS BOTH MEN RETURNED TO THEIR FEET, THEY WITNESSED A TRIANGULAR CRAFT APPROXIMATELY NINE (9) FEET LONG BY SIX AND A HALF (6.5) FEET WIDE AT REST IN A SMALL CLEARING AMONG THE TREES. ALSO OBSERVED WERE BLUE AND YELLOW LIGHTS “SWIRLING” AROUND THE EXTERIOR SKIN OF THE CRAFT AS IF THEY WERE PART OF THE CRAFT’S SKIN ITSELF. THE AIR IN THE VICINITY OF THE CRAFT FELT ELECTRICALLY CHARGED AND WAS, IN FACT, SO FULL OF STATIC ELECTRICITY THEY FELT IT ALL OVER THEIR CLOTHES, SKIN, AND THROUGHOUT THEIR HAIR. NOTHING, ABSLOUTELY NOTHING, IN THE MILITARY TRAINING OF THESE MEN HAD PREPARED THEM FOR THIS ENCOUNTER.
AFTER PERHAPS TEN (10) MINUTES HAD PASSED WITHOUT ANY RECOGNIZEABLE AGGRESSION DISPLAYED BY THE CRAFT,
4
MR. PENNISTON CONCLUDED THERE WAS NO THREAT TO EITHER HIMSELF OR MR. BURROUGHS AND THE REST OF HIS RESPONSE TEAM OR, MOST IMPORTANTLY, THE BENTWATERS BASE ITSELF. CONSEQUENTLY, HE COMMENCED A THOROUGH ON-SITE INSPECTION OF THE CRAFT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE USUAL SECURITY PROTOCOLS. HIS INSPECTION OF THE CRAFT INCLUDED PHOTOGRAPHS, NOTEBOOK ENTRIES, AND RADIO CONTACT WITH AIRMAN CABANSAG FOR RELAY BACK TO THE BENTWATERS CONTROL CENTER. MR. PENNISTON NOTED A ROW OF SYMBOLS WHICH WAS TWO AND A HALF (2.5) FEET-LONG AND ABOUT THREE (3) INCHES IN HEIGHT ON ONE SIDE OF THE CRAFT. THE SYMBOLS MR. PENNISTON SAW WERE PICTORIAL AND HIEROGLYPHIC-LIKE IN DESIGN, THE LARGEST ONE BEING A TRIANGLE WHICH WAS CENTERED IN THE MIDDLE OF OTHERS. ALL OF THE SYMBOLS WERE ETCHED INTO THE SKIN OF THE CRAFT WHICH WAS ITSELF WARM TO THE TOUCH AND SMOOTH AS GLASS. APPROXIMATELY FORTY-FIVE (45) MINUTES AFTER ARRIVING ON SCENE WITH THE CRAFT IT RAPIDLY BEGAN TO BRIGHTEN. IN RESPONSE, BOTH PENNISTON AND BURROUGHS TOOK DEFENSIVE POSITIONS AWAY FROM IT AND WATCHED AS THE CRAFT BECAME
5
AIRBORNE WITHOUT GENERATING ANY AIR OR SOUND DISTURBANCE. THE CRAFT MANEUVERED THROUGH THE TREES AS IT ASCENDED SKYWARD THEN STREAKED AWAY AT AN UNBELIEVEABLE RATE OF SPEED. IN FACT, MR. PENNISTON DESCRIBED THE CRAFT’S DEPARTURE SPEED IN HIS FIELD NOTES AS “IMPOSSIBLE”. THE CRAFT’S DEPARTURE FROM THE FOREST WAS OBSERVED NOT ONLY BY PENNISTON AND BURROUGHS, BUT BY MORE THAN FORTY (40) AIR FORCE PERSONNEL, ALL OF WHOM WERE TRAINED OBSERVERS ASSIGNED TO THE EIGHTY-FIRST (81ST) SECURITY POLICE SQUADRON.
THE INFORMATION ACQUIRED DURING PENNISTON AND BURROUGHS’ INVESTIGATION IN THE FOREST WAS DUTIFULLY REPORTED BY THEM THROUGH NORMAL MILITARY CHANNELS. THEIR TEAM AND OTHER PERSONNEL WHO WITNESSED THE CRAFT WERE INSTRUCTED TO TREAT THE INVESTIGATION AS TOP SECRET AND NOT TO DISCUSS WHAT THEY HAD SEEN ANY FURTHER. THE CAMERA FILM CONTAINING PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE CRAFT MR. PENNISTON TOOK WERE TURNED IN TO THE BASE LAB BUT WHEN HE PICKED THEM UP THEY WERE, STRANGELY, ALL OVER-EXPOSED RENDERING THEM USELESS. ADD TO THIS
6
ODDITY THAT FOLLOWING THE ENCOUNTER IN THE FOREST BOTH PENNISTON AND BURROUGHS WERE INTERROGATED BY GOVERNMENT “AGENTS”, BELIEVED TO BE FROM THE AIR FORCE OFFICE OF SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS (“AFOSI”), IN WHICH NARCOTICS WERE EVEN GIVEN THEM PRIOR TO INTERROGATION AS IF THEY WERE SOME KIND OF ENEMY CAPTIVES.
THE PREVIOUS DESCRIPTION OF THE ENCOUNTER JIM PENNISTON AND JOHN BURROUGHS HAD IN RENDLESHAM FOREST IN LATE DECEMBER OF 1980 WAS NOT SOLITARY. JOHN BURROUGHS WOULD JOIN COLONEL CHARLES HALT ON ANOTHER INVESTIGATION INTO THE FOREST TWO (2) NIGHTS LATER WHEN AN ILLUMINATED CRAFT MOVED SILENTLY THROUGH THE FOREST BEFORE BECOMING MULTIPLE AERIAL OBJECTS OVERHEAD. COLONEL HALT GENERATED AN OFFICIAL AIR FORCE MEMORANDUM (COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS THE “HALT MEMO”), IN WHICH HE MEMORIALIZES THIS EVENT. MOREOVER, THE COLONEL HAS EVEN STOOD IN THIS VERY ROOM WE ARE IN TODAY AND SAID HE BELIEVED THE OBJECTS WERE UNDER INTELLIGENT CONTROL.
7
JIM PENNISTON AND JOHN BURROUGHS BOTH BEGAN SUFFERING FROM PHYSICAL AILMENTS AFTER THEIR ENCOUNTER IN THE FOREST; AILMENTS WHICH DID NOT EXIST PRIOR TO JOINING THE AIR FORCE BUT, AILMENTS WHICH BEGAN ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER EXPOSURE TO THE CRAFT IN RENDLESHAM FOREST. THESE AILMENTS HAVE PERSISTED IN BOTH MEN TO THIS DAY. IN 2011 I BEGAN ASSISTING BOTH GENTLEMEN IN PROPUNDING FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (“FOIA”) REQUESTS ON THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (“CIA”), NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY (“NSA”), DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (“DIA”), DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE (“USAF”), DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY (“DARPA”) VIA THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (“DoA”), AIR FORCE OFFICE OF SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS (“AFOSI”), AND THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS. ALL OF THE PREVIOUSLY LISTED DIVISIONS OF OUR GOVERNMENT RESPONDED TO OUR INQUIRIES FOR INFORMATION REGARDING JOHN BURROUGHS AND JIM PENNISTON BY ESSENTIALLY SAYING THEY HAD NOTHING ON FILE ABOUT THEM. THE ONE EXCEPTION IS THE CIA’S RESPONSE WHICE WAS THE MOST FRUSTRATING OF THEM ALL BY THEIR STATING THAT THEY
8
COULD “NEITHER CONFIRM NOR DENY THE EXISTENCE OR NONEXISTENCE OF RECORDS RESPONSIVE TO OUR REQUEST.” IN OTHER WORDS, NONE OF THE GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES WE CONTACTED, EVEN THE AIR FORCE, SEEMED TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT A JOHN BURROUGHS OR A JIM PENNISTON DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE ARE ALL CERTAIN THEY DID INDEED SERVE IN THIS COUNTRY’S ARMED SERVICES FOR MANY, MANY YEARS.
WE HAVE REPEATEDLY SOUGHT TO OBTAIN THE MEDICAL RECORDS OF JOHN’S AND JIM’S THROUGH FOIA REQUESTS BUT HAVE YET TO SUCCEED. JOHN’S PHYSICIANS IN PARTICULAR HAVE REQUESTED HIS SERVICE MEDICAL RECORDS, ESPECIALLY THOSE RELATED TO WHAT IT WAS HE AND JIM CAME INTO CONTACT WITH IN RENDLESHAM FOREST IN 1980. THEY HAVE REQUESTED THIS INFORMATION TIME-AND-TIME AGAIN FROM JOHN IN ORDER TO PROVIDE THE BEST CHANCE TO TREAT HIS MEDICAL PROBLEMS WHICH HAVE, AT TIMES, BEEN LIFE THREATENING. WE EVEN ENLISTED THE HELP OF A FORMER SENATOR FROM JOHN’S HOME STATE BUT STILL DID NOT GET ANYTHING OTHER THAN LEARNING THAT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HAS A CLASSIFIED RECORDS DIVISION. THIS IS
9
WHERE WE NOW BELIEVE JOHN’S MEDICAL RECORDS TO BE. CURRENTLY, SENATOR JOHN McCAIN’S OFFICE IS ASSISTING US BUT THE FINAL RESULT OF SENATOR McCAIN’S HELP WE DO NOT KNOW.
IN CLOSING, I WANT TO SAY THAT I WAS IN COLLEGE IN DECEMBER OF 1980, THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY AND COMPELTELY UNAWARE OF THESE GENTLEMEN OR THEIR ENCOUNTER IN RENDLESHAM FOREST. I WOULD NOT EVEN COME TO KNOW OF THEM OR THEIR REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE FOR ANOTHER TWENTY-EIGHT (28) YEARS, IN 2008. BUT ONCE I LEARNED OF THEIR STORY I FELT COMPELLED TO ASSIST THEM HOW EVER I COULD AS THIS WAS AN EVENT OF TREMENDOUS FASCINATION, IMPORTANCE AND, ONE WITH CASUALTIES, TOO. IT HAS BEEN COWARDLY THE WAY THEIR REQUESTS FOR MEDICAL RECORDS AND THE LIKE HAVE BEEN REJECTED BY EXCUSES LIKE “WE HAVE NO RECORDS RESPONSIVE TO YOUR REQUEST”, OR “THE REQUESTED RECORDS ARE NO LONGER UNDER OUR PURVIEW”. NEVERTHELESS, WE CONTINUE UNDAUNTED IN OUR SEARCH FOR THESE GENTLEMEN’S MEDICAL RECORDS SO THAT THEIR PHYSICIANS MAY PROPERLY TREAT THEM. AS JOHN
10
BURROUGHS ONCE SAID TO ME: “JIM AND I HAVE BEEN LEFT BEHIND ON THE BATTLEFIELD OF THE COLD WAR.”
11