PR OPENING STATEMENT
Peter Robbins: Opening Statement
Citizen’s Hearing on UFO Secrecy
National Press Club, Washington, D.C., May 1, 2013
Madame Chair, distinguished committee members, colleagues and friends, I want to take a moment to thank Steven Bassett, the organizer of this unique event, for the opportunity to offer testimony here before you this morning. For more than thirty years now I have pursued the field of UFO investigation on a number of fronts, always doing my utmost to approach each new case, witness claim, research paper or interview free of prejudice or agenda, my only objective being to get as close to the truth as my means, investigative skills and common sense will allow me.
However before proceeding I think it should be on the record that I am self-trained as an investigative writer. My degree is in painting and film history and I began my professional life as a painter and art instructor. Over the years I was developing my skills as a writer I made my living as a painting instructor at New York’s School of Visual Arts, as house manager for an Off Broadway repertory company, as a New York City tour guide and a copywriter. I also spent eight of those years as an online phone volunteer and shift supervisor on the busiest crisis intervention and suicide hotline in the country. Some may feel that such an eclectic and decidedly unrelated background may not be much of a asset in field I ultimately chose to enter, but can only beg to differ.
Subjects I’ve chosen to investigate have included but not been limited to, the origins of the UFO ridicule factor, the United Kingdom’s Rendlesham Forest UFO incident, roadblocks on the path to disclosure; the Strange Death of James Vincent Forrestal, first Secretary of Defense and early casualty of UFO secrecy; critical thinking, deductive reasoning and ufology; stress and UFO studies; the UFO abduction phenomenon, and UFOs, Organized
Religion, and Fundamentalist Thinking. As this morning’s discussion topic is listed as “various topics” I believe I qualify.
While I stand ready to try and answer any questions this committee may have for me regarding these subjects, I want to single out two in particular for you’re your consideration, 1. the so-called UFO ridicule factor. We now know for a fact that the subject of UFOs and their implications have been regarded as extremely serious by our military and intelligence communities from at least the summer of 1947 on, more seriously in fact than any other matter facing this nation since the end of World War II. Why then have the overwhelming majority of UFO related news reports been subjected to a level of ridicule, sarcasm and condescension unmatched in Post War journalism? How and why did this all- pervasive pattern come to pass, and what is its legacy for the American people?
The second subject is one you were introduced to during yesterday morning’s hearings, that is, the UK’s Rendlesham Forest UFO incident. I first heard of these events in the autumn of 1983, shortly after the story first broke in Britain that October. The following year I first met and briefly chatted with Larry Warren, the former United States Air Force Security Police officer who had, completely on his own, blown the whistle on the events of December 1980, and without whom we might never have learned about Bentwaters, or at the least might not have learned of it until many years after we did.
In June 1987 I attended a UFO conference at American University not far from here in Washington. I appeared on a panel discussion, but that former security cop was one of the speakers and he related the account of his awareness of and involvement in the events, and did so with frustration, and barely concealed anger – about what had been done to him and other witnesses, not by ‘them,’ but by ‘us.’ By the end of his talk I knew I wanted to interview him, but was not expecting that he was interested in having me co-write a book about Rendlesham with him. However that’s exactly what I agreed to following a visit from him the very next weekend. I imagined such an undertaking might take us a year or two to complete, cost us a few thousand each, and result in a lucrative book deal. In fact I had no idea of what I was getting myself into.
Nine years later our publisher received the manuscript which went on to become a highly regarded bestseller across the United Kingdom, helped along by the efforts of former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, in the library of the (then) newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair, championed by a former Ministry of Defence Chief of Staff, read in part into the daily Parliamentary Record, and the impetus for a fifteen city.
All well and good, but the fact is, Larry Warren’s having had the courage and idealism to take the action he did, cost him, and cost him dearly. For the thirty years he has been the subject of ridicule, attacks on his character, motivations and accuracy, from skeptics, debunkers, and even some within the UFO community itself. I regret that this statement must remain somewhat incomplete as I find myself still at the keyboard when I should, and need, to get some sleep. I will endeavor to fill in whatever blanks I’m able as you proceed with whatever questions you may have.
Thank you. Peter Robbins
Ithaca, New York 14850