BO'L: And then shortly after that, an organization with which I worked some, MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network in the US, also it came to their attention that maybe in fact I was not an astronaut. [Kerry laughs] So they wrote to NASA, and NASA said: Well in fact he wasn’t.
KC: They said you were NOT.
BO’L: I was not.
KC: They actually wrote to NASA?
BO’L: Well, I think so. I’m not absolutely sure of the details, but I can tell you who would know is Bob Bletchman, who was the lawyer for MUFON at the time.
The astronauts who would visit the Center, all of them with doctoral degrees, would be Robert A. Parker, Brian T. O'Leary and Karl G. Henize, astronomers; John A. Llewellyn, chemist; Joseph P. Allen, Philip K. Chapman, and Anthony W. England, physicists; William B. Lenoir, engineer; F. Story Musgrave, physiologist; and William E. Thornton and Donald L. Holmquest, medical doctors.
I continue to be very grateful to Dr. O'Leary for his assistance in setting the record straight on what he believes about Apollo. And I continue to be grateful to you, Wade, in bringing us together to have that conversation. I'm disappointed that his contribution to the project, however brief, is not receiving appropriate attention.
Post by wadefrazier3 on Mar 3, 2009 9:56:57 GMT -4
I am glad that you were able to provide a forum where Brian could go on the record and not be ambushed by reporters.
After several years of relative seclusion, I will be taking a more public stance later this year, and I will undoubtedly hear from people who will want to know more about the moon hoax theories, and I will send them your way. BTW, did you ever do that writeup on John Lear's "contribution" to the issue?
I sent an e-mail to the JSC site mentioned and asked why they didn't have a biography of Brian O'Leary there. I got a fairly quick response from the "JSC PAO Web Team" that said, in part:
Brian O'Leary was selected by NASA in August 1967 as part of Group 6. He reported to the Johnson Space Center and was here only briefly, from September 1967 to April 1968, when he left for personal reasons. Brian O'Leary was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and had a Ph.D. in Astronomy from University of California-Berkeley.
He left NASA before an official biography was put together for his concurrence and signature on a NASA Privacy Act Form giving NASA permission to make his biography available to the public. Therefore, a biography was never posted online for him.
I typed the address www11.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/ into the Wayback Machine and the earliest versions of this page were from 1997. They only listed current astronauts then. The next version was from 2000 and it had O'Leary's name but no linked bio. This seems to suggest that they were right about a bio never being posted. But it also suggests that the bio I linked to wasn't "official," so I'll edit that post.
(I hope I didn't violate a rule by posting part of an e-mail. If I did, I'll fix it and just summarize the content but I thought it was more accurate to quote the e-mail).
Post by wadefrazier3 on Mar 3, 2009 17:14:51 GMT -4
I heard back from Brian. While it appears that the text above from NASA is technically accurate, there was a movement years ago, led by Wally Schirra, to have people like Brian declared non-astronauts, and NASA eventually drank the Kool-Aid and used to tell people that Brian was never an astronaut. The term I saw many years ago was something like “astronaut candidate,” or some such.
“BO’L: Yes, Kerry. Well, I was appointed to the astronaut program in 1967, and my title then was astronaut. I even have hanging on the wall here… I don’t have the accurate date, but I’d say roughly around 1990 it came to my attention…
“Well, I’ll backtrack a little bit. A reporter from the San Diego Union Tribune interviewed me after I gave a talk in San Diego. Part of my credentials said “ex-astronaut. And one of the people on the board of the San Diego Union Tribune was Wally Schirra, one of the original seven Mercury astronauts who, unbeknownst to me, formed what was called The Society for Space Explorers, in which the term astronaut was redefined to “anybody that went 50 miles above the Earth’s surface.”
“So in a way I was defrocked when Schirra hit the ceiling, and apparently the reporter lost his position… just like the first reporter that covered the first Wright brothers’ flight was fired from his position by his editor for not believing that heavier-than-air flight was possible. So this is just, once again, a reporter was fired for using the “wrong” credential. Well, I found that out.
“And then shortly after that, an organization with which I worked some, MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network in the US, also it came to their attention that maybe in fact I was not an astronaut. [Kerry laughs] So they wrote to NASA, and NASA said: Well in fact he wasn’t.“
"KC: They said you were NOT.
"BO’L: I was not.
"KC: They actually wrote to NASA?
"BO’L: Well, I think so. I’m not absolutely sure of the details, but I can tell you who would know is Bob Bletchman, who was the lawyer for MUFON at the time.
"KC: Uh huh.
"BO’L: Anyway, Bob Bletchman wrote me, and it was kind of a challenging letter that basically said: Many of us feel that you misrepresented your credentials. So I presented my credentials to Bob Bletchman and he became convinced that, indeed, that was my title at the time, and that indeed it was appropriate to use that in my credentials.
"BO’L: Not that I used it all the time because, actually, I wouldn’t, because I was trying to get away from that controversy. And, you know, there’s much more about me besides being an ex-astronaut that’s kind of interesting anyway. [laughter]
"So it didn’t matter to me too much one way or the other. But I got vindicated because MUFON challenged me in public and then later vindicated me, that indeed I was an astronaut. So that was cleared up.
"Now, on another occasion: For a year I had a visiting faculty appointment at Caltech during the Mariner 10 mission in which I was deputy team leader of the Television Imaging Science Team for Mariner 10 that went by Venus and Mercury during the 1970s.
"Professor Bruce Murray, who later became the director of JPL, appointed me deputy team leader during that time. I was at Caltech and worked on the mission with him and some of the other scientists.
"So, fast-forward to the year 2000 and a very bright senior honors physics student who knew that I was researching solution energies such as cold fusion and so forth said: Gee, you ought to come to Caltech. Would you like to speak at our Commencement as a speaker for Alternative Future Science such as cold fusion? And I said I would be happy to.
"So they scheduled it. They started posting things and advertising the event. Then this one professor that I had worked for, who later became director of JPL, apparently actively tried to suppress the entire gig.
"And then it turned out that there was no record that I was even at… Caltech denied that I was deputy team leader, denied that I was even at Caltech. [Kerry laughs] But it was so simple because I’d published papers, well, in Science and other journals, and Caltech was the affiliation that was under my name.
"KC: And not only that, you had to have colleagues who remember you, you know, who are still there even, I’m sure.
"BO’L: Exactly. Yes, absolutely.
"KC: So it’s an amazing thing.
"BO’L: Amazing thing. They tried to erase it and I thought: Gee, maybe I could find some paycheck stubs or something like that. Because apparently I was wiped off the Caltech records that I was even there -- even in their Administration -- because I tried to follow that one up.
"KC: So if somebody was doing an article on you and wanted to investigate and called Caltech today, they will say that you never worked there.
"BO’L: Yes. [laughs]
"KC: It just shows you how the machine works. And I think that this is very instructive to many people who challenge a lot of whistleblowers on the fact that their credentials have disappeared, you know?
"BO’L: Yes. Yes."
So, it looks like Brian was defrocked by NASA long ago, and I may stand corrected: the lack of a bio may not be a direct result of being erased, but apparently there is some unseen bureaucracy at work here, too, and I doubt that Brian wants to fight that battle. For one, I would like to see NASA post Brian’s bio. It would help make amends for when they told people that Brian was not an astronaut. I am going to see what I can do.
I see at least two unsupported suppositions in that article--he thinks the journalist who called him an astronaut lost his position; he doesn't give the person's name, either. He's not absolutely sure of the details of the whole MUFON thing. He also seems to be assuming that it's all down to Wally Schirra, which seems unlikely to me; I'd like to see more evidence for that.
Last Edit: Mar 3, 2009 19:54:28 GMT -4 by gillianren
"This seems like a job for Bipolar Bear . . . but I just can't seem to get out of bed."
"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." --Mark Twain
Post by HeadLikeARock (was postbaguk) on Mar 3, 2009 20:50:02 GMT -4
Jarrah White's latest effort seems to be concerned at least in part with making Jay Windley out to be a liar, quoting an email from Brian O'Leary saying he'd never had any contact with Jay Windley.
I suspect this is just a memory lapse due to the intervening years. I've had to put up with this crud myself before, with people accusing me of lying about having contacted someone. It seems to be a weapon of favour for some HBs: if in doubt, accuse of lying.
Me - "Only Grade A1 Shills are allowed in those most hallowed of forums, and I was a naughty boy when I called the US Gov evil buggers. My posting rights have been withdrawn pending my reprogramming. I can hear the helicopters coming for me..."
Cosmored aka DavidC - "Then why does it say 'Account Status Activated' on your profile page? It looks like you've been caught in a lie here."
I Googled "Society for Space Explorers" and all I got was the Camelot interview. There's a "Society OF Space Explorers" but very little information is available online. And there's an "Association of Space Explorers" but Wally Schirra is not listed on its member list. www.space-explorers.org/members/unitedstates.html
Even if Schirra did what is claimed, it sounds like he had an issue with any astronaut who hadn't flown, not just O'Leary.
"My feet they finally took root in the Earth, but I got me a nice little place in the stars, and I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car..."
Post by wadefrazier3 on Mar 3, 2009 23:34:36 GMT -4
It was an interview. Brian was not making a case in a court of law. Even so, there is plenty that can be easily checked out. While Schirra may not have been on the board of the San Diego Union Tribune, he was the big man in town on space matters.
Brian was spot on with Schirra and his “demotion” of Brian below astronaut status, even to the “50 miles above space” part. This is from the archive extracts of The San Diego Union
The San Diego Union - San Diego, Calif.Author: Cliff Smith Date: Feb 9, 1987 Start Page: B.8 Section: OPINION Text Word Count: 831
Abstract (Document Summary)
So it was that a Jan. 17 headline in The Union reading "Mars may still be in reach; Former astronaut seeks support for U.S.-Soviet trip" gave pause to retired Navy Capt. Walter M. Schirra Jr., a flight veteran of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs.
Schirra had no quarrel with that but said [Brian T. O'Leary] "was never eligible for a space flight." Schirra argued further that the term astronaut should be reserved for those "who have flown 50 miles above earth."
O'Leary was selected as a scientist-astronaut in the Apollo program but never completed flight school required of all sent into space in the Apollo program
The article that drew Schirra’s ire was this one:
1,2 Edition] The San Diego Union - San Diego, Calif.Author: Kristine Moe Date: Jan 17, 1987 Start Page: II.2 Section: ZONES Text Word Count: 1108
Abstract (Document Summary)
This is the day they land on either Deimos or Phobos, the two moons of Mars. Ten scientists and explorers from two often hostile nations will be embarking on a 60-day experiment to find out everything they can about this planet and its moons. The mission will culminate in a second trip, manned by one astronaut and one cosmonaut, to Mars' surface.
The mission itself would cost about $20 billion, at least if it is designed the way [Brian T. O'Leary] proposes. He, along with Fred Singer of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., are the chief proponents of the idea to land not on Mars itself, but instead on either of Mars' two moons.
By landing on Phobos or Deimos, with their low gravity fields, the spacecraft would need much less rocket fuel for its return trip home than if it had to break free of Mars' gravity. The mission would be twice as expensive if the spacecraft landed on the planet directly, O'Leary said.
The author of the article, Kristine Moe, apparently had her career with the paper end the next year.
Many high-profile journalistic careers came to screeching halts in America when the powerful got irked:
but others at MUFON can probably confirm what happened. I doubt that Brian is all that interested in getting involved with this stuff. He has bigger fish to fry, but I would think that this forum’s members might want to do a little digging. It took me a whole half hour to confirm what I just did.
On Brian and Jay, I introduced them in August 2001, and what Jay posted I am 99.999% certain came from his subsequent interaction with Brian, although I was not privy to what they exchanged. While Brian obviously recalled Schirra’s attack precisely (if a few years off), which almost certainly had something to do with the MUFON situation, not recalling a brief exchange with Jay a few weeks before 9/11 is understandable. Brian and I talked about Armstrong’s Leap, which I could not have found without Jay’s help:
In fact, Jay deserves more credit than I do for finding it, although I was the first to see it in the “moon hoax” crowd.
It also should be easy enough to prove that Brian worked for Caltech and that he has been erased there.
So, on the subject of no bio of Brian on NASA’s site, let’s just say that I doubt it is unrelated to Schirra publicly trying to retroactively demote Brian below astronaut status. In that, Schirra was dead wrong.