Summary: The following text is excerpted from a story that appeared in the New York Observer on April 8 under the title, "Rockefeller Greets Aliens! A Rich Guy's UFO Dream."
[The following text is excerpted from a story that appeared in the New York Observer on April 8 under the title, "Rockefeller Greets Aliens! A Rich Guy's UFO Dream." For a detailed discussion of the contents of the Rockefeller-funded "Unidentified Flying Objects Briefing Document: The Best Available Evidence," see ISCNI*Flash 2.2, April 1, 1996.]
"You know, there are 200 billion star systems in the galaxy, and there are 200 billion galaxies in the universe," said Marie [Bootsie] Galbraith, a trim blonde woman in her 50's, as she reclined in her sun-dappled, sparsely furnished office on Madison Avenue, her diamond bagatelle rings flashing. She lifted her blue eyes heavenward. "We're just a little zilch."
But some zilches have deeper pockets than others. Last year, Mrs. Galbraith, who is married to Evan Galbraith, the investment banker and former Ambassador to France, went to Laurance Rockefeller, the 85-year-old environmental activist and venture capitalist, and got him to fund a 169-page document titled "Unidentified Flying Objects Briefing Document: The Best Available Evidence." The report was co-authored by Mrs. Galbraith and Virginia-based aviation writer Don Berliner, who is affiliated with the Fund for UFO Research. [UFO researcher Antonio Huneeus is also listed as a co-author. - ed.]
In an interview in her office, [Mrs.] Galbraith discussed Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein, Westinghouse and General Electric, secret weather balloons and photographs of alien autopsies on the Internet. "We have to challenge basic assumptions," she said.
She is distributing her report to "leaders of the world."
"We're only giving it to really top people," said Mr. Berliner. "Not ordinary people like you and me. I guess the only reason I have a copy is I wrote the thing."
In the acknowledgments page, Laurance Rockefeller is listed first, "for his vision and support, financial and otherwise."
Fraser Seitel, Mr. Rockefeller's spokesman, confirmed that Mr. Rockefeller funded the report at a cost of around $30,000. But he said that Mr. Rockefeller did not endorse the findings. "He is interested in Government disclosure of reported activities in this area," said Mr. Seitel. "Laurance's feeling is that he is not convinced one way or the other. But he is interested in learning what the Government has on file... He's really quite an eclectic person."
Mr. Seitel said Mr. Rockefeller would not comment on the report.
In recent years, Mr. Rockefeller has become known as a supporter of eclectic ventures. He funded embattled Harvard psychiatrist John E. Mack, whose work with alleged alien abductees was loudly criticized last May by his colleagues at Harvard. In fact, from 1993 to 1995, Dr. Mack's Cambridge-based, nonprofit research institute, the Center for Psychology and Social Change, received about $250,000 a year from Mr. Rockefeller.
According to Michael Luckman, director of the New York Center for UFO Research, Mr. Rockefeller has financed at least two recent meetings of a group called the Starlight Coalition, which Mr. Luckman said is "composed of former intelligence officers and military officials from the Pentagon who are prepared to talk about extraterrestrial contact."
Mr. Luckman said Mr. Rockefeller has also held a UFO conference on his JY Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
"He's primarily interested in conservation and the environment, and venture capital," said Mr. Seitel. "He's also interested in the whole area of spirituality." Mr. Rockefeller majored in philosophy at Princeton, Mr. Seitel pointed out.
As the sons of John D. Rockefeller Jr., the brothers -- Laurance, John D. III, Nelson, Winthrop and David -- strode the earth as business and political titans. Nelson served as Republican governor of New York; David ran the Chase Manhattan Bank. Now, only two brothers remain; David, who is in the process of buying back Rockefeller Center from Mitsubishi, and Laurance.
Born in 1910, Laurance was a pioneer of venture capital in the 1940's. In the 1950's and 1960's, he was a champion of environmental causes, serving as the director of the Outdoor Recreation Resources and Review Commission under President Kennedy. In 1965, Mr. Rockefeller traveled the country with Lady Bird Johnson on her "beautification bus" as part of the Task Force on Natural Beauty. But he began to draw criticism from environmentalists in the late 1960's for developing resorts in the Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Vermont and Yellowstone National Park, under the cloak of conservation.
Mrs. Galbraith said she approached Mr. Rockefeller last year to provide the backing for her report. As an early supporter of the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, Mrs. Galbraith saw her role in the UFO debate as a promoter of "frontier science," which she described as "science that is on the cutting edge, like cold-fusion study, unified field theory, anything that has to do with people working on integrative devices." She paused. "It is a science which is heavily challenged, so it has to prove itself more dramatically."
The report is indeed a dramatic document. "Secrecy, like power, lends itself to abuse," reads the opening chapter, titled "Government Secrecy." "Behind the shield of secrecy, it is possible for an agency or service to avoid scrutiny and essentially to operate outside the law. Accountability to the taxpayers and to the Congress can be conveniently avoided."
The second part of the report consists of case histories of UFO sightings around the world: "'Foo Fighters' Over Europe and Asia" in the 1940's; "U.F.O. Dogfight Over Tehran"; the "U.F.O. Sighting Wave in Belgium" in 1989-90; "Multiple Witness Case at Russian Missile Base" in 1989.
In the third part of the report, government spokesmen and politicians are quoted on the subject of UFOs. "I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth," Harry S. Truman is quoted as saying on April 4, 1950, at a White House press conference.
The report concludes:
"When studied as a group, these case histories exhibit clear patterns which strongly suggest that they belong to a distinct new class of phenomena, rather than being a formless collection of disparate observational errors... It is this large quantity of evidence of the existence of something completely baffling which motivates many of us to urge the governments of the world to release all they know about UFOs so that the people of the world, and especially scientists, can begin to come to grips with a mystery that has far too long been subjected to secrecy and ridicule."
"Our goal is to have elected officials decide what is secret and what is not," said Mrs. Galbraith. "Because now the bureaucrats keep all the secrets. They don't even keep the Congress and the President informed."
However, Mrs. Galbraith added:
"I think to be skeptical is extremely healthy because I was, when I started out. Only because I've just been with the head of the Belgian Air Force and the head of French intelligence do I take it seriously now."