Update Note: Kevin Randle clarified on his blog that it was Brad Sparks who wrote the original post. I have updated my article and replaced any reference to Kevin Randle with Brad Sparks.
Brad Sparks responded to my most recent blog article regarding Colonel Carl E. Goldbranson’s involvement in 1947 UFO events by pointing out what he considers flaws in my analysis.
First, I commend Sparks for taking the time to critically read and analyze the article. I am incorporating portions of Sparks' blog entry to make it easy for you to follow his critiques and my responses.
Sparks starts by stating that:
“His 'proof" is what is now his central figure in the entire plot, a ‘Col.’ Carl Goldbranson, and an FBI memo of July 21, 1947, released decades ago. But Carrion has so far failed to prove that Goldbranson did anything more than ask the FBI to investigate a notorious character who supposedly knew the origin of flying saucers and whose location and timing supposedly coincided with certain incidents in early July 1947. That's what's in the FBI memo.”
I will first point out that the July 21st memo was not the first correspondence sent to the FBI on this matter. An earlier memorandum dated July 16, 1947 on the exact same matter was sent from the War Department General Staff to the FBI. Of interest is how generic the July 16, 1947 correspondence is with no named personnel representing either organization. It is simply addressed to FBI, from WDGS, US Branch and Colonel Goldbranson is never mentioned.
Both the unsigned telegram and the flying saucer reports over Wisconsin referenced were included as attachments:
The July 21, 1947 memorandum however is internal FBI correspondence addressed to the FBI’s D. M. Ladd from E. G. Fitch. It relays a message from S. W. Reynolds from Colonel Carl Goldbranson of the Intelligence Division of the War Department General Staff where Goldbranson was repeating verbatim the same request from the July 16, 1946 memorandum.
If you reference the July 16 memo and the July 5th unsigned telegram, both agree that the telegram was addressed to HQ (AAF) Army Air Force which indeed received it on July 9th. Yet the July 21st memorandum, in the very first paragraph states, that it was the War Department that received the telegram. As the US Air Force did not become a separate service till later in the year and the Army Air Force was part of the War Department, no one would see this as unusual.
Sparks however makes the following argument:
“Carrion has failed even to prove that Goldbranson was continuing his wartime deception duties 2 years after the war, in peacetime, in the face of his FBI memo placing Goldbranson in the wrong agency (Army Intelligence), not on the deception staff (Joint Chiefs).”
And further in his article Sparks states:
“But Col. Goldbranson is described by the FBI as with ARMY -- "Intelligence Division of the War Department" -- NOT the AAF, and NOT the Joint Security Control of the JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff), in charge of deception planning and possibly operations.”
First, Goldbranson was not in the wrong agency as there was no issue with him maintaining a dual role in the War Department Intelligence Division as well as in Joint Security Control. In fact that was exactly how Joint Security Control had always been run where members wore two different hats, their normal intelligence hat and their Joint Security Control hat. You can see this reflected in the following order designating General Stephen J. Chamberlin who was already the Director of Intelligence, War Department General Staff as a Joint Security Control member. Chamberlin did not give up his WDGS DOI role when he joined Joint Security Control.
As for whether Goldbranson was a member of Joint Security Control in July of 1947, we can rely on Thaddeus Holt’s account of Goldbranson’s deception career after the war in his groundbreaking book The Deceivers, considered by military scholars to be the bible on WW2 deception history:
“Goldbranson who had a brief return to civilian life after the war, returned to the service, this time in the Air Force, and was evidently again engaged in deception activity for the rest of his career. By December of 1948 he was a full colonel, assigned at that time to the “Special Plans Section” of the Strategy Branch, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He died in 1957.”[vi]
Although Holt does not explicitly state that Goldbranson rejoined Joint Security Control, he does explicitly state that he had both a brief return to civilian life followed by a return to the service where he served in the Air Force. Since the Air Force did not become a separate service until September 18, 1947, it is certain that in July 1947 when Goldbranson was with the War Department General Staff, he was back in the Army (perhaps the Army Air Force) before transferring to the US Air Force sometime after it became a separate service. What is beyond doubt, based on Holt’s authority, is that Goldbranson was engaged in deception.
We know that Joint Security Control received a revised charter in May of 1947 and if Goldbranson was engaged in deception as Holt’s tell us after his return to the service, there were three possible organizations he could have served with: on General Lauris Norstad’s staff (Director of Plans and Operations) that was charged with deception duties for the War Department, on a reorganized Joint Security Control (where he could wear two hats) and which was subordinate to the Joint Chiefs, or on an Army Air Force deception staff proposed by General George C. McDonald in this memo. We know that the first two deception organizations were in existence when Goldbranson was in Washington, but as the McDonald memo is undated, it is not certain when the Army Air Force/Air Force organization was initiated.
Based on Goldbranson’s long WW2 deception career where he was a member of the Special Section of Joint Security Control, specifically charged with deception as shown in the following 1944 document, the most logical place for him to continue his deception duties in 1947 was in Joint Security Control.
Sparks then had the following to say:
“Did the FBI get this wrong? Did the FBI Liaison Agent S. Wesley Reynolds who knew all the top intelligence generals and officers in the military, CIG and State Dept just not know who Col. Goldbranson was? Did Goldbranson lie to the FBI about who he worked for? Maybe, but Carrion needs to prove it.
Right now, Carrion has not even proved that his crucial proof, Goldbranson, even worked on deception operations in 1947. Maybe he did, but no such proof is given, it's just hinted at, and insinuated, Goldbranson "would" have been perfect to "fill that billet." But did he?
Carrion makes a crucial mistake in misreading Goldbranson's rank as of mid-1947 (his source seems to say G was a Lt. Col. and not full Colonel until December 1948). This means Carrion has the wrong guy on the wrong staff of Joint Security Control even by his own argument.”
So Sparks poses two arguments here. First, how could S. W. Reynolds not know that Goldbranson was a deception guy and secondly, that Goldbranson had the wrong rank to be the senior member of Joint Security Control’s special section.
The first argument is easily dispensed. The fact that a War Department intelligence officer was also wearing a separate hat on Joint Security Control was classified information as General Chamberlin’s orders and the 1944 Joint Security Control personnel roster show. Reynolds at the FBI would not have a need to know this and indeed Joint Security Control operated on the premise that it would only liaise with only one or possibly two people at the top of any civilian or military agency. For the FBI that would have been J. Edgar Hoover and not S. W. Reynolds. This limited liaison is clearly spelled out in all of Joint Security Control’s charters.
The rank argument I can dispel without declassified documents. The following October 23, 1946 newspaper clipping shows Goldbranson named as the Chief of Staff with the 34th Division of the Iowa National Guard. This was during his “brief” return to civilian life. Notice that he was appointed with the rank of Colonel.
The following January 24, 1947 newspaper clipping shows that he was still with the 34th with the rank of Colonel.
When he returned to the service full time sometime between January and July 1947 he kept his designated rank of Colonel as shown in this August 20th, 1947 newspaper clipping.
Now on to other issues Sparks has taken issue with:
“And it's late in the game, long after the 1947 saucer flap ended on about July 10, with Goldbranson's response very slow and lackadaisical for something supposed to be part of some hush-hush strategic deception operation. Shouldn't Goldbranson have been doing "this" (whatever "hands dirty" stuff it's supposed to be) before the flap, before, say Kenneth Arnold?”
In my opinion, this is the weakest of his arguments. The only reason we know of Goldbranson in the first place is because of declassified internal FBI memorandum released unilaterally by the FBI. In other words, it was the FBI that leaked Goldbranson’s name twice, once back in 1947 by mentioning him in internal memos, not knowing his then deception role, and in the modern era by declassifying these memos.
If Goldbranson was executing a strategic deception plan in 1947, we cannot and would not know its scope and breadth based on the smallest of peeks afforded by the very few FBI memos that mention Goldbranson’s involvement. Remember that the July 16, 1947 memo asking for FBI assistance did not name Goldbranson but the July 21st one did because it was an internal FBI memo.
If a strategic deception was initiated starting with Kenneth Arnold, then those deception plans are hidden away where the sun never shines and where they will stay perpetually classified. The fact is that we have very sparse documentation on Joint Security Control in the postwar era including absolutely zero declassified deception plans from 1946 onwards. This was confirmed by military deception scholars who were relieved that I could provide them with the very few postwar Joint Security Control files I found in the National Archives. These scholars had been searching high and low through numerous government and agency sources for Joint Security Control files and had come up empty handed – even going so far as designating Joint Security Control as the “ghost organization”.
Now on to the Shaver mystery where Sparks argues that:
“Carrion apparently missed the fact that it was the infamous Richard Shaver whose name got through the document censors in one place of the FBI memo. Yes, the Richard Shaver of the lunatic Shaver Mysteries, full of "deros" "deranged robots" who were not actually robots, and Lemuria tales.”
But Goldbranson did not even ask the FBI to perpetrate any deception! How is asking the FBI to investigate someone amount to carrying out a deception?? Does any of this deceive the Soviet intelligence agencies? And into believing what? That a marginal character like Richard Shaver of the Shaver Mystery stories and the "truth" about underground worlds and Lemuria, was a credible bearer of intelligence about flying saucers being US secret weapons? The Kremlin halls would have been shaking with laughter at such "capitalist" insanity.
Carrion charges that Goldbranson was "getting his hands dirty in the UFO controversy of 1947" and "had no reason to be involved unless he was actively promoting a deception plan." Again, how is asking the FBI to investigate a crackpot amount to "actively promoting a deception plan" against the USSR?? How is asking for investigation a getting of one's "hands dirty"? Seems like a fair-minded gathering of information, that's all.
Carrion evidently has not figured out that Shaver's name and his location at "Lily Lake" are apparently redacted from the FBI memo of July 21, 1947, cited by Carrion as his bombshell "proof" that UFO's in 1947 were a US strategic deception against the USSR. The "Shaver" name appears in one place Carrion seems to have overlooked, which the FBI reviewers let slip through the censorship. If Carrion does know it was Shaver, it is odd that he would withhold discussion of that vital and discrediting point.”
No, I did not miss Shaver’s involvement but have reserved explaining why Goldbranson asked the FBI to investigate Shaver in my upcoming book, which by the way will be free of charge, lest I am accused of trying to profit from any of this fool’s journey.
Now Sparks also pointed out that:
“At best, if Goldbranson was indeed working in some deception activity, then this seems to be a cover-one's-bases effort to make sure Shaver wasn't a Soviet deception against us through Shaver's promotion of cuckoo saucer-like tales -- not a strategic deception but mere harassing disinformation to keep our counterintelligence agencies busy chasing after windmills.”
That is a good point and well taken, except for the fact that the US already knew what the Soviet deception capabilities were at this time as revealed in this June, 1947 70-page Top Secret report. I will summarize by stating that it did not involve the Soviets using science fiction to stir up trouble.
Finally Sparks states that “Carrion needs much more evidence and needs to make a tighter, more logical case.” Agreed, but as you can see by how lengthy this article has become refuting Sparks' arguments, it does not do justice to this subject by any means, but my upcoming book The Roswell Deception will. Stay tuned.