By Shepherd Johnson
I've read The Cryptos Conundrum, it makes L. Ron Hubbard look like Hemingway; it really is that bad. The book glorifies the CIA. It's very tedious. Chase Brandon goes into a history of the CIA against a backdrop of alien visitation with some New Age theosophy thrown in. He also crams just about every conspiracy theory he can think of into the book: JFK assassination, Loch Ness Monster, the mystery of how the pyramids were built, etc. The book is clearly a public relations effort used to promote the CIA while exploiting the popularity of UFOs and aliens.
This is the first time the CIA has overtly expanded into using literature as a propaganda tool. Note that I said "overtly". Of course the CIA has acknowledged that they have cooperated with some movie productions, but this is the first time for a book. On the first page there is a disclaimer saying that the book was submitted to the CIA's review board so no classified information was leaked to the public. The CIA often does this when former employees write books, but in this instance, this is clearly a ploy to make the book more mysterious. Of course the CIA probably did review the book, but this is what is known as a limited hangout, which is essentially hiding the truth in a wrapper of lies.
Of course there is no classified information leaked in the book, but the CIA and Brandon want people to think that there is a possibility that there could have been. It is interesting that Brandon chose Coast to Coast AM to launch his book promotion. So that says that the target audience is the conspiracy/UFO community. Chase Brandon was the CIA's Hollywood liaison officer. That meant that when a TV/movie production company wanted to shoot a scene in the lobby of CIA HQ they had to go through him and if a production company wanted CIA cooperation in return the CIA expected input into the script, production, etc. I'm willing to bet that this book has already been optioned for a movie, probably before the ink was dry on the last chapter. Chase Brandon is a CIA propagandist; any foray that such a person might take into the public sphere should always be looked at with suspicion.
Note from Silver Screen Saucers Editor Robbie Graham:
Brandon's fictional book -- which he has repeatedly insisted should be read “between the lines” because, he says, it contains a great deal of “truth” -- features a fleeting but intriguing sub-plot about a nosey journalist who begins investigating the activities of the book's protagonist, Chalmers (clearly modelled on Chase Brandon himself). The journalist is intent on blowing the lid off a conspiracy involving Chalmers. In his book, Brandon writes that the journalist “had run across the name of Jonathan Chalmers, a ‘senior government official’ who seemed to be a thread of continuity throughout whatever mysterious activity the federal government and the CIA seemed to be up to.”
Chalmers doesn't take kindly to the journalist's snooping and duly arranges to have him assassinated.
The name of the journalist... "Robert Graham".
|Alford (left) and Graham (right)|
My colleague Dr Matthew Alford and I are among only a very small handful of writers in the world to have published articles about Brandon since he left the Agency’s Entertainment Liaison Office in 2007. In 2008, we co-authored a major article on CIA involvement in Hollywood for The Guardian newspaper. The feature -- which was published as a cover story for the paper’s “Arts” section and which is now one of the most widely read articles of its kind on the Internet (Google “CIA and Hollywood”) -- discussed Brandon’s ties to the Hollywood screenwriter Gary Devore, who disappeared in suspicious circumstances in 1997. In 2010, we wrote another cover story, this time for Fortean Times magazine and with a much tighter focus on Brandon. That same year, we co-presented our research into Brandon at the University of Westminster at the Fortean Unconvention. We also spoke about him on BBC radio’s Movie Cafe show.
Brandon suggests that people read his book “between the lines”. Well, reading between the lines, it seems a certain former CIA operative is a little peeved at a certain British writer or writers. Anyway, moving on...
In addition to the above book review, Shepherd Johnson has also drawn my attention to a related photo essay he compiled in 2009, the subject of which is the CIA’s Camp Peary, “which figures prominently in Chase Brandon's book,” says Shepherd, “only he calls it “Camp McLeary” and locates it in “Virginia's Tidewater Peninsula area” and near Williamsburg, Va.”
Shepherd notes that “this is the actual location of the CIA's trade-craft school which he [Brandon] reveals in the book. The CIA uses the cover of the Defense Department and the site is officially called "Armed Forces Experimental Training Activity”. It's the site of the “underground Area 51” in the book [The Cryptos Conundrum] where they have taken the dead aliens.”
I have posted three of Shepherd’s Camp Peary photos below. For the full photo essay, see here.
Shepherd Johnson's articles and photographs have appeared on various websites including, CBS News, Coast to Coast AM, Prison Planet and Cryptome. Print articles include Fate Magazine. Living in Virginia in close proximity to Washington D.C., he has covered many issues involving politics and national security. He is currently researching the various aspects of the U.S. government's involvement with UFOs.