Inside the Capitol

Friday, September 07, 2007

9-19 Conspiracy Coumns Bring Responses


Syndicated Columnist

      SANTA FE -- Recent columns about some of New Mexico's famous conspiracies brought lively reaction, as expected.

      Concerning the Army's conspiracy to cover up whatever happened at Roswell in 1947, I received complaints that I dismissed the possibility of extraterrestrials being involved.

      I also received a call saying I was way off base assuming it was a group of military brass sitting around a conference table at Roswell Army Air Force Base who concocted the capture of a flying saucer.

      That meeting did happen, I was told, and Gen. Roger Ramey, who issued the weather balloon explanation the following day from his headquarters at Fort Worth, Texas, was at the meeting.

   But the flying saucer decision was made by top brass at the Pentagon. Had the decision been made in Roswell, the military careers of everyone at that table would have been over.

   But those careers did not end. Col. William "Butch" Blanchard, who took the public rap for his elite bomber wing misidentifying a weather balloon as a flying saucer, went all the way to the top.

   When he died of an unexpected heart attack in 1966, he was Army vice chief of staff and a sure bet to take over the top position. He also was a four-star general. That's as high as generals go, except in times of world wars.

   Why top officials in Washington decided to handle the situation the way they did is still unanswered. My assumption is that with all the secret testing being done in the area, something had gone astray. But the door was left open for many other theories.

   I thought I'd done a pretty good job of explaining the latest developments in the investigation to determine whether Sheriff Pat Garrett might have conspired with Billy the Kid to kill someone else and claim it was Billy.

   But Steve Sederwall, the chief investigator in that case, found so many areas of disagreement that I have offered him the opportunity to tell his story in a guest column.

   There still isn't much more to tell you about new developments in the alleged conspiracy by the government to secretly remove gold bars and other treasure from Victorio Peak, just inside the White Sands Missile Range boundary from the future site of Spaceport America.

   The one thing I can report is that 10 years after sending a Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Treasury Department for its records concerning Victorio Peak, I have received a response.

   Despite being conscientious about filing accurate income tax returns, an unexpected 8 a.m. call from the general counsel's office of the Treasury Department is nevertheless disconcerting.

   But the assistant for international affairs immediately began apologizing for the delay in answering my request. He said he had found 55 pages in the "Treasure" file relating to Victorio Peak and did I want him to copy and mail them to me.

   I inquired about the cost and he embarrassedly said that in deference to the delay, there would be no cost. He also said I might not find anything very useful since only one name had been redacted in the entire 55 pages.

   The material contains letters from attorney F. Lee Bailey, Rep. Harold Runnels, investigative columnist Jack Anderson and presidential assistant John Ehrlichman. It also contains a map of the missile range showing Victorio Peak.

   Further analysis may reveal items of interest. Meanwhile, I'm left to wonder why the international affairs division of the Treasury Department handles Victorio Peak questions. Does that validate stories of it being Aztec gold or Maximilian's gold or that the gold was shipped out of the country?

   Finally, I heard expected disagreement from Alamogordo with my hunch that the United Nations does not secretly control World Heritage Sites. White Sands National Monument wants to join Carlsbad Caverns, Chaco Canyon and Taos Pueblo in that coveted, tourist-attracting category.

   And I also heard from former National Park Service employees assuring me there is no truth to the stories.

WED, 9-19-07


JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505

(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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