June 28, 2007 – Original Source: Danger Room, WIRED
Some people believe he’s part of an elaborate government plot that abducts and harasses innocent civilians. Some view him as a military visionary. With his interest in parapsychology and near death experience, some think he watched one too many episodes of the X-Files. To me, he’s the sort of person I most enjoy speaking with: out on the edge (and sometimes, way out on the edge), but not afraid to speak to those who may question his views.
John Alexander, a former Green Beret, earned a reputation in the 1990s as a vocal advocate of nonlethal weapons research. He was also a champion of the government’s now defunct “Remote Viewing” program, which, until its termination in 1995, sought to use psychics in the service of national security. Today, he continues to advise the military and frequently writes on national security issues. We met for dinner earlier this month and it was about the time that Alexander started talking about witches that I asked him if I could record some of our dinner conversation. After all, it’s not too often that you get to talk about witchcraft in the context of national security.
Excerpts of the interview follow:
Danger Room: So, tell me about the witches [who were brought into the Remote Viewing program].
John Alexander: It was a group of women. They were not doing remote viewing. They were doing palmistry, crystal ball kinds of stuff. This was very different from the guys who were the remote viewers, who were following very strict protocols.
DR: Then who were the witches?
JA: They were more like storefront psychics.
DR: Like you have all over in Washington, D.C.?
DR: What year are we talking about?
JA: Must have been the 1990s. I’m not sure exactly what year, by 1995, [the remote viewing program] was dead.
DR: Were the witches successful?
JA: Not terribly. They lacked discipline and protocols.
DR: But I thought you could train anyone in remote viewing?
JA: Well, yes and no. My thesis on it is that this is a latent skill everybody has. You can run, but I doubt seriously you can run a four-minute miles. You can get better, within limits. I suspect this was much the same way. We’re still to this day figuring out how it works. How good could it possibility work. The problem initially was, how could this work? And if that answer were, yes, how could you do that? The explanation almost invariably is some kind of electromagnetic wave. That works, until you start perturbating time.
DR: Up until when?!
JA: When you start perturbating time. Obviously, that’s not an electromagnetic phenomenon.
DR: Hm, I guess not. But if you’re viewing submarines in other countries, where are you getting the signal?
JA: That’s the question. So, the theoretical construct is important, because through that you can build a training system. Obviously it seems to work.
DR: How hard is this to test?
JA: We’ve done that, and yes it works. The effect is real, yet small.
DR: If the Remote Viewing program had survived, where do you think it would be today?
JA: That’s an interesting question. The problem at the moment is everything is zero sum. The quote I heard today is, “TRADOC [Army Training and Doctrine Command] is a shadow of its former self.” Who is doing the long-range planning? The answer is, nobody. There’s nobody left. The question would have been, at this juncture: what resources would be available to do that? Active duty [personnel] would have been probably stripped away. You might have had some civilians, or reservists. Would it have advanced? It probably would have made some advances. It would not have had a huge impact.
DR: Would something like the Remote Viewing program be possible today [in the Pentagon]?
JA: My next monograph… is on creativity. SOCOM [Special Operations Command] says creativity is a core value, and I say, that’s interesting, but it’s a lot easier to say than do. What I’ve done is taken a series of things we did in the military, all of which were successful, The RV [Remote Viewing] program being one of them, and yet they all died. There are three things you need. You’ve got to have the champion, the guy who understand and has a vision; you have got to have angels, the protectors like you saw in the RV program; and you have got to have resources to make it work.
[For nonlethal weapons] I was a champion, but I had no angels. And the people who supported me were on the outside. I didn’t have any cover inside. [Those inside] didn’t want to pursue it.