<...A step up, still...>
...One Man's Opinion On
The Mortellaro Affair...
by Alfred Lehmberg
The only thing that kept ~me~ going with regard to Dr. Mortellaro and his "perceived abduction" for as long as I did was Dr. Mortellaro himself. I believed the "man." He was that sincerely convincing...
When his personal credibility finally evaporated; however, so did any faith in his awkward and unlikely tale. ...Almost too late.
His story now, in retrospect and in the opinion of this writer, seems baldly contrived, patently juvenile and stealthily appropriated. I'm astonished I was ever taken in. I'm more than a little ~ashamed~, actually.
In my embarrassed defense (and to neutralize glowing recommendations I've written for him over the last couple of years, extant in cyberspace) the Doctor (?) was only ever given credence, by ~me~ at any rate, out of the idiosyncratic credit I feel he had painstakingly assembled with me during my ongoing, and too late recognized for what it was... advantage taking manipulation. I now believe I was well and truly duped. Such will be the scope of this expressed opinion.
I ~wanted~ to believe Dr. Mortellaro, because I was cloyingly *engineered* to believe Dr. Mortellaro. I believed the "man," such as he portrayed himself.
In light of circumstances, occurrences, evolved realizations, collected documents of saved E-mail, ...and hindsight... that belief has evaporated, completely. ...Completely.
A practiced adept, in my opinion, at telling the listener exactly what the listener wanted to hear, Dr. Mortellaro worked his comfortingly cloying psychological magic for me, among others, I feel. As time went on, this seemed to become more and more obvious. He was flattering, accommodating, externally validating, and self-deprecating... a "great guy", at the start -- the kind of friend you *thought* saw you the way you wished you could see yourself...
No, in my opinion it was ever a mask of cold and duplicitous calculation.
Early on, and from the beginning, Dr. M. was very careful to hit all the appropriate (...and inappropriate, come to think of it!) "friendship" buttons with me, display all the qualifying identifiers of empathy and compassion for me, highlight his toleration of politics and liberal humanism to me, swear oaths of passionate fidelity at me... and spun for me a comforting web of perceived reality that encouraged a return to him of all those things, plus (!), from me.
A grown man, combat pilot, and college graduate, I bought into Dr. Mortellaro for the proverbial hook, line, and sinker. The entire experience is a recognized personal regret, now, in a life with few regrets -- a tree producing, sadly, only regrettable fruit. Moreover, and in my very considered estimation, it was ~all~ an axe-grinding charade, fiction, and fantasy to facilitate a non-admitted goal of sanguine self-promotion.
All of the insouciant and duplicitous stroking alluded to above was necessary for me to swallow extremely unlikely (...totally ~unacceptable~ if not buttressed by strange lights in my own sky!)
...Tales of men in black, shadowy harassment by government agents, inexplicable bugging of his home by persons unknown, frequent abductions by alien beings, meetings with Bob Dylan, friendships with legendary writers, a hypnotically recalled introduction to his own *star children*, and his *brave* struggle with "mean-spirited boss-alien-preying-mantis-beings" that tortured him, spitefully (!), and made him have forced reproductive relations with discomfiting persons... This was the unlikely little construction spun out.
That's the report! Incredulous stuff... and I bought it! Christ, but I feel, in the 20/20 hindsight, like such a patent fool.
Thing is... all of this, *weird stuff*, was happening to this "great guy" with a heart of *gold*, a kind and gentle man seemingly generous as the day is long, brave as a New York fireman, and smart as two and a half guys with Doctorate degrees (of which he had two ...or two and a half!). Well, no, no, and resoundingly no.
In my defense, and in my opinion, no one of this "caliber", "depth of feeling", "personal integrity", and "reputation" could be saying the stuff he was saying, making these stupefyingly incredible claims... unless he was crazy... or it was really happening to him, I reasoned. I believed, as anyone can... the *big* lie...
...And there seemed to be a whole medical community willing to stand behind him with regard to his general sanity and to the high-strangeness of his physical claims... Well, no, as it turns out.
Like some others, many of them significantly smarter, more experienced and more educated than I (Budd Hopkins among them), I bought in. It was ~easy~ to do... he was a "-great-" guy... after all ...and his... feces... ...~seemed~ consolidated?
Heavy freakin' sigh...
Moreover, he was being "maligned", "persecuted," "discounted," and "marginalized"... well nigh "destroyed" by significant elements in the ufological community for reasons which were even outlined to me at the time, but which I rationalized away (to my present chagrin) as "sour grapes" of a "missed opportunity"... on -their- part! Hindsight indicates the only thing these "Malicious Mortellaro Maligners" were actually guilty of was not wanting to dance to the good Doctor's dictating tune (!) ...and wanting to focus more on what was *occurring* over who it was occurring *to *... and how *valiant* that person was in his *brave * struggle with it! The preceding sentence is a ~key~ concept, reader, verily.
As it turned out, all the warnings, I believe, and I mean all the warnings, were spot on! Doctor Mortellaro never wanted *teammates* (in my opinion) in a righteous group struggle against the unknown (indeed, he demonstrated no concept of teamwork); he wanted loyal employees, ladies and gentlemen, employees not concerned with, and unfettered by, the bothersome requirement of a paycheck... ...to help validate his wretched and humiliating fiction.
Things ~were~ tolerable only as long as the tune skipped to... was the doctor's; if not he became *ill*, was crippled with chronic pain "that never left" him, required painkillers, emergency room visits (once because our *disloyalty* made him drink too much), and bed rest...
A normal person wanted to do something to alleviate that "pain and CRUSHING responsibility [he] endured...". Going along with him... helped him.
~I~ felt good supporting a "brave soldier" in the ufological struggle...
The reader begins to see, perhaps, the pitiable and chronic "neediness" of all this. His 'neediness' was the well worked lever in the "Mortellaro support mechanism." I was facilitating the will of a mewling and self-involved social infant, I've came to discover.
Our group/association was exciting and cutting-edge, at first. I felt like we were standing on the threshold of some *larger* reality! We were a small band of intrepid players, a team of brave boys and girls... respected equals exploring inner and outer space (...isn't that pathetic forgetting how sincere I thought it was?). It seemed that our efforts, our loyalties, and our fidelities were going to be (albeit needlessly!) rewarded with some new kind of knowledge, extraterrestrial actuality, or ufological revelation (piquing me since I was a kid, frankly), that we could all share in...
It was not to be. ...Not, in my opinion, with the good Doctor, anyway.
I had blithely entered, in my opinion, into the Cult of Mortellaro. A cult, seemingly, every bit as paranoiac as other cults -- with distrusted *unbelievers* and *enemies* behind every tree, a cloying mal-intellectual two-color totalitarianism, regular *prayer* meetings in the form of daily one on one or conference phone conversations with the *Doctor*, incessant E-mails... and an ongoing diatribe of corrosive hatred for that which was not pro-"Jim Mortellaro" or "total support" for same!
When I think of the venom (now attributed to...~me~ ironically! LOL!) that was spewed at others in my presence while I was in his *trusted* association, the litigious acts of revenge that he would contemplate against persons who disputed his claims, laughed at his assertions, or questioned his motivations... I'm discomfortingly reminded that he is very likely, now, doing the same for me. How unrestrictedly and tragically pathetic... ~forgetting~ how discomfiting and personally threatening it truly is!
Many times he regaled me with tales of reports to his local authorities regarding the suspected criminal behaviors of his detractors, detailing to me their *alleged* criminal activities... Then there was the unceasing name-calling, well-poisoning, and hate-mongering that went on and on and on... without surcease... All this began to take its toll on an increasingly strained relationship, forgetting that that "hatred" has now made its way around to me...
Coupled with his increasingly inappreciative appropriation of skills he didn't have, opportunities not presented to him, and labor he couldn't accomplish on his own (I mean he couldn't -do- anything but "talk," really...) he used me (and others) to shamelessly prosecute, in my opinion, his shallow agenda of bald, featureless, and totally unwarranted self-promotion.
I began to get "cold feet" regarding a continued association given the direction we seemed to be taking. I asserted my concerns by withdrawing (a couple of times) from the AlienView Group List I could no longer contribute competently to... because of the Doctor's senseless moderation... and by withdrawing from participation in the radio program because creative and philosophical disagreements with the Doctor made it impossible to be in the same bleeding "room" with him!
Oh, the hue and cry, the sturm and drang, the swearing oaths, and the impassioned proclamations of betrayal... he'd "always expected" from me! I stood firm. I began asking why. I wanted him to validate himself... I requested that he qualify himself. I expected him to ~justify~ himself.
I demanded that he find a way to contribute equal effort to the team, which to that point was flatly non-existent. Initially (...strategically?) , he folded, and opted, I thought, for more fairness and openness in the interest of our substantive and very rewarding mutual association... no.
Astonishingly, I found out, and innocently too, that he had stealthily been working for a consensus with other group members exploring ~my~ removal from the association... Talk about blindsiding, and that "Business made it necessary..."
...You see, as angry as I ever got with him or as aggravated as I ever felt with him... as disappointed as I was ever to become with him... as disgusted as I -became- with the suppurating reality of his true politics, outlook, worldview, and agenda... it never ~occurred~ to me to try to oust him from group.
You could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather that he'd consider that with me! Things were dicey, by that point, sure... but we were ~friends~, damn it, brothers of the "ufological fray..." ~and~ he was a person that I'd ~already~ gone the distance for! In ardent spades... patient reader!
If he told me once, he told me a thousand times, "I owe you forever, Al," he said that to me and in front of others... "Forever", apparently, had a "shelf-life" or "best if used by..." date...
Made abruptly conscious with the knowledge of that transparent, completely unexpected, and very personal betrayal, I began to identify other significant flaws in our association. If he was less than forthcoming with regard to simple loyalty, or with key details of the shadowy business plans involving all of us, or with his inability to appropriately subordinate himself to group goals (over self-involved goals) ... if he provoked concern he nurtured over intentions regarding other group members... what ~else~ might he be less than forthcoming about...?
He manifested such a twisted morass of bile, hatred, loathing, and corrosive envy... in my opinion... continuing on with the program as it stood was approaching impossibility. It occurred to me that if we took one more step on the path as was outlined, trusting people were going to be roped into jumping through Mortellaro's senseless hoops like abused third-worlders, "AlienViews" was going to be put on freaking cigarette lighters, and a significant disservice (in the form of a distorted cant) was going to be done to aggregate ufology! It seemed like people might get hurt, too...
Meanwhile the rest of us would be so wrapped up in guilt and assumed responsibility that escape would be a lot more difficult, if not impossible! I put my foot down and began indicating that some "rethinking" of our charter was made necessary. Essentially, I pulled the throttles back as we were lurching down the runway for takeoff, below minimums...
Why didn't I, finally, just bail altogether... right there?
...We were doing *magic*, folks...
We were (I thought) a synergistic bunch with a thrilling ability to complement one another! I thought we were more than the sum of our parts!
We were talking to key people and asking them questions they'd never been asked before... we were recording history, and ~making~ it to a degree! It was Nirvana, while it was working, when everything was in balance... ...before our organizational dynamic was blithely trifled with by the *Doctor*... ...It was heaven. We (I?) felt like we were DOING something!
If I said it once to Dr. Mortellaro I said it a thousand times (because it came up a thousand times...!), "Jim, stop trying to filter me, moderate me, edit me, lead me, channel me, direct me, ...or control me." I was ~quite~ clear in that regard. There was no need for it in the first place, and our association didn't start with that understanding in the second... Still, I was senselessly and needlessly moderated more on (and off) the "AlienViews" board (a board where I was a principal!) than any other list, blog, newsgroup, or bulletin-board with which I've been associated. Real irony, all by itself, forgetting that it was ~he~ demonstrating the need for moderation in ~numerous~ episodes of the, in my opinion, thoughtless and insulting mal-intellectual hip-shooting he practiced, ~clearly~ pointed out to him by other group principals and myself. One such occurred when he was admonished by Doctor Dave Jacobs on the AlienViews II internet radio program taping for referring to Arabs as "rag-heads".
Dr. Jacobs may recall the episode, and good for him for calling attention to it, spot on, and demonstrating ethical consistency regardless ~whatever~ one may feel on the subject of Arabs. Dr. Mortellaro, oddly, given his education and *alleged* experience, was provincial and naive with regard to this and many other human relations subjects, in my opinion, and in the ~unsolicited~ opinion of the other Group principals, also. As I recall, I covered for him... out of the reflex of my manipulated programming... on that occasion, too! Another small regret.
The preceding was just one public example of the verbal gaffs that were uttered to list members and guests that were found insensitive, insulting, angering, humiliating, and without empathy, aspect, or intelligence. Numerous times I was required to post, like I might have for a *retarded* older brother, "what the Doctor really meant was...," in an effort to pull his thoughtless fat out of the resultant and frequent fire. I carried him for ~months~... in my opinion.
Moving on, Dr. Mortellaro, in the aggregate, contributed his very *dodgy* claims and the interest in him that they provoked, only. Oh, plus one other thing...
Dr. Mortellaro's not unpleasant baritone was the "voice" of AlienViews internet radio. Rationally, and as a sensible result of his alleged experience, Letters, and *personable* manner, he was made the "titular" head, the "honorary" front man, of the now defunct "AlienViews Group." A tragic act, as it turned out!
The stipulation "titular" was altogether -lost- on the good Doctor (despite vociferous reminders by myself and others that this was so!). It went -right- to his head.
Dr. Mortellero, was not a leader by any means. As a senior officer in military training schools where I trained whole -corps- of "leaders", and taught the ~basics~ of competent and efficacious leadership... my opinion here might have some extra weight. I know leaders or leadership and have many leaders as friends. The doctor was no "leader."
It is understatement to say that his behavior during the period was the cause of MUCH consternation in the group. Moreover, it destroyed our synergistic group dynamic.
Mortellaro saw himself as the *star* of the show (we *joked* about it!)... soon he was escalating his completely imagined supervisory capacity, deciding choices, formulating "secret" business plans, giving thoughtless instructions, making pointless decisions, publishing futile marching orders, and criticizing web site and show production infrastructure like he knew what he was doing or talked about.
He, decidedly, absolutely, and assuredly, did not. Dr. Mortellaro, though (one finds), was not one to let any lack of competence stop him, or slow him down in any way.
I'd mentioned that he was the voice of "AlienViews"... and he was, forgetting that he should have left it right there, and didn't... All he was, patient reader, ~was~ the voice, and an introductory one, only, at that; it became clear. In as much as the entire AlienView group was, as seen by the Doctor, a vehicle for his own self-interest and self-promotion, it's ironic that he didn't contribute anything to show research or even focus on the on-air guest as would be expected, but rather used any conversational opportunity to steer the conversation back on the subject of ~himself~, pointing out (embarrassingly, derailingly, and boringly) where what was being talked about could be viewed as how it applied to ~him~ and ~his~ experience... so as to remain the center of the attention he craved.
He didn't listen to the guests, at all, during the interview (just awaited another opportunity to pontificate?)... as was evidenced by his frequently asking a question of the guest that had just ~been~ asked and laboriously answered. Indeed it seemed he had no respect for the guest outside the value of the guest as a mechanism for his own self-promotion (as evidenced by him flushing the toilet in his home "studio" or playing with his dog, on the air...). On one occasion during a show that he had to do "on the road" he was striking up conversations with passers-by on the street while the guest was... talking -- if you can believe it!
Sincerely, most of Dr. Mortellaro must have ended up on the cutting room floor. I have 26 hours of RealAudio files (that will likely never see the light of day) where the good doctor can be heard doing just what I've described! Astonishingly, I thought it was *eccentric* and even *endearing* at the time (!), when what it really was, in hindsight, was oblivious self-interest, utter un-professionalism, and clueless incompetence... in my considered opinion.
Towards the end of our association Dr. Mortellaro made to quite clear that he was more willing to pursue his own agenda of unstated self-involved goals and fail, rather than subordinate himself, appropriately I add, to the stated (decidedly loftier, less *corporate*, and more "theme" centered) goals of the group (what we'd gleefully started with...) and succeed.
I spoke up for an end to reflex (and unsupported!) hatred of other persons in the ufological community and a return to our balanced earlier association, a retreat from the business oriented model of Dr. Mortellaro's nearly hijacked AlienViews Group effort, and a wider view of the group in general, requiring Dr. Mortellaro's removal as even titular "head."
Dr. Mortellaro, like any emotional juvenile, requiring too much supervision, moderation, direction, and external motivation for a man over 60... hit the vaulted ceiling!
Frankly -- by this time, he was no longer trusted to do the right thing on line and on the list, was incapable of responding to constructive criticism (...late for virtually every group meeting he ever called), and could not consistently follow the path agreed to in the group. He would dictate insentient policy, legislate unthinking, unnecessary, and unenforceable rules, proclaim silly, mawkish, and embarrassing "press releases" or initiate senseless polls. I could easily have sent a note home to his parents... "Jimmy has delusions of grandeur, and does not work or play well with others."
I'd mentioned that the Doctor was incapable of accepting criticism... positive ~or~ negative. He "didn't understand", "didn't get it..." and preferred to console himself with ~personal fables~ that he was being "picked on"... that he was being persecuted by "enemies" that he thought had been his "friends"... that this writer "was incapable of taking orders from a boss", ...and that he "~was~" AlienViews...".
These were all un-clever and convenient observations given that it ~was~ friendly criticism, he chose not to acknowledge it. I was a career Army officer well documented as to be able to take or give *competent* orders, and he was not, and had never been, competent to be my "boss", nor had I ~ever~ signed on for same! He never, even at the start, had earned ~that~ trust and confidence. That he "~was~" Alien Views..." just demonstrates how far off the actual beam he was -- hints at his unjustified, and suspicion provoking, megalomania... in my opinion.
By July of 2003, the doctor was overdrawn at my idiosyncratic bank. ~I'd~ had quite enough.
Moreover, in as much as the evolving details of Dr. Mortellaro's aggregate abduction claims ~seemed~ (in my opinion) to actualize only after the details of it had already surfaced elsewhere in the community, that he was a coattail moocher and flagrant appropriator of opportunities not his own from UFO UpDates through Jeff Rense to WorldWideRenaissance and beyond... That no *hard* evidence has ever surfaced with regard to Doctor Mortellaro that didn't have a fishy provenance existing ~anywhere~... but with something that he could have brought about on his own...
...This includes groin injuries (soldiers shoot themselves in the foot to go home), forged documents possibly indicating same, possibly seeded car parts at the *abduction site* to be found later... a witness willing to sign an affidavit that the doctor was sucked up into a mother-ship in a silent blue beam... the guileless validation by abduction researchers impressed by the wealth of evidence suggested that associates a lettered professional person with law enforcement, police records, 911 calls, the interest of a prestigious New York medical community performing a study of the abduction phenomenon...? We could go on and on...
These are the smoke and mirrors, it could be interpreted, of a potential fraud!
Could it be argued that there is too ~much~ corroborating evidence, and all of it too damned pat? Yes, frankly.
In as much as the good Doctor has made it clear beyond all doubt that he intended to profit as a result of the prosecution of his claims (and assuming fraud for the purposes of argument?), an ethical line, if ~not~ a criminal one, could conceivably be breached... I wanted no part of ~that~.
Be that as it may... considering hindsight, singular provenance, one man's observation of the Doctor in action, and his observed, in my opinion, easy betrayal and crass and calculating manipulations of his "friends"... I find myself unwilling to keep the faith that was required to continue to validate, or support, his tangled claims. Doctor Mortellaro, a living imposition and much like a human prion (in my opinion) -- hijacking the machinery of healthy cells adjacent to him into reproducing his bile spewing, hate driven, and baldly self-involved DNA... is not supported by me.
So, why does Mortellaro need to be taken down on this issue, in my opinion? Why can't we just live and let live? ...Let sleeping dogs lie...? ...Call it a wash...?
Dr. Mortellaro positions himself to be a major player on the ufological scene, and ~my~ perception is that ~that~ positioning is afforded only by a ham-handed duplicity (consciously or unconsciously) woven by a person educated in the art of putting the *right* spin on "the product for SALE," bluntly! Dr. Mortellaro is that product, in my opinion.
Thinking he understood the "target audience" or "customer base" (the principals of the ufological community and so then the whole ufological community) he's packaged himself, gaudily (if ~not~ that successfully), as its newest poster-boy. The impression that he tries to generate and convey is that he has an earned Doctorate in the sciences, is the focus of demonstrable occurrences of the highly strange, has the respectful attention of world class abduction researchers, is in regular contact with and frequently (...and oh so *bravely*...) struggles with aliens unquestionably ~evil~ in design, intent, and orientation.
Moreover, (as long as it suits his ego-driven purposes and self-involved agenda) he is a virtual fountain of abduction empathy and doting compassion... the calm, smooth-talking ufological father you never had... who has "been there," and "done that" ... a "heroic pinnacle" in our, mainstream maligned, paranormal movement... Right.
Steaming monkey paffle, patient reader. Don't buy the smallest part of it.
His doctorate has the narrow scope of a predatory 19th Century "business major", with all the scorn, distrust, and provoked disgust that can be heaped on that discounted and invalidated ethic. Dangerous Provinciality has a name and its name is "business major...". The Doctor's claim that he is the focus of the highly strange, with all its attendant evidences, police involvements, medical audit trails, sworn affidavits, and radio appearances still has the provenance of that high strangeness coming from himself, only. It seems to be evolving and becoming more detailed over time, and finally breaks the credulity of ~this~ once close supporter!
The respectful attention of world class researchers is countered by their innocent acceptance in taking the good doctor at his word regarding his own testimony and recollections... given a seeming mass of corroborating evidence actually too good to be true, in my opinion. His brave struggles with "evil mantis-beings" are, for my money, self-congratulatory celebrations of a personality that's yet to advance much past the science fictions of the 1950's... spun up to play in 2005! His empathy and compassion (like the empathy and compassion of other right-wing extremists) are mere glad-handing and soft-soaping... ornamentations used to defray suspicion of his motives and give the "mark" the comfortable warm and fuzzies facilitating ease of control, it seems to me. This man is no hero, in my estimation, he's a dead-ended path, a needless ufological detour, or an invisible hurdle cum snare on same. It is very ~unlikely~ that he has "been there," and even more unlikely that he's "done that..." That's my read, at any rate...
Could I be wrong about Dr. Mortellaro? Of course! My opinion, sir or madam, that a manipulative corporate "turn-around guy" with a nose for product enhancement and the minimal sense to flesh out an audit trail... might be ~just~ the person able to convincingly fabricate a first-rate hoax... shouldn't raise ~anyone's~ hackles (...even the good *doctor's*!!!) -that- much. It's just "business"... right.
What does he expect? I'm just one opinion, after all. Mortellaro might still be genuine... Water, by report, has been turned into wine, at least once, in the last 2000 years! Anything is possible, however unlikely... improbable, doubtful, implausible, dubious, dodgy, or suspect.
UFOs ~are~ real. Alien Abduction ~is~ another un-admitted reality... my confidence in the actuality of these things remains unshaken. My faith (and faith was ~required~) in the good doctor has suffered a decisive hull-breach; however, and it's important to me to go on the public record, now, and make it clear that ~I~ (who once provided ~complete~ support) shall no longer be counted as one who believes Dr. Mortellaro, at all.
I decidedly, absolutely, and most definitely, do not. Please allow ~this~ correction to the record.