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UFO stupidities:

Anything is good to dismiss the theory that some reported UFO experiences are best explained as visits of crafts or probes from a non-terrestrial intelligence. Among some claims are those that UFOs are flying saucer-types aircraft developed by German engineers during the war. Here is an exam of one of those claims, originating from Aviation author Nick Cook. The claim is criticized by author Kurt Kleiner, and I have added my own comments which are pretty much similar to those of Kurt Kleiner (on the white background, my comments).

Aviation author Nick Cook claims UFOs are Nazi technology:

The original article criticized here is "Jane's' Editor: US Working On Nazi Anti-Gravity Technology For 50 Years."

The source of the comments by Kurt Kleiner is: (San Francisco), August 5, 2002,

I want to stress that the theory that Nazi scientists are at the origin of flying saucers technology is that of Nick Cook and not of Kurt Kleiner; some people have already confused this, please do not.

"The Hunt for Zero Point" by Nick Cook

An editor for the esteemed Jane's Defense Weekly says the U.S. government has been working on Nazi anti-gravity technology in secret for 50 years.

By Kurt Kleiner

Aug. 5, 2002 - The U.S. government confiscated secret Nazi anti-gravity technology at the end of World War II, and later may have tested it in aircraft that account for the rash of post-War UFO sightings. Some of that technology has probably made its way into the B2 stealth bomber. Some of it is probably so dangerous that it's buried away in secret government vaults.

In the post-X-Files age, this sort of conspiracy theory won't raise any eyebrows. What makes the allegations interesting is that they appear in "The Hunt for Zero Point," which is written by Nick Cook, for 10 years the aviation editor at Jane's Defense Weekly. Jane's is the bible of the defense establishment, known for its no-nonsense, nuts-and-bolts reporting. A former Jane's editor tackling this topic is enough to make you take a second look.

Yes, although it may be the post X-File age, I do raise my eyebrow. Maybe all others will not, but I definitely do.

When searching on with keyword "Gravity," "Saucers," "Nazi," and so on you will find nothing related to the theory in Nick Cook's book. However, at least one news item by Nick Cook appears there, ( authored by Nick Cook and claiming Boeing "has admitted it is working on experimental anti-gravity projects that could overturn a century of conventional aerospace propulsion technology if the science underpinning them can be engineered into hardware." This news item corresponds to a full length article published by Jane's Defense weekly. This news item has been refuted by Boeing who has indicated from where this nonsense and exaggeration has come from: they merely had a few line about antigravity in an employee's Powerpoint presentation, and they say they have not done any work in this field so far and do not plan to.

By constantly referring to so-called antigravity propelled B-2 and so on, Nick Cook has in my opinion succeeded in bringing down this so-called Jane's reputation of no-nonsense and nuts-and-bolts reporting. Although anti-gravity research ranks right up there with perpetual motion on the crank-o-meter, the idea of anti-gravity can't be completely dismissed and this is not my point. As recently as 1996 a Finnish scientist announced he could partially "shield" objects from gravity using spinning superconductors. Although most scientists are skeptical, NASA is interested enough that it's trying to replicate the results. But this is very far from evidence that results have been achieved these days, and no evidence at all that anti-gravity technologies have been successful in the past at all.

So this very important point should be noted: many media have said that the theory of Nazi UFO is to be taken seriously because "Jane's defense Weekly" is a serious publication. But not only do I disagree for the reason indicated above, but it should also be noted that this Nick Cook theory is not a Jane defense Weekly publication but a book by Nick Cook. I do not see the book's relation with that magazine. So the much mediatized argument that the theory is serious because Jane's is serious makes again no sense at all.

Jane is indeed not a de facto no-nonsense publication, and I am not someone who would use the argument "It's in Jane's, so it is true." But I note that Jane's was very often associated with Nick Cook "antigravity" untrue claims in the past, and recently.

And certainly Nazi Germany was working on a lot of advanced technology by the end of the war, including rockets, jet fighters and nuclear power. The U.S. recruited some German scientists to continue their work in the U.S., most notably Wernher von Braun, the V-2 rocket scientist who later helped make the moon landings possible.

The Germans were working on rockets, jet fighters and nuclear power before and during the war. So did U-K, Italy, the US, except that nuclear research has successfully developed in the US only at that time and jets have developed as productive aircraft only in Germany before the end of the war (there were prototypes long before in Italy and England but no production jets were involved in the fights.)

The catch here is the word "including." We are driven to accept that, because German had jet fighters, they must have developed also something more. This is clearly not a reasoned argument.

On the contrary, we know that rocket technology has lead somewhere when the US carried on with Von Braun and other. We have seen the rockets fly during the war and go to the moon later. The other things that are meant by the use of the word "including" do not seem to have achieved that kind of solid status.

It's also clear that the U.S. military works on secret technology all the time - about $11 billion worth every year in "deep black" programs that aren't even acknowledged to exist. The stealth fighter and B2 bomber were black programs for years.

Again, things are inferred by Nick Cook that ought not to be inferred. The fact that black programs exist does not have any value in establishing that US has used German antigravity techniques or that these techniques even existed. It does not establish at all that the B-2 is anything else than a stealth subsonic jet bomber, for example. And it certainly is not an argument at all in favor of the idea that Nazi Germans have developed anti-gravity technologies.

So even if Nazi flying saucers sound nutty on the face of it, there's nothing crazy about Cook asking the questions he does. You might even call it courageous. It's the conclusions he reaches that are the problem.

No question is crazy - some answers are - , unfortunately, Cook does not really ask question but speculates. And in general I find more courageous not no speculate.

Cook's search begins one day when a photocopy of a 1956 magazine article mysteriously lands on his desk. It's called "The G-Engines Are Coming!" and is illustrated with a drawing of a U.S. airman descending the steps of a floating, wingless aircraft. Cook thinks it's a joke, but gets interested when he sees aerospace industry leaders of the day quoted as saying anti-gravity could be the next big breakthrough.

So everything starts with a post war magazine article that Cook qualifies "a joke." Well, hardly a very good starting point. The X-Files writers have much better starting points for their plots I believe.

Then, the joke is supposed to be taken seriously because aerospace industry leaders have said that anti-gravity could be the next big break through. Sure enough, it would. Does this make the Nazi UFO anything more real than before?

If so let me propose that time travel could be the next big breakthrough, and form that, I may submit that since I read about time travel in some 1950 magazine, and since the US have black programs and the Nazi developed rockets, then the Nazi have built time machines. Let me submit that to Jane's and see if I get my article published. If so, it will be a big hit because of Jane is a no-nonsense publication, read by all the military top brass as a bible, right?

He decides to call one of them, a now-retired engineer named George S. Trimble. A Lockheed Martin P.R. person, "Daniella Abelman," sets up an interview, then calls back and says Trimble has cancelled.

So, things look pretty bad at this point. A PR person with name in quotes? An engineer that does not want any interview?

"I don't mind telling you that he sounded scared and I don't like to hear old men scared. It makes me scared," she tells Cook. "Let me give you some advice. Stick to what you know about; stick to the damned present. It's better that way for all of us.'" (Cook has changed "Abelman's" name, so there's no way to call her and see if she really talks like a character in a Tom Clancy novel.)

Mr. Cook has still a lot to do to convince me at that point. If UFO reports investigations were like this, well I would think there are no UFOs.

Of course Cook's curiosity is inflamed, and he tracks down Trimble in a retirement community in Arizona and - oh, wait a minute. That's what you expect him to do. But here's what he says. "My great regret was that I couldn't contact George S. Trimble directly. Had I done so, I knew that Abelman would have gone ballistic. She'd told me to stay away from him and she had the power to ensure that I became an outcast if I didn't."

Exit George S. Trimble, we enter in bad espionage novel with sabotaged suspense.

Unwilling to face the wrath of the flack, he retreats to the Internet where "in the silence of the night, I could roam ... and remain anonymous."

Need I comment on the researcher's approach here?

He finds the story of Thomas Townsend Brown, a former Navy engineer who believed he could negate gravity using electricity and who by 1956 was demonstrating small, electrically charged flying disks. The military was briefly interested, but in the end issued a report that said there was no usable technology there.

Exit George S. Trimble, enter Townsend Brown. Well, finding a scientist who is linked to antigravity research on the Internet is a rather more relaxing research approach than to explore retirement communities in Arizona, right?

Surely, we will now get a Townsend Brown interview and his revelation about Nazi saucers.

But Cook notices something in a 1947 Army Air Force memo (famous among UFO buffs), in which Lt. Gen. Nathan Twining concludes that UFOs are real. Twining adds that it is "within the present U.S. knowledge" to construct similar aircraft, given enough money.

What about Townsend Brown???

Our Mr. Cook has now discovered that it is much easier to find real people that have concluded that UFOs are real than to get anything relating Townsend Brown to Nazi saucers. Surely, one expects that Mr. Cook will now be willing to write an article in Jane's about the opinion of certain military top brass: saucers are real.

Unfortunately, Mr. Cook chooses to change the meaning of the Twinning Memo that every UFO researcher (sorry, "UFO buff") knows to contain no such statement that saucers construction is "within the present U.S. knowledge."


Cook concludes that by 1947 the U.S. must already have had a key component of UFO technology - anti-gravity. That's why they weren't interested in Brown's technology years later.

Aha, that's what links Townsend Brown to Nazi UFO! Of course, that's it, the US did not care about Townsend Brown's antigravitics because they had the Nazi technology already. Everything is so clear now, what a brilliant logic!

He suspects the technology came from Nazi Germany, and recounts allegations of German flying saucer programs from a few dubious books, as well as information he admits seems to have "magically appeared out of thin air ... passed down from one researcher to the next, without attribution."

Enters magic, thin air and dubious books.

He gets off of the Internet and starts searching through military archives for clues. He finds a few hints in old Army Air Force records on Luftwaffe technology, but nothing substantial. Then he reads that the SS was in charge of the most secret German technology. "I felt a constriction in my throat. I was so keyed, my breath was coming in short, sharp gasps." Don't worry, he's not having a heart attack. He just realizes he's been looking in the wrong place. He starts reading about the SS.

Here Mr. Cooks has access to military archives (wow! wish I would) and er, finds nothing to substantiate his Nazi saucers.

Thank go he did not get a heart attack, it would have been a great loss for The Truth wouldn't it?

Soon we're off to Poland. A "researcher" named Igor Witkowski shows Cook an old mine, where he claims SS scientists worked on a machine called the Bell, a glowing, rotating contraption that used up a lot of electricity. "Word had it that the tests sought to investigate some kind of antigravitational effect, Witkowski said." Somebody else thinks it might have been a time machine. Then Cook finds yet another SS anti-gravity program, a flying saucer called the "Repulsine."

Mr. Cook has now found the old "the Bell" hoax, and alas, it's only a time machine, bah; luckily there's another Nazi saucer, which the SS seemed to have named with an English word. The Repulsine... wow.

Cook concludes that an SS official named Hans Kammler had all of this technology boxed up and flown to a safe place, later trading it to the U.S. military for his freedom.


The U.S. government kept it all under wraps for years, but probably implemented some of it in the B2 bomber. Why didn't the U.S. make more widespread use of this technology? Partly because it would have disrupted the existing aerospace industry, with its expertise in winged aircraft. Partly because anti-gravity might tap into energies just too destructive to tamper with. And "... in the 1940s and 1950s, it wasn't as if the world really needed it."

Oh yes, they kept the box in a shelf, but a bit of it must be in the B-2 ... probably. Anyone not convinced? Remember, Jane's is a no-nonsense magazine and Nick Cook writes for Jane's.

It's a story that strains credulity. But unless we're after cheap laughs, our hope when we pick up a book like this is that the author will, against the odds, build a careful, reasonable and convincing case. Cook isn't that author.

Well, dear Mr. Kleiner, all we have to do is wait for Mr. Cook's next research. With that name of yours, aha, there is no doubt that you are part of the US-German Nazi cover-up, we have figured out already. And when Mr. Cook learns my name, I'll be on the list too, for sure. Figure this: you are Mr. Kleiner, I am Mr. Gross! Isnt'it blatantly obvious that there must be a link.

The first problem is that Cook is no help sorting out the physics he's writing about. His explanation of "zero point energy" (a quantum effect caused by virtual particles winking in and out of existence) is acceptable. But he's also capable of explaining that the Repulsine made air molecules "pack so tightly together that their molecular and nuclear binding energies were affected in a way that triggered the anti-gravity effect." Both explanations sound equally weird to the layman. But the first is recognized science, the second pseudo-science.

I'll come the physics later.

OK, so physics is hard, and Cook is a journalist. But we should at least expect him to bring a journalist's care to the sources he uses and the conclusions he draws. Instead, we're bombarded with a hodgepodge of information trawled up from the Internet, other books and UFO and anti-gravity enthusiasts, along with some firsthand reporting. Although he makes a show of weighing this information with the critical eye of a trained aerospace expert, he doesn't prove worthy of much confidence.

Dear Mr. Kleiner, please rest assured that all laymen will probably not be mystified by the "trained aerospace expert's eye." Mr. Cook has obviously got lost in the overflow of the Internet's wildest claims and lost all his critical sense. Many did, but not that many after all. Most people are not that dumb, and I have been very pleased that a few Internet wanderers have been able to distinguish between the real aspects of the UFO problem and the garbage that piles up there.

A perfect example is his reliance on Witkowski, the Polish researcher, whose information is key to Cook's conclusions. Where did the information come from? Witkowski says a Polish government official (whom he refuses to name) allowed him to see some documents, but not make copies of them. Why does Cook believe Witkowski?

"Witkowski had been recommended to me by Polish sources through my work at Jane's as someone who was both highly knowledgeable and reliable... Had Witkowski been in any way a lightweight, I would have turned around and got on the first plane home. But when I saw him, I knew he was OK."

Imagine that, as a UFO researcher, I would way: "this UFO encounter story is true: when I saw the witness, I knew he was OK." Would that convince Mr. Cook?

Just as shaky are most of Cook's conclusions. For instance, the old Army Air Force memo in which Twining says UFO-type aircraft are "within the present U.S. knowledge" runs like a mantra through the book. Cook thinks it means that even in 1947 the U.S. could have built an aircraft capable of tremendous acceleration and instantaneous changes of direction, a craft that would require anti-gravity to work.

Twining actually says, "It is possible within the present U.S. knowledge ... to construct a piloted aircraft which has the general description of the object in subparagraph (e) above." What's that description? Metallic, saucer-shaped, quiet, no trail, capable of flying in formation, with a cruising speed of 300 knots. Right or wrong, Twining's not talking about the same astonishing capabilities as Cook is.

Oh, you noticed too. It wasn't that hard to understand what Nathan F. Twinning meant, right?

So it seems that we "UFO buffs" can read and understand a memo whereas Mr. Cook can't.

Or look at his conclusions about Kammler, the SS official Cook thinks traded the anti-gravity technology to the U.S. By the end of the war Kammler was the administrator in charge of most advanced research programs, including the V-2 rocket factories. But where's the evidence he traded any technology - much less anti-gravity technology - to the U.S.? Well, a lot of Germans with technological knowledge tried to cut deals with the U.S. Kammler's movements at the end of the war are mysterious, and there are contradictory reports about his death. Besides, Cook thinks it's the kind of thing Kammler would do.

"My feeling was Kammler would offer them something so spectacular they'd have no choice but to enter into negotiations with him."

In fact, a lot of the evidence here is based on Cook's feelings. A minor but typical example is a feeling he gets while reading a "recovered transcript," supposedly of a phone call between two Air Force officers discussing Brown's work. Gen. Victor E. Bertrandias is the chatty one; a general named Craig doesn't say much - only "No" and later "I see." It's Craig who catches Cook's interest.

"The man's urbane delivery earmarked him, to me at least, as someone big in Air Force intelligence." All that from, "I see."

What is instructive about the book is the insight we get into how conspiracy theories seduce otherwise reasonable people. Like all of us, Cook knows that real conspiracies exist. No one questions, for instance, that military technologies are being developed in secret, and that the government "conspires" to keep details from the public.

Exactly. But so many UFO sightings reports and UFO investigation reports are just there on the US government websites to read thanks to FOIA requests by ufologists.

But what do you look for when you think direct evidence has been withheld or suppressed? Before searching some old records, Cook realizes "it was inconceivable that the ... intelligence teams would have documented the discovery [of German flying saucers] for the world to read about ... I wasn't searching for the obvious, because the obvious would have been picked up by the censors." So Cook is reduced to ferreting out minor inconsistencies and odd, ambiguous details which he tries to puff up into proof.

Yes, this is how it works. The whole argument reminds of the old "of course you cannot see any Martian on Mars, but this is incontrovertible evidence of my point: the Martian live inside Mars, who is a hollow planet too. That is why you do not see them."

Likewise, information that is available has to be suspected as possible government disinformation. Perhaps the military has encouraged UFO reports to disguise its own flying saucer tests.

This is "a la Cook" logic. The US military have tried once to help the Canadian built a pathetic "flying saucer," a British engineer's dream called the Avrocar, who flew at height 1 m 40 in 1961 in one location, after 10 years of fruitless research and development of one prototype. The US helped fund the Canadian prototype because there were real flying saucers and they thought they may want one of their own. Failure. Total failure. Expected to be a hypersonic craft with both aircraft and near spacecraft capacities, the saucer was a hovercraft without the skirts, an ill-designed hovercraft. And it was not secret for more than a few months at the beginning in 1953, by the way.

The USAF has not discouraged UFO reports, they have collected them and more or less correctly investigated some of them. They have later adopted the CIA recommendation that UFO reports should go to dedicated military channels and not to the press and not to scientists and not to some public investigation project anymore. CIA saw UFO reports as a threat and a possible cause of panic and communication channel clogging which would benefit the enemy. I have found no evidence that any US government service has encouraged UFO reporting to hide secret plane activities.

Maybe the mythical Philadelphia Experiment (in which a Navy ship was supposedly sent into another dimension) was really just a story designed to discredit Brown. But, since the best disinformation always contains a grain of truth, maybe there really is a connection between anti-gravity and other dimensions.

Using this reasoning, all bets are soon off, and almost anything you turn up - lack of evidence, official denials, unsubstantiated rumors, wild conjecture - becomes evidence for what you're trying to prove.


In the end, Cook's argument boils down to the old proverb he invokes several times - Where there's smoke there must be fire. But sometimes, someone's just blowing smoke.

The only smoke here is probably caused by Mr. Cook's brain activity.

There is no Nazi saucer evidence. There is not one shred of the tiniest evidence that the German saucers theories, one or the other, are anything else than the ever repeated fantastic claims by fantasy prone people who completely lost all their critical sense.

The entire story is totally at odds with all the evidence you can grab. Read this US Air Force report for example. The Air Intelligence has thought about that as soon as 1949: did the Russian grab some German technology? Could it be the explanation for the reported flying saucers? US intelligence knew exactly what the German worked on, such as the Horten flying wings series. They investigated and found out that the Russians did not rely on German based advanced aerospace but developed their own. They assessed that there was no sense for the US and for any foreign country to fly secret advanced machines over unsecured airspace over the US in broad daylight with all the risks for incidents and capture.

But of course, for Mr. Cook, this is all "cover-up." Mr. Cook has decided that the UFO puzzle is explained by US aircraft using Nazi antigravity technology, period.

Another point is that what Mr. Cook introduces as his research is not his. Many crackpots have written exactly the same kind of absurdities, or many variants of the same general absurdities in the past.

A soon as last Saturday, a ufologist friend and I heard one guy in my own area talk for hours of similar stories. I just listened. This is the speech, let's keep it short: there is a "yellow book" which has all the picture of the Nazi saucers, this establishes as fact that saucers are German, only ignorant people do not want to realize this. The guy met another guy that showed him plans, but we can't talk to him, there's too much risk, but he will try to get us in touch. There is no labeling of the blue prints that he can remember, but they are real blue prints of real UFOs. there were children manufacturing parts of these disks in my own town. The children were taken away to the East, but the saucer flew already in 1930 long before the war. There were not Nazi, they were a group of good scientists that wanted to restore the German prestige. they did not want a war. The Nazis did not believe that the saucer would work, this is why they developed jet propulsion, which was a big mistake. When the allies invaded Germany, the German scientists, who called themselves the SS Schwarze Sonne (black sun) took the saucers inside of giant 300 km/h fast submarines and fled to the South Pole where they still are. Nobody could detect such fast submarine, this is why they have never been detected. When the US military learned that, they sent battleships there, but there was a magnetic field and the ships could not pass through it. They tried again some years later, but with no success. The saucers were called the Anuba (the guy meant Hannebau of course) and are two disks rotating in reverse motion, which, as the Kabballah tells, and also Mr. Papus does, creates a force which is the same than the force that makes the planets rotate. This is actually very simple and everyone knows how it works. It is an effect of the driving force of a crystal (he hands us a broken crystal). Thus the saucer levitates, whatever its mass is. The mass plays no role in this. Moreover, this fact is evidence that the Earth is hollow, as every initiated person knows. The driving force behind that principle is the "void energy", aka "point zero," and Quantum physics is the evidence that it works; but this is nothing knew, the ancient Hindus called it Prana. So, the UFO seen by a friend of mine in the seventies (a cigar shaped thing hanging vertically in the air, about 100 meters high, seen by a pack of many youngsters and an old lady from another viewpoint) is not an alien spacecraft, but a German UFO. (My witness friend does not know what he saw by the way.) But, there are also real alien UFOs. Moreover, there is no problem in making a grassmower engine to work on a mix of 90% water and only 10% gazoline, and a reporter from the local press will publish the evidence as soon as the guy's prototype is finalized; at this time, it is very promising, and lots of people have built water engines, and also quantum generators of electric current, they require no or very little input energy and deliver a lot. This is all scientifically acknowledged in a Nexus magazine article that I could have seen but is too hard to locate among other magazines. Anyway, Jean-Pierre Petit, a CNRS researcher, has also demonstrated in Nexus Magazine that vast amount of energy can be extracted from the nothingness. The water motor could be the solution to all problems, but unfortunately the big companies are against it and there are many stories of unresolved murders. It could also make its inventor very rich, but he is more interested in spiritual evolution by eating only raw food, and by not washing your teeth with fluor containing toothpaste, you can extend your life by many years.

Anyway, that old person has the blueprints of the German saucers, and does not want to speak to anyone unless he feels confident that the secret is not publicized, because he is a very old man now and does not wish to create a fuss. Also there is danger in that area. But, maybe he would accept to meet us, we'll be in touch. I never heard anything of it since.

About the writer:

Kurt Kleiner is a writer living in Toronto.

Copyright 2002

Salon, 22 4th Street, 16th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
Telephone 415 645-9200 | Fax 415 645-9204

Some additional comments:

In his book, Nick Cook has shown that he does not really understand today's physics. There is very little scientific content in the book, and when there seems to be it is completely erroneous or misrepresented. For example, he tells that Einstein's theory of relativity has been rejected by recent findings. This is simply not true.

As many amateurs do, he uses quantum physics as he pleases without much understanding of it. Quantum physics is abused by layman and used to "prove" just about anything, from telepathy to astrology "other dimensions" as the origin of UFOs. Laymen really interested by physics and quantum physics should first read books by physicist, and then they would probably clearly see that the physics in Nick Cook's writing is merely fantasy.

A hint on Nick Cook's psychology is a chapter where he narrates that some Men-In-Black type government people break into his hotel room and prepare to shoot him in the head. Then he awakes and realizes this way only a nightmare. As far as I am concerned, I think this inclusion of a dream episode is one of the clues that the author is not able to draw the line between real facts and stuff dreams are made of.

Further readings and references:

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This page was last updated on November 18, 2002.