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January 9, 1996
The Pentagon's 1949 Aerial Mission Over Mt. Ararat
On a sunny summer day on June 17, 1949, a Headquarters U.S. Air Force Europe plane was flying a classified photographic mission photos de-classified in 1982 by law and released to me under the Freedom of Information Act in 1995) that included Mt. Ararat in Turkey, just eighteen miles south of the former Soviet Union's border, and twelve miles west of the Iranian border· The mountain is over 300 square miles in area and in a remote corner of northeast Turkey. As the plane leveled from the south about a mile away at 14,000 feet parallel to the 17,000 foot mountain, its cameras inadvertently recorded in two photo frames a huge (possibly 450-600 ft. long) dense, linear shaped and distinct "Anomaly" (a structural abnormality that is not common to a mountain) protruding out from the "permanent glacial ice cap" at 15,500 feet at the very southwest edge of the nearly mile long western plateau. The "Anomaly" was 1.3 miles horizontal distance west of the summit at 39" 42' 1 0" North 44" 16' 30" East. Significantly, an "avalanche in progress just to the east of the anomaly" apparently exposed it to view.
The U.S. Air Force plane then flew around to the north side of the mountain and
recorded in three sequential photo frames
from different angles from distances of about two miles to a half-mile another large "structure" (possibly 600-800 ft. long) on the western plateau, apparently in close proximity to the first "Anomaly." This "Adjacent Anomaly" was also fully visible and exposed all the way across the plateau as seen from the north side of the mountain in the first and third photo frames. In the middle flame, dense clouds had covered the area of the "Adjacent Anomaly" and only a vague outline of it was visible. The last flame, however, vividly and clearly recorded this "Adjacent Anomaly" from about a half-mile away as the cloud cover completely dissipated. Three apparently huge, thick, symmetrical protrusions merged together and appeared to be jutting straight up into the air out of a large wing like portion of the "Adjacent Anomaly." Parts of the protrusions also seemed to be severely damaged. As to the identity of these two apparently co-located anomalies (collectively referred to hereinafter as the "Anomaly"), a crashed airplane was not out of the question, even though the Turkish government had no record of any airplane ever crashing into Mt. Ararat and no plane had ever been built of that size. In October 1995, Tom Dougherty, a senior public liaison official in the CIA, publicly confirmed that "the Mt. Ararat anomaly photo stories have been floating around the CIA ever since the 1949 photos were taken."
The 1973 "CIA Boat Report"
Twenty-four years later a CIA reconnaissance satellite took photographs of a purportedly "boat like object" on Mt. Ararat on the September 1973 eve of the Yom Kippur War between Israel, Syria and Egypt. As a junior cadet at the time, I was among those cadets and professors at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. who considered this unconfirmed "boat report" then verbally circulating at the Academy and
around the country, to be plausible. According to this report, the CIA satellite was flying a routine mission about 200 miles up and beating down on the mountainous Soviet-Turkish border when someone accidentally turned on the space-based cameras too early and picked up Mt. Ararat instead. The persistent rumor went on to say that a few days later CIA photo interpreters in Washington were startled when they discovered in the high resolution photos what appeared to be the "heavily damaged bow of some kind of huge ship protruding out of the glacier during a major glacial meltdown." A debate among photo interpreters immediately erupted in the CIA as to the identity of this structure. Since the only written record of a ship landing on Mt. Ararat is in the fourth verse of the eighth chapter of the Bible's Book of Genesis, several cadets and even professors at West Point speculated, either in jest or in earnest, that this anomalous "object" might be Noah's Ark.
Here it is necessary to document briefly a few of the ancient and modern secular references to "something" being on Mt. Ararat, Berossus, a Babylonian historian, wrote in 275 B.C. of a "ship" being on the mountain.1 Writing in the first century A.D., the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus stated that part of a "vessel" stood on the mountain.2 Nicolaus of Damascus, another secular historian of the first century, reported that "timbers from a ship rested near the summit.3 And event he famous explorer Marco Polo in the late 15th century on his way to China made mention in his Travels of Marco Polo that Noah's Ark was still visible on the "top" of Ararat.4
In 1829 Dr. Frederich Parrot, a German professor of natural philosophy from Estonia, visited St. Jacob's monastery at the 7,000 foot level on the northwest side of the mountain at the village of Ahora, prior to his historic climb to the summit. The monastery had stood for 800 years. There he wrote in his subsequent book that the monks showed him wood, manuscripts and artifacts from Noah's Ark. Eleven years later in 1840 the monastery and all of the people in the nearby village of Ahora were obliterated in the cataclysm caused by Mt. Ararat's "last volcanic eruption," which left a deeply scarred gorge on the north side of the mountain nearly a mile deep - the Ahora Gorge.5
In the summer of 1883 a severe earthquake shook the mountain and destroyed a number of villages. Turkish officials, along with a British attache' went to evaluate the
1 The Lost Ship Of Noah - In Search Of the Ark At Ararat, by Charles Berlitz, G.P. Putnam s Sons (1987), page 16
damage and purportedly "came upon a huge wooden boat like structure" jutting out from "an overhanging glacier." The team entered the structure but terminated any further investigation for fear that the glacier might fall on them.6
* In 1887 Prince John Joseph of Nouri is to alleged to have found Noah's Ark on Mt.
Ararat. In 1893, stating his intention to organize an expedition to dissemble the Ark and
reassemble it for exhibition at the Chicago World's Fair, he applied for a Turkish permit
for such an endeavor. The government rejected his request.7
* In 1916 several Turkish soldiers reportedly stumbled upon a large damaged wooden ship, coincidentally in the general vicinity of the "Anomaly" photographed by the Pentagon in its 1949 aerial mission.8
* In the summer of 1916 a large Russian military expedition supposedly examined the Ark after one of their pilots claimed to have discovered it accidentally while testing a new high altitude engine.9
* On July 5, 1955, Fernand Navarra, a noted French industrialist and explorer, made history when he became the first person in modern times to find a five-foot piece of ancient, hand-crafted wood on Mt. Ararat some forty feet under the Parrott Glacier on the northwest slope.10
2Ibid, pages 16-17
3 Ibid, page 17
4 Ibid, page 17
5 Ibid, pages 20-24
6 Ibid, pages 24-25
7 Ibid, pages 26-27
8 The Ark On Ararat, Tim LaHaye and Dr. John Morris, Page 90
9 Berlitz, Op Cit, at pages 19-41
10 Noah's Ark: I Touched It, by Fernand Navarra and edited with David Balsiger, Logo International, pages 40-46
Much of the world press reported the discovery. Coincidentally, the site of Navarra' s discovery was just a few hundred meters from the location of the "Anomaly" filmed by the Pentagon in 1949. As that 1949 film was not de-classified by the U. S. Air Force until 1982 Navarra had no access to it or knowledge of its existence.
The "sub-fossil wood" was severely deteriorated and Navarra submitted it to scientific testing at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France(determined it to be oak), the Forestry Institute of Research and Experiments of the Ministry of Agriculture in Madrid, Spain (determined the age "varies around five thousand years"), and the Department of Anthropology and Prehistoric Studies at the University of Bordeaux in France ("the wood was subject to conditions very favorable to fossilization, during a period dating to a remote antiquity"), among others.11
The heroic and tireless efforts of the late Apollo astronaut, Colonel James Irvin, in his 1980's expeditions to find the remains of Noah"s Ark on Mt. Ararat are well established in documentaries, books, and the press. Mary Irwin, his widow, has provided me with invaluable information and photos in the last few months.
Dr. Ahmet Ali Arslan, a Turkish educator and considered the dean of all climbers of Mt. Ararat with over 50 climbs, is convinced that the Ark is hidden away somewhere on the mountain. Later, I will discuss his meeting me last year.
John McIntosh, an educator and veritable clearing house on information about Mt. Ararat, heard of my efforts and contacted me last year and has provided me in the last few months with important information and photos from his aerial and ground expeditions in the 1980's.
A dramatic development that might shed light on the Noah story was reported by the New York Times on the front page of its "Science Times" section on November 23, 1993. Dr. Gregory Beannan, a physicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, used de-classified cold war space-imaging infrared technology to reveal "previously invisible writing on a tiny fragment" of the Genesis Apocryphon, a Dead Sea Scroll that retells, among other things, the Flood story. The Hebrew letters spelled out the sentence, "He wrote the words of Noah." This may constitute some evidence, independent of the Biblical claim, that Noah actually existed.
11 Ibid, pages 123-133
The remainder of this document relates how my successful efforts in getting the Intelligence Community for apparently the first time in history, to release officially its 1949 "Ararat Anomaly" photos might pave the way for a conclusive expedition to Mt. Ararat. No expedition has ever succeeded in authoritatively showing the world that a large man-made structure is on Mt. Ararat.
To avoid confusion, it is important to note that at this point that the Anomaly and
Adjacent Anomaly depicted in the Pentagon's 1949 photos are not the "Phantom
Arks" that have received a great deal of TV coverage in the last few years. These
anomalies are David Fasold's fully exposed rock formation some seventeen miles south of
Mt. Ararat at 6,300 feet, which he suggests is Noah's Ark in the current one hour show on
The Learning Channel. Likewise, these anomalies are not the "Eye of the Bird" -
the rock formation at the 14,500 foot level well below the 15,500 foot southwestern
plateau location of the 1949 "Anomaly" - which an American helicopter expedition
team prematurely told CNN News in September 1989 was Noah's Ark. In 1995, I confirmed this
with the helicopter pilot.
Dr. Carver's Public Confirmation of the I973 "CIA Boat Report"
Over the course of the next two decades, the 1973 "CIA boat report" faded into the deep recesses of my mind until February 1993 when a prime-time special about Noah's Ark aired on television. What caught my attention in that show was a claim that the CIA had classified satellite photos of some "object" on Mt. Ararat that might possibly be the remains of Noah's Ark - a claim that tallied perfectly with the report that had ricocheted around West Point's halls 20 Years earlier. That very night, I resolved to try to clear the air, definitely, with respect to that 1973 "boat report."
My opportunity came only three weeks later - through my involvement as a patron member of the Palm Beach Round Table in Palm Beach, Florida, one of the nation's most prestigious public speaking forums. Dr. George A. Carver, Jr. - one of the most decorated officials in CIA history and the former Deputy for National Intelligence in the CIA during the 1970's, to three Directors of the CIA, including George Bush - was coming to Palm Beach to speak before the Round Table on national security issues in the 1990's. Although it was a long shot, I thought that Dr. Carver might be able to identify the basis, if any, of the 1973 "boat report." Hence, during the question and answer session of his address, which was taped by the Round Table, I asked him about this. Along with many of the 400 members of his audience, I was delighted when Dr. Carver replied to my query by saying the following:
"Well, I don't recall the CIA working on Noah's Ark, but I do remember that at the time there were some pictures taken, and there were clear indications that there was something up on Mt. Ararat, which was rather strange. There were various archaeological expeditions that were mounted. The Turkish government was not too thrilled about supporting them, because it was getting into an area that was politically dicey from the Turk's point of view. But that is but one of the indications, you know, I haven't been up there, I don't think anyone has, but it certainly was eyebrow lifting and it was certainly another indication that despite its splendor as a work of poetry, the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, might not be all that bad as history also."
I had a chance to talk with Dr. Carver during a reception for him after his speech and during our conversation he elaborated his response by explaining that during a Director of Central Intelligence morning staff meeting around 1973, which he attended, the then Deputy Director for Science & Technology, Carl Ducken, had mentioned some recent photos of the "Ararat Anomaly" and there had indeed been a good deal of banter around the morning meeting table about "how the Book of Genesis might be literally a work of history."
I told Dr. Carver that I was personally committed to persuading the intelligence Community to release the 1973 photos into the public domain, along with the coordinates of the "Anomaly" in question, so a properly qualified scientific and archaeological expedition to Mt. Ararat could be launched in order to determine, definitely, what this "Anomaly" actually was. Dr. Carver shared my view that since the Cold War was now behind us, there was no reason not to declassify photos or other data that no longer had military significance; and he kindly agreed to assist me in my efforts to get these photos released so I could have authorized access to them.
The Genesis of Project "Ararat Anomaly"
Thus, March 1993 began my wonderful friendship and professional alliance with Dr. Carver and what I consider to be my spare time public service project as a trial lawyer. For the remaining 15 months of his life, Dr. Carver dedicated himself to "lobbying" the Intelligence Community to release all of its pre-1976 photos of the "Anomaly." Due to his high esteem within the Intelligence Community, he was able to talk directly to numerous current and retired senior CIA officials, many of them his long-time personal friends, about the 1973 incident and other photos of the "Anomaly. Many of them (including photo interpretation officials) not only recalled the 1973 incident but also confirmed that U-2 reconnaissance plane photos had been taken of the "Anomaly" around 1959 - 1960 and more satellite photos had been taken in the 1970's
of the apparently man-made structure. These officials were comforted to know hat Dr.
Carver and I were seeking photos of
the "Ararat Anomaly" and not Noah's Ark. Our coining of this phrase, familiar to the Intelligence Community, pleased them and was instrumental in the release described herein and all future releases under my pending Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
Since Dr. Carver emphasized to his colleagues that our purpose in having these photos de-classified was to launch an expedition and that their release might enhance the image of the CIA, the Intelligence Community became amenable to the release. On December 14, 1993, Dr. Carver discussed our "Ararat Anomaly" Project at CIA head-quarters in Langley Virginia, with a senior CIA official and good friend during a break in a briefing on an unrelated matter. The official was aware of the photos and became interested in our project and "saw no reason why photos of the Anomaly could not be eventually released in some form" especially since the CIA was then considering the possible de-classification and release of over 800,000 satellite photos of the world taken by Corona, its first satellite, during part of the Cold War from 1960 - 1972. Hence, the official made a telephone call on behalf of Dr. Carver regarding this and talked to him twice in March 1994, which paved the way for the 1949 photos being released a year later. I met this CIA official a year later right before he made a major address in Washington, D.C. and we discussed off-the-record the "Anomaly" photos and the passing of our mutual good friend, Dr. Carver.
The Presidential Executive Order de-classifying Corona"s 400 miles of satellite photos was originally scheduled to be signed in May 1994. Up until then, Dr. Carver and I had anticipated that Corona's photos of Mt. Ararat and the 1973 photos taken by another space-based platform would be de-classified and released. However, legal and national security concerns held up President Clinton's signing the Order until February 1995. Unfortunately, Dr. Carver passed away in late June 1994. I lost a great friend and mentor. James R. Schlesinger, former Director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense, poignantly eulogized Dr. Carver at the funeral. He said that George Carver was a "patriot" and a man of "Integrity, Industry, Intellect, Institutions." I have since dedicated this "Ararat Anomaly" Project to the memory of Dr. Carver for his truly stellar contributions to it as a co-founder. I regret that he will not be here to see the culmination of the Project on Mt. Ararat; but I have kept his widow, Ruth Carver, current on developments.
In July 1994, after numerous encouraging phone discussions with several of Dr. Carver's former CIA colleagues, including a senior attorney in the General Counsel's Office and Bill Lackman, the head of the Central Imagery Office, I formally petitioned the CIA under FOIA for the release of the coordinates and all satellite imagery of the "Ararat Anomaly" taken between 1973 - 1974. This led to my excellent rapport with the CIA case officer assigned to my FOIA request. We talked several times on the phone
between August and December 1994. It is very rare for a CIA case officer to talk to a FOIA requester. He told me off-the-record that the CIA had received dozens of FOIA requests over the years for satellite photos of Noah's Ark but had never received a request for photos of the "Ararat Anomaly." Moreover, no one had ever requested the coordinates, which were technically not classified. Hence, my FOIA request was unique and just might sail through, he said.
In September 1994 I contacted the White House General Counsel's Office for assistance in getting any photos released. The office of Marvin Krislov, Assistant Counsel to President Clinton, called me back and asked me to telefax my Project file to him, which I did. During this same period I contacted Vice President Gore's National Security Advisor's office through a friend. That office graciously passed on my file to the most senior intelligence official on the National Security Council (NSC) staff at the White House. Also, I contacted the office of the President's Chief of Staff and they also asked me to telefax them my file. I continue to maintain a favorable telephonic and telefax dialogue with the White House on my Project. Also during this period, I developed a good telephonic rapport with Tom Dougherty, a senior CIA public liaison official, which I still maintain.
On November 7, 1994 Mr. Krislov sent me a letter from the White House as
Thank you for your letter of November 1, 1994, concerning what you referred to as the "Ararat Anomaly." As you are no doubt aware, releasing intelligence information involves considerable study on the part of relevant agencies. To this end, I am forwarding your thoughts to the appropriate agencies for any action and handling. Thank you for your interest.
This favorable letter proved crucial in the March 1995 photo release described herein.
In December 1994 the CIA case officer told me that the CIA could not release any satellite photos until President Clinton signed the Executive Order which was expected on February 22, 1995. In the meantime he kindly recommended that I submit a FOIA request to the Defense Intelligence Agency DIA) at the Pentagon, because it might have photos of Mt. Ararat which had not been taken by classified space-based platforms. That same month I re-submitted my FOIA request to the CIA for all U-2 and satellite photos taken between 1960 - 1976 of the "Anomaly" which is still pending; and expanded this to include SR-71 supersonic plane imagery. [However, James Cumber, who is familiar with the SR-71 program, says that the first official flight of the SR-71 by Lockheed Martin test pilot Lou Schalk was not until April 26, 1962.] That same month I also made my FOIA request to DIA for the coordinates and any and all photos taken of the "Ararat Anomaly" since World War II by any aircraft. I developed an excellent rapport with Robert Richardson. Chief of DIA's FOIA Staff who had been in that office for the past 10 years. He likewise confirmed that DIA had gotten numerous requests for photos of Noah's Ark but never of the "Ararat Anomaly."
From January 23-25, 1995 I attended the annual American-Turkish Council's conference in
Washington, D.C. as a guest of Ur Akinci, Washington correspondent for the Turkish Daily
News. The day of the conference a front page article in that paper about my Project and
the pending executive order appeared. This was the first article to appear on my Project.
This gave me the opportunity to meet and speak briefly with Ambassador of Turkey Nuzhet
Kandemir, Several Turkish generals and admirals, cultural affairs officials, U.S. Embassy
and State Department officials and a university archaeologist. Also at the conference, Dr.
Ahmet Ali Arslan introduced himself to me.
DIA's Release of Photos From the 1949 Mission
With unprecedented speed under FOIA (requests can sometimes take years to process) DIA on March 14, 1995 released to me a 16" x 9" black and white Photo Frame 2 from the June 17, 1949 mission showing a panoramic view of Mt. Ararat as seen from the south as the U.S. Air Force plane leveled at 14 000 feet from only about a mile away. The upper left corner of the photo contained the flight data and coordinates. Mr. Richardson told me that this was the first time that he was aware that the intelligence Community had ever officially released into the public domain any photos of Mt. Ararat.
While several books and documentaries in the last twenty years had claimed that the Intelligence Community had aerial and satellite photos of Noah's Ark, the Community had never officially released into the public domain any photos at all of Mt. Ararat. Full credit for the release of this potentially historic photo should be given to Dr. Carver for his Herculean work behind the scenes, "numerous unnamed CIA officials, Robert Richardson and Marvin Krislov, Assistant Counsel to President Clinton. Four days later on March 18, 1995 the ABC TV news affiliate in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, recorded for historical purposes my opening of the DIA photo in front of about 15 people and ran two subsequent segments on developments in the Project.
Immediately, the hawk-eye of my good friend Charles Comstock, an aerospace engineer and 30 year expert in optical technology, noted in the photo a large "anomaly," visible to the naked eye, resting on the southwest summit plateau of the mountain. His observation was recorded by the ABC camera team. In the weeks before the DIA photo release, feature articles on my FOIA efforts to obtain "Anomaly" photos had appeared in The Miami Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer, Palm Beach Post (my former hometown newspaper), Petersburg, Virginia's Progress-Index, my parents' hometown newspaper, among others.
On February 24, 1995 Vice President Gore presided over the historic unveiling of the first set of de-classified Corona satellite photos at CIA headquarters. A photograph of him holding Corona film and his statement that the photos were a "gold mine" for environmental scientists was carried by most major media. The next day the Miami Herald's wire services carried this photo and story of the Vice President and also stated:
"And the photos could be of value in other ways, including helping a Palm Beach
attorney in his quest to determine whether the remains of Noah's Ark might be found on a
remote part of Mt. Ararat in Turkey."
Analysis Of Photo Frame 2 Of the "Anomaly"
On March 19, 1995 the Palm Beach Post was kind enough to have their photo lab analyze Frame 2 at 1200 dots per inch (dpi) on their computerized photo scanner. David Barak, a photo-journalist with some military photo interpretation experience, discovered the "Anomaly" that night while scanning the photo under digital enlargement. His immediate comment was that it "looked like a large submarine shaped like structure" jutting out of the ice cap. As he made this discovery independent of Charles Comstock's observation, both Mr. Barak and Mr. Comstock should be credited with this discovery, as well as Roman Gomez as discussed later. Then shortly thereafter a digitized enlargement of the "Anomaly" appeared in the Palm Beach Post with a short article.
I next met with the dean of the college of engineering at a research university in Florida. This college had a NASA sponsored imaging systems laboratory, and he was kind enough to let his imaging engineers spend about 15 hours scanning the "Anomaly" at 2,000 dpi. They concluded that the plane was too far away to determine if the "Anomaly" was a man-made or natural structure. Better technology or a more definitive photo was necessary.
Needing the finest film recorder that can create the sharpest digital originals in the photo electronic industry, I retained DNA Electronic Imaging Specialists in Hollywood, Florida. They have an LVT Saturn Film Recorder, one of the few in the country with this computer system that can scan and produce film at 4,064 dpi. DNA set their technical skills to work. DNA assisted me in obtaining a photo transparency of Frame 2 from DIA, which DIA promptly produced.
Imaging specialist Roman Gomez, who helped the military make sharper original photos during the Persian Gulf War, scrutinized the photo and transparency at his workstation. DNA concluded, in writing that the "anomaly quite possibly could be man-made in origin, or formed by other geological formations that are created by natural events." Mr. Gomez should be given credit with Messrs. Comstock and Barak for locating and isolating the "Anomaly." DNA produced a 40" x 50" digital enlargement of the "Anomaly" area. Fox TV in Miami filmed DNA lab's evaluation of the "Anomaly." At my request, DNA submitted their report to Marvin Krislov at the White House.
On April 7, 1995 I opened up the annual Oceancrest Condominium Library Speakers Program in Jupiter, Florida with a presentation on my Project to about 100 people. The presentation included DNA Photo Lab's digital enlargements of the
Anomaly and the Palm Beach Round Table tape of the relevant portion of Dr. Carver's 1993 speech. In April I also had constructive, unofficial telephone talks with an official from the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A & M University in Texas, which launches annual expeditions to Turkey to search for ships sunk in Turkish waters.
In early April while in Washington, D.C. i gave short, informal presentations on the 1949 photos to a senior staff archaeologist at the National Geographic, William Garzke, a senior naval architect with Gibbs & Cox, who co-authored and chaired last year's final forensic analysis of the 1912 sinking of the Titanic based upon evaluation of photos from the wreck site, and I briefed a senior official at the American-Turkish Council. Mr. Garzke, also Chairman of the international Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, said that he could not tell if the Anomaly in Frame 2 was a man-made structure, quite possibly the remains of a boat, or shadow or rock.
Hence, he kindly passed my file onto his colleague Peter Hsu, a principal naval engineer for Techmatics, Inc. in Arlington, Virginia and maritime artist, who co-authored the Titanic analysis with Mr. Garzke. Mr. Hsu has diligently spent many hours examining all of the Pentagon photos discussed in this document. He recently issued a one page evaluation of Frames 2 and 23 (discussed later) stating that the "dense linear shaped object" might be "man-made." In addition, he has drawn in color, based upon the Pentagon's anaglyphic enlargements, a 16" x 10" composite sketch of Frames 2 and 23. Mr. Hsu's evaluation and color sketch will appear in the February 1996 issue of a major photographic trade journal.
On May 23, 1995 Roman Gomez of DNA Photo Lab gave a presentation on the technical aspects of analysis of Photo Frame 2 to the Jupiter Chapter of the international Explorers Club. An article appeared in the Palm Beach Post about this on May 26, 1995.
On May 23-24, 1995, as a guest of the CIA, I attended the CIA's historic symposium on Corona, the CIA's first recon satellite. At the symposium in Washington, I talked to several current and retired CIA officials about my Project. I shared Frame 2 from the 1949 Pentagon mission with a senior retired CIA photo interpreter - a former colleague of Dr. Carver's who had briefed President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. This official had seen and evaluated for the CIA photos of an "anomaly" taken by a U-2 recon plane circa 1959 - 1960. He said the "Anomaly" in Frame 2 was "too linear to be natural and that most of the structure appeared to be under ice." Furthermore, he said that it could be the same anomaly "that he [the CIA] had evaluated in 1959 - 1960 for a Congressman, but "that ship-like anomaly was too big to be Noah's Ark."
Directly after the symposium I had an unofficial meeting with two senior intelligence officials at the Pentagon to discuss the Frame 2 of the 1949 mission. One official suggested that the "Anomaly" might be a crashed airplane, which is certainly plausible, although the Turkish government had no record of any such crash, and no airplane in history was ever built over 400 feet long. This off-the-record meeting was very helpful to the Project because it led to the Pentagon's July 24, 1995 release to me under FOIA of Photo Frame 23 from the 1949 mission and a formal composite evaluation by a DIA photo interpreter of Frames 2 and 23, including the release of a DIA monoscopic enlargement of the "Anomaly" and three anaglyphic stereo enlargements. Frame 23 shows the "Anomaly" from a slightly different angle than Frame 2. Most of the quotes on the first page of this document regarding the 1949 mission, are directly from that July 24, 1995 DIA evaluation.
Significantly, the Pentagon report states that the "anomaly" depicted in Frames 2 and 23 is "located along an unstable precipice near the edge of the permanent glacial ice cap" and "an avalanche in progress just to the east of the anomaly" apparently exposed it to view. The Pentagon report went on to say that the ..."anomaly appears to be one of the long linear facades in the glacial ice underlying more recently accumulated ice and snow...."
Adjacent Anomaly - Remains 0f the Keel Of a Ship?
This DIA report led to the October 10, 1995 Pentagon release to me under FOIA of Photo Frames 4, 5 and 6 from the 1949 mission. The plane flew around to the north side of the mountain and took these photos of the large "Adjacent Anomaly" possibly 600 - 800 feet long) also on the western plateau and apparently in close proximity to the first "Anomaly." Frame 6 vividly and clearly recorded this "Adjacent Anomaly" from about a half mile away. Three very large, thick symmetrical protrusions merge together and appear to be jutting out into the air from a wing like structure of the "Adjacent Anomaly. A crashed airplane is not out of the question. However, a naval architect who reviewed this Frame tells me, off-the-record, that the "structure" reminds him "of the skeletal remains of the keel [bottom spine] of a ship." What struck him was that the design appeared to be "relatively modern." If proven to be ultimately true, this would shatter the prevailing Biblical archaeological view that Noah's Ark was an unsophisticated, rectangular barge. A retired senior CIA satellite imagery official, who was at the center of the "Anomaly" incident at the CIA in 1973, tells me that the "protrusions" seen jutting out of the "Adjacent Anomaly" in the 1949 photo appear to be somewhat similar to the "decayed beam-like structures" in the overhead 1973 satellite photo that two of his interpreters had shown him at that time. The interpreters were split as to whether the structure was man-made, quite possibly the remains of a ship, or merely a strange rock formation. DNA Photo Lab produced an impressive digital enlargement of the "Adjacent Anomaly" in Frame 6 and it appeared in the October 2, 1995 Miami Herald article entitled
"Clueless No More: 21st Century Science is cracking old Enigmas, New Criminal Cases." DNA's enlargement will also appear in the February 1996 issue of a major photographic trade journal.
Until the 1949 Pentagon photos were released to me last year, no one really suspected that a man-made structure might exist at that exact location of the "Anomaly" and "Adjacent Anomaly." Even the Turkish Air Force apparently overlooked it in an overhead aerial photo taken by them in September 1987 of the same area. Last year Ararat researcher John McIntosh provided me with a color copy enlargement of that 1987 photo, and until I provided him last summer with an enlarged copy of Frame 2 from the Pentagon's 1949 mission, he had always thought that the "Anomaly" area showed nothing of interest. Numerous Ararat researchers from around the world have contacted me and requested copies of "Anomaly" photos. In addition to providing copies to several of them, I have put them in direct contact with the Pentagon for original copies.
Indeed, no scientific expedition has ever found or excavated the "Anomaly" or
"Adjacent Anomaly." Mt. Ararat has never been kind to expeditions. Dense cloud
cover normally covers Mt. Ararat - see the stunning cloud canopy over the mountain on page
17 of the National Geographic special May 1994 report on Turkey - and 200 to 300 feet
thick ice forms the western plateau. However, the mountain was kind to the U.S. Air Force
on June 17, 1949 when an "avalanche in progress" and sunny, clear skies
prevailed and exposed these anomalies to photographic view. Again in 1973 the mountain was
kind to a CIA satellite, when there was a major glacial meltdown of the
"Anomaly" area. Perhaps such favorable weather conditions will guide a future
scientific expedition to this
August 1996 Expedition Plans
Anomaly Research Coalition (A.R.C.) plans to stimulate such an expedition and is forming such a coalition for this purpose. The A.R.C. mission statement is on the cover page of this document. I applaud the Pentagon for its diligence and outstanding cooperation in releasing the 1949 aerial photos. Until the CIA's now de-classified 800,000 Corona satellite photos are catalogued and indexed by the National Archives for release to the public, which is expected to occur in August 1996, the 1949 Pentagon photos should serve to benefit any expedition. According to a NASA source, Corona took 30 photos of Mt. Ararat between 1960 - 1972. I have a pending FOIA request to the CIA for the early release of these photos. It is yet to be seen if these photos will assist an expedition. Certainly the 1973 CIA satellite photos will help and I have had a long standing FOIA request to the CIA for the de-classification of all satellite photos taken between 1960 - 1976. I have shared all of my Project file and photos with senior Turkish government and U.S. State Department officials and continue to maintain a favorable dialogue with them. My friend Laurance Rassin, a film producer, has already obtained
a letter of commitment from a prominent Turkish documentary film company to film the expedition.
We (A.R.C.) are pleased to report that a well-informed Turkish source has conveyed to us that one American and three European expedition teams have sought Turkish permission to climb Ararat this summer to search for the Anomaly in the exact location determined from the 1949 Pentagon aerial mission, based upon photos and information obtained from my "Ararat Anomaly" Project. We hope they will be successful.
What do the 1949 Pentagon photos actually depict? Are they photos of nothing but an unusual rock formation resting in the ice cap on Mt. Ararat's southwest plateau at 15,500 feet, or are they photos of the remains of what might indeed once have been a large wooden ship? As indicated in this document, we have called upon numerous engineering and photographic experts to evaluate the 1949 Pentagon photos and render their professional opinions as to the size, composition and probable nature of the "Ararat Anomaly" but even the most skilled photo interpreters, of course, cannot substitute for the on-the-ground observation of trained scientific eyes. An expedition is in order.
A.R.C. plans to launch a major international, scientific expedition in August 1996 or 1997, when the ice cap girdling the mountain's summit undergoes its seasonal recession, and ascertain, scientifically and definitely, what is or may be the Ararat Anomaly and Adjacent Anomaly. Archaeologists, geologists, and nautical engineers would be part of this coalition. We plan to ask Boston University's Center For Remote Sensing, which a few years ago discovered a 4,600 year old boat under the sand near the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt using ground penetrating radar, for assistance in employing that and infrared radar on Mt. Ararat. We also plan to invite scientists from the London Maritime Museum and Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society. In addition, A.R.C. intends to ask the remote sensing experts at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to conduct an evaluation of Photo Frame 6 of the "Adjacent Anomaly" from the 1949 mission.
A.R.C.'s planned expedition cannot succeed without the complete sanction, cooperation and total and active support of the Turkish government, including security. To this end, we will seek the good will of the Turkish government and continue to maintain our unofficial, favorable dialogue with them. Indeed, A.R.C. will be inviting several prominent Turkish archaeologists and scholars to join in and lead this expedition. Turkey should of course lead this expedition and play the key role in it.
Finally, A.R.C. would like to note that the story of the Flood, Noah, and the Ark is embraced and shared as history by the Judaic, Christian and Moslem religious traditions, and many other cultures and religions. Hence, any quest for evidence that this story may indeed be grounded in historical fact should not be undertaken in any spirit of
parochialism or narrow nationalism. Instead, any such endeavor should be universal in
temper - since it is a quest for something that binds humans of many religious persuasions
together, simply as humans.
The author of this document wishes to express his deep gratitude for his father's invaluable support and guidance in this Project. The author also wishes to personally thank the scores of people who provided advice, information, analyses and expedition photos which assisted him in preparing this document. He apologizes if he inadvertently did not mention them. As there have been throughout history and currently are numerous Ararat researchers, the "Ararat Anomaly" Project is merely another step toward determining what is, if anything, on Mt. Ararat.
Copying of this document is authorized and encouraged. Updates on the progress of A.R.C. will continue.
END OF ARTICLE
I spoke with Porcher on November 24th, 1997 about the Ararat Anomaly, and he provided me with several updates:
The February 1996 edition of Photo Lab Management show cased several of the photos mentioned in the above Porcher Taylor article. I plan to obtain a back copy and hopefully get permission to re-publish on my web site. If you would like to order your own copy, write to or call:
Photo Lab Management
1312 Lincoln Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310-451-1344 or 395-9098 FAX
Porcher also mentioned that he went to the National Archives to view the de-classified Corona satellite photos of the Anomaly. Five photos of the Anomaly were taken between 1960 - 1972 by the Corona. The resolution was at six feet, and combined with significant cloud and snow cover, there was not much to look at according to Porcher.
Regarding the upcoming de-classified photos promised by the CIA, they are to include at least one photo of the anomaly around 1959 or 1960 by either a U2 spy plane. What Porcher and others are really hoping for is to look at one of the 1973 KH9 or 1976 KH11 photos of the Anomaly, but that will not come any time soon unless the President intervenes. The government cannot and should not reveal it's intelligence capabilities to our potential enemies. It is my understanding that we still use some of the Key Hole (KH) series satellites today.
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