The Stargate Conspiracy

by Guy Lyon Playfair

Startling revelations concerning the U.S. Government-sponsored Project Star Gate remote viewing programme are contained in a recent book, The Stargate Chronicles: Memoirs of a Master Spy by Joseph McMoneagle – military remote viewer No. 001 – who by his retirement from the Army in 1984 had taken part in more than 1,500 intelligence tasks, receiving the Legion of Merit for his leading part in “a unique intelligence project that is revolutionizing the intelligence community”.

The “unique project” involved the use of Army personnel who were in effect trained to demonstrate clairvoyance on demand, sitting in their rundown hut in Fort Meade, Maryland or the rather more comfortable premises of SRI International in California, mentally travelling all over the world in search of terrorists, kidnap victims, hostages. crashed military aircraft, secret Soviet bases and much else besides.

There is more that we may never know about this pioneer programme of applied psi functioning. Dr Harold Puthoff, who was closely involved in setting up the project at SRI, has said in a televised interview that “at its height it was being used on almost every major security issue” and that there existed “file cabinets full of data that probably won’t be declassified in our lifetime”. (“Natural Mystery”, Channel 5 (UK), 24 July 2000).

Some data, at least, have been made public. The successful location of a crashed Soviet aircraft in Zaire was announced by no less than President Carter. McMoneagle gives full details of several cases from the search for kidnap victims General Dozier, Col. Higgins and CIA agent William Buckley to the spotting of a secret Soviet submarine and the prediction of the Skylab landing date and site.

There can be no doubt that McMoneagle and his fellow remote viewers proved again and again that people can be trained to demonstrate clairvoyance and put it to practical use in real-life situations, sometimes obtaining information that cannot be obtained by any other means. So, if Star Gate was such a success, how come it was scrapped? Not only that, but why did the CIA go to such lengths to claim that the project had never been of much use anyway? For this is exactly what they did. Back in 1986, the National Research Council had issued a report: Enhancing Human Performance, by David Goslin, who concluded that “little or no support was found for the usefulness of many other techniques such as… remote viewing”.

Eh? Did he look for such support in the right places, one wonders? As McMoneagle now reveals, no, he didn’t. He explains: “We were under direct orders during the 1986 study not to talk to the members of the panel, and we didn’t. Not only did they not talk with us, they were denied access to any of the project’s remote viewing materials or historical files from 1979 through that study in 1986.”

In 1995, the CIA asked the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to set up another blue-ribbon panel to review work done since 1986, the president of AIR then being none other than David Goslin. He and his colleagues, who included the prominent skeptic Ray Hyman, duly announced that, among other things, remote viewing “failed to produce actionable intelligence”.

Now comes McMoneagle’s stun-grenade. The authors of the NRC and AIR reports did not have the necessary security clearances to do what they had been asked to do. “So, no one in either blue-panel review group has ever seen the information they claim to have had access to.” They did not see the remote viewers’ reports, they did not get any feedback from the people those reports were sent to, and they interviewed only a handful of newcomers to the Project. The AIR team did not even talk to McMoneagle although he offered his cooperation on several occasions. They seem to have gone out of their way to avoid anybody who actually knew anything about Star Gate. So much for Skeptical Inquiry in action.

One can only speculate as to why the CIA was so determined to rubbish a project they had known all about ever since they helped set it up. They must have known perfectly well what skilled viewers could deliver, which on at least one admitted occasion was good enough for the president. Yet they wanted the public to believe that it had all been a waste of time.

McMoneagle’s opinions are, perhaps, more valuable than those of the NRC and AIR teams (with the honorable exception of statistician Jessica Utts, who did her best to set the record straight in The Journal of Scientific Exploration (Vol. 10, No. 1, 1996), which also has valuable contributions from Star Gate veterans Harold Puthoff, Russell Targ and Edwin May. These three knew as much about Star Gate as anybody involved in it, and so naturally were not invited to be panel members.

McMoneagle’s verdict on the use of psi for intelligence gathering: “I can emphatically state that it works, it’s here, and it will continue to be reinvented from time to time until it becomes part of the established, historically accepted background. Wishing it can’t, won’t, doesn’t make it go away.”

If the AIR team had really wanted to evaluate remote viewing, they might have been better off watching television. McMoneagle has now taken part in 22 live remote viewings, of which he reckons 17 were successful. The first of these, in 1995, was made by an exceptionally sympathetic team, LMNO Productions, and was shown on the ABC special “Put to the Test”. Yes, television does occasionally get it right.

British viewers saw him in action in the 1996 series “The Paranormal World of Paul McKenna”, in which he was only partially successful thanks to confusion with the protocol, for which hardline skeptic Dr Richard Wiseman was responsible.

One of McMoneagle’s most successful demonstrations was in front of those who attended a meeting at the Rhine Research Center. The ubiquitous Wiseman was again involved in changing the protocol to suit his requirements, which did not prevent 29 out of the 30 members of the audience matching McMoneagle’s drawing to the correct target out of a pool of five possible targets. Of this demonstration, shown on the Discovery channel, McMoneagle notes drily that “Richard has refused to discuss it since”.

“There is so much proof for the existence of psi,” he concludes, “it’s foolish to continue spending time, money, and effort ‘proving it’ to the satisfaction of idiots’.”

See The Stargate Chronicles: Memoirs of a Master Spy, by Joseph McMoneagle, Hampton Roads, 2002. Crossroad Press; A Panta Rei Press Digital Edition edition, 2014.