Prime Time Replay:

Robert Kiviat
on Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?

MsgId: *emedia(8)
Date: Mon Dec 9 20:50:50 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

Good evening and welcome to our special two-hour interview with Robert Kiviat, producer of the notorious Alien Autopsy: (fact or fiction?) television special, featuring an alleged autopsy of an alien creature that was purportedly taken at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Welcome to Omni, Bob.
MsgId: *emedia(10)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:00:24 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: It's good to be with you.
MsgId: *emedia(11)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:01:39 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: Bob, just for those in our audience who may be unfamiliar with the story and the controversy surrounding your "Alien Autopsy" television special, perhaps you could fill us in on some background on how you first got involved in this whole affair.
MsgId: *emedia(12)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:03:04 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: I had been researching all credible evidence of the UFO phenomenon for television shows I've worked on and even in writing an article for OMNI magazine back in 1994 on the face on Mars. I'm always looking for the hard evidence that might prove UFOs exist and our government knows about it. And I've always approached it like a journalist on beat and the beat is unexplained phenomena and UFOs. So I heard about this film possibly existing. I tracked it down, met with Ray Santilli, and he agreed to allow me to unveil the footage on American television which eventually led to the Fox broadcast.
MsgId: *emedia(14)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:08:00 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: Could you please, Bob, fill us in on who Mr. Santilli is and how you first encountered him.
MsgId: *emedia(15)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:09:36 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: Ray Santilli describes himself as an entrepreneur and a documentary maker of films dealing with old music -- old rock 'n roll. He claimed he discovered the Alien Autopsy footage when he was on a trip here in the US to acquire old rock 'n roll footage from the 1950's. That's when Santilli claimed a gentleman he was dealing with regarding the rock 'n roll footage approached him and said "I have something else to show you." And that's when he showed Ray Santilli the Alien Autopsy footage. This man claimed to Ray that he was a former military cameraman who shot the footage while working for the Army in 1947.

I met Ray by diligently researching a rumor that the film footage had surfaced in England. When you take this subject seriously, like I do, unlike many other journalists, you can track down anyone and anything and it was not as difficult as people may think.

MsgId: *emedia(19)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:13:32 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: How did you first approach Mr. Santilli when you finally located him?
MsgId: *emedia(20)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:15:57 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: My first comments to Ray Santilli were, If you have a genuine film of an alien autopsy, then it should be treated in a journalistic fashion, call in the experts, and, no pun intended, dissect it. He researched me, saw that I had worked for Unsolved Mysteries on NBC, written for OMNI magazine, and also for newspapers, and that it seemed that I was the right choice of producer. I also had recently been Coordinating Producer of ENCOUNTERS on Fox.
MsgId: *emedia(22)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:16:45 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: So it sounds as though Mr. Santilli was seeking a producer to help him go public with this footage?
MsgId: *emedia(23)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:18:13 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: I don't know if Santilli was actually seeking a producer because when I met him he claimed he was planning on producing his own video incorporating the footage. He had some rock 'n roll associates who he claimed might help him do music for it and it appeared that that was an option he was mulling over.
MsgId: *emedia(24)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:19:28 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: So, in any event, it seems clear that Mr. Santilli was looking for some commercial outlet for presenting this footage?
MsgId: *emedia(25)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:19:57 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: Absolutely.
MsgId: *emedia(26)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:20:40 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: How did you feel about that at the time, and how do you feel about that now?
MsgId: *emedia(27)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:25:26 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: At the time that I acquired the footage, I recognized that anybody who claimed to have an alien autopsy on film probably would look for some monetary reward unless they were completely altruistic or trying to just advance science. However, it was obvious that Santilli was looking for big bucks and if it wasn't for the fact that the footage truly was intriguing and other people besides myself such as pathologists believed the footage could be authentic, I might have not pursued it. You have to keep in mind that to this day no special effects experts or pathologists have conclusively demonstrated that this is a fake so it remains a great mystery to this day.
MsgId: *emedia(28)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:27:06 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: Well, Bob, you know the old skeptic motto: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." A skeptic might ask why would you feel that this film needs to be proven to be a fake rather than taking the position that it needs to be proven to be true?
MsgId: *emedia(31)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:29:57 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: I don't think or feel that it has to be proven one way or the other to engage the public in the possibility. The viewer should be presented all that is known about it and, hopefully, over the course of time and in the course of searching for the truth, the truth will be found. To simply say extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence before you go public should not be construed to mean it's not a mystery worth addressing.
MsgId: *emedia(33)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:31:44 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: Well, Bob, you must have had more than just an open question to go on when you decided to take this to the American national television audience. Did you, for example, have an opportunity to interview the cameraman? Did you have an opportunity to examine the original footage?
MsgId: *emedia(36)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:34:01 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: Let me say that Ray Santilli never promised that I would meet the cameraman or see the original film stock to do the initial broadcast. But with that said, he always intimated and inferred that the cameraman was watching my dissemination and might give me an interview following the broadcast. However, that did not come about. And I was never given access to the original film.

This is very troubling to me and I have expressed it on many occasions to Santilli. Because of that pressure, and because I think Santilli has integrity, with me at least, he arranged to have the cameraman answer 25 of my questions concerning the story and put himself and videotape so I could see him. I have that video "in the can" as we say and we are planning a possible broadcast to show the cameraman's face for the first time on television anywhere. Unfortunately, it's not a full interview and it may not be up to network television standards. I am doing the best I can. Truly.

Regarding the film stock, it's easy to suggest that he simply won't unveil it because it's bogus. I don't know that for sure. However, he has failed to unfail it. So it does look troubling. If it is truly an alien, one would think its value would be greatly enhanced by authentication, just like any rare piece of art that proves to be from an original master.

MsgId: *emedia(43)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:40:31 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: We have a question from one of our viewers: Wouldn't the controversy be ended if the film were analyzed? To that question, I might add this comment as well: If the film were analyzed and found to be bogus, then wouldn't this hurt its commercial value?
MsgId: *emedia(46)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:43:19 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: It's probably true that a conclusive debunking of the film would chill its commercial value, but not necessarily. All you have to do is look at the MJ-12 documents and see that even after most experts determined they were probably not genuine and typed on official government typewriters, many people -- expert and not -- felt they could represent true information. So I think we'll have to wait and see if Ray wants to settle the issue by allowing the film to be tested at Kodak because Kodak has offered to do it for nothing. There's really no reason to hold back the footage because in holding it back most people doubt it more.
MsgId: *emedia(47)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:43:59 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: When you say that most people doubt it, do you include yourself among that group?
MsgId: *emedia(49)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:46:14 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: The more and more that Ray continues to stretch out the life of the film and its interest in the public arena, the more skeptical I become. That's the journalist in me. But I do think that Ray Santilli recognizes there is a need to "put up or shut up" eventually, and I think that time is coming. Most people expect the truth and I do too to come out sometime this year -- 1997.

The reason I say this is because we're coming up on the 50th anniversary or the alleged Roswell event and if Ray is looking to maximize the film's commercial value, this is the time. I believe that after 1997 this particular film footage will be old news. It may be still a great mystery, but the newness factor will surely be gone.

MsgId: *emedia(53)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:51:18 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: We have a very provocative question from a guest, which I will get to in a moment. But first, there is one point you mentioned earlier which deserves further discussion. Regarding the cameraman -- or alleged cameraman -- have you ever actually spoken to this individual? Do you know who he is? Do you have any reason to believe that the person you have on film is who he claims to be? As you must know, retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Daniel McGovern, who was a combat cameraman in the Eighth Air Force has offered to verify confidentially the identity of the alleged cameraman if he comes forward. Have you pursued this confidential offer?
MsgId: *emedia(57)
Date: Mon Dec 9 21:55:04 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: First of all, I did much research into the government's position on this film or anything like it during the course of the Fox broadcasts. The Air Force and the Pentagon made it quite clear that it would be virtually impossible to verify the authenticity of this film because the provenance of the film was not clear. It had been out of the government's hands for too long, if it was indeed from 1947, and it could show many things -- maybe a test, a dramatization, or a possibly real event. They wanted no involvement in it, officially or unofficially. But I want to add that many alleged experts have taken different positions on the cameraman's name, where he came from, and it's really all a lot of wasted energy, because we don't even know if he exists. I admit that, as our show did.

You mentioned a military guy who was seen on the affiliate, I believe in San Francisco, and though he seems to be sincere, it becomes hard to accept that the mystery would be solved on McGovern's say-so. My research shows that many of the former military cameramen records were lost in a fire in the early 1970's. This has been confirmed by inside sources with the government, and we may not have records of this individual, if he exists. So it sounds like a great story, but it appears to be true, so the mysteries overlap, and it gets frustrating.

MsgId: *emedia(60)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:01:52 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: The alleged camerman supposedly said that he worked for the Air Force and was sent to Roswell. McGovern was supposedly stationed in Washington and would have known him This would not require looking up old records. If McGovern could verify his identity, why not give it a shot?
MsgId: *emedia(61)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:05:04 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: Well, if McGovern is saying that he definitely would have known in a personal sense the cameraman who was said to shoot possibly the most important film ever shot, I would need to know why he's so sure he would be privy to that. Maybe this cameraman hypothetically was only brought in for truly sensitive things, he never would have had contact with mainstream guys, and only people with a "need to know" could know him. I think it's very odd that a person assumes that he would have known every qualified cameraman who could have shot that film. I think it's preposterous, and I wish he was right, because I have footage of the cameraman's face, so it looks like McGovern's going to get his shot.
MsgId: *emedia(62)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:06:13 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: So, Bob, do you mean to say that you intend to take McGovern up on his offer and show him your footage of the alleged cameraman?
MsgId: *emedia(64)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:09:07 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: If I had it my way, I'd be flying to McGovern's house tonight to show him the footage. The only reason I can't do that is because my agreement with Santilli is that we both hold rights to the cameraman's interview and I have to clear that with him. My guess is that sometime in the next few months during the course of producing another program, McGovern will be shown the footage. That's my hope. Santilli clearly is asking for more money and to have it be part of a production that I would make. Unfortunately, I do not have a green light for production yet.
MsgId: *emedia(66)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:11:51 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: You know, Bob, it sounds like a lot of money is changing hands around this alleged Alien Autopsy film. We have even heard rumors, which you can clear up for us, that you yourself have made a very large sum on this project. When does the commercial side of this whole affair give way to the needs of pure investigative journalism? Do you sometimes feel that you are in a kind of awkward position in being both the producer and the investigator on this project?
MsgId: *emedia(69)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:15:01 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: There is no question that I am in a "Catch-22". If I investigate the footage as a pure journalist, I probably would lose my access to Ray and no journalist -- commercially driven or otherwise -- can afford to lose his source. But with that said, I have not made a fortune on this project. I have worked very hard in trying to balance objectivity and entertainment value, and I challenge anyone to present more copious story coverage that I have done. I mean anyone, whether it be a respected newspaper, TV newsmagazine, anyone. The difficulty is in knowing when to give up. And I have not nearly felt it's time to give up on getting to the truth.
MsgId: *emedia(73)
MsgId: *emedia(74)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:19:21 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: We've had a lot of questions posted during this interview. Perhaps I can best attempt to sum them up with the following: Where are you today in your assessment of this film? Do you have reason to believe personally that it is a hoax? If so, then who do you think is behind it? Was it an "official" conspiracy to use you to disseminate misinformation? Was it a purely commercial venture from the start? Was there a point at which your own point of view toward this affair began to change? Or do you truly lean in the direction of believing that when all is said and done this really represents a genuine alien autopsy? If so, then why would Santilli continue to hold out, as you say, for more and more money?
MsgId: *emedia(76)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:21:41 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: First of all, if this is a hoax, I am leaning on the hoaxer being the alleged cameraman who I suspect does exist, and not Santilli. What I mean by that is that the story of a man showing up saying he has something unique to show Ray and eventually selling him the film probably is true. I can't prove it. It's a sense I have. I'd be glad to tell you why, but I'll answer some of the other questions first.

At first, the possibility that this was part of a government disinformation campaign to embarrass UFO researchers was taken very seriously by myself, my production staff, and many Roswell experts. At the moment, I don't have any evidence to suggest that's the case. The government seems either disinterested or does not know about this film.

The idea that this film is a real government autopsy has not been proven, and there are holes in the story overall. Some journalists might be embarrassed to stay on the story, but because the stakes are so high, I have to look at every piece of evidence and be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

MsgId: *emedia(82)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:28:12 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: What makes you lean in the direction of believing that the cameraman may have been behind perpetrating this film as a hoax? We can't help pointing out that he couldn't have done it alone. There are, for example, a number of people shown in the film.
MsgId: *emedia(83)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:30:59 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: All I'm saying is that the cameraman has now been shown to me on video. I met a man who claimed to be his son, in person. There appeared to be a physical resemblance between them. And he said -- the son, that is -- that his father wishes he never sold Ray the film because of all the grief it has caused his family and might continue to cause if he goes more public. When you combine that with the fact that Ray Santilli has inferred the cameraman is calling the shots, that's how I come to my conclusion. For the moment anyway.

Just to follow-up my thoughts, there is of course the possibility that Ray is orchestrating a lavish ruse, but I have no reason to suspect that other than the obvious inferences one can make about Ray's mysteriousness.

Regarding Ray's desire to make more and more money from this film, I have to leave that up to the viewer. We do live in a commercial society, but it does get uncomfortable for me, a true journalist, when people say he must be hoaxing this out of a desire for money and then I'm he producer who arranges the deal that gets him paid. Sooner or later, I will have to put on my journalist's helmet and just get to the bottom of the story. I am still hoping that Ray will see the benefit of introducing the cameraman to me before I or another journalist get to this man without his help. But if he doesn'ts even exist, I guess I may eventually get some egg on my face, but that's nothing new for a journalist who covers UFOs. It's a mine field, and I accept that.

MsgId: *emedia(91)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:39:35 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: As a true journalist, you must be aware of the old saying that a reporter reports the news, but does not make it. Aren't you worried about possibly crossing that line? Are we going to see a cottage industry now in alleged alien autopsy films? One of our viewers asks, in a related question, about allegations that a cameraman supposedly made about being approached to create the Fox film that you broadcast. Is there anything to this rumor or to rumors of other supposed autopsy films now out there?
MsgId: *emedia(93)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:42:38 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: There have been many rumors about who may have faked this film and why they did it. Let me just say for the record, and it is a pleasure to set the record straight via OMNI about these matters. Number One: The executive producer of another television program, and I don't want to mention the name, out of respect for a fellow producer, made the ridiculous suggestion on the Lisa Show that I was on a few weeks back that a special effects person was approached by myself or by the Fox network to make the autopsy footage. This is so absurd because I saw the Alien Autopsy footage and brought it to the networks to see before anyone thought of making it into a television show. If this producer who made the allegation had just stopped and thought about what he was saying, he would have known how ludicrous it was. The footage existed months if not years before anyone could have thought about airing it.

Whether or not there are any other alien autopsies, I can't say, but I have heard and am now actively investigating at least two other cases involving potentially real aliens on film. As I said before, that's my job on the UFO beat. Just like if I was covering City Hall or Washington for a newspaper, my editor would expect me to know all the dirt. So I know about all the alleged films, but only two cases compare at all to Santilli's story and only one of those cases has actual film involved that I can say definitely.

MsgId: *emedia(96)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:51:13 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: Do these other alleged films involve Santilli? Also, aren't you a little wary at this point? Where does it end? After a while, one would think, you reach a point of diminishing returns. But maybe not commercially, just scientifically. Do you think you might want to be a little more careful before going public with yet more alleged alien autopsy footage? Do you also worry about potentially damaging the reputation of serious work investigating UFOs?
MsgId: *emedia(98)
Date: Mon Dec 9 22:55:52 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: The other films I mentioned do not involve Ray Santilli, however, there is another sequence of film that's part of the Santilli batch which has not been shown to the American public yet, and it is very, very mysterious. It shows what appear to be two technicians whose faces you can see taking some material off of a creature. It is darkly lit. It only runs about a minute or less, and it is truly baffling. Sometime soon I think Ray will allow it to be aired and those faces that are seen might be recognizable by the public. Maybe that's where it all ends -- by showing the face of the cameraman as well as the faces of these technicians -- we may get a "solve," if you will. The creature appears to have a face similar to the alien in the Autopsy but some people think it may be a mask. There's no way to tell for sure unless we have the cameraman explain what we're looking at.

Ray Santilli is quite aware that the film I just mentioned is a possible clue to who is involved in the entire affair, and he seems willing to consider its airing even though it might break the case.

As a journalist, I find that to be slightly reassuring that Ray is not going to drag this on forever. Frankly, I am not worried that my credibility as a journalist interested in UFOs will be tarnished, no matter how this case turns out. I think the public reaction to my programs on Fox, the home video, and continued interest like we have seen, including being mentioned on Seinfeld, shows that there is a need to throw caution to the wind, dig in, and attempt to unravel this mystery. I feel a little bit like Woodward and Bernstein when they went to their editor and said they had a hunch that this might turn out to be a huge story, but then the newspaper was worried that their credibility could be hurt if the reporters' instinct was wrong. You know the old expression: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

MsgId: *emedia(105)
Date: Mon Dec 9 23:03:24 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: One final question lingers, however -- what happens when Woodward and Bernstein meet Barnum and Bailey? That is, what happens when investigative journalism and entertainment come together? Do you worry about the possible impact of the Alien Autopsy controversy on the longterm credibility of scientific research into the deeper mysteries of the real UFO phenomenon, whatever that may or may not ultimately turn out to be?
MsgId: *emedia(109)
Date: Mon Dec 9 23:06:53 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: Regarding what happens when an investigative journalist encounters a huckster or Barnum and Bailey, as you say, is very difficult. I have a true interest in whether or not aliens are visiting our planet but rather than write a book or do a television show about completely anecdotal or hearsay information like most Roswell authors do, I have chosen to put my energy into trying to establish whether one of the most intriguing films ever shown is real. There's nothing to be embarrassed about. It's a fascinating film or video, for those who think no film exists, and I do not feel that by covering it, it hurts UFO research, scientifically or otherwise.

In the end, it's productions like mine and truly interesting reports about alleged UFO evidence that will keep viewers tuned in and interested in getting to the bottom of perhaps the greatest story going right now ... whether we are alone in the universe, and not whether some British entrepreneur or a TV producer are making money. You have to keep your eye on the ball, and that is: Where is the evidence?

MsgId: *emedia(113)
Date: Mon Dec 9 23:10:48 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: Where is the evidence. We seem to have come full circle.
MsgId: *emedia(115)
Date: Mon Dec 9 23:14:09 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: The evidence is only in the hands of the people who pursue it. To sit back and play it safe, find evidence, research it out, cross the t's, dot the i's, and then go public with the evidence, seems very provincial and limiting. Like we say in the show, and courtrooms in America subscribe to, You decide or the jury must decide. There is nothing wrong in my opinion with letting the case be tried, if you will, in TV court during an entertainment show that admits all the answers aren't in yet. That's my belief.
MsgId: *emedia(116)
Date: Mon Dec 9 23:15:06 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: In your opinion, then, that approach is responsible science and responsible journalism?
MsgId: *emedia(118)
Date: Mon Dec 9 23:17:58 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: If I was writing a peer reviewed scientific paper or a front page article in the New York Times, I would not be embarrassed by the coverage presented by the Alien Autopsy shows on Fox. With that said, I would probably have to wait for the scientific tests to be done, such as the film dating and other things, before I could even convince the science magazines or the newspaper editors to give me space. These are very different mediums, but that's not to say that we did not apply the same kind of objectivity in seeking the truth. The criteria might be different, but the ethics are the same.
MsgId: *emedia(119)
Date: Mon Dec 9 23:20:02 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: Well, we're actually over our time. Thank you, Bob Kiviat, for a provocative evening here at OMNI. Perhaps we can find a way for you to be available to respond to other questions from our OMNI viewers at some point in the future.
MsgId: *emedia(120)
Date: Mon Dec 9 23:20:38 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

RK: Absolutely.
MsgId: *emedia(122)
Date: Mon Dec 9 23:21:32 EST 1996
From: OMNI At:

OMNI: Thank you also to our online audience. Good night for e-media.

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