Tom Barry, a British filmmaker working for Zig-Zag Productions in London, called me in May, 2009, asking about the possibility of my participation in a new crop circle film he had been assigned to produce for National Geographic TV. Mr. Barry was apparently unaware that National Geographic TV has aired several crop circle pieces in the past and that I—
representing the BLT Research Team--had been involved in one that aired in 2005. He seemed uninformed regarding the circle phenomenon generally, and apparently did not know that I had been very surprised by the overtly biased treatment accorded the scientific work (previously published in 3 peer-reviewed scientific papers authored by BLT members) in the 2005 National Geographic TV crop circle show ("http://www.bltresea rch.com/publishe d/natgeo_ comments. php").
I told Mr. Barry that I felt that both the phenomenon and our work had been inordinately misrepresented and, therefore, asked him if he could provide me with assurance that his proposed effort would be a fair and unbiased presentation? Specifically, I asked him if he could provide me with a "final cut" of his film prior to its being aired—
along with the written assurance that I would have the right to withdraw my interview and any graphic materials provided by me or BLT if I felt the final product was either willfully skewed or disrespectful of the BLT work or, in particular, the scientists involved.
I did not hear from Mr. Barry for several weeks, during which time I did hear from multiple other crop circle enthusiasts, who expressed their concerns regarding the content of this new show. I did finally receive an email from Mr. Barry telling me that he no longer plans to shoot in the U.S. and will film only in the UK. He also suggested he would pay all of my expenses to come to the UK—
but did not respond to my questions about fair representation. Given Nat.Geo's past "coverage" of the circle phenomenon, this omission seems to me to be a red flag.
Then on June 24th Mr. Barry called to tell me that the executives at Nat. Geo. had refused to provide a written statement that the new film would provide an unbiased approach to the phenomenon or the BLT work, but that he was moving ahead anyway. Because of Nat. Geo's previous superficial
(and in my opinion flippant) presentations—and because I have no way of knowing that this new production will be either respectful or accurate—I decided not to participate.
If any readers are concerned (as I am) that this new project may again present a biased portrayal of the phenomenon you may want to express your concerns (before the film is presented publicly)
to the Executive Producer at Zig-Zag Productions or to Mr. Sydney Suissa, the Executive VP in charge of "Content" at Nat. Geo. Channels Intn'l, or to other responsible individuals at National Geographic TV:
Mr. Sydney Suissa (Executive VP, Content) National Geographic Channels International 1145 17th Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20036-4701 USA phone: 202 857-7000 em: ssuissa@ngs. org
Brent Baker (Executive Producer, 2009 Zig-Zag Prod. show) 13-14 Great Sutton Street Clerkenwell London, EC1V 0BX England em: Brent@zigzag. uk.com
Sent: 29 June 2009 12:53 To: Brent Baker Cc: Nancy Talbott; Gazecki, Wlliiam; Fussell, Mark - CC CONNECTOR; Pringle, Lucy - UK; Muller, Andreas; Alexander, Steve & Karen Douglas; Ossebaard, Janet; Tom Barry
Subject:Re: Zig-Zag crop circle "documentary" for Nat.Geo.TV
Hello Brent, I think it is time for a wake-up call. Lets go back to 2004. National Geographic is in Wiltshire to make a documentary on crop circles. It will be a "balanced and honest" documentary, at least that is what Diana Kemp, producer of the show, is promising me.
Lets have a look what happened. On 10 August 2004 at around midnight I am surprised to see huge floodlights at the West Kennett Long Barrow. I decide to have a look. This is what I saw.
Diana Kemp (insert) with a whole film crew in a field in front of the Long Barrow. I immediately recognised the members of a hoaxing group called "Team Satan" (John Lundberg, Rod Dickinson and Will Russell) out in the field. See photo above.
The next photo (below) shows "Team Satan" pretending to flatten crop in the field. I say "pretend' because they are being filmed in an already-existing crop circle which had appeared on 13 July 2004 (see inset photo of existing crop circle). The arrows in the larger photo (below) show the exact, known, position of this already-existing formation. Notice also the big floodlights.
Later, during the daytime, "Team Satan" flattens a crop circle next to the Long Barrow. It takes them 5 DAYLIGHT hours.
Below you can see the result.
One of the hoaxers hired for 2004 crop circle "documentary" & the formation they made in 5 hours of daylight for National Geographic TV.
Why am I so upset about all of this?
1. In the final documentary "Team Satan" appears to work really fast, but the audience is never shown that they are not flattening any crop at all in the night-time shots. They are simply moving around in an already-existing formation. They walk over the already-flattened crop pretending to do their "stomperboarding. " It is filmed in such way that one can not see that the crop is already downed. The audience is never informed about this.
2. The documentary never made it really clear that huge floodlights were used to do the filming at night. On the contrary!
3. It is never made clear in the documentary that the formation actually made by "Team Satan" (in 5 hours during daytime), which was shown in the final show, is not the same formation in which the night filming was done. Again, on the contrary. It is make-believe that the work at night resulted in the shown formation.
It is clear that this section of the 2004 documentary is saturated with deception and make-believe. And this is very representative of the whole documentary. Deception and make-believe. NO balance and NO honesty.
Dear Brent, I am sorry, but I think you will find that you will have a hard time to convince people that things will be different now in 2009. I suggest that National Geographic must first show us that it is capable of, and willing to, make a balanced and honest "documentary" on crop circles--and then and only then will I (and with me many other researchers) be open for National Geographic productions.
Warm greetings, Bert Janssen.
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