ALLAN BROWN – entirely unsolicited by Swirled News, please note – defends the key players being targeted by the ‘Proclamation’ faction for “profiteering”…
It is clear to me, having been privy to some of the e-mails that were received by Andy Thomas and Michael Glickman both in the immediate period preceding Colin Andrews’ "Proclamation" and indeed in its aftermath, that whilst on the surface this was a very public call for peace and goodwill within the research community, in reality there was a not-so-peaceful or honourable subtext behind its conception. Although the comments of some of the signatories have since been toned down, it is clear to me that this proclamation, at least in part, was more about saving face and venting spleen than it was a genuine attempt to promote goodwill and peace, and for the most part its effects seem to have been more divisive than they have harmonious. Although I, along with Andy and Michael, was not personally asked to sign the proclamation prior (or, in my case, indeed subsequently) to its inception, I, along with all the many thousands of crop circle enthusiasts who similarly weren't invited to be included in this proclamation, feel that it is unnecessary to make a public commitment to truth, honesty and integrity. Surely this goes without saying?
However, it is clear from reading the comments by several of the signatories attached to the original proclamation, as well as the comments posted on the websites of a couple of well-known and public crop circle researchers, that there is the insinuation that by not signing up to the proclamation, one is by default “profiteering” from cynically spreading lies and untruth. The hidden subtext being that if one doesn't wholeheartedly accept the current position adopted by many of the signatories, that the majority of crop circles are man-made, then you are deliberately spreading lies and falsehoods. It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to see that these
accusations are largely being levelled at Swirled News stalwarts Michael Glickman and Andy Thomas.
Firstly, it would appear to me that those who believe that the vast majority, if not all, crop circles are man-made are just as guilty of profiteering from the phenomenon as those who promote their research from the diametrically-opposed point of view. But let’s get real here; the idea that researchers or indeed hoaxers are making large amounts of money from the phenomenon is unfortunately a fallacy. I don't know the details of people's personal accounts but I know Andy and Michael well enough to know that they are far from profiteering from their involvement with the subject. Certainly, I have yet to be invited to visit them in their holiday homes in the Bahamas. If my own accounts are anything to go by, then in real terms they are probably losing money hand-over-fist in order to continue researching the subject, and certainly all those close to me have all had to adjust their lives and activities in order to accommodate the financial drain that results from researching this phenomenon, not to mention having to put up with absent fathers, partners or friends for much of the summer season.
Let's just pause a moment and consider what goes on, for instance, in Sussex, where Andy Thomas operates with the Southern Circular Research group, on a day to day basis during the crop circle season. Firstly I think people would be amazed at just how much effort Andy puts into the free and open dissemination of crop circle information. Just take a look at any of the Crop Circle Connector ground reports that come in from a formation that Andy Thomas has surveyed. For well over a decade Andy has been compiling detailed field reports, the like of which we rarely get from other parts of the country. He has to deal with irate farmers on a pretty much weekly basis, and we spend a great deal of time conversing with them, sending them reports, books and related information to ensure that we continue to get access to new formations. As a result of all this bridge-building, very few local formations ever get cut out by exasperated farmers, and Andy works very hard on ensuring that almost anyone can get straight and freely-available information about the crop circles. Andy also steadfastly refuses to engage in making unverifiable prophetic announcements over the levels of genuine to man-made formations. In fact, Andy, above most other researchers, continues to report what he finds in as unbiased and as balanced a way as possible.
To these ends, again despite the obvious pressures, Andy continues to run the monthly Southern Circular Research crop circle meetings, in which all the latest information and images are made available to those who are interested. Slides are shown from within all the latest local formations and this service is invaluable in those cases where the farmer is denying public access to a formation. The money generated by these meetings barely covers the cost of hiring the room and paying visiting speakers, let alone covering the costs of taking hundreds of slides and having them processed, so I think the notion of profiteering is quite frankly laughable.
Another person I doubt was asked to sign the proclamation is David Russell. Almost all the aerial photographs taken of local Sussex formations over the last few years have been taken by David Russell. On each occasion he has personally footed the bill of chartering a plane, which costs around £70 for the hour, in order to bring us all aerial images of new formations, often on the day of their discovery. Southern Circular Research is not in a position to pay David for this service, so he modestly goes about his work without thanks or praise. This is true of a number of unsung heroes across the country. Well done and thank you!
In my experience, the evolution of the research effort has always been based around a personal enchantment with the phenomenon and a continuing sense of awe and wonder. For most of us, the privilege of living near the phenomenon and the ability to actively interact and work with it is reward enough. We do it because we love it. But we live in the real world, and if some funds can be generated from the selling of books, videos, public speaking or the running of workshops, then can this really be construed as profiteering? Almost every name on the list of signatories to the Proclamation has some form of merchandise to peddle, and I don't feel this to be a heinous crime. However, it is interesting to note that the more vocal the accusations of profiteering are, the more the accuser seems to have to sell.
A lot of unsung work goes on behind the scenes, from all around the world, and it is this collective effort that is moving the research effort forward. Andy and Michael, as two of the primary targets for these scurrilous accusations, have probably done more for the open and free dissemination of crop circle information than most of us put together. The 'land artists' and 'hoaxing' fraternities, to my knowledge, never freely or openly disseminate information with regards their own activities and creations, making the overall research effort all the more time-consuming and problematic.
I would suggest that everyone just chill out a little and lets stop throwing about emotive comments that do nothing to promote goodwill or deeper understanding among the crop circle community. Accusations of profiteering, of promoting lies and deception for personal gain, are not only ungrounded, but terribly damaging to the broader public perception of the crop circle phenomenon.