Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Chronology of Events – The Empire Strikes Back – Post 2

October 19th, 2007 - Later the same day that James Oberg sent his email to Kay Ferrari, Ferrari called Johnston at his home in New Mexico and, according to Johnston, pressured him to resign his position as a Solar System Ambassador. As stated in Post #1, the reasons Ferrari gave were “serious issues regarding Johnston’s credentials” (as raised by Oberg) and Ken’s so-called “crackpot accusations” against the agency (also pointed out to Ferrari by the links in Oberg’s email).

Of course, Ken has never made any “accusations” of any kind against the agency – he has simply reported honestly on what he saw on several occasions while working as a contractor at the agency.

Ferrari then went on to state that it was Johnston “being quoted [as] criticizing NASA in Hoagland’s new book, ‘Dark Mission,’” that prompted her to ask for Johnston’s resignation from the SSA Program.

Johnston was at first reluctant, but then agreed under pressure from Ferrari to consider resigning. At no time during this initial phone call did he tender his resignation from the SSA program. Later that same night, he appeared on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and described the conversation this way:

Transcript Coast to Coast AM Oct. 19th, 1997:

Ken: The only condition that was given was, you know, you ought to resign. I said “Ok, probably will.”

Again, this does NOT constitute an agreement by Johnston to resign, only to consider resigning.

As the day wore on and after consulting with family and friends, Johnston decided not to resign. He based this on the fact that JPL employees (who were paid by the agency, as opposed to being volunteers like he was) were allowed to express many diverse beliefs, and were even protected specifically from being fired for doing so. He then sent the following email to Ferrari, making clear his intention NOT to resign.

Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2007 13:47:40 -0700 (PDT) From: "Ken Johnston" Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert Yahoo! DomainKeys has confirmed that this message was sent by yahoo.com. Learn more Subject: SSA Ken Johnston, Sr. To: kay.ferrari@jpl.nasa.gov

Dear Kay Ferrari,

After reflecting on our conversation this morning, I find that I have been placed in an untenable position with regards to the volunteer work that I have done for NASA/JPL over the past 4 years. During that time I have received nothing but the highest regards and reports on my efforts on behalf of JPL and the unmanned planetary program. Why this should be questioned now, based on third-party "hearsay," I fail to understand.

As you mentioned in our conversation, there are people all over NASA and JPL that have "all kinds of beliefs and positions on just about any subject." This fact made me realize that these people are paid employees of NASA and JPL, whereas I am an unpaid volunteer. Considering this position, and my rights of free speech under the FIRST AMENDMENT, I realized there is absolutely no valid reason why I should even consider resigning my position as a Solar System Ambassador. If I did, I would be undermining everything that NASA ultimately says it stands for -- certainly in terms of intellectual freedom to explore the cutting edge of science and the solar system.
Sincerely, Ken Johnston, Sr.

Within a few days of his phone call with and follow up email to Ferrari, Dr. Johnston’s profile had been removed from the JPL Solar System Ambassador page. This prompted Ken to email Kay Ferrari in response:

Ken Johnston (lmpilot@yahoo.com)
Tue 10/23/07 12:06 PM
kay.ferrari@jpl.nasa.gov Kay Ferrari,

I just finished checking our SSA web site and found
that I don't exist any more.

Why was my data pulled?

Is there a grievance procedure?

Where do I start?

I see no reason why I should be punished for what
someone else puts in a book.

Please respond,

Ken Johnston,
SSA New Mexico
Two days later, Ken received the following response from Ferrari:

--- Kay Ferrari wrote: > Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2007 14:34:13 -0700> To: Ken Johnston > From: Kay Ferrari > Subject: Re: SSA Data?

Dear Ken,

In the renewal agreement you signed on December 23, 2006, it stated that your volunteer position would be in effect for two years if all parties agree that the arrangement is working satisfactorily. JPL has chosen to accept your original resignation offered on October 19, 2007 and has thereby removed your information from the website.

Kay Ferrari Coordinator

Of course, as we have already established, Ken never “offered” his resignation from the SSA program on October 19th, 2007, or at any other time. Further, he specifically sent Ferrari an email clarifying this position six days previously. Nonetheless, he then received a certified letter from Ferrari and JPL the next day “accepting” this mythical resignation that he never tendered (See Above)

As you can see, the registered letter was mailed October 22nd, 2007, three days after Ken’s phone conversation with Ferrari and his subsequent email sent to her declining to resign – and which she never acknowledged. The termination letter is back dated to make it appear that it was written on October 19th, even though it clearly wasn’t.

Next: A Question of Credentials

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