A Public Forum Conducted by Former Members of the United States Congress
To create a bipartisan fact finding process before at least five (5) former Senators and Congresspersons, who would take testimony from and question witnesses regarding their personal experience with events and evidence surrounding extraterrestrial phenomena and alleged government suppression of the facts from the public.
Authors: The Citizen Hearing project was originally drafted by Alfred Webre and Stephen Bassett in September of 2000. The political circumstance at that time were not supportive of this concept. Circumstances have changed, and the Citizen Hearing will be the primary project of the Paradigm Research Group and the Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee (X-PPAC) in 2003.
The project is initially sponsored by the X-PPAC and the Paradigm
Research Group. Other sponsors will
the general public and sitting Members of Congress,
incite the media towards a greater level of scrutiny and action,
lay the groundwork for open Congressional hearings on the same subject
matter, and put pressure on the 108th Congress to hold open,
comprehensive Congressional hearings.
Testimony and reports for the Citizen Hearing would come from qualified
witnesses who have direct personal experience with events and evidence
surrounding extraterrestrial phenomena and the alleged government suppression of
the facts from the public. Testimony from former government and military
employees will have the highest priority.
of Advisors: Individuals in three areas - legal, government and research -
will be recruited for a Board of Advisors. They will provide input
regarding all aspects of the Citizen Hearing initiative. However, their
most important role will be assisting in assembling, vetting and supporting
those witnesses who volunteer to present to the Member committee. Witnesses:
the Citizen Hearing is committed to treating all potential witnesses and
presenters with the highest respect and professionalism. Contact
with potential presenters is not expected to begin until the Citizen Hearing
initiative is well along in funding and public support.
Board of Advisors: Individuals in three areas - legal, government and research - will be recruited for a Board of Advisors. They will provide input regarding all aspects of the Citizen Hearing initiative. However, their most important role will be assisting in assembling, vetting and supporting those witnesses who volunteer to present to the Member committee.
Witnesses: the Citizen Hearing is committed to treating all potential witnesses and presenters with the highest respect and professionalism. Contact with potential presenters is not expected to begin until the Citizen Hearing initiative is well along in funding and public support.
Citizen Hearing would take place in Washington, D.C., sometime during the 108th
Session of the United States Congress in 2003.
It would be held in a hotel ballroom laid out in such a manner as to
resemble a typical Congressional hearing format.
Seven days, which includes 5 days of testimony, would be required for
presenting testimony and asking questions of approximately 30 witnesses.
funding is assured, the time needed to setup the hearing would be no less than 3
months, but should not take more than 6 months.
As a public service, the Citizen Hearing would be broadcast and/or
netcast live via television, radio and the Internet, including audio-visual and
written transcripts. Any coverage,
full or in part, by news networks would, of course, be welcomed.
The hearing would not be a commercial venture.
All product of the Citizen Hearing
would be immediately placed into the public domain. No rights or commercial interest in the event, the final
report, and video and written transcripts would be entertained.
The only exception to this might be an exclusivity for television or
radio coverage by a commercial network in return for a guarantee of coverage.
Such an arrangement would not exclude coverage by C-SPAN, National Public
Radio, or the Public Broadcasting Service.
Budget: the initial proposed budget of $200,000 conservatively covers all aspects of an event to be conducted with an appropriate measure of class and professionalism. For more details see Budget.
All funding directed into X-PPAC would be subject to the FEC rules for
political action committees with contributions limited to $5000 from U.S.
citizens. Paradigm Research
Group is a private entity and not subject to contribution limits.
Other sponsors might have other requirements and limitations.
A 503(c) non-profit will NOT be set up to conduct the Citizen Hearing.
(5) former U.S. House of Representatives and Senate Members would be secured
to table a Citizen Hearing, on a bipartisan basis: ideally two Republican
and two Democratic participants and a chairperson noted for bipartisanship
and independent thinking.
-- There are numerous retired or out of office Members available, many with substantial public recognition.
Former Members have participated in such hearings and know exactly how to
Former Members would still have relationships to sitting Members, which
could help facilitate formal Congressional action.
attorneys would be available of counsel to the Citizen Hearing Committee to
advise on what questions to ask and how to interpret answers and other
attorneys would be available to the witnesses to advise on legal
implications of certain testimony and how to properly testify in a manner
appropriate to the Citizen Hearing.
staff would be provided to the Citizen Hearing Committee to organize,
summarize and present documentary evidence, handle requests and all the
usual needs an actual Congressional Committee investigating a major issue
would be available to the public and press, and meeting decorum would be
subject to the customary protocols of an actual Congressional Hearing.
witnesses would testify in groups assembled in logical pairings based on
subject and matters of corroboration.
slide, video and computer projection equipment would be available.
Hearing testimony would be transcribed from the audio/video record, compiled
and published in a timely fashion.
Citizen Hearing staff would prepare a Final Report containing
recommendations from Committee Members.
The Final Report would be available to the public, and to the United
The Director would coordinate television, radio and print media coverage. Educational and political media would be encouraged to broadcast or cover the Citizen Hearing, interview willing witnesses and committee Members regarding the testimonies and impressions of the evidence.
All appropriate media involvement including press conferences, private and group interviews, press releases, appropriate to such an event would be organized and implemented.
The setting of the Citizen Hearing would be in Washington, DC.
effort may trigger formal Congressional Hearings.
In that event, all work done for the Citizen Hearing would have
immediate application to the formal hearings.
Citizen Hearing would be fast-paced, flexible, conducive to television and
radio broadcast, and easier for an educated and interested public to
presence of former Members of the U.S. Congress would provide needed gravitas
for the issues and recommendations.
Citizen Hearing process could easily be extended by holding further hearings
on particular aspects of the issues, depending upon the nature of the first
event testimonies. In this
case, specific retired Members can be matched up to the particular issue
based upon their background.
is a greater level of public support to the "fact gathering"
approach as opposed to the "litigious" approach to public policy
making. On the other hand,
public interest litigation may well be launched, depending on the outcome of
the Citizen Hearing and the response, or lack thereof, from the sitting
The cost and logistical degree of difficulty of a Citizen Hearing would be modest in contrast with its potential impact.
Copyright X-PPAC 2003