‘During the course of my extensive research and countless inquiries about Steve Jobs, I received a mysterious email. At first, I discounted the cryptic words of the writer. “Naw, it couldn’t possibly be”, I thought to myself, while sipping on 50 year-old brandy. But, upon reflection, I became convinced, that yes, this could be the REAL help that Steve Jobs got. The sender was unidentified, but what really got me was the subject line of the email which read:
The EMAIL contained the above attached image and following lengthy message. At the top it was labeled Everything Below This Line is Above Top Secret. Since I live dangerously and am something of an outlaw, I will let you read it, and do with it as you may. Just remember one thing, don’t tell anybody else, or you will be erased out of existence.’
“I am a former Apple employee. I do not wish to get my name out in the public because of the serious and obvious danger to my life if my identity became known. I am posting this under a false name, Simon Apocryphal. I was one of the original Apple employees. It was 1977 and Apple had just introduced the Apple II. I was a hardware engineer by trade, but in Apple’s early days, it wasn’t too uncommon for hardware engineers to work primarily with software. The industry was very young and there were relatively few people with a formal education in computer science.
In early 1978, Jobs requested I attend a meeting with himself, Mike Markula, and another engineer that shall remain unnamed. For the last few months, I had been working directly with Steve Wozniak testing and refining the Disk II. The project was coming to a close as we were refining our plans for mass production, so I assumed the meeting related to my next assignment at Apple.
I remember our first meeting on a rainy Friday in January 1978. It was held in a small meeting room on our old campus. The other three participants were there, Steve, Mike, and the unnamed engineer. Jobs asked me if I wanted a Coke or juice before we started, I declined, and Mark stood up and closed the door behind me. Jobs looked at me and my engineering colleague and informed us that what we were going to talk about in the meeting was a corporate secret. He pulled out two pieces of paper from a folder in front of him and handed each of us a copy. The papers were legal documents. At the top, it read “Nondisclosure Agreement.”
We were asked to sign the document before we proceeded with the meeting. We signed the documents and Markula started explaining this new project to us. He told us that we were going to meet with a company called Affiliated Xanatech in Palo Alto, California. Markula explained that Affiliated was a government subcontractor and that the government was looking for high tech companies with experience commercializing bleeding edge technology to assist them in converting secret military hardware to private consumer applications.
We were told that the government was looking into ways to fund black projects by licensing patents to companies like Apple in exchange for complete secrecy as to the true source of the technology. Private industry in Silicon Valley was responsible for some of the most incredible technological leaps in history and this fact did not go unnoticed by the U.S. government and military. We were told to not speak of this with anyone in the company, not even Steve Wozniak. Furthermore, we were told that the military would perform a thorough background check on us and brief us as to our responsibilities in regards to secrecy.
Of course, we were going to need Top Secret security clearance from the government, a process that took a few months and involved the government thoroughly looking into our histories. I remember several of my colleagues being called and questioned about my background. We also filled out a book load of documents basically covering everything from our credit histories to where we went to primary school. It was an invasive process.
Markkula had set up a meeting with Affiliated Xanatech in February 1979. Jobs, Markkula, the unnamed engineer, and myself arrived at Affiliated around 9:00 am on a Tuesday morning. The building was unassuming. It was a one-story structure with a very normal parking lot and one security guard standing in a small house at the entrance. We showed the guard the special passes sent to us by Affiliated and walked into the front lobby. At that point, we were greeted by five men in black uniforms carrying very imposing M-16s. They escorted us to the elevator and we went down some three floors or more. I would later discover that the facility had at least 8 sub-levels, but I was never able to confirm that.
We met with two men in military uniforms in a large conference room. There are very few moments in life in which your entire world view is turned forever upside down, and for me, this was one of them. I still remember that turning point during the briefing when I realized what we’d just been told, and that I hadn’t heard the speaker wrong, and that it wasn’t some kind of joke. In retrospect the whole thing felt like it was in slow motion.
When the term “extra-terrestrial” came up for the first time, the room itself seemed to go off kilter as we collectively tried to grasp what was being said. My mind kept jumping back and forth between trying to look at the speaker, to understand him better, and looking at everyone else around me, to make sure I wasn’t the only one that was hearing this. But I don’t want this story to be about me, so I will spare you any more insights into my emotional state at the time.
Steve Jobs listened intently and for the first time I can recall, he didn’t have anything to say. He simply nodded and peered intently at the speaker as he went over Project CARMA:
Our job was to examine recovered alien artifacts and come up with a commercial application for them related to the computer industry. The unnamed engineer and myself spent the next four months being briefed about security and the true nature of the project. I was told that if I ever went public with this information, I would be erased from existence. Furthermore, the agents threatened to erase all my family and friends. We worked under the barrel of a gun.
Need to know was the order of the day. We were only given a very narrow description of the origins of the artifacts. We knew that they were of extra-terrestrial origin, but our government partners would not reveal anymore. In fact, they discouraged us from talking about the alien connections and they never brought the subject up unless we asked questions. Getting information about the artifacts was like pulling teeth. Answers were slow to come, if they came at all.
We weren’t the only team working on the artifacts, however, Apple was the only team from Silicon Valley. Apple was chosen because we were small and hungry. The government disliked monopolies and IBM was considered too much of a security threat. Other companies that we had contact with during project CARMA included Boeing, General Electric, GM, and Union Carbide Corporation. Some were examining the same artifacts we were given access to, others had access to areas of Affiliated off-limits to the Apple team.
We had access to an advanced computer system called the LAAC (Luminous Autonomous Agnition Computer). The LAAC was approximately the size of a soda can. Its interface is hard to explain. It didn’t have a screen or projection of any kind. It projected itself into the user’s mind. The object was activated by passing your hand over its top. It was deactivated in the same manner. Upon activation, a projection, an almost dream-like image in vivid color appeared in your head. We were told that the first person to use the device died of a brain embolism within seconds of activation. Apparently, the machine was a learning device that automatically adjusted itself to the human anatomy. The next person to try the device suffered from severe migraines after a few minutes of use. Over time, the machine fully adjusted to the human anatomy and was completely safe to use.
For lack of a better term, we referred to its capabilities as magic. The government wasn’t interesting in having us understand exactly how the device worked. They were interested in what we could take from it for commercial purposes. At first we were baffled. We knew that computers at the time could not possibly mimic the interface technology, nor could we come close to the device’s capacity, which was not measured in bytes as far as we could ascertain and was unlimited in terms of storage and speed. We were interesting in its file structure. Information was stored in terms of “objects”. The user selected the objects by moving an imaginary mental pointing instrument. The objects could be organized in a structured manner. It was really up to the user to determine the structure data was stored in the system.
If the user wanted to draw an image, the LAAC created a sophisticated pallet with a set of advanced primitives. I guess you could say that the program was analogous to the modern Abobe Photoshop program, but with several profound differences. First, there were no user manuals or help functions. While hooked up the computer, the user instantly knew how to use every aspect of it and the user was free to modify the program in any way the user could imagine. We used the LAAC to define a whole new way to use a personal computer. In short, we used the LAAC to design, develop and test the operating system that would first appear on the Lisa and later on the Macintosh.
You might have heard that Apple got many of its ideas for our first graphical operating systems from the Xerox PARC. This is only partially true. We used the PARC to help us determine ways to translate the advanced alien technology into contemporary computer technology. Obviously, we were constrained in terms of interface, storage, and speed. About the only thing we really took away from the PARC was the mouse, a device that allowed the user to move a cursor on the screen and manipulate computer-generated objects.
What does Steve Jobs know about the aliens and when did he know it?
We worked with the LAAC until early 1985. Our experiments were pumped into Apple’s two competing system teams, the Lisa Team and the Macintosh Team. Steve Jobs worked with both teams and acted as a facilitator. His famous “reality distortion field,” the seemingling magical influence Steve had over people, was partially due to his inside knowledge of the LAAC and partially due to another secret project he was working on at Affiliated. I can’t give you more information on this and don’t want to speculate on its meaning because I was only allowed to work with the LAAC.
As many are aware, Steve Jobs left Apple in 1985 to start NeXT. The official story was that he had a disagreement with John Sculley, Apple’s CEO, over the direction of the company. Here is what I know about what actually happened.
Sculley was never informed about our dealings with the government. Jobs could have easily made Sculley do anything he wanted because of his access to the reality distortion technology, but he purposefully picked a fight with Sculley in order to create a plausible explanation for his departure from Apple.
As I stated earlier, the government does not like monopolies that threaten its power. Jobs was given an ultimatum by his handlers at Affiliated. He was told that if he wanted ongoing access to the alien artifacts, he would have to create a startup company competing against Apple. Many of the revolutionary aspects of NeXT and later Mac OS X, come from his ongoing association with the government.
Apple’s association with CARMA ended shortly after Steve Jobs left the company. We were officially debriefed by government officials. We were told that we were not to ever disclose the program and that we were to continue working at Apple in order to keep tabs on Apple’s use of the alien technology. I worked at Apple until 1992 and have since retired from the computer industry. I currently teach technology at a school that shall remain unnamed.
Why am I coming out now? Well, I am at that age where it no longer matters what happens to me. I have recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness and before my time comes, I want to get this off my conscience. Apple is a great company, but it is shameful that we helped the government conceal the greatest secret of all time. The public must be told the truth.”
‘I got to get me an LAAC computer. Screw the mouse and pointer. It’s all in my mind. I can move objects. This blog resides in my head. No more “clickity-clickity” sounds of me typing on a computer keyboard. If anyone knows where I can get one, please leave a comment. I promise not to disclose your identity.’