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How the US Government Killed UFO Inquiry
At the time of this writing (2013), the topic of UFOs is pretty much dead, at least within the United States.
Yes some of the old guard and some new guard researchers are still out there, pumping out books and articles and films.
Yes, individuals still have experiences they can't forget or explain. Sightings continue and are actually increasing in number and credibility.
But bring up the topic of UFOs in 99 out of 100 settings today, what you get is a snicker or outright ridicule.
Gone are the days when Scully and Mulder were cool and 'the truth' was 'out there'. And this is true despite the fact that some of the more recent sightings (Phoenix, Belgium, UK) are the most well-documented ever.
The giant UFO that passed over Phoenix in 1997 was seen by thousands of citizens, including the governor.
In 2006, a large silver disc hovered over a control tower at O'Hare airport, below the level of radar detection, and was seen by a dozen ground crew members, pilots, and supervisors for two full minutes before disappearing straight upward at incredible speed.
Between 1989 and 1990 thousands of people saw silent triangular craft fly over Belgium. The Belgian government took these sightings seriously. In March of 1990, two of these craft were tracked by military radar and seen by over 13,000 people on the ground.
So how is it that, in 2013, the topic of UFOs is considered a public joke, acknowledged only in private by people who have been directly affected?
Conspiracy theories aside, the answer is that the US government purposely killed ufology and then made a punchline out of the remains, kind of like the road runner dropping an anvil on Wiley Coyote and then beep beeping before racing off at the speed of sound.
History within History within History
UFO lore has it that the US government killed ufology to cover over the recovery of an alien craft and alien bodies at Roswell, New Mexico in June or July of 1947.
An Armed Forces public information officer first told the Roswell papers that a flying saucer had been recovered, then recanted the next day when General Roger Ramey said no, it was just a weather balloon.
Tradition has it that these back to back conflicting press releases set off over 60 years of speculation on what really happened.
The trouble is, they didn't.
Nobody thought twice about Roswell until 1978, when ufologist Stanton Friedman interviewed Jesse Marcel, an airman involved in the recovery who expressed the belief, 30 years after the event, that the government had perpetrated a cover-up.
In 1980, Charles Berlitz and William Moore published The Roswell Incident, and with that publication and the help of the National Enquirer, the era of ufo/government conspiracy theories was off to the races.
Today, within ufology, Roswell is enshrined as the watershed UFO moment that changed the world forever after, even though there are all kinds of excellent historical reasons to question whether it really was that moment or not, and to take a second look at how and why the government presented all the information about Roswell the way it did.
I love the topic of UFOs and have written about UFOs and aliens for decades, but when I bring this Roswell conundrum up to other people who love UFOs, they look at me like I'm the communist sympathizer who killed Santa Claus.
Please bear with me. I believe that something extraordinary is out there.
But the reasons the US government went to such great lengths to kill the taste for serious UFO research have nothing to do with that extraordinary something, and everything to do with how the US thinks about national security.
During the 1940s, in the aftermath of Hiroshima and in the shadow of WWII, the US military was obsessed with two things: 1) weapons development and staying ahead of the Soviets, and 2) national security and keeping the populace safe and calm.
A UFO flap over Washington DC in 1952, during which (what looked to be) a squadron of UFOs moved directly over the White House in full view of the civilian population, spooked the air force mightily.
It is possible that Truman even issued an order for the UFOs to be shot down.
For some time, military intelligence had been worried about the Soviets creating widespread panic by creating the illusion of a UFO attack, an idea that came from the infamous 1938 Orson Welles War of the Worlds radio broadcast, which allegedly caused mass panic on the east coast.
Today. many debate the true extent of that panic, but in 1952 the Soviets saw it as a good prelude to an attack. First create mass panic, and then attack.
The Nazis were also rumored to have distracted American and Allied airplanes with bright lights that pilots called 'foo fighters', and to have been working on a circular UFO-like craft with an unknown propulsion system. So US military intelligence was very concerned about how an enemy might use the public belief in UFOs for their own purposes.
US military intelligence also needed a cover for weapons development. Although dropping atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki effectively ended WWII, it also let the nuclear monster out of the box and showed the public how horrifically destructive nuclear weaponry really was.
At the same time, the use of the bomb on Hiroshima made keeping ahead of the enemy absolutely essential to national security--a fact that came to be known as the Arms Race, and that eventually led to calls for unilateral disarmament.
The US continues to work on disarmament to this day. It's bigger problem than most people realize.
Did the military know something about the reality of UFOs back then? Did they really have a UFO or bodies or anything at all?
Although individual generals and pilots from that era have come forward with evidence today, investigation into UFOs in the 40s, 50s, and 60s was clearly a PR operation run by low level desk personnel, not scientists or aviation specialists.
Any officer or pilot who took the phenomena seriously was in for a very rough time.
The idea was not to discover the truth about UFOs, but rather to manage public perception of them.
That effort has been so successful that today the FAA forbids pilots to make UFO reports.
If you think about it, that is a truly astonishing and self-defeating directive.
US military intelligence killed UFO inquiry in several ways:
1) by encouraging UFO speculation and mythology around weapons development sites and trials,
2) by disseminating 'disinformation' alongside accurate information,
3) by infiltrating ufology groups and making them look stupid (not that they couldn't look stupid on their own, but this was made MUCH worse by government pawns), and
4) by getting directly involved in movies, books, and TV shows and encouraging the true believer/debunker polarity.
By steadily employing all these methods, US intelligence created an atmosphere of doubt and silliness in which ufology groups turned on each other and each new bit of information became the subject of exhaustive debunking/believing until the truth, if there ever was a truth, was completely obliterated.
Often the most foolish and/or damaged people in the ufology community were baited and brought forward as experts, then publicly discredited and mocked.
Some of most well-read UFO authors are almost certainly government operatives, most notably US Army Colonel Philip J. Corso, and co-writer William J. Birnes, who in 1987 published The Day After Roswell, a book which makes all sorts of incredible claims that have wormed their way into UFO lore, including the recovery of a sort of alien crown/helmet and a 'wand'.
Even at the time, Corso and Birnes' book made the Guardian's 'Top Ten Hoax Books of the Year' list.
More recently, Birnes has appeared on Ancient Aliens, The UFO Files, and is the host of the popular cable TV series UFO Hunters, and the editor of UFO Magazine. He is well-credentialed and seems sincere, and yet his past work with Corso looms over him like a winking dark cloud.
And he's just one example.
So basically, mission accomplished. Ufology is now the official realm of crackpots and liars, thanks to our own government.
Thanks, guys. Nice work.
Now that it is impossible to tell truth from fiction, spooks from spoofs, and reality from fantasy, US military intelligence has at its disposal an excellent cover for anything it doesn't much want to talk about.
All it has to do is connect that thing to a UFO sighting or myth, make sure the weirdest person available gets lots of press, and bingo! The original issue, which most of the time has nothing at all to do with UFOs, disappears in a hail of snickers and giggles.
It's the ultimate schoolyard game of "Hey look over there!"; the game kids play so they can steal your lunch and run away.
Other nations are more transparent and concerned, and if anything, serious sightings have increased in recent years, most of them in Europe and Australia. But when serious researchers, military personnel, and scientists from these nations look to the US for help in solving the UFO mystery, they are stonewalled.
Officially, the US has nothing more to say about UFOs.
Off the record, the mischief continues as necessary, which is beyond unfortunate. Does the US have secret knowledge of aliens and alien craft that it has been hiding from us for 60+ years? Are there alien bases lurking beneath the hills and mountains of the northwestern US?
No one knows, but I don't think so.
I think those in the military who have had genuine experiences are just as baffled as the rest of us, and just as anxious to know the answers.
Excellent credible reporting of actual UFO sightings and interactions with pilots and high-ranking military personnel
Mind-bending account of the irritating silliness and confusion created within ufology by government undercover agents
Oldy-but-goody about how US intelligence drives the best people out of ufology and distorts data to make inquiry look ridiculous