It’s broken-record time again, but there’s no getting around it. Three years ago this Saturday, the arguably most well-documented UFO drama of the 21st century unfolded above the Stepheville region of central Texas. With residents reporting a Hollywood-sized thingamajig shadowing the sleepy cow town and provoking a high-speed jet fighter chase, national and international media scrambled to the scene. After initially stating eyewitnesses were wrong because there weren’t any warplanes in the local skies that night, Carswell AFB near Fort Worth admitted days later that 10 F-16s were conducting the proverbial routine training missions, even as they strayed out of their military operating area. But its explanations never confronted the UFO head-on.
By Billy Cox
What made this incident truly exceptional was the subsequent analysis posted by Mutual UFO Network investigators. Using FOIA-acquired data from five civilian ground locations, Glen Schulze and Robert Powell recovered 2.8 million radar hits between 4 and 8 p.m. that profiled the object’s journey along a route that ended just outside the no-fly zone surrounding President Bush’s Western White House in Crawford.
So let’s see a show of hands. How many of you have bothered to read this 77-page report? You really should. It’s a demanding document, highly technical and detailed, but that’s the whole point, and it made a sick joke of a military PIO’s attempts to dismiss it as “speculative.” Caught with their pants down, multiple air bases refused to answer direct questions — “Did you have aircraft flying within 50 miles of Stephenville, Tex., on Jan. 8, 2008?” — with yes or no answers and uniformly replied “We have found no records responsive to your request.”
De Void has since approached UFO skeptics who decry a lack of evidence — from former NASA historian Steven Dick to SETI astronomer Seth Shostak — to comment on MUFON’s exhaustive research. Invariably, not a one is familiar with it. And the mainstream media, so eager to interview eyewitnesses three Januarys ago, ignored the MUFON analysis when it went online the following July.
Three years later, co-author Powell, the semiconductor engineer and MUFON research director who requested but received nary a shred of military radar data, sounds resigned to America’s inept mode of media inquiry, whether it’s UFOs or anything else.
“The media isn’t big on details, and it buys into authority figures way too readily,” he says from his home in Austin, Tex. “A good example is the Patriot Act. They bought into the title, but it has nothing to do with patriotism. It takes away the civil liberties of Americans.”
With the absentee press unable or unwilling to shine a light on the MUFON data, there’s no incentive for scientists like Shostak and Dick to become conversant, either. And, according to Powell, the lack of accountability enables the extended complacency of a world view that UFO data increasingly appears to contradict.
“I think there’s two things going on,” Powell says. “For a certain percentage of scientists, simply looking at the evidence equates to a belief in little green men. But we’ve discovered more than 500 extrasolar planets, and inevitably we’re going to find those with water and all the conditions for life as we know it. So we have your Seth (Shostak)-like guys who say, well OK, but we don’t have the faintest possibility of traveling to the nearest star, so nobody else does, either.
“It reminds me of the arguments they were having about whether the Earth was the center of the universe.”
Will this constipated impasse never end?
More . . .
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