|By Robert Hastings|
Editor's note: The following article is featured in this month's issue of The MUFON UFO Journal–FW
The startling story, titled “What Were Those Mysterious Craft?”, was published decades ago, on January 19, 1979. Based on declassified U.S. government documents, the objectively-written article by reporters Ward Sinclair and Art Harris—appearing on Page A1—provided a tantalizing peek at long-suppressed information having national security implications.
In contrast, the absurd article the Post ran in response to my September 27, 2010 UFO-Nukes Connection press conference in Washington D.C. basically ridiculed the whole idea of UFOs monitoring our missile sites and instead extolled the virtues of free cookies.
Let me explain:
The Washington Post, whose Woodward-Bernstein reporting team famously toppled the Nixon presidency with its Watergate scandal coverage in the early 1970s, was sent a press release about the UFO-related event two weeks prior to its occurrence.
So who did this iconic newspaper decide to send to the press conference? Why, the in-house jester, Metro columnist John Kelly, who has written about such lofty subjects as horse masseurs, failed sitcoms, and the Oldest Ham in the World. His article began:
“The cookies they serve at press conferences at the National Press Club are the same as the cookies we have in meetings here at The Post. I happen to like these cookies, and so as I cabbed it to the press club Monday I told myself that if the next couple of hours turned out to be a complete bust—if I remained unconvinced by the presentation on how UFOs have been systematically hovering over our country's nuclear missiles and occasionally disabling them, perhaps as a warning to humankind, perhaps as part of some sort of intergalactic anthropology project—I would at least be able to cadge some tasty baked goods.”
(Source: UFO visits to nuclear facilities? Hmmmm.)
Mind you, the press release I sent out stated that all of the participants at the press conference—most of whom had been vetted by the U.S. Air Force to launch or otherwise work with Weapons of Mass Destruction—would be discussing ongoing UFO incursions at nuclear missile sites or nuclear Weapons Storage Areas (WSAs).
According to some of the witnesses, including the event’s co-sponsor, former ICBM launch officer Captain Robert Salas, the missiles mysteriously malfunctioned on more than one occasion, just as security guards were reporting a disc-shaped object silently hovering over them.
How such dramatic testimony from six former USAF officers and one former enlisted man could possibly turn out to be a “complete bust” is rather puzzling unless, perhaps, one’s mind was resolutely focused on the aforementioned baked goods.
Let’s see, UFOs hovering over our nuclear weapons sites. Hmmmmm, sounds familiar. Oh yeah, that was the essence of the story the Post ran in 1979, which said, “During two weeks in 1975, a string of U.S. supersensitive missile launch sites and bomber bases were visited by unidentified, low-flying and elusive objects, according to Defense Department reports.”
The front page article went on to report that the unknown aerial craft had been described by eyewitnesses as “brightly-lighted, fast moving vehicles that hovered over nuclear weapons storage areas and evaded all pursuit efforts.” (See above - click image to enlarge).
Ironically, one of the declassified documents featured in the press kit that I handed out to every journalist who attended the press conference was the very U.S. Air Force report that led to the Post’s 1979 story. Presumably, jokester John Kelly had one of those sitting on his lap during the event. I wonder if he ever thumbed through that, what with that tempting table of cookies located just feet away, vying for his attention.
Regardless, the declassified information in question—released via Freedom of Information Act in 1977—was derived from numerous NORAD log excerpts which detailed repeated over-flights of ICBM sites at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, by “disc” shaped aerial craft, in early November 1975. The unknown objects were independently observed by several, widely-separated Air Force Security Police teams, tracked on radar, and chased—unsuccessfully—by jet fighters sent up to intercept them.
If that case were not dramatic enough, my own interviews with more than 130 ex-U.S. military personnel over the past 40 years confirm that such incidents occurred, repeatedly, at virtually every nuclear missile base in the country—not to mention a number of strategic bomber bases and nuclear weapons test areas—during the Cold War era and beyond.
During the press conference I was confident that these amazing incidents—as revealed by the small cross-section of the ex-USAF witnesses who had experienced them—would startle at least some of the reporters in attendance. I also understood that CNN’s live streaming of the proceedings would exponentially increase the number of journalists exposed to the data, thereby significantly enhancing the potential for additional coverage on a global scale.
My optimism was justified: I am pleased to report that the media as a whole—both in the U.S. and around the world—covered the former officers’ statements and declassified documents’ contents objectively and in detail. Indeed, the response to the event at the National Press Club was nothing short of explosive, resulting in hundreds of published articles and broadcast news stories, as one will quickly discover by googling the subject.
In fact, according to one veteran media watcher, for a four-day period in mid-September, the press release announcing the event became the most-viewed, most-shared item at the prestigious Reuters’ news site; even days later, a Google search for “UFOs and Nukes press conference” yielded 2.4 million results. In short, the story went viral.
Sadly, all of that attention turned out to be just another flash in the ufological pan. The story—of UFOs monitoring and disabling our nukes—died a quick death as journalists moved on to other breaking news. Perhaps that was inevitable. I had hoped that a corner had been turned but that appears not to be the case. If the media had followed-up on its initial, generally-unbiased coverage, then 60 years of governmental secrecy surrounding UFOs might have been seriously threatened.
Instead, not one major news organization approached me or any of the Air Force veterans who participated in the event for follow-up interviews. It was as if their remarkable revelations had never been divulged in the first place. This, of course, was very frustrating, not to mention puzzling.
Regardless, I do know one thing: There is a Pulitzer Prize waiting for some courageous, determined journalist out there who is willing to ignore the ridicule of his/her colleagues, persevere despite the inevitable stonewalling by the Pentagon and the intelligence community, and present this monumental story to the American public and the rest of the world.
When the Big News finally breaks—when some unimpeachable, high-level government insider finally admits on-the-record that UFOs are very real and that those who pilot them, although seemingly not from the neighborhood, are nevertheless interested in and apparently concerned about our nuclear weapons—humanity’s future will take a dramatic new turn. Once that happens, and it will sooner or later, everything we humans thought we knew about reality will be up for grabs.
But most journalists will never “get it” until that day actually arrives. At least The Washington Post sent a warm and presumably well-fed body to the press conference. The New York Times, on the other hand, ignored it and sent no one, just as they have generally ignored, since the early 1950s, countless credible UFO reports. Those that have been covered in this preeminent American newspaper have been downplayed or dismissed outright, almost without exception.
Coincidentally or not, that very obvious, longstanding editorial stance at the Times began—or, at least, kicked into high gear—shortly after the CIA’s Robertson Panel secretly recommended, in January 1953, that the mass media and Hollywood be recruited to debunk UFOs, according to the panel’s now-declassified report.
Interestingly, one of the three major media organizations later identified as a CIA “asset”, during the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee’s hearings on the agency’s illegalities and abuses, in 1975, was none other than The New York Times. (The other two were Time Inc. and CBS.)
This is not to simplistically say that the Times is a mouthpiece for American officialdom. On the contrary, it has to its credit the publishing of the highly incriminating Pentagon Papers, leaked by RAND Corporation analyst and anti-Vietnam activist Daniel Ellsberg, and has broken many other laudable stories about unjustified government power, secrecy and general malfeasance. So, the paper cannot accurately be branded as an across-the-board stooge for the powers-that-be.
That said, The New York Times’ track record on seriously, objectively reporting the UFO topic has been, for whatever reason, absolutely abysmal. Less than two months after the paper failed to write about former nuclear missile launch officers soberly discussing disc-shaped craft knocking their ICBMs offline, reporter Kirk Johnson was allowed to publish a piece on the UFO Watch Tower in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, where tourists occasionally drop by to scan the skies. Of course, the article was illustrated with pictures of the kitschy alien statues that litter the property and noted that psychics claim “it contains not just one, but two separate portals to a parallel universe.” The article is at:
Such blatant and baffling contradiction makes a mockery of The New York Times’ claim that it publishes “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” Future historians may well have a field day with that boast, given that the Times has “missed”, decade after decade, what will undoubtedly turn out to be one of the greatest stories in human history.
Before submitting this column to MUFON UFO Journal editor Roger Marsh, I sent a nearly-finished draft to journalist Ralph Blumenthal, who spent 45 years at The New York Times, for his comment. He has more recently been researching the career of Dr. John Mack, the brilliant Harvard psychiatrist who found credence in alien abduction accounts.
Blumenthal told me he was not surprised that the mainstream media had failed to follow-up on the UFO-Nukes Connection story and the UFO subject generally. “It’s a disturbing mystery that makes people uncomfortable,” Blumenthal said, “Because they can't explain it, they ridicule it.” But as a longtime investigative reporter, Blumenthal noted, “I know facts are stubborn things and truth has a way of eventually coming out.”
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