Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Secret Programs, U.S. Senators and Money, Who Wants to Talk UFOs Now?

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Secret Programs, U.S. Senators and Money

The day the Earth didn’t stand still

     I haven’t felt like this since the Berlin Wall went down in 1989. But even then, there were signs that something massive was afoot, judging from the fissures running the entire length of the Iron Curtain. When that bell tolled, I was still disbelieving. The wall had been with me since childhood, since I’d begun considering the world at large, and in my mind, that sprawling bloody divide was as intractable as a mountain range. Tuning in to its dismantling was like watching the Grand Canyon dissolve in a time-lapse blur.

By Billy Cox
De Void
12-18-17

On Saturday, just nine shopping days before Christmas, shortly after noon, I logged on to discover the Earth had shifted again. Only, this time, there was no warning. Yeah, there was that To The Stars Academy video presentation thing back in October, with an impressive cast of insiders issuing brief statements about their knowledge of and/or interest in UFO activity, and their intentions of bringing sobriety to the controversy. But they presented no evidence. And over the decades, we’ve seen plenty of other bright, informed people stepping forward to lend true skepticism to the stalemate, only to fade away due to a lack of media oxygen. Furthermore, if a breakthrough was going to happen, it was primed for a Hillary Clinton administration, but certainly not under what we’re dealing with now.

It’s been more than a year since Clinton and campaign manager John Podesta tried – and failed – to turn The Great Taboo into a campaign talking point. Not one major mainstream media wheel bothered to take the bait and ask what they meant, or why neither feared losing credibility or political capital by confronting this historically toxic issue. Trump came to town instead. And competence in virtually every department proceeded to fall apart immediately. Who wants to talk UFOs now?

Yet, there it was, suddenly, in the dead-news zone of a Saturday afternoon, The New York Times and Politico, lighting up the Internet with a one-two punch about a hidden, $22 million, Pentagon special access program (SAP) instigated by three powerful veteran U.S. Senators, exposed by a whistleblower attached to something called the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, and accompanied by authentic government footage of an F-18 jet fighter giving chase to what appears to be an axis-tilting, heat-emitting UFO at 25,000 feet, complete with cockpit chatter.

Finally. After half a century of worthless press releases and a mullet wrapper called Project Blue Book, the Pentagon owns up. Extraordinary – a highly compartmented SAP that makes uninformed Defense Department PIOs look like liars or stupid, and guaranteed to reinvigorate the most sensationalist paranoid conspiracy mongers. But it does in fact beg many questions: How many other related SAPs are researching this stuff? And how much more gun-cam footage exists? For starters.

Equally extraordinary is that the Times – huzzahs to Leslie Kean – bothered to show up and play it straight. The Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) thermal imaging acquired by the Navy Hornet is the same technology employed by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol when it videoed an equally freaky UFO as it hurtled through the night sky over Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, in 2013. That thing not only sliced into the water, it split into two separate flying objects after reemerging. The sequence hit the Internet shortly thereafter, and the provenance of the footage was established several years ago, but the media ignored it. The same way it ignored a radar-record analysis confirming eyewitness reports of F-16s checking out a UFO that beelined for the no-fly zone over President Bush’s ranch in Crawford in 2008.

The big difference this time around, of course, is the willingness of a former intelligence officer and DoD Aerial Threat analyst named Luis Elizondo to man up and risk the consequences of going public. That’s huge. It also helps to have a “donor class” bigwig, i.e., Las Vegas hotel magnate Bob Bigelow, offering cover for the research. When it comes to UFOs, Bigelow and his data collection project – to which the Federal Aviation Administration has deferred all public inquiries about “flying saucer” encounters – have been operating in plain sight forever. In 2010, for instance, Bigelow told the NY Times that “people have been hurt [by UFOs]. People have been killed.” But the Times reporter never asked WTF? As recently as May, the man who wants to put tourists in space reiterated his belief to “60 Minutes” that ETs have been and are continuing to visit our planet.

Salon.com – one of the many news platforms to follow the leader after the story broke – pointed out that the $22 million used to finance Elizondo’s SAP amounts to less than 0.004 percent of the U.S. budget. Still, taxpayers are going to want to know what $22 million buys in the UFO arena these days, especially since that funding went to Bigelow Aerospace. And that’s where, according to the Times, we can presumably find “metal alloys and other materials that Mr. Elizondo and program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena.” Since taxpayers paid for it, we deserve to see it.

Where we go from here depends on major-media stamina. Much of the followup coverage of this weekend’s bombshell was predictable. There were the usual “truth is out there” clichés, blatant mistakes (one even said the Pentagon spent $22M a year during the program’s official run from 2007-2012), and a few knuckle-headed takeaways. One of the dumbest and sadly typical offenders, The New York Post, weighed in with a “We’re Not ‘A Loan’” banner and a subhead that read “Pentagon spent $22M to study alien ‘visits.’” The piece is illustrated with a mug shot of a little green man, along with a photo from the 1985 “Cocoon” movie with a caption that reads “Far Out!” Where are these dingbats drawing their inspiration? Putin? This is the sort of lame detritus likely to prevail unless the Fourth Estate gives this story the sort of attention it deserves.

Regardless of what happens next, however, the foundations of this debate have changed. This is not something the DoD can jam back into the bottle, at least not without some major explaining, which it hasn’t had to do since boarding up Blue Book in 1969-70.

For generations, in the face of accumulating evidence to the contrary, American taxpayers have been patronized by glib Authorities & Experts assuring us that nothing beyond our control is unfolding in our atmosphere. The media have been complicit housecats. But that all went sideways in the blink of a single news cycle. With any luck, what happened on Saturday afternoon should be the beginning of an overdue accounting on the limits of even our most advanced technologies. It’s time we face our future honestly, and start acting like adults.

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