“When I was with the army in New Jersey in the 50s, we had an incident on the base where many people saw a UFO. The next day we were ALL told “Many of you went home last night and told your loved ones that you saw a ufo.” They then gave the order: “You will go home tonight and tell them that you were mistaken and that what you saw was not a UFO.” I have always thought that we are not alone in this universe. I remain agnostic. But I always wondered why they made such a point to tells us what was not seen.”
The above quote was tweeted by beloved TV and Hollywood actor Ed Asner, as a comment on the much MUCH discussed New York Times article that caught everybody by surprise during Memorial weekend. When even Mr. Fredricksen is freaking talking about UFOs, even critics of Tom DeLonge and TTSA have to concede things are getting interesting!
Unless you were hiding under a rock, you were also probably caught by the avalanche of mainstream media articles unleashed by the NYT piece: The Washington Post, The Hill, The New York Post, National Post, Washington Examiner, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Vanity Fair and a long etcetera. At last! This is what UFO buffs always wanted, right? Right??
Well, Yes and No…
For starters, what would superficially seem like a deluge of UFO-related news is just the same story repeated and commented upon over and over again; namely the testimony of NAVY aviators who were part of the “Red Rippers” Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 11 (VFA-11) of F-18s Super Hornets, who had a series of bizarre encounters with unidentified objects while they were on training maneuvers on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt at the United States’ East coast in 2014-2015, prior to their deployment to the Persian gulf. One of those encounters would account for the famous ‘Gimbal’ video released by To the Stars in 2017.
Secondly, the drip-dripping of small tidbits of information pertaining to these encounters across UFO online circles, coupled with the timing of the first articles that hit the news early this week, seems to suggest they were all part of a heavy-handed PR campaign aiming to promote History’s TV series Unidentified, which premieres tonight at 10pm Eastern – and no, I’m not the only one saying that: De Void’s Billy Cox and The Drive’s Tyler Rogoway also share that opinion, albeit they may not express it as bluntly as I am. Some of those articles were op-eds written by people directly involved with To The Stars (Tom DeLonge and Chris Mellon) while the rest are natural reactions of modern mainstream media of seeing a hot topic and joining the trend –most media nowadays consist of 90% punditry and 10% actual investigation, after all.
We’ve also learned that some of the journalists who have been recently writing about these stories encounters also make an appearance as talking heads on Unidentified — like Politico‘s Bryan Bender, who failed to mention his involvement with the TV series when he wrote about the Navy’s new guidelines for reporting UAPs. In the service of transparency these journalists should have made a ‘full disclosure’ (pun totally intended) of their level of involvement with TTSA and the series’ producers.
So, if the current ‘UFO hype’ was orchestrated at some level, has it at least attained the desired effect? As an outsider observer of American society –and UFO Disclosure seems to be mostly centered in the United States at the moment– I can only comment on what I can assess from online interactions. Over the week popular influencers like Xeni Jardin and Chris Hayes expressed varying levels of interest on the New York Times article on social media, despite not being particularly interested in the UFO phenomenon per se, and remaining agnostic about its possible otherworldly implications. A cursory review on the comments found in Hayes’ thread ranged from the LOLzy (“Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos”), to the Meh-sy (“This is a two-year old news”) to the witty-yet-poignant (“Until they are talking about it in a Midwest diner it doesn’t matter”).
The “two-year old” remark is worth pointing out, because it shows confusion mixed with apathy. The uninterested reader skims through the content and sees the same TTSA-watermarked screen grab of the Gimbal video that was first published by the NYT in 2017, and concludes this is yesterday’s news –after all, we’re all still here which means the aliens haven’t vaporized us (we’ll get back to that).
What can be the source of that apathy, aside from the decades-old cultural disregard for the UFO subject? Part of it might be the fact that we live in an age of sensory overload: We wake up at the sound of our cell phone’s alarm, and the first thing we do is open Twitter or Facebook, to check out what our social circles are ranting or raving about. This week we burned our thumbs giving our opinion about Mueller’s statement, Trump’s bullying moves against China and Mexico, and the unresolved issue of Brexit. Meanwhile we remember there are bills to pay, our monthly mortgage/student debt monthly payment is due, and on top of it all there’s the Damocles sword on top of everyone’s head called Climate Change.
It’s hard to pay attention to the lights in the sky, when the ground itself is on fire.
But then again, that might have been part of the plan all along: Dimming the brunt of the impact of UFO reality by releasing key information when people are too busy navigating life in the 21st century, in order to prevent everything to screech and collapse awaiting further revelations. Such have been possible scenarios for a “lower-case disclosure” explored by theorists in the field like Richard Dolan and Bryce Zavel.
And there’s also no denying that, despite the fact we’re still going about our business as best we can, people ARE talking about UFOs. Asner’s introductory tweet is one example, and so is John Podesta’s. As cynical and skeptical of TTSA’s ultimate intentions or modus operandi you could be, one cannot deny a certain amount of the old stigma is being lifted. If the trend lasts is anyone guess, especially since the engineered hype is not being currently backed by the one thing that REALLY riles up the masses and motivates them to demand answers from their appointed leaders: A good old UFO flap over populated areas –the fact that TTSA relies on events that happened 4-5 years ago will be a hard sell in the age of the instant news feedback.
One thing is for sure, and that is even though we may not be witnessing the dawn of Disclosure, we ARE witnessing the end of UFOlogy as we have currently known it for the last 30 years. TTSA is where it’s at and MUFON is nothing but a bloated whale carcass rotting on the beach of public opinion, and if people are still renewing their memberships it’s probably more out of a sentiment of old camaraderie rather than a real pursuit for investigating UFOs. The need for belonging is deep, but not perennial.
It would seem TTSA achieved what NICAP and APRO only dreamed of, even though Chris Mellon’s op-ed on The Hill explicitly states TTSA is not interested in following the route of previous UFO groups, and doesn’t perceive any value in ‘Congress hearings’ in order to increase public awareness on the subject. It seems TTSA’s message to the government is clear: “We want to work with you, not against you.” Perhaps that approach will pay short-term dividends, hinted at by the recent (unofficial) news Lockheed Martin is partnering with TTSA – a move that should surprise no one, since the former head of Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks, Steve Justice, is a board member of TTSA.
It also seems TTSA is not gaining any meaningful opposition from the usual skeptic circles. The New York Times article quoted an astrophysicist whose only contribution to the discussion was to turn his lame debunking attempts to explain away the Red Rippers’ observations of anomalous phenomena (“bugs in the code”) into the new “swamp gas” of the 21st century. An explanation that doesn’t even trie to tackle the near-collision of two fighter planes with an object described as a “cube encased in a sphere.”
No. The old rules in UFOlogy have changed: Philip Klass and Donald Menzel’s heirs (Shostak and DeGrasse Tyson) have also been made irrelevant, and the only meaningful counterweights to TTSA’s narrative are currently coming from critics inside UFOlogy, like John Greenewald’s The Black Vault –which has published interesting findings relating to the provenance of the videos promoted by TTSA, and whether they have a right to commercially exploit them– and Jack Brewer at The UFO Trail, who (among other things) has been researching the shady connections between MUFON and Robert Bigelow during the days when he had the AATIP contract with the Pentagon.
And there’s also Tyler Rogoway, whose writings at The Drive leave the question open on whether the Navy was actually testing American breakthrough technology under ideal (and controlled) conditions, given the fact the Roosevelt incidents happened 10 years after the Nimitz encounters –also promoted by TTSA– and on both occasions the Navy had fitted their ships and fighter jets with the same top-of-the-line radar systems. Although that prospect seems as unrealistic as bonafide ETs playing cat-and-mouse with US fighters just as a way to kill time between hyper-jumps, the fact that a scientist working for the Navy was granted a patent for an exotic propulsion craft which went into effect TODAY — coinciding with the premiere of Unidentified – is at the very least synchronistically curious.
It doesn’t take a Stargate remote viewer, though, to guess both synchronicities and critical arguments like the ones presented by Brewer and Greenewald will NOT be featured on History’s Unidentified…
The question to ask is then: Will TTSA manage to maintain the current hype they have tried so hard to create with the help of their journalist allies and their partnered TV series Unidentified, since they are so bent on focusing solely on the (alleged) technological aspects of the phenomenon –the impossible accelerations/decelerations, the physics-defying 90° turns and the ability of these objects to hover “for days” on the same spot– given the fact that a huge chunk of the public will presumably ask during or after they tune in to History’s Unidentified: “So what about my neighbor who says she’s been abducted by aliens? Is she crazy or is that part of what’s going on, too?”
Because THAT is the main reason why some of us are willing to criticize To the Stars’ otherwise commendable push to bring UFOs into ‘respectability’: Because in order to do that they seem to be willing to leave the most significant aspects of the UFO mystery out of the ongoing discussion. They will leave the high strangeness behind, without understanding that high strangeness is THE most important part of the whole phenomenon. They will say to their viewers, “We need to be aware of this highly advanced technological presence threatening our sovereignty!” and the public will ask, “If they are so advanced, how come they haven’t invaded/colonized/destroyed us yet? Have there been any actual DEATHS in these encounters between our pilots and these ‘tic-tac’ thingies?” And TTSA may not have a way to answer.
The ball is in TTSA’s court now. Unidentified will premiere in a few hours, and it will change the UFO conversation further. The usual suspects will jump up and down with any tiny morsel of new information thrown at them –some “NATO ally” that shared their experiences with AATIP, some new tiny, revelation hand-crafted to keep the buzz going.
But as all things in this murky field, NOTHING is as straightforward as it seems.
We are facing a form of intelligence that cannot simply be tracked with radars and cameras. It was already here before science was invented; it will still be here when science becomes superseded by other ways of gaining knowledge. Our soul is the only tool that is of any use in this search. Our soul, alas! What is left of it?