Tag Archives: By Billy Cox

Post Pentagon’s UFO Research Program Revelations – Skeptics Regroup

Post Pentagon’s UFO Research Program Revelations – Skeptics Regroup

Now the counterpunch

     Nearly two months after The New York Times dropped the bomb about the Pentagon’s UFO research program, the Skeptics have had a chance to catch their breath and regroup. To be sure, the Times piece caught everybody off guard, and clearly there’s a ton of reporting left to do. Unfortunately, the media clamor that followed the Times’ coup has tapered off, and the only thing we’ve learned about the Defense Department’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program since then comes courtesy of KLAS-TV investigative reporter George Knapp.
Billy Cox
By Billy Cox
De Void
2-8-18

Luis Elizondo

The Times’ primary source, the recently retired Army intelligence officer Luis Elizondo, stated in December the AATIP was operational from 2007-2012, but he added it was still being maintained in an unofficial capacity with an assist from the Navy and the CIA. Last week, in a little nugget that would appear to bear him out, Elizondo told Knapp the so-called “gimbal video” — the one that showed gun-cam footage of a Navy F-18 pursuing a UFO – was recorded in the skies above Florida in 2015. The original, carefully worded NYT story, which was accompanied by that video, mentioned an event off San Diego in 2004. Many readers, including yours truly, inferred the gimbal footage referenced that 14-year-old incident.

Gimbal UFO
Is this a true unknown or the infrared profile of conventional airplane exhaust? Skeptics are making a case for the latter and challenging the credibility of the Navy pilots who chased this thing/CREDIT: U.S. Department of Defense
That begs the question: Why did it take us two months to learn the gimbal video was from 2015? The date, time and place of that encounter should’ve been included with the Times’ original reporting in December. The fact that it wasn’t suggests the reporters have fragmented information and are still piecing the scope of this thing together. And, in the absence of followups, the Skeptics are filling that space with counterarguments that aren’t implausible.

The most recent explanation for the gimbal video is a post by Committee for Skeptical Inquiry contributor Ian Williams Goddard. “By happenstance,” Goddard says in a YouTube explainer that went up last week, “the gimbal footage presents a fantastic confluence of visual confounders that produce a coherent illusion of a gravity-defying flying saucer.” Goddard reminds viewers that the F-18 video was obtained with infrared optics, which record only heat emissions, not the actual object itself. He goes to great lengths to illustrate how camera movement can account for what appears to be rotation by the F-18’s target. Goddard’s conclusion is that the Navy pilots were actually confused by the exhaust from a distant but conventional aircraft.

Without additional information from the To The Stars Academy, the investigative team that’s ostensibly calling the shots here, detractors are beginning to command the conversation. And you can always detect a Skeptical agenda by how quickly its advocates employ buzzwords that many serious researchers tend to avoid. Goddard informs us that “Rotating infrared signatures are not necessarily evidence of extraterrestrial technology,” and few would argue that. The E word is implicitly pejorative, since there’s no observational way to prove the origin of a UFO without “Gliese 581c” or “Trappist-1″ stamped on the fuselage.

Last week, on the SETI Institute’s “Skeptic Check” podcast, astronomer Seth Shostak and sidekick Molly Bentley empaneled the usual suspects to weigh in on the mystery. Shostak dusted off the familiar old trope – “The single video released does not provide conclusive proof of alien visitation” – and gave the mic to folks like astronomer and Center for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) consultant James McGaha.

McGaha, a pilot and retired USAF officer, attacked the credibility of the Navy pilots who shared their eyewitness accounts with the Times in December. McGaha asserted that only astronomers like, like, well, McGaha, are qualified to interpret weird images in the sky.

“Pilots are not trained observers, and police officers are not trained observers,” he told the podcast, “and they see things in the sky all the time that they don’t understand what they are, because they don’t know astronomy, atmospheric physics, and various other things that could possibly cause lights in the sky.”

Stephenville Empire Tribune UFO Headlines

Given the inherent inferiority of being a pilot without a degree in astronomy, it’s a little disingenuous for McGaha to take the word of a single helicopter pilot to discredit the dramatic 2008 Stephenville UFO incident, the subject of a 77-page report that supported multiple eyewitness testimonies with government radar records. Without revealing the helicopter pilot’s name (the pilot obviously had a degree in astronomy), McGaha said the only unusual thing happening in the sky over the Texas cowtown that night was an F-16 flare-drop exercise. Nothing to see here, folks.

Also joining Shostak’s crew was Benjamin Radford, a CSI research fellow who suggested the AATIP was a “pork project” cooked up by former Sen. Harry Reid as a sop to hotelier/aerospace entrepreneur Robert Bigelow. According to the Times, the AATIP’s $22 million in expenditures included modifying some of Bigelow’s facilities in Las Vegas to accommodate “the storage of metal alloys and other materials … recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena.” Exactly why a billionaire would do this for a lousy $22M with government strings attached is a mystery, but at least part of Radford’s concerns about funneling taxpayer money to a wealthy constituent are worth consideration. Especially if we’re dealing with hyperexotic material.

UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the RecordRetired Johnson Space Center engineer Jim Oberg isn’t quite the unbiased observer he says he is when it comes to UFOs. In his thumbs-down critique of Leslie Kean’s 2010 book UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record, Oberg was canny enough to steer clear of problematic radar data that bolstered pilot reports; instead, he confined his remarks to the fallibility of human perception. (Kean, as most of you know, worked with the Times on the AATIP story).

When Oberg joined “Skeptic Check,” however, he raised a point that should concern us all when it comes to the clout of private-sector special interests, like Robert Bigelow.

“There’s a feeling that if the UFOs are real, and he does the study,” Oberg said, “that his company would be able to make use of any discoveries, any patents, any technologies that are found.”

In that event, we’d be talking serious national security implications, which makes this a conversation we need to have. This is the age of Martin Shkreli, not Jonas Salk. As for the Times reporting — guys, give us something, anything, radar records, more video, just one (1) of the alleged three dozen AATIP reports floating around somewhere out there. Let’s get this show on the road again. Soon.

Continue Reading ►

See Also:

Understanding the Science of UFOs and Space Time Metric Engineering | VIDEO

Secret UFO Program Recorded Encounters with Unknown Objects | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

UFO-Pentagon FOIA Request Delayed

BREAKING NEWS: The Pentagon’s Mysterious UFO Program Revealed | VIDEO

Ex-CIA Chief – Keep Studying UFOs

Herald Tribune Reporter, Billy Cox Queries CIA On Chase Brandon’s Roswell UFO Claims

Luis Elizando Former Head of Secret Pentagon UFO Program Describes Five Categories of UFOs | INTERVIEW

While Waiting for the Next New York Times UFO Bomb to Drop

Navy Pilot, Who Chased A UFO, Says ‘We Should Take Them Seriously’

UFO Legacy: What Impact Will Revelation of Secret Government Program Have?

UFO Reports at Nuclear Missile Sites and The Pentagon UFO Program

Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson Discusses The Pentagon UFO Program on Colbert | VIDEO

Ex-Military Official Details Pentagon’s Secret UFO Hunt | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Pentagon’s Secret UFO Search, Stanton Friedman Weighs In | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

What the New York Times UFO Report Actually Reveals

‘Second’ Navy Pilot Comes Forward Re UFO Encounter | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

‘The Pentagon’s Newly Revealed UFO Research Program’ – What a Week!

On the Trail of a Secret Pentagon U.F.O. Program

UFO-Pentagon Story Reflects Fundamental Problems

Pentagon UFO Study Examined UFO Activity at Nuclear Missile Sites Says Former U.S. Senator Harry Reid

UFO Study Focused on U.S. Military Encounters

PENTAGON UFO PROGRAM: ‘Recovered Material’ From UFOs Discussed By Leslie Kean | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Senator Reid Discusses Secret UFO Program | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Navy Pilot Recounts UFO Encounter | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Aliens, UFOs, Flying Discs and Sightings — Oh My!

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

Navy Pilot Talks: The UFO Jammed Their Radar — ‘It Accelerated Beyond Any Airplane We Have’

BREAKING NEWS: The Pentagon’s Mysterious UFO Program Revealed | VIDEO

Navy UFO Encounter: ‘It Accelerated Like Nothing I’ve Ever Seen’ – F/A-18F Pilot | VIDEO

Secret UFO Pentagon Program Explained By Leslie Kean | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Secret Pentagon UFO Program Spent Millions

The Pentagon’s Secret Search for UFOs

REPORT YOUR UFO EXPERIENCE

Read more »

Read More

The Secret UFO Program and Absolution

The Secret UFO Program and Absolution

Vindication on the links

     Maybe the only tangible payoff for Dom Armentano as a result of last month’s revelations about the Pentagon’s UFO research project is that his golfing buddies don’t think he’s crazy anymore. That may not sound like a big deal, but consider:

Armentano grew up in the 1950s, when the radical new communications technology of television began to find an audience. Sixty years ago this month, he tuned in to the Armstrong Circle Theatre, a live, scripted variety show

Billy Cox

By Billy Cox
De Void
1-30-18

produced by CBS that often dramatized current events. On that particular evening, retired USMC Maj. Donald Keyhoe was on deck. He’d written a number of articles and books on what were then called flying saucers, and he charged the Air Force with concealing information from the public.

The moment Keyhoe tried go off-script, the director cut his audio feed, with millions watching, a move that begat one of the original and enduring American conspiracy genres. The ensuing public clamor prompted CBS to issue an acknowledgement that “This program had been carefully cleared for security reasons,” with the paternalistic assertion that “public interest was served by the action taken by CBS.”

Two months later, in damage-control mode, CBS scheduled Keyhoe for an unrehearsed interview with a young Mike Wallace. Keyhoe showed Wallace a copy of his earlier prepared statement, the one military censors redacted prior to the Circle Theatre appearance. Keyhoe had wanted to challenge the USAF’s contention that just 1.9 percent of all UFO cases were unknown; in fact, the Air Force had hidden the real figures inside something called Blue Book Special Report 14, which indicated 19 percent were unknown. Wallace, ever the provocateur, confronted Keyhoe with a critique from a popular columnist who wrote that “flying saucers are products of, for the most part, quote, pranksters, half-wits, cranks, publicity hounds, fanatics in general, and screwballs.”

This was Armentano’s introduction to The Great Taboo. His career track – advocate for libertarian policies, economics professor at the University of Hartford, adjunct professor with the Cato Institute – guided him safely away from those labels, but he kept a close eye on news from the fringe. So when The Times delivered its 12/16/17 scoop about how the Defense Department maintained a UFO research program, Armentano felt absolved enough to crow about it to the Indian River Press Journal near his home in Vero Beach.

“The deep intelligence state has known for at least 70 years that some UFOs were real,” he argued in an op-ed on January 17. The “decades-long public policy of secrecy and denial,” Armentano went on, “is foolish and dangerous in the extreme and puts our entire democratic process at risk.” He reminded Press Journal readers what happened to him in 2008, immediately after the paper published his call for federal transparency on UFO. That’s when Cato terminated its relationship with him, even though Armentano’s article never mentioned or hinted at his affiliation with the libertarian think tank. A Press Journal editor had attached a Cato blurb to his byline.

“I won’t deny that this latest op-ed played a role in our decision,” Cato Executive Vice President David Boaz informed Armentano, even as the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification program was quietly conducting its business, from 2007-12, at a cost of $22M. “Some day we may look back and wish we’d listened to you. But for now this strikes us as not an issue that we want to have as part of Cato’s research agenda.”

Armentano never asked Cato to add UFOs to its agenda, but no matter, Boaz couldn’t handle it, and it didn’t end there. Armentano got another reality check the following year, this time when he approached the Christian Science Monitor about writing an editorial on UFOs. It wasn’t as if Armentano was some unknown Goober. In May 2009, CSM published one of his opinions about President Obama’s new antitrust regulations. But this time around, just four months later, the Monitor said sorry, no thanks.

“UFOs,” explained CSM editor Josh Burek in an email to De Void, “are simply not on the public policy radar screen, not at a time when we’re debating health care reform, cap and trade, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, North Korea, the recession, etc.” Furthermore, “Dom’s essay, like so many others, simply didn’t rise to a sufficient level of public salience and/or newsworthiness.”

That last part was a little peculiar, because Armentano hadn’t even submitted his essay for review, only as a topic proposal. Anyhow, Burek’s judiciousness apparently served him well. Today, he’s the director of Global Communications and Strategy for Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center of Science and International Affairs.

Last week, career intelligence officer and former CIA director John Brennan told the Herald-Tribune he was well aware of official government inquiries into the UFO dilemma, and he voiced support for sustained research. But Armentano’s Press Journal piece, which called for “open Congressional hearings and full disclosure,” merely echoed the position Brennan’s distant predecessor, Vice Admiral R. H. Hillenkoetter, took in 1960.

In a UPI article carried by the Times, Hillenkoetter, the nation’s first CIA director (1947-50), voiced his dismay over the military’s hoarding of UFO data. “Behind the scenes,” Hillenkoetter declared, “high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense.” He accused the USAF of imposing a gag order on its personnel.

So it’s been a long journey for Armentano. A decade ago, “most of my professional colleagues in law and economics thought I’d lost my mind” following the Cato fiasco, he declared in the Press Journal this time around. Now that the former director of the Pentagon program has gone public, the Conspiracy Nut moniker doesn’t fit anymore, and Armentano’s golfing partners aren’t giving him much crap lately. Are they bringing new eyes to the subject now?

“No, not really,” Armentano tells De Void. “I don’t think they’re all that interested.”

Psst — NY Times. Time for the followup.

Continue Reading ►

See Also:

UFOs: What Has the U.S. Government Been Hiding?

Secret UFO Program Recorded Encounters with Unknown Objects | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

UFO-Pentagon FOIA Request Delayed

BREAKING NEWS: The Pentagon’s Mysterious UFO Program Revealed | VIDEO

Ex-CIA Chief – Keep Studying UFOs

Herald Tribune Reporter, Billy Cox Queries CIA On Chase Brandon’s Roswell UFO Claims

Luis Elizando Former Head of Secret Pentagon UFO Program Describes Five Categories of UFOs | INTERVIEW

While Waiting for the Next New York Times UFO Bomb to Drop

Navy Pilot, Who Chased A UFO, Says ‘We Should Take Them Seriously’

UFO Legacy: What Impact Will Revelation of Secret Government Program Have?

UFO Reports at Nuclear Missile Sites and The Pentagon UFO Program

Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson Discusses The Pentagon UFO Program on Colbert | VIDEO

Ex-Military Official Details Pentagon’s Secret UFO Hunt | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Pentagon’s Secret UFO Search, Stanton Friedman Weighs In | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

What the New York Times UFO Report Actually Reveals

‘Second’ Navy Pilot Comes Forward Re UFO Encounter | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

‘The Pentagon’s Newly Revealed UFO Research Program’ – What a Week!

On the Trail of a Secret Pentagon U.F.O. Program

UFO-Pentagon Story Reflects Fundamental Problems

Pentagon UFO Study Examined UFO Activity at Nuclear Missile Sites Says Former U.S. Senator Harry Reid

UFO Study Focused on U.S. Military Encounters

PENTAGON UFO PROGRAM: ‘Recovered Material’ From UFOs Discussed By Leslie Kean | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Senator Reid Discusses Secret UFO Program | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Navy Pilot Recounts UFO Encounter | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Aliens, UFOs, Flying Discs and Sightings — Oh My!

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

Navy Pilot Talks: The UFO Jammed Their Radar — ‘It Accelerated Beyond Any Airplane We Have’

BREAKING NEWS: The Pentagon’s Mysterious UFO Program Revealed | VIDEO

Navy UFO Encounter: ‘It Accelerated Like Nothing I’ve Ever Seen’ – F/A-18F Pilot | VIDEO

Secret UFO Pentagon Program Explained By Leslie Kean | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Secret Pentagon UFO Program Spent Millions

The Pentagon’s Secret Search for UFOs

REPORT YOUR UFO EXPERIENCE

Read more »

Read More

Ex-CIA Chief – Keep Studying UFOs

Ex-CIA Chief - Keep Studying UFOs

     Shortly before taking the stage Monday morning at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota to discuss his career as a Central Intelligence Agency officer, John Brennan paused backstage for a few questions from the press. Thirty-seven years in intel, his last four as President Obama’s CIA chief, 2013-17, Brennan had the ear of the president in 1994-95. That’s when he delivered Bill Clinton’s President’s Daily Brief. And this was the so-called Rockefeller Initiative era, when billionaire Laurance Rockefeller persistently lobbied Clinton’s White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to release all government documents on the UFO issue.
Billy Cox

By Billy Cox
De Void
1-22-18

Clinton left office without finding those documents, but former First Lady/former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attempted to make UFO transparency an issue during her 2016 presidential run. Last month, The New York Times broke the story about the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification program, complete with F-18 pursuit videos and interviews with pilots and the project director, Luis Elizondo. The $22 million study was officially conducted between 2007 and 2012, but Elizondo said research is ongoing. The AATI program is said to have generated three dozen separate reports, none of which have been released.

Five years ago, same venue, Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lecture Series, Sarasota, Van Wezel, backstage, De Void grabbed a sound bite from one of Brennan’s predecessors, then-recently retired CIA director/Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Months earlier, the CIA’s ex-Hollywood image-spinner, a guy named Chase Brandon, had gone on record about finding a box in the CIA Historical Intelligence Collection crammed with official documentation of the alleged 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, N.M. Said he found it during the mid-1990s. Gates, a friend and colleague of Chase Brandon, declined to challenge Brandon’s story.

“As director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense,” Gates told De Void in 2013, “I think I have had every security clearance that there is available in the United States government. I first joined the government 46 years ago and I have never seen one shred of evidence or one report of any kind of UFO or remains or cadavers or anything.”

That said, here’s Brennan, the man who worked Gates’ old job until 2017, on the record today, when queried about the Pentagon AATI initiative. America’s spymaster was cordial and unblinking:

“I think over the past several decades there have been a number of phenomena that have been observed by pilots, both commercial pilots, both military pilots, that are basically unexplained. Maybe it’s the result of some type of atmospheric conditions or something else. And so I think the Pentagon rightly is trying to understand whether or not any of these phenomena have implications as far as national security is concerned. Some people refer to it as UFO, an unidentified flying object, it’s something that is observed but there is no determination about what its origin or provenance is.

“During the course of my career, both in the CIA as well as the White House, I was aware that there were endeavors to try to discern what some of these phenomena are.” Me: What did you learn? “That most of them remain unexplained. But that shouldn’t mean that we don’t continue to pursue it. And try to apply the latest technologies and the latest science to understand what may be going on.

“We know that a number of our adversaries continue to try to look for gaps and vulnerabilities in our national defense so anything that might take place in the air, in the atmosphere, is something that I think is rightly an area for pursuit on the part of our intelligence community and Defense Department.”

The schedule was tight. Onto the next question.

My kingdom for another five minutes …

Continue Reading ►

See Also:

Herald Tribune Reporter, Billy Cox Queries CIA On Chase Brandon’s Roswell UFO Claims

Luis Elizando Former Head of Secret Pentagon UFO Program Describes Five Categories of UFOs | INTERVIEW

While Waiting for the Next New York Times UFO Bomb to Drop

Navy Pilot, Who Chased A UFO, Says ‘We Should Take Them Seriously’

UFO Legacy: What Impact Will Revelation of Secret Government Program Have?

UFO Reports at Nuclear Missile Sites and The Pentagon UFO Program

Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson Discusses The Pentagon UFO Program on Colbert | VIDEO

Ex-Military Official Details Pentagon’s Secret UFO Hunt | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Pentagon’s Secret UFO Search, Stanton Friedman Weighs In | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

What the New York Times UFO Report Actually Reveals

‘Second’ Navy Pilot Comes Forward Re UFO Encounter | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

‘The Pentagon’s Newly Revealed UFO Research Program’ – What a Week!

On the Trail of a Secret Pentagon U.F.O. Program

UFO-Pentagon Story Reflects Fundamental Problems

Pentagon UFO Study Examined UFO Activity at Nuclear Missile Sites Says Former U.S. Senator Harry Reid

UFO Study Focused on U.S. Military Encounters

PENTAGON UFO PROGRAM: ‘Recovered Material’ From UFOs Discussed By Leslie Kean | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Senator Reid Discusses Secret UFO Program | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Navy Pilot Recounts UFO Encounter | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Aliens, UFOs, Flying Discs and Sightings — Oh My!

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

Navy Pilot Talks: The UFO Jammed Their Radar — ‘It Accelerated Beyond Any Airplane We Have’

BREAKING NEWS: The Pentagon’s Mysterious UFO Program Revealed | VIDEO

Navy UFO Encounter: ‘It Accelerated Like Nothing I’ve Ever Seen’ – F/A-18F Pilot | VIDEO

Secret UFO Pentagon Program Explained By Leslie Kean | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Secret Pentagon UFO Program Spent Millions

The Pentagon’s Secret Search for UFOs

REPORT YOUR UFO EXPERIENCE

Read more »

Read More

While Waiting for the Next New York Times UFO Bomb to Drop

While Waiting for the Next New York Times UFO Bomb to Drop

How deep will ‘the government’ go?

     While waiting for the next New York Times UFO bomb to drop:

Ahh, to be a fly-sized drone on the wall of the fifth floor of the Pentagon’s C ring or wherever it is they’re trying to figure out how to manage whatever comes next. Like, who, exactly, specifically, should own this month-old mess? Is the old guard hoping Trump’s tweetstreams can keep the media preoccupied with meaningless noise? After all, last month’s cookie-cutter headlines — The Guardian (“Pentagon admits running secret UFO program for five years”), USA Today (“Defense Department Confirms They Funded UFO Program”),


By Billy Cox
De Void
1-16-18

and the New York Daily News (“Department of Defense admits to running UFO program”), etc. – raised more questions than answers.

After resigning in October as a career intelligence officer, inside man Luis Elizondo told the Times in December what he knew about the DoD’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification program to study UFOs. Although a laconic military flack confirmed the existence of the five-year, $22M initiative that ended in 2012, not a single serious federal acronym or bigwig currently in its employ has since been held to account for the myriad questions this revelation raises. Few investigators are feeling more hamstrung by federal obstinance than Robert Powell.

Founder of a research team called the Scientific Coalition for Ufology, Powell is the investigative point man on two relatively recent and provocative UFO incidents. One left radar tracks and confused military pilots over Stephenville, Texas, before creeping to the very edge of restricted airspace over President Bush’s Crawford ranch in 2008. The other was an ocean-dipping airborne bogey videotaped by U.S. border patrol agents over coastal Puerto Rico in 2013. The latter was documented with the same infrared technology F-18 Navy jets used to acquire the riveting UFO sequences at the center of the Times reporting in December.

Powell, who also co-authored an indispensable history about what happened when honest scientists studying UFOs confronted military roadblocks after World War II, did a very smart thing in July. That’s when he resigned as the Mutual UFO Network’s research director, for reasons too pathetic to waste time with here. Suffice it to say, there aren’t a lot of grant dollars going to an outfit whose leadership includes a prophetess renowned for channeling ancient wisdom and insight from a 35,000-year-old Lemurian warrior named Ramtha. Hello, MUFON? This is the MacArthur Genius Foundation’s board of directors calling, and we’re trying to book Ramtha for a TED talk?

Anyhow, before all that, in 2016, Powell started pounding the military bureaucracy with FOIAs in hopes of authenticating the 2004 F-18 incident, which had slipped quietly into the public domain at an independent naval aviation blog in 2007. At the Open Minds online forum in October, Powell detailed his largely unsuccessful efforts to render an accurate accounting of what happened off the coast of San Diego nearly 18 years ago, and it’s worth a read.

On 11/14/04, the UFO in question obliged military cameras during training exercises. Five naval components were involved, including the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and the USS Princeton, a guided missile destroyer. Powell dispatched FOIAs for details about the encounter to the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Marine Corps, the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the Naval Air Warfare Center, the Naval Air Facilities Engineering Command, Naval Sea Systems Command, and Naval History and Heritage Command. All he got were goose eggs. Powell was incredulous. “So you’re telling me we have five assets and you don’t have any documents on any of those assets from that day, no deck logs or anything?” he says. “That’s unbelievable.”

Following Powell’s appeal last April, which also copied members of Congress, the Navy managed to produce contemporary anecdotal emails from service members who stated they’d heard about or seen the F-18 video. All told, Powell wound up with nine names of USMC or Navy officers with knowledge, peripheral or otherwise, about the event. He continues to explore those leads. Thanks to the NY Times’ blurb about how the Pentagon’s UFO program was initiated by the Defense Intelligence Agency, Powell is now pumping the DIA for info on F-18 incident, too.

The most important witnesses to step forward are retired Navy pilots David Fravor and Jim Straight, who went on to talk about pursuing a bogey that was painted by surface radar, was invisible to in-flight radar, and pulled maneuvers that appeared to crumple the laws of physics. Unless and until official provenance of that footage is established, says Powell, the pilot testimony is much more convincing than stand-alone video.

“We need more documentation. We need to show a FOIA paper trail that establishes a chain of command,” Powell says. “So much of what I’m hearing doesn’t make sense. The Navy can’t find anything, so how can the DIA or the Defense Department have information the Navy doesn’t?”

The defense bureaucracy is clearly at odds with itself. Again, it’d be great to eavesdrop on the contortions playing out within those privileged circles, because a credible, cogent government narrative ratchets this thing up to a very serious level. Maybe, one day sooner than we think, those of us who’ve long advocated for more transparency will get a sharper understanding of what it means to be careful what you wish for. But if the Times keeps doing decent journalism, turning back is not an option, not anymore. Even if — or especially if — it undercuts our conceits about having the fastest, stealthiest, baddest bells and whistles in the sky.

Continue Reading ►

See Also:

Navy Pilot, Who Chased A UFO, Says ‘We Should Take Them Seriously’

UFO Legacy: What Impact Will Revelation of Secret Government Program Have?

UFO Reports at Nuclear Missile Sites and The Pentagon UFO Program

Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson Discusses The Pentagon UFO Program on Colbert | VIDEO

Ex-Military Official Details Pentagon’s Secret UFO Hunt | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Pentagon’s Secret UFO Search, Stanton Friedman Weighs In | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

What the New York Times UFO Report Actually Reveals

‘Second’ Navy Pilot Comes Forward Re UFO Encounter | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

‘The Pentagon’s Newly Revealed UFO Research Program’ – What a Week!

On the Trail of a Secret Pentagon U.F.O. Program

UFO-Pentagon Story Reflects Fundamental Problems

Pentagon UFO Study Examined UFO Activity at Nuclear Missile Sites Says Former U.S. Senator Harry Reid

UFO Study Focused on U.S. Military Encounters

PENTAGON UFO PROGRAM: ‘Recovered Material’ From UFOs Discussed By Leslie Kean | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Senator Reid Discusses Secret UFO Program | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Navy Pilot Recounts UFO Encounter | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Aliens, UFOs, Flying Discs and Sightings — Oh My!

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

Navy Pilot Talks: The UFO Jammed Their Radar — ‘It Accelerated Beyond Any Airplane We Have’

BREAKING NEWS: The Pentagon’s Mysterious UFO Program Revealed | VIDEO

Navy UFO Encounter: ‘It Accelerated Like Nothing I’ve Ever Seen’ – F/A-18F Pilot | VIDEO

Secret UFO Pentagon Program Explained By Leslie Kean | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Secret Pentagon UFO Program Spent Millions

The Pentagon’s Secret Search for UFOs

REPORT YOUR UFO EXPERIENCE

Read more »

Read More

UFO Reports at Nuclear Missile Sites and The Pentagon UFO Program

UFO Reports at Nuclear Missile Sites and The Pentagon UFO Program

Now, about those nukes …

     Just how much momentum The New York Times’ reporting on UFOs will carry into 2018 depends largely on, ahem, The New York Times. Steady followup coverage of its 12/16/17 scoop on the Pentagon’s $22M Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification (AATI) program reminds us of what we already know, that nothing gets traditional media off its ass better than The Grey Lady. Reader traffic has been massive, expectations are high and, as critics point out, The Times has a ton of loose ends to address. Incentives aplenty. But just how far into the uncharted waters of this species of journalism is management willing to swim?

By Billy Cox
De Void
1-1-17

Among the many questions raised in the stampede of copycat reporting: How, exactly, does the Defense Department justify, on national security grounds, investing millions of $$$ in pursuit of The Great Taboo? Well, for starters, retired former Senate majority leader Harry Reid points to veterans’ first-person accounts of UFOs’ apparent fascination with America’s nuclear stockpiles. An amazing story — but will the media take the bait? A leading authority on the mysterious incursions into U.S. missile fields has learned that 40 years of research haven’t accomplished what The Times managed to do in December: create a UFO buzz that lasts at least two consecutive weeks.

Robert Hastings, the 67-year-old author of 2008’s UFOs & Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites and producer of a 2015 documentary by the same name, has been collecting these stories since he was a teenager. In 2010, he thought he’d finally cracked the nut when CNN live-streamed a press conference he arranged at National Press Club in Washington, D.C. For 87 minutes, seven retired military retirees – including a base commander, a combat crew commander, and a missile-targeting officer – told the world how UFOs breached restricted airspace, hovered near WMD platforms, sometimes swept the facilities with lights and, in at least one case, sabotaged communications between launch control and the nuclear warheads.

In short, these guys delivered the sort of testimony that would, were the elusive offenders linked to a foreign country, spark a debate over quality-control protocols safeguarding our extinction-capacity weapons. Media coverage of the press conference, however, was grudging. “It was a short-lived bump,” says Hastings from his home in Colorado. “And a week later, we were back to business as usual. It was as if it never happened.”

A few places, like Stars and Stripes, played it down the middle. Others took their cues from the likes of Washington Post columnist John Kelly, who gave it the brushoff by informing readers he attended the event for the free cookies. Popular Science distanced itself by hiding behind the sci-fi headline “Paging Fox Mulder.” Alluding to reports of UFOs taking U.S. nuclear warheads off-line in North Dakota, a Wired account chimed in, “Earth is being monitored by intergalactic hippies.” And this from a Forbes reporter: “I don’t take this stuff at face value (to say the least), but I do love a grand yarn.”

Hastings has more than 160 veterans’ “grand yarns” on file, but he’s not optimistic about The Times or any other news gatherer taking the UFO story to the next level. For one thing, the next level includes an entrenched, and disjointed, military bureaucracy suffering from sclerotic thinking in the glasnost department. He regards Luis Elizondo, the former Defense Department analyst who spilled the beans on AATI, as a lonely outlier. Though KLAS-TV’s coverage from Las Vegas cites anonymous sources claiming AATI-related projects produced 36 separate and so-far-unreleased reports, Hastings doubts that spigot has much water left.

“Mr. Elizondo said the reason he left the Pentagon was because of resistence from unnamed persons and organizations who don’t want this sort of information out there,” he said. “It’s the same sort of resistance (USAF Project Blue Book director) Captain (Edward) Ruppelt went up against in the 1950s – he was under a lot of pressure to keep this as quiet as possible.”

More ominously, however, Hastings says a discussion that dives deeper than gun-cam video and accounting ledgers would constitute the “beginning of a slippery slope” and lead to an inevitable confrontation with the UFO abduction thing. That’s a path most advocates of government transparency fear to tread. Yet, says Hastings, some veterans from the Strategic Air Command era – not many, but a handful – have reported classic missing-time scenarios that conform neatly to a very creepy and easily ridiculed subculture of “high strangeness.” Newshounds sniffing his website for leads on the WMD controversy will find a little abduction stuff in the mix as well.

“It’s one thing to accept video and radar data,” he says. “But when you drift into the topic of abduction, it’s a much harder sell. It’s like a bridge too far for most people. But surveillance isn’t the only thing going on here, and there’s been a lot of compartmentalization to get around it. And I’m at a point in my life where it would be dishonest for me not to discuss this publicly.”

Abduction tales are largely absent from this blog, however, because it’s been hard enough trying to goad media colleagues into taking a good hard look at simple radar records. That’s been a 10-year project. Plus, I have at least one thing in common with the SETI astronomers: If we’re talking space aliens, I prefer to appreciate them at a safe distance. Even more specifically, I don’t want to think about these whatevers in my bedroom injecting microscopic tracking devices up my whatever. It’d be like running a marathon when I barely trust my ability to walk.

Anyway, here we are, closing the books on 2017, with the press engaged as never before, but on a toehold, tenuous at best. The same rules remain in play: Without the media, there is no way forward. Sustaining that interest – which could evaporate at any time – poses a unique challenge, at least in this country. Aside from The Times flat-out dropping the ball, what might it take to disperse the new-found media crowd? Apathy, or something worse? The possibilities are endless. Most likely, we’ll find out sooner than later. So bring it on.

Continue Reading ►

See Also:

Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson Discusses The Pentagon UFO Program on Colbert | VIDEO

Ex-Military Official Details Pentagon’s Secret UFO Hunt | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Pentagon’s Secret UFO Search, Stanton Friedman Weighs In | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

What the New York Times UFO Report Actually Reveals

‘Second’ Navy Pilot Comes Forward Re UFO Encounter | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

‘The Pentagon’s Newly Revealed UFO Research Program’ – What a Week!

On the Trail of a Secret Pentagon U.F.O. Program

UFO-Pentagon Story Reflects Fundamental Problems

Pentagon UFO Study Examined UFO Activity at Nuclear Missile Sites Says Former U.S. Senator Harry Reid

UFO Study Focused on U.S. Military Encounters

PENTAGON UFO PROGRAM: ‘Recovered Material’ From UFOs Discussed By Leslie Kean | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Senator Reid Discusses Secret UFO Program | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Navy Pilot Recounts UFO Encounter | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Aliens, UFOs, Flying Discs and Sightings — Oh My!

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

Navy Pilot Talks: The UFO Jammed Their Radar — ‘It Accelerated Beyond Any Airplane We Have’

BREAKING NEWS: The Pentagon’s Mysterious UFO Program Revealed | VIDEO

Navy UFO Encounter: ‘It Accelerated Like Nothing I’ve Ever Seen’ – F/A-18F Pilot | VIDEO

Secret UFO Pentagon Program Explained By Leslie Kean | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Secret Pentagon UFO Program Spent Millions

The Pentagon’s Secret Search for UFOs

REPORT YOUR UFO EXPERIENCE

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‘The Pentagon’s Newly Revealed UFO Research Program’ – What a Week!

The Pentagon’s Newly Revealed UFO Research Program

     The other day I watched astronomer/Hayden Planetarium director/Carl Sagan “Cosmos” legacy heir Neil deGrasse Tyson lose it on CNN. The topic was the Pentagon’s newly revealed UFO research program. And the flummoxed “rock star of science explanation,” as Tyson was introduced, was so worked up he was practically incoherent.

“The evidence is so paltry for aliens to visit earth, I have no further interest,” he said. “Let other people who care, go ahead. And when you finally find some aliens, bring them into Times Square. No, no,” he


By Billy Cox
De Void
12-22-17

corrected himself with coercive chuckling, “there are too many weird people.” Obliging laughter from Tyson’s hosts. “And try not to come back during Comic-Con where the aliens would just blend in,” he continued. “Go to the county fair or something where there’s a uniformity of who’s there.”

Oh yeah. The county fair. Monster trucks and funnel cakes. Blue-ribbon livestock. Those people. Look, the truth is, Tyson is actually cool with space aliens. So long as they know their place, confine themselves to distant shores on the far side of the cosmic ocean, and work the keyboards with SETI radioastronomers. But yo, wait up – he’s still talking:

“—and everybody’s got a high definition video camera on them now. We have video footage of rare things that, you know, happened but no one saw it happen, like buses tumbling in tornadoes. In the day, you didn’t say oh, a bus is about to tumble, let me go back and get my video camera to film this. No, you got your tail outta there. Everybody’s got a video camera. I’m just waiting for images of people visiting … having tea with aliens on the spacecraft.”

Say what?

“Fine, we don’t know what it is, keep checking it out. Call me when you have a dinner invite from an alien.”

Say no more, got it. When it comes to investigating for possibilities in our own back yard, let somebody else do the work.

Nope, this isn’t the sort of sputtering discourse we’ve come to expect from the normally unruffled and eloquent personality scientist. But neither he nor we have ever seen a time like this. The revelation of a $22 million Pentagon study of UFOs. State of the art gun-cam thermal footage with embedded metadata. Captured by F-18 jet fighters and professionally analyzed. An officer with an elite military unit – an eyewitness, to boot – telling global audiences “I have never seen anything in my life, in my history of flying, that has the performance, the acceleration — keep in mind, this thing has no wings.” Plus a lineup of blue-chip advocates for more extensive study, officials who most definitely are not labeling what’s going on as the handiwork of space aliens. People with titles such as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, like Chris Mellon, who recently left the Pentagon.

“Um, you know, that’s speculation,” Mellon responded when asked by a CNN reporter if he was talking extraterrestrials. “I think what we need to do is get serious about finding answers. Speculation is cheap and easy, what we need is more hard data.” Judging from his multiple appearances, this is a guy who isn’t going to shrink from the lights, who understands the media’s role in making people listen or read. “Until the public engages,” he said, “we’re really not gonna make progress and headway. It’s a democracy, people have to be invested and care about it for something like this to be really understood.”

Mellon’s assertion about democracy may need an update, but never mind. America’s traditional stable of talking heads has never been challenged this way before. And that makes it easier to understand why folks like Tyson look off their game. Especially when the former director of that Pentagon Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, Luis Elizondo, refuses to draw conclusions about the evidence. “We’d rather let the data drive the conclusions,” he told HLN, “(rather than let) our opinions and our conclusions drive the data.” That sounds like, well, jeez, your gig, Dr. Tyson. Science.

When it comes to UFOs, Seth Shostak, like Tyson, is where newsies typically go whenever they want The Reliable Rational Angle. Senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, Shostak has welded his career to the theory that ET will be discovered at a manageable arm’s length, but most certainly not in our own atmosphere. For many in the SETI clique, searching for ET is a zero-sum game, where considering evidence for one is incompatible with weighing evidence for the other. So they tend to avoid the other and resort to the sort of speculation that too often characterizes UFO “believers.”

Their argument usually opens with perfunctory equivocation about how, yes, there are many things we see in the sky that we don’t understand, yes, yes – but that doesn’t mean they’re space aliens. Then they trot out anthropocentric behavioral analogies they use to buttress their degreed perspectives. Like the old saw Shostak regurgitated for Business Insider this week.

“They’re the best house guests ever,” Shostak said of whatever’s going on upstairs. “Because if they’re here, they’re not doing anything … They send a huge fleet of spacecraft, preferably shaped like dinner plates, just to fly around and get people agitated but otherwise not do a thing. It’s a little odd that aliens would come hundreds and hundreds of light-years to do nothing.” Y’know, he’s right? They sure aren’t behaving like the Spanish did when they reached the gates of Tenochtitlan. Go on, Seth: “They don’t try and take any of their land, they don’t bring any disease, they don’t do anything; they just sort of walk around at the fringes of their settlements, leading to puzzling sightings, but that’s it.”

I wonder what this week has been like for these tunnel-visionaries. Did they voluntarily process The New York Times coup? Or will they ingest it only after being drugged, bound, and held hostage to the Ninth Symphony like Alex in “A Clockwork Orange”? This can’t be pleasant.

But this is definitely terra incognita. For the first time in more than a year, I’ve woken up every morning actually looking forward to browsing the news feed to see what kind of legs this thing has. For now, the story is everywhere, NPR, Forbes, NBC, ABC, CBS, Axios, Esquire, Space.com, Fox, Popular Mechanics and everything else I’ve missed. An emboldened reporter from The Hill asks White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders if Trump believes in UFOs, and if her boss intends to restore research funding, which supposedly went lights-out in 2012.

“I feel like I already want to pass on this question,” Sanders replies as the giggles subside, “given that you’ve got aliens sitting among you.” No one knew she was this witty before. “Somehow or another that question hasn’t come up in our back and forth over the last couple of days but I will check into that and be happy to circle back.” She said happy.

Ralph Blumenthal, co-author of the Times story, even took the opportunity to explain his approach. “So how does a story on U.F.O.s get into The New York Times?” he begins. “Not easily, and only after a great deal of vetting, I assure you.” Front-end journalism from other media presses forward. Veteran KLAS-TV investigative reporter George Knapp in Las Vegas scores a sit-down interview with retired Sen. Harry Reid, who instigated the program in 2007.

Knapp also contacts other sources, who tell him “the effort resulted in three dozen thick reports, some of them several hundred pages in length, as well as another three dozen or so technical reports which projected how this kind of exotic technology might usher in a new era of aviation, and what that might mean.” In summary, reports Knapp, “Reid said the study produced voluminous reports, but was canceled because of fears within the intelligence community, fear not only that the story would leak out, but fear based on religious beliefs of those who felt UFOs might be Satanic.”

So even Satan’s doing the war on science thing now. Great.

Reid also referenced the research of UFOs and Nukes author Robert Hastings, who has more than 150 veterans on record discussing the phenomenon’s spooky activity over nuclear weapons facilities. Imagine the White House press corps if the phenomenon’s tampering with our WMD gets any traction: “Sarah, can you tell us if President Trump is trying to sign a deal with UFOs to get them to disable North Korea’s nuclear arsenal?”

Reid even tells Knapp his phone’s been ringing off the hook since the Times story broke, that he’s been fielding calls from members of Congress and business leaders alike. In fact, earlier this week, defense techno-giant Raytheon touted its own critical role in the UFO story by reminding readers that its very own Advanced Targeting Forward Look Infrared sensor — aka AN/ASQ-228 in Navy parlance, installed on carrier-based F-18s — was responsible for acquiring the footage. Stated the chief engineer for Surveillance and Target Systems at Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems, “We might be the system that caught the first evidence of E.T. out there.”

So there’s that.

On the other hand, if precedence holds sway, the attention-challenged press will get bored soon enough, revert to form, and start sniffing around for more accessible VIP bedroom scandals. That’s where I’d put my $$$. But if nothing else, at least De Void will look back someday, fondly, at this moment, this week. The week the media broke from covering the same old repetitive dispiriting Beltway fatcat horror show. The week the media swerved off the rez, nodded politely at the same old celebrity authorities, and at least feigned interest in chasing the biggest story of all time.

Visit Billy’s Blog ►

See Also:

On the Trail of a Secret Pentagon U.F.O. Program

UFO-Pentagon Story Reflects Fundamental Problems

Pentagon UFO Study Examined UFO Activity at Nuclear Missile Sites Says Former U.S. Senator Harry Reid

UFO Study Focused on U.S. Military Encounters

PENTAGON UFO PROGRAM: ‘Recovered Material’ From UFOs Discussed By Leslie Kean | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Senator Reid Discusses Secret UFO Program | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Navy Pilot Recounts UFO Encounter | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Aliens, UFOs, Flying Discs and Sightings — Oh My!

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

Navy Pilot Talks: The UFO Jammed Their Radar — ‘It Accelerated Beyond Any Airplane We Have’

BREAKING NEWS: The Pentagon’s Mysterious UFO Program Revealed | VIDEO

Navy UFO Encounter: ‘It Accelerated Like Nothing I’ve Ever Seen’ – F/A-18F Pilot | VIDEO

Secret UFO Pentagon Program Explained By Leslie Kean | INTERVIEW – VIDEO

Secret Pentagon UFO Program Spent Millions

The Pentagon’s Secret Search for UFOs

REPORT YOUR UFO EXPERIENCE

Read more »

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

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.

Read more »

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New Witness To UFO Incursion at Nuke Missile Complex, Tom Delonge’s New Gig and The Media

UFO Sighted By B-52

Still looks like rain

     Sports writer Mic Huber and I worked together for 10 years at the Herald-Tribune here in Sarasota. Different shifts, different departments, which meant we didn’t see each other all that much. Small talk, mostly, much of it focused on the whereabouts of an elusive relentlessly self-deprecating mutual friend. We got a lot of mileage out of you, David, so thanks for that, wherever you are.

At his voluntary-buyout farewell office party early this year, Mic retraced the steps that led him to his long run in Sarasota. What made him appreciate Florida was his Air Force hitch in North Dakota.


BY Billy Cox
De Void
10-13-17

The winters were so grim he applied for a transfer to Vietnam during the height of the war. Uncle Sam sent him to Germany instead.

Anyhow, during his sayonara to the newsroom, Mic mentioned something about how he’d been on duty when he got sucked into a UFO incident, an experience that impressed him so deeply he saw fit to bring it up during impromptu remarks to colleagues nearly half a century later. But it was a small fleeting recollection and he didn’t linger there.

Mic still freelances, and a few months later I pulled him aside one afternoon and asked for more details. I couldn’t help but smile as he rattled off words like Minot Air Force Base, 1968, B-52, radar, radio interference, security breach, etc., etc. Mic isn’t a UFO geek, he doesn’t follow this stuff, so he was unaware of just how significant this incident was, in terms of evidence. At the end of his recollection, Mic repeated another phrase that actually made me laugh out loud because I’d heard it so many times before. He said he’d been debriefed by an Air Force colonel, his testimony had been tape-recorded, and that the officer left him on this note: “This didn’t happen.”

In fact, I’d just ordered a book called It Never Happened,written by a USAF veteran who’d been stationed at the same outpost, Minot, just two years earlier, 1966. Same general idea, though – unauthorized UFO activity over a Strategic Air Command base armed with nuclear missiles. No trifling matter. I suggested Mic take a peek at the www.minotb52ufo.com website, an impressively detailed reconstruction of that sliver of history he’d been a party to in the wee hours of Oct. 24, 1968. Researcher Tom Tulien had constructed an underappreciated narrative packed with veteran eyewitness testimony, the Strategic Air Command’s own documents, and assessments from technical analysts. I thought maybe he could test his memory against the record.

Mic dropped in a few weeks later. He’d been to the site, and he was jazzed. The details – everything he remembered about what happened lined up. Everything. He was in air operations that night, he’d heard it all.

Mic’s job was to know the flight plans of everything in the immediate sky to make sure nobody bumped into each other; sometimes, civilian neighbors near the base made inquiries about other things they’d seen. “We did get some UFO reports, probably a lotta farmers who were drunk,” he conceded. “But this was completely different. It lasted such a long time, and I guess that’s what made it stick with me.”

Shortly after 2 a.m., maintenance and security teams outside the remotely spaced launch control facilities – each of which housed Minuteman nukes – began noticing at least one, maybe more, large bright glowing object in the sky. It or they changed colors, white to amber to green. It or they went high, dipped behind treelines, reversed course on a dime. Air traffic control alerted a B-52 returning from a training mission to a bright glowing bogey off its 1 o’clock position as it executed a 180-degree turn for its final approach. The UFO wheeled with it and maintained its distance, at a rigid three miles. But as the bomber completed the turn, within a three-second sweep of the radar, the object pounced to within a mile. For the next 10 seconds, the plane’s two radios fuzzed out, even as an onboard camera took sequential photos of the radarscope recording the UFO when it changed positions.

Moments later, ATC diverted the plane to get a visual on a UFO reported on or near the ground. One pilot spotted it immediately, some 10 miles away and below, comparing it to “a miniature sun.” As they banked above it, another crew member described it as metallic, smooth, egg-shaped, a “dull reddish color like molten steel.” Once again, the ground briefly lost radio contact with the B-52, which landed at 4:40 a.m. But additional sightings trickled in for nearly an hour afterwards.

“I was on the phone with the guy who called it in from the missile site,” Mic recalled. He was monitoring comm chatter when the radios blinked out, and he remembers how the object looked on radar. “The return was more intense than a C-135 during refueling.” He saw the B-52 team when they returned – “they were visibly shaken” – and got a look at their subsequent illustrations of the object(s). After Mic’s shift ended, he was interrogated about what he’d heard and seen, this Thing That Never Happened. Obliged to say something, anything, official investigators concluded that Minot AFB personnel — these defenders of the world’s most destructive weapons — had simply been confused by Vega, Sirius, ball-lighting plasmas, a combination of all three, whatever.

Incidentally, It Never Happened involved an even spookier case. In 1966, writes (Ret.) Capt. David Schindele, launch operators lost control of as many as 10 nuclear-packed missiles when their power blinked off during apparent UFO surveillance. Which means Mic Huber has a lot of company. UFOS and Nukes author Robert Hastings has gotten more than 150 veterans to go on record about a phenomenon’s apparent fascination with our nuclear armaments. No telling how many more eyewitnesses who were told to shut up are out there.

But even if each and every one of these guys stepped up tomorrow to share what they knew, it wouldn’t make any difference. Events over the last year have only reinforced how deeply into denial and aggressive ignorance our culture has descended. In spite of that, amid turdstorms of truly fake news, some of the most diligent investigative political journalism I’ve ever read is unfolding right now, daily. Downright heroic, in some cases. And yet, American journalism is no match for The Great Taboo. Because most of the people who dare to own it tend to lack, umm, conventional pedigrees.

Tom Delonge

Wednesday, for instance, classic example: Former Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge sparked what will be, if traditional patterns hold, a quick-hit flurry of sensational headlines. The details are posted at To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science and — once again — are straight out of left field. DeLonge is the California punk-pop rocker whose self-parodying music videos — dancing around in brief undies, licking coin-operated viewfinders, bored on the commode, babes weeping with desire — were so convincing during the Blink days you just wanted to punch the smirk off his face.

And yet, as early as 2015, DeLonge was telling “Us” magazine he was in contact with heavy-hitting government types he hoped to coax out of the shadows to address the UFO conundrum head-on. It was easy enough to blow him off until, late in the 2016 campaign, WikiLeaks (or somebody) hacked the emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign director John Podesta, which showed DeLonge was indeed in the loop with a couple of two-star USAF generals and an advanced projects director for Lockheed Martin. And even then, who knew, maybe they were just big fans of “Enema of the State” and “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket.”

Then came Wednesday. Lo and behold, there was DeLonge, introducing business partners in a half-hour video presentation designed to drum up crowd-sourcing to support something called To The Stars Academy. Its stated purpose was, with the UFO mystery at its core, to provide “gifted researchers the freedom to explore exotic science and technologies with the infrastructure and resources to rapidly transition them to products that can change the world.” And whoa, get a load of their cred:

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; Senior Intelligence Service, CIA Directorate of Operations; Lockheed Martin “Skunk Works” Advanced Systems Director; director of scientific research programs for the Defense Department, the CIA and the DIA; a counterintelligence agent who ran an “aerospace threat identification program” out of the Pentagon. The jewel of this narrative was relayed by Chris Mellon, the former SecDef assistant. He discussed an hours-long incident in 2004 involving the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, F-18 jet fighters, a UFO that seemed “to defy the laws of physics,” and footage of the whole thing. Captured by gun cameras. Plus infrared images. Property of the U.S. government.

Holy cow. This could be huge. Just like Hillary Clinton’s UFO remarks last year on the campaign trail could’ve been huge. Just like the half-dozen USAF veterans who testified in 2010 at the National Press Club to UFO activity over American nuclear bases could’ve been huge. Just like the MUFON 2008 radar analysis of UFO and jet fighter activity that caught the Air Force in a lie could’ve been huge. Just like CIA image-doctor Chase Brandon’s revelations about finding Roswell ET documents in the Agency’s archives could’ve been huge.

But this stuff can only be huge if the press is interested enough to dig, to background these guys, to pursue every lead and put it out there. What we’ll probably get instead is a convulsion of wry headlines, some “the truth is out there/out of this world” segues, maybe even some cursory reporting, but it’ll all wander off soon enough. Whatever followups occur will be tepid and of little consequence, or at least without the persistence essential to stoking public interest. And without public interest, this ship doesn’t sail. Or at least not very far.

And that’s one of the reasons De Void has been dormant for so long. Ultimately, this space started sounding futile and whiney. The only reason for this posting is to send one more shoutout to all the Mic Hubers, to all you folks who saw and may still be seeing crazy airborne stuff snooping around the most dangerous weapons in the history of warfare. This is news. Just because the media doesn’t think so, that doesn’t mean you’re crazy.

Unfortunately, yes, you do live in a superpower nation that has degenerated into an absolutely certifiable full-tilt nuthouse. But it’s not your fault.

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If They Aliens Discover Us Before We Discover Them (Redux)

Talking the walk …

     Don’t know about you, but I’m loving those mystery lights on Ceres as NASA’s surveillance probe, Dawn, bears down on the biggest chunk of real estate in the asteroid belt. And not because of the prospects for discovering alien activity – they’re remote, at best – but because of the opportunity to witness, again, the ritual disconnect that characterizes institutional science whenever The Great Taboo legitimately insinuates itself into a news cycle.

Let’s go back a few years when, after half a century of logging zilch in the Great ET Radio Signal Experiment, SETI pioneer Jill Tarter proposed


By Billy Cox
De Void
6-24-15

a new name for their endeavors, the Search for Extraterrestrial Technology (SETT). This was a tacit grudging concession that maybe radio astronomers had been working with a flawed model. In 2011, the International Journal of Astrobiology published a paper by astrophysicists Martin Elvis and Duncan Forgan proposing an even more specific tack, that maybe Earthlings ought to consider scanning the asteroid belt for evidence of ET “macro-engineering projects.” Translation: mining operations. Made sense. After all, they noted, asteroids are repositories for raw material like gold, platinum and silver, the kind of stuff you’d likely need to repair or refuel extended planetary missions.

And, as Forgan would hypothesize two years later in the IJA, ET wouldn’t even have to bend the known laws of physics to reach the rocky debris zone between Jupiter and Mars, no matter which part of the Milky Way he/she/it came from. Upon crunching the numbers, Forgan and a mathematician hypothesized that robotic technologies could have mapped this galaxy well below light speeds, in about 10 million years. On the cosmic scale of time, that’s no big deal.

So here’s what’s going on. In 2007, NASA hurls an unmanned vehicle toward the asteroid belt to look for clues to the formation of our solar system. Destination: “dwarf planets” Vesta and Ceres. Dawn enters a 14-month mapping orbit over Vesta in 2011, then moves on toward the bigger prize. In February, as it closes to within 29,000 miles of Ceres, Dawn’s cameras detect something totally off the charts – lights on the surface. Their luminosity doesn’t appear to be significantly affected by different sun angles. Two months and 25,000 miles closer, their intensity is still unblinking. Planetary scientists are stumped; at the Jet Propulsion Lab’s website, PR flacks do a very savvy thing by letting visitors vote on the most likely suspects: “volcano,” “geyser,” “salt deposit,” “ice,” “rock,” and “other.” Wonder what “other” could be. Hmm. Anyway, we’ll get an even better peek by summer’s end, when Dawn dips to within 900 miles of the surface.

No matter what those lights are all about, this sort of suspense is cool. Talk about a teaching opportunity for schools.

Now let’s review some of NASA’s recent headline-grabbing statements. In 2014, given our ongoing exoplanet transiting searches and the impending exploration of more local worlds like Europa, space agency scientists predicted Earthlings will discover ET life within 20 years. That forecast was reiterated just last week at the Astrobiology Science Conference in Chicago. In fact, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate (there’s a mouthful) and former astronaut John Grunsfeld suggested that ET civilizations might already have detected us, the same way we’re locating and confirming the existence of deep-space planets. Quote:

“We put atmospheric signatures that guarantee someone with a large telescope 20 light years away could detect us. If there is life out there, intelligent life, they’ll know we’re here.”

Left unsaid, what none in that sheltered crowd wants to contemplate: And if they discover us before we discover them, maybe they’re already a lot closer than we think. But of course, there was no room in Chicago for a discussion of UFOs. That would be a little too declasse, like farting in church. Oh, and just to make sure nobody got terribly excited, coverage of last week’s Windy City pow-wow also included a canned statement from NASA chief scientist Ellen Stefan. In April, during a discussion about Mars, she drew distinctions between the discovery of biological life and some other silly alternative like, well, the 2011 peer-reviewed paper’s “targeted asteroid mining” scenario. “We are not talking about little green men,” she insisted. “We are talking about little microbes.”

Stofan could’ve said “intelligent life.” But she went for the gag line instead. Knowing full well how much everybody loves microbes.

Hey, no one wants to look like an idiot as we approach the biggest discovery of all time, wherever that may be. The solution to the Ceres lights will likely fall far short of little green men. But the language we employ as we draw closer to the inevitability doesn’t inspire much confidence; it suggests we’re deeply conflicted in our enthusiasm for confirming The Other. Or at least the people at the top of NASA appear to be. Fortunately, we can console ourselves with the knowledge that science and politics never mix.

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Billy Cox Bids Ufology Adieu … Again

Bill Cox & The Great Taboo

Ever feel like you’re going crazy?

     For whatever reason, my farewell-to-De Void post from 9/13/16 has vanished. It was titled “A shift in the weather.” Don’t know exactly when or why it was removed … but if only the bewilderment ended there. When I went noodling through some of the earliest blogs that still hadn’t auto-purged, from 2009, it was like getting punted into some parallel universe. The comment threads had been erased and replaced with exchanges in Cyrillic. Seriously, I’m not making this up. There were, ostensibly, Russians having conversations by piggy-backing off my blog. This sounds totally insane, but this actually happened. And why me? My biggest regret

By Billy Cox
De Void / Herald Tribune.com
7-14-17

is I didn’t do a screen grab, because when I revisited the same posts the next day, all reader comments – Cyrillic, English, whatever – had been removed. A clean wipe.

Anyway, I’m reposting a version of that mysteriously spiked September blog because I’m still a little pissed. So don’t be erasing my history, whoever you are, or I’ll rewrite it with even less accuracy.

Due to professional circumstances beyond my control, I have been reassigned to a new job here at the Herald-Tribune, a beat which involves a steep learning curve and my undivided attention. As you know, newspapers are undergoing a radical downsizing transition, and no one is immune to these pressures. So at least for now, and for the foreseeable future, I will step away from De Void, which I started writing in April 2007.

By serving up a combination of reporting, analysis, industry criticism and a few other quirks in between, I had hoped I might be able to make a difference in the way my colleagues in traditional media cover UFOs. And in fact, the last nine years have provided some remarkable opportunities for the MSM to rethink its strategy in the way it approaches The Great Taboo. But that was the flaw – assuming there might actually be a strategy in play. Beyond resorting to requisite clichés (e.g., “This next story is out of this world” and “Is the truth really out there?”), chasing balloons (“Mystery shiny objects floating over Manhattan, spark UFO frenzy” – NY Daily News), and hyping common lens flares for ratings (“UFO or Lens Flare in Google Street View? You Decide” – ABC’s “Good Morning America”), big media falls apart when approaching the gorilla in the room. Even CNN’s Anderson Cooper, maybe the most qualified interviewer on corporate television – even his brains roll around in suntan oil and head for the beach whenever he gets near UFOs. And that’s what’s making the blown opportunity of 2016 so dispiriting.

Contrast where we are today with the 2007 Democratic primary debates. That’s when NBC’s Tim Russert asked longshot pacifist Dennis Kucinich to confirm a report that he was eyewitness to a UFO event. Russert, of course, had no interest in the material, and simply wanted to muscle the fading Ohio congressman off the stage and back to the fringe where he belonged. Remember that? Looking like he didn’t know whether to wet his pants or vomit, Kucinich fell back into the shopworn stance of trying to joke it off. And it didn’t help him a lick. Now fast-forward to 2016 and a scenario that would’ve been unthinkable nine years ago – a presidential frontrunner has not only publicly and repeatedly discussed her curiosity about UFOs, she has even advocated releasing related government documents.

Put aside, as if that’s possible, your emotions, pro or con, about Hillary Clinton. Because this is not about her. Nor is it about veteran Beltway operator John Podesta, whose gamble to encourage the former First Lady to speak rationally and fearlessly about The Great Taboo has provoked negligible media blowback. Think about that for a moment. Whenever a public figure in this country utters something stupid or outrageous, the peanut-gallery microphones are always there to rain torrents of snark and reality-based facts and figures on the offender (not that facts make much difference in this day and age). And yet, although the echo chamber has dutifully regurgitated the quotes Clinton has made on three separate occasions about reassessing UFOs, no significant major news platform has bothered to follow up or ask what the hell she means by that. No debate moderator has raised the subject. Not even Clinton’s myriad foes have chosen to weaponize or even make an issue of her remarks concerning undoubtedly the most unconventional topic ever raised on a campaign trail. They’d rather talk about pneumonia.

Folks, this is flat-out freaky. And it begs the question of just how far watchdog journalism has strayed from the public interest. Even badly worded polls show nearly half of Americans believe UFOs are all about ET activity in our own atmosphere. Into this vacuum of empty space comes Hollywood, advertisers, cable television, tabloids, etc., all of whom are far more astute about engaging sustainable numbers than the press. The entertainment industry has also enabled conspiracy paranoia, stoked delusional hopes and unreasonable fears, and made loads of cash off a growth market that shows no signs of dissipating. And for reasons likely best summarized in a groundbreaking 2008 essay appearing in the journal Political Theory, America’s most influential institutions have proven incapable of leading us out of the woods. They remain stubbornly, willfully, perhaps even aggressively, uninformed.

For more than nine years, De Void attempted to bridge that gap, at least on the journalism frontier. With the discoveries of extrasolar Earth-like planets becoming so common they rarely make headlines anymore, with millions of research dollars being dumped into radioscope dishes trolling for alien signals, and given innovations in portable technology designed to track anomalies in our skies, there would appear to be no better moment for the media to snatch the permission slips extended by Clinton/Podesta this year and start asking truly skeptical questions. But that hasn’t happened. Maybe it can’t. Denial and avoidance are the results of faltering attention spans, national and global. We don’t read anymore. We want shortcuts. We think in bumper stickers. Glossy campaign pamphlets are called literature. We want our Cliff Notes rationed in 30-second video bites. We want our favorite colors back, black and white.

Despite the gloom, however, De Void has actually been a lot of gun. It’s forced me to become more discerning and (hopefully) a more careful thinker. It’s given me a deeper appreciation for those who’ve chosen the thankless tasks of attempting to rescue history buried in forgotten archives, for those who pressure bureaucracies for radar records, and the researchers giving voice to veterans whose stories have been disregarded, mocked or repressed for half a century or more.

Most of all, in this era of anonymity and internet cowardice, I have appreciated the civil, thoughtful and provocative tones that often characterize these comment threads. We don’t always agree – in fact, we may rarely agree – but I appreciate the level of sophistication you guys have been bringing to the table. And who knows, we may, in fact, have future discussions here on De Void. If, for instance, Stephen Hawking’s projected ET conquistadors do something as callous and disrespectful as zapping the Kremlin or the newly refurbished Capitol Dome, I’ll probably make time to weigh in as soon as I get through cheering.

And I’ll remain keenly interested in whatever comes next.

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