Opinion Piece By Rob Kennedy 9.06.21
Close examination of information currently being circulated by the media regarding UFOs reveals more about a system of information control, than evidence of alien life.
The avalanche of media reports from ‘60 minutes special on UFOs’ to the 2017 New York Times’ article entitled ‘Glowing Auras and Black Money’ is hard to grasp.
What is clear is that the subject has snowballed since the advent of mass media and is here to stay. Eyewitness reports have multiplied and fed voracious media machines from all corners of the world. Contrary to belief, this is not exclusively an American phenomenon. Last year, Irish citizens witnessed more sightings than any other country in Europe. In 2018, a number of experienced commercial airline pilots reported a perplexing event recorded by Shannon air traffic control which left the public with more questions than answers.
What is going on? Are government agencies really being transparent? What are we to understand from the developments in America? Are those blurry UAP videos real? What is this June UAP report all about? And crucially, who and what should you believe?
I've been following the story since 2017, and I'll try to make sense of it. First, some context and like everything UFO, we must start in America. The reason is, America’s military, political and media infrastructure offer more relative transparency than any other country in the world. Here in Ireland, the alphabet soup of US agencies, intelligence committees and military programs can often seem like actors from a Hollywood sci-fi film, but the characters and developments shaping the story are very real.
Since the 1950s, there have been elevated levels of UFO reports. UFO enthusiasts attribute the birth of nuclear technology to this increased activity, but mass media has surely played its part by including opportunistic sensationalism, mixed with rumour, sprinkled with fact. With these sightings comes a fantastical expectancy of a better world where new forms of technology transform our economies, a window to an interstellar world is opened for us to gaze through, and where humans start relating to the planet and each other with increased civility.
The sheer quantity of reports, experiences and commonalities from the public indicate to ‘believers’ that governments must know something and are wilfully denying public access to information. From this fervour has grown a movement, known as disclosure, that tries to lobby governments for UFO transparency.
It seems that this movement is gathering momentum. High profile figures have commented on the subject from past intelligence directors such as John Ratcliffe and James Brennan to former President Obama who on a late-night chat show said: "There's footage and records of objects in the skies, that we don't know exactly what they are. We can't explain how they moved, their trajectory. They did not have an easily explainable pattern. And so … people still take (it) seriously, trying to investigate and figure out what that is." Obama has contributed to moving the needle on the topic, but he was The President for eight years and yet, did not uncover any x-files.
UAP report request part of COVID bill
In August, the Defense Department announced the establishment of a "UAP Task Force" to "detect, analyze and catalog … incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace (including) examinations of incursions that are initially reported as UAP when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing." This was then followed by a request by Congress to produce a report, which is due this month, to inform the public and law makers alike of the findings of the UAP task force.
American politicians were pushed into this course of action by a series of videos leaked from inside the Defense Department that purport to show unidentified craft behaving in inexplicable patterns. These videos have been widely circulated and have become known as the ‘tic-tac’, ‘go fast’ and ‘gimbal’ videos. They have been subsequently followed by other videos taken aboard US aircraft carriers that are equally mysterious. Politicians have been quick to seize on the story and frame it as a national security issue. “Anything that enters an airspace that's not supposed to be there is a threat,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. who ordered the report as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and has been a vocal inquisitor of incursions into protected airspace.
In tandem with these videos, came testimony to Congress from Navy and Airforce pilots who say they have encountered and interacted with UFOs. Commander David Fravor, a top gun graduate, has gone onto multiple popular media platforms and talked freely about his experience. "I can tell you, I think it was not from this world," Fravor told ABC News. "I'm not crazy, haven't been drinking. It was — after 18 years of flying, I've seen pretty much about everything that I can see in that realm, and this was nothing close." It is worth remembering that Commander Fravor saw this object, but never recorded it with the instrumentation on his super hornet F-18.
It is here I would like to make a distinction. The videos that were released have not been publicly confirmed as anything other than unidentified by the Department of Defense. In addition, the pilots that recorded these videos have not been as forthcoming in support of their videos, as Commander Fravor of his experience. Debunkers have rightly questioned the veracity of the videos and offered more earthly and mundane explanations, which begs the question – who should you believe?
Access to Information
I taught in the Middle East for many years where cultural and religious barriers meant ideas were accepted based on whether they challenged society’s power structures, in which every citizen had a vested interest. Discussing human evolution with fellow lecturers from the region was always interesting as I was openly mocked for suggesting that humans were not created from ribs and dust.
In a similar manner, global institutions may have to be rethought and restructured if their ideas are successfully challenged. Religious, governmental, and military bodies, who have insisted on a controlled narrative since their inception, would suffer a loss of public faith if contradictory information ever came to light, and they knowingly hid it.
However, in a masochistic slap in the face, it is exactly these institutions that people look to for validation. These power structures hold the information, influence, and power to change public understanding of the issue. But why would they offer disclosure if it would result in loss of faith placed in them by society? Surely, it would cause a self-inflicting wound?
The UAP report may be able to add clarity. They could release the radar information that accompanies pilot interactions. According to Kevin Day who operated the radar systems on the Nimitz in 2004 where commander Fravor interacted with the TicTac UFO, “objects fell out of the sky from 28,000 feet down to the surface of the ocean in less than one second…….no sonic booms”.
So, let’s see the data. Release to the public, all the radar data related to the hundreds of interactions reported by military personnel. Better still, open all the data available from other potential sources of possible UFO information collection systems such as NORAD, The Joint Surveillance System, The Space Based Infrared System, The U.S. Space Surveillance Network and The Global Infrasound Acoustic Monitoring Network. Working together, these organisations could put this debate to bed and end the outcry for disclosure once and for all.
Of course, this is not going to happen. So, what are we left with?
Research has found that eyewitness-identification testimony can be very unreliable. Memory, visual perception, and bias can warp interpretation. In courtrooms across the world, human testimony is used to identify and incarcerate perpetrators of crime, sometimes wrongfully. UFO sightings are, more often than not, explained by balloons, birds, satellites and a myriad of atmospheric conditions. However, we cannot discount human testimony altogether. It is important.
We must hear people’s stories. What is interesting is that thousands of people have reported commonalities in their sightings. The stories share common themes, interactions and leave similar impressions. From Westhall in Australia and Ariel in Zimbabwe where school children and staff witnessed saucer shaped craft, to Roscommon and Wexford where witnesses reported lights zigzagging across the night sky at tremendous speeds, testimony has value. It is this testimony from ordinary people that often prove more consistent and credible than the tampered reports and releases from institutional power structures.
Some of these stories are extraordinary and seem so outlandish as to be ridiculous. Attention seekers and opportunists exist in all walks of life and scepticism is an important tool which shouldn’t be abandoned. However, most members of the public that come forward risk ridicule, mockery, and alienation. They come forward, not because they have something to gain, in contrast, they have lots to lose. It takes a certain bravery to stand up and speak about controversial subjects that challenge people’s established worldview and speak to power. In the same fashion we have shown empathy to other movements that impact people, we must extend understanding to those that claim to have witnessed UFOs. Only when that is done, can we decide who to believe.
Irish UFO Gathering Ireland 2021 is taking place on the 13th and 14th of August. For more information:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/326785665289976 - Irish UFO Gathering
Image by Peter Lomas from Pixabay