The much-hyped UAP report’s lack of substance will do little to deter avid UFO believers

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Nigel Watsonhttps://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/captured-by-aliens
Nigel Watson has researched and investigated historical and contemporary reports of UFO sightings since the 1970s. He has written numerous articles for Fortean Times, Magonia, Flying Saucer Review and UFO Magazine. Nigel is the author of 'UFOs of the First War,' (History Press) and the 'UFO Investigations Manual' (Haynes). His latest book from McFarland 'Captured by Aliens? A History and Analysis of American Abduction Claims' is dedicated to the memory of Peter Rogerson. He lives in Plymouth, UK.

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There was a frenzy of excitement last month about the release of UFO data by the U.S. government. Behind the scenes, UFO sceptic Jason Calavito claimed

…the media elite and Congress are being played by a small, loosely connected group of people with bizarre ideas about science. It’s easy to dismiss UFOs as a fantasy or a fad, but the money, the connections, and the power wielded by a group of UFO believers – embedded in the defense industry and bent on supplanting material science with a pseudoscientific mysticism…[that]… poses a danger to America more real than a flying saucer.

It all started in December 2017 with the revelation in the New York Times that the Pentagon had ran a secret UFO investigation program called Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). This was instigated by Senator Harry Reid who enabled $22 million to be given to his mate, billionaire UFO enthusiast Robert Bigelow, to conduct research into ‘aerial threats.’

The former head of AATIP Luis Elizondo then announced he was joining forces with rock musician Tom DeLonge to set-up To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTSA) to promote the investigation of UFOs and related films, television and media.

Furthermore, they released videos of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) filmed by U.S. Navy pilots over the coast of California in 2004. These are of blurry infrared objects darting about that are less than compelling evidence of a forthcoming alien invasion. Indeed, this footage was not even new, as it had been temporarily posted online a few years ago. Nonetheless it became the backbone for a TV series Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation.


TTSA, after trying to obtain and study alien materials and artefacts, has since dropped its involvement with UFO research to concentrate on entertainment productions, while Louis Elizondo has carved a new career as a celebrity UFO star.

There has been some dispute about the AATIP program over whether the second name of its title stood for ‘Aviation’ rather than ‘Aerospace’ threats, and Sue Gough spokesperson for the Department of Defense asserted that:

Luis Elizondo had no assigned responsibilities for AATIP while assigned to the Office of the of the Under Secretary of Defense Intelligence. He departed DOD in October 2017. We have no comment on any of his remarks.

To believers that just means the Pentagon does have evidence to hide. Surprisingly, even The Guardian uncritically headlined their coverage ‘Whistleblower who spoke out on UFOs claims Pentagon tried to discredit him’ (28 May 2021). On 04 June, The Independent also portrayed Elizondo as a courageous whistleblower. Neither publication mentioned that he has some pretty wild theories about UFOs, including his belief that they come from a different dimension and that the secret Majestic 12 organisation to collect alien saucers and pilots is real, despite it being a long known hoax. On the less(ish) wild side he asserts that UAPs that can travel at 13,000 mph, have no wings, control surfaces, or signs propulsion that pose a real threat to the USA. The Daily Mail, 09 June 2021, quotes Elizondo as saying UAPs have forced U.S. nuclear facilities to go offline and that they are monitoring nuclear power plants throughout the world.

As another red flag, the original New York Times article was co-written by the often-gullible UFO promoter Leslie Kean. Yet, she gets a gushing profile in The Guardian, 14 June 2021, ‘The woman who forced the US government to take UFOs seriously.’ On the day of the release The Guardian had a piece from Cody Nelson in Roswell, New Mexico. He outlines the fact Roswell is a tourist attraction because a flying saucer allegedly crashed there in 1947. He speaks to a few locals and concludes with an anecdote that Air Force Colonel William Blanchard shortly after the crash, after a few drinks, said:

I saw something in Roswell I had never seen before, and I never want to see again.

Well that proves it then. Although in their defence, three days earlier The Guardian did carry a more sceptical opinion piece by Mick West who does not believe all this alien hype because it is based on very little evidence.

The likes of Elizondo, Kean and DeLonge have put the media into an uncritical tizzy based on little more than hype, hope and fantasy. Amongst all the fence-sitting articles or outrightly gung-ho pieces, a New York Post editorial was brave enough to carry the headline ‘UFO “news” is just clickbait’ (04 July 2021). Like Robert Sheaffer they see the gullible public being played:

Connected crackpots and cranks have gotten a few politicians to force the Pentagon to investigate the issue several times and even to hire “believers” for some of the work. One such nut-or-cynic, Luis Elizondo, claims that higher-ups ignore and actively suppress evidence of alien encounters. But the only “evidence” for his claims is a UAP file detailing sightings with no clear explanations.

That’s hardly enough to convince anyone grounded in the real world that it’s time to start making tinfoil hats.

In contrast, Christopher Mellon – who has links with Leslie Kean and was an advisor for To The stars Academy – posted a long blog on 06 July 2021 entitled ‘The UAP Report and the UAP Issue’ where he states:

In my view, the UAP report’s findings strengthen the case for the alien hypothesis by undermining the main alternatives and providing examples of capabilities we cannot emulate or even understand – precisely what one would expect if any of these reports involve genuine alien technology. A fair headline might have been: “UAP Report Strengthens Alien Hypothesis.” Instead, the press reporting seemed to lean in the opposite direction as though there was surprise that the government did not conclude ET is visiting.

Such a viewpoint ignores history. After a wave of UFO sightings over Washington DC in July 1952 the CIA in a memo ‘Flying Saucers’ dated 19 August 1952 noted:

In summarizing this discussion, I would restate that on three of the main theories in explanation of these phenomena, – a US development, a Russian development, and space ships – the evidence either of fact or of logic is so strongly against them that they warrant at present no more than speculative consideration. However, it is important that there are many who believe in them and will continue to do so in spite of any official pronouncement which may be made. This whole affair has demonstrated that there is a fair proportion of our population which is mentally conditioned to acceptance of the incredible.

Nothing much has changed.

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