Joined: 12 Oct 2006
|Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 11:03 pm Post subject: UFO conspiracy theory
|The term UFO conspiracy theory is used to describe any one of many often overlapping conspiracy theories which argue that evidence of the reality of unidentified flying objects is being suppressed.
Such theories often incorporate the idea that governments are in fact in communication or cooperation with extraterrestrials. Some of these theories claim that the government is explicitly allowing alien abduction in exchange for technology.
Though widely known amongst the general public (and a staple of some types of fiction, such as the X Files), such ideas have seen little support from mainstream society.
UFO conspiracy theories typically inform one another and often entangle so tightly that it is difficult to determine who originally made any particular assertion. Many UFO conspiracy theories are quite detailed and elaborate. But they are also typically short on (or utterly lacking) corroborative evidence, and are subsequently regarded by most mainstream parties as, at best, profoundly exaggerated and inaccurate. Many more dismiss the lurid and elaborate theories as paranoid fantasy.
Popular culture and opinions
Various recent polls have suggested that most Americans suspect that their government is withholding or suppressing UFO-related evidence. The contention that there is a widespread coverup of UFO information isn't limited to the general public or UFO research community. For example, a 1971 survey of Industrial Research/Development magazine found that 76% felt the government wasn't revealing all it knew about UFOs, 54% thought UFOs definitely or probably existed, and 32% thought they came from outer space.
There have also been some notable persons to have publicly stated that UFO evidence is being suppressed. These have included Senator Barry Goldwater, Admiral Lord Hill-Norton (former NATO head and chief of the British Defence Staff), Brigadier-General Arthur Exon (former commanding officer of Wright-Patterson AFB), Vice-Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter (first CIA director; see quote below), astronauts Gordon Cooper and Edgar Mitchell, former Canadian Defence Minister Paul Hellyer, and the 1999 French COMETA Report by various French generals and aerospace experts.
It has been suggested that UFO conspiracy theories have been presented to UFO enthusiasts as disinformation designed to distract from prosaic but secretive government effort; there is one well-documented instance of this occurring; see Paul Bennewitz. Some UFO conspiracy theories have been studied as emergent folklore or urban legends.
Various conspiratorial UFO ideas have flourished on the internet and are frequently featured on Art Bell's program.
In fiction, television programs (The X-Files and Doctor Who), films (Men in Black and Independence Day) and any number of novels have featured elements of UFO conspiracy theories.
Elements may include the government's sinister Men in Black, the military bases known as Area 51, RAF Rudloe Manor or Porton Down, a supposed crash site in Roswell, New Mexico, the infamous Rendlesham Forest Incident, a political committee dubbed the "Majestic 12" or afterrunner of the UK Ministry of Defence's Flying Saucer Working Party or the FSWP
US government position
In fact, the United States' government has demonstrated a sometimes keen interest in UFO reports, but has also typically been reluctant to admit this or to discuss their opinions or findings. Some high-ranking military officials have reported that the military's private views of UFOs were very different from their public statements on the subject: In a signed statement to the United States Congress (also reported in the New York Times), dated February 28, 1960, former CIA Director Vice Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter stated,
"It is time for the truth to be brought out... Behind the scenes high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense.... I urge immediate Congressional action to reduce the dangers from secrecy about unidentified flying objects."
The Brookings Report is a genuine study commissioned by the U.S. government under Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Valerie Mason, which suggested that evidence of extraterrestrials might prove disruptive to human society; this study has led to speculation that government agencies might cover up evidence of extraterrestrials, whether on Earth or elsewhere.
In his exhaustive The UFO Book, Jerome Clark devotes 22 pages to examination of various overlapping UFO conspiracy theories which he describes as
"the strangest and most convoluted UFO stories ... from various sources, some of them said to be connected with military and intelligence agencies, that the U.S. government not only has communicated with but has an ongoing relationship with what are known officially as extra terrestrial biological entities or EBEs ... These unsubstantiated claims have given rise to nightmarish conspiracy claims that some call Dark Side theories."
(Clark, 1998, 143) Clark also characterizes the tales as an "evolving legend".
UK government position
The United Kingdom’s government has for many years been interested in the UFO phenomenon and, surprisingly to many, has been more open about it than the US government. Some have stated that this proves that the UK Government has no covert UFO cover-up group, while others have argued the contrary. See Nick Pope’s articles Conspiracy or Indifference?, Rendlesham Forest UFO Article in MOD Magazine or Nick Redfern’s books A Covert Agenda or Cosmic Crashes amongst many others. Redfern gives a strong argument in his book ‘A Covert Agenda’ and 'Cosmic Crashes' of there being a UK version of the Majestic 12 he calls MJ-UK. This group is also referred to as the Syndicate, Enterprise, or the Consortium.
The UK Government's official stance is that UFO incidents “pose no threat to national security”. However, many senior and official figures disagree, as do some UK UFOlogists.
The Ministry of Defence’s first "official" UFO Project has its roots in a study commissioned in 1950 by the MOD’s then Chief Scientific Adviser, the great radar scientist Sir Henry Tizard. As a result of his insistence that UFO sightings should not be dismissed without some form of proper scientific study, the Department set up arguably the most marvellously-named committee in the history of the civil service, the Flying Saucer Working Party or the FSWP. The Flying Saucer Working Party was set up in October 1950 by Ministry of Defence Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Henry Tizard, who felt that UFO reports should not be dismissed out of hand without some serious study. He duly authorised the setting up of a small study team to look into the phenomenon. This is the group's final report, which was released to Georgina Bruni and a handful of other researchers in 2001 by the MOD, following requests made under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. A detailed commentary and analysis of this material can be found in the Official History article part 1 and Official History article part 2 by Georgina Bruni and Nick Pope.
Lord Hill-Norton, a former Chief of the Defence Staff of the UK Government and believer in a conspiracy surrounding the Rendlesham Forest Incident and UFO’s in general tabled 18 Parliamentary questions in the House of Lords -as a result of which the Government released more than 200 previously secret files concerning UFOs and aliens. One of the files revealed that then Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill wanted the matter investigated in 1952.He sent a memo to his scientific adviser, Sir Henry Tizard, asking: `What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth?' After several months, Tizard reported that all the sightings were 'explicable by natural events', although shortly afterwards the Government explicitly banned RAF personnel from discussing sightings with anyone not from the military.
One of the most prominent 'Skeptical Believers' is Nick Pope and he discusses this incident in his various books and in his articles "Selected Documents" which relates to the MOD documents on the Rendlesham Forest incident exposed by Georgina Bruni, Rendlesham - The Unresolved Mystery, The Rendlesham Files Reviewed - A detailed commentary and analysis of the MOD documents and Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident.
Additionally, Lieutenant Colonel (later Colonel) Charles I Halt, the former Deputy Base Commander of RAF/USAF NATO Bentwaters/Woodbridge of Rendlesham, who as a major witness to these events is also a believer. Halt took a patrol of men into the forest where they witnessed several objects under intelligent control. In January 1981 he composed an official Air Force memorandum listing details of the events. The memo was then dispatched to the Ministry of Defence. Halt also made an audio tape recording of the incident.
Another senior Establishment figure whose interest and belief in UFOs is widely known and documented is the wartime Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding. He was very outspoken on the issue. Writing in the Sunday Dispatch on 11 July 1954 he said:
“I am convinced that these objects do exist and that they are not manufactured by any nation on Earth. I can therefore see no alternative to accepting the theory that they come from some extraterrestrial source.”