Beckman: Dana Skully, Call Your Office


By Hank Beckman - 

Recent news stories have highlighted credible reports of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) operating in the skies around the around the United States that appear to have capabilities light years beyond any known earthly technology.

If you’ve paid the slightest attention to these matters, and who doesn’t love a good UFO story, the reports aren’t really news; the U.S. Navy has admitted several times in the last decade that its pilots and sailors have had encounters that have left many of them astonished and more than a little unnerved.

I won’t go into the details of all the reports; a quick Google search will take you to any number of internet sites that can get you up to speed on the subject. Suffice it to say that Navy pilots and other military personnel have regularly seen aircraft performing at speeds and making maneuvers previously thought to be impossible. And they have films to back up their claims, which can also be seen on the web.

The fact is that UFO sightings can no longer be relegated to the category of conspiracy theorists swapping stories on web sites devoted to the notion that we are not alone. (Sorry, I’m not calling them UAPs. I’m old school—I still hate the designated hitter)

As part of Donald Trump’s last defense appropriations bill, the Defense Department and our national intelligence agencies were given 180 days to report to Congress on what progress they’ve made in studying the phenomena or identifying possible sources or origins, extraterrestrial or not. 

Recent news stories in the New York Times and USA Today previewed the pending report citing unnamed sources who claimed there was no evidence that they were alien in nature—but also couldn’t rule out they weren’t.

Once we accept the fact that the incidents reported represent aerial technology far beyond any known capability—a fact not in dispute—there are only two plausible explanations for them.

Either they actually are extraterrestrial aircraft, or they are the product of technology produced by fellow human beings working on super-secretive projects that exceed the Manhattan Project for efficiency in clandestine operations.

It would, of course, be stunning and reality-altering to discover that we are being visited from some as yet unknown neighbors in the cosmos. Humanity’s vision of the universe, the scientific/religious questions raised, and our safety as a species are obvious reasons to grab our attention—and concern.

The modern era’s interest in the possibility of extraterrestrial life can be usefully traced to Orson Wells’ 1938 “War of the Worlds,” the radio drama convincing enough that some people actually thought we were under attack from invaders from Mars.

But people quickly realized it was just a radio program; the famous Roswell Incident in 1948 was another matter altogether. This was the first seemingly credible, post-war report of extraterrestrial visitors and, although Roswell has been debunked by many over the years, there are still UFO believers who are certain that it was the beginning of contact with alien beings in the modern era.

The last half of the Twentieth Century saw UFO sightings pop up in the news on a regular basis. But until recently, the people who reported seeing UFOs or claimed contact with aliens were quickly proven to be either perpetuating hoaxes or mistakenly interpreting events that had reasonable explanations; weather balloons were routinely mistaken for flying saucers.

With the admission by the government that there are indeed some type of aircraft performing aerial acrobatics previously thought to be impossible, we’ve come to the point where the phenomena can no longer be ignored or thought to be the ramblings of loners sitting by their keyboards with only their cats for company.

But as much as some of us, like Fox Mulder, “want to believe,” available science and evidence points to the mysterious crafts sighted by our Navy being products of human technology. The technology might not be public knowledge, but odds are against the sightings being evidence of alien life.

First, we have long had the most sophisticated technology examining the cosmos for signs of intelligent life, and have yet to reveal anything remotely resembling a life form capable of producing such sophisticated technology.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) has been scanning the heavens since 1984, using the most modern technology in telescopes, radios, and a virtual army of well-funded researchers, often cooperating with NASA. If there is other intelligent life in the universe, you’d think that an organization like SETI would be the odds-on favorite to find it.

But to date, all SETI’s efforts have been futile, although I’m sure they’ll keep looking until the funding dries up.

Assuming that the mysterious aircraft are man-made, the critical nature of their existence is obvious. Just the fact that they have been routinely harassing our naval vessels with technology making ours look like the Gatling Gun and operating in restricted air space should be enough to ring a ginormous alarm bell.

Especially concerning are the reported incidents where UFOs have been sighted encroaching into not merely restricted air space, but facilities that house nuclear weapons. If the 1967 report of an apparent UFO hovering over Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, during which several nuclear missiles were temporarily disabled, doesn’t put the fear of God into you, we could turn a tidy profit selling whatever pacifying substance you’re ingesting.

As to what earthly power might be responsible for the seemingly unearthly technology, the immediate suspects are obviously China and Russia. Although there are several other countries that rival our main competitors/adversaries in technological expertise, none of them have the same incentive to challenge us militarily.

And feel free to ask for my hat size for that tinfoil derby you want to send me, but let’s not completely rule out the preeminent technological nation on the planet—the United States.

We’d like to think that our federal government would never try anything so devious, so malicious that it didn’t want the general public to know about it; it ain’t necessarily so. Just because conspiracy theories seem highly unlikely doesn’t mean that none have ever existed.

Think I exaggerate? Google Operation Northwoods (proposed attacks on U.S. cities to drum up support for action against Fidel Castro); or MK-UTRA, (government using LSD and other drugs on citizens in mind-control experiments); Operation Paper Clip (secretly importing Nazi scientists to help out in the Cold War).

Read about some of J. Edgar Hoover’s extralegal operations or the Tuskegee syphilis experiments on black men. (Yes, I’m sure the moon landings were actually legitimate, but you know Oswald didn’t act alone)

The report to Congress is due in late June. Stay tuned.

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