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The Paranormal Roots of the Pentagon’s UFO Program

by Alejandro Rojas                    May 15, 2019                     (denofgeek.com)

• The Pentagon’s five-year, $22M ‘Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program’ (AATIP) UFO study program, headed by Luis Elizondo, which The New York Times revealed in a December 2017 article (see here), did not begin with interest in UFOs. It began with the Defense Intelligence Agency’s interest in the paranormal activities going on at billionaire Robert Bigelow’s ‘Skinwalker Ranch’ in Utah. The original name for the secret project was the Advanced Aerospace Weapons System Application Program (AAWSAP).

• Soon, the fundamentalist Christians within the various US intelligence agencies began to raise their religious concerns. “They’re basically high-level people in different intelligence agencies… who think that anything involving UFOs and the paranormal is satanic,” said George Knapp (the I-Team Las Vegas television journalist who has been closely following this story). “Certain senior government officials thought our collection of facts on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) was dangerous to their philosophical beliefs,” said Elizondo. “[T]he data was a threat to their (Christian) belief system.”

• By 2008, the pressure from the Christian right to end these demonic “paranormal investigations” caused them to create a sub-group inside of AAWSAP that focused only on military UFO cases. This was AATIP. When Elizondo took over as the head of the program in 2010, he only worked within the AATIP UFO division while the DIA closed the AAWSAP paranormal division. By 2012, the AATIP was closed down as well (so they say), and Elizondo left the government to work with Tom DeLonge’s ‘To The Stars Academy’.

• The DIA had initially approached Las Vegas billionaire Robert Bigelow “to visit Mr. Bigelow’s ranch in the Uintah Basin of Utah, where he conducted research”. The original AAWSAP Paranormal division’s investigations included “bizarre creatures, poltergeist activity, invisible entities, orbs of light, animal and human injuries and much more,” according to a senior manager on the project.

• Bigelow’s first significant foray into the unknown was an organization created in 1995 called the National Institute for Discovery Sciences (NIDS). Its purpose was to conduct scientific investigations of the paranormal. Bigelow bought the Skinwalker Ranch in 1996. By the time the DIA official had approached him, Bigelow had already spent decades and large sums of money researching the paranormal.

• Among the paranormal manifestations at the Skinwalker Ranch were floating orbs and a giant wolf-like creature that attacked cattle, could withstand multiple point-blank gunshots, and seemed to disappear into thin air. On one occasion, NIDS investigators were observing the ranch from the edge of a bluff when one of them noticed a light in the forest below. The light began to grow. Once it became a couple of feet wide, they say it looked like a tunnel opening up, and they saw a creature within. It was large and black with no face. It crawled out of the light and into the dark forest. The light then began to disappear until it was gone.

• After the DIA began investigating the Skinwalker Ranch in 2007, DIA officials met with Nevada Senator Harry Reid about starting a paranormal research program. Senator Reid, a friend of Bigelow’s, shared Bigelow’s interest in the topic and found bipartisan support from a couple of fellow members of Congress to secure funding and get the project launched in 2007. Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) won the government contract to manage the project.

• John Alexander, a retired Colonel in U.S. Army Intelligence, helped organize NIDS investigations. “What we learned was that the events were real and tangible, and definitely occurring,” Alexander explained. “These weren’t figments of someone’s imagination, or folklore or any of these sorts of things.”

 

At the end of 2017, The New York Times broke the story of a secretive Pentagon program with a budget of $22 million to investigate UFOs called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). The man who exposed the existence of the program, Luis Elizondo, was the former head of the project. Elizondo’s ongoing efforts to investigate the UFO mystery with his new employer, the To the Stars Academy (TTSA), will be featured in a History Channel series premiering May 31 called Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation.

          Luis Elizondo and George Knapp

However, what The New York Times apparently did not know when they published their story is that the program went by a different name at its inception, and the scope of the program was much broader than just UFOs. In fact, according to a senior manager on the project, the investigations included “bizarre creatures, poltergeist activity, invisible entities, orbs of light, animal and human injuries and much more.”

It is unknown whether Undisclosed will cover the paranormal aspects of the program. Although Elizondo did work with this paranormal project, he only worked in the UFO division. By the time he was the head of the entire program, the UFO division was all that was left. The rest of the program had been shut down, and you will never guess why. It wasn’t because people inside the Department of Defense (DoD) thought the program was too weird, although some did. It was shut down because of demonic forces.

Don’t worry, demons didn’t attack the Pentagon, but apparently, some people inside the government were afraid the potentially paranormal incidents being investigated could be demonic, especially scary occurrences taking place at a ranch in Utah, and they wanted no part of it. They didn’t want the government messing with demons either, so they lobbied for the program to be ended and it was.

                    Robert Bigelow

This may sound extremely odd, but according to those involved, it’s true.

The New York Times story that broke the Pentagon UFO program began when an official with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) approached Las Vegas billionaire Robert Bigelow “to visit Mr. Bigelow’s ranch in Utah, where he conducted research.”

That sounds innocent enough, but what the article did not cover is what Bigelow researched at this ranch in Utah. Bigelow was known for his interest in the paranormal and UFOs, and by the time the DIA official had approached him, Bigelow had already spent decades and large sums of money researching the paranormal. Bigelow’s first significant foray into the unknown was an organization created in 1995 called the National Institute for Discovery Sciences (NIDS). Its  purpose was to conduct scientific investigations of the paranormal.

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Navy: No Release of UFO Information to the General Public Expected

by Paul Sonne                  May 1, 2019                   (washingtonpost.com)

• In recent news, it was revealed that the U.S. Navy has drafted a procedure to investigate and catalogue reports of unidentified flying objects coming in from its pilots. (see article on new Navy UFO guidelines here) But the service doesn’t expect to make the information public, citing privileged and classified reporting that is typically included in such files.

• Joe Gradisher, a spokesman for the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, said in a statement that the Navy expects to keep the information it gathers private for a number of reasons. “Military aviation safety organizations always retain reporting of hazards to aviation as privileged information in order to preserve the free and honest prioritization and discussion of safety among aircrew,” Gradisher said. “Furthermore, any report generated as a result of these investigations will, by necessity, include classified information on military operations.” “Therefore, no release of information to the general public is expected.”

• The Navy’s new UFO reporting guidelines follow the revelation that in late 2017 the Pentagon ran a secret, 5-year, $22M “UFO” office to collect and analyze “anomalous aerospace threats”. It was known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. The program resulted in the release of video footage from the cockpit cameras of Navy aircraft, which appeared to document oval-shaped vessels that resemble flying Tic Tacs. (see NY Times article from Dec 2017 here)

• Reports of curious sightings from military aircraft aren’t new. During World War II, Allied military pilots witnessed unexplained objects and fireballs that they dubbed “foo fighters”. A number of official government investigations looked into such phenomena during the postwar period.

• Even though the Navy has indicated it has no plans to release any UFO data, unclassified portions of the information or broad overviews of the findings could come out, according to Luis Elizondo, an intelligence officer who ran AATIP before leaving the Pentagon. “If it remains strictly within classified channels, then the ‘right person’ may not actually get the information. The right person doesn’t necessarily mean a military leader. It can be a lawmaker. It can be a whole host of different individuals,” Elizondo said. Even if the information isn’t made available to the public, it could be reported to Congress.

 

The U.S. Navy has drafted a procedure to investigate and catalogue reports of unidentified flying objects coming in from its pilots. But the service doesn’t expect to make the information public, citing privileged and classified reporting that is typically included in such files.

Joe Gradisher, a spokesman for the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, said in a statement that the Navy expects to keep the information it gathers private for a number of reasons.

“Military aviation safety organizations always retain reporting of hazards to aviation as privileged information in order to preserve the free and honest prioritization and discussion of safety among aircrew,” Gradisher said. “Furthermore, any report generated as a result of these investigations will, by necessity, include classified information on military operations.”

He added, “Therefore, no release of information to the general public is expected.”

The Navy’s recent decision to draft formal guidelines for pilots to document encounters with unexplained aerial phenomena comes after the revelation in late 2017 that the Pentagon ran a secret “UFO” office that spent $22 million over five years to collect and analyze “anomalous aerospace threats.” Funding for the office, known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or AATIP, officially ended in 2012, though operations continued.

Among other things, the program resulted in the release of footage from the cockpit cameras of military aircraft, which appeared to document oval-shaped vessels that resemble flying Tic Tacs.

Reports of curious sightings from military aircraft aren’t new. During World War II, Allied military pilots witnessed unexplained objects and fireballs that they dubbed “foo fighters”— a term that later inspired the name of the eponymous 1990s rock band. A number of official government investigations looked into such phenomena in the postwar period.

Now, the Navy has agreed to a more formalized process for cataloguing and investigating reports from pilots, a decision welcomed by former U.S. officials who want the military to take the matter seriously and remove the stigma in the armed forces of reporting such incidents.

Even though the Navy indicated it has no plans in the imminent future to release the data, unclassified portions of the information or broad overviews of the findings could come out, according to Luis Elizondo, an intelligence officer who ran AATIP before leaving the Pentagon.

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The Navy Admits Something Weird Has Been Going On in the Skies

by Keith Kloor                  April 30, 2019                   (slate.com)

• In December 2017, the New York Times and Politico reported that the Navy’s USS Nimitz battle group encountered a ‘Tic Tac’ UFO off of the coast of San Diego in November 2004. They included video of the incident, followed by video of two other UFO encounters off of the coasts of Florida and Virginia. The Pentagon remained quiet about these incidents. (see NY Times article here)

• On April 23rd the Navy issued a statement to Politico admitting, “There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years.”

• While the Navy hasn’t gone so far as to admit to any alien-controlled craft, it has changed its guidelines so that sailors and aviators can make UFO reports to Navy authorities without fear of ridicule or reprisal. (see article on new Navy guidelines here)

• This development comes on the heels of a detailed paper that supports the accuracy of of the 2004 incident entitled: “A Forensic Analysis of Navy Carrier Strike Group Eleven’s Encounter with an Anomalous Aerial Vehicle.” The lead author, Robert Powell, mailed the analysis to various congressional committees, intelligence agencies, and branches of the military several months ago.

• The paper reveals that in the immediate aftermath of the 2004 ‘Tic Tac’ incident, a video of the encounter was shared and viewed widely by members aboard the USS Princeton and Nimitz via an internal military email system. Within 12 hours of the incident, a helicopter carrying nonuniformed personnel landed on the USS Princeton (pictured above) and approached Petty Officer Voorhis, who was in charge of the ship’s Cooperative Engagement Capability system, and requested that he turn over all the ship’s radar data, electronic information, and data recordings. Voorhis asked for their ID and was refused. But the ship’s captain soon ordered Voorhis to relinquished all the information, which was stored on magnetic tapes.

• The tapes contained crucial data that would shed light on the mysterious Tic Tac–shaped object. Said Voorhis, “You could literally plot the entire course of the object, you could extract the densities, the speeds, the way it moved, the way it displaced the air, its radar cross-section, how much of the radar itself was reflected off its surface. I mean you could pretty much recreate the entire event with the CEC data.”

• Powell and his colleagues found a 2013 Facebook page for the Nimitz that contains a conversation about the 2004 incident among various shipmates who served together at the time. All those on duty that day recalled it vividly in their Facebook comments; many said they were still befuddled by what they saw and why the data mysteriously disappeared.

• In mid-March 2019, Powell and other authors of the Nimitz incident paper gave a detailed presentation at a conference in Huntsville, Alabama, called the Scientific Conference on Anomalous Aerospace Phenomena. The conference was organized by a group that calls itself the “Scientific Coalition for Ufology” and includes scientists from NASA, the European Space Agency, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command. The group says it endeavors to take a ‘cold-eyed’ approach to the UFO issue, examining only cases that have hard data and credible witnesses. “We’re looking to stay neutral and build a coalition of like-minded scientists,” says Rich Hoffman, who does information systems work for the U.S. military and was the lead organizer of the event.

• The event’s big draw was Luis Elizondo, a career military intelligence officer who had managed security for the Pentagon’s highly classified $22M Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. Elizondo didn’t offer anything new or noteworthy about the UFO program he once led at the Pentagon, although he did say the “effort” was ongoing (and didn’t expire in 2012 as the Pentagon says). Elizondo told the audience that he had remained in close touch with his successor in the program “… who’s still at the Pentagon, who works this effort, very closely…. I don’t mean the past, but actively working this. So it definitely continues. It’s still going. That, too, will come out hopefully soon in a very official way.”

• Elizondo insists that “disclosure has occurred” and that UFOs “are real.” “You now have people at the highest levels of the United States government and international communities of their governments finally taking this (UFO phenomenon) serious, applying real resources, real talent, real expertise to look at this and finally figure out what this is.”

• In late 2018, Elizondo gave a presentation to European UFO buffs in Rome. He mentioned a famous 1952 incident when flying saucers were reported over Washington D.C. and showed a slide of the famous image of the UFOs flying over the US Capitol. Skeptics were quick to point out that this photo was a fake. “It was actually a still [image] from a CGI [computer generated image],” says John Greenewald of the Black Vault. Elizondo apologized for the error on his company’s Facebook page.

• Skeptics have also attacked Elizondo for facilitating the release in 2017 of several video clips of Navy encounters with UFOs, saying that these videos had not been declassified, even though these video clips had been on the internet since 2007. (George Knapp and his ‘I-Team’ have recently proven that the Pentagon did, in fact, authorize those videos’ release.) Online skeptics maintain that these videos only show some sort of classified missile, aircraft or drone.

 

On the afternoon of Nov. 14, 2004, two F/A-18 “Super Hornet” fighter jets were 30 minutes into a training drill off the coast of Southern California when they were redirected by a Naval radio operator to a “real world situation.” Earlier that day, the USS Nimitz nuclear aircraft carrier and the USS Princeton missile cruiser had detected more than a dozen unidentified objects on their radar screens—what the Navy then referred to as anomalous aircraft vehicles.

The F/A-18s were told by the Princeton’s captain to intercept the closest anomalous vehicle, which was located about 150 miles southwest of the San Diego coastline. When the pilots reached their coordinates, they spotted from an altitude of 20,000 feet a disturbance at the ocean’s surface. One of the pilots, commanding officer Dave Fravor, reported that he saw a white oval or “Tic Tac”–shaped object about 50 to 60 feet in size moving just above the churning water.

Fravor headed down for a closer look. What happened next was “like nothing I’ve ever seen,” he recounted in a 2017 New York Times article. The object accelerated so fast that it disappeared in a blink of an eye. A pilot in the other F/A-18 has subsequently described the episode similarly; he also says he watched as the object zipped around Fravor’s plane before it darted off in a flash.

Meanwhile, according to testimony from Petty Officer Gary Voorhis, who was stationed on the Princeton at the time of the episode, “At a certain point there ended up being multiple objects that we were tracking. That was towards the end of the encounter and they all generally zoomed around at ridiculous speeds, and angles, and trajectories and then eventually they all bugged out faster than our radars.”

Vague details of the incident first came to light several years ago, after the Times and other media outlets reported on it. No human-created military technology had such capabilities, the news stories suggested, so were the mysterious objects otherworldly or a mass delusion? The Pentagon wasn’t saying anything. But now, according to a statement issued on April 23 to Politico, the Navy admits, “There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years.”

Whoa. That was major news, as was the part about the U.S. military now pledging to update its guidelines so “reports of any such suspected [UFO] incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities.” Politico notes, “To be clear, the Navy isn’t endorsing the idea that its sailors have encountered alien spacecraft. But it is acknowledging there have been enough strange aerial sightings by credible and highly trained military personnel that they need to be recorded in the official record and studied—rather than dismissed as some kooky phenomena from the realm of science-fiction.”

This development comes on the heels of a detailed paper of the 2004 incident that was recently completed and made public by a group of researchers who aimed to demonstrate that the incident actually happened. Titled “A Forensic Analysis of Navy Carrier Strike Group Eleven’s Encounter with an Anomalous Aerial Vehicle,” the paper, which was not published in an academic journal, does not make any claims for the origins of the objects, though it should be stated that all the authors have a long-standing interest in the UFO topic. The lead author, Robert Powell, tells me that he mailed the analysis to various congressional committees, intelligence agencies, and branches of the military several months ago. Whatever the biases of Powell and his fellow authors, there is no denying the body of evidence they amassed via Freedom of Information Act requests and interviews with service personnel.

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