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How Military Base Area 51 Became the Heartland of Alien Conspiracy Theories

Article by Jayden Collins                                   September 4, 2020                                     (happymag.tv)

• A secret military base sits in the middle of the Nevada desert, about 82 miles northwest of Las Vegas known as ‘Area 51’. It has become the subject of endless pop culture references and memes, as well as the epicentre of the world’s most famous alien conspiracies. How did this Air Force facility become linked with extraterrestrial folklore, and are they really holding tea parties with alien lifeforms inside the base?

• The government used the desolate Nevada desert region as a weapons test range during World War II. In 1954 it was commissioned Area 51 by President Eisenhower as an Air Force base that tested spy planes, such as the U-2, far away from the public and Soviet spies. Perhaps today’s conspiracy theories are rooted in the base’s history of Soviet espionage.

• In 1947, there were reports of a weather balloon crashing on a ranch in southeastern New Mexico near a town called Roswell. But rumors abounded that the US military had taken a crashed UFO craft to Area 51. Then in the late 1980s, Robert Lazar came forward to claim that he had been one of the scientists reverse engineering alien spacecraft at Area 51. Lazar even claimed to have seen an alien himself. Lazar became a cult hero among conspiracy theorists, and while his credentials were pretty quickly discredited, it was his interview that would forever link Area 51 to the unknowns of outer space.

• The phenomena of Area 51 grew in the ’80s and ’90s, and took on a life of its own within popular culture. The science fiction television series The X-Files continually referenced the facility and the government’s agenda to keep the existence of extraterrestrial life a secret. In 1996, Area 51 was prominently feature in the film Independence Day, about an alien attack on Earth. In 2011, the comedy Paul depicted an extraterrestrial who has escaped from Area 51. The secret base was even referenced in the kids’ movie Lilo & Stitch, with the aliens in the film choosing to name planet Earth, Area 51. Barack Obama was the first US President to publicly acknowledge Area 51 in 2013.

• In June 2019, 20-year-old student Matty Roberts created a Facebook event called ‘Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All Of Us’. The event was set for September 20, 2019, and quickly turned into a trending meme, with 2 million people clicking ‘going’, and 1.5 million clicking ‘interested’. What was initially intended as a joke turned into a serious issue for the US government. The military’s public relation office made a Twitter post with a photo of military personnel and a B-2 stealth bomber. The caption read: “The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today.” The tweet was later deleted. However, only 1,500 people showed up to the hastily assembled music festivals, while only 150 people ventured to the gates of Area 51.

• So, what is really going on at Area 51? Apart from the creation of U-2 and A-12 aircraft and an early spy mission, we don’t officially know. However, according to Annie Jacobsen, author of the book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, it’s a whole lot of reverse-engineering – and not just of alien craft. Foreign technology captured on battlefields is often brought back to the facility to be tested and re-created. Jacobsen believes that Area 51 is still the location used by military intelligence to create counterterrorism tactics, weapon systems, and surveillance platforms, all of which are hidden from the public.

• Yet in July of this year, the Pentagon released three videos of UFO-like objects moving quickly through the air. They were accompanied by a report which stated the objects were “off-world vehicles not made of this world.” Since then, the Pentagon has set up a UFO task force in an attempt to discover the nature and origins of these objects, further fueling the fire of UFO-related suspicions surrounding Area 51.

 

Located 134km northwest of Las Vegas is a dirt road leading out from Nevada’s ‘Extraterrestrial Highway’ and down towards Homey Airport, the home of a notorious US military base.

              ‘Storm Area 51’ revelers

What lies within this military base is mostly a mystery to the public. It goes by various names including Paradise Ranch, Red Square, Nevada Test and Training Range, and of course, the one most commonly used in myth and legend, Area 51.

This secret base sits in the middle of the Nevada desert and has become the subject of endless pop culture references and memes, as well as the epicentre of the world’s most famous alien conspiracies.

But just how did this air force facility become linked with extraterrestrial folklore, and are the United States really holding tea parties with alien lifeforms inside this bewitching base?

A Soviet spy station

Commissioned in 1954 by President Eisenhower, Area 51 was created in order to test spy planes far away from the public eye, with the ultimate goal of infiltrating the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons program.

The area within the Nevada Test and Training Range was already used for nuclear weapon testing back in World War II, and as such, it was the perfect location to ensure the public would keep their distance. What came out of the espionage work done at Area 51 would ultimately be significant in maintaining the United States’ superpower status.

First up was the commissioning of the U-2 spy plane, an aircraft that could fly as high as 70,000 feet in the air (an unfathomable feat at the time), travel across the US without needing to refuel, and carry cameras that could spy on Soviet land below.

       The movie “Independence Day”

From its expeditions, the U-2 plane discovered that the Soviet military was not as advanced as what was claimed by its leaders, leading the United States to believe that they weren’t too far behind their military rivals. However, the plane was shot down in Soviet airspace in 1960. Both the pilot and aircraft were recovered, keeping them out of the hands of the Soviet Union; however, US authorities were forced to admit the purpose of the mission.

This lead to the creation of the Lockheed A-12, an aircraft that could fly across the US in 70 minutes at an altitude of 90,000 feet, photographing objects on the ground that were just one-foot long. With the number of A-12 flights coming in and out of Area 51, reports of unidentifiable flying objects grew in the area. The aircraft’s titanium body and bullet speed resembled nothing seen in the US before.

With the nature of these military aircraft, coupled with the secrecy surrounding these espionage missions, it’s easy to see why conspiracy theories arose around the goings-on inside the military base.

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Gallup Polled Americans About UFOs For the First Time in Decades

 

Article by Anna Merlan                           February 25, 2020                           (vice.com)

• U.S. Social Research for Gallup, commonly known as the “Gallup poll”, is an organization that has been conducting public opinion survey polls on various topics since it was created in 1935. Ever since then, Gallup has asked the public about their beliefs in fringe topics including the paranormal, aliens and UFOs. Just three years after its creation, Gallup found that 70% of the public were aware that Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast was a radio play, while 30% thought that they were listening to a real alien invasion.

• In 1965, Gallup polled Americans about “flying saucers”.  91% of the people they polled said they’d never seen one.  5% said that they had seen one. And 4% didn’t know what a flying saucer was. In 1996, Gallup asked the American public the same thing. This time, 87% said they had never seen a UFO, 12% said they had seen one, and 1% were oblivious.

• In 2019, Gallup once again asked Americans about UFOs, seeing that so much UFO news had hit the mainstream press with the ‘Tic Tac UFO’ in 2017/18 and ‘Storm Area 51’ in the summer of 2019.  60% of the public believe that these so-called ‘UFO’ sightings can be explained by human activity or natural phenomena. But 33% attribute UFO sightings to alien visitation. “This group is potentially sympathetic to those who want to uncover what the government knows about alien landings, once and for all,” wrote Gallup director Lydia Saad, though she is not a believer herself.

• In a geographic breakdown, the Gallup poll revealed that the percentage of people who believed in alien UFOs was 40% on the West Coast of the US, while 32% of Americans in the East and South believe, and 27% of people in the Midwest thought that aliens were buzzing us. People in the West were also more likely to say they’ve seen a UFO themselves. Saad suggests that, since the West is home for ‘Area 51’, “perhaps there’s more talk and awareness.” Saad also notes that “They have better visibility in some of those Western states than we have out East. It’s hard to see the stars out here in Connecticut.”

• Gallup also surveys Americans’ paranormal beliefs. In 2005, Gallup asked people about ghosts and ESP. Their responses have shown that the American public is receptive to the unknown. “A certain percent of people believe in a lot of things,” says Saad. “People aren’t straitlaced or very literal. There’s quite a lot of openness out there to things that we cannot see.” Over the past thirty years, Gallup has periodically surveyed Americans on the JFK assassination. A majority believe there was more than one shooter. As Saad put it, “the fact [is] that people don’t trust the government to tell the truth. That’s been an ongoing dimension of public opinion.”

 

In 2019, the public opinion polling company Gallup decided to directly ask the American public about their experiences with UFOs again, for one simple reason: semi-credible evidence of their existence was back in the news.

         Lydia Saad

“Between the ‘Storm Area 51’ phenomenon and the New York Times articles about the Navy changing its protocols for pilots reporting unidentified things in the air—there was news of pilots seeing bizarre planes traveling at hyperspeed—maybe we’re at the point where some of this is getting more credence,” Lydia Saad told VICE, recalling what she was thinking at the time.

Saad is the director of U.S. Social Research for Gallup, and she oversees polls about a lot of things that don’t involve aliens. But in 2019, she advocated for asking about them again, reasoning that the amount of UFO news flooding the atmosphere might have changed people’s opinions. (She’s not a believer herself, she said: “I’m boring.”) The company conducted two surveys, in June and August of that year. They found that a majority of Americans—60 percent—think UFO sightings can be explained by human activity or natural phenomena. But a full 33 percent think otherwise, saying they believe some UFO sightings can be attributed to alien visitation.

“This group is potentially sympathetic to those who want to uncover what the government knows about alien landings, once and for all,” Saad wrote at the time.

Those numbers were particularly high in the West, where 40 percent of residents believed some UFOs can be attributed to aliens, compared to 32 percent of residents in the East and South, and 27 percent in the Midwest. People in the West were also slightly more likely—20 percent—to say they’d seen UFO themselves, versus 12 percent in the East and 15-16 percent elsewhere.

Saad hesitates to say precisely why that regional difference exists, but she does have some theories. “The home of Area 51 conspiracy is the West, so perhaps there’s more talk and awareness,” she said. She also proposed another theory, laughing: “They have better visibility in some of those Western states than we have out East. It’s hard to see the stars out here in Connecticut.”

“I wouldn’t want to say conclusively,” she added.

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Top UFO Stories in 2019

Listen to “E202 Top UFO Stories in 2019” on Spreaker.

Article by Chris Ciaccia, James Rogers                       December 18, 2019                           (foxnews.com)

• 2019 was a big year for UFO coverage, ranging from the U.S. Navy acknowledging for the first time that leaked videos were real to a wave of people attempting to “Storm Area 51.” Public interest in UFOs has never been higher. Here is some of what we saw.

• FIRST QUARTER – In January, declassified DIA documents of ‘38 research titles’, procured through a FOIA request, revealed that the Department of Defense’s ‘Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program’ had funded projects that investigated UFOs, wormholes, alternate dimensions and a host of other subjects. (see ExoNews article) A Pentagon spokesman said the UFO program ended in 2012, though The New York Times says that the DoD still investigates UFOs.

• SECOND QUARTER – The U.S. Navy announced it was drafting new guidelines to allow pilots and other personnel to report encounters with “unidentified aircraft.” (see ExoNews article) Said a Navy spokesperson, “[T]he Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report.” The Navy also said it will take a more proactive approach in briefing lawmakers. And the Pentagon admitted that it was still investigating UFOs as part of the AATIP.

• Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Christopher Mellon, told Fox & Friends in May the Navy has a right to be concerned about the unexplained sightings. “We know that UFOs exist. This is no longer an issue,” said Mellon. “The issue is why are they here? Where are they coming from and what is the technology behind these devices that we are observing?” (see ExoNews article)

• According to Mellon, the objects seen by Navy pilots were doing things that aren’t possible in this physical realm. While military aircraft are sustainable for about an hour in the air, these objects would be flying around all day long. “Pilots observing these craft are absolutely mystified…” said Mellon.

• In June, former Senator Harry Reid urged lawmakers to hold public hearings into what the military knows. “They would be surprised how the American public would accept it,” Reid said in a radio interview. “People from their individual states would accept it.” (see ExoNews article)

• THIRD QUARTER – More than 2 million people signed up on Facebook pledging to “Storm Area 51” in Nevada. But on September 20th, only about 100 “alien-chasers” converged on the back gate of the secret government site. “We figure Mars needs women, so we’re here if they want to beam us up,” one woman told Fox News.

• FOURTH QUARTER – A September Gallup poll revealed that more Americans think that the government knows more about UFOs than it is letting on. ‘To the Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences’, co-founded by former Blink-182 singer Tom DeLonge, revealed in September that it had obtained “exotic material samples from UFOs”. In October, To the Stars Academy signed a deal with the U.S. Army to study these exotic materials. (see ExoNews articles here and here)

• In September, the U.S. Navy acknowledged that the three UFO videos taken by Navy jets, obtained by ‘To the Stars Academy’, and published by The New York Times, known as “FLIR1” (taken on Nov. 14, 2004); “Gimbal” (taken on Jan. 21, 2015); and “GoFast” (also taken on Jan. 21, 2015) are of authentic “unidentified” objects. It was reported in November that two “unknown individuals” told several Naval officers who witnessed the 2004 Nimitz UFO incident, to delete the evidence. (see ExoArticles here and here)

 

2019 was a big year for UFO coverage, ranging from the U.S. Navy acknowledging for the first time that leaked videos were real to former and current politicians weighing in on what the military knows, and a wave of people attempting to “storm Area 51.”

No one can say for certain whether life exists outside of this planet, but the public’s interest levels in the subject have likely never been higher.

FIRST QUARTER

January saw the release of newly declassified documents from the Pentagon that revealed the Department of Defense funded projects that investigated UFOs, wormholes, alternate dimensions and a host of other subjects that are often the topics of conspiracy theorists.

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) released 38 research titles on Jan. 18, following a Freedom of Information Act request from Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy. The research was funded by the Department of Defense under its Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP).

The existence of AATIP was initially described by The New York Times and Politico in 2017. It was subsequently reported by Fox News and a number of other news outlets that the Pentagon had secretly set up a program to investigate UFOs at the request of former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

A Pentagon spokesman said the UFO program ended in 2012, though The New York Times said the Defense Department still investigates potential episodes of unidentified flying objects.

SECOND QUARTER

Several months later, the U.S. Navy announced it was drafting new guidelines for pilots and other employees to report encounters with “unidentified aircraft.”

“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,” the Navy said in an April statement to Politico, which first reported the move.

“For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report.”
“As part of this effort,” it told Politico, “the Navy is updating and formalizing the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities. A new message to the fleet that will detail the steps for reporting is in draft.”

The Navy also said it’s taking a more proactive approach in briefing lawmakers, including several senators who were briefed in June.
One month later, the Pentagon admitted that it was still investigating UFOs as part of the AATIP.

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