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UFO Sightings May Be Falling, but Congress is Still Paying Attention

by Nick Pope                  October 15, 2018                     (theguardian.com)

• The Senate Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Congress is looking into a 2004 incident where US Navy pilots flying with the USS Nimitz strike group encountered, chased and filmed fast-moving unidentified objects. Reliable sources say at least two of the military pilots involved have already been interviewed. The House Armed Services Committee also received a DIA briefing on the Pentagon’s “Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program” UFO project.

• The AATIP was the brainchild of the then Senate majority leader Harry Reid, and much of the work was contracted out to Bigelow Aerospace, run by former budget hotel magnate and believer in extraterrestrial visitation, Robert Bigelow. Now, some of the people formerly involved with the project, including the DIA official who ran it, Luis Elizondo, have joined “To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science”, fronted by Tom DeLonge, the former vocalist/guitarist of the pop punk band Blink-182. Their mission is “to explore exotic science and technologies … that can change the world”.

• The UFO phenomenon should not be judged by number of sightings, which has decreased, but by the compelling nature of the evidence: reports from pilots on different flights; visual sightings corroborated by radar; photos and videos regarded as genuinely intriguing by intelligence community. The term “UFO” itself has become as obsolete, usually referring to an extraterrestrial “flying saucer”, which may or may not be the case. The new “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” (UAPs) is a term not automatically associated with ETs.

• But Congress needs to get past debates over terminology and statistical analyses to focus more on the quality of reports in a far more meaningful assessment of the phenomenon. Irrespective of the outcome, these might turn out to be the most fascinating Congressional hearings in history.


There’s renewed interest in the UFO phenomenon and it’s coming from an unexpected source: the United States Congress.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is looking into a 2004 incident where US Navy pilots flying with the USS Nimitz strike group encountered, chased and filmed fast-moving unidentified objects. Reliable sources say at least two of the military pilots involved have already been interviewed, and a radar operator was subsequently invited to get in touch.

  Nick Pope and wife, Dr Elizabeth Weiss

In parallel, the House Armed Services Committee is taking an interest. Records from April show the committee received a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) briefing on the Pentagon’s UFO project, the cryptically-named AATIP. We know so little about AATIP that there’s even dispute over whether the acronym stands for Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program or Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program. The very existence of the project caused a sensation, because until the New York Times broke the story in December 2017, the US government claimed it had not investigated UFOs since the 1960s when sightings were looked at in a study called Project Blue Book.

As noted in the Guardian recently, data from two civilian UFO research organisations show that the number of reported sightings has fallen in recent years. However, there’s no single, global focal point for reports (the Ministry of Defence stopped investigating UFOs in 2009) and statistics will never tell the full story.

It would be better if the phenomenon were assessed and judged not on numbers alone, but by focusing on cases where we have compelling evidence: independently submitted reports from pilots on different flights; visual sightings corroborated by radar; photos and videos regarded as genuinely intriguing by intelligence community imagery analysts. Irrespective of the methodology we use to assess the phenomenon, how can we do so in an even-handed way when the subject has so much pop culture baggage?

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Former Blink-182 Vocalist Tom DeLonge On a Mission to Prove UFOs Are Real

by Eric Mueller                      October 12, 2018                        (mandatory.com)

• One year ago this month, Tom DeLonge’s ‘To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science’ launched. The academy is divided into three divisions: aerospace, entertainment, and science. The net result has been Tom and his fellow compatriots confirming that UFOs are real. But an “unidentified flying object” is a vague term. It could mean any number of things, not all of them alien.

• To The Stars Academy also released some Department of Defense videos of UFOs. They claim it’s only the beginning. Up until now, the U.S. government has denied all UFO accounts.

• We learned last year that one of the To The Stars Academy’s principals is Luis Elizondo. Elizondo, it turned out, had headed the Pentagon’s $22 million ‘Advanced Aerospace Threats Program’ (AATP) to investigate unidentified aerial threats. The AATP only lasted for five years until 2012 when funding ran out. Elements of the program remain classified and many speculate that the program may still exist in some capacity. “We may not be alone,” Elizondo said publicly this time last year.

• The number of UFO sightings drastically rose, then declined, over the past 28 years. The National UFO Reporting Center reported only 315 UFO sightings in 1990, but by 1998, the number spiked to 2,000 UFO sightings. The number went up to 4,000 for 2006 and peaked at 8,670 in 2014. It has since gone down drastically, to only 1,329 at the end of June 2018. Are we too busy staring down at our new smart phones now to look up at the sky?

 

One year ago this month, To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science launched. The public benefit corporation was founded by Tom DeLonge, the former co-lead vocalist of blink-182 and the current lead guitarist and vocalist of Angels & Airwaves. The corporation is divided into three divisions: aerospace, entertainment, and science. Delonge originally became interested in all things otherworldly while doing research for a series of graphic novels. During a four-hour discussion with several former government officials at the launch of the corporation, he confirmed that UFOs are real.

No, that does not mean that aliens will suddenly invade our ears and switch bodies. An “unidentified flying object” is a vague term; it could mean any number of things, not all of them alien. Given the technology we have, from heat-sensing to enhanced images to metal detection, it’s amazing that anything is unidentifiable anymore.

It Doesn’t Get Much More Official Than This Guy

Luis Elizondo worked for the Department of Defense. He is the former director of programs to investigate unidentified aerial threats and headed the Advanced Aerospace Threats Program. The AATP formed in 2007 with a $22 million budget. The budget may sound big, but in context, it was small enough to go unnoticed by the public and unacknowledged by the government.

The AATP only lasted for five years when funding ran out. Elements of the program remain classified and many speculate that the program may still exist in some capacity. This is basically the plot to Men in Black and we’re obsessed.

“We may not be alone,” Elizondo said publicly this time last year.

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

In This Time of Tension and Anxiety, UFOs Are Back in the News

by Hedley Burrell                Jun 10, 2018                (www.heraldtribune.com)


• Stories of UFOs have ebbed and flowed over the decades, but now there is new chatter of a different kind. Today mainstream news outlets featuring heavily credentialed experts weighing in on the ongoing UFO phenomenon. In December (2017), CNN announced: “A former Pentagon official who led a … government program to research potential UFOs said … he believes there is evidence of alien life reaching Earth.”

• The New York Post summarized events: “… The New York Times released the results of an investigation into the U.S. military’s monitoring of UFO claims and came up with… a video released by the Pentagon that shows U.S. Navy pilots tracking the movements of a totally unexplainable aircraft. Now, a local news team from Las Vegas has obtained a military report that offers even more details on the sighting and the story is somehow becoming even more bizarre than it already was.” “The report explains in great detail how a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier played a strange game of hide and seek with multiple Anomalous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs) that demonstrated flight characteristics that should be downright impossible to pull off.”

• Then there was a Washington Post story describing how a rock star had “mustered a team of credentialed experts to put mysterious incidents on your radar.” “UFOs”, the headline said, “are suddenly a serious news story.” The rock star, the Post reported, was former Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge, who launched To the Stars Academy of Arts & Science. It will investigate the “outer edges of science.”

• Christopher Mellon, an adviser to the academy who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, wrote a Washington Post opinion piece that carried this headline: “The military keeps encountering UFOs. Why doesn’t the Pentagon care?”

• What we have today are heavy-duty experts taking UFOs seriously. “My personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone,” declared Luis Elizondo, the former Pentagon official in the CNN interview.

• It is intriguing to think of a new generation of journalists having to decide what attention, if any, should be given to new assertions that “the truth is out there,” to borrow a tagline from “The X-Files.”

 

Long ago, as a young reporter, I was well aware of UFO stories.

Out of curiosity, I read mainstream media pieces as well as tabloid tales. What repeatedly struck me was this: As with much else in life, we were reluctant to simply accept that we didn’t immediately know the answer to the mystery of the moment.

In any event, I would not have imagined that some six decades later, UFO stories would still be around, with heavily credentialed experts weighing in.

The stories ebbed and flowed over the decades, but now there is new chatter of a different kind.
In the past, I suspected that reports of sightings were likely to increase when popular entertainment featured space sagas, but I also thought they were a reflection of universal tensions and anxiety.

Given that these are truly tense and anxious times, I started to look around for UFO-type talk — or, rather, the reporting of same. I searched for some indication of renewed and perhaps more intense attention.

I found it, and it even had a new spin — namely an assertion that the subject was “serious.”

In December, CNN announced: “A former Pentagon official who led a … government program to research potential UFOs said … he believes there is evidence of alien life reaching Earth.” Other media outlets also weighed in. What was going on?

Last month, The New York Post summarized and updated events:
“UFO sightings are a dime a dozen … but back in December, The New York Times released the results of an investigation into the U.S. military’s monitoring of UFO claims and came up with something totally wild. It was a video released by the Pentagon that shows U.S. Navy pilots tracking the movements of a totally unexplainable aircraft. Now, a local news team from Las Vegas has obtained a military report that offers even more details on the sighting and the story is somehow becoming even more bizarre than it already was.”

The account continued: “The report explains in great details how a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier played a strange game of hide and seek with multiple Anomalous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs) that demonstrated flight characteristics that should be downright impossible to pull off.”
So there was all this.

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

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