The UFO Conspiracy

By alllie

This will be, not a trip down the rabbit hole, but a trip out of it, out into the bright light of reality - but you might need some sunglasses or a hat to shade your eyes, because reality can be harsh.

Conspiracy has a specific legal definition. A conspiracy is an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act. But sometimes people or governments act together secretly, especially with political motivation, and there is no crime or fraud involved, at least not technically. I mean to cover conspiracies in this broadest sense.

In addition to governments fooling people there is the joy that people take in fooling other people, in scaring them, spinning them out, controlling their perception of an event - like jumping out of the bushes on a dark night and yelling “boo” at a passing stranger.

For instance, years ago when I was working in a lab, one of the techs, when it was slow on midnights or he was bored, would take plastic barrel liners, tape them up with strapping tape, fill them with helium, tie a flare or a flashlight to them, and send them up into the dark, hoping someone would think the lights were some kind of alien visitation.

War of the Worlds, reaction

A a bit of disclaimer here. I have to admit my father believed in UFOs, believed that aliens had visited earth. This I blame on Orson Wells. When my father was a teen he had listened to Wells’ October 30, 1938 broadcast of H. G. Well’s The War of the Worlds and listened to it in the company of people who believed it was real. They weren’t the only ones. The show had been written as the simulated news broadcast of an alien invasion and hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of people thought it was really happening. My father always denied that he had been taken in but I think it predisposed him to the idea that there might be aliens and they might have visited our planet.

This brings us to the UFO conspiracy.

Most conspiracies have been evil, at least in their effects. That’s why they’ve been kept secret. But some have been fun. The UFO conspiracy, with the US government fostering the idea that we have alien visitors sharing our skies, well, that’s been fun, hasn’t it? A lot of people have enjoyed it, got off on it, made money from of it and it’s inspired a lot of great science fiction, both in print and on film. The government used this nonsense as a cover for the testing of new aircraft and weapons systems. Of course the UFO conspiracy was mainly aimed at the Soviet Union, so when the Soviets saw US spy planes flying at the edge of space, flying too fast for even a missile to catch, then it would be helpful if they thought those strange shapes in the sky were UFOs and not spy planes. Cover and confusion, that was the purpose of the UFO conspiracy.

UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object but the term has come to mean ‘alien space ship’. UFOs go back a long way. There are pictures of them in the skies of some renaissance paintings like The Madonna and Child with the infant St. Giovannino. CarloCrivelli’s The Annunciation with Saint Emidius shows a flying saucer firing a heat ray. Of course there are also pictures of fish-headed, tailed, flying demons in the skies of some Renaissance paintings so these pictures don’t mean that the artists ever saw or heard of anything like an alien spacecraft.

The Madonna and Child with the infant St. Giovannino
The Madonna and Child with the infant St. Giovannino (and UFO)
CarloCrivelli’s The Annunciation with Saint Emidius
The Holy Ghost in the form of a heat ray impregnating Mary

There are also references to UFO like objects in the Bible. The biggest one is what we call the Star of Bethlehem. The Wise Men supposedly see this star in the east and follow it. After they talk to Herod they go from Jerusalem to Bethlehem following the star as it moves and then stands over where Jesus was born.

First, all celestial objects appear to move from east to west due to the earth’s rotation. Jerusalem to Bethlehem is north to south.

Second, how does a star stand over a spot on earth? The only star that appears to do that is the North Star and that only because it is approximately aligned with the Earth's axis of rotation. The rest of the stars seem circle around. For a star, that is a sun that is far away, to appear to stay over a spot on earth it would have to be circling around the earth, around the solar system, at speeds that would make lightspeed slow in comparison.

Okay, not a real star. These are primitives and to them 'star' just means a light in the night sky. What kind of light in the night sky would hover over a single position on earth? A satellite in geosynchronous orbit? Well, that kind of satellite wouldn’t move north to south. How about a UFO in geosynchronous orbit? How about a helicoptor with a light? Also wouldn’t it have to be pretty close to the surface the earth before it would seem to hover over a small object? Wouldn’t it? Hell, maybe it was a time traveler coming back to record the event.

But we’re talking, not just UFOs, but conspiracies.

There are two big dates for the UFO conspiracy in the US: June 24 and July 8, 1947. On the first date Kenneth Arnold, a businessman and pilot, saw what appeared to be flying wings near Mount Ranier. He described them as moving "like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water". Thus flying saucers were born. On July 8th of that same year something came down in a field near Roswell, New Mexico. What ever it was, the army, at first, described it as a flying saucer then as a weather balloon. It was a cover-up from the first.

What Arnold probably saw were German flying wing prototypes such as the Horten flying wing. The Germans developed them toward the end of WWII and the allies captured them. The Horten even had the scalloped trailing edge described by Arnold.

Kenneth Arnold with a drawing of what he saw
Kenneth Arnold with
an illustration of the first flying saucer
Horton Flying Wing

The Horton Flying Wing

Debris from an experimental surveillance balloon from Project Mogul was probably what was discovered in the Roswell Incident. Project Mogul was a top secret military program that used high altitude balloons to detect sound waves generated by Soviet nuclear tests.

From these two flimsy beginnings many of our UFO myths have grown.

This was after World War II. At that time there was a secret embrace of Nazism and Nazis by certain elements in American government. Nazi scientists were brought to the US and incorporated into US military research and development and later into NASA. Some Nazis were left in Germany and Eastern Europe to spy on the Soviets and sabotage when instructed, some of them known Nazi torturers and murderers. Some Nazis were helped to escape to South America. But worst of all the Nazis were studied, even those convicted of the worst crimes at Nuremberg. American intelligence was especially interested in how the Nazis had been able to control the German people. These methods were then used against the American people. Instead of demonizing Jews the same methods were used to systematically demonize communists, socialists and our World War Two ally, the Soviet Union.

Before that time certain capitalists had made it their business to study how to control the American people and their tastes, to learn how to get them to smoke cigarettes and how to get them to drink Coke. Before World War I the JP Morgan combine bought editorial control of 25 major papers in the US with the purpose of using them to persuade the American people and the American government to join in WWI.

But before WWII, it was mostly private business and private individuals trying to control the American people, and mostly for profit. After WWII, the government got involved.

This control included the UFO Conspiracy. Get people to believe in UFOs then they wouldn’t question those strange objects in the night sky. Apparently getting the American people to believe in aliens was more acceptable than allowing them to know the US was developing new weapons and new aircraft. Even though the American taxpayer was footing the bill. Certainly Orson Well’s War of the Worlds proved many Americans were willing to believe in aliens. That was used, used against the American people.

Ever get the feeling that sometimes the US commissioned new aircraft based on aesthetic considerations rather than practicality? The Nazis made this pretty flying wing back in about 1944. It was supposed to have a primitive stealth technology and ever after the US tried to design and build their own flying wing till they finally succeeded with the B-2 Stealth Bomber. But the B-2s cost nearly a billion dollars each, are aerodynamically unstable and require 119 hours of maintenance for each hour they fly. In fact Arnold’s original flying saucer account described the aircraft as skipping like a stone across water. That bobbing motion was probably indicative of the flying wing’s inherent instability. But B-2’s look as slick as hell. From the side they really do look like flying saucers. But that doesn’t seem like a good reason to choose such an unstable design. The Stealth Fighter, the F-117 Nighthawk, is also a weird piece of work. Except for a tuft of fins it looks more like a pyramid stuck on an arrowhead than a plane.

B-2 Stealth Bomber
The B-2 Stealth Bomber
F-117 Nighthawk
The Stealth Fighter, the F-117 Nighthawk

Another popular UFO story is the myth of an alien crash. It includes descriptions of small humanoid aliens dressed in sliver suits found in the midst of wreckage. The aliens are always described as dead or dying, and are carried away by the military on stretchers.

A later Air Force report explained that "crash test dummies" were dropped from airplanes in tests to determine what problems pilots would encounter with the ejection mechanisms for bailing out of a new generation of aircraft. It’s claimed these dummies were mistaken by witnesses for the rumored Roswell "aliens."

Here we come to something darker. Once my brother and his roommate had a long discussion about sending up a large helium balloon carrying a monkey in a gold lame suit. They thought it would be funny if someone found it and thought it was an alien. I thought it would be cruel to the monkey and threatened to call the police if they dared to try it. As far as I know they never did. Apparently the Air Force was not so constrained and used monkeys in little silver space suits to test the effects of high altitude parachute jumps. When ranchers found these dead and dying animals they thought they were small humanoid aliens in space suits. This is probably the only really controversial part of the UFO conspiracy.

Then there’s Area 51 where the UFO lies started to rebound on the US government. Area 51, also known as Groom Lake, is a secret military facility about 90 miles north of Las Vegas. The site was used in the mid-1950s for the testing of the U-2 spyplane. It still has one of the longest landing strips in the world. You can look it up on google maps.

Groom Lake
Groom Lake, aka, Area 51

In 1988 someone snapped a grainy picture of the F-117 Nighthawk. Then in 1989 Bob Lazar, who claimed he was a physicist who had worked at Groom Lake, gave an interview to a Las Vegas TV show in which he asserted he had worked on alien spacecraft at Area 51. So “Area 51” entered the language.

Maybe Bob Lazar was repeating office rumors but I doubt it. I think, once again, someone was sent out to lie. After that picture of the F-117 had gotten out the year before maybe the government felt they needed a cover story to convince the public and the world that any other pictures of strange aircraft being tested at Groom Lake were really alien spaceships. But here the lies began to boomerang. Alien spacecraft! At a US facility!! Suddenly a lot of people wanted to see! They would go out into the desert, as close as they were allowed to get to Groom Lake, to watch and to take pictures. Then they would publish what they saw, if only in newsletters. They became perfect spies for… whoever. Perfect because as innocent hobbyists they had every right to do what they were doing. After all, it was government lies that titillated them, told them there was something to see. Less innocent spies could also use them for cover.

But really, all and all, it’s been fun hasn’t it, this dance between science fiction and the lies of the US government. I was watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind not long ago, thinking how the lies had led to this … art. Watching Independence Day I think the same thing.

Why am I so sure that the US doesn’t have an alien space ship at Area 51, or anywhere else. Because of what we’ve built. The weapons and aircraft that the US has developed since the 50s have been aimed, not at space, but, first, at the Soviet Union, then at any other nation that had something the US plutocracy wanted to steal. If aliens had actually crashed on earth the US government would have built spaceships and space weapons. We’d be on the moon and Mars and everyplace else we could get to. But they didn’t and we’re not. Clearly they didn’t think there was anything in space to fear, or even be wary of.

It’s been suggested that such craft and weapons might exist and we might have been kept ignorant of them. But you have to remember that the Soviet Union existed until about 20 years ago and they spied on the US and watched what we were producing. We couldn’t have left the earth without them knowing just as the US couldn’t have faked the moon landings without the USSR knowing, and telling.

Are there aliens? Anywhere?

The Drake Equation allows us to estimate the likehood that there is other intelligent life in the universe, life we might detect. I’d put some mighty low figures in most of the Drake Equation. The earth has been here 4.54 billion years. There’s been life on earth for 3.5 to 3.8 billion years. And despite that there has only been one tool using civilization (as opposed to species that use simple tools), and that for, at most, only a few tens of thousands of years. There’s only been a true technologic civilization for a few hundred years and a technologic civilization that could be detected from afar, that’s only been around less than a hundred years, starting from the first regular radio broadcast in 1920. More and more it looks like our technological civilization, with its dependence on fossil fuel, will not last another 100 years, not unless we stumble onto some new invention that allows us to directly transform matter into energy.

So I doubt there are many alien technological civilization out there looking around for, well, for us. No alien Darwin on an alien HMS Beagle out to study what, to them, is alien life.

Is there any sign of intelligent life in the universe, except for us? Well, there’s something close. There’s Saturn. There’s a hexagon at Saturn’s north pole, that is, the wind there circles in a double hexagon. There are clouds inside the inner hexagon that race backward and make 60 degree turns at the corners.

Saturn's North Pole
Saturn's North Pole

While some compounds crystallize as hexagons and even cooling basalt can form hexagonal columns, on earth a hexagon often means life, a bee’s comb, a wasp nest, the slow patterned growth of some corals. But wind. How can wind blow in a hexagonal pattern? On earth, when the wind makes patterns it makes circles, makes spirals. And Saturn sings. It produces radio waves which are now thought to be caused by ice collisions in its rings. Maybe so but maybe we are looking too far afield for alien life. But Saturn lies at the bottom of a deep gravity well. Seems like it would be almost impossible for any intelligent life to get out of it. But if they can make winds circle in a hexagon and turn at a 60 degree angle, maybe they could. Unfortunately there are some fluid dynamics studies that show that the hexagon might be a natural phenomena though if it is a natural phenomena at Saturn's North Pole it's puzzling that it does not occur at its South Pole as well.

The Movement of Saturn's North Pole
Saturn's South Pole
The Movement of Saturn's North Pole
Saturn's South Pole

Saturn’s north pole has been tipped into darkness for years but they kept the Cassini–Huygens spacecraft hanging around for Saturn’s summer, to see the hexagon in visible light. It’s still there. The Cassini probe has also found evidence there might be life on Saturn’s moon Titan.

The thing about Saturn is: it’s a gas giant. As all planets once were. But when the sun got big enough and dense enough that fusion started, it blew the atmosphere off the inner planets of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. Any atmosphere those planet now have they probably got from meteors, comets, and maybe outgasing related to volcanic activity. But the outer planets, they didn’t lose their atmosphere, so they might have had a longer time to evolve. Also planets like Jupiter and Saturn are so large that when they are hit by meteors or comets, it wouldn’t cause a planet wide extinction. On earth there have been five major extinction events in which over 50% of animal species died. At least a couple of them are believed to have been caused by meteor impacts. So on earth evolution has been a start and stop thing. If life evolved on Jupiter or Saturn, perhaps there wouldn’t be the evolution interruptus that has repeatedly occurred on earth.

Life on earth is carbon based and requires liquid water. So, the scientists say, there couldn’t be life in the cold, high pressure environment of a gas giant. They’re probably right but then I wonder how much they really know about chemistry in such an environment. Then I think about the Challenger Deep, the deepest point on earth, almost 7 miles under the surface of the ocean, with a pressure of 16,000 pounds per square inch and just a couple of degrees above freezing. There have been three expeditions down to the bottom, only one manned. But they found life, even there.

So I hope there might be life in unlikely places and, thanks to the UFO conspiracy, we might not be so surprised if we find it.

© Alllie, 2012

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