Wednesday, May 18, 2022

"UAPs" Baffle Congress (and the DOD)

So, Tuesday, May 17 was the day that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held its hearings. This is the first public Congressional hearing about UFOs since 1968. You can read the transcript of the hearing here. Some sources were promising dramatic revelations

Rep. Tim Burchett - a long term advocate for disclosure - told The Sun Online he has been informed by reliable sources that "material" has been recovered from the objects or craft that have been reported in skies over the US. The Tennessee Republican declined to elaborate further as he said the information had been passed to him in a "classified setting". "I've been told by multiple sources we have recovered something from these [crafts or objects]," Mr Burchett told The Sun Online.

But there were none. No secrets were "disclosed" - in fact, we heard from Scott Bray, Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence, that the government has no evidence of ET visitations, and does not possess any wreckage, or biological remains from supposed UAPs. He talked about 'range incursions,' i.e. supposed intrusions into military training areas by objects that don't belong there. I have written about this earlier. It seems that the Navy only cares about unidentified objects supposedly entering their own private sandbox. If unidentified objects turn up elsewhere, the Navy apparently doesn't care. Actually, since the Tic Tac and the Gimble UAP videos probably show distant jets, we don't know how far away they are, and thus, whether or not they are actually inside the military training area. Maybe it would be better to speak of unidentified objects sighted from within such training areas, without making the assumption that such objects are actually inside the area.

The hearing was, on the whole, rather dull. As you might expect, much of it was taken up with bureaucratic talk. Everyone promised that their investigations would be objective and scientific, and that they would reveal everything they have, except for information that might compromise intelligence sources or methods. All of which means nothing, because they could not get away with saying anything else! 😏 There was much talk about sensors and databases and such, as if such things have ever produced useful information about any UFO case.

UFO researcher Martin Kottmeyer noted on Facebook,

Video 1 UAP 2021, the best UAP evidence that Naval
Intelligence has! Aren't you impressed???

Just a quick note to say I watched the UAP hearing held this morning.  It was pretty droll stuff, but I did find incredibly amusing a five minute or so segment where a very short UAP clip was presented via a lap-top and it was obvious that people were having trouble finding the UAP in it.  Eventually someone is able to stop it in the right place to see a small streak of light flitting past the plane.
75 years of ufo mystery and we are still having to endure looking at blobs and specks of light like they prove anything.

Indeed. The object in their "Video 1 UAP 2021" was so insignificant and difficult to see that it had to be played over and over several times before the object was even seen. When finally it was caught in a freeze frame, it was just a tiny round object with no details. Very likely this was just a balloon that the aircraft flew past at a high rate of speed. They show this as some of their best evidence, and we are supposed not to laugh?
Then Bray showed two videos "taken through night vision 'goggles,' with a single lens reflex camera." I was trying to envision how you attach a single lens reflex camera to night vision goggles, and finally concluded that you don't. I think he means, this was taken with a camera held up to the eyepiece of the goggles. High tech!!! The objects, he says, "remain unsolved." At least he seemed to realize that the triangular shape of the objects was an artifact of the camera diaphragm ("Bokeh," to be exact). But the objects themselves are, he said, unidentified. 
Unidentified? On April 13, 2021 some dude calling himself Dylan the Villain posted this image on Twitter, identifying the objects seen at the start of the now-famous IR video as Jupiter, and several stars in Scorpius.  Mick West took the matter further, identifying more stars seen later in the video. As a longtime active amateur astronomer, I've checked this over, and it is indeed correct. Somehow this analysis was too difficult for Naval Intelligence to perform, it had to be left to civilian investigators on Twitter and Metabunk. Perhaps you recall the old joke about "military intelligence" being a contradiction in terms. Well, Naval Intelligence is proving that sometimes the "joke" is really truth.

Dylan the Villain posted this on Twitter, identifying the objects seen at the start of the video as Jupiter, and several stars in Scorpius. Apparently this was too difficult for Naval Intelligence to figure out.

Rep. Rick Crawford (Republican from Arkansas) sort of staked out his position as the skeptic on the committee. He began by saying that he is more concerned about studying Chinese and Russian hypersonic weapons than UAPs. But since studying UAP reports might yield information on such weapons, "I am on board. The intelligence community has a serious duty to our taxpayers to prevent potential adversaries such as China and Russia from surprising us with unforeseen new technologies." Later in the hearing, Crawford remarked to Ronald S. Moultrie, Under Secretary of Defense Intelligence & Security (USDI&S) that the resolution and details of the UAP images we've been shown are simply terrible. We are "calibrating" our sensors, Moultrie replied.

What was perhaps the most distressing moment of the entire hearing was toward the end, when Darin LaHood (Republican from Illinois) asked, what are the consequences for individuals and groups who put out false information about UAPs? Moultrie replied that nobody has thus far been held legally accountable. What is the deterrent for such individuals for Disinformation or Misinformation? I don't know, Moultrie replied, Congress needs to decide this.

In other words, some people are eager to have Biden's new Ministry of Truth adjudicate, censor, and perhaps punish, those promoting "false information" about UFOs. Now, I have been debunking "misinformation" about UFOs for many years, but this is one of the worst ideas I heave ever heard on that subject. Of course, much of what is said about UFOs by prominent UFOlogists is pure "misinformation," but I am terrified at the thought of some government agency deciding what is true and what isn't, and punishing offenders. I mean, Steven Greer and Corey Goode would be serving life sentences. This is the land of the free (or at least it used to be), and the idea of the government policing discourse, deciding what can be freely said and what cannot, would establish a full-blown political tyranny, where disagreeing with our rulers is punishable, just as in the days of the Divine Right of Kings. Liberals used to say, I might disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Today's liberals say, if I disagree with what you say, you must be silenced, and maybe even punished. Be afraid, be very afraid.


For those interested to compare today's Congressional hearing with the one 54 years ago, the full record of the 1968 hearings is on-line here. The format was quite different from what we are seeing now. An impressive-looking list of 'UFO experts' was assembled to tell the U.S. House Committee on Science and Astronautics that UFOs are something very important, and need to be studied.

List of UFO experts who testified in the 1968 Congressional Hearings

Seeing Carl Sagan among the speakers, you might think that he was invited as a 'token skeptic.' Alas, it is not so. In his testimony to the 1968 hearings, Carl Sagan said: 

I might mention that, on this symposium, there are no individuals who strongly disbelieve in the extraterrestrial origin of UFO's and therefore there is a certain view, not necessarily one I strongly agree with -- but there is a certain view this committee is not hearing today, along those lines.

In other words, Sagan was saying that there were no strong skeptics on that panel. (Donald Menzel was solidly skeptical, but while he submitted a paper, he was not on the panel.) Since Sagan was himself on the panel, it's obvious that Sagan did not himself "strongly disbelieve" in the ETH at this time. 

I do not think the evidence is at all persuasive, that UFO's are of intelligent extraterrestrial origin, nor do I think the evidence is convincing that no UFO's are of intelligent extraterrestrial origin. I think as each of the preceding speakers has mentioned, but perhaps not sufficiently emphasized, that the question is very much an open one, and it is certainly too soon to harden attitudes and make any permanent contentions on the subject.  

That sounds like something written by Marcello Truzzi! Klass referred to Sagan's ET ambiguity several times in private correspondence. Klass suggested that Sagan would say anything he thought would help to get his SETI funded. He didn't trust Sagan, as many others did not, in part because Sagan was blaming the Cold War and the arms race on US nuclear weapons policies (but not on Soviet ones). Sagan seemed to be rooting for the 'other side.'