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.

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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.'

14 comments:

  1. It was a Republican who asked the question about consequences for spreading false information about UFOs, and the responder didn't agree or disagree with the idea - so how do you conclude "liberals" want to silence and punish people who say things about UFOs they disagree with?

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    1. This is true. And some Republicans think that a Ministry of Truth is just fine. I saw a recent interview with Karl Rove (former Senior Advisor to George W. Bush) who approved of the idea, provided that it was headed up by somebody who was 'unbiased'. (Good luck with that!)

      But if you look at who is actually getting canceled on Big Tech, well, let's see - it's Trump and his supporters, conservative commentators, the Babylon Bee (a satirical site that mocks liberals), etc. Not banned are leftist activists, some of whom post outrageous and incendiary stuff, but no problem there. So it's clear that the censorship and banning these days is instigated and controlled by the Left, to silence the Right.

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    2. Goalpost shirt alert. Cancel culture is a... cultural thing. Congress making laws that punish people who disseminate false info about UAPs is what you were talking about.

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    3. The Biden Administration announced the creation of a Disinformation Governance Board which would monitor so-called "disinformation" on social media and in the press. It's elicited raised eyebrows on the Right, definitely, but also among Independents and some Democrats, because of concerns that cancel culture is moving beyond "culture" to official government status. Proved unpopular enough, apparently, that today the Biden Admin announced a "pause" in its implentation and its director resigned.

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    4. Spreading false information is different than having a different opinion.
      Voltaire didn't say "Sir, you are a pathological liar, but I will defend to the death your right of knowingly spread false information for your personal gain."
      This subject (the spread of false information) is a legitimate concern for any responsible lawmaker. I am not shocked by a question about it.
      And laws that limit the spread of lies are not (thankfully!) necessarily Orwellian tools of oppression: indeed, even in the most liberal democracy, you can be prosecuted for spreading certain types of false information (racist or antisemitic propaganda, defamation, lying under oath, etc...)
      Trump has been blocked from certain social platform after YEARS of spreading false information (including racist posts) and insulting people. Anybody would have been blocked far sooner for that (left or right). He has been blocked, if I remember well, because he had used these platforms to incite a violent insurrection, not because of some conspiracy by the Silicon Valley elite to censure right-wing politicians and their supporters.
      Your fears about a "Ministry of Truth" that would target UFO believers or of a cabal of leftist tech executives are no better than those little pixels in UFO videos.
      The Democratic and the Republican Parties: the two neurons of the American brain.

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    5. It's rather sad to see 'skeptics' promote the idea that false information must be criminalized, especially considering their frequent bouts with the titan that is religion. People seem to forget the sword you forge today can be used by your opponents tomorrow.

      In any event I doubt Greer or his ilk would be the one getting pinched. His position is that it's all hyper-advanced extraterrestrials that make sport of all our attempts to stop them. The skeptical explanations make the US military look bad one way or the other, so it's more likely people like Mick West would get hit with some sort of 'national security concern' charges.

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    6. "He's a republican, how do you conclude "liberals" want to silence and punish people"

      How do you conclude calling yourself a republican means you can't be a liberal? Ever heard of Susan Collins?

      The dude is a "republican" from Illinois. He's probably just a hair to the right of Pelosi.

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  2. There's an ironic twist here, which is that during the Cold War the CIA and other agencies of the US government suspected (justifiably, in my view, given the realities of the time) that the Soviets might seek to exploit the UFO brouhaha in the US to their own ends and that this would present a threat to national security. Soviet mass disinformation operations are now voluminously documented, and they continue in spirit in the form of Russian disinformation campaigns. Anyone who denies this is, frankly, delusional. To the anonymous commenter who alluded to "so-called 'disinformation'": there is nothing "so-called" about a lot of it; it's simply disinformation, orchestrated by the GRU. It is therefore not unreasonable for the US government to investigate this and take public steps to counter it. I think that anyone who is knowingly spreading disinformation originating with a hostile regime (in the sense of both knowingly spreading it and doing so with the knowledge that it is disinformation) should indeed be prosecuted, but by a court of law, not by an executive agency of the federal government. There are already laws on the books that criminalize consumer fraud, and much of what Greer and other hucksters push is consumer fraud. I would support these clowns being prosecuted under such laws rather than disinformation clauses.

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  3. Whole lotta fuss over a few balloons, some camera artifacts and low flying fowl. But that's ufoology for ya.
    G

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  4. As for the small, round object shown in Video 1 UAP 2021,

    "Well, today Commodore (R) Rubén Lianza, Director of the Center for Aero-Space Identification (CIAE) that belongs to the Argentinean Air Force identified and explained the object.

    Lianza wrote: SOLVED: Alleged "UFO" very close to an aircraft (from which it was filmed) that crossed. This is a frame capture from one of the videos that was shown at the UAP Hearing in the Capitol. It is clearly a helium balloon with the thread still hanging below it (solved using the IPACO software's "Vertical thread" tool). In this case, the Sigma peak was positive because the thread is brighter than the background."

    https://www.uapsg.com/2022/05/solved-mysterious-object-that-aoimsg.html

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    1. Source for that quote: https://www.facebook.com/100000452798728/posts/7746517548706595/

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    2. Robert, this video needs more than just image analysis to work out what this object could be. I'm not saying it's extra-terrestrial, however, we are not given any information about it's altitude, distance from the jet aircraft its speed etc. Helium balloons will burst once they achieve a certain altitude, and if this one is above the critical altitude (some quote 30,000 feet), then it excludes the possibility of it being a helium balloon. Moreover, don't you think that the UAP task force would have taken that into account before they used this as an example of an unknown in Congress? Surely if they do indeed identify it as a balloon, then that would be cause for considerable embarrassment.

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  5. I think the worst comment that I have seen is from this "News" report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa_QtbaIuK8&list=WL&index=203&t=86s

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  6. Regarding Sagan, I've looked through his books that include the UFO topic. ("Intelligent Life in the Universe," "UFOs: A Scientific Debate" (from an AAAS symposium), "The Cosmic Connection," "Broca's Brain," "Cosmos," and of course, "The Demon-Haunted World.")
    He's consistently skeptical about UFOs in all of them.
    In "Broca's Brain," Sagan lists Klass' "UFOs: Explained" (along with the "Scientific Debate") as two reliable books on the subject.
    So, at least publicly, it looks as though Sagan was consistent on the topic.
    Here's my interpretation of Sagan's comment at the 1968 hearing: the Condon report hadn't been released yet. I think he probably became more skeptical of UFOs/ETH after the report was released later that year.
    Keay Davidson's biography describes Sagan as being pro-ETH during his teens, but becoming skeptical during his undergrad years at U of Chicago. A major influence was Gardner's "Fads and Fallacies."

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