|| Home. | Universe Galaxies And Stars Archives. | |
|| Universe | Big Bang | Galaxies | Stars | Solar System | Planets | Hubble Telescope | NASA | Search Engine ||
UFO conspiracy theory believes UFO information is being kept secret by governments around the world.
A UFO conspiracy theory is any one of many often overlapping conspiracy theories which argue that evidence of the reality of unidentified flying objects is being suppressed.
UFO conspiracy theory often incorporates the idea that governments are in fact in communication or cooperation with extraterrestrials. Some of these theories claim that the government is explicitly allowing alien abduction in exchange for technology.
Background to UFO conspiracy theory.
UFO conspiracy theories typically inform one another and often entangle so tightly that it is difficult to determine who originally made any particular assertion. Many UFO conspiracy theories are quite detailed and very elaborate. But they are also typically short on (or utterly lacking) corroborative evidence, and are subsequently regarded by most mainstream parties as, at best, profoundly exaggerated and inaccurate. Many more dismiss the lurid and elaborate theories as paranoid fantasy.
Popular culture and opinions on UFO conspiracy theory.
Various recent polls have suggested that most Americans suspect that their government is withholding or suppressing UFO-related evidence. The contention that there is a widespread coverup of UFO information isn't limited to the general public or UFO research community. For example, a 1971 survey of Industrial Research/Development magazine found that 76% felt the government wasn't revealing all it knew about UFOs, 54% thought UFOs definitely or probably existed, and 32% thought they came from outer space.
There have also been some notable persons to have publicly stated that UFO evidence is being suppressed. These have included Senator Barry Goldwater, Admiral Lord Hill-Norton (former NATO head and chief of the British Defence Staff), Brigadier-General Arthur Exon (former commanding officer of Wright-Patterson AFB), Vice-Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter (first CIA director; see quote below), astronauts Gordon Cooper and Edgar Mitchell, former Canadian Defence Minister Paul Hellyer, and the 1999 French COMETA Report by various French generals and aerospace experts.
It has been suggested that UFO conspiracy theories have been presented to UFO enthusiasts as disinformation designed to distract from prosaic but secretive government effort; there is one well-documented instance of this occurring; see Paul Bennewitz. Some UFO conspiracy theories have been studied as emergent folklore or urban legends.
Various conspiratorial UFO ideas have flourished on the Internet and are frequently featured on Art Bell's program, Coast to Coast AM.
In fiction, television programs (The X-Files and Stargate), films (Men in Black and Independence Day) and any number of novels have featured elements of UFO conspiracy theories.
Elements may include the government's sinister Men in Black, the military bases known as Area 51, RAF Rudloe Manor or Porton Down, a supposed crash site in Roswell, New Mexico, the infamous Rendlesham Forest Incident, a political committee dubbed the "Majestic 12" or afterrunner of the UK Ministry of Defence's Flying Saucer Working Party or the FSWP
US government position on UFO conspiracy theory.
In fact, the United States' government has demonstrated a sometimes keen interest in UFO reports, but has also typically been reluctant to admit this or to discuss their opinions or findings. Some high-ranking military officials have reported that the military's private views of UFOs were very different from their public statements on the subject: In a signed statement to the United States Congress (also reported in the New York Times), dated February 28, 1960, former CIA Director Vice Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter stated,
The Brookings Report is a genuine study commissioned by the U.S. government under Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Valerie Mason, which suggested that evidence of extraterrestrials might prove disruptive to human society; this study has led to speculation that government agencies might cover up evidence of extraterrestrials, whether on Earth or elsewhere.
In his exhaustive The UFO Book, Jerome Clark devotes 22 pages to examination of various overlapping UFO conspiracy theories which he describes as
(Clark, 1998, 143) Clark also characterizes the tales as an "evolving legend". (Clark, 1998, 159)
UK Government position on UFO conspiracy theory.
The United Kingdom’s government has for many years been interested in the UFO phenomenon and, not surprisingly, has been more open about it than the US government. Some have stated that this proves that the UK Government has no covert UFO cover-up group, while others have argued the contrary. See Nick Pope’s Conspiracy or Indifference?, Rendlesham Forest UFO Article in MOD Magazine or Nick Redfern’s books A Covert Agenda or Cosmic Crashes amongst many others. Redfern gives a strong argument in his book 'A Covert Agenda’ and 'Cosmic Crashes' of there being a UK version of the Majestic 12 he calls MJ-UK. This group is also referred to as the Syndicate, Enterprise, or the Consortium.
The UK Government's official stance is that UFO incidents "pose no threat to national security". However, many senior and official figures disagree, as do some UK UFOlogists.
The Ministry of Defence’s first "official" UFO Project has its roots in a study commissioned in 1950 by the MOD’s then Chief Scientific Adviser, the great radar scientist Sir Henry Tizard. As a result of his insistence that UFO sightings should not be dismissed without some form of proper scientific study, the Department set up arguably the most marvellously-named committee in the history of the Civil Service, the Flying Saucer Working Party or the FSWP. The Flying Saucer Working Party was set up in October 1950 by Ministry of Defence Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Henry Tizard, who felt that UFO reports should not be dismissed out of hand without some serious study. He duly authorised the setting up of a small study team to look into the phenomenon. The existence of the Working Party's report was discovered in 1999 by Dr. David Clarke and Andy Roberts at the UK National Archives. They asked the MoD to search their archives and in May 2001 a surviving copy was found and released to them. The report was finally opened to public scrutiny at the National Archives in January 2002, half a century after it was completed. A detailed commentary and analysis of the report by David Clarke can be found at:
Lord Hill-Norton, a former Chief of the Defence Staff of the UK Government and believer in a conspiracy surrounding the Rendlesham Forest Incident and UFO’s in general tabled 18 Parliamentary questions in the House of Lords -as a result of which the Government released more than 200 previously secret files concerning UFOs and aliens. One of the files revealed that then Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill wanted the matter investigated in 1952.He sent a memo to his scientific adviser, Sir Henry Tizard, asking: `What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth?' After several months, Tizard reported that all the sightings were 'explicable by natural events', although shortly afterwards the Government explicitly banned RAF personnel from discussing sightings with anyone not from the military.
After noted poet Bryce Blightly reported having witnessed a flying saucer while visiting the United States, Minister of Intelligence Hartford Shrop is reported to have sent a letter to the prime minister, asking for Blightly's immediate arrest and detention upon return to Britain. When this was made public in the early 1970s, the then aging poet began a long and tedious lawsuit that was not finished by the time of his death in 1981.
One of the most prominent believers is Nick Pope and he discusses this incident in his various books and in his articles "Selected Documents" which relates to the MOD documents on the Rendlesham Forest incident exposed by Georgina Bruni, Rendlesham - The Unresolved Mystery, The Rendlesham Files Reviewed - A detailed commentary and analysis of the MOD documents and Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident.
Additionally, Lieutenant Colonel (later Colonel) Charles I Halt, the former Deputy Base Commander of RAF/USAF NATO Bentwaters/Woodbridge of Rendlesham, who as a major witness to these events is also a believer. Halt took a patrol of men into the forest where they witnessed several objects under intelligent control. In January 1981 he composed an official Air Force memorandum listing details of the events. The memo was then dispatched to the Ministry of Defence. Halt also made an audio tape recording of the incident.
As Nick Pope states in 2006, "The Ministry of Defence has released more information about UFOs reported to the Department in recent years, and posted it on the Freedom of Information portal on their website. Check out http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FreedomOfInformation/ and select "UFO Reports 2002 - 2005". There is a considerable amount of other UFO-related information now available. Search both the Publication Scheme and the Disclosure Log, by entering "UFO" in the search field, setting the dates so that you search the entire archive and not just the recent material. Happy hunting."
Another senior Establishment figure whose interest and belief in UFOs is widely known and documented is the wartime Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding. He was very outspoken on the issue. Writing in the Sunday Dispatch on 11 July 1954 he said:
"I am convinced that these objects do exist and that they are not manufactured by any nation on Earth. I can therefore see no alternative to accepting the theory that they come from some extraterrestrial source."
On May 15th 2006 the MOD released, under the Freedom of information in the United Kingdom, a report on a study of aerial phenomena, codenamed Project Condign. The report, stamped "Secret: UK Eyes Only", was completed in 2000 and concluded that "meteors and their well-known effects and, possibly some other less-known effects are responsible for some unidentified aerial phenomena".
UFO conspiracy theory: Freedom of Information MOD UFO reports for 2006.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Government released details of all UFO sightings reported to the MOD department in 2006.
Chronology of UFO conspiracy theory.
This is a list of lots of events and statements and personalities who have been in many UFO conspiracy theories.
On the night before Halloween in 1938, Orson Welles directed the Mercury Theatre in their live radio adaptation of H. G. Wells's classic novel, The War of the Worlds. By mimicking a news broadcast, the show was quite realistic sounding for its time, and some listeners were famously fooled into thinking that an actual Martian invasion was underway in the United States. There was widespread confusion, followed by outrage and controversy. Some later studies have argued that the extent of the panic was exaggerated by the contemporary press, but it remains clear that many people were caught up, to one degree or another, in the confusion.
There has been continued speculation that the panic generated by the War of the Worlds broadcast inspired officials to cover-up UFO evidence, to avoid a similar panic. Indeed, U.S. Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt wrote in 1956, "The (government's) UFO files are full of references to the near mass panic of October 30, 1938, when Orson Welles presented his now famous The War of the Worlds broadcast."
UFO conspiracy theory: Roswell Incident
In 1947, the United States Air Force issued a press release stating that a "flying disk" had been recovered near Roswell, New Mexico. (see Roswell UFO incident) This press release was quickly withdrawn, and officials stated that a weather balloon had been misidentified. The Roswell case quickly faded even from the attention of most UFOlogists until the 1970s. There has been continued speculation that an alien spacecraft did indeed crash near Roswell despite the official denial. For example, retired Brigadier General Arthur Exon, former commanding officer of Wright-Patterson AFB, told researchers Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt that a spacecraft had in fact crashed, alien bodies were recovered, and the event was covered up by the U.S. government. Exon further claimed he was aware of a very secretive UFO controlling committee made up primarily of very high-ranking military officers and intelligence people. His nickname for this group was "The Unholy Thirteen." Exon testimony
UFO conspiracy theory: Mantell Incident.
The 1948 death of Air Force pilot Thomas Mantell (the so-called Mantell Incident) many have contributed to a distrust of governmental UFO studies. Mantell's airplane crashed and he was killed following the pursuit of an aerial artifact he described as "a metallic object ... it is of tremendous size." (Clark, 352) Project Sign personnel investigated the case and determined that Mantell had been chasing the planet Venus-a conclusion which met with incredulity. Later this was amended to a Skyhook balloon, an explanation which continues to be debated to this day.
UFO conspiracy theory: Project Sign.
The U.S. Air Force may have planted the seeds of UFO conspiracy theories with Project Sign (established 1947) (which became Project Grudge and Project Blue Book). Edward J. Ruppelt, the first director of Blue Book, characterized the Air Force's public behavior regarding UFOs as "schizophrenic": alternately open and transparent, then secretive and dismissive. Ruppelt also revealed that in the summer of 1948, Project Sign issued a top secret Estimate of the Situation concluding that the flying saucers were not only real but probably extraterrestrial in origin. According to Ruppelt, the Estimate was ordered destroyed by Air Force Chief of Staff Hoyt Vandenberg.
In 1962, Charles Ranagan, witness to the Ridge Landing saucer, came public with his experience in the book "Secret Tragedy." There, Ranagan estimates that between 100 and 150 people were killed in the accident.
Alleged Holloman Air Force Base UFO Landing.
Clark cites a 1973 encounter as perhaps the earliest suggestion that the U.S. government was involved with ETs. That year, Robert Emenegger and Allan Sandler of Los Angeles, California, were in contact with officials at Norton Air Force Base in order to make a documentary film.
Emenegger and Sandler report that Air Force Officials (including Paul Shartle) suggested incorporating UFO information in the documentary, including as its centerpiece genuine footage of a 1971 UFO landing at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Furthermore, says Emenegger, he was given a tour of Holloman AFB and was shown where officials conferred with EBEs. This was supposedly not the first time the U.S. had met these aliens, as Emenegger reported that his U.S. military sources had "been monitoring signals from an alien group with which they were unfamiliar, and did their ET guests know anything about them? The ET's said no." (Clark 1998, 144)
No film was ever presented, however, and the documentary was released in 1974 as UFO's: Past, Present and Future (narrated by Rod Serling). The alleged Holloman UFO landing was discussed in the documentary and was depicted with illustrations.
(Years later, in 1988, Shartle would declare that the film in question was genuine, and that he had seen it several times.)
UFO conspiracy theory: Paul Bennewitz.
The late 1970s also saw the beginning of an affair centered around Paul Bennewitz of Albuquerque, New Mexico. See Paul Bennewitz for further details.
The so-called Majestic 12 documents surfaced in 1982, suggesting that there was secret, high-level U.S. government interest in UFOs dating to the 1940s.
UFO conspiracy theory: Linda Moulton Howe.
In the late 1970s, Denver, Colorado-based journalist Linda Moulton Howe had produced Strange Harvest, a documentary film about the many allegedly strange deaths of cows throughout the western U.S. See cattle mutilation
Strange Harvest was a modest success, and Howe became interested in UFO reports in general and the Bennewitz affair especially.
In 1983, Howe agreed to produce a new documentary called UFO's: The ET Factor for HBO. Peter Gersted (head of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy) told Howe that Air Force Sergeant Richard C. Doty wanted to meet her and disclose some secret UFO information, specifically a supposed UFO account from Ellsworth Air Force Base.
Howe says that she met Doty at Kirtland AFB, and rather than discuss the Elleman incident, he allowed her to read a secret document. "A Briefing Paper for the President of the United States on the Subject of Unidentified Flying Vehicles." (Clark 1998, 154) Howe says she was not allowed to copy the paper or take notes, and was required to read it in Doty's presence.
The document, Howe reported, detailed a series of events: Several UFO crashes and recoveries, including some where the alien occupants were alive and remained in the care of the U.S. government. The aliens gave several aircraft to the U.S. as a gift, and the government were reverse engineering them to determine how they worked. A UFO landing had indeed been filmed at Holloman AFB but in 1964, not 1971.
Howe reported that Doty promised considerable confirmation, including documents, film and photographs. The U.S. government had wanted to reveal the reality of UFOs for some time, Doty allegedly reported, but had waited until the political and cultural climate was receptive.
When she told HBO about Doty's statement, they were intrigued, but insisted on a letter of intent from the U.S. government before pursuing the documentary any further. Howe reported that Doty promised to obtain guarantees.
Through the summer of 1983, Howe says Doty repeatedly made and canceled various conferences with her: A meeting with a retired Air Force Colonel who had extensive contact with an EBE, and various opportunities for Howe to view UFO films or documents. Howe says she spoke to other ostensible government officials who confirmed parts of the UFO conspiracy she had read in the classified memo, but always with Doty as liaison.
Then in July 1983, Howe says, Doty told her that he was no longer allowed to be involved with her UFO documentary. Without his aid, Howe says she lost her contacts with other officials. By 1984, HBO gave up on the documentary.
In 1989, UFOlogist William L. Moore would report that "I became aware that Rick (Doty) was involved with a team of several others ... in playing an elaborate disinformation scheme against a major UFO researcher who, at the time, had close connections with a major television film company interested in doing a UFO documentary." Moore says that Howe was discredited due to her interest in Bennewitz. (Clark 1998, 156) Clark does note if Moore offered proof of his assertions.
UFO conspiracy theory: John Lear.
In the late 1980s, John Lear became prominent in UFO circles. Citing "unnamed but well-connected sources" (Clark 1998, 157), Lear asserted that the U.S. government had in fact recovered dozens of UFOs over the decades. In exchange for advanced technology, the government allowed for a limited number of alien abductions.
This proceeded for some years, until in 1972 the government discovered that the aliens were kidnapping far more persons than their agreement had stipulated. This dispute culminated in a conflict between aliens and humans at a secret military base near Dulce, New Mexico. The aliens supposedly killed about 40 high-ranking military officials or scientists, and many more military personnel who tried to invade the base.
Following this conflict, Lear reports, the aliens have essentially gone about their schemes with no interference. Up to 10% of the U.S. population has been abducted, and the Strategic Defense Initiative was actually proposed to protect from alien invaders, not Soviet missiles.
Lear relied heavily on Bennewitz's stories, which Bennewitz claimed to have heard from officials at Kirtland AFB.
UFO conspiracy theory: Milton William Cooper.
In the 1980s, Milton William Cooper achieved a degree of prominence due to his conspiratorial writings; see the main page on Cooper for more information.
Lear remains active in UFO circles; Cooper was shot and killed in a confrontation with police.
UFO conspiracy theory: Bob Lazar.
Bob Lazar came to public prominence in the late 1980s; he claimed to have taken part in the back-engineering of extra-terrestrial craft at Area S-4 (approx. 10 miles south of Area 51). (See Bob Lazar for further information.)
UFO Cover-Up?: Live!
On October 14 1988, actor Mike Farrell hosted "U.S. UFO Cover-Up: Live!" a two-hour prime-time syndicated television special that was broadcast in North America (and elsewhere). William Moore and Jamie Shandera appeared (among many other guests) and discussed the acquisition of the Majestic 12 documents, and introduced their sources "Falcon" and "Condor", allegedly high-level government intelligence officials. Interviewed in shadow and with masked voices, Falcon and Condor disclosed information about the U.S. government’s involvement in UFO’s and alien interaction, UFO crashes and occupant retrievals, and alien biology. This broadcast also included the first known mention of Area 51 on television.
UFO conspiracy theory: July 1989 MUFON Convention.
The Mutual UFO Network held their 1989 annual convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 1, 1989.
Moore was scheduled as the main speaker, and he generated controversy even before his appearance: He refused to submit his paper for review prior to the convention, and also announced that he would not answer any follow-up questions as was common practice. Unlike most of the convention's attendees, Moore did not stay at the same hotel that was hosting the convention.
When he spoke, Moore said that he and others had been part of an elaborate, long-term disinformation campaign begun primarily to discredit Paul Bennewitz: "My role in the affair ... was primarily that of a freelancer providing information on Paul's (Bennewitz) current thinking and activities." (Clark, 1998, 163) Air Force Sergeant Richard C. Doty was also involved, said Moore, though Moore thought Doty was "simply a pawn in a much larger game, as was I." (ibid.) One of their goals, Moore said, was to disseminate information and watch as it was passed from person to person in order to study information channels.
Moore said that he "was in a rather unique position" in the disinformation campaign: "judging by the positions of the people I knew to be directly involved in it, [the disinformation] definitely had something to do with national security. There was no way I was going to allow the opportunity to pass me by ... I would play the disinformation game, get my hands dirty just often enough to lead those directing the process into believing I was doing what they wanted me to do, and all the while continuing to burrow my way into the matrix so as to learn as much as possible about who was directing it and why."(ibid., 164)
Once he finished the speech, Moore immediately left the hotel. He left Las Vegas that same night.
Moore's claims sent shock waves through the small, tight-knit UFO community, which remains divided as to the reliability of his assertions.
UFO conspiracy theory: Rendlesham Forest Incident.
The world's most well known UFO incident, parallel or even seen as above Roswell, occurred on USAF/RAF NATO territory on the British Isles at Rendlesham in December 1980. The event is most commonly known as the Rendlesham Forest Incident. It involved US Security, British Security, Secret Service on both continents and Porton Down and possibly RAF Rudloe Manor.
UFO conspiracy theories show no signs of abating. The year of 2003 saw the publication of Alien Encounters (ISBN 1-57821-205-7), by Chuck Missler and Mark Eastman, which primarily re-states the notions presented above (especially Cooper's) and presents them as fact.
More on UFO Conspiracy Theory and ufos.
Go To Print Article
Universe - Galaxies and Stars: Links and Contacts
|| GNU License | Contact | Copyright | WebMaster | Terms | Disclaimer | Top Of Page. ||