The long-awaited UFO report from the Pentagon and the Director of National Intelligence required by Congress dropped on Friday. Most of us anticipated that it would have little concrete to say, but it was especially surprising that it seemed to represent very little effort on the part of the UAP Task Force, which seems to have conducted no original research and engaged no outside experts to evaluate the 143 unexplained sightings (mostly by sensor) it listed. Instead, the report served largely as a call for a permanent UFO investigation within the Pentagon, with the requisite need for funding, contractors, and consultants. How fortuitous that the new think tank Skyfort, on whose advisory board UFO advocate Lue Elizondo sits, is ready to answer the call. The Pentagon began the process of formalizing UFO research, and budgeting for it, in an order on Friday.
I sat down with science writer and skeptical investigator Mick West on his podcast to discuss UFOs, the small group of believers driving the UFO flap, and the paranormal-UFO connection. You can watch our conversation below.
This week, the New York Times published a piece exposing the close connection between Tucker Carlson and the media elite, for whom he often serves a source, in an unspoken exchange that results in soft-pedaling coverage of Carlson’s conspiracy theories and extremist rhetoric. I spoke with Chauncey DeVega of Salon.com about Carlson’s fascination with UFOs and the close connection between radical UFO conspiracy theories and right-wing extremism. You can read my interview here.
Last month, when I wrote about the current UFO flap for The New Republic, I discussed the paranormal themes that occasionally crop up in Lue Elizondo’s discussions of UFOs. It was, to my mind, fairly obvious that he had become heavily influenced by the space poltergeist investigations from which his Pentagon UFO program originated. But hundreds—literally, hundreds—of UFO believers pushed back, often vociferously, arguing that Elizondo was not pushing a paranormal or extraterrestrial narrative but was strictly interested in the national security concerns surrounding unidentified craft.
I have been on deadline this week writing a book review for the New Mexico Historical Review and another piece under consideration elsewhere, so I have not had as much time to write blog posts as usual. However, I did want to make note of this rather extraordinary exchange from a recent interview with Lue Elizondo, the former reality TV UFO hunter turned co-founder of UFO think tank Skyfort LLC. Here, the ex-Pentagon UFO investigator uses a series of strategic on-denials to imply that fictitious organizations like Majestic-12 and the Collins Elite are real.
Atheist philosopher Sam Harris told Ricky Gervais on Absolutely Mental that an unnamed person contacted him to inform him that he will be participating in a Zoom call with top U.S. intelligence officials to plan messaging around the disclosure of the existence of space aliens. Here is what he said:
Today was to have been the premiere date for Hunting Atlantis, a new series from Morgan Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment in which volcanologist Jess Phoenix and genre novelist Stel Pavlou were to have explored various hypotheses for the location of Atlantis before deciding that Pavlou was right to tie Plato’s allegory to the alleged flooding of the Black Sea around 5000 BCE, despite matching none of the details of Plato’s fictitious story. The Discovery channel, fresh off purchasing Warner Media, pulled the show without explanation and replaced it with an extended episode of Expedition Unknown.
A few days ago, Jacques Vallée and Paola Harris released their much-hyped new book, Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret, the one that Chris Mellon and Brandon Fugal and a squad of UFO celebrities promised would bring the goods and change ufology forever. That didn’t happen. The thinly sourced book offered meandering anecdotes from two old men who claimed to have seen a crashed avocado-shaped spaceship as children in 1945 and their nearly as ancient cousin who claimed to have played with the wreckage that the pair kept around the house. The much-hyped tests of supposed wreckage provided no real results, and Vallée speculated, ludicrously, that UFOs aren’t extraterrestrial but instead are “gifts” or “warnings” from a non-human intelligence that manifests as a universal consciousness, purposely sent and crashed on backwater farms to help us level up in some bizarre cosmic game.
And that was only the second stupidest thing a member of the UFO club did this week. Lue Elizondo, fresh off his appearances on ABC’s This Week and CNN’s The Lead warning of the dire national security implications of the UFO threat, decamped to Josh Gates’s paranormal monster-hunting show Expedition X on the Discovery Channel to try to track underwater space aliens. Because he’s super-serious about national security. This is the guy Congress is listening to.
This article continues in my Substack newsletter with a discussion of a new Harper’s article about TikTok teens.
How Washington Got Hooked on Flying Saucers
Jason Colavito / The New Republic / May 21, 2021
On April 30, the online UFO community lit up with excitement. The New Yorker, the most luxe of news magazines, published a major UFO article by Gideon Lewis-Kraus alleging there was good reason for the U.S. government to get back into the business of hunting flying saucers. On May 16, CBS’s Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes broadcast stories about UFOs, with Florida Senator Marco Rubio sternly intoning about the importance of treating them as a potential national security concern. All month, major media have jumped on the bandwagon. Magazines published think pieces. Ezra Klein gushed about the “spaciousness of mystery” in The New York Times. Morning Joe invited Lewis-Kraus on to chat about UFOs, and Gadi Schwartz did multiple spots across NBC’s broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms breathlessly hyping new videos from the Navy showing fuzzy shapes in the sky.
For UFO believers, this was the moment they had been waiting for. ...
Read the full article here.
Undoubtedly, you saw the news this week, from the ongoing national media stories about UFOs, to Sen. Martin Heinrich’s declaration that he believes recently leaked Navy UFO videos depict craft not of this world, to the launch of UFOPAC, the first-ever UFO political action committee, run by Gavin Newsom’s spokesman and a Republican consultant to push for UFO transparency.
I am pleased to announce that I will have an article on the current UFO flap in The New Republic in the coming days. I will post a link as soon as the article is available.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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