Fortress Moon

Anyone with two brain cells to rub together had to wonder what was up with NASA bombing the moon last week. They were looking for water? Really? The entire surface of the moon is pitted with craters. They had to gouge out two more to look for water?

Nobody bought it. The conspiracy theories sprouted instantly all over the Internet. One of the funniest is my friend Alan Cabal’s, on this CounterPunch site, managing to link President Obama’s Nobel to the deaths of two Jewish astronauts to the old saw about secret Nazi fortresses on the moon. (I think maybe Robert A. Heinlein was the first to expound that one, in his 1947 novel Rocket Ship Galileo.)

Or it was alien moon bases they were bombing. Or it was to alter the moon’s gravitational effect on earth’s tides. Or to stop the gradual expansion of the moon’s orbit, which they tell us is increasing at 3.8 centimeters a year. Or — this was as inevitable as the tides — it was yet another attempt to cover up the fact that the Apollo landings were faked.

This is a classic example of the way the federal government actively encourages conspiracy theories to distract us rubes from whatever it’s really up to. The Air Force let ufologists natter about the alien crash at Roswell for half a century as a handy distraction from what was really going on there. No doubt some large percentage of the UFOs sighted over the decades have been test flights of military aircraft in development. How many UFO sightings can be attributed to test flights of stealth technology alone? And who knows what else they’ve been testing that the rubes have thought were flying saucers? God only knows who’s behind all those alien abductions, but it’s a good bet they ain’t aliens.

Similarly, NASA’s explanation for bombing the moon was so weak on the face of it, and the footage of the event so awful, that you couldn’t not be a conspiracy theorist about it. So here’s mine.

I agree that the Apollo moon landings were a hoax. But not the way the Moon Hoax people think they were. The hoax is not that we ever landed on the moon. The hoax is that we ever stopped going.

We all know that the NASA space program was a civilian figleaf (and only nominally civilian at that) for a parallel black ops military space program. While NASA has been distracting us with Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and shuttle missions, secret military missions have been going up and back the whole time. While NASA had the whole world gazing at the Sea of Tranquility, the military’s astronauts were landing over on the far side, digging in, fortifying it. In military terms, the moon is, after all, the ultimate high ground. You think the Soviets were racing us there just as a public relations stunt?

No. Fortress Moon, or Moon Base Alpha, or whatever they call it has been up there forty years. It’s a fully operational military installation. I’m picturing an extensive sublunar bunker system, a PX, a Cinnabon-Burger King-Pizza Hut food court, a spaceport on the surface. Maybe in the Mare Moscoviense. That’s where I’d put it. Surrounded with a web of dug-in missile silos, spread out from lunar pole to pole. Some for defense, but the bulk programmed to rain nukes on our enemies on earth. Back in the day they targeted the Soviets. Then who knows. Iraq, North Korea.

Meanwhile, six Apollo missions landed on the near side of the moon, between 1969 and 1972. They were cover, while the military missions got Fortress Moon up and running. In a brilliant gambit, the Apollo missions made trips to the moon so boring that everyone lost interest and stopped looking. Their real mission accomplished, the civilian flights ended in 1972.

Ever wonder why they have never, ever showed us a decent photo of any of the lunar rovers or other junk those Apollo missions left lying around on the moon? Six missions’ worth of landers, rovers, flags, assorted equipment they left behind? They’ve mapped the entire surface photographically. They can’t show us one clear shot of an abandoned moon buggy? I’ve seen clearer photos of Elvis on Mars. And why are some areas of the lunar surface deemed classified?

The traditional Moon Hoax crowd says it’s because there’s nothing up there, because we never went. I say it’s because there’s a lot more up there than they want us to know, because we never stopped going. The moon is military property, and like all military property there’s a lot of it they won’t let us see. It’s Area 52.

And that’s who we bombed last week. It wasn’t aliens, or Russians, or Nazis. Sure, the Nazis could have gotten there, if Hitler wasn’t such a putz. They got us there instead.

We bombed our own military facility. Or what used to be ours. It’s been up there forty years. A whole generation lives up there now who’ve never set foot on earth. Sons and daughters of the original military personnel, born and raised on the moon. This new lunar generation is “American” in name only. Their allegiance to the US, let alone earth, is tenuous at best. They can’t even see earth where they are.

Maybe they’ve gone native. Maybe they call themselves Selenites. Declared their independence from earth. Designed their own flag, with a big moon in the center and a little earth in the corner. Got uppity and stopped taking orders from down here. Maybe they’re no more content to be a colony of some superpower far away than the Americans of 1776 were. Maybe 2009 is their 1776. Maybe we bombed a couple of their remote polar outposts last week as a warning. Let’s hope they don’t retaliate.

JOHN STRAUSBAUGH lives in New York City. His recent books include Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture and Sissy Nation: How America Became a Culture of Wimps & Stoopits.

This piece appears on The Truth Barrier, hosted by Celia Farber (