Area 51 Revisited: A Desolation Row Production

Photo: US Air Force.

We’re beginning to get the picture.  Beginning to act like rats about to abandon the Titanic.  The American Experiment, the USS Exception is taking on heavy water. The band is singing, the fat lady’s all Ella Fitzgerald, breaking Memorex tapes in the dressing room, waiting for the quiet nod from the Man in the Long Black Coat before going on stage to sing our final aria. Scat humankind scooby dooby doo, doo-what… And we break.

We should have been more scared shitless when J. Robert Oppenheimer, “father of the atomic bomb,”  pulled a quote from the Gita after the explosion of the first atomic bomb, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”  But then Edward Teller came along and became the “father of the hydrogen bomb,” in a kind of bizarre schlong one upmanship — the Amazon logo-like H-bomb was detonated by the puny A-bomb.  We nicknamed our bombs Little Boy and Fat Man, loaded up the Enola Gay in an era that featured sexy full-breasted women painted on the bomber.  And as if that weren’t bad enough, we gave other nations, who did not share our values or self-esteem ideas — India got around to developing a nuke and named it The Smiling Buddha; positive nihilism was never so much fun. Boom! Get it?

Now 75 years later, world cankerers that we are, we seem anxious to get the hell off the planet before it becomes Hell. A few years back, when slingshot wunderkind Elon Musk asked for volunteers for a one-way trip to Mars in one of his tin cans, why some 200,000 desperadoes put up their hands to end it all off-planet.  Now, there’s word that the Chinese want to build a base on the moon.  Jeff Bezos has plans for putting up a cul de sac bedroom community in near-exo-ether, complete with Amazon deliveries. (You think those pickers and packers are overworked now.)   I interviewed an ex-NASA contractor guy, Al Globus, a few weeks ago who swore it could all be done, once we get past the space debris, and colonies over the equator are a slam dunk (well, unless the colony is boosted every once in a while). Let’s hope it’s more exciting than his prose.

Last week all the world was inundated yet again with news that we may be getting visitors from outer space (let’s call them aliens; it’s so un-PC).  Newspapers and magazines of record for the various tiers of the middle class put out essentially the same story — dumbed down or ponceyed up depending on your student loan status.  The lower middle class read in the Telegraph, “The Pentagon thinks UFOs may exist after all… and the evidence is growing.”

The middle middle Guardian gave us, “I’ve seen the saucers: Obama weighs in as US interest in UFOs rises.”  And New Yorker magazine, home of ‘the best writing in the world’ (no pants on fire there), and tailored for those with paid-for, bespoke, nuanced educations, dished up  “How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously.”

The Telegraph featured the account of a pilot, Lieutenant Commander Alex Dietrich, who back in November 2004 claims she witnessed alien tomfoolery while aboard the USS Nimitz carrier off the coast of San Diego.  She described the UFOs (to be called “unidentified aerial phenomena” or UAPs, now that authorities have given the nod) as Tic Tacs — you know, breath neutralizers. So maybe we’re dealing maltodextrins, the evil little shits that claim they bring no sugar to the table, even though they’re 90% and leave, after the spearmint has worn off, leave your breath worse off, leading to another Tic Tac and another until you gots diabetes. And bad breath.

The Telegraph was marketing to gullibles from the upper poors and lower middles.  When Dietrich appeared on CBS: 60 Minutes recently, looking all the world like a gorgeous female Top Gun, she could have sold me Tupperware™. But then she began to defer to some male schmuck next to her that she was too good for and I lost my desire to suspend my disbelief. And Tupperware lost a customer.

The Guardian, on the other hand, went for ‘Obama says’ it’s twoo, it’s twoo. The headline appears to suggest he actually saw UFOs (oops, I mean, UAPs), but the article merely relates that he’s seen intel to the effect that… and closes by saying, “I have nothing to report to you today.” It was the maltodextrins that gave Obama that hopey dopey strut (and probably supplied his birth certificate, wink).  And now a word from Mr. Drones: The community organizer weighs in. Big whoopty doos.

But seriously, who cares what he thinks? So, inexplicably, he remains a likeable brand name, raking in the tidy sum of $400,000 every time he chats with a Wall Street firm (who wouldn’t strut?). The same fucks he bailed our in 2008 with tax-payer money and punted his domestic agenda.  Makes you think he probably knew he’d have to bail out the psychopathic bankers “too big to fail” before hand.  Anyway, in this UAP story, the sub-editor who created the headline, intentionally misled the reader — a sober, lefty progressive bells and whistles middleclasser, who tosses excess coinage into some busker’s basket once in a blues moon. Maybe he should move to a Murdoch paper now. Maybe the well-received Sun. See below:


If you ask me, that’s how we should be treating most of the MSM’s burnt offerings these days. Fuck ‘em.

And the New Yorker is another one. Sure, a lot of it’s great writing, and I can solve their cryptic puzzle in 15 minutes on a good day, which makes me feel elited.  But now they’re decided to weigh in favorably on the Pentagon’s change of heart and ‘truth’ regarding UFOs (oops, UAPs). The long form piece (natch), “How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously,” by Gideon Lewis-Kraus, relies heavily on the views and assertions of Leslie Kean, an investigative journalist and UFO and paranormal aficionado, and is written in a kind of arch ironical style that is even better than what I’m writing here. (Editors, right?)

President Obama’s more recent (see above) statements notwithstanding, the piece tells us, back in 2011 his Office of Science and Technology Policy came to the conclusion that it could find no evidence to suggest that any “extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race.” What happened between 2011 and last week?

Even the lowly (paid) working classes have been weighing in on the subject. The Rupert Murdoch tabloid flagship out of New York had pretty much got the ball rolling a couple of weeks earlier with a headline smelling of government cover-up and deceit, “Pentagon whistleblower warns of UFO intelligence failure on ‘level of 9/11’.” Damn. Sounds serious.  We don’t know how much they paid the whistleblower, but blow he did. Luis “Lue”, former head of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, The piece cites his claim that “UFOs have been observed to have qualities that are nothing less than otherworldly…He described vessels flying at 11,000 mph and being able to turn ‘instantly.’” Hmm.  This low-brow (you know, because it’s the Post) is the same guy that helps fuel the high-brow New Yorker piece. (Elzinado is mentioned there 19 times.)

All of these pieces refer back to “On the Trail of a Secret Pentagon U.F.O. Program,” a December 2017 article in the New York Times that was placed there by the Pentagon.  A kind of free front page ad for the military in the national Paper of Record.  The obvious rhetorical question is raised early in the piece: “So how does a story on U.F.O.s get into The New York Times? Not easily, and only after a great deal of vetting, I assure you.”  And our now two good buds, Elizondo and Keans (called by her first name in the piece), are again prominently conferred with.  Even Hal Puthoff, an ex-CIA paranormal studies guy, who had offered the Company ‘remote viewing’ — “a form of long-distance E.S.P., might be useful in Cold War espionage” (think: astral projection, and go from there).  Full disclosure: I have had out-of-body experiences.

All of these myriad reporting of late, plus the 2017 Times article, refer back to the Nimitz incident of 2004 as the principle exposition of their new-found extraterrestrial worries.  The reader will note that I’ve yet to even question the validity of the claims or the sanity of the principals involved.  But 2004 seems so — yesterday.  Have there been no fresher viewings of UFOs (I mean, UAPs)?  Have the fuckin aliens gone on sabbatical?  Or maybe space cadet Will Smith chased them away when he went up to one and punched him right in the snot locker. Remember? We fight back.

While we’re all now feeling good having rough-and-ready (and suave) Will Smith types ready to sign on to our future new military Space Force program, brought into being by the signature of Donald J. Trump (gulp!), the USS Numbnuts incident was 17 years ago — not exactly our imminent demise by aliens is at stake here.  (I don’t know what’s going on with Press any more. Last October the Times SWORE, just before the presidential election, that developing a vaccine — despite what Trump said — would take at least 4 years — SWORE.  Now we’ve got vaccines up the yin-yang right after Trump is chased out of office. Yeesh. Sources tell me that he has Pelosi’s stolen podium (think: Jan 6) in Mara-a-Lago and delivers mock democracy rants, like it’s stand-up, on Thursday nights. Her inside trading on Coronavirus-related stocks was a roast moment. You believe me, right?)

Well, okay, so let’s cut to the chase, as they say in Hollywood.  Do I believe in UFOs?  I haven’t seen any, and what do you care if I’ve seen any?  I grew up in the Area 51 ‘50s watching the Blob; and Roy Thinnes’s The Invaders, where you could only tell them apart from us by the gap in their fingers, like Mr. Spock, who went to become a ‘singer’; and the Outer Limits, speaking of mind melds (Spock); and later, Carl Sagan and Vangelis sold me (on PBS) that there were billions and billions of alien likelihoods out there, and besides, we are star stuff — literally, not figuratively.  That’s all fine, but I mostly trust the wisdom of the late great professor Stephen Hawking, who basically warned in Brief Answers to Big Questions (see my review) that we should be careful of what we ask for on the alien front, arguing that a technologically superior life form may not be friendly and we’d be toast.

Everybody’s ‘happy’ that the military is seeing UFOs (I mean, UAPs) now, for the first time, even though they weren’t seeing them back in the old days, like 2011, as Obama said then.  But, lo, what rock through yon window breaks?  In 2013, a Navy Super Hornet allegedly spotted a UAP (I mean, UFO), which is the source of the NYT 2017 article’s inspiration. By then, of course, Pentagon generals were building toward an argument for the Space Force that Trump eventually signed into being. (Would it have been signed into being had there been another president in office? Would Hillary have allowed a Space Force? No, according to the Paper of Record for the MAGA element, the class one rung below working stiffs.)

It’s like, as long as the military is saying something exists, then it’s okay to believe it, even if the info is old or blurry or the source is full of shit — like, for a moment, back in the New Yorker piece, when ex-CIA head, and serial liar, John Brennan is trotted in to dissemble about UFOs:

Some of the phenomena we’re going to be seeing continues to be unexplained and might, in fact, be some type of phenomenon that is the result of something that we don’t yet understand and that could involve some type of activity that some might say constitutes a different form of life.

Say what?  The New Yorker did say he described it torturously (I mean, tortuously).  But still.

Why do we listen to Brennan? He lied about the bin Laden raid and had to walk it back.  He became an MSM consultant and did his best to bring Trump. More recently Brennan talked shit about the machinations of Saudi godfather MBS and the Khashoggi Phenomenon. And now, we want to know what Brennan thinks about aliens. Are they like ISIS but with antennae?

Dunno. Makes me think of 2011 all over again.  The Abbottabad raid. The mythologizing afterward.  Obama cashing in on the gift given to him by GW Bush for bailing out Wall Street — the whereabouts of bin Laden, who Bush SWORE he’d smoke out, but then told us, unchallenged, that he no longer cared about bin Laden, once troops were in Afghanistan.  And then Obama brought in Katheryn Bigelow and shared classified information with the director, which allowed her to announce to the world that Zero Dark Thirty was a “journalistic” film, also unchallenged, with the inclusion of supernatural omens (black cat crossing the path, birds flying off as terrorists approach) ignored. There was an outcry at the access to the Obama administration for raid documents, forcing the film’s October Surprise release to be postponed until after the presidential election.

To me, whether or not UAPs (I mean, UFOs) are real or not, they are Black Cats placed in our Karl Rove-managed reality stream.  If they can hook us on our fears and superstitions, then that’s what they’ll do.

Of course, this stuff has been around for a while. Carl Jung probably had as good approach as any to understanding the phenomena.  In his book, Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky, he pretty much concluded that whether there were ETs and UFOs, or not, we seemed to be driven by a profound need to believe in them, a belief he explores in the book. Jung is brought in to help explain the alleged sighting of UFOs over the German city of Nuremberg in 1561. If you have the time, maybe you should check out a video report on that incident — and compare it to some of the statements made about UAPs more recently.  There are similarities. But let us not forget that previous studies have laughed at these aliena proclamations (see Project Blue Book) and the report to be released in June will have some explaining to do, because there’s a dearth of recent visitations of aliens to Earth. Also, we should watch Pelosi;s stock trading in the next few weeks.

We should probably draw a lesson from the more recent schism in scientific investigation brought about by our political prejudices — such as is the case with the pandemic outbreak, and the remaining question of whether it was natural or man-made. Trump said the Chinese did it. Because so many sane people disdained the buffoon, they suspended the scientific method in the pursuit of answers to the origin of the virus — seemingly just to knock back what they saw as another boffo conspiracy theory. It’s unresolved and calls for a new investigation are rife in the scientific community. I know that Slavoj Žižek is dismayed in his own inimitable way.

Another under-resolved question about the Space Force is why?  Why can’t the USAF or NASA have some more money to cover the mission?  What is the mission? Why a whole new bureaucracy? Since the MSM has been lax on the matter, it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves that billionaires have been grooming us for years on these needs. It probably is not irrelevant that Jeff Bezos wants to colonize near-space; that Elon Musk wants to colonize Mars; that the Chinese intend to put a base on the moon. Not E.T. looking for product placement candies.  If nothing else, it’ll all coalesce as part of the ever-expanding private-government partnership apparatus that is, ultimately, anti-democratic. We’ll be paying for it, but we will have little say to how that wealth is redistributed.

There’s a lot of brave new research and development going on right now that deserves our fullest attention.  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published  Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology in 2018. The publication describes our perceive need to create new exotic WMD, involving gain-of-function viruses and manipulated bacteria that are horrific in the implications, The kind of research that can bring on a pandemic. The kind of planning that can produce seemingly miraculous vaccines in a short time. Virtually no scrutiny is being placed here by the MSM.  I mean, it might be worthwhile to ask Peter Thiel, owner of PayPal (itself owned by The Intercept’s and eBay’s Pierre Omidyar) why he thought it would be a good investment to pout money into Abcellera, a Pentagon partner in the P3.

Another frightening on-the-horizon event is CRISPR designer babies — the genie is already out of the bottle and trying to make a run for it (wham bam, my ass, she said, don’t tell me he doesn’t have your eyes.).  And a now seriously mind-and-species altering development in quantum computing, which Google leads the world in. We may ourselves merge with computers — we are the AIs we’ve been waiting for — by the end of the century.

Instead of spending godawful sums of money on all these developments — before the Russkies or Taoists do — why don’t we come together and solve the climate change problem we face, its consequences already at our doorsteps: some scientists believe it gets irreversible in its evil by 2030. It’s 2021.

I don’t know if there are UFOs (I mean, UAPs), but I hope there will be Will Smiths around to bonk some clown nosage.  Maybe Kathryn Bigelow will direct a “journalistic” version of our Human Quest and call it The Hurt Snot Locker.  We’ll believe anything, given the right massage.

John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelancer based in Australia.  He is a former reporter for The New Bedford Standard-Times.