Quoting its favorite source for everything we need to know about the world, The New York Times clarifies the burning question of UFOs: “American intelligence officials have found no evidence that aerial phenomena witnessed by Navy pilots in recent years are alien spacecraft.” This is The Times’ way of telling its readers that there ain’t much there.
The fact that The Times cites “intelligence officials” is unfortunate. Intelligence officials are trained in the dual skills of obscuring the truth and fabricating alternative truth. That is in essence the purpose of intelligence. Its agents are also trained to exploit the media, and The New York Times in particular, to spread their message. The trusting relationship between The Times and the intelligence community is what enables the newspaper to be the first to give credible shape to whatever stories the intelligence community wants the public to believe.
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The Times journalists, Julian Barnes and Helene Cooper, inform us that “a vast majority of more than 120 incidents over the past two decades did not originate from any American military or other advanced U.S. government technology.” The Times, as expected, takes that statement at face value. “That determination would appear to eliminate the possibility that Navy pilots who reported seeing unexplained aircraft might have encountered programs the government meant to keep secret,” Barnes and Cooper write.
Today’s Daily Devil’s Dictionary definition:
The opposite of explained aircraft. Flying objects that for the past 80 years have been seen by Americans and no one else.
CNN gets straight to the point when, quoting “one of its sources,” it explains that “US officials also cannot rule out the possibility that these flying objects were aircraft belonging to American adversaries, namely Russia and China.” The Times less dramatically reports that there is simply “worry among intelligence and military officials that China or Russia could be experimenting with hypersonic technology.” Of course, they “could be” doing lots of other things.
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd requisitioned Barack Obama’s former CIA director, Leon Panetta, to offer some clarity on the issue. Todd asked him, “Is it your assumption that it is Russia or China testing some crazy technology that we somehow don’t have, or are we sort of over-assuming the abilities of China and Russia and that the only other explanation is that if it is not us ourselves then it is something otherworldly?”
This confused question should surprise no one. A significant part of Todd’s job at MSNBC is to focus the public’s fear on Russia and China. Panetta stepped willingly into his role of respected authority. He quite reasonably suggested that the most likely place to look would be in the direction of drone technology, which has become far more sophisticated than most people imagine. As expected, Panetta cited Russia and China, but few commentators have noticed that he didn’t stop. “I believe a lot of this stuff probably could be countries like Russia, like China, like others, who are you know using now drones, using the kind of sophisticated weaponry that could very well be involved in a lot of these sightings,” he said.
Who could the “others” be that Panetta mentions after the obligatory Russia and China? This could produce an interesting guessing game. Could it be Cuba, a nation that once threatened the US with Soviet missiles? Or Mexico? But it seems to have its hands full with the war on the drug cartels. India, which has begun to assert itself as an active player in space? What about the Europeans, especially France and the UK? As part of NATO, they wouldn’t dare. The list could go on, but when every other nation besides Russia and China is eliminated, only one remains: the United States.
On the CIA’s “Innovation and Tech” website, the agency proudly announces its deep engagement in technology. The spy agency’s research is not directly connected to what the Pentagon does and certainly not shared with it at anything but the highest strategic level. The website proudly announces: “At CIA, we’ve pioneered bold and innovative technologies for decades.” It invites the visitor to appreciate its work. “Learn how our cutting edge solutions have helped solve America’s biggest intelligence challenges.”
What the site describes is impressive. This should lead any discerning visitor to speculate about what it doesn’t describe. A former high-level CIA operative once explained to us in a private conversation that when the CIA technology team briefed insiders, even at his level, about research on drone technology, they were only allowed to show technology from the past, which was already mind-blowing. In other words, it is unlikely that if the unusual behavior of an unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP) observed by a Navy pilot happened to be a CIA invention, that pilot would have any clue to what it might be. And in no case would they be briefed afterwards on the experience. The CIA is specialized in keeping all kinds of things “unidentified.”
Does this mean that The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and the others are unaware of the possibility that it could be “our guys” who are up to these visual tricks? Both The Times and Chuck Todd evoke the possibility, only to dismiss it with no further discussion. That alone should raise questions in the public’s mind.
When The Times’ journalists write that “a vast majority of more than 120 incidents over the past two decades did not originate from any American military or other advanced U.S. government technology,” and then state that that “would appear to eliminate the possibility that Navy pilots … might have encountered programs the government meant to keep secret,” they are admitting two things while creating the opposite impression. By evoking a “vast majority,” they admit that a significant minority actually did originate with US technology. The journalists never bother exploring that paradox. And when, in a Times article sourced from the intelligence community, a sentence begins with “would appear to eliminate the possibility,” the discerning reader should see the verb “would appear” as a signal that the possibility in fact exists.
Panetta may have inadvertently revealed the truth to Todd, who, as an inquiring journalist, could have asked the former CIA chief which “others” he had in mind. But the media have a mission to reduce the question to exactly two possible explanations of the UAPs: extra-terrestrial invaders, on the one hand, or one of the two officially recognized adversaries of the US, Russia or China (or both), on the other.
The further implication is that because serious scientists have pretty much dismissed the thesis of intelligent, technologically advanced extra-terrestrial visitors, there is one logical conclusion: The US needs to beef up its military technology in a new arms race justified by what the media have been promoting for at least five years: a new cold war. Donald Trump provided the nation with a new branch of the military, the Space Force. It’s time for President Joe Biden to make it work.
With his novel, “War of the Worlds,” the British author H.G. Wells launched a new genre of fiction involving space travel. The serialized novel was later turned into several Hollywood films and a famous radio broadcast by Orson Welles in 1938. Advances in aerial, military and rocket technology that came to prominence during the Second World War turned extra-terrestrial science fiction into a genre that quickly displaced the Western in Hollywood’s culture. Martians vs. earthlings came to replace cowboys vs. Indians.
Unsurprisingly, Wells set his story in England. Equally unsurprisingly, Hollywood’s extra-terrestrial dramas always take place in the US. Those movies may have tipped off the non-fictional extra-terrestrials about where to guide their crafts, though no one has bothered to explain how they managed to access the films.
On “60 Minutes,” former US Navy pilot Ryan Graves claimed that pilots training off the Atlantic coast were seeing UAPs regularly: “Every day for at least a couple years.” The fact that the tell-tale sightings all seem to occur in or near the US tells us that either the intergalactic visitors are fascinated by US culture or there is some magnetic force that draws them to North America. Unless, of course, the technology itself, which may be the drones Leon Panetta mentions or nothing more than optical illusions, was made in America.
*[In the age of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain, another American wit, the journalist Ambrose Bierce, produced a series of satirical definitions of commonly used terms, throwing light on their hidden meanings in real discourse. Bierce eventually collected and published them as a book, The Devil’s Dictionary, in 1911. We have shamelessly appropriated his title in the interest of continuing his wholesome pedagogical effort to enlighten generations of readers of the news. Read more of The Daily Devil’s Dictionary on Fair Observer.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
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