Analysis and Commentary by

Michael Lindemann

Editor, CNI News

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British newspapers on September 15, 1999 reported statements made the previous day by Dr. Jacqueline Mitton, an astronomer and press officer for the British Royal Astronomical Society. Announcing the release of "A Debunker's Guide to UFOs," Dr. Mitton declared that there is no evidence whatsoever that Earth has ever been visited by beings from elsewhere. Moreoever, she said, the persistent misguided belief in UFOs as alien spacecraft was having a negative effect upon those scientists who might wish to pursue a legitimate search for extraterrestrial life. "There is very clear public support for such research," Dr. Mitton said, "but it is not supported by governments, who have been frightened off" -- presumably by the stigma associated with "little green men." Dr. Mitton made her public anti-UFO remarks in the company of an inflatable alien.

That respected scientists representing major scientific institutions can still offer such assurances at the turn of the millennium is testament to a very different myth than the one Dr. Mitton thinks is operative. For her and countless others like her, UFOs represent nothing more than a myth based on an accumulation of misperceptions, pseudo-science and the willingness of weak-minded, ignorant people to believe the absurd. But in point of fact, she is the one victimized by a myth -- the unexamined myth of "No Evidence." For it is hardly likely that Dr. Mitton has deeply examined and pondered the best UFO cases. Why should she, when her predisposition to declare UFOs absurd is the de facto correct attitude for a person of her station?

The myth of No Evidence is no accident. On the contrary, it is a Big Lie purposely created and assiduously cultivated over many decades. This is no longer the opinion of a mere handful of conspiracy nuts, but a dawning recognition among leading thinkers in many fields. It is quietly discussed around the boardroom tables of giant corporations, out of earshot of the rank and file. It haunts the dreams of numerous scientists, military officers and politicians who have not yet figured out how to "come out of the closet" with their concerns. It is the boldly stated message of the ground-breaking UFO assessment issued in July 1999 by COMETA, a committee of leading French military figures and scientists who declare that some UFOs are not only real, technological and likely of non-Earth origin, but also pose a serious challenge to international security and should be openly treated as such. (See story now posted at

There is undoubtedly public momentum toward greater acceptance of the reality and importance of UFOs, and with it a growing boldness among some UFO activists to demand official disclosure. But in this regard, two important questions must be asked: 1) Can disclosure be forced by any reasonable means? and 2) If the unvarnished truth were told, would we the people be glad, or find ourselves wishing for a return to blissful ignorance?

Attorney Peter Gersten, through his organization Citizens Against UFO Secrecy, is testing the limits of the law and the courts to force disclosure of UFO secrets. Over the last 20 years, he has probably filed more lawsuits directly related to UFO secrecy than any other person in the United States. As recently as September 14, 1999, he has filed a "Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law" defending his request that a judge in Phoenix, Arizona deny a motion by the U.S. Department of Defense for summary judgment (i.e. dismissal) of Gersten's previous request for release of documents that might shed light upon "the existence of triangular aerial object(s) with certain specific performance characteristics, in our skies for at least the last twenty years." Gersten argues that he has presented 33 eyewitness affidavits attesting to such craft, spanning a period of 23 years up to and including 1999, and that such a body of affidavits "creates a Triable Issue as to the Reasonableness of the Search" allegedly conducted by the Department of Defense into this matter -- a search which the DoD says turned up nothing of note.

Based on the assumption that such flying objects undoubtedly exist, Gersten says, "an inference can be drawn that no matter what the object(s) origin or identity, the OJCS [Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff], because of its 'intelligence and security' responsibility... must have information about it. Not only must the defendant have information about the object(s), but due to its unusual appearance and highly sophisticated performance characteristics, the information should be easily retrievable. The fact that the defendant maintains there is no information about an object that is so apparently within the defendant's jurisdiction, is evidence of the unreasonableness of its search, notwithstanding the 'good faith' accorded the affidavits included with its Motion."

Gersten knows the law and is aggressive in pursuit of such remedies as the law can provide. If the legal playing field were a level one -- as those who put their faith in the rule of law must believe -- then the efforts of Peter Gersten, and others like him, should bear fruit.

But is the playing field level in this instance? Probably not. There is an impediment to "blind justice" -- and it can be called "Policy." That is what journalist Frank Rain calls it. The first installment of Rain's multi-part article titled "Kissing Through Glass: The Uneasy Relationship Between A Free Society and Its Secret-Keepers" appears in the current September 1999 issue of UFO Magazine. In it, Rain points out that policy plays a special role in the handling of matters deemed significant to the national security. Setting up his argument, he writes: "Why is a discussion about something as decidedly unsexy as policy relevant to a magazine about UFOs? Because one cannot effectively understand the management of proprietary information inside government without first understanding that the single, determining factor for any transfer of that information beyond government is not reason, conscience or happenstance, but policy."

If policy is to not release information, then no amount of public action, legal or otherwise, will cause information to be released.

What must be recognized, Rain says, is that the UFO subject is not unique in this regard. He offers a stunning parallel, now historically certified, regarding president Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the fact that German submarines were sinking literally hundreds of ships with complete impunity just off the U.S. east coast during 1942. Rain writes:

"The White House was desperately concerned for a number of reasons: The war had come to within binocular distance of America, but we were still almost a year away from having adequate numbers of ships and planes available to protect our eastern waters. Further, the Roosevelt Administration feared that if word of the number and severity of the U-boat incursions were to become widely known, there was risk of a national panic.... Thus, lacking any course of corrective action, a policy of denial was enacted.

"First, an older admiral with no public profile, Adolphus Andrews, was put in charge of our eastern coastal defenses. Second, despite Andrews' repeated urgings for Washington to order coastal blackouts thereby making cargo ships more difficult to be seen against the shoreline, his requests were ignored so that the public's suspicions would not be raised. Third, certain trusted members of the eastern press were briefed about the situation and asked to refrain from reporting stories about it, which they agreed to do. Fourth, any report of German U-boat activity near the American coast was met with official skepticism or the reliability of the source questioned. Fifth, all evidence of torpedoed ships (wreckage and bodies) that washed up on shore was immediately impounded and disposed of by the military, while the local population was told that it was the result of a storm at sea and warned not to speak to anyone about it. And sixth, those who were in the government information loop on this policy were strongly informed that any breach of security would be considered treason, a crime punishable by execution....

"Today few Americans have even the slightest notion that between December, 1941 and September, 1942, 292 vessels were torpedoed and hundreds of merchant seamen lost, most within sight of American beaches." [For more information on this "hidden war," see Homer Hickam's "Torpedo Junction: U-Boat War Off America's East Coast, 1942" (Naval Institute Press, 1989; currently in Dell paperback, 1999)].

Anyone familiar with the general suppositions about the so-called UFO cover-up cannot help but notice the parallels with Roosevelt's campaign to dissuade the public from recognizing and reacting adversely to the very real peril of German submarine attacks. The submarines were real, they were seen by countless civilians along the eastern seaboard, they sank nearly 300 ships with thousands of casualties -- and they were successfully denied. It was policy. It worked.

Examples like this are important, because without them (and perhaps even with them), most reasonable people would not believe such things are actually done by governments -- or if attempted, that they could succeed. But they are done, and they do succeed. That is the shocking truth.

Here at CNI News, we are absolutely convinced that some UFOs represent technological artifacts of non-human intelligence. We are absolutely convinced that non-human intelligent beings are present on and around planet Earth in significant numbers and are interacting with significant numbers of innocent civilians as well as various other of Earth's life forms, including livestock. And we are absolutely convinced that policies are in place to enforce the sequestering and denial of these facts, and that no amount of legal maneuvering is likely to overcome these policies any time soon -- unless, that is, there are compelling reasons to change the policy, reasons arising among those secretive persons and agencies in whose hands the policies reside.

In attempting to assess the prospect that the policies themselves may change, allowing for disclosure of UFO-related information, we must ask: What might be the operative suppositions behind the origin of the policies in the first place? Perhaps the U-Boat example is instructive again.

The U-Boats represented a covert alien force capable of doing much mischief with impunity. During the period 1941-42 at least, the United States had no effective military rejoinder to this threat. Thus, Roosevelt chose to act not upon the U-Boats but upon the perceptions and beliefs of the American people. There seems good reason to believe that a similar situation pertains with respect to UFOs -- with the difference that, in regard to the U-Boats, the Allies found remedies fairly quickly, but regarding UFOs, no such remedies are at hand. At least, we may entertain this as a reasonable possibility.

Roosevelt was afraid the American people would panic. The CIA, in its Robertson Panel report of 1953, drew the same conclusion regarding public response to UFOs. Some skeptics continue to doubt that the invocation of public panic is sufficient to justify a UFO cover-up, but their doubts are frankly absurd. If more proof were needed, we have been shown this year -- in the public pronouncements of the Clinton administration regarding the possible effects of Y2K -- that our national leadership is far more concerned to quell potential panic (in the form of "hoarding food" or "running on the banks") than they are to tell the unvarnished truth about Y2K. Indeed, we the people seem to be The Government's biggest problem. Our presumed proclivity to become irrational, unpredictable and potentially destructive at the first sign of trouble is THE problem which official policies of denial are designed to treat.

Whether "the aliens" are actually benign or malevolent is a moot point if, as officially supposed, the tendency of most humans would be to "shoot first and ask questions later." It is not at all clear that such a response would really occur under all variations of alien disclosure. But a conservative policy, based on the precedence of national security above all other values, might assume as much.

More to the point, it cannot be ignored that the "reality" of alien activity on planet Earth might not be entirely benign. Even if not actually hostile, the methods and motives of some non-human entities might have the net effect of terrorizing most humans if directly perceived. In that case, would it be wise and good to tell us all "the truth"?

Linda Moulton Howe is one investigator who has specialized in the seeming dark side of non-human intelligent activities, especially with regard to "unusual animal deaths" or surgical livestock mutilations. Explanations aside, such events occur with alarming regularity on the ranches and farms of America, and in many other countries. Occasional efforts to explain away the grotesquely precise excisions on these animals as predator attacks, disease, lightning strikes or even cult activity are pitifully, laughably inadequate. Overwhelming evidence shows that these animals are operated upon in a highly intelligent and methodical way, for purposes unknown, by an agency that comes and goes with absolute stealth, leaving no sign of its presence or identity save the marks on the animals themselves. And, very often, it is obvious that the animal's corpse came to its final resting spot after being lowered from the air -- as, for example, a huge bull found recently on a ranch in South Dakota, draped neatly over a barbed-wire fence. (Linda Howe's most recent investigations of unusual animal deaths are posted at her Earthfiles website.)

It is Linda Howe's belief, expressed in a recent conversation with this writer, that "People want the government to tell the truth, but they don't want to know the truth if it's bad."

Is she right? I dare say yes, based on attitudes expressed to me by readers of my own publications. One example: a man who recently sampled my Global Situation Report, which factually tracks environmental trends, global conflicts and similar issues, offered this reason for not subscribing: "Who needs this grief? Head in the sand? No, not quite. But I am not going to wallow in possible disasters." In the face of admittedly uncomfortable facts, this man willfully chooses denial. He is hardly alone.

Let's conclude with a quick speculative scorecard:

1) Do The People "need to know" about UFOs? Probably not.

2) Would The People actually be happier knowing the whole truth about UFOs? Possibly not.

3) Does The Government have any compelling reason at this time to change its presumed policy of denial regarding UFOs? Probably not.

4) Can civil actions provoke The Government to make UFO disclosures in the absence of a change in policy? Probably not.

5) Shall we therefore despair of ever learning the truth about UFOs?

Perhaps surprisingly to some, my answer to this last question is: Certainly not. CNI News is predicated on the perception that our collective understanding of matters relating to the existence and nature of extraterrestrial life is growing today at an unprecedented rate. At the same time, various political, social and environmental pressures are also building rapidly. These are pre-conditions for potentially massive and sudden changes in social attitudes and even government behavior. Even if the truth is not forthcoming, we are well justified in pursuing it. At any moment, something unexpected might occur. But, again, we must prepare (as best we can) for the possibility that "the truth" might not be exactly as we'd like it.