NASA – a jewel or thorn in the crown?

June 27, 2000
Stephen Bassett

Washington, DC – Look hard at the long, strange trip the human race has taken up from the caves at Olduvai Gorge. Savagery and animalism, conquest and war, subjugation and slavery, exploitation and injustice, brutality and pain – all there in plain view. Twisting and coursing amidst this history, however, is a process that many have struggled mightily to define and project forward in time. Where is this species going and why does it want to get there?

As you sift through events and achievements that seem to impact this process, you notice that some stand out – a few so extraordinary they amount to jewels in the crown of human experience. Here are some examples: the blunting of old world imperialism by the emergence of the Christian faith; the consolidation of Arab and middle eastern factions under Islam; the U. S. Constitution; the Magna Carta; the Marshall Plan and the peace waged after World War II; emergence of science in democratic, ancient Greece; the simultaneous discoveries of relativity and quantum mechanics; and the structures at Giza.

The last jewel to be added to this crown was created in 1958 – it is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA – the entity charged with taking the free world into space and learning what is there. The accomplishments of NASA are well known and need not be recounted here. One, however, may not be properly appreciated.

By 1969, at the age of 23, this author was intellectually convinced nuclear war was inevitable. This was not an uncommon sentiment. No generation in history had ever grown up under a Damoclese Sword of global totality. The psychological and social effect of such a sense of impending doom was and is immeasurable.The men (to the 99+ percentile) who ran the world had never in all of history failed to use the weapons they had built – never.

The stage was set for a deepening nihilism build on hopelessness, which, thanks to the media’s power to spread it around, would envelope the world like Carl Sagan’s nuclear winter. Humans, having been repeatedly disappointed by the failure of endtime predictions to pan out, had seized the initiative, building their own apocalypse, bomb by bomb.

After the annus horribilis that was 1968 and for the next 20 years, the wondrous discoveries from our space program provided good reason to turn away from the madness of MAD and give the future some respect. NASA’s accomplishments got many a young man and woman through the nightmare of the Cold War. I was one.

During the summers between college years I worked at the Kennedy Space Center as an intern. It was nothing special, but it allowed for trips around the facility – the famous Pad (39)A where most Apollo shots were launched and the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB) where the Saturn V space craft was pieced together. The launch tower was moved from the largest building in the world, VAB, to Pad A on the largest ground vehicle in the world, a massive crawler.

One job put me inside the portable tower. The bottom structure was designed like a ship with watertight doors and compartments – built this way because of the cooling torrents of water raining down at launch. I would take the elevator to the top of the tower and look out over the Cape. In the distance were other pads. Across two oceans further east a war was raging. I remembered climbing under my desk in elementary school during nuclear attack drills in the 50’s.  It was 1966. I was young, fearful and confused. I didn’t know much, but I knew there were rockets which carried 100 megaton hydrogen bombs and there were rockets which would carry us to the moon. Somehow the existence of the latter made the former easier to bear.

The exploration of space was a damn good reason to be alive. It still is, but something has happened to our space agency, something bad. Like many others who have learned this, I take no pleasure in pointing it out.

The 1958 Space Act

If you wish to understand the terrible dilemma faced by NASA, you must closely read certain paragraphs shown below and pay particular attention to the words in red.

While there were predecessor entities, the modern space agency we know and love was formed by the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. The foundation is described in the second section, Declaration of Policy and Purpose. Paragraph (b) is critical.

Sec. 102(b) The Congress declares that the general welfare and security of the United States require that adequate provision be made for aeronautical and space activities. The Congress further declares that such activities shall be the responsibility of, and shall be directed by, a civilian agency exercising control over aeronautical and space activities sponsored by the United States, except that activities peculiar to or primarily associated with the development of weapons systems, military operations, or the defense of the United States (including the research and development necessary to make effective provision for the defense of the United States) shall be the responsibility of, and shall be directed by, the Department of Defense; and that determination as to which such agency has responsibility for and direction of any such activity shall be made by the President in conformity with section 201 (e).

Section 201 is entitled National Aeronautics and Space Council. The important portions are below:

Sec. 201. (a) There is hereby established the National Aeronautics and Space Council (hereinafter called the “Council”) which shall be composed of–

(1)    the President (who shall preside over meetings of the Council);

(2)    the Secretary of State;

(3)    the Secretary of Defense

(4)    the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;

(5)    the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission;

(6)    not more than one additional member appointed by the President from the departments and agencies of the Federal Government; and

(7)    not more than three other members appointed by the President, solely on the basis of established records of distinguished achievement from among individuals in private life who are eminent in science, engineering, technology, education, administration, or public affairs.

(d)  It shall be the function of the Council to advise the President with respect to the performance of the duties prescribed in subsection (e) of this section.

(e) In conformity with the provisions of section 102 of this Act, it shall be the duty of the President to–

(1)  survey all significant aeronautical and space activities, including the policies, plans, programs, and accomplishments of all agencies of the United States engaged in such activities;

(2)  develop a comprehensive program of aeronautical and space activities to be conducted by agencies of the United States;

(3)  designate and fix responsibility for the direction of major aeronautical and space activities;

(4)  provide for effective cooperation between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Defense in all such activities, and specify which of such activities may be carried on concurrently by both such agencies notwithstanding the assignment of primary responsibility therefore to one or the other of such agencies; and

(5)  resolve differences arising among departments and agencies of the United States with respect to aeronautical and space activities under this Act, including differences as to whether a particular project is an aeronautical and space activity.

What does this mean?

When NASA was created, there was a specific provision that required any aspects of the exploration of space that impacted national defense and security would be deferred to the aegis of the Department of Defense. It was this provision that led to the popular misconception that NASA was a sub-agency of the DOD. It is not. It is a civilian agency with a whopper of a national security provision.

The President of the United States had considerable influence over the activities of NASA. This oversight was to be exercised via the National Aeronautics and Space Council composed of the President, members of the cabinet and presidential appointees. One of the most critical roles of the president was to arbitrate disputes between NASA and the DOD over national security and defense issues that might emerge from the exploration of space.

The UFO/ET research effort has clearly determined that any evidence or events pointing toward an extraterrestrial explanation were and are considered matters of national security and defense by our government. Therefore, what, if anything, NASA might or might not do with respect to such evidence or events would be determined by the DOD. The DOD would decide whether such information was disclosed to the public. If NASA wanted it otherwise, only the President of the United States could alter the decision.

From 1958 to 1973 the presidents presiding over the National Aeronautics and Space Council were Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. There is a consensus Eisenhower was briefed appropriately on the extraterrestrial presence and the other three partially briefed. Whatever turned up during those 15 years, the elected executive of the nation  may have known about it. Decisions to not disclose were jointly arrived at between the DoD and NASA.

On April 18, 1973, four months after the last Apollo flight and 16 months before the resignation of Richard Nixon, the National Aeronautics and Space Council was abolished and presidential influence was undercut. Since that time the serving presidents have been Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. Of these, Ford, Carter and Clinton were likely not briefed on the extraterrestrial presence and Reagan was incompletely briefed.

Consequently, for 14 of 27 intervening years the President of the United States was out of the loop regarding the UFO/ET reality and unable to address the NASA dilemma.     For eight of those years a sitting president was a partially informed pawn to inside entities with their own agendas. The person who cast the largest shadow over this entire period, as CIA Director, Vice President and President, was George H. W. Bush, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was the victim.

April of 1973 was a pivotal moment in the unfolding saga of the disclosure process. From that point forward under greater and greater stress, NASA was torn between its mandate as a civilian scientific institution and its obligations under the 1958 Space Act to the Department of Defense.

What has come to pass?

Evidence of trouble is everywhere.

1)   NASA has steadfastly refused to speak to any anomalous evidence that in any way points to an extraterrestrial explanation. It will not research, it will not publish about, and it will not substantively comment on any photo, video or personal testimony from any source, no matter the stature, that points to extraterrestrial “intelligent” life – period.

2)   A host of video evidence was dismissed by an unofficial, surrogate NASA spokesman as ice crystal Done. No further need for discussion.

3)    Former employees and reputable outside scientists, photo analysts and engineers were betrayed, ignored, lied to, circumvented, stonewalled, subverted and, in one bizarre instance, nearly punched out.

4)   Members of the intelligence and corporate “black ops” communities were placed in positions of high authority.

5)   Control of major aspects of planetary missions were given over to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and removed even further from elected oversight.

6)    Public pressure for attention to the public interest was first dismissed, then condescended to, then flimflammed.

7)    Space craft were lost all over the solar system.

8)   A public relations ploy blew up in the sky. Challenger.

9)   Agency executives have been hauled before congressional committees and humiliated on national television.

10)  Via the internet and talk radio came intense attacks of a most perverted and vile nature directed at UFO/ET researcher/activists by individuals “defending” NASA’s good name – some with established NASA ties.

11)  The agency began a series of announcements aimed at introducing the concept of “life on mars.” Both the “Mars Rock”     and “Mars Water” press conferences were an insult to the intelligence of a significant number of interested parties, including the entire Generation X. Even the lapdog press were unmoved by the ludicrous anachronisms intended to pass for revelation.

12)  Astronauts who dare to address the extraterrestrial issue are “out.” The rest of the astronaut corps remain silent. Beyond “I never saw anything unusual in space,” they have absolutely nothing to say about a mountain of gathering evidence confirming an extraterrestrial reality.

13)  Participation in “black” projects connected to DOD were denied, then confirmed. When asked about possible future “black” projects on national television, the agency director, Dan Goldin, dodged the question.

This sordid mess can be summed up in one paragraph.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is a brilliant creation of human kind with spectacular achievements and noble purpose. It is filled with quality people who want to explore space and report back to us what they find. They and their agency are caught up in a 50-year embargo on the extraterrestrial presence.     They are in a terrible bind and are working their way out by a series of disclosures focused on Mars that adhere to a timetable set by other governmental entities. The agency is behind the curve and wide open to criticism from a growing and increasingly sophisticated disclosure movement. Damage is being done. When the managed truth embargo finally ends, the civilian agency that took us to the Moon and soon to the stars, becomes the first beneficiary.

Harbinger of Change Passes Over the Ship of State – France launched it!

June 7, 2000
Stephen Bassett

Washington, DC – The Aztecs believed their great god, Quetzalcoatl, would one day return from the east across the sea as a white-skinned man. In the year 1517 a comet appeared in the skies over Mexico. The Aztec emperor, Montezuma, was angry his astrologers had not predicted this comet and had them executed. He became filled with a foreboding of eminent destruction.

In 1521, led by Hernán Cortés, Spaniards, who many Aztecs thought to be Gods from the heavens, destroyed the entire Aztec civilization.

Comet – at the beginning of recorded history this celestial phenomena was seen as a harbinger of great change, a cosmic omen. Thousands of years later near the turn of the second Christian millennium, educated people are still capable of using it as a motivation to commit suicide. All humans fear change, including the conquerors of the Aztecs.

The Spanish word for comet – cometa.

In July of 1999 the French (comete) have launched a COMETA into cyber space. It is a three-year study by the Committee for Advanced Studies (COMité d’Etudes Approfondies – COMETA) entitled ”UFOs and Defense: What Should We Prepare For?” Before this study was published in VSD Magazine, it was distributed directly to various French services and departments and to President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.

It concludes that UFO/ET phenomena need immediate, further investigation and there is a “strong presumption” the extraterrestrial hypothesis best explains these phenomena.

If you are specifically interested in the UFO/ET reality and access the Internet, you know about this study – it is all over the web. If you are merely a citizen wishing to be informed about matters of national and global importance, you have probably never heard of it. Why? Because the high end news media in the U.S. haven’t covered it and the United States government hasn’t acknowledged it.

This follows a well established pattern. The more substantive the person, organization, event or evidence pertaining to UFO/ET matters, the less likely there will be engagement by top-tier news media or the government. Do not go where you do not have the ability to respond to the inevitable questions and reactions that such engagement would bring.  Pick your spots – a questionable report, a known kook, a clear error in documentation – then move in and expose or ridicule with safe reportage.

When the Society for Scientific Exploration, with its connections to Stanford, published the Sturrock Panel Report, there was modest coverage, little at the top end, and no follow-up. From the government, nothing. When brilliant author, Apollo astronaut and MIT Ph.D., Dr. Edgar Mitchell began stating flat out in public, both here and abroad, there was a second government covering up an extraterrestrial presence, there was NO top-tier coverage and NO government response. When Colonel Philip J. Corso published his flawed but still remarkable memoir, The Day After Roswell, there was NO top-tier coverage and NO government reaction.

If they respond in any way, they have to support that response. They cannot. So they say nothing, answer no questions and leave it to the obstructionists and debunkers within the UFO/ET field itself to rip apart such contributions.

This may not work with the COMETA report because the publishing of this study was literally a shot across the bow of the U.S. ship of state, a warning between the lines: “we (the government of France) are tired of waiting while you continue to stretch out the cover-up of the extraterrestrial presence. We are weary of deferring to the U.S. on the process and timetable of disclosure as the damage and embarrassment to all governments, including the NATO partners, grows with each passing year.”

It is a “shot across our bow” because the report does not emerge directly from the French government – that would truly be a problem for the U.S. Rather it comes from a private committee comprised of former high ranking French military and agency employees.

IHEDN    Civilian, then? Just barely. Many committee members have backgrounds with The Institute for Higher Defense Studies (Institut des Hautes Etudes de Défense Nationale), a government financed strategic planning agency. And the principals, take a look at a few:

  • General Bernard Norlain, former commander of the French Tactical Air Force, military counselor to the prime minister and former director of the IHEDN
  • André Lebeau (former president of the National Center for Space Studies (CNES), the French NASA
  • General Denis Letty, French Air Force
  • Admiral Marc Merlo
  • Alain Orszag (the chief civil officer responsible for armaments)
  • Christian Marchal (a chief executive from Ecoles des Mines)
  • Jean-Claude Ribes (astrophysicist, former director of the Lyon Observatory de Lyon)

And what else does this “non-governmental committee” strongly suggest? As pointed out in Leslie Kean’s, May 21 Boston Globe article, they:

  • urge international action
  • recommend France establish ”sectorial cooperation agreements with interested European and foreign countries” on the matter of UFOs
  • encourage the European Union to undertake diplomatic action with the United States ”exerting useful pressure to clarify this crucial issue which must fall within the scope of political and strategic alliances.”
  • chastise the United States for what it calls an ”impressive repressive arsenal” on the subject, including a policy of disinformation and military regulations prohibiting public disclosure of UFO sightings.

The COMETA study was originally published only in French. This made it much easier for the U.S. media to take a pass and the government to pretend it never happened. But alas, limited English translations are turning up and COMETA will soon publish in English. And, of course, the Boston Globe decided to go fishing for Pulitzers and put Kean’s piece into print.

Yeah, it’s a shot across the bow – a powerful statement first issued in July of 1999 sufficiently indirect to permit the U.S. to maneuver and react The Boston Globe finally noticed. Now let’s see whether Dan Rather, Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings, Tom Brocaw, Katharine Graham, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. and John Puerner saw it go by.

The Role of the Presidency in the Politics of Disclosure Part III: The Case for & against Gore

May 29, 2000
Stephen Bassett

Washington, DC –  In 1945 as WWII ended and the Cold War began – world human population was 2.3 billion. It had taken several million years to achieve that level. The Cold War symbolically ended in 1989 – world population was 5.2 billion. Today it is 6.1 billion.

This grand conflict was certainly unlike any before it. It was not the longest war in history, but it was the most expensive.   Its cost estimation is a complex work in progress. However, factoring in all related expenditures by the United States and its allies plus the Soviet Union, and including the costs of environmental cleanup and disarmament, you get a figure somewhere between $15 and $20 trillion in 2000 dollars. This is an amount greater than the cost of all the wars waged in all of history.

Thus, in a period in which the population of the planet added 3.8 billion, the first world nations committed $15+ trillion in treasure to an ideological difference of opinion. None of this money was available to feed, clothe, heal or educate the additional arrivals.

During the nuclear age, tens of thousands have died as a result of an atomic explosion. Tens of millions of have died as a result of the gap between human need and the resources required to serve it.  By starvation, environmental degradation, disease, territorial wars over resources, genocide, and countless other derivative causes, the Cold War generated a profound level of suffering and death – it just didn’t get the credit.

While we were focusing our fear and apprehension on the next nuclear bomb which never detonated, the population bomb exploded and laid waste to millions of the weakest and poorest of the human family. That this aspect of the Cold War took place outside the U. S. borders only dampened the awareness of the American public to its reality and ensured it would not be a factor in the policies created to pursue the conflict.

Like the general interest in UFOs, population concern tends to move in and out of fashion. Talk show legend Johnny Carson single handedly created a significant upswing in the 70’s due to his personal interest and repeated guest appearances on the Tonight Show by Paul Erhlich, one of the leading environmental and population theorists. More importantly, there are few areas of controversy which are as verboten for politicians to engage as the UFO/ET issue – one of them is population control/reduction.

The U.S. Census Bureau predicts a world population of 9.1 billion by 2050 using very conservative growth projections. Beyond then, one would best not project, since the earth has hinted at methods by which further growth will not be permitted regardless of the degree of our need to breed. And these methods are of a type that only a Wes Craven could properly appreciate.

We grouse about the intrusive images of starving children that interrupt our channel surfing. If the trend toward 9.1 billion humans in 2050 proceeds, one should be prepared for all Sally Struthers, all the time.  Unless there is a profound change in world view by the leaders and citizens of the advanced nations, the first half of the 21st Century will produce a level of suffering, death, and deprivation surpassing even the best our last century could generate.

Because the population problem and possible solutions are verboten as political discourse, those with legitimate concern usually proffer “environmental” front issues to indirectly address the question. As in the case of the extraterrestrial presence, there is always a price when the truths surrounding any controversy are kept out of the political arena.

The 50-year death march to 9.1 billion human beings packed into a world of diminishing resources begins next year.

Which brings us to Vice President Albert Arnold Gore, Jr.   It is already well known that Patrick Buchanan has the finest 19th Century mind in America. He will not become the president. The question before us is, “which candidate has a 21st Century mind?” Who either has or can acquire a worldview commensurate with the new set of problems the human race is about to encounter?   And make no mistake, one of those problems will be adjusting to the knowledge we are being engaged by extraterrestrial beings more advanced and with a complex agenda.

Actually, there is an easy answer – Heather Harder. But she will not become the president either. This leaves Gore and Ralph Nader.   As it happens, Green Party aside, Nader is very much a 20th Century guy. However, he is progressive and resonates with the disenchanted left. So much so, he might well play the same role as Perot in 1992, only this time on the Democrat side, and elect George W. Bush president. In politics, like nowhere else, what goes around, comes around.

To assess Gore as a potential president, the following books are suggested: The World According to Al Gore – Joseph Kaufman, Inventing Al Gore – Bill Turque, and Gore: A Political Life – Bob Zelnick, in ascending order of critical intensity.

But do not even think of voting for this man unless you have read, Earth in the Balance, his environmental/ theological/ political manifesto.

Written just after the near fatal accident of his young son, it is a highly unusual book for a political careerist, which Gore most certainly is. Outside of a few years as a journalist, he has been a professional politician following a path set out by his senator father. Gore does not want to write this book if he is following the rules of modern political strategy. Here he goes where others fear to tread. Does he have the worldview to take on an issue as difficult as the UFO/ET reality?

This book and Gore’s intellectual interests would seem to make that case. But there are serious problems elsewhere.

It is difficult to read about Gore’s career without thinking of The Candidate, a movie starring Robert Redford which gets hauled out of the vault every election year along with The Seduction of Joe Tynan with Alan Alda. The American public has come to believe the political process is fundamentally corrupting. No matter what degree of intellectual sincerity and vision you enter with, it will be stripped away by the time you leave. Al Gore may be the poster child for this cynical view.

The public is fairly fed up with ludicrously expensive, winning-is-everything politics. Gore has embraced both adjectives with a passion. As a result, his willingness to touch the UFO/ET problem on moral/ethical grounds, knowing it will damage him politically and hurt his party, is most certainly in doubt.

He is well aware of President Clinton’s interest in the UFO subject, including the briefings of Clinton staffers and the charge given to Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell by Clinton to look into the matter at the DOJ. He was witness to these activities going over like lead trial balloons, and this includes the efforts of Rep. Steven Schiff of New Mexico. Further, Gore has never shown much interest in challenging the military/intelligence community.

If he has, in fact, lost his ability to say what he means and mean what he says regardless of the political consequences, there is not much prospect of his taking up the disclosure mantle as president.

However, Gore has shown courage at times. He volunteered for Vietnam against his own personal views because it would have hurt his father’s senate campaign had he stayed out, which he most certainly could have done. He was one of ten Democrats who voted with the Republicans in support of President Bush’s Gulf War resolution. It was a risky vote of conscience. It came at a time when he had withdrawn from the coming 1992 presidential campaign and was completing work on Earth in the Balance. It was the zenith of Al Gore’s career as a man apart from the corrupting influence of paying for and winning elections.

Because of his service in Vietnam, the Gulf War vote, and unchallenged devotion to family values, he is viewed far more favorably than Clinton by the military and intelligence careerists who are conservative and republican in the majority. Should he win the election, they may consider dealing with Gore on disclosure rather than riding out another four years of government witness leakage and pressure by the UFO/ET activists and the media.

William Clinton had the opportunity to make the UFO/ET disclosure his presidential legacy. It would now appear he has chosen to make Al Gore his legacy. Perhaps he feels that disclosure under Gore will reflect back on him – a two-for-one.

Bush or Gore, take your pick. Regardless of who you choose, you will have to let him know in unambiguous terms you want the UFO cover-up to end, now. You might consider starting with the campaign. It is long past time for candidates for the highest office in the country to be repeatedly ask about the UFO/ET reality until they respond in depth without insulting anyone’s intelligence. Long past.


May 23, 2000
Stephen Bassett

Washington, DC – The human race is a walking, breathing irony. It’s biosphere home is a low-entropy island amidst a sea of chaos (high entropy) – a tiny pocket of order that owes its existence to the energy it draws out from the vast, less ordered cosmos over incomprehensible periods of time.

Gaia jumps out at you like a sudden spike on a cosmic lie detector test. At the top of this spike rests the most complex entity the human brain is capable of discerning – the human brain.

So naturally the owners of these brains are religiously devoted to rending the world asunder. Not merely content to just peek inside each other’s medicine cabinets, their curiosity drives them to deconstruction. Humans like to break things up – marriages, monopolies, double plays – they’ll even break a pair to draw to a flush.

But that’s child’s play to the turbo brained, SAT torching, white-frocked atomists who want nothing less then to shatter reality itself to smithereens. If you have ever seen Letterman drop a television off the roof, you understand. Smash stuff together at higher and higher energies and more stuff, smaller stuff appears. Whatever does turn up is not enough – protons, photons, gluons, leptons – that don’t impress you much.

Humans want more and even tried to build a supersmasher in the Texas desert until the red ants started eating it (broke it down) and the money ran out. Now they eye quarks with deepening frustration, knees bouncing as they wait for the first opportunity to pop those suckers good and find out what’s inside.

Another matter all together is the moral/ethical universe, about which this author, in Robert Pirsigian fashion, has contemplated a possible law of indivisibility almost to the point of brain breaking obsession. Almost, because nervous breakdowns, very chic in the 60’s and 70’s, are out of fashion since selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors were first discovered inside a Martian meteorite (a likely violation of the Prime Directive). It can be stated thusly:

  1. All knowledge (information) comes with an equal measure of moral responsibility which is inseparable.
  2. There are no exceptions and this pairing is universal to all sentient beings everywhere.

Can you find an exception? If so, please pass it along. Seriously, it could come in handy.

Some quick examples: you’re talking on your 900 MHz cordless when another conversation bleeds in just on your end. Two guys are yakking about the bomb they put on such and such flight, the airline, the time. They fade out, you hang up. Some new information. You can ignore it, head for the beach. No one is ever going to come around making nasty accusations. No finger will point your way. If the next day’s newspaper has an article about the crash, so what?

Break it down further to less and less significant pieces of information. You take an evening walk and notice your neighbor’s car has a flat tire – more new information. You can do nothing.       Your neighbor will leave for work, one-hour delay, kids late for school, so what?

The what, of course, is a fundamental responsibility that every human being would immediately recognize except one – the sociopath.  However, the sociopath is not an exception to the law, just an exception to its perception.

No amount of energy in the physical universe can separate responsibility from information. Don’t like it? Tough. If you were a potted plant, you could claim an exemption. You’re sentient, deal with it.

Which, of course, brings us to UFOlogy. One way to look at this field, movement, community, whatever, is a group of people, now numbering in the tens of millions, who have come into some new information. Whether they eagerly sought this knowledge or it was thrust upon them, the result is the same.   They get the equal measure of responsibility. And what a measure it is!

They know about an extraterrestrial presence, government propaganda and subversion, sequestered technology, wasted money and opportunity, uninvited encounters, violations of law, disenfranchised employees, distortion of the constitutional checks and balances, weakening of the American presidency, abuses of power, etc.

When the information is this heavy, the attached responsibility, if accepted, can usually only be carried out through political action. If UFOlogy has stumbled, it has been in its slowness to convert the information it acquired into the political expression of the responsibility that came with it.

The reasons for this would fill ten columns. Here is the one this author believes to be the most important.

There have always been two competing protocols affecting this transition.   The metaphor for the first would be the “wheat from the chaff.”  If it were only possible to separate out from the field those who are not sufficiently credible, credentialed, educated, honest, and worthy of our esteem. We don’t like their style, their claims, their face.  = If they would just retire, move to Greenland, or die, ah, then the remaining crème de la crème, now composed solely of PhD’s, Pulitzer/Nobel winners, and right thinking researchers with books that weren’t published by a vanity press, would be granted the keys to the kingdom.

The career intelligence officers at the NSA, the mainstream editors at the Times, the NASA guys, would rush forward to greet this pristine amalgam of UFO/ET purists, pat them on the back, hand out security badges, and all would walk together to the labs and conference rooms to discuss the global strategies for dealing with the new paradigm.

Of course, some person or organization would have to apply a fair measure of subjective criteria in order to get the chaff shipped out.   Few would go quietly. Enraged e-mails would be launched, old hatreds reinvigorated, death threats in abundance. Well, you have to break a few egg.

There is another protocol in play. The individuals who now find themselves in possession of knowledge of the UFO/ET reality and all its sub-themes must become a mutual admiration society (MAS).

Much of the division in the field is between the old guard researchers, many military, with decades of involvement, and the political activists, many new to the fray.

Nevertheless, everyone has contributed in their own way. There were no guidebooks, no instructions. People did the best they could with what they had, and what they did was extraordinary. The common interests have always transcended the disagreements, hatreds, and grievances. Hate the person’s guts if you must, but admire what they contributed.

Recently, this author was reminded of the power of this protocol.   A colleague attended a conference and happened to speak with a well-known presenter who sincerely proffered great admiration for my activist efforts.  As it happened, I thought the opposite to be true and remained on a cloud for a week.  Suddenly the frustrations of the work and the irritations that arise from the lack of funds lifted.      New energy and commitment sprung up, new focus.

If everyone in the UFO/ET research/activist field sent 5 e-mails tomorrow acknowledging the contributions of 5 others, and made sure two of those e-mails went to people that irritated them to no end, the impact would be immediate and potent.

Whether we wanted it or not, we have a responsibility to the human race and our planet to ensure a truthful, peaceful and constructive transition to a new paradigm. If we form a mutual admiration society, we will be able to carry out that responsibility by whatever means we find appropriate.

If we do not, history will neither remember nor care. But we will know, because we had the information, the opportunity to act, and the means to do so. We can make history together as regards an event that will never come again – the galactic coming out party of our planet – the moral/ethical/political birth of a sentient world.

The Role of the President in the Politics of Disclosure – Part II: The case for and against George W. Bush

May 17, 2000
Stephen Bassett

(Second in a three-part series.)

Let’s get one thing straight right up front. The politics of UFOs, how the presence of extraterrestrial beings in our world, now, is going to affect you, your government, and every other person on the planet, is not only bipartisan, it’s transcendent.

Transcendence is about moving from one paradigm to another, one worldview to another. It is a process so powerful, the very mechanisms involved are altered. In fact, they are not really up to the task, but being all we have, we make do.

That which is about to happen to the world will affect every political party, nation, race, religion, and point of view. There will be no paradigm deferments. Everyone participates whether they want to or not. At this level, staking out territory, getting the upper hand, building political capital, war chests, arms races and other Machiavellian machinations are made silly. We will find common ground and work together as we find our way through this or we will make utter asses of ourselves before an audience that may extend to the other side of the galaxy.

And one response to this might well be, “so what.”

The two main political parties don’t happen to have a plank in their platforms on this particular matter. Worse, for some time they have immersed themselves in the “Politics of Nothing” where the truly difficult issues are ignored completely or locked into permanent stasis. What is left are the personal and the dregs. One is reminded of the old aphorism about college life, namely that, “the reason university politics are so vicious is precisely because the stakes are so small.”

The process of electing an American president has now become sufficiently grotesque and expensive, voters no longer expect any deep controversy on a matter of true substance to force itself upon them during this quadrennial circus.

The media focuses 75% of its coverage on who’s up, who’s down, the polling numbers, endorsements, pratfalls, scandals and peccadilloes.  Only 25% is left to cover what a candidate actually believes, assuming they would tell, or how they would govern, assuming they knew.

All of which might suggest, why not make the partisan case. Pick a party and convince it the UFO/ET intriguees out there number in the tens of millions (they do). Show ‘em the websites, the mail lists, the demographics (high education, high income), the emotional intensity, and then close with, “Four words, ‘Go Alien, Kick Butt.’” You got your pro-life vs. pro-choice, your pro-gun vs. anti-gun, and now, your Rare Earth vs. Aliens Coming out the Wazoo.  Finally the politics of UFOs would take flight with everyone taking sides and spending hundreds of millions of dollars making TV commercials intent on showing the other side is comprised of idiots.

We could do that, but it would be wrong.

So let’s examine the coming election and how a victory by George W. Bush might affect the process of disclosure of the extraterrestrial presence. But in doing so, let’s not misinterpret a tough and candid analysis as a campaign ad for electing Al Gore (and vice versa, next week).

Election 2000 offers up a host of delicious ironies.

Much has been made of the millennial turnover. Certainly the politicians have taken advantage of this arithmetic inevitability. So many bridges to the 21st Century have been built, no one is at risk of getting their feet wet.  A cynic would say the year 2000 is about as important as that moment, while stuck in another freeway jam up, you happen to note your odometer turnover 100,000 miles. You smile for a moment, and ten seconds later it’s history.

Call it accident, fate, or a cosmic joke – the next couple of years will live up to the pre-turnover hype. This election campaign, conducted in the last year of the second millennium and placing a new president in office in the first year of the next, is indeed our political connection between two worlds. What is at stake is whether the 21st Century will surpass the horrors of the 20th or bring the human race freedom at last from the brutality, some say evil, of its pre-sentience animal nature, its lizard brain.

The moment screams for a president with profound new vision, someone poised by special background and circumstance, to lead the most powerful nation on the planet into truly new territory.

So, naturally, what we have is perhaps the most dramatic instance of “same old, same old” in memory. After eight painful years of dealing with the consequences of a president who lost, or perhaps never had, his moral compass, the Democrats put forth a candidate who is as close to a seamless extension of that president as has occurred in any election this century. More on that next week.

And the Republicans? In 1990 President George H. W. Bush began a campaign with an 80% approval rating. He was, and is, the quintessential 20th Century political man: WWII, cold warrior, diplomat, CIA, VP, secret societies, backroom connections, patriotism, control, plausible denial – the total package. Perhaps he somehow sensed that cosmic change was in the air because in mid-campaign the sitting president lost his vision, stomach for the process, perhaps even his desire to be president and came unglued

At the end he could barely deliver a speech without falling into near incomprehensibility. What followed was an upset, which in the opinion of this author surpassed that of Truman over Dewey in ’48. William Clinton, the anti-Bush, is elected. He takes office as stunned Republicans stare in disbelief.

Despised by the military and intelligence careerists to such a degree it becomes a serious matter of protocol noted by the press, Clinton immediately comes under political and personal attack almost unprecedented in the modern era. Finally, in a fashion worthy of Shakespeare’s best tragedies, he defies his enemies with a consummate act of self-destruction and hubris, handing them all they need to destroy him completely and take the Democratic Party with him.

He barely escapes by virtue of the incompetence of the Republican leadership in the House and their own personal failures coupled with Clinton’s almost preternatural survivability. Nevertheless, the country is put through a nightmare.

There is every indication the public wants to put this behind them – the extreme partisanship, special prosecutors, tawdriness, and political gridlock. They want a new start and a rejuvenation of the presidency which has been further weakened and humiliated. So who do the Republican insiders and deep pockets line up behind early on and in extraordinary financial fashion?

The son of George Bush, George Bush, a man in some respects more like Clinton than Gore.

There is a straightforward way to understand the worldview of the person you are about to elect to the presidency. Read three books. The first would be the candidate’s political autobiography; the second would be a neutral, quality biography by a responsible journalist; and the third would be the most critical biography available by a competent journalist/author, however biased. Combined in the same mind, it’s a potent amalgam.

For the average citizen who does not belong to a think tank or have much discretionary time to do political research, this is as good as it gets. If the last five presidential elections have proved anything, it is that television ads, talk shows, cream puff interviews, convention show speeches, and scripted debates are meager fare if one seeks to know what a presidential candidate actually believes about anything.                  

As regards George Bush, the choices are not too difficult. The following are suggested in the same order: his political autobiography, A Charge to Keep, George W. Bush with Karen Hughes; a neutral biography, First Son: George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty, Bill Minutaglio; and a highly critical commentary, Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush, Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose. (Note: Fortunate Son, J. H. Hatfield, is not recommended as there are serious issues with the author and authenticity of key elements of its content.)

Here’s a summary of what you would learn.

George W. Bush and William Clinton were born 45 days apart in 1946.   They had very different childhoods, but grew up to be tall, attractive, personable, men of boyish demeanor and playful personalities, with predominant ties to a southern lifestyle. Both attended Yale University and went on to become chief executive of southern states known to have “weak governor” systems, with Texas being the weaker of the two.

Bush and Clinton are practicing Protestants, Clinton Baptist, Bush Methodist and born again. Both men sowed a silos worth of wild oats, committing various “youthful” indiscretions which played a role in their campaigns. Those by Bush apparently did not extend into his marriage and ended around the age of 40, while Clinton’s persisted with well documented results.

Both men avoided serving in Vietnam, Clinton via student deferments and Bush via alternative service in the Texas Air National Guard. Both utilized whatever connections they could to effectuate this result.  Bush was accepted immediately into the Guard and pilot program with 100,000 Texans on the waiting list for the Guard and other pilot applicants (150) waiting up to 18 months to get flying clearance.

But enough about similarities. It’s the differences that get interesting.  William Clinton grew up poor and dysfunctional in a family less connected to power than dirt. It was this background which gave him the ability to relate to the average person and feel the pain of disadvantaged classes. It was his greatest strength and his greatest liability, as this same background laid the foundation for the ruination of his place in history and full appreciation of his contributions.

George W. Bush, on the other hand is possibly the luckiest businessman/politician in the galaxy. He is the Republican Jack Kennedy. John Kennedy came from a family ruled by a powerful man who viewed his sons’ right to the presidency as a given. Joseph Kennedy used his money, the money of his friends, pulled every lever, stuffed ballot boxes, moved heaven and earth to give his sons a leg up with the presidency in the cross hairs.

A generation later, George Bush received the same treatment in spades. Through every step of his business and political career money poured in from political and financial connections to the family. Every time he got in over his head, he was covered.

This enormous reservoir of connected money was particularly potent in Texas politics where there is no limit on personal contributions – $1,000, $1,000,000 – no difference. Bush spent over $40 million in his two gubernatorial campaigns. That money combined with the money raised and being raised for the 2000 presidential bid, will make George W. Bush the most financially backed politician in the history of the nation.  George W. Bush’s father, the President, is a man heavy with gravitas whose résumé is thicker than the D.C. phone book. His son is Bush lite, not remotely in the same league. It is as if the Republican party is determined to rectify that terrible upset outcome of eight years ago, to put the world right.

What does it mean for disclosure?

In one regard it is favorable. From the standpoint of those managing the UFO/ET issue within the government, one of the most critical disclosure issues is control. They want absolute control of as many variables as possible.

If you are going to announce to the world the presence of extraterrestrial beings who can pretty much come and go as they please, whatever spin you intend to put on this revelation, you want to have the complete cooperation of the executive and legislative branches, military services, intelligence agencies, enforcement agencies, etc. You want to make disclosure on your terms, according to your schedule and be able to deal with any and all reactions to that disclosure as you see fit.

The status and power acquired by the military/intelligence complex during the Reagan years and the end of the Cold War symbolized by the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 set the stage.   The senior Bush was the perfect president to have in office. It is this author’s belief the process of disclosure was thus set in motion to occur early in Bush’s second term (1993). The same circumstances set Col. Philip Corso in motion toward his eventual 1997 memoir, The Day After Roswell.

Clinton’s election suspended the process. George W. Bush, if elected, would be a surrogate senior Bush. The military and intel agencies will embrace the son. The network would be reestablished, the players reassembled, the father’s consultation a given, and control would be sufficient to proceed. So far so good.

But there is a downside. Ultimately the politics of UFOs is secondarily concerned with disclosure and primarily concerned with the quality of that disclosure. The end of the UFO/ET cover-up (or management if you wish) is inevitable. What is problematic is the veracity and comprehensiveness of the process. Will it be misrepresented and spun to serve government agendas not known to the public? Will it be destructive or constructive in its formulation? Will it build trust in government or further erode trust in the minds of the American public and citizens of other countries?

And the key question, will George W. Bush have the substance, courage and intellect to stand up to the military/intelligence infrastructure should they attempt to pervert the process and he knew it?

The election this November may be the most important in our history. Whether the voters know a flying saucer from a Boston cream pie, the presidential piece to the disclosure puzzle will be in their hands.

The Political Downside to the Apocalypse

May 5, 2000
Stephen Bassett

Planets align and unalign. The galaxy turns around a center composed of a nightmare. In an outer portion of a spiral arm this planet swings along with its inhabitants in deep contemplation.

They contemplate the Drake equation with all its tight little variables attempting to calculate the prevalence of sentient life. Recently a mainstream (he can get on Nightline) scientist endeavored to update that equation. Paleontologist Peter Ward along with Astronomer Donald Brownlee published Rare Earth making the case for extreme rarity of life in the universe to the point of our uniqueness.

It’s a message the top-tier talk venues, under siege by a host of UFO/ET researcher/activists for airtime, find quite attractive. Ah, if only it were true, and all those deluded, sleep paralytic, obsessive, cult susceptive, sleep walking, hoaxers would then just go away and leave us alone. Ward is doing the full circuit. He’s killing coast to coast.

Deep within the Drake equation is one of its most provocative components, a variable which attempts to take into account the propensity of sentient life to turn the laws of physics on themselves and the biosphere they shepherd and wipe it out. Apocalypse – wrath of God stuff; mayhem; dogs, cats sleeping together; total chaos.

Humans, of course, don’t have to participate. The galaxy has a host of methods by which it can convert a budding Eden into so much cosmic flotsam. Toasted, radiated, clobbered, pole flipped, flooded and frozen, or in a bad millennium, all of the above. Another of Drake’s variables takes into account the Galaxy’s contribution.

These variables are legitimate. The universe is a dangerous place, and somehow this fact is burned into our genetic engrams for we do so love to indulge apocalyptic expression. It has been prevalent since recorded history, and all of our technological mastery can’t diminish its allure.

You know the end is near, but did you know just how political that feeling is?

Being sentient has its drawbacks. All that mental power keeps dishing up more than you really care to know about the past, the future, and most disconcertingly, your place in the present. Non-sentient animals don’t have to put up with this.

Forget riding a planetary spec through an expanding and possibly infinite universe. Due to a lack of family planning going back to the flood, you now face life as one of six billion. The library system is the size of the Roman Empire. The lines at the supermarket show no signs of getting shorter. You feel small, you feel a modicum of control over events, you are absolutely certain life is not fair – and you live in the U.S.

There is real pain in this world, real suffering. If you were a fully telepathic being hovering about the planet, this suffering would rage in you like a fire in the brain. Much of that pain has no cure, no respite. It is a condition of a life in a place and it persists until the end.

The democratic system and the elevation of human rights to the level of constitutional law is intended to mitigate the realities of this world, and when embraced with sincerity and shorn of deceit, it helps. But for individuals in their own place, it is meaning that makes sentience tolerable. In a world of six billion, there is not enough meaning to go around.

Which brings us back to apocalypse. It is the ultimate expression of equality. In fire, in ice the world ends and all die together – rich and poor, black and white, beautiful and plain, smart and dumb, wise and unwise, female and male – a satisfying fantasy leveling of pain and joy into a singularity. Liberty has been made moot and there is justice for all.

That is political expression of the highest order. As the deadlines for this and that group’s endtime pass with no consequence, the skeptics feast on the obvious. They have no interest in political interpretation. They are in the business of being right.

Such interpretation, however, has significant lessons to teach.  At a time of information management, propaganda as art form, and of course, a global web of connected computers, apocalypse can be big medicine. You must beware its charm, its momentary respite.

It is so simple really. Why would someone struggle with the imperfections and inequities of this world when the end is so near?  To what purpose.  To accept the apocalyptic premise is to disempower oneself.  What better way for any center of control concerned about its cloaked station, then to leach into the stream of global discourse another endtime scenario. The Rapture, earth changes, meteor impact extinction, CME kill shots, pole flips – all have some substance as science. But as a means to quell new recruits into any activist scenario for change, it is sublimely Orwellian in its powers.

No finger is pointed here at any particular book or person or organization, only a cautionary reminder there is much greatness and meaning to be had in this life by anyone willing to seek a better world. The siren song of “the end” may soothe the embittered spirit for a time. It may be entertaining. But it also may be the drug slipped into your coffee to keep you still while the devil romps.

The Role of the President in the Politics of Disclosure – Part I: The Decline of the Executive

May 4, 2000
Stephen Bassett

One of the most important political trends in the second half of the 20th Century is the weakening of the American presidency – important because of its role in the intricate, constitutionally structured checks and balance system mentioned in the first column in this series. (See The Role of the People in the Politics of Disclosure.)

The principal targets of this counter force are the congress and the military. The judiciary is rarely in polarity with the executive largely because top judges are appointed by the president and each party knows they will get their turn. Abuse of influence would only result in retribution at a later time. It is worth noting here that the power and prestige of the Supreme Court has remained in tact during the decline of the executive office.

Congressional hyperventilation and malfeasance are restrained by the presidential veto forcing a two-thirds vote to override. This check is well known to the public. The check on the military rests in two principal areas.   First, the president was installed as the Commander in Chief atop the chain of command. Second, the president can bring power to bear quickly utilizing executive orders, nationalizing the guards, etc. These checks are less understood by the general public and often questioned. Nevertheless they are essential to the thwarting of a military coup or draconian act by a rogue officer, an event virtually unheard of in the United States yet commonplace elsewhere throughout the world.

As the presidency has declined in power, prestige and public esteem, its relationship to congress has been modestly affected. It is the balance between it and the military, and by extension the intelligence agencies, that has been warped to the threshold of danger. It is at this point the politics of UFOs/disclosure comes into play. But first, why the decline?

The temptation has always been to lay the weakening of the American executive off on the flaws in the character of certain modern presidents.   This misses the mark. The overwhelming influence has been the rise of a comprehensive, even ubiquitous, news media.   Intense coverage of any national leader to ever deeper levels of the personal breeds contempt. (This principle has worked in spectacular fashion as regards the British monarchy.)

Very large books have been written about this media effect. Let’s sum them all up – the President of United States lives with news media.   The White House is the home office of the first family. The entire west wing of that home office has been converted into a press facility. Hundreds of correspondents, photographers and video technicians come and go every day.   They operate, with benefit of tolerance and courtesy, in a beehive atmosphere in which dozens of tiny cubicles are crammed into little space, some of which once held the pool water. They are literally working in the deep end.

Want to get away? Out on the White House lawn are permanent camera platforms set up for correspondents to give commentary with the White House as background. Plans to move the media to new facilities outside the White House grounds with a secure, underground connection to the press offices have been floated. Not surprisingly, the press is reluctant to give up such extraordinary access.

To this author’s knowledge no other leader in any country anywhere in the world lives with the press operating permanently within the residence/office itself. In order to truly appreciate this setup, you have to be there – it’s quite amazing.

The great irony is that all of this access to the executive has reduced the power and influence of the office and made the access all that less valuable.   As the scrutiny grows, substantive press conferences become scarce. We seem to learn more and more about less and less.

Presidents have become just another character in a soap opera, stand up comedians delivering expected shtick at roasts, press dinners and talk show appearances. We want them to have the power to launch civilization-ending war but tell us their underwear preference on demand.

There is now a fundamental rule in American life that operates with increasing consistency – when any aspect of our society is not working to our satisfaction, we demand television and movies in which it does work to our satisfaction.   Crime on the rise and punishment/justice problematic? – TV and movie screens fill with police dramas with desirable outcomes.   The presidency is losing influence and respect? – movies and programs about the office pour forth.

When one part of the larger system loses power, another gains. This power didn’t go to the judiciary or legislature, it flowed to the military/intelligence complex . The mechanism of this transference – secrecy.

Open, accountable government became vaudeville in the case of the executive. While the presidents and vice presidents (and for that matter the candidates) were coming under ever increasing scrutiny, the military/intelligence complex slipped behind the secrecy curtain, dropped off the oversight radars, and merged into the background. It’s programs and agendas were not going to be picked apart by the press, its member’s private lives untouched, its actions unjudged, and its victims unknown.

If the military/intelligence complex does not give up this power, the executive branch must take it back. This will be difficult without substantial media and citizen support, and there are important governing limitations.

First and foremost, we do not have whistle-blowing presidents. Huh? Presidents do not leave office and blow the whistle on people, agencies and programs. If they did, they would be a legal activist gold mine.         Writing as a strong proponent of open government and secrecy reform, it is still not hard to endorse this practice.         If a president acted in such a fashion, the consequences would be grave. Access to information for future presidents would be substantially impacted – the office would lose even more power and become little but a figurehead.

Consequently, if presidents are faced with a major internal reform issue, they have to address it while they are in office. The UFO/ET cover-up fully qualifies as a major internal issue, but a sitting president takes that one on at extreme risk to short term political capital, future electability and to the party.

But, an issue of such magnitude is exactly the kind of measure that would pull power back from the military/intelligence complex to the executive. It may be the only lever big enough to do the job.

Which brings forward the obvious question, which of the two remaining candidates for President of the United States with legitimate prospects of winning, will be more or less likely to take on the UFO/ET cover-up, the decline of presidential power, and secrecy reform – Bush or Gore.

In-Q-It?  Screw it.

May 1, 2000
Stephen Bassett

Washington, DC – Complacency is a complex social condition. It is not easy to qualify, but you know it when you see it. For example, you know what constitutes complacency about your health. When you finally get that inevitable prostate cancer, it has already spread to the hair follicles on the top of your head and your doctor gives you 14 minutes to live. “Yes, son, that’s not much time, but try to make the most of it. Sign the bill.”

Complacency is subtle in its effect and a frequent component of sci-fi works, e.g., Zardoz and The Time Machine. Futurists have a sense of dread about this phenomena, believing an over stimulated, satiated human race is destined to fall into it with fatal consequences. They could be right.

Presently the American people are going through a protracted complacent period that has lasted a full generation, having begun around 1975.  There is deep suspicion that somehow disco is responsible for this.

If it were only that simple. The social theorists have attempted to carve the last 75 years into three distinct groupings. The Greatest Generation, as Tom Brocaw has come to call it, is birthed in the roaring twenties, weathers great hardship and goes on to defeat the Axis powers. Not wishing to stand on that accomplishment, in their middle age they wage the Cold War for twenty-five years and set the foundation for its successful outcome – just about the least complacent generation of humans the world has ever seen.

The third grouping is the Do-the-Dew Xer’s we have come to know and love, who have the natural complacency of youth, and appropriately so. Everyone deserves some time to just “be,” and their time is up.

But this column is about the Xers’ parents – wistfully called the “Baby Boomers.” Oh what a world-wide splash they have made. This author is one of them, part of a sub-set which might be titled the “nuclear children.”   The word went out to drop the atomic bomb in Japan.  Bomb drops, Japan surrenders, troops are gathered in transition zones, then mustered out, Dad sails home from Australia, travels by rail to the East Coast, meets up with Mom, and nine months later, voilà. No bomb, war takes a little longer, Dad gets back a little later, and some other squiggly rounds third for home. It is somewhat disconcerting to owe ones existence to a bomb (“I am Shiva, destroyer of worlds.”)

Tens of millions of soldiers came back from war and set off a population tidal wave like none before it.  This writer wasn’t just part it, he was riding the front of that wave, hanging ten over the nose, racing hell bent for the 21st Century, screaming like a banshee, drenched in fear, loathing and total confusion. If that sounds familiar, you were born between July 1946 and January 1947. Howdy brother.

The Vietnam War messed with our lives, the sexual revolution messed with our glands, the drug explosion messed with our minds and the economic boom messed with our values. Our minds closed, we got fat, we got rich, we got on the net, and oh yeah, we got complacent. Just why will be the subject of some very thick books you are never going to read, but will somehow have a great deal to do with the fact that along the way you lost the ability to distinguish the difference between real life and what you witnessed on a device born the same time as you – television.

There was a time when you had to be complacent for a couple hundred years for something really bad to happen. Now it takes a decade, tops. A virus turns up in Haiti among some young male tourists. Not to worry.  It’s a gay thing, it’s a third world thing, play it cool. Next thing you know half of southern Africa is infected and millions of Americans have three letters and a arithmetic symbol after their name.

Last year the Central Intelligence Agency announced it was creating a venture capital fund based in Silicon Valley in order to cash in on the high-tech start-up boom and get closer access to all that geeky talent they badly need. A simple concept, they would use your tax dollars to buy in on the ground floor. It would be called In-Q-It.

Articles appeared in the Washington Post, NY Times, Wall Street Journal. Brocaw, Rather and Jennings reported this splendid idea with bemused enthusiasm. Finally the government is wising up and going private. More bang for the buck.

The idea that the nation’s leading intelligence agency would be a founding stock player in the world of clipper chips, backdoor software portals, telcom interfacing and God knows what else created nary a blink of the eye.  Exactly who would oversee the disposition of future capital gains and the influence of the agency on the management of potentially critical new technology companies was not even of mild concern.

One can only imagine the consternation on the faces of NSA managers as they looked around and sorrowfully bleated, “Where’s our venture capital fund?”

George Orwell would understand this, of course, but he’s dead. You’re not.   Think of In-Q-It as a tumor you just found in your armpit.   It’s the size of a golf ball, and you might consider moseying on down to the old HMO and checking that puppy out. Or you could go on a six-month surfing vacation to Maui. How complacent do you feel?

Your neighbors are either working very, very hard to pay for the new Lexus or watching their internet stocks go up and down until their eyes dribble like ping pong balls. You, on the other hand, have been following the UFO/ET issue for years and are well acquainted with the whole need-to-know, if-I-tell-you-that-I’ll-have-to-kill-you, don’t-ask-don’t tell, military industrial complex thing. You trust no one.

Think about letting your friendly, innovating Central Intelligence Agency know you would prefer they kept to the spying business and left the venture capital business to the Gordon Geckos of this world – very greedy, ambitious men and women who don’t have their own surveillance satellite system. You might also tell the press to reconsider their thumbs up review of this new release.

It is just possible the CIA would come to understand, after taking the time to re-intuit In-Q-It, they blew it.

The Role of the People in the Politics of Disclosure

April 24, 2000
Stephen Bassett

Congress in sessionWashington, DC – Sitting in the press room behind the House Chamber listening to President Clinton, the thought emerges, “this is the 53rd State of the Union Address delivered in joint session to the members of Congress since July of 1947, and like all others before, it will have no reference whatsoever to the most important circumstance in human history – the presence of extraterrestrial life forms in our world.”

The politics of disclosure is a call to citizens to step forward and assert their will upon their government at a time when many would see little justification to do so. Such an initiative has no chance to succeed unless the public is absolutely clear as to why.

Our constitutional republic has flourished for many reasons, none more important than the system of checks and balances embedded in its founding documents.  Three branches of government – legislature, judiciary, executive – in constant dynamic tension, each preventing the other from undermining the nation’s fundamental values to the point of irreparable damage.

That system was later enhanced by the emergence of the often-criticized two-party structure. Should ever the party in control attempt to take the nation off the deep end, the other party, fully constituted and equal in power, is always there to yank the nation back from the brink.

As Paul Simon wrote, “…we’ve lived so well so long.” So well the nation finds itself at the beginning of the 21st century and 3rd millennium as the preeminent political, economic and military power in the world. But something is wrong, terribly wrong. In an almost subliminal manner, the American people demonstrate that perception in a number of ways. Two are notable.

The first is divided government.  There have been 27 congressional terms since January of 1947. Of the first eleven terms, seven had the same party controlling the Presidency, House and Senate – 64%. Since January 1969, the peak of the Vietnam War, there have been 16 congressional terms. Only three have had unified leadership – 19%.

The second is more disconcerting. During a 30 years ascendancy of American wealth and prestige, polls have shown that, oddly, trust in government has decreased dramatically since 1970 from around 80% to as low as 20% in the last decade.

Is the reason for these two manifestations of public perception serious? Yes, and the populist UFO/ET research effort has opened a window into the heart the problem.

The founders of our political system were aware of large commercial (corporate) entities. After all, the British East India Company had been a major component of colonial empire building, exercising enormous and excessive political influence. They understood the ability of armies to influence government and that the two were not averse to combining forces.

And while they would have certainly been in awe of the extraordinary size of modern multi-national corporations and militaries, they would have understood. But what they did not, could not foresee was the rise of the “Secret Empire” – the massive, pervasive, interconnecting intelligence wing of what President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower termed the “Military Industrial Complex.”

It consists of billions of “black budget” dollars, millions of classified documents, hundreds of thousands of classified personnel, thousands of covert programs and dozens of intelligence agencies.      The crown jewel at the center of the Secret Empire is the management of contact between our world and extraterrestrial life forms, perhaps helping to drive the growth of such secrecy.

The checks and balances developed over 224 years that have served well, were not designed to properly control the activities of such a complex. As a result, it has evolved a mindset that bred abuse of power and warped the relationships between other components of government.

This set of attitudes views the public as an irritant to be endured rather than sovereign citizens to be served, the Congress as an interfering group of bumblers to be circumvented, the President as a transient civilian to be kept in or out of the loop at their discretion, and the media as a propaganda tool to be manipulated with misinformation and coercion.

Over time this mindset metastasized from the defense intel groups to the civilian enforcement agencies such as the FBI, ATF and IRS. New abuses took place, past egregious acts were uncovered, and distrust continued to grow.

The American people now face a most difficult task. With an intensity not seen since the Vietnam War movement, they must demand accountability from their government. There will be no body bags coming home to bury, no television coverage of battle, no immediate threat to life plans of young adults. Life is good.   Income is up, unemployment down, inflation down, and the pursuit of happiness is in full swing.

The UFO/ET movement has generated information relating to the intentions and methodologies of this Secret Empire. The interested public, now numbering in the millions, must take that information to their fellow citizens, command the audience microphones at the political debates and make the case for secrecy reform and open government. In the process the world will learn of the extraordinary truth surrounding extraterrestrial phenomena.

There are certainly those who do not accept this analysis. They see no reason to challenge their government in such matters. To them, some modest advice. Go to your local video store and become very familiar with two movies – one from the decade when trust in government began its long decline and the other from the decade in which the Secret Empire saw it greatest growth – Seven Days in May and 1984.

*    Disclosure as used here has specific meaning, that being “formal acknowledge by the  government of  the United States of an extraterrestrial presence in our world, now.”

[First published in the April 2000 issue of UFO Magazine]