The Robertson Panel: UFOs and Ridicule.

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posted on May, 23 2010 @ 11:37 AM
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“Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe that unknown flying objects are nonsense.”

Former CIA Director, Roscoe Hillenkoetter, public statement, 1960.



Interesting article about how the CIA sponsered Robertson Panel managed the 'public perception' of the UFO subject and concluded that it was 'in the best interest of the U.S. Government to suppress media coverage of UFO sightings'.

There's also some revealing comments about the use of ridicule and precision propaganda techniques so the subject would be portrayed in a negative light thereby making people reluctant to report their experiences.





Terry Hansen speaking about the Robertson Panel






Article from Hypernet

There are many reasons why your average professional scientist shuns away from studying UFO evidence or publicly admitting having an interest in the UFO subject. The primary reason is the implied threat to one's carreer, either directly via officialdom retributions or indirectly through the carefully cultivated public perception that the UFO subject is scientifically unrespectable. The latter was achieved by the psy-ops of the US Intelligence Establishment i.e. the officially sanctioned "debunking" and deception programme, euphemistically called "re-education of the public".

The anti-UFO propaganda has been waged upon the general populous since the 1950s, as outlined e.g. in declassified report of the Robertson Panel (commissioned by the CIA in Jan-1953). The panel was chaired by HP Robertson, physicist from California Institute of Technology. The other four members were Luis Alvarez, Nobel prize in physics; Lloyd Berkner, space scientist; Sam Goudsmit, nuclear physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Thornton Page, astronomer. It suggested launching a "public relations campaign", using psychologists, astronomers and assorted celebrities to significantly reduce public interest in UFOs. It was also recommended that the mass media be used for the "debunking", including influential media giants like Walt Disney Corporation. Obviously the panel was simply to lend respectability to the proposals; these top scientists complied with what CIA had asked of them for:


"H.P. Robertson told us in the first private (no outsiders) session that our job was to reduce public concern, and show that UFO reports could be explained by conventional reasoning."

Dr. Thornton Page describing what the Robertson Panel was tasked with.


Article


[edit on 02/10/08 by karl 12]




posted on May, 23 2010 @ 12:22 PM
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Hey, karl12 linked to my video as a reference. I'm flattered.

Anyway, here's a link to the 1966 CBS documentary that Terry Hanson refers to as having been influenced by the policy suggested by the Robertson Panel.

www.cbsnews.com...

It's a pretty interesting show overall, though you can definitely see what they're doing. If you have ever seen Seeing is Believing hosted by Peter Jennings, you will notice that it follows essentially the same tack: starts off with some pretty compelling material, then procedes to debunk for the remainder of the program, using authoritative sounding statements by seemingly impressive folks who probably sound completely convincing to anyone who has never looked into the subject in any depth for himself.

After I watched the Jennings show, I kind of wondered if it was influenced in a similar way. Seemed to follow a playbook nearly identical to that used in the Cronkite effort.



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 03:33 PM
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reply to post by Orkojoker
 


Hey bud -mighty fine job on producing those vids and I think you've got it spot on when it comes to the Peter Jenning's programme - although their coverage of the Minot AFB incident was pretty comprehensive you could certainly see the parallels with the Cronkite format.

There's a nice clip here with Dr Hynek voicing his concerns about lack of objectivity within the Robertson panel and I suspect, much like the Condon report, it was a complete and utter whitewash - Jim Marrs also raises some good points below.







The Robertson Panel, as it came to be known, was hampered by men of Page's mindset and thrown off by the highly selective presentation of UFO cases by the CIA, charged one of the attending Air Force officers. "We were double-crossed," commented a Blue Book member. "The CIA (didn't) want to prepare the public - they're trying to bury the subject. Those agents ran the whole show and the scientists followed their lead. They threw out the Utah [Newhouse] film - said the Navy analysts were incompetent. We had over a hundred of the strongest verified reports. The agents bypassed the best ones. The scientists saw just 15 cases and the CIA men tried to pick holes in them."

This assertion was supported by Blue Book astronomer J. Allen Hynek, who by that time was too convinced of the spaceship theory to be allowed anywhere near the Robertson panel. "The panel was not given access to many of the truly puzzling cases," he confirmed, adding, "The Robertson panel did get someplace: they made the subject of UFOs scientifically unrespectable, and for . . . years not enough attention was paid to the subject to acquire the kind of data needed to even decide the nature of the UFO phenomenon."

After just five days of study, the Robertson Panel concluded there was no indication that the UFO phenomenon constituted a direct threat to national security. No one knowledgeable with the panel's operation was surprised.


Link


Cheers.


[edit on 02/10/08 by karl 12]



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 08:23 PM
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I see two sides to this coin:

Side 1: show that UFO reports could be explained, even if they didn't know what the explanation was. Yes we were scammed with some force-fit explanations as part of a psy-ops program. I'm sure they didn't really know what it was in some cases but gave us explanations anyway.


Originally posted by karl 12

Article from Hypernet
"H.P. Robertson told us in the first private (no outsiders) session that our job was to reduce public concern, and show that UFO reports could be explained by conventional reasoning."


Dr. Thornton Page describing what the Robertson Panel was tasked with.


Side 2: Tell people there's no threat to national security. Maybe they just invented that to make people feel better without really being sure it's true. However, maybe just by luck, they appear to have been right in that assessment.


Originally posted by karl 12

After just five days of study, the Robertson Panel concluded there was no indication that the UFO phenomenon constituted a direct threat to national security. No one knowledgeable with the panel's operation was surprised.


Link


This suggests the Robertson panel wanted to diminish UFO reports.

But don't the CIA documents show sort of the opposite, that they wanted people to believe in UFOs so they could be a cover for the secret spy planes?


US hid spy plane projects behind UFO hysteria

Washington (AP) - As hysteria grew over alleged UFO sightings in the 1950s, the US Air Force concocted stories to hide the fact that its secret spy planes had been spotted, an intelligence study says.

The historian Gerald Haines writes that the air force, responding to purported UFO sightings during the Cold War years, frequently provided explanations that were untrue to deflect attention from the planes. "Over half UFO reports from the late 1950s through the 1960s were accounted for by manned reconnaissance flights (namely the U-2) over the US," Mr Haines wrote in the spring issue of Studies of Intelligence, an unclassified CIA journal. The article was found at the weekend on the Internet.

Concern about people finding out about the planes "led the air force to make misleading and deceptive statements to the public in order to allay public fears and to protect an extraordinarily sensitive national security project," Mr Haines wrote.

"While perhaps justified, this deception added fuel to the later conspiracy theories and the cover-up controversy" regarding the existence of UFOs, he added.

Mr Haines, a historian at the National Reconnaissance Office, based his article on a review of CIA documents from the late 1940s to 1990.

He described how the air force sought to deflect attention from development of its high-altitude experimental aircraft, the U-2 and SR-71.

Early U-2s were silver and reflected the sun's rays and often appeared as fiery objects to people below, Mr Haines said. They were later painted black. Air force investigators, "aware of the secret U-2 flights, tried to explain away such sightings by linking them to natural phenomena such as ice crystals and temperature inversions."

By 1956 the air force internally had clear explanations for 96 per cent of UFO sightings, Mr Haines wrote, referring to the experimental aircraft. "They were careful, however, not to reveal the true cause of the sighting to the public."


They also wanted the soviets to believe in UFOs so they would misidentify the US spy panes as UFOs if they saw them.

So on the one hand it seems they wanted us to see/report less UFOs, on the other hand it seems they wanted us to see UFOs so we would think the spy planes were UFOs, seems like the psy-ops programs were working us from both ends, no wonder we could get confused.

BTW I really liked that "UFOs: Friend, Foe or Fantasy?" show, I really don't have any issues with it even if it's a supposedly psy-ops work. You don't think Frank Mannor's dialog is scripted do you? Anyway from some of the old clips I've seen from folks like Adamski and others, some of the people reporting contact with people from Venus didn't need too much help from the government to look nutty. Or were they hired by the government to discredit UFO sightings? I think people like Adamski did more to discredit UFO sightings by credible people than the government could have. And we still have problems like that today.

I suspect they did know what some UFO sightings really were in some cases (like the spy planes) and just didn't want to say, but in other cases they were as baffled as the rest of us, and just didn't want to admit they didn't know what was seen in our airspace so they made up some force fit explanations. I think there's some evidence in some declassified documents to support this.



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 10:36 PM
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The claim about half of all UFO sightings during that period being due to spy planes is completely ridiculous. Is that supposed to be half of all reports, or half of all unknowns? Either way it is a completely nonsensical statement.

The number of total reports during those two decades numbers in the thousands. Most of those reports were, in fact, prompted by misidentifications of conventional objects and phenomena. But for half to be caused by sightings of the U-2 would pretty much imply that thousands of people were spotting it constantly all over the country. How many flights did this plane make?

If they are trying to say that half of all unknowns were actually the U-2, I would just have to point out that the very fact that a report remained unknown after investigation meant that either the appearance of the object, its behavior, or both did not match that of any aircraft. The U-2 was rather speedy and flew at a high altitude from what I understand, but it's shape and maneuverability were nothing if not airplane-like.

Terry Hanson discussed this very claim by the CIA in an interview I watched. Hanson had a chance to talk to one of the former heads of Project Bluebook from that era and asked him about this statement by the agency's historian. The former project chief reportedly laughed at the idea and told Hanson that the number of reports sparked by sightings of the U-2 was exactly zero. The CIA was obviously well aware of that fact, which raises the question: Why would they publish that claim in an official history?



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 10:46 PM
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And furthermore, why would they once again be touting this kind of nonsense as recently as 2009 - many years after that history was written. I started a thread on this topic after coming across a piece on the Fox News web site a few months ago:

www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 10:46 PM
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And furthermore, why would they once again be touting this kind of nonsense as recently as 2009 - many years after that history was written. I started a thread on this topic after coming across a piece on the Fox News web site a few months ago:

www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 06:46 AM
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Originally posted by Orkojoker
The claim about half of all UFO sightings during that period being due to spy planes is completely ridiculous. Is that supposed to be half of all reports, or half of all unknowns? Either way it is a completely nonsensical statement.


I agree, I was shocked by that 50% figure and dismissed it myself.

On the other hand, it does make sense that there would be advantages to the Soviets thinking a U-2 spy plane was a UFO and not a spy plane, so I find it difficult to dismiss all the claims in the report because of that one apparently exaggerated claim. I certainly don't believe 50%, but I would also find 0% difficult to believe. I suspect a decent number of UFO sightings were of skyhook balloons, though again I wouldn't think anywhere near 50%. But whatever the percentage, this is an interesting article:

The Cold War’s Classified Skyhook Program: A Participant’s Revelations


Classified high-altitude, long-duration flights of huge Skyhook balloons, which often returned their secret payloads to the surface, began in 1947 and continued for several decades. This secret Cold War program was the likely progenitor of many key aspects of UFO mythology.

Welcome to the arcane world of classified Skyhook programs and Cold War intrigue. In this review, I hope to reveal many of those once-classified programs, how they generated UFO mythology, and why that relationship has not been fully addressed.


And I have no reason to doubt that the UFO Mantell died chasing was a balloon:

www.paranormal-encyclopedia.com...


* The weather balloon project was secret—no one involved in the sighting knew about it.
* A number of Skyhook balloons had been launched the same day in Clinton County, Ohio, approximately 150 miles from Fort Knox.
* The UFO's appearance and behavior matched the weather balloons (made of reflective aluminum, about 100' in diameter).


Now if you change "spy planes" to "secret aircraft" which included skyhook balloons, I think the percentage where a select few people knew what they were would go up, though I still doubt it would reach 50%.



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 01:38 PM
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I need to youtube-post the interviews I did with Fred Durant and Thornton Page back in the early 1990s on their participation on the Robertson Panel. We had been space program colleagues and friends for decades and they spoke candidly. They both were amused by the decades-later ufological theories that the panel had nefariously unleashed some mass debunking campaign (nothing ever came of the suggested plan). The gummint's only concern in 1952 had been that UFO reports could be deliberately generated by an enemy to overload cross-country communications circuits, as they had been accidentally overloaded during the DC 'flap' -- and both military and civilian phone traffic had been knocked out for hours. Somebody planning a bomber attack might create such a situation on purpose to briefly mask the approach of their attack fleet. Of course, in the years that followed, the military got its own radar and comm lines and become non-overloadable by panicked civilians, so any suggestions before the panel were quickly OBE and forgotten -- except in the still-raving fantasies of UFO buffs. Sigh.



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 01:44 PM
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Originally posted by Orkojoker
If they are trying to say that half of all unknowns were actually the U-2, I would just have to point out that the very fact that a report remained unknown after investigation meant that either the appearance of the object, its behavior, or both did not match that of any aircraft. The U-2 was rather speedy and flew at a high altitude from what I understand, but it's shape and maneuverability were nothing if not airplane-like.


What you think you know does not closely align with what the U2 could loook like, specifically in the cases where some AF types correlated a number of the 'unknowns'. The main apparition involved a specular reflection of the setting sun off the plane's wing undersides, creating an extrmeely bright slow moving flare low in the western sky.

There were skyhook balloons all over the US in those years, too. I saw one myself in 1958, floating at 65,000 ft after sunset until it suddenly disappeared. I know its altitude because I called a friend in the next town and she took compass azimuth and made an elevation hack, and so did I. But without that unusual degree of 'cheating', the sighting would have remained a 'UFO' all the rest of my life.



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 02:01 PM
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Originally posted by JimOberg
I need to youtube-post the interviews I did with Fred Durant and Thornton Page back in the early 1990s on their participation on the Robertson Panel.


I'd like to see that. In the 1990s, did Thornton Page confirm or deny the below quote mentioned above, attributed to him?


Originally posted by karl 12

Article from Hypernet"H.P. Robertson told us in the first private (no outsiders) session that our job was to reduce public concern, and show that UFO reports could be explained by conventional reasoning."

Dr. Thornton Page describing what the Robertson Panel was tasked with.


Article


And when he and Carl Sagan appeared on "UFOs: Friend, Foe, or Fantasy" in 1966, they did come across as minimizing the potential alien nature of UFOs, though I had no indication they were stretching the truth to say that.

In fact Sagan even speculated in that interview that some UFOs might be alien for all he knows even if there's no evidence for that, which hardly sounds like an approved script for a government trying to convince us there's nothing to them.

But the interview reminds me how times have changed when Page lights up his pipe and the smoke gets in Sagan's face.



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 03:09 PM
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Thanks for the replies - although I think it was the USAF (not the CIA) which were involved in fabricating nonsensical UFO explanations like these I do agree that their 'spy plane' percentage claim sounds pretty ridiculous - especialy when one is dealing with the radar/visual sightings of the era and highly unusual flight characteristic reports - NICAP's Richard Hall makes a good point about them here:




"The summer 1952 UFO sighting wave was one of the largest of all time, and arguably the most significant of all time in terms of the credible reports and hardcore scientific data obtained. Electromagnetic (EM) effects and physical trace evidence were more prominent in other waves, but 1952 (and 1953) featured recurring radar detection of UFOs, often from both ground and airborne radar, visual sightings by jet interceptor pilots sent up to pursue the mysterious objects, and cat-and-mouse chases in which the UFOs seemed to toy with the interceptors. Further, Air Force investigators who plotted the sightings noticed that they were concentrated around strategic military bases, and this clearly posed a threat to national security since their origin was unknown".

Richard Hall

The 1952 Sighting Wave - Radar/Visual Sightings Establish UFOs As A Serious Mystery







US Navy Admiral S. Fahrney also makes an interesting statement below about U.S./Soviet aircraft capabilities:




"According to worthy information of faith, in our atmosphere objects arrive at high speed. No aircraft, neither in the United States, either in the Soviet Union is currently able to achieve the speed attributed to these objects from the radars and from the observatories. These objects appear to be driven by an intelligence the way in which they fly. According to reports from scientists and technical personnel, these objects fly in formation and finish manoeuvres that seem to point out that are not completely driven from an automatic equipment. These objects are in incontestable mode the result of long investigations and highly technological and exceptional knowledge

Admiral S. Fahrney,head missile testing of the American Navy

Link



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 03:11 PM
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I also found this government document quite interesting as it was sent to the Director of Central Intelligence (by the Assistant Director Scientific Intelligence) just one year before their inception of the Robertson panel:



Title: Unidentified Flying Objects

To: Director of Central Intelligence

Author: MaArshall H. Chadwell, Assistant Director Scientific Intelligence

Date: December 2, 1952






"At this time the reports of incidents convince us that there is something going on that must have immediate attention. The details of some of these incidents have been discussed by AD/SI (SI: Scientific Intelligence) with DDCI. Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and travelling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomenon or known types of aerial vehicles."

Link






Despite the fact that the panel did not address the truly puzzling UFO cases (sounds familiar) and took only five days to arrive at their conclusions, Paul Kimball makes some interesting comments below about their documents citing broad educational programmes of training and debunking:





posted on May, 24 2010 @ 04:01 PM
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Originally posted by Orkojoker
And furthermore, why would they once again be touting this kind of nonsense as recently as 2009 - many years after that history was written. I started a thread on this topic after coming across a piece on the Fox News web site a few months ago:

www.abovetopsecret.com...



Orkojoker, I'd forgotten all about that thread - it's strange how it didn't garner that much attention as it raises some very good points.


I also agree about the work of Terry Hansen - he's probably done more work than anyone when it comes to the corporate media's treatment of the UFO subject and he's a very knowledgeable chap.





Continued





There's also some extremely interesting reading here about the Robertson panel taken from Major Donald Keyhoe's UFO Archives. - the file contains information and observations from people like Dr J. Allen Hynek, Dr Michael D. Swords, Dr James E. Mcdonald etc.. and also deals with the panel's recommendations for 'monitoring private UFO groups' - as well as conditioning the masses.



Robertson panel conclusions:


The debunking aim would result in reduction of public interest in 'flying saucers' which today evokes a strong psychological reaction. This education could be accomplished by mass media such as television, motion pictures and popular articles"

"It was felt strongly that psychologists familiar with mass psychology should advise on the nature and extent of the program."


Archive - Vol. 2, No. 5 (pdf)


Cheers.



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 04:09 PM
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Originally posted by JimOberg

Originally posted by Orkojoker
If they are trying to say that half of all unknowns were actually the U-2, I would just have to point out that the very fact that a report remained unknown after investigation meant that either the appearance of the object, its behavior, or both did not match that of any aircraft. The U-2 was rather speedy and flew at a high altitude from what I understand, but it's shape and maneuverability were nothing if not airplane-like.


What you think you know does not closely align with what the U2 could loook like, specifically in the cases where some AF types correlated a number of the 'unknowns'. The main apparition involved a specular reflection of the setting sun off the plane's wing undersides, creating an extrmeely bright slow moving flare low in the western sky.

There were skyhook balloons all over the US in those years, too. I saw one myself in 1958, floating at 65,000 ft after sunset until it suddenly disappeared. I know its altitude because I called a friend in the next town and she took compass azimuth and made an elevation hack, and so did I. But without that unusual degree of 'cheating', the sighting would have remained a 'UFO' all the rest of my life.



I have no doubt that the U-2 could appear to be luminous and round or oblong from a distance with sunlight reflecting from it, just as most other conventional aircraft can. I've seen that effect several times with what I assume were commercial airliners. Distant reflective dots moving in a slow, straight line tend to be among the least compelling UFO reports, however, for the simple reason that distant aircraft reflecting the sun often exhibit just that appearance.



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 04:09 PM
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Originally posted by JimOberg

Originally posted by Orkojoker
If they are trying to say that half of all unknowns were actually the U-2, I would just have to point out that the very fact that a report remained unknown after investigation meant that either the appearance of the object, its behavior, or both did not match that of any aircraft. The U-2 was rather speedy and flew at a high altitude from what I understand, but it's shape and maneuverability were nothing if not airplane-like.


What you think you know does not closely align with what the U2 could loook like, specifically in the cases where some AF types correlated a number of the 'unknowns'. The main apparition involved a specular reflection of the setting sun off the plane's wing undersides, creating an extrmeely bright slow moving flare low in the western sky.

There were skyhook balloons all over the US in those years, too. I saw one myself in 1958, floating at 65,000 ft after sunset until it suddenly disappeared. I know its altitude because I called a friend in the next town and she took compass azimuth and made an elevation hack, and so did I. But without that unusual degree of 'cheating', the sighting would have remained a 'UFO' all the rest of my life.



I have no doubt that the U-2 could appear to be luminous and round or oblong from a distance with sunlight reflecting from it, just as most other conventional aircraft can. I've seen that effect several times with what I assume were commercial airliners. Distant reflective dots moving in a slow, straight line tend to be among the least compelling UFO reports, however, for the simple reason that distant aircraft reflecting the sun often exhibit just that appearance.



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 04:23 PM
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reply to post by karl 12
 


I have seen much ridicule on the subject by the media. Some anchors put on tin foil hats when discussing the subject of UFOs. It is no wonder many people choose to remain anonymous when discussing UFOs or any paranormal phenomena.



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 04:38 PM
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reply to post by JimOberg
 


And I certainly don't claim to think I know much about the U-2, only that when you ask a small child to draw an airplane, the result is usually very similar to the shape of the U-2, and that nothing mankind has come up with looks more like an airplane than the U-2. I also know very little about its flight performance characteristics, other than that its cruising altitude was something like 70,000 feet, at which altitude it's undeniably airplane-like silhouette would not really be quite as obvious. Was the U-2 very likely to perform many maneuvers more exotic than a straight line?

Either way, one has to wonder where that 50 percent figure came from. It would be scarcely less believable had the claim been that 99 percent of UFO reports were due to spy planes. And why the deliberate deception anyway?



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 04:38 PM
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Oops, double post. I don't claim to be able to use a computer properly either.

[edit on 24-5-2010 by Orkojoker]



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 04:42 PM
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Originally posted by kidflash2008
I have seen much ridicule on the subject by the media. Some anchors put on tin foil hats when discussing the subject of UFOs.



Kidflash, thanks for the reply - I've also seen the corporate media act like this (especialy in the U.K. and U.S.) and it's all very sad and predictable - they also always seem to roll their eyes, give a knowing smirk and cue the 'kooky' music.




Google Video Link



"A mesmerizing account of his investigation into whether some of America's most influential news organizations, many having maintained close ties to the U.S. intelligence community, have willingly suppressed full and accurate news coverage of extraterrestrial related phenomena for a variety of "national-security" reasons. Hansen reveals the remarkable and persistent difference in UFO-related news coverage exhibited by local and national news organizations and reviews the history of censorship and propaganda during the twentieth century and the evidence for media-government collusion over the course of the half-century-long UFO controversy.


News Media Complicity and UFOs





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