Aliens have been having a moment in recent years and even more so in the last couple of weeks with the USA blasting a variety of 'objects' out of the sky.
For decades the notion of unidentified flying objects - UFOs - and little green men running around Roswell remained comfortably confined to dope smoking hippies and various 'lunatic fringes'. But no longer. Serious people in the government are taking a serious look at the phenomenon.
Going back a bit, the Establishment's mindset began to change about 15 years ago when the then-Nevada politician Harry Reid, a powerful political figure who at times led the US Senate, began to take it seriously. So he started pumping money into the Pentagon to study the issue.
Along the way, perhaps because of the stigma attached, the government stopped calling sightings of unidentified objects UFOs and began referring to them as unidentified anomalous phenomenon (UAP). The release of three videos in 2020 by the US Navy heightened public attention. Then, in 2021, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a much-anticipated assessment of the government's files on UAP.
This report, alas, held an unsatisfying conclusion for those who want to believe. "The limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP," this report stated. In its nine pages, the report did not mention "aliens" a single time.
But the cat was out of the bag, and the government moved onward. Last October, the nation's buttoned-down space agency, NASA, was directed to analyze UAP. The idea being that scientists would approach the investigation more broadly, rather than being blinkered by a military mindset. The study will last for nine months and the team will report their findings to the public in mid-2023, says NASA.
All of this brings us to the recent spy balloon mania, during which US F-22 jets downed a Chinese balloon and, subsequently, three unidentified objects over Canada and the United States. Given the lack of government transparency about what, exactly, these latter three objects were, conspiracy theories have multiplied. Misinformation, after all, loves nothing more than a vacuum.
The extent of the howls of "It must be aliens" was underlined on Monday when White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre felt compelled to address the issue during a press briefing. "There is no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns," she said. "I wanted to be sure the American people knew that and it is important for us to say that from here."
So yeah, it's not aliens. Unless you believe the government is covering things up, of course.
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