The real Men in Black, Hollywood and the great UFO cover-up | Movie


HAmong the avalanche of documents leaked by Edward Snowden were images of a GCHQ Powerpoint presentation, titled The art of deception: Training for a new generation of online covert operations. Images include camouflaged moths, inflatable tanks, women in burqas and intricate diagrams covered in jargon, buzzwords and slogans: “Disruption Operational Playbook”, “Swap the real for the fake and vice versa. “People make decisions as members of groups” and, under a scheme of hands shuffling a deck of cards, “We want to build Cyber MagiciansOddly enough, in the middle of the document are three photographs of UFOs. Not real ones – classic counterfeits: one was a hubcap, another a bunch of balloons, and one that turned out to be a seagull.

Devout UFO scientists might take this as further evidence that our governments “know something” about aliens and their methods of transportation, but it actually suggests otherwise: the UFO community is a textbook case of a likely gullible group. to be manipulated. After spending too much time staring at the sky and The X-Files, it’s implied that they’ll easily swallow any “evidence” snippet that fits their grand theory.

If there really is a UFO conspiracy, it is surely the least well kept secret in history. Roswell, Area 51, flashing lights, little green men, kidnappings – it was all fueled by the pop culture mill to the point of fatigue. Even the so-called secret enforcers, the “men in black,” have their own film franchise. But a new documentary, Mirage Men, uncovers overwhelming evidence that UFO folklore was in fact fabricated by the U.S. government. Rather than cover up the existence of aliens, could it be that the real conspiracy has persuaded us to believe in them?

Richard Doty… deceived the UFO watchers.

Mirage Men’s main coup is to land a real man in black: a former Air Force special investigations officer named Richard Doty, who admits to infiltrating UFO circles. A fellow UFO researcher says, “Doty had this wonderful way of selling him – ‘I’m with the government. You cooperate with us and I’ll tell you what the government really knows UFOs, deep in those coffers. ‘”Doty and his colleagues fed gullible UFO scientists lies and half-truths, knowing that their fertile imaginations would do the rest. In return, they were made aware of the community’s chatter. , alerting the military when everyone else got close to their top-secret technology, and if the Soviets thought the United States was really communicating with aliens, so much the better.

The classic case, well known to conspiracy enthusiasts, is that of Paul Bennewitz, a successful electronics entrepreneur in New Mexico. In 1979, Bennewitz began seeing strange lights in the sky and picking up strange transmissions on his amateur gear. The fact that he lived directly across from Kirtland Air Force Base should have sounded the alarm, but Bennewitz was convinced that these phenomena were of extraterrestrial origin. Being a good patriot, he contacted the Air Force, who realized that, far from listening to ET, Bennewitz was inadvertently listening to them. Instead of having him arrested, however, Doty and other officers told Bennewitz that they were interested in his findings. This encouraged Bennewitz to dig deeper. Within years, he was interpreting alien languages, spotting crashed alien craft in the hills from his plane (he was an amateur pilot) and sounding the alarm for a full-scale invasion. The investigators kept watch over him all the time. They gave Bennewitz computer software that “interpreted” the signals and even threw in fake props for him to discover. Mania took hold of Bennewitz’s life. In 1988, his family placed him in a mental institution.

There are plenty of others like that. As Mirage Men discovers, the central tenets of the UFO belief system are revealed to have much more earthly origins. Mysterious cattle mutilations in 1970s New Mexico are found to have been the work of officials sneaking out radiation investigations in cattle after conducting a misguided underground “nuclear fracking” experiment. The military’s experimental silent helicopter test pilots admit to attaching flashing lights to their craft to deceive civilians. Doty himself comes across as a slippery character, to say the least. “There remains an absolute enigma”, explains Mark Pilkington, author of the book Mirage Men, basis of the documentary. He found Doty retired working as a traffic cop in a small town in New Mexico. “Some of what he said was true and I’m sure many were not, or were a version of the truth. I have no doubt that Rick was at the bottom of a ladder that went down. extends all the way to Washington. It’s unclear how well he was following orders and how well he was taking matters into his own hands. “

Doty almost admits to having played a role in allegedly leaked “classified” documents, such as the “Majestic 12” dossier – spreading the gun on a secret alien liaison committee founded by President Truman. But he denies any involvement in the “Project Serpo” papers – which claimed that 12 US servicemen had made a secret visit to an alien planet in the Zeta Reticuli system – to be taken as the source of the alleged hoax. The Serpo storyline, it has been noted, is reminiscent of the intrigue of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Does this suggest that the forgers lazily copied the film? Or that the movie is based on actual events and that Spielberg was in the plot?

Encounters of the third kind.
Encounters of the third kind. Photography: the Kobal collection

The place of films in the great UFO plot is a delicate area. Depending on which theory you subscribe to, Hollywood’s constant flow of sci-fi is either a deliberate exaggeration, designed to make the “truth” unbelievable (the “you’ve watched too many movies” defense), Where it is a way of psychologically preparing the population for astonishing extraterrestrial secrets which have not yet been revealed. There are at least grounds for suspicion in the latter camp. Pilkington points to the CIA’s Psychological Strategy Council, founded after WWII to promote American propaganda. Veteran film producer Darryl Zanuck was a partner on the board. In 1951, Zanuck produced a seminal science fiction about alien visitation, The Day the Earth Stood Still, often cited as a government-authorized test for alien contact. Like Zanuck, the film’s screenwriter Edmund North was a former military man, while director Robert Wise apparently became a fan of UFOs due to discussions he had with prominent Washington figures while filming the film.

Steven Spielberg is a less likely government puppet, though he’s been obsessed with aliens his entire career, from Close Encounters and ET to War of the Worlds and the latest Indiana Jones film (not to mention his role as producer in Falling Skies, Transformers and, uh, the men in black). If anyone leads the way for the big reveal it’s Spielberg, but, after 30 years of paving, we’re still waiting.

Mirage Men finds an even more extreme example in the form of industry veteran Robert Emenegger, who claims that in 1971 he was approached by the Pentagon to make a film revealing “what the government really knows.” The Pentagon’s big lure was that they would let it incorporate top secret footage of an alien craft landing at Holloman Air Force Base in the 1960s. As you might expect, the footage never materialized, but Emenegger – a character no less cryptic than Richard Doty – claims to have seen her and still believes alien contact has been made. He went ahead and made his documentary, titled UFO: past, present and future. Featured by Rod “Twilight Zone” Serling, it culminates in a rather anti-climatic “reconstruction” of the Holloman UFO landing.

In the cold light of the post-Cold War era, the evidence is starting to look rather fragile for UFOs. The number of UFO conventions and clubs is decreasing. The UK Department of Defense closed its UFO office in 2009 and, like many countries, declassified its UFO documents. If there was a smoking gun, you would imagine it would have been found in our current golden age of leaks and disclosures – but so far there has been only more smoke. On a Guardian webchat in 2010, regarding Wikileaks’ posting of US Embassy cables, Julian Assange claimed that “many weirdos send us emails about UFOs” but he couldn’t find anything concrete. There were references to UFOs in the cables, he noted, but mostly to do with UFOs cults rather than the UFOs themselves – in the same way that GCHQ’s Art Of Deception slideshow refers to UFO cults.

At the very least, the leaked GCHQ document tells us that the Mirage Men are still there, sowing deception and disinformation. Nowadays, they are more likely to target suspicious extremist religious groups, or hackers and online fraudsters. Meanwhile, recent allegations that “deciphered” messages hidden upside down on UFOs in Edward Snowden’s interview only shows how desperate the cause of the alien plot is.

There’s something else that Ufologists are a classic example of: cognitive dissonance – the mental distress of trying to maintain two conflicting worldviews simultaneously. The term was coined in the 1950s by psychologist Leon Festinger, who illustrated it with the example of a UFO cult shattered by the unrealized prophecy of an alien visit. Some stubborn devotees still refuse to accept the findings of Mirage Men, says Pilkington: “If beliefs are firmly held, nothing can influence them and anything that seems to undermine them will simply be absorbed and reused. So if you’re really, really dedicated, that’s just straw to throw you off the trail. ”Pilkington himself has been accused of working for MI5 or of being a government-controlled stooge, or even them. Aliens. “If I’m under intelligent control elsewhere, then I don’t know, and I’m a victim, and it would be against my programming that I can prove it,” he explains.

As always in the conspiracy theory hall of mirrors, it is possible to reverse the hypothesis: what if the lies and hoaxes revealed by Mirage Men were just a smokescreen for the authorities to To do know secrets about aliens? What better way to cover them up than by being “discovered” in their disinformation tactics? What better way to confuse skeptics than to broadcast the confessions of an ex-man in black like Richard Doty, in documentaries and articles in respectable new organizations – like this one. Maybe we’re no closer to whether the truth is really out there, but we can be sure the lies are.

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