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  • Luis Cayetano

Sludge Report #5

Updated: Apr 1

Some recent items in the world of ufology:

AARO released its Historical Record Report Volume 1 reviewing the US government's historical interactions with the UAP/UFO topic, going back to 1945 (the impetus for 1945 as the starting point harks back to the completely debunked Trinity story pushed by Jacques Vallee and Paola Harris in their book "Trinity: The Best Kept Secret").

An observation in the report was that UFO crash retrieval/reverse-engineering narratives are likely conflations of actual classified aerospace programs and the like:

In many cases, the interviewees named authentic USG classified programs well-known and understood to those appropriately accessed to them in the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch; however, the interviewees mistakenly associated these authentic USG programs with alien and extraterrestrial activity. [p.7]

AARO assesses that all of the named and described alleged hidden UAP reverse engineering programs provided by interviewees either do not exist; are misidentified authentic,

highly sensitive national security programs that are not related to extraterrestrial technology exploitation; or resolve to an unwarranted and disestablished program. [p.9]

AARO assesses that the inaccurate claim that the USG is reverse-engineering extraterrestrial technology and is hiding it from Congress is, in large part, the result of circular reporting from a group of individuals who believe this to be the case, despite the lack of any evidence. [p.9]

[my emphases]

This fits with a general point made by Jack Brewer and others about "classified gossip" (I've termed it the "periphery hypothesis", to convey how people on the fringes of a classified program who are not given full access to all its details may come to manufacture elaborate alien-themed narratives in their minds - themselves fed by popular science fiction or UFO pop-culture tropes - about the "true" nature of these programs, and that these stories then become part of a self-reinforcing loop when shared with others in the IC and defense establishment).

I'm pleased that the journalist and author Art Levine gave Jack and I's invocation of classified gossip/periphery hypothesis a hearty endorsement on Twitter/X:

The AARO report mentions a case in which an interviewee talked about overhearing the word "aliens" from a radio conversation between military personnel. AARO assessed that this was a misunderstanding by the interviewee:

“Aliens” Present During a DoD Technology Test: AARO reviewed information related to an account of an interviewee overhearing a conversation about a technology test at a military base where “aliens” allegedly were observing, and AARO judges that the interviewee misunderstood the conversation. [p.8]

...Another interviewee [the same one as mentioned above] claimed that in the 1990s he overhead electronic communication of a conversation between two military bases where scientists claimed “aliens” were present during specialized materials testing. [AARO case file 93] The interviewee also reported that on another occasion in the 1990s he observed an “unidentified flying object” at a U.S. military facility. The interviewee described the object as exhibiting a peculiar flight pattern. [p.29]

Since the case file doesn't seem to be available on AARO's website yet, I'm left to speculate but I wonder whether the case might involve a reference to the "materials application & repair specialists" (MARS) crews, who were nicknamed "Martians" and who worked on the sensitive skin and radar-absorbent coating of the F-117 stealth aircraft that flew out of Area 51 and Tonopah Test Range. Possibly, the interviewee simply didn't know the lingo/slang used by some of the personnel at these bases and when he/she heard the word "aliens", the assumption became that actual aliens were involved. Here is an article from The War Zone that mentions the "Martians".

If true, this would be a perfect example of covert gossip, not least because there is also a Bob Lazar tie-in: the hand-scanner mentioned in The War Zone article was alleged by Lazar to have been used at his fictional "S4 base" at Papoose Mountain. In reality, there was an "S4" facility at Tonopah Test Range, and Lazar had a friend at the time named Jim Tagliani, who worked as an electronic warfare technician. Tagliani probably furnished Lazar with some logistical and operational details about the base, which Lazar then assimilated into his fantasy.

(I should mention that my friend Steve Long though my idea about the F-117 Martians as the source for the "aliens" reference to be a stretch. Certainly, the use of "aliens" could be referring to something else, or was used as an adjective, but I personally don't see a possible link to the MARS technicians as a stretch at all, especially if it can be shown that the time and place aligned with the deployment of these teams at a facility that the interviewee was stationed at).

Also (but not mentioned in the AARO report): there was a 1994 case relating to illegal burning of stealth coatings at Area 51. The case and similar ones have been going through the courts for years. Such cases could also quite easily have added to the air of cover-up and illegality surrounding classified programs and thereby fed into or at least given credence to stories about rogue SAPs/crash-retrieval narratives (Incidentally, one of the workers at Area 51 who has filed a lawsuit, Fred Dunham, was in contact with Senator Harry Reid. Again, this is speculation, but I wonder whether Reid's involvement in the AAWSAP saga might have been partly tied with a desire for some sort of revenge against the federal government. Area 51 and other facilities in Nevada have been a major source of animosity between the state and the USG for decades. For some details on that historical tug of war, see Curtis Peeble's "Dark Eagles - A History of Top Secret US Aircraft").

I speculate that other items that might historically have fed into erroneous ET-themed beliefs that reverberated through sections of the IC and US defense establishment are a 1965 US Army study by Robert C. Suggs into preparing for future "extraterrestrial warfare" (that is, space and non-Earth-based warfare between America and its human enemies within the solar system) and a document from 1966 by cryptologist Lambros D. Callimahos, titled "Communications with Extraterrestrial Intelligence", that was included in an internal NSA journal as part of a code-breaking training exercise (Lue Elizondo himself got in on some of the action relating to this document when he helped fan - whether inadvertently or otherwise - the hype surrounding it. Many people have come to believe that this this document was proof of "first contact", when in fact it was nothing of the sort).

(I thank Vicente-Juan Ballester-Olmos for alerting me to the 1965 US Army study)

A vital question is of course whether AARO does indeed have the authority and wherewithal to get the answers it seeks, wherever they might reside. Its former director, Sean Kirkpatrick, and its current one, Tim Phillips, certainly seem to think so. The eminent researcher Douglas Dean Johnson asks this question and others in his review of the Joint Chief's UAP reporting requirements.

I found this item interesting from his article:

[2] While some have asserted that AARO lacks access to those secrets governed by Title 50 of the U.S. Code, relating to intelligence agencies and programs, that is not an accurate description of the state of the law. The misperception that AARO does not have access to Title 50 controlled-access projects is based in part on some muddled testimony by Sean Kirkpatrick before a subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 19, 2023. But by that time Congress had already specifically amended Title 50 to ensure that the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) would have authorities within both Title 50 and Title 10 realms. Kirkpatrick has characterized the law correctly in more recent utterances. From the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 117-263), as enacted December 23, 2022: [followed by reporting procedures for AARO]

4] During a March 6, 2024 briefing for a small number of selected journalists, a reporter asked AARO Acting Director Tim Phillips: "There are people who sincerely believe that the government has alien bodies, alien crafts, you know, that they have communicated with — with extraterrestrials. What can you tell them to try to bring some sort of resolution to this?" Phillips responded, "I can tell them that AARO, as designed by Congress, had unprecedented access to classified programs. Nobody blocked where we could go or the questions we asked. Nobody in the government influenced the findings in the report. As a career Intel officer, I am just amazed at the access we had to some of our nation's most sensitive programs. Nobody said no."

However, it appears that somebody initially did say "no," because later in the same briefing, Phillips said, "So I don't think there's ever been a government organization with the authorities and with the amount of funding that we receive from Congress. As the acting director, I work for the Deputy Director of Defense...trying to get information, we've actually had to solicit her personal assistance to open a door. I don't believe any previous government attempt to research UFOs, UAPs has ever had that type of top cover."

Still, this appears to have amounted to a speed bump in the grander scheme of things, since AARO appears genuinely to have been invested with real powers by Congress of such a kind that the Deputy Director of Defense was compelled to push open the door of someone who was perhaps initially being obstructive (certainly something worth keeping an eye on to see if more details are forthcoming. AARO, legally clothed in the authority to get the information, was in the end duly able to utilize the authority of the Deputy Director of Defense to access it, at least if we are to credit Phillips' account).

To my mind, this all speaks to the US executive branch and the DoD wanting to divest themselves of the UAP topic (at least in the sense of the alien connection prominent in the public's mind) and to "come clean", as it were, by complying with Congressional directives, while also acknowledging that UAP - in the strict, technical sense of something that can't immediately be explained - are relevant to national security due to increased incursions near US training exercises and military assets (and taking place against the geopolitical backdrop of Russian and Chinese belligerence and challenges to the US-favored world order), as spelled out here in the Introduction to the Joint Chief guidance:

The U.S. government has observed UAP in or near the territory and/or operating areas of the United States, of its allies, and of its adversaries, and observing, identifying, and potentially mitigating UAP has become a growing priority for US policymakers, lawmakers, and warfighters. The potentially ubiquitous presence of UAP defines the national security implications of those anomalies, which range from operational hazards and threats to technological and intelligence surprise to adversaries' strategic miscalculations. It is imperative that DoD provide UAP incident, incursion, and engagement... reporting, data, and material for the Department's detection and mitigation of potential threats; exploitation of advanced technologies; and informing policymaker and warfighter decisions.

"Exploitation of advanced technologies" might be an item to unpack right from the outset given its inherent potential to excite the imagination. Statements about such exploitation of tech will likely feed into the "alien reverse engineering" narrative, not least because AAWSAP itself was sold as being about projecting and preparing for future threats. Obviously, the Pentagon and defense sector have been reverse-engineering adversary technology for decades (e.g. a Soviet MiG-25 captured from a defector who famously landed his plane in Japan; the MiGs of Area 51 used in the development of the Navy's "Top Gun" school; analysis of captured Russian and Chinese radar systems at Area 51 and Tonopah Test Range; the whole realm of ELINT, or electronic intelligence, sis arguably a gigantic exercise in reverse-engineering. Many other examples abound in the history of American military technology, as well as that of Russia, China and every other advanced technological power. Hence, the proximity of the words "UAP" and "exploitation of advanced technologies" should in no way logically induce one to make a connection to reverse-engineering of alien starships. Once again, this could nevertheless play into something like classified gossip.

This paragraph by Douglas is also worth noting:

[5] I leave for another day the interesting hypothetical question about whether a President could effectively invoke his intrinsic constitutional authority to lawfully order a subordinate agency head to ignore the statutory requirements relating to AARO's access authorities, congressional notification requirements, and so forth. I have seen no substantiated evidence or testimony to support claims that any President has ever issued any directive to shield information about non-prosaic UFOs from congressional notification requirements, or created any highly secret "control body" to deal with the subject, or anything of that kind. There are, of course, any number of fabricated documents, and discredited or unsubstantiated claims, that speak of actions of this kind by one or another President.

In other news, I received a lovely letter of encouragement from a visitor to this website going by the name of "Sigma Bols". The subject header reads:

You are a fucking achizo, [schizo?] try killing yourself, [but what to do if my initial attempt is unsuccessful?] worthless worm, pathetic braindead rotten piece of garbage.

The message itself was, perhaps unsurprisingly for someone of Mr. Bols' intellectual caliber, shorter and more to the point than the subject header itself:

kill yourself, faggot.

Judging by temporal proximity, these helpful exertions by our friend may have been spurred by some recent and unpleasant interactions I had on Twitter/X with a certain Arthur Preston, a less than diligent thinker who subscribes to various conspiracy theories (including about the American "deep state"), who seems to believe that kidnapped Ukrainian children qualify as "dog shit" propagandists and "neo-cons", and who thinks that I've been spending too much time "believing MSNBC" (as though the totality of voices and observations by on-the-ground human rights organizations, aid groups, independent journalists, and countless Ukrainian civilians and victims all amount to nothing more than propaganda manufactured by an American news channel thirsty for war - neatly inverting Russia's responsibility for its own invasion of a sovereign country). But such is the situation in a post-truth environment where people like Arthur are free to believe the words of an American-hating Chekist dictator before he accepts masses of readily available evidence from multiple independent Western sources. Unsurprisingly, Arthur also proclaims his support for the paragons of scientific thought, Donald Trump and RFK Jr, on his Twitter/X profile. Not missing a beat, he recently promoted Billy Meier's American representative Michael Horn's lies and gushingly refers to Meier's fabrications as an "extraordinary case". Incidentally, Horn gives short shrift to Wendelle Steven's conviction for child molestation and peddles the theory that the Central Intelligence Agency framed Stevens for exposing the "truth" about extraterrestrial contact. A sample of two is much too small to draw any sound statistical inferences from, but my own observations on Elon Musks's increasingly grubby social media platform lead me to think that there is something profoundly unsurprising about a defender of a mass child kidnapper/war criminal getting cozy with a defender of a child molester. To top it off, Arthur, in typical arrested-development Muskian man-brat fashion, also can't seem to resist adding a dab of racism to the proceedings:

And no, I'm not saying that Arthur and Horn are united in some sort of Pan-Pedophile solidarity. I doubt that they are themselves pedophiles. I am saying that these sorts of ugly convergences - war crimes trivialization and the downplaying of pedophilia, both in the service of pushing pseudoscience - may be indicative of something disturbing on the increase: the normalization of violence and narcissism. Does the UFO belief precede the cowardly Putin apologia and racism, or is it the reverse? In other words, is the "reality" of ET-piloted UFOs primary in the minds of someone like Arthur (with the anti-American garbage as an afterthought, nevertheless present as part of a worldview that welcomes anything transgressive against "the establishment") or are they merely a wedge for sneaking in Putinist/post-modernist/anti-consensus reality/blood-and-soil narratives? We've seen UFOs being wielded as a psychological weapon in some quarters of the far-right (Tucker Carlson comes to mind), but far-right folks are likely still a relatively small contingent within the broader base of UFO believers, who span a wide political/cultural/identitarian/economic spectrum that is too diverse and eclectic to neatly categorize (that, at least. is for the good). Still, it's something to keep an eye on as we enter some pretty grim times, with continued attacks on liberal democracy, constitutional government, and science by unscrupulous thugs and liars.

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