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Washington Post: UFO Witnesses Testify at National Press Club

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UFO Believers Sighted Here!

Joel Achenbach
May 10, 2001

A group of people who believe in UFOs held a news conference yesterday morning that established beyond the shadow of a doubt -- that reached levels of credibility so high as to constitute actual proof -- that there really do exist people who believe in UFOs.

This was the big day for the Disclosure Project, an attempt to incite the government to admit that unidentified flying objects are piloted by creatures from another world. The organizer, Steven Greer, a Charlottesville emergency room physician, announced that this was a moment of historic, indeed planetary, significance:

"This is the end of the childhood of the human race. It is time for us to become mature adults among the cosmic civilizations that are out there."

He arranged an impressive venue, the main ballroom of the National Press Club. Upward of a hundred people were there, along with more than a dozen TV cameras. At a long table up front sat 20 witnesses, most of them gray-haired men who'd served in the military.

As they took turns at the microphone, it quickly became apparent that this was a rather old-fashioned event -- a return to the fundamentals of ufology, the discussion of aerial anomalies. At one point a witness flashed two black-and-white photos of a saucer- shaped craft. The tales were set, for the most part, in the '40s, '50s and '60s; there was no talk of alien abductions, or an alien- human hybridization program, or the implantation of alien fetuses, or any of those extremely intimate Close Encounters that have dominated the UFO mythology in recent years.

These guys were from the hardware wing of the movement. They'd seen things in the sky they couldn't explain and that suggested, to their minds, extraterrestrial visitors. They'd seen objects. Lights. Radar blips moving at extraordinary speed. What they didn't see, in almost every case, were any actual aliens.

Only one witness, Clifford Stone, a retired Army sergeant, told of having directly seen aliens. He'd seen them both dead and alive at the scenes of crashed saucers. Asked if he could describe their appearance, he said, "I could, but it would probably take a whole lot of time." He did stipulate that there are 57 alien species, including three types of "grays." Many aliens are humanoid, and, indeed, are indistinguishable from members of our own species. Some can touch an object in a dark room and tell its color.

There were a few other unverified bombshells. One speaker claimed that George Bush the elder, when director of the Central Intelligence Agency, refused to give newly inaugurated President Carter the top- secret files on UFOs. Greer, meanwhile, assured the audience that the military has already developed spacecraft that can travel faster than the speed of light.

The Disclosure Project is part of a long -- and so far unsuccessful -- effort to incite congressional hearings on the UFO issue. Greer says he has conducted interviews with 400 people with intimate knowledge of the alien phenomenon and the government "coverup." Many, he claimed, are afraid to come forward without congressional immunity.

"We know lethal force has been used to keep this secret," he said.

There was nothing presented at the news conference that could be considered forensic evidence. Instead, the audience heard what is known as the Argument from Authority. The evidence on the table was essentially in the form of re{acute}sume{acute}s. The witnesses vouched for their credibility and said they'd like to tell their stories to Congress. Maybe that's not as impressive as someone coming forward with an actual alien tentacle, but you have to start somewhere.

If nothing else, this was an interesting glimpse of the corrosive side effects of government secrecy. The witnesses have been burdened by suspicion for decades. Some said they were told by superiors to stay silent about what they'd seen.

"Such things do exist. Please believe me," said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Charles L. Brown, who once analyzed UFO sightings and saw, just two years ago, "two inexplicable objects."

Graham Bethune, a retired Navy pilot, told of seeing a glow near Iceland that turned into a circle of lights with a dome. This was 1951. He's ready to testify under oath.

Robert Salas, a retired Air Force captain, said a "bright, glowing red object" hovered outside the gate of a nuclear weapons site in Montana in 1967. The weapons suddenly went into a "no go" condition. Did the aliens disable them?

The UFO narrative has innumerable subplots, some of which emerged yesterday. There are people who believe that the Bush administration wants to build a missile defense shield as part of its covert war with the aliens. There is a rumor that Big Oil wants to suppress knowledge of a secret, stunning energy source that can be harvested from the quantum soup all around us. If we know the truth about the aliens, our energy crisis will be solved. "It will cause such vast and profound changes on this planet that there is nothing to equal it in human history," Greer said.

Who's running this coverup? Greer said that's a complex matter. He said there are compartmentalized elements of a secret government operation in multiple intelligence and defense agencies and throughout corporate America.

The bad guys are everywhere.

We live in a world of lies.

(Are you sure the Apollo astronauts really went to the moon, and not just to a Hollywood back lot?)

Scientists who work on "exobiology" endure the stigma of being experts in a field with no known subject matter. They'd be thrilled beyond words to find a tiny fragment of alien life. They'd like to know if extraterrestrial life is carbon-based, if it uses oxygen in its metabolism, if it stores genetic information in the form of the DNA molecule. They'd like to know the evolutionary history of an alien biosphere, so they could compare it to the history of life on Earth. Now we hear that all the scientists need to do is start poking around in government freezers.

When the news conference was over, rational observers were faced with two scenarios:

Intelligent creatures have piloted spaceships across trillions of miles to visit our planet. They have the ability to elude detection by scientific investigators and mainstream news organizations, but have also been seen by thousands of people. Secret forces within our government have masterfully covered up the alien presence for half a century, although sometimes the coverup is imperfect, which is why, at Safeway, you can buy Chef Boy-ar-dee Flying Saucers & Aliens canned pasta. People like Steven Greer, the crusading emergency room physician, have seen through the lies and are going to help us enter the era of cosmic brotherhood.

Some people believe in things that aren't true.

Your call.

Rough Draft appears once in a blue moon at To get the story of the news conference directly from the organizers, go to For a scientific approach to the question of extraterrestrial intelligence, try

Note: For a two-page summary of riveting testimony from top government officials on the UFO cover-up with links for verification, click here.


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Washington Post: UFO Witnesses Testify at National Press Club