In an attempt to make an end run around UFO denial, reporter Leslie Kean got the bright idea of compiling reports by the most authoritative witnesses to and investigators of sightings — the military and government officials. With the support of the Center for American Progress, UFOs: Generals, Pilot, and Government Officials Go on the Record (Three Rivers Press) was published in 2010. In the course of the book, Ms. Kean demonstrates how some governments — such as France and Beligum — encourage and actually investigate UFO sightings.

Then there’s the United States, which strictly observes what Ms. Kean calls the UFO taboo. As I wrote for Focal Points on October 24 in a post titled To the U.S. Government, UFOs Are a Threat to Its Sovereign Rule

The U.S. government neither encourages reporting, not exhibits any interest in investigating and providing credible answers to the public. (Of course, the military investigates for its own purposes.) It inflicts a particularly childish form of denial on the public despite the vast number of Americans who have witnessed three-dimensional objects that fly at thousands of miles and hours and pivot on a dime. As a result, voices of witnesses are silenced and pens of establishment journalists stilled for fear of marginalization at the least and stigmatization at the worst.

This policy continues unaltered to this day. It appears in its latest manifestation. On November 4, at Universe Today, Nancy Atkinson wrote:

The White House has responded to two petitions asking the US government to formally acknowledge that aliens have visited Earth and to disclose to any intentional withholding of government interactions with extraterrestrial beings. … 5,387 people had signed the petition for immediately disclosing the government’s knowledge of and communications with extraterrestrial beings, and 12,078 signed the request for a formal acknowledgement from the White House that extraterrestrials have been engaging the human race.

In fact, no doubt referring to Ms. Kean’s book, the second petition read: “Hundreds of military and government agency witnesses have come forward with testimony confirming this extraterrestrial presence.”

Ms. Atkins explained that, by way of response, Phil Larson from the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, was quoted at saying:

The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. … In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.

But he did throw them a couple of bones.

Larson. … pointed out that even though many scientists have come to the conclusion that the odds of life somewhere else in the Universe are fairly high, the chance that any of them are making contact with humans are extremely small, given the distances involved. [He also] mentioned SETI (correctly noting that this at first was a NASA effort, but is now funded privately) keeping an “ear” out for signals from any intelligent extraterrestrials, with none found so far. He also added that the Kepler spacecraft is searching for Earth-like planets in the habitable zones around other stars, and that the Curiosity rover will launch to Mars this month to “assess what the Martian environment was like in the past to see if it could have harbored life.”

Whereas, Ms. Atkinson observes that “it is gratifying to see the White House respond in such a no-nonsense manner,” to those who seek government intervention, it just constitutes a more media-savvy form of a brush-off. In fact, an update to Ms. Atkins’s post adds insult to injury:

The Paradigm Research Group, one of the organizations sponsoring the petitions, has issued a statement saying, “As expected it was written by a low level staffer from the Office of Science and Technology Policy – research assistant Phil Larson. The response was unacceptable.”

Why does the government exhibit no interest in investigating what Ms. Kean reminds us might constitute a national security threat? After all, UFOs have been known to toy with military and domestic jets. In response, pilots sometimes execute abrupt tactical maneuvers to avoid what they perceive might be a collision, thus endangering the lives of themselves and their passengers. Also, while records exist of military jets firing at UFOs, to no apparent effect and with no retaliation, that doesn’t mean we’ll never evoke a hostile response. To find out exactly what might make extraterrestrials angry, see my October 7 post on UFOs: The Extraterrestrial Atomic Energy Agency. To find out exactly why the U.S. government is in denial read this excerpt from my October 24 post (also quoted above).

One chapter of Kean’s book is devoted to the work of Alexander Wendt and Raymond Duvall, two brave social scientists who, in 2008, were, by Kean’s estimation, the first to treat an element of the UFO phenomenon in a scholarly journal. Appearing in Political Theory, Sovereignty and the UFO is the result of Wendt and Duvall’s attempts to discover why a government such as the United States won’t touch UFOs, at least for public consumption, with a ten-foot pole.

Excerpts from the chapter they wrote for Ms. Kean’s book:

The inability to see clearly and talk rationally about UFOs seems to be a symptom of authoritative anxiety [over a threat that] is threefold. On the most obvious level, acceptance of the possibility that … an unknown, very powerful “other” might actually exist, represents a potential physical threat. [The] possibility of colonization or even extermination [thus calls] into question the state’s ability to protect its citizens from such an invasion. Second, governments may also be reacting to the possibility that a confirmation of extraterrestrial presence would create tremendous pressure for a [oh, no, not that! — Ed.] world government, which today’s territorial states would be loath to form. … Anything that required subsuming [the difference between states] into a global sovereignty would threaten the fundamental structure of these states.

The final reason may be even more primal than the first two. (Emphasis added.)

Third, however, and in our view most important, the extraterrestrial possibility calls into question what we call the anthropocentric nature of modern sovereignty. By this we mean that, in the modern world, political organization everywhere is based on the assumption that only human beings have the ability and authority to govern and determine our collective fate. … Such anthropocentrism, or human-centeredness, is a modern assumption, one less common in prehistoric and ancient times, when Nature or the gods were considered more powerful than human beings and thought to rule.

Significantly, it is on this anthropocentric basis that modern states are able to command exceptional loyalty and resources from their subjects. [The] UFO phenomenon. … raises the possibility of something analogous to the materialization of God, as in the Christians’ “Second Coming.” To whom would people [then] give their loyalty?


… an authoritative taboo on the UFO is functionally necessary for rule to be sustained in its present form. … There is therefore nothing for the sovereign [state] to do but turn away its gaze — to ignore, and hence be ignorant of the UFO — and make no decision at all.

In other words, Wendt and Duvall write, the UFO taboo “is a functional imperative of modern, anthropocentric rule.”

Just as we suspected, UFOs may be a threat to the rule of man.

In short, the U.S. government doesn’t believe that UFOs pose a threat to the national security of the nation, just to itself.

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