This is the obelisk at Trinity, N.M., where the first atomic bomb turned sand into glass 78 years ago. UFOs have been shadowing aircraft, military and civilian, ever since. But suddenly now they’re an air safety issue?
Never thought I’d see the defense establishment losing control of the narrative quite like this; then again, short of Klaatu and Gort landing on the Washington Mall, I never saw them losing control of the UFO narrative ever. Because, well, they just never had.
And another incident today? Over Canada this time? Holy shit.
Let’s see if I’ve got this sequence right:
On Monday, a day after one of our F-22s blows a massive Chinese surveillance balloon out of the sky off South Carolina, Gen. Glen VanHerck of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command convenes a presser to say hey, folks, let’s not get all hyped up over a little “domain awareness gap,” because c’mon, China used balloons to spy on us at least three times when Trump was in office a million years ago. Trump-era Defense Secretary Mark Esper and ex-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe get pissed because they’re just now learning about it. But the reason they’re just now learning about it is because the balloons weren’t identified as balloons in “real time” back then — they were ambiguous enough to toss into the UAP/UFO bucket. But the reason we’ve retroactively identified them as balloons is because of "additional” but unspecified “means of collection” developed because of UAPTF, AOIMSG, AARO or whatever the hell we’re calling our federal UFO research program these days.
Have I got it right so far?
And then, by using these new systems, the spook world first detects the Chicom spy contraption over the Aleutians on January 28. The behemoth re-enters American airspace three days later, but the Pentagon doesn’t say beans about it because what’s the point? They know we know but it looks better if we pretend we don’t know. It works both ways. But then everything goes to shit on February 1, when civilian eyewitnesses in Montana start posting “UFO” videos and big media starts sniffing around. By February 2, the Air Force announces the jig is up and they’re on it. And the verdict is China.
Grayish and cylindrical
As the Chinese airship follows the jetstream through South Dakota, Kansas and Missouri, outraged mostly Red State lawmakers want the thing shot down right this instant or we’ll look like Denmark during the Blitzkrieg. So last Sunday afternoon, the USAF waits ‘til the spy balloon clears land and the humans below before taking it out with a missile. Then a bunch of very serious people start asking very serious questions about this domain awareness gap, especially since we’ve got an All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office which, unless I missed it, remains unfunded.
So, while recovery teams are still literally trying to figure out exactly what they destroyed off South Carolina – kerbloom! – White House National Security spokesman John Kirby announces on Friday the shootdown of an “unknown object” over northern Alaska.
The target is described as unmanned and the size of a car. It is described as significantly smaller than the 200-foot tall Chinese balloon’s rigging, which included a platform array the size of three buses. The thing was doing something like 40 mph, and may or may not have been moving with the wind. Other sparse details include “grayish” and “cylindrical.” It was said to have shattered into pieces upon impact with sea ice. No nation or entity has stepped up to complain about the loss.
Although evidence of the Chinese balloon’s eavesdropping gear was the stated reason for pulling the trigger on it, no such concerns have been raised publicly over the Alaska mystery. Unlike the balloon, which cruised along at 60,000 feet, the Alaska mystery “posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight” as it maintained altitude at 40,000 feet, according to Pentagon Press Secretary USAF Gen. Pat Ryder.
Whether or not a reasonable threat to civilian flight safety accounted for what happened over the Yukon territory Saturday afternoon isn’t yet clear. But Uncle Sam unholstered another F-22 Raptor today and shot down another “high-altitude airborne object.” This time, the hit was authorized by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Few details to consider at this point. Probably not a balloon. Cylindrical, like yesterday. But not much else coming out.
This is getting weird, man.
Show us the vids
UFOs intruding into commercial air lanes has been part of the phenomenon’s DNA for more than three quarters of a century, at least since the Air Force started trying to collar the suspects during the Truman admin. But what happened Friday – and again today, maybe – raises so many questions it’s hard to even know where to begin. Because here’s a stone-cold fact: No U.S. military asset has officially ever fired upon a true unknown to secure the integrity of civilian airspace before. At least, none that we know of. And by informal definition, UFO pertains to the “five observables” standards (instantaneous acceleration, transmedium capability, etc.), not blurry blips in the night sky.
It's hard to count all the tragic policy blunders we’ve made to appease Washington’s macho flank – Vietnam, Iraq, Mogadishu, whatever – and you damn sure don’t want the military to look proactive as a result of tribal political pressure. But what our jet fighters have taken out over the past week almost certainly don’t fall into the “five observables” category. The only way to imagine that outcome is by also imagining a UAP intentionally sacrificing itself to a mediocre species. Still, after decades of official indifference, the military is now sending F-22s and live ammo to confront whatever’s up there, in the name of air-traffic safety.
What we need right now are cool heads, wisdom and trust. Military intelligence has a chance to lead the way on the last point by releasing the shootdown videos. All of them. And while you’re at it, folks, release the other UFO videos you’ve been showing in closed-door sessions to gag-order audiences. Lest anyone forget: You serve us.
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Going by the transcript of Kirby’s White House conference, he didn’t volunteer the Alaska shoot-down revelation. It was only after he was asked by an unnamed journalist about “rumours” that he divulged the information. Thereafter, the Q&A was excitedly devoted to the topic, and in incident after incident, albeit in the usual curated manner, the Pentagon have been gushingly forthcoming ever since.
Was it the independent resourcefulness of said journalist that prompted them to ask? Or were they fed the question by an insider in order to get Kirby to release the hounds?
As always great reporting, hope you’re in shape cuz I think we are just getting started on the exciting part of this trip