Monday, June 17, 2019

 

What did President Trump say about UFOs, really?


ABC has released the full transcript of what President Trump said about UFOs in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, which aired during  a special edition of 20/20, titled: "President Trump - 30 Hours," on Sunday, June 16, 2019.

It was at an interesting time during the long, wide-ranging interview. Stephanopoulos didn't go easy on his subject, disagreeing with him, prodding him, and not simply giving him platitudes, At one point, they bickered about polling numbers, and they touched on the possibility of a "conspiracy" about polls and a "suppression" 'of the truth about Trump's popularity. He noted that the culprits were "bad people" who espoused "fake news."

And this is where the subject of UFOs was brought up.


STEPHANOPOULOS: You and I, we know we disagree about that, but we have a whole day ahead to go on this. Before we go, one of the things you have as president is access to all the information all the mysteries out there I was just struck in the last couple weeks, we’re reading more and more reports of navy pilots seeing lots and lots of UFOs. Have you been briefed on that?
TRUMP: Yeah, I have-- I have.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you make of it?
TRUMP: I think it’s probably, uh, I want them to think whatever they think, they do say, I mean, I’ve seen and I’ve read and I’ve heard, and I did have one very brief meeting on it. But people are saying they’re seeing UFO’s, do I believe it? Not particularly.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think you’d know if there were evidence of extraterrestrials?
TRUMP: Well, I think my great pilots-- our great pilots would know. And some of them really see things that are a little bit different than in the past, so we’re going to see, but we’ll watch it. You’ll be the first to know.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. President, thank you. Have a good day.
Of course, UFO buffs have pointed to this exchange as proof that Trump is part of the conspiracy to hide the Truth about UFOs, and that this is somehow proof of Disclosure.

If you look at what he actually said, however, and put it into context with an understanding of the way he speaks about other things, and where he gets his information, this brief interview segment tells us very, very little.

He admitted: "I've seen and I've read and I've heard...", which simply means he watched the news segments about UFOs on Fox News, which is where pany pundits believe he gets much of his information. So he likely just repeated what pop ufology has claimed about the Navy pilots' UFO sightings.

Did he have a "very brief meeting on it"? 

Unlikely, as we understand what a "meeting" could look like in this case. He very probably just exchanged a few words with someone who had been watching the Fox TV News segment.

The rest of Trump's comments on UFOs are as difficult to decipher as anything else covered in the interview.

One UFO buff excited told me in a message; "But a sitting American President admitted he was briefed on UFOs!"

So did Obama, and the subject of UFOs was raised with him several times while in office,

Is this exchange "something?"

No, sorry.





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Wednesday, June 05, 2019

 

A few more media stories about UFOs


Despite the hoopla about mainstream media taking a sudden interest in UFOs, the reality is that there have been many stories in the media during the past several decades regarding UFOs. A simple Google search will turn up many of them.

What is a bit different this year is that there is essentially an advertising campaign in the works to promote Tom DeLonge's TV shows, documentary films and books about aliens and UFOs. And it's working.

Apart from all that, here are some media hits you might have missed:

UFOs at LAC: The Falcon Lake Incident Almost 1,000 Canadians Reported Seeing UFOs Last Year The Current for May 29, 2019 UFO sightings by U.S. Navy should be taken seriously — but not too seriously, says astronomer Carrier Group In Recent UFO Encounters Had New AirDefense Tech Like Nimitz In 2004 Incident The Pentagon’s UFOs: How a Multimedia Entertainment Company created a UFO news story
New History Channel series explores UFO sightings by Navy pilots




And how could I go on without noting a tabloid news story from 1974, in which an American politician made news by stating that UFOs were real and that military pilots had come forward with their reports. Very similar to what we're hearing today, and only 45 years ago.


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Thursday, May 30, 2019

 

Recent UFO reports in 2019


While everyone is all agog over the media interest in five-year-old UFO sightings by US Navy pilots (but not actual reports, only witness testimony), UFO sightings continue to trickle in to reporting agencies.

The start of the week actually began with a flurry, as Elon Musk's Starlink set of 60 satellites was launched by SpaceX, resulting in many good observations of the long line of starlike lights stretched across the sky.

This meant of course that witnesses reporting these IFOs were not making details up nor were fabricating wild stories. The UFOs were seen and identified as IFOs. This adds weight to the view that people reporting UFOs are seeing real objects.

During the course of the week, UFOs were reported at a regular rate. No "Golden Age" of UFOs, nor a "new reality" where governments have declared aliens are in fact visiting Earth.

Just the usual reports of lights in the sky for the most part, and most have possible explanations.

Recent UFO Sightings Reported to Ufology Research

May 7, 2019   10:45 pm      Telkwa, BC
Bright light appeared in sky, vanished after 2 secs.

May 21, 2019                        South Indian Lake, MB
Starlike light suddenly flared and “took off”

May 21, 2019  10:45 pm     Sudbury, ON
Obj. like “horizontal oval” appeared then flew off quickly after 2 secs.

May 24, 2019   11:45 pm    Ladysmith, BC
100 lights in a row flying in straight line SE

May 24, 2019    11:25 pm               Cap-des-Rosiers, Gaspe, PQ
40-50 lights in line stretching across sky

May 24, 2019    11:39 pm   Williams Lake, BC
Three dozen starlike lights like satellites going W-E in straight line

May 25, 2019    12:30 am   Shag Harbour, NS
20 lights in a line travelling to the north

May 25, 2019    12:43 am   Allan, SK
Line of stars across sky

May 25, 2019                        Pleasant Lake, NS
Bright light in sky moving around unlike star, “10 minutes before Starlink launched”

May 27, 2019                        Pelican Rapids, MB
At sunset, a bright light was seen to be joined by another before both flew E


May 27, 2019    1:30 am      Barrie, ON
Large triangular obj. with 4 white lights moved across sky for 2 mins.

May 27, 2019                        Minnedosa, MB

String of lights seen in sky


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Media furore and UFOs


While there are certainly some fascinating details emerging slowly about the USN UFO reports by pilots, there's also a lot of hyperbole. I'd like to suggest some caution and tempering of the message.


First, we're not suddenly in a "new era" of mainstream media acceptance of UFOs. Mainstream media have been doing stories about UFOs all along. (And this one too.) 
Studies of media and UFOs show that coverage waxes and wanes, driven by a number of factors. One factor is definitely internal media effects, and the fact that the new TV show Unidentified premieres this week is absolutely connected with the NYT story.
And this is not Disclosure, or even disclosure. Powers that be are not controlling the release of UFO info now any more than they have 50 years ago. We are learning about UFO cases at a steady rate. As media pick up on news tips, stories are generated. If anything, this is possibly another media effect (see above).
As for official government interest in UFOs, the recent focus on the USN neglects the fact that there have been many official UFO projects over the years. Grudge, Sign, Blue Book, Second Storey, and Magnet, to name a few. And even after Blue Book closed in 1969, we have info on many military cases that have been documented in the later years (including USN reports), so it's not surprising that investigations kept going until today.
While the USN pilots' reports are fascinating, there are some hard questions that they raise. Why just Navy pilots? Where are the reports from USAF pilots who also patrol the seaboards? And media constantly report (in the mainstream) about Russian incursions into US airspace, which are acted upon immediately. Why would UFOs be allowed to hover near military exercises for weeks without any concern or media attention?
And despite visual and radar observations of UFOs by pilots and other personnel in the case of the Nimitz case, assumptions about UFO capabilities based on observations just don't cut it.
Call me a Doubting Thomas. A fascinated one, but a cautious one nevertheless.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

 

In Remembrance: Stanton Friedman, 1934-2019


It is with deep sadness that I post about the passing of Stan Friedman. A few people have confirmed that Stan passed away while in Toronto on May 13, 2019.

I first met Stan when he visited Winnipeg in about 1976, during the Charlie Redstar UFO furore. He gave a lecture about UFOs at the University of Manitoba and received a standing ovation. After his talk, we met and exchanged info. Ever since then, we had kept in touch and got together or at least spoke on the phone every year.


Stan stayed with me sometimes when he came to Winnipeg, choosing to sleep on my couch rather than in a nondescript motel room, but mostly to save money.

He was a mentor, a rebel, a challenger, and most of all, a friend.

He had a remarkable career in physics, although he never received his doctorate. In his own words:
I worked my way through five years of college as a busboy in the Catskill Mountains and then as a Union waiter at Windermere East Hotel on the South side of Chicago within walking distance of the University of Chicago. I was anxious to join the real world which I had done in industry where a PhD was not required. First, the General Electric Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Department, near Cincinnati, then Aerojet General Nucleonics near San Francisco on compact nuclear reactors and fusion for space applications, then General Motors Allison Division in Indianapolis on portable nuclear reactors for space systems and the Westinghouse Astronuclear Labs on fission rocket reactors for space applications. I must have set a record for working on cancelled programs.

A very young Stan Friedman visiting Rutgers in 1950.

But of course, he is best known as the "Flying Saucer Physicist."
As a scientist. I have always felt that one wasn’t entitled to a scientific opinion if one hasn’t read the relevant literature. Often over the years In my “Flying Saucers ARE Real” lectures, I discussed five large scale scientific studies and then asked my audiences how many had read each of them. Typically fewer than  two per cent had read any. Included were the biggest study ever done for the US Air Force, Project Blue Book Special Report 14, The Congressional Hearings on July 29,1968 (with statements from 12 scientists including Allen Hynek, myself, and Carl Sagan), Allen’s book UFOs: A Scientific Inquiry, Edward Condon’s The Scientific Study of UFOs, and MacDonald's Congressional paper. 
I had the opportunity on several occasions to sit and talk with him about all things ufological. He agreed to let me record our conversations. Some of these were at UFO and paranormal conferences, where we sat in either his or my hotel room while Donna or someone else filmed us.

The following are links to our informal discussions:

Q&A with Stanton Friedman
At Paracon 2012, held October 12-14, 2012, at the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, Minnesota, one of the keynote speakers was Stanton Friedman, well-known proponent of trying to break through the UFO cover-up. I spent some time at Paracon talking with Stan about his research and why he believes that, as his movie is titled, "Flying Saucers Are Real!" He agreed to answer a few questions for putting up on my blog and on Youtube. 1. Why does he keep at it? 2. Is there anything left to find out about Roswell?

Oct. 2013: Stanton Friedman on Astronomers and UFOs
At Minnesota Paracon, I sat down with Stanton Friedman and asked him if there was any question he had never been asked, but wished someone had asked. He replied that no one ever asked him why astronomers are generally down about UFOs and ufology. He explained that astronomers are generally uninformed about ufology and can be arrogant in their dismissiveness. [NB: I'm an astronomer]

October 2013: How has ufology changed since 1967?

October 2013: I ask Stan about how ufology has affected his family and personal life

Stan at Minnesota Paracon in 2014
I caught up with Stanton Friedman at Minnesota Paracon 2014. He has some words of advice for UFO buffs.

Stanton Friedman thinking of retiring
At Minnesota Paracon 2014, I caught up with "the Grandfather of Ufology," Stanton Friedman. It's been only a month or two since his heart attack, and he's 80 years old, so I asked him how that's changed his approach to his UFO research. His answer: he's going to be retiring!

2016: Stanton Friedman on the Clinton/Podesta UFO emails
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvXzi68G6Uo&t=1s

Stan Friedman on the Aztec UFO Crash. From Minnesota Paracon 2016.

2016: Stan Friedman talks with me about some regrets he has about his many years of work in ufology. Surprisingly heartfelt and honest, this is all about passion for a subject he believes in.

I asked Stan Friedman about the failures and mistakes of ufology. Where have ufologists fallen short? Filmed at Minnesota Paracon 2016


Me and Stan in 2001 when I visited him in his home in Fredericton while filming an episode for the the documentary series Magnificent Obsessions. (Full episode here, my visit to Stan at his home starts at about 17:25)


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We were on stage together at the Telus World of Science Expo in Edmonton in 2007.


Donna Lobchuk helping Stan at his table at Telus in 2007.


I may have deliberately set up this photo with me between Stan and Kevin Randle (and Frank) at MUFON 2009 in Denver.


Stan in a typical pose behind his book table, at MUFON 2009.


Travis Walton, me, Donna, and Stan having dinner at Minnesota Paracon.


Stan, Raymond Szymanski and Kathleen Marden at World UFO Congress in 2016.


Donna with Stan at Minnesota Paracon in 2013.

In 2014, his daughter Melissa asked me to do a short video wishing him a happy 80th birthday. I got some friends to help me. Apparently, even Michael Shermer made one.

He will be missed.

Update: CBC reports that Stan died doing what he liked doing; he was returning from a speaking engagement in Columbus, Ohio, and passed suddenly in the Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

Update 2: Paul Kimball's film about Stan is viewable here.

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