Tuesday 6 June 2023

UFO Disinformation as Social Control

UFOs are real and the aliens are here. No, not the History Channel this time but a respected ex-Pentagon official, David Grusch. Coming off the flap of official interest in Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, as the US government and NASA calls it (and following the latter's first formal (public) meeting on the topic), the UFO-curious public were primed for an announcement of this sort.

In his TV interview, Grusch says there's a top secret military programme existing alongside (and pre-dating) official investigations into UFO sightings. This effort is concerned with the recovery of downed alien craft, the retrieval of bodies, and the reverse-engineering of advanced non-human technologies. The US is in competition with other countries who do the same for vaguely defined defence purposes. So far, so X-Files. Why should his tale be given credence when so many others have been dismissed? Grusch has worked for the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, both of whom specialise in the production of aerial and satellite intelligence for the military establishment. He represented both agencies on the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (now the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office), playing a leading analytical role for the NGA. In this capacity he furnished Congress with testimony, briefed witnesses, provided and hundreds of hours worth of interviews and documents.

Grusch, however, does not have first-hand experience dealing with alien technologies and alien bodies. By his admission everything he knows about concealed evidence comes from a variety of unnamed officials who spoke to him about their activities. In his interview he says people approached and confided in him about the numerous landed and crashed craft in US custody. Some leaked him documents and other proof that are yet to find their way yet into the public domain. That proof, Grusch says, cannot be shared for "national security reasons" but does not, interestingly, include photographs. He goes on to say there has been a "sophisticated disinformation campaign targeting the US populace, which is extremely unethical and immoral." And the has been concerned with covering up what the government knows and has. Grusch has peers vouching for his credibility, such as a retired army colonel who was also on the task force, a serving agent who goes by the spook name of "Johnathan Grey", and his representative in this whistleblowing complaint is Charles McCullough III, a former Inspector General of the Intelligence Community. The current office holder is getting petitioned by Grusch over the non-disclosure of alleged alien artefacts to Congress. And his reporter for The Debrief, the (apparently) respected mainstream journalist Leslie Kean, has said his testimony is backed up by the chatter she hears all the time from loose-lipped intelligence officers.

What to make of these "revelations"? Despite there being other similar complaints about the Pentagon and alien tech, everyone would do well to treat these claims with a pinch of salt. What Grusch says that is definitely true is how agencies of the US government undertake disinformation campaigns. We saw rather crude efforts in play in the lead up to the Iraq War. Readers who've been around the block might recall the Gulf of Tonkin incident. This is not to mention how disinformation was allied to subversion as the CIA undermined national liberation movements, communist parties, and Moscow-friendly entities during the Cold War overseas. Intelligence agents and agencies, as well as the FBI, have a similarly inglorious record of quelling domestic opposition movements. Except now we live in a time when disinformation has almost taken on a life of its own as conspiranoia and fake news, pumped out endlessly by centrist and right wing media outlets both sides of the Atlantic, have acquired mass followings.

More likely than Area 51 having grey little corpses on ice is the whole panoply of UAPs and associated whistleblowers being a disinformation campaign of its own. Is Grusch lying? Without Derren Brown's uncanny ability to read falsehood from the twitches of facial muscles, scrutinising Grusch's video tapes don't yield much. But it's entirely possible he believes his testimony is genuine and true. The US defence establishment is highly compartmentalised and operates in silos. Seniority in one area counts for nothing in another, so that he may have been fed bits and pieces from senior, respected personnel over the years is plausible. They might be motivated by a cabbalistic contempt for UFO weirdos, or capturing the dark glamour of the Cigarette Smoking Man, or having a laugh, or pretending to be privy to super secret secrets, or relating misheard rumour other officials have told them, or running interference on the state of secret US military tech. In the labyrinth of agencies that comprise the American security state, it is quite possible no one really knows what's going on - a reality some might find more terrifying than any grand conspiracy theory.

Whatever the causes of UFO disinformation, a conscious campaign cooked up and propagated by intelligence elites or the consequence of a rumour mill, it has definite social consequences beyond stoking audiences for alien-related entertainment and speculation. Chief among them is reinforcing atomisation and paranoia. UFOs and conspiracy theorising have long tapped into a generalised American distrust of government, and that went into overdrive with the Covid crisis, the mass take up of QAnon, and the confusion surrounding Donald Trump's aborted coup. This alienation from state institutions, in the absence of any kind of positive political alternative, can and often does become corrosive of social relationships, social solidarities, and basic community mindedness. Believing the US government is either in league with Extra-Terrestrials or is powerful enough to affect an almost complete cover up of evidence pointing to their existence is discursive shock and awe for those who accept it. Not only does it underline one's pitiful irrelevance against the American leviathan, at best this state of affairs is fatally accepted. It can never be defeated or forced to give up its secrets. Or, at worst, it engineers social antipathy. Joining with others is probably a hopeless enterprise, but they too might be agents of the state working to shut you up about aliens. Trust no one. In other words, by accident and design and irrespective of the truth behind the UFO phenomena, in its consequences on the body politic it has become another, albeit relatively exotic means of social control.


Anonymous said...

Would highly recommend Mark Pilkington's Mirage Men on this subject. A really great read and plenty to think on afterwards

Ken said...

I second that recommendation!

Phil said...

High praise from someone who penned a novel on a not dissimilar theme!