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January 12, 2007
Montgomery County Sentinel





Prince George's Sentinel






Jim Marrs, author of "Rule by Secrecy" and "Alien Agenda," points to evidence that, he claims, suggests the government knows more than it is telling about visitors from outer space.
Marrs Attacks Official 'Secrecy' on Aliens

At Gaithersburg Conference, JFK Conspiracy Author Alleges Feds Hide Facts on Extraterrestrials

But a Local Political Hopeful Gets the Main Spotlight

By Ira Weintraub

Special to the Sentinel

Hundreds of people from the United States and around the world converged on Gaithersburg last weekend for the first conference dedicated to the government's alleged suppression of data about UFOs and extraterrestrials.

The "X-Conference: the 1st Annual Exopolitics Expo" at the Gaithersburg Hilton was organized by activist and former political candidate Stephen Bassett, who finished a distant last in the 2002 election for Maryland's 8th Congressional District.

His goal for this convention was the same as for his 2002 campaign. He wants to "reform, revise and open up" the U.S. political system.

"This is not a UFO conference; it is not about lights in the sky," Bassett said. "It is about lies on the ground."

Bassett says there are "tens of thousands" who believe in a cover up. A 2002 poll conducted by the research consulting firm Roper ASW revealed "that 72 percent of Americans believe the government is not telling the public everything it knows about UFO activity, and 68 percent think the government knows more about extraterrestrial life than it is letting on."

Participants came to the meeting from Massachusetts, California, Montana, Florida, and many places in between. Others came from the United Kingdom, Switzerland and other foreign countries. In all, over 700 people participated in the convention, and they spent at least $40 per day to listen to dozens of speakers, including the renowned author Jim Marrs, author of "Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy," the book on which Oliver Stone's movie "JFK" was largely based.

Marrs has also published numerous books more directly relevant to the conference's central theme, including "Rule by Secrecy" and "Alien Agenda." He spent his Sunday lecture covering materialsome apparently based on factthat included not only the first supposed UFO sightings, of which the government was alleged to be aware, but also numerous other alleged government conspiracies regarding Communism, World War II, secret societies and the Bush family.

According to Marrs, while John F. Kennedy was still a congressman, he was informed about alien sightings at Roswell AFB in New Mexico. As president, Kennedy visited Area 51, a military base in Nevada, to gain further information about the Roswell incidents, but was told by local Air Force officials that nothing had happened, Marrs claimed.

Other speakers, all of whom are published authors, included Dr. William J. Birnes, a best-selling author; Paul Davids, the movie producer and writer (Showtime's "Roswell"); and Richard C. Hoagland, science advisor to Walter Cronkite and CBS News.

Only true believers seemed to be in attendance. At any rate, if any conference attendees were skeptical about an extraterrestrial presence, they remained silent. The majority were interested in learning about how politicians are handling the issue.

"I'm so glad they're working on this topic; too bad it is such a cover up," said Christine Murphy, who drove over ten hours from Redford, Mich., to attend the three-day conference.

"My eyes have really opened up to politics [this year]," Murphy said, "This is the place to be to learn more." Murphy, a mother of three, became interested in extraterrestrials and UFOs in the1960s.

Other attendees did not have to travel as far. Mark Thompson, 49, of Silver Spring, has been interested in the topic for over 10 years and was excited when he found out about a weekend opportunity right in his backyard where he could learn more.

"It is nice to have something like this come to Washington," Thompson said.

The convention even drew international media attention; a camera crew from Swiss National Television was among the nearly 60 members of the media in attendance.

Bassett held the conference in Montgomery County not only because it is near his Bethesda-based headquarters, but also because of the proximity to Washington and his target, the federal government, a body which, two years ago, he was attempting to join.

Bassett got on the 2002 election ballot as an independent candidate by receiving over 5,000 signatures from county residents. And although he only received one percent of the vote finishing third behind winner Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) and incumbent former Rep. Connie Morella (R) he became the first candidate on a federal election ballot to campaign on a platform based on the alleged presence of extraterrestrials and UFOs.

With his political aspirations behind him, Bassett spent the past seven months planning the event, the largest conference of any kind regarding extraterrestrials and UFOs on the East Coast.

Basset made it clear that he plans to continue raising awareness about the topic to which he has dedicated his career. Bassett is executive director of two extraterrestrial-centered organizations. The Paradigm Research Group, the Bethesda-based company he founded in 1996, is a research company focusing on teaching about the extraterrestrial and UFO phenomena. The Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee (X-PPAC), also founded by Basset, is the first political action committee in history to directly target the politics of this issue.

His ongoing project is to raise money to fund a Citizen Hearing, a mock-congressional hearing, to discuss the extraterrestrial phenomena and the alleged government cover-up. The government refuses to hold meetings about UFOs and extraterrestrials, Bassett said. But he hopes to have at least five former congressmen participate.

"If the U.S. government won't hold a hearing, we'll hold one for them," Bassett said.

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The Montgomery County Sentinel, published weekly by Montgomery Sentinel Publishing, Inc., is a community newspaper covering Montgomery County, Maryland. Founded in 1855.

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