LAS VEGAS -- Has the government been honest with the public about UFOs? A panel of six former members of Congress is getting an earful in Washington this week about UFO incidents and government secrecy.
The citizen's disclosure hearing isn't an actual congressional proceeding -- it just looks like one, but its backers hope it generates enough attention to force U.S. officials to disclose whatever they might know about the UFO mystery. People tend to forget that back in the 1960s, there were two congressional hearings into the UFO question. Future president Gerald Ford was a driving force behind the hearings.
All this week, the panel of former Congressmembers is hearing from military and intelligence officials, and historians and scientists about all aspects of the UFO enigma. The organizers hope the citizens' hearing on disclosure adds an element of legitimacy to the UFO discussion and perhaps lead to lifting the veil of secrecy.
"There is no doubt we are being visited," Dr. Edgar Mitchell said.
Mitchell, a scientist and explorer, was born – coincidentally -- in the UFO hotspot of Roswell, N.M. He started calling for the disclosure of U.S. government UFO files back in the mid 1990s. One of his first interviews on the subject was with the I-Team. As the sixth man to walk on the moon, he's an American icon and scientific hero, with extensive contacts in the government and is convinced a UFO cover-up is real and that it's time it ended.
"I call on our government to open up as other nations have done, Belgium, Mexico," he said. "It is time we did the same thing."
Mitchell will be the most prominent witness at this week's UFO disclosure event in Washington, but there are other heavyweights slated to appear.
The panel is expected to hear testimony from and ask questions of 40 other witnesses, including Paul Hellyer, who was the minister of defense for Canada and who's had his own UFO sighting. Hellyer said there's no question the U.S. has withheld information about UFOs from the public and from its own allies.
The implications from all this could be important to our future as a species. One focus of the citizen's hearing on disclosure will be recent admissions by other governments that there have been secret, but ongoing, UFO studies by militaries all over the world, including Russia, France and Brazil.
Nick Pope was, for years, the UFO point man for Britain's ministry of defense and will testify about the release of his country's once-secret files. Canadian nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman will tell the panel about military studies of UFO incidents and attempts to suppress the information, including the infamous Roswell UFO crash case.
Historian Richard Dolan was one of the first witnesses to appear this week. Dolan's massive three-volume history of the UFO cover-up argues that secrecy on this subject has gone hand in hand with the rise of the national security state. And Canadian researcher Grant Cameron, author of a new book about area 51, has already testified about the intimidation of UFO witnesses, including some in Nevada.
"The U.S. government has denied the truth to the American people about the E.T. presence," said Stephen Bassett, organizer of the citizen's disclosure hearing. "That is a big deal. It's no longer justified. And so the purpose of this hearing is nothing less than disclosure.
Bassett, the only UFO lobbyist on Capitol Hill, organized the hearing, selected former members of Congress who had not taken public positions on the UFO topic, and chose the National Press Club to house the event so that official Washington might take notice. Congress held two hearings on UFOs back in the 1960s, but the subject has seemed politically toxic since then.
Bassett said that's not an accident.
"The real problem is this: Military intelligence has yanked this issue out from under our political leaders," he said. "They don't brief them any more, they don't give them the information. And that is true across the board on many issues. Tuesday's session focused on one of the most disturbing angles: the intrusion of UFOs over nuclear bases. Former military men stationed at the Bentwaters nuke base in England and at missile bases near the Canadian border described chilling incidents in which unknown craft interfered with the launch codes of atomic weapons.
Documents squeezed out of the Pentagon show the military long considered UFOs to be serious business, but later denied having any interest in the subject.
Still to come: Surprise testimony from a mystery witness. His deathbed confession as an intelligence officer who worked at secret facilities in Nevada. Only a handful of people even know who he is, but the story he will tell is startling.
Mitchell, for one, urges an end to secrecy.
"There has been a great deal of secrecy surrounding UFOs over the past 50 years," he said. "It is not a simple issue. It is complex.
The citizen's hearing continues all week and for a small fee, you can watch the whole thing online.
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