Daily Archives: December 18th, 2012

Carl Sagan and the U.S. Military

From io9.com:

News of Carl Sagan’s involvement with a plan to “nuke” the moon, Project A119, has become relevant again. In fact, Sagan was involved in a number of military causes during his all-too-short lifetime. But later, he cut all ties with the military. Here’s what happened.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbfOqgQVKmI&feature=player_embedded

Carl Sagan spent his childhood under the ominous cloud of World War II. As the war faded and the United States and USSR entered a Cold War, the United States once again looked to its best and brightest — including many academic scientists — to consult with the military.

Sagan’s extremely limited involvement in a theoretical plan to “Nuke the Moon” as a show of U.S. military might recently caused an uproar, but this was just one aspect of Sagan’s involvement with the militarily. Sagan’s involvement in Project A-119 occurred while he worked toward his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. The good scientist actually broke personnel restrictions placed on the classified project by listing his involvement on a job application.

Sagan and Project Blue Book The majority of Sagan’s contact with the military came as a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board beginning in 1966. Sagan lectured at Harvard at this time in his life, but would soon depart to become Associate Professor of Astronomy in the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research at Cornell after being denied tenure by Harvard.

At this time in his career, Sagan had already begun to publish his suppositions about the atmosphere of Venus and became a member of the fringe in the eyes of many thanks to his ruminations on the possibility of intelligent life in the universe. Sagan also played a role in advising the U.S. Space Program, a program synonymous with military applications during the Cold War era.

Sagan allegedly received $800 per day (roughly $4500 in current dollars), an astounding sum for a university lecturer, to act as a consultant for the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. The United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board began in 1944 as a secret program with a variety of missions, including determining the possibility of using atomic energy in jet propulsion as well as non-traditional use of nuclear weapons.

Sagan’s military contact revolved around Project Blue Book, a 23-year study of UFOs conducted by the United States Air Force that ceased in January of 1970. Project Blue Book took a systematic approach to the study of unidentified flying objects, analyzing possible UFO data and aiming to determine if these objects were a danger to United States national security.

Within the two-decade-plus report are 12,618 “sightings”, with analysis leaving a mere 700 classified as unidentified. The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, however concluded that Project Blue Book did not meet necessary rigors, suggesting a university-led study of unidentified flying objects would be far more conclusive.

Separation from the military After the closure of Project Blue Book, Sagan continued to act as a prominent scientific advisor for NASA, arguing for the financial merit of robotic spacecraft.

Sagan became an extremely vocal advocate against nuclear proliferation after the rise of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. Sagan openly protested the testing of nuclear weapons, with the sage arrested for trespassing after a 1986 underground detonation of a thermonuclear warhead in the Nevada desert.

Though he cut ties with the military, Sagan continued to ponder the idea of space war. He concocted the Deflection Dilemma — the idea that the using a significant blast to knock a near earth object on a trajectory towards earth off course could also be used as a weapon, sending the object into the country or countries of choice.

If you are curious, you can lose an entire weekend and browse through the entirety of Project Blue Book online thanks to the Project Blue Book Archive, or have a marathon of Twin Peaks to catch a hint of the intrigue surrounded Project Blue Book.

The idea of blowing up the Moon seems far-fetched, but not knocking an asteroid into an orbit that intercepts a certain country(s) and wreaks destruction over one side of the planet. It’s the ultimate Dooms-Day Device!

That’s why I don’t think NASA’s plan of flying to an asteroid in 2025 and Planetary Resources’ idea of asteroid capture and mining will be politically viable or palatable in the international arena because if a country that has the technology to move planetary objects into different orbits, especially in Earth orbit has the ultimate weapon over other nations in the form of a huge hammer.

And I’m really surprised this isn’t mentioned at various mainstream space sites.

Maybe it’s an unmentionable thing?

What Exactly Was Carl Sagan Working on with the U.S. Military?

Another UFO Disclosure, Politics and Hollywood Tale

From Silver Screen Saucers:

11 December 2012

UFO Disclosure: world leaders use Hollywood as safety net

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last week confirmed that extraterrestrial visitation is a reality… or did he?
In footage recorded Friday following a television interview, Medvedev commented to a reporter that every Russian leader is presented with two folders containing Top Secret information about alien visitation.
In the footage, Medvedev tells a REN TV journalist he could not reveal “how many of them are among us, because it may cause panic.”
The Russian PM did not appear to be “joking” (contrary to the mainstream media’s take on this story) having made his statements without a hint of a smile. The only part of Medvedev’s ‘disclosure’ that, on the face of it, would cast doubt on its seriousness was a reference to the film Men in Black, which Medvedev advised the journalist to watch for more detailed information on how alien activity on Earth is covertly monitored. And yet, those familiar with UFO history will know that the Men in Black movies, although layered with fantasy, are strongly rooted in fact.
The journalist, of course, chuckles quietly throughout Medvedev’s seemingly bizarre statement, despite the PM’s deadpan delivery.
Here is Prime Minister Medvedev’s ‘alien’ statement in full as printed in the UK Telegraph:
“The president of the country is given a special ‘top secret’ folder. This folder in its entirety contains information about aliens who visited our planet. Along with this, you are given a report of the absolutely secret special service that exercises control over aliens on the territory of our country… More detailed information on this topic you can get from a well-known movie called ‘Men in Black’… I will not tell you how many of them are among us because it may cause panic.”
 […]

Notably, Medvedev’s comments were made off-air and he was seemingly unaware that cameras were still rolling. The footage was later delivered to Reuters as a pool signal before being uploaded to YouTube.
This incident has very strong echoes of Reagan’s ‘ET is real’ announcement back in 1981 during the White House screening of ET: The Extraterrestrial, at which director Steven Spielberg was present.“There are a number of people in this room who know that everything on that screen is absolutely true,” said the President to his distinguished guests who included politicians, military officers and astronauts. “And he said it without smiling!” confirmed Spielberg.
Despite giving no indication that he was joking, Reagan’s guests nevertheless erupted into laughter. How else were they to have responded to a statement of this nature immediately following the screening of a science fiction film? Polite guffaws were the only way to go, as Reagan would surely have been well aware.
The President – himself a Hollywood veteran – would also have known that the sci-fi context of the E.T. screening would act as a natural safety net for his otherwise earthshaking statement. For Reagan, this was a rare opportunity to ‘publicly’ speak the truth about an issue that had occupied his mind for decades without fear of the walls crashing down around him.
Medvedev’s recent statement about aliens certainly has parallels with Reagan’s: the Russian PM gave absolutely no hint of a smile, yet the perplexed journalist responded with laughter anyway, either out of surprise, discomfort, politeness, or all three.
If nothing else, the Reagan and Medvedev statements and the jovial responses they elicited raises the question: other than a formal televised press conference beamed live from the White House, the Kremlin, 10 Downing Street, etc., are there any circumstances in which heads of state can tell members of the public ‘aliens are real’ and expect to be taken seriously?
The answer would seem to be ‘no’. This is not surprising. To most of those outside of the UFO research field, the subject of alien visitation inherently seems so fantastical that anything other than a ‘bells and whistles’ government press conference confirming its reality is dismissed out of hand as “humour.”
Not incidentally, both the Reagan and Medvedev ‘disclosures’ were linked to Spielberg productions: ET and Men in Black respectively. In this sense, it would seem that Spielberg is the go-to guy in Hollywood for world leaders attempting to publicly contextualise an otherwise dauntingly complex phenomenon. When it comes to the thorny issue of UFO Disclosure, Hollywood matters, and so does Spielberg.
The story of UFO disclosure in the U.S. goes back to Franklin Roosevelt in 1942 ( Battle of L.A. ) and Harry Truman in 1947 ( Roswell and M.J.-12 ) while Hollywood manipulation of the subject via orders of the C.I.A. goes back to 1952 ( possibly 1950 ).  The leaders of other countries have their own procedures for the documentation of UFOs and possible disclosure vary, but in the U.S., Hollywood is a good test-bed of slowly leaking the information to a goofy public that could care less about science and falls in line with the 1960 Brookings Report.