Don’t get excited

Countless media sources are trumpeting the arrival of a new “whistleblower” in the US government, which apparently is a new favorite term, since the sounds he’s producing are worse than my attempts to whistle with two fingers in my mouth – a raspy hissing noise and lots of spit. Former US intelligence official David Grusch testified, under oath now, that the US government had evidence of recovered crashed vehicles and biological remains believed to be of non-human origin. Except that he didn’t.

This is the crucial bit that is missed countless times, with countless people re-stating the testimony and its implications incorrectly. Grusch only said that he spoke with people who made the claims, and even saw reports, but did not witness a damn thing himself, in any manner. When asked for specifics, he cited “security concerns,” but would be willing to go into further details in a secure (i.e., non-publishable) session.

As a half-hearted follower of UFO and now UAP (Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena) reports for, literally, the past half-century, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard this before, and not because of security reasons either – it’s because I’ve heard it so often that it’s impossible to tally. The big difference now is, Grusch made statements under oath – except that he refused to name anyone in particular, had no documentation to back it up, and got cagey when asked for more details, those aforementioned security concerns. But here’s the deal: if he was operating under a security classification for the US government, he’s already in violation. Such clearances do not have clauses in them remotely resembling, “You can hint, you just can’t be specific.” Not only would he be violating his oath by repeating what was said by anyone with classified intelligence, but he would be liable himself for not reporting their blabbing to the proper authorities.

Technically, he could be tried for perjury if, indeed, he was making any kind of false statements, which is what makes a lot of people assume that he really is legitimate, but think about it: what, exactly, is he going to be charged for? He’s only provided hearsay in a vague manner. You really couldn’t prove that he didn’t have someone vouchsafe such information to him – until and unless he names names, in which event there can be a distinctive case against him, as well as further charges regarding his breach of security, as well as the breaches of those he spoke with and whoever showed him the documents.

The Pentagon has denied his claims, which many people automatically dismiss as meaningless because of course they’d deny the coverup – except, they’d also deny the claims if they flatly weren’t true. What else would you expect? Oh, yeah, you’d expect them to come down like a ton of hammers onto anyone even hinting at classified information, bringing them in for questioning about who and when and where and what did you see, to root out the source of the breach – if the government did actually have the evidence that Grusch claims. With no such evidence to be had, however, you’d expect, well, exactly what we’ve seen so far.

Let’s look at all the ways that this falls apart, because I don’t expect anyone to be convinced yet.

Security clearances are strict. You violate them, you’re boned. Automatic court-martial. There’s no such thing as being off the hook at any time in your life. At the level that Grusch is implying here, not only would he be in a military prison right now, anyone that he’d had contact with would be under investigation. The US military – any military – has a specific goal to keep defense secrets from being discovered, and they don’t leave little loopholes nor allow any hint of ‘getting away with it’ to survive. You’ve heard of Julian Assange, of course. Yeah, he was an Australian journalist, not American, had no security clearance, and was seeking asylum to avoid extradition regarding the information that he’d been provided. He’s in US military custody right now, and judging from the multiple charges that continue to be leveled, probably won’t get out for a long time. Grusch wouldn’t stand a chance.

Secure information is limited to only those that need to know. Grusch being shown documents and photos would be next to impossible, because such secure information is usually limited to one room (which is why Florida Man is in so much trouble.) Secrets are limited to the fewest people possible, and documentation tends to be very sparse and not easy to abscond with. While not impossible for him to have seen something, the likelihood remains extremely low.

chart of reported UFO sightings from ESRI
Boy, the aliens really respect those invisible US borders, don’t they?

The US government is not the only one in the world. This tends to get forgotten a hell of a lot among the crowd that maintains that the government is keeping it all secret for “reasons,” (usually to avoid a panic or whatever,) but alien spacecraft could fly over, land, or crash anywhere in the world. It’s ludicrous to believe that every government can and will maintain the same standards of secrecy, especially those diametrically opposed to the US (which is no small number.) There are plenty of governments and even factions that would be happy to discredit the US in this manner, to say nothing of what they would do with their own discovered alien technology.

No government has a stranglehold on dissemination of information. It’s also ludicrous to think that, for any encounter or crash, any government would be the first and/or only witnesses, or that in our age of social media, any such evidence would somehow fail to be worldwide in a matter of hours. The “men in black” concept of immediate suppression under dire threats (that apparently Grusch was not subject to,) might have worked well as an idea thirty, forty years ago, but today? Horseshit. We’re going to come back this in better detail.

Now some of the reasons to question any UAP reports.

Extra-terrestrial life would have to come from a long ways away. The distances are hard to overstate, since they’re expressed in light-years, meaning that traveling at the speed of light, it takes a year to traverse this distance – the closest star system to us is 4.2 light years off. Physics tells us such speeds are impossible, so multiply that times whatever fraction can actually be managed. Physics also tells us how much energy can possibly be derived from any given material – that’s what Einstein’s equation means – so we actually know how much it would take to travel such distances. Long story short: it’s an incredible drain on resources just for ‘gas,’ to say nothing of life support. Highly unlikely.

Personal visits are nigh pointless. Why risk any form of personal contact, and the myriad issues that could arise from such, when observation will provide 99% of the same information? What purpose could hooning around in a planet’s lower atmosphere possibly serve? Why bother? Aren’t such things supposed to be performed by higher intelligence?

The numbers aren’t being kind. Just counting from Kenneth Arnold’s highly-publicized sighting in 1947, we’ve seen thousand of reports of UAPs in this country alone, leading people to believe that there must be something there. But among those thousands of reports, we’ve managed to advance our knowledge of extra-terrestrial life – not one fucking millimeter. Now, we have the vast majority of the populace carrying video cameras with them, and whole-sky surveys taking place every clear night from numerous observatories, and instantaneous communication throughout a populace – yet the explosion of information and knowledge that we should easily expect has not happened at all. We can triangulate on meteor sightings obtained from doorbell cameras and confirm fragments of the fucking meteorites, but alien visitation information remains as shitty as it was in the sixties. I’ll let you determine what’s wrong.

We already know how bad people are as witnesses. On average, they’re excitable, suggestible, and really, really bad about accuracy – this is what all of the programs that investigated sightings has found, over and over. But the idea of visiting aliens is fascinating and exciting, and this lets a significant bias take hold, both among the witnesses and among the general public just hearing about such things. As shown above, people usually miss the pertinent details, such as Grusch only claiming to have been told about this evidence, and yet providing nothing at all. Worse, many, many publications play fast and loose with their own interpretations and hype the hell out of simple observations of, for instance, a fireball meteor. Such publications have no accountability and have nothing to lose, no matter what they report – save if they actually malign a witness (and that will never, ever happen, even when roundly deserved.)

Note, too, that this fascination with UAP reports really puts a crimp in the idea that the government has to keep aliens secret to avoid panic and all that jazz. Not to mention that there is no evidence whatsoever that such a panic could take place – refer to the Phoenix Lights accounts if you like.

Untold numbers of accounts have turned out to be worthless. Overimaginative interpretations, really piss-poor ‘investigations,’ and witnesses that prove to be less than accurate or trustworthy have arisen time and time again. Some of the “best” bits of evidence, when subject to decent scrutiny, turn out to be completely mundane, like one of the USAF images that turned out to be a goddamn Batman balloon. It’s disturbingly pathetic, and not a good showing for our species if we are under observation by extra-terrestrial intelligence.

But here’s the real heart of it all.

The primary benefit, and goal from anyone serious, is to further our knowledge. This does not take place with unsubstantiated, single-witness events, blurry photos and video, and hearsay claims from anyone, regardless of their supposedly impeccable credentials. It takes place with hard evidence and testable, replicable results – that’s science. Until and unless such things can even remotely take place, well, we got nothing, and it’s a waste of time even paying attention to any of it.

For giggles, I looked at the transcript from Ross Coulthart’s interview with Grusch, after I wrote virtually everything above, and it failed to alter any of it. Coulthart is an Australian “investigative journalist” without an impressive track record, but worse, is currently making a living from sensationalizing UFO/UAP accounts – not exactly any kind of impartial or critical interviewer. And it showed. Grusch made the same claims as above, lacking specifics every time, and begging off with supposed clearance violations at the slightest suggestion that he back something up with more than hearsay. Not one name, not one department, not one date, not one specific example, at all. Worse, Grusch managed to include just about every tired old trope about alien technology that’s been kicked around in such circles for decades, including the appeal to “extra-dimensions” and “quantum mechanics” to allow extra-terrestrials to shrug away physics. He even repeated the hoary old claim that advanced technology was recovered from the infamous Roswell ‘crash’ site, showing that creativity is not his strong suit. Roswell is a case study in hearsay, all building on one unsubstantiated claim after another, but look at it this way: the US military has had supposed alien materials since 1947, which has allowed them to produce military technology far in advance of any other country’s and wholly remarkable in performance. Yes, that’s sarcasm.

So, here’s my prediction: Grusch will not, at any point in time, ever provide anything at all to substantiate his claims. That’s a more dependable pattern of evidence than anything else the entire field of UFOs/UAPs has managed to produce – something that most UAP enthusiasts somehow fail to notice. Hey, if I’m wrong, fine, serve up the crow – but until that time, I won’t be losing any sleep over it…