The spokesperson for the United States navy’s deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, Joseph Gradisher, has confirmed to Time magazine that the videos recorded by its pilots showing a series of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and released to the public are, in fact, real.
These videos, which show what the navy prefers to refer to as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, were sourced from the US department of defence, and were initially reported on in the New York Times in December 2017 as being part of the department’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Programme, which monitored and documented UFO activities from 2007 to 2012. The programme was funded by the Senate to the tune of $22-million a year, which means that taxpayers’ contributions were used to fund it.
This is the first time that an identified current official from the US government has publicly acknowledged that the videos — which started being released in 2017, with more following in 2018 — are officially genuine recordings of UFOs conducting manoeuvres that are not possible by human pilots, as seen by US navy pilots in the course of the flight missions. However, the navy has declined to comment on “who” could be piloting these aircraft.
It appears that there is now a concerted campaign by a certain section of the US government to roll out a partial and gradual “official disclosure” process, designed to begin to release previously classified information to the wider public. If a partial disclosure is indeed under way, then the logical inference is that there has also been a deliberate programme of “official denial” with regards to UFOs that we can surmise has been operational since at least the initial debunking of the 1947 “Roswell” flying saucer incident, which was widely reported in the media. In 1972, the US defence department conducted a series of investigations into the regular sightings that were being reported across the country, which were ultimately compiled into a report titled Project Blue Book — now converted into a popular television series.
Now that the navy has confirmed that these UFOs recorded by its pilots are “real”, it suggests that the countries of the world collectively need to begin to articulate how they plan to engage with them in the event that an initial public contact event takes place. As the situation stands, the United Nations does not have a protocol to engage with interstellar aerial craft that traverse the Earth’s atmosphere at will. There is a designated UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), based in Vienna, Austria, which was established following the adoption of a Treaty on Principle Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies.
Unoosa’s mandate is to promote “international co-operation for the peaceful uses of outer space” and to undertake research and training on the use of space science and technology to advance the social, economic and developmental initiatives on the planet. However, it does not have a programme or unit specifically dedicated to engaging with interstellar aircraft that are not human in origin, and that traverse Earth’s atmosphere and its immediate space vicinity.
Unoosa has listed the South African Space Agency (Sansa) as one of its partners. The agency is based in Pretoria, and was established in 2010 with a mandate to “promote the use of space and strengthen cooperation in space-related activities”. Sansa also states that its mission is “to lead and inspire the South African space community to create a better future”, and it pursues this through four programme areas: Earth observation; space engineering; space operations and space science.
However, despite the existence of these space-oriented international and national institutions, there are no programmes or projects designed to address the inevitable question of how humanity will engage and interact with prospective interstellar visitors from within or beyond our solar system and galaxy. If the US navy’s confirmation of the reality of UFOs leads to a prospective “first contact” scenario, humanity will be confronted by a whole range of questions, which it lacks an institutional framework to begin to address. This is a major and serious oversight in terms of forward planning and preparing the policy, scientific and societal constituencies to engage with potential interstellar aviators.
This year, the US government will formally operationalise its so-called Space Force within the defence department, as an additional and separate branch of its military complex, which is tasked with confronting threats in space. Regrettably, this typically US response to militarise and securitise any prospective engagement with nonhuman interstellar aerial craft could precipitate a number of unforeseen challenges.
Some analysts have irreverently questioned whether the launch of the Space Force, is intended to fight “space pirates”. Perhaps the US Space Force is based on a fundamental knowledge of who is piloting these confirmed UFOs, with a view to establishing a counterforce to contain or repel a possible attack. However, this is speculation until we have additional data as to who exactly is operating these UFOs.
An important question from a sociological and cultural perspective, is why the media and citizens have not asked more questions about the UFO sightings, which the navy now confirms are “real”. There could be a number of reasons why the story has not gone viral, linked to the distrust that people have towards governments in general, notwithstanding their predisposition to believe anything that emerges from the authorities through a partial disclosure, despite the fact that it could be a global game-changing event.
In addition, people could be viewing this as a deliberate attempt to distract them from their everyday struggles, given the age of austerity that is depressing economies and societies around the world. An alternative reason could be that reality of the implications of the existence of extra-terrestrial civilisations is too onerous to contemplate for a human society that is still predominantly beguiled and ensnared by its dogmatic religious and ideological convictions, which distracts people from dealing with such otherworldly realities. The investigative, print and broadcast media have a moral responsibility to interrogate this question further because public resources have been, and are still being, used to track and monitor UFOs.
In terms of a framework to understand the emerging phenomenon, the distinguished theoretical physicist Professor Michio Kaku — based at the City University of New York and a co-founder of string field theory — notes in his most recent book, The Future of Humanity, that “there might be 20-billion Earth-sized planets orbiting a sun-like star in our galaxy alone”. Kaku suggests that we could analyse the atmospheres of these planets “for oxygen and water vapour, a sign of life, and listen for radio waves, which would signal the existence of an intelligent civilisation”.
Kaku delivered a keynote address at the most recent Ufology World Congress — held in Barcelona, Spain, in September last year — in which he elaborated on a classification of planets, into Type-1, Type-2 and Type-3 civilisations on the basis of their energy consumption and their ability to undertake interstellar travel. The classification of advanced civilisation was proposed by the Russian astronomer Nikolai Kardashev in 1964. He suggested that a Type-1 civilisation is planetary, consuming all of the energy that falls on the planet from the sun, and is capable of space travel in the vicinity of the planet. A Type-2 civilisation is stellar, consuming all of energy of the planet plus all of the energy of emitted by its sun, and is capable of travel within the galaxy with the ability to reach about 100 nearby stars. A Type-3 civilisation is galactic, consuming the energy of billions of stars in its entire galaxy, and is capable of interstellar travel across the entire galaxy, with the ability to settle and build new civilisations. Kaku, notes that Earth is only approaching a Type-1 planetary civilisation, because we still primarily rely on “dead plants”, namely oil and gas, for our sources of energy.
According to Kaku’s presentation at the Ufology World Congress, based on the information that the US navy is now gradually releasing to wider society, the confirmed interstellar aircraft are most probably visiting Earth from Type-2 or Type-3 planetary civilisations. It is necessary for civilian institutions such as the Sansa and the Unoosa — working in tandem with citizen groups, which are already raising awareness across different communities around the world — to develop a protocol urgently to engage these prospective interstellar aviators, so that humanity is not caught off-guard in the event of an actual first contact scenario.
It is also incumbent on all of us to continue to raise awareness among our families, schools and places of work and worship to assist in the processing of the information and shifting our mindsets in terms of the now emerging reality of UFOs, and humanity’s place in the universe, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century.
Professor Tim Murithi is head of the Peacebuilding Interventions Programme at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, and editor of the Routledge Handbook of Africa’s International Relations. Follow him on Twitter @tmurithi12