The United States Navy formally authorised the release of a statement, posted on its website last week, confirming that three unclassified videos depicting high-velocity unidentified flying objects (UFOs), now rebranded as unidentified aerial phenomena or UAPs, were not fake.
One video was captured by trained Navy pilots in November 2004, and the other two in January 2015. The videos have been circulating since December 2017, and were featured in the mainstream print and broadcast media. Only now has there been acknowledgment of the videos. This suggests there is an ongoing battle within the US government over releasing information about UFOs. It also suggests that the denial narrative has been perpetuated through successive US administrations.
The pressure to release this information was instigated by a number of citizen-initiated Freedom of Information requests submitted to the US Naval Air Systems Command. According to the statement, the confirmation of UFOs is happening now because the US Department of Defence “is releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos”.
This is the first time in history that a branch of the US government has confirmed the reality of UFOs, and it appears that this campaign is designed to challenge any doubters who might harbour misconceptions about what is being viewed in the videos.
The defence department did not elaborate as to who they thought was piloting these UFOs or why they appear to be interacting with human society. The Pentagon statement was quick to emphasise that “the aerial phenomenon observed in the videos remains characterised as unidentified”. The fact that such monumental information was released in the midst of the global Covid-19 outbreak, in which it would be swept aside by issues relating to the pandemic, is perhaps symptomatic of the covert nature of this battle for the truth about UFOs.
According to Luis Elizondo, the former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Programme, a division of the US Department of Defence responsible for tracking UFOs, there was always a reluctance by senior military leaders to release the information. Some did not believe that people were ready to cope with the possibility of an extraterrestrial visitation.
This confirmation by the US government provides an opportunity for people to speak openly about the existence of UFOs, but it will require deeper processes of introspection and a question of our strongly held world-views about the nature of reality and humanity’s place and role in the wider cosmos.
This topic is particularly difficult for those who are religious because it challenges deeply held beliefs and does not fit within any frame of reference according to their religious teachings. Therefore, the preferred response mechanism is to dismiss talk of UFOs as the “devils work” or as blasphemous heresy.
Open-minded thinking is required, for example, about the Bible’s Chapter 6 verses 1 to 4 in the book of Genesis. It states that “the Nephilim were on earth on those days, and also afterwards, when the sons of God went into the daughters of humans, who bore children unto them.” Similarly, the book of Numbers, Chapter 13 verses 32 and 33 states “…and we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, and to ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them”.
There is no consensus among biblical scholars, pastors and preachers alike as to who the Nephilim were apart from the idea that they were non-human, based on their relationships with the “daughters of humans”, and that they were considerably larger than humans. Are the unidentified aircraft an attempt by the returning Nephilim to reach out to humanity?
Other religions including Islam, Judaism and Hinduism have similar references to angelic or other worldly beings that does not seem to stir up disbelief or cognitive dissonance amongst their followers.
The paradox of the political, military and religious leaders who refuse to discuss UFOs on the grounds that they may be demons, have to explain the paradox of how they can continue to believe in angels and messiahs who apparently exist in another realm, but we have no evident means to contact them directly, apart from through prayer.
In the absence of additional information from the US defence department, we are compelled to conclude that the battle for the truth about UFOs is still raging within the Pentagon and other branches of the US government.
Tim Murithi is extraordinary professor of African Studies at the University of Free State, a research associate at the University of Cape Town; head of Peacebuilding Interventions at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, and editor of Routledge’s Handbook of Africa’s International Relations