A Modest Proposal on Disclosure

This article is rather lengthy, so here’s the main point right up front: the primary difficulty in bringing about Disclosure is the United States Government …but not for the reasons you might think.  The current U.S. political environment is so polarized that politicians making a decision that is politically risky – and supporting Disclosure would clearly fall into this category – not only endanger their own careers, but also that of their party.  This is why people should stop wasting their energy in trying to persuade the United States to take leadership of this issue.  In this article I offer a possible way that Disclosure could be brought about – one that would be less politically risky for U.S. leadership but that would still ensure the participation of the U.S. at the appropriate levels.  I hope you enjoy it.


Disclosure – the formal acknowledgement by the world’s governments that extraterrestrial life exists, and that it most likely is active here on Earth – is no longer the ugly stepchild. There are books, articles, websites and entire media events devoted to convincing federal authorities to admit that – in the words of Stan Friedman – “while most UFOs are not flying saucers, some of them probably are.”

While praiseworthy, I don’t think those efforts will be successful due to the political situation in the United States, where the majority of the effort towards bringing about Disclosure is taking place. But we can neither ignore the U.S., nor move forward on Disclosure while leaving the American government behind – the United States is one of the world’s largest economies, it has an enormous scientific research community …and it has the world’s largest arsenal. The rest of the world needs the United States on board if Disclosure is going to go smoothly.

UFOsThis is my review and analysis of the issues surrounding Disclosure. I also offer a path forward that brings the United States into the community without requiring its political leaders to be actively involved or take other action that would potentially endanger their careers. It is my hope that this paper will generate discussions in corridors where there is now only silence.

Arguments Against Disclosure

The most common argument against Disclosure is that governments can’t openly talk about this because it will cause panic. Those who defend this reasoning point to the radio broadcast of Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds,” which caused panic in the United States when it originally aired in 1938. They ignore the fact that “War of the Worlds” was a report on a violent attack by aliens on the Earth, rather than a simple acknowledgement that some UFOs are probably flying saucers. A better example would be one taken from real life. In the 1989-90 time period, there was a wave of UFO sightings over Belgium. The Belgium military investigated and released its findings, the media reported on it, and people talked with their neighbors about it. Nobody panicked. Nobody rioted. Everyone kept on going to work and living their normal lives. The “people will panic” excuse no longer works.

Another argument against Disclosure is that financial markets would take a hit. This one has some truth to it. But while there will be losses in some sectors, there will be gains in others. This issue will be covered more in depth later in the paper. That said, defending the status quo is not a reason to keep humanity in the dark.

A third argument against Disclosure it that it will seriously damage mankind’s psyche and throw society into chaos by revealing that humanity is not the only intelligent life in the universe. Not likely. While it will be a tremendous blow to many individuals, society as a whole will survive: the Catholic Church, Buddhism, Islam and Mormonism, among others, all accept as probable that there is intelligent life on planets other than Earth.

Others protest that governments can’t possibly allow Disclosure because it will cause them to look weak and ineffectual because they can’t do anything about these UFOs entering their airspace. It’s correct that they can’t do anything about it. However, looking weak and ineffectual is only a problem when a country’s self-worth is based on being the biggest, toughest kid on the block, and any admission that — possibly — just maybe — this isn’t so, will cause the opposition to attack the country’s leaders and drive authorities into grandstanding, spouting positions that are both more and more polarized and militant as they all scramble to gain power as the sands of reality shift under them. This wasn’t a problem in Belgium, but this is a very real problem in the United States, and officials in other countries should not underestimate how this fear of looking weak – and the very real subsequent political fallout – will affect the actions that the U.S. government will be willing to take.

The final argument against Disclosure is that we are so deep into the lie that it’s hard to know how to get out of it; people will be angry. That’s true. It is not, however, a reason to perpetuate the ignorance. While there was probably a good reason to keep UFOs a secret in the beginning, that time is past. And the longer you wait, the worse it will be.


There will be some very real problems we will face because of Disclosure. While there won’t be widespread panic, some individuals will indeed do so.  Others will simply use it as an excuse to behave badly. This is why it’s so important to act proactively. The panic that is bound to occur will be minimized if the truth is acknowledged beforehand and people can see that their government has a plan forward. People might be scared – their worldview has been has been turned inside out – but they will feel reassured if they see that the authorities in charge of protecting them have a handle on the situation.   Any government that leaves this until it’s forced upon them – until, for example, a fleet of flying saucers is hovering over New York – is acting irresponsibly and risking its political survival.

A second major obstacle is that financial markets will take a beating. There’s no way around this. Industry, agriculture, transportation and finance are all based on a petroleum economy. With the revelation that there is an alternate power technology – one that is much more convenient, more efficient, more compact, and probably less expensive than oil – the petroleum economy and all sectors associated with it are going to lose value. The status quo will change as scientific laboratories and manufacturing facilities seek to replicate the technology that we will now know to be possible. People speculate that we’ll get this new technology from extraterrestrials. Maybe so. But if we don’t, it doesn’t matter, because the biggest hurdle is having the concrete knowledge that that this energy technology is possible and that it exists. Humans aren’t stupid – once something is proven to be possible, we will eventually learn to recreate it.

As an aside, if national leadership ever finds itself in the situation that new technologies are offered by extraterrestrials in exchange for …whatever, please don’t be overawed and trade away the farm. Humanity is stronger, more resourceful and more valuable than you might realize. Don’t sell us short.

One implication of a financial markets upheaval is that the elites will risk losing a great deal of their wealth and, possibly, their place in society. They will resist. This would not be a big issue save for the fact that the elites are the ones who finance the political campaigns of our nations’ leaders. Many would argue that our politicians do not have the courage needed to turn their backs on their financial backers and do the right thing. I hope that is not true.

The third obstacle to Disclosure is that, depending on what happened in the past, it could be extremely difficult for governments to come clean about the issue. Not only because it’s hard to admit that you’ve lied to your citizens for decades and made those who attempted to bring out the truth objects of ridicule. There exists the possibility that governments have captured alien technologies – most likely from reverse engineering the remains of crashed spaceships. What happened to this technology? Which companies and what individuals benefited from it – and at the expense of whom? This needs to come out. The situation will be even more difficult should it become apparent that some sort of Faustian bargain was struck between national authorities, defense contractors and extraterrestrials without the knowledge or agreement of citizens. I hope this will turn out to not be the case.

The Current Situation

What need we do in order to move forward? The elephant in the room is that the United States is way behind the curve in comparison with the rest of the world vis-à-vis acknowledging the reality of UFOs. It came about honestly enough. Back in 1953, concern was expressed in the CIA’s Robertson Panel Report that the increasingly numerous UFO reports from the public were overloading emergency reporting channels, and that the Soviets might take advantage of this situation by simulating or staging a UFO wave, and then attack (keep in mind, this was during the Cold War). The panel recommended an educational program for the public, the aim of which would be “training and debunking” using mass media such as television, motion pictures, and popular articles. This policy, established more than six decades ago, still remains; stories about UFO sightings are routinely treated as jokes by the media; people who report seeing them are ridiculed and humiliated.

But the rest of the world is changing. In 1999, an independent group in France (members included government officials, military officers and engineers) issued a report, “UFOs: and Defense: What Must We Be Prepared For?” (this is better known as “the Cometa Report) which was presented to the French President and the Prime Minister, and made available to the public. The goal of the report was to strip the UFO phenomenon of its’ irrational layer, and in it the authors slammed the U.S. policy of secrecy and disinformation, speculating that this policy existed to maintain U.S. military technological superiority over rival countries and, perhaps, a preferential contact. (Yes, the French think that the United States has already made contact and is benefiting from it.)

That was a public report. And since 2004, the governments of Brazil, Chile, France, Mexico, Russia, Uruguay, Peru, Ireland, Australia, Canada and Great Britain have released once-secret files. In 2009 Denmark and Sweden joined the trend by releasing over 15,000 files each.

The manner in which other countries’ governments approach reported UFO sightings also differs from that of the U.S. Starting in 1982 and for a period of several years, numerous UFOs were repeatedly sighted over New York’s Hudson Valley and parts of Connecticut. Nothing was done by any branch of U.S. government: there were no state or national government mobilizations; no branch of the military was interested; the FAA – charged with regulating the nation’s airways – declined to investigate what people were seeing in the sky. This is in stark contrast to what happened in Belgium. A few years later in the 1989-90 time period, there was a wave of UFO sightings over Belgium similar to that in New York. But that was the only thing that was similar. The Belgium government called its Air Force into action, they looked for UFOs on multiple radar systems, F-16s were scrambled to try to intercept UFOs on three occasions, and a press conference to explain all this to the public. Additionally, the Air Force made all its data and every resource – including radar stations and even aircraft – available to a group of civilian scientists who organized data, interviewed witnesses, and kept extensive records. These developments were covered in the European media.

ArizonaAlienSome might say that the New York sightings happened a long time ago – in the 80s – and that things would be different had it occurred later. Not a chance. In 1997 – seven years after the Belgium UFOs – multiple triangular and V-shaped UFOs made a series of appearances over the Phoenix area. Thousands of people witnessed this event. Authorities explained away the sightings by claiming they were a combination of airplanes and flares. People were irate. This was an ideal opportunity for Arizona Governor Symington to raise the discussion to the next level. Instead, he gave a press conference in which he announced the mystery had been solved and paraded out a staff member dressed in a comical alien costume.

That might have been the end of it – business as usual using ridicule and disinformation – but then in a 2007 interview with investigative journalist and author Leslie Kean, now-former Governor Symington admitted that he himself had actually seen the Phoenix lights. Why had he not admitted it at the time, instead making it into a joke? In Kean’s book, “UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record,” Symington told her: “You’re not a normal person when you’re a governor. You have to be extremely careful about public statements and how you handle yourself. A public figure is fair game for attack. Everything is picked over by the media and your political opposition. You try to avoid being the subject of harsh ridicule because you have a serious responsibility while in this role, and your public stature is directly related to your ability to get things done. If all of a sudden you’re typed as a buffoon or a loony, won’t be effective. I had to make a choice. My top priority was to fulfill the responsibilities I had been elected to accomplish as governor.”

And this brings us to a peculiarly American phenomenon that several American authors and UFO investigators call the UFO taboo – the automatic, deeply ingrained refusal to acknowledge that something so contradictory to what we consider “normal” could possibly exist no matter what the evidence shows. The UFO taboo may exist in other countries, but in the United States it has taken on the characteristics of religious dogma. Anyone who breaks that taboo is mocked and scorned. If that person is a government official, he or she loses influence and becomes unable to do their job. According to author J. Hynek, the taboo is so powerful that it can thwart the duties of groups of otherwise highly responsible people in positions of authority.

Moving Forward

So let’s go back to the question of how to move forward on this issue. Countries around the world are still looking to the United States for some cue on how to coordinate an approach to Disclosure. Despite the U.S. government’s extremely poor handling of the UFO issue, there are some good reasons for this. First, as I’ve already mentioned, is that the United States has the world’s largest research community with top-notch scientists in every field. Second is that the United States is arguably the world’s largest arms producer, and is the only country to have used a nuclear weapon during war. It would be a mistake either to proceed without the United States, or to make it feel isolated. But with the UFO taboo so entrenched in America, it is unlikely that true leadership will be forthcoming from the United States. Other possibilities exist, however. Some of them would allow other countries to take control of the direction of the discussion while encouraging an active role for the United States.

In their book, “A.D. – After Disclosure,” Richard Dolan and Bryce Zabel suggest that a third country – Brazil is used as an example – might just lose patience with U.S. stonewalling and establish a coordinating body to begin designing a common policy toward Disclosure. While this is certainly possible, I don’t believe it would be the most productive approach. If such a group is able to attract any official U.S. participation (very doubtful), it would be at such a low level to be worthless.

Other people point to the United Nations as the logical organization to coordinate a Disclosure policy as well as an Earth-wide response to extraterrestrial visitors. Many more people, however, shudder at the thought. Despite some very good work, the UN suffers from disorganization, corruption and cronyism. Many countries would be loath to allow the UN to control policy on such an important issue. And while the UN is the only group that can claim to represent all countries of the world, its’ size will prevent it from being effective. Additionally, there are so many conspiracy theorists who believe that the UN is plotting to somehow take over the Earth and form a one-world government, that the grief would not be worth it.

I have a different idea. I spent 25 years working as a U.S. diplomat for the U.S. Department of State – both in Washintgon and at various American embassies overseas. One position I held was in the Office of CoCom Affairs. Established at the beginning of the Cold War, this was an organization of like-minded countries that were producers of dual-use (commercial and military) goods and technologies that they wanted to keep out of the hands of the Soviet Union. The countries that belonged to CoCom adopted similar standards and policies regarding exports to the East Bloc. But when the Soviet Union dissolved, CoCom did not. Instead it reconfigured itself and gave birth to its successor organization, the Wassenaar Arrangement – a sort of CoCom Plus. Now focused on aligning export policies of conventional weapons as well as dual-use goods and technologies, the members of the Wassenaar Arrangement include former CoCom members plus significant arms exporters – Russia, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, and many of the former eastern European countries, etc. Although China and Israel are not members, they both align their export controls with the Wassenaar lists.

I bring up the example of CoCom, because this is illustrative of what we could accomplish with other organizations vis-à-vis Disclosure.   I would strongly suggest countries consider NATO as the organization that could best jumpstart a multilateral Disclosure/Contact group. I’m not suggesting that we should either dissolve or refocus NATO, but instead that we initially use the NATO administration and membership as a base for the new coordinating body, and then expand upon it. As the big arms producers, any Wassenaar Arrangement member not already in NATO should automatically be invited to be a member of this new Disclosure/Contact group, as should those countries that possess nuclear weapons – Hello, India and Pakistan! – aside from rogue states like North Korea. This would just be the initial membership; I imagine membership would grow once the organization gets off the ground – and once Disclosure became reality.

There are several reasons to use NATO as the base for the new coordinating body rather than the Wassenaar Arrangement, which already has a membership that is better aligned. Number 1: The Wassenaar Arrangement doesn’t have the personnel, organization or funding required; even if national leadership doesn’t like the idea of Disclosure, it won’t likely cut off funding for NATO.  Number 2: NATO staff is already heavily populated with military representatives who will need to be closely involved in any Disclosure/Contact organization because of legitimate national security concerns. Number 3: The reputation of NATO, a well-known and respected organization, will go far to reassure the world’s more panic-prone citizens and politicians. Number 4: Military officials aren’t elected – U.S. military representatives will be less vulnerable to U.S. politics than civilian representatives would be. This last point is very important. This “one step removed” organization will make it possible for elected U.S. officials to support the Disclosure process without risking ridicule and losing their jobs.

That’s my proposal. Due to its’ UFO taboo, the chance that the U.S. Government would initiate such a process is pretty much nonexistent. It would be incumbent upon a current NATO member – probably Belgium, the UK or France, or maybe a team effort by the three of them – to set this in motion and push for other members to support it.

Folks – the ball is in your court.



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