When Science, Academia and the UFO/UAP Phenomena finally meet

By Gary Heseltine
ICER Vice President and National Representative for the United Kingdom


It is often said that when Mankind acknowledges that ‘life’ in the Universe has been confirmed and that when an intelligent civilisation reaches out to us, that ‘Contact’ will be the most profound moment in human history. So, almost everyone is in agreement as to the ramifications of actual ‘Contact’ yet have we not had an ongoing engagement with the human race for over 70 years?

As we approach the summer of 2021 the world is potentially on the brink of learning something that most people will be astonished and perhaps shocked by.

For over seven decades highly trained, credible people have found themselves involved in multiple witness reports and having an interaction with some kind of intelligence. These cases from all around the world have been fully investigated and documented yet have largely been ignored by governments, military and scientists and the academic world.


The explanation is simple and stark – governments across the planet, backed by the news media have poured scorn and trivialised the subject of Unidentified Flying Objects or Flying Saucers since the early 1950s.

As the late Stanton Friedman, a nuclear physicist and huge UFO proponent, used to say, “It can’t be, so it isn’t.”

And that phrase is particularly apt if we ask the question as to why the science and academic world have largely ignored the masses of corroborated testimony from military pilots, commercial pilots, astronauts, cosmonauts, radar operators, air traffic controllers, sonar operators, military personnel and police officers etc.

In recent years, a new acronym has been created in some quarters – Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), in the hope that science, academia and the mainstream media will be more open to investigating the subject. However, such is the stigma that is attached to this topic it is still deemed too ‘taboo’ for most in the scientific and academic world to evencontemplate, at least publicly.

And, given the way the subject has been stigmatised for so many years it isn’t surprising that most scientists and academics do not take the UFO/UAP phenomena seriously, after all, for most of their lives they have been told that there is no evidence to support the premise that some reports display intelligence and may be of extraterrestrial/non-human origin.

However, almost all will not realise that the stigma was artificially and deliberately created by the United States. In January 1953 a group of scientists met for two days to figure out a way to ‘strip the aura’ of flying saucers that the public had for the subject up until that point. They decided that the best way to do that was to begin a debunking program. Flying Saucers were to be debunked, trivialised, scorned by the deliberate use of the media in all its forms i.e., television, film, newspapers, books and magazines.

The group responsible for this policy is known as the ‘Robertson Panel’ which took its name from that of its chairman, Harold Percival Robertson.

It was a policy that effectively created the terrible stigma and ridicule that has plagued this topic for decades and yet most people are totally unaware of how it began.

Most astronomers won’t even consider looking at the ‘so called best UFO/UAP evidence’ for the phenomena whilst those that have done and expressed a willingness to get involved in genuine research, have been prevented from doing so because of the perceived risk of ridicule and the effect on their professional reputations.

For decades this fear has persisted, and such is that fear that it has acted as a powerful deterrent for those that dared to take the phenomena seriously. The message was clear, scientists and academics stay away from UFO/UAP research or risk ruining your career.

Yet there have been significant developments in this subject in recent years that may have profound implications for humanity and may bring an end to that policy of denial.

Few people, bar genuine UFO/UAP enthusiasts, will realise that by 25 June 2021 a specially created US Navy Task Force will have submitted a report to Congress regarding ongoing US Navy encounters with UAPs off the east and west coasts of the United States that have taken place in recent years.

Whilst much of the report is likely to be ‘classified’, it is anticipated that there will be an ‘unclassified report’ that will be released to the public.

Now you may ask yourself, ‘What could that report reveal that would be so important?’

Before answering that question people need to understand the back story to this report which is nothing short of sensational as recent events have unfolded like a page-turning thriller.

2017 – New York Times Article

On the 16 December 2017 the New York Times no less, published an article by written by Leslie Kean, Ralph Blumenthal and Helene Cooper about a hitherto unknown secret Pentagon program that had researched strange aerial objects that had been encountered by a number of US Navy pilots off the east and west coasts of the United States.

The first of these encounters involved the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and its carrier escort of ships in 2004. What made this highly significant is that the fighter aircraft involved used Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR) video to visually capture an actual object that had been seen both visually and on radar.

The video provided corroborative physical evidence of an unknown object flying around in US airspace.

The pilots have collectively described the object seen as similar to a Tic Tac sweet i.e., white, pill shaped, with rounded ends. David Fravor, the first pilot to go public about the incident estimated the craft to be approximately 40 feet in length, not too dissimilar to the size of the F18 Super Hornet he was flying.

Significantly, the highly trained Navy pilots had never encountered anything remotely like what they observed. The flight characteristics of the object seemed to defy the known laws of physics and aerodynamics.

The New York Times article went on to reveal that on two further occasions US Navy pilots had encountered similar objects in 2015 off the east and west coasts of the United States and they too had been recorded on FLIR video.

Once again, the videos provided corroboration of what the pilots had observed and matched the ship-based radar data. The audio commentary of the pilots involved in these incidents makes it perfectly clear that the objects moved in ways unlike any object they had ever witnessed before.

Unusually, the three videos, that have become known as the ‘FLIR1’ (Tic Tac), ‘Gimbal’ and ‘Go Fast’ respectively were released into the public domain.

The person who ran that secret program was identified as Luis Elizondo, a former military intelligence specialist, who had recently resigned from the Department of Defense.

The confirmation of this secret UAP study was, in itself, a complete contradiction to the officially held US policy regarding UFOs/UAPs which stated that since the closure of Project Blue Book in 1969, no such military/government research had ever been undertaken.

The secret program was called the Advanced Aerial Threat Identification Program (AATIP) that ran for approximately five years between 2007-2012 and had been supported to the tune of $22 million dollars. This is small figure in defence terms but nevertheless not an insubstantial amount of money on something that had been officially dismissed and ridiculed for so long.

Following the release of that information in 2017 the mainstream media have at last begun to realise that there may be something to this story and have been keenly following developments. In addition, many scientists have become interested in the topic. The subject was finally beginning to be treated seriously on mainstream US TV.

In 2019 the US Navy finally confirmed publicly that the three Navy FLIR videos that had been publicly released in 2017, were authentic and their status remained ‘unidentified’.

In the years that have followed since the publication of the New York Times numerous former military personnel have gone public about their involvement in the cases, especially in the 2004 USS Nimitz incident. Military pilots, radar operators, technicians all have given public statements about how these objects moved in ways that are beyond our current level of technology and that incredible performance data had been obtained.

This has resulted in some incredible disclosures. Kevin Day a senior radar expert, who was on the carrier support ship, USS Princeton has stated that for a two-week period prior to the incident he had been tracking multiple targets that would often drop from 80,000 feet to 50 feet above the surface of the water in UNDER ONE SECOND!

All of these revelations are likely to come as a great surprise to the scientific and academic world, yet in reality they are nothing new. The objects that are being reported now with increasing frequency are moving in ways that have been observed by credible witnesses around the globe for over 70 years!

Let’s take a look at a good example.


The Belgium Wave

Between 1989-91 Belgium reported approximately 2000 UFO/UAP reports seen by members of the public, police officers and by military pilots. On the night of the 30/31 March 1990 two F16 fighter jets had been scrambled to intercept a ground visual and radar confirmed target.

Whilst the two pilots did not get a visual sighting of the object, they did confirm strong radar contacts which resulted in a 70 plus minute pursuit of the phenomena. One of the two aircraft was able to record the cockpit flight instruments which later revealed significant scientific data. In addition, three military bases and four civilian airports – using different radar systems, confirmed that they had tracked the pursuit and the unknown object.

In an unusual move the, Chief of Air Staff for the Royal Belgium Air Force, Colonel (he retired as a Major-General) Wilfried de Brouwer, held an open press conference where he disclosed details of the incident and the videotape of the cockpit instrumentation taken during the event.

Significantly he made this comment,

“The day will come undoubtedly when the phenomenon will be observed with technological means of detection and collection that won’t leave a single doubt about its origin. This should lift a part of the veil that has covered the mystery for a long time. A mystery that continues to the present. But it exists, it is real, and that in itself, is an important conclusion.”

In 1991 he added the following public statement, “In any case, the Air Force has arrived to the conclusion that a certain number of anomalous phenomena has been produced within Belgian airspace.

The numerous testimonies of ground observations compiled in this [SOBEPS] book, reinforced by the reports of the night of March 30-31 [1990], have led us to face the hypothesis that a certain number of unauthorized aerial activities have taken place. Until now, not a single trace of aggressiveness has been signalled; military or civilian air traffic has not been perturbed nor threatened. We can therefore advance that the presumed activities do not constitute a direct menace.”

Given his rank, his comments are highly significant because they confirm that an unauthorized, unidentified craft of unknown origin had entered Belgium airspace on the night of 30/31 March 1990.

Subsequent research confirmed that during the pursuit the object had been able to evade/break numerous lock-ons achieved by the chasing aircraft.

Indeed, the top civilian radar specialist in Belgium, Professor Emile Schwietzer, was brought into examine the accumulated radar data obtained during the pursuit (ground and airborne radar). At one point during an video interview by a UK based solicitor and researcher called Harry Harris, he said that the unidentified object had made one particular manoeuvre that had impressed him greatly, i.e., when it performed a sharp high speed turn that pulled in excess of 30G! This is well above the tolerance for humans to survive such a manoeuvre (10/11G by highly trained personnel wearing special flight suits).

This type of high-speed manoeuvre was witnessed by the pilots and the radar operators who were involved in the events as they unfolded in 2004, 2014 and 2015 off the east and west coast of the United States.

Did these new revelations bring about a significant change of opinion by some of the celebrity scientists – yes and no.

In September 2019 the celebrated physicist, author and TV personality Michio Kaku spoke at a UFO conference in Barcelona, Spain.

On the subject of those US Navy revelations he said,

“We now know they fly between Mach 5 and Mach 20 — five to 20 times the speed of sound,” Kaku said. “We know they zigzag so fast that any pilot would be crushed by centrifugal force. That they have no exhaust that we can see.” The explanations usually invoked for UFO sightings — meteors, weather balloons, even the planet Venus — can’t explain these live- action high-precision shots, said Kaku, leading to either of two possible conclusions: They are of human origin, representing a technology so cutting-edge that even leading scientists are puzzled by it. Or, he said,“maybe they are evidence of an advanced outer space civilization.”

“We’ve reached a turning point,” Kaku said.“It used to be that believers had to prove that these objects were from an intelligent race in outer space. Now the burden of proof is on the government to prove they’re not from intelligent beings in outer space.”

The possibility that they are vehicles from other planetary civilizations, Kaku told Yahoo, “now has to be put on the table.”

It seems clear that the ‘Pentagon admissions’ and in particular, the three FLIR videos had caused him to take stock of the evidence that had been released into the public domain.

However, many other influential ‘celebrity scientists’ have continued to either purposely ignore the Navy videos or remain ignorant of them.

One such person is Neil deGrasse Tyson who on 5 March 2021 posted onto Facebook a still image from one of the FLIR videos saying cryptically, “Not knowing what it is, does not count as evidence for knowing what it is.”

What that tells us is that he is clearly aware of the Navy videos which is, in itself significant. However, his interpretation of that evidence differs considerably to that of Kaku.

How can two highly distinguished scientists look at the same data and arrive at totally different conclusions?

However, in the world of UFO/UAP research such inexplicable contrasts of opinion are not something new. This is borne out by the history of prominent ‘debunkers’ given huge coverage in the media. From noted scientist Donald Menzel in the 1950s, to aviation expert, Philip Klass who became the world’s leading debunker for several decades until his death in 2005.

But developments were beginning to gather pace and in June 2020, a special US Navy Task Force was created to examine these ongoing incidents.

Senator Marco Rubio – In July 2020 he made a significant statement during a TV interview:

“We have things flying around military bases and places where we’re conducting military exercises, and we don’t know what it is and it isn’t ours. So, that’s a legitimate question to ask and I’d say frankly if it’s something outside this planet it would actually be better than the fact that we’ve seen some technology leap on behalf of the Russians, the Chinese or some other adversary that allows them to conduct this sort of activity.

The bottom line is, if there are things flying over military bases and you don’t know what they are, they’re not yours, and they exhibit potential technologies you don’t have at your disposal, that to me is a national security risk and one we should be looking into.”

Then on 28 December 2020 President Trump signed the 1.9 trillion-dollar Covid Relief bill. In amongst that bill was a mandate to the intelligence community to supply data to the Navy Task Force within 180 days that will allow for an unclassified report to Congress.


2021 New Developments

In simple language there have been unprecedented developments on the UFO/UAP in terms of senior military and political/intelligence figures making significant comments about the phenomena in the United States in 2021.

John Brennan – The former Director of the CIA recently spoke at George Mason University. There, he said this,

“Life is defined in many different ways. I think it’s a bit presumptuous and arrogant for us to believe that there’s no other form of life anywhere in the entire universe. When people talk about it, is there other life besides what’s in the States, in the world, the globe? What that might be is subject to a lot of different views. But I think some of the phenomena we’re going to be seeing continues to be unexplained and might, in fact, be some type of phenomenon that is the result of something that we don’t yet understand and that could involve some type of activity that some might say constitutes a different form of life.”

John Ratcliffe – The former Director of National Intelligence recently said this on Fox News,

“In short, things that we are observing that are difficult to explain. There’s actually quite a few of those. Sometimes we wonder whether or not our adversaries have technologies that are a little bit further down the road than we thought or than we realized. But there are instances where we don’t have good explanations for some of the things that we have seen.When we talk about sightings, it’s not just a pilot or just a satellite, or some intelligence collection. Usually, we have multiple sensors that are picking up these things.”

James Clapper – For Director of National Intelligence said on CNN on 16 May 2021 just before the CBS ’60 Minutes ‘program aired,

“I don’t know why we haven’t been more transparent about it in the past and I’m part of that crime I guess and my former capacities. I didn’t, I didn’t insist on more transparency with respect to this issue.”

The ’60 Minutes’ featured a segment on these developments. Senator Marco Rubio featured in the show, as did several former US Navy pilots.

Here are some selected quotes from the ‘60 Minutes’ program.

Luis Elizondo – “Imagine a technology that can do 600 to 700 G-forces, that can fly 13,000 miles an hour, that can evade radar and can fly through air and water and possibly space, and oh, by the way, has no obvious signs of propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces and yet still can defy the natural effects of Earth’s gravity. That’s precisely what we are seeing.”

Senator Marco Rubio – “Dozens of men and women we have entrusted with the defense of our country are telling us about encounters with unidentified aircraft with capabilities we do not fully understand. We cannot allow the stigma of UFOs to keep us from seriously investigating these encounters.”

Apparently, the program had approximately 9 million viewers, so at a stroke many people will have been very surprised by the comments and the content. I also have no doubt that many scientists and academics were a part of the TV audience and that a lot of them would have been truly amazed by some of the comments made during it, especially the quote by Elizondo of the flight performance characteristics of these craft.

In an unexpected development even former President Barack Obama talked in specifics for the very first time public about the UAP phenomena.

On the James Corden US chat show that aired in the early hours of 18 May 2021 he said the following,

“But what is true — and I’m actually being serious here — is that there’s footage and records of objects in the sky that we don’t know exactly what they are,” he added. “We can’t explain how they moved, their trajectory. They did not have an easily explainable pattern.”

As far as I am aware, this is the most specific he has ever spoken about the UFO/UAP phenomenon in his entire public life. He has appeared on dozens of similar chat shows over the years but he has never confirmed that there is footage and recordings of objects that they couldn’t explain i.e., how they moved, their trajectory etc.

The timing of his comments may yet prove telling as the increasing levels of confirmation of the reality of these objects begins to register with the public and the mainstream media.



It would appear to me that for the first time in nearly 70 years that the stigma of talking about this issue, that has built up around the UFO/UAP phenomena, is finally beginning to decrease in terms of the recent upturn in mainstream media coverage and the many positive comments by senior political/military officials etc.

Scientists and academics will soon have a choice to make. They either stick their heads into the sand and dismiss everything out of hand and ignore the MASS OF SCIENTIFIC DATA that is being recorded, almost daily on a vast array of military technology, or for the first time really open their minds to the possibility that ‘non-human intelligences’ may have found us first and are, in a limited way, interacting with the human race.

And whilst the scientific and academic world have largely ignored the diligent work of the best UFO researchers, they should now seek them out with an open mind and be prepared to learn about the rich history of the UFO/UAP phenomenon.

The subject of ‘Contact’ is likely to have a profound effect on humanity and society in general and surely it is now time for all of us involved in this enigmatic subject to work together for the benefit of the human race.

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