The truth is out there. There’s been a lot of talk about UFOs and aliens lately, and some of our favorite shows and movies normalize or catastrophize the existence of or human interaction with them. For decades there have been truthseekers who want to know if the US government is hiding something about extraterrestrial visitors or the technology that has visited or crash landed from other worlds. It’s pretty likely that you or someone you know is one of the over three million people who have RSVP’d or at least expressed interest in a public Facebook event called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us.” The event is scheduled for September 20th and has received attention from the media and the US military, who have warned against storming the base.
The man behind the plan is Matty Roberts, who started the page after watching an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience with Bob Lazar and Jeremy Corbell. In the podcast, Lazar and Corbell discussed UFO technology that’s supposedly hidden near the military base.
Las Vegas based reporter George Knapp, who has done extensive coverage on UFOs and Area 51, spoke to Roberts about the response to the event. [ROLL CLIP]
Since the event blew up, hotels, motels, and other lodging spaces are under an irregular demand. Connie West is the owner of Little A’Le’Inn in Alamo, Nevada about 26 miles from Area 51 and is the closest lodging to the military base. Since the event launched, she has been received constant calls from individuals trying to stay in her rooms, which have already been filled. West also has nearly 30-acres of land that she will allow campers to pitch a tent for $15 a night, so far, she’s had about 60 people commit to staying on her property.
West told NPR, “Yes, it sounds like a joke, but there apparently are some people who want to check out the joke. Apparently, people are taking it seriously. I think they’re stupid if they think they’re going to get to the test site, but I’m gonna capitalize on it.” She plans to sell out her gift shop which features t-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee cups and keychains that are centered around aliens or Area 51.
People supposedly attending may see it as a joke, but it’s not as funny to the US air force, who have put out warnings to anyone trying to storm the base.
U.S. Air Force spokesperson Laura M. McAndrews told CBS News the event page was dangerous, stating, "The Nevada Test and Training Range is an area where the Air Force tests and trains combat aircraft. As a matter of practice, we do not discuss specific security measures, but any attempt to illegally access military installations or military training areas is dangerous."
According to the Independent, Ms McAndrews also said, “The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets”. But she failed to elaborate on specific details around how officials would react to potential intruders.
An Air Force Spokesperson told NPR, "The Nevada Test and Training Range provides flexible, realistic and multidimensional battlespace to test and develop tactics as well as conduct advanced training in support of U.S. national interests. Any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged."
You’ve likely already heard of Area 51, but if you haven’t Area 51 is part of the Edwards Air Force base in Nevada, about eighty miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s referred to as the Nevada Test and Training Range, but its primary use is not public information, which is standard for US military bases. The area around it is riddled with signs warning trespassers to stay clear and signs, some warning that intruders could face deadly force.
There are a number of conspiracies surrounding Area 51, including theories that the base stores or houses captured aliens or alien technology, or even alien spacecrafts. The US government denies these claims. Although the conspiracies have been around for several decades, the CIA didn’t acknowledge the existence of Area 51 to the public until August 2013. National Security scholars at George Washington University submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request in 2005 for information on the CIA’s Lockheed U-2 plan reconnaissance program as well as the secret construction and testing of spy planes for intelligence gathering.
A former pentagon official, Luis Elizondo, led a government program revealed at the end of 2017 called the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program. Elizondo resigned from the Department of Defense over what he claims was excessive secrecy and internal opposition after the program’s funding ended in 2012. Twenty-two million of the Defense Department’s six hundred billion was spent on the program investigating reports of unidentified flying objects. The money went to a private company, Bigelow Aerospace, owned by entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, which hired subcontractors for the program.
According to the New York Times, “Under Mr. Bigelow’s direction, the company modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials that Mr. Elizondo and program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena. Researchers also studied people who said they had experienced physical effects from encounters with the objects and examined them for any physiological changes. In addition, researchers spoke to military service members who had reported sightings of strange aircraft.”
The program also reportedly collected video and audio recordings of UFOs, including footage from an incident where a Navy jet was surrounded by a glowing aura that rotated and traveled at high speeds.
When Luis Elizondo resigned from the Defense Department, his letter suggested that serious attention should be given to “the many accounts from the Navy and other services of unusual aerial systems interfering with military weapon platforms and displaying beyond-next-generation capabilities,” adding, “there remains a vital need to ascertain capability and intent of these phenomena for the benefit of the armed forces and the nation.”
Some pretty tense situations have occurred when people accidently enter into the restricted area around Area 51. In 2014, a guided tour carrying visitors around the edge of the top secret facility accidentally crossed into military territory unintentionally.
The driver, Denis Ryan, along with his four passengers entered the restricted space on May 28th, 2014, a situation that was captured on video. The tour guide was distracted by questions posed by the passengers when he unintentionally blew past the installment signs that states, “Warning, Military Installation”. The signs also indicate that punishment can result in up to one year imprisonment, as well as a five thousand dollar fine.
Less than two minutes after crossing the boundary a white, unmarked truck was on their tail, and Ryan stopped the vehicle immediately.
“A gentleman in full military garb gets out. The one on the passenger side, he had a fully automatic rifle.” Ryan accounts in an interview with Las Vegas Channel 8 News. The tourists, a mother and son from the East Coast, as well as a couple from the UK thought it was all part of an act.
The encroachment on the installation’s territory resulted in a $650 fine and a misdemeanor conviction for Ryan and all of his passengers. While the passengers were let off the hook for the mistake, Ryan was forced to pay his fines, as well as being banned from giving tours for the next couple years.
Another incident occurred in 2016 when two motorcyclists approached the back gate of the mysterious installation. A video was released on YouTube showing the confrontation between the installation guards and the motorcyclists. The video shows they were eventually released after being detained by the installation security.
While Denis Ryan would refer to these men as the “Men in Black” or the ‘camo dudes,’ these are a force of civilian contractors that conduct patrols around the base perimeter. The guards, who wear military style uniforms are alerted to intruders by sensors along the roads, are authorized to detain individuals while waiting on local law enforcement.
Glenn Campbell, who lives near the facility, and has researched Area 51 for more than ten years stated that, “According to signs at the border, use of deadly force is authorized. They can shoot you.”
The Department of Defense has not commented or confirmed who the contractor is that employs these ‘camo dudes’, but in 2002 they were employed by the URS Corporation, a company that was acquired by engineering company AECOM in 2014.
What will happen at the “Storm Area 51” event is still unclear, but the organizer doesn’t want people to actually storm the base, suggesting perhaps some other kind of event could happen in its place. Some have suggested music festivals or otherwise educational experiences. You better believe we’ll keep an eye on this story and extraterrestrials in general, so stay tuned to this channel every Monday through Thursday at 7pm.