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Vinay Menon: Now that ‘60 Minutes’ has climbed aboard the UFO mother ship, it’s time for skeptics to eject

Vinay Menon: Now that ‘60 Minutes’ has climbed aboard the UFO mother ship, it’s time for skeptics to eject
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When it comes to UFOs, the skeptics are now the kooks.

It’s a fascinating inversion. For decades, those who so much as asked questions about the mysterious objects witnessed in the skies throughout recorded history and on every continent, were ridiculed as the lunatics. UFOs were in the cultural taxonomy of ghosts, psychics, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. To even mention Roswell or Barney and Betty Hill in junior high, I can tell you with some personal certainty, was a sure way to get stuffed into your locker after a gangbang of noogies and Charlie horses.

I wish Grade 7 me, sitting alone with a tuna sandwich at lunch, could see what’s happening now.

The New Yorker recently published a lengthy feature titled, “How the Pentagon Started Taking UFOs Seriously.” It’s worth your time. This past weekend, “60 Minutes” broadcast a story about the “unsettling” experiences of two former U.S. Navy pilots, David Fravor and Alex Dietrich.

In 2004, during training exercises with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group off the coast of San Diego, the two pilots — along with the weapons system officers in the back of both F/A-18F fighter jets — were diverted to investigate a mysterious blip on radar. It was a pristine day. But they noticed a disturbance in the otherwise tranquil Pacific, a cross-shaped object the size of a Boeing 737 just below the surface that was generating whitewater crests. Then they observed a “Tic Tac” shaped craft. It violated our laws of aerodynamics. Whatever this was, it had no visible form of propulsion, no rotors, no wings, no exhaust. At one point, it all but vanished, going from a hover to a rate of velocity that would have created enough G-force to turn a human into a seat puddle of Quaker Oats. On “60 Minutes,” another pilot said UFO sightings by military personnel now occur every day over restricted airspace at Virginia Beach. Every. Day.

Then there is the tireless work of filmmaker Jeremy Corbell, who is now to ufology as Daniel Ellsberg was to the Pentagon Papers. A few days ago, Corbell obtained and shared footage of an “advanced transmedium vehicle” filmed by the U.S. Navy in 2019. It shows a spherical craft closing in on a military ship before plunging into the ocean. I am increasingly disturbed by how often UFO sightings now have an aquatic start or end point. From SETI on down, we earthlings have spent a fortune searching for extraterrestrials by scouring the universe for radio signals. What we should be doing is strong-arming Elon Musk into creating next generation sonar so we can start scanning our ocean depths.

That’s where the UFOs seem to be hiding out these days.

But here’s what should give pause to the skeptics, a ragtag posse of know-it-alls who actually know nothing. As with previous videos — code-named “FLIR,” “GIMBAL,” “GOFAST” — that gained global prominence after a 2017 blockbuster in the New York Times, the Pentagon confirmed the authenticity of what Corbell shared this month. Whatever that transmedium vehicle was, wherever it comes from and whatever it’s up to, remains unknown. But it’s real. Period.

After Decades of Denial, we are now in a Golden Age of Disclosure. In Canada last year during the pandemic, according to Ufology Research, sightings increased by 46 per cent. Honest number-crunching, based on macro data from about 1947, suggests more than 90 per cent of these reports will have a terrestrial explanation. But here’s the thing: the other 10 per cent are no longer automatically banished to the pages of the National Enquirer.

UFOs are now undeniable. UFOs are no longer a punch line.

Forget UFOs. The only acronym skeptics should now embrace is STFU.

Seriously. STFU. Enough. We’ve crossed a tipping point in which the balance of credibility has shifted from the doubters to the eyewitnesses. People like Fravor and Dietrich, interviewed by “60 Minutes,” are not country bumpkins who think they spotted a flying saucer over the cow pasture after their ninth Jack and coke. These are highly trained observers entrusted in the cockpits of aircraft that cost more than the combined value of every house on your street. After Sept. 11, for crying out loud, Fravor was tasked with protecting L.A. This dude is rock solid.
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