WATCH ONLINE, MOBILE, FREEVIEW 64, SKY 164, SKY GLASS 168, FREESAT 162 AND VIRGIN 216

Nick Pope on why UFOs are going mainstream

Alien spacecraft orbit earth

In this guest article, UFO researcher Nick Pope explains why UFOs are now getting more mainstream attention and how governments are keeping an eye on potential other-worldly threats.

UFOs: A New Beginning

A funny thing happened to the subject of UFOs – it went mainstream! Gone are the days when it was regarded as part-fringe, part-science fiction, and part-conspiracy theory. It’s now being treated as a defence and national security issue, discussed in the United States Congress, and attracting attention from the Head of NASA. What’s going on?

The answer is that over the past four years there have been a series of bombshell revelations that changed everything. Firstly, despite decades of denial, it was revealed that the Pentagon had been operating a research project called AATIP – Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. It looked at UFOs, though you’d never guess that from the title. Conspiracy theorists who suspected the US government was secretly studying the phenomenon had been right all along.

In parallel, three videos of UFOs were released, taken with infra-red cameras mounted on US Navy jets. One of the Navy pilots who encountered a UFO said he didn’t know what the object was, but then added: “I want to fly one!” 

These elite Top Guns fly cutting-edge military technology and are hard to impress, so that tells you something about the object he was chasing. UFO videos are hardly new, but these ones were confirmed as genuine by the US government, who put them on an official website and admitted that the objects remained unidentified.

US lawmakers were intrigued to learn about AATIP and the US Navy sightings, and a series of classified briefings followed. In the summer of 2021, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, headed by Avril Haines, published an intelligence assessment that sent shockwaves around the world. These intelligence officers are usually compiling top-secret dossiers on Russia or China, and yet here they were, writing up a report on UFOs. A nine-page version was made public, but a longer, classified version has been shown to a few people in Congress, mainly on the intelligence committees and the armed services committees.

In the latest twist, when Congress drafted the new defence bill, the legislation contained numerous clauses on UFOs, stating that the military and the intelligence community must work together to uncover the truth about these mystery objects. Perhaps understandably, given current world events, they’re particularly interested in things like UFO sightings over nuclear facilities. 

Brits are still being kept in the dark. The so-called ‘Special Relationship’ doesn’t seem to extend to UFOs, because the classified version of the US report on the phenomenon hasn’t been shared with the UK government. 

When I worked for the Ministry of Defence on the UFO issue I tried to open a dialogue with the Americans, but we were turned away, despite being aware that a small group in the US intelligence community was studying the phenomenon. The MoD axed its UFO project in 2009, and while I’ve been reliably informed that investigations continue, it’s going to be difficult if we don’t have access to the latest US intelligence. 

Outside the secret world of government, the scientific community is also taking UFOs seriously, after years of having either ignored or ridiculed the subject. Under the leadership of Avi Loeb – an astrophysics professor based at Harvard University – a multi-disciplinary group of scientists, academics and other experts have come together to look at UFO data, as well as searching for other evidence of extraterrestrial visitation.

Avi Loeb’s search for alien life comes at a time when NASA is sounding more and more positive on the subject. In an October 2021 interview, the head of NASA, Bill Nelson, went far further than the usual cautious speculation about finding microbial life, and said “Who am I to say that Planet Earth is the only location of a life form that is civilised and organised like ours?”

Is it a coincidence that the three people I’ve just mentioned – Avril Haines, Bill Nelson, and Avi Loeb – took part in a moderated discussion at Washington National Cathedral in November 2021, titled “Our Future in Space”? The event covered the space programme, the search for alien life, and UFOs. They were joined by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and David Wilkinson – a theologian who discussed the religious implications of discovering extraterrestrials! Are these people giving us clues? Might events like this be designed to prepare people for some imminent announcement? And might any of this have something to do with the James Webb Space Telescope, expected to produce sensational results later this year? What exactly might be revealed?

I remember the time when even scientists who believed in life ‘out there’ were dismissive of the idea that any of that life might be visiting us ‘down here’. But as we’ve seen, all that’s changed, and now it seems the authorities are blurring the lines, discussing the scientific search for alien life and UFOs in the same breath. UFOs have finally come in from the cold. They’re a respectable topic of conversation, covered seriously in the mainstream media, and discussed not just by fascinated members of the public, but by military pilots, spy chiefs, politicians and scientists. 

I don’t know what will happen next, but one thing’s for sure: there’s more to come. Watch this space!

Image credit: Extraordinary: The Revelations

Nick Pope worked for the Ministry of Defence for 21 years. From 1991 to 1994 he was posted to a division where his duties included researching and investigating the UFO phenomenon.