Truth: Out there?
April 9, 2009 11:19 AM   Subscribe

The mysteries of Area 51 revealed!
posted by mudpuppie (61 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
...or ARE they...?
posted by mudpuppie at 11:19 AM on April 9, 2009


I Don't Want To Believe.
posted by RussHy at 11:25 AM on April 9, 2009


Area 51 isn't the weirdest site by far.
posted by boo_radley at 11:26 AM on April 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Everyone knows that the really wacky shit happens at Area 52, anyway. 51 is for Art Bell wannabes that end up having to be rehydrated by guards at 51 who are really tired of having to go through all those security checks just to dole out bottled water to whackjobs.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:33 AM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


... and the things people thought were The Grays were actually just scrawny tech guys in augmented safety suits. Mysteries aren't much fun when everyone has seen what was supposed to be secret.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:36 AM on April 9, 2009


Trevor Paglen has done a lot of interesting work in this area including expeditions to Groom Lake and Tonopah.
posted by mlis at 11:36 AM on April 9, 2009


possibly i've seen too much...
posted by the aloha at 11:36 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did anyone who knew what Area 51 was ever publish the truth before? (Of course, only to be ignored by all sane people because there was no way to confirm)
posted by Anything at 11:39 AM on April 9, 2009


Everyone knows that the really wacky shit happens at Area 52, anyway.

Oh, how right you are.
posted by phatkitten at 11:41 AM on April 9, 2009


Did anyone who knew what Area 51 was ever publish the truth before?

And you think this is the truth now because...?
posted by dersins at 11:41 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


A keyword search brings up no mention of the top-secret OXCART or Area 51.

I guess she didn't check out the CIA FOIA site. Try putting in "oxcart" there and see what happens.

I'm not very impressed with National Archives lately. About 10 years ago I got a bunch of historical maps from there for a project I was working on, then when I re-requested a couple of years ago to find any updated maps they claimed their searches came up empty. Huh. I'm suspecting maybe the work is contracted out and/or they're putting in minimum effort.
posted by crapmatic at 11:42 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Area 51 on Google Maps (I think).
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:46 AM on April 9, 2009


So, yeah. Looks like there were UFOs at Area 51 all along. Just because they were of terrestrial origin doesn't change the fact that there really were crazy-ass things flying around out there and that the CIA falsified the official records. I'm willing to award the conspiracy theorists a point on this one.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:47 AM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Okay, so, the SR-71 was flown by the CIA out of Area 51... Wasn't this common knowledge before now?

I want to know more about XK-PLUTO... and anything else that might drop a hot reactor atop my braincase.
posted by Kikkoman at 11:48 AM on April 9, 2009


THERE'S NOTHING SECRET HERE SO KEEP OUT
posted by DU at 11:48 AM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Heh, I just spent some time yesterday reading up on the X-Files mythos for the last few seasons I skipped. These secrets are lame.

Also, the wikipedia pages for the stuff this article covers are pretty in depth and offer way more details, other than personal names, as this writer.
posted by Science! at 11:54 AM on April 9, 2009


NOBUDY CUMZ IN HEER - SEKRIT
posted by Spatch at 11:55 AM on April 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


DU: "THERE'S NOTHING SECRET HERE SO KEEP OUT"

Well that kind of facility isn't all that secret. What they're doing with them, more so.
posted by Science! at 11:55 AM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


As long as we're having a tin foil hat party!
posted by timsteil at 11:59 AM on April 9, 2009


My favorite Area 51 story is also one of my favorite trial-court stories. Employees who worked at Area 51 were getting sick, so they sued for information about what chemicals they might have been exposed to, so they could tell their doctors. The government said, "Sorry, we don't know what you're talking about. There is no Area 51." So the plaintiffs' lawyers drove up to what used to be called Freedom Ridge, a spot on public land that overlooked the base, and they took photos and came back into court. "Here. Call it whatever you like, here's the base we're talking about." (Of course, the government immediately closed public access to Freedom Ridge.)

But as far as conspiracy theories, Area 51 is old news. Like cockroaches scattering at light, most of the best theories lost traction when detailed satellite photos (and Google Earth) removed the shroud from Area 51. The current favorite theories are (1) an underground base near Dulce, Arizona which purportedly consists of a hundred or so underground levels, which may or may not be connected by tunnels to similar bases around the world, and is maintained as a joint project by the US government and aliens; and (2) an oddly persistent theory that the US government has built and maintained, for several decades, a massive and thriving installation on the moon.
posted by cribcage at 12:04 PM on April 9, 2009


We work in mysterious way in order to make things safe for Metafilterites. Example: at this place
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Detrick

we seem to be working "defensively" but...well, if they use bad stuff we also have bad stuff that we studied along the way.
posted by Postroad at 12:04 PM on April 9, 2009


for the Oxcart timeline
http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?s=a-12+oxcart&gwp=13
posted by Postroad at 12:08 PM on April 9, 2009


The reporter on this story is Annie Jacobsen - that's the same broad who freaked out on a plane because some Syrian musicians were on board.

I don't believe a word this wack-job says.
posted by Glarg at 12:08 PM on April 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


you mean to tell me that the simplest, most banal answer was the correct one? IMPOSSIBLE.
posted by whahappen?! at 12:11 PM on April 9, 2009


I always wanted to be a top-level military planner with a virtually unlimited "black" budget and a huge American desert to build whatever kind of crazy underground facility I could imagine. Also, does anyone have any idea what kind of "secret" next generation military planes are being tested/built in places like these now?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:16 PM on April 9, 2009


I have a feeling that Area 51 hasn't been relevant to anything involving national security for the better part of the past 20 years. Once it became an object of scrutiny for UFO aficionados, a right thinking base commander would have taken any secret project being staged there, moved them to a different facility, and turned the entire space that is Area 51 into a honeypot designed to collect and capture the attention of people who might actually take the time to dig and reveal something classified.

Hell, if it were me, I'd have done everything in my power to make sure that the mystique and allure of the place was overwhelming. I'd have every odd jet I could find dropping flares at strange times of the night, I'd set up tesla coils so that lightning would be visible from the ground on clear nights, I'd set up giant seismic thumpers just to make the ground vibrate once or twice a day.

Basically, I'd turn it into a Mecca for every conspiracy theorist in the world, just so that all they would ever do is try to figure out where those underground tunnels went, and completely fail to notice the experimental stealth jets we were working on a couple of hundred miles away on a different base.
posted by quin at 12:16 PM on April 9, 2009 [16 favorites]


I definitely see how this could be confused with a flying saucer.
posted by MythMaker at 12:18 PM on April 9, 2009


Also, the wikipedia pages for the stuff this article covers are pretty in depth and offer way more details, other than personal names, as this writer.

There are online resources that have thorough coverage of many of the topics in the article.

But the article is an good example of original reporting and contains several interesting and important first person accounts of flight test crashes, for example. I am sure Wikipedia and other online resources will cite the article soon.
posted by mlis at 12:20 PM on April 9, 2009


Counterintelligence agents walk among us. Trust no one.
posted by DU at 12:20 PM on April 9, 2009


I have a feeling that Area 51 hasn't been relevant to anything involving national security for the better part of the past 20 years.

Well, considering that they have daily shuttle flights to ferry workers there, I would think that they're working on something different than the general aerospace contractors working off of publicly scrutinized military bids. Most likely it's a small part of a larger project, such as a thrust nozzle or winglet or some such engineer's wet dream. That and alien mind control levitation sex.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:20 PM on April 9, 2009


oops, meant to say "daily shuttle flights".
posted by Burhanistan at 12:21 PM on April 9, 2009


Burhanistan: "I always wanted to be a top-level military planner with a virtually unlimited "black" budget and a huge American desert to build whatever kind of crazy underground facility I could imagine. Also, does anyone have any idea what kind of "secret" next generation military planes are being tested/built in places like these now?"

Well, the overall plan isn't secret, but the USMC wants to develop a space that could transport a small group of Marines anywhere in the world in a couple of hours. Upside: "Space Marine" is no longer a science fiction term. Downside: They let a engineer of the Osprey work on the program.
posted by Science! at 12:22 PM on April 9, 2009


Area 51 is lame. It's no Denver International Airport.

I believe they have since covered over the murals. Did I say covered over? I meant COVERED UP.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:24 PM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, does anyone have any idea what kind of "secret" next generation military planes are being tested/built in places like these now?

Don't know but after reading Paglen's books I came to the conclusion that there must be plenty of foreign intelligences services (friendly and hostile) operating in Las Vegas trying to find out.
posted by mlis at 12:24 PM on April 9, 2009


there must be plenty of foreign intelligences services (friendly and hostile) operating in Las Vegas trying to find out.
posted by MLIS at 3:24 PM on April 9


That explains all the Russian strippers.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:26 PM on April 9, 2009


their stories rival the most outrageous of rumors.

Really? quasi-secret spyplane missions vs. frozen space aliens and reversed-engineering of UFOs?
posted by stargell at 12:26 PM on April 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ixnay on the lienay indmay ontrolcay evitationlay exsay!

Loose lips sink ships.
posted by codswallop at 12:52 PM on April 9, 2009


Glarg: The reporter on this story is Annie Jacobsen - that's the same broad who freaked out on a plane because some Syrian musicians were on board.

Funny how the capsule bio at the end of the story boasts that she "sat for more than 500 interviews after she broke the story on terrorists probing commercial airliners."
posted by googly at 1:02 PM on April 9, 2009


It's not the quasi-secret spyplanes that are exciting. It's the secret-secret spyplanes that drive the kids wild.

The SR-71 Blackbird is 1960s tech, and the Stealth Bomber and Stealth Fighter is 1980s. Twenty years on, and they must have some really neat stuff cookin'.

Also, this is just the latest of "Oh, actually, this was the real story all along" stories to come out about Groom Lake. It would be more believable if it didn't keep changing once every five years.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:18 PM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Trevor has been investigating the military's secret worlds for a long time. I highly recommend his latest book, Blank Spots on the Map and his appearance last year on The Colbert Report.
posted by twsf at 1:40 PM on April 9, 2009


A bit more about the A-12.
posted by porpoise at 1:48 PM on April 9, 2009


I wonder what/if happened to the whole Aurora story. That seems more interesting than the Area 51 mythology.
posted by Harry at 1:54 PM on April 9, 2009


Also, does anyone have any idea what kind of "secret" next generation military planes are being tested/built in places like these now?

Yes. Yes I do. Don't bother contacting me for the schematics, I will contact you.
posted by deliquescent at 2:02 PM on April 9, 2009


Kelly Johnson was such a badass of aeronautical engineering. Surely, his mind still dreams of those howling, gleaming machines within some rust-less, mislabeled vat deep beneath the wastes of Nevada.
posted by Kikkoman at 2:17 PM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fucking awesome.
posted by slogger at 2:37 PM on April 9, 2009


A keyword search brings up no mention of the top-secret OXCART or Area 51.

A search on the entire Blue Book archives turns up no mention of Area 51?

What.
posted by rokusan at 2:57 PM on April 9, 2009


Wow. That DIA geocities page is some serious timecube-y shit, complete with references to the Rothschilds, Illuminati, and Skull & Bones. Even a (veiled) shout-out to returning to the gold standard. A veritable perfect storm of paranoid NWO idiocy.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 4:19 PM on April 9, 2009


Am I a bad person for wanting to have my hands on the strings of the secret government?
posted by Burhanistan at 5:36 PM on April 9, 2009


Also, does anyone have any idea what kind of "secret" next generation military planes are being tested/built in places like these now?

Word on the street is that the Air Force had a single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane that took off from a standard runway piggybacked on a B-52. But I can't really tell you where the street is or else...

Well, you know.
posted by vibrotronica at 6:41 PM on April 9, 2009


but what about all the anal probes.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 9:22 PM on April 9, 2009


I took the wrong bus and ended up at Area 51A.
posted by arse_hat at 9:23 PM on April 9, 2009



posted by mulligan at 10:11 PM on April 9, 2009


oh no, it is all happening again!

posted by mulligan at 10:19 PM on April 9, 2009


bah, i forgot img is not available. Sorry
posted by mulligan at 10:20 PM on April 9, 2009


There is no Area 51. That number has 3 and 17 as prime factors, and Waterhouse would never allow that - Rudy von Hacklheber would immediately see through that.
posted by DreamerFi at 12:53 AM on April 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


I worked for an engineering firm that did... something... at Area 51. I was hired to set up automated billing systems for existing contracts, except for a few that were old and near closing and one that I didn't have security clearance for. I think we had an embedded Accountant in the facility who did the billing and cost analysis because nothing but the grand totals of cost and profit ever came out of the beancounting blackhole. I didn't even know who we sent the bills to.

When I saw the reference to Francis Gary Powers I suffered an attack of penicillin-resistant nostalgia "(serious conspiracy fodder)".
posted by wendell at 1:42 AM on April 10, 2009


Am I the only one tickled by the fact that an ex Area 51 employee should be interviewed by a magazine called "What Plane?"?
posted by run"monty at 4:44 AM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The key here is not the absense of flying saucers. It's the lengths that the CIA would go through to keep these things secrets, down to forcing citizens to sign NDAs (would those hold up in court? they were probably signed under duress) and drugging their own pilots.

The troubling thing about Area 51 is not the suspicion that the federal government would hide knowledge of extraterrestrial life from its citizens, but that it reveals how far the culture of secrecy has progressed in the U.S., to the point where we regularly have pop cultural depictions of "men in black," who don't necessarily have anything to do with flying saucers but are just generic "spooks," and who apparently, somehow, have great extra-Constitutional power to mess with people's lives. And no one questions those depictions. Sometimes they are even viewed sympathetically.
posted by JHarris at 11:02 AM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, I had no idea the Denver airport was so weird.
posted by sweetmarie at 11:47 AM on April 10, 2009


We regularly have pop cultural depictions of "men in black," who don't necessarily have anything to do with flying saucers but are just generic "spooks"... and no one questions those depictions. Sometimes they are even viewed sympathetically.

In his defense, Fresh Prince looks damn good in a suit.
posted by rokusan at 5:41 PM on April 11, 2009


Wow, I had no idea the Denver airport was so weird.

That's nothing. Have you heard about the giant blue devil horse statue outside the airport? It killed a guy. (The sculptor.)

Probably a cool FPP in there somewhere.
posted by Mid at 6:25 PM on April 11, 2009


« Older Dave Arneson...  |  This was fake.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments