August 20, 2018 11:21 AM   Subscribe

In December, footage of UFOs taken from US military planes, officially declassified and approved for release by the US government, was published online by an organisation called To The Stars Academy. [...] The release of the footage may be strange, but the mechanism of its release is stranger still. To The Stars was founded by Tom DeLonge, who used to be the singer in the pop-punk band Blink-182.
"We Believe: There is sufficient credible evidence of unidentified aerial phenomena that proves exotic technologies exist that could revolutionize the human experience. We Will Create: Three synergistic divisions of Science (research), Aerospace (application) and Entertainment (storytelling). We Will Build: An accelerated path to transformative discoveries and technology applications and inspire global citizens through informative entertainment."
For those interested in engineering the space-time metric, beamed energy propulsion launch systems, Advanced Electrogravitic Propulsion, or simply "a vertically integrated business specializing in the licensing and creation of award-winning, original content", To The Stars* Academy of Arts & Science is seeking investors [pdf; value of alien technologies may fall as well as rise].

There are some other people involved, beyond DeLonge: a former Deputy Secretary of Defence for Intelligence; a former Advanced System Director for Lockheed Martin's "Skunk Works"; the former USG Director of programs to investigate unidentified aerial threats**; a former CIA intelligence officer; and various academics.

Oh, and possibly John Podesta in some way.

Aside from the LRB write-up, To The Stars has received astonishingly credulous coverage from the Huffington Post, slightly more cautious coverage from Rolling Stone, and an Op-Ed in the Washington Post ("The military keeps encountering UFOs. Why doesn’t the Pentagon care?") by Christopher Mellon ("Christopher Mellon served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. He is a private equity investor and an adviser to the To the Stars Academy for Arts and Science.")

Metabunk thread.

And, of course, declassified UFO footage from To The Stars Academy, with technical explanations: *Coincidentally, "To The Stars" is also the title of an L. Ron Hubbard novel.

**Luis Elizondo ran a $22 million dollar program at the Pentagon "largely funded at the request of Harry Reid" in which "[m]ost of the money went to an aerospace research company run by a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Mr. Reid’s, Robert Bigelow, who is currently working with NASA to produce expandable craft for humans to use in space." Politico also has a good article dealing with the links between the Pentagon program and To The Stars. Luis Elizondo TV appearances.
posted by chappell, ambrose (19 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
hmm. this song makes sense now, I guess
posted by knownassociate at 11:40 AM on August 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

What's My Space Age Again?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:53 AM on August 20, 2018 [12 favorites]

Looks like Theranos is getting some competition. Remember Theranos had William Perry (former Secretary of Defense), Henry Kissinger (former Secretary of State), Sam Nunn (former U.S. Senator), Bill Frist (former U.S. Senator and heart-transplant surgeon), Gary Roughead (Admiral, USN, retired), James Mattis (General, USMC), Richard Kovacevich (former Wells Fargo Chairman and CEO) and Riley Bechtel (chairman of the board and former CEO at Bechtel Group).
posted by Julianna Mckannis at 11:56 AM on August 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

That op-ed cracked me up when it was published. "Why doesn't the Pentagon care?" They don't care about your request, which isn't the same as not caring about the phenomenon. "We have no idea what’s behind these weird incidents..." You don't, which doesn't mean nobody does. "...because we’re not investigating." Maybe the Pentagon doesn't need to investigate.

There's an interesting conversation to be had about whether classified military technologies (aka UFOs) should be declassified for greater good. How many people's lives could be improved, how many world problems could be solved, if that information and those discoveries were revealed now instead of in 2048? In the past, when secrets were that why we're alive today, or is it why we're not much healthier and happier?
posted by cribcage at 12:03 PM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

On Joe Rogan's Podcast.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:03 PM on August 20, 2018

I want to believe.
posted by some loser at 12:13 PM on August 20, 2018

And, of course, declassified UFO footage from To The Stars Academy, with technical explanations:
Undated "GIMBAL" footage.
2004 USS NIMITZ UAP INCIDENT: FLIR1 footage, Commander David Fravor interview, pilot report.
2015 "GO FAST" footage.

That's...a little misleading? I clicked on the GO FAST link expecting technical explanations as in, like, the truth. Those links just go to the To The Stars page which is not a source of technical authority on anything, AFAIK.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:14 PM on August 20, 2018

^They tried to get an actual alien to comment on the "truth" of the video but unfortunately they did not respond to a request for an interview.
posted by some loser at 12:20 PM on August 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

Previously, shortly after the release of the footage.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 12:34 PM on August 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hey mom, there's something in the backroom
Hope it's not the creatures from above
You used to read me stories
As if my dreams were boring
We all know conspiracies are dumb
What if people knew that these were real
I'd leave my closet door open all night
I know the CIA would say
What you hear is all hearsay
I wish someone would tell me what was right
Up all night long
And there's something very wrong
And I know it must be late
Been gone since yesterday
I'm not like you guys
I'm not like you
I am still a skeptic, yes, you know me
Been best friends and will be till we die
I got an injection
Of fear from the abduction
My best friend thinks I'm just telling lies
Up all night long
And there's something very wrong
And I know it must be late
Been gone since yesterday
I'm not like you guys
I'm not like you
Dark and scary, ordinary
Explanation, information
Nice to know ya, paranoia
Where's my mother, biofather
Up all night long
And there's something very wrong
And I know it must be late
Been gone since yesterday
I'm not like you guys
Twelve majestic lies

I didn’t figure out the Majestic 12 reference until just now. Damn.
posted by gucci mane at 12:37 PM on August 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

That's...a little misleading?

Apologies! It wasn't intended to be, and I can assure you I'm not shilling for To The Stars.

As far as I know the Unidentified Flying Objects do actually remain Unidentified (I mean, assuming that the footage is genuine - but I haven't seen any suggestions to the contrary so far, and the GIMBAL footage also shows up in the NYT link given at the end of the post, but courtesy of US DoD rather than To The Stars. That lends credence to the idea that the videos are real; or at least that if they were faked, it was by the DoD and done to fuck with people - which of course is quite possible, see the LRB link.)

"Technical explanations" was supposed to describe the notes that To The Stars added, as in, "this number at the bottom of the screen is the speed of the object in knots", which I have no reason to doubt are correct.

And the post states that it's "declassified UFO footage from To The Stars Academy", so that's where the links point.

From my perspective, I find the human / organisational story behind To The Stars interesting - especially their media strategy - in fact, more interesting than the mystery of what's in the videos. Although I suppose it would be kind of funny if the existence of aliens was revealed by a group of grifters who seemed more interested in bilking investors and selling vanity published novels.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:42 PM on August 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

I gotcha, all good. I suppose I would parse what you're getting at as more "technical descriptions" as explanation implies that they have an answer to what the thing they are interested in is - but your context makes total sense and it may just be my own itchy hackles issues when it comes to the UFO community.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:46 PM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

As much as I'd like to believe Asshole Aliens were visiting to do pretty much nothing, I have never seen anything regarding a UFO to indicate it was anything more than some some secret government or military aircraft or whatever. Supposing there were visitng aliens, though, fuck em, what kind of assholes are they just creeping around?
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:57 PM on August 20, 2018

And that's exactly the challenge: moving the conversation away from little green men to a serious debate over whether these projects and their technologies should be secret. As long as groups like To the Stars allow loonies in their tent, they'll get painted with that brush—because of inertia, because it's the cliche, because it's the sexier and easier story. If even a single member of your group is talking about aliens, then your group is about aliens. That's perception.

It's a hard conversation, and I'm not convinced average Americans can have informed opinions about it. But as long as most Americans aren't even aware of the issue, there's zero chance anything will change. We'll still see the occasional leak—which, often, we'll be unable to distinguish from disinformation or craziness (John Lear, Bob Lazar, etc)—but the secrecy will remain.
posted by cribcage at 2:49 PM on August 20, 2018

"Weaponized" viral advertising for Raytheon, maker of the most advanced sensor pods on the market.
posted by glonous keming at 4:07 PM on August 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

My favorite oddball theory on military UFOs is that several sightings of "black triangles", in particular the large & silent variety, were actually sightings of NOSS satellite triplets orbiting by. People's brains just automatically fill in the gaps and it's hard not to see them as an object.
posted by traveler_ at 5:23 PM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Why are people ignoring the most obvious evidence of aliens: the gaps in Unicode. For instance, within Unicode's "plane 1" there is a gap within the "east asian scripts" area from around U+18B00 to U+1B000. I theorize that these 9,472 code points have already been allocated by a special committee within Unicode for representation of alien script. This allocation, requested by SECDEF, is kept secret by the Unicode committee and ISO/ECMA.

You can see the shadow of the alien presence in the so-called "emoji" region of unicode, too. U+1F6EF is supposedly unallocated but it is just one unicode character away from U+1F6F0, 🛰 Unicode Character 'SATELLITE' (U+1F6F0).

posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 6:46 PM on August 20, 2018 [7 favorites]

So I couldn't help but notice this is all from the same system: the Raytheon AN/ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR). Isn't it, uh, *extraordinary* that a mysterious fast moving objects was captured by the same instrument three times, and totally not the result of something wacky with said instrument?
posted by mobunited at 11:37 PM on August 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

YouTube links for the videos embedded in the OP's To The Stars Academy pages:posted by XMLicious at 8:18 AM on August 21, 2018

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