Some UFO Researchers
Not Impressed With
Area 51 Photos
By Patrick Huyghe - Special to

In all the hoopla over the new Area 51 satellite images available on the Internet, those responsible for focusing the public's attention on the mystery base in the first place -- the UFO community -- have been largely ignored.
We've heard from the Pentagon denying ET participation in classified US military programs, but nary a word from anyone in the UFO community about the images that have been the talk of the nation lately (next to those of Elián González, of course).
Perhaps it's because most of those who began, or later fueled, the rumors that the super-secret Air Force test site actually hides alien technology have retreated into self-imposed obscurity. But not all.
Concentrating on broader issues
Glenn Campbell, for one, is still around, sort of.
It was Campbell who left his programmer's job in Boston in 1993 and moved to Rachel, NV to follow up on stories he had heard about the government's reverse engineering of alien technology at Area 51.
From a trailer in the desert, Campbell decried a land grab by the Air Force that was designed to eliminate viewing sites around the officially non-existent base. The media loved Campbell's witty "Desert Rat" newsletter and helpful "Area-51 Viewer's Guide" and flocked to Nevada in droves to see what all the fuss was about. Confrontations with Area 51's nasty Wackenhut security guards made good copy.
What does Campbell have to say about the new satellite photos?
"I am 'retired' from Area 51 research and don't have any opinions to share," he says. "I haven't even seen the new photos."
Campbell's reply, though unexpected, is not really surprising. He was always more anti-secrecy than pro-UFO, and once the Air Force admitted to the site's existence, Campbell moved on to "broader issues".
Missing data or ho-hum?
Some UFO buffs are intrigued by the new photos however.
One is John Greenwald Jr., who runs The Black Vault, a web site which archives thousands of government documents on UFOs and other subjects. "I think there are a lot of interesting things in the Area 51 images," he says, "including missing data which is rumored to be the location of S-4. I found some interesting structures, and I think this is definitely an interesting release. I don't think this is proof of ETs, but proof that the government can and will lie when they want to."
But most of the UFO community seems to have developed a rather ho-hum attitude toward the new photographs.
"It's much to do about nothing," says Peter Gersten of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy. "Whoever or whatever runs Area 51 wanted all that to be seen, probably a diversion and nothing of importance there anymore. I am sure they can monitor each satellite coming over and have the technology to relay false pictures back -- sort of a virtual Area 51."
(In a similar vein, Popular Mechanics suggested in 1997 that Area 51 was a has-been, and that all the really secret stuff had been moved to "Area 6413" in White Sands, Utah. UFO buffs insist there is no Area 6413.)
Twilight of the conspiracies
George Filer, author of the weekly Internet UFO newsletter known as 'Filer's Files', is not impressed either.
"I didn't see anything startling in the photos," he says. " I think most people know we have a classified facility for testing advanced aircraft at Groom Lake. It is very likely that some of those aircraft are circular in shape. There have been rumors of extraterrestrials in this areas [but] I have yet to see any proof. If I was operating a program along these lines, it seems logical to operate from less well known areas. I would be more excited if the satellite picked up a craft with characteristics of a UFO."
Anyway, Filer adds, "I can get much better pictures with my video camera mounted on a flying model aircraft."
In the end, what the pictures show probably isn't as important as what they mean.
"The interesting thing about the new pictures," says Dennis Stacy, editor of the MUFON UFO Journal from 1985-1997 (and my co-author on a new book called The Field Guide to UFOs), "is that they may well signal the beginning of the end for those who see a vast government conspiracy lurking behind the UFO phenomenon."
"If this increasingly Wired World -- as in the Internet and commercial civilian "spy" satellites -- tells us anything, it's that the power of a government or military/intelligence cabal to control anything is slowly slipping away. Almost all information is becoming virtually and rapidly accessible. If the government can no longer hide its hardware, it's only a matter of time before it will be unable to hide its software. There are too many observers -- remote and sentient -- on and above the planet now."
The morning after
Besides, the current photos don't show much, just some runways, hangars, living quarters, and maybe a little deceit here and there for those who have an eye for such things.
There are no alien craft parked in the sunlight or aliens scurrying about. Even one-meter resolution images aren't good enough to reveal that sort of conspiracy. For that, we'll need Russian satellites with x-ray capabilities or better.
Maybe next year.


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