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Old 07-16-2019, 05:26 AM
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Question Area 51: what’s inside the secret military base?

Area 51: what’s inside the secret military base?
By: Gabriel Powers - The Week - 7-16-19

More than a million activists launch bid to search famed Nevada base for evidence of aliens.

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The infamous military test site is around 150 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada

The US Air Force has published a warning to the 1.2 million activists who have signed a petition in support of storming the notorious Area 51 military base, a point of significant interest for alien-obsessed conspiracy theorists.

In early July, the team behind a Facebook page dubbed “S***posting cause im in shambles” teamed up with a Twitch video game streamer named SmyleeKun to organise an event dubbed “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us”.

Vox reports that activists are being invited to fly out to Lincoln County, in Nevada, to storm the Area 51 facility, a highly classified base around 150 miles from Las Vegas.

As CNet notes, “no one really knows what the base is used for, though it's speculated to be a location for aircraft development, and as such Area 51 has become synonymous with alien conspiracies”.

Indeed, this week’s online campaign jokingly refers to such conspiracies, ending with the rallying cry: “Lets see them aliens”.

Vox reports that the campaign has “gained traction online for its absurdity”, but notes that some observers appear not to be aware that the event is “just a high-concept gag”.

The event description even suggests that if the participants “naruto run” towards the base - a reference to a specific style of running depicted in Japanese anime series Naruto- they will be able to “move faster than their bullets”.

Despite the obviously tongue-in-cheek blurb accompanying the petition, Air Force spokesperson Laura McAndrews has released a warning to potential trespassers. “[Area 51] is an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” she said. “The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”

For years after it was built by the CIA in 1955, Area 51 went mostly under the radar, save for the odd reported UFO sighting. But the top-secret base entered the popular lexicon in the late 1980s, when a man claiming to have worked at the installation said that the government was examining recovered alien spacecraft.

Here’s a look at the mysterious US military base and why it’s so famous:

How did interest in Area 51 begin?

Since at least the 1950s, much of the American public had been aware of a suspected US military installation in Nevada, yet the government did not acknowledge its existence, in what How Stuff Works describes as “one of the worst-kept secrets on the planet”.

It became a source of interest among conspiracy theorists in the 1950s and 60s amid growing reports of UFO sightings in the vicinity, none of which could be verified. As a result of this - and renewed interest in the famous Roswell incident in 1947 - belief began to grow that the US government was using the base to study alien spacecraft.

This speculation was fuelled by attempts by Washington to cover up the base; for decades, satellite imagery of the area was routinely deleted from government databases.

Encyclopaedia Britannica reports that the site soon “became known as Area 51, which was its designation on maps of the Atomic Energy Commission”.

Who is Bob Lazar?

In 1989, a man named Bob Lazar, who claimed to be a physicist who had worked for the US government, put Area 51 on the world map in an anonymous interview claiming that he’d studied captured alien technology at a site called S-4 near the desert test facility in Nevada.

At S-4 he claimed to work on UFOs with small alien seats that were made out of a material called element 115. He said nine discs “of extraterrestrial origin” were tested and studied. He also insisted that he had “no idea how the government got their hands on these spaceships and that his life had been threatened over this information”, says The Daily Beast.

In a documentary released late last year titled Bob Lazar: Area 51 and Flying Saucers, Lazar claims the FBI raided his lab. He said: “At the risk of sounding paranoid, I do always have a suspicion that someone is monitoring me – it’s something that is difficult to get out of my mind.”

Lazar’s main gripes with the US government are “consistent with the concerns he shared decades ago: that people are not just being robbed of the truth about extraterrestrial life, but of awesome technology that has the power to shift ‘the entire world economy’”, says the Daily Beast.

In the on-camera interview, Lazar describes how he recalls technology that produces and controls gravity, and uses it for propulsion. The American claims that this is a “reaction-less craft” and that instead of expelling something – like air or exhaust – it creates “a distortion in space and time in front of it, where space actually bends”.

Lazar says this technology couldn’t possibly have been human-made. “There’s another civilization in existence that’s intelligent that we know about, and we actually have artifacts from them,” he insists. “The science and the technology can change us dramatically.”

Crucially, in the documentary Lazar “stops short of claiming that he ever saw aliens at the site”, says the tech website Motherboard. He does say that the seats in the saucers were small and almost child-sized. There was a nickname for aliens around the facility: “the kids”, he added.

Asked whether it bothers him that he’s widely disbelieved, he says: “What else can I say? I have better things to do than come up with this. I could make up a better lie, but I have no motivation to lie.”

What happened in 2013?

In 2005 Jeffrey Richelson, of George Washington University’s National Security Archive, submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the US government to disclose the true nature of the Area 51 base. In 2013, Washington obliged.

Documents released as part of the request revealed that the area had been selected in 1955 by the CIA as a testing site for the Lockheed U-2, a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft.

Lockheed worked with the CIA to develop a plane that could fly at a high altitude and spy on other nations. The U-2 was a reconnaissance spy plane designed to fly at altitudes of 70,000 feet - more than 20,000 feet higher than commercial planes - and as a result may have been mistaken for a UFO during the 1950s.

Later, after the usefulness of the U-2 was threatened by ultra-high-altitude surface-to-air missiles built by the Soviet Union, Area 51 was used to develop other aircraft including the A-12 reconnaissance plane and the stealth fighter F-117 Nighthawk, Encyclopaedia Britannica adds.

In 2018, the US government finally lifted the ban on satellite imagery on Area 51, and it is available to view on Google Maps. However, Washington still refuses to disclose any information about the research currently being conducted inside the facility, citing national security concerns.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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