Saturday, June 18, 2011

Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen

Jacobsen was on "The Daily Show" last week to flog her book. The purpose of which, I gather, is essentially to debunk both the so-called Roswell Incident and the idea that Area 51 was the home of non conventional, perhaps extraterrestrial aircraft, ala Bob Lazar. I certainly doubt she paid the slightest bit of attention to him or any of those intrepid video tapers who filmed odd lights in the night sky over Area 51 before the government bought up the surrounding mountain ranges and thereby extended for some 23 miles around the base the area of prohibited access. Nor, I suspect, would she give much credence to the film "Dreamland: Area 51" by Bruce Burgess.

"The 1996 documentary Dreamland directed by Bruce Burgess included an interview with a 71 year old mechanical engineer who claimed to be a former employee at Area 51 during the 1950s, working on a 'flying disc simulator' built to train US Pilots, based on a disc originating from a crashed extraterrestrial craft..."

I doubt Jacobsen interviewed this guy.

The fact is that her sources were all men who claimed to have worked at Area 51 in the 50's and 60's which is, as she explained, the limit of her research which never gets past the mid Sixties. None of them worked with exotic non-terrestrial craft, of course.

As Janet Maslin noted in The New York Times, “… the book is noteworthy for its author's dogged devotion to her research. Angry over being denied access to a research facility, she began talking to a security guard - who, it turned out, had worked at Area 51 and became one of her most valuable sources. And when it comes to EG&G, the secretive engineering company that plays a major role in the Area 51 story, she describes pressuring one unnamed EG&G employee persistently, no matter how hard he resisted.

'You don't want to know,' said this anonymous source, when grilled about the most nefarious part of Ms. Jacobsen's U.F.O. theory. She asked again. 'You don't know the half of it,' he replied, still stonewalling. And then, over lunch, she put a crouton on a plate and asked how the extent of her knowledge about the whole Area 51 story compared with the crouton-plate ratio.

Great news for ufologists: the still-untold truth, this man finally admitted, is bigger than the crouton. Bigger than the plate. To the delight of conspiracy fans everywhere, it remains bigger than the whole table."

So, to her credit she does include the crouton and the plate/table anecdote from an anonymous source who worked for military industrial contractor EG&G. Too bad this wasn't the big "untold" story she chose to pursue.