Is Fiction a designed harbinger of new realities? Jul 6, 2009 22:45:45 GMT -5
Post by wallsocket on Jul 6, 2009 22:45:45 GMT -5
Close Encounters with the Pentagon
By Robbie Graham and Matthew Alford
June 23, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- For 60 years space aliens have left their mark on the Hollywood box-office in some of the most popular movies of all time, from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), E.T: The Extraterrestrial (1982) and Independence Day (1996), to the highly lucrative Monsters vs. Aliens (2009). The new Transformers sequel, Revenge of the Fallen (2009), is also poised for box-office glory this summer with its big-budget blend of eye-popping special effects, fan-fiction and UFO mythology. The most interesting aspects of the Transformers films, however, are evident not so much in celluloid form as they are behind the scenes – in a production process built around the close relationship between Hollywood, the United States military and a variety of government agencies. While the dryer details of this relationship have been relatively well documented, the curious tale of government involvement in Hollywood’s UFO movies represents a forgotten chapter in the history of American cinema.
Perception Management: Past and Present
Bizarrely – and for reasons not entirely clear – the U.S. government has taken a keen interest in Hollywood’s flying saucer movies since the early days of the phenomenon. Official efforts to debunk UFOs through media channels originated with the CIA-sponsored Robertson Panel which, in 1953, decided that public excitement about flying saucers should be actively discouraged. The panel recommended “That the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the Unidentified Flying Objects of the… aura of mystery they have unfortunately acquired,” and that this should “be accomplished by mass media such as television [and] motion pictures...” with specific reference to Walt Disney.i
Unambiguous evidence for the Robertson Panel's covert impact on media representations of UFOs is found in the CBS TV broadcast of UFOs: Friend, Foe, or Fantasy? (1966), a documentary narrated by Walter Cronkite. In a personal letter addressed to former Robertson Panel Secretary Frederick C. Durant, Dr Thornton Page confides that he “helped organize the CBS TV show around the Robertson Panel conclusions,”ii even though this was thirteen years later and despite the fact that he was personally sympathetic to the existence of flying saucers.
Government concern over, or involvement in, UFO movies continues to be evidenced in more modern Hollywood productions. Take, for example, the 1996 alien invasion blockbuster Independence Day, which, despite its proud championing of American values and leadership, was denied cooperation from the Department of Defense (DoD) due in large part to a plotline concerning Area 51 (a super-secret military facility in the Nevada desert long rumoured to be the testing ground for captured extraterrestrial technologies) and the so-called ‘Roswell Incident.’ The Pentagon specifically requested that “any government connection” to Area 51 or to Roswell be eliminated from the film – a request apparently based on the ridiculous assumption that both the Roswell Incident and Area 51 were not already known to half of America.iii
The DoD may have been unable to dictate script changes on Independence Day, but its involvement with both Transformers movies (2007 and 2009) was much more deep-rooted. The original film’s script is loaded with UFOlogical references and laboured rhetoric absolving the U.S. military of complicity in what turns out to be a massive cover-up of alien visitations. The finger is pointed instead at the quasi-governmental “Sector 7” which has been concealing its “Top Secret” alien research for decades within “special access projects” – and all without the knowledge and consent of a shocked and concerned Secretary of Defense.
The United States Air Force (USAF) provided Transformers director Michael Bay with hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars worth of state-of-the-art hardware for use in the 2007 movie, including the F-117 stealth fighter and – in its first ever Silver Screen appearance – the F-22 Raptor fighter. The DoD’s support for the Transformers sequel (2009) was no less enthusiastic as Bay was granted every benefit of the Pentagon’s coveted “full co-operation.”
Umm...wow, if you're interested in this kind of thing.