There are few stories that fascinate me as much as UFO’s (now commonly referred to as UAP’s – unidentified areal phenomenon).

I’ve spent entire weeks of my life researching alleged encounters, watching videos of strange craft, sifting through bullshit and insanity to find those rare little nuggets of legitimate, credible incidents, pondering questions cycling through my mind like they’re in a drying machine: what are these things? Where do they come from? And what on Earth are they doing here??

Some people would probably call me obsessed (my girlfriend, my co-workers, my friends and family just to name a few). And hell, maybe I am — there isn’t another mystery I’d do more to know the answers to, than the mystery of UFO’s here on Earth. I am dying waiting for some kind of government disclosure or cosmic event that sheds light on this dark mystery.

Which is exactly why, when the CIA’s unsealed archive of 2.2 million pages of UFO-documents became public last week, I was so grievously, depressingly disappointed. Here was more content than anyone in the UFO community knew what to do with, an archive of information that looked on its face like a goldmine… However the vast majority of it is absolute tabloid bullshit, mixed in with half-truths and largely irrelevant official documents. It’s a bunch of nonsense that’s not just muddying the waters of UFO-ology with “declassified” fantasy fiction and hearsay, but it’s also demeaning and delegitimizing it.

Whatever progress this subject has made over the last few years — between the NYT articles, the official corroboration of military videos, and the passage of law that will declassify UFO intel to congress by June 1st — it’s all undermined when official sources dump disinformation like this into the discourse. It’s counter-productive to real progress, which, is perhaps exactly the CIA’s goal.

The documents are full of exciting stories, fit for screenplays: tales of alien attackers, turning soldiers into stone pillars; depictions of “Universe Alphabets” used by aliens; descriptions of UFO flight characteristics; and accounts of crashing UFO’s exploding over Russian villages, and blowing out every window for miles. Stories that are truly sensational — and completely uncomfirmed. Stories that mainstream media and internet tabloid sites have nevertheless latched onto, and published as if they were gospel.

We’ll get to some of those stories. But first, some background: This document dump is the result of UFO-enthusiast and journalist John Greenewald Jr.’s tireless efforts to get real answers about UFOs. He has been pummeling the CIA with (literally) thousands of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for years. Attempting in vain, it seemed, to get them to unseal documents related to this mystery.

“It was like pulling teeth,” he told Vice in an email.

Eventually (if for no other reason to stop Greenewald’s incessant FOIA requests) the secretive spy agency compiled thousands of previously released files along with those that Greenewald was attempting to gain access to, mixed them all up and released the 2.2 million pages on a CD-ROM, which Greenewald purchased sometime in mid-2020.

Then on January 7th, he put the files up his website The Black Vault, free for anyone to download and comb through. And the internet and main-stream media jumped on it — pouncing on the story as if this was IT: disclosure. Declassification of the Truth about UFO’s, once and for all, for all the world to see.

Instead, however, the contents of those documents seem to be a school of red herring for the UFO community. Many of the reports, anecdotes and articles included in it are just reprints from old tabloid newspapers or unverified transcriptions of “official” conversations from decades ago.

One such article describes how a UFO visited an air force base in Russia. The flying saucer was shot at with a missile, which took it down not far from the base. When Russian soldiers arrived, they discovered five small beings with large heads and dark eyes, exiting the crashed saucer. The aliens then merged into a single ball of light, which grew in intensity and exploded.

The blast subsequently turned every exposed human being into… pillars of limestone.

This fantastic scene, like something out of a 1960’s sci-fi film, wasn’t from any official KGB or CIA report. No. This was an article that was originally published in the highly-reputable, and authoritative source, the Weekly World News out of Florida. Which Wikipedia describes as a “largely fictional newspaper.”

An example of the kinds of hard-hitting stories that the Weekly World News reports on… Image courtesy of Google.  

Or, what about the conversation between two Russian officials, one of whom briefly alludes to the 1991 Chernobyl fire during which a flying saucer allegedly visited the nuclear disaster site!?

Well, in the conversation, the official who suggests that as a possibility immediately follows it up with, “Frankly speaking, I do not believe in all that gibberish.”

No-where else in that communication do they mention UFO’s, flying saucers or alien encounters at all.

There’s also the list of alleged alien hieroglyphs, described as the “Universe Language” which look an awful lot like Norse runes mixed in with the Russian alphabet. However, this too, came from a Russian tabloid newspaper.

There are thousands of examples just like these, that sound incredible on their surface, but, upon closer examination, have less meat on their bones than the a-typical grey alien. By in large this document dump is full of mis-information, dis-information, made up stories, useless conversations and innocuous government nonsense.

As far as verifiable information on, evidence for, or legitimate explanations of UFOs go: there is nothing concrete in these files. They do nothing to further legitimate research into this mystery.

That’s not to say there isn’t anything interesting in them, though. There are certain instances where it seems like the CIA included an actual, important glimmer of Truth — but of course, it’s censored. In one such document, the assistant deputy director for science and technology was hand delivered some kind of physical evidence of UFO’s, which struck him profoundly.

However, whatever significance this memo may have had, and whatever decision the deputy director made as a result of the evidence he saw, is obscured by fat black CIA censorship bars blocking out the juicy details.

It's hard not to feel cynical and jaded by all this. John Greenewald worked insanely hard to get these documents unsealed by the CIA — and when they finally delivered, it’s just a bunch of hokey bullshit,unverified stories and 2nd/3rd hand descriptions of encounters. It looks more like psy-op dis-info meant to confuse and confuddle the public.

Which, after all, is what the CIA does best.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the CIA is trying to subtly hint to us that there is more truth in the tabloids than most believe — maybe K, from Men in Black was actually right, when he said that’s where you’ll find the real stories…

More likely, though, this document dump is a gigantic feint from the CIA — a smokescreen of tall tales and official documents, half-truths mixed in with outright lies — a Great red Herring. When has the CIA ever actually disclosed real government secrets because the public requested it? And why would they start now, with this massive document dump, on such a massive mystery?