- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, the sixth man ever to walk on the moon, has a message for all citizens of Earth: We are not alone.

“We are being visited,” the 79-year-old grandfatherly “spacefarer” told 100 or so UFOlogists gathered at a National Press Club conference called by the Paradigm Research Group (motto: “It’s not about lights in the sky; it’s about lies on the ground”).

“It is now time to put away this embargo of truth about the alien presence,” said the astronaut who made the longest moonwalk in history. “I call upon our government to open up … and become a part of this planetary community that is now trying to take our proper role as a spacefaring civilization.”

With a new, perhaps more intellectually curious president in the White House, UFOlogists say, the time is ripe for the United States to follow the lead of other nations and release all classified files about government interaction with extraterrestrial beings. In fact, PRG founder Stephen Bassett demands that the Obama administration dump the documents, and quick.

“If it does not disclose, by the end of May - this is not a threat or anything, you don’t threaten the United States government, they’re heavily armed … the PRG has an enormous and substantial network, and quite a bit of documentary evidence connected to this, particularly politically … and we are going to be extensively putting that out to the media, and we’re just going to make it as difficult on them as possible,” Mr. Bassett said.

If Mr. Obama refuses, Mr. Bassett said there’s a chance “above 50-50” that the United States could fall victim to another space gap, this time by being beaten by another nation more willing to finally admit “the extraterrestrial presence.”

“We will wake up and pick up The Washington Post or The Washington Times and the headline will read: ‘President [Nicolas] Sarkozy of France today will tell the French people about a confirmation of an extraterrestrial presence and provide evidence from defense military files.’ We will follow, and they will lead.”

Packed into the First Amendment Room on the 13th floor (UFOlogists are apparently not triskaidekaphobic), the conference featured a half-dozen experts - all but one titled “doctor.” Former U.S. Air Force Lt. Milton Torres entranced the audience with a firsthand account of his encounter with a UFO.

Flying over England on May 20, 1957, “I got this blob - it was not a blip, it was a blob” on his radar screen, big as an aircraft carrier, he said. “Then he took off at Mach 10,” something around 7,000 mph. The 77-year-old retired professor of civil engineering choked up as he retold how he was forbidden by a “spook” ever to speak of the incident, even to his father.

The incident came out in late 2008 when Britain declassified a batch of Ministry of Defense files on unidentified flying objects. “It was such a relief for them to let me know that I can talk about this,” he said between sobs.

Roger Leir, author, lecturer and “alien-implant researcher,” told the group that “multimillions” have been abducted worldwide, and some have been implanted with strange, tiny devices used to monitor or control.

Holding court afterward, the doctor said the devices are similar to how we humans “tag” animals. Tagging “about 15 percent of the species results in enough didactic knowledge to satisfy the curiosity of whoever put ‘em in.”

Cheryll Jones, a former CNN news anchor, said she was surprised when she first started attending UFO events. “I was expecting a lot of crazies, tinfoil hats and all,” she said with a laugh. “But I think we can all benefit from being a bit more curious. Look at the cattle mutilations. Maybe it’s the military, but I don’t know.”

Most, though, appeared to have come to see Mr. Mitchell. As perhaps the highest-profile claimant of alien visitation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology doctor in aeronautics and astronautics told the gathering the time will come when we have to get off this rock we call Earth.

“The sun will burn out in due course, and we have to be off this planet if our species is to survive,” he said. “At this point in human history on this planet, we’re now starting, and should be, to reach out beyond our planet and then beyond our solar system to find out what is really going on out there.”

After the press conference, Mr. Mitchell said he got involved because people with UFO encounters “figured I was reliable enough to carry their stories and not compromise them.”

“All of a sudden, when I began to realize the UFO phenomenon and alien visitation was real, I thought, ‘OK, we’re not alone in the universe.’ That’s pretty big news for we humans.”

Asked why there still is no definitive proof, he said: “We have that, it’s just that it’s been covered up and denied by the powers that be in our own government,” adding that “there’s a secret government” that may be run by the “military-industrial complex.”

“We’ve got to get to the bottom of this. It’s our place in the universe we’re talking about. We are really universal beings.” And as to whether his foray into UFOlogy is detracting from his reputation, he said, “Maybe I’m damaging it, but it doesn’t matter, because I know we’re right about this.”

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