Exactly 180 days after President Joe Biden signed the bill, the UFO institute must be there. This is indicated in the amendment initially tabled by Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “It’s really historic,” says philosopher Taede Smedes, involved in ufomeldpunt.nl. “The UFO phenomenon is around seventy years old, but it is the first time that it has appeared in an official legal text.”
Last year, the US Department of Defense released its first official report on 144 UFO sightings – think of fighter pilots suddenly seeing bizarre moving dots with their infrared cameras. Of these observations, 143 remained unexplained. One turned out to be a deflating balloon.
The ‘Gillibrand Amendment’, as the legal text has become known in UFO circles, consists of a total of fifteen pages. The remainder of the law (two thousand pages) deals with how the United States finances and shapes its defense apparatus.
The new UFO institute must, among other things, professionalize the procedures surrounding UFO reports, investigate whether these UFOs are flying machines that have been developed by “hostile foreign governments”, consult with friendly countries and institutes such as NASA, and – most importantly – publish annually publicly available reports. . Incidentally, the amendment explicitly allows these reports to contain secret appendices that are only accessible to members of Congress. “Nevertheless, the text at least expresses the wish for greater openness,” says Smedes.
Part of the amendment which explicitly called for the participation of independent scientists was not incorporated into the final version. “We don’t know why, but I suspect that otherwise they should have given too many people the most secure access,” says Smedes.
The amendment also calls for research into new propulsion technologies that UFOs may have, health issues in people who have been in contact with UFOs, and UFO visits to nuclear facilities.
“In the chosen text and topics, you mainly see the wishlist of people who have been lobbying for more attention for UFOs for decades,” says UFO skeptic Pepijn van Erp of the Skepsis Foundation. While Van Erp says he’s not against researching the phenomenon in principle, he especially wonders if Congress is not exaggerating with this. “I think you could have spent the money better on all of this research.”
The adoption of the Gillibrand amendment follows a little less than a month after the Pentagon announced another, more modest research institute on the UFO phenomenon. This announcement aroused a great deal of suspicion among UFO enthusiasts. “This is a direct and blatant attempt to bypass and undermine the Senate,” wrote Luis Elizondo. at the time on Twitter. Elizondo is the former head of an originally secret and now defunct Pentagon UFO investigation program. He is now active as a producer of television programs on the UFO phenomenon.
He was much more enthusiastic about the new law. “It is a historic day for our country”, he wrote on wednesday evening after accepting the text. “Thank you to our brave members of Congress. You are heroes! ‘
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