UFO Roundtable Summer 2022 – Pope – Robbins – Hanks – Paranormal Podcast 740

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UFOs are everywhere in the news it seems and we have three of the greatest thinkers on the subject on this week’s edition of The Paranormal Podcast.

Nick Pope, Peter Robbins and Micah Hanks join us to discuss the latest developments and their expert opinions on where we are headed in relation to UFOs and UAPs!

We also discuss our upcoming Spring 2023 cruise. You can find more information HERE.

Thanks Nick, Peter and Micah!

-BetterHelp-

The Paranormal Podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. BetterHelp is professional therapy done securely online, available to people worldwide. They have a special offer for my listeners: get 10% off your first month at BetterHelp.com/jim

TRANSCRIPT

JIM HAROLD: What in the world is going on with all of the UFO news? We have an expert UFO roundtable to explain it to us today on the Paranormal Podcast.

[intro music]

This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.

JIM HAROLD: Welcome to the program today. I am Jim Harold, and so glad to be with you once again. From time to time, we like to do UFO roundtables. I find this subject so fascinating, and actually, it’s kind of fortuitous because today we’re going to be doing a roundtable with all people who’ve been on the program at one time or another, names that you’ll know who have been very involved with the program.

But we’re also talking about something very special. We’re doing an Ancient Alien Cruise in 2023, and everyone on the panel is an expert on UFOs and they’re all going to be on the cruise. We’re very, very excited. And we have a travel expert on the panel as well, Mike Migliore, who is the chief cook and bottlewasher at Holidaymaker Travel. We’re going to talk about all the exciting news in UFOs and UAPs.

We’ll just go around the horn; we’ve got Peter Robbins, longtime UFO researcher, expert, worked with Budd Hopkins, has made various books, and very, very accomplished indeed. It’s always great to check in with Peter.

Then next up is Micah Hanks, my friend. We co-hosted a podcast for years, the Paranormal Report. Of course, you can find him at micahhanks.com, and he’s also very involved in The Debrief.

And then, a gentleman we haven’t had a chance to speak to for quite a few years, but so glad to speak with him again, Nick Pope, who worked for the Ministry of Defense in the UK and is really the go-to guy when media wants to talk to somebody about UFOs. Chances are if you look at an article, Nick is in it. In fact, one I was looking at today, “Nick Pope says…” So we have the perfect guest.

And then, of course, we have Mike Migliore from Holidaymaker Travel. And a little later in the conversation we’re going to talk a little bit about this big cruise coming up next year with all these gentlemen, plus Nick Redfern, who could not join us today, but all these gentlemen will fill in nicely in absentia. But Nick will be on the cruise as well. Just a fascinating gentleman in and of himself.

Gentlemen, I’m tired from all those kudos, but they’re all well-deserved. Welcome to the program.

PETER ROBBINS: Glad to be here.

JIM HAROLD: There’s so much going on. It’s almost every day there’s something going on. Just recently, Congress voted to make disclosure of UFOs in terms of people who have seen them and sharing sightings – they just voted – I don’t believe it’s gone fully through yet – to make that easier for people. Do you think Congress is finally getting serious about UAPs and UFOs? I’ll ask Peter first.

PETER ROBBINS: Yes and no. Certainly more than they have in many, many years, but the information that’s coming to us is staged, I feel, on a certain level. It’s terribly exciting that they’re talking about it at all; however, it’s what they’re not talking about – anything even remotely exotic, whether it has to do with a crash or UFO abductions or anything related to that subject. It will be very interesting to see how it plays out.

What I find particularly interesting and healthy and welcome is that because of the decreased ridicule that has been attached to the subject for so many years, up until about five years ago, more and more people in public life, whether it’s politics, the media, science, academia, are now willing to come forward and put their thoughts on the line. And nowhere do we see that more healthily expressed than in Congress, where we have people that we would locate on the left or on the right coming together with great curiosity and a desire to see this very outmoded policy of UFO coverup revised, updated, and taking us into the 21st century.

JIM HAROLD: Micah, your thoughts?

MICAH HANKS: To build on what Peter is saying – and of course, in advance of commentary from one who has worked in government and looked at this and no doubt has that kind of unique perspective on these historic developments in recent days, it is, I think, hopeful. Yes, we obviously see lawmakers in Washington who are getting very interested in this. We’ve had recent legislation.

This was actually just sent to me by a colleague of mine in Washington, from House Resolution 8367, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023. Some of the language reads as follows: “For the period beginning on January 1st, 1947 and ending on the date of which the Controller General completes activities under this subsection: compile and itemize a complete historical record of the Intelligence Community’s involvement with unidentified airspace, undersea phenomena, including successful or unsuccessful efforts to identify and track unidentified aerospace or undersea phenomena, efforts to recover or transfer related technologies to United States-based industries or national laboratories,” etc., etc.

You note the year that they mention in that actual draft of the legislation, I believe a proposed amendment for this Act, we are celebrating right now the 75th anniversary of when the UFO story broke into public consciousness, 1947. Kenneth Arnold over Mount Rainier sees the strange objects flying across the sky, moving almost like saucers skipping across the water. A few weeks later we had something unusual crash out there at a remote ranch near Roswell, New Mexico.

Wherever you sit on these events, right now is a very historic time, just like it was 75 years ago when this was all going down. And obviously, lawmakers in Washington seem to want to know, how much do we know? How much have we collected? Is there really more than the public knows? Is there more than most in Washington, elected officials, know? Is there, in other words, a bureaucratic component within government that is the result of special access programs, black programs and what have you, that has managed to keep from public knowledge perhaps the most important thing that humanity has ever encountered?

All these questions have been and remain on the table. But final point, like Peter noted, there’s very little discussion about, for instance, sightings of humanoids that have been seen in association with these craft. We look back at 1973, another historic year. The multitude of sightings of landed craft, reported captures o abductions that occurred – there’s a lot more, a lot of nuances to this phenomenon.

But in the current dialogue, although it’s good to see these stigmas being removed and people warming up to really discussing it, a lot has yet to really break through. I think we need to start saying, great, we’re really making progress now, but we also need to look back at the full spectrum of the phenomena and try to understand those nuances, what this actually entails, and what we do with it. Because there’s one thing that’s very evident: It’s here, and it’s now.

JIM HAROLD: Nick, do you think that we’re seeing real progress here with the government and this congressional situation? Or do you think we’re seeing more lip service, maybe just slightly tuned?

NICK POPE: No, I think we are seeing a genuine desire from Congress, both in the Senate and the House and across a range of committees – mainly Armed Services Committees and Intelligence Committees, but some others, too, and the subcommittees – a real desire to grip this.

I think there’s a disconnect here in both the preliminary assessment of UAP published by ODI on June 25th, 2021, and in the recent congressional hearing. There’s a narrative being pushed that this all started in 2004 with the USS Nimitz Tic-Tac incident.

Yet as we saw from the question about the Malmstrom incident that was raised in congressional hearing, Congress aren’t buying this. They’re saying, “Wait a minute. This is a phenomenon with a 75-year-old backstory. Let’s hear some of this backstory. Let’s not pretend this started in 2004. What do we already know? Or what do we already suspect? What have we already found out about this in our files? Even if you don’t have a definitive answer, perhaps there’s data there.”

One of the good things about all this is that it’s not party political. So we’ve got people like Marco Rubio, Republican, Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat, coming together across the political divide in these polarized times, saying, “Whatever the true nature of the phenomenon, it is, as ODNI recognized in their assessment, an air safety threat and a potential national security challenge. And therefore, we, Congress, want answers.”

It’s quite confusing legislatively. As a Brit, I’m having to navigate all this, the difference between different versions of the legislation in the House and the Senate. The Senate version is stronger, by the way. My understanding is it’s likely that the strong wording in the Intelligence Authorization Act is likely to be rolled into the next National Defense Authorization Act, (i.e., for fiscal year 2023). So watch this space. Exciting times. Congress is gripping it, does want some answers, and rightly so.

JIM HAROLD: When you see this all framed in the media, for example, the mainstream media, a lot of times it’s framed “We’re worried because of national security reasons because of the potential of Russia and China.” And we know that particularly China has gained on the United States militarily. However, there seems to be, at least to me – and maybe I’m wrong as someone who does not live this every day like you all do, but it seems like, “It’s either a foreign enemy or it’s some of our technology. That whole ETH, the alien theory, that’s kind of out there. We’re not really that interested in that. But we’ve got to know if it’s Russia or China.”

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be paying attention to Russia and China, for example, because we know, or at least it seems like, the Chinese are ahead in things like hypersonic technology. My question is, do you think that even with the progress we’re seeing – and I think Peter was getting at this somewhat – that the ETH, the ET hypothesis is off the board? They’re really trying to say, “Eh, nothing to see here”? Do you all agree with that, or no?

PETER ROBBINS: I think there are elements within Congress, and certainly higher up – call them the secret keepers – who are hoping that is the narrative that will take hold. As Nick pointed out, there is this false start in the sense that everything commences in 2004, and everything before that is really “Nothing to see, folks. Pay attention to what the Navy is reporting in 2004.”

We use the word “national security” almost as easily as we breathe. For me, taking it back to 1947, where the secret keeping begins in earnest, it’s really a matter of national insecurity. The idea that individuals high up in the Truman administration were faced with a situation that was absolutely beyond their comprehension to a degree, and they pulled the wagons into a circle and settled on a policy of “It can’t be, therefore it isn’t; therefore, it must be something else, and our job from now on will be to explain it away with the assistance of a very willing media, to have a great deal of fun – wink, wink, nudge, nudge, flying saucers and little green men.”

That broke about five years ago, and I think one of the healthiest things that’s happening right now is that interest in what went on before 2004. That is where a lot of my primary interest is in terms of the work that I’m doing and talks I’m giving around the subject.

JIM HAROLD: So much wisdom here on our panel, and can’t wait to get back to more on our UFO/UAP discussion with our esteemed roundtable, right after this.

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You’re listening to the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.

JIM HAROLD: I’ll ask Nick this, having worked in government. I think there tends to be this feeling that there’s a monolith, “the” government. How compartmentalized are we talking about here? Is it possible that parts, for example, of the U.S. government know precisely what’s going on, and other parts are relatively oblivious? Is that a possibility that there are, as Peter said, secret keepers – people actively today in the U.S. government that know exactly what this is all about, and this is all high theater, but yet there are sincere people in government who want to find out what’s going on because they’re not part of that clique?

NICK POPE: Yes, it’s perfectly possible. The more highly classified and deeply compartmentalized the subject – any subject – is, the more opportunity there is for this sort of bureaucratic left hand/right hand, that somebody gets told to look into something, and unbeknownst to them, somebody else in a quiet little basement office somewhere is the subject matter expert and has the files and knows all about it.

And sometimes that’s within government and it’s a consequence of the fragmented nature, particularly of the U.S. Intelligence Community – but other times, related to that, the Intelligence Community can put additional distance between itself and the subject, whatever it may be, by putting something out into the private sector. I’ve done this myself for a number of things, back when I was working for the UK Ministry of Defense. Often you don’t even use a new contract, which might attract attention – though you can. But often you modify an existing contract, and you have this little add-on.

Then the whole subject, whatever it is, is transitioned out of government – which, I mean, obviously Congress does scrutinize the private sector, but it makes it more difficult because all the sorts of people who are looking for a program, like the Armed Services Committees and the Intelligence Committees, are looking in the wrong place. And of course, it’s an extra freedom of information exemption which you can then bring into play. So it’s absolutely possible. You see it in government all the time.

I just want to pick up on one point, though, and it’s a very important point. Again, it was in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence preliminary assessment. I think they were very clear: there’s no single neat solution to this mystery. When we talk about, is it Russian or Chinese drones? Could it be our own black project tech? Could it be extraterrestrial? These are not mutually exclusive possibilities.

JIM HAROLD: I think that’s an excellent point. I think sometimes we need to hold up a mirror to those of us who want to believe – not everything is aliens, necessarily. I mean, if you look historically at the sightings and so forth over the years, I’m sure that many of them at various times have been various black projects and U.S. military technology, and the technology of other people. And with the proliferation of drones, I think that’s even more so. But I think whatever camp you’re in, the people who are hardcore on either side lock on to one thing and say “That explains it all! Yeah, that was an SR-71 that somebody saw in 1971 in the sky. That explains it all!” As you said, it’s not that neat.

Micah, you recently wrote an article on the James Webb Space Telescope and have been doing writing over there on The Debrief, of course. A very important part of that site, you are. What do you think that this project specifically could mean for us in regard to these big questions?

MICAH HANK: Again, if I may, I’d like to back up actually and build on some of what Nick was saying and then take it in the direction of the James Webb Space Telescope, which is very apropos that we talk about that right now, of course, with some of the most stunning, stellar imagery we have ever seen now forthcoming and already just in these early days since its launch.

But with regard to the range of different things that the United States government and other world governments have been looking at and are currently trying to assess, this anomalous aerospace phenomena, known by many names – UAP has been the term that it’s been rebranded as – that preliminary assessment from the ODNI, Office of the Director of National Intelligence that came out last summer, as Nick pointed out, included several different categories into which they place these anomalous phenomena that are being observed. Some of which, if indeed there were better data collected on them, would not be anomalous, but they might be concerning if indeed they are foreign surveillance platforms being operated by an adversarial nation – Russia, China, etc.

If there were a non-state actor that were operating similar technologies, this could also be a concern because how, outside of government funding, has someone developed this? Who is developing that? What are their means, but also, what are their intentions?

My understanding with programs like, for instance, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, that informal initiative that was within the Pentagon, and also its predecessor, the AAWSAP program, that was actually operated out of the Defense Intelligence Agency, a combat support agency of the DoD. They definitely looked at what we would traditionally call UFOs. I still like that term “UFO” because people know what you’re talking about when you say that. You don’t have to give explanations. Historically we’ve always used that term; I still like to use it.

JIM HAROLD: One quick sidebar. I’m sorry to interrupt, Micah. It just occurred to me as you were talking about that’s the phase in vogue – why do you think it’s in vogue? Is it because “UFO” is so loaded and people consider it kooky? Or why do you think we’re now all using “UAP”? Why is it becoming the “in” phrase?

MICAH HANKS: Language is rich, especially the English language. Language changes over time; as human understanding evolves, our language, the ways that we verbally express concepts, also changes.

If you recall, we had foo fighters, and then we had ghost rockets, and then we had flying saucers, and then we had UFOs. But you can go all the way back to the late 1940s in early intelligence documentation, and you’ll see the use of expressions like “unidentified aerial phenomena,” I believe going all the way back to Sign and Grudge, the predecessors to the U.S. Air Force’s Project Blue Book. The point I’m making is there have been a lot of different times that have been applied to this.

The UK, of course, with Project Condign, began to refer to these more collectively as “UAP,” and that was borrowed by U.S. Intelligence when they began to look at this and rebrand this. But yes, I think they’re trying to overcome a stigma that they feel has been attributed to the “UFO” subject. And again, Edward Ruppelt was doing the same thing. “Flying saucers? They’re not all saucers. They’re not all discoid. These things have multiple different shapes; let’s have a better name for them.”

Getting back to the real quick point here, because I don’t want to take up too much time, it is important to point out that in that ODNI report last summer, we had all different kinds of possibilities, and there was very little attention put toward the “other” category. A lot of commentators in the media saying, “Very little in this report, and almost none of it talking about little green men and space aliens.” I’m like, folks, take a closer look at that “other” category. We’re talking about aircraft or objects that cannot be easily identified, but which possess a couple of novel characteristics.

One includes signature management. This is an electronic capability to lessen their ability to be detected. They also in some instances may represent objects or aircraft – obviously technologies, if there is an electromagnetic or electrooptical component to this, as has been described by military service-men and -women – but they also seem to have advanced capabilities of hyper-acceleration. Very quickly, they can stop on a dime, all these kinds of things.

Look, folks; if there are obviously technologies that exhibit those kinds of capabilities, we’re not talking about ball lightning. We’re not talking about weather balloons. What people missed from the ODNI report is that that very ambiguous-sounding “other” category is describing extremely advanced technologies that we apparently cannot identify.

As far as James Webb, we’ll just say this: as we peer further and further out there into space, and deeper and deeper back into time, we are now able to scour the edges of the universe and see 13.5 billion years ago and watch as galaxies are literally forming. At least, this is how it would’ve looked 13.5 billion years ago, as that light has now reached us and we can see it thanks to James Webb Space Telescope.

If there’s anything that we’re learning already, it’s that the universe is far more vast and complex than we ever thought. We’ve recently observed in the transit of an exoplanet, in the haze around that planet, oxygen and hydrogen clearly discernible through spectroscopy. 

The point, I think, is that we’re learning now that it’s not impossible that there could be life out there. There’s a complex universe. We need to be open to possibilities. Maybe some of those possibilities could also fall into that other category in the report from last summer.

JIM HAROLD: Nick, when we look at these investigations – NASA is opening their investigation, and we have all the other investigations. It’s about aerial sightings. We don’t hear much about the idea of people who claim to have actually seen beings, or had interactions with beings, or my goodness, been abducted. It seems like that is a bridge too far.

And I can understand, I guess, why that might not be the purview of something like the Air Force or something, but if beings are landing and interacting with people, I think it would be everybody’s problem, so to speak. Doesn’t the mainstream, in terms of the military and so forth, totally discount accounts of abductions, accounts of seeing beings? Isn’t that a nonstarter for them, and they’re not even going to entertain that?

NICK POPE: They’ll entertain it, but not publicly. I think it’s clear that there have always been, across government and across different nations that have looked at this, believers and skeptics involved with this. Some of the people involved with these programs are perfectly happy to look at the abduction data, for example. And the clues are there. When the DIA wrote to Congress about AATIP and AAWSAP and listed those 38 studies, one of them was looking at the so-called biological field effects. That’s probably as near as you’ll get. You’ve got to go down into the weeds for it.

But look, it’s small moves. These people in Congress, who for years weren’t going to touch this because it was toxic, are perfectly happy now to talk about national security threats, structured craft of unknown origin, speeds, maneuvers, accelerations, frame it in terms of potential threats and things. They’re not going to talk publicly about entity accounts. They might tiptoe around the edge of it, but they’re going to be much more comfortable talking about the pilot sightings, the radar operators, the Intelligence Community personnel talking about this.

We might get there, but let’s not run before we can walk, and let’s not walk before we can crawl.

JIM HAROLD: Peter, Nick’s remarks and the idea of entities and the government entertaining or not entertaining that possibility – what are your thoughts?

PETER ROBBINS: I think Nick is right on the money. We have to remember that those of us that are involved deeply, or to some degree deeply, have been schooled in this information, have seen – certainly for myself, in the years that I worked as Budd Hopkins’ assistant, arguably the pioneer researcher/investigator of human abduction by non-human beings, contact cases, etc. – I no longer have what I would term the luxury of disbelief.

However, I absolutely understand that as this subject opens up for a wider audience, an American audience, a worldview, the last thing that should be done is to overwhelm listeners and interested parties, especially those who have a potential of doing something here, like the aforementioned Senator Rubio and Gillibrand. One step at a time. It is overwhelming.

As my two colleagues and friends have been speaking, of course, little electric synapses go off for all of us – the term “UAP” for me is something of an effort to make the actual point of our subject a bit more ambiguous. An unidentified flying object is just that. Unidentified aerial phenomena can be a weather system or something more ambiguous.

Let’s also remember that when we talk about the UFO/UAP phenomena, what we’re focusing in on here is, to reduce it, hard metal machines of advanced technology under intelligent control, coming and going with impunity from this planet from other places, for time immemorial, for reasons we can only guess at. That is only a fragment, a portion of the greater subject as pioneered by such good minds as Dr. Jacques Vallee and John Keel, where they’re talking more about interdimensional aspects. There are theories of time travel.

We are dealing with a very big tent, and now that we finally have an opportunity to see something growing in the public realm, accompanied by this extraordinary reduction and people making fun of it – nobody likes to be ridiculed. It doesn’t matter if you’re a billionaire or presidential candidate or an astronomer working under contract for a university; you’re going to keep your mouth closed if you think this is a serious subject until recently. And when you open your mouth, you’re going to choose the right words to not make yourself seem too extreme, no matter what you’re actually seeing in evidence or understanding is the case.

JIM HAROLD: In other words, people in power know what we’re potentially talking about, but they’re not going to say it out loud.

PETER ROBBINS: At a certain level of power, yes.

JIM HAROLD: They’re going to possibly let the facts rise, but – someone said, I think it was Nick, let’s walk before we run.

Here’s another question. Peter, you totally stole my thunder, because I was going to ask about this. I think people who believe the accounts of the last 75 years and who believe there’s something to it, I think there’s a contingent who say “It’s aliens! That’s all it is. It’s all aliens!” They discount the idea of the other theories, the interdimensional theory, the time travel theory. I’m hoping to do an interview – an author just came out with a book on that particular subject, the idea that the aliens are us.

Micah, what are your thoughts on those alternate theories? Because again, I think “true believers” get locked into ETH all the time.

MICAH HANKS: Yeah, that’s true. I mentioned earlier that with regard to AATIP and programs like that, it’s pretty evident that they were looking at the more terrestrial concerns, and that in the spectrum of different things that were being analyzed, they happened to also encounter what seemed to be credible reports of things that didn’t seem to fall easily into the Russia or China camp. So I think we have to look at the government’s involvement right now in terms of they happen sometimes to collect information about UFOs.

Now, some might say they’re more actively involved than they’ve ever let on. But to your question about the possibilities, again, I do tend to look at – more so now maybe than years ago – what seem to be credible reports that describe technologies as being just that. These are probably some kind of technology. If we don’t want to jump to conclusions about what it is, we can just leave it at that. But it’s hard not to speculate sometimes.

Naturally, my mind, like those of many others, tends to go, could this be some sort of exotic technology? Maybe extraterrestrial, maybe something else. Now, what else could it be? Over the years, I’ve looked at a lot of different possibilities, and some of the fun ones people entertain, like you mentioned – time travel.

Years ago, I wrote a book that touched somewhat on that. Unfortunately, I think people mistook it for being a statement that UFOs are time travelers from the future. What I was trying to say actually is that there’s a very good chance that on Earth, as we are moving ever steadily toward the creation of autonomous thinking machines (i.e., artificial intelligence), any significantly advanced civilization, well in advance of ourselves, probably will have done the same thing. And there’s a very good chance, therefore, that any kind of meetings we have with another form of intelligence will not be biological organisms, but it will be the AI they’ve created.

I also further said that if we have supercomputers, superintelligences, thinking machines, they may actually perceive or could operate very differently from how we as biological organisms do and how we’ve evolved to perceive things like time. So there may be what I would call an atemporal component (i.e., something having to do with time) that a superintelligence from elsewhere might actually be capable of even manipulating to their advantage for travel, for who knows what else.

All that said, there are, I think, intelligent ways that we can incorporate the idea of alien AI, time travel, or even interdimensional components into this.

But going back into the history of this phenomena, very briefly, Jacques Vallee, who’s a luminary in this field – I’ve got a couple of his books sitting right over here, and I often revisit those. I love Jacques’ out-of-the-box thinking. I think that’s true even when I don’t always agree with his ideas, and the same can be said of another man who was just mentioned by Peter, but who gets far less attention these days. That’s John Keel. I would encourage everybody to go back and read Keel’s collected writings, which have been republished in recent years.

Keel back in the 1960s said, “I’m going to get to the bottom of this UFO thing.” He began in about 1966. He spent two years, seven days a week, collecting newspaper reports, sightings reports, interviewing witnesses, doing incredible work and analysis into this. I think that he, like a lot of people, started off saying, “These are probably aircraft of some kind.” He came away with a very different perspective, and that was why he and Vallee often complemented one another’s work, because they both came away from looking at it in different ways with a similar perspective.

This phenomenon at times appears to be, based on witness descriptions, far more complex than just objects being piloted by somebody or something from someplace else. I do think that there is merit to that idea, and we do need to take into consideration that our expectations about what we think a phenomenon might be shouldn’t hinder our progress in terms of looking at it objectively. And it very well may be far stranger than just little green men in flying saucers.

JIM HAROLD: I think about George Knapp and Colm Kelleher and their Skinwalker book, and what they call the hitchhiker effect. Essentially what would happen was somebody would be doing research on this subject and go home, and supposedly, paranormal stuff would start happening to them. Unfortunately, when you start talking like that, a lot of people say, “Okay, now we’re getting into koo-koo land.”

I’ll ask Nick, because coming from the government – how do you keep an open mind, but not drift off into a bridge too far, going too outside the scope? Or should we truly be open to everything?

NICK POPE: We should be open to everything, absolutely. If we’re looking at this, we must do so in a way that is not conclusion-led. Of course, you can’t jettison the problem of anthropocentrism, but that said, you can be science-minded in terms of going where the data take you. What you have to do, though, is compartmentalize it.

As I said before, you simply make the conscious decision that some things you can talk about wherever you’re sitting. If you’re in a government program, you can have all sorts of discussions in private, but be very careful what you put down on paper, and be very careful what you share publicly. I mean, not just because it’s classified, but because, as you say, you will begin to lose the room. Currently we have people’s attention with this, but you’ll lose the room if you go a bridge too far.

I must just pick up on this great point about AI, because I think the recent story that I’m sure has caught many of our minds here is the story of Google’s LaMDA program. Blake Lemoine, currently on administrative leave, of course, has claimed that LaMDA has become sentient.

It raises an interesting question. If we are in, as many believe, a partially or even largely post-biological universe, might it be that extraterrestrial life, if it is AI, if it’s machine intelligence – if you’re talking about first contact, wouldn’t it make more sense that first contact, “Take me to your leader,” would not be the president, or the secretary general of the United Nations, or a religious leader? It would be our emerging AI systems that may or may not be sentient. It’s a philosophy problem, in a way. Could you ever really be certain it was sentient as opposed to just mimicking sentience?

But it raises an interesting opportunity, and it goes to the point about thinking outside the box and trying to lose these anthropocentric ideas of “UFOs are just like our space probes, but more advanced, and there’s someone sitting in them.” If we think outside the box, I think it is something to contemplate. Intelligent AI systems coming to Earth and then reaching out to our AI systems.

People talk about UFO hotspots, and “Are they going to land on the White House lawn?” Well, no. What if they reach out to something like LaMDA?

JIM HAROLD: I’ve never thought about that. That’s why you’re on the panel and an expert, and I’m just asking questions. One last thing before we get to the cruise. I want to throw this out here, getting back to a conventional explanation.

For a long time, it was presumed that the United States was pretty much ahead in every category militarily. Speaking as an American, we had nothing to worry about. We dominated the skies. Everybody else was a distant second. But with the rise – people say China and Russia; I’m more concerned about China, frankly, although we’re seeing Russia do some pretty horrible things right now.

But in terms of catching the United States technologically, when we look at something like the Tic Tac video, do you think there’s any chance whatsoever something like that could be China, for example? Or do you think that those capacities are so far beyond what we know, at least, the U.S. has in its arsenal that it’s nonsensical to even consider it? I’ll start with Peter.

PETER ROBBINS: Anything is possible. And I think I have to agree with your point that the unlikelihood of the Tic Tac in particular being of Chinese origin for me is kind of a given. Let’s remember that we were observing extraordinary maneuvers, technology, behavior of objects that violated every law of our understanding of aerodynamics more than 70 years ago. Those weren’t Chinese. Those weren’t Russian. Those weren’t us.

Again, this need to go back from 2004 and create – I guess you could say a workable syllabus for leaders, and one that is built on a solid post-war framework. Even before the Freedom of Information Act, which came in under President Carter, there was a declassification process. I think it was every three years, seemingly sensitive documents would be reviewed, and after 12 years if they were considered of no defense significance, even if they were sensational, they would be quietly put in the National Archive. If unearthed, the agency involved would make no comment on it.

We have a very rich history of fully authentic, really rather shattering documentation that can lead us into creating again a path to educating leadership as well as regular folks to understanding that what we’re dealing with here goes all the way back. Yes, no question that a huge number, if not the great majority, of modern UFO sightings are in fact explainable as advanced technology, even if very exotic, that is ours, other individuals’. And that longing on the part of many people for it to be that one thing – ET – is emblematic of the wonderful mantra on the X-Files poster, “I want to believe.” That is where a number of people are stuck, and we understand it. It’s easy to romanticize this subject.

JIM HAROLD: Micah?

MICAH HANKS: Of course, there are so many complex factors that must be taken into consideration. If we distill this down to its finest essence, it seems to me very evident at this point that there is a phenomenon, one well worthy of studying. No matter what your pet theories about it may be or your perspectives on how it should be studied – although I do think, and this is mirroring something that Nick pointed out – we do need to try to maintain a scientific perspective and mindset.

I think that our language in terms of how we discuss this and how we frame this narrative as we especially move steadily toward broader public awareness, more activity in Washington, congressmen and -women becoming actively involved and legislating language in bills related to this phenomena – we do need to be responsible in how we talk about it. That’s a great point that Nick makes, and I couldn’t imagine more eloquent speakers talking to this point than he and Peter.

I think it’s very fundamental that, for instance, when we look at phenomena that occurs at places like Skinwalker Ranch – there’s a lot of discussion these days about werewolves and paranormal and things like these hitchhikers. My colleague Chrissy Newton and I were recently right there at the gate of Skinwalker. We spent a lot of time in the Uinta Basin, and I can tell you right now, whatever the phenomena is at that ranch, it doesn’t recognize property boundaries that are drawn by the folks there in the Uinta Basin. I’m sure it moves well beyond those and all throughout the area, and that much was indicated by the pioneering collection of UAP data by researcher Junior Hicks right there in the region, and then Frank Salisbury, PhD expounded on that as a scientist looking at that phenomenon.

The point I’m trying to make is that we should talk about that phenomena, but to me, when we see discussion about werewolves and poltergeists and Bigfoot-like creatures – I mean, I’m as interested in Sasquatch and that potential that there could be relict hominoids that have survived, perhaps as holdovers from earlier times. That interests me, too. But when we’re talking about UFOs or UAP, I think it’s very important that we ground the conversation to an extent and try to approach this topic as credibly as we possibly can – or, as Nick says, we’re going to lose the room.

So let’s talk about UAP. Let’s leave the pet theories at home, and let’s try to responsibly engage in this dialogue and bring it further to the attention of lawmakers, scientists, and others.

JIM HAROLD: And so of course I’ll continue to speculate. [laughs] No. Nick, back to the military question. Has China progressed so far that when we see these craft with these unbelievable capabilities that seemingly defeat the laws of physics, it could be of Chinese origin? Or is that just, again, another red herring that’s being thrown out there?

NICK POPE: I don’t think it’s a red herring, and I’m going to play devil’s advocate on this one because I don’t think we can or should rule out the possibility that the Tic Tac and some of the other things that we’ve seen are Chinese drones, or indeed, our own tech.

There are two reasons why I don’t think we can yet take that off the table. Reason number one is that we do not have all the data about the speeds, maneuvers, accelerations. We have a number of claims that have been made. We have some limited data from the head-up displays and things. But a lot of the claims that are made are not backed up the data, and part of that is a problem that every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. When we look, for example, at those three best-known U.S. Navy videos, we’re just seeing a snapshot of the middle. We don’t see how they got to that point, and we don’t see what happens afterwards. So we’re working off incomplete data.

The second reason we can’t take it off the table, the possibility that this is terrestrial tech, our own or adversarial, is that none of us sitting on this panel, sadly – myself included, of course – know what the current highest level of tech is because we’ve not read into those programs. Somebody, somewhere in government and in perhaps some of the big defense corporations knows the highest speed a drone can do because they’re in charge of some program that none of us know the name of or any details. But none of us here know what the operational ceiling is in terms of capabilities.

So if we’re saying, “This couldn’t be our own,” I think we’re kidding ourselves. We don’t know.

JIM HAROLD: Very interesting indeed. That’s why we like to have different people to offer different perspectives. All intelligent, all thoughtful, but smart people disagree all the time.

And a smart person who’s been very patient is Mike Migliore. He is the man at Holidaymaker Travel. The reason we’re all together is because next year, March 28th to April 2nd, 2023, we’ll be doing an Ancient Mysteries Cruise with myself, Nick Pope, Nick Redfern, Micah Hanks, Peter Robbins. Mike, I wanted to invite you on and have you speak to people a little bit about what this cruise is and how they can get aboard.

MIKE MIGLIORE: Sure, thanks, Jim. Yes, we are doing our sixth cruise, and this little discussion here makes me realize exactly why I started doing these in the first place – because now that you guys have been talking for 40 minutes, I’ve got questions. I’ve got a ton of questions about everything you guys have all mentioned there. Even if you go to a conference or something else and someone’s up there speaking and giving a presentation, you may get one question, you may get two. I’ve got more than that within 40 minutes here.

So being on the cruise gives everyone a chance to say hello and talk and talk afterwards, in much more relaxed settings. That’s what makes me want to do these things. Not only that, but the guests that join us, you can talk to them and they’re not going to give you the strange “deer in the headlights” look about talking about UFOs and UAPs, and Micah, werewolves and poltergeists and anything else.

So it’s a neat way to get together and talk about these things and still have a great time. It’s still on a cruise. The cruise itself is going to be fabulous. All kinds of entertainment, fabulous food. This is a brand new ship, I mean literally brand new. It’s not even sailing yet. It’s going through some sea trials right now, but in about three or four weeks it’ll be starting to do its maiden voyages. Wendy and I will be on it in October when it gets to the U.S. for a couple of days just for some travel agents to go onboard and see it and everything. So we can’t wait.

It’s similar to the same size ship as we were on on our previous cruises, but there’s less people on it. There’s more space, more areas to explore the ship, get away if you want, more people to show up there. It’s going to be a great cruise.

JIM HAROLD: The thing that I really – I think my favorite part, almost – I was on one of your cruises, and the attendees, the cruisers, you would have dinner with them on a regular basis. And just that interaction and getting to know people, and also having these fun conversations – it adds a whole different dimension rather than, as you said, just going to a conference where you’re sitting in an audience and you raise your hand politely. It really brings another dimension to it to break bread together and have these discussions. I love that aspect of it.

So the important thing, Mike, we need to know – okay, you’ve convinced us. We want to go on the cruise. How do we do such a thing?

MIKE MIGLIORE: It’s on our website, ancientaliencruise.com. All the information is in there. The agenda’s in there, the itinerary. There’s a reservation page. All of the price points are in there, the cabin types. And if you’re ready, there’s a small deposit that’s needed now, $150 per person, and that’ll reserve your cabin, confirm the rate, and the balance is not due until the end of the year. Let me just check on that; I just had that a second ago.

JIM HAROLD: That’s all right. That’s the nature of doing a live recording. Not a problem while you look that up. I will reiterate those dates while Mike is looking for that. March 28th to April 2nd, 2023. And again, that’s the Norwegian Prima. I’ve been on cruise ships, but never basically a brand new one, so that is a very cool aspect of this as well. You get the information, you get the interaction, but it’s still a cruise, which is cool in and of itself.

Have you come up with those dates, Mike?

MIKE MIGLIORE: Yep, the final payment is December 15th, and the cruise, again, March 28th to April 2nd. We’re going to depart out of New York Cit. it’s going got sail, we’ll have a day at sea where we’ll be doing some presentations and lectures and things. We’ll be in Bermuda for the day, overnight, the next day. It departs the next day, I think at 5 p.m. Another day at sea, more presentations, more Q&A sessions like this, and then it arrives back in New York City.

JIM HAROLD: Fantastic. We’re all looking forward to it. Everybody please check out ancientaliencruise.com. Mike, thanks to you and to Wendy, your lovely bride, for putting this together for us.

MIKE MIGLIORE: Sure.

JIM HAROLD: Ancientaliencruise.com. So gentlemen, I would like to close up with final thoughts – where we are, where we’re going, how you feel about it all. We’ll go around the horn and start with Peter.

PETER ROBBINS: You were thoughtful enough to introduce us as experts. I have to laugh because I think it’s an oxymoron. We’re experts no the unknown. There is some problem there. [laughs]

JIM HAROLD: That’s true.

PETER ROBBINS: The fact is, we know more than a lot of people do, but I remember years ago just laughing out loud, sitting by myself, realizing how little I actually know that I could bring into a court of law and prove or present empirically.

I think it’s fair to say we’re not alone in the universe; we are interacting as a species with probably a myriad of other intelligences – corporeal, interdimensional. Time travel for me pushes the realm of science fiction, but hell, this is our business, basically. [laughs] It’s my issue. It’s a terribly exciting time to be involved in this work, to be getting more involved in the work, and it’s nothing that is closed off to anyone.

I encourage everybody who is watching your show to begin to educate yourself more about this subject and to understand above all else, we are all in this together. I think most important, in a very terrestrial, human way is – as you noted earlier, Jim, in this country and certainly reflected around the world, we are at a very tenuous point in our relationships with each other nationally and internationally. We are more and more seeing each other based on politics, ethnicity, background, what have you, as the other, the enemy.

This subject and taking it seriously and understanding that we have much more in common with other beings in our species than we have separating us is one of the most positive aspects of UFO studies – and I think as important as the actual challenge of what is going on with them as well.

JIM HAROLD: Great points. Great points indeed. Micah, your thoughts?

MICAH HANKS: Yes indeed. As far as where we are, to try to give it the 70,000-foot perspective, it seems evident, as Peter points out, there is something very worthy of study here. To the points earlier about the much discussed 2004 Nimitz incident, I find that to be a unique case, as I think everyone does, but it’s not necessarily unlike past incidents involving these anomalous phenomena.

Why has it gotten so much attention? I think obviously the military component is a big part of that, the biggest part of it – the fact that it’s service-men and -women coming forward and saying, “We all experienced this. It was tracked on radar.” Significantly, a lot of people have said, “It’s curious to us that the Navy all of a sudden are the ones having these experiences.” I was talking about this with renowned astronomer and SETI Institute head astronomer Seth Shostak in recent days; he said, “I think the fact that Navy cameras captured these things says something more about the Navy cameras than the phenomena.” I would respectfully disagree, and Seth knows that.

JIM HAROLD: What about USOs?

MICAH HANKS: Yeah. The thing is, I think we have to take into consideration – and kudos to Ty Rogoway at The War Zone for pointing this out, being the first to my knowledge that did – what was happening with the Nimitz Carrier Group at that time back in 2004 is they only recently upgraded to the new Raytheon systems, the phased array radar systems that the USS Princeton was using. They also were employing the Raytheon ATFLIR targeting pod, which allowed them to track these objects more efficiently.

The big takeaway was, with this newly expanded capability and this highly advanced technology that was first implemented with that carrier group, among others, yeah, they started detecting things that my guess would be had been there all along, but just like after the Second World War, and during, when we began to implement radar systems and we’re like, “Oh, we’ve got something out here that we can’t identify,” we become more aware through the technology of the presence of something that I suspect has been here for a very long time.

We need to take those factors into consideration. There’s obviously the presence of something that we’re just now beginning to really get a handle on, and I think it’s incumbent upon us, given that the military happens to detect these things – but even when they do collect that data, a lot of it isn’t released to us. Well, hey, scientists, it’s now up to you. Let’s train our telescopes, as Avi Loeb and the Galileo Project are doing. Train them on the skies. Let’s try to study this phenomena.

Let’s look at the civilian data from Mark Rodeghier and the folks at the Center for UFO Studies, the organizations past and present, like MUFON, NICAP, and also a group I’m a part of, the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies. Let’s look at that civilian data and let’s try to collect and collate the best of it and say, okay, what have we got here? What are the potentials? And how do we continue to look at this and perhaps resolve this question going forward?

JIM HAROLD: Nick, your thoughts?

NICK POPE: This is an exciting time, absolutely, for anyone with an interest in this. I have sometimes used the phrase that this topic is transitioning – some people say it’s transitioned – from fringe to mainstream. I think it’s very interesting to see where we are now and to look forward and to ask ourselves where we will be by the time we all go on the cruise together.

Because by that time, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2023 will almost certainly have passed with some much more robust language in it and requirements for the military and the Intelligence Community. We will almost certainly have had more – certainly more closed classified briefings, but perhaps more public hearings, and certainly I think at least one more public report from, again, the ODNI folks and others. So that’s to look forward to.

I’m honored and privileged to actually be a research affiliate in Avi Loeb’s Galileo Project, so that is obviously going to go from strength to strength. We have the NASA study ramping up. We all listened, I’m sure, to the teleconference where David Spergel and others talked about what they’re going to do. It’s largely going to be looking at existing data. There were some intriguing hints about what those data might be. I think one that caught my eye was when former DNI John Radcliffe made a reference to satellite imagery of UAP in an interview a year or so ago.

And who knows? By the time we all go on the cruise, maybe it’ll be a moot point. Maybe James Webb will have picked up a technosignature, a Dyson sphere around Proxima Centauri and we’ll have gone to the next level of questions by then. Exciting times.

JIM HAROLD: For the purposes of this program, I’ll just go around the horn and ask everybody where folks can find all of your wisdom, all of your work. Nick Pope, we’ll start with you.

NICK POPE: My website is nickpope.net, and Twitter, which is the social media platform I mainly use, @NickPopeMOD.

JIM HAROLD: Very good. Micah Hanks, I know you’re in a lot of places. Where do we go?

MICAH HANKS: Micahhanks.com is my personal website, and you can learn about all my work there. But of course, I also encourage people to follow our reporting over there at thedebrief.org. We don’t just report on UAP, but it is a subject that comes up fairly frequently there, along with all the different developments we’re seeing right now in space, science, technology. Very exciting time to be living in.

JIM HAROLD: And Peter, where can we find all of your work?

PETER ROBBINS: On Twitter, @PeterRobbinsUFO. I post whatever is going on or updates on the subject in general on my Facebook page, and I would welcome your viewers to start to tune in to my weekly two-hour radio broadcast, which is on KGRA DB for digital broadcasting, kgradb.com. 729 in the evenings on Mondays. And you can find a lot of those shows on YouTube and also on Spreaker.com.

JIM HAROLD: Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us today, and to Mike Migliore for joining us to talk about the upcoming cruise next year. If you want more information on that, and to be able to sit with all of these gentlemen and mine their collective knowledge and enjoy the fun part of a cruise, go to ancientaliencruise.com. That is ancientaliencruise.com. And I’ll be there too, so hoping to see you there on the cruise.

Thank you so much for joining us this week on the Paranormal Podcast. We certainly appreciate it, and we will talk to you next time. Have a great week, everybody. Bye-bye.

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