Statins, UFOs, Power, and Secrets
"Put no trust in princes." — Psalm 146:3
Trust is important in many arenas in life, especially in family and friendships. But it can also get us in trouble.
If we know, for example, that an individual, corporation, government agency, or other type of group either habitually keeps secrets or has a strong interest, whether political or financial, in other people believing a certain thing, we should remain skeptical. Of course, we must always act on the evidence we have available.
An op-ed in today's New York Times fails to do that. In a piece entitled Unidentified Flying Threats, Nick Pope, who led UFO investigations for the British Ministry of Defense from 1991-1994, argues that the US government should resume investigating UFOs. He cites the recent example of a November 7, 2006 sighting of a disc-shaped aircraft that hovered over the tarmac at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago for ten minutes that the Federal Aviation Administration failed to investigate simply because it did not pick up anything on radar -- a dubious explanation since many aircrafts are designed not to be picked up on radar.
What is strange about the op-ed is that the author takes the government's position on UFOs at face value, never even questioning that the government (or certain agencies within the government) might know more about these UFOs than it is letting on.
While the governments of Britain and France have continued to investigate UFOs, the United States stopped all such investigations in 1969. The author alleges that the "healthy skepticism" of UFOs has led Americans to dismiss sitings of unidentified aircrafts, a weakness that he says "could be exploited by terrorists or anyone seeking to engage in espionage against the United States." He further suggests that the failure to investigate such incidences results from a fear that doing so would constitute an admission that "the country has suddenly started believing in little green men."
Let's make an analogy here. Statin manufacturers and their advocates allege that statins do not cause cancer in humans like they do in animal models. The only two trials that looked at skin cancer, the type that develops most rapidly, showed increases. The PROSPER trial used elderly subjects, in whom cancer is much more likely to arise, and found a substantial increase in a wide range of cancers. Most statin trials since then, however, have used middle aged subjects.
Do we conclude from this that the manufacturers stopped investigating the effects in elderly people because they thought there was no need to? Do we believe that they stopped these investigations because the efficacy and safety of these drugs in the elderly had been so well-proven that it was as absurd to do more tests as it was to admit one believed in little green men from the non-planet pluto?
A more reasonable interpretation is that the statin manufacturers did not want the public to see what the tests would show.
Let's take an example from within our government. The film The Money Masters describes how the private banks conspired to create a monopoly on the nation's money supply by establishing the privately owned Federal Reserve system in 1913. Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt confiscated the gold from the nation's citizens and held it under high security at Fort Knox, federal law has required a yearly audit of the nation's gold reserves. Nevertheless, such an audit has not been performed since President Eisenhower ordered one in 1953!
Why? Because congressmen and presidents ever since have considered it utterly absurd that anything could possibly have happened to the gold? Because they considered it so ludicrous that the amount of gold at Fort Knox may have gone up by one ounce or down by once ounce that performing an audit as required by federal law would constitute a plea of insanity so great that it would be like one were to admit believing in the impending invasion of monsters from outer space?
Hardly. A more plausible explanation is that the government -- or some committee within the government or some group of people who exert a powerful influence on the government or such a committee within it -- does not want the public to know what such an audit would uncover.
In fact, the 1982 Gold Commission that President Reagan put together to investigate a possible return to the gold standard concluded that the Federal Government no longer owned any gold at all! Its ownership had all been transferred to the Federal Reserve (a cartel of private banks with a government-granted monopoly on our money supply) as collateral against the national debt!
This, of course, raises serious questions about what happened to the physical location of the nation's gold, and whether it was transferred into private hands just before President Nixon reversed FDR's ban on the private ownership of gold, allowing the sale of gold to the American people and causing the price of gold to skyrocket.
Now, let's return to the subject of UFOs. Is it true that the government is afraid to admit belief in aliens? Hardly. According to NASA, it launched the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program in the 1960s and in 1992 expanded it to a much more intensive level. Although Congress canceled the program less than a year later, NASA states that it is still investigating the possibility of life from other planets:
NASA is still very much interested in astrobiology and the question of whether or not we are alone has been adopted by the NASA Origins program.
So, clearly the government did not stop believing in "little green men" in 1969.
But Pope is not alleging that UFOs necessarily indicate the presence of alien life. They could be, he writes, aircrafts led by other governments or terrorists who want to commit espionage against the United States.
But why, we must ask, could not these aircrafts also belong to the United States military itself? Does he honestly think the fact that these aircrafts could be real, yet not belong to little green men, did not occur to the Federal Aviation Administration? Can the FAA really be ignorant of the fact that there exist aircrafts that dodge detection by radar? Of course not.
Maybe these sightings are aliens, maybe they are aircrafts led by foreign governments, or maybe they are illusions created by weather patterns, or group hallucinations. I have no idea. What I find strange -- and dangerous -- is that the government position on why it does not investigate UFOs would simply be taken at face value — no questions asked.