As regular UFO features in local newspapers demonstrate, stories of little green men from other worlds are very popular. Mysterious tales of flying objects, crashing objects and people abducted by extra terrestrials determined to push the limits of anal probing can be found threaded through popular culture and media. It’s big business, a business that uses the tiniest grains of anecdotal evidence to fuel speculation and spectacular claims, and at the same time make a tidy income for those only too happy to cash in on the mythology.
Despite the famous ‘Roswell Incident‘ having been debunked for many years, writers are still drawn to repeat the myth that has grown around a concatenation of unrelated incidents in New Mexico, and suggest dark motives behind mysterious government forces allegedly working to conceal the ‘truth’ of Roswell’s past.
Today’s news, that the FBI had destroyed thousands of reports of alleged UFO incidents during the 1940s and 1950s, will no doubt feed into one of the core components of the alien visitation mythos: the theory that governments across the world are involved in a huge conspiracy to cover up visitation by beings from other worlds.
The breadth of such a conspiracy would be immense – tens or hundreds of thousands of people working in governments across the globe keeping a secret that would change our understanding of our place in the universe.
However, instead of a saucy conspiracy, the reality is much less glamorous. The FBI simply didn’t have the space to store the records, records which they admitted were of no interest.
Less X-Files, more crank files.
Nevertheless, we can look forward to the many UFO ‘believers’ out there implying that this is another example of a dirty tricks campaign orchestrated by shadowy government bodies to hide the ‘truth’ about UFOs.
For the FBI, the ‘truth’ isn’t out there. It’s in the trashcan, where it belongs.
I’m fond of taking snaps, particularly of South Shields in all its moods and I may post some of them here, but this thoroughly uncivil government, aided by an enthusiastic police force, is steadily eroding the freedom of photographers and criminalising an innocent pastime.
This Christmas story, of two photography enthusiasts in Accrington who fell foul of a plastic plod, a pathetic plod and a sergeant plod with something to prove. Taking photographs at Christmas events must be a fairly common activity across the country, but the police decided to give these two unfortunate victims of our growing paranoid state a really bad time, and left one of them with a punitive arrest and criminal record, and DNA on file for as long as the police see fit.
Their crime is becoming all too common – reasonably expecting that the police justify their demands for the hapless snappers’ name and addresses, and perhaps give a little respect and use a little common sense at the same time.
It seems that photography must now be on the terms of the police, not the citizenry they are supposed to serve.
It’s ironic that this criminalisation of amateur photographers is happening at a time when police forces across the country are introducing eye in the sky drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, (UAV for short) to keep an eye on the populace. Similar remote devices are used on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to target enemy combatants.
With 24 hour eye in the sky over our streets, the presumption behind these tools is that every citizen is a potential enemy combatant, someone somewhere is doing something criminal – perhaps even taking photographs without police consent.
It’s reminiscent of dystopian sci fi stories by Stephen King and Philip K Dick, with a bit of authoritarian Heinlein thrown in. Similarly dystopian cartoon character Judge Dredd described the future Mega City One as “800 million citizens, every one of them a potential perp”.
In Surveillance State Britain, the future is now.