From the May 2011 issue of the Socialist Standard
Saddam Hussein did not have any Weapons of Mass Destruction. But America has. Many. And stored all over the world, including in England. And, of course, in the United States itself, including the Nevada nuclear test site southwest of the Nellis Air Force Range, also known as Area 51 shown on old maps. Up to 1994, the Pentagon denied the existence of the so-called Dreamland base, although later that year the US Air Force (USAF) finally admitted to its existence. Even now, much of what goes on at “Area 51” is officially secret.
Area 51 was founded in 1954 as a secret base in which the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation could develop spy-planes, and other aircraft, for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Lockheed first developed, and constructed, the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft there. More than 55, in various versions, are known to have been built, according to Jeffrey Richelson in his The U.S. Intelligence Community (p.157).
On November 24, 1954, at a meeting with CIA chief Allen Dulles and other top officials, President Eisenhower gave approval for a programme to build 30 special high performance aircraft at a cost of $35 million. Richard Bissell, CIA Director of Plans, was given responsibility for the project. On August 8, the following year, the first plane, designated Utility-2 (or just U-2) made its official flight from the secret CIA facility at Groom Lake, Area 51, in Nevada. By 1956 the CIA deployed the first two U-2s from the RAF airbase at Lakenheath (American Espionage and the Soviet Target, Jeffrey Richelson, pp.140-142).
On October 29, 1956 the US Air Force awarded Lockheed a further contract to develop Weapons System 117L, later known as Pied Piper; and in 1958, Dulles and Bissell obtained Eisenhower’s approval to develop a follow-on aircraft to the U-2, the SR-71, also developed by Lockheed. By then Lockheed were well-established in Nevada, at Area 51.
UFOs and Aliens from Mars?
For decades, maps of a vast area beginning about 100 miles north of Las Vegas merely showed nothing more than barren desert. Yet there are roads, building, bunkers and a massive runway. And much more besides. There are within Area 51.
Public access to the area is strictly forbidden. One notice states: “Photography of this area is prohibited. 18 U.S.C. 795.” Another, ominously, says: “WARNING. Restricted Area. It is unlawful to enter this area without permission of the Installation Commander. See 21, Internal Security Act of 1950, U.S.C. 795. While on this Installation all personnel and the property under their control are subject to search. Use of deadly force authorized.” Indeed, trespassers have been arrested, put in leg-irons, strip-searched, heavily fined and even jailed for ignoring the warning signs.
Not surprisingly, ever since the Area 51 base was established, people reported seeing odd-looking objects in the sky. Rumours of alien spacecraft, and little grey or green men from Mars, abounded. At first, such claims were rubbished. There were no UFOs, they asserted. No little men.
In 1997, however, the CIA admitted that it had lied about alleged UFOs, particularly during the 1950s and 1960s. They weren’t from Mars or outer space but they did, and do, exist. To some extent, it probably suited the authorities for observers to imagine they had seen flying saucers from outer space.
The CIA Comes Clean
In a report, “The CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90”, published on the 3rd August 1997, the Agency admitted it had lied to the public about the real nature of UFOs, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s to preserve secrecy during the Cold War.
It admitted the validity of reports of hundreds of sightings from the public, aviation experts and pilots. Initially, they were supersonic spy planes such as the U-2 and Blackbird.
Said the report:
“More than half of all UFO reports from the late 1950s through the 1960s were accounted for by manned reconnaissance flights…
This led the Air Force to make misleading and deceptive statements to the public in order to allay public fears, and to protect an extraordinarily sensitive national security project.”
Commenting on the CIA report, the Guardian (4 August 1997) says:
“The planes were built at Area 51, or Dreamland base, in Nevada, whose existence the Pentagon still denies. The U-2s flew to more than 60,000 ft and the Blackbird to 80,000 ft.”
The CIA report added that the decision to paint the aircraft black, as well as with the Stealth bombers was, not just to camouflage them militarily, but to reduce UFO sightings. The report noted that, originally, the U-2s’ silver bodies “reflected the rays of the sun,” encouraging the sightings of “fiery objects.” At the time, and for years after, UFO fever became a huge obsession in the United States, notes the Guardian.
More recently UFOs were reported over Afghanistan and Pakistan. These, in fact, are unmanned drones. Although the CIA, or any other US government agency, is unlikely to admit it, it is more than likely that these pilotless aircraft, which have caused havoc, and killed and injured many people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, were also developed at the Area 51 site.
What a useless and destructive waste of natural resources!
Peter E. Newell