Anthony Lappé is a New York-based showrunner, director and investigative journalist and was a producer on History Channel’s upcoming docu-series, “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation.” He was a guest today on “Podcast UFO.” Watch/listen at the YouTube link above.
Below are my notes from the show. And if I thought it was important, I transcribed it. As you’ll see, most off it was important! And below that are my note from Lappé’s appearance on “Open Minds UFO Radio” with Alejandro Rojas.
Podcast UFO Notes…
“Unidentified” wasn’t AL’s brainchild.
He’s an independent filmmaker, and television producer.
History Channel had been talking to Lue Elizondo, Tom DeLonge and Chris Mellon for a little while after the New York Times article came out in December of 2017. Folks at History were just very excited about figuring out a way to do a show with them. And AL was brought on in the spring of last year. They had exclusive access to everything that TTSA were doing over this past year.
It has to have been the most fascinating, mind-blowing project I’ve ever worked on. It was absolutely incredible.
After working on the show, I definitely have many more questions than I have answers. We’re trying to reinvent the genre of UFO television. Other shows come in with a pre-conceived notion of what these things are. That they’re somehow extraterrestrial and they leave out countervailing information.
“Unidentified” takes a cold look at what these military witnesses are seeing. And that alone is gonna blow your mind.
He mentions the Navy’s new guidelines for pilots and others to report their UFO encounters. That Navy guideline is a tacit admission that what these pilots are seeing are not U.S. military. Once you rule out that it’s U.S. military, you’re really only left with only one plausible explanation: It’s either a foreign adversary or maybe an ally. But for anyone who knows anything about propulsion and recent advancements in aircraft and where the Russians and Chinese are, it’s very hard to square that circle.
What “Unidentified,” does is look at all this test cases and try to talk about them in a very investigative way and hear directly from the pilots, radar operators and others. And then let the viewers make up their own minds about what they could be.
Martin Willis: We’ve said many times on the show that if somebody tells you they know what these things are, run away. (I agree! ~Joe) MW says he thinks our government covers up this subject because they don’t know what it is.
AL: I’ve reported on the government for many years. In particular, law enforcement and intelligence agencies. And people need to understand that there is no such thing as the U.S. government. Just in the intelligence world alone you have 17 different intelligence agencies.
He thinks that the Navy announcement shows us that they don’t have answers at hand. And that’s the significance of these two major pillars in the whole story of UFOs that have happened over the last year and a half. It began with the release of the three videos in 2017 and then the Navy announcement.
Regarding the Navy shift in policy towards UFOs…
“That’s a big thing that many of the pilots we talked to – and there’s many more pilots…One of the interesting things – when you watch our series – you’re gonna meet and see several pilots, including the pilots who were involved in the other two videos that were released by the DoD. And we’re gonna shed some new light on that incident or incidents. There’s many more pilots that I talked to who didn’t want to go on air, who confirmed their stories.
“One of the things that really struck me was David Fravor’s wingman pilot who spoke to us for the first time. She’s the female pilot that you see in the first episode. One of the things that she told us…and I can’t remember if this is in the episode. It might be in the following episode where we kind of circle back to her. One of the things she said to us is, ‘If I was alone, and was a single-seat pilot and I was just out on a patrol or something and I saw this? I probably wouldn’t have told anyone.’ The only reason they came back and said what had happened was because all four of them saw it. The two pilots and their weapons systems operators.
“That is the reason why this wingman pilot and David Fravor are coming forward..is because they want it to be okay to report this. This is an incident that happened in broad daylight. That’s the other thing that is a huge difference for me in the sort of veracity of these stories. These are pilots intercepting things in broad daylight. So many things can happen at night, whether that’s a weather inversion or reflections or all the other weird things that happen at night. But when you’re seeing things up close and personal during broad daylight on a perfectly clear day, over the Pacific. And it’s being confirmed by all these different pilots…
“And here’s the other thing that I’m gonna tell you that we do in this show. I don’t want to give too many spoilers away. But we find many civilian witnesses, in the same area where the Nimitz incident occurred, who tell of ongoing incidents. Very similar to the Nimitz incident.”
Martin Willis: It’s strange that there are reoccurring flaps and it makes you wonder why they’re in one area.
AL: Really good point and one of the topics that they get into on the show. “We clearly are seeing that there are, some sort of, what they calls hot spots, for these incidents that are happening in certain parts of the world. And I believe you see in Episode One, AATIP even created a map in 2009 that we reveal…that shows just a very small smattering of plot points on a global map where the military had reported seeing incidents. So that is one of the ensuing mysteries of this whole thing which is fascinating and we delve into that question. Probably raising more questions than we have answers.
“This show, I hope, will push the needle forward in this conversation. Because primarily, and obviously, this was a strategic decision by Elizondo but also us as filmmakers. Making the series was…by focusing on these military witnesses, several of which are active duty people who have everything to lose. When you’re an F-18 pilot, it’s very easy to be grounded. One slip up and you can basically lose your…have your driver’s license taken away…for lack of a better word.
“And these guys are the creme de la creme of the military. To be an F-18 pilot in the Navy, is a dream of thousands of pilots that go and…even just to be a C-130 pilot is a dream. But to be a fighter pilot in the Navy, flying an F-18, you’ve really reached the pinnacle. So to risk that by coming forward and talking about something that could potentially brand you as, you know, some kind of…puts you in some sort of psych eval situation, is just an incredibly brave thing for them to do.
“As I said, I talked to many more pilots than you see in the show, who spoke to me off the record, confirming the larger details of this other main incident that we look into. But those guys did not want to go on camera. And listen, I can’t blame them. If you worked all your life and you had a dream of becoming a fighter pilot and you wanna serve your country, it’s a very risky thing.
“So what is interesting now is the Navy is saying, ‘Hey, you don’t have to be afraid any more.’ What we’re hoping is, when our show goes on the air, we actually have, at the end of every episode, an email address for military witnesses to contact us because we want to continue this investigation. Because as I said, even though we have a ton of new, really fascinating information that you’re gonna see in this series, we’ve touched the tip of the iceberg. This is an ongoing situation. These events are happening all over the world. They’re happening all the time. They may be increasing. We don’t know that for sure. But there are people who say they are. It’s exciting and I think George Knapp said it best. He said, ‘It’s exciting and it’s a little scary.’
“We brought along Commander Fravor to meet another pilot from another incident. And you’ll see him, Lue Elizondo and this new pilot, that no one’s heard from before, talk about another incident. We wanted to bring Fravor along, both to help this pilot feel comfortable and knowing that Fravor’s career wasn’t harmed by coming out. And he still works in the private sector now but still as a respected person in the military community. But also what was fascinating was just to hear them talk about aeronautics and all the physics about what this guy saw. And compare and contrast the craft that he was seeing with what Fravor saw. And it was just absolutely fascinating. That’s in episode four.”
Did AL have an interest in this subject before he started working on the show? What does he think about the theories that these are our own, secret craft/technology?
You can hear his answers and the rest of the interview at the YouTube link I posted above at beginning of this blog post.
Open Minds UFO Radio Notes…
Lappé was also the guest on Open Minds UFO Radio with Alejandro Rojas yesterday. Once again, here are my notes and a transcript when I felt it was important information.
AL: The show is almost like a chronological, year in the life of Elizondo, Mellon and the guys at To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science. He started following them last spring.
He’s a filmmaker and investigative journalist and did an eight-part series on the history of the war on drugs for History Channel two years ago. The show dug deep into the CIA’s involvement in the drug trade. He’s done a lot of work around the intelligence world and the military.
He used to run a website called “Guerrilla News Network,” which focused on alternate news. They covered Steven Greer and “The Disclosure Project.” He’s always been really interested in the UFO subject but never took the time to dig deep.
Last year, while working for A+E Originals and after the guys at TTSA were signed to an exclusive deal with them, he met Chris Mellon and Luis Elizondo. And he was like, “Holy shit. This is like, the biggest story in the Universe.”
His first impression after hearing about the Pentagon’s UFO program was skepticism since he knows a lot about how the intelligence agencies work. He’s studied and reported on things like MK Ultra, Operation Paperclip and “the CIA’s involvement in all sorts of nefarious coups and operations and actually, what counter-intelligence is.” He was extremely skeptical and asked a lot of questions that a lot of people ask when confronted with this information. Questions like, “Isn’t this just some sort of advanced aircraft that we just don’t know about yet?” That was his first question and it began a dialogue with the guys at TTSA, who very patiently began to break down why they believe that’s not the answer.
Throughout the series, they’re asking the counterfactual questions: “Can this be explained by this? Or can this be explained by that?” They really tried to take an independent look at it and try to let people make up their own minds.
Elizondo and Mellon are vessels for the testimony of these military personnel. The challenge as a filmmaker comes because these guys still have security clearances and are still very connected with what’s going on inside the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. They’re not whistleblowers. “They’re both very cognizant out of loyalty and commitment to the government but also in terms of their own legal situation. They try very hard not to disclose any classified information.”
Alejandro Rojas asked AL if he was surprised to see these kind of credible people doing this kind of work and doing it publicly.
AL: “That was the first thing that attracted me to this project was who these guys were…what their backgrounds were. In particular, Chris Mellon’s background as a high ranking, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and his role on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He had visibility over these special access programs that even top generals didn’t have access to see. This was a guy, as Lue says, who knew all the secrets and who was famous internally as someone who also was very much into going to sites. Going to places like Area 51 at Groom Lake and going to other black sites and meeting with the people who are running these programs. He was a very hands on guy. And frankly, just like Lue Elizondo, much of what he did was highly classified. Their lives are definitely still shrouded in mystery in terms of what exactly they were doing and where they were deployed. All that stuff is still…these guys were guys who worked in the shadows.
“So, for them to come out, especially someone like Chris Mellon, who has his family legacy as we all know, and to be speaking so candidly and putting his reputation, both in sort of, you know, his social circles…his political circles and his family legacy circles…it’s a pretty big deal.”
AR: Have you come to the conclusion that there is a genuine mystery?
AL: “Yeah, I have. And it definitely was a process to get there. But as Chris calls it – run all the traps (explore all options ~Joe). As I’ve talked to other experts…there’s many more pilots – for instance, that I’ve talked to personally, off the record, than you see in the show…that I was able to talk to who weren’t comfortable coming on the air – who confirmed things about some of the other incidents that we look into.
“I generally believe that the U.S. Navy does not know what these things are. And that’s what’s so interesting about this new April 2019 announcement of the new guidelines and the policies that they’re putting in place for reporting unidentified craft. You don’t have to read between the lines to say that that is a tacit admission that…it’s not our own craft. So, you’re really only left with two possibilities…which is, it’s an adversary, or I guess it could be an ally, but that would be fairly strange. But you’re left with it could being some sort of terrestrial adversary. And for these guys, that’s almost even a scarier concept. If Russia, for instance, has the capability to fly hypersonic craft in and around our carrier strike groups, that’s just a very scary prospect. (bad audio here so quote may be off) If they could zip and nuke and drop it on the White House and disappear before they even open up the anti-ballistic guns from the lawn there…
“And then that’s where Steve Justice from Skunkworks comes in. I’ve had long, on the record conversations with him and off the record conversations with him about technology and about the evolution of technology and where we are today with propulsion systems. Things like the (X-43) Scramjet and other hypersonic jets that are being developed. And even though we are on the edge today of a new realm of hypersonic craft, all those craft are still using conventional…or somewhat conventional propulsion systems. They’ll have huge heat signatures, for instance, coming off of them. So, for Steve Justice, it just doesn’t add up that even an adversary working in secret could leapfrog us to that degree and have something that could do the things that these pilots are saying that they’re seeing.
“It’s not only the pilots. It’s also…we speak with radar operators as well. It is a genuine mystery. I think a big…one of the people that was extremely helpful in our investigation and who plays a big role in the show, as you see, is Bryan Bender, national security correspondent for Politico. He doesn’t get a lot of credit because his story ran the same day as the New York Times story did back in 2017. He was reporting things fully and really got deep into it. Spent a lot of time personally with Elizondo and Mellon. And he just has incredible contacts inside the Pentagon…inside the intelligence community…inside the technology community and weapons contractors. And he and I have become friends. And he’s been extremely helpful for me because he’s someone who’s just at a whole nother level in terms of just understanding what’s going on inside the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies. And he independently has come to the same conclusion that he believes that the Pentagon clearly does not know what’s going on with these craft. That there is a growing sense inside the Pentagon that it’s something that needs to be studied more.
“And that’s really the story that we show. The series has a pretty incredible arc to it. As I said, it really is like a linear, year in the life of these guys and begins shortly after the New York Times article comes out. And it ends… what was really incredible about the April 2019 Navy announcement – that they were going to be establishing new policies and guidelines for reporting UAPs and they’re going to be analyzing the data – is that we kind of have a front row seat to how that policy was established. I can’t really say what we see had a direct result because we don’t really know the sort of cause and effect. But, as you’ll see in the series, we, both Chris Mellon and Lue Elizondo, are both closely involved with what’s going on inside the Pentagon over the course of this last year. And they consider that Navy announcement to be a huge victory for sort of everything they’ve been doing behind the scenes. And we’re able to chronicle that.”
AR: “What impact do you hope this show has on the public?”
AL: “Thats a great question.
He goes on to say that they want the show to be super accessible to everyone.
You really get to know Elizondo as a person over the course of the series and learn the challenges and risks he faced for coming out publicly about this subject.
He hopes that people will watch the series and become intrigued and have their minds opened. He feels the strength of what they’ll show is the credibility of the military pilots and their encounters that are corroborated by their radar operators when they get back to their ship.
Reiterates what these pilots have to lose by coming forward and sharing these stories. They can be grounded for very small infractions.
AL: “For these guys and women to come forward to say things about what they’ve seen in the air and to talk about how they’re feeling like that the Navy really isn’t studying it and that they’re feeling that there’s a danger that’s not being addressed, is pretty dramatic. And that’s what you see in this series. You’re gonna see people who have everything to lose. They’ve worked their whole lives to reach where they are and they’re coming forward saying that they feel like there’s a potential threat here that needs to be addressed.”
As a journalist, AL is worried about when this airs. He’s nervous because it’s a tricky thing to be associated with and it could affect his reputation.
AL: “We’re on a precipice here. There’s definitely a change. There’s a change that’s going on inside Washington right now at the highest levels of power that you will see happen before your eyes and over the course of the six episodes of ‘Unidentified.’ You will see these guys working behind the scenes to change both policy but also just to open people’s minds about what’s going on.
“These things are being seen all over the world and they have been seen over the world at least for 70 years. So, to explain them by some simple, black budget, secret program is very difficult.”
Once again, here’s the link to the entire show. It’s a must listen: