Inside the Capitol

Thursday, December 08, 2005

12-12 Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Watch the skies. New Mexico will forever be a part of the Space Age. We were first into space and the action continues with a major announcement expected this week and an unbelievable pronouncement made last month..
First there was Dr. Robert Goddard and his pioneering rocket experiments near Roswell, in the '30s. Then there were the captured V-2 rockets tested at White Sands Proving Grounds between Las Cruces and Alamogordo, beginning in 1946. Then there was the flying saucer captured by a detail from Roswell Army Air Field, in 1947.
Then, last year, the X Prize Foundation, of St. Louis, announced New Mexico will host annual competitions designed to get private spaceships with paying passengers into space.
Nearly everyone thought at the time that such space travel was far into the future. But only a few months after the New Mexico announcement, SpaceShipOne, financed by part-time Santa Fean Paul Allen, matched the original NASA flights by soaring 65 miles to the edge of space and winning the first $10 million X Prize.
Now, on December 14, we understand British airline and entertainment tycoon Richard Branson will announce that New Mexico is his choice as a launch pad for sending tourists into space beginning in 2008.
New Mexico will break ground in January on a spaceport near Las Cruces, to serve two companies already planning to launch payloads from there. It is expected that Virgin Galactic also will launch from that spaceport.
Sound out of this world? Well, how about an intergalactic war with space aliens. That's what Paul Hellyer, a former Canadian defense minister says President George Bush is plotting.
Hellyer became concerned about this planet's intergalactic relations after noticing the amount of secrecy surrounding all matters relating to the Roswell incident.
That concern was rekindled after Hellyer watched Peter Jenning's UFO special on ABC in February. It prompted him to read Phil Corso's book "The Day After Roswell."
In the book, Corso, a former Pentagon official, alleges that the spaceship reportedly captured in Roswell was reverse engineered by the military and its big defense contractors. That convinced Hellyer that the United States now has weapons with which it thinks it can conduct war against hostile space aliens.
Hellyer is suspicious about President Bush's sudden interest in going back to the moon. He expects to see the U.S. military build a forward base on the moon to keep track of the comings and goings of visitors from space. And to shoot at them -- with devastating consequences.
The charges that President Bush is plotting an intergalactic war were made at a University of Toronto conference this fall. Reportedly, Hellyer received a standing ovation at the end of his speech.
Since then various organizations have joined him in petitioning the Canadian Parliament to conduct hearings designed to lift the veil of secrecy and let the truth emerge about what we learned from Roswell.
There is no word about how likely those hearings are to take place. Canadians may be more likely to accept such ideas. St. Paul, Alberta, has built an unidentified flying object landing pad, dedicated to making space travel safe for all intergalactic beings.
Hellyer attended that landing pad dedication back in 1967, when he was Canadian defense minister. He said at the time that UFOs are as real as the airplanes that fly overhead.
It usually takes a lot more than that to make Americans believe anyone is coming after them with weapons of mass destruction. But then, Americans may be moving toward believing more of the unbelievable.
I mean, who would believe that a former U.S. attorney general would be on the defense team of its current Public Enemy #1?
As for what we learned at Roswell is concerned. The lesson is that ridiculously high military secrecy about the crash of a rinky-dink spy balloon test can cause some very wild stories to develop.
MON, 12-12-05

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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