Raid on Area 51, they will not be able to stop us all ": such is the crazy bet launched by a surfer on Facebook whose objective is to penetrate one of the most secret and mystical places in the world. , 2 million people answered the call and 1 million are interested.
"Area 51" is located 160 kilometers from Las Vegas in Nevada, in the northwestern United States. Created in the 1950s, this 1.2 million hectare military base serves as a secret ground for weapons and aircraft testing. It is strictly forbidden to enter under penalty of a fine. Signs surrounding the area even mention that "the use of lethal force is permitted".
Many conspiratorial theories believe Americans have evidence that there is alien life. Evidence that they have been hiding and protecting since the early 1950s in "Area 51". Everyone would like to bypass the security of the site and get their hands on these exhibits and answer the riddle.
For paranormal enthusiasts, this secret military base would actually be a meeting place between the US military and extraterrestrials. Some say that UFOs landed there, maybe they saw flying devices tested by the army?
Is Area 51 Hiding Aliens?
Is the US military studying aliens from a secret base in Nevada? This is the question at the heart of Idées Claires, our weekly program produced by France Culture and Franceinfo intended to fight against information disorders, from fake news to preconceived ideas.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans would like to know what is hiding in Area 51. An event created on Facebook proposes to massively invade the military base on September 20, to find out whether or not it is hiding extraterrestrials.
The event counted at the beginning of September more than 2 million people interested, enough to worry the authorities.
Few places in the world feed the fantasy machine as much as Area 51. This 155 km2 military base, located right in the Nevada desert was built in the 1950s, but has not been officially recognized. than in 2013.
The secrecy surrounding the area has given rise to food for thought for conspirators for decades. The US military is said to be studying captured alien specimens there, including the so-called flying saucer that crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. This sci-fi tale-worthy folklore has subscribed to the collective imagination thanks to series like The X-Files or films, like Independance Day by Roland Emmerich.
Yet documents declassified in 2013 show the base was used to test prototypes of stealth planes during the Cold War.
So many questions that we asked Pierre Lagrange, sociologist of science, researcher at LIER (Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Studies on Reflexivities).
Is Area 51 Hiding Aliens?
Pierre Lagrange: "A priori area 51 does not hide extraterrestrial activity. On the other hand, for a whole bunch of groups which have seized on this history and the larger stories which serve as a basis for the Roswell affair, yes, Area 51 is where the military hides what they discovered around the Roswell case and “alien visits” to Earth. "
How did this myth of Area 51 come about?
Pierre Lagrange: "In 1980, a book was published, it says that in 1947, the American army hid the discovery of a saucer and its extraterrestrial pilots. Until then, there were a whole lot of ideas how the US military had conducted a UFO study program in the 1950s-1960s and it was at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. In the 1980s, this story is going to move from Wright-Patterson to Nevada. There was a whole discourse, a whole folklore which had developed about the existence of a secret hangar, which one called “the hangar 18” where would have been hidden corpses of extraterrestrials. "
What really happened in Roswell in 1947?
Pierre Lagrange: "What happened in 1947 near the city of Roswell in New Mexico was the flying object debris that we had found on the ground. At the time, it was explained as being debris from a weather balloon.
Today what we know is that this corresponded to an ultra-secret program at the level of the atomic bomb which consisted in spying, thanks to giant balloon trails, the Russians in case they too had acquired atomic bomb. But in the 1990s, when the military came to say "yes we hid the truth" by revealing that they were secret balloons, obviously they were no longer audible. At the same time, they explain that they hid the truth in 1947 and that now they are going to tell the truth.
This truth is disappointing to most people because it does not agree with the extraterrestrial thesis. "
By declassifying documents, the government has on the contrary fueled suspicion ...
Pierre Lagrange: "In the 1970s, with the strengthening of the“ Freedom of information Act ”, the law on access to administrative documents which is very effective in the United States, it becomes very easy for citizens to obtain documents from the US administration.
The ufologists will use it from 1976, they will have the US Air Force, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA declassified a whole bunch of documents which relate to everything that these organizations have been able to do with near or far on the question of UFOs.
Since many of these documents are redacted, especially those from the CIA and the NSA, ufologists will spend years trying to figure out what is under the black ink that obscures some of the information.
What's astonishing about the Pentagon is that in fact, every time they try to screw up this story, they actually only succeed in reviving it and giving it even more popularity. great than the previous time. "
Is there a parallel government responsible for the extraterrestrial issue?
Pierre Lagrange: "In 1987, among the“ secret ”documents that emerge, there are about fifteen pages, which are presented as a briefing prepared for President Eisenhower in 1952, which explains to him everything that happened before he 'he becomes president, so the Roswell affair, secrets, etc.
Ufologists will take several years to determine that in fact, these are cleverly fabricated fakes by people who were familiar with the matter. But as these questions will go far beyond the framework of ufology from the end of the 1980s, it will allow the recovery by fringes of the population which are traditionally known for their belonging to the survivalist milieu, of the extreme right. , ultra-conspiratorial.
These people will not hesitate to take the folklore of UFOs and put it in their sauce, which means adding a whole bunch of elements that the ufologists are going to be the first to denounce. "
Is the alien dissection video genuine?
Pierre Lagrange: "So in 1995, all the stories around Roswell, from area 51, will in fact emerge in the general public on a global level thanks to a video broadcast by Ray Santilli who is an English producer.
The video shows the alleged autopsy of an alien who was allegedly recovered from Roswell. The device, investigations will show it to be a fake. Years later, whoever made the model will explain how he did it.
Thanks to the X-Files series, which had started a year earlier and which will recover these stories. The X-Files will allow all the details of this story to be implanted in the collective memory throughout the seasons of the series.
So by now everyone has heard about the main elements of the Roswell case and the other elements that revolve around this folklore. "
Why did the US government never reveal what Area 51 was hiding?
The documents which concern all that is technological research which have in particular the area 51 as main base, it concerns high-tech aeronautics so there, there is a tradition of secrecy maintained even with the members of the Congress who vote these budgets. So it's hard to imagine that part of the network that runs the United States is revealing these secrets.