Area 51

Could Hillary Clinton’s commitment to opening the (X?) files on Area 51 appeal to enough conspiracy theorists that it swings the presidential election for her? George Johnson speculates for the New York…

[disinfo ed.’s note: The following is the prologue to Area 51 – Black Jets: A History of the Aircraft Developed at Groom Lake, America’s Secret Aviation Base by Bill Yenne.]

In the cartography of our lives, our dreams, and our popular culture, certain landmarks are embodied with great meaning that transcends their identity as mere places. We travel to certain ones to see things of great cultural or historical importance. Whether we are fond of Michelangelo or Picasso, or of Winslow Homer or Warhol, we go to great museums to view and marvel at celebrated works of art. We go to the Smithsonian to see the tangible artifacts of American history, from the Star Spangled Banner to the Spirit of St. Louis.

Meanwhile, we visit other iconic places, such as Waikiki or Las Vegas or any numbers of Disney Worlds or Lands or their analogues with other themes, for specific genres of “fun.”

And finally, there are places we visit not for specific artifacts or specific amusements but for the intangible reason that we just want to be there or, arguably more importantly, to say that we have been there.

We go to such places to breathe a certain rarified air.

We go to such places—Times Square or the corner of Haight and Ashbury—not so much to see and touch specific things, but to stand there and sense an ethereal yet palpable energy or to soak up the vibe.

This genre of venues possesses an importance that is greater than the sum of its parts. Merely the mention of one word, such as “Sturgis” or “Graceland,” speaks volumes to those who venerate these places for what they represent. Of course, none of these places is for everyone, and that is what makes each of them so important and so special to those for whom they do resonate. For such people, even those who have never been to these places that are the nexus of their fascination, the mere mention of the name is like a mantra that is a key to unlock an emotion…

One of the secret projects discussed in Annie Jacobson’s new Area 51 book is Project Orion, an ambitious 1950’s-1960’s era attempt to develop a nuclear fission-propelled spacecraft capable of interplanetary travel. Like many of the Cold War aeronautics projects developed at Area 51 and related test sites, it was way ahead of its time. According to Jacobs, however, when ARPA and the USAF took over the project, they had a far more Strangelovian vision in mind:

“From high above Earth, a USS Orion could be used to launch attacks against enemy targets using nuclear missiles. Thanks to Orion’s nuclear-propulsion technology, the spaceship could make extremely fast defensive maneuvers, avoiding any Russian nuclear missiles that might come its way…For a period of time during the early 1960’s the Air Force believed Orion was going to be invincible. ‘Whoever builds Orion will control the Earth!” declared General Thomas S. Power of the Strategic Air Command.” [Jacobson, p. 305]

In this fascinating TED lecture George Dyson, son of Freeman Dyson, shares his special knowledge of the project. Not much information about Project Orion’s proposed weaponization has reached the web, but pay special attention to what he says at around 3:30-3:50…

Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura has a new bestselling book out, American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies that the Government Tells Us. Following my recent interview with June Sarpong, a member of the investigative team for his TV series Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura, Jesse agreed to meet with the disinformation® New York crew at the legendary Russian Tea Room.

I asked Jesse why he’s digging up dirt where other public figures fear to tread, what we should do with the information he’s revealing, who he thinks is really behind the myriad conspiracies in his book — from JFK to 9/11 — and much more. Enjoy the video — we’ll post some extra clips where we talk off the record about everything from surfing to rock & roll … soon!