Finally, after seventy years of official denial, deception, and obfuscation, UFO Truth is fast approaching. It’s coming to us not by way of some intrepid investigative journalist, nor through the efforts of leakers and whistleblowers like Julian Assange or Edward Snowden, but, rather, through the former lead-singer of a pop-punk band. This, at least, is what a great many in the UFO community are intent on believing.
We’re talking, of course, about Tom DeLonge. Over the past several months, the former Blink 182 frontman has received significant media attention for his claims of secret meetings with government insiders who have been briefing him on what some believe to be the most politically sensitive topic of our time—UFOs. Unlikely as this sounds, we know for a fact that DeLonge has met at least once this year with Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager and former White House Chief of Staff, John Podesta. This is interesting, but perhaps not surprising considering Podesta’s longstanding and very public interest in flying saucers. DeLonge is not the only UFO buff Podesta has given his time to over the years. More intriguing are recent WikiLeaks revelations apparently confirming a dialogue between DeLonge and Major General William McCasland. Commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, McCasland is responsible for managing the Air Force’s $2.2 billion science and technology program and is, one would assume, in a position of direct access to highly classified technologies.
DeLonge claims to be in close contact with at least ten government and military insiders in positions of deep knowledge and influence on the UFO issue. It is through these contacts that he has been able to piece together the scattered puzzle of the modern UFO enigma, and the picture, he says, is shocking. The fine details will be revealed subtly over several years through what DeLonge tells us is an ambitious project that will change the world. It will also feed DeLonge’s bank account through the sale of books, music, apparel, stationary, and more. It’s all part of the entrepreneur’s production company, To The Stars, Inc., designed to “develop, manufacture and directly distribute transmedia franchises.” DeLonge says his UFO project will “last for years and continue to grow its own fan base [and] put out storytelling across different mediums. Books, novels whatever, in a way that’s akin to Batman.”
For now, let’s put to one side DeLonge’s commercial exploitation of an issue he insists is of unparalleled socio-political significance. Forget about the tie-in merchandise. For now, let us ask, simply, is DeLonge telling the truth? So far, he’s given little reason to suspect wilful deception on his part. I, for one, have no doubt that certain people in positions of influence are feeding him information. If he gained access to Podesta and McCasland, it stands to reason he may have held meetings with other figures in the corridors of power, as he claims. Quite how much these individuals can state with any authority on UFOs is another question entirely, as is their collective motivation for sharing their claimed knowledge of the phenomenon with, of all people, an MTV star. Surely this would represent a flagrant violation of the US National Security Act? Not according to DeLonge, who implies he has been chosen as the unofficial voice of an official Disclosure effort—he’s a frontman once again, it seems, but his new ‘band’ suffers from stage fright, preferring to perform from behind a black veil.
The spearhead of DeLonge’s UFO disclosure project is an epic ‘fact-disguised-as fiction’ book series. Book One, Sekret Machines: Chasing Shadows, co-authored with professor A.J. Hartley of the University of North Carolina, has sold well since its publication earlier this year and has received positive reviews from critics. At more than 700 pages, Sekret Machines is too long to fully unpack here right now, but its takeaway themes and messages, combined with those expressed by DeLonge in interviews for print, radio, and TV, are as follows:
DeLonge describes his Sekret Machines series as:
A vehicle that’s going to allow some very important men and women at the highest levels of office and rank within the Department of Defense to put in information so people can understand all the things they want people to understand about this topic.
"This is not just a book," says DeLonge, "[these insiders] are asking me to communicate something that they see as the utmost national security issue that has ever existed."
It is notable that the dominant theme of DeLonge’s transmedia narrative thus far is the unsung heroism of the US National Security State. DeLonge repeatedly stresses in his book, and in interviews, that historical UFO secrecy has always been for the greater good. The 'bad guys' were the good guys all along, with our best interests at heart. The revolutionary technologies have been kept secret for our own protection. This is the story they’ve sold to DeLonge, and, like others before him, he’s bought it. He told LA Weekly:
I wanted to reverse people's cynical view of government… there are people in government doing really heroic work. When people hear this they're going to be so relieved that [it's] not some big, bad secret government. It will change the way people feel about our military and intelligence leadership.
Whatever its ultimate purpose, it would appear the Sekret Machines project is not designed to serve you, but to serve officialdom and, of course, Tom DeLonge: “I just announced my project, and the pre-orders of the Novels went up,” he enthuses to John Podesta in a leaked email from February 2016.
The nature and very existence of deep-black, unacknowledged special access programs operating without official oversight is generally considered a nefarious thing—a fundamentally undemocratic system that allows in theory for all manner of covert illegalities and morally dubious practices. The story Tom DeLonge is (literally) selling us, however, is designed to soften our attitudes to institutionalized secrecy and to burnish the image of the US military-intelligence community.
It calls to mind the lyrics of Will Smith’s famous pro-secrecy rap for Men in Black, in which we’re encouraged to “show love to the black suit”:
We're your first, last, and only line of defense
Against the worst scum of the universe
So don't fear us, cheer us
If you ever get near us, don't jeer us, we're fearless
In my book, Silver Screen Saucers, I extensively detail the history of UFO disinformation efforts, establishing a clear pattern of deception, with officialdom using enthusiastic, unwitting, or just plain gullible UFO researchers and media personalities to perpetuate a self-serving national security narrative sown through the UFO subculture and projected through entertainment media. It’s a narrative that serves to justify and sanitise historical secrecy on the part of American government and military institutions, and to absolve those institutions of what may, in the future, be regarded as historical acts of criminality or wrongdoing. Everything DeLonge has said and done thus far on the UFO issue ties him in seamlessly with these historical efforts. DeLonge acknowledges a tradition of government deception on the UFO issue, but stresses, “when you find out why [they kept it secret] you’ll be glad they did everything they did.”
So, DeLonge’s story potentially serves to justify and absolve. But it is largely the by-product of a more obvious agenda: simply to monitor how belief can be seeded and manipulated within a close-knit and controllable New Age religion (UFOlogy). It's an experiment that has deep psychological warfare potential, both domestically and abroad. It’s about monitoring the spread of ideas to see how belief can potentially be weaponized. The DeLonge DeLusion has all the hallmarks of a new phase of an ongoing strategic experiment. The UFO community is not the target, merely a useful testing ground. DeLonge’s own statements go some way towards supporting this theory, albeit probably not consciously on his part. He says of Sekret Machines:
I need them [the readers] to absorb the story and follow along… it starts knocking on the door of your current belief system and [and it] may or may not change those belief systems…
The emerging Tom DeLonge story is nothing new. It's merely a consolidation of existing ideas planted some four decades ago by military intelligence operatives. The information that DeLonge is presenting—and will present—is not the truth, it’s their truth (whoever ‘they’ are). At best, it’s a waste of our time—a distraction. At worst, it serves as soft propaganda in support of the US National Security State.
Asked by LA Weekly what makes Sekret Machines different from other works of UFOlogy, DeLonge replied, presumably in all seriousness, "There won't be any disinformation in my project." He’s certain of this because he’s "talking to very high-level people." His answer is so naïve and illogical as to make one wonder if DeLonge even understands the meaning of ‘disinformation.’
It is worth noting here how DeLonge became immersed in the secret world of UFOs. In his book, he describes his journey into the inner circle as a series of opportunistic handshakes and questions directed at the right people at the right time. However, to the discerning reader, it’s obvious even from DeLonge’s own accounting of events that he was manipulated from the outset and encouraged to believe he was making his high-level connections through his own autonomous investigations. It’s more likely that DeLonge had been pegged as an ideal disinformation conduit long before he shook that first hand (he’d publicly declared his UFO obsession as early as 2014 in various media interviews). One person introduces him to the next, and so on, all feeding him a new piece of the same 'puzzle.' I should emphasise that I’m not accusing DeLonge of wilful deception. Rather, I’m suggesting he is being used as an unwitting tool in the furtherance of varying hidden agendas, only some of which may relate to UFOs.
In parts Two and Three of this article, I will contextualise the DeLonge story within the framework of historical UFO perception-management efforts dating back to the 1970s. I will trace the emergence and development of a clear and consistent National Security narrative sown by, and in the long-term interests of, the US military-intelligence apparatus. It’s an elaborate tale of exotic technology, high-stakes, tough decisions, military prowess, and unsung heroes. It’s exactly what you were meant to believe, and it’s worryingly close to what many in the UFO community have come to accept as the ‘core story’ (i.e. true story) of the modern UFO phenomenon. It’s a narrative that distracts you away from the UFO enigma itself and pulls you into an impenetrable web of shadows, half-truths, allegations, and assumptions. It offers us nothing but belief and the unwavering certainty that ‘Truth’ must surely be around the next blind bend. It’s a smoke-and-mirrors illusion that has us all looking one way, while the phenomenon itself—whatever it represents—is off somewhere else entirely, doing its own thing, as it has always done, in spite of all official efforts to monitor and control it.
It seems likely that elements within official power structures have more pieces of the UFO puzzle at their fingertips than do the rest of us, but it is extremely improbable that they have succeeded in solving the puzzle. Despite appearances and the power of their egos, in a universe that is some thirteen billion years old, the secret-keepers are monkeys like the rest of us, flailing around for answers in the early years of the 21st century on a planet whose dominant trend is war. It is doubtful the powers that be can even comprehend the underlying nature of UFO phenomena, much less explain it.
Should officialdom ever ‘come clean’ on the UFO issue, we should all be immediately and extremely suspicious. UFO truth by way of official power structures will not be truth at all. It will, by necessity, be whatever truth least vilifies and incriminates the architects of secrecy. With this in mind, if he is, as he claims, the mouthpiece of the real Men in Black, we should all be extremely suspicious of Tom DeLonge.
To be continued…
Robbie Graham is the author Silver Screen Saucers: Sorting Fact from Fantasy in Hollywood's UFO Movies.