Tag: chinese spy balloon
UFO Or UAP: Pentagon Officials Aren't Telling Us Everything They Know

UFO Or UAP: Pentagon Officials Aren't Telling Us Everything They Know

To keep yourself up to date on foreign and/or alien objects in the sky, you can buy a subscription to my column right here. I’m going to be on this story like a rat in heat.

It’s a story about UFO’s now. They’re not referring to the last three things they shot out of the sky as balloons, like the Chinese surveillance balloon the Air Force finally shot down off the coast of South Carolina last week. Now the Pentagon is calling them interchangeably UFO’s, or UAP’s – Unidentified Aerial Phenomena -- as well as “objects,” when they are calling them anything at all.

As we enter week two of Aerial Phenomenagate, the Pentagon – and the White House, for that matter – are releasing less information than they were previously. Last week, we knew (1) there was a big Chinese balloon and it was 200 feet tall, (2) that it was carrying something beneath it that was about the size of two school buses, (3) that the two-school bus thing was capable of intercepting what they called “signals,” and (4) that it wasn’t shot down until it had transited a good portion of the country and reached the Atlantic Ocean for “safety reasons.”

Now we’re told that the object shot down over the Canadian Yukon territory was “cylindrical” in shape, and its remains have fallen into land that is difficult to reach. The object shot down over Lake Huron was “octagonal” in structure “with strings attached to it,” and attempts to recover its remains are difficult because of weather conditions over the lake. Both objects were said to be about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.

The fourth object, shot down yesterday, seems to me the most interesting of them all. According to the Washington Post, it was first picked up on radar about 70 miles north of the U.S. border in Canada. As the object reached U.S. airspace over Montana, U.S. F-15 fighters out of Portland, Oregon, were scrambled to “investigate” the object over Montana, according to the Post, but it was lost by the F-15’s in the darkness of Saturday night. Air Force radar also lost the object somewhere over Montana, and it was not picked up again until Sunday, when it crossed Wisconsin and Michigan.

Let’s stop right there. The fact that U.S. radar lost the object as it crossed several hundred miles of U.S. territory seems fairly extraordinary to me, as does the fact that the F-15’s “lost” the object over Montana because it got dark. U.S. fighters are equipped with all kinds of radar that makes them capable of being used in bad weather conditions, not to mention at nighttime. All of the air-attacks on Iraqi positions in Kuwait in the first Gulf War, and all of the attacks by air when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, were made at night. Neither the Air Force nor the Navy would have committed its jets at night unless they were capable of detecting Iraqi jets and shooting them down.

So why did the highly sophisticated, not to mention very expensive, F-15 lose the object at night over Montana? A hint might be in the object’s shape – octagonal. If the object was octagonal and its sides were slanted, it would resemble some of the early U.S. jet aircraft that were designed to be invisible to radar. The F-17 Nighthawk, pictured below, used slanted surfaces for the body of the aircraft to deflect enemy radar, making it effectively invisible.

F-17 Nighthawk

The Pentagon did describe the object shot down over Lake Huron as “unmanned,” but that’s about as far as they’ve gone.

What they’re not telling us is what else they know about the objects shot down in Alaska, Canada, and over Lake Huron, and my supposition is they know plenty. They didn’t put an F-22 into the sky over Canada and an F-16 over Lake Huron all by themselves. When the Air Force scrambles combat aircraft, they send a whole lot of other stuff aloft. It wouldn’t surprise me if they had an E3 Sentry AWACS, or Airborne Warning and Control System plane up there. It’s a modified Boeing 707 aircraft with a gigantic rotating radar dome mounted on it.

AWACS radar aircraft

An AWACS is said to be capable of detecting objects from the earth’s surface up to the stratosphere 250 miles away. It’s got active and passive detection systems, meaning that active radar sends out signals that are reflected back to its antenna, and passive sends out no signals, meaning that it cannot be detected by aircraft (or objects) with radar detecting technology.

They could have also sent up a Navy P-C3 Orion, a prop-airplane made by Lockheed normally used for anti-submarine warfare.

Navy PC-3 Orion surveillance aircraft

Orion surveillance aircraft were retrofitted with high-resolution cameras and were used in Afghanistan for surveillance along the Afghan-Pakistan border during the war. They were capable of photographing from high altitude Taliban fighters infiltrating into Afghanistan with a high degree of detail during daylight hours or at night. The Orion could have been used to photograph the “objects” over Canada and Lake Huron.

In fact, my speculation is that the Pentagon has an entire album of photos of these things. They know exactly what they look like. High resolution images could show what material or materials they were made of. The fact that the Lake Huron object is being described as having “strings” hanging below it gives us a good hint as to how close U.S. aircraft got to the object and how detailed are the photographs they no doubt took. Not only that, pilots who were scrambled and sent up to shoot down the objects probably flew fairly close to them before they engaged the objects with missiles that cost $500,000 apiece.

It’s going to come out eventually what the “cylindrical” and “octagonal” objects are and who they belonged to and what they were doing over Canadian and U.S. airspace. The fact that the Pentagon has not provided any photographs they doubtlessly took of the objects before shooting them out of the sky is suspicious at best, even a little scary at worst.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

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Bannon And Kirk Exploit China Balloon Paranoia To Boost 'Prepper' Sales

After days of nonstop coverage of a Chinese balloon crossing the continental United States, far-right influencers are now using it to sell prepper supplies for what they claim is an imminent collapse of the American economy. Right-wing media personalities Charlie Kirk and Steve Bannon are hyping the recent Chinese spy balloon saga to sell prepper supplies on their shows.

Both Kirk and Bannon have plugged the preparedness company My Patriot Supply during their recent broadcasts, claiming that the balloon incident — which has been a major subject of fearmongering and conspiracy theories in conservative media — should prompt viewers to amass large quantities of food and other supplies in case of an apocalyptic disaster.

During an ad read on his February 3 radio show, Kirk mentioned the Chinese spy balloon and told his audience they are “nine meals away from anarchy,” adding, “As the Chinese Community Party takes pictures and spies on you, gets your kids addicted to fentanyl and also hooked on TikTok, at least you will be well fed when anarchy comes.”

On February 7, Bannon hosted My Patriot Supply Vice President of Sales Joe Rieck, who said that the balloon posed such a threat that “literally we were seconds away from being pushed back to the dark ages” and has sparked an increased interest from the public in his company’s products. He then plugged “Faraday bags,” “anti-radiation tablets,” and “dosimeter cards” as the items his customers are “stocking up on right now” because “we were so close to having something catastrophic happen in our borders.”

“You’ve got to get ahead of the curve here” added Bannon, advising his audience as “rational people” to purchase My Patriot Supply products.

“These are things that are going to come in handy because we’ve all seen how close we were to a huge disaster,” said Rieck. “And if they can float a balloon and it takes the government five days to take action, then who’s to say that the Chinese couldn’t have just pushed a button and ended everything three days ago.”

This type of bottom-of-the-barrel grift is par for the course for right-wing media — Bannon alone has promoted a veritable empire of scummy products.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Uh-Oh: Chinese Balloons Crossed US Territory Three Times While Trump Was President

Uh-Oh: Chinese Balloons Crossed U.S. Three Times When Trump Was President

The precise nature of the Chinese balloon that drifted through the high atmosphere above the United States before being shot down by the American military off the coast of South Carolina is still not known, though the military seems confident it was a "surveillance" balloon and seemingly every conservative pundit put in front of a microphone believes it was carrying either some sort of zombie-producing spores or, worse, thousands of green M&M's to be scattered through the American landscape, turning our wildlife "woke."

What we do now know, however, is that these balloon flights seem to be a regular occurrence—and one that nobody has attempted to stoke a public panic over until now. The Department of Defense's own news site reports that Chinese balloons appeared over the United States at least three times during the Trump administration. None of those other balloons appear to have been intercepted. There were no Republican politicians posing with guns promising that they'd personally take care of them balloons if they floated over their neck of the woods. None of them appear to have scattered zombie spores, M&M's, or anything else.

Indeed, if we're to take the word of Trump Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and there are absolutely zero reasons why we should, not even hewas made aware of those overflights. That's how unremarkable the previous "Chinese spy balloon" events appear to have been.

But Republicans are going to Republican, and we have a full slate of it this weekend. Here's House Republican Andy Barr insisting that why if this had ever happened under Trump, he would have been impeached.

You're saying he would have been impeached five times? Goodness. Just one more after that and he would have qualified for a free sandwich.

Meanwhile, Rep. Marjorie Taylor "Jewish Space Lasers" Greene took to Twitter to brag that she personally "just spoke with" the twice-impeached blowhard in question and that Trump "would never have allowed China to fly a spy balloon over our country and our military bases and our assets. Pres Trump would have shot it down before it entered the US."

Our own U.S. military is saying otherwise, and if we're to believe Esper it never even rose to the secretary level of giving-a-damn, but Marjorie Taylor "Jewish Space Lasers" Greene is among the top experts on space stuff that House Republicans have.

Honestly, I imagine the Department of Defense never told Donald Trump about the balloon overflights because they were afraid he would call up China to demand he be allowed to build a hotel on one of them. Or he might have indeed demanded it be blown up over Missouri or South Carolina, raining a seven-mile fuzz of debris onto whatever voters happened to be underneath at the time.

Among Republicans who still try to at least pretend at seriousness—badly—the ever-pathetic Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) hitched his wagon to the "Biden is too weak to do anything about this" talking point even as preparations to, sigh, pop the balloon via American military force were underway. "[I]f Biden wouldn’t even shoot down a balloon, he isn’t going to do jack if China takes territory from India or Japan or invades Taiwan," tweeted the candidate who was humiliated into submission by a clownish television showboater.

One popped balloon later, Rubio somewhat foolishly appeared on the Sunday shows to pretzel himself into a new position.

That's just sad. I don't think any of us can imagine a reality in which this pathetic creature actually became president. It's impossible to expect anything of your average Marjorie Jordan Gaetz, but watching the gears turn in this man's head as he switches his Deep Convictions in and out like 8-Track tapes in an old Ford Pinto is almost enough to make a person feel sorry for him.

If Marco Rubio ever wants to raise campaign money again, he can put a Sarah McLachlan song under that video along with a 1-800 number and a plea to save him from the Senate shelter. Look at those eyes. Those are the eyes of a dog that's given up.

Rubio may be able to string together more coherent sentences than your average Republican of the House, but in every case the rhetoric has been the same: Why isn't Biden shooting the balloon down? Trump would have shot the balloon down! Wait, Biden shot the balloon down? Huh, Trump didn't shoot the balloons down?


Sure, there ya go. They're also in the very early stages of cleaning up several days worth of talking points so this one may take a while. Bring cat litter; it’s supposed to soak messes like that up quite well.

The truth of the Great Balloon Crisis of 2023 will likely not be known for some time, but the news that this was not anyone's first balloon rodeo does suggest that those who were trying to sell us a theory of such flights being unprecedented were, from the moment they piped up, overinflated. Even if the balloon does have military purpose, and anyone who still shudders at the phrase "aluminum tubes" is likely taking military interpretations here with a grain of salt until the military has fished enough wreckage out of the Atlantic to prove their case, it appears nobody involved considered it a dire threat. To anything.

The reality of these things remains the same: China is the military equal of the United States when it comes to surveillance satellites, and the United States already has been obliged to assume Chinese satellites are able to photograph anything they want to. The relatively half-assed nature of setting loose a balloon halfway across the planet with no idea of where the winds will take it other than "generally east, unless..." still pales in comparison, and nobody is daring to shoot down the orbital versions for fear of what would happen next.

Though if Republicans continue their opposition-to-whatever-the-rational-people-are-saying sprees, that might be the next demand. You never know with these people.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.