Sightings from former astronauts, airline pilots, and police officers top his list.
When an alien aircraft hovers over your house, you’ll want to talk to someone about it.
For the past 43 years, that’s been one of the main functions of the National UFO Reporting Center. It’s served as a hotline for skeptics and believers: If you look up and see something strange, they’ll meticulously take your story.
Peter Davenport has served as the center’s director since 1994, managing sighting reports through the website and the 24-hour hotline, and posting updates to the charmingly low-tech NUFORC database. People who report UFOs “quest to speak with someone who will believe what they have to say,” he said.
He told me, over a series of emails, what NUFORC does and why it does it. Serving as a listening ear is one half of the job. Presenting those stories as publicly-available reports is the other. People should have access to information about extraterrestrial activity, “without having to rely on a government which is lying to all of us about the UFO phenomenon.”
Russian police have arrested at least 29 opposition protesters in central Moscow for “breaching public order”, according to local authorities, a week after hundreds were detained during an anti-corruption rally demanding the prime minister’s resignation.
Russia’s Interfax news agency said the turnout for Sunday’s protest was considerably smaller than last week’s event, with only 100 people in attendance.
Before the demonstration, access to several websites promoting what the government said was “an illegal anti-government protest” had been blocked.
The Russian constitution allows public gatherings but recent laws have criminalised protests not authorised by city authorities, which frequently refuse to grant permission for rallies by Kremlin critics.
The organisers of Sunday’s rally denied having links with opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is serving a 15-day jail sentence for his role in organising the March 26 protests, saying it was planned by “young people and ordinary students from Moscow”.
Navalny, a Kremlin critic and anti-corruption campaigner, organised last week’s protests after publishing a detailed report accusing Russian Prime Minsiter Dmitry Medvedev of controlling a property empire through a shadowy network of non-profit organisations.
Medvedev, who has so far made no comments on the claims, is accused of amassing a private collection of mansions, yachts and vineyards.
IN A BETTER, imaginary world, there would be no need for Thursday’s Senate hearings into whether and how the Russian government meddled in the 2016 presidential election. Instead, a combined Justice Department and congressional investigation into the subject would have started last summer and could be wrapping up right about now.
This investigation would have been successfully carried out by the government’s normal mechanisms — because in this made up universe, politicians would care more about the country they live in than getting to the studio in time for their next appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight. For the same reason, they’d defy the instinctive secrecy of the intelligence world in order to declassify whatever evidence they uncovered so Americans could judge it for themselves.
Unfortunately, on this planet we’re on a trajectory to the worst possible outcome. It’s now easy to imagine a future in which Trump and Russia become the millennials’ equivalent of the John F. Kennedy assassination: A subject where no one can honestly be sure whether there was no conspiracy or a huge conspiracy, the underlying reality concealed by the thick murk of government secrecy, and progressives exhausting themselves for decades afterwards trying to prove what really happened.
Democrats were thrilled when FBI Director James Comey took the unusual step of revealing that the bureau is carrying out an “ongoing investigation” into whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. But as Hillary Clinton would strenuously tell you, the mere fact of an FBI investigation does not prove anything, and no one should believe it does. The FBI could easily close its investigation without filing any charges — especially since this is a counterintelligence inquiry rather than a criminal one — either because investigators found no evidence of wrongdoing, or because they did but believe they can’t seek an indictment without revealing classified surveillance programs. The FBI then might give no public explanation of its decision, and leave secret indefinitely whatever evidence was gathered.
What happens then? Democratic partisans will be infuriated, and rightfully point to the fact that Comey’s investigation was ultimately overseen by a Trump political appointee at the Justice Department. But they’d have no formal recourse. (The investigation began last year during the Obama administration and is now supervised by Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself on the subject. However, Rod Rosenstein, Trump’s nominee for Deputy Attorney General, will eventually be in charge.)
Meanwhile, there are several ongoing investigations in Congress, with the two most significant ones carried out by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.
But these inquiries suffer from the same flaw: They are supervised by Republicans. The situation is especially dire with the House Intelligence Committee, now that the escapades of its chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, have revealed him to have a toddler’s sense of personal responsibility. Even worse, the ultimate authority in the House, Speaker Paul Ryan, has demonstrated his own lack of integrity by refusing to ask Nunes to recuse himself.
Donald Trump’s White House and a Republican congressman who is supposed to be investigating Russian interference in the US election conspired to divert attention from Moscow’s actions, a senior Democrat alleged on Sunday.
Adam Schiff accused Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, of colluding in an “attempt to distract” the public from concerns over potential links between Trump and Russian meddling.
Schiff, the committee’s top Democrat, said on CNN’s State of the Union that Nunes and the White House had made an “effort to point the Congress in other directions, to basically say, ‘Don’t look at me, don’t look at Russia, there’s nothing to see here’.”
Nunes threw his investigation into chaos last month by announcing, without consulting committee members, that he had received evidence that members of Trump’s presidential campaign were swept up in electronic surveillance of foreigners by the Obama administration.
Authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya have launched an anti-gay campaign that has led to authorities rounding up dozens of men suspected of being homosexual, according to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and human rights activists.
The newspaper’s report, by an author regarded as a leading authority on Chechnya, claimed that more than 100 people had been detained and three men killed in the roundup. It claimed that among those detained were well-known local television personalities and religious figures.
Alvi Karimov, spokesperson for Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, described the report as “absolute lies and disinformation”, basing his denial on the claim that there were no gay people in Chechnya. “You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic,” he told Interfax news agency.
“If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”
A spokesman for the region’s interior ministry told the Russian newspaper RBC that the report was “an April fool’s joke”.