Estimate of the Situation

The Two Sides of UFO Disclosure

Could both sides in the Disclosure debate be right and wrong at the same time? Even if we do have a right to know, will we be able to handle the truth?

Bryce Zabel
Mar 18 · 6 min read

I’m one of those people who have been talking about the disclosure of UFO/UAP reality for what seems like forever. It’s a central theme of the first film I wrote called Official Denial (Syfy), and even 20 hours of a primetime network alien invasion series Dark Skies (NBC). As if that wasn’t enough, Richard Dolan and I wrote an entire book about the impact that big “D” Disclosure would have on our society and all Earthly institutions, A.D. After Disclosure. It’s been my obsession for a quarter of a century now.

You Can’t Handle the Truth

In A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson’s Colonel Jessep shouts his point-of-view at Tom Cruise’s Lt. Daniel Kaffee. Jessep simply believes that there are some things that a democracy needs done that require some of our tougher citizens to keep the rest of us safe by any means necessary, and we don’t really want or need to know the details.

This clearly has been the winning argument for over seven decades, basically since the first flying saucer flap of 1947 that gave us the undisputed Kenneth Arnold sighting up in Washington State and the admitted, then denied, Roswell crash out in the desert scrub of New Mexico in that same year.

The People Have a Right to Know

This point-of-view has been invoked to explain everything from the Watergate hearings to the Freedom of Information Act. The idea here is that secrets should not be held forever and that gatekeepers need to stand aside except in matters of deep national security threats and, even then, for only so long.

There’s no doubt at all that this has been the losing argument since the end of the Second World War. Despite many thousands of good sightings by the military, police, and regular citizens, and corroboration by radar and photos, the government and the media seem to have bought in to the twin pillars of secrecy — denial and ridicule.

Could both sides in the Disclosure debate be right and wrong at the same time?

In the 1990s, I had two projects produced — one a full-length film, the other a full season on a broadcast network — that both dealt metaphorically and actually with the case for and against Disclosure. I embedded the subject deeply into the DNA of both Official Denial and Dark Skies.

In Hollywood, one doesn’t just write an essay about such matters. What you do is construct characters and let them say what you’re really thinking. In my case, with both projects, I constructed two characters who looked at the UFO secrecy issue in entirely different ways.

Official Denial

The premise of this film (the first original movie produced by the then Sci-Fi Channel) started with abduction. The main character, Paul Corliss, was a young man who ran a garden nursery and was dealing with being abducted by Grays. His own wife didn’t believe him, his therapist thought he was insane, but the U.S. government knew differently. Men deep inside the military, working in the Majestic-12 organization, knew Corliss was telling the truth. So they wired up his house with electronics and waited for it to happen again. Their plan, known as “Operation: Forced Encounter” was to shoot down a UFO, tear it apart for reverse engineering, and to interrogate the survivors, if there were any.

As it turned out, one alien did survive, but it wasn’t talking to anyone in a uniform. Eventually, the leader of Majestic-12, General Kenneth Spaulding (Chad Everett) decided to roll the dice and bring in Corliss (Parker Stevenson), and see if the alien would talk to him since the ETs had been interested enough to abduct him more than once.

This scene between Spaulding and Corliss takes place inside the Majestic-12 headquarters. The alien autopsy figure is a dated and marginal at best special effect, so please just try to listen to the words:

The film is fun in a variety of ways, not the least of which is the twist ending where it’s revealed that it’s not where these creatures come from but when. They are us from the future.

The film gives Spaulding the military’s POV, representing the idea that while telling the truth might sound good, the public would likely not take well to it. Corliss takes on the colorings of a man who thinks that the truth will set you free and that no matter how bad the news is, knowing it is better than paying the corrosive price of secrecy. An important distinction is that both men are acting they way they do for good reasons. Spaulding is a patriot who believes what he is doing is best for his country. Corliss is an average man who knows it is wrong to be treated the way he is by officials or aliens.

Dark Skies

Several years after Official Denial aired, I sold a TV series to NBC with my creative partner Brent Friedman. Dark Skies tells the story of John Loengard, a naive college graduate who comes to Washington, D.C. to work on John Kennedy’s “New Frontier.” He’s assigned by his boss, a congressman, to find some fat in the budget to cut with the suggestion that flying saucers and Project Blue Book might be a good place to start. Loengard does his job too well, burrowing his way through the layers of secrecy and finding, yes, you guessed it, Majestic-12.

The boss at MJ-12 is Captain Frank Bach, straight out of Naval Intelligence. Bach tells Loengard that he has now recruited himself into the secret organization and really has no choice, other than death, and must now work covering up the secret. Loengard becomes a Man-in-Black in 1961.

The following scene takes place during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Loengard simply can’t believe America’s JFK and the Soviet Union’s Khruschev are about to blow up the world, given the alien threat they both face from ET invaders known as the Hive. He commits the ultimate sin, going to Bach’s home and demanding answers. That’s where he learns that there is a secret within a secret:

This scene takes place about half way through the two-hour pilot film (the script was nominated by the Writers Guild of America). In that pilot, Loengard comes across a piece of the Roswell wreckage, gets it to Bobby Kennedy who tells him that it has gotten to his brother, and that JFK plans to tell the American people what is going on as soon as he wins the 1964 election. At the end of the film, President Kennedy has been murdered in Dallas, along with the dreams of Disclosure.

In the 18-hours of episodes to follow, Bach and Loengard disagree and fight about the Disclosure issue in as many ways as we could imagine. Bach is entirely comfortable keeping things as quiet as possible while Loengard actively fights to end the secrecy and bring the truth to the American people and then the world.

Even if we do have a right to know, will we be able to handle what we learn?

The question before us today, however, is whether or not we, the citizens of the United States (and by extension the world), can handle the truth.

It’s been said that society would collapse as we grapple with our reduced place in the universe, like Native peoples were destroyed by colonists and conquistadors. Still, we know so little about what these Others represent and what they want that it’s impossible to know. Absolutely, this could be a problem. But is the solution to desperately maintain a lie that is falling apart? Or is it to bring us all together where we can openly discuss our options?

Although I understand both sides of the issue sufficiently to write characters like General Spaulding and Captain Bach, it’s fair to say that even they would probably admit that in 2021 the world has changed sufficiently that it is time they got off their earlier positions.

The point is we don’t know how humanity will respond to learning we’re not alone. And it’s not right that some elite group of people get to make this call for the entire Earth. My sympathies today lie with Paul Corliss and John Loengard.

The crowd that believes we can’t handle the truth has had their day. The ones who believe that We, the People, have a right to know should get their time to run with this issue now.

Remixing UFO/UAP News, Culture, Analysis, History & Opinion

Bryce Zabel

Written by

Writer/producer in features & TV. Creator, five primetime series. Ex: TV Academy CEO; CNN reporter; USC professor. Author: Beatles, JFK what-ifs. UFO analyst.

Trail of the Saucers

Remixing UFO/UAP News, Culture, Analysis, History & Opinion from an Expanding Collective of Writers

Bryce Zabel

Written by

Writer/producer in features & TV. Creator, five primetime series. Ex: TV Academy CEO; CNN reporter; USC professor. Author: Beatles, JFK what-ifs. UFO analyst.

Trail of the Saucers

Remixing UFO/UAP News, Culture, Analysis, History & Opinion from an Expanding Collective of Writers

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