International UFO Congress to enlighten virtual attendees with an all-star speaker line-up

UFO

MYSTERY WIRE — One of the world’s largest UFO conferences is coming to living rooms all over the country. Because of covid concerns, the 30th International UFO Congress will be held online starting September 8th.

It happens at a time when the Pentagon’s UAP Task Force is considering its next move.

The giant wave of UFO interest that began 3 years ago is still surging, with ongoing media coverage, Congressional action, and grudging acceptance by the scientific community.

A NEW OWNER

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Karen Brard purchased the conference in 2017, not too long before the now famous New York Times article shined a spotlight on the topic.

Karen Brard
Karen Brard

“In Pasadena, there was 20,000 people lined up around the block,” Brard said when talking about an AlienCon event she attended around this time. “I always make sure to ask people like, “Why did you come? And does anyone know that you watch Ancient Aliens?” And they’re like, “No, nobody knows. It’s my secret … I didn’t tell anyone where I was going today.” So it was kind of funny that all these people are interested in the subject. And maybe they’re kind of feeling braver now about pursuing that interest.”

This year’s UFO Congress will feature a who’s who in the UFO world with a speaker list that reads like the line-up for a UFO all-star game.

Like the rest of the conference, the speakers will be attending over video using the Whova app and include:

  • Ave Loeb – Harvard astrophysicist
  • Ben Hansen – UFO researcher
  • Beverly Rubnik – Institute for Frontier Science
  • Bryan Bender – Journalist
  • Fife Symington – Former Arizona Governor
  • Bryce Zabel – TV series creator and author
  • Chris Pittman – UFO investigator
  • Chrissy Newman – The Debrief
  • Christopher Plain – The Debrief
  • Eric Mitchell – UFO experiencer
  • Grant Cameron – Univ. of Manitoba
  • Gwen Farrell – Director of Experiencer Resource Team MUFON
  • Jonathon Dover – veteran law enforcement officer in Arizona
  • Kathleen Marden – UFO researcher
  • Katia Griboski – Colorado MUFON
  • Lee Speigel – Journalist
  • Lue Elizondo – Fmr. AATIP director
  • MJ Banias – The Debrief
  • Marc D’Antonio – FX Models
  • Matthew Roberts – Fmr. US Navy
  • Micah Hanks – The Debrief
  • NK Kranda – Experiencer researcher
  • Nick Pope – Fmr. Ministry of Defense employee
  • Ross Coulthart – Author
  • Stanley Milford – US Indian Academy – special projects unit
  • Stephen Bassett – Paradigm Research
  • Tim McMillan – The Debrief
  • Yvonne Smith – Hypnotherapist and author

One of the unique things about doing the conference virtually is that everyone has an equal chance of interacting with each other and the speakers.

“You go to the website, www.UFOCongress.com, you purchase a ticket, and the next week or so you’re going to get another email saying, Here’s your link to get into Whova, and you’re going to click on that,” Brard said while describing the platform being used. “And once you’re in that you have everything at your disposal. We have a speaker page, you can go through all and read all about the speakers on the agenda, we have icebreakers where you can go in and answer questions, you can also start your own chat room. So you can pose a question like what do you think of this, or different kinds of groups, and people made hundreds last year. And another cool thing you can do is, you can make a virtual meetup. So it’s like a Zoom room through the app. So you can just invite people that you see on the app, or you can just invite anybody. And all the attendees also have the option to upload their information, their picture, their interest, you know, whatever they want to upload. So you can see everybody else that’s at the conference.”

The Whova app also allows Brard to have a vendor area, similar to in-person conferences, where vendors can promote themselves and their products.

Brard also points out one focus of the event will be special forums for experiencers, those who say they’ve had a close encounter. “There’s so many out there,” Brard said. “And so many very similar experiences that there is something to it, I know there is, and these people need a place to talk about it, where people don’t think they’re crazy. So we offer that.”

PERFECT TIMING

Scroll down to read the transcript for the above interview.

This conference comes at the perfect time for many, a time when the big questions of UFO research can be asked and hopefully answered.

In June the Pentagon’s UAP Task Force released a bare bones report which analyzed 144 UFO incidents reported by the military, 143 of which could not be identified.

One of the principal topics during this year’s UFO Congress will be whether the UAP Task Force will have the authority to pry UFO files out of other corners of the Pentagon.

Alejandro Rojas

“Luckily, they’re not gone,” International UFO Congress M.C. Alejandro Rojas told Mystery Wire. “You know, Harry Reid just did an interview recently, where he was like, I hope this isn’t a one and done, they released this, this report. And that’s it. And it doesn’t look like that is the case. I mean, they were tasked with putting together a system of collecting and centralizing this information to analyze it. And it looks like that’s what they’re doing. And an exciting part to that is that it looks like they’re going to NASA, they’re going to Space Command. They’re going to the Air Force.”

One speaker Rojas is thrilled to have at this year’s UFO Congress is former AATIP director Lue Elizondo. Rojas said he’s been impressed over the last three years with Elizondo’s accounts of what he did and say when working at the Pentagon.

“Some of the old school kind of UFO researchers (were) saying, ‘Why are you believing this guy? He’s obviously a liar, you guys are buying his story, hook line and sinker.’ And I think, you know, we felt we’re not telling his story. We’re telling the big picture, the whole story. He’s not our only source of information. And you know I was, and I’m sure you were, and I know others were just as skeptical of him as anybody else. But you know, what he was telling us fit.”

Both Rojas and Brard spoke about another highlight he’s looking forward to during this year’s conference. Journalist Bryan Bender will be doing a live interview with former Arizona governor Fife Symington.

“During the Phoenix lights, and he got a lot of attention because he called a press (conference). And he said, I think we found the culprit,” Brard said. “And this guy walks out with this big, huge alien head costume. And people got kind of mad at them about that. Because they felt like you know, he was making fun of what they saw. And I don’t know how many years later it was but James Fox talked to him about that. And he actually told him, You know, I actually saw the Phoenix lights. I saw it myself. So finally he came out with the truth that he you know, he saw it and he believes in UFOs.”

The 2021 International UFO Congress runs from Wednesday, September 8 through Sunday, September 12.


George Knapp  
So Karen, the UFO, the International UFO Congress is your baby, you own it, right?

Karen Brard  
Yeah, that’s right. I purchased it in 2017 from Open Minds, they didn’t want to continue on. So I thought, hey, my boyfriend is the MC. So hey, why shouldn’t I just use my retirement money to buy a conference?

George Knapp  
You look at the timing of that as 2017, they get out. And then at the end of 2017, it hits the fan and explodes. 

Karen Brard  
It was really exciting, because actually Tom DeLonge called us and was like, you have to download this secure app, because I have something to tell you. So Alejandro went and downloaded the app. And, you know, that’s when he told him all about, you know, this stuff that the TTSA and all that kind of stuff that was about to happen, but we couldn’t tell anyone. So it was really exciting to have that knowledge before it broke.

George Knapp 
The last couple of years have been really exciting. One story after another breaking in national media, we’ve broken some, Alejandro has been involved. Has it translated yet into the general public going to conferences like yours?

Karen Brard 
Well, I think it did. Let me try to think of my years here. Um, yeah, I think, you know, Ancient Aliens had a conference called the AlienCon. And we went to those because we sell as a vendor also. And it was amazing. In Pasadena, there was 20,000 people lined up around the block, and Baltimore, all these people and I always make sure to ask people like, why did you come? And does anyone know that you watch Ancient Aliens? And they’re like, “No, nobody knows. It’s my secret. I didn’t let anybody tell. I didn’t tell anyone where I was going today.” So it was kind of funny that all these people are interested in the subject. And maybe they’re kind of feeling braver now about pursuing that interest.

George Knapp  
Give me the general overview of your event, when it starts and how people can participate. Because I know, despite the interest to the public, you’ve had to deal with COVID you were going to have an in person event and just can’t do it anymore.

Karen Brard  
Yes, we were going to have a conference, but just getting too many cancellations, too much unknown happening, didn’t want anybody to get sick. So we just decided to go virtual again, like we did last year, and we’re using the really dependable conference platform called Whova. So we already did it last year, we didn’t have any problems, no hitches, so we expect to have that same ease of use this year. But yeah, you go to the website, www.UFOCongress.com you purchase a ticket, and the next week or so you’re going to get another email saying, Here’s your link to get into Whova, and you’re going to click on that. And once you’re in that you have everything at your disposal. We have a speaker page, you can go through all and read all about the speakers the agenda, we have icebreakers where you can go in and answer questions, you can also start your own chat room. So you can pose a question like what do you think of this, or different kind of groups, and people made hundreds of last year. And another cool thing you can do is, you can make a virtual meetup. So it’s like a Zoom room through the app. So you can just invite people that you see on the app, or you can just invite anybody. And all the attendees also have the option to upload their information, their picture, their interest, you know, whatever they want to upload. So you can see everybody else that’s at the conference.

George Knapp  
It sounds like it’s a dating app, it could be a dating app.

Karen Brard   
It kind of is. There’s an option where you can kind of like ping somebody and say, Hey, I’m interested in you. So there’s also that option, as well as the speakers during their talks at the end, if they leave time, we can do live question and answers.

George Knapp 
You buy one ticket, you get access to everything that happens all the speakers, all the events?

Karen Brard 
Yes, you can do that for $119 you get the whole thing. There’s 24 lectures in panels, and also experiencer sessions and the film festival and then all the other stuff involved too. If you want you can also buy single tickets, like if they only want one or two, they’re only $12.99 each for those. Or you can buy a day of them so you know if you have one day that you really like you can buy just that day. So Wednesday is $39.99 and all the other days are $49.99.

George Knapp   
I know the the film festival is always a big deal the covenant EBE awards the handout, you know how many entries you’ve got this time?

Karen Brard  
Wow, that’s kind of an interesting thing. We were kind of maybe coming up with something a little different, kind of a 30th anniversary because it is our 30th anniversary and then 10 years since it’s been in Arizona kind of special ceremony and just kind of looking back at all the films of the last 10 years cuz we hadn’t gotten any submissions yet. And then today I got an a submission. So we’re going to have to decide what we’re going to do so if anybody out there has a submission for the film festival. Now’s the time to send it in, because it’s getting close to the wire. So we’re not sure what we’re gonna do yet. We’ll still have the ceremony because that’s a Saturday night ceremony, we also honor the UFO Investigator of the Year, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award, which somebody we know won last year or two years ago. name was George Knapp, I think, yeah. So we award people for all the hard work that they do in this field.

George Knapp  
We’ll talk about the speakers in a moment, because you got some great ones. But I always appreciate that your Congress always gives a special platform and attention to experiencers people who have largely been ignored with all the discussion and news stories about government programs and investigations. They’ve kind of been pushed off to the side, but you honor them and give them a platform. Because that’s what it’s really all about, right? The people who have these first hand experiences.

Karen Brard  
Right. I mean, I can’t imagine what it’d be like personally. But these people, they felt these things, you’ve experienced these things. And there’s so many out there and so many very similar experiences that there is something to it, I know there is, and these people need a place to talk about it, where people don’t think they’re crazy. So we offer that. We have six sessions in total, each one’s going to be a different facilitator, we’re going to have Yvonne Smith, she’s going to do a couple of them, who and she does regression therapy with experiencers, Kathleen Martin, who’s also done a lot in that field. And Gwen Farrell who’s now currently the MUFON, I think it’s something like head of experiencer or something research or something. So we got, you know, three really qualified people that are going to lead those sessions. And you’ll be able to go on to them by going into the app, once you’ve got a ticket, you go into the app, and it’s like a Zoom room, where you can see everybody and talk to each other. Those are the only ones that are going to be on the Zoom rooms. And the other one too, is going to be watching like an attendee. So you will be on the screen or anything.

George Knapp   
I go to UFO conferences like yours, to hear the speakers mostly. But also, I have to admit to see the vendors I buy if you look around my house, there’s aliens everywhere. So how’s that gonna work?

Karen Brard  
Well, we have what you call, it’s called a virtual vendor booth. And you just, once you’re in the thing, you can go into the app and Whova you can go and go in exhibitors, and then you would see all the exhibitors there. But even if you just want to check it out now on our website, www.UFOcongress.com. If you go to the vendor page, that are already displaying on our website, so anyone who’s out there that wants some advertising, it’s going to be on their website for six months, and it’s just $99 for a virtual booth. And you can upload pictures and video direct people to your website. It’s a really cool thing. So you can go there right now. Look, I have mine up there already. Either UFO Congress what we have to offer.

George Knapp 
Give me a sense of the speakers that are there this year. I looked at the list. It’s a great list. But what are the highlights for you?

Karen Brard   
When you’ve been in this field a long time. It’s always great to hear someone new. So, Ross Coulthart. He is coming out with a book. Like next month, I think it’s going to be for sale and he’s from Australia. And he is he’s on their 60 Minutes, and he’s a producer, he’s a journalist, he’s an author. So he’s kind of a big deal in Australia. And he went around for a couple years and was getting interviewed by you know, experiencers witnesses and supposedly intelligence, also, so he got some good anonymous intelligence briefings, and it’s all in his new book called In Plain Sight. So I’m really excited to him to hear him because I haven’t you know, listened to anything yet because I want for it to be fresh. And let’s see, NC Kranda is someone I haven’t heard speak. She’s a woman of course, and she investigated or she helps experiencers do their traumas. So I’m excited to have her here, her and Katie Griboski, who’s also a MUFON person, she’s an investigator. So these are the ones I haven’t heard yet. So I’m excited to hear what they have to offer.

George Knapp 
Bryan Bender, he lives in your town. He covers Washington and the Pentagon, but he lives in your town and so you get to interact with him a lot. He’s really done some solid reporting. What’s he got going. He’s got something with Fife Symington.

Karen Brard  
Yes. And for those who might not know, Fife Symington was the former governor of Arizona, during the Phoenix lights, and he got a lot of attention because he called a press (conference). And he said, I think we found the culprit. And this guy walks out with this big, huge alien head costume. And people got kind of mad at them about that. Because they felt like you know, he was making fun of what they saw. And I don’t know how many years later it was but James Fox talked to him about that. And he actually told him, You know, I actually saw the Phoenix lights. I saw it myself. So finally he came out with the truth that he you know, he saw it and he believes in UFOs. And he’s going to be interviewed by Bryan right here at this table.

George Knapp  
Lee Speigel has been around the topic even longer than I have. And a great speaker. Do you know what he’s covering?

Karen Brard   
Yeah, he was very instrumental in doing this UN thing, they tried to get a bill passed in the UN to study UFOs. Well, that footage was lost forever. We thought. It was actually found. And when James Fox and sister who was saying we’re going to film together with Lee Spiegel found this footage, they tried to find who was in charge of it. And they thought they went to this new station, I guess it had a Chyron on it or something. And they said, Can we use this and they were going to charge him a bunch of money. So then they thought, you know what we’re going to ask the UN. So they went to ask the UN and they said, Oh, no, no, no. But news station does not own that footage. We own that footage. And we’ll let you have it. So he is going to be showing clips from this UN footage. where it’s like, Hynek was there, Lee, Jacques Vallee in it. So it’ll be really interesting to see these guys like 40 years ago, or whenever it was.

George Knapp 
So I know that Ben Hansen, I think he used to work with the FBI. Right? And now he’s a TV host.

Karen Brard  
Yeah, he will be doing he’s got a new show coming out called Alien Invasion with Mark D’Antonio, another one of our speakers. And they’re going to kind of just talk about, you know, what they experienced in the show and other topics that they’ve experienced, because they’ve been in this field for a really long time. And Mark, of course, is the MUFON photo analyst.

George Knapp 
Yeah, well, sounds like a great lineup. So I buy a ticket, I get on the app. I can watch these speakers all at once, or I can dribble it out over a couple of weeks. Right? 

Karen Brard 
That’s right, you can watch it live. Or if you miss something, you can have up to two weeks after the end of the conference to watch it on Whova. So if you want to watch them over and over, you can do that. So we give you two weeks to enjoy all those videos.

George Knapp 
Anything else to say to our viewers about your event?

Karen Brard
Hmm, I just think you should, you should try it is a lot of fun. It’s a great bargain. There’s 24 lectures, that’s just under $5 each, so you’re not going to get that value at a live conference. So come and try it. And I think you’ll be surprised at how much interaction here is with the other attendees. Oh, and I just wanted to we have contest too. So the more things that you do in there, the more the better chance you have of winning one of our great prizes. So we have contests as well.

George Knapp   
It sounds great. Karen, great to talk to you. I’ll be watching and hope to see you soon. 

Karen Brard  
All right, thanks a lot. 


George Knapp  
Alejandro Rojas, you will be the master of ceremonies again this year for the International UFO Congress event coming up in a couple of days. Tell me this, do you get a sense that there is a bigger audience for this now as opposed to say five years ago, it seems like the public should really be engaged, given all the news coverage and action in Congress.

Alejandro Rojas  
I think that they’re hesitant. I think the public is interested. And I think I could say that, because we’re seeing mainstream news stories are getting tons of clicks, you know, we’re seeing a lot more of that going on. And the feedback is that everybody’s looking at those articles. I think that we’re seeing Netflix documentaries, doing a lot better. I mean, I was shocked that one of the documentaries, you know, when we do these conferences, a lot of times we’re asked to go into a room, do an interview, and you don’t think much of it. But one of these documentaries was like number four on Netflix just a few weeks ago. And I’ve got all these people telling me, I’m seeing you on TV, I’m seeing you on TV. So it’s definitely reaching a lot of people, all my neighbors, all my co-workers, you know talking about that. So I think people are watching stuff online, kind of in a controlled environment where nobody needs to know that they’re starting to get interested in this. Do I think people are starting to dip their toes? We’re not, I haven’t seen any of the conferences really getting any major increase in attendees. But then again, we’ve had COVID going on for the last couple of years. So I think that’s definitely a big factor. But so I think that people are dipping their toes in, but they’re doing it from the comfort of their homes in secret.

George Knapp  
You know, people are impatient, of course, those who are new to the topic, think it’s moving too slowly. Whereas those of us like you have been around a long time are astonished at how fast it’s changed, how much news there has been over the last couple of years. The UAP Task Force, of course, that’s a gigantic story. It’s been covered by all kinds of major media. You know, they put out a report that many found disappointing. I did not see it that way. I saw it as a major shift from what the Department of Defense has always said publicly about this. Where do you think that’s going? The UAP Task Force, hopefully will have a permanent home somewhere. Where do you think that’s going?

Alejandro Rojas
Yeah, I’m with you. I think all of this movement is extremely excited, those who are looking for answers that are way down in the rabbit hole, the rabbit hole has no end. So there could be some astonishing revelation. And I don’t think people would still be satisfied because it’d be like, you know, well, what about the Arcturians? What about the Zeta Reticulum? And so I don’t think there’s any satisfying those type of people who really want the deep info. But like you’re saying, right now is extremely exciting, in that we have this UAP Task Force, mostly created to, you know, deal with this report that the Senate Intelligence Committee asked for. They’ve completed that, but luckily, they’re not gone. You know, Harry Reid just did an interview recently, where he was like, I hope this isn’t a one and done, they released this report and that’s it. And it doesn’t look like that is the case. I mean, they were tasked with putting together a system of collecting and centralizing this information to analyze it. And it looks like that’s what they’re doing. And an exciting part to that is that it looks like they’re going to NASA, they’re going to Space Command. They’re going to the Air Force, although I think it was Bryan Bender did an interview with someone with the Air Force. And they said they haven’t asked us to do this. If they do ask us to do it, we’ll do it. But he’s saying I don’t see it as a major threat. So I’m not sure it’s it’s something that we need to look into. But then we have you know, Bill Nelson, the head of NASA, speaking very positively. He just had a secret briefing last week. He mentioned to CNN he had the briefing three years ago. He’s very open to looking into this. He does see it as a scientific question. And he went so far to say, you know, I think there’s aliens out there, there are civilizations out there. We’re looking for him. We haven’t found them yet. But I think they’re out there. I think that’s really exciting. When you have someone at that level, especially an organization like NASA that is very PR savvy and cognizant. I think they’re more of a PR monster than anything. I mean, that’s a major concern for them. And when he’s able to in a conversation when he’s asked about UFOs to go so far as to say to bring up aliens and say he believes they’re out there. That’s huge. So I think it’s really exciting to see where this all leads to. And like you, to me, this is all neck breaking. speed. I mean to go from just a few years ago, the revelation that this Pentagon program happened, having the Pentagon fight against it, even you know, put out wrong information about Luis Elizondo who came out about all of this, then the Navy revealing we do take this seriously. Moving to the Senate, asking for this information. And now, some new official structure being put together in a much more serious manner than I think even Project Blue Book was put together. I think it’s all very exciting.

George Knapp  
You know, your friend and colleague, Bryan Bender, did write about the UAP Task Force and the possibility of it ending up at Space Force, and that maybe there’s some pushback from Space Force, and that maybe not everyone is on board with that. My prediction is, that is where it’s going to go. And I saw these promo reels, these videos, recruitment videos that Space Force put out a couple of days ago, it looks like the trailer for a sci-fi movie, just the visuals of it seems like a great fit for where it could land. Do you expect an announcement about that? Or is that where you would hope that it goes?

Alejandro Rojas 
I don’t know. I know, there’s a lot of talk around that. And it seems like maybe that’s where it will end up. I’m not as excited about that, just because, I mean, the Space Force is an evolution of Air Force, Space Command. Air Force Space Command, very secretive, but they’re mostly dealing with satellites with space, threats, protecting our assets in space. You know, a lot of people don’t realize that, you know, satellite navigation, you know, all comes from that it’s a free service that we offer the world, the United States. And so they’ve got a lot on their plate that has nothing to do with kind of aliens and everything. When space force got created, there was kind of this PR kind of thing, and they kind of played into people making fun of this idea of Space Force and chasing aliens and going to fight aliens and this sort of thing. And so Space Force seems to be really kind of playing on that using this, this PR imagery to bring excitement around what they’re doing. At least bringing excitement about the Space Force, not necessarily what they actually do in the Space Force. So that’s where I’m not sure if it’s a great fit. The way that the UAP Task Force looked at this as a potential threat. That these are technologies, these are vehicles that are impeding on airspace at secure, what are they that’s a danger, we can’t have unknown technology, you know, flying willy nilly over our aircraft carriers and, you know, bothering our jet aircraft and everything. So that’s not really the Space Force’s wheelhouse. That’s really I would imagine, and that’s why Air Force was the first tasked with this, that perhaps in the Air Force wheelhouse, I feel more comfortable with the Navy, at least the Navy, you know, the threat issue is more of their concern. And why do I say threat? A lot of people get upset with that idea of a threat. And I guess because it’s an unknown, it’s investigating an unknown, which is really important and maybe even twofold. You have the investigation of the unknown potential threat, along with an agency like NASA that’s science based, doing a scientific research on what is this mystery there? They have SETI, they have the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence, you know, type of projects that they’re doing, they are searching for life out there, you know, NASA would be a good fit as well. So I’m a little hesitant with Space Force.

George Knapp   
Yeah, I mean, I don’t have a favorite either way. I would hate to see it go to the Air Force given the Air Force’s track record. And you know, with all these UFO revelations for the past three and a half years, Air Force has been pretty silent. You know, we saw from the UAP Task Force report that was issued that the Air Force had somewhat reluctantly agreed, Alright, we’re gonna play ball we’re going to establish some listening posts in places where there’s been a lot of activity that’s really the first indication we’ve had that they’re willing to cooperate whatsoever you know, they I saw some of Bryan Bender’s interview with the Is it the Secretary of the Air Force, the new Air Force Chief who was sort of non-committal about the whole thing? Yeah, well, we’ll investigate threats, but didn’t really wasn’t really forthcoming with a lot of info. What was your take on that?

Alejandro Rojas  
I agree with you 100%. It was more along the lines of if they saddled us with this, and we’ll do it but we don’t want to, which has been their attitude all along. You know, I think we have one of the few stories It was written by my colleague and Antonio Huneeus about how when Carter came into office, and he actually asked NASA will you look into UFOs NASA had consulted with the Air Force and they said, don’t do it. It’s not your, and they’re kind of right in that it is a lose lose situation. I think we saw this with the Air Force comments, even this week, you know, everybody’s critical of every different angle that it could be taken that, you know, the people who are skeptical are thinking you’re just, you know, ruining the Air Force’s reputation to people who are really into this or like, You’re lying, you know, aliens are here. So there’s kind of no winning, and that is kind of a tough situation. But yeah, the Air Force has not been forthcoming. They’ve been very secretive. Even during this whole thing, even in the beginning, when the Navy admitted that they do take UAP seriously, and they’re looking into it, they invoked the Air Force’s name, I think it was kind of a jab, I don’t think it was necessarily. And they said, you know, we, along with the Air Force take this very seriously, yet we had crickets from the Air Force. I think the only real comment we had along the lines was when there was a sighting, that people were thinking could have been a drone in the Air Force piped up and said, No, that was definitely not a drone, which was kind of interesting, because they were supporting the idea that this was an unknown object. But otherwise, we haven’t heard much until now. And their attitude isn’t too surprising, because it was their attitude during Blue Book, that we’re gonna, we’re saddled with this, we’re going to try to appease the public, but we’re really not into this. And it doesn’t necessarily mean I think a lot of us know that this was more of a public facing thing that they did take, you know, the sort of situation seriously, but those were, you know, tasked or or investigated by the people who are in charge of looking at national security issues.

George Knapp  
Talk a bit about the content coming at the International UFO Congress, a lot of great speakers, Lue Elizondo, whom you mentioned is one of them. You know, Lue, I give him great respect, because of all the shots he has taken since entering this field. And I’m sure there’s times when he’s thought to himself, why did I do this? Can I can I go back and undo it? Because of, you know, the allegations that he never worked for AATIP, that AATIP had nothing to do with UFOs? Over and over again, attacking his credibility, his integrity? Yet here he is plugging away. What would you expect to hear from him at the Congress? What might he address? And do you appreciate that he’s sticking with it?

Alejandro Rojas  
I extremely appreciate that he’s sticking with it. Because, you know, I think we were one of the first ones (when) the 2017 article came out, even though we’re friendly with Tom DeLonge. And we worked closely with him at Open Minds, he, you know, they were still really stash with Lue. They would not let us get access. So I had to kind of go around and find his contact information to start to talk to him. And then you know, with his help get his permission to have To The Stars do an interview with Lue that we could share it the Congress a few years ago. And that was really difficult at that time. As you all know, people like you and I, or Bryan Bender, who were covering this just straight, we’re just, you know, looking at the information, sharing the information, we’re taking a lot of heat from even some of the old school kind of UFO researchers saying, why are you believing this guy, he’s obviously a liar, you guys are buying his story, hook line and sinker. And, and I think, you know, we felt we’re not telling his story. We’re telling the big picture, the whole story. He’s not our only source of information. And you know I was, and I’m sure you were, and I know others were just as skeptical of him as anybody else. But you know, what he was telling us fit, what other supporting information was coming to all of us. And I think over the years, we’ve seen, he was right. What a lot of people don’t know is a lot of this, you know, questioning of his background and personality or, you know, in personality, and especially coming from the Pentagon itself, had a real toll on him. It was really distressing. It was difficult. He thought he was going to come out and be a champion for the UFO field yet the UFO field was like, Hey, who are you? We don’t want nothing to do with it. You’re a big jerk and really cruel, kind of like Bob Bigelow experienced, I think. And so I think to his credit, he’s really stayed positive. He’s really stayed focused on his goal. And here we are years later, where, you know, he has really been justified and or at least, you know, everybody knows that he has been accurate throughout the years. And that he is the real deal. And I think that now, everyone has a much more positive outlook towards Lue. He’s reached out to even his some of his biggest detractors to do interviews and try to come to some common ground. So I think and what’s great is what Lue is going to talk about is not all of this about how Oh, woe is me. Look at how terrible this was for me, no Lue is going to be like, Hey, this is exciting. There’s more stuff to look at, there’s more that’s going to come out. There’s more that we need to do. He’s always forward looking. And I think that’s what’s exciting about whenever Lue Elizondo does a talk is that he talks to you about where we can go from here and some of the exciting things that are over the horizon that we can do to get more information out about this topic.

George Knapp 
You know, the UFO world is dysfunctional, at best. That’s a polite way to put it. Everybody wants the truth, so long as it’s their truth. So somebody who, like Lue Elizondo comes in and sucks all the air out of the room. I mean, you know, the stories that he’s told and hands on experience. People don’t like that. You know, so it kind of comes with the territory. I think, Avi Loeb, who’s another speaker at the Congress has probably learned that to some degree. You know, he comes out earlier this year, amazing that he takes it as deep dive into the end of the UFO pool as he’s done, because it starts fairly modest. I don’t know if this is a modest story, but that the object that he had identified as an intergalactic visitor, that made a lot of news, but he’s now gone full into it. He’s dived into the deep end of the pool, setting up an organization to look for extraterrestrial life. I mean, he’s taking no prisoners, right?

Alejandro Rojas 
Yeah, that’s what’s been really exciting. He’s kind of gone the way of Lue Elizondo a bit in that, you know, this Omuamua object came out, it was exciting enough that this first Interstellar object that came through our solar system, there was some mysterious properties to it. It was exciting enough that the first scientific paper that came out, actually included the possibility maybe this is alien technology. And I think that’s really important that we’re seeing more and more of that with astronomical mysteries out there, phenomena that are unexplained that they always put in there. Maybe it’s aliens, you know, not saying for sure it is, but at least being open to the idea, because maybe it is. Avi Loeb came forward, you know, towards the end of kind of all of this, when really kind of that original new cycle was over almost. And he came out saying, I think it is alien. I think this is a probe that they I can’t find out any other explanation, given the facts of what we know about this object. Of course, that was highly controversial. I think people were like, Yeah, he’s just saying that maybe that’s what it is. But no, he came on very strong. This is what I think it might be. I think at the beginning of his news cycle, you know, he was still hesitant about the UFO thing. I know that when I was seeking interviews and others, he was still a little hesitant with attaching UFOs to what he was talking about. But fortunately, he came more and more comfortable with it. By the time I talked to him, kind of after that big news cycle was dying down. He was very open, which was exciting. And he stayed and remained open to looking at the more mysterious type of aspects to all of this, because I think he’s seeing that you know, what, there was a blind spot, you know, the things that he’s saying, are very similar to things like Dr. Allen Hynek said decades ago and wrote in his books, what Jacques Vallee said, what Peter Struck some of these other scientists who have gotten into this field, you know, have admitted we had this blind spot, it couldn’t be so with that, why look into it, because it just is impossible. Without looking at the facts and letting the facts stand on their own. I think now a lot of scientists are more open to this idea of letting the facts stand on their own and they’re even coming up with their own safe terminology, kind of like UAP is a safe word for UFO. They’re using this term techno signatures. And that’s a big deal. And it sounds mundane. It doesn’t I think make headlines, you don’t see it and headlines, and that’s purposeful scientists are not PR, they don’t like the getting in the headlines. But what are techno signatures, ancient alien technology, they’re looking at artifacts that aliens have left, either on other planets, or here on our planet. And this is actually something that is now NASA is considering it. SETI had talks about this, techno signatures are a big deal. Could there be evidence even on this planet of ancient alien visitation, and they’re taking that seriously and looking into it? And yeah, Ave Loeb is now becoming kind of a forefront of this putting together a project in Harvard. And that’s what he’s going to be talking about at the conference, which I think is extremely exciting. This guy was not just a Harvard astronomer, he was head of the department over there, and he’s going to be sharing with us and speaking in terms. And this is what I think is really exciting about this time, as well. I mean, for me as a journalist, this is what I was dreaming about. When I was writing articles it was to share credible information. To show, hey, there is credible stuff here. This is a real phenomenon. This is a real mystery that needs to be looked into. And dream about the day when a person like Avi Loeb will be up there to discuss this topic, because educated people like him, people who have, you know, been embedded in the astronomy field. They look at this and think about all of this very differently in a scientific way. But when they analyze and compute, you know, the stuff that we’ve been looking at, the way they look at it, and share is, to me extraordinary the possible theories about the science, how this all can be done is, you know, just the type of stuff that we haven’t heard before, which is extremely fascinating. And what’s great is that it really excites his colleagues, other people in the scientific community to then pick up the gauntlet, whether they’re skeptical or not, to see if there’s something here. So yeah, it’s amazing. 

George Knapp 
It’s a whole different ballgame from just a couple of years ago, and the International UFO Congress has always been at the forefront of exploring the most current stories. I know you got, Bryan Bender is going to interview the former governor Fife Symington live, I think, during the the event, and Symington had sort of been all over the map on on the issue he was he distorted it and sort of covered it up, then he came clean. He’s gone back and forth since then. So looking forward to that. Ben Hansen. Lee Spiegel, you got a great lineup. And I know I’m going to be tuning in and checking it out. And I hope our audience does, too.

Alejandro Rojas
Yeah, I’m very excited about the lineup. It’s great. Karen puts it together. She is awesome. Everybody thinks it’s me. And they contact me and I tell them nope, you got to talk to the boss. And she’s done an amazing job. And she also makes sure the areas that aren’t being featured by the media that the public is interested in, or at least the UFO community interested is also represented. So she does her answers. People who have research experiences or maybe even credible people who have filled they have their own experiences. She’s put together a great group of people like that, who will also be speaking.

George Knapp  
Alejandro, great. We’re going to talk to your better half here in a little bit. And good luck with your conference, and I’ll be tuning in.

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