Rumors of alien technology persist; Pravda takes them seriously

This photo was reported by UFO sites to have been taken by a US soldier during May of 2006 in southern Baghdad.

By Hal McKenzie       March 18, 2003
With war in Iraq looming, the news networks have been full of stories about the high-tech weapons the United States will use against the forces of Saddam Hussein, from “smart” bombs to pilotless aircraft to electromagnetic pulse weapons. If persistent rumors are true, much of the technology behind this futuristic weaponry was obtained from alien spacecraft held by the U.S. government in secret laboratories and bases.

The Russian newspaper Pravda treats this rumor as an established fact. The Jan. 1 English-language edition reports that Saddam Hussein even has his own crashed saucer, creating an “alien technology” race with the United States.

“On December 16, 1998 … a video clip aired on CNN showed a UFO hovering over Baghdad; it moved away to avoid a stream of tracer anti-aircraft fire. At that time we all thought it was another UFO sighting, although captured on videotape. But now, ufologists think it was much more than a mere incident,” Pravda reports.

“Jack Sarfatti reported that Friday evening, December 6, 2002, ‘someone called the Art Bell radio show, claimed his connection with the military and informed that a UFO crashed in Iraq several years ago. The USA is currently searching for any pretext to invade Iraq. In fact, the USA is motivated by the greatest fear that Saddam will reverse-engineer the crashed alien spacecraft.’” Pravda adds, “The USA is currently reverse-engineering the Roswell craft and fears that Saddam’s scientists may become even more successful …”

Reputable news organizations would never consider an anonymous phone caller at a talk show a reliable source. At least two other sources in the United States, however, claim independently that the transistor invented by Bell Labs was reverse-engineered from the famous flying saucer that reportedly crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. The transistor is a key element in the microelectronics revolution, replacing the unwieldy, hot and inefficient vacuum tube.

The late Col. Philip J. Corso (Ret.) with William J. Birnes published a book in 1997, The Day After Roswell, in which Corso says he delivered pieces from a boxful of Roswell debris to various civilian labs while working for the Foreign Technology Office of Army Intelligence. He said that not only the transistor, but integrated circuits, fiber-optic technology and night vision equipment (all of which play a prominent role in modern warfare) were spun off from the alien debris. He also devotes a chapter to the “Star Wars” missile defense system, which he claims was not really aimed at Soviet missiles, but at possible invaders from outer space, ironically turning their own technology against them.

In a postscript, Corso says a website sponsored by American Computer Company of New Jersey came out with a similar story after the hardback edition of his book was published. The website claims they learned of Corso’s book after the site was published.

The site features a cartoon of an alien mourning Corso’s 1989 death. After clicking on the alien to access the message, a pop-up box appears with a welcome from the “Orion Galactic Federation.” The message then says, “Nuclear Powered Engines and Advanced Communications and Computing devices, all of which were a hundred years beyond post-World War II technology, were taken from the Alien wreck and purportedly made their way to The Bell System’s ‘Bell Laboratories,’ then located in Murray Hill, New Jersey — it has been alleged. … One piece was supposedly found to have unique potential, an alien switching device composed of Silicon and Arsenic, arranged in a microscopic array much more complicated than even now have been assembled by humankind, hundreds of years ahead [original capitalization and punctuation].” The article goes on to say the switching device, originally called a “transfer resistor”, became known as the transistor.

Bell Lab spokesman Adam Grossberg said, “While we agree that Bell Labs’ achievements are out of this world, Bell Labs has always relied on the organic and earthly talents of its human workforce. The transistor was certainly not developed as a result of an Alien technology transfer.”

A Google scan of the Web using the search word “alien technology” recovered 572,000 items, although many of them are from a rock band and a company of the same name.

The alien technology story gained new strength in 1989, when engineer Robert Lazar told Las Vegas TV reporter George Knapp that, while he was working at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1982, physicist Edward Teller, the “father of the H-bomb,” recruited him to study the propulsion system of a captured saucer, one of several housed at the fabled “Area 51” secret base at Groom Lake in the Nevada desert. Teller denied to a TV reporter that he remembered Lazar, but Lazar presented proof that he did in fact work at Los Alamos.

Lazar claimed his job was to “reverse engineer” the propulsion system of the craft, which he said uses an “antimatter reactor” and a heavy element, 115 on the periodic table, to “bend” space itself, thus traveling instantaneously from place to place. UFO writer Timothy Good writes about Lazar in Alien Liaison, Arrow Books, 1991.

The theory that space aliens have bestowed advanced technology on mankind is nothing new. One of its most popular proponents is Erich Von Daniken, author of the best-selling Chariots of the Gods and other books presenting his belief that extraterrestrials were responsible for many ancient monuments and temples, as well as technology supposedly beyond the reach of early man. According to an article in the British Observer, he plans to open a theme park in Switzerland dedicated to that belief, featuring mockups of the pyramids, Stonehenge, Mayan temples and the Nazca lines in Peru. “Scientists have heaped contempt on the Swiss author and repudiated virtually every claim he has made,” the Observer says.

Von Daniken, however, is one among many “astronaut god” proponents. Others are Babylonian scholar Zechariah Sitchin, author of the “Earth Chronicles” series; former NASA scientist Maurice Chatelain, author of Our Cosmic Ancestors; Australian writer Andrew Tomas, author of We Are Not the First, and others.

None of the information presented above could be considered a “smoking gun” proving the existence of alien technology. The circumstantial evidence, however, is enough to fuel rumors that will persist for a long time to come.

Hal McKenzie (1948-2010) was the first editor of

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