Sunday, 7 February 2016

Area 51

by Sienna Bentley

Nevada, less than 100 miles from Las Vegas in America, is the most famous military installation base on the planet. It is one of the worst kept secrets among government agencies, and was finally revealed by the CIA in 2013. Area 51 in Nevada was finally acknowledged as a test ground for the United States government. Rumours circle around this base, similar to the mysterious aircraft that fly around in the skies overhead. Although it’s known by many names, it is most well known as Area 51.

The name alone triggers thoughts of government conspiracies, peculiar secret black aircraft and alien technologies. It is hard to determine reality from fiction due to myths and rumours as well as severe lack of knowledge. What exactly goes on in this installation? Why did the government alternatively acknowledge and deny its existence until the 1990s? Why is the airspace over it so restricted that even military aircraft are forbidden from flying through it?

In July 1947, a man called Mac Brazel found an unknown metal strewn over his land in New Mexico. Brazel took this debris to the authorities in Roswell. The commanding officer at the time, Colonel Blanchard, was intrigued by this information and he ordered an investigation on the land. After collecting any other evidence from Brazel’s property, a press report was released that they had recovered some type of flying disc.

Soon after this, however, the army later took back the statement and suggested that it was shrapnel from a weather balloon. Years later in the 1970s, the Roswell conspiracies became popular among conspiracy theorists. There are numerous different theories tied to Roswell and Area 51, the biggest being that Area 51 is used as a hiding ground of the flying objects and secret alien bodies that were discovered in this wreckage.

Besides the supposed events that took place in Roswell, New Mexico, there have been many claims of UFOs and extraterrestrial beings/substances being taken to and tested at Area 51. Ever since the Roswell event in 1947, there have been numerous alleged conspiracies that have been said to have taken place at Area 51. Mysterious flying objects in the sky and alleged crash debris has been always tied to the base.

While it’s unknown whether all the theories about UFOs and extraterrestrial life are true or not, the government has admitted to the existence of Area 51. It is widely believed that all military aircraft is initially tested there, such as the much-talked about Aurora Project.

A family, the Sheahan family, have owned land next to the infamous  site for 130 years but, until now, have never spoken publicly about it. The family have broken their silence: what is it like to own property near Area 51 after rejecting a multi-million dollar offer from the US Air Force for their land?

The property includes Groom Mine, which the family have mined for silver, lead, copper, zinc and gold. The family have claimed that their land has been bombed and showered with radioactive fallout and they are demanding compensation from the Air Force and Department of Energy. They also say that guards have held them at gunpoint.

One family member, Dan Sheahan, told “Las Vegas Now”: “First, we really didn’t want to come public, but the Air Force has forced us into it. We want ‘em to know what they have done over the last 60 years to our family is not acceptable.” 

The Air Force is supposedly threatening to make a compulsory purchase of the land if the family does not agree to their US $3.4 million offer. In a statement, the Nellis Air Force Base said the action was necessary because “the property’s location inside the NTTR (Nevada Test And Training Range) and the increasing security demands have made it impossible for the Air Force to test and train securely and safely while civilians are present.”

Anyone working at Area 51, whether military or civilian, has to sign an oath of secrecy. Buildings at the site have no windows, which prevents people from seeing anything unrelated to their own duties at the base. By some reports, different teams would work on similar projects at the same time, but their supervisors would keep each team ignorant of the other team’s project. When testing a secret aircraft, officials order all uninvolved employees to stay inside until the test flight was over and the aircraft returned to its hangar.

The borders of Area 51 are not properly fenced, but are marked with orange poles and warning signs. The signs state that photography is not allowed and that trespassing on the property will result in a fine. The signs also tell you: Security is authorised to use deadly force on people who insist on trespassing. Rumours circulate among conspiracy theorists over how many unfortunate truth seekers have died as a result of their curiosity and wandering around the grounds of Area 51, although most people believe that trespassers are dealt with in a much less violent manner.

Area 51 is one of the most widely recognised secrets in America, but only a very select few really know what happens in this facility. Will Area 51 conspiracy theories go on forever or will the United States government eventually come clean about everything that happens behind the barbed wire?

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