"Mark Pilkington's new book Mirage Men is a dizzying ride through a world of deception, manipulation and psychological warfare by intelligence agencies. Working in the field of UFO phenomena, the Mirage Men sow elaborate patterns of disinformation.. . .
Whether you think that UFOs are probably just satellites or shooting stars, or if you think the aliens have already landed, then your beliefs were probably planted by them. As Pilkington discovered, they can be subtle enough to deceive whole populations, or intense enough to literally drive their targets insane.
Looking for a guide through this maze of mirrors I met the author, UFO researcher, and sometime maker of crop circles in a pub off Tottenham Court Road. But could I trust a man who has himself been 'outed' as an agent of MI5?"
W: What do you make of the recent UFO sightings over Iran? (The Iranian authorities even claim to have shot one down last year). The unidentified objects are described as glowing or having lights on them, do this rule out secret US spy drones?
MP: There was a UFO wave over Iran in 2004 when I first began researching Mirage Men -- many of them, not surprisingly, seen over their burgeoning nuclear facilities. The Iranian Air Force announced that they'd be having a UFO conference to investigate the sightings, but I never heard any more about that. It's interesting to see how in Iran, just as in the UK or the US, initial reports of lights in the sky will quite quickly transform into more dramatic stories -- the second wave of sightings in 2004 involved strange robot creatures with claw arms hovering in the skies. This kind of escalation is a natural part of the folkloric narrative process, though it's also possible that these stories were faked by witnesses or journalists to sell newspapers, or were even planted by Iran's enemies to stir up unease.
Bright lights don't necessarily rule out spy planes or drones, maybe they were there to distract attention from another covert operation. Or perhaps the purpose was to generate unease and fear amongst the population with the eventual goal of destabilising the regime. The US planned to fly "ghost planes" over Libya in 1986 for similar reasons, though the project was never carried out.
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