top of page

The X-Conference: Not Lights in the Sky, but Lies on the Ground

April 27, 2004 

by Richard Dolan



Post 9-11 American Society has become like a cartoon image of an inside-out human body. It is a society in which – as George Orwell wrote long ago – black is white, up is down, and truth is whatever Big Brother wants it to be. And yet, despite the craziness of our society, people who believe in UFOs are still considered the odd ones.


I think that’s very interesting. For the more that I look at our contemporary society, the more convinced I become that things are deeply, deeply screwy.


I base my opinion not on any particular political position taken by the current Builders of Empire under King George. Rather, it’s that no one seems to care whether any of the platitudes and statements coming from America’s official Talking Heads are even true. Have people become so cynical that they’ve given up all pretense to caring about … truth?


Maybe our collectively entrained apathy is just a defense mechanism, like when you discover that your girlfriend no longer thinks you’re all that. In that sense, the puncturing of your childhood ideals may not be much different than rejection from your true love. You become the worst type of cynic: the kind who gives up without trying to make things better.


But amid despair there remains hope. There are still people who believe that truth matters, that justice matters, and most importantly, that people actually deserve to hear truth and receive justice. Wow. How old school.


Such a person is Stephen Bassett, a man who actually ran for Congress recently on the platform of – get ready – UFO disclosure. I know Steve, and can vouch for the fact that this man is for real. For reasons which I have yet to understand, Steve still believes in that elusive creature known as The American Dream. He still believes in the future of the American political system. He is the only registered lobbyist in Washington DC regarding UFO disclosure. Think about that for moment.


On April 17 and 18, in Washington DC (well, Gaithersburg, but who’s keeping tabs), Steve Bassett organized and hosted a major-political-ufological-conference-extravaganza: the X-Conference. In the space of just two days at the Gaithersburg Hilton, he packed 25 speakers from 5 countries to discuss the reality of the UFO phenomenon, a coverup regarding same, and the necessity of forcing official disclosure regarding that reality. Certainly, there have been other conferences that focused on such themes. But I don’t believe that any of them was quite like this one.


As one of the speakers, I experienced the frenetic pace of activity quite directly. Although perhaps I cannot give the most objective analysis, I know what I saw.


One thing I saw was a lot of people in attendance. About 650, in fact. I was struck, too, by the relative youth of many attendees. By youthful, I mean people in their thirties and forties, as opposed to fifties, sixties, and seventies – generally more common at UFO conferences these days. Perhaps because DC is a younger town than, say, Laughlin, Nevada or Aztec, New Mexico. It was obvious, too, that many of these attendees had highly professional backgrounds. The vast majority of them were well educated, articulate, and seemed actually to care about the public good.


Indeed, possibly the main distinguishing feature about this particular conference, compared with other UFO-related conferences, was that the phenomenon was not treated as an intellectual, academic, problem. Everyone – Bassett, the speakers he invited, and the attendees themselves – focused on the UFO phenomenon as a matter of public policy.


“It’s not about lights in the sky,” said Bassett. “It’s about lies on the ground.”


Regarding such a sentiment, I say it’s about time.


A complete list of the speakers included: Stephen Bassett (organizer and co-moderator), Dr. William Birnes, Grant Cameron, Philip Corso, Jr., Paul Davids, Richard Dolan, Ann Druffel, Stanton Friedman, Timothy Good, Dr. Steven Greer, William Hamilton, Terry Hansen, Paola Harris, Richard C. Hoagland, Linda Moulton Howe, Dr. C.B. Scott Jones, Cheryll Jones (co_moderator), Jim Marrs, Dr. Bruce Maccabee, Nick Pope, Peter Robbins, Dr. Michael Salla, Dr. Richard Sauder, Dr. Tom Van Flandern, Dr. Robert Wood, Ryan Wood.


The discussions ranged from an analysis of government released FOIA documents, the black budget, Presidential politics and UFOs, media manipulation, evidence of underground bases, international military sightings of UFOs, and, in the case of Richard Hoagland, the probing of unusual evidence regarding the surface of Mars.


I spoke to some congressional staffers who attended the conference. They described to me significant levels of interest in this topic by several members of Congress. Of course, any members of Congress who admit to having a genuine interest in this topic can kiss their career goodbye. Just another bit of evidence of the cultural and political repression over the topic of UFOs.


But although Congress had a minor toehold in the conference, there was no sign of any major media. No ABC, no NBC, no CBS, no Fox, no major newspapers. Alternative press, yes. International media, yes, to a limited extent.


But the American Big Boys were entirely absent. And Bassett made every effort to promote this conference to major media – “all political media in Washington was contacted two, three, or four times in advance,” he said. One can only conclude that the major networks and newspapers explicitly declined to cover the event. A matter of policy.


The absence of major power players made this conference a genuinely populist event. On the one side were serious-minded, small-time operators, who genuinely believed in the promotion of truth on the matter of UFOs. On the other side was big government and big media, studiously avoiding any recognition of those efforts.


Very much in line with everything else going on in the death throes of the American Republic.


But, as I said earlier, hope remains. It’s true that the X-Conference failed to force any progress toward aligning official truth with actual truth within our society. Still, there’s no question that its results were encouraging enough that we can expect this to be an annual event. Nothing worth attaining can be achieved without effort.


People are notoriously bad at predicting the results of their actions. For that reason, I suspect that the effects of the X-Conference may not be fully understood for several years.


Indeed, Bassett mentioned that in the aftermath of the conference there have already been several meetings with members of Congress on “some of the key topics” discussed at the conference. Without currently mentioning any specifics, he plans to make such information public at the earliest possible time.


Yes, I have a feeling that we will be hearing more from Steve Bassett in the future.


For more information about the X-Conference, and information about the forthcoming 2005 X-Conference, visit


bottom of page