Facebook resurrects bid to lead two million people on mission to 'storm Area 51'

Facebook has reinstated a page which is hoping to organise an invasion of the top-secret military research base Area 51.

The social network removed an event calling on ordinary people to ‘storm’ the facility and ‘see them aliens’.

Now it’s claimed the decision was a ‘mistake’ and relaunched the page.

More than two millions people have promised to take part in the stunt, although it’s more of a meme than a genuine insurrection.

Earlier this week Matthew Roberts, organiser of the stunt, posted Facebook’s takedown notice along with the words: ‘WHAT. THE. FRICK?’

The social network said the page because it ‘went against our community standards’.

Roberts is now planning to hold a festival in the Nevada desert, rather than leading a large crowd on a mission to break into a secret research facility.

Area 51 is believed to be a clandestine test area where cutting edge aircraft are built in total secrecy.

It’s also at the centre of a web of conspiracy theories and many people believe the US Government is secretly storing and studying alien technology within the base.

Organisers of the stunt believe large numbers of people stand a chance of getting into the base, because guards ‘can’t stop all of us’.

In July. the US Airforce has issued a strong warning to anyone planning to join a bid to invade the secret research base in search of evidence which proves the existence of extraterrestrial life.

Although the page appears to have been started up as a joke, so many people have now signed up that the defence chiefs stepped up to issue a warning to anyone thinking of trying to infiltrate the facility, which is located deep in the Nevada Desert.

‘[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” a US Airforce spokesperson said in a statement.

‘The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.’

MORE: Over 120,000 alien hunters are planning to ‘storm Area 51’ to discover the truth

Nick Pope, former UFO investigator for the Ministry of Defence, had the following sobering advice to anyone thinking of going to storm Area 51.

He told Metro: ‘I understand people’s curiosity about Area 51 and about government UFO secrets more generally, and I completely support people’s right to undertake a legal, peaceful protest, but that’s not how this event is being billed.

“Storm Area 51” clearly implies illegal trespass onto a military installation and that’s a recipe for disaster. I utterly condemn such an action. It’s irresponsible, illegal and potentially dangerous.

‘Trespass on a military base is a federal offence and people run the risk of getting jail time, a fine and a criminal record. Warning signs at Area 51 even state that the use of lethal force is authorized.

‘This is unlikely and guards are only authorized to open fire in exceptional circumstances, such as if they believe they’re in imminent danger themselves, but who knows what might happen if things get out of hand?

‘If a large crowd is rushing towards a guard and some idiot tries to grab his gun, it’s easy to envisage a situation where someone might open fire.

‘If anyone thinks this is impossible, they should remember that as recently as February, a man was shot and killed at a Navy base in Texas, after he crashed his vehicle into a security barrier and charged towards the guards.’

We asked what other risks UFO hunters could face during the stunt.

‘It’s easy to imagine a whole bunch of other things going wrong here, with potentially tragic results,’  Pope added.

‘Area 51 is in a desolate and remote area and the terrain is rough. I could envisage cars running out of gas or overturning, people getting lost in the desert, all sorts of things – it might look easy on a computer screen, but in real life it isn’t.

‘I live in Tucson, Arizona, so I know what desert terrain is like. It’s beautiful, but it can be unforgiving. Temperatures can be brutal even in mid September, if people don’t take enough water they can very quickly dehydrate dangerously, and then there are the rattlesnakes!’

However, it’s far from clear anyone will actually turn up to the event.

Pope continued: ‘The only good news for the authorities is that any protest is likely to be much smaller than people think. It’s very easy to click ‘going’ on a Facebook event, but it’s much harder to actually go – especially to somewhere as remote as Area 51. Even so, the authorities are concerned, and rightly so.

‘I find all this frustrating. As a result of the revelations concerning the Pentagon’s AATIP (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program) program, the topic of UFOs has come out of the fringe and into the mainstream.

‘The US Navy has confirmed the reality of several mid-air encounters between pilots and UFOs, Congressional committees have investigated, Senators have received classified briefings and even the President has addressed the issue. All this progress could be undone by a stunt like this.

‘If people feel so strongly about the issue, I suggest that instead of engaging in reckless actions, they educate themselves about AATIP, engage with their elected representatives, and ask them to support Congressional hearings and the production of a National Intelligence Estimate on the subject.’

Pope also warned potential Area 51 invaders that they might not find what they’re looking for.

He added: ‘Even if there had ever been any alien technology – or aliens – at Area 51, it would be long gone.

‘Common sense dictates that the moment a military base starts getting namechecked in movies like Independence Day and TV shows like The X-Files, the cat is out of the bag, so any UFO-related material would probably long since have been moved elsewhere, to a location the public has never heard of.

‘So even if anyone did actually manage to break into Area 51, all they’d probably find is various next-generation aircraft and drones – and because we don’t want details of these getting to Russia, China or indeed anyone else, that’s yet another reason why this plan is bad news.’

The bid to storm Area 51 will take place on September 20 at 3 am – if it’s allowed to go ahead.

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