The U.S. Air Force on Friday issued a stern warning to the nearly 1 million people threatening to rush Area 51, a top-secret military base in the Nevada desert.
Some 880,000 people and counting have signed up for a satirical event called “Storm Area 51, they can’t stop all of us.” The stated plan is for participants to meet up on Sept. 20 at the Area 51 Alien Center rest stop to plan their infiltration of the Air Force base, where some believe evidence of intelligent alien life is stored.
“If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets,” the organizers said, referring to to Japanese manga-inspired running style. “Lets see them aliens.”
However, Air Force spokesperson Laura McAndrews warned unauthorized civilians against entering the base, which is the site of “armed” training.
“[Area 51] is an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” she told the Washington Post on Friday. “The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets”.
McAndrews declined to elaborate on exactly how officials were planning to respond to the potential threat. But security guards and motion-sensor cameras surround the perimeter of the base and signs warn that intruders could face “deadly force.”
“Storm Area 51”
Conspiracy theorists have for decades believed that Area 51 contains secret information about aliens, including their remains and captured UFOs. In “Independence Day,” a 1996 alien invasion movie, the base served as an alien testing laboratory.
The U.S. government has categorically denied the conspiracies. But activities at the base have remained highly classified, and its main function is unknown. The government only formally acknowledged that Area 51 is a military base in 2013 in response to a 2005 Freedom of Information Act request.
In 2017, The New York Times reported that the Navy has been investigating UFO sightings for years.
The hype around the “Storm Area 51” event comes amid growing concerns about the power of social media to mobilize once-marginal groups in American society. Last week, President Donald Trump held a summit at the White House for some 200 conservative social media influencers.
Trump told the assembled influencers, approvingly: “The crap you think of is unbelievable.”
- An illustrative photo of an armed Air Force soldier.: Screen grab