Retired Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey of Petaluma will help preside over a five-day media event aimed at revealing evidence of an "extraterrestrial presence" and a decades-long government effort to cover it up.
Woolsey, who retired last year after representing Sonoma and Marin counties for 20 years on Capitol Hill, is among six former federal lawmakers tapped as panelists for the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure, starting April 29 at the National Press Club in Washington.
The $600,000 event, put on by the Bethesda, Md.-based Paradigm Research Group, will offer — and film for a future documentary — 30 hours of congressional-style hearings devoted to the premise of an ET-like presence "engaging the human race."
"This event is a milestone; this has never been done before," said Stephen Bassett, executive director of Paradigm, a lobbying organization formed in 1996.
More than 30 witnesses will testify over five days during the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure, focusing on what Bassett's group calls "the most important issue of this or any other time."
The event's international spokesman is Edgar Mitchell, a former Apollo astronaut and moonwalker who asserts that alien visits to Earth include the 1947 crash at Roswell, N.M.
One of the witnesses, Chinese scientist Sun Shili, believes that extraterrestrials live on Earth and could hold keys to research on high-speed travel, renewable energy and fast-growing crops, according to the hearing's website.
Woolsey, reached at home on Friday, said she was not commenting on the event until it was over. Asked if she would talk about it then, Woolsey said: "Maybe."
The six panelists are being paid $20,000 each plus their expenses for participating, which Bassett said was "totally appropriate."
Bassett said the six-figure cost of the event is being covered by a backer who will be identified later. The backer is "someone who wants to see this issue resolved," Bassett said.
Invitations were sent to about 50 former members of Congress, and Bassett said it "took longer than I expected" to get six commitments.
None was selected based on their personal opinion on extraterrestrial life, he said.
"We clearly felt she would be highly respected," Bassett said, calling Woolsey "a wonderful choice."
A liberal Democrat, Woolsey was best known for her vocal opposition to the Iraq war. Extraterrestrial life was never one of her expressed interests, said David McCuan, a Sonoma State University political scientist.
Another panelist, former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, a Democrat who served from 1968-80, opposed the Vietnam war.
The other four are former Reps. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich.; Darlene Hooley, D-Ore.; Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md. and Merrill Cook, R-Utah.
Kilpatrick did not respond to a request for comment from The Detroit News.
"Credible evidence for the extraterrestrial presence is overwhelming," said Bassett, who blames both Congress and the media for failing to investigate the matter.
The hearing and Bassett's group are intent on exposing what he calls the "Truth Embargo," a decades-long government campaign to not only deny the existence of extraterrestrials but to discredit believers.
If You Go
On Thursday, SMART will offer round-trip public preview rides between its Rohnert Park and Marin Civic Center stations. Trains will depart southbound from SMART’s Rohnert Park Station at 8 and 10 a.m.; noon and 2 p.m. Northbound trains will depart from Marin Civic Center at 4, 6 and 8 p.m.
A SMART train aimed at providing service to the Marin County Fair will run Saturday and on July 4. That train will leave the Sonoma County Airport Station both days at 5 p.m. and arrive at the Marin Civic Center Station at
Departures for July 1 and 4 are as follows:
5 p.m. depart Sonoma County Airport Station
5:07 p.m. Santa Rosa North Station
5:12 p.m. Santa Rosa Downtown Station
5:19 p.m. Rohnert Park Station
5:23 p.m. Cotati Station
5:36 p.m. Petaluma Downtown Station
5:47 p.m. Novato San Marin
5:55 p.m. Novato Hamilton
6:01 p.m. arrival at Marin Civic Station
Return trips from Marin Civic Center on both days take place after the fireworks celebration at 10:36 p.m. People can get on and off at any station. Departure times for the trip back to Sonoma County are as follows:
10:36 p.m. depart from Marin Civic Center Station
10:42 p.m. Novato Hamilton Station
10:50 p.m. Novato San Marin Station
11:01 p.m. Petaluma Downtown Station
11:14 p.m. Cotati Station
11:18 p.m. Rohnert Park Station
11:25 p.m. Santa Rosa Downtown Station
11:30 p.m. Santa Rosa North Station
11:37 p.m. arrival Sonoma County Airport Station
For more information about the preview rides, visit www.SonomaMarinTrain.org.