Netflix: Bob Lazar and Area 51. A visual commentary.11)
It isn’t my intention to give the final verdict of the Bob Lazar story. Not only is this not my purpose(on that more later) but it is probably impossible to do so given how little we actually know about him. And what little we do know has become distorted over time. Memories got lost or corrupted, people died of old age(or boredom), facts were distorted by wishful thinking and lies, both deliberate and accidental, were introduced into the narrative. More on this later.
Bob Lazar gained fame(or notoriety) by becoming a UFO whistleblower way back in 19891)) when he anonymously was interviewed by Georg Knapp, then working for KLAS-TV.Lazar claimed he had been working as a scientist at a highly secretive base near Groom Lake. According to him it contained nine flying saucers, some of them working and some in the process of being dismantled for research. Seven months later his identity was revealed by KLAS-TV and thus he forever became a marked man.
Lazar has always stuck to his story:
The best source for his own view would be no doubt be his own website. You get his story right from the horse’s mouth; no need to watch long movies for that. You are free to judge the story and extent of it for yourselves how informative Lazar is about himself and what he has seen.7)
This post is not meant to delve into the story of Bob Lazar per se, but is meant as a review of the movie with the name Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers(Short: Lazar: Area 51). As stated before, the Bob Lazar story isn’t as clear cut as you might expect it to be given how many people took slices out of their life to investigate the man and his claims. Among them such men as Stanton Friedman(for his evaluation of Bob Lazar see 6), Glenn Campbell3), Tom Mahood4) and Georg Knapp. More about the latter as you read along.
Next to people who actually investigated his background are many who have been involved in some way or another with Lazar such as Dr. David L. Morgan, a physicist12).Lazar has become quite an industry.
Given the scarcity of information that Lazar provides you might expect the movie to redress the balance and clarify things, especially where criticism hits the hardest. We will name two: his degrees and his discoveries.
What certainly stands out is Lazar’s assertion of having graduated both at MIT and CALTech, which would be very impressive indeed and if corroborated support his claim of having been working at Area 51 as a senior scientist10)) far better than any other claim, such as being listed in the phonebook of Los Alamos National Laboratory, the company that provided personnel for the labs(actually it was Kirk-Mayer, a subcontractor). 1)
So the next step one would expect from the movie maker Corbell is a thorough investigation into Lazar’s claims of having gone to MIT and CalTech. If it could be proven that he did graduate at those prestigious places then it not only would axe the spectre of Lazar being a cheat, but actually make believable that he was as a senior scientist working for the government..
But Corbell doesn’t seem to have gotten anywhere or not to have bothered.
So all we get is him having Knapp repeat Lazar’s defense.
The most obvious answer would be the most simple one: they did hire you out of college! Only not with the National Lab itself, but rather with the subcontractor Kirk-Mayer first.6) After some years you somehow landed a job with S4. You never went to MIT and CalTech. When Huff found out you were lowly paid he was to trusting to draw the conclusion: you got a low wage as you were not a scientist.
Note Corbell never in any way poses the question to Lazar: did you go to MIT and CalTech? What proof can you give us? You must have something? He interviews this guy, but he never poses the questions.
It is just baffling that Lazar doesn’t even got something himself. I have a masters at the University of Amsterdam. IThey could wipe out everything there, but I still have my Ex Libro and my friends and the pictures my dad took when I got my Masters. Lazar doesn’t even get questioned about it.
However, Corbell, letting Knapp talk, isn’t done. The big skeleton in the closet is the Lazar pandering lawsuit of 1990.
Knapp claims that Parole and Probation8) were ticked off by Lazar claiming a background that could not be verified. So now was the moment to come clean.
..why would he keep lying about his graduate when it served him no benefit in the court case? (according to movie) And this for Knapp the proof that Lazar must be talking the truth about his degrees.
This reminds me of that movie Rite:
A small investigation seems to tell a different story9). The prosecution wasn’t irked at the background claim: it wasn’t satisfied with Lazar’s admission.So his background wasn’t an issue. And while the movie seemed to suggest it was Knapp who called in(although another reading is possible) it was the prostitute who tipped of the police and in addition, while it could not be proven the taping of customers was meant for blackmail it remains curious that he did.
In any event, Knapp got prosecuted and punished for pandering.
The worst of this episode is that Knapp shows himself the poorest of investigators(and by association Corbell). This entire episode illustrates a serious flaw. This isn’t an investigative documentary that tries to get to the truth of things: this is a platform for Georg Knapp. And when Knapp is confronted with a possible lawsuit:
And this is what Knapp bothered the most. Not the fact that Lazar was actually a criminal, but that it would ruin Knapp’s story if he was.
One should keep in mind that this movie is produced by Knapp and Corbell isn’t really an investigative journalist. He is a media artist. The movie has Mickey Rourke babbling arty scenes together as if this was a sequel to Sin City 2.
But we haven’t addressed the second of issues with Lazar’s story. Which are his scientific claims. Does the movie bother with finding support for them?
Lazar gets free reign to make his claims, supported with movies from way back. He has obtained of Element 115 and the propulsion that he reversed engineered. According to the movie there are many more, but they do not get named.
And nobody gets to react to those that are spelled out.. Oh, Corbell claims to have talked to eight or nine heavy elemental scientists, and more in depth to three..
But he never names any of them and he has none commenting on Lazar’s claims…
This pattern is repeated over and over in the movie. Corbell or Knapp claim to have talked to this person or that(Mike Thigpen for instance or Jim Talieni) but they do not show up in the movie..
And this is telling.
Telling not only for this but for the whole movie. Some dude says this, some guy says that, you hardly get any names and any evidence for those claims. Someone dropped Lazar off at the CalTech campus.. Proof he studied there? Knapp thinks so.
And Corbell isn’t really interested anyhow: he is an artist and gets to make an arty movie and seems to be okay with whatever Knapp says, as long as he gets to be in the scenes and gets to make the arty bits(Corbell takes up a sizable part of the movie himself sitting with his mobile in hand talking to Knapp).
Knapp is okay with it as long as he can talk the talk. And Lazar just does what he always does.. Stick to the story and lay low. He knows he hardly needs to do anything to keep the ball rolling.
Even if you are an ardent believer of Lazar’s story this movie must disappoint. Lazar just repeats what is already known and adds nothing to it.
And no wonder as this is a movie made by Knapp: the guy who discovered Lazar and stuck to him. And Corbell? Corbell gets to make a movie. If you are critical in any way.. If you believe in government conspiracies or you don’t, you will not find any additional information here. It isn’t a documentary, it a piece of storytelling that is there to propagate the world according to Knapp. And to defend Knapp: he says as much at the beginning.
The more you delve into the movie, the more it falls apart. At some point Lazar says that he doesn’t get a dime from the movie. And that is the truth. Lazar works that way I suspect. He doesn’t get much for this specific movie. However he is now selling things relating to the movie from his company website. And in 2002 and 1994 he has gotten deals to make a movie with the 2002 one offering him 8 million. He has participated in a company to make element 115, financed by Robert Bigalow.
He doesn’t get any money directly from the movie, but indirectly he does. Yet another half truth.
And so he works when asked about his degrees about CalTech and Mit. Instead of offering evidence he just replies with the smart move: would you believe that someone hired me right out of high school? And he lets you fill in the blanks. If you want him to be that scientist that turned whistle-blower you fill it in one way, and if you don’t you fill it in another way.
What do I believe?
I find the evidence that Lazar is a fraud quite strong. It seems to me that he landed a job S4. He probably tried to impress them with claiming he graduated from MIT and CalTech. He impressed his friend Huff with the same. When Huff said, you sound like a scientist, Lazar replied: I am a scientist. And when Huff pointed out he got a pretty low paycheck for a senior staff scientist, he made up a story about scientists being lowly paid. If is hilarious how Huff believed his friend, and why shouldn’t he. Would you lie to your friends? Well, of course! I mean seriously: he was a senior staff member after having been on the job for a few months?
And here lies the true sadness of Lazar. He sounds like a smart guy who never quite got to be what he wanted to be: a scientist. He was smart enough to get to make things and talk about stuff that impress those who are not, but when push came to shove he simply lacked the credentials, background and knowledge..
I have seen those people all over the internet. Lacking the ability to become a scientist, they claim to be one(usually by wearing a white coat) and at the same time claiming real scientists are government stooges. Sprinkle with heavy doses of Dunning-Kruger. Lazar never went that far..probably he was too smart for that. However, Lazar doesn’t shy away from the white lab coat, he can be seen wearing it in the movie while working.
I think that when he was working at the high security place he dug himself a hole. The security caught up with him after it was discovered he had taken friends and family to watch at the wednesday evening tests at Groom Lake.. He says so in his initial interview. He was in trouble already and he was being threatened.
He had been lying and he knew he had. Is it a threat to be informed of the consequences of lying? Is it when you get informed that it might be treason when you lied or maybe worse: spying? If investigators talk to your relatives and inform them of their rights and that breaking the laws could have consequences. Of course that can be construed as a threat.
Lazar is good at that. He lets you fill in the blanks by providing you with half the truth and then let your credulity fill in the other half.
The only way Lazar could go was the flight forward: get into news and stay there.
And he was very honest about it. It would protect him as whenever he got arrested a news spectacle would ensue. His shield was the public eye.He needed Knapp as much as Knapp needed him and a strange form of symbiotic existence ensued.
Knapp claims that Lazar does not like the limelight and that he is done with that UFO stuff, yet Lazar is a regular on his Coast to Coast AM show. Lazar has made at least one movie(see: The Lazar Tape) and there were attempts at others(1994 and 2002). Lazar doesn’t like the limelight, but he needs it..
This documentary is a prime example of that principle. It doesn’t add anything to the story. Except perhaps that the hand scanners Lazar talked about indeed existed. But otherwise it offers nothing more than you already could have read on the internet.
What does this all mean?
Basically this movie is a terrible one that does nothing to further knowledge. It isn’t meant to be.. It is a waste of your time..
If you want to read more, try out Tom Mahood’s website: On the other hand. Even if you support Lazar you can use his timeline overview. Use other sources to piece the story together.
You might ask me the question: why did you waste your time on it?.
Oh well. Because so many of these poor documentaries are shown in Netflix. They all are platforms that uncritically pander a manifesto of one guy or another. In this case, i wanted to dig somewhat deeper. Lucky for me a lot of people already did. Lucky for you too. Get reading.
Through all my reading this one phrase kept haunting me.. It was by Mahood:
(Why, oh why, is this still a thing?)
Knapp’s bottom line:
The last lines are by Lazar:
Below sources are exclusively available on the internet at the time of writing. I am well aware that these are arbitrary but I feel confident that enough of an insight in the matter can be taken from them without having to resort to buying books or start question people on your own. Of course this would be the best, but do you feel like wanting to spend the time and the money? Better read this stuff first and then see if it is worth your time.
1 Timeline of Bob Lazar story(till 1995) made by Tom Mahood
Another version of the same timeline can be found here:
2 Short video made in 1991 called The Lazar Tape and Excerpts from the Government Bible made by Gene Huff and Bob Lazar for Tri_Dot Productions
3 Glenn Campbell’s website
4 Tom Mahood’s website
4a Bob Lazar Corner on Tom Mahood’s website.
7 Bob Lazar’s own website
8 Lazar: Area 51: 45 minutes mark.
10 One curious tale is by Gene Huff, a close friend of Lazar. When Lazar got a paycheck for his work at S4 he got paid 958 dollars for a week. Which Gene thought was a bit low for a senior staff physicist(note that here Lazar was not merely a physicist, but a senior one, which Huff could only have heard from Lazar, who else would have told him?) Lazar replied that scientists were underpaid. Which Huff found out to be the case(how is not told). A more logical conclusion is that Lazar was paid the wages for an engineer and he was embellishing the truth when Huff found out. Huff.http://www.otherhand.org/home-page/area-51-and-other-strange-places/bluefire-main/bluefire/the-bob-lazar-corner/the-lazar-synopsis/
11 Lazar to Huff according to Huff: He said, “I’ve got degrees in physics and electronic technology”. I said, “Well, what’s the difference between you and a scientist?” He said, ” I AM a scientist”. .http://www.otherhand.org/home-page/area-51-and-other-strange-places/bluefire-main/bluefire/the-bob-lazar-corner/the-lazar-synopsis/