By A. Craig Copetas
A galactic mystery hovers over the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland: How many of the 2,280 global leaders, including 31 heads of state, gathered in this Alpine resort conduct business with extraterrestrials? This is no whimsy for Davosians.
It’s on the agenda of the annual powwow of the influential and affluent who will ask forum participants such as Vice President Dick Cheney, Coca-Cola Chairman Douglas Daft and De La Rue Chief Executive Ian Much if the aliens have landed and are collaborating with them to concoct government policy, brew soda pop and mint Iraq’s new bank notes.
“The extraterrestrials have yet to make contact with me,” said Much, who will help moderate tonight’s dinner seminar (closed except to forum participants) on The Conspiracy Behind Conspiracy Theories: Have Extraterrestrials Made Contact With Government Leaders?
The British moneymaker is confident — at least for now — that De La Rue remains the largest nongovernment printer of bank notes in the Milky Way. “If the aliens are here,” Much reckoned, “I’d absolutely expect them to call me to have their currency printed.”
Despite the twilight zone topic arching many an eyebrow along the snow-covered strip of fashionable hotel bars, forum officials maintain their five-day program on Partnering for Security and Prosperity requires an unambiguous examination of extraterrestrial presence on Earth.
“The panelists are the best in their domain; they all have expertise in specific fields,” explained Philippe Bourguignon, the forum’s co-chief executive officer and a former CEO of Club Mediterranee. “The themes and sessions at Davos reflect the global agenda.”
And the public’s pulse. A 1996 Gallup Poll found that 71 percent of Americans believe the government knows more about UFOs than it has disclosed. A Roper poll found that some 80 percent of those questioned think Wall Street and Washington are hiding knowledge of extraterrestrial contact. And the Internet search engineGoogle turns up as many Web pages dedicated to UFOs as it does for investment banking.
“It is possible that UFOs really do contain aliens, and the government is hushing it up,” Cambridge University physicist Stephen Hawking told British television viewers in a 1998 interview.
President Bush’s recent call to put a man on Mars before 2030 has swelled investor interest in exotic technologies, last week boosting the Bloomberg Aerospace Index 1.9 percent, its biggest gain since October.
Earth’s leaders prospecting extraterrestrial commerce as part of the forum’s agenda has set off anticipation not seen among UFO analysts since Close Encounters of the Third Kind was released on DVD.
Richard Boylan, a retired professor of behavioral science at the University of California, couldn’t be more gleeful if Capt. Kirk had beamed him aboard the Enterprise.