If there are extraterrestrial rewards for perseverance, the organisers of the UFO conspiracy hearings that are under way at the National Press Club in Washington this week deserve a visit from space.

Five former US congressmen and one former senator have been paid $20,000 each to lend credibility to the event, which calls on the government to release supposed secret documents showing alien incursions dating back decades.

Expert witnesses were sworn in under oath to testify before the committee of former politicians. UFO watchers from around the world were patched in via live video link and booths of simultaneous translators provided coverage in Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Japanese and Mandarin. Even the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan paid a visit, complete with a dozen security guards.

Not one of those who spoke during an opening session filled with around 100 delegates disputed the premise that extraterrestrial visits were being hidden from the public.

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