When 35-year-old Amardeep Kaleka recently declared his intention to run for the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in 2014, most news coverage focused on one facet of his story: His father was one of the murder victims of the 2012 massacre at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. That murder convinced Kaleka to run as a Democrat and advocate for enhanced gun control.
But during a recent interview with the Madison Capital Times, Kaleka, who is not the only Democrat looking to run against Ryan, revealed another side of his biography: conspiracy documentary filmmaker. Kaleka directed the 2013 film Sirius, a documentary that purports to uncover evidence of extraterrestrial life on Earth and suggests that the September 11 terrorist attacks were a "false flag" operation. Kaleka is also listed as editor and director of photography and shares credit for the documentary's "story idea." The film has slightly better production values than your typical conspiracy diatribe, but it hinges on some far-out concepts.
Kaleka founded Neverending Light, the studio that produced Sirius. He couldn't be reached for comment in time for publication, but he told the Capital Times, "I don't think that any knowledgeable human would say that extraterrestrials don't exist."
Here's a short trailer for the movie:
The film, which is posted below, is based on Hidden Truth: Forbidden Knowledge, a book by Steven Greer, an osteopath who now leads searches for evidence of extraterrestrial life on Earth. Greer mixes a bit of made-up science with a strong vein of spirituality in explaining why aliens have visited our planet. "When we started detonating thermonuclear weapons, atomic weapons, and developing these sort of destructive technologies the civilizations that have been watching this planet for millennia said, 'Oh my God, these people are going way off the reservation. They are now an existential threat to themselves, but also to other planets potentially,'" Greer says in the film.
Sirius includes a number of confusing scenes during which Greer and his companions, including Kaleka, are filmed stargazing, claiming to spot alien aircraft. "It's got a path," Kaleka says in one such scene , as he looks at the sky. "It's got like a movement. And then it's gone." On-screen text describes the congressional candidate as a "UFO Witness."
The movie also features a dose of 9/11 trutherism. "The question, on some people's minds, is whether or not this disaster was exploited, or worse, engineered," the narrator says midway through the movie. He asserts that 9/11 was a false flag operation mounted by the government a few months after a major conference of alien watchers in order to distract the public and suppress the truth, and he likens the 9/11 attacks to the Gulf of Tonkin incident during the Vietnam War. The movie goes on to suggest that the Bilderbergers and Rockefellers were behind a series of global conspiracies.
Kaleka's documentary highlights a six-inch-long body that an amateur archeologist discovered in a ghost town in the Atacama Desert in Chile in 2003. One of the film's experts refers to it as an EBE—that is, an extraterrestrial biological entity. Sirius shows footage of the supposed alien being dissected; its lingering cranial material autopsied for DNA. The organism appears otherworldly, yet the truth is far more mundane: According to Science magazine, an immunologist from Stanford University determined that the skeleton is from our planet, and probably a mummified stillborn fetus.
Kaleka's film is not an examination of those who believe in extraterrestrials. It's a sympathetic vehicle to promote their views to a wider audience. Ufologist Greer anchors the film by pacing a stage and giving a lecture, as if he's channeling Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth. Near the end of the movie, Greer states that there have been over 4,000 cases of extraterrestrial vehicles landing on Earth.
If aliens definitely are among us, why don't most people know about it? According to Kaleka's film, it's all the military industrial complex's fault. "The problem is not proving that UFOs exist, it's when you begin to expose the energy and propulsion systems of how they're getting here," Greer says. "You're talking about unveiling a new science that would replace oil, gas, coal, nuclear power, public utilities. This is the $600 trillion dollar problem." If the public knew about alien visitors, Greer contends, a whole new world of technologies would become available, including "inertial shielding" and gravity manipulation. But the "petro-fascists" (as he calls them) controlling the government hide alien discoveries to maintain their oil oligarchy. "These sciences have been out there for decades; they have been ruthlessly kept secret because of the power of a centralized petro-dollar," Greer maintains.
Kaleka's film fits into that sweet spot where the fringes of left-wing and right-wing ideology overlap. At one point, the narrator ominously states that the US government doesn't actually manage the Federal Reserve Bank. Instead, viewers are told, the Fed is "owned by a private banking cartel." To back up this claim, the film cuts to a scene of Ron Paul berating Fed chairman Ben Bernanke at a congressional hearing.
Sirius hints that several extraterrestrial researchers have contracted diseases, apparently because the government is trying to stymie damning ET revelations. "I don't take anything for granted, frankly," Greer says, "so each time that I do a presentation or lead a group. I think, 'This may be the last time.'"
The New York Times reviewed the film in May. "It perhaps exceeds the earthly purview of a humble film critic to evaluate claims of extraterrestrial life, but it's definitely unwise to bury the audience in suggestive statements and footage without dwelling long enough on any one thing to persuade," reviewer Nicolas Rapold wrote. "Though the would-be mini-alien yields some suspense, Mr. Kaleka's film feels a bit like wandering into a hotel convention hall full of true believers who have been chatting for hours."
Kaleka won't necessarily face Ryan in the general election. Rob Zerban, Ryan's 2012 opponent, announced last week that he will run again.
Here's the full movie: