- On Friday July 16, 1999 an important document was published
in France entitled, UFOs and Defense: What must we be prepared for? ("Les
Ovni Et La Defense: A quoi doit-on se préparer?"). This ninety-page
report is the result of an in-depth study of UFOs, covering many aspects
of the subject, especially questions of national defense. The study was
carried out over several years by an independent group of former "auditors"
at the Institute of Advanced Studies for National Defense, or IHEDN, and
by qualified experts from various fields. Before its public release, it
has been sent to French President Jacques Chirac and to Prime Minister
- The report is prefaced by General Bernard Norlain of
the Air Force, former Director of IHEDN, and it begins with a preamble
by André Lebeau, former President of the National Center for Space
Studies (Centre National D,études Spatiales), or CNES, the French
equivalent of NASA. The group itself, collective author of the report,
is an association of experts, many of whom are or have been auditors of
IHEDN, and it is presided over by General Denis Letty of the Air Force,
former auditor (FA) of IHEDN.
- Its name "COMETA" stands for "Committee
for in-depth studies." A non-exhaustive list of members is given at
the beginning which is quiteimpressive. It includes:
- * General Bruno Lemoine, of the Air Force (FA of IHEDN)
- * Admiral Marc Merlo, (FA of IHEDN)
- * Michel Algrin, Doctor in Political Sciences, attorney
at law (FA of IHEDN)
- * General Pierre Bescond, engineer for armaments (FA
- * Denis Blancher, Chief National Police superintendent
at the Ministry of the Interior
- * Christian Marchal, chief engineer of the national Corps
des Mines and Research Director at the National Office of Aeronautical
- * General Alain Orszag, Ph.D. in physics, armaments engineer*
- The committee also expresses its gratitude to outside
contributors including Jean-Jacques Vélasco, head of SEPRA at CNES,
François Louange, President of Fleximage, specialist in photo analysis,
and General Joseph Domange, of the Air Force, general delegate of the Association
of Auditors at IHEDN.
- General Norlain explains in a short preface how this
committee was created. General Letty came to see him in March 1995, when
he was Director of IHEDN, to discuss his idea of a committee on UFOs. Norlain
assured him of his interest and referred him to the Association of Auditors
of IHEDN, which in turn gave him its support. As a result, several members
of the committee come from the Association of Auditors of IHEDN, joined
by other experts.
- It is interesting to recall here that, twenty years ago,
it was a report of that same Association which led to the creation of GEPAN,
the first unit for UFO study, at CNES.
- Most of the committee hold, or have held, important functions
in defense, industry, teaching, research, or various central administrations.
General Norlain expresses hope that this report will help develop new efforts
in France and lead to indispensable international cooperation.
- General Letty, as president of COMETA, points to the
main theme of the report, which is that the accumulation of well documented
observations compels us now to consider all hypotheses as to the origin
of UFOs, especially extraterrestrial hypotheses. The committee then presents
the contents of the study. The first part consists of the presentation
of some remarkable cases from both France and other countries.
- In a second part, they describe the present organization
of research, in France and abroad, and studies made by scientists worldwide
which may provide partial explanations of the UFO phenomenon, in accordance
with known laws of physics. The main global explanations are then reviewed,
from secret crafts to extraterrestrial manifestations.
- In a third part, measures to be taken regarding defense
are considered, based on information from both civilian and military pilots.
Strategic, political and religious consequences, should the extraterrestrial
hypothesis be confirmed, are then discussed.
- Part I: "Facts and Testimonies"
- Many of the cases selected are well known by most researchers,
and need only be mentioned here. They are:
- Testimonies of French pilots:
- * M. Giraud, pilot of Mirage IV (1977)
- * Colonel Bosc, fighter pilot (1976)
- * Air France flight AF 3532 (Jan 1994)
- Aeronautical cases worldwide:
- * Lakenheath (U.K., 1956)
- * RB-47 (U.S., 1957)
- * Teheran (1976)
- * Russia (1990)
- * San Carlos de Bariloche (Argentina, 1995)
- Observations from the ground:
- * Tanarive (1954)Observation of a saucer near the ground
by a French pilot, J.-P. Fartek (1979)
- * Observation at close range over a Russian missile site
by several witnesses (1989)*
- Close encounters in France:
- * Valensole (Maurice Masse, 1965)
- * Cussac, Cantal (1967)
- * Trans-en-Provence (1981)
- * Nancy (the "Amaranth" case, 1982)
- * Counter-examples of explained phenomena (two cases).
- Although the selection is limited, it seems to be sufficient
to convince an uninformed but open-minded reader of the reality of UFOs.
- Part II: "The Present State of Knowledge"
- The second part begins with a survey of the organization
of official UFO research in France, from the first instructions given to
the gendarmerie in 1974 for the recording of reports, to the creation of
GEPAN in 1977, its organization and its results, including collection of
more than 3,000 reports from the gendarmerie, cases studies, and statistical
- It then surveys agreements passed by GEPAN and, later,
SEPRA, with the air force and the army, the civilian aviation and other
organizations, such as civilian and military laboratories, for the analysis
of samples and photographs.
- Regarding SEPRA,s methods and results, we are reminded
of some famous cases (Trans-en-Provence, l,Amarante), and emphasis is placed
on catalogues of cases, notably of pilots (Weinstein catalogue), and radar/visual
reports world wide.
- A historical note appears here with a quotation of the
famous letter of General Twining, of September 1947, which even then asserted
the reality of UFOs.
- The following chapter, called "UFOs: Hypotheses
and attempts at modeling" ("OVNI: hypothèses,essais de
modélisation") discusses some models and hypotheses which are
under study in several countries. Partial simulations have already been
made for UFO propulsion, based on observations of aspects such as: speed,
movements and accelerations, engine failure of nearby vehicles, and paralysis
of witnesses. One model is MHD propulsion, already tested successfully
in water, and which might be achieved in the atmosphere with superconducting
circuits, in a few decades. Other studies are briefly mentioned regarding
both atmospheric and space propulsion, such as particle beams, antigravity,
or reliance on planetary and stellar impulsion.
- It is suggested that the failure vehicle engines may
be explained by microwave radiation. In fact, high power hyperfrequency
generators are under study in France and other countries. One application
is microwave weapons. Particle beams, such as proton beams, which ionize
the air and therefore become visible, might explain the observation of
truncated luminous beams. Microwaves might explain body paralysis.
- In the same chapter global explanatory hypotheses are
studied next. Hoaxes are rare and easily detected. Some nonscientific theories
are discarded, such as conspiracy and manipulation by very secret, powerful
groups. Also rejected are parapsychological phenomena, and collective hallucinations.
The hypothesis of secret weapons is also regarded as very improbable, as
is "intoxication" or hysteria at the time of the Cold War, along
with natural phenomena.
- We are then left with various extraterrestrial hypotheses.
One version has been developed in France by astronomers Jean-Claude Ribes
and Guy Monnet, based on the concept of "space islands" of American
physicist O,Neill, and it is compatible with present-day physics.
- The organization of UFO research in the United States,
Great Britain and Russia is rapidly surveyed. In the United States, the
media and the polls show a marked interest and concern of the public, but
the official position, especially of the Air Force, is still one of denial,
more precisely that there is no threat to national security. Actually,
declassified documents, released under FOIA, show another story, one of
surveillance of nuclear installations by UFOs, and the continued study
of UFOs by the military and intelligence agencies.
- The report stresses the importance, in the United States,
of private independent associations. It mentions the briefing document
Best Available Evidence [available from CUFOS"see publications page]
sent in 1995 to a thousand personalities worldwide, and the Sturrock workshop
in 1997, both sponsored by Lawrence Rockefeller. The Best Available Evidence
has obviously been welcomed by the authors of the COMETA report.
- The committee also notes the public emergence of alleged
insiders such as Colonel Philip Corso, and concludes that his testimony
might be partially revealing as to the real situation in the U.S., despite
its many critics.
- The report briefly describes the situation in Great Britain,
with a special mention of Nick Pope, and poses the question of the possible
existence of secret studies pursued jointly with American services. It
mentions as well research in Russia, and the release of some information,
notably by the KGB in 1991.
- Part III: "UFOs and Defense"
- In the third part the report states that if it is true
that no hostile action has been proven yet, at least some acts of intimidation
have been recorded in France (the Mirage IV case, for instance). Since
the extraterrestrial origin of UFOs cannot be ruled out, it is therefore
necessary to study the consequences of that hypothesis at the strategic
level, but also at the political, religious and media/public information
- The first chapter of Part III is devoted to prospective
strategies and it begins with fundamental questions. What if UFOs are extraterrestrial?
What intentions and what strategy can we deduce from their behavior?
- Such questions open a more controversial part of the
report. Possible motivations of extraterrestrial visitors are explored
here, such as protection of planet Earth against the dangers of nuclear
war, suggested for instance by repeated flying over nuclear missile sites.
The committee then ponders the possible repercussion on the behavior, official
or not, of different nations and focuses on the possibility of secret,
privileged contacts which might be "attributed to the United States."
The attitude of the U.S. is seen as "most strange" since the
1947 wave and the Roswell event. Since that time, a policy of increasing
secrecy seems to have been applied, which might be explained by the protection
at all cost of military technological superiority to be acquired from the
study of UFOs.
- Next, the report tackles the question "What measures
must we take now?" At the least, whatever the nature of UFOs, they
require "critical vigilance," in particular regarding the risk
of "destabilizing manipulations." A kind of "cosmic vigilance"
should be applied by the elites, nationally and internationally, in order
to prevent any shocking surprise, erroneous interpretation and hostile
- Nationally, COMETA urges the strengthening of SEPRA,
and recommends the creation of a committee at the highest level of government,
entrusted with the development of hypotheses, strategy, and preparation
of cooperative agreements with European and other foreign countries. A
further step would be that European states and the European Union undertake
diplomatic action with the Unites States within the framework of political
and strategic alliances.
- A key question of the report is "What situations
must we be prepared for?" It mentions such scenarios as an extraterrestrial
move for official contact; discovery of a UFO/alien base on Earth; invasion
(deemed improbable) and localized or massive attack; manipulation or deliberate
disinformation aiming at destabilizing other states.
- COMETA devotes special attention to "aeronautical
implications," with detailed recommendations aimed at various personnel,
such as air staffs, controllers, weathermen and engineers. It also makes
recommendations at the scientific and technical levels, aimed at developing
research with potential benefits for defense and industry. The report further
explores the political and religious implications of UFOs, using as a model
the perspective of our own exploration of space: How would we do it, how
would we handle contacts with less advanced civilizations?
- Such an approach is not new to the well-informed readers
of the abundant ufological literature, but it has a special value here,
being treated seriously at such a level. The implications for the media
and public opinion are not neglected, with the problems of disinformation,
fear of ridicule, and manipulation by certain groups.
- In its conclusion, COMETA claims that the physical reality
of UFOs, under control of intelligent beings, is "quasi-certain."
Only one hypothesis takes into account the available data: the hypothesis
of extraterrestrial visitors. This hypothesis is of course unproven, but
has far-reaching consequences. The goals of these alleged visitors remain
unknown but must be the subject of speculations and prospective scenarios.
- In its final recommendations, COMETA stresses again the
- 1. Inform all decision-makers and persons in positions
- 2. Reinforce means of investigation and study at SEPRA.
- 3. Consider whether UFO detection been taken into account
by agencies engaged in surveillance of space.
- 4. Create a strategic committee at the highest state
- 5. Undertake diplomatic action with the Unites States
for cooperation on this most important question.
- 6. Study measures which might be necessary in case of
- 7. Finally, this document is accompanied by seven interesting
appendices which are worth reading even by seasoned ufologists:
- 1. Radar detection in France
- 2. Observations by astronomers
- 3. Life in the Universe
- 4. Colonization of space
- 5. The Roswell case and possible disinformation
- 6. Antiquity of the UFO phenomenon and elements for a
- 7. Reflection on various psychological, sociological
and political aspects of the UFO phenomenon.
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