Stunnng High Level French
Government Report On
UFOs And Defense
From CNI News
Vol 5 No 11 8-1-99
Note - Our thanks for Michael Lindemann for permission
to bring this report to you

[CNI News thanks our French colleague and correspondent Gildas Bourdais ( for providing this exclusive report on the historic new UFO assessment from France. The following text has been approved for publication by members of COMETA, the "Committee for In-depth Studies" which produced the UFO report. Requests for translation and publication rights to the full report should be addressed to Mr. Michel Algrin, 25 boulevard saint-Germain, 75005 Paris, France.]
By Gildas Bourdais
On July 16, 1999, a document was published in France called "UFOs and Defense -- What Must We Be Prepared For?" ("Les OVNI et la Defense. A quoi doit-on se preparer?") This ninety-page report is the result of an in depth study of UFOs covering many aspects of the subject, especially questions of defense.
The study was carried out over several years by an independent group of former "auditors" at the Institute of Higher Studies for National Defense, or IHEDN ("Institut des hautes etudes de defense nationale"), and by qualified experts from various fields. [NOTE: Many participants in IHEDN defense-study programs are known as auditors. -- ed.]
Before its public release, it was sent to French President of the Republic Jacques Chirac, and to Prime minister Lionel Jospin.
The report is prefaced by General Bernard Norlain of the Air Force, former Director of IHEDN, and begins with a preamble by Andre Lebeau, former President of the National Center for Space Studies ("Centre national d'etudes spatiales" or CNES), the French equivalent of NASA. The group itself, collective author of the report, is called "COMETA," which stands for "Committee for In-depth Studies," and is presided over by General Denis Letty of the Air Force, former auditor (FA) of IHEDN.
A non-exhaustive list of COMETA members is given at the beginning of the report. 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 of IHEDN); Denis Blancher, Chief National Police superintendant at the Ministry of the Interior; Christian Marchal, chief engineer of the national "corps des Mines", Research Director at the "National Office of Aeronautical Research" (ONERA); General Alain Orszag, Ph.D. in physics, engineer for armaments.
The committee also expresses its gratitude to outside contributors, including Jean-Jacques Velasco, head of SEPRA at CNES; Francois Louange, President of Fleximage, specialist of photo analysis; General Joseph Domange of the Air Force, general delegate of the Association of auditors at IHEDN.
General Norlain tells in a short preface how this committee was created. General Letty came to see him in March 1995, when Norlain was Director of IHEDN, to discuss his project of a committee on UFOs. Norlain assured him of his interest and directed him to the Association of Auditors (AA) of IHEDN, which in turn gave its support. 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.
As a result, several members of the committee come from the Association of Auditors of IHEDN, joined by other experts. Most of them 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 nationally, and an 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. In the first part, they discuss some remarkable UFO cases, both French and foreign. In the second part, they describe the present organization of research in France and abroad, and studies made by scientists worldwide which may bring partial explanations in accordance with known laws of physics. The main global explanations are then reviewed, from secret aircraft to extraterrestrial manifestations. The third part examines measures to be taken regarding defense, from information to pilots, both civilian and military, to strategic, political and religious consequences, should the extraterrestrial hypothesis be confirmed.
PART I: "Facts and Testimonies"
Many of the cases selected are well known by most researchers, and need only to be mentioned here. [NOTE: a further description of the following cases is presented in a separate article below -- ed.] 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, UK (1956); RB-47, USA (1957); Teheran, Iran (1976); San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina (1995).
-- Observations from the ground: Tananarive, Madagascar (1954); observation of a saucer near the ground by a French pilot, J.-P. Fartek (1979); close range observation over a missile site at Kapustin Yar, Russia (1989).
-- Close encounters in France: Valensole, encounter of Maurice Masse (1965); Cussac, Cantal (1967); Trans-en-Provence (1981) ; Nancy (so-called case of the Amaranth, 1982).
Counter-examples of elucidated phenomena (two cases).
Although the selection is limited, it seems sufficient to convince an uninformed but open minded reader of the reality of UFOs.
PART II: "The Present State of Knowledge"
The second part, entitled "the present state of knowledge" ("Le point des connaissances"), surveys the organization of official UFO research in France, from the first intructions given to the "gendarmerie" in 1974 for the redaction of reports, to the creation of GEPAN in 1977, its organization and its results: collection of more than 3,000 reports from the gendarmerie, case studies and statistical analyses. It then surveys agreements passed by GEPAN and, later, SEPRA, with the air force and the army, civilian aviation and other organs, such as civilian and military laboratories for the analysis of samples and photographs.
Regarding the methods and results, we are reminded of some famous cases (Trans-en-Provence, l'Amarante), and emphasis is directed to the catalogues of cases, notably of pilots (Weinstein catalogue), and "radar/visual", world wide. A historical note appears here with a quotation of the famous letter of General Twining, of September 1947, asserting the reality of UFOs. [The reference is to a then-secret memorandum sent by U.S. General Nathan Twining to General George Schulgen, in which Twining states: "The phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious... There are objects probably approximating the shape of a disk, of such appreciable size as to appear to be as large as man-made aircraft..." Twining notes the impressive aerial performance of these objects, their apparent metallic structure, and other characteristics often associated with UFO reports -- ed.]
The following chapter, called "hypotheses and attempts at modeling" ("OVNI: hypotheses, essais de modelisation"), 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, movement and accelerations, engine failure of nearby vehicles, paralysis of witnesses, etc. One model is MHD [magneto-hydrodynamic] 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, reliance on planetary and stellar impulsion. The failure of land vehicle engines may be explained by microwave radiations. In fact, high power hyperfrequency generators are under study in France and other countries. One application is microwave weapons. Particle beams, for instance proton beams, which ionize the air and become therefore visible, might explain the observation of luminous beams. Microwaves might explain body paralysis.
In the same chapter are next studied "global hypotheses." The authors regard hoaxes as rare and easily detected. Some non-scientific hypotheses are put aside, such as conspiracies and manipulations by powerful secret groups, parapsychic phenomena and collective hallucinations. The hypothesis of secret [human] weapons is also regarded as very improbable. 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 surveyed rapidly. 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 [this has occurred repeatedly in both the US and Russia -- ed.] and the continued study of UFOs by the military and intelligence agencies.
The report stresses the importance in the United States of private, independant associations. It mentions the "UFO Briefing Document" [subtitled "Best Available Evidence" -- ed.] sent in 1995 to a thousand personalities worldwide, and the Sturrock workshop in 1997, both sponsored by Laurance Rockefeller. The "Briefing Document" 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 considers that his testimony may be partly significant as to the real situation in that country, in spite of many critics.
The report describes briefly the situation in Great Britain, with a special mention of Nick Pope [civilian employee at Ministry of Defence, author of two books on UFOs -- ed.], 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"
The third part, "UFOs and Defense" ("Les OVNI et la defense"), states that, if it is true that no hostile UFO action has been proved yet, at least some actions of "intimidation" have been recorded in France (case of the Mirage IV for instance). Since the extraterrestrial origin of UFOs cannot be ruled out, it is therefore necessary to study the consequences of that hypothesis not only at the strategic level but also at political, religious and media/public information levels.
The first chapter of Part III is devoted to prospective strategies ("Prospectives strategiques") and it begins with fundamental questions: "What if extraterrestrials? 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 repercussions on the behavior, official or not, of different nation-states, 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 impose "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 manipulation.
Nationally, COMETA urges the strengthening of SEPRA, and recommends the creation of a cell at the highest level of government, entrusted with the development of hypotheses, strategy, and preparation of cooperation agreements with European and other foreign countries. A further step would be that European states and the European Union undertake diplomatic action toward 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 situations as: extraterrestrial moves for official contact; discovery of a [UFO/alien] base within the territory of Europe; invasion (deemed improbable) and localised 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 personnels, 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, and how would we handle contacts with less advanced civilizations?
Such an approach is not new to well-informed readers of the abundant ufological literature, but it has a special value here, being treated seriously at such a level. The media/publicity implications are not forgotten, 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 unproved, 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, the COMETA report stresses again the need to: 1) inform all decision-makers and persons in positions of responsibility; 2) reinforce means of investigation and study at SEPRA; 3) have UFO detection taken into account by agencies engaged in space surveillance; 4) create a strategic cell [for UFO study/analysis] at the highest state level; 5) undertake diplomatic action toward the United States for cooperation on this "capital question"; 6) study measures which might be necessary in case of emergencies.
Finally, this document is accompanied by seven interesting annexes: 1) Radar detection in France 2) Observations by astronomers 3) Life in the Universe 4) Colonization of space 5) The Roswell case -- The disinformation (a text which will be criticized by some readers and welcomed by others, including myself) 6) Antiquity of the UFO phenomenon and elements for a chronology [of UFO events] 7) Reflection on various psychological, sociological and political aspects of the UFO phenomenon
The authors of the new French UFO report selected a small but impressive sample of UFO cases to illustrate the seriousness of the subject. Many of these cases will be familiar to experienced ufologists, but not necessarily to all readers of CNI News. Here is a brief description of most of the cases highlighted in the COMETA report:
-- Testimony of French pilot M. Giraud, March 7, 1977: Giraud and his navigator were flying a Mirage IV jet at night near Dijon, France when they saw a bright light rapidly closing. The light tailed them at a distance of 1500 meters though they made evasive turns. They radioed a military radar site, but the UFO did not show on radar.
-- Testimony of French fighter pilot Colonel Claude Bosc, March 3, 1976: On a night training flight in a T-33, Bosc saw a bright light approach at high speed on a collision course. His jet was then enveloped in green phosphorescent light for several seconds. Radar showed nothing, but two other pilots saw the encounter from a distance.
-- Air France flight 3532, Jan 28, 1994: Pilot and copilot of an Airbus 320-111 flying in daylight near Paris at 39,000 feet reported seeing a very large disc-like craft about 30 miles away and slightly below them. Military radar confirmed presence of an object about 250 meters in diameter. The object was observed visually and on radar for about 50 seconds, then suddenly disappeared.
-- Lakenheath RAF, UK, Aug 13, 1956: Extraordinary UFO events occurred over a span of six hours, involving very clear radar tracks of more than a dozen objects sometimes traveling over 4,000 miles per hour, sometimes slower than 100 mph. Jets were scrambled and encountered UFO traffic but could not identify it.
-- RB-47 case, USA, July 17, 1957: "Arguably the most important UFO case in history," says veteran researcher Jerome Clark. Flight crew of an RB-47 reconnaissance jet engaged a UFO for nearly two hours over Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The UFO was simultaneously tracked visually and by ground and air radar, and a signal from the UFO was tracked as well.
-- Teheran, Iran, Sept 18, 1976: Two F-4 jets of the Iranian Air Force separately engaged a brilliant, fast-moving UFO, tracking visually and on radar. On approaching the UFO, the jets' onboard weapons and control functions repeatedly failed, forcing retreat. A second UFO object was seen to separate from the main UFO and appeared to land.
-- San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, Aug 1, 1995: A commercial jet on approach to Bariloche airport reported a UFO flying alongside. During the plane's descent, the airport experienced a total electrical blackout, forcing the pilot to abort the landing and circle around for a second attempt. Meanwhile the UFO flew upward and disappeared from view.
-- Tananarive, Madagascar, Aug 16, 1954: A brilliant green fireball was observed crossing the sky, trailing flames. As it approached, multiple witnesses said it resembled a metallic oval object as big as a DC-4 aircraft. As it passed overhead at low altitude, the city experienced a major electrical blackout.
-- Kapustin Yar, Russia, July 28-29, 1989: Military personnel reported a clearly visible disc-shaped UFO hovering low over an army missile base and shining a beam of light down on a weapons depot. The sighting lasted over 90 minutes. A similar report occurred later the same night at another nearby base.
-- Valensole, Basses Alps, France, July 1, 1965: Farmer Maurice Masse encountered a landed UFO and two small humanoids in his lavender field at about 6 am. On approach, he became paralyzed but remained conscious while the beings boarded the craft and flew away. Masse suffered massive fatigue for several weeks, and nothing but stunted weeds grew in the landing area for years after. This case was extensively investigated by French authorities.
-- Trans-en-Provence, France, January 8, 1981: A disc-shaped metallic UFO was observed by farmer Renato Niccolai to briefly land in his alfalfa field at about 5 pm, then lift off and fly away. Investigation showed that a very heavy object -- weighing possibly 4 to 5 tons -- had compressed the soil in the landing area, and plants were obviously affected.
-- Cussac, France, Aug 29, 1967: Two children reportedly saw a sphere-shaped UFO and "four little devils" on the ground. The humanoid beings were observed to levitate before quickly entering the UFO and flying away. The UFO was said to make a soft whistling sound and smelled of sulphur.
-- Nancy, France, Oct 21, 1982: A scientist (who remains anonymous) observed a small disc-shaped object hovering silently just above his garden in the early afternoon. The object remained for about 20 minutes before suddenly flying away at high speed. Amaranth plants in the garden were obviously affected; analysis suggested the presence of a powerful electrical field.
[CNI News again thanks Gildas Bourdais for assistance with this report.]
[CNI News notes: Predictably, criticism of this report began immediately in France and on the internet. But to the best of our knowledge, there has never before been such a comprehensive and forthright report on the reality of UFOs publicly released by persons of this stature in any nation or language.]
CNI News is a twice-monthly electronic news journal addressing UFO phenomena, claims of human-alien contact, space exploration and related issues, including the cultural and political impacts of contact with other intelligent life. CNI News is edited by Michael Lindemann and distributed by the 2020 Group.
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