- FRENCH REPORT ON UFOS AND DEFENSE: AN OVERVIEW
- [CNI News thanks our French colleague and correspondent
Gildas Bourdais (GBourdais@aol.com) 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.
- 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
- -- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- UFO CASES HIGHLIGHTED IN FRENCH REPORT
- 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
- -- 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
- [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.]
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