16 January 2011


The following article only represents the personal viewpoint of the author.

When “flying saucers” –or what the surprised observers thought they were— began to be seen over the territory of the United States of America, the first responders to those news were not the official authorities, but the private initiative, like the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO), followed by the National Investigation Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP).

Decades later, it was known that while APRO was an initiative of Jim and Coral Lorenzen espouses, NICAP was an instrument of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Due to the fact of the Cold War and the fear of an atomic attack and/or espionage from the air, as a real matter of defense, the just created United States Air Force (USAF) found reasonable to start a very modest activity in order to know if someone could have really seen the presence of the enemy, or if there were just common mis-identifications of natural phenomena or man-made devices.

That modest activity that really tried to save the face of the USAF confronted to people who made the most incredible claims, knew different stages of activity and different names. It started by being “Project Sign”, then “Grudge” and finally “Blue-Book”, the most known of the three because it had the very active Captain Edward J. Ruppelt commanding it.

It was Capt. Ruppelt who created the acronym UFO, meaning Unidentified Flying Object, and pronounced as “you foe”. The overtone of this pronunciation is very suggestive.

But the USAF never came to a definite conclusion about the UFO subject because there were deliberate efforts to avoid plans of detection and alarm that could have been useful to determine –maybe—once and for all, what those objects were.

Finally, to the USAF the whole UFO subject was an embarrassment, and the military tried to get rid of it in the best possible way.

That was the basis for the so-called “Scientific Study on Unidentified Flying Objects” done by a team of scientists leaded by physicist Prof. Edward U. Condon of the Colorado University.

The “study” was a real mess. Discredited by the E.T. fans, and by serious investigators, it helped anyway the USAF to take the decision to put an end to its official investigation.

Since then –1969— the USAF never returned to investigate UFOs. Its repeated statement that UFOs “do not pose a threat to national security” has been the main reason to close their activity.

From the viewpoint of defense, the USAF had nothing else to do. Period.

This is, after all, a pioneer attitude from the military in relation to the UFO subject, an attitude that should be taken
as an example to follow by the military of other countries.

When the Mexican Air Force was confronted with a possible UFO case that involved directly people of its own personnel, nevertheless it didn’t do anything to investigate, analyze or study the UFO subject.

The Mexican Air Force was right to consider that this was not a matter of its concern, and thought to pass the case to a civilian person. But it chose the wrong person: Mr. Jaime Maussán. Certainly he is probably the most publicly known person related with the UFO subject in his country, due to his public conferences, and TV programs, but not the right one.

And this mistake is also a lesson to learn for other Air Forces: choose the right people for the work that has to be done. Choose people with the best background of experience and expertise in investigating and study UFO reports. Choose people who along the years have demonstrated a sober attitude, who apply the scientific method and who do not exploit commercially the UFO subject.

Choose people with enough common sense and criteria. People who will never mix with charlatans, swindlers, and/or cultist groups. People that also have international prestige based on their work of years in the issue. In other words, people you can really trust.

That is the main lesson the Air Forces (and particularly those in Latin America) have to learn from the Mexican event.

The intelligence authorities of the United Kingdom Royal Air Force have definitely established that from the defense viewpoint UFOs are not a matter of concern.

After decades of secretly investigating and studying UFOs, those authorities concluded that there was no need to be doing so any more, because UFOs do not pose a danger for the national security and should not be of concern to the military authorities.

The British authorities established clearly that UFOs are not a matter of defense, therefore it is out of the military scope.

And the most important thing that those authorities did was to publish in a Web site, all the documents that for decades were secret. They made all those documents available to the general public.

France took a different official approach since the Seventies.

Traditionally in France, it was the Gendarmerie (the police) who dealt with UFO reports, as it happens naturally in many other countries, just because it is easier for a person to go to the nearest police station to report what happened.

But of course it is not the task of the police to investigate the UFO subject per se, and the only thing that the police could do –beyond verify certain data given by the person who made a report— is to accumulate chronologically those reports, and that is all.

Therefore in France they relied on scientists to deal with UFOs, because they correctly understood that it is above all a scientific matter and not a military one.

And France gave relevance to the study when put it in the hands of the CNES, the National Center for Space Studies and within the CNES created a panel under the original name of GEPAN, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Study Group, later named GEIPAN, because they added the activity of Information.

Along the years, the French group has provided to its country and all the UFO investigators throughout the world with very important studies dealing with physics and psychology that have been published.

Finally, in 2007, GEIPAN decided to put on the Internet all the cases that it had in its files, because there is no scientific reason to keep them out of the public. Nothing extraordinary came out from those files, but they are there for anyone who wants to read them.

When in 1979, the Uruguayan Air Force created the CRIDOVNI –Commission for the Reception and Investigation of UFO Reports, it followed the pattern taken by the U.S.A. during the Cold War, which could be reasonable at that time.

But after 1989, when the Cold War was over, UFOs shouldn’t be any longer a matter of concern to the Uruguayan Air Force, who should have been open to the initiative proposed by CIOVI (the pioneer and experienced private Center that since 1958 had been investigating and studying UFO cases) in 1985, to create a national institution dedicated to the subject.

That institution would have given priority to scientists and technicians, to the universities, creating the real environment where the UFO subject has to be dealt with. Of course the Uruguayan Air Force would be part of the national institution as well as the Army, the Navy and the police.

The proposal circulated among all the Ministries in Uruguay. All of them were ready to participate, but when it came to the Defense Ministry, the initiative was dismissed under the pretext that it will duplicate the efforts already done by the Air Force, a total fallacy. But it worked, and the project was finally declined.

The Uruguayan Air Force make the big mistake not to rely on CIOVI --that was the organization that have been working for 21 years with the Force--, but in another couple of private institutions that never made a signifying work dealing with the UFO subject.

It was a tricky beginning. After the official Commission was created, CIOVI was called to be a part of it.

After a meeting with then the President of the Commission, Colonel Eduardo Aguirre, CIOVI agreed to participate, but –on a remarkable difference with the other institutions called initially to be part of the Commission-- CIOVI continued being an independent private institution. The relationship with the Commission was therefore an institutional one.

The first press conference given by the brand new Commission was made on the basis of cases studied and closed by CIOVI.

CIOVI tried to provide the Commission with all its experience in the field investigation and the study of cases and brought to the Commission an evaluation system for the classification of the cases studied, which was declined in favor of an incoherent and unreasonable system that pleased to those who wanted to keep the myth of the extraterrestrial and the strange at any cost.

Finally the work with those people became practically impossible and CIOVI left formally the Commission with a letter of resignation.

This does not mean in any way that CIOVI was not ready to cooperate with the Commission if it was called to do so, and, and as a matter of fact it did.

When CIOVI decided to put an end to its activities in 2008, after 50 years of uninterrupted work, it received letters of recognition and commendation from the Commander in Chief of the Uruguayan Air Force and from the president of the CRIDOVNI.

In a meeting with the President of CRIDOVNI, the people that belonged to CIOVI let him know that they were ready to cooperate.

A recent international congress convened by people who belong to the Commission was really regrettable. There is no reason whatsoever to put together people who represents officially the host country with people that belongs to cultists groups as Rahma, or people who forgets the “U” in UFO, and only think that they are dealing with extraterrestrial devices.

This is not the correct environment to characterize the UFO problem, and this is clearly at odds with a scientific approach to the subject.

Now, following the way of doing the things in the old times of the Cold War, the Argentinean Air Force announced recently that would create an official commission. The worst thing that this commission could to is to take the Uruguayan one as an example to follow. We hope that wouldn’t be the case.

We hope that the Argentinean UAPSG members will do all that it is in their capability to avoid another mistake.

And we hope that the Argentinean Air Force could understand that UFOs are no longer a matter of defense, but a question for scientists and technicians to solve. In that sense we consider very auspicious that the AAF has publicly announced that it will rely on scientists and technicians.

Therefore, if there is a reason to have an official UFO activity, it is on the basis that it has to be in the hands of scientists, technicians, and well-credited experts in the subject.

An official institution benefits of all the resources it could have and the requests of information, transportation, analysis, etc. that could do. In that sense, its existence heightens the quality and possibilities of the work to be done.

Milton W. Hourcade
Virginia, January of 2011.

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