The French Report on UFOs and Defence : a short presentation

by Gildas Bourdais


It must be stressed here that this is an independant report, written by a private association called COMETA. It is summarized here with the approval of the authors.

To translate and publish the report itself, in part or in its integrality, permission should be asked by writing to the administrator of the association COMETA, Mr Michel Algrin, 25, boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris, France.

On Friday 16 of July 1999 was published in France an outstanding document, called "UFOs and Defence. What must we be prepared for ?" ("Les OVNI et la Défense. A quoi doit-on se préparer ?") This ninety pages report is the result of an in depth study of UFOs, covering many aspects of the subject, especially questions of defence. The study was carried out during several years by an independant group of former "auditors" at the very serious Institute of Higher Studies for National Defence, or IHEDN ("Institut des hautes études de défense nationale"), and of qualified experts from various fields. Before its public release, it has been sent to French President of the Republic Jacques Chirac, and to Prime minister Lionel Jospin.

This 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", 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, and it is impressive enough. 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 ot 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, Phd in physics, engineer for armaments.

The committee also expresses its gratitude to outside contributors, among whom : Jean-Jacques Vélasco, head of SEPRA at CNES, François 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 he was Director of IHEDN, to discuss his project of committee on UFOs. Norlain assured him of his interest and addressed him to the Association of Auditors (AA) of IHEDN, which in turn gave him 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 defence, 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 compells 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 a first part, presentation of some remarkable cases, both French and foreign ; In a 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 crafts to extraterrestrial manifestations ; In a third part, will be examined measures to be taken regarding defence, from information of 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. They are :

-Testimonies of French pilots. M. Giraud, pilot of MirageIV (1977) ; Colonel Bosc, fighter pilot (1976) ; Air France flight AF 3532 (jan 1994).

-Aeronautical cases world wide. Lakenheath (1956) ; RB-47 (1957) ; Teheran (1976) ; Russia (1990) ; San Carlos de Bariloche (Argentina, 1995).

-Observations from the ground. Tananarive (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 (so called case of the "Amaranth" 1982).

-Counter-exemples of elucidated 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, entitled "the present state of knowledge" ("Le point des connaissances"), begins with a survey of the organization of the 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, cases studies, statistical analyses. It then surveys agreements passed by GEPAN and, later, SEPRA, with the air force and the army, the civilian aviation and other organs, such as civilian and military laboratories for the analysis of samples, and photographies.

Regarding the methods and results, we are reminded of some famous cases (Trans-en-Provence, l'Amarante), and emphasis is made on the 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 already to the reality of UFOs.

The following chapter, called "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, paralysis of witnesses. One model is MHD propulsion, already tested successfully in water, and wich 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 micro wave weapons. Particle beams, for instance proton beams, which ionize the air and become therefore visible, might explain the observation of truncated luminous beams. Micro waves might explain body paralysis.

In the same chapter are next studied "global hypotheses". Hoaxes are rare and easily detected. Some non-scientific are put aside, such as conspiration and manipulation by very secret, powerful groups, parapsychic phenomena, collective hallucinations. The hypothesis of secret weapons is also regarded as very improbable, the same as "intoxication" at the time of the cold war, or just natural phenomena. We are then left with various extraterestrial 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, 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 "Briefing Document. Best available evidence" 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 for 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 Defence

The third part, "UFOs and Defence" ("Les OVNI et la défense"), states that, if it is true that no hostile action has been proved yet, at least some actions of "intimidation" have been recorded in France (case of 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 at the strategic level, but also political, religious and media/public information levels.

The first chapter ofPart III is devoted to prospective strategies ("Prospectives stratégiques") 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 repercussion on the behavior, official or not, of different 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 strenghening 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 move for official contact ; discovery of a UFO/alien base on the territory or in 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 developping research, with potential benefits for defence 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 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, it stresses again the need to : 1) inform all decision-makers and persons in position of responsibility ; 2) reinforce means of investigation and study at SEPRA ; 3) have UFO detection taken into account by agencies engaged in of space surveillance ; 4) create a strategic cell at the highest state level ; 5) undertake diplomatic action toward the Unites 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 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 - The disinformation (an interesting text which will be criticized by some readers, and welcomed by others, including myself) -6 Antiquity of the UFO phenomenon. Elements for a chronology. -7 Reflexionn on various psychological, sociological and political aspects ot the UFO phenomenon.

The importance of this report should not be missed by all informed ufologists around the world, considering not only its contents but the personality of its authors, and in spite of critics which may be addressed to it. In fact, some sharp critics have been made soon after the release of the report, on the Internet, and in the French press with an article by sociologist Pierre Lagrange curiously denouncing an operation of disinformation by way of ridiculing the subject ("Libération of July 21, 1999). Let's hope that the present summary will help clarify the debate.

Gildas Bourdais
août 1999

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