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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2004 > Mar > Mar 27

European Voice UFO Article

From: Nick Pope <nick.nul>
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2004 14:59:21 -0000
Fwd Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2004 12:40:00 -0500
Subject: European Voice UFO Article


James Drew, Sub Editor of European Voice, has kindly given his
consent to my posting the text of his article from the 18-24 March
edition of the newspaper.


Scepticism set to scupper any chance of Union-led UFO research

By James Drew

Are we alone in the universe? If not, are we being visited by
our intergalactic neighbours? Such questions, normally pondered
following an excellent supper, when port and cigars are handed
out and thoughts turn to philosophical matters, have once again
appeared on the European Parliament's radar screen.

On 20 January, Union for Europe of the Nations (UEN) MEP
Sebastiano Musumeci submitted a proposal concerning the
"creation of a Community body for the study of unexplained
atmospheric phenomena". In other words, unidentified flying
objects (UFOs). "For a long time now," Musumeci declared,
"sightings=85have been reported in all corners of the globe. Some
of these phenomena=85not only cause considerable perplexity but
also fuel theories =96 so far lacking any foundation =96 on the
probable existence of aliens."

The Italian MEP pointed out that the European Commission should
pay special attention to the "serious study" by various European
space centres and research establishments, "since these
phenomena do not fall within the scope of individual member
state competence". "In the light of the above, would the
Commission not consider it appropriate to promote and coordinate
research and information on unexplained atmospheric phenomena at
a Europe- wide level, possibly assigning this responsibility to
a specialized and experienced body, such as [French government
organization] Service d'Expertise des Phenomenes de Rentrees
Atmospheriques (SEPRA) in Toulouse, or the European Space

It is not the first time that such a recommendation has been put
before EU institutions and, considering Belgium's previous
history of remarkable (and well-documented) sightings, perhaps
the question's most surprising characteristic is its rarity.

For at least eight months, beginning in October 1989, Belgium
experienced near-daily sightings of large triangular-shaped
UFOs. The sightings began near Eupen, close to the Dutch and
German border, and then progressed steadily westward to Liege,
Namur, Wavre, Mons and, finally, toward the French border. Among
the witnesses were nearly two hundred members and officers of
the gendarmerie nationale as well as policemen, military and
civilian pilots, air traffic controllers, meteorologists,
aeronautical engineers and physicists.

Observers frequently described the objects as being "as big as a
football field", "as big as, or bigger than, an aircraft
carrier". An account also describes one "hovering for minutes at
a time and [it would] pivot, turning 90 degrees and even 180
degrees" and then moving "too slowly to be a conventional
aeroplane", before "accelerating so rapidly that it would be
across the horizon in a second or two =96 and sometimes it would
flash right back".

On 30-31 March 1990, Belgian Air Force (BAF) F-16 jets were
scrambled to intercept the unknown intruders, their radar
confirming the objects' ability to elude their pursuers by means
of phenomenal manoeuvres, as evident on the radar tapes later
released to the media. In Vague d'OVNI sur la Belgique (Wave of
UFOs over Belgium), a two-volume text produced by Brussels-
 based research group Societe Belge d'Etude des Phenomenes
Spatiaux, retired deputy chief of the BAF, Major-General
Wilfried De Brouwer, said: "The Air Force has arrived at the
conclusion that a number of anomalous phenomena has been
produced within Belgian airspace. The numerous testimonies of
observations=85 reinforced by the [Air Force] reports of the night
of 30-31 March, have led us to face the hypothesis that a
certain number of unauthorized aerial activities have taken

These remarkable events led to a resolution being proposed by
Belgian deputy Elio Di Rupo to the European Parliament in 1991.
The assembly's committee on industry, external trade, research
and energy held numerous meetings, chaired by Tullio Regge, an
Italian Independent MEP and physicist. Di Rupo's intention was
to bring about an all-European agency, run by the Commission and
with a standing committee of experts from the member states,
which would collate and analyze UFO reports from the military,
scientific organizations and the general public.

In a report tabled in December 1993 =96 accepted unanimously by
the committee =96 Regge proposed that SEPRA in Toulouse be given a
statute enabling it to carry out inquiries throughout the EU.
But the proposal to establish what might have become the
European UFO observation centre attracted a great deal of
ridicule in the media and the motion was defeated in early 1994.

In his report, Regge expressed considerable scepticism about the
majority of UFO 'sightings', although he noted that "scientists
still have a duty to continue researching into these events in
order to arrive at a satisfactory explanation". Later, he
emphasized that the proposal by the committee had focused on the
creation of a European evaluation centre within SEPRA, rather
than on a study of the phenomena per se, but largely thanks to
ridicule in the media =96 particularly in the UK =96 critics ignored
this point.

"I was attacked by two UK Labour MEPs who probably hadn't even
read the report," lamented the scientist. "I was accused of
asking for money to do research into Father Christmas and things
of this kind. They put obstacles in my path and this developed
into a strong attack by the UK. I believe that Labour MEPs
decided to attack this report for political reasons, just to
make a fuss."

Almost certainly as a result of the ensuing ridicule, the-then
European Parliament president Egon Klepsch omitted the debate
from its agenda on 21 January 1994. Regge proposed a new text,
but because the Parliament was approaching the end of session
(owing to the election in June 1994) there was insufficient time
to bring the proposal before the assembly's full session.

The reaction comes as no surprise to hardnosed investigators.
Timothy Good, UK bestselling author of ufologists' 'bibles',
such as Beyond Top Secret (1996) and Unearthly Disclosure
(2000), one of the world's most highly regarded UFO experts,
 and a man inured, after 50 years of painstaking research, to
sceptics' slings and arrows, believes that fear of mockery has
held back serious debate on the issue for too long.

"No one wants to look foolish, least of all politicians," he
told European Voice. "When faced with worldwide media that seems
hell-bent on mocking any research, no matter how sober or well
intentioned, it is hardly surprising that people become
discouraged. I welcome Musumeci's proposal, but I fear that
nothing will come of it."

His view is echoed by Nick Pope, who was responsible for the
UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) UFO research project from 1991-
94: "Despite being interested in Musumeci's Parliamentary
question concerning the study of unexplained atmospheric
phenomena, I doubt the European Commission will accept the
suggestion, despite the fact that coordinating research and
investigation on a Union-wide basis seems like a very sensible

"It is a great pity that the Commission does not promote and
coordinate research into such matters. "During my time at the
MoD's UFO research project, we investigated several hundred
sighting reports each year and, while most could be explained as
misidentifications of known objects or phenomena, others
appeared to defy any conventional explanation.

"Whatever the explanation for them, if there are things in our
airspace that we do not understand, this raises a number of
defence and flight safety issues."

Pope also agrees with Musumeci's point that "this is not an
issue confined to any one member state". "If we pool our data
and work together on the problem, we stand a better chance of
solving the mystery."

Panel Text:

UFO Sightings across Europe

1942-45: Allied pilots on bombing raids over Germany reported
seeing unusual balls of lights and small metallic discs. Dubbed
'Foo Fighters', the Allies feared they were a new Nazi weapon.
After the war it transpired that German air crew had seen them
too, but were also unaware of their origin.

1946: Strange objects were seen over Norway, Sweden and Finland.
UK and American intelligence took a close interest in sightings
of these so-called ghost rockets, but no explanation was ever

1956: A series of UFO sightings took place over England, in
August. Objects were tracked on radars at Royal Air Force (RAF)
Lakenheath and RAF Bentwaters and the RAF scrambled two Venom
fighters to try to intercept the object. One pilot said he saw
the UFO, which eluded the jets.

1980: In December, United States Air Force personnel based at
RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge in England reported seeing a
landed UFO in Rendlesham Forest, in Suffolk. Radiation readings
were taken from the landing site, assessed as being ten times
the norm for the area.

1981: In January, a UFO was seen landing near the village of
Trans-en-Provence in France. Unusual marks were found at the
landing site and an analysis of the soil showed various

1990: On 5 November a number of fast jets travelling from the UK
to Germany were overtaken by a UFO as they were entering Dutch
airspace.  The pilots submitted an official report to the
British Ministry of Defence.

1993: In March, a UFO flew over RAF Cosford and RAF Shawbury,
seen by military personnel. A report was sent to UK Ministry of

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