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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Apr > Apr 27

Re: Trindade 'Negative Witness' Found

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2011 11:42:03 +0100
Archived: Wed, 27 Apr 2011 06:56:04 -0400
Subject: Re: Trindade 'Negative Witness' Found

>From: Kentaro Mori <kentaro.mori.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2011 13:03:44 -0300
>Subject: Re: Trindade 'Negative Witness' Found

>>From: Thiago Ticchetti <ticchetti.nul>
>>To: post.nul
>>Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2011 08:48:05 -0300
>>Subject: Re: Trindade 'Negative Witness' Found


>>And about the details forgotten by these 6 years-study as the
>>ship radio signals failure when the UFO appeared?

>The only source for that was Barauna himself. All the problems
>in the ship's machinery were recorded on the ship's log. And
>there were many.

Hi Kentaro

I know you told me you don't wish to answer my posts, but you
will forgive me responding to yours.

I would like someone to give a reference for this "radio signals
failure" which Kentaro says came from Barauna. I don't recall
this claim specifically. In 1982 he recalled a power failure,
which isn't quite the same thing. Is this what you mean?

Something like this "recalled" decades later ought IMO opinion to
receive little attention. But any attention we do give to it must
be proportionate and realistic and take full account of the
passage of time and the human context, so I want to emphasis the
evolution of this idea.

In a 1967 statement he had already spoken about the ship's
machinery, but he did _not_ then claim that there was a power
failure coincident with the sighting. In fact he was specific
that this was only "rumour":

"According to rumors I heard on the deck, the ship's electric
equipment stopped working during the appearance of the object.
What I can confirm is that after the ship left the island it
stopped three times and the officials didn't have a firm
explanation about what was happening. Every time the ship
stopped, the lights faded out slowly until they were totally off.
When it happened the officers walked to the deck with their
binoculars, however, the sky was already full of clouds and they
were not able to see anything."


(There follows a slightly augmented extract from my UpDates post
of 28.08.2010 commenting on this statement)

So in 1967 Barauna was referring to "rumours" he had heard to the
effect that there was a power failure at the sighting.time, but
had no knowledge of it himself.

As students of the case know, there appears to be no contemporary
evidence (for example, in the ship's log) that such a thing
actually occurred, but Barauna's recollection of this story in a
casual discussion with Hynek, Sprinkle and others in 1982 has
hitherto been treated by critics as having the status of a
"report", having a weight comparable to that of statements made
in 1958, and therefore meriting forensic dissection in search of
damning contradictions.

Asked in 1982 the naive question "did the ship's radar detect the
object?" (for all the world as though he were spokesman for the
Navy and ought to know) Barauna recalled that there had been a
strange radar blip _before_ the sighting, but that the radar
wasn't working during the sighting because the power had failed.

I've often cautioned that this appears to reflect newspaper
stories from the time. The radar may or may not have been
operating and/or manned at the time of the sighting on Jan 16 (it
was just a marine navigation radar and the ship was still anchor
off Portuguese Beach), but two newspapers did report that an odd
blip had been detected at the _same_time_ of day but on the
_previous_ day , Jan 15, which the
operator believed to have been merely an electronic fault.

(See my other post on this subject for more detail about the
radar issue).

Barauna knew of these stories by the time he first mentioned the
issue himself, about a fortnight after they were published, and
he also probably knew by this time what the Navy Intelligence
Dept had confidentially required to be reported from Trindade
personnel in connection with its 1958 investigation into UFO
sightings at the island :- Any signs of interference with engines
and electrical equipment. The seeds of the idea of a radar
incident, coupled with some kind of electronic failure, are
probably sown early in 1958.

The 1967 document quoted above is interesting because it is
intermediate in time between 1958 and 1982 and it shows us
Barauna incorporating the "power failure" story into his
narrative, still being explicit that it was based only on
"rumour" but connecting the rumour with other facts from his own

"what I can confirm is that after the ship left the island it
stopped three times and the officials didn't have a firm
explanation about what was happening."

Notice that Barauna is saying that he can _not_ confirm
personally this "rumour" that power failed at the sighting time.
He can only confirm that the ship's engines and generator power
stopped at several _other_ times_ for reasons unknown to him.

And this tends to fit the ship's log, which does indeed record
that after departing the island the ship's "machinery" was
stopped for unspecified repairs at 16:35, restarted at 16:55,
then stopped again at 18:18, and repaired again at 19:33.

All of this, stirred in with the remembered "rumour" running
around the boat in 1958 of power failure at the sighting time,
and those newspaper stories of a radar failure with the date
displaced in memory by one day, could easily have added up to the
24-year-old "memory" in 1982 that there _had_ been a power
failure at the sighting time and a radar incident _before_ the
sighting time.

This impression would aloso have seemed to fit in with
his recollection that the boat winching operation underway at the
time had stopped when the UFO was seen, because the electric
winch could have failed. (Of course there can be other, simpler
explanations of why the winchman stopped winching when people
shouted there was a flying saucer approaching the ship.)

Add in the pinch of bravado felt by a witness being feted by Prof
Hynek and several wide-eyed admirers at a UFO conference, and it
doesn't surprise me that what sounds like a tape of an
after-dinner conversation a quarter of a century later (probably
over a drink or two, but extant participants may correct me)
contains a couple of things like this. I don't believe it has
anything like the weight and significance of a calculated "lie",
and IMO it really takes a deliberate _effort_ to construe it as
reflecting in a sinister way on the testimony from 1958.

>No problem was recorded for the time of the
>sighting, which in itself also wasn't recorded. We assume the
>sighting wasn't recorded because it wasn't considered important
>-- an assumption which may be one of the only reasonable
>explanations for the fact they didn't confiscate the negatives
>on the spot.

By "they" you must mean either the chain of command of the
Trindade Island operations, or the ship's chain of command.

The former stopped with Capt Bacellar. Captain Bacellar was also
at the time tasked by the Navy High Command to collect
information on sightings at Trindade.

We know that Bacellar was the one who took personal
responsibility on board for overseeing the photo development
etc, the one from whom Barauna then received permission to
retain the negatives (temporarily) on certain conditions, and
the one with whom he agreed arrangements to hand over negs and
prints to the Navy later. So we know for certain that it is not
a "reasonable explanation" to suppose that the sighting "wasn't
considered important" by Capt Bacellar.

The ship's chain of command stopped with Capt Saldanha da Gama,
whom you regarded (at least, when you wrote this) as a "gullible
believer". Would it be a "reasonable explanation" to suppose
that the sighting "wasn't considered important" by a gullible
believer? No.

Surely a believer would ensure that the reposnsible Navy
authorities got all evidence and cooperation that they needed?
Why would this believer not confiscate the negatives - unless
the responsibility for doing so was not his to discharge?

But of course, since my last post pointing out that Saldanha da
Gama was _not_ after all the author of the supposedly scurrilous
Bermuda Triangle book, and given the abrasive Sr Brito's recent
characterisation of him as a strict Navy disciplinarian, we have
perhaps changed our opinion of the man.

If he was, instead, a prickly disbeliever, would he _then_ have
been disposed to ignore the whole thing? Perhaps, but perhaps
more likely still is that he would take the negatives and take
disciplinary action as well - if disciplinary action in respect
of the civilians was his to take.

It comes down to jurisdiction, and this may not have been a
simple issue in the circumstances. I suspect that Capt
Bacellar's position gave him responsibility, and Capt Saldanha
da Gama may have found himself obliged to provide only such
assistance as was required.

Barauna is quoted by a newspaper as saying that the Captain "of
the ship" surveyed members of the crew to find out who had seen
the object. The confidential Intelligence Dept report and Navy
Ministry statements indicate that someone did, but the
possibility exists that this is a misunderstanding. It could be
that Barauna was referring to questioning done by Capt Bacelar
(commander of the Trindade Oceanographic Post) rather than Capt.
da Gama (commander of the ship) and that Barauna's reference to
"the captain" was misinterpreted by the journalist quoting him.

Bacelar was the man already placed in charge of the Navy High
Command's effort to gather "information" on UAO sightings at
Trindade, initiated more than a fortnight earlier on Jan 01
1958. He was the Navy's scientifically-trained expert on the
spot and its specific agent appointed by Fleet-Admiral Carvalho.

Vide February 13, 1958 CONFIDENTIAL memo from the Chief of the
Navy High Command to the General-Director for Hydrography and


Subject: Phenomena observed over the Trindade Island
(Recommendations about)


a) Radio 00012/312335

b) Document No. 005, of 1/6/1958, from the Chief of the Navy High
Command to the Commander of the Trindade Island Oceanographic

Annexed: Four (4) photographs and four enlargements.

1. Through the document listed in reference "b" this High
Command asked for information on the phenomena observed and
reported through the Radio listed in reference "a".

2. The information referred to was given personally at this High
Command by the Corvette-Captain Carlos Alberto Ferreira Bacelar,
who was the Commander of the Trindade Island Oceanographic Post
at the time when the phenomena was observed.

3. An investigation was started at this High Command on the
subject, with the following conclusions:...


Therefore Capt Bacellar would presumably have had authority in
the investigation over Capt da Gama, even on board the Almirante

Another reason for thinking so is that to the papers on Feb 22,
Capt da Gama denies knowing anything (Folha da Manha, 22 Feb
1958) and says he hasn't even seen the photos:

'The Captain of "Saldanha da Gama," said: "It is strange that
the fact was released to the press. I have nothing to say about
the event. Only the Chief of Staff can make statements." Asked
to tell his opinion about the photos, he said: "I confess
sincerely that I have not yet seen the photos. I can't tell
anything more."'

But this appears to be in conflict with the statement by the US
Naval Attache Capt Sunderland on March 11 that sometime on or
before 24 February the Almirante Saldanha received an official
visit from the CO of the USCG vessel Westwind when docked at
Santos, during which Capt da Gama, whilst noncommital about the
provenance, "freely discussed the flying saucer and showed the
original proofs to the callers."

If "original proofs" means copies of the photos, as it would
appear (the same phrase describing the prints appears in the US
ONI report), then Da Gama possibly did have the photos when he
told the press that he had not seen them, which suggests the
likelihood that he may have had more involvement than he was
permitted to divulge to the press, and may possibly have made
inquiries (presumably through his officers) about witnesses
among the crew.

We know that the ship's Executive Officer "formed the
impression" shortly after the event "that those on deck had seen
it", which presumably may indicate that he questioned people.
And we know that Capt da Gama's personal Secretary, a Lt
Commander, reported to the Capt prior to Feb 24 that he had seen
the object himself. (From: U.S. Naval Attach=E9, Rio de Janeiro;
Date of Information: 21-27 Feb 1958; Serial No: 39-58; Date of
Report: 11 March 1958.) So it is possible that the ship's
Captain and Officers themselves took action to canvas
crewmembers, even if they perhaps did so formally-speaking at
the request of Capt Bacelar.

In any event, the practical jurisdiction on board re the
negatives is proved by the fact of what happened. Bacellar took
charge and assumed responsibility, consistent with standing
instructions direct from the Fleet Admiral. That he chose to
interpret those instructions as giving him a certain latitude
for judgment, and judged his personal inspection of the
negatives on the spot sufficient guarantee for Navy purposes, is
unfortunate from a certain point of view.

But only from a certain point of view.

As Capt Brandao noted in his report after summoning Bacellar to
the High Command to present his findings, it was remiss not to
have taken charge of the film to be developed officially in a
Navy laboratory. Do we suppose that Capt Bacellar did not think
of this? I regard it as highly unlikely. In fact I suspect that
this was in the forefront of his mind:

He knew that once that film roll entered the bowels of the Navy
High Command Intelligence Dept neither Barauna, nor he, nor
perhaps the rest of the world, was likely ever to see it again.
I suspect that it could have been a mixture of personal
scientific curiosity, consideration for Barauna's personal
rights and expectations, and maybe a pinch of altruistic
indignation, that persuaded him to allow Barauna to take the
negatives off the boat with him - with the stern stipulation
that he not do anything further without Navy consent. (I'm
tempted to speculate that an "understanding" along these lines
could have been the substance of the further injunction or
instruction about which Barauna said he had been enjoined by
Capt Bacellar not to speak.)

In the event, of course, we know what happened. The story
escaped via Kubitschek and it was fait accomplis that the Navy
just had to manage.

You could say that Bacellar played a blinder. It's no surprise
that Barauna so often expressed his gratitude to the Navy for
their support.

And now I wait for some more imaginative sceptic to feel his way
towards the fat end of that wedge, and conclude from my
reasoning that if Bacellar and Barauna could have had a private
understanding after the event, well then they must have been in
cahoots before it, too. Any takers? ;-)

Martin Shough

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