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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > May > May 16

Re: Trindade Navy Documents Discovered

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2011 17:01:14 +0100
Archived: Mon, 16 May 2011 12:40:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Trindade Navy Documents Discovered

>From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 12:21:24 -0600
>Subject: Re: Trindade Navy Documents Discovered

>>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 22:18:46 +0100
>>Subject: Re: Trindade Navy Documents Discovered

>>>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>>>To: <post.nul>
>>>Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 08:37:05 -0500
>>>Subject: Re: Trindade Navy Documents Discovered

>>>>From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
>>>>To: post.nul
>>>>Date: Mon, 09 May 2011 19:39:08 -0600
>>>>Subject: Re: Trindade Navy Documents Discovered

>>>>Question to anyone: Who actually invited Barauna and the
>>>>club onboard, and when? If it was Bacellar himself, the plot
>>>>would thicken considerably.

>>>Then again, maybe not.


>I will consolidate my delayed replies here, including your post
>this morning with the additional reference to Barauna's Jan 1967
>written statement, of which I was aware. Some of the references
>in your reply to my 09 May post were new to me, and appreciated.
>I had gathered previously, primarily from Fontes' material, that
>the Navy (generically) had issued the invitation to the Icarai
>diving club. Like yourself, I find no indication of from whom
>or when.

>Bacellar had a solid technical background, in addition to being
>commanding officer of the post itself. I think he could well
>have been personally responsible for issuing solicitations for
>civilian technical support for IGY activities at Trindade, but
>that is only speculation at this point.

I agree it's possible, issues of opportunity notwithstanding.


>>But we need to remember that Capt Bacellar was 700 miles away on
>>the island at the time the Almirante Saldanha was preparing for
>>this voyage, and had been there for over 2 months. Personal
>>communication in those days was not simple, probably limited to
>>official channels. There were no telephone landlines. No mobile
>>phones. No satellite. No postal deliveries except when the
>>resupply ship arrived from Rio at the end of each operational
>>tour. Too far for carrier pigeons.

>>The evidence is that Bacellar reported nothing through Navy
>>channels about any UFOs until 31 Dec 1957, and there's no
>>evidence that the Navy Command made any response until Jan 6
>>1958 instructing Bacellar to provide further information. This
>>was the start of the Navy Investigation. These communications
>>(note) were _encrypted_ radiograms.

>If we are to accord any credence to Fontes' material in the
>Bulletins of early 1960, we should at least note his contention
>that in late November 1957, Bacellar witnessed, and
>to the Navy, a UFO sighting of his own that occurred during a
>meteorological balloon launch. Fontes makes clear distinction
>between this and later incidents.

Yes, we need to go back to this. I said previously that this is
the one point on which I'd had serious doubts about Fontes'
account. I suspected that he had somehow multiplied one event
into two by attaching different versions of it to different
dates. This would make Fontes' report of a Nov 1957 radio
message about a UFO unreliable. I explained my reasons for
thinking this, and then retracted the idea. I'm now having third

In my previous post (29.04.11) I said  '. . . .  several details
associated to the "first" (late Nov) incident by Fontes are
associated to Bacellar's "second [undated] observation" in the
intelligence report (given as Jan 6 by Fontes) - for example,
the 3 hour period, a motion "with the same angular velocity as
the sun", the check on planetary positions - whilst the
intelligence report's version of this "second observation" also
contains some features - for example the temporary disappearance
of a balloon into a cloud etc - which read like more sober
versions of dramatic features in Fontes' account of the "first"

'This overlap was the main reason why I initially concluded
there were two confused account of one balloon incident. But
Brandao does seem to record two similar incidents :- "a
phenomenon he had personally observed, over the Island, two
times on different occasions, with the help of a high-precision
theodolite and in daylight. His second observation was the

'I don't really know what to make of this and I'm not satisfied
that Fontes' November date is in this instance necessarily
reliable, but I concede it's less clear than I thought and it is
possible that Bacellar reported something on an earlier date
than the radio message that started the Navy ball rolling on Dec
31 1957.'

The first point to make is that the version of the Navy report I
quoted there - probably the one most familiar to everybody from
the APRO article and many websites - is not the only one in
circulation. There is a different translation. I have this in
the form of scans of what appear to be photocopies of 12 typed
or printed pages with some pen annotations in an unknown hand
and the typed/printed date 3/2/58, presumably Feb 3 1958, three
days before the Subchief of Intelligence is known to have
forwarded the report to the Vice-Chief of the Navy High Command.
This version does not have the phrases "two times on different
occasions" and "second observation". Instead the only indication
in it that Bacellar had two similar observations is the single
word "twice". Compare:

*   "CC Bacellar also reported a phenomenon he had personally
observed, over the Island, two times on different occasions,
with the help of a high-precision theodolite and in daylight.
His second observation was the following".

*   "The CC Bacellar related a phenomenon observed by him
personally during his stay on the island, twice, with the aid of
a precision theodolite, during the day and witnessed by other
persons, in the following terms"

Thanks to documents and information provided by Mary Castner of
CUFOS I think we can confirm that the first version is in a
translation typed up by Coral Lorenzen of APRO in 1965. It's
probable but not certain that Lorenzen did the translation
herself (the whistleblower demanded that the original Portuguese
document be destroyed - I wonder if it really was? We may never

The second version's origin is uncertain. A copy of it was
provided to J A Hynek and ended up in CUFOS files. In my opinion
it reads as though it was translated by a person very competent
in English whose first language was not English. It could merely
be a re-translation back into English from a foreign source. But
I wonder, too, about the possibility that in addition to making
her own translation Coral Lorenzen had a translation made by a
trusted Brasilian/Portuguese associate - someone like Dr Fontes
would have been an obvious choice.

The second point is this: The new discovery of Bacellar's
written Trip Report throws this question back into sharp focus,
because, as Borges tells us (and as I think I can verify from
ham-fisted attempts at translation), Bacellar's personal report
_does_ describe only _one_ incident of this type and dates it to
Jan 8 1958, eight days after his radiogram to Rio about the
steel ellipsoid on Dec 31 1957:

"although I could not measure the zenith distance, the balloon
was still visible when the receiver had indicated the fall of
the radiosonde. The object that was assumed to be the balloon
was still seen up to 15:10 (GMT) when it disappeared behind the
clouds. In the theodolite it appeared white and the shape of the
new moon."

So I'm now back to thinking that Fontes could have confused
things, possibly getting slightly skewed stories from multiple
sources relating to the same event.

We know that Fontes saw Brandao's report at the Navy High
Command on Feb 14 1958 and met with several officers connected
with it (probably including Brandao). If Fontes' own
interpretation of events was encouraged by reading Brandao's
account then Brandao's "twice" or "two times on different
occasions" is not an independent source of corroboration.

If Bacellar's own written report is assumed to be definitive,
then the question of where Brandao got the idea that Bacellar
witnessed two balloon-UFO incidents rather than one remains a
mystery. As for Fontes: he is generally very reliable, but note
that he records a couple of stories he heard from anonymous Navy
sources about events on the island which he says Bacellar
dismissed as nonsense, so his sources were not necessarily
always reliable.

So I think once again there is some doubt about Fontes account
of a balloon incident on Jan 6 (which according to Bacellar's
report was actually Jan 8)  _and_ a near-identical event in late
November 1957; and therefore there is also doubt about his claim
that Bacellar made his first radio report of a UFO to Rio in Nov

As I pointed out before, the evidence of Brandao - and now of
Bacellar - indicates a weak and even quite trivial incident
where an astronomical cause was suspected, although not proven.*
Even if the same or a similar event did happen in late November,
being the first event of any kind I'm not convinced it would
have been considered significant enough to merit contacting Rio
- certainly it seems nothing like as impressive as the Dec 31
event which (according to Brandao and Bacellar) _did_ persuade
Bacellar to make a report.

(* The speck of light seen at en elevation of 30 deg, moving "at
same angular rate as the sun" and showing a planetary phase in
the theodolite probably was Venus. Brandao records observation
for 3.5 hrs; Bacellar says it was visible until cloud obscured
it at 15:10 GMT, so that gives us a start time of about 11:40
GMT. At 11:40 GMT [10:40 local] Venus was at about 30 deg
elevation almost due East showing a crescent phase of 0.12. It
isn't clear why Brandao says astronomical checks did not explain


>It seems unreasonable that there would have been no provision
>for routine unclassified radio communication between Trindade
>and the mainland, e.g., for contact with civilian
>contractors/vendors and family members, even if it required a
>naval intermediary on the mainland. But admittedly, I have no
>familiarity with 1950's Brazilian naval security or
>communication protocols. I should think that records in the
>Trindade Documentation Service utilized by Borges would clear
>this up readily.

Good point. I agree. This would be a good job to do. Perhaps
Kentaro or another of our Brazilian colleagues will be able to
shed some light?


>Agreed, and I am considering an equally (if not more)
>unattractive Scenario 0): Bacellar was the actual instigator,
>starting the ball rolling in Nov 1957, and, perhaps aware of
>Bacellar's talent and earlier exploits, recruiting him into the
>scheme under cover of support for the IGY expedition.

>Absurd as such a scenario sounds, I see it as a loophole that
>needs to be closed. If it can be shown that timely communication
>(say, before January 1958) between Bacellar and Barauna was
>extremely unlikely or even impossible, I think it would not only
>serve to absolve Bacellar, but noticeably undercut the hoax
>allegations against Barauna as well.

I doubt it will be possible to close the loophole. It will
probably remain a question of judgment and likelihood. But I
agree this should be pursued.


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