By Antonio HuneeusA new French report released on May 31, 2010 concluded that UFOs are definitely real and possibly of extraterrestrial origin. While not an official government study, the Progress Report of the Sigma/3AF Commission comes from a highly credible source, the Aeronautical & Astronomical Association of France, known as the 3AF, which established a Commission on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena back in May 2008. The Commission’s President is Alain Boudier, a former French Defense attaché, and one of its key members is Jean-Gabriel Greslé, a former fighter pilot who studied at the U.S. Air Force Academy and later became an airliner pilot with Air France, where he experienced a couple of UFO sightings. Greslé has published three UFO books in France, including Unidentified Flying Objects: An Airline Pilot Talks (Guy Trédaniel, 1993).
The Sigma/3AF is not a final report but just a work in progress document; nevertheless, it provides good background material on the history of official UFO research in France, a balance of Sigma’s work during the last two years, a brief description of the most significant French cases, and some comments and conclusions. The report begins with a brief history of French official UFO research, which is quite extensive: “France is the only country where the collection of Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena (PAN in French) and its scientific study have been assigned since 1977 to a civilian official organization, the CNES (National Center for Space Studies, the French space agency) through the GEPAN study group.” After a short description of this unit, now known as GEIPAN (Study and Information Group on Aerospace Unidentified Phenomena), the report outlines other official or quasi-official French studies, including the famous COMETA (Committee for In-Depth Studies) Report of 1999, issued by a group of high-ranking retired French military and intelligence officers, which concluded that UFOs were real and probably extraterrestrial.
Members of the Sigma/3AF Commission also met representatives of many other official French military and intelligence organizations that had some UFO involvement in the past. These included the National Gendarmerie, which has collected UFO reports systematically since the 1960s; the General Secretariat of National Defense, which issued an interesting report a few years ago (although I am not aware that it was ever released to the public); the Air Force; and one of France’s intelligence services, the General Directorate for External Security, which admitted through an “authorized source” that UFOs have been monitored by the agency since the early sixties.
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