Monday, March 12, 2012

Interview with Colonel Ariel Sanchez (Part IV) – Uruguay Air Force Openly Researches UFOs for More Than Three Decades

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A. J. Gevaerd By A. J. Gevaerd
Editor Brazilian UFO Magazine
3-11-12

Emblematic Cases
AJ: Is there any obligation for Cridovni to report all of its investigation through that chain of command?

CAS: No. We must inform only our immediate superior officer, who is the Air Force commander. However, a case like that of 2007, which involved another country, has its exceptions. We passed the information on to the Argentinian Air Force (FAA) and I talked in person with their public relations. He totally denied it to be a missile or a secret aircraft from his country. It was necessary, then, to inform the minister of Defense.

AJ: What is the status of your investigation files? If a civilian goes to Cridovni and asks to see the documents of a case such as this of 2007 involving the Lufthansa, does he have access to the files?

CAS: Yes, but we cannot give them the files as a borrowed book from a library. The person would make a request for what they want to see. If we find it, then we show the files and inform on the case’s conclusion. Here at the Committee people are allowed to see what happened and what didn’t happen regarding the investigation of every case. We can’t show all the 1200 occurrences, because that would be crazy. We don’t have time or personnel enough to do that. Therefore, we allow access to files upon request. For example, if anyone wants to know about what happened in Uruguay in 1986 or how many reports we received that year, then we show the files and details of those cases. We have no secrets here.

AJ: Good to know, Coronel You mean there are really no secrets? Not even for the most serious cases?

CAS: There are no secrets, I can assure you. We always provide the information that people request. What we can’t do — as any library in the world couldn’t do either — is to provide all the files at once for a person to take away and review them.

AJ: Wasn’t there any serious case in which Cridovni was officially instructed not to disclose details and conclusions?

CAS: Not so far. Until now we have disclosed every fact and the findings of our investigations, even whose involving our Air Force and its crew. We simply never had any reasons for hiding any information. The Committee doesn’t encourage or discourage Ufology and we had never covered up information over more than 30 years. I have just told you of the Pucara aircraft which chased a UFO over a dam and were not able to reach it. “We do not shake when telling of this”, as we use to say here. We had even disclosed UFO pictures made from inside the cabin of a large military aircraft.

Information Exchange

AJ: Do you receive requests from foreign government bodies such as the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), for example? Are these officially addressed?

CAS: It happens occasionally. Sometimes we are the ones who need to consult them as well. I remember many years ago when we had to request NASA to assist with UFO pictures made by a Uruguayan witness. However, they had never sent us an answer. That wasn’t during my time in the Committee, but before I came. Recently, Bigelow Aerospace also requested to see our files.

AJ: What did Bigelow Aerospace want from Cridovni?

CAS: They wanted to know if we had remains of UFO artifacts that might had fallen on Earth. I must confess I was surprised by that request, but we didn’t have anything of that sort to show them. Even if we did, we wouldn’t be able to give them as we can’t offer to others what we can’t offer to the public in general. It seems they looked for it in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile as well.

AJ: You are right. Bigelow Aerospace has been to different South American countries looking for that kind of materials. In Brazil they visited me and asked about UFO cases involving physical remains which were among the documents declassified by Brazilian government. Back to Cridovni, does it receive information requests from civilian groups?

CAS:Yes. We have received requests from Uruguayan groups and individual researchers. We even exchange information with some of them. We are consulted and we also consult other UFO groups abroad. In some cases we work together with other official research institutions such as the Center for Studies of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (CEFAA), from the Chilean Air Force (FACH). We conducted an investigation on the Easter Island with them and reached a joint conclusion. There was a Uruguayan who had made a picture and a film in that Chilean island. That is how we reached a partnership with CEFAA for the investigation. The case was solved and we found that the “spacecraft” was actually a parachute.

AJ: Besides CEFAA is there any other official research institution with which Cridovni maintains an operational partnership?

CAS: We are in touch with the Peruvian Office for the Investigation of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (OIFAA), via Commander Julio Chamorro (UFO Magazine consultant). We have also exchanged information with the Brazilian Air Force. The interchange is very important to us, because it helps everyone to see things in a different perspective by sharing our experience. We have also contacted Argentinian military on certain cases, such as this one about a possible missile at the River Plate. In Chile, besides CEFAA, we also contact air traffic controllers for cases involving the sighting of UFOs there and in Uruguay.

AJ: How was your contact with the Brazilian military?

CAS: It happened at the same time we were talking with the Chileans. It was in 1986 when the sightings occurred in Uruguay and Brazil (Brazilian Official UFO Night). That happened because we captured a strange radar echo — I am also a controller and was on duty that time. So I contacted the operators in Curitiba, Brazil, to ask about any aircraft which could be coming to Uruguay unreported to us. This possibility was dismissed by the Brazilians so we considered those echoes as unconventional — which we sometimes call as “monitor UFOs”.

AJ: As a member of the Uruguay Air Force you have means to reach to your counterparts in other countries regarding aviation issues. Do you have the same possibilities to contact them about UFO cases?

CAS: Yes. For interesting cases we can make use of that line of communication in the Air Force. We can contact colleagues in Brazil, Argentina or Chile and exchange data which would support our investigation on UFO reports. I believe this is the most important for us concerning international consultations.

AJ:Do you know of any common protocol for the armed forces in the continent or other parts of the world concerning cooperation for UFO events? An Equatorian military told me once, and the story was confirmed by a Brazilian, that there is a protocol for military cooperation which is above any political issue. Does that include UFO cases?

CAS: In South America we have yearly meetings for Air Force members of the continent. Two Air Force commanders from each country would attend the discussion on different issues such as logistics, interchange, training for crew or ground personnel, and others. We discuss other issues as well and exchange data and information. The collaboration between friendly air forces allows for the better employment of everyone’s resources. I won’t deny that these meetings could also address UFO issues, but I’m not aware that this subject is part of the official talks. However, the subject could be in the agenda of different commanders present at the meeting.

AJ: Do you know of any meeting in which the UFO phenomenon was addressed?

CAS: I don’t know of any special meeting on this subject. There are meetings for air force commanders of the continent. Sometimes they are held in Uruguay, others in Brazil or Argentina. This is to establish work procedures or new air routes which should cross different countries or review the services one nation could offer another, such as ground assistance, fuelling, new airports, supporting military aircraft and so on. These are work and coordination meetings so that air forces in South America could work jointly. This is all of public knowledge and results are even passed on to the press.

AJ: Have Brazilian military ever consulted Cridovni on any case in an official or extra official manner?

CAS: Since I am part of the Committee, that is 20 years, I haven’t heard about the Brazilian government consulting us on any UFO case. I did it myself, however, during celebrations for the Air Force Day in Uruguay. Military attachés are present in these occasions and I had the opportunity to swap some ideas about the issues with members of the Brazilian Air Force. It was just an informal chat in which I asked about new cases or about an official committee possibly being formed in Brazil. They never confirmed anything about this possibility, though.

AJ: How about the air forces from the US, Russia, France, England or any other? Has Cridovni ever been consulted by them?

CAS: No. We’ve never had any information exchange with them. I don’t know if any of them was ever interested in our work, either.

AJ: Do you know of any group similar to Cridovni working officially on UFO cases in another country?

CAS: Yes. In Chile there is the Center for Studies of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (CEFAA). In Peru there is the Office for the Investigation of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (OIFAA), but this one seems to be just an office. I know of a group or department inside the Equatorian Air Force (FAE) dedicated to the issue. Other than these I know that committees were open in the US, such as the Condon Report and the Blue Book Project, but they were closed soon after. This is all in books and magazines, but the only one in permanent activity in the world is our Committee. Others were created but are already closed. As for CEFAA or OIFAA, it seems to me that they were established and worked for a while then stopped. In Uruguay it is different, because our Committee is working continuously for 32 years now.

Exemplary Working Method

AJ: This is really and achievement and I congratulate you for that. Is it true that Cridovni prepared a model for UFO research and took it to foreign military for training? It seems OIFAA was created according to that model you have prepared.

CAS: That happened in Chile. When CEFAA was created a FAU delegation attended an international event in that country. It was the International Air and Space Fair (FIDAE). There I had the opportunity to talk to Gal. Ricardo Bermúdez and Mr. Gustavo Rodriguez. They are the leaders of the Chilean UFO research institution. I made them a presentation on Cridovni’s work in Uruguay and gave them a booklet on the procedures we developed to deal with UFO cases. I also advised them a lot about how to do the work. If you look into the way CEFAA was established and works, you will see some procedures that are almost the same as
ours.

AJ: Cridovni is teaching how to do it, Colonel.

CAS: Yes and I was proud to listen Gal. Bermudez thanking our Committee for the support we offered them so that they could create a similar institution for UFO research in Chile. He has also publicly expressed his gratitude many times.

AJ: What about Brazil? Do you have any information on whether the military investigate the issue officially?

CAS: We have nothing official from the Brazilian Air Force. What we know is of civilians calling for the declassification of UFO files. They are supported by the Brazilian Committee of Ufologists (CBU), so that the subject is transparently treated in Brazil.

AJ: Yes. FAB declassified its secret documents. I think it was the first time it happened in the continent. We have now files from the 1950s until 2010 open at the National Archives, in Brasilia.

CAS: We knew about it through the bulletins and the conference you gave in our congress, when you kindly gave us a CD containing copies of all the material released by FAB.

AJ: Do you know that CBU request involves FAB establishing a military/civilian committee for UFO research such as Cridovni? This is yet to happen. What do you think about this part of our request?

CAS: I think that every air force in the world should investigate UFOs, because these are objects flying over their countries. It should be an obligation to every country to investigate vehicles spotted by their radars or seen by witnesses. It could happen with or without a committee like ours. This is what we do in Uruguay, when a case is highly weird the Committee is reached to perform the analysis on the strange characteristic of a flying object, because this is not a task to flight controllers, who would take care of regular incoming and outcoming flights.

AJ: Why are countries reluctant to deal with this subject?

CAS: Actually, every country in the world investigates UFOs, but not as alien craft and a problem is that most people think about them as extraterrestrial objects. Most sightings have an ordinary explanation. Therefore, nations who keep their territory under watch are also investigating UFOs in a certain way. The difference is that they don’t treat the subject as alien vehicles. There is so much in this area which isn’t real. There are too many conspiracy theories on this issue.

Hurdles in the UFO Research

AJ: Can popular imagination affect serious investigations?

CAS: Yes. We can say that every air force in the world controls their own air space, but what is not spotted or radar detected cannot be investigated. However, when citizens see strange things in the sky they go to the authorities and this is how investigation committees like ours are created. Such committees are the ones who could confirm if a UFO is “something else”.

AJ: How to deal with the information that something seen in the sky has an extraordinary origin?

CAS: It depends on the official bodies of each country. In Uruguay our Committee supports Aeronautics’ air traffic control activities as well as the scientific research on the matter. What we have seen is an uncommon phenomenon. It is something extraordinary — the 30% we’ve talked about — which we investigate in a scientific way in order to find about its nature. This is difficult because we always lack evidence and confirmation, as those phenomena are not lab-reproduced. If that was possible, it would be much easier.

AJ: That would be the ideal scenario.

CAS: Yes. In any case, every air force in the world controls their own skies and could be detecting UFOs. A lot of things could be out of their reach, but they still investigate what they can. The best thing would be to have Committees such as Cridovni everywhere in the world. It would even favor the exchange of information.

AJ: Looking that way, isn’t it irresponsible not to have institutions like Cridovni in other countries? If UFOs are such a serious issue, as you understand in Uruguay, the same work of Cridovni should be done in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, United Stated, etc.

CAS: I think many of these nations are researching. They just don’t make it public. Actually, they have no reason to say that they are investigating an unknown phenomenon, since it could interfere in other fields. Remember that US, France, Russia, etc, are countries involved in an arms race. Brazil and Uruguay are in a different situation in our continent. Those countries could be developing vehicles with still unknown technology and people would see them as UFOs, which could actually compromise military experiments. There are too many cases in those countries. In the US, there are companies developing prototypes of new aircraft for commercial or military use, or even prototypes for satellites and rockets to compete with other nations’ machines.

AJ: Do you believe that part of UFO sightings has to do with military tests?

CAS: Yes, it can happen that air forces working together with private companies in the development of new technology don’t want people to know about it. They could be developing a new rocket propeller, for example. This is why we lack information to investigate many cases. A witness who saw a new rocket in the sky might think they saw an extraterrestrial ship. If the real occurrence is revealed, the competition might copy the new machine. We have here a problem of economic nature in a moment when even countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Chile are in a space race.

AJ: The UFO phenomenon occurs in Uruguay the same way it occurs all over the world. Every government and their air forces — especially in South America — should be more interested in information exchange on the matter. At least institutions like Cridovni, CEFAA, and OIFAA should keep in closer touch in order to exchange data which would benefit everyone. What do you think?

CAS: I think there are some positive news about that. I have been talking with friends in Peru and Chile — namely Commander Julio Chamorro, from OIFAA (UFO Magazine consultant), and Gal. Ricardo Bermudez, from CEFAA, about arranging a meeting on this topic. We have also discussed ways of bringing other countries to join us in the effort and create committees within their air forces as well, so that we could work jointly on the phenomenon. As you said, it occurs everywhere the same way. It would be interesting to foment such initiative, which I had already proposed. The problem is knowing whether the idea would be well received by other nations and whether these will incorporate the UFO issue in the work for their air forces. It would be very important to raise this kind of discussion in their yearly meetings.

AJ: Is Cridovni or the Uruguayan Air Force interested in officially propose it to other countries?

CAS: Actually, I have already made the proposal in congresses held in Chile and Argentina. I told many times of the advantages of being able to exchange information. As I said before, I have also sent a model of our Committee’s procedures to the Chilean UFO investigation committee. They relayed it to the Peruvians and it seems Equatorians are also working on the same methods we have developed. What I stress here is that there has already been an interesting response to our work. Maybe we’ll get to faster conclusions on the phenomenon this way. By working together we can build up our database. Interchange and dialogue with other groups will also increase. Then I believe we could reach some answers about the subject.

AJ: When a pilot sees a UFO in Brazil — be it a Brazilian or foreign pilot flying over Brazil, a civilian or a military — they must fill in a form which is available in our airports. Then the control center will pass this form on to the Brazilian Command of Aerospace Defense (Comdabra), in Brasilia. At least this is the demand, but many pilots decide not to officially report the fact. Is there any similar requirement in Uruguay?

CAS: In Uruguay, when a civilian or a military pilot experiences any flight incident, they must report aeronautic authorities. There is a proper form for reporting these incidents at civilian level. Pilots must report occurrences which had threatened the operation of their aircraft. This is how we receive many reports describing sightings of strange objects. Yesterday, I was at the Carrasco Airport, in Montevideo, and a friend who is a commander at Pluna airlines told me of a sighting he had during flight. I have already filed a request for more details on that case. Pilots are normally collaborative with our work and send us their reports. There are also those who prefer not to report, of course, so we never know of some incidents that could also be investigated.

AJ: We once had in Brazil, in 1969, an official committee for UFO research called System of Investigation of Unidentified Flying Objects (Sioani). It was similar to Cridovni, but larger due to the size of Brazilian territory and the larger number of cases to be investigated. Sioani had civilian and military members working the same way you do in Uruguay. The office was closed in the early 1970s. Since then we never had anything official working on UFO research in Brazil. What do you think about that?

CAS: I have followed Sioani trajectory and regret its closure. However, if I’m not mistaken, the campaign “UFOs: Freedom of Information Now” wants to open an updated version of it (See UFO 156 and 158, available online at www.ufo.com.br].

Brazilian Movement

AJ: Our movement has obtained so far the declassification of documents from the 1950s to 2009. However, something important happened in August 2009, when the Air Force commander, Brigadier Juniti Saito, issued an order so that all UFO cases registered by FAB — especially those reported by pilots — would be sent to the National Archive, in Brasilia, for public view. It was a breakthrough, but Saito didn’t mention whether they will investigate those cases, which left Brazilian ufologists in doubt. Do you believe that events involving commercial flights with hundreds of people onboard could be registered but not investigated?

CAS: I am not aware of procedures adopted by FAB, so I can’t give an opinion on this. It seems to me that, if the Air Force receives UFO reports, then these must be investigated somehow. Only after that the results should be sent to the National Archive for public view of the facts. I don’t think FAB receives reports in order not to investigate them — although sending them to the National Archive shows a degree of transparency. The order issued Brigadier Saito surprised us all because it was unprecedented and also because it was not clear about the fate of those reports. After all, we are talking about commercial flights full of passengers travelling between large cities which might have experienced a UFO encounter. These events are too serious for FAB to renounce an investigation. Maybe commercial aircraft reports are investigated by the civil aviation. It seems that in Brazil, just as in Uruguay, civil aviation is not subjected to the Air Force, right? If this is the case, then maybe the civil aeronautics would take care of those cases. There are countries in which sightings during flights are not investigated by the military, but by civilians instead. The Center for the Study of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (CEFAA), for example, is based at the Technical Aeronautics School, which belongs to the Chilean National Command of Civil Aviation, not at the Air Force. Maybe the same thing is being done in Brazil. In Uruguay it works differently: the Committee is directly subject to the Air Force command and this must be taken into consideration. Maybe in Brazil those cases reported by civilian pilots are addressed through a civilian channel.

AJ: I believe the task of investigating civilian or military air occurrences should fall on the Air Force of each country, like in Uruguay does and Brazil should also do. As we know it, the civil aviation does not have an office for the investigation of UFO cases in the country.

CAS: Right. It should be of military responsibility. In Chile, for example, it is not. It may be that in the future we have a department in your country to address this topic. I just don’t know if it would be of a civilian or a military nature.

AJ: This is the goal we look forward to reach through the campaign “UFOs: Freedom of Information Now”. There is a promise made to us. If it really comes true, it would be very important that Cridovni come to Brazil to present its framework and what they have done.

CAS: It will be a pleasure. The investigation tasks we carry out are very simple, but also logic. We follow a standard, a protocol for investigation, nothing more than that. We don’t have any unorthodox creation. We started by taking J. A. Hynek classification table and apply it to the “Level of Strangeness” of a case or the “level of credibility” of a witness. Then we adjust it to our needs.

Awareness on Brazilian Ufology

AJ: I would like to know about your knowledge and the knowledge of your team on Brazilian cases, such as Operação Prato, the Brazilian Official UFO Night and others.

CAS:Thanks to UFO Magazine we know a lot about those cases. The one I’m mostly interested is Operação Prato, in 1977. This seems to me as a very shocking situation. Among all those intriguing cases such as the Brazilian Official UFO Night, Varginha and others, I believe Operação Prato was the most important one in its developments. It was significant because of the way the UFOs affected the population, the attacks and even deaths caused by the “chupa-chupa”, four people dead if I’m not mistaken. I would like to have participated in that investigation. I believe it would have been a pleasure to Coronel Uyrange Hollanda, commander of Operação Prato, to have you participating in the investigations.

AJ: It would have been an honor and a pleasure to me because his work was really important. Was there anything similar to Operação Prato in Uruguay? Was there any registered wave of UFOs attacking people?

CAS: No. There was never anything like the “chupa-chupa” or Operação Prato in my country. Actually, if we check the 3% of cases we investigate, that means the 40 cases which we could not explain, we can conclude that the phenomenon is not aggressive in Uruguay.

AJ: Isn’t there any case of UFO attacks against Uruguayan people?

CAS: Except for a couple of cases, we don’t have it. I remember one case in which a big ball appeared in front of someone who was walking. The person described it as a little sun. The witness was very much burned, as if he had stayed under the Sun for hours, as if he had slept at the beach. The skin was really burned, darkened. This is one of the very few cases in which someone got hurt here.

AJ: Burnings caused by UFO lights are common all over the world. Do you have any of these in Uruguay?

CAS: There was an intriguing case in a farm in the Aurora region. It was not investigated by our Committee because it didn’t exist at the time. It was investigated by civilian groups which later gave their files to us. The farm owner claimed to have been burned as if he had stayed under the Sun for a long time. He said that was caused by a beam from an alleged ship, which would have hit also a tree and killed a bull, a dog and many other animals in the field. This is another case which affected people; however, the UFO phenomenon in Uruguay has not shown to be aggressive towards people.

AJ: How about extreme cases such as abductions and implants, is there any of these in Uruguay?

CAS: In a small proportion, yes, we have cases of the kind. I believe we have cases like the ones we see on TV, in the “X-Files”, for example. We have reports of abductions and people who claim to have implants. There is a recent report of a witness who claims to have an implant. We still couldn’t arrange for a research. We are yet to examine the part of the body where the implant could be. The person already agreed with an X-ray or echography in the leg, where the artifact should be. We are preparing for this examination. We must be careful and observe our country’s laws and regulations for these cases. Before requesting a medical evaluation there must be some certainty in order to avoid legal problems.

AJ: How about abductions?

CAS: We have received some reports on this as well. There is one person who, while sleeping with his wife, used to wake up paralyzed in bed before seeing beings like the grays appear around him. The witness claims the beings inserted something in his torax and abdomen. It hurts, but he couldn’t avoid it. I personally investigated this case talking separately with the witness and the family. What we could do is trying the hypnotic regression, but it wasn’t allowed by the witness and the case was archived.

AJ: The witness did not agree to have a regression?

CAS: No, he didn’t. We promised to do that with all due guarantees, but still he didn’t want it. We sent the case to the archive, because we didn’t have much concrete evidence to support an abduction claim. The wife and the children didn’t notice anything unusual. The best thing we could do was proceeding with a regression if we were to look for something else.

Extreme UFO Cases

AJ: Is Cridovni prepared for cases in which a hypnotic regression? Do you have professionals prepared for that?

CAS: We do have physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists who could do this kind of work and give as a professional opinion on the case, but so far we haven’t carried out any hypnotic regression. We weren’t reported of any cases that would demand the use of such technique. We did receive, however, cases of people claiming to have been inside space ships. I remember a case in which a girl was at a party in a friend’s house and was out of the house playing hide and seek. The girl went to an empty land and claimed to have entered a space ship she saw there. She said to have seen beings in that place who invited her to see the ship from inside. Then she got scared and went down the ladders from which she had climbed into the ship and went back to the birthday party.

AJ: What happened next? How did Cridovni treat this case?

CAS: The girl told her mother and family what happened. They all went out to check the land and see the spacecraft, but they found nothing. We were informed on this case and went to the place, but we couldn’t find marks that would confirm the story. Then we carried out a psychological study on the girl with her parents’ authorization so that we could know about any truth in her story. Again we couldn’t find anything to confirm what she told. We do have psychology and psychiatry professionals who help us in this kind of work so that we know whether a witness is credible or not.

AJ: Does Cridovni have a protocol or standard procedure for cases of abduction?

CAS: We don’t have any exclusive protocol for abductions, but we follow the usual investigation procedures when we have this kind of report. We ask the witness to go through an interview with psychologists that we recommend. The witness is asked a series of questions, and then we review the results the psychologists reached. Sometimes we find people who are psychologically disturbed and our professionals detect that. Many times, however, we agree with psychologists in a case that deserves an investigation.

AJ: Are there any extreme cases in Uruguay addressed by Cridovni such as contactees or people who claim to contact extraterrestrials whenever they want?

CAS: The Committee tries not to encourage or discourage these kinds of beliefs, as I said before. People are free to claim whatever they want. What we do, instead, is a professional work in order to know the percentage of truth contained in such claims. I would say that 99.9% of those cases don’t correspond to the truth. In other words, so far no one who claims to be a contactee could actually prove this condition. We realized, then, that those people seemed to have a different sensible perception or a behavior that was different from other people. They are actually good people, but a little out of touch with reality on this matter. At least one cannot scientifically prove what they claim to be true.

AJ: Cridovni was recently improved with another organization called Regional Center for the Investigation of Aerospace and Terrestrial Phenomena (Crifat). What was the purpose of this?

CAS: This was my personal idea. I wished to create a research group which would work all over Latin America joining together other related institutions — something like the Football Federation, which puts together all football clubs in the country, or FIFA which is the same for National Teams. The idea, however, was to do that at a regional level in our continent.

AJ: And how was Crifat created? Was it successful?

CAS: I talked about it with some friends in Argentina and Chile, the same way I talked with you about forming a regional center in South America in order to collect information on UFO cases and disseminate data among its members. The idea is to create a large database which would benefit everyone. However, it was found to be difficult to make everyone adopt our system of work which would be similar to the one the Committee employs. The name of the institution itself — Regional Center for the Investigation of Aerospace and Terrestrial Phenomena - establishes that it would address UFO occurrences in sky, land and sea. The first objective was to join together groups from Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Brazil in order to adopt a same line of work. Then the results could be used by the Committee.

Standard Operation Procedure

AJ: What would be the reason for entities joining Crifat to adopt its line of investigation?

CAS: The benefits are many, including a standardization of procedures. Today, for example, I don’t know whether the system adopted in Brazil is compatible with ours. Therefore, if a Brazilian group submit us a case for review, I wouldn’t know how to look at it due the difference in the methods we employ. However, if we all follow the same procedures then we would have a standard database that would be easily explored. It would mean we speak the same language regarding UFO investigation.

AJ: That wouldn’t be easy...

CAS: I know this would be a very difficult achievement, because South America has many groups regarding the UFO phenomenon in different ways. Some see it with a scientific point of view, others prefer the esoteric or spiritual approach. There are even other lines of thought, such as contactees — the nearly defunct RAMA group, for example, an entity created in the 1970s by Peruvians Carlos and Sixto Paz. It was first disseminated all over the world, including Brazil where it was called Project AMAR which is now closed. These ones don’t perform any investigation, rather they only state to be in tune with other cosmic species.

AJ: The idea of a Crifat is excellent, though implementing it might demand a tremendous amount of effort.

CAS: Yes, but the benefits would be enormous, besides those I’ve mentioned. By employing the same assessment methods towards UFO cases we could work jointly. It would be even less costly with extraordinary results. By working with a common system, we could analyze occurrences and obtain more precise information regarding shapes, colors, maneuvers, trajectory, behavior, etc, of flying saucers. Maybe we would even be able to ascertain: the UFO phenomenon appears like this at this time of the year, with such and such characteristics, etc. Otherwise, how could we know whether UFOs have same features in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay or Chile without having a common data base?

Worldwide participation

AJ: It would be excellent to have a significant number of UFO research institutions joining together. Dr. J. A. Hynek tried that in the 1980s but it didn’t work.

CAS: Yes, it would be. I’m still trying to establish Crifat according to the proposed objectives.

AJ: Back to the UFO cases, you’ve just mentioned that during the Brazilian Official UFO Night, in May 1986, there was an exchange of information between Cridovni and the Brazilian Air Force. How did that happen?

CAS: That time I was working at the flight control radars and learned of the facts happened in Brazil. The Committee gathered information about the occurrence in Brazil because we also had sightings in Uruguay at the same period — such as the case with the Pucara. We wished to compare Brazilian and Uruguayan data. We wanted to know especially if what Brazilian pilots saw was the same we had seen. Then we found out some similarities in both cases regarding the sighting of luminous balls. What caught our attention was the fact that the Brazilian Air Force chased UFOs over South-Eastern Brazil, especially Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

AJ: How did Cridovni get this information about the Brazilian Official UFO Night in order to compare with your cases?

CAS: At that time the first chair of our Committee, Coronel Eduardo Aguirre, consulted with the Brazilian military attaché, a FAB representative, in the Brazilian consulate, in Montevideo. There was also a lot of information disseminated by the press in both countries which gave us some inputs. We were very well received and FAB gives us useful data which allowed us to understand that something similar to the Brazilian Official UFO Night had happened in Uruguay. I don’t know if the objects seen were the same, but they were similar in both cases regarding shape, colors and glow.

AJ: As Cridovni’s chairman, did you see any increase in recent occurrences worldwide?

CAS: It seems to me that there is an increase of information about the subject. Thanks to means of communication such as the Internet we have much more information than we did before. We could, for example, have real time details of a sighting in Europe. In Uruguay, however, there was a decrease in the number of cases but also an increase in quality. Before, we would have 100 reports, now we have 30 or 40, but these are much more elaborate and complete. Nowadays, when someone sees something they don’t know, it means they have already discarded the possibility of a satellite, an airplane or an atmospherical phenomenon.

AJ: What do you expect for the next 10 or 20 years? Do you think the phenomenon would be more intense and research would be more advanced? What do you foresee?

CAS: According to my experience over the last 30 years I believe that the quality of reports will increase even more, which is what we see today. If you had asked me this in 1979, I could have said the research would go on and maybe the number of reports would increase. However, what we see today is an increase in quality, not in numbers of reports. I believe in 10 or 20 years this will get even better so that we would have something more defined about the phenomenon. This is my prediction. Maybe we would be lucky to find an extraterrestrial and intelligent civilization in 10 or 20 years. Fingers crossed!

AJ: Do you believe that behind the UFO Phenomenon there is an intelligence — be it extraterrestrial, ultraterrestrial or any other — which is trying to reach us with some possible intent?

CAS: It is difficulty to be sure, but I believe the answer is yes. This is one of my hypotheses for the phenomenon. It would be something related to extraterrestrials. I cannot disregard this view as I cannot assure we are being visited by other intelligence either. The possibility is obviously there. As many countries launch their space probes beyond the Solar System, I believe a civilization just as ours — it doesn’t need to be superior, just the same as ours — could also be launching their machines towards us. Maybe some civilization in a neighboring planet would be sending us probes in order to photograph and explore the Earth and other planets in our system. Why not?

AJ: Our Cosmic Neighbors.

CAS: Maybe such civilization is more advanced than ours...

Yes. In that case they could be sending their crew and probes. However, let’s not assume they are more advanced at this point. Let’s think they are another seed, fallen on a neighbor planetary system and they are sending us their robot probes, just the same as we do. That would be already an extraordinary thing.

AJ: What do you think about the recent statement made by Stephen Hawking regarding our cosmic neighbors when he says that we could have a bitter experience in case they come to Earth?

CAS: When someone like him says that we should be careful when encountering a superior civilization one might think “Well, there must be something he knows and we don’t”. He wouldn’t say these things just out of the blue. In any case, what he says is correct if we think about the encounter American Indians had with Spaniards. That experience was very bad for the native primitives. As we know, in that case, a more advanced and powerful civilization reached another one which was weak and unprepared. Here, the likelihood is for the first to exterminate the last. That is what happened to Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs, just to name a few examples.

AJ: Could we really be in danger in case other cosmic species come to us?

CAS: I believe Hawking was referring to a dreadful experience in case a superior civilization came to us in search of natural resources they need, for example. It all depends on the objectives they have. Maybe they would come interested in a scientific knowledge we might have or maybe colonization techniques.

AJ: What do you think about the statements made by Monsignor Jose Gabriel Funes, official Vatican astronomer, who said that extraterrestrials do exist and are our brothers and not acknowledging the existence of other species would be the same as underestimating God’s power to create?

CAS: This is a way of viewing the UFO phenomenon differently from Hawkings’ view, although both are impressive ideas. I think that having a Vatican astronomer referring to other beings as our brothers reflects the Church’s view on the likelihood that we are not alone. It is a prudent attitude even for scientists — who are not in the field of religion, but in Science — to admit mathematical impossibility that we are alone in the universe. The seeds that grew on Earth must have grown in other planets in different solar systems as well.

AJ: I believe you know about the campaign which led to the disclosure of classified UFO files in Brazil (UFOs: Freedom of Information Now). Do you believe these initiatives are of worldwide importance? Do you believe governments should declassify their secret documents?

CAS: I believe this is a democratic and good thing. I think people have to know the truth about the UFO phenomenon. If such information doesn’t compromise national security or armed forces procedures then they should be disclosed. People must know what is real and adapt their lives preparing for a possible encounter, which could happen sometime.

AJ: Being a military what would you say to your counterparts in Brazil regarding the declassification in process there and your open approach towards UFOs?

CAS: I would say that the declassification is a very positive step. It is very good to have that information on UFOs shared with Brazilian ufologists and population who now have access to the disclosed documents.People need an answer for the sightings they have experienced. I hope now Brazil could assemble a committee for UFO research similar to the one FAU has in Uruguay. I also hope that we could, then, work together.

AJ: We share the same hope, Coronel. What is your message to our readers, Brazilians or foreigners, who might read this interview?

CAS: I wish we could continue investigating this matter and also that we could join efforts around it. This is a global phenomenon, not just a Brazilian or Uruguayan one. I also hope that by working together we could reach conclusions on UFO mysteries faster. This must be done through a joint work. Not a civilian or military work, but an effort of human beings looking for answers regarding the UFO phenomenon. Therefore, we have to design a path which would bring some light to this fascinating subject.

Translated by Eduardo Rado, from the Brazilian UFO Magazine

Reproduction without authorization is strictly forbidden

See Part I

See Part II

See Part III


See Also:

Uruguay: 50 Years of X-Files

Uruguay: Air Force Declassifies UFO Files, ET Hypothesis Not Dismissed

Uruguay Joins the Party


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