Sunday, June 30, 2013

"I’d Like my Children to Know the Truth [Re UFOs]," says Dying North Carolina MUFON Researcher Kent Senter

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Ken Senter

Billy Cox By Billy Cox
De Void

     Hey, dig it, I’ve been away for so long now they’ve changed the blog format on me. Looks like they’ve ditched the social media comments in favor of something a lot more inclusive, the way it used to be when I started this exercise in futility back in ‘07. Yay. Too bad all the Facebook feedback got obliterated, but we’ll always have Paris or whatever. And really, I’m not all that “back” yet; I don’t know how much longer I can keep dog-paddling against the tides.

However, at least for now, I want to direct your attention to a symposium in Greensboro, N.C., this weekend sponsored by The Center for UFO Research. This is one hell of a good story and it isn’t getting nearly the hype that last month’s Citizen Hearing on Disclosure did. And that’s a pity because the speakers are all first rate. There’s not enough space here to go down the list, but check out the website and you’ll get the picture, or at least you hardcores will.

Among the factors that makes this one so compelling is, it’s being financed by a dying North Carolina MUFON researcher named Kent Senter. Like countless other Americans who’ve seen anomalies in the sky, Senter, 59, is sick and tired of all the official indifference/denial and is attempting to make a serious first step toward forging a way out of the mire. As he told the Greensboro News & Record, “I’d like my children to know the truth. It’s not going to happen in my lifetime. I know I’m going to die. But I’d like to see it happen in their lifetime. I want the truth out there.”

Several other things make this gathering a lot different from what happened in Washington last month. For one thing, the major buzzword here will be UAP, or unidentified aerial phenomena, in lieu of the more loaded UFO. Also, the decibel level will be much lower. Uncle Sam won’t be at the center of the dart board; in fact, two of the speakers are from countries that would like nothing better than to cooperate with the U.S. government.

France and Chile both have longstanding government-sponsored UFO — err, UAP — research projects going on, and their emissaries will both be in North Carolina this weekend to tell audiences how they do it. One would hope some federal-level types who have to pretend they’re not interested — or at least some enlightened NGOs — might take notes. What they’ll likely discover, among other things, is that it isn’t costing Chile and France a lot of money.

Chile’s program is called CEFAA, and its international director tells De Void in an email that he is one of only three paid staffers in a threadbare agency that falls under the equivalent of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. CEFAA interfaces with a volunteer scientific committee from Chilean universities — “all skeptics, by the way,” he adds.

That might sound like a stacked deck, but given the level of transparency, Lay states, “in Chile the UAP/UFO phenomenon has never been surrounded by any stigma.” Military and commercial pilots are unafraid to file their reports, and interfacing with government agencies is a breeze. Or at least as easy as bureaucracies can be.

In France, GEIPAN operates under CNES, the French space agency. A 30-year CNES veteran, Xavier Passot has been running GEIPAN for the past two years and, like Lay, says the UAP mystery has been a legitimate scientific pursuit for decades. He reminds De Void of the 1999 COMETA report — compiled by former high-ranking military and government officials — and how “its conclusions were open to the question of an ET hypothesis.” Having an official French program, says Passot, actually cuts down on sensationalist media coverage. “The lack of an official ‘UFO bureau’” in the States, he writes, “and the riot of private UFO groups makes the debate very confusing.”

The closest U.S. counterpart is the nonprofit National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena, which regularly publishes meticulously detailed research papers on some of the most mysterious cases, both here and abroad. Not coincidentally, NARCAP’s director, former NASA scientist Richard Haines, will also speak in Greensboro this weekend, as will New York Times best-selling author Leslie Kean. And for those wondering why American culture is so dysfunctional on this topic, academicians Ron Westrum and Alexander Wendt will present a sharply focused context.

If De Void could get out of town this weekend, it would be Greensboro. Kudos to Kent Senter. If the mainstream media covers this one, it’ll be an absolute miracle.

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