Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Peru to Rejoin Its Neighbors in ‘Officially’ Investigating UFO Phenomenon

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Peru to Rejoin Its Neighbors in ‘Officially’ Investigating UFO Phenomenon

Here's to the new normal

By Billy Cox
De Void

" . . . for now, civilian scientists in South America are ostensibly free to pursue open inquiry. They have government backup, which frees them from the social stigma that relegates UFOs . . ."

     Oh, to have contacts in Peru.

De Void’s most cynical impulse is to write off UFO headlines emanating from that South American nation last week as a distraction from some recent troubling corruption stories. Last week is when we also learned the World Bank estimates 80 percent of Peru’s logging exports are illegally harvested, and that an estimated 15,000 dolphins are slaughtered off its Pacific coast each year by fisherman who mutilate their cetacean kills into shark bait. Yeah, you’d definitely like to swing the international spotlight away from that skank.

On the other hand, Peru’s announced plans to rouse its dormant UFO research office, OIFAA, from slumber merely conforms to evolving regional attitudes on the phenomenon. Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay all conduct official UFO investigations, unencumbered by the sort of silly adolescent political/media blowback those sorts of initiatives would surely provoke here in the States. In fact, DINEA, Peru’s Office of Aerospace Interests, actually invited the press to attend the formal announcement last Friday in Lima. Imagine the feeding frenzy in the U.S. under parallel circumstances: “Jobless Claims Rise While Gov’t Chases Flying Saucers,” “Congressional Outrage: ‘No Greenbacks for Little Green Men!’” “Close Encounters of the Slurred Kind!”

Truth is, De Void would love to know how much it’ll cost Peruvian taxpayers to resuscitate OIFAA. Best guess: surprisingly little. Especially promising is how, although its director is Air Force Col. Julio Jose Vucetich Abanto, the project looks to be a civilian enterprise. OIFAA will liaison with academic and military institutions, and its panelists include a couple of physicists, an aerospace engineer, a sociologist, and a public relations consultant. Peru is clearly uninhibited by the cautious semantics that characterize the language employed by the few mainstream American scientists willing to venture anywhere near The Great Taboo. In its press release issued last week, Peru also announced that its media conference would include a segment called “The Nazca Lines and extraterrestrial beings." Talk about loaded language.

The cultural divide between the U.S. and Peru is obviously more than linguistic. Imagine an American jet fighter pilot admitting to opening fire on a UFO penetrating restricted military air space. But Oscar Santa Maria Huertas did just that in a Washington press conference in November 2007. That’s when he discussed emptying a “wall of fire” — 64 rounds of 30mm shells — into a balloon-like sphere from his Su-22 near his airbase in the spring of 1980. Direct hits apparently made no impact as the UFO made a swift vertical ascent. Huertas swung into firing position three more times only to be continually outmaneuvered. Then a lieutenant, Huertas retired with a colonel’s rank.

So the 12-year-old OIFAA is back in business, thanks to an apparent uptick in UFO activity in Peruvian skies. As precedent teaches us, success is always is an iffy prospect. Witness the mind-numbing volumes of worthless eyewitness reports recently disgorged into the public domain by the British Ministry of Defence, which shuttered its UFO desk in 09 after 50 years of stenography. On the other hand, falling as it did under military jurisdiction, the UK's UFO project was always questioned about its commitment to transparency, reflected in a paucity of declassified highly restricted documents in its data dumps.

Anyhow, at least for now, civilian scientists in South America are ostensibly free to pursue open inquiry. They have government backup, which frees them from the social stigma that relegates UFOs -- and a potential windfall of knowledge -- to the deviant’s closet. What they'll discover, if anything, pivots largely on the course of future events. And, as with everything from elections to sports, they'll probably need a little luck as well. But luck can't happen unless you're ready to follow the trail.

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