Published: 3:56 PM 7/15/2013
By Billy Cox, Herald-Tribune
Another milestone occurred off the MSM whiteboards last week when two foreign governments formally agreed to collaborate on UFO/UAP research.
Representatives from GEIPANand CEFAA, the agencies charged with collecting UFO data for France and Chile, respectively, met for the first time at a conference in Greensboro, N.C., last month and discovered a wealth of common ground in their approach to the phenomena.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has to pretend it's not interested in any of this stuff.
For Jose Lay, CEFAA’s International Director, the implications extended far beyond the bilateral agreement. “We know in Europe GEIPAN is highly regarded and we are quite known in South America as we have official contacts and also advised other countries in this area of the world,” Lay stated in an email to De Void.
“We believe with this step we may encourage other countries to follow and establish their own official agencies.”
Among the talent Chile brings to bear on the mystery is Dr. Luis Barrera, for whom asteroid 19395 Barrera is named, and University of Chile astronomy director Dr. Jose Maria Maza, responsible for the discoveries of numerous supernovae, quasars and galaxies.
“This is an historic development,” writes author Leslie Kean in an email. “An official agreement on UAP investigations between Europe and South America is a big step forward and will add gravitas to the international effort. Now, we need the United States to get on board.”
What are the odds of that happening?
In her 2010 bestseller, UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record, Kean laid out a modest plan for a modest office, staffed by no more than three people, who could officially liaison with myriad civilian and defense agencies to investigate the most promising cases and review compelling cold-case files.
In 2012, at an unpublicized meeting hosted by the Center for American Progress (CAP) think tank in Washington, Kean shared a related briefing paper prepared for a 35-member, invitation-only audience.
It suggested the work could be conducted from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, for as little as $250,000 per fiscal year.
Given recent revelations about how the IRS spent $4.1 million, or 16 times that total, on a three-day conference in 2010 (an amount, incidentally, categorized by a U.S. News & World Report analysis as “lightweight by corporate standards”), Kean’s budget projection looks like a chump-change lunch by Beltway standards.
CAP founder John Podesta, President Clinton’s erstwhile chief of staff, went public about that meeting in May. He told The New York Times such a project “would selectively investigate mysterious skyward sightings and seek to understand them by applying scientific method.”
He called attendees “interesting, credible people who had observed aerial phenomena that were unexplained and worthy of additional followup. Going back and looking at declassifying whatever government documents exist,” he added, “is a smart thing to do.”
Among those in attendance was Tadd Buffington, a chief solution architect at NASA’s Washington headquarters. A former political and budget analyst with the United Nations, Buffington is also a MUFON field investigator motivated largely by concerns for air traffic safety.
Buffington says Kean’s budget projection should be doubled, and he has reservations over placing such a study under the jurisdiction of agencies staffed by “political appointees,” such as the OSTP.
“I can tell you there’s a huge, huge amount of grass-roots interest in (UFO/UAP) at NASA. People want to know,” says Buffington. “And this is where NASA could fit in so well, the real NASA, not the government NASA. The problem is getting it to the top floor, where you run into the presidential appointees.
“The formality is, it has to be an issue first, and not until you can establish something like a clear and present danger — like reports of it running into our planes — is that likely to happen. And given the increasing amount of air traffic, I’m afraid that’s going to be just a matter of time.
Until then, because government is self-serving, the question is always going to be ‘How’s this going to help me?’”
It's tempting to think the new French-Chilean connection could trigger a candid and overdue conversation in this country about bringing serious resources to bear on an enduring mystery that might well reap windfall payoffs for science.
But at least two countries aren't waiting around to find out.