Italian MoD’s Answer to the Parliamentary Question: (only) one Tornado above Corio…

by Gian Paolo Grassino

commissione-difesa

On August 2, during the question time at the Italian  Chamber of Deputies Defense Commission,  the answer arrived to the parliamentary question presented to the Minister of Defense  by Francesca Bonomo and Davide Gariglio on June 18th and later re-submitted (by Alberto Pagani and Francesca Bonomo) on August 1st, in the most cogent form of “immediate response question”.

raffaelevolpiUndersecretary of Defense Raffaele Volpi read the following text:

“Air Force General Staff, after due investigations, excluded the presence of airplanes at the time and in the indicated area; however, they areported that on June 6th, around 23 o’clock, a Tornado aircraft passed in Corio area, on a regularly planned night training mission  approaching Turin-Caselle airport. The glow and the roar perceived by the population might be due to the normal approach manoeuver to the runway performed by the aircraft and, more particularly, to the “re-starting” which, in order to allow climbing in total safety, means the use of engine maximum power, including the afterburner.

It should be noted that these maneuvers were carried out in full compliance with current laws and restrictions, as well as all training and exercise activities are fully regulated by specific directives of the Armed Forces, aimed at minimizing the inconvenience to the inhabitants . The use of airspace is planned by the Italian Air Force daily and any planning is also communicated to the competent civil aviation authorities who must know the extent of the military air traffic and the details of the flight plan, both for organizational and safety reasons .

As for the preventive information by military authorities  to the population on the occasion of carrying out training activities with aircrafts, it is already the practice of Armed Force to give public notice of each relevant exercise, as well as of any event with the contemporary participation of more than one aircraft. In the case in question, it was a training mission of a single aircraft that used the normal flight trajectories, thus not falling in the cases described above. On the legal aspects of safety and compliance withregulations, maximum attention is paid to ensure that the essential training requirement minimizes the impact on residents in areas affected by flight drills. Precisely for this reason, as well as to avoid interference with civil traffic, strict procedural, temporal, geographical and altitute limits are foreseen for all training activities “.

We won’t now discuss this new answer and its compatibility with what reported by eye witnesses about flight path (from the valley toward the mountain), altitute (very low), not just sound effects, and we’d rather concentrate our attention on the different, partly contradictory releases and explanations so far provided by the Italian Air Force.

It would seem that the author of the response presented yesterday by the Government to the parliamentary question roughly aligned himself  to the very first version provided to newspapers  by A.F. spokesmen as early as June 7th: only one Tornado (at the time told to have passed  “at very high altitude”, now instead “approaching Caselle airport”). A version later  denied by what the Air Force itself reportedly answered on July 20th to the General Attorney, Giuseppe Ferrando, that is there were actually two aircraft at low altitude above Corio on that night, which had a technical trouble (now no longer mentioned in the “normal approach maneuver”) causing the anomalous roar, as we have already reported.

No mention, however, for the third light, the one that had preceded the arrival of the fighters, which seemed to be his pursuit, according to several witnesses. At least on this point, the various statements of the military are consistent: absolute silence. Waiting for the next installment of this soap opera…

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In the above picture: Chamber of Deputies Defense Commission meeting on August 1st, 2018.
In the smaller photos: Undersecretary of Defense, Raffaele Volpi (above) and two Tornados in flight (below).

Italian Air Force Now Admits: Military Planes Flew above Corio

by  Gian Paolo Grassino

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45 days later, the Italian Air Force released  a new and different version about the lights and loud air noises that  alerted the inhabitants of Corio and other towns in Malone Valley (province of Turin) on June 6 evening, as we have already reported.

Ufficio PIAt first, spokesmen of the Air Force Public Information Office in Rome told newspapers there were no military planes in flight, except “a Tornado training at a very high altitude, even higher than usual. None of our aircraft has flown over the area of ​​Corio at low altitude and we rule out that it might be an experimental aircraft” (as reported by Claudio Neve in Cronaca Qui daily newspaper). Or even: “The only plane training in the Turin area, at about 5 thousand meters of altitude, was a Tornado, as  verified on the radar. So it certainly has not passed just over the roofs of the houses” (Gianni Giacomino in La Stampa).

Thus, easy and unwarranted ironies followed on the dozens of people who had instead witnessed they had heard a loud and growing rumble shaking house windows and walls, and dozens outdoors or having had time to run outside  who had seen what most called two military planes.

Then two parliamentary questions were announced and presented by the honorable Francesca Bonomo to the Chamber of Deputies and by Mauro Marino to the Senate, and an inquiry was started by Public Attorney in Ivrea, Giuseppe Ferrando, announcing on June 12 that he had opened a file, charging the Carabinieri [Italian Gendarmerie] of the Venaria station to ask Air Force top echelons what had happened “with the only purpose of clarifying, if necessary, the whole affair”.

tornado-notteAs of now, no answer has yet come from the Ministry of Defense to the Parliamentary questions, but on July 21 the Public Attorney in Ivrea said that the Air Force had responded to him admitting that yes, on that night there were two aircraft military above Corio, for sake of precision two Tornados engaged in an exercise. Even the roar was real and was caused by an unspecified “technical trouble” causing “an abnormal noise”.

No reference, however, to the strong white light, first in slow motion, then stopping above the ridge, finally disappeared at the arrival of the fighters. But that was enough for newspapers and websites to title UFO Mystery Explained, No UFOs, those were Tornados or even Air Force Denies UFO Presence, when the military said nothing about the first white light (the real UFO of this story) and, if the Air Force denied something, they denied their own previous statements.

While the Attorney is going on with his investigations and members of Italian Parliament are waiting for the Government to say something, it is just the case  to point out that, once again, eyewitness were shown to be serious  and reliable. It was not a “hoax” but a sincere and precise description of what was actually there in the sky: two noisy military aircrafts at low altitude.

Starting from this first and important fact, we are now waiting to have access to the details the Air Force wrote down in order to try and understand if it was really an exercise, a training flight or some other air operation, as yet unclear. And we keep wondering what the other light was. As we have said since the first moment, that does not mean to endorse fantasy or SF-like hypotheses, but just to look for an explanation of what happened, with an open and rational mind.

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In the photos from top to down:
– a witness showing the exact spot where the light had stopped above the woods in  Corio, before disappearing when the planes arrived (investigation by Edoardo Russo, CISU);
– the Italian Air Force Public Information Office in Rome (source: U.P.I.A.M.);
– a night flying Tornado (source: N.S.M.).

A UFO landed on the Dolomites?

lavaredo-by-night
In recent years, the percentage of close encounters on the total number of Italian UFO sightings has dropped significantly, even below 5%, i.e. more or less to 10 case histories per year. The rare cases of “UFO landing” reported by witnesses are therefore of particular interest.

The latest one took place on  July 7th, when an American tourist allegedly had an experience quite out of the ordinary on the Dolomite mountain path connecting two cabins near Auronzo di Cadore (in the province of Belluno).

The report was sent to the MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) Case Management System and we report its contents by summarizing what written by the witness, a professional photographer who was taking an evening excursion in the  Tre Cime di Lavaredo natural park, in order to take pictures of the sunset and later of the Milky Way.

sentiero-lavaredoOn the evening of Friday, July 6, the man had left his car in the parking of Rifugio Auronzo and had walked along the path climbing to Forcella Lavaredo for an hour’s walk to Rifugio Locatelli, on the opposite side of Mount Paterno.

Around midnight he decided to get back along the path in total darkness, lit only by his torchlight.

rifugio_auronzo_forcella-longeresShortly before one o’clock A.M., after having passed Cappella degli Alpini (when he was now in sight of Rifugio Auronzo parking area) he turned back and was astonished to see “a large bright orb-like structure, consisting of many many bright lights, sitting stationary and silently” on the cliff edge about 170 meters away, where he had passed a few minutes before. He could not see a real structure but only the multicolored lights, which covered an area as large as a two-story cabin.

lavaredo-cut-drawingAfter a brief look at what did not look like anything known to him, literally terrified at the idea of having ​​been noticed because of his torchlight, the witness decided to run to his car. In doing so he turned back a few times, but renounced to take his camera out of the backpack to photograph the thing.

In hindsight, the man tried to make some hypotheses: a large tree with Christmas lights on, fifty+ drones hovering at that point, another cabin not listed on the map suddenly turning all lights on. None of these, however, persuaded or reassured him, and that’s why he thought it might be a UFO.

The next day he sent his report to the American UFO organization, which opened an investigation file on the case, assigning it to  MUFON Italian branch.

In the pictures from above to below:
the three Cime di Lavarone at night (source: TripAdvisor);
– the path from Rifugio Auronzo to Forcella Longeres (photo by Marco P. from Tripadvisor);
Rifugio Auronzo and its parking area, seen from the above path (source: it.wikipedia.org);
– witness’ drawing illustrating his sighting (source: MUFON)]

A book by GEIPAN Chairman, Xavier Passot

passot-livre

Xavier Passot‘s book has now been  published, about his five years direction of GEIPAN (Groupe d’études et d’information sur les phénomènes aérospatiaux non identifiés), the UFO sightings collection and analysis office within French “Center National d’Etudes Spatiales” (CNES), the only non-military government UFO office active for over 40 years all over the world.

passot-torino

We have often written about GEIPAN, and Mr. Passot himself was a guest and speaker at CISU national conference in Torino, in October 2017, where he presented us his experience in such unique position as an “official ufologist”.

The book is titled “J’ai vu un OVNI: Perceptions et réalités” (“I saw a UFO: Perceptions and Realities”, Cherche Midi Pub., 142 pages), with a foreword by sociologist Pierre Lagrange.

 

It is not the first book written by a former GEIPAN director: he was preceded by Jean-Jacques Velasco (“Ovnis: La science avance”, 1993; “Ovnis: L’évidence”, 2004 ) and Jacques Patenet (in the collective book “Phénomènes aérospatiaux non identifiés, un défi à la Science”, 2007). In fact each director of the GEPAN (later renamed SEPRA, finally GEIPAN) has given his own mark to that office, and it is therefore interesting to know each one’s perception “from within”.

Following on the footprints of his predecessor Jacques Patenet, Passot’s  years marked the phase of GEIPAN’s maximum openness both to the public (with the gradual publication of its whole archive of UFO reports) and to private ufologists (at least to those of scientific orientation), culminating with the Paris congress CAIPAN (Collecte et l’Analyze des Informations sur les Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non-identifiés) in July 2014.

The book is not addressed to ufologists but to a general public, it is written in simple language, with a pedagogical intent, and is divided into three parts.
The first section (“GEIPAN Files”) reports a dozen significant case histories investigated, also reporting the conclusions where it was possible to reach one.
In the second part (“Investigation Complements”) the author delves into the complexity of UFO investigation, by quickly reviewing conceptual components of the problem: what is (and can be seen) in the sky, the weight of cultural factors, the role of the witness at the heart of the investigation, the concept of evidence and the role of photographs, the role of the investigator.
The third section (“The UFO Challenge”) examines the most widespread interpretative hypotheses, the interaction with the tools of science, the relationship with the mass media, the aspects related to defense, the role of beliefs.
The book ends with a chapter of conclusions, a critical analysis of the “COMETA Report” and an annotated essential bibliography.

If Passot’s purpose was to resume his five years in chair of GEIPAN and report his personal experience in the UFO world, even if brief his text makes an effective synthesis of the UFO problem and of its study today.

Ignacio Darnaude Rojas-Marcos (1931-2018)

entrevistadarnaude5Veteran Spanish ufology Ignacio Darnaude Rojas-Marcos  died in Sevilla on June 26, 2018.

He was born on January 18, 1931 and had been actively interested in the UFO subject since  the second half of the ’50s,  collecting a huge documentation and writing hundreds of articles and papers, most of them unpublished and only circulated by letter.

Since the 1960s, in order to overcome difficulties in duplication, he created an original way of exchanging documents (clippings, letters, reports, comments) by photographic reproductions he sent copy of to a worldwide network of correspondents. He was among the first Spanish collaborators of UFO organizations and magazines such as APRO, NICAP, Flying Saucer Review, Lumiéres dans la nuit.

Son of his time, he was certainly not an exponent of the scientific branch of ufology. By his own admission, he was rather interested in the philosophical aspects of the extraterrestrial contact” concept (which he himself called “transufology”).

Since the ’70s, Darnaude was also an avid collector of all that concerned the “Ummo affair” (the letters a so-called group of extraterrestrials would send to numerous UFO students, especially Spanish ones, describing their world, science and technical know-how), creating a monumental 1,500-page catalog, the UmmoCat.

In the new millennium, he became fond of the Internet he published on his own website a large part of the documentation he had collected on the UFO topic (about 13,000 pages), between 2006 and 2015.

In the same period, he began to write books to organically collect his reflections of over 60 years (“El principle de elusividad cósmica”, “Libros revelados y síndrome contacto ET”, “El desafío extraterrestre en el siglo XXI”), books that constitute his spiritual testament, well summarized in the interview given to ufologists José Juan Montejo and David Cuevas in 2014.

Parliamentary Question about Aerial Pursuit Above Corio (Italy)

corio-page-001
francesca_bonomoThe parliamentary question announced last week by Hon. Francesca Bonomo [left picture] was presented to the Chamber of Deputies on Monday 18 June, about the aerial roar and the testimonies concerning two low-altitude military aircrafts in the Corio area (province of Turin) seemingly pursuing a light in the sky on June 6, as we already reported.

gariglio

 

That is a question to answer, also signed by Hon. Davide Gariglio [right picture], and addressed to the Minister of Defense, as follows:

 

“Given that:
– on June 6, 2018, around 21 hours, in the area of ​​the municipality of Corio, in the province of Turin, the passage of n. 2 aircraft, most likely military fighters at very low altitude, was
heard and seen by most of the population of the aforementioned town and neighboring municipalities;
– this event has greatly alarmed the population due to the loud noise and the shock wave
which spread to the territory, but above all because of the fear that the two aircrafts were headed to intercept a third potentially dangerous aircraft, which some testimonies say they have seen;
– because of the fear generated in the area inhabitants for their safety, the police has been called by many and institutions urged to better understand what happened;
– after the event the Air Force was called, whose answer was evasive and incomplete in the opinion of the questioners, which has further fueled doubts and concerns;
to know
if the heard noise as above is to be attributed to the performance of military flights and, if so, what the reason was for this flight, if there was any danger to the area inhabitants, and what initiatives military authorities intend to adopt in order to inform the local population before carrying out any exercises, thus avoiding to create fear and worry among the inhabitants.”

The question gives a wrong time of the phenomenon (which actually took place shortly before 11 p.m., not 9 p.m.), from which we can assume the text was not based on the testimonies reported on social networks and local mass media, but on the press release itself (released by ANSA news agency on  June 10 evening) announcing the intention to present a parliamentary question by Hon. Bonomo and Senator Mauro Marino (both elected in Piedmont for the Democratic Party).

[collaboration by Antonio Rampulla]

[top image: photo by Matteo Aldo Peracchione, from the Facebook group “Sei di Corio se …”]

Mini-flap of sightings in Piedmont, Italy

2018-06-03_to_nole_p6
When mass media publish sensational sightings, other witnesses often come forward to report more. That’s now happening in Piedmont region (Italy) in the wake of what happened in Corio on June 6, where dozens of people saw a light in the sky seemingly pursued by two military planes: in addition to the usual trail of rumors, hypotheses and denials, a series of sighting reports followed in the previous or following days from different areas in that region.

The first testimony dates back to the evening of Saturday, June 2, around 21.30, when a woman at Torino Olympic Stadium for Vasco Rossi’s concert watched a round not well defined object with white-blue reflections moving slowly northward in the clear sky for a couple of minutes.

On the following day, June 3, an employee driving back home for lunch in Nole (province of Turin) noticed a bright lens-shaped object in the partly cloudy sky. It was inclined at 45°, oscillated for a few seconds, then sped up disappearing into a cloud [see drawing by the witness in the above photo].

2018-06-09_no_dormelletto_fotoTwo reports came from Saturday, June 9: what was described as “a flying man” was reportedly photographed by a tourist in Dormelletto (Novara) [picture here on the left], while five black dots moving slowly in the sky were filmed in Banchette d’Ivrea (Torino) shortly after 9 p.m.

A few hours later, at 2.20 a.m. on Sunday, June 10, a motorist traveling along the state road near San Germano Vercellese (Vercelli) found himself passing under a bright yellow and blue disc hovering above the road.

In UFO jargon, we speak of flaps to indicate these concentrations of sightings in a certain area and in a limited period of time. In the past it was thought that they indicated a real increased presence of UFO phenomena, while now the prevalent opinion is instead that otìs the emergence of a greater percentage of “hidden sightings”: on the basis of Doxa poll data, indeed, there should be over 3 million Italians who think they have seen a UFO, compared to about 30 thousand reports collected and cataloged by ufologists, meaning just the 1% of the total.

American UFO historian visits CISU headquarters

greg1Greg Eghigian is a historian of human sciences and a professor of Modern History at Pennsylvania State University, with a known interest in ufology.

For over a year he has been working on a research project on a  global history of the UFO subject with particular regard to the evolution of UFO sightings phenomenon and of its study.

gregrichieHis usual summer tour in the old continent was therefore an opportunity for a visit to Italy, with his colleague Richard Sherman (who’s teaching video making at the same university and is collaborating on the historiographical project with a documentary).

On June 11, Eghigian and Sherman arrived in Torino, specifically to meet and interview some CISU members and to visit Italian Center for UFO Studies  headquarters and archives (the second largest in Europe).

gregpter American researchers’ Italian day has been articulated in three different moments.
In a first part, the stories and personal evolution of a few CISU members (Paolo Toselli, Paolo Fiorino, Edoardo Russo) were collected as video interviews,  with an exchange of opinions on the past and future of ufology – which highlighted strong philosophical affinities.

gregpf

A second part  consisted of a general overview of the history of Italian ufology, followed by a guided tour of the CISU Archives, which amazed our visitors from overseas for the quantity and quality of the collected and organized documentation.

The meeting was also the starting point for identifying specific areas of collaboration, with particular regard to the historiographical aspects, which our association is particularly and actively interested in.

[In the pictures taken during the meeting at CISU registered office, from top to bottom: Richard Shermand  and Greg Eghigian preparing interviews; Eghigian talking with Edoardo Russo and Paolo Toselli; Eghigian interviewing Paolo Fiorino.]

UFO chased by Italian Air Force near Torino?

1962-foto-corio

In just three days, news of a light in the Canavese skies passed from local news to a state question.
The facts: on Wednesday night, June 6, just before 11 p.m., dozens of residents in the municipalities of Corio, Rocca and Levone (province of Torino) were alarmed by a strong and long roar making windows shake. Most people thought an airplane was about to fall on the houses. Many, who left home or were already outdoors, watched and later described the low-altitude passage of two military planes, seemingly chasing a white light moving in the sky, according to some of the witnesses.
As it is now frequent, testimonies have begun flooding social networks on the following morning, and for the first few days they were reported  only by local newspapers (Sentinella del Canavese, Cronaca Qui Torino), while both ENAV (civilian Aviation Administration) and Italian Air Force denied the presence of low-flying aircrafts in the valley at that time.
When one of the witnesses went to submit a complaint to the Carabinieri police and two local politicians announced they were to present a Parliamentary question to the Ministry of Defense, however, the news rose to national level, with a national wire ANSA press release on Sunday evening, which got to most newspapers and mass media on the following day.
Meanwhile, the Italian Center for UFO Studies (CISU) had opened an investigation,  launched a public appeal to witnesses and has so far tracked down and made contact with a dozen eyewitnesses who, in addition to the roar and the planes, have seen the luminous object in the sky.
Investigations are still ongoing and it is too early to reach conclusions about the observed phenomenon and the dynamics of the events, before data collection is completed, matching the testimonies and making on place surveys.
The CISU is interested in any evidence of unusual objects or aerial phenomena, and always invites witnesses to tell their experiences, granting privacy to them.
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Top: photo of a flying object taken at Corio Canavese (Pian Audi) on August 29, 1962

CNEGU 40 years

cnegu-logoby Bruno Mancusi

On May last weekend, the Comité Nord-Est des Groupes Ufologiques (CNEGU) celebrated its fortieth anniversary at its 120th quarterly meeting held in Chaux-la-Lotière (near Besançon).

CNEGU was indeed create in October 1978 in Nancy, as a federation of UFO associations from north-eastern France and Luxembourg. The founding groups were GPUN (Groupe Privé Ufologique Nancéien), CVLDLN (Cercle Vosgien Lumières dans la Nuit), Groupe 5255 (52 = Haute-Marne, 55 = Meuse), CLEU (Commission Luxembourgeoise d’Etudes Ufologiques). Other associations active in that northeastern quadrant of the “Hexagone” joined the committee in later years.

Over the years all those groups have disbanded and no longer in activity, but the Comité Nord-Est des Groupes Ufologiques is still well and alive (without a real formal structure) as a committee formed by individual ufologists who survived the dissolution of each one’s groups.

revmde11.

Among the main achievements of CNEGU, beside many field investigations, archival research, catalogs and several monographic publications, a special mention goes to the annual magazine Les Mystères de l’Est (published between 1996 and 2012) and the  VECA (Voyage d’Etude des Cercles Anglais) initiative to investigate crop circles in the UK.

 

Members of the Committee took part in almost all the most important initiatives of French ufology in these 40 years, from the European coordination (CECRU, EuroUfo) to the establishment of SCEAU (the Association for the Safeguarding and Conservation of UFO Studies and Archives), from the first intervention team on behalf of GEIPAN to the participation in the CAIPAN colloquium, keeping on a serious and real activity, preserving a wealth of skills and experience matured in four decades, based on the commitment and work of dozens of people. cnegu-partecipanti

In the top picture: the 3rd meeting of CNEGU, held in Luxembourg in May 1979.

In the bottom picture: the main activists celebrating CNEGU forty years (from left: Raoul Robé, Michel Piccin, Gilles Durand, Thierry Rocher, Gilles Munsch, Jean-Claude Leroy, Eric Maillot).