BREAKING DOWN "THE WALL" OF UFO SILENCE

FOR THE LAST SIX MONTHS, ALMOST THE ENTIRE EUROPEAN CONTINENT HAS
BEEN  PLAGUED BY A WAVE OF UFO SIGHTINGS UNSURPASSED IN  HISTORY,
PERHAPS  MOST  PUZZLING  HAVE BEEN THOSE OF  A  GIGANTIC  "FLYING
PLATFORM" SIGHTED NEAR THE GERMAN BORDER IN BELGIUM.

By Antonio Huneeus
 

In  a totally unprecedented move in the history of  ufology,  the
Belgian   Air  Force  and  government  has  not  only   carefully
documented  the  great  UFO wave over Wallonia,  but  shared  its
results  with  civilian investigators and the public,  in  effect
literally  breaking  down "The Wall" of UFO  Silence  that  still
stands in the western world.
        * * *
  For  the past year, citizens in the French-speaking  region  of
Wallonia  in Belgium have experienced an extraordinary UFO  wave.
Thousands  of witnesses, including dozens of gendarmes  (national
police)  and  officers of the Belgian Air Force,  have  described
triangular-shaped vehicles flying slowly over rooftops, hovering,
shooting  searchlights and performing incredible  maneuvers.  The
objects  have been captured on some 25 videotapes and tracked  on
both ground and airborne radar by the military.

  Few, if any, will doubt that the triangular UFOs have been seen
all  over Wallonia since November of 1989. According to  a  front
page  story in The Wall Street Journal published on  October  10,
1990   and  entitled  "Belgium  Scientists  Seriously  Pursue   A
Triangular UFO," "since the rash of sightings here began almost a
year  ago,  more than ]2,600 have been reported of  a  triangular
object  with  three huge lights hovering in the  night  sky  over
Wallonia."  The  question that some are asking is  whether  these
objects  could  be explained by the testing of a new  top  secret
military  aircraft. Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs), AWACS,  the
F-117 Stealth Fighter, and a modified version of the B-2  Stealth
Bomber, are some of the options that have been suggested.

  Besides  the large amount of well documented data  gathered  by
the  Gendarmerie, the Air Force and civilian scientists from  the
Belgian  Society for the Study of Space Phenomena  (SOBEPS),  the
Belgian Map has broken another record. For the first time ever in
the  controversial  history of UFOs anywhere in  the  world,  the
Belgian  Minister of Defense, Guy Coeme, has authorized  the  Air
Force  to fully cooperate with SOBEPS, forwarding their  reports,
and  even  putting at their disposal a  Hawker  Sideley  aircraft
equipped  with  infrared  cameras  and  sophisticated  electronic
sensors.

 As the well known French physicist, Jean Pierre Petit, explained
to  Paris  Match magazine, "we are living in a time that  is  the
beginning  of  a  period  of  openness.  First  the  Berlin  Wall
crumbled,  now  the  wall  of  silence  about  UFOs  is  falling.
Concerning the UFOs, we are entering a phase completely different
from the earlier ones. It is the end of commercialism and fakery.
The  true  scientists are finally making their  appearance."  Dr.
Petit  is  a senior physicist and director of research  with  the
National Center for Scientific Research of France. An  iconoclast
and a world class expert on magnetohydrodynamcs (MHD), Dr.  Petit
has  also conducted some rather interesting UFO research  of  his
own,  publishing recently his results in the book,  INVESTIGATION
OF UFOS.

     Unlike  many other UFO groups around the world,  the  SOBEPS
has  a  team of respected scientists, including  Leon  Brenig,  a
nonlinear  dynamics theorist at the Free University in  Brussels,
and  Professor  August  Meessen, a physicist  from  the  Catholic
University at Louvain. Among the numerous UFO witnesses, in fact,
were  Lucien  Clerebaut,  Secretary General  of  SOBEPS,  Patrick
Ferryn, a film producer and founding member, and Jose  Fernandez,
another SOBEPS investigator. "Here is an opportunity where we can
apply the scientific method," remarked Professor Brenig.

   SOBEPS  files  show that the first sightings occurred  on  the
night  of  November  7,  1989, when  two  gendarmes  from  Esneux
observed a silent huge craft "with two very powerful white lights
directed  downwards and 'a sort of green and red  garland.'"  The
flap,  however, gained momentum and notoriety on the  evening  of
November 29 when 41 witnesses, including six gendarmes,  observed
the huge triangle - sometimes referred as "a stationary  platform
"  - in Eupen, Verviers, and several other locations in  Wallonia
near the border with Germany. As the press speculated with  AWACS
and Stealth aircraft on the following days, the Defense  Minister
Guy  Coeme dismissed these rumors, stating that  "all  hypotheses
involving the presence of military aircraft in our air space  are
definitely to be ruled out. "

 It is perhaps because the objects are so far unidentified,  that
the  Belgian  Air Force has undertaken the task  of  chasing  and
investigating  the  intruders. As Col. Wilfried de  Brouwer,  the
Chief of Operations of the Belgian Air Force who is  coordinating
the  UFO  investigation,  told  The  Wall  Street  Journal,  "Our
approach  is that it's our job to see what's going  on."  Indeed,
the  UFO flap climaxed on the night of March 30-31 of 1990,  when
unknown targets were tracked by two radar installations. The  one
at  Glons,  located southeast of Brussels, belongs  to  the  NATO
defense group - NATO Headquarters is in Brussels - while that  at
Semmerzake,  west  of Brussels, is in charge of  controlling  all
military and civilian traffic in the entire Belgian territory. At
that  point, the master-controller at Glons ordered the  scramble
of  two  F-16 interceptors, which also locked the  UFO  on  their
onboard radars.

  We  have  obtained,  courtesy  of  French  researcher  Jean-Luc
Rivera, a copy of the complete report of this incident, which was
prepared  by  Air Force Major P. Lambrechts, from the  Air  Force
General Staff in Brussels, and which was forwarded to the  SOBEPS
following  the instructions of full cooperation with that  group.
The  "Report Concerning the Observation of UFOs During the  Night
of  March  30  to 31, 1990," includes a full  chronology  of  the
events, as well as a thick dossier of enclosures with eyewitness'
descriptions  from  several  gendarmes  and  maps  of  where  the
sightings took place.

  Major  P.  Lambrechts  explains at  the  inception  that,  "the
observations  both visual and by radar were of such nature,  that
it  was decided to order the scramble of two F-16  aircraft  with
the  goal of identifying these UFOs." The report  also  indicates
that  "the  presence or testing of B2 or F117  (Stealth  Bomber),
RPVs  (Remotely Piloted Vehicles), ULMs (Ultra  Light  Motorized)
and AWACS at the moment of these events in the Belgian  airspace,
can be excluded. "

  According  to the Chronology, the Sequence of events  began  at
22.50  hours, when the "master controller at Glons "  received  a
telephone call from gendarme Renquin, who reported he was  seeing
from  his house in Ramillies, "three unusual lights. . .  forming
an  equilateral triangle, and with changing colors of red,  green
and  yellow." At 23.05, the Gendarmerie at Wavre sent  a  patrol,
which  confirmed the observation. At 23.15, Renquin called  again
to inform that he was seeing a new set of three lights, while the
radar screens at Glons detected " an unidentified contact  moving
at  a  speed of around 25 knots." (A knot is  equivalent  to  one
nautical mile - 6,080 feet - per hour. )

  For  the  next two and a half hours, an  increasing  number  of
gendarmes  and other witnesses continued to observe  the  strange
maneuvers  of  up  to  three sets of  triangular  lights  in  the
outskirts  of  Brussels.  By 23.49 hours, the  radar  screens  at
Semmerzake confirmed the targets and the order to scramble two F-
16s  was given at 23.56 hours, taking off at 00.05 on  March  31.
According  to the report, "the aircraft had brief radar  contacts
on  several occasions." However, each time that "the pilots  were
able  to secure a lock on one of the targets for a  few  seconds,
this  resulted each time in a drastic change in the  behavior  of
the UFOs."

  During  the first lock on at 00.13, continues the report,  "the
speed of the target changed in a minimum of time from 150 to  970
knots  and  from 9,000 to 5,000 feet, returning  then  to  11,000
feet,  in  order to change again to close to ground  level;  this
resulted  in a 'break lock' in a few seconds and the pilots  lost
the radar contact." In another lock on at 00.30 hours, the "break
lock" was achieved by what the report calls "a jamming signal  on
the screen."

  Col. de Brouwer explained to Paris Match reporter Marie-Therese
de Brosses, that the change of velocity from 280 KPM to 1,800 KPH
while descending from 3,000 meters to 1,000 meters in one second,
was  a  fantastic acceleration equivalent to 40  Gs.  This  would
exclude  any human pilot onboard the UFO, since humans  can  only
withstand  8 Gs. (A "G " is a unit of acceleration equivalent  to
the  gravitational pull of the earth, 9.81 m/sec/sec.)  When  the
UFO  approached the ground level, continued Col. de Brouwer,  "it
was out of the question for the F-16 to catch up with the  object
at  this  low altitude, where the density of the air  limits  the
speed  to  1,300 KMP. Above that speed, the  temperature  in  the
compressors of the jet turbines would cause the engines to burst.
There  was a logic behind the motions of the object,"  added  the
Colonel.

In any case, the cat and mouse game went on until shortly after 1
am,  when the F-16s were ordered to return to their base. On  the
ground, however, Captain Pinson and other gendarmes continued  to
observe "four white luminous spots forming a square" until around
1.30,  when  "the four UFOs lost their luminosity and  seemed  to
disappear  in  four  different  directions."  Significantly,  the
weather conditions on that night were very clear, allowing ground
witnesses  to  observe  the objects in detail,  as  well  as  the
pursuit  by the F-16s. The pilots, however, did not  observe  the
objects visually.

  Major  Lambrechts  finally  excludes a  number  of  alternative
hypotheses  for the UFOs, such as "optical  illusions,  confusion
with   planets  or  other  meteorological  phenomena...   weather
balloons.  .  .  or meteorological inversions.  .  .  holographic
projections,"  etc. More importantly, he writes that "the  speeds
measured  at  he moment of the change of altitudes,  exclude  the
hypothesis  that  the  UFOs  observed  could  be  confused   with
aircraft. " Still more puzzling was the fact that, "despite  that
on  several  occasions high speeds above the speed of  the  sound
barrier  were measured, the shock wave was never observed.  Here,
no  explanation can be given." The French physicist  Jean  Pierre
Petit concurred: "In reality," he told Paris Match, "there is  no
machine  made  by man, either an airplane or a missile,  that  is
capable of such performance. Specifically, flying at the speed of
sound without making a sonic boom."

  Although  the Belgian military authorities have  insisted  that
the  UFOs  in Wallonia are no secret aircraft,  the  similarities
between the triangular craft seen in Belgium with the  boomerang-
shaped objects reported throughout the last decade in the  Hudson
Valley  in  New York and Western Connecticut, as  well  as  other
triangular UFOs observed in Wytheville, Virginia, Fyffe, Alabama,
and Puerto Rico, among other places, have led some researchers to
suggest  that  the technology behind all  these  observations  is
terrestrial and not extraterrestrial.

  The similarity between the Belgian and Hudson Valley flaps  was
noted  by SOBEPS investigator Patrick Ferryn. Commenting  on  the
book  Night  Siege  by the late  Dr.  Allen  Hynek,  investigator
Phillip  Imbrogno  and reporter Bob Pratt, which  documented  the
Hudson  Valley  cases,  Ferryn wrote that "changing  only  a  few
words,  exactly the same could be written to give an  account  of
the position of affairs here! [in Belgium] The same goes for many
entire pages and excerpts elsewhere in the book."

  While  nobody doubts that people have been seeing something  in
both  upstate New York and Wallonia in Belgium, the big  question
is  whether  these sightings are caused by true UFOs or  by  some
kind  of  new revolutionary secret  military  aircraft.  Foremost
among  the  proponents  of  the  secret  weapon  theory  is  Tony
Gonsalves,  a researcher from East Providence, Rhode Island,  who
served  as a jet mechanic and plane captain for the U.S. Navy  on
three aircraft carriers between 1959 and 1963.

  In  a  number  of papers written during  the  last  two  years,
Gonsalves  has developed his theory of "The American made UFO"  -
that the boomerangs of Westchester and Duchess counties, as  well
as the triangular UFOs of Belgium, Virginia and Puerto Rico,  are
actually  a  modified covert version of the B-2  Stealth  Bomber.
Gonsalves  believes this craft has been fully  operational  since
the early 80s, while the official B-2 bomber that was unveiled in
1988  is a "decoy" to deceive the American public, the media  and
the  Congress.  Furthermore,  Tony  Gonsalves  and  a  few  other
ufologists   speculate  that  this  secret  aircraft   may   even
incorporate  some  alien  technology obtained  from  UFO  crashes
decades ago.

  Gonsalves' theory seemed to gain some credibility when Aviation
Week & Space Technology magazine reported in its October 1,  1990
edition that, "large, triangular wing-Shaped aircraft" are indeed
being tested out of the Nellis Air Force range in Nevada and  the
Tehachapi  Mountains  near Edwards AFB in  California.  The  well
known aerospace magazine mentioned several sightings by engineers
of "triangular-shaped aircraft, " possibly prototypes for the  A-
12,  the  Navy's  new Stealth attack plane, and  one  or  several
versions for reconnaissance aircraft cloaked under the top secret
code  of  Aurora, to replace the old Lockheed  SR-71  "Blackbird"
which was recently mothballed. Aviation Week (sometimes  referred
by the nickname of "Aviation Leak") also quoted Air Force sources
who "acknowledged that diamond and triangular-shaped vehicles are
'the  trend  now,'" as well as unconfirmed reports that  some  of
these aircraft "were designed to operate at speeds around Mach 10
or higher."

  Because  he  worked  for  over 30 years  as  senior  editor  of
Aviation Week, where he is still a contributing editor, we sought
the  opinion  of  well known UFO debunker  Phillip  Klass  as  to
whether there could be any validity to explain the Hudson  Valley
and  Belgian  flaps  with Secret military  aircraft,  Stealth  or
otherwise.  "In  my  opinion  the  answer  is  absolutely   not,"
responded  Klass,  adding  that  only  those  sightings  "in  the
vicinity  of Nellis Air Force Base" in Nevada could be caused  by
military  aircraft  tests. "If there were a  secret  airplane,  "
continued Klass, "for goodness' sake, the last place in the world
you'd want to fly it is in Duchess County, where people have been
alerted to look for objects."

  Although  they  certainly disagree on the final  cause  of  the
sightings,  Klass  and  Phillip  Imbrogno  seem  to  be  in  full
agreement  in their rejection of Tony Gonsalves' Stealth  theory.
"l  can't  see the government testing a top secret device  in  an
area like this, " said Imbrogno. "Number one, what if they have a
problem,  what  if they crash?" Imbrogno said he  had  considered
this  possibility  when  he  first  looked  into  the   boomerang
sightings,  but  that "I am convinced right now that  the  Hudson
Valley UFO is not an aircraft, Stealth or otherwise. Number  two,
I  am  not totally convinced that it's  from  outerspace.  Number
three, I don't know what the hell it is."

   Meanwhile, sightings continue to pile up in Europe. The latest
case  before we go to press was reported in early November,  when
"mystery shapes in the sky, variously described as orange  balls,
triangles and points of light," were reported in France, Belgium,
Germany,  Switzerland and Italy, according to a  newswire  report
from  the Reuter's news agency. Police phone lines  were  flooded
across  the  continent  with  calls  about  unidentified   flying
objects.  Experts in Munich speculated the sightings  could  have
been  triggered  by the explosion of a meteorite.  However,  this
explanation  could  hardly  satisfy  the  familiar  sightings  in
Belgium,  where  "dozens of people reported a  triangular  object
with   three  lights  flying  slowly  and  soundlessly   to   the
southwest," according to the Reuter report.

  The Belgian Air Force was studying once again the case, and  so
was France's Service for the Investigation of Re-entry  Phenomena
(SEPRA), which is attached to the French National Space Agency in
Toulouse  and was formerly known as GEPAN. One Air  France  pilot
told  a  radio  interviewer: "We were on a  flight  to  Barcelona
(Spain) at about 33,000 feet at about 7 pm when we first saw  the
shape. It couldn't have been a satellite because it was there for
three or four minutes."

  If the sightings in Belgium and elsewhere turn out to be secret
aircraft,  the mystery will become pubic sooner or later, but  if
they are indeed caused by true UFOs, then we may be debating them
for  a long time to come. Perhaps a summary of the whole  Belgian
flap  and  its  meaning was best expressed  by  SOBEPS  Scientist
August  Meessen, Professor of Physics at the Catholic  University
at  Louvain. He told the French magazine Paris Match: "There  are
too  many independent eyewitness reports to ignore. Too  many  of
the  reports describe coherent physical effects, and there is  an
agreement among the accounts concerning what was observed. If all
of these witnesses are lying, then it is a mental disease of such
novelty and proportions that it must be studied."

  "But  of  course,"  continued Prof. Meessen,  "there  are  also
physical effects. The Air Force report allows us to approach  the
problem in a rational and scientific way. The simplest hypothesis
is that the reports are caused by extraterrestrial visitors,  but
that  hypothesis carries with it other problems. We are not in  a
rush  to form a conclusion, but continue to study  the  mystery."
The last word about the UFO flap that has brought down "The Wall"
of UFO Silence has yet to be uttered.


     ABOUT THE AUTHOR Chilean-American journalist Antonio Huneeus
was  born in New York in 1950, the son of a Chilean diplomat  and
United  States  official. After studying French at  the  Sarbonne
University  in Paris in 1970 and journalism at the University  of
Chile,  he  worked  as science editor for a  weekly  magazine  in
Santiago  and  was  a contributor for  a  number  of  newspapers.
Huneeus'  UFO investigation began in 1977 with the bizarre  "time
warp"  incident  of Chilean Army Corporal Armando  Valdes.  Since
then,  he  has written hundreds of articles on UFOs  and  related
subjects for such publications as Omni, UFO Report, and the MUFON
JOURNAL  in the U.S., as well as for magazines  throughout  South
America  and Europe. Last year he won the UFOlogists of the  Year
Award  given by the National UFO Conference. The photographs  and
art  that  accompany  this  article are  part  of  Antonio's  UFO
CHRONICLE  lecture and slide presentation. Readers may reach  the
author directly at Box 1989, New York, NY 10159.

















  



Email Comments to UFO Folklore !