Friday, December 1, 2017

2017 UK UAP files release - the Italian Ministry of Defence

Introduction

On page 152 of the recently released United Kingdom UAP file, DEFE 24/3129/1, titled 'Admin + general UFOs,' I found an interesting letter. it is dated 7th June 1982 and is on the letterhead of the Italian Embassy, London.

The letter is written by the Assistant Air Attaché, of the Office of the Defence and Air Attaché, their file reference DAM/AL/1/1 h 19/40.6, and is addressed to the MOD London [actual addressee redacted.] It reads:

'MOD/Italy has recently updated the Department responsible for the research and compilation of data (data analysis, aerial photographs and general safety measures) relating to UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects.)

Following a successful and fruitful meeting last year, by two Italian officers, with the French authorities, it would be of immense assistance if such a meeting could be arranged with the British counterparts, military and/or civilian to discuss salient organizational points in the UFO sector.

[Redacted] the officers concerned, would be able to attend a meeting, of approximately five day's duration, in the period 1-15 October 1982.

I take this opportunity of thanking you for your assistance in this matter and look forward to receiving a favourable reply for onward transmission to my authorities in Rome.'

Page 151 of the file is a 'Loose Minute' reference D/DS8/75/2 to DI55 Ops (GE) 2 (RAF) with a hand written notation 'Ops GE2b. Speak.' The minute was copied to FLS (Air.), and was dated 10 Jun 1982.

'UFOs - ITALIAN REQUEST

1. Attached is a letter recently recently received from the Italian Embassy. It is largely/explanatory, though it make one wonder what our allies are up to.

2. Obviously a 5-day visit would be vastly excessive - one day should be enough (unless you intend to reveal any dark secrets which you have kept hidden from DS8). This obviously raises the question of whether the visit would be worthwhile but that is for the Italians to judge.

3. Please let me know whether there are any reasons why we should not meet our Italian 'counterparts' and whether you wish to be involved in the discussion.

4. Incidentally, I have assumed that the Italians propose to come here. We could, however, offer to go there (Rome in early October would not be too unpleasant.) If fact if we are keen to keep pace with developments in this clearly fast moving field we really ought to arrange to visit our colleagues in Paris - and indeed the other NATO capitals. An international conference or symposium would also be useful - Venice perhaps would be a suitable location.' [Redacted signature.]

In handwriting, someone had added 'Why not indeed?' with an arrow pointing to the sentence about Venice. Plus 'Ask for help from F U! (Heaven.) [No doubt the Italians are looking to come here for the same reason!]

The file is silent on whether the visit actually occurred, and if so what outcomes were achieved.

Official Italian government UAP research


Front page of the Italian Air Force UAP reporting form

Intrigued by this reference to official Italian government UAP research, I conducted a brief literature search. I found:

1. In 1963, the English 'Flying Saucer Review' (FSR), volume 9 numbers 1-4, carried a series of articles, translation by Gordon Creighton, titled 'The Italian Scene - parts 1-4.' Whilst describing a number of Italian cases, the articles did not mention the position of the Italian government. 

2. In 1964, Jacques Vallee, ( Forbidden Science Journals 1957-1969. North Atlantic Books, Berkerley, California, pp 120-121) recorded a diary entry which read:

Image courtesy of Amazon Books
'I have received a very interesting letter from an Italian military officer I will call Luciano:

"I am a Captain in the Italian Air Force and am employed at the Ministry of Aeronautics in Rome...My interest in the UFO problem began many years ago when I had occasion to speak for the first time with direct witnesses whose sincerity I had no doubt. Previous to that I was very skeptical on the matter."

He described his sources of documentation, his research, and his files of over 6,000 index cards containing the details of sightings since 1947, about 800 of them from Italy itself. He went on:

"When I saw Aimé Michel in Paris last November I was sincerely surprised that he did not know that after the French "flap" of September-October 1954 a corresponding flap took place in Italy. It was of the same magnitude, with a lot of landings, and, much falling of angel hair."

I am answering him right away. Aimé Michel assures me that Luciano is in close touch with military intelligence in his country.'

Further entries in Vallee's diary, mention 'Lucinao.' One dated 10 January 1965 has Luciano advising that 'I have been appointed a UFO consultant to the Italian Air Force. In some cases I participated in the investigations carried out by our authorities. Naturally I have been given full access to the Air Force files.' Another, dated 13 April 1965 conveys details from Luciano of a near landing dated 20 August 1963, which was investigated by himself and a secret service team as it involved a chauffeur to the Italian President. Vallee states that the report was sent to Washington, DC, USA.

3. In Jaques Vallee's 1965 book, 'Anatomy of a Phenomena' on page 136 we read:

Image from my personal collection
'The Italian Air Force once issued a vague statement concerning its files, which contained, in their own words, only very limited information on objects seen flying on the eastern coast of their country in 1954.' Vallee's source for this was 'Statement by the Italian Air Ministry. Le Monde and La Croix. October 26, 1954. Le Figaro October 25, 1954.

4. 1977. An article appeared in the FSR Volume 24 number 1 (1978) pp 26-27, written by Gordon Creighton and titled 'A problem for the Italian Minister of Defence?' It was based on an article which appeared in the Milan illustrated journal, Gente of 19 November 1977, submitted to FSR by Dr Roberto Pinotti, vice president of the group C.U.N. 

Two helicopter crews saw a luminous orange 'circle' at apparent close range at 1735hrs on 27 Oct 1977 at Cagliari Elmas, a military base. There were also multiple ground observers. There was a similar sighting on 2 Nov 1977 at the same base, but this event was not known about until an 'official leak.' Details of the first event were confirmed by the base commandant, Colonel Mario D'Angelo. It was reported in the media that a report had been sent to the Italian Minister of Defence.

5. 1979. FSR Volume 24, number 6, pp 14-15 & 18 has an article by Roberto Pinotti, titled 'The Italian Ministry of Defence and UFOs.' Extracts read:



'Finally on January 5, 1978, the Italian Defence Department put out an ad hoc press release in an attempt "...to answer the citizens who have been writing to the press." The release stated that the 27 Oct 1977 incident, was caused by an aircraft.

The C.U.N. group wrote a letter to the Ministry of Defence. On 31 Mar 1978 C.U.N. received a file containing details of six unclassified UFO sightings by Italian military personnel in 1977.

On 27 May 1978, the Air Force issued a statement about  a 9 Mar 1978 UAP sighting, but without assigning any cause.

Pinotti noted that the six released cases were on a previously unrevealed standard Italian Air Ministry UFO report form.

6. 1988. FSR Volume  33 number 1, pp 1-3 has an article 'An Italian pilot's sighting : and another Italian government cover up?' by Antonio Chiumiento. This concerns the visual observation by an Italian pilot of an object near Rovigo on 18 Jun 1979. The pilot took a series of 80 photographs of an 8m by 3m black cigar shaped object. It was also intermittently observed by radar, and seen by multiple ground observers. Chiumiento's group interviewed the pilot and obtained a copy of one of the series of photos. However, it wasn't until 1984 that the group was able to release details,

FSR v. 33 n. 1
On 2 Nov 1983 the Italian Ministry of Defence stated that the object seen and photographed was actually a balloon composed of black plastic bags. The MOD released three photographs of the object. However, these three pictures showed something different to the one sighted by Chiumiento's group.

Finally, when the 'Summary of UFO sightings March 1979 to April 1985' was released by the General Staff of the Italian Air Force, it was noted that the 18 Jun 1979 incident was listed there as 'Unidentified.'

7. 1996. In his work 'Beyond Top Secret' English researcher and author Timothy Good provided details of just who, in the Italian government, investigated UAP. In part Good's piece read:

'In Italy, sightings of UFOs (oggetti volanti non identificati - OVNI) are dealt with officially by the Ministry of Defence, specifically the Air Force General Staff (2nd department,) which is entrusted by the Defence General Staff with the task of collecting, within the scope of defence, all data concerning such reports, with the collaboration of the Army, Navy and Carabinieri General staffs. The Air Force General Staff shares its interest in the phenomenon with the Inspectorate of the Board of Telecommunications and Flight Assistance (Telecommunicazione ed Assitenza al Volo) and with all regional operating centres, and periodically sends an updated summary of sightings to the Ministry of Defence.

In its statistical summary of sightings from 1979 to 1990, the Air Force General Staff noted that 111 reports were received, with a peak of thirty-two in 1980. A slight majority of sightings occurred in the central region of Italy, particularly along the coasts of the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian seas (a statistic disputed by Italy's foremost research group...According to the Air Force summary the most reliable reports include the following...'

8. 1999. In "The Proceedings of the Sign Historical Group UFO History Workshop'  appears (pages 115-117) a 'Summary of official UFO research in Italy' written by Edoardo Russo. I have extracted the following dot points of information:

* The first statement released by the Italian Air Force was in 1950

* Details of Vallee's Italian Air Force contact - 'Luciano'

* Mid 1960's - it was found that the Italian Air Force was using the same format report form as the USAF

* Late 1960's - the Carabinieri were collecting some UFO data

* Early 1970's - Ufologist Renzo Cabassi exchanged data with an Air Force intelligence officer

* 1977 - Carabinieri units were ordered to all collect UFO data

* 1978 - UFO groups were given a file of six unclassified military reports from 1978

* 1978 - the MOD ordered centralisation of all their UFO data

* UFO evaluation commission formed

* 1980 - MOD asked the National Research Council if a scientific study of UFOs was feasible. The response was negative

* 1986 - The Air Force released catalogue of 256 cases from between 1979-1985

* 1995 - Ufologists Fiorino and Cabassi meet Air Staff and exchanged data.


1978 - six AF reports send to three UFO groups
1986 - summary of 70 Air Force reports released to two groups
1988-2001 - yearly Air Force UFO summaries released to two UFO groups
1993 - Air Force statistical study of 111 UFO reports published
1996-2001 - full Air Force files released to CISU - 372 reports ~ 3000 pages
2001-to date - UFO sightings summaries online.

10. 2014. 

Two Italian investigative journalists, Lao Petrilli and Vincenzo Sinapi, wrote a book titled 'UFO, I Dossier Italiani!' In writing the book, the authors consulted the Italian Air Force's official UAP files. The authors intent was to provide Italian citizens with all the available details about UAP sightings in that country, without adding their personal views on the subject.



As at 2014, the specific area of the Italian Air Force which held the responsibility for collection and examination of Italian UAP reports,m was the 'General Security Department.' The Air Force's investigations was solely focused on whether or not the UAP was a national security threat to the country. For a detailed interview with one of the authors, click here.

Acknowledgement

I wish to thank Italian researcher Edoardo Russo, for providing me with links to some of the information I have used in this article.

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