Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Argentina: The Argentinean X-Files - An Interview with Ruben Lianza

Source: Planeta UFO and
Date: 08.16.2017
Article by Enrique Garabeytan

Argentina: The Argentinean X-Files - An Interview with Ruben Lianza

A debate arose 70 years ago that is still ongoing: In 1947, the sighting of a "fleet of flying saucers" and the "Roswell incident" in the New Mexico desert became the kickoff points for the UFO (unidentified flying object) phenomenon. There are two factions today: one claims that extraterrestrials are flying over the Earth and another, which would sooner engage in a detailed analysis, avoiding extremist positions, of every claim, photograph and video on the subject before passing judgment.

This task has been carried out since 2011 by the Comisión de Estudio de Fenómenos Aeroespaciales (CEFAE), a branch of the Argentinean Air Force. Its current director is Ruben Lianza, an experienced air force test pilot, now retired, who was the commandant of the Marambio Base, as well as being an amateur astronomer and a student of the UFO field for over forty years.

"During 2016 we investigated - and explained - forty reports submitted to us from nearly all of [Argentina's] provinces," Lianza told PERFIL from his office in the Condor Building. "Last year we were able to satisfactorily explain all the reported incidents following an analysis of images using specialized software, an evaluation of eyewitness reports, a search for background data and the application of astronomy, meteorology and optical techniques." All of this is done without any specific budget allocation to his office, "as the air force has other greater and more pressing operational needs."

Reports usually reach CEFAE through a contact form found at "Most of them are eyewitness reports and taken with digital cameras and some videos. All of them show various objects in flight, some of them saucer-shaped. The photographer says that no plane, helicopter or bird was visible when the photo was taken. They are sometimes nocturnal shots in which one or several lights are seen in the sky."

Lianza is in charge of carrying out the detective-like work for identifying each flying object, based on various techniques and following a systematic methodology. "Biological causes are common, ranging from birds to bugs flying in front of the camera. This is studied with programs that enable a pixel-by-pixel analysis of the photo, including tools that can remove the blurry outline to reveal the solid image."

Optical phenomena or camera defects are another common explanation, Lianza explains. These range from lens scratches to a drop of moisture that creates a particular spectral dispersion. "In other cases, for example, when lights are seen in a given point in the sky, we search databases and use simulation programs to see if the cause could be attributed to the sun reflecting over a satellite in orbit above the specific geographical point. Or the Moon, seen by day, but an angle and location the photographer was not expecting.

According to Lianza, other causes are meteorological, such as certain clouds, which can be attested by analyzing satellite photographs against the place where the photo was taken, and reports of the National Weather Service (Servicio Meteorologico Nacional) breaking down the weather conditions. Finally, an aeronautical explanation can be found for other UFOs, ranging from military planes, drones or even high-altitude balloons such as Google's, which provide Internet access in isolated locations. After the proper scientific explanation is found, the UFO becomes an IFO - Identified Flying Object.

"So what happens if the UFOs cannot be explained?"
"Should this happen, it's still not proof of alien involvement. These files remain open for the following year while we look for new data and sources sometimes provided by colleagues in other countries such as France, Chile, Uruguay or Peru, with whom information is exchanged. Or we practice new techniques so that the report can reach the level of scientific expertise required by international standards."
"Do you personally believe extraterrestrial life exists?"
"There's already an accepted scientific discipline called astrobiology. It is focused on two things - on the one hand, it studies things like extremophile bacteria able to live on other planets. But other experts are engaged in analyzing the likelihood of other advanced civilizations that could perhaps be broadcasting electromagnetic signals. It is for this reason that there have been several SETI projects worldwide for years. CEFAE has a list of external advisors that includes scientists of all types, but none related to the paranormal. In fact, we added an Argentinean astrobiologist, but not to perform autopsies on alleged aliens, only to escort us in our educational endeavors.

One of the few times the USAF researched and published reports on UFOS was to clarify Roswell. According to Lianza, who compiled considerable information on the subject, this is a myth arising from an unfortunate mixture of events and secret military projects of the Cold War era and the space race. "On the one hand, the remains of a string of stratospheric balloons employed to determine whether it was feasible to detect Soviet nuclear explosions was indeed recovered. In 1956, launches involving human mannequins were carried out to determine free-fall speeds in designing parachutes for astronauts involved in flight tests in the space race against the USSR. Thirty years later, two UFO experts recycled both stories, embellished them and popularized them." Today, thanks to these stories, Roswell became a tourist destination.

[Translation (c) 2017 S. Corrales IHU with thanks to Guillermo Giménez, Planeta UFO]