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“Over decades the military have been reporting UFO activity within the Brazilian territory. However, due to the lack of a reasonable explanation, these reports are left aside awaiting for the time when their nature and the identity of their crew can be understood”, says former Brazilian minister of Aeronautics brigadier Socrates Monteiro.
The latest military to join the UFO disclosure enthusiasm in Brazil states that the country’s ufologists are on the right path by searching for the official acknowledgement of UFO existence and their activities in Brazilian skies. Furthermore, Lieutenant Brigadier Socrates da Costa Monteiro admits his wish to know our visitors’ technology by saying: “If, at my term as the Minister of Aeronautics, I were asked to disclose our secret files, I’d have that done”. Such stance only adds to the list of officials who no longer agree with the secrecy involving the alien presence on Earth.
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From 1990 to 1992, during the Collor administration, Monteiro served as a minister. He also occupied different high positions in the Brazilian armed forces. Even after years of retirement from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), he maintains his links with acting officials in numerous ranks in the military. As a commander of the Brasilia-based I Centro Integrado de Defesa Aérea e Controle de Tráfego Aéreo (Cindacta I) our interviewee was in charge of the recording of UFO information for the whole country, especially for the Central and South-Eastern parts of Brazil. Monteiro reveals that UFO sightings and radar detections were already common much before he took office. He further says that all cases were thoroughly registered by the Aeronautics and some were even investigated.
Having served as a pilot for the Brazilian Postal Service and a commander of important divisions such as the VII Comando Aéreo Regional (Comar VII), Monteiro keeps a vivid memory of his times in the military and talks for the first time about his interest in Ufology. He further explains how the country dealt with the issue during his times as an officer on duty. Just like any other minister before him, Monteiro also had access to serious information on the presence of other cosmic species in his country. In this interview, he even shares some of those cases with the readers. Despite his more than 5,000 hours flying several types of aircraft, his experiences were never onboard, but on the ground with his wife, in Rio de Janeiro.
Brigadier Monteiro was also a commander at the Sao Paulo-based IV Comando Aério Regional (Comar 4), a body in control of South-Eastern air space in Brazil. Therefore, he was in charge of the area affected by the so-called Brazilian Official UFO Night, on 19 May 1986. This incident is one of the pillars to our campaign UFOs: Liberdade de Informação Já. As well known, in that occasion Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Goias were swarmed by some 20 luminous flying circles with estimated 100 meter in diameter each. Those lights were chased by Brazilian F5E and Mirage jets which took off from Santa Cruz (RJ) and Anapolis (GO) airfields. “I was reported that those objects reached 4.000 km/h, but such speed is too high for our radars and cause them to loose accuracy”, he states.
In this exclusive interview to Revista UFO Monteiro reveals a striking occurrence within Cindacta facilities at the city of Gama (DF) when he realized the crew of that object were in possession of highly advanced technology. Even without authorization and not knowing how to act, his men at the base decided to open fire against an intruder. By knowing of the incident, the brigadier ordered for an immediate cease-fire, “They have a much more advanced technology. We don’t know how they would react to our actions”. Throughout the interview, Monteiro referred to our visitors as a more advanced species, but that didn’t seem to be a comfortable assertion from him. At the beginning of the talk, he called the phenomenon as “magnetic abnormalities”, “since we lack a more appropriate term”. As the interview went on, the brigadier felt more comfortable and, laughing of his previous interpretation, acknowledged he was always aware of the extraterrestrial nature of the UFOs.
As a friend of other military involved with UFO incidents, such as former Embraer’s chairman Ozires Silva and former minister of Aeronautics Octavio Moreira Lima, Monteiro confesses his immense curiosity about flying saucers. “I wish I could enter that ‘thing’ at once and see how it is”. He is also said to have made controversial comments on the Brazilian Official UFO Night, an occurrence now brought to light with the disclosure of important official documents by Brazilian government [See UFO 160]. The Brigadier is quoted as having stated that, “the Aeronautics have been recording these events for so many years” and that UFOs “went from 250 to 1.500 km/h in less then a second”. Monteiro may also have admitted that, “FAB recorded the whole incident in magnetic tapes”. All these facts are now further elaborated by him.
The interviewee is open to the idea of other forms of intelligent lives, but is also cautious when talking about that. After much insistence from his interviewers, Monteiro admits that not only him, but also other high ranking officers, are quite aware that we are being visited by more advanced cosmic species. “We know that they do not represent any threat. I am convinced that their approach is aimed to know us”. Such words become even more meaningful when uttered by the man responsible for the implementation of the Amazon Surveillance System (SIVAM) and the privatization of Embraer.
This remarkable interview published by Revista UFO shows readers that Lieutenant-Brigadier Socrates da Costa Monteiro is another important figure in the Brazilian military to acknowledge the seriousness of ufologists’ mission in researching alien activity on Earth. He also expresses his support to the campaign UFOs: Liberdade de Informação Já, an initiative conducted by the Brazilian Committee of Ufologists (CBU). Following colleagues who previously spoke through this magazine, Monteiro states that official institutions should support ufologists in their task to determine the nature of the UFO phenomenon.
Brigadier, I should start by thanking you for being so kind in receiving us. My first question is: Have you ever experienced any ufological event, be it in your military career, as a minister, or in your private life?
Well, it depends on what you call a “ufological event”. But I can say I’ve seen things that caught my attention. Even my wife was present at one of those occasions. It occurred at that night in which many objects were seen flying over Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Sao Jose dos Campos [The Brazilian Official UFO Night]. She was watching the Copacabana beach from the balcony of our flat in Rio and spotted a bizarre light in the sky. She was surprised, looked to me and said: “It’s a flying saucer”. When I saw the scene, especially my wife’s reaction, I joked: “I don’t know what that is, but if you tell someone I’ll punish you. You didn’t see anything, you don’t know anything. If you don’t keep quiet, you’ll get into trouble. I won’t say anything either”. Then I took my powerful Navy binoculars to better see that light.
What did you think that was? As an Air Force expert you must have rejected any known explanation...
Actually, I can’t say what that was. Ozires Silva had a similar experience that same night. You know his story, right? He was travelling from Brasilia to Sao Jose dos Campos and saw an unidentified light following his aircraft, an Embraer’s Xingu. Ozires was interviewed by a TV channel the next day and declared, “That’s true. The light stood beside me following me for a long time changing from one side of the aircraft to another”. When I heard that I told him: “Now you’re in trouble. You won’t be able to hide it from anyone anymore”. He only laughed. Ozires was a colleague of mine at the military school and is a very close friend. When my wife heard his account, she said to him, “That’s it, Ozires. Socrates and I saw that too”. In another interview he even mentioned that experience I had with my wife. In the end, the case became well known. However, it would be difficult for me to give a personal account on the issue, since I have never seen anything really clear or something I could affirm was not of human nature. There was never anything I could address by saying: “You are not a human being. You are an extraterrestrial”. Therefore, I’ve never seen anything like that, but I’ve seen things in the sky which I call “electronic anomalies”.
And what would be “electronic anomalies”, Brigadier?
Those should be phenomena seen in the sky for which we do not have a reasonable explanation. Let me explain it better, when I was a commander to the Centro Integrado de Defesa Aérea e Controle de Tráfego Aéreo (Cindacta), in Brasilia, there were many cases. As you know, Cindacta has a very sophisticated operational system. At the time of its implementation Latin America had only two similar ones – one was in Mexico City subway, the other one was in Sao Paulo subway. Cindacta used to integrate all of Brazilian territory in real time by means of a powerful computer system. We recorded everything spotted by our radars and all was kept for 30 days. After that we used to clear the tapes in order to reuse it for new recordings. Sometimes we had signals on the screen, objects that stopped and moved. We didn’t know what they were. So we only took notes of all that and, by lacking a better definition, we only called those artefacts as “electronic anomalies” [At that time the term “hotel traffic” was not in use]. We did so because they were electronic signals which we didn’t know how to interpret.
Besides this phenomenon, have you ever received any reports from locals about UFO sightings?
Yes, yes. Sometimes people came to me telling of things they had seen, both military and civilians. One case was special, since it seriously involved our facilities. Cindacta had radar and telecommunication facilities based in Gama, a Brasilia neighbor city. The commander in that base was Captain Joao Bernardo Vieira. I had just taken office at Cindacta’s command two months before. So, one night around 22h00, Vieira called me to report that radars in Gama had been spotting strange objects. “Commander, it’s full of flying saucers around here”, he said. Then I told him: “Don’t be a fool, man. What’s really going on there?” He insisted: “I’m no fool, they are really here, commander. They are throwing stones at us”. Vieira even said some soldiers had shot at the object so I ordered them to stop immediately. “Don’t shoot anything. Get your people inside the barracks, I don’t want anyone close to that thing”. The objects had glowing lights that changed in color and moved slowly around them.
This is impressive, but how could the aircraft throw stones at the soldiers? Do you have any explanation for that?
That I don’t know, I only heard Vieira reporting: “They are throwing stones at us”. I think that a propulsion object may have raised stones from the ground then soldiers around it might have thought they were being assaulted. Or it may be that pilots in that “thing” propelled a strong blast in order to raise stones and scare the soldiers in order to prevent them from a stronger response. They have a much more advanced technology and we don’t know how they would react to our response. Vieira told me around 25 soldiers were present, so I ordered them to get inside the base and receive a piece of paper in order to describe exactly what they had seen. “They are forbidden from talking to one another and you take measures to enforce that”, I told him. I wanted the soldiers to make their description of the events and Vieira to bring me their papers at Cindacta at 08h00 the next day. That’s what he did.
Did the shots hit the flying saucers?
What was the outcome of your investigation? Was it possible to determine what object was that over Cindacta radars in Gama?
Well, our soldiers are very primitive. As you know, soldiers are not very educated persons and have difficulties in precisely describing what they see. But it was possible to tell from their descriptions and drawings that they had witnessed something weird. It was something with changing colors that approached them very closely. One of them asked permission to open fire and that’s how the shooting began.
All told the same story and I wrote that all down in a report which I sent to the Aeronautics Armed Forces (EMAER). I never expressed my opinion or made any guesses. The envelope I sent to EMAER contained all information I had and it was kept somewhere.
What does Captain Vieira says about it?
I lost contact with him. But recently, in a medical appointment I met a familiar face who asked me if I still remembered. Before I could answer, the person smiled and said, “I am Vieira, Captain from Cindacta in Gama”. Of course I remembered, although many people had served under my command. “Vieira of the flying saucer?”, I said. “That’s me”, he replied. The funny thing is that it happened this week, only a few days before this interview. That was such a coincidence because I haven’t seen him for the last 20 years or so. I even told him about our interview and asked if he would also talk and he agreed, “Tell them to call me” [His interview will be done in a few weeks].
Do you have any other case to tell?
Yes. There is another story from a doctor in Sao Paulo. I had to undergo a medical procedure called cinecoronoriography which is basically the ingestion of contrasts in order to visualize whether arteries are open or blocked. I didn’t want to do that in Rio, so I went to Sao Paulo to be examined at Hospital Sirio Libanes whose directors I know. I had helped them with problems regarding the clearance of equipment withheld by Infraero. They imported machines for medical examination, but didn’t have the money to collect them at the customs. So we entered an agreement: I would authorize the clearance provided that they offer free treatment to a number of poor people. And so we did. They performed well their part in the deal.
Then how about the story you have to tell us?
The day following my exams many doctors came to my room to thank me for that agreement and so we talked. When most of them had left, one stood in the room and started a chat about UFOs. I don’t remember his name, but he was very straight to the point, “Brigadier, can I ask you a question?” I said yes and he went on to say, “Do you believe in UFOs?” I was surprised and said, “Ah, doctor, that’s a very common question. I don’t know whether they exist or not, people believe what they want to believe”. So he told me he was from a countryside town in the state of Sao Paulo and had witnessed something there by 02h00 from the balcony of his hotel room, “It was a huge thing simply descending at the city’s square”. I asked what huge thing was that and he replied straight away, “It was a flying saucer!” Then he looked for my advice on what to do and asked if he could tell his story. I told him yes, he could do as he pleased, but I didn’t want to make any comments. He described the object and said to be close to it, no more than 30 meters away. I was impressed by his assertiveness and his will to state that what he saw was a flying saucer. I have never met him again and do not even know if he is still at the Hospital.
Have you heard of any cases regarding UFOs escorting airplanes?
Yes, sometimes Cindacta radars spot strange things. For example, pilots flying Brasilia-Sao Paulo route used to report sightings of lights following their aircraft. We used to make them the usual questions such as the duration of the event, the altitude of the objects, things like that. Our questions over the radio aimed to get more details on what they were claiming to have seen. Then we reported everything back to the Aeronautics without expressing an opinion, which was the recommended procedure.
The procedure of reporting to EMAER was an established guideline or was it done at your own will?
Well, actually we did like that because we didn’t know what else to do. And we didn’t express any opinion because we also didn’t know what to say. If I told them I’d seen a flying saucer, they [EMBAER officers] would ask me to describe it and I couldn’t describe anything, since they were all dots on the radar screen. So I only used to say, “Look, there’s a light here spotted by the radar. I’ll call it an ‘electronic anomaly’”. That was always the name I used to give to those phenomena, as I didn’t have a better definition to give.
Are there any cases involving pilots and UFOs that you could tell us?
Some colleagues had told me about lights which changed colors and followed their aircraft. The lights seemed to come and go suddenly and at incredible speed. I heard many of these stories and researched about some as I’m a curious person. For example, I learned from the USAF’s Blue Book project that many pilots were followed by anomalies. Some of them even lost their lives, such as the case with Thomas Mantell, in January 1948. He disappeared after intercepting an undetected UFO. His aircraft was found in wrecks a few kilometers beyond the point in which he lost radar contact. Some people don’t believe it, some others do. Some people believe these are merely meteorological phenomena. As for myself, I believe that anything is possible.
Brigadier, as you know, the Brazilian Committee of Ufologists (CBU) launched a campaign five years ago aiming to have an official disclosure of government archives. The campaign UFOs: Liberdade de Informação has already achieved good results. On 20 May 2005, we were even invited by the Air Force commander, Luiz Carlos da Silva Bueno, to go to Brasilia and visit Cindacta and Comdabra facilities.
Yes, I know. You were received by Brigadier Atheneu Azambuja and were allowed to see some documents in a room.
Yes, but the authorization was only to see those documents. We were not allowed to copy any of them. That is why the campaign still goes on. After a successful beginning we want to move further. In 2008, the government finally started to release some files. Those were classified documents and we would like to show them to you.
I am aware that some papers are being disclosed.
Right, and among them there are files concerning Operação Prato, an operation carried out in the Amazon, in 1977, under Colonel Uyrange Hollanda.
At the time he was a Captain, then was promoted to the rank of Colonel. Among the documents, there are some from the defunct National Information Service (SNI), which we did not even know about.
As I can see, you’ve probably had access do documents from EMAER, who starts to disclose their archives. As a Cindacta commander, I sent alone 25 UFO sighting statements which must remain there till this day.
Were you ever aware of the involvement of the SNI in cases such as Operação Prato or any other UFO sightings in Brazil?
No. I knew only about EMAER.
How about Operação Prato? What do you know about it?
Not much. I only know it occurred in the Amazon, in 1977, and was under Brigadier Protasio [Lopes de Oliveira]. As you know, I was a commander to the VII Comando Aéreo Regional (COMAR VII), in Manaus, and that all happened at the I Comando Aéreo Regional (COMAR I), which is in Belem.
Exactly. Operação Prato was prepared at COMAR I and carried out at the island of Colares, 80km from Belem. Documents disclosed show routes, formats, and sizes of UFOs.
All these [pointing to papers shown to him] are official government documents? Did you have access to all that?
Yes, we did. These are copies from the originals and tell of all that happened at that time. Similarly interesting are the documents recently declassified which account for the occurrence of 19 May 1986, which had Ozires Silva as a main figure involved, the so-called Official UFO Nights in Brazil.
That’s interesting. I can see here among the documents regarding that night there’s an incident report signed by Brigadier Jose Pessoa Cavalcanti de Albuquerque.
Yes. In that report he describes how the objects zigzagged, stopped, reached incredible speed, and so on. It also states that the objects both chased and were chased by Brazilian jets [See UFO 160].
I see. Decisions at the time were made by the Comando de Defesa Aérea (CODA), a body responsible for the monitoring of any non-identified objects which could pose a threat to the country. CODA was the body in charge of the taking-off of Mirages and F-5Es and the interception of intruders. There (CODA) is where the search for anything unusual starts.
Now we know that thanks to this document disclosed by the government. However, there are still some topics missing in order to illustrate that night. For example, you were the commander of the IV Comando Aéreo Regional (COMAR IV), in Sao Paulo, which was the body directly in charge of the occurrence. Did you follow the development of the incident?
No, I did not. That was the same night my wife witnessed those objects in Rio and I was with her when Mirages and F-5Es were launched against the objects in Rio and Sao Paulo. At the same time, Ozires Silva was on his way from Brasilia to Sao Jose dos Campos and witnessed the phenomenon.
As the commander of COMAR IV didn’t you follow on the facts? There were statements published at the occasion which were quoted as being yours. You were quoted as saying that those facts were long being reported and that FAB was aware of that. That was all published. What do you have to say about that?
Yes, now I remember. What I’m saying is that I didn’t have the opportunity to witness the event in real time. I only knew that radars had spotted unusual objects or, again, “electronic anomalies”. We put that all down in reports that were sent to EMAER, which was the appropriate reporting mechanism.
Did you get any answers from EMAER about that case or any other event reported to them? Also, did you receive any instructions as to how to behave in those circumstances?
No, but I know how they dealt with it. When there was nothing to say or no plausible explanation to give, the reports were sent to the archives awaiting for the day when a possible explanation could arise.
Do you know if at any given time the government, EMAER or even CODA had established a committee in order to address these cases?
When I was a minister of Aeronautics and received that kind of reports, I just did as usual: sent them to the appropriate files containing all of those similar cases. That was a single folder so that we do not loose the origin of the reports. All was kept there. When we lacked an explanation, we simply waited for it to come up one day. I used to give orders for a research, but it was not an investigation or an inquiry. It was just an informal check-up.
Those check-ups were routine or were applied in only special cases?
It happened only in a few cases, when we consider it worth to investigate. When the description of the event was a credible one, I tried to search for more concrete data.
How were those check-ups conducted?
I used to send someone to talk with locals from the place where the event occurred. We talked to people who might be linked to what was reported. We also inspected the area followed by the witness, because such cases normally happened in the rural area or small cities, not in large urban centers. At least
this is what we normally got. If I’m not mistaken, it has been happening in Brazil since the 1950s, when officers from Gravataí Air Base, state of Rio Grande do Sul, saw strange objects in the sky at broad day light. I believe that was in 1954.
Were you already in the military at that time? What was your rank?
Yes, I was a Lieutenant at the Air Force. The event was registered in Gravatai and caused great commotion, since high-ranking officials like Brigadier Jose Hernani were involved.
Brigadier, I’d like to resume the Brazilian Official UFO Night when jets were sent to intercept the objects.
In that occasion you’ve said that FAB had been recording such cases for years. You also said that the artefacts went from 250 to 1500 km/h in less than a second, which is confirmed by the documents recently disclosed by the government. What else can you say about it?
My technicians mentioned 4000 km/h, but that speed is too much for our radars. It makes them loose accuracy. Therefore, we can not really state that they flew at that speed (4000 km/h). However, they disappeared from radar screens so quickly that Cindacta’s system registered a not much reliable velocity assessment. We could not precisely assert 4000 km/h technically speaking. What was certain is that the objects were at more or less 800 km/h, then suddenly sped up so quickly that they disappear from radar screens. Our technicians said that happened at 4000 km/h, but I do not endorse this assumption.
When radars showed that the objects disappeared in that fashion, did you still think of “electronic anomalies” as an explanation?
Well, I still called it “electronic anomalies”, because I didn’t have any other name to give to it [laughing about his own definition].
But what do you think those objects were? What is your opinion?
I don’t think anything and do not have a personal say on that.
Have you ever considered those might be ships from another planet crewed by a superior intelligence?
I’d like to think like that. I’d like to be able to say I believe it, that I’m sure, but I’m kind of skeptic about things I can not prove. However, if you ask me if I think that is all fabrication, I’d say no. I don’t think this is the case. But the point is I can not say what those things are.
I would insist in asking you: What do you think they are?
I think it’s very hard to say that nothing can exist beyond our knowledge or beyond our world. That would be false. I wish I could say “they” are there, but I still had no opportunity for a close look. I have no concrete data to give to you regarding those objects. Believe me, I wish I could join you in order to research this “thing”, but I’m in no conditions for that.
As you said before, FAB had been recording UFO sightings. Can you tell of any case which had this same proportions?
Yes, I consider the Gravatai case as a significant occurrence. [See box].
Besides Gravatai incident and the Brazilian Official UFO Night, do you remember any other case in which jets were sent to intercept UFOs?
No, there were none that I remember. Besides, we had the habit of not commenting on things we could not prove. So we avoided talks on those cases because we lacked concrete data in order to identify the nature of those objects. There was also the issue of meteorological phenomena to be taken into consideration. Some balloons might reach incredible altitudes.
You’re right, but Cindacta radars and experienced jet pilots wouldn’t take one thing for another...
Sure, but every aspect must be considered. There is a meteorological phenomenon called St. Elmo’s fire, for example, which is a strong bluish light that can stood still or move. This one is often seen in cemiteries due to the decomposition of organic matter. The gas resulting from it generates a bluish light when in contact with the air. This is what we call St. Elmo’s fire.
There were many reports from pilots seeing the St. Elmo’s fire. However, what they usually describe are more likely to be associated with ufological occurrences. The foo-fighters at the II World War are an example.
All pilots have already seen the St. Elmo’s fire in the sky. I have seen it many times. It might even enter the aircraft and cross through it. I’ve seen it very often over the Amazon when flying a C-47 or a DC-3 for the Brazilian postal service. I have more than 2000 hours of flight in that region and witnessed many electrical storms, which may generate strange phenomena. There is a number of atmospheric effects to be considered – the electric fire or the St. Elmo’s fire is only one of those. The light rests at the tip of the helix, then jumps from one side to another before going away. We got even afraid of being burned. That happens to me several times. This is why pilots always think, “It’s the St. Elmo’s fire again, get ready” when there’s a light in the sky. However, not everything can be explained like that, since the St. Elmo’s fire is just a small luminous ball inside the cockpit. There are much larger lights. Anyway, any commercial pilot flying over 10.000 meters have experienced that.
There is another statement allegedly yours regarding the Brazilian Official UFO night. It says that FAB had recorded the event in video. Is it true?
No. Actually the whole event was registered in magnetic tapes, not in video. Radars have the ability to record everything they detect. Then we keep these recordings for 30 days, as I said before. After that we clear the magnetic tapes not to let them pile up.
Even recordings of an event which triggered an interception operation in 19 May 1986 were deleted?
When there’s something like that we normally wait a little more before deleting the recordings. Maybe 2 or 3 months. After that, recordings are deleted for the reasons I’ve already mentioned. But Cindacta has recorded things like that many times. Not once or twice, but many times. We always prepared reports and sent them without any comments, since we didn’t know what or how to explain.
Regarding this event or any other, have you ever been pressured by foreign governments to share information?
No. During my time as a minister that never happened, or it happened without my knowledge.
Brigadier Jose Carlos Pereira [See UFO 141 and 142] (EMAER) has already recorded hundreds of ufological sightings since the 1950s. Do you confirm that?
Well, Pereira was a chief of EMAER. Therefore, these materials were in his desk for him to access anytime he wanted.
In recent interviews he states that “it’s time to end UFO secrecy”, and “secret files on UFOs should be disclosed”. He firmly supports our campaign UFOs: Liberdade de Informação Já. What do you think about these statements?
I think there are two possible interpretations. First, we need to disclose the files in order to clarify what the phenomenon is. Second, this is necessary in order to avoid people saying we are hiding the truth. I can anticipate people saying, “the government hides mysterious phenomena from its people”. This is not true. So files must be opened at once in order to avoid this idea. We can not remain in an uncomfortable position regarding this issue.
Brigadier Pereira says exactly the same. He even says that people do not fear what is transparent, they fear what is opaque instead. He further says that the documents can not affect national security, do not pose a threat to the population and do not harm the privacy of people involved. Files must be disclosed. Do you agree with that?
No doubt about that. Actually, I didn’t open (the files) before, as a minister, because I was never asked to do so. If I were ever asked, I’d have them opened.
Would you do so even though they contain serious incidents such as the Official Night, in which FAB jets were sent to intercept objects of unknown nature?
Yes, even those cases must be disclosed. Note that jets were launched but could not even approach the objects. We are talking about UFOs [not mentioning “electronic anomalies” anymore], and our aircraft could not even get close to them.
Do you think such impossibility to intercept the objects was due to their alleged superior technology?
Yes, [that’s why] we could not even get close to those things which reach thousands of kilometers per hour in less than a second. Ozires Silva saw that, my wife did, and so did I. As I described before, there was a bright light standing still in the sky. I was watching and waiting for it to turn left or right, but it didn’t. My conclusion was that it was flying directly towards me, although it seemed to be not moving.
What did you think that time?
I’m realistic about these matters. All I wanted was to enter that “thing” and see how that works. This idea had already gone through my mind long before.
What do you mean? When did that happen?
In 1950, when I was still a cadet. I was flying a training session over Barra da Tijuca and saw something similar to a balloon, as I can describe it. My trainer saw that as well and agreed that that could be a balloon, but the object suddenly disappeared. Not long after that, the magazine O Cruzeiro published a report entitled Disco Voador na Barra da Tijuca (Flying Saucer over Barra da Tijuca). If you check the magazine archives, you’ll get to the description of what was seen that day. I think that was the same object I saw during my training along with other colleagues. O Cruzeiro even mentioned that a group of aircraft flying that zone might have spotted the object. They were talking about us.
Indeed, a passage in Fernando Cleto Nunes Pereira’s book A Bíblia e os Discos Voadores (The Bible and the UFOs) [Editora Ediouro, 1986], says that a cadet from Campo dos Afonsos would have seen the UFO pictured by magazine O Cruzeiro.
It might be me or any other cadet. I saw that “thing” at Barra da Tijuca, which could be a balloon. That happened at the same time and same place in which the UFO was photographed. To my understanding, that was a balloon. However, when O Cruzeiro hit the stands the next Sunday, the report defined that as a flying saucer. I didn’t see anything that seemed like a saucer, but only a balloon, as I can describe it. [When inquired about it, the interviewee revealed he was never aware of the controversy surrounding Ed Keffel’s pictures of an alleged UFO. Ed Keffel was a reporter for O Cruzeiro and worked in partnership with Joao Martins. Those pictures are considered to be a hoax by most of the Brazilian ufology community].
Was the object just hanging still in the air? Didn’t it move to any direction?
When you are flying, it’s difficult to observe the movement of other things in the sky. It’s hard to tell if that moved or not.
Brigadier, you already know that our main wish today is having government ackowledgement of UFOs existence as well as the disclosure of official archives. Brazilian ufologists also want to establish a research committee to work in cooperation with Air Force officials, be them retired or not. We wish to conduct joint operations for case analysis aiming both military and civil data files. Can we count on your support for that?
Of course you can. Sure. As for the Aeronautics as an institution I think that, if you’re able or lucky to reach most concrete data, they will use you in order to find explanations or collect more information.
How do you suggest we could approach the Aeronautics with such a proposal for a joint work?
It maybe by finding out more new facts.
We have hundreds of facts. What we need now is an institutional and bureaucratic breakthrough so that our idea is officially made into effect.
How did you get access to all these information you’ve just brought to show me?
We made formal requests to the Aeronautics and many other bodies as part of procedures put in place after the Carta de Brasilia and, later on, by the Dossiê UFO Brasil [See UFO 155 and 158]. Most of materials were released by the Centro de Documentação e Histórico da Aeronáutica (Cendoc).
If that was the case, I believe you should follow on the same path. The body you said to have released most of materials is, in fact, the most accessible one to that kind of proposal. I’ll see what I can get to you in that sense.
We thank you very much for that. Regarding the time you served in Manaus as a commander to the VII Comando Aéreo Regional (COMAR VII), was there any UFO sighting you could tell us about?
No. Despite the intense air traffic in that area, I didn’t get any information of that kind. Roraima’s Boa Vista airport used to be the most requested one in Brazil that time due to mining activities in the region. There were more than 200 daily flights, normally monomotors. There was a huge exploration of cassiterite at that time.
Such an aircraft traffic demands extreme caution on the part of controllers, isn’t it?
Yes. That’s the reason why after two months in office as a minister I took the president to the region and proposed him the implementation of a surveillance system in order to keep track of anything that happens in the Amazon. This is what we know today as Sistema de Vigilância da Amazônia (SIVAM). It was prepared by the Armed Forces in order to monitor the air space in all of that area. The initiative has its civil part, which is denominated Sistema de Proteção da Amazônia (SIPAM). The president accepted the suggestion and the system was put in place years later.
When SIVAM started operations you were not at the Ministry anymore, correct? Despite that fact, didn’t you know of any occurrence in the Amazon, either through civil or military pilots?
No, nothing. That time there was nothing in the Amazon, only rains.
Regarding the Official Night, there is another question. Some sectors in the press attempted to discredit the importance of the case, while others argued that the Air Force would never launch 7 jet fighters to intercept something of little importance. In fact, an operation like that would be too expensive.
Of course they wouldn’t. However, this kind of interception operation is short. There’s no interception lasting 2 or 3 hours. It normally takes no more than 30 or 40 minutes. The aircraft goes, checks, identifies the target or not, then returns to the base. But you’re right, the costs are really high.
So you mean the Aeronautics would never deploy jets if the case was not very serious?
They would not, but let me tell you a story. During the conflict in Malvinas islands, in 1982, I was a commander at Cindacta when we spotted an aircraft entering Brazilian air space from the North, through Belem region. We knew that was a Russian Ilyushin flying from Havana to Buenos Aires whose route crossed Brazilian air space. We didn’t know the pilot, but we knew the Cuban ambassador to Argentina was onboard carrying US$ 200,000 – and that I don’t know what for. The aircraft entered Brazilian skies without contacting controllers in Brasilia. The Military Operations Center immediately launched two Mirage against the intruder. It was a Thursday, a day before Good Friday, with a heavy storm falling over Brasilia. The air strip was dark, we had lost the lights. So we put lamps on in order to make the taking-off possible. The Mirage would take off at 22h00 in order to intercept the Cuban aircraft. They ordered the intruder to come back and land in Brasilia, but their pilots pretended not to listen. Then the Mirages turned on their lights behind the Cuban aircraft and its pilots understood they had no other choice. So they returned and landed in Brasilia. What I want to say is that our system for interception really works! [emphatic] However, if the HIlyushin had not landed in Brasília, we wouldn’t know what to do, because none of our authorities would have the courage to authorize an attack against the intruder. Now it’s a different situation because we have a legislation regulating the possibility of putting an intruder down.
On 19 May 1986, Brazilian jets could not force the UFOs to land. The recently disclosed report tells how every jet was launched, what they saw, and how they unsuccessfully tried to approach the objects. There were times when they turned from hunter to prey. One of the UFOs reached 180 km in a matter of seconds going Atlantic Ocean inwards at Sao Paulo coast, then turned back to chase Brazilian jets.
That’s true. What we see is that one can not approach these objects. During this specific incident, pilots tried many times, but UFOs simply sped up and left them behind.
Impressive. And all was recorded by ground and cockpit radars. The UFOs were being observed both by the pilots and Ozires Silva.
Those were “visual electronic anomalies” [laughing each time more when quoting the term].
Have you had the chance to talk to those pilots or other military involved, such as the commander of Comando de Defesa Aérea (CODA), Major Ney Cerqueira, now a retired Colonel? Or have you talked to the then minister of Aeronautics, Brigadier Octavio Moreira Lima?
No. I didn’t talk to them because I had no intentions of carrying out a profound investigation on that. I knew it would lead us nowhere.
How did you know it would lead you nowhere?
Because it was always like this, at least here in Brazil.
But researching takes us somewhere, at least.
Yes. One day we’re going to get there.
Sources say that 21 round-shaped objects, 100m in diameter each, were involved. Such a massive manifestation of UFOs wouldn’t be a threat to national security, to civil air traffic, especially at the time of the occurrence?
No, we knew there wasn’t any threat. We were convinced that their intention was to know better.
To know what or who? Us?
Yes, to know us.
So it means you admit “they” exist and are intelligent beings trying to know us.
Well, they were electronic anomalies [laughing even more]...
At a time when even the government discloses information it’s becoming more and more difficult to deny it, isn’t it?
My friends, I can assure you one thing: if I had any concrete evidence about the reality of UFOs, I would pass it on to you immediately. Unfortunately I don’t have any, but I do know a lot of credible people who experienced the phenomenon and I can give you their names. For example, Jose Aluizio Borges, a general manager to Banco Real. He was at his farm near Campo Grande (MS) and saw a flying saucer. “It was a huge light that crossed in front of us in the middle of the night”, he told me [that witness was not found to give his interview].
So your friend was impressed just like you when you saw that light together with your wife?
Yes. Humans are naturally inclined to look for the unknown. Brazilians have such inheritance from the Portuguese people. Some 300 years ago, someone called Bartolomeu Gusmao did something incredible. He made a small balloon go up inside the Portuguese royal palace, so that he could prove his point that flying was possible. Before that, when he was only describing what he would do, everybody laughed. Then, when people saw the balloon going up, they started to clap. Gusmao then asked the king’s permission to develop that means of transport. After him, how many people got inspired to conduct similar experiments? Would you believe that someone thought about that means of transport 300 years ago?
You have mentioned the event within Cindacta facilities in Gama. Do you know of any other case in which UFOs were shot at by the military? Do you know of any jet fighters having targeted objects in the air?
I don’t know any case of that. Actually, at the time we followed the doctrine of non-aggression.
That doctrine was enforced by whom?
By no one. That was just a logical conclusion, once we knew that an artefact capable of such flying maneuvers could never be hit. It would be even crazy on our part to attempt anything against it. We knew that and no one would be fool enough to try an attack. That “thing” could simply pulverize us with a beam of light. However, we were never prevented from trying to approach the ships in order to see them closely. Actually, all the military were dying to see a UFO at close range.
Was that a formal doctrine within your regulations?
No, it was rather informal. It was a natural behaviour for pilots and commanders. One would ask, “Hey, would you shoot that?” and the other would reply, “Of course not. I’m not stupid”. In fact, as we didn’t believe one could get even close to those objects, we never had a procedure to be adopted in these cases.
Brigadier Jose Carlos Pereira confirms that on the Official Night Mirages and F-5Es were carrying missiles. Didn’t they have the intention to fire?
No. They had missiles because that was a mission for interception when all aircraft take off carrying weapons. That was just in case, because if force is needed we must be ready whether to defend or to attack.
Wasn’t there any fear on the part of the military that the jets could be viewed as a threat by the UFOs?
Yes, I feared that. I wanted we to check, but not to get much closer [The interviewee falls into contradiction, since we previously stated he couldn’t have followed the Official Night because he was in Rio]. Also, how could they know we carried weapons?
Maybe they have technology enough to detect it.
Yes, it can be. Technology is an interesting point. We know that our limit is the speed of light, for now. However, we shall cross that frontier one day. Only then maybe we can understand what is happening today.
Brigadier, what do you say about all the huge amount of documents still held at official archives? What should be done about that?
What should be done is what is being done, that is, the disclosure triggered by ufologists. The government should call for intelligent people who are interested in the subject and put those materials in their hands – or at least facilitate their access to those files.
Do you support our campaign UFOs: Liberdade de Informação Já which calls for the government to open those files?
You can be sure about that! Files must be opened and you should go on with your campaign towards the government in order to make that happen [emphatic]. Then you come to tell me what you’ve got besides what you already have now.
This interview was conducted in collaboration with Marco A. Petit, Francisco Pires de Campo, and Arthur S. Ferreira Neto, consultants and co-editors to the Brazilian UFO Magazine. All rights reserved. Thanks to the volunteer translator Eduardo Rado, from the Brazilian UFO Magazine team: www.ufo.com.br