Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal
Many followed Leslie Kean's story, UFO Caught on Tape Over Santiago Air Base, with great interest since she blogged about it on March 13, 2012. The case essentially revolved around video footage recorded during a November 5, 2010, air show at El Bosque Air Base located in Santiago, Chile.
Kean and co-author Ralph Blumenthal suggested on her Huffington Post blog the video might represent "the case UFO skeptics have been dreading." The writers went as far as to specifically describe a "stunning conclusion: The Chilean jets were being stalked by a UFO."
The long and short of the matter is the video did not present ample opportunity to positively identify an object of undetermined distance and size which appeared to briefly take flight during the air show. Spectators in attendance did not report observing any unidentified flying objects.
Kean and Blumenthal reported a General Ricardo Bermudez was a key figure in the investigation of what evolved to be described and presented to the UFO community as a stunning case. "Gen. Ricardo Bermúdez," they wrote, "formerly chief commander of the air force's 3rd Air Brigade (southern area) and an air attaché in London, was one of CEFAA's founders, and he currently directs the agency with a full-time staff of three." Kean and Blumenthal described the CEFAA as the Chilean equivalent of the American Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA.
According to Kean and Blumenthal, General Bermudez is at the least open to, if not lobbying for, international investigation of the UFO phenomenon. "Since this is a worldwide phenomenon," they quoted the general as saying, "it should be subjected to rigorous scientific analysis so we can come to viable conclusions."
Kean has long suggested and implied international efforts are justified and warrant funding, as described in her 2002 report, Science and the Failure to Investigate Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. The report was commissioned by the Sci Fi Channel.
Many blog posts and forum threads contained consideration of the case and the footage cited by Kean. The Above Top Secret forum hosted a thread, "HD video of UFO Stalking Chilean Jets Over Santiago Air Base," containing some 24 pages at the time of this post. Substantial contributions were made by elevenaugust, DrDil and UFOGlobe.
A number of aspects of the case and as asserted by Kean and Blumenthal were competently challenged. Among the most questionable items were the alleged "infrared studies," reportedly showing radiation of heat from the object. In actuality, it was demonstrated that no such professional study could be conducted under the circumstances described. DrDil contacted astronomer Luis Barrera, one of the contributing scientists reportedly involved in the investigation, who then substantially downplayed statements attributed to him and alleged conclusions.
The story took another significant hit due to yet to be substantiated claims more video footage was available. Such footage supposedly corroborated the currently released footage, but no relevant footage has yet been presented. Some noted that is the case after what has now been some 16 months since the air show took place.
Long time participant in the Internet UFO community, stiver, located some footage of the air show in question. This particular footage just does not happen to have been cited by General Bermudez, Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal.
Independent Air Show Footage
Stiver located an article, posted November 5, 2010, on a Chilean website, covering the very El Bosque Air Base show currently receiving all the attention from the UFO community. The article described the air show, not a UFO, and included video footage.
In addition to footage of the participating aircraft, the video contained images of additional small objects, reasonably suspected to be birds or insects, in virtually every scene. Stiver provided the following video post, demonstrating the abundant presence of apparent wildlife during the exact air show in question:
Some suggest Kean's credibility and motives, or at the least her ability to accurately identify a stunning case, were called into question. Such would not be the first time, as Ryan Dube of Reality Uncovered reported in his April 12, 2011, article, FAA Instructions to Staff on UFO Sightings Debunk Cover-Up Claims. Dube explained how Kean clung to her existing version of an alleged chain of events even after presented direct evidence to the contrary.
Others suggest ufology has evolved to include more international intrigue - and jockeying for difficult to obtain funding - than in years past. I do not know, but I will concede one must demonstrate an existing need for funding in order to propose and obtain it.
I really could not say with any certainty what the Santiago fiasco was all about. I am not qualified to know.
I do know this, though: stiver does not head an agency with three full-time staff members at her disposal, as is the case with General Bermudez, and she managed to locate relevant footage of the event in question. Footage right on the Internet. I therefore empathize with those who might suggest that, after some 16 months, it would seem reasonable to strongly suspect General Bermudez and company would, or at the least should, be aware of such.