There is a lot of fuss in UFO circles this week about the story put out by ‘whistleblower’ David Grusch that the US government has an ultra-secret unit that salvages crashed extraterrestrial aircraft and that that organisation has allegedly secured several over the past decades. And this just a week after at a public hearing of a NASA expert panel, the head of the (not secret) research programme AARO declared that no finds had yet been made that would indicate extraterrestrial visitation.
On The Debrief, Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal were given the opportunity to write up his story, and they mainly focus on Grusch’s credibility. Kean and Blumenthal also wrote the article in The New York Times in 2017 that can be seen as the start of renewed attention to the UFO phenomenon, or UAP as it is now called. In an interview with News Nation, Grusch would elaborate more on what is being kept secret, but that site is a bit difficult to view from Europe (see here for an impression). What is clear is that Grusch himself has not seen these remains of extraterrestrial vehicles, not even in photographs, so he has only heard it from other ‘important people’. Well, …
According to Dutchman Max Moszkowicz, who has a YouTube channel where he talks to many people known in the UFO circles and who writes about the subject with some regularity for the magazine Nieuwe Revu, one of the concrete cases would be an allegedly recovered UFO in Italy in 1933. A good reason to take a look at what that case is all about.
The story in a nutshell: In 2000, ufologist Roberto Pinotti came out with the story that an anonymous person had revealed to the Centro Ufologico Nazionale, of which he was president at the time, that there had been an ultra-secret group under Mussolini’s regime, led by Nobel laureate Guglielmo Marconi, that dealt with UFOs, the Gabinetto RS/33. In fact, exactly the kind of organisation that Grusch now claims the US would also have had for a long time.
The most notable case this organisation would have been involved with would have been the recovery of a crashed UFO in 1933 close to the town of Magenta, near Milan. A UFO crash fourteen years before the one at Roswell, that alone is good publicity, of course! The vehicle would have been secured and kept in a hangar on the premises of aircraft manufacturer SIAI-Marchetti in Varese. In 1945, the equipment would then have been seized by the Americans and shipped to the United States.
The evidence for this story? Not much more than what that anonymous ‘Mr. X’ communicated in a number of letters and a handful of documents that would support that story: a few telegrams (or drafts of them), a handwritten account of a 1936 UFO notification, and some kind of protocol. None of these documents seem official in the sense that they lack any indication that they came from an official archive. According to Pinotti, however, they are authentic, as a forensic expert is said to have determined that the papers (and the ink) are from the 1930s. There are quite a few questions to be raised with that investigation, however, the most important perhaps being why Pinotti never made the investigation report public so that other experts could check what methods were used.
In Italian, of course, you can find quite a bit about this UFO case written from a more critical angle, so you don’t have to do with Pinotti’s own article on The Blackvault alone. Google Translate and the automatic translation on YouTube will get you a long way these days if you didn’t already master that language. See the bottom of this blog for some links. But a very good summary of the case can be found in the following video by noted skeptic Massimo Polidoro.
[For English subtitles, turn on the subtitles and choose the desired language in the settings].
In short, it is quite possible – actually quite likely – that the whole story about that organisation RS/33 is a fabrication. Perhaps ‘Mr X’ (or Pinotti himself?) was inspired by the Majestic-12 hoax.
Further reading on this case:
- Vice: Gli ‘X-Files fascisti’ e la strana teoria del primo avvistamento Ufo in Italia
- Report by Pinotti: Gli X Files del Fascismo – herein on page 46 the uninformative statement on the authenticity of (one of) the documents
- Invasione Aliena: Mussolini censurò l’UFO di Milano
And follow news about Grusch, for example, on Metabunk.
Update 11 June 2023
The Nieuwe Revu with Moszkovicz’s article has yet to appear and only tonight (03:00 Dutch time) the entire interview with News Nation’s Grusch will be broadcast, but in the meantime, it is already sufficiently clear that Mussolini’s UFO is an important part of his story. Earlier this week, he did give an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien that includes this:
Can you tell us more about where these ‘ships’ were recovered?
One of them was recovered in Italy in 1933, which is the oldest case I’ve been briefed on. I can’t talk about the others.
In 1933, a bell-shaped craft, about twelve metres in size, was recovered in Magenta, in northern Italy. It was kept by Mussolini’s government until 1944, when it was recovered by agents of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, a former US intelligence agency). The irony is that it predates anything the public has heard about for decades, such as Roswell, etc. I was authorised to talk about it by the Department of Defense’s Office of Pre-publication and Security Review.
I noticed that Grusch describes the UFO as bell-shaped, a detail I did not come across in the Italian sources on this case. Mussolini’s UFO is, however, described as such by one Billy Brophy in an account of a UFO symposium he attended in Italy in 2010.
From this excerpt, it seems to me that Brophy is gluing two stories together: Hitler’s UFO, ‘Die Glocke‘ – which he misunderstood as ‘Die Locked’ – and Mussolini’s UFO. Brophy was not yet a familiar name to me, but I found this account in an extensive article by Douglas Dean Johnson, which discusses Brophy’s role in another UFO case. It is clear from this article that Brophy is a fantasist, who keeps trying to link other UFO cases from the past to his father William J. Brophy, who was a pilot in the US Army.
Jacques Vallée, a ufologist who has played a significant role for decades, apparently did take Brophy seriously and incorporated his version of the Baca-Padilla case into his book about it. Vallée is in contact with a whole bunch of other ufologists and it is plausible that this is how Grusch learned about Brophy’s version. This would also explain why he also claims that aliens were recovered. How lines run between the various players in the modern UFO mythology is nicely described in this article: The UFO craze was created by government nepotism and incompetent journalism.
Update 12 June 2023
So I watched the full interview with Grusch on News Nation this morning and there is one more thing that convinces me that the story on Mussolini’s UFO came to him via Bill Brophy: he mentioned that the Vatican was in the know. Now you can see that Brophy’s report (screenshot above) he mentions that the Pope was informed by Mussolini but in the original Italian sources (that might very well be forgeries, let’s not forget that) there is a protocol that explicitly prohibits sending any information to the Papal University, everything should be under the control of the Cabinet RS/33.
In his report (p. 6) Pinotti summarises these points which are a bit hard to read in the copy of the original document: “Ed infine, si disponeva che la trasmissione di rapporti all’Arma Aeronautica venisse autorizzata dal fantomatico Gabinetto RS/33; che venisse escluso ogni altro ente, ‘compresa la Pontificia Università’.” Which translates as “And finally, it was stipulated that the transmission of reports to the Air Force was to be authorised by the secretive RS/33 Cabinet; any other body was to be excluded, ‘including the Pontifical University’.” The wording can be a little confusing, the Papal University is included in the scientific bodies that should be excluded. So probably this is why Brophy misunderstood this.
Translated from the original in Dutch on Kloptdatwel.nl