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Not a cult: Indonesia’s biggest UFO-community BETA-UFO weighs in on U.S. government report Landing site?

September 19, 2023 People's Tonight 657 views

UFO1Nur Agustinus (right) and a fellow BETA-UFO member investigate a crop circle in Yogyakarta in 2011. (BETA-UFO/Courtesy by BETA-UFO) Share this article Whatsapp Facebook Twitter Linkedin Wulan Kusuma Wardhani (The Jakarta Post) Jakarta ● Mon, June 7, 2021 “I liked observing the stars and moon with a telescope. My parents supported my hobby.” Nur Agustinus, cofounder of Indonesia’s largest UFO-centric community, BETA-UFO, shared with The Jakarta Post how his ongoing passion for extraterrestrial phenomena began.

As a high school student he discovered astronomy and fell in love. His parents found it positive and let the young Nur, now 55 years of age, have his fun. As he grew older, he devoured any articles and books about UFOs he could get his hands on.

“In 1979, news about UFO sightings in New Zealand was published in major newspapers such as Sinar Harapan and Kompas. In the same year, many books on UFOs in Indonesian were published by [Bandung-based publisher] Tanadi Group,” recalled Nur, who is today a psychologist in Surabaya. Another senior BETA-UFO member, Anugerah Sentot Sudono, who often goes by Nugy, has been fascinated by extraterrestrial phenomena since he was a child, starting after his father let him watch a movie depicting a UFO and aliens. Nugy’s curiosity grew stronger when he lived in Paris between 1984 and 1985. During his time there, Nugy read many books about UFOs.

However, it wasn’t until an occurrence in 1990 at Puncak, Bogor, that Nugy truly fell for UFOs. “I was there for a senior high school class farewell party. I went to bed around 9 p.m., but was suddenly awakened at 12 a.m. Then I walked upstairs to the balcony. When I looked to the skies, I saw an oval object moving downward,” recalled the 48-year-old learning development manager. “My friends thought it was a comet. But I told them it wasn’t, because a comet has a tail and is not as bright as this object.”

Nugy became a full-fledged believer. A long history For a long time, unidentified flying objects (UFOs) have intrigued believers. In Indonesia, belief in such phenomena gained traction after the founder of the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN), Jacob Salatun, introduced the term BETA (short for Benda Terbang Aneh, an Indonesian translation of UFO) in the 1960s. Jacob, who was a vice air marshal in the Indonesian air force, pioneered a program called Studi UFO Indonesia (Indonesian UFO Studies/SUFOI) and wrote two books entitled UFO: Salah Satu Masalah Dunia Masa Kini (UFO: One of the current world problems) and Menyingkap Rahasia Piring Terbang (Unveiling the secrets of UFOs). While SUFOI does not seem to run anymore, curiosity about UFOs remains for a growing number of Indonesians.

Not an insane liar Established in 1997, BETA-UFO has more than 19,000 registered members on its Facebook group, with about one hundred actively involved in the community’s activities. Since its inception, BETA-UFO has carried out discussion, research, investigation and public education. The community’s website contains information about, among other things, numerous UFO sightings around Indonesia. Anyone can report sightings through the Facebook and WhatsApp groups, but only selected testimonies are published on the website. “BETA-UFO keeps thinking critically, meaning we aren’t believers who ignore data and facts,” said Nur. Explaining aliens: Anugerah Sentot Sudono represented BETA-UFO during an interview with Deddy Corbuzier in February 2021. (photo courtesy of Anugerah Sentot Sudono) (BETA-UFO/Courtesy by BETA-UFO) Nur added, the community usually contacts people who report sightings and analyzes any pictures sent by possible witnesses.

“If the analysis proves that, for example, it’s a light beam or flare ejected from the sun, we will tell them it isn’t a UFO. We have members from various government agencies, so it’s easy to check [facts].” Nugy doesn’t deny there are people who aren’t convinced by the evidence of UFO sightings. He has even been accused of making up stories. “I was interviewed by Deddy Corbuzier [for his YouTube channel] in February 2021.

In the comments section, some said that I was insane and a liar,” he said. Nugy explained that even in the 1950s, Jacob had documented proof of alien and UFO encounters. In one of his books, Jacob wrote down the testimony of the head of a police station in Alor Island, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) about an alien and UFO encounter he had experienced. That “testimony” was one of the many things that convinced Nugy that UFOs were not merely the imagination of just a few. “It’s hard for us to think this is all a mass hallucination,” said Nugy. There is plenty of discussion in the Facebook community’s forum.

Alien origins is a favorite topic that always gets strong traction from members, old and new. “Some say they may come from outside the Earth. There is also an assumption that they may have been living on Earth for a long time in unknown places, either in underground caves or on the seabed. US and Russian military officers have reported their encounters with unidentified submerged objects [USO],” said Nur about the types of theories that get passed around on the BETA-UFO board. Alien threat or friendly? The U.S. government has issued a report on the analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) to congress.

The report suggested that no conclusive evidence had been found to suggest that those phenomena were alien spaceships. Nur theorizes that there are political agendas behind the disclosure. “If UFOs are considered a threat, they [the U.S. government] will make efforts to overcome or prepare for them. They would need a budget, and any disbursement of funds would need to get approval from the senate,” he said. Surveying: Nur Agustinus (far left) and other BETA-UFO members during a field survey at Dieng Temple, Central Java in 2011 (BETA-UFO/Courtesy by BETA-UFO) Nugy knew the report would not point to the existence of alien lifeforms.

“If a UFO is not deemed to be a foreign aircraft, and videos of it are not considered to be hoaxes, then aliens could be behind it. The origin and whereabouts of aliens probably would not be touched on. In the end, if aliens are classified as a threat, the DOD would end up requesting a budget increase for the US Space Force,” he said.

This article was published in thejakartapost.com with the title “Not a cult: Indonesia’s biggest UFO-community BETA-UFO weighs in on U.S. government report”. Click to read: https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2021/06/07/not-a-cult-indonesias-biggest-ufo-community-beta-ufo-weighs-in-on-cia-report.html.

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