Monday, 24 December 2007

MoD Confirms Release of UFO Reports (Dec 2007)

(UK) UFO Researchers Secure Release Of MoD UFO Documentation. Very recently (21st Dec 2007) Joe McGonagle of UK-UFO.org announced that:

“Following sustained pressure by a small number of UFO researchers during the last 8 years, the British Ministry of Defence have decided to release all of their UFO files. (For the full details of the planned release, visit: UK-UFO.org).

Visit: UK-UFO.org

Gary Anthony, Dave Clarke, and Joe McGonagle have been making full use of the Freedom of Information Act and its precursor, the Code of Practice on access to Government information. At considerable personal expense, effort, and investment of time the three of us have submitted a steady stream of requests. As well as making requests ourselves, we actively encouraged and assisted other ufologists to make their own requests.”

Anybody who is interested in UFOlogy, especially as it relates to the UK and to the “Official” stance of the government owe these researchers at the very least a word of thanks as even anyone who's unaware of the previous achievements of this small but dedicated group will undoubtedly be aware of the many documents that they have been instrumental in obtaining the release of. As far back as 2001, Dave Clarke and Andy Roberts discovered the existence and much more importantly secured the release of documents relating directly to the sensationally named, “Flying Saucer Working Party”. Some of these documents were retained for a further six years before Dave Clarke finally secured release of the sections which were earlier withheld under Section 3(4) of the Public Records Act. (8th February 2007).

And there's also, “Project Condign” Britain 's Secret UFO Study which was the first ever document obtained under the FoIA with a, “SECRET” classification. The researchers meticulous gathering and analysis of documents first identified the existence of the, “Condign report” in 2005 and then promptly secured its release in 2006. A release of information which Dave Clarke doggedly pursued and upon appeal forced the further release of details which were previously claimed too sensitive. Rather than highlight all of their remarkable achievements, I suggest that you visit (and bookmark!!) their main/updates page which has full details and all relevant links to these and many other FOIA requests. (UK-UFO.org updates page).

This recent revelation is the culmination of many years work some of which dates back to 2003 while actively pursuing the release of information via FoIA requests they discovered that DI55 (the Defence Intelligence Branch charged with the investigation of UFO reports) were considering physically destroying millions of pages of files due to asbestos contamination, some of which were specifically created by DI55 in relation to UFO reports. These were just a small percentage of the files which were earmarked for destruction, however all of the files combined covered a diverse and eclectic array of topics which they argued were representative of a key period of military and political history and as such it would be a travesty to simply destroy and ultimately erase these records in their entirety.

Rather than simply sit back and await a decision regarding the demise of these files, they instead launched a campaign enlisting support from MP's, academics, the media, the UFO community and raised awareness among the general public. After rethinking their position the MoD subsequently initiated a costly (estimated at around 3 million pounds!!) project of digitally scanning, archiving and collating the files prior to their destruction. The researchers ensured the progress of this project was closely monitored and periodic updates were requested and granted from the Departmental Records Officer at the MoD, thus ensuring that the details of the project were firmly kept in the public domain.

The scanning stage of the contaminated UFO files was completed early 2007 and as the UK-UFO.org website states:

“This prompted a dialogue within the MoD as to the future release of files. Due to the volume of requests about UFOs received by Defence Intelligence, they discussed the viability of a staged, wholesale release, and concluded in April 2007 that this was the preferred way forward. This encouraged the Directorate of Air Space (DAS, the MoD agency charged with filtering reports before passing those thought to be of defence interest to other MoD branches including DI55) to make a similar evaluation and they have now also reached a decision for a staged release of all of their UFO records.”

The following is from a document obtained under a FoIA request and that was originally dated March 2007. An internal letter which discusses the full release of the documents and leaves no doubt as to the significance of the role the researchers (especially Dave Clarke) played, which was instrumental in this unprecedented release of all MoD UFO documents:

“I agree absolutely that we cannot sustain the current level of FOI requests. I have spoken to (name removed) - the AD in my area that is the only one left in DIST who knows anything. He feels strongly that the campaign is being led by one man and the cumulative resource implications of what he has been asking for is considerable. We expect this to continue.”

The story has since filtered through the tabloids, I was a little disappointed to see that the UK 's Daily Telegraph (online version) chose to extensively quote Nick Pope with absolutely no mention of Dave Clarke and the other researchers at UK-UFO.org. I have no doubt that this omission will subsequently be perpetuated throughout the internet on News websites, Blogs, forums etc.

So when you read further articles or postings regarding this imminent disclosure, or when the release of these documents is finally realised, I urge you not to forget the efforts of Dave Clarke et al. Whose efforts are directly responsible for this landmark event, the results of their collective efforts should stand as irrefutable testimony to the enormity of what can be achieved with perseverance, dedication and determination.

In fact, why not visit their website at UK-UFO.org and thank them right now?

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