Sunday, May 06, 2007

UK UFO Files Declassified

I do not over-inflate things when I say that this breaking story from researcher Dave Clarke in England is one of the most significant breakthroughs in British UFO research. Here’s the story from Dave himself:

“I’m pleased to announce that the British MoD have decided to release their archive of 7,000 UFO reports made to the Defence Intelligence Staff covering a period of 30 years.
“The decision - announced in a letter I received last month - is a direct result of my attempts, working with colleagues, to persuade the MoD to follow the recent French example and open their entire historical and recent archive to public scrutiny.
“An additional problem in the British case was that 24 files containing UFO reports examined by the DIS branch DI55 from the mid-1970s until 2002, had been permanently closed along with 63,000 other records due to exposure to asbestos during storage in the basement of the Old War Office building in central London.
“Initially it was feared these files may have to be destroyed, but after an 18-month project (at a £3 million cost to the taxpayer) the entire archive has been saved. Work is now ongoing to scan and review selected files for release a) to the National Archives and b) onto the MoD’s Freedom of Information Act website. The DI55 UFO archive has been selected as an immediate priority for release due to its public interest value.
“In their letter to me dated 26 March the MoD say: “it has recently been decided that 24 files from the DI55 UFO archive are to be retrieved from the contaminated archives and scanned onto disk. At this point, each of the files [redacted if necessary] will be placed on the MoD Publication Scheme.
“Following this work, the files will then be accessible by the general public via the MOD FOI website. It will be a few weeks before we will be in a position to give an estimate as to when the files will be posted on the Publication Scheme.
“Further details of the announcement can be found on my website’s news page and on page 4 of the the current issue of Fortean Times (no 223, June 2007).
“As the 24 files earmarked for release contain some 7,000 reports plus analysis and correspondence I suspect it will take some time for the entire archive to appear online, but having had a sneek preview of one year’s contents (1979) I can assure you the wait will be worthwhile.
“It should be noted that the material due for release contains a number of reports from service sources - including pilots and aircrew - that were never seen by the public ‘UFO desk’ or Sec(AS). The archive also contains all 3,000 UFO reports
received by MoD between 1987 and 1997 that were used to draw up the database used by the author of the Condign report that was commissioned by DI55 in 1997. The database itself was destroyed shortly after the report was circulated in 2000 (for details, see this link).
“The decision to release these files to the public is a major breakthrough and a landmark both for British Ufology and in the wider campaign for Freedom of Information in the UK.
“It also marks the end of my personal campaign, which began almost a decade ago before FOI arrived in 2005, to persuade the MoD to release all their UFO records. My first success was in 2001 firstly with the Rendlesham file and the report by the Flying Saucer Working Party. Success after success has followed, partly through persistence and partly through the support and assistance of fellow researchers - in particular Gary Anthony, Joe McGonagle, Chris Fowler, Andy Roberts and friends in the media, particularly James Randerson, science correspondent of The Guardian.
“Thanks to everyone who has supported us. As soon as I hear more about the MoD’s planned release I will update this message. With best wishes, Dave Clarke.”

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