Sunday, 28 September 2014

Ministry of Defence, Britain: You Can't Have It Both Ways

MoD Discovers 18 New Files With Defence Implications



In 2008 Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) famously announced that the entirety of their yet unreleased files which related directly to the UFO matter would be declassified and made public over a number of years. This process was supposedly completed in June, 2013 with the release of the last batch of files to the British National Archives. It was one of the largest reviews of MoD files on such a narrow topic in decades. The public and the press were told that this laborious task effectively concluded the MoD’s holding of classified UFO files.

Unfortunately, we have been misinformed.

On the 25th of August, 2014, researcher Andy Russell submitted an enquiry to the MoD regarding the holding of unreleased UFO files. His stimulus for this action seems to have been a review of the well-known and well-verified claims of retired United States Air Force (USAF) Sgt. John Burroughs regarding the Bentwaters Air Force Base/Rendlesham Forest UFO events of 1980. The enquiry to the MoD was treated as a submission under the British Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and was duly replied to by the FOI desk on the 11th of September, 2014. A web-based image of the reply letter, as mandated, also appeared on the MoD's FOI responses of the week listings. In this reply letter, with the name of the enquirer redacted (blacked out) a short excerpt of the original letter to the MoD is included. It sums up the request as follows:

"Whether documents covering the period 1971-76 and 1996-2000 titled 'UFO policy' and three other documents covering the periods June-Dec 2000, Dec 2000-Mar 2004 and March 2004 exist, and if so are they still 'classified'."

The MoD’s 2 page response, with page 1 included below, outlines that a number of files – 18 to be exact – were indeed found within the MoD’s systems; and, as we shall see, they may be rather significant. The MoD’s response also stated that the files will be released to the The National Archives. However, no one at the MoD or the National Archives will be working up a sweat to redact, declassify and open them for public consumption because the time frame for this process is indicated to take around 9 months. Nick Pope, former Intelligence Officer, Secretariat AS 2a, Air Staff, Ministry Defence, had this to say:

"This is a huge embarrassment for the MoD and will have UFO enthusiasts up in arms. When the government said that all its UFO files had been released, conspiracy theorists didn't believe everything had been made public and it turns out they were right. The 18 files include ones from RAF radar specialists and from the ultra-secretive Defence Intelligence Staff, so there may be some fascinating revelations still to come." 

As for the actual MoD response discussed above, I have imaged it here:

          
           If this isn't enough to raise the eyebrows of UFO researchers, the second page of the MoD’s response most certainly will. Unlike previously released UFO files – the vast majority of which contain civilian reports, standard internal memoranda, enquiries from the public, etc – that have titles as innocuous as "DEFE-24-2019-1", these 18 newly "discovered" file titles appear to be much more specific, and, quite possibly contain some of what we cherish: rare, verifiable, undeniable evidence that something pretty noteworthy is being monitored in the skies and investigated by certain specialized agencies within a modern defence establishment. The second page of the MoD's response is imaged below. One only needs to study some of the acronyms and terminology in the titles to realise that there is much we have not been told, as we shall see.

So, the eighteen new files themselves are some time away from being made public, albeit with what I suspect will be a great deal of redaction. But what can we postulate is contained within them in the here-and-now? I have had a close look at the filing codes and file titles of these eighteen files and some of them are quite interesting indeed. The list itself:

1.  DAIRDEF/111/6/4 C31 AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL LOW FLYING UFOS
2.  D/DAIRDEF/111/6/4 C3I AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL LOW FLYING UFOS
3.  D/DAIRDEF/111/6/4 CSI AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL LOW FLYING UFOS
4.  D/DDOPS(GE)/10/8 ADMIN + GENERAL UFOS
5.  D/DAO1/13 ADGE UFO REPORTS
6.  D/DAO1/13 ADGE UFO REPORTS
7.  D/DAO1/13 ADGE UFO REPORTS
8.  D/DAO1/13 ADGE UFO REPORT
9.  D/DAO1/13 ADGE UFO REPORTS
10.D/IPR2X/2/4/1 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOI) COPYRIGHT  
ISSUES CONCERNING INTERNET PUBLICATION REPORTS OF UFO SIGHTINGS
11. 2GP(BP)/88772/10/ISTAR UFO REPORTS
12. M9/18 Defence Policy Issues UFOs
13. D/DS8/75/2/1 UFO Reports Correspondence
14. D/DI55/108/15 UFO Policy 1971-96
15. D/DI55/108/15 UFO Policy 1996-2000
16. D/DI55/108/15 UAP Policy June-Dec 2000
17. D/DI55/108/15 UAP Policy Dec 2000-March 2004
18. D/DI55/108/15 UAP Policy March 2004

The first thing that stands out here is that the file titles are unlike almost any of the previously released S4 (Air), S6 (Air), DS8 and AS 2a Air Staff files, which have titles like "DEFE-24-2019-1". Five of the files contain the "DI55" which means the creating agency was the ultra-secretive DI55 unit, one of about 80 small cells within Defence Science and Technical Intelligence (DSTI), one of the larger branches of the Defence Intelligence Staff. Most readers will know that DI55, of course, has been found to be very much active in the collecting, collating and investigation of UFO reports and other materials (radar imaging, statistical data, etc) for decades, despite blunt denials throughout the 1980's. So one shouldn't be surprised that their little posse has  been outed.. again.

Being more specific, what actually "jumped out" in these eighteen new files, however, was the term "ADGE", with the term "UFO REPORTS" coming straight after. Air Defence Ground Environment (ADGE) is a top echelon term used to describe, in a round about way, the physical and, to a lesser extent, non-physical make-up of an entire "Air Defence Region" (ADR) or regional "Recognized Air Picture" (RAP). Sometimes called a "system of systems" ADGE can be considered an integrated and multi-layered web of ground-based long range radar networks, coupled with airborne early warning systems and even civilian Air Traffic Control networks. The term is most commonly used in the written doctrine of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) operations and directives. One cannot be forgiven for pondering the possibility that these files, which, lets face it, contain the terms "ADGE" and "UFO Reports" in the same title, contain cases where UFO events have seemingly come up in the UK's Air Defence Region (UKADR), or, maybe, have occurred across Europe and somehow involved the MoD.

The next thing that jumps out in the file titling of these eighteen new finds is the term "ISTAR". The actual file title is  "2GP(BP)/88772/10/ISTAR UFO REPORTS". "ISTAR" stands for "Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance" and is a war-fighting and wide-area battle-management concept that oversees, if you like, the linking of real-time intelligence (signals intelligence, telemetry data, etc) with overhead surveillance and reconnaissance, to produce a usable battle picture for war-fighters in the far flung operations arena. Once again, once must wonder why the term "ISTAR" and "UFO REPORTS" come up in the same title.

Whatever the contents of these files, the same tired old story is playing out again. Our continuing to have to play this game of hide-and-seek insults the intelligence of UFO researchers and government officials alike, whether they be military, intelligence, agency, or otherwise. In regards to the MoD specifically, I often go back to an extraordinary admission contained within the MoD’s Defence Intelligence Staff’s “Project Condign”, or, for the proper title, “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the UK Air Defence Region, Scientific & Technical Memorandum - No. 55/2/00”. Released, albeit with the usual redactions, on May 15th, 2006, the publication, compiled in 2000 and originally classified SECRET UK EYES ONLY, states, as many of you will know, on page four of the Executive Summary:

"The phenomenon presents itself as having exceptional capabilities. That unidentified aerial phenomenon exists is indisputable. It is credited with the ability to hover, land, take off, accelerate to exceptional velocities and vanish. They can reportedly alter their direction of flight suddenly and clearly, characteristics well beyond those of any known aircraft or missile, either manned or unmanned."

Project Condign was, of course, commissioned and conducted by DI55, DIS in great secrecy. After decades of MoD denials and downplaying, one is right to ask why the decision was made to commission and conduct a study into UFO’s – or, as Condign terms them, “UAP” or “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena”, at such a late stage? And, if there was nothing to hide, why the great sensitivity? Indeed, the MoD insisted, on a number of occasions, both in Parliamentary Answers and statements issued to the media, that they had never, and were not, carried out, or were carrying out, any detail examination of the issue. One wonders just how much more UFO material is kept under lock-and-key within the MoD’s vast structuring. For example, we know that the Royal Navy (RN) has managed to keep a stunningly tight lid on their UFO files, once held with Admiralty Board no less, before being compartmented deeper still in the late 1980’s. Then there was the discovery of UFO investigation conducted at the RAF’s Low Flying Complaints Department in the 1970’s and beyond. Even Ralph Noyes, former Head of Defence Secretariat 8, MoD, who was supposed to be aware of all UFO investigative capacity within the UK’s military and intelligence community during his tour of duty, was astonished to find he was not being kept in the loop with regards to the big picture. One wonders, after the latest files are released, will the MoD once again claim that they have truly declassified all their UFO material? Or will we play another few games of hide-and-seek?