The British Ministry of Defence has released the ninth instalment of the public dump of their 'UFO files', which can for a restricted period be freely downloaded from the UFO page at the National Archives. Along with the files you'll find a highlights guide as well as a briefing guide written by Dr David Clarke pointing out some of the more interesting material amongst the mass of documents. Here's Clarke discussing some material from the new release:
Opinions regarding the release of these files over the past couple of years has for the most part polarised into two camps of (a) true believers saying it's all disinformation and a front, and (b) skeptics saying "see, nothing of interest, the government don't care about this phenomenon". I find myself in the middle of these views - while I'm sure most sightings have prosaic explanations, and the release of information may not be a 'front', I personally very much doubt that any national/defence intelligence agency would be casually disregarding constant sightings of strange craft in the sky, both in terms of possible surveillance or armed threat (especially in the post-9/11 age, and now with the rise in use of unmanned drones), and also in terms of a mythos that could be manipulated to their own ends. Ironically, in newly released document DEFE-24-2080-1, one of the MoD's own mentions as much in applying for funds to study the phenomenon more closely:
Until we conduct some analysis of the files we will not have any idea what the many reports represent. If at any stage in the future UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) are shown to exist then there is the potential for severe embarrassment. We can justifiably be asked how we could receive so many reports and ignore them. If I had a suspicious nature I might assume that there is a high level remit on the DIS not to investigate UAPs for some reason!
The request for £80,000 of funding came on the back of frustration that although DI 55 had been tasked with the study of UFOs for 13 years (as of the submission in 1995), "during that time the many reports received have been filed and no analysis has ever been undertaken. No serious follow up has ever occurred to any incident". Does anyone seriously think intelligence agencies would not be following up at least some of these reports?
You can find more commentary on the latest release of the 'UK UFO Files' on Dr David Clarke's personal website.
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