David Clarke on Third UK-UFO Release

Earlier this week I noted that the UK National Archives had released the third instalment of ‘UFO Files’ from the British Ministry of Defence. British UFO researcher and journalist Dr David Clarke has been acting as consultant to the National Archives on the release of these files, and on their site has contributed a podcast and a helpful guide pointing out the highlights of the ‘new’ material.

For those interested in reading more, I recommend also checking out David Clarke’s blog, where he has posted a number of recent entries addressing the UFO files, giving more detail, and also more of his personal opinion on the incidents covered.

Amazingly, one MoD file in this tranche contains a complete copy of a report that Gary Anthony and I produced covering our investigation of a “flap” of UFO sightings in the Midlands during August 1987. On 27 January 1988 I sent my 27-page dossier to Clive Neville, who was UFO desk officer at the MoD, asking if any of the reports could be explained. I also offered to send him further dossiers, enclosing with my letter another detailed report prepared by Philip Mantle. This contained a set of photographs which appeared to show a “flying saucer” skimming rooftops in Barnsley (later, using an American photo analyst, we proved these were fakes).

In reply I received the standard “no defence significance” letter used by the MoD in response to all public UFO inquiries. But little did I know at the time, Neville had copied our reports to the Defence Intelligence Staff with a note that reads “they are quite detailed and of a better quality than I expected”. Praise indeed! During its travels along spooky corridors my “August report” was heavily annotated by someone with detailed knowledge of a subject that MoD publicly claimed to be of little or no interest to them. What’s more, it’s clear from the scribbles visible on these papers that details of the individual sightings they contained were entered into a computerised database which DI55 were secretly using to search for patterns in sighting data. (See DEFE 31/176/1, pages 337 onwards).

Clarke also talks at length about the ‘Calvine Diamond UFO’ photographs, offering a lot more background to the case, as well as suggesting that perhaps speculation about the ‘craft’ should be preceded by a more thorough investigation as to whether the original story (and photographs) stand up to scrutiny. Perhaps similar skepticism should be reserved for the MoD’s contention that the negatives “were never retained”…

Plenty of thought-provoking reading, so make sure you check it out. You can also (apparently*) find more information at David Clarke’s official website.

(* I’ve never been able to reach his site actually. I can only surmise that it is a routing issue, or my ISP’s IP range is for some reason rejected by his server.)

  1. Same problem
    I’ve had the same problem down here, Greg, I’ve never been able to access David Clarke’s website. Australia’s controversial internet censorship filter?

    Quite eye-opening the interest in UFOs shown by officials who have always taken pains to dismiss them as military flares reflecting off swamp gas. The manner in which Clarke’s report was nicked by the MoD is mind-opening.

    1. Voronezh
      [quote]Quite eye-opening the interest in UFOs shown by officials who have always taken pains to dismiss them as military flares reflecting off swamp gas. The manner in which Clarke’s report was nicked by the MoD is mind-opening.[/quote]

      I’m beginning to think some of those guys were—like Nick Pope— interested in the phenomenon for more than the oft-repeated ‘possible threat’ angle. Yesterday I wrote a comment about something I found in those files that indicates a clear interest in the Voronezh case (A UFO landing in Russia in 89, with witnesses claiming to see 3 giants coming out and walking around). A member of UFO Mystic gave a very interesting reply that seems to suggest some of these MoD chaps were willing to think ouside the box in order to explore all avenues re. the UFO phenomenon.

      Of course it’s all very speculative, but IMO it’s beginning to be clear that they didn’t think all of it was Black Ops American projects or Russian spy planes…

      It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
      It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

      Red Pill Junkie

  2. Aliens!
    I’ve always enjoyed UFO stories.

    I’m pleased the governments are investigating cases. Of course they are. Potential aircraft in our airspace have to be investigated. At the same time though if our governments openly said that forces were flying in our airspace and we couldnt do anything it would probably be enough to panic people, but with no solution to the panic.

    A year or so ago there were instances of Russian bombers buzzing UK air space above Scotland. UK air defense was scrambled on several occasions and the bombers returned to Russia. Just an example of Russia exerting itself, but still not a nice feeling. The same goes i suppose for any country whose airspace is invaded by spy planes or unknown craft.

    One perspective is to use it to look at skepticism itself.

    Aliens visiting Earth breaks no laws of physics, it just needs aliens to have incredible technology. Even with our understanding of the universe we can see that there’s possible ways to traverse space- you just need enough energy to do it.

    Because it breaks no laws it occupies a different type of skepticism than many other ideas. Even compared to the idea that 90% of the worlds population are alien invaders, which comparably wouldn’t break any laws either. It is comparable to the existence of a 10 tonne pig, rather than a pig that can fly. It is an interesting example of a way of dividing skepticism. Of course there is much more evidence that aliens are visiting than 10 tonne pigs!

    I am skeptical of many UFO stories, but not about aliens or aliens coming to Earth in general.

    Which paradox was it? The ‘if they’re out there why arn’t they here?’ one. It is a good question.

    I still remember reading how long it would take a civilisation to colonise the galaxy if they sent out ships to each neighboring system, spent 10 years there building a base, then sent out 2 more ships. Its unrealistic of course. Not all systems are going to be habitable (probably most) and you wouldnt be able to grow population quickly enough to sustain that rate. It did serve as a reminder that the galaxy could be colonised in very little time (geological time) though.

    Evolution has had some very long dry spells on this planet (thats not completely fair on it, just a characterisation). The 2 billion years our ancient ancestors spent as single celled life forms gives ample opportunity to imagine other life forms making the jump to multicellularism and cellular colonialism/specialisation millions of years before we did.

    The bigger question is why we dont see evidence for them everywhere, unless we don’t trust SETI to release their findings.

    1. Or do we?
      “The bigger question is why we don’t see evidence for them (aliens) everywhere … ”

      Perhaps the reason is that we don’t actually understand what we are looking for, or at.

      Regards, Kathrinn

      1. Answering the Fermi Paradox
        Quite probably.

        I really don’t like these bi-pedal alien figures. There’s nothing really to stop it happening, its just that there are so few fully upright bi-pedal life forms on Earth that to me its suggestive of a reduced probability of aliens being that way compared to about 100% of alien sightings being that way.

        On the other hand fully upright bipedalism could have been contributory to the evolution of our minds capacities. Ironically it might have been our biological weaknesses combined with sexual selection functioning alongside some form of memetic selection that drove our special abilities. A better understanding of our genetics compared to rates of mutation (the molecular clock) across a more distributed cross section of individual genes and the genes across the global population might shed more light on this. Then again bipedalism and increased brain function could have evolved alongside each other both responding to different stimuli. I think the latter fits better, combined with bits of the first.

        It is entirely possible that forms of life exist that we might not recognise, but they will need to be outside of the normal reproduction, growth, nutrition, excretion, respiration etc definitions to not be recognised once investigated properly.

        I have more trouble with us not seeing technological evidence. Obviously if they are communicating with unknown particles or purposely hiding themselves with cloaking devices then we wont see them.

        All the evidence put forward suggests they dont have cloaking technology though. Why bother using your cloaks to get here, then turn them off for flying around the planet. Perhaps some species have them and some dont, which suggests communication issues between alien races coming here. There is also the question of why they dont have cloak technology given that we have invented it, though not scaled it up yet, never mind the idea of cloaking entire civilisations.

        Given the sheer number of people claiming to see UFO’s, plus the fact that they have been picked up on radar, it shows that we already have the ability to detect them once they are here, even if only by radar and eyesight (or at least some of them).

        As for not seeing them in space you could be bang on the nose.

        There are some big restrictions on their abilities though, defined by what we dont see.

        I remember reading recently about the invalidity of the equation of the number of detectable alien races, which usually works by allowing for a sphere of radio waves from alien planets, such as what SETI is looking for. The assumption when this was conceived was that a species would reach a stage where they started broadcasting radiowaves into space and from then on become visible.

        I dont know if you have looked at the famous Drake equation? but it is worth a recap.

        N = R * fp * ne * fl * fi * fc * L

        N = The number of broadcasting civilizations.
        R = Average rate of formation of suitable stars (stars/year) in the Milky Way galaxy
        fp = Fraction of stars that form planets
        ne = Average number of habitable planets per star
        fl = Fraction of habitable planets (ne) where life emerges
        fi = Fraction of habitable planets with life where intelligent evolves
        fc = Fraction of planets with intelligent life capable of interstellar communication
        L = Years a civilization remains detectable

        The values originally used were
        R = 10, fp = 0.5, ne = 2.0, fl = 1.0, fi = 0.01
        fc = 0.01, L = 10000
        These values give 10 detectable races in our galaxy

        The current estimates are:
        R = 7, fp = 30,
        ne = >0.005 this has been refined away from just those in the habitable zone to include the chemistry as well so this number has been reduced and may even be minute.

        fl = 0.13, fi = 0.01
        fc = 0.01, L = 10000

        These give (using 0.1 for ne, which is my own enthusiastic figure) about 3 detectable races.

        But you will notice a huge problem with this equation.

        Because we all evolve at different times the equation requires an overlap between races broadcasting and us receiving. This is set in L=10000.

        That might have seemed reasonable at the time as i expect they set it to ether a guess at the lifetime of the advanced civilisation or who knows what. It isnt clear who they set it. Maybe they just didnt want criticism for setting it to 100,000 or a million.

        The problem is that the equation is only really set to detect ‘humanlike’ species development. This is not too unfair as by this they mean normal biological evolution and operating under the same laws of physics.

        They set out thinking that we would broadcast for long periods of time, i.e. 10000 years at a guess. However we are already shifting towards broadband telephone, computer and television communication using cables and in the future fibreoptic instead of copper. Already we are going dark to the skies. It has only taken us 70 years.

        If L = 70 then it is very likely under this equation that alien civilisations are dark and we will never detect them.

        In fact, with L=70: N=0.02 detectable races in our galaxy.

        This could be an answer to the Fermi Paradox.

        Then again any attempt to use this is fraught with error. Too much is unknown. All we really know is that it wasnt as simple as turning SETI on and finding evidence of them.

        1. A possible solution to bipedalism in aliens
          Another possible solution re. humanoid-like entities being reported in Close Encounter cases—apart from the ‘convergent evolution’ one, or even the popular ‘we descend from them’ myth—is that what’s being reported by the witnesses are some form of avatar pojections.

          Think Second Life. In that MMRoPG a person chooses a virtual character in which to interact amid a synthetic world. Due to the limitations of the game and/or technology, this ‘avatar’ is rather crude. It displays limited functionality and caricature movements. But it serves its purpose.

          There are many reports where the ‘aliens’ look humanoid, but move with clumsy and robotic movements. Often they don’t seem to be able to bend their knees or twist their necks like we do. Could it be that what we see is a very elaborate ‘projection’ of a higher consciousness seeking to interact with us?

          Also, about your idea that they should be able to use some cloaking device (something we probably all think in terms of what Star Trek has told us), there are many reports where witnesses claim that UFOs transform into mundane objects, like trucks or automobiles. So either they can alter our perceptions in ways we cannot even comprehend—or our own perception misinterprets the external stimuli since our psychological frameworks are shattered when confronting such a bizarre phenomenon that lies outside our daily experiences— or once again we’re dealing with something that can project whichever form it wants within our ‘reality’.

          Point is, we shouldn’t stick only to the ‘ETH’ (Extraterrestrial origin) hypothesis. It hasn’t brought much improvement to the understanding of the phenomenon, specially since it (the UFO phenomenon) seems to operate in complete disregard of our logical frameworks.

          We should first acknowledge that they are here. Where they come from should be addressed later, even if that might prove to be a question as pointless as if an aquarium fish were trying to determine the origin of the hand that wields the net that irrupts from time to time in its world 🙂

          It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
          It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

          Red Pill Junkie

  3. Using coral cache to get to David Clarke’s site
    Hi Greg,

    Coral Cache (http://www.coralcdn.org/) can be useful for getting to overwhelmed websites:

    The easiest way to use it is:

    save the bookmarklet (a bit of javascript in a bookmark – this particular one takes the url you are attempting to get to and adds “.nyud.net” to the end. You can just type the extra bit into the address bar, but bookmarklets automate the process to a single click) from
    and when a connection to a site times out just click on the bookmarklet and (with a bit of luck) you’ll get to the page.

    In this case the home page ends up as
    as you try the links and they time out just hit the bookmarklet again so you get, say for his Angel of Mons page:

    Combine this with a wayback machine bookmarklet — you can get one from the site as the coral cache bookmarklet — and timeout errors and 404 errors will be but a distant memory!

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