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The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence has released the sixth instalment of their ‘UFO Files’ to the National Archives, where they can be freely downloaded as individual PDF files for the next month. The documents cover the period from 1995 to 2003. As with previous releases, UFO researcher/historian Dr David Clarke is acting as consultant to the National Archives on the project, and you can find his summary of the latest release at his blog. In this excerpt, Clarke discusses what one particular document might show about the British government’s (lack of) interest in UFOs:

[B]efore 1991 – which saw the collapse of the Soviet Union – RAF aircraft were scrambled on average 200 times every year to investigate unidentified objects seen by UK air defence radars. The vast majority of these were identified as Soviet reconnaissance aircraft probing NATO defences in the North Atlantic. But after the fall of the Berlin Wall the frequency of these scrambles reduced to zero. There were none recorded between September 1991 and the summer of 1996 when Redmond tabled his question in the Commons.

Contrast that zero figure with the number of UFO reports made by members of the public and logged by the MoD during exactly the same period. Between 1991 and 1996 there were almost 1200 sightings recorded. Few, if any were corroborated by a radar contact and just a handful were investigated in any depth – mainly as a result of pressure from MPs or the media.

Since 1959 the subject of UFOs has never reappeared on the agenda of the Joint Intelligence Committee. This is a sure sign that the subject is now regarded as of no consequence to the military and intelligence services in Britain at least.

What all this indicates to me is that by the 50th anniversary of the UFO industry in 1997, the British Government was no longer interested in UFOs as a defence problem. By then they saw it purely as a public relations issue. Each year they received hundreds of reports from the public but none that contained any evidence of a threat to the defence of the UK. The inevitable consequence of that change in policy was the closure of the MoD’s UFO hotline at the end of last year.

The National Archives site also has a podcast of David Clarke discussing the new document release, as well as a highlights summary and a guide to the document release (both PDF downloads). Some of the highlights, which are starting to appear on news sites (as they inevitably do), include Winston Churchill’s alleged UFO cover-up, the Welsh ‘Roswell’ incident that was (allegedly) just a landslide, and the case of of a psychic investigator who had a precognitive dream about a terrorist attack that happened not long after.

Previously on TDG: