From: Dave Clarke <email@example.com> Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 18:29:06 -0000 Fwd Date: Fri, 04 Jan 2002 16:51:20 -0500 Subject: British MOD UFO Study Source: Yorkshire Post (Leeds, U.K.) http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk 4 January 2002 UFO COVER-UP REVEALED The British Government had its own version of the X-Files, and for decades denied the fact. Only through the dogged perseverance of a Yorkshire researcher did they eventually come to light, as STEPHEN BISCOE reports. AT the height of the Cold War, UFO fever was so rampant in the UK that the Ministry of Defence set up a secret working party to try to establish if Earth really was under observation by visiting aliens. It involved experts from the Directorate of Scientific Intelligence and the Joint Technical Intelligence Committee, and eventually they produced a report. Then the MoD spent the next 49 years denying it ever existed. Yesterday, the Public Record Office (PRO) made the papers public, but only after their existence had been admitted to a local government Press officer. Had it not been for Dr David Clarke,it is unlikely that they would have come to light. Clarke combines his local government job with an academic career which has made him one of the country's leading folklore experts. A researcher at the National Centre for English Cultural Tradition at Sheffield University, he is the author of several books on a range of folkloric traditions. His latest book Out of the Shadows, to be published in May by Piatkus, draws on the two years of research he has been carrying out for a post-doctoral study. In the course of it, he came across references in official government documents to the report of the secret working party set up on Churchill's orders in 1950 to investigate reports of UFO sightings. In 1980, the 30-year rule ended its term of confidentiality - but the rule was ignored and it remained secret. Clarke says, in fact, that he was repeatedly told by the MoD that no such report existed; it even denied the existence of the working party. Yet the Sheffield researcher was still coming across references to both. He was being lied to - and so was Parliament. In 1955 and again in 1962, the Yorkshire Conservative MP Major Sir Patrick Wall asked questions in the House about the report, and each time was told that there had been no formal study. Those who knew otherwise might have thought it contained such startling data that the Government dared not risk causing panic by making it public. Clarke was certainly so intrigued that he kept up his pesterings until eventually, in May last year, the MoD actually admitted that the report did exist - and furthermore, allowed him see it. What he read astounded him because nothing in it even hinted thatthe researchers believed in an extra-terrestrial invasion. Indeed, the authors dismissed the claims of UFO sightings as "optical illusions and psychological delusions" - or just plain hoaxes. They wrote: "We consider that no progress will be made by attempting further investigation of unco-ordinated and subjective evidence, and that positive results could only be obtained by organising throughout the country, or the world, continuous observation of the skies by a co-ordinated network of visual observers, equipped with photographic apparatus, and supplemented by a network of radar stations and sound locators." They concluded: "We should regard this, on the evidence so far available, as a singularly profitless enterprise. We accordingly recommend very strongly that no further investigation of reported mysterious aerial phenomena be undertaken, unless and until some material evidence becomes available." One of the cases they examined involved Flight Lieutenant Stan Hubbard from York who, in 1950, described having seen, on two different occasions, "a flat disc, light pearl grey in colour, about 50 feet in diameter" flying low over the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough at speeds of 800mph to 1,000mph. The authors of the report said: "We find it impossible to believe that a most unconventional aircraft, of exceptional speed, could have travelled at no great altitude, in the middle of a fine summer morning, over a populous and air-minded district like Farnborough, without attracting the attention of more than one observer." Hubbard did not know about this conclusion until Dave Clarke tracked him down to his home in Virginia and sent him a copy of the report. He reacted angrily to its dismissive tone. Hubbard said that at the second sighting, a few weeks later, he was with five other test pilots on the roof of the control tower waiting for one of their colleagues to make a landing - and all of them saw it. One of the five was Wing Commander Frank Jolliffe, and Clarke has spoken to him, too. Jolliffe said he was interviewed by MoD agents who appeared to be taking his account seriously - and until he saw the report, he had gone on assuming that that had been the case. After the MoD allowed Clarke to see the report last May, it was sent to the Public Record Office which released it on Wednesday along with the 1901 Census and other once-confidential documents. Clarke says: "The fact that it has taken half a century for these papers to come to light shows how keen the MoD have been to conceal their interest in the subject of UFOs. "Rather than coming clean at the time, they decided to keep the contents of this report secret, which has given rise to all the claims of Government cover-ups and conspiracies that lie behind the X-Files mythology. "What they were covering up was not knowledge of alien visitors, but simply the fact that they did not have any real answers. "At that time, at the height of the Cold War, flying saucers could have been Russian aircraft or missiles and so a policy of silence was thought to be the safest policy. "These papers show there was a cover-up, but it was a cover-up of ignorance not of any secret knowledge."
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