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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2003 > Sep > Sep 3

Re: Open Skies, Closed Minds - Pope

From: Nick Pope <nick@popemod.freeserve.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 23:54:42 +0100
Fwd Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2003 19:08:40 -0400
Subject: Re: Open Skies, Closed Minds - Pope

>From: Mac Tonnies <macbot@yahoo.com>
>To: ufoupdates@virtuallystrange.net
>Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2003 22:30:29 -0700 (PDT)
>Subject: Review: Open Skies, Closed Minds

>"Open Skies, Closed Minds" by Nick Pope
>review by Mac Tonnies

>Former Ministry of Defense UFO insider Nick Pope's "Open Skies,
>Closed Minds" is a brief, sensibly written book that retreads a
>lot of familiar ufological turf. Don't expect mind-blowing
>revelations or answers to raging conspiracy theories; if the UK
>government is sitting on smoking gun evidence, Pope honestly
>doesn't know about it. I enjoyed "Open Skies" for its sane,
>sometimes witty, perspective. With a refreshing emphasis on UFO
>activity in Britain, Pope manages to convey the microcosm of UFO
>research and its effects on contemporary culture, addressing
>close encounters, military intrigue, contactees and the bizarre
>spectacle of crop circles while ably interweaving his own
>experience and opinions into the tapestry of a modern

>"Open Skies'" major shortcoming is the author's committment to a
>"nuts and bolts" explanation for UFO visitation. Pope makes no
>secret of his extraterrestrial bias - in fact, he goes so far as
>to interpret UFO activity as a possible military threat to
>humankind (one of the final chapters is titled, tellingly,
>"Earth Versus the Flying Saucers"). While I found some of Pope's
>conclusions naive and credulous (especially his seeming
>endorsement of the abduction research of Budd Hopkins),
>newcomers to the UFO controversy could do worse than follow
>Pope's journey from open-minded skeptic to impassioned advocate.


Open Skies, Closed Minds was a difficult book to write. I was
still working for the Ministry of Defence, and the book had to
be vetted by the Publications Clearance Branch. This process
wasn't without its dramas, and I was genuinely surprised by some
of the reactions within the Department. Despite having been
careful not to include any classified information, I was
nonetheless asked to take out a considerable amount of material.
Having signed the Official Secrets Act, I naturally complied
with the instruction.

The irony was that during the first Gulf War I'd worked as a
watchkeeper/briefer in the Air Force Operations Cell in the
MOD's Joint Operation Centre, and had myself been involved in
vetting books after the war. I was surprised that clearing a
book on UFOs proved quite as difficult as proved to be the case,
especially given the fact that some books on Special Forces
operations seemed less problematic. I try not to be too
conspiratorial about all this.

With the above in mind, Open Skies, Closed Minds could only ever
be an overview of the phenomenon, with some general information
about the British Government's UFO project, and details of a few
of the cases I'd investigated.

You mention my views on the alien abduction phenomenon. My views
on this have evolved somewhat since I wrote Open Skies, Closed
Minds, and I wrote a book called The Uninvited, which
concentrated solely on abductions. You may well disagree with
some of my conclusions, but I would be interested to hear your
views on this book, in due course.

Best wishes,

Nick Pope