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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2008 > May > May 28

Re: MoD File Release

From: Gerald O'Connell <gac.nul>
Date: Tue, 27 May 2008 22:35:18 +0100
Archived: Wed, 28 May 2008 05:37:49 -0400
Subject: Re: MoD File Release

>From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Mon, 26 May 2008 20:43:55 +0100
>Subject: Re: MoD File Release

>>From: Gerald O'Connell <gac.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Sun, 25 May 2008 19:03:04 +0100
>>Subject: Re: MoD File Release

>>>From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
>>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>>Date: Sat, 24 May 2008 00:12:20 +0100
>>>Subject: Re: MoD File Release


>>>>The timing of this particular embarrassment for the MoD should
>>>>serve as a salutary warning for those who, for whatever reason,
>>>>want to believe that the MoD is telling the truth, the whole
>>>>truth, and nothing but the truth.

>>>Which rather illustrates my point about cover-ups - if the
>>>authorities are so all-powerful, why didn't they just cover this

>>I can't imagine a more crass comment in this context. You appear
>>to be of the view that because some things have come to light,
>>then that must mean that everything has come to light, and there
>>is no more to be concealed. And where did you get the idea that
>>anybody is suggesting that the authorities are omnipotent?

>I refer you back to Don Ledgers words from his post on 20th May:

>"Why the hell would they tell you? Do you really think you are in
>the loop? There are plenty of things the government keeps secret
>that have nothing to do with UFOs that you will never be privy
>to. They have become masters at it over many centuries."

But Don is merely pointing out that the authorities have had a
lot of experience in concealing information and have become very
good at it. That's not the same as being omnipotent. Far from
it. Accidents happen.

As it happens, the revelation that I referred to occurred
'accidentally' - the consequence of a particular type
(investigative and not adversarial) of court case and of a judge
who was prepared to criticise the establishment. That doesn't
happen very often, but when it does we see that the MOD lied.
Readers can draw their own conclusions from this.

>>>I'm curious to know where you think we _can_ go other than as I
>>>described in a previous post - misplaced records - and appeals
>>>against retentions?

>>Well Joe, let's try to satisfy your curiosity as to the
>>mechanics of an Open Society. We could have new laws relating to
>>FOI, and they could be more strongly biased in favour of public
>>scrutiny of government or civil service activities and
>>decisions. And then we could have a much more open system of
>>appeal. Instead of having a process whereby the burden of work
>>is on researchers, journalists and busybodies to extract
>>material, we could have a system whereby records are
>>automatically made public and officials have to do the work and
>>justify non-disclosure. We could ensure that any significant
>>decisions on non-disclosure have to be taken by a jury, rather
>>than by paid public officials. Like I said, it's a long journey!

>If I understand you correctly,

I'm sorry but you don't.

>you are advocating divulging every
>scrap of paper generated by the government. If that were so, the
>entire population

A gross exaggeration.

>would be involved in sanitising

In an open system 'sanitisation' as you put it would be a simple task.

>and publishing the information,

No, I'm not suggesting that it should be published. I'm
suggesting that it should be accessible to adults of sound mind
who wish to see it.

>and most of it would go unread. I think there
>are already too many people employed by the government, and too
>much unread material published.

>It would however be an excellent way of concealing information -
>just bury it in a mountain of other information which no-one
>would have the time to sift through.

Technology, in the form of digitisation and search capabilities,
has already defeated that argument in principle. And the 'too
much work' argument is downright sinister: it assumes that
secrecy is and should be the norm, and that, therefore, the most
labour-intensive scrutiny of documentation is required before it
can be released. My suggestion was that this is perversion of
the spirit of governmental openness, and that the assumption
should be turned on its head: secrecy should be the exception,
not the rule, and its justification should be via open legal

The general drift of your remarks, Joe, seems to be that you are
happy to see the current level of disclosure, but would be
uncomfortable to see any substantial improvement on the status
quo. I can't believe that is really the case, but it is
certainly what comes across.

Gerald O'Connell

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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