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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2008 > May > May 30

Re: MoD File Release

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Fri, 30 May 2008 17:41:15 +0100
Archived: Fri, 30 May 2008 13:46:57 -0400
Subject: Re: MoD File Release


>From: Don Ledger <dledger.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 14:11:03 -0300
>Subject: Re: MoD File Release

>>From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Wed, 28 May 2008 19:53:55 +0100
>>Subject: Re: MoD File Release

>In the scheme of things do you really think the MOD's release of
>these files most of which are pretty lame is/was Earth shaking
>to anyone but the media looking for stories on a slow day? If
>anything I was hoping the MOD or whoever looked into these cases
>for the MOD might have done a thorough investigation into some
>of them. Nick did so in some cases [Cosford?] when he was
>involved but the earlier cases were basically just shelved.

Hi Don

I'm afraid the MoD document file on Cosford actually does not
reveal anything like a "thorough investigation". Almost all of
it is copies of report forms, no different from the thousands of
others released and containing embarrassingly little
information. The investigation was really limited to a few phone
calls and a couple of memos.

The RAF Shawbury Met Officer was interviewed by phone, but
(IIRC) none of the other witnesses were, and the account of that
one phone interview contains discrepancies with RAF Police
accounts of the same event which were not followed up (perhaps
not even noticed).

The Cosmos booster re-entry was completely disregarded with, it
would appear, scarcely a second thought because the reported
sighting times were widely scattered and because a rough sketch
map of reported object headings showed a confusion of
directions. It took Joe and Gary to show that when you isolate
the core of reports coinciding approximately in time with the
Cosmos booster re-entry (remembering the hour ambiguity caused
by the date being on the cusp of the change from GMT to BST) the
map of object directions appears considerably cleaned up, the
average direction now consistent with the known booster
trajectory - imperfectly of course, but pretty convincingly.

If these descriptions were not of the Cosmos booster, then why
not? - when people were looking at the sky at about the right
time. Contrarily, if there was a UFO as well as a booster re-
entry then where are the reports in the news from people who saw
both a UFO _and_ the booster? And it appears that with the
exception of a hearsay report from a N Ireland amateur
astronomer there are no stories of people seeing the booster re-
entry. Yet we _know_ the booster was there in the right place at
the right time. This only makes sense if we assume that the
booster re-entry was widely seen, and was reported as the UFO.

Now there were a number of other reports which, depending on
your point of view, are either just background noise or an
obscured signal. Some of these were made through officical
routes, some were submitted to MoD in a collection made by an
assiduous west country ufologist. Most of them are almost
totally lacking in substantive information because none was ever
sought, leaving open the possibility that they are just sediment
stirred up by the excitement. But there are tantalising
anomalies in these reports, as I have maintained strongly in the
past. In particular, there's a _hint_ of a pattern of early
sightings, hours before the re-entry time, which are in general
very sketchily reported and could contain timing errors on the
part of witnesses - except that one of these sightings turns out
to have been logged in police records as _reported_ long before
the re-entry time as well. Possibly just coincidence, possibly
not. Intriguing, at least. The point is that no attempt at all
was made by MoD to resolve such questions by so much as a phone
call.

I feel sure that if you find the time to study the whole MoD
file you'll agree that it was not what an experienced "field
ufologist" would consider a thorough investigation. Joe
McGonagle's web pages expose in detail how shallow and
misleading it was. In contrast, look at the depth and
sophistication and perseverance shown in investigations by some
members of this list - check Bruce Maccabee's studies of
McMinnville, Kaikoura, Phoenix just for example. No comparison.
If Cosford _does_ represent a high-water mark of MoD
investigation then it says little for the rest.

But I think it's quite certain that a great deal more data has
been generated and a lot more technical and intelligence
sophistication has been brought to bear on some cases,
particularly unusual cases from military sources. We are not
seeing all of this, partly because some of it was recorded in
attachments which are no longer extant (shown by document titles
or disclosed by inference), partly because we are not seeing
what we might call the "workings out" but only the bald answer
considered requisite for UFO filing purposes (most often this
answer being mere silence), and partly (more generally I'd say)
because of a semantic issue:

The more tractable, hard quantitative data there is associated
with an unusual incident, then the less likely it is to enter
the UFO report chain in the first place, and if it does, the
less likely it is that further information generated as a result
will remain there. An example is radar angels. Of course a huge
amount of research and analysis has been done under MoD auspices
that bears very directly on what, to us, is the UFO issue, but
which is not accessible to us because it is not recorded under
that keyword. None of this work is likely ever to have been
routed via Sec(AS), and to the extent that it comes to the
notice of (say) DI55 then it will tend to do so under various
different technical and operational headings that have nothing
to do with the UFO reporting chain as such. So far as I am
aware, nothing would oblige technical intelligence people to
cross-reference these different inputs and make sure that files
relating to the latter are scrupulously updated with all
information generated via the former.

Clearly this did not happen, and this is why the UFO files
appear to exist (with rare exceptions) in a strange technical
intelligence vacuum. Reports submitted through UFO channels were
rarely if ever "followed up" via UFO channels because there was
rarely if ever any _need_ to do so: Those channels were crude,
slow and hopeless. To the extent that they were interesting the
issues could better be explored through other channels. The fact
that UFOs were in general a side issue does not mean that
elements of UK technical intelligence have not from time to time
taken an interest in anomalous phenomena, of various kinds. On
the contrary, "UFO reports" is the catch-all category for what
is generally _not_ of interest, and where an overlap occurs with
some other administrative category ("radar angels", "plasma risk
to aircraft safety", "the problem of unexplained aerial
phenomena masking hostile incursions", whatever) it is through
that other category that substantive information is likely to
have been developed, distilled into some useful technical
intelligence product, disseminated to specialist end-users under
an appropriate title, and to large extent then eventually filed
and discarded as redundant raw data.

So realistically a release of "UFO" holdings is just not going
to reflect this activity, and even if we knew exactly how to ask
for it a) much of it would probably be protected from disclosure
by its very nature and b) much of it would probably be largely
incomprehensible anyway, reams of meaningless data sets and in-
house jargon with no obvious relevance to anything. Yes there
could very well be some "good stuff" in there for the likes of
us, and there even may be end-users who (either in the govt's
time or their own) think about the same sorts of questions we do
(and wonder what to do about them, as we do). But at the same
time it would clearly be a mistake to roll all of this up into
one lump under the umbrella of a monolithic "govt UFo project "
with a dynamite secret. Anyway, that's my opinion at the moment,
based on the history and reading the files


Martin Shough



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