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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Aug > Aug 15

Re: UFO files #8 Released By UK National Archives

From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2011 14:20:52 +0100
Archived: Mon, 15 Aug 2011 17:45:51 -0400
Subject: Re: UFO files #8 Released By UK National Archives

Having had a little time to examine the files now, one striking
aspect is that the most heavily redacted file is DEFE24-2091-1,
and concerns Nick Pope's manuscript of "Open Skies, Closed
Minds". Not the manuscript itself, but dialogue about it between
Pope, MoD legal branch, the Air Historical Branch, Pope's
successors, his current (then) boss, MoD personnel, and MoD

The file was generated when Andy Roberts made an FoIA request
about MoD deliberations concerning the release of the book. Some
of the documents will also have been covered by a separate
request by Dave Clarke for MoD deliberations concerning Pope's
media activity. The latter was subject to an appeal to the
information commissioner at:

(pdf file)

Copied at:


In spite of the redactions, there are some tantalising
indications as to the nature of the content. A letter to Pope,
apparently declining to approve publication, followed by a reply
from him on 1st May 1995 which drew the following unattributed

"it seems that we will have another dratted manuscript to read"

Another unattributed hand-written note attached to a document
dated 10th October 1995 says:

"A great pity that a more permanent abduction by aliens cannot
be arranged. I'm not surprised that they didn't want to keep

This is most likely a reference to a story in the book which in
the manuscript was about Pope himself, but in the published
version his character was renamed "Peter" about a missing time
experience in the USA (the "Tollbooth" incident).

When Dave Clarke appealed to the Information Commissioner, he
contacted Pope and asked if he would lend support to the release
of the documents in question. In fact, Pope wrote to the MoD
asking them _NOT_ to release the information - this is made
explicit in paragraph 26 of the Information Commissioner's
decision notice referred to earlier.

Following the decision, Pope commented that the information Dave
had requested was private or words to that effect. The story of
his experience at the toll gate was not considered "private" by
him in the first draft of the manuscript. I suspect that the MoD
originally refused permission to publish at least partly based
on that story. Why did the MoD object to that part? Why does
Pope now consider it "private"?

In the past, Pope has declared support for freedom of
information about the UFO subject from any source. in a
statement to the Disclosure Project, he is quoted as saying:

"During my tour of duty in Secretariat Air Staff at the Ministry
of Defense, I operated a very open policy with regard to the UFO
issue. I made it my business to be quite open and honest about
the official research and investigation that I was doing, and
not to suppress any data on this. I believe that governments and
the military, and indeed private researchers, politicians,
whoever should place everything in the public domain on this
issue. Governments can't, I think, have it both ways. You cannot
say on the one hand, as the party line often goes, that UFOs are
of no defense significance, and then on the other, keep back
some of the data.

You simply can't do that. You have to have it one way, or the
other. And if, as governments consistently say when the
politicians probe on this issue or when the media inquire, that
there's really nothing to worry about, then okay, let's see all
the data. Let's check that that decision is a valid one, reached
through a proper methodology."

More recently, he wrote on the "Justice for the Bentwaters 81st
Security Police at Rendlesham Forest 1980" facebook page at:


"While I accept that some people are suspicious of my MoD
background, I do genuinely believe in accountability, freedom of
information, open government, democracy, etc."

So _you_ "simply can't do that", but Nick Pope it seems, can.

Furthermore, I am curious as to how Nick managed to sidestep
rule 5 on page 213 of the file, which is an extract from the MoD
personnel manual:

"Civil servants must not publish or broadcast personal memoirs
reflecting their experience in Government, or enter into
commitments to do so, whilst in Crown employment. The permission
of the Head of the Department and the Head of the Home Civil
Service must be sought before entering into commitments to
publish such memoirs after leaving the service."

That is a concern about the fair application of Civil Service
rules, not about Nick Pope's "private" concerns.

Interestingly, both Andy and Dave were told by the MoD that
redacted versions of the documents could not be released because
the remaining content would be meaningless. In Dave's case, the
Information Commissioner supported that conclusion. In the file
released at TNA, a redacted version of some of the requested
information _has_ been released, and some of it is useful. That
being so, why did the MoD and the ICO adopt their earlier stance
of not allowing redacted versions to be released? That is not
the only decision in support of the MoD made by the ICO which I
find questionable, and the Information Tribunal has overturned
MoD decisions which were supported by the ICO in the past. The
ICO appears to be too easily convinced by the MoD arguments.


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