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 Security. 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: http://tinyurl.com/2vvwmso (pdf file) Copied at: http://ufoupdateslist.com/2010/aug/m01-004.shtml 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 remark: "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 him." 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: http://www.facebook.com/groups/118776534810576/ "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. Joe Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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