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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Aug > Aug 16

Re: UFO files #8 Released By UK National Archives

From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2011 14:13:16 +0100
Archived: Tue, 16 Aug 2011 09:24:07 -0400
Subject: Re: UFO files #8 Released By UK National Archives


>From: Gerald O'Connell <goc.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2011 11:55:56 +0100
>Subject: Re: UFO files #8 Released By UK National Archives

>>From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
>>To: post.nul
>>Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2011 14:20:52 +0100
>>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".

><snip>

>The file is 'striking' only to those who wish to make a close
>study of the ongoing infighting (squabbling might be a better
>term) that occurs between UK ufologists. At the centre of this
>one is the turf war over 'ownership' of the inside track on the
>'official view' - MoD files, National Archive etc..

No, it's about more than that, Gerald. The apparent support for
the MoD by the ICO. The hypocrisy of Pope, amongst other things
in relation to his 'abduction', and...

>The subtext of Joe's post is that if you think redaction
>conceals startling UFO secrets, then think again, because the
>most heavily redacted file merely conceals prosaic data about
>Nick Pope's efforts to overcome bureaucracy and get a book
>published.

...which is a perfectly valid comment. In another case I took to
the ICO about redaction of 3 pages in one of the released files,
it was entitled "Freedom of Information: outline, issues, and
options paper", pages 130-133 of DEFE24-1986-1-2. It was all
redacted und section 23 of the FoIA, "information received from,
or related to, the security bodies listed at section 23(3) of
the Freedom of Information Act".

According to:

www.ico.gov.uk/upload/...of.../s23_security_bodies_v1_fop097.pdf

"This exemption can only be claimed for information supplied by
or relating to the following bodies:

The Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service
(MI6). The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
including any part of the armed forces which is for the time
being assisting GCHQ in its functions.

The special forces, such as the Special Air Service (SAS). The
Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

The Security Commission and the Security Vetting Appeals Panel.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)."

It transpired that this message originated from a secretariat
called "Home and Special Forces" (H&SF). I couldn't understand
why H&SF were concerned about FoIA or why they had copied in the
UFO desk on this at the time.

Initially, the MoD refused to tell me who the Head of H&SF was
at the time, claiming he only held a junior grade. They also
refused to remove the redactions. I appealed to the ICO on the
grounds that I was doubtful that a political secretariat was
covered by 23(3) and because the identity of a head of
secretariat should be publicly known on grounds of transparency
and accountability, regardless of grade. While my complaint was
being considered, the MoD relented on the name and provided it
to me, going out of their way to say that he had no connection
whatsoever with UFOs and that the item had been misfiled. The
ICO contacted me, asking if I would withdraw the complaint since
the MoD had coughed up the name and in light of the fact that
the ICO had no power to force the MoD to remove the redactions
because they did qualify under 23(3). Even though there is scope
for organisations to release information no longer regarded as
sensitive, this is unenforceable by the ICO and depends on the
whim of the organisation concerned (in this case, the MoD). Not
wishing to waste government time and money  and facing the
inevitability of an ICO decision in favour of the MoD, I did
withdraw my complaint.

>The current batch of releases had been timed to coincide with
>the UK media's 'silly season' when politicians are all on
>holiday and hard news is thin on the ground. This would normally
>guarantee strong coverage but with a high giggle factor.
>However, a brief rash of consumer riots brought the politicians
>back from holiday and provided a wealth of shock/horror photo
>opportunities thereby pushing the UFO files off the
>media radar. So it goes...

I don't think it was a deliberate matter of timing, just a case
of the files being ready after being redacted and fitting the
release into Dave Clarke's availability and TNA work load. The
releases so far took place on the following dates:

14th May 2008
20th October 2008
22nd March 2009
17th August 2009
18th February 2010
5th August 2010
3rd March 2011
11th August 2011

Though it is a valid point that this release has been
overshadowed by more newsworthy events.


Joe


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