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 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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