It's a rainy day in Adelaide. I've just been out for a long lunch at a pub in the City and am feeling rather comfortable. My brain is back into UFO phenomenon mode, after a busy week at work. Do you sometimes wish that you could give up your day job and study UFOs full time? I do!
So, to the subject of today's post. I am returning to a topic dear to my heart - intelligence agencies and the UFO phenomenon. If you are new here, you might wish to go back over any posts dealing with intelligence agencies, to get up to speed with what comes next.
I have finally managed to re-read the book "The UFO files: The inside story of real-life sightings" by English researcher, Dr David Clarke. The book was published late last year by The National Archives in the United Kingdom. The ISBN number for those who might wish to go out and purchase the book is 978 1 90561550. My copy, surprisingly, comes courtesy of my local Council library.
David's book is a look at UFOs, as described in official Government documents held by the National Archives of the U.K. As he says in the introduction "The sightings described in this book were mostly made by ordinary people, from all walks of life who felt they should report their experiences to the authorities." David's work describes some of these sightings and the response to them by the authorities.
Although I found the entire book fascinating, and an absolute must read, it was the mention of the actions of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), and specifically its intelligence areas, which was the main focus of my attention.
Why did the Government look at UFO reports?
"The MoD states that it examines UFO reports solely to establish if what was seen has any 'defence significance.'"
This post will therefore note some of David's comments about the MoD's intelligence agencies' response.
Writing about Sir Henry Tizard - Chief Scientific Advisor to the MoD, "It was as a direct result of his influence that the British Government was persuaded to set up a small working party to investigate the mystery, reporting to the Directorate of Scientific Intelligence/Joint Technical Intelligence Committee (DSI/JTIC), part of the Ministry of Defence." (p41.)
"...a decision was taken in 1953 that the Air Ministry should investigate UFO reports...and responsibility was delegated...to a section of the air technical intelligence branch, DDI (Tech)." (p51.)
"An analysis of 80 reports received to the end of 1954 formed the basis of an article in a classified publication known as the Air Ministry Secret Intelligence Summary ..." (p60.)
"A number of Defence Intelligence Staff branches were secretly involved in UFO investigations, but from 1967 all unexplained incidents were reported to DI55. Their primary role was to collect intelligence on Soviet guided missiles and satellite launches that were occasionally reported as UFOs." (p70.)
In 1967 there was a UFO flap in the U.K. including a case where two police officers in Devon chased a UFO. "...DI55 sent a scientific officer, Dr John Dickison, to interview the two Devon police constables." (p74.)
Also in 1967, The MoD "...assembled a small team of experts drawn from the RAF and the Defence Intelligence Staff, who were placed on stand-by to make field investigations of credible reports." (p75.)
The U.K. Government files on the Rendelsham Forst case were released in 2001, "They reveal the Defence Intelligence staff were unable to explain the sightings, but offered to follow up the unusual radiation readings described by Holt. " (p106.)
Writing of English crop circles , "An Army team, led by Lieutenant Colonel G.J.B. Edgecombe, visited the field...Lieutenant Colonel Edgecombe's report and photographs were sent to the UFO desk and then on to the Defence Intelligence staff branch DI55..." (p113.)
"...a RAF Wing Command, working for the Defence Intelligence Staff lobbied MoD officials at a Whitehall briefing on the need for a properly funded study of UFOs..." (p138.) "The Wing Commander said the key priority for the MoD was 'Technology Transfer,' which he explained in this way,'if the reports are taken at face value then devices exist that do not use conventional reaction propulsion systems, they have a very wide range of speeds and are stealthy. I suggest we could use this technology, if it exists.'" (p139.)
"...senior intelligence officers...reluctantly agreed to earmark 50,000 pounds of public money from an existing defence contract for a UFO study." (p140.)
"The UFO study was hidden by the codename 'Project Condigm.' (p140.)
"Its foundation stone was a sample of UFO sightings taken from reports held in defence intelligence files." (p140.)
"A copy of the Condigm report was released under the Freedom of Information Act in 2006." (p141.)
"The 'Summary of findings' led the author to conclude that although UFOs, or 'UAPs' certainly existed, they posed no threat to defence..." (p143.)
"...the Condigm report's key recommendation was that UFOs had no intelligence value and that the Defence Intelligence Staff should cease to receive the reports..." (p145.)
"The completion of the Condigm report in 2000 brought to an end half a century of intelligence interest in UFOs that began officially in 1950 when Sir Henry Tizard asked the MoD to set up a Flying Saucer Working Party..." (p145.)
Is this the end? "In Britain the MoD's UFO desk continues to receive sightings and every year a small number are sent to the Directorate of Counter Terrorism and UK Operations for expert scrutiny. Today it is this branch that is responsible for the air defence of the UK, and their responsibility to decide if any UFO report should be investigated further..." (p146.)
"Today British intelligence agencies have washed their hands of UFOs while the MoD approaches the subject as more of a public relations than a defence problem." (p150.)
To me, this book is an incredibly fascinating review of the U.K. Government's response to the UFO phenomenon. The approach of the intelligence agencies within the MoD is mirrored in the response of the Australian Government's Department of Defence's appraoch to UFOs. If readers have not yet read the final report of the five year long Disclosure Australia Project, I would urge you to do so. It can be found here.
If you have taken note of David Clarke's comments above you will experience a sense of 'deja vu" when reading the Australian experience.