|UFO Abductee Nick Pope, formerly of the MoD UFO Desk|
On June 20, 2013, news outlets reported that the British Ministry of Defense, which closed down its UFO Sightings desk in 2009, had just released the very last of its UFO files into the public domain. You can read the files here. One would expect that the well-known UFO proponents, who have been yammering about "UFO disclosure" for years, would be delighted. If so, one would be wrong. Nick Pope is very upset, and so are many others.
Nick Pope is a major UFO celebrity, originally from the U.K. but now living in the U.S. He claims that he was skeptical of UFOs prior to his work at the MoD UFO desk (there never was such a thing as a "UFO Project"), but in fact Pope believes he was abducted by aliens during a trip to Florida in 1991, before he began working for the MoD. The Sunday Times of London reported on February 7, 1999 that
The Ministry of Defence official who once headed investigations into unidentified flying objects believes he was abducted by aliens. Nick Pope, who ran the ministry's top secret Airstaff Secretariat office during the early 1990s, believes that he, his girlfriend and their car were abducted from a deserted toll road in Florida. He has described how he was lifted aboard an alien spacecraft and then wandered around its corridors - without, however, meeting any aliens.
Readers of this Blog will recall that I have written quite a bit about Pope before. In 2012 he was in many news stories for his warnings about a supposed "alien invasion" that could come at any time. Pope also warned of possible mass UFO appearances during the London Olympics. As I wrote about Pope's speech at this year's International UFO Congress in Arizona:
The next speaker was Nick Pope, who supposedly ran "the British Government's UFO Project," although in reality he didn't run anything, and worked part-time on the UFO Project from 1991 to 1994. He began his talk on the defensive, emphasizing that he did not actually predict an alien invasion, as many news stories and blogs reported last summer. I was, he said, merely promoting a space war type of video game, and reporters took my comments out of context. I wrote a Blog entry about this last August 22. Comments like, "The government must - and has planned - for the worst-case scenario: alien attack and alien invasion. Space shuttles, lasers and directed-energy weapons are all committed via the Alien Invasion War Plan to defence against any alien ships in orbit." Sorry Nick, that excuse doesn't work, as anyone can tell if they Google "Nick Pope Alien Invasion," which also brings up a story from October 12, 2012, "Britain has alien-war weapons, says former government adviser," and even "Aliens Could Attack at Any Time" from 2006. Stop trying to fool us, Nick, and admit you said these things.
One reason that UFOlogists are upset is that the newly-released UFO files contain nothing whatsoever of any real interest, and are in fact rather embarrassing to the pro-UFO side. As reported by the BBC,
Carl Mantell of the RAF's Air Command, suggested the MoD should try to significantly reduce the UFO work. He said it was "consuming increasing resource, but produces no valuable defence output". He told Mr Ainsworth that in more than 50 years, "no UFO sighting reported to [the MoD] has ever revealed anything to suggest an extra-terrestrial presence or military threat to the UK"... Among the 4,400 pages of documents released are:
- A letter from a school child in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, to the MoD, dated January 2009, asking if aliens exist after she had seen some strange lights, and including a drawing of an alien in a UFO waving
- A report received via the UFO hotline by someone who had been "living with an alien" in Carlisle for some time
- A report from a man from Cardiff who claimed a UFO abducted his dog, and took his car and tent, while he was camping with friends in 2007
|"Useful idiot" Dr. David Clarke|
Dr David Clarke, according to The Telegraph, "has been the National Archives 'UFO consultant' for five year project, during which it has made public more than 52,000 pages of official government files relating to mysterious sightings." Clarke is a former reporter and currently course leader and senior lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University teaching media law and investigation skills. His Ph.D is in Folklore from the National Centre for English Cultural Tradition, University of Sheffield. Since 2008 he has been working with The National Archives (TNA) as their consultant for the ongoing release of the UFO files created by Britain's Ministry of Defence.
Clarke says that
from 2000 onwards my FOI campaign made me a thorn in the side of the MoD to the extent that after seven years of constant pressure they relented and decided to transfer all surviving UFO papers to The National Archives. But instead of hailing the disclosure as a breakthrough, conspiracy nuts have portrayed it as a cover-up because the documents do not provide any support for their beliefs.
A claim by the British Ministry of Defence that UFOs have no defense significance is "designed solely to keep Parliament, the media and the public off our backs," according to former MoD UFO Desk administrator Nick Pope.... Official MoD spokesmen and one self-styled UFO expert, David Clarke, claim that the MoD found no evidence of a UFO threat to the UK and, therefore, closed its UFO Desk....Regarding David Clarke, Pope says, "Some people would probably use the term 'useful idiot' to describe his parroting the MoD 'no defense significance' sound bite."
Robert Hastings, famous for his "UFOs and Nukes" claims, jumped into the fray. Last August I wrote about Hastings' absurd charges about CSI(COP), such as the following:
Highly relevant to this discussion is my research into Sheaffer’s affiliation with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) which was previously named The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). As journalist Terry Hansen has argued in The Missing Times, the historical role of CSICOP (now CSI) strongly suggests it has been performing as an intelligence community “front organization”—pumping anti-UFO propaganda into the media without revealing its true source or motivation.
Well-known “skeptic” Robert Sheaffer’s performance in Secret History of UFOs, the National Geographic network’s latest debunking-disguised-as-documentary, begs the question: At what point does the systematic presentation of half-truths and outright falsehoods about the UFO phenomenon cross the line from incompetent scholarship to intentional disinformation?Now Hastings is claiming
As I noted in my last article, given the extremely biased and propagandistic treatment of the UFO subject one consistently finds on Nat Geo, it might reasonably be argued that the network has been working behind the scenes with the CIA to debunk the phenomenon.
it appears that what the MoD has been engaging in is the selective declassification of UFO-related files, whereby low-level, generally mundane documents are released with much media fanfare, while very sensitive files continue to be withheld from public view. The practice is commonly called “spin”. The purpose of this propaganda tactic is to alter the actual story of official interest in the UFO phenomenon, so that it appears as if there exists only minimal concern or none at all.Hastings' primary evidence seems to be tired old, long-refuted claims concerning the UK Rendlesham Forest 'UFO landing' in 1980.
Clarke wrote in 2010 that
Within the next 18 months the Ministry of Defence will complete their disclosure programme of UFO-related documents. But some UFOlogists continue to demand they “come clean on all levels”. They believe there are more secret documents being held back that contain evidence of alien visitations. I can reveal the only documents MoD intends to permanently conceal from the public concern their secret dealings not with aliens, but with a former member of their own staff – Nick Pope.Clarke had made a Freedom of Information request of the MOD for “copies of MoD papers, records or other information relating to internal discussion, policy and/or briefings in response to public statements made to the media and via the release of Open Skies, Closed Minds by Nick Pope during the period 1995-96.” As Clarke explained to Pope at the time, "my request was specifically for “internal comment on your Press interviews in 1996 and MoD’s discussion of what line to take” and not for access to his private correspondence with his employers over the clearance of his manuscript (with one exception that concerns a specific letter which he had quoted from in the public domain)." Clarke's request was not granted, and it turns out that the reason was that Pope “has written to the MoD and asked for the information not to be released into the public domain.”
So much for "full disclosure!" Probably the reason that Pope opposes the release of such documents is that they undoubtedly would contain more comments like these:
“…far from accurately representing the Department’s position [on UFOs], he [Nick Pope] has sought to embellish the truth at almost every turn.” (from a document prepared by one of Pope's line managers in 2000-2001, DEFE 24/2019, released into the National Archives in 2011).
End the UFO Coverup, Nick, and release the files!"A great pity that a more permanent abduction by aliens cannot be arranged. I'm not surprised that they did not want to keep him." (one of Pope's managers scribbled this comment in a margin of one of the redacted documents released by the MoD and dated 10 October 1995)
There is a very interesting 2009 article in Tim Printy's Sun-Lite about Pope by someone calling himself "Col. Arnold Moulder" (but is probably Colonel Mustard, with the candlestick, in the library). It describes Pope's efforts to hide these documents, and gives numerous other examples of Pope playing fast and loose with facts.