We're done here, now go away
|By Billy Cox|
David Clarke, the tireless Sheffield Hallam University professor whose decade-long quest in getting his country’s National Archives to release UFO files compiled by the British Ministry of Defence, reached the end of the road on June 23 with a final data-dump into the public domain. And he signed off on that last batch with I-told-you-so relish. There were no smoking guns amid the 52,000 pages released since the incremental undertaking began in 2009, and even veteran British researcher Jenny Randles lauded Clarke’s persistence.
“I may not agree with everything that he says on the subject — but I do with much of it and respect all of his views about the remainder,” she wrote in an addendum to Clarke’s parting shots. “I certainly know that he is nobody’s puppet. And I, for one, say thank you for his efforts.”Based solely on the evidence presented by UK authorities — and the MoD’s ostensible exculpatory transparency — Clarke’s obituary on that nation’s ufology would appear well sourced. But by pulling in some American “Skeptical Inquirer” types to fortify his position, Clarke clearly overreaches in his alacrity to settle the worldwide UFO problem once and for all. No room, of course, for the testimony of former Belgian Air Force general Wilfried de Brouwer concerning the F-16 scrambles during 1989-90 European wave, or flight-safety issues raised by former NASA scientist Richard Haines, both of whom presented their evidence at a symposium just last weekend in Greensboro, N.C. Truth is, you could spend all night listing Clarke's points of omission and it wouldn’t make a dime's worth of difference here. Not when you forsake good data and credible witnesses for shopworn cliches, as Clarke chose to.
“... My favourite quote of the whole two day media event,” he wrote of the reception to the final MoD document delivery, “came from the New York Times as follows: ‘Dr. Clarke, who has approached the UFO phenomenon from a sociological perspective, noted that many UFO sightings came from the Scottish city of Glasgow between 10 p.m. and midnight — around the time the pubs are closing.’”
Wow. Drunk eyewitnesses again. Fascinating. Zzzz.
Clarke also took a few shots at fellow British ufologists Nick Pope and Timothy Good for holding “preconceived beliefs” in their failure to trust The Official Story “because it is in their interest [as UFO authors] to keep the mystery alive and kicking.”
Clarke draws a particularly critical bead on Pope, who anchored the MoD’s UFO desk from 1991-94. He charges Pope with hypocrisy for requesting that his own UFO-related records remain exempt from disclosure.
“The reason these papers are being with-held,” Clarke alleges, “is because they contain information about Nick Pope’s ‘conversion’ to UFO believer that followed his alien abduction experience in Florida in 1991. This happened shortly before he joined the ‘UFO desk’ when he claims he had little or no interest in the subject.”
Now that’s actually interesting.
In denying the abduction story in an email to De Void — “I've never even seen a UFO!” — Pope sought to clarify the record. To wit:
“Some UK-based ufologists took exception to the fact that I used some pseudonymous cases in my book on alien abductions, ‘The Uninvited’. I replied that witness confidentiality applied without exception and added ‘even if it was me’ as a joke. The joke spread and I replied that I could "neither confirm nor deny" (NCND) the rumor. NCND is a Ministry of Defense in-joke, just as ‘I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you’ is an in-joke in the intelligence community.
“The only documents that I requested the MoD withhold are ones relating to my work as a freelance journalist, broadcaster and PR consultant. Clarke is one of a small group of UK ufologists who are absolutely obsessed with me, in view of my government work on UFOs. This bizarre groups of oddballs — which includes a deeply unpleasant individual who runs an anti-Semitic blog — have submitted multiple FOI requests to MoD about me and poison the blogosphere with incessant hate-filled rantings about my government work — in many people's eyes I still work for the government and am personally responsible for the UFO cover-up! I took the view — and the MoD agreed — that documents relating to my business activities were private and should certainly not be passed to some of the more unpleasant characters who lurk on the fringes of ufology.”
Hypocrisy? Well, at the very least, it tells us the MoD still has stuff tucked away in its UFO files. Pope also reminded De Void — as indeed, Clarke reminded his readers — that Clarke never possessed a security clearance during his UFO research and has reviewed only declassified, or unclassified, material.
“I suspect there's some sour grapes here,” Pope went on, “because one of the documents in MoD's UFO files referred to Clarke and a couple of his fellow ufologists as ‘the UFO spotters’ - a pejorative UK term meaning someone with an obsessive, nerdish and naïve perspective on the subject. It was one of my successors who wrote that, but as I'm the 'public face' of MoD's UFO project, ufologists tend to blame me for just about everything!”
Then there’s this caveat from prolific British researcher and author Good, who greeted the MOD’s “glasnost” with a shrug: “That was done in a civilian desk within the MoD which Nick headed ... The real work is done behind the scenes (e.g. military intelligence). You may recall that in ‘Above Top Secret’ I exposed for the first time the Top Secret UFO research unit then at RAF Rudloe Manor (now elsewhere).”
This is running long for a little blog, so let’s wrap it up on a word from Jenny Randles, who discovered something from these MoD crumbs that we Yanks regrettably picked up on from the Pentagon decades ago, after it was far too late: “... The MoD was never — and is not now — the correct body to collate such data and spend precious resources on a subject that really needs to be demystified and placed into the realms of scientific study.”
OK, so who wants to pony up and start from scratch?
Continue Reading . . .
British UFO Document Release is Really a Coverup, says UFO Abductee Nick Pope
UFO Files I Have Loved and Lost
British UFO Document Release Designed to Deflect Public and Media Interest Says Former Ministry of Defence UFO Specialist
Can The Ministry of Defence (MoD) Really Close Down UFO Investigations?
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