Sunday, January 12, 2014

Researching The Australian Military/Government 'UFO Files' (Pt 2)


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Researching The Australian UFO Files (Pt 2)

Editor's Note: Once again we welcome guest blogger and Australian researcher Paul Dean; here we present Part 2 in the series covering his archival research of military/government files and what UFO secrets they hold. Paul in his own words explains, "I have spent 21 years passively studying the UFO phenomena; earlier this year I decided to actively contribute in some meaningful way."–FW

Paul Dean By Paul Dean
The UFO Chronicles
© 1-10-14

      Having been successful in uncovering UFO related docs during my archival research in March and April (2013), I was newly invigorated more then ever to keep digging.

The saga took an interesting turn as I was now focusing on Australia’s military and intelligence agencies that researchers already knew had dealt with the UFO matter at length. A few of the more obvious organisations were the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF), the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence (DAFI) and the Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB), renamed the Joint Intelligence Organisation (JIO) in 1969.

Investigations of UFO Sightings - Joint Intelligence Organization 5-27-1971
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The JIO was one of Australia’s chief intelligence agencies in the 1970’s and 1980. It is now called the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO). In particular, I was interested in files created by a very sensitive division of the JIO called Defence Science and Technical Intelligence (DSTI). The reason why this division of the JIO is so important is because we know, through a stunning file found by Keith Bastefield some years ago, that a handful of scientists working there took the UFO matter very seriously indeed. One nuclear physicist, Harry Turner, was so convinced that the UFO issue was real that he approached his direct boss, Bob Mathams, Head of DSTI to start a no-nonsense investigation of UFO cases using JIO resources with assistance and endorsement of the RAAF. This effort barely made it off the ground, but information about quality UFO cases obtained from the RAAF precipitated the Director of the JIO, R. W. Furlonger, in 1971 to pen the following memo (see right):
“There appears to be sufficient evidence from RAAF and US reports of investigations of UFO sightings to indicate that some reports cannot readily be explained by natural phenomena or manmade activities.”
One assumes that the Director of the JIO, a man who met with the Australian Prime Minister regularly—would not be writing such things lightly! In fact, the Directors of the JIO throughout the 1970’s are said to have had substantially more, wide ranging Intelligence at their fingertips as any other top-level individual in Australia, bar none.

So, with this secretive organisation in mind, as well as the RAAF’s DAFI involvement in the UFO matter, I patiently went through lists of as many possible long-hidden files created by these two organisations as I realistically could. Over two nights I found twelve files which had never been examined by the Archives that remained essentially classified, and were created entirely or at least partly within the JIO or DAFI. My finds by title were:
1. Outer Space Uncontrolled Re-Entry of Satellites and Other Space Vehicles

2. DSTI Defence Science and Technology Intelligence - Joint Intelligence Organisation Product

3. Joint Intelligence Organization Directorate of Scientific and Technical Intelligence DSTI and List of DSTI Notes

4. JIO [Joint Intelligence Organisation] - Space

5. Outer Space - Activities of Marginal Specialised Bodies

6. Requests Reports - DAFI [Directorate of Air Force Intelligence]

7. Requests for and Reports to JIO [Joint Intelligence Organisation]

8. Release of Joint Intelligence Bureau [JIB] (M) Reports and Items to [Remainder of Title Exempt]

9. Requests for and Reports to DAFI [Directorate of Air Force Intelligence]

10. Requests from and Reports to DAFI [Directorate of Air Force Intelligence]

11. DAFI [Directorate of Air Force Intelligence] - Requests From

12. JIB [Joint Intelligence Bureau] Items
Now, I did not assume that any of these gems would necessarily be about UFO’s. Some of them, maybe the lot in fact, could have been about anything and everything but UFO’s. However, the titles, date-ranges, agencies involved in creating them etc., certainly seemed similar to the other JIO and DAFI files which have been released over the years that contained excellent UFO material. The reason I don’t know what is on them yet is because, unlike my other less sensitive finds, none of these files have been released to me – and it has been seven months since I requested them. I have, of course, followed up repeatedly with the National Archives this matter. The startlingly long delay was first explained to me in an email, dated June, 21 (2013):
“These files require particularly heavy scrutiny before being released for public consumption.”
Two months later in August, upon emailing a Senior NAA Reference Officer, I was told:
“I would assume that a decision on releasing this material will not take much longer. The files must be very sensitive.”
We are now in November; the files have not been released.

Something else has happened which was even less expected. On the 19th of November I decided to randomly check the access status of some of these long-overdue files. I wanted to see if any of them had been made available without me receiving information to that effect. I searched the database for one of these files by title, which I knew was there, called “JIO (Joint Intelligence Organisation) – Space” by its title keywords … and it was missing from the database! I then sifted through my handwritten notes to find the barcode of the file. This had to work. The file came up in front of me alright—but its title had changed from “JIO (Joint Intelligence Organisation)] – Space” to “REDACTED – Space”. This was something I didn’t even know could be done.

For authorities to actually modify the title such that it removes any reference to the Joint Intelligence Organisation seems an almost desperate attempt to disassociate the agency from the subject of space. Could my actions of requesting this file have caused either the NAA or the actual controller of the file –now the DIO as mentioned above- to go to this length? Are the current DIO document review officers, who work closely with the NAA on releasing sensitive files, growing a little tired or a little wary of my rapidly growing interest in their documents? Maybe it’s a stretch, but I have already spoken to other people who work with the NAA and they have never, ever heard of this happening before. I rang the NAA for some explanations. They indicated that they will look into it in due course.

This isn’t the only thing that has slightly raised my suspicions about their complete openness regarding the fair and transparent act of releasing files to the public. Back in May, I discovered two very interesting files one evening. The first one was titled “Department of Transport Air Safety Incident Report Dated 8 February 1978 Relating to a Sighting Near Gove of Unidentified Aircraft.” The second lucky discovery was called “Unidentified Aircraft and Another Reported Sighting Which Includes Annexes A and B - Tendered by Hendy Ernest Neil, Director Coastal Surveillance.” Both files are, at minimum, surely related to unidentified aircraft. Waiting to receive any confirmation on whether these two interesting finds could be released, I finally emailed the NAA in September for answers. I was first told they were simply “not available on the advice of the controlling agency of the files.” Not wanting to let this matter settle, I have recently chased up the matter again and was finally told, begrudgingly, by a Senior NAA Reference Officer, via email:
“These records were previously opened, but are now marked Not Yet Examined. I have investigated this matter, and have found that when these were originally opened, there was an error made. As soon as this error was discovered, the access decision of Open was removed.”
I have made an appeal to Australia’s powerful Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). It won’t be the last.

Two more unusual cases of files listed as being at the NAA, then turning out to be anything but, have occurred. One very promising hit, back in February, appeared on the database during intensive searching titled, “Air Defence - Unusual Reporting by Aircraft Captains Intelligence Sightings.” One would assume that this would possibly contain UFO reports. I requested it be examined immediately, and it wasn’t long before the NAA responded to me via email:
“The controlling agency for this record has informed us that it was destroyed in July 1998 under General Disposal Authority 14...”
1998? Why it is therefore still listed in the NAA’s RecordSearch in 2013?

Another example, this one involving Australia’s Federal Police no less, is also notable. “Discovery of Secret Naval Intelligence Memorandum” was the title and the date range of the contents was the late 1960’s. I applied for a copy of the file (it had already been examined and was releasable) in February.

While there is nothing in the title to suggest a content involving UFO’s, I had a gut feeling that it was worth requesting. Soon though the NAA advised me:
“Unfortunately the National Archives of Australia does not hold this item as it was withdrawn by the Australian Federal Police.”
The Federal Police? Why would the Federal Police be commandeering a decades old file from the National Archives of Australia?

As for files I have been given access to, there has been much success. Going back to the start of April of this year, I had discovered and requested, as told in Part 1 of my story, half-a-dozen completely unopened UFO files from the NAA. However, I also took the opportunity to request files that had already been discovered and seen by other researchers years earlier–especially Keith Basterfield and Bill Chalker. I paid for the digitisation of these files and sending of hardcopies as I located them. Some of titles of these files included:
• “Eastern Area Headquarters – Intelligence: Report On Unusual Sighting 3rd May 1952”

• “Sighting of an Unidentified Flying Object by Mr L N Waldron”

• “Earth Satellites, Space Vehicles, Unidentified Flying Objects - General”

• “Intelligence - Reports of Unusual Sightings”


Intelligence Reports of Unusual Sightings - RAAF 4-7-1960
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Of these, the most significant was the file “Eastern Area Headquarters – Intelligence: Report On Unusual Sighting 3rd May 1952” and has the Control Symbol 5/1/27 PART B, part of the A11066 File Series.

The 16 page opens with a newspaper clipping from Sydney’s Daily Telegraph dated 6th May 1952. It describes three servicemen’s report of a ‘flying saucer’ over Sydney on 3rd May 1952. Their reports were given to one Dr J H Piddington, the Principal Research Officer of the Radiophysics Division of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). While the object was finally concluded to probably be a “meteor” - as Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) put it - this event actually made it to the United States Air Force’s Project Blue Book files:

Abnormal Aerial Phenomena - RAAF (Australia) (1 of 7) (8 X 11) 5-13-1952
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Unidentified Aerial Phenomena 10-8-1959
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At the end of April I had another file digitised and hardcopies sent to me – the fifth in a month. File Series B595, Control Symbol 21/1/387 PART 2 titled, “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.” With a date range of 1960-1965 the file is 70 pages in length and originated from Australia’s former Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). The file contains numerous UFO reports from seemingly qualified witnesses. These reports include an April 1962 event from South Australia where a man sighted a fast flying, low down, soundless craft. It clearly had three very brilliant lights on it.

What made this story interesting was that only 15 minutes later, and 125 miles away, a similar object was seen by other witnesses. The report was passed to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Another report on the file, this one from Queensland, dated November 1964, told of observers at the Rockhampton Aerodrome who saw what they took to be a high flying aircraft and associated vapour trail. However, there was no known aircraft in the area. The vapour trail was inspected minutes later through binoculars but the aircraft was gone. A check of adjacent air traffic control units failed to identify any aircraft in the region at the time.

Another November 1964 sighting from Queensland, this one from Brisbane: Mr M. German - on duty at the weather radar installation noted a return on the radar at 075deg T, range 140 miles. The return was travelling in a northerly direction. There were no known aircraft in the area.

These cases are not overly significant as far as serious UFO events go, but when one considers that just this one single file contains all these reports –and many more– from just a few years, it is clear that people really were seeing unusual things and were prepared to report them.

So where does this leave us? There are clearly a significant number of new discoveries to be made. Experience now tells me that no matter how seemingly thorough previous file searches were performed—new finds will keep showing up. Then there is the matter of the extended waiting period I have experienced for the release of the twelve files that could well contain valuable material relating to UFO matters in Australia. For more information on some of the files I have found go to Keith Basterfield’s website. Keith has helped me to no-end with this endeavour, and it seems there will be a lot more to come. A mention must be also made of researcher Bill Chalker who also has provided me with a notable level support regarding my line of intensive enquiries. Both of these calm and focused investigators have worked for some forty years on the matter, and continue to do so. I will be issuing a Part 3 of my research in due course.



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