Friday, December 11, 2020

Nick Pope Revisited

Did Nick Pope Investigate UFOs for the UK MoD


     Let’s start again. I was a little disturbed about the allegations slung at Nick Pope by Dr. David Clarke recently and that Nick Pope had not had the opportunity to respond to them. I also want to point out that I have no dog in this fight and was looking for a little fairness in all this. I expected some pushback, but, in this world today, who wouldn’t expect some pushback. I have now heard from a number of others about all this.

First, I suppose, is to answer the question of why Dr. David Clarke would bring this up now, if the issue had been settled decades earlier. According to what he told me; the simple answer is that he didn’t. He was responding to a question asked by Martin Willis during Willis’ podcast.

By Kevin Randle
A Different Perspective
11-30-20
Nick Redfern
Nick Redfern
Photo copyright by Kevin Randle
Second, all those who emailed me seemed to object to my use of the term “allegations” against Nick Pope. All who emailed me said that there had been no allegations, just statement of facts. One of those facts, an important one, had to do with Nick Pope’s duty at the MoD and whether or not he, Nick Pope, had conducted official UFO investigations. While serving in the MoD, Nick Pope had other duties and devoted only 20% of his salary to dealing with UFOs. In other words, the majority of his time went to other things. His UFO duties involved taking down the initial information about a UFO sighting and then passing it on to another organization. To quote Nick Redfern (and now you know why I kept saying Nick Pope), back in 1994, Nick Pope told Nick Redfern, “There is no specific ‘UFO budget,’ except the staff costs, i.e. around 20% of my salary, together with a tiny percent of some other salaries, reflecting my line management’s supervisory role.”

For those interested, here is a link to an article an Nick Redfern published a number of years ago that dealt with some of this.

That, of course, does not rule out Nick Pope having investigated UFO sightings. It suggests that there wasn’t much of a budget for any investigation. It could be said that the initial intake of information over the telephone is part of an investigation, though certainly not the most important aspect of it. However, there is additional information that is relevant to the discussion.

David Clarke noted in communication with me, “Sec(AS) [Secretariat Air Staff] where Nick worked 1991 – 1993 was not authorized or funded to investigate UFO reports.”

That seems to be fairly definitive but there is more relevant information. According to what David Clarke provided, “This is set out clearly in the attached policy document from 1997, written by Pope's line manager, that says any follow-up investigations that were required were carried out by the DI55 intelligence staff and/or the Royal Air Force.”

In still another document that came from official sources, and of which I now have a copy, it says:
Mr. Pope at one time served as EO (Band D) in the Secretariat Air Staff [a junior civil servant grade] ... [and] left Sec(AS) in 1994...and his knowledge of this issue, other than from publicly available sources, must be regarded as dated. Mr. Pope elected to describe his position as the "Head of the MoD's UFO Project", a term entirely of his own invention, and he has used his experience and information he gathered (frequently going beyond the official remit of his position) to develop a parallel career as a pundit on the topic, including writing several books, some purportedly non-fiction. Mr. Pope constantly puts himself forward in various parts of the media, solicited and unsolicited, as an "expert" (despite his lack of recent knowledge about the work carried on in the branch concerned) and seeks credit amongst other aficionados for having "forced" the MoD to reveal its "secret" files on the subject. The latter is far from the truth...
Finally, in what might be the final straw here, David Clarke provided the following, “In another document from the same period, the head of the Air Historical Branch (RAF) is even more forthright, saying ‘Far from accurately representing the Department's position, he [Pope] has sought to embellish the truth at almost every turn’.”

I suppose, that if you wish to be generous, you could say that taking the initial report and asking questions about it could be considered part of an official investigation. But that is really stretching a point and doesn’t accurately reflect the situation. The actual investigation into the reports that demanded additional work was carried about by other British government organizations and Nick Pope had virtually nothing to do with that.

But the real problem here is what Nick Pope published on his own website. Any errors, embellishments, alterations of fact can’t be blamed on the webmaster. Nick Pope approved the content. This biography said:
Nick Pope ran the British Government’s UFO project. From 1991 to 1994 he researched and investigated UFOs, alien abductions, crop circles and other strange phenomena, leading the media to call him the real Fox Mulder. His government background and his level-headed views have made him the media, film and TV industry’s go-to guy when it comes to UFOs, the unexplained and conspiracy theories.
Another aspect of this was that Nick Pope had apparently accused David Clarke of plagiarism and of being a needy, dishonest ufologist. The direct quote from David Clarke is, “Nick Pope has called me dishonest, a liar, a nut and a serial plagiarizer - despite providing absolutely no evidence for any of these things all of which are seriously defamatory.” But this particular allegation has been debunked by Hayley Stevens a post to her blog which you can read here.

I mean you can disagree with someone but this is unreasonable. There is additional information contained in this post that sheds additional light on the problem. Some of the sources or documents she mentions I have seen and have copies for verification.

I’m not sure if this is piling on, or if it is relevant information. As noted above, Nick Pope claimed that he had investigated claims of alien abduction, crop circle formations or animal mutilations as part of his job at the MoD. Philip Mantle supplied the following information: Just read this from UK documentary producer Matt Quinn. This was posted in the comments section of the martin Willis podcast:
From that reference Phillippe... "From 1991 to 1994 Mr. Pope worked as a civil servant within Secretariat (air staff). He undertook a wide range of secretariat tasks relating to central policy, political and parliamentary aspects of non-operational RAF activity. Part of his duties related to the investigation of unidentified aerial phenomena reported to the Department to see if they had any defence significance." This doesn't actually contradict what David Clark has said, and what has been 'common knowledge' for a very long time... it also completely fails to support in any way, Nick Pope's ridiculously-aggrandised claims... But in reality? I can only paraphrase Martha and the Muffins...

" _From nine to five, he had to spend his time at work His job was very boring as an office clerk The only thing that helped him pass the time away Was knowing he'd be back at Echo Beach someday_ " As we're 'buying' UK government publications (when it suits) do a search with the UK's National Archive service... And I do very much encourage you to do your own legwork; don't just take my word for it. I can tell you (as a media professional) that when 'Open Skies Closed Minds' was published it was generally received by the press as highly entertaining bollocks... riding a wave that was well in motion at the time. Just a 'jolly japes' type romp through an over-egged fantasy world... Good copy, bit of a laugh. But Nick Pope always had more in common with Dilbert than Mulder. The woman who got Nick Pope's job after him is called Kerry Philpott, and is on record stating there was no "strange phenomena section" at the MOD and that whilst Nick had been an 'EO' - Junior management grade administrator - just as she now was, she wrote "neither he nor indeed am I the head of any 'UFO' section"...

There is a chap called James Easton who is fairly well known here in Scotland as something of a 'UFOlogist'. Way back in 1999 he wrote an open letter to the MOD which posed many questions about Nick's duties and the MOD's locus in relation to various 'Fortean' phenomena... The response he got was. “The main duties of the post concern non-operational RAF activities overseas and diplomatic clearance policy for military flights abroad. A small percentage of time is spent dealing with reports from the public about alleged ‘UFO’ sightings and associated public correspondence. The MoD has not investigated a claim of alien abduction, crop circle formations or animal mutilation.” I'm sure it's now well over a decade since David Clark put that information up on his own site - over 20 since James got the response he did from the MOD and I honestly cannot tell you of anyone (except the incredibly non-credible) to whom that was in any way, shape or form a surprise. David Clark hasn't lied. - You don't have to like the guy, or not be disappointed at Nick. But David hasn't lied.
This then, is the other side of the coin. I provided Nick Pope with a platform for his comments, and it is only fair that I supply the others with a similar courtesy. I’m inclined to say that the reader should take his or her own view of the material and decide what to believe. However, that is a somewhat weasel-worded claim for me to make. I waded into this swamp because I believed that Nick Pope should be heard, but now, having seen the other side, and although I think of Nick Pope as a friend (and can say the same about Philip Mantle and Nick Redfern), I must come down on their side of the fence.

What we see here is just another of the nasty fights that erupt in this field, though this one played out in the UK rather than here in America. If you care to comment, then you must be prepared for the consequences of that commentary. It had seemed to me, originally, that this was a bit of a fight over semantics, but it has, of course, ranged far beyond that. I don’t like the name calling or the allegations of plagiarism, having had that directed at me for a long time, but sometimes you just have to make a stand.

Here then, is what I believe to be the whole truth of the matter. And while I could say that I wish I had not involved myself in it, I would rather say that I think here is enough information that we all know the truth.

Following is one of those documents that seems to clarify the situation. I append it here for those who wish to see a little more of the evidence.

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