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Government Space News

British "X-files" Released to Public 231

Smivs writes "Britain's Ministry of Defence has just released files regarding investigations into UFO sightings between 1978 to 1987. Over the next three or four years, 160 files will be handed over to the National Archives. The first group of eight files, one of which is more than 450 pages long, is available today. The Guardian newspaper details many of the events in question, some interesting and many just bizarre. A similar release of UFO files by France's national space agency last year attracted more than 220,000 users on its first day, causing it to crash. To avoid such problems, the National Archives is using an external hosting company which can add extra capacity as needed to handle the web traffic."
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British "X-files" Released to Public

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  • Don't forget (Score:5, Informative)

    by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @12:31PM (#23404912) Homepage
    That UFO does not automatically make it alien.
  • Re:Awesome (Score:4, Informative)

    by imstanny ( 722685 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:16PM (#23405752)

    As an intelligence analyst with a top secret and above clearance (some of the classifications have names which are themselves classified) working in "the system", I'm pretty sure there's not much more.
    With all due respect, having Top Secret clearance doesn't automatically give you access to all Top Secret documents. You still have to have a 'need to know' authority to get access to certain files. So I can't really see how you can use that as evidence to your conjecture of there not being much more beyond what they released.
  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:16PM (#23405754)
    They had an interview with a "UFO Expert" who suggested that they had only released the files that contained no real evidence and that they were holding back much more than they had released.

    Everything regarding UFOs, paranormal effects, and such, is like that. They always claim that something is being hidden, and how can you possibly prove that some file is not being hidden somewhere?

    I once tried to counteract that, asking for an UFO expert to give me the very best case they had for UFOs. He answered with a case that is cited in the Encyclopaedia Britannica as being one of the most reliable cases for the existence of UFOs: in August 13, 1956 RAF jets were sent after some objects that were detected by radar, coming from above the Soviet Union at very high speed. Those objects disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean. My answer: that sighting coincides exactly with the Perseid meteor shower []. Those UFOs had the same behavior that would be expected from a meteoroid. And that's one of the "best established and most puzzling" UFO sightings, according to the Britannica.

    To sum up, we cannot prove that "real evidence" isn't being hidden somewhere. But if one of the most respected publications in the world cannot give us one single example of an UFO sighting that cannot be trivially explained with five minutes of research, then I really cannot believe that any stronger evidence exists.

  • Re:Don't forget (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_rev_matt ( 239420 ) <slashbot AT revmatt DOT com> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:19PM (#23405810) Homepage
    Jimmy Carter was on the Skeptics Guide podcast not long ago and they brought up the UFO incident, as he is often cited by the conspiracy theorists as 'proof' that aliens are among us and the government is covering it up. No, I can't explain their logic. Carter was unaware that he'd been coopted in this manner and quite forcefully noted that what he saw was indeed a UFO because he couldn't identify what it was, making it unidentified. He was at the same time quite sure that it was likely not an alien craft of any sort. It's one of the few times I've heard someone make the point that because you don't know what it is, then by definition it's an unidentified flying object. A conclusion that has no relation whatsoever to the *nature* of the object (e.g. alien, human).
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:46PM (#23406402)
    Hey Mulder, here's a scoop. They weren't trying to cover up aliens, they were covering up their secret spy aircraft. Why do you think most of these "UFO cover-ups" involved strange craft spotted near air force bases at the height of the Cold War? Project Blue Book wasn't about little green men, it was about making sure no one had gotten a good look at their latest prototype stealth planes and also checking to see if any hillbillies might have actually spotted any Soviet spy planes in the area.

    No alien civilization is expending the mammoth amount of resources needed to traverse the vast distances of interstellar space just to stick a probe up your ass. Deal with it.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:3, Informative)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:47PM (#23406418) Homepage Journal
    MOst of the Roswell stuff in the mainstream was either taken out of context, or completly fabricated by Berlitz

    In fact he is the father of all are major conspiracy theory. Bermuda triangle, Roswell, Philadelphia story and others.
    Usually taking a grain of truth, or piece of a quote and then expounding on it.

    Even though these are fictional books, quoted from them often circle within the conspiracy community.
    The books are presented in a way as to give the appearance of not being fictional.

    When analyzed even the actual 'facts' are wrong.
    For example, what is known as the Roswell crash didn't happen near Roswell, it happen on a ranch near a town names Aurora 75 or so miles away from Roswell.

  • Re:UFO Expert (Score:5, Informative)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:48PM (#23406456)
    Heh. It's often thought that many alien abduction stories (which are very different from UFO's, but anyways . . .) stem from ASP, or Awareness during Sleep Paralysis. It's essentially a waking dream where you can't move but you can hallucinate things (you eyes see the real world but you mind, still in a dreamstate, can superimpose a dream over the real world).

    Some people see aliens (a common modern thing), many see ghosts. When researching this (I suffer from this disorder myself) I found out that in earlier times many people would see a succubus or demon raping them.

    These episodes can be lucid if you work at it (I can lucid dream but I've never been able to have a lucid ASP episode), so you could actually make your alien babe abduction fantasy come true ;).
  • by Kelbear ( 870538 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:37PM (#23407364)
    Article from May 13th regarding Catholicism and aliens: []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @04:05PM (#23408860)
    How's this for real evidence ...

    During the 1942 Battle of Los Angeles the military instituted a mandatory black out of the entire city & fired 1400+ Anti-Aircraft rounds at a single, quoting the military, "unidentified aircraft." This lasted for more than an hour. Despite numerous confirmed hits the craft remained airborne and eventually flew off without ever being identified. (read the LA times article).

    In 1948 green fireballs were seen over the south-western skies of the US near nuclear weapons research sites. Famous meteoriticist Dr. Lincoln La Paz declared they weren't normal meteors. In 1949 the USAF started Project Twinkle under the direction of Dr. Anythony Mirachi.

    The study concluded in a now unclassified report that cinetheodolites had tracked 4 objects traveling at an "altitude of ~150K ft" (~28.5 miles!), were "30 ft. in diameter", & traveling at an "undeterminable, yet high speed." Mirachi went on to later criticize a Time magazine article that claimed there was no proof to support the existence of UFOs.

    Mirachi wrote, "There was too much evidence in favor of saucers to say they could have all been balloons. 'I was conducting the main investigation. The government had to depend on me or my branch for information.' He said he didn't see how the Navy could say there had been no concrete evidence of the phenomena."

    Also in the year 1948 Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a self-proclaimed skeptic, joined Project Blue Book as a scientific advisor. By 1969 when Blue Book was shutdown Hynek did an about face. He wrote several books, particularly, "The Hynek UFO Report" which repeatedly stated that the attitude of Blue Book was, "it can't be therefore it isn't."

    He also gave an interview, available on youtube watch?v=pyDVR2B14dw, where he said, "I was there at Blue Book and I know the job they had. They were told not to excite the public, don't rock the boat, & I saw it [with] my own eyes. ... The cases that were very difficult to explain they would jump handsprings to keep the media away from that." He later went on to found the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS).

    On July 13-29th, 1952, over the skies of Washington DC, numerous UFOs were seen on the ground, in the air, & tracked on radar. The situation escalated & General Samford, Director of Intelligence of the USAF, held an emergency press conference. When asked by a reporters what people were seeing he suggested the lights on the ground may have looked like they were in the air because inversions act like an "air lens" & bend light rays. He added that something similar could have "tricked" radar in to thinking it was tracking aerial targets.

    In 1969 an Air Force scientific report titled "Quantitative Aspects of Mirages" (Menkello, F.G. Report No. 6112, USAF, Environmental Technical Applications Center) made it clear inversion strong enough to create the visual effect described during the 1952 press-conference could not exist in earth's atmosphere.

    1956 at Bentwater/Lakenheath an object was sighted by several military officers on the ground while simultaneously tracked on radar at 2 different stations. The object moved at ~4000 mph and was monitored for several hours during which two planes were scrambled.

    When the 1st DeHavilland Venom locked on to the object it shot to the rear of the plane. The pilot tried evasive maneuvers, couldn't break free & eventually had to return to base to refuel.

    The 2nd plane encountered mechanical difficulties as it flew within range of the object. The US sponsored Condon Report had this to say, "In conclusion, although conventional or natural explanations certainly cannot be ruled out, the probability of such seems low in this case and the probability that at least one genuine UFO was involved appears fairly high."

    Astronaut Gordon Cooper claimed he saw his 1st UFO while flying over W. Germany in 1952. During 1957 while filming at Edwards AFB base he stated he saw a UFO land in the CA flats and that t
  • by MojoStan ( 776183 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @07:17PM (#23411516)

    Randi is a sad little man who cannot get the world's attention, even with a million dollars (a million non-existent dollars, by the way).

    So is this (PDF file) [] and this [] fake? From the Million Dollar Challenge FAQ []:

    • 3.1 I heard the prize money doesn't really exist and that it's all just a scam.
      • The short answer: The money is real.

        The medium-length answer: The money is held in the form of immediately negotiable bonds held by Goldman Sachs, a highly respected investment firm. Anyone can verify that the money exists by requesting the information in writing from the JREF. They will in turn forward you the most recent account statement from Goldman Sachs.

        The long answer: The JREF is a 'tax exempt' organization, so they are required by law to have a level of financial transparency. That means that the public can request things like an annual report and copies of JREF's 990 (the tax return non-profits file). Go to [] (search for Randi, 2005 is here [].) to look up JREF's 990. Contained within these types of documents is enough information to verify that the organization does indeed have special assets in a reserved account to cover the prize, should it ever be won. The contract between the claimant and JREF is binding enough that the JREF must pay the prize if someone wins it. This is a published, legal obligation, not just a casual offer. We have no choice in the matter. As a savvy applicant, all you need to do is verify that the organization has the funds to cover the prize. Also, if JREF were not able to hold up its end of the bargain, the IRS would investigate and pull the JREF's tax exempt status. It would mean severe penalties for the JREF, and Randi himself would also be personally liable and subject to potential incarceration. Rest assured: The money is there.

        Long answer, continued: The JREF prize fund is maintained in a way that is similar to an endowment fund. Non-profits often create reserves of assets called endowments to build up enough money to take care of the organization in the case of bad financial times, or to save up money for a project down the road, like building a new facility or starting a large new program that would require a lot of capital. Endowment funds are held in a separate Goldman Sachs account designated, "James Randi Educational Foundation Prize Account." This prevents the JREF from accidentally spending the prize money. It is never a good idea to just let large sums of money sit in a savings account for years and years, so most non-profits invest their endowment funds. The way they invest it is really not important. JREF invests in bonds, which is fine. If a claimant wins the prize, it must be awarded within ten days, as per the Challenge rules and the legally binding contract entered into when the application was signed.

        I know you are going to ask, "What if the bonds cannot be easily liquidated?" If the JREF did not pay a winning claimant in a reasonable amount of time, we would be open to a lawsuit for breach of contract. The claimant will be paid. The JREF states that the funds are held in immediately negotiable bonds so that a claimant can feel at ease about the ability of the JREF to pay. The fact that the JREF will do so is going above and beyond the requirements of the law and the generally accepted practices of good, responsible non-profits. It is an enormous act of good faith on JREF's part. The million dollars exist. Arguments to the contrary are utterly pointless, and they will not be entertained by the JRE

Truth is free, but information costs.