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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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  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @12:32PM (#23404930)
    ...you exhibit a serious lack of imagination. Human history is but a leaf in the wind compared to the ocean of time and space. All of the purported alien encounters are so similar to what we experience on Earth so that it's not even funny. It's like religion, overly antrophomorphic.
  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @12:42PM (#23405144)
    The AF came out a few years ago and admitted to spreading rumors about aliens in Roswell and other places to cover up their experimental aircraft projects. 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. We tend to overclassify things just to be on the safe side, classify things out of habit, overestimate the importance of what we're doing, underestimate how much is already known, etc, but to suggest there's a conspiracy to cover up UFO sightings is ridiculous. You need an act of Congress to get the CIA and FBI to talk each other. What makes anyone think the US government is competent enough to pull off a conspiracy?
  • Re:Awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @12:49PM (#23405286)
    The History Channel spends an inordinate amount of time on this sort of crap. Before I changed the channel, I once heard a guy ranting about how the Air Force had an officer who reported to Johnson about ufos and what a big conspiracy it was. My first thought was that of course they were keeping track of sightings of unidentified aircraft, they had aircraft that they wanted to remain unidentified. It was disappointing that they show didn't bother with that obvious angle.
  • by Jonny_eh ( 765306 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:18PM (#23405794)
    UFO nuts: Release the secret document that prove aliens are here!
    (UFO documents are released)
    UFO nuts: Those documents don't offer the evidence we wanted! Therefore, there must be more documents somewhere that do! Release more documents!
    (rinse, repeat)

    This cycle has been going on for 50 years. If there was anything to this, some country somewhere would have released documents proving something by now.

    And just because the government investigated UFO sightings, it doesn't mean aliens are visiting. The government investigated ESP too, and it's still hogwash.
  • Interesting. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by trillex ( 1080579 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:25PM (#23405940)
    It would be interesting to see if there are any similar sightings between the French and the British files.
  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:34PM (#23406158)
    They always claim that something is being hidden, and how can you possibly prove that some file is not being hidden somewhere?

    Regardless, the biggest reason there are all these conspiracy theories that the Governments aren't forthcoming with their secrets. Personally, I believe this is the worst thing possible in a democratic society in a peace time environment.

    Why is there a need to have secrets such as the Nevada bases? Why can't the military be forthcoming about projects 40 years ago? Maybe its not aliens... Maybe they are torturing people or building weapons of mass destruction without us knowing... That and a big fat blank check from congress with no liability.
  • by Llywelyn ( 531070 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:40PM (#23406292) Homepage

    I'm not sure I'd say that about ESP.

    Jessica Utts, one of the statisticians involved in the government projects, has said that [ucdavis.edu]:

    I believe that it would be wasteful of valuable resources to continue to look for proof. No one who has examined all of the data across laboratories, taken as a collective whole, has been able to suggest methodological or statistical problems to explain the ever-increasing and consistent results to date. Resources should be directed to the pertinent questions about how this ability works. I am confident that the questions are no more elusive than any other questions in science dealing with small to medium sized effects, and that if appropriate resources are targeted to appropriate questions, we can have answers within the next decade.
  • UFOs are real (Score:0, Insightful)

    by GeorgeMonroy ( 784609 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:44PM (#23406376) Homepage
    UFO: Unindentified Flying Object - This could be anything that is flying that you cannot identify. I see what I believe to be airplanes all of the time and I cannot identify them so they are in fact UFOs to me

    Aliens: have not yet been proven

    They are not the same thing.
  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:46PM (#23406410)
    a UFO is just that an Unidentified flying object.

    Just because you can't identify it doesn't mean someone else can't. In the 50's and 60's UFO's were mostly experimental aircraft that the USA didn't want anyone to know about. Things like the prototype for the SR-71, various technology demostrators. Most of them have been declassified and the list of one-off planes built by the US government is long. To date No UFO evidence has been recorded with modern camera's Only old style black & white, or camera's with dubious quality of film. Even the Camera film that is supposed to be from the space shuttle is of a grainy quality that is considered sub standard by today's soccer parents.

    Show me High res film or images and I will believe until then you really don't have anything.

    it's like the film of lock ness, or bigfoot. Why hasn't a modern camera caught something yet?
  • by Paradise Pete ( 33184 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:54PM (#23406580) Journal
    told to shut up, and if they didnt comply either suddenly disappeared from public life

    For example? I'm not saying that didn't happen, just that it would be helpful to include some supporting evidence, as it's a surprising claim (to me, at least.)

  • Except we are not monkeys, and once we see it can be done, we will figure it out.

    however we are not going to go screaming in the night panicking.

    A few might, but then they will realize there isn't anyplace to run to! ;)

    I would wager there will be some tragic cult deaths.
  • Yes they know the truth..and then put it in a document. Now that document has been put online to read.

    Really, the truth has no obligation to be what you want it to be.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:01PM (#23406718)
    I also don't have any evidence of the nonexistance of the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, fire-breathing dragons, and magical unicorns. Does that make them plausible too?
  • by rkanodia ( 211354 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:33PM (#23407290)
    I am suddenly embarrassed to be a Davis graduate. Well I mean, I've always been embarrassed to be a Davis graduate, but particularly so right now.

    I might suggest to Ms. Utts that, if there really are 'ever-increasing and consistent results', she could easily get funding from James Randi, who has a cool million just waiting especially for her!
  • I had one (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @03:14PM (#23407996)
    I am quite a skeptic and level headed (or at least I fool myself into thinking that), but going through one helped me see the "light" : namely that going through such an experience unprepared/unhelped by my skepticism, I would probably be raving on ghost in woo-land by now. I mean from the moment it started and the end, my blood was probably awash with adrenaline, and I had a terrible fear. Of what I can't tell. Now when people relate their abduction experience, I can at least understand why they fight so hard they "lived" it, why they really think something terrible happened to them. Still as far as evidence goes, there are no alien craft coming visiting us, no alien probing your anus, no crop circle created by anything but human.
  • Re:rather a nut (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @11:09PM (#23413584)
    I'm not him, but:

    Besides the US gov't's obvious desire to keep their military secrets quiet, they were also trying to keep a national panic under control. You have to understand the basics of group psychology:

    1) People are stupid. They will believe ANYTHING and are, for the most part, incapable of critical and rational thought.

    2) People are bored. They are willing to suspend what little disbelief they do have for entertainment. Any change in their depressing day to day lives is welcome.

    By the mid-50s, the entire country was freaking out about alien abductions. There were even some violent protests demanding that the gov't fess up and come clean. Other examples of this kind of behavior are McCarthyism a bit before and the Salem witch trials.

    The reason some people were urged to shut the hell up is exactly because of people like you. Your behavior is NO different than that of the witch hunts of the 17th century and it was really getting out of control.

    Anyway, the reason mainstream news media is now airing "UFO" footage and wasting time with "experts" is because mainstream media, even CNN, is more about entertainment than actual news. Have you SEEN the news lately? It is quite simply revolting.

    But the fact that national governments are releasing UFO-related files is NOTHING new. It's been going on since before Roswell. And none have described anything of extraterrestrial origin, so I don't see what pattern you're talking about.

    And I mean honestly, how can you take this shit seriously? There are tens of thousands of reported abductions, let alone sightings. And yet not one shred of evidence? Really? Not ONE picture or video that can't easily be shown to be fabricated? Come on.

    Even if you admit that all but a handful of incidents are just stupid people unable to differentiate reality from hypnosis (I hope you know what I'm talking about, here) or attention whores looking to turn a quick buck, where's your evidence for the real ones? Do you think crop circles are real too?

    To wrap up what has become an aimless rant:
    I'm open to possibilities. Very open. I would LOVE for there to be extraterrestrial life visiting Earth, I've been intrigued by the possibility since I was a kid. However, there's a difference between being open to possibilities and jumping to conclusions. Right now there is NO reason to believe in aliens, but there ARE plenty of reasons to think that the whole issue is just overzealous wishful thinking and group paranoia gone out of control. Just because I don't believe you when you say you were abducted by little green men, doesn't make me a bigot. Especially if you've got no proof of the incident and only remembered it even happened after a few sessions with a crackpot hypnotist and I actually remember I was with you that night and you were passed out on the couch until morning after taking some little green pills.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.