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UFO? The truth is right here! Latest UFO files released

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Files released today by The National Archives reveal that UFOs were taken seriously enough at the highest level to be discussed by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) in 1957, while modern reports of UFO sightings reached a peak in 1996. The latest batch of UFO files includes details of a memorandum on “aerial phenomena” prepared for a meeting of the Cabinet Office‟s Joint Intelligence Committee in April 1957. According to an Air Ministry note included in the „Red Book‟ – the weekly intelligence survey – four incidents involving UFOs tracked by RAF radars remained “unexplained”. Dr David Clarke, author of The UFO files and Senior Lecturer in Journalism from Sheffield Hallam University said: “These papers demonstrate how far official policy towards UFOs changed after the Cold War. In 1957, some officials

were so concerned by a spate of incidents involving UFOs the subject was placed on the agenda of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). But by the 50th anniversary of the „flying saucer‟ mystery in 1997 the MoD was no longer interested in UFOs as a defence problem but as a purely public relations issue. This inevitably led to the closure of the MoD‟s public UFO hotline at the end of 2009.”  Among hundreds of reports of sightings, “UFO crashes” and other close encounters, the files also reveal details of several unusual incidents which landed on the MoD‟s „UFO desk‟ – Sec(AS)2 – before it was eventually closed in 2009 . These include the unlikely tale of a peeved punter from Leeds who believed his 100-1 bet on alien life being discovered on earth before the end of the century was a winner. He approached the government for evidence to support his claim after Ladbrokes refused to pay out. While the MoD said they were open-minded about extra-terrestrial life they had no evidence of its existence. Further highlights from the files include: A “psychic premonition” of a terrorist attack on an RAF base in 1990. The mountain rescue team called to investigate a “crashed UFO” in the Berwyn Mountains in Wales in 1974. The inside story of the 14-minutes of “missing” film relating to the Blue Streak missile test launch in 1964, believed by some to show a “spaceman”  The attempted break-ins from individuals seeking the

truth about RAF Rudloe Manor in Wiltshire – sometimes referred to as Britain‟s “Area 51”. An account of a wartime meeting attended by Winston Churchill in which the Prime Minister allegedly discussed a UFO encounter with RAF bombers. The files also contain dozens of UFO sightings reported to the Ministry of Defence between 1995 and 2003, including more than 600 reported sightings in 1996 alone. Dr David Clarke continued: “These files reveal that before the collapse of the USSR in 1991 RAF aircraft were scrambled on average 200 times a year to investigate unidentified objects on radar, the majority of these turned out to be Soviet reconnaissance aircraft. However, between 1991 and 1996, no scrambles were recorded. In contrast during the same five year period the MoD received almost 1200 reports of sightings from members of the public, most of which were filed away. In 1996 alone there were more than 600 reports, 343 letters from the public and 22 enquiries from MPs, perhaps related to the popularity of TV shows such as The X-Files at the time.” There are 18 files in total, released today as part of a three-year project between The National Archives and the Ministry of Defence. The files are made up of more than 5,000 pages of UFO reports, letters and drawings drawn from correspondence with the public and questions raised in parliament. The files are available to download for free for a month from the website: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ufos.  The UFO files – The inside story of real-life sightings by Dr Clarke is available from The National Archives online bookshop. – About

The National Archives: The National Archives, www.nationalarchives.gov.uk, is a government department and an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). As the official archives of the UK government, it cares for, makes available and ‘brings alive’ a vast collection of over 1000 years of historical records, including the treasured Domesday Book. Not only safeguarding historical information, The National Archives also manages current digital information and devises new technological solutions for keeping government records readable now and in the future. It provides world class research facilities and expert advice, publishes all UK legislation and official publications, and is a leading advocate for the archive sector. At the heart of information policy, The National Archives sets standards of best practice that actively promotes and encourages public access to, and the re-use of information, both online or onsite at Kew. This work helps inform today’s decisions and ensures that they become tomorrow’s permanent record. The National Archives brings together the Public Record Office, Historical Manuscripts Commission, the Office of Public Sector Information and Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. See also www.opsi.gov.uk. For further information, interviews or images please contact Tommy Norton, Press Officer, The National Archives on: Thomas Norton. Book – The UFO Files – The inside story of real-life sightings by David Clarke  Is available from The National Archive. News from: The official archive of the UK government

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