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British Archives Release Previously Classified UFO Documents

October 21, 2008 02:30 PM
by Josh Katz
Britain released its UFO files this week, which include perplexing radar sightings, a woman’s claim to alien heritage and the truth about Tina Turner.  

Britain’s ‘X-Files’

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Britain’s National Archives made public 19 files and 1,500 pages of formerly classified information about UFOs on Monday. In the span of four years, it plans to release a total of 160 files. It released the first batch of documents this May.

Among others, the files reveal the story of an American pilot, named Milton Torres according to Sky News, who was ordered to fire upon a UFO. On the night of May 20, 1957, he was flying 75 miles from central London when his radar indicated a large object flying in unusual patterns. He was told to fire on the object, but it suddenly vanished from his radar, the Associated Press reports.

“In the initial briefing it was suggested to us that the bogey actually was motionless for long intervals,” said the pilot. “To be quite candid I almost (expletive) my pants!”

David Clarke, a UFO expert who was involved with the declassification, said the CIA might have been testing a system to fabricate radar signals. But either way, he concedes “there’s no doubt something very unusual happened.”

In another unexplained event, an Alitalia passenger plane was headed to London Heathrow Airport in 1991 when a brown object resembling a missile soared past them. But, “[a]fter ruling out the object flying past the Alitalia jet being a missile, weather balloon or space rocket, the MoD closed the inquiry,” the BBC reports.
 
In a different file, a woman explained in a 1990 letter that she was from the Amazon planet of women warriors in the Sirius system and that her UFO crashed during World War II in Britain. She also provided a sketch of herself and her pointed-eared, bald-headed alien companion. The MoD allegedly chose not to pursue the case any further.

In Aug. 1989, there were reports of “two to three lights, green, red and orange oscillating” and moving “left and right and around each other” in the sky, according to U.K. paper The Daily Telegraph. But the mystery was quickly extinguished when it was learned that lasers from a Tina Turner concert were the culprit.

Background: The first set of files revealed in May

The National Archives released the first eight UFO files in May under the Freedom of Information Act. The day they were made available, UFO Internet searches jumped 267 percent, according to Computer World. David Thomas, chief information officer at the National Archives, said, “It just shows the fascination in aliens is very real. This launch exceeded our expectations and showcased our ability to deliver large scale projects in the face of sustained web traffic.”

The 160 files that are to be released to the public over the next four years cover 1978 to 1987. France’s national space agency did the same thing with its UFO files last year.
The MoD opted to hand over the files to the National Archives because it was so inundated by requests from people wanting to see them under the Freedom of Information Act. But Nick Pope, a former MoD civil servant, claims that the files don’t contain any proof of alien life on Earth: “There simply is no saucer-in-a-hangar smoking gun,” reports British paper The Guardian.

Describing the first group of disclosed files, The Guardian writes: “There was the man on a fishing trip who was shown around a flying saucer by aliens in green overalls; another who befriended an extraterrestrial called Algar and wanted to introduce him to the government; and the astonished air traffic controller who watched a UFO land on his airport’s runway, then disappear.”

Opinion & Analysis: What do the files tell us about alien life?

Lord Rees of Ludlow, an Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society, raises a number of existential questions about the Universe in an op-ed published in the Times of London. “I certainly don’t believe that the declassification yesterday of Ministry of Defence files reporting encounters with unidentified flying objects in British airspace shows that we have found aliens.”

But he notes that scientists in the past have been killed for saying things that today are quite possible. He also acknowledges that the cosmos are very young and anything can happen. So, he says, “I am open-minded about the possibility.”

Reference: The UFO documents

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