The UK National Archives have released the single largest collection of UFO files so far as the three year disclosure programme nears its end.
Included in the 8,500 documents opened to the public today are policy and intelligence documents covering a 60 year span from the 1950s almost to the present day. The 35 files include papers produced by the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office and United Nations.
And for the first time complete files covering my own protracted correspondence with the MoD are included in this release – with more to follow later this year. They chart in great detail my campaign, using Code of Practice legislation (a precursor to the Freedom of Information Act), to persuade the MoD to end the unnecessary secrecy that surrounded official interest in ‘UFOs’.
Two files released today document how I became one of MoD’s most “persistent correspondents” from 1999 (see DEFE 24/2030/1 and DEFE 24/2032/1).
They also underline how it was largely through my efforts, and those of my colleagues, that some of the key UFO documents held by the UK Government, including the file on the Rendlesham Forest incident and the report by the Flying Saucer Working Party, were released to the public.
In my current role as official consultant to The National Archives UFO project, I have again produced a detailed highlights guide to the 7th tranche of files, which cover the years 1997-2006. The transfer programme, now in its fourth year, is expected to reach completion during 2012. The new files can be downloaded free of charge from the TNA website here.
The TNA UFO page also includes a podcast and background briefing to the entire collection of UFO files held at the UK archives in Kew, Surrey (for more details read my book The UFO Files published by The National Archives in 2009).
One of the highlights from the UFO reports released today are two striking colour photographs of a strange “atmospheric occurrence” (pictured right) taken by a member of the RAF in 2004. The photographer was on holiday in Sri Lanka when he heard a clap of thunder. Then he saw a doughnut-shaped cloud in the sky that “did not rise but headed from the high atmosphere towards the earth” (see DEFE 24/2036/1).
The phenomenon depicted in the photos is almost certainly a high altitude iridescent ice cloud, backlit by the setting sun. But the observer remained convinced he saw an “air burst of some kind or other.”
To supplement the official highlights guide available at the TNA UFO page I have added my own detailed interpretation of the files on a separate page here. New readers should also visit my Secret Files pages for detailed discussions of key themes including Defence Intelligence UFO research and the Rendlesham incident.