back to article Secret documents: The Truth about MoD's UFO files

Following an announcement by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that it will no longer keep files of reported UFO sightings, it has emerged after painstaking detective work that - in fact - it is no longer doing so. The shock move by the MoD was revealed at the weekend by Blighty's foremost UFO expert and talking head, Dr David …


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  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Dr David Clarke of Sheffield Hallam uni

    He's a lecturer in journalism with a PhD in folklore. Worthy stuff, I'm sure, but when he speaks on the subject of UFOs, I think it would be more accurate to refer to him as just "Dr David Clarke". It's not like he holds his academic position at Sheffield on the strength of his research in any field related to UFOs. I don't suppose the science faculty at Sheffield really appreciates the link.

    On the other hand, he's entitled to a hobby and (now that the man at the MoD has retired) he probably *is* Britain's foremost expert on UFOs. As you may have noticed, Britain doesn't actually *need* much expertise in UFOlogy so it doesn't get funded much.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Quite usual

      When an academic is being mentioned in this way, it would be normal to include where they work - saying 'Dr David Clarke' would merely indicate that he holds a doctorate and a reader could be forgiven for inferring that he's not currently employed as an academic.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Quite usual

        "a reader could be forgiven for inferring that he's not currently employed as an academic"

        That's the point. He isn't currently, and never has been, employed as an academic in any position relevant to the story. Most of the El Reg readership are probably better qualified (ie, numerate and scientifically literate) to comment on UFOs, whether they have PhDs or not.

        Mention of his qualifications is polite. Mentioning that he is currently employed in academia (in some undisclosed and, as it turns out, utterly unconnected fashion) is misleading. The only reasonable inference is that he has some professional knowledge of the matter and this isn't true.

        Sadly, though, you are quite correct. It *is* quite usual to mislead readers in this way. Perhaps El Reg could buck the trend in future.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    to feed the troll

    tell him that for the MoD to keep the *real* juicy stuff to itself... it only need to *transfer* those document to another department or keep them under a different heading. Therefore they can archive everything from the current department while concealing the juicy stuff under a different department.

    1. frank ly

      troll dessert.....

      They've been doing that for years!

    2. hplasm

      But can they hide it

      where Gary McKinnon can't get at it?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TInfoil Hats

    Does anybody think the tinfoil hat brigade will believe the MoD when they say they are no longer keeping files on UFOs? Of course they won't. To them this will be further evidence that the government are involved in covering up evidence of ET activity.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    UFO in Footballer Sex Trio Romp Shock!

    The Sun? I fail to see the tits and arse angle they can work when it comes to UFOs...

    Well if the MOD have packed it in means 2 things - it's all a load of bunk, or they found something really juicy and have made it even more secret...

    I have to question the reasoning behind spending money on it this long, does it really matter if a few things 'seen' flying about go unexplained... there is a lot of unexplained stuff in this world, lets stop worrying about them until we have invented some better science to make it easier to work out (I'm thinking Star Trek style uber-sensors that can detect you have a cold from 5 AU distance).

    Mine's the one with the tricorder in the breast pocket...

    1. rototype

      the sun won't

      (probably) but I'll bet the Sport can find an angle (isn't that their specialty).

    2. fred #257
      Paris Hilton

      It's easy

      "The Sun? I fail to see the tits and arse angle they can work when it comes to UFOs... "

      Surely you jest. It's obvious. UFO's = Aliens = Alien abduction = strange sexual experiments....

      Just Google 'alien sex' and you'll have enough material to keep the Sun going for months, I betcha.

      Paris because... oh, do I have to spell it out?

  5. NightFox

    I don't want to put a title here

    The only reason the RAF/MoD were ever interested in UFO sightings was if they were actually Soviet aircraft probing the UK's air defences, as they did on a regular basis in the 1990's and still do to a much, much lesser extent. Anything that didn't seem to suggest a Russian incursion was just ignored, not investigated as some form of X-Files event.

    The MoD were only ever interested in the threat from the East and had/have no interest in investigating reports of little green men in the absence of any scientific proof of their existence (and no, "we can't explain it therefore it is proof" doesn't count as scientific).

  6. MinionZero

    Possible explanations for MoD lack of interest in UFOs

    (1) Aliens no longer see Earth as a good vacation spot. Hence no more UFO sightings.

    (2) Aliens no longer land UFOs on Earth, they just sit back in orbit (with popcorn) waiting for the huge fireworks display from the LHC when we (finally) crush the planet into a Black Hole.

    (3) The lizard people have already taken over the MoD and Government and so no longer need to record their own UFO movements.

    (4) The concept of UFOs was just a PR smoke screen used to ridicule any reported sightings of early stealth aircraft experiments, so no longer any need to keep up the pretense.

    (5) I'm an alien who is playing with your mind and don't bother taking me to your leader, for I am your leader!

    1. TRT Silver badge


      Earth is an excellent vacation spot, and the exchange rate is fantastic for space tourists.

      1. MinionZero

        @”the exchange rate is fantastic for space tourists “

        The exchange rate may well be fantastic, but after news spread of the mugging incident at Roswell resulting in the subsequent triple murder of all crew members by some of us inquisitive chimps, from this moment on intergalactic public opinion hasn't been favorable to say the least. In fact some have very vocally suggested this open air zoo planet be finally closed down and demolished in favor of building a shopping mall in its place. It has even been suggested by some members of the intergalactic gutter press that the LHC was simply the result of leaking design specifications to the chimps to see what happens. Even just the resulting film remake rights would be worth a fortune plus the chimps even do their own demolition work once they create the Black Hole at the LHC, saving everyone else the trouble of clearing up the mess.

        Its therefore no wonder its no longer the vacation spot it once was!

        1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

          Roswell mugging

          That's precisely why we rated the qualifier "mostly" to our "harmless" entry in HGTTG

  7. Linbox

    "The Truth"

    The S*n wouldn't know truth if it hit them in the face so playing host to the UFO nutters is an almost perfect fit - twats talking to tossers.

    A plague on both their houses.

  8. Cameron Colley

    I don't understand the Doctor's position.

    What on earth* does he mean by "I suspect that the next time a near-miss incident involving civil or military aircraft occurs, they will be forced to rethink this somewhat short-sighted policy.". Is he suggesting that someone phoning in a UFO has actually prevented a near miss? From what I can gather of the more publicised UFO reports most are made after the fact and the near-misses wouldn't hvae been prevented by the MOD logging them.

    Personally, I think UFOs have served their purpose of "covering up" various stealth fighter flights and Russian reconnaissance missions and the MOD do right in consigning them to the history books.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Always bothers me...

      "Near miss"? That should be "almost hit", shirley? Much like "attempted murder", "failed murder" shirley?

    2. I didn't do IT.

      Near Miss

      The issue is that a good portion (of "Blue Book" sightings) were from civilian and military aircraft pilots who experienced "near miss" events from aircraft that did not show up on airport or aircraft radar. Since they didn't expect something to be there, they did not avoid the other craft until it was visually sighted - still a good excuse for not completely automating aircraft flights.

  9. smudge

    Where's the view from the Red Planet?

    I think it's vital that we should hear from amanfromMars on this one.

  10. Andrew Newstead


    Near misses will be reported as near misses, as they have always been - assuming nobody is embarrased by reporting. Then they will be quietly forgotten - also as they always have been.

    I'm a pretty good observer of the sky, night or day, and I've wanted to see a UFO most of my life. So far everything I've seen is natural or has an Earth registration number. Also don't forget that an Unidentified Flying Object is just that, something in the air that you can't identify - doesn't have to be ET you know.

  11. Steven Raith

    I for one welcome...

    ...our undocumented overlords.


    Steven R

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      @Steven Raith

      Our lizard overlords are happy to have you in their service.

      She knows what service is.....

  12. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Where's amanfromMars when you need one?

    [no post]

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Sky News (lol)

    Until something appears on and is filmed on Sky news (well the BBC is obviously now going to die the death of a thousand cuts) over the Houses of parliment then its all a bit hokem.

    Of course, even with the above there will be thoses out west who will deny it as a lefty liberal communist plot, or the saving grace as to why gun reform isnt required and that we should all be able to by RPG-7s from walmart!?

    of course, if the MOD wants to cut the costs of their UFO helpdesk, I am availanle at reasonable rates.....

    even if it means i do have to communicate with hippies, anoraks, nazi saucer folk and other such 'tards - but, never let principles get in the way of a good contract!

    1. hplasm
      Thumb Up

      Make that-

      plunging into the Houses of Parliament and I think we'll have a conclusive crowd pleaser that will be hard to deny

  14. Cucumber C Face

    Near miss?

    >the next time a near-miss incident involving civil or military aircraft occurs, [the MoD] will be forced to rethink this somewhat short-sighted policy.<

    Right.. so they've mastered inter-stellar flight only to accidentally bump into an object moving at Mach 3 or substantially less.

    Beer - because aliens obviously can't hack the lager on Earth

    1. paulc

      bumped into an object...

      "Right.. so they've mastered inter-stellar flight only to accidentally bump into an object moving at Mach 3 or substantially less."

      very easy if you got distracted and was answering a hypertext message...

  15. Kevin Reader
    Paris Hilton

    Shurly Shum Mistake...

    I'm sure all the ufologists will enjoy their new discussions with the soaraway [geddit!] sun...

    After all everyone knows the sun has much smaller (and prettier) briefs than the MOD.

    I'll get my coat. Well Paris's actually as she knows all about unexpected debriefings....

  16. Graham Marsden

    You'd better pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space...

    ... because there's bugger all down here on Earth!

    - Monty Python.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Good. UFOs should not be tracked by the MOD

    1. Because it's my money they're wasting (look, UFOs have changed shape to match whatever SciFi is the current flavour on the goggle box at the time. That tells me humans are just confabulating. They aren't aliens)

    2. Because even if you disagree with the facts in point 1, do you really trust the MOD to tell you anything anyway?

    If you're going to do it, don't do it with taxpayers money, and do it publically.

  18. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Are aliens still targeting Primitive Earthed Phorms?*

    Methinks the UFO Mission and Interest has Morphed and Transferred its Activities and IMPossible and IMPertinent Sorties to the Intelligence Control Sectors responsible for Law and Order and Money and Power and Cyber Security ....for that is where the Weakness of Badly Programmed Robots with Incomplete Knowledge is Best Exploited to System Overload with Driver Crashes, Buffer Overflows and Server Message Block Buster ZerodDays with Sensitive Control Information Overlode/NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive Enrichment.

    In AI Stealthy Human Copy are Alien Thoughts and Deeds Invisible and Indivisible and Easily Followed with Read Rights for Endorsement and Universal Support with Rewrite Comments ..... Further Opening the Door with such as would be Virtual Remote Control with SMARTer Enabled Third Parties/IntelAIgenty Designed Evolving Active Species ....... in AIRole Model Play Spaces Created on Earth for the Pleasure of Leisure and the Manufacture of Wealth to Deliver with Hot Intellectual Property Share .......... for that is where the Great Game is at .... the Capture of Intelligence that Thinks IT Leads with Market Manipulation and Naked Short Insider Trading.

    * Or only just Started and Getting into the Universal Swing of Things?

    What you can be sure of is that much will be made of the lesser attention allowing for more bangs for your bucks exploding just out of the blue everywhere. While the Cat's away the Mice will Play.... even in Space Lore, although that would be for the Human Animal Version of Cosmic Events.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    UFOs above the Houses of parliament?

    I see this nearly every Christmas with that documentary TV series with that scottish Doctor guy and a blue box!

  20. disgruntled yank

    UFO community

    Otherwise known as "crock circles"?

  21. awomanfromVenus

    A tile is required, Sire will do!!

    What's this sudden interest in people from mars?

  22. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Base Hard Core CodeXSSXXXX ...... Perfumed Garden of Eden ReHash

    "What's this sudden interest in people from mars?" .... awomanfromVenus Posted Tuesday 2nd March 2010 17:00 GMT.

    Their LOVE Program is Shocking Awesome and may have a More than Lot to do with IT, awomanfromVenus.

  23. fred #257

    If there are no UFO's...

    how do the aliens get here to make all the crop circles then? Tell me that!

  24. Alistair Wall

    Dr David Clarke of Sheffield Hallam

    distinguishes him from Dr David Clarke of Glasgow, and from a bunch of Americans.

  25. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Soon the records will have vanished in the night... an old oak table.

    Sorry, couldn't work "Klaatu barada nikto" into it. (Apologies for the spelling, there's no glark accent on this keyboard)

  26. Simon 39


    I'm at a loss to understand why the existing files have to be destroyed.

    What? Is the cost of data storage too high? Come on.

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