FOIA: An Update


Just an update on a few FOIA developments…

A few years ago I managed to get declassified a schematic map of the RAF Bentwaters site. I have been intrigued by the allegations of the existence of underground facilities at Bentwaters. The document I received is amazingly complex and is A0 in size. A little large for my desktop scanner so I am currently looking at finding a way to scan it into an electronic format so I can share it with a wider community, as the document would make a lot of sense to those used to looking at such building/site diagrams. (I had previously sent a copy of the document to someone who claimed they knew someone once at the base who would be able to “decode” it. But they just kept the copy and it probably sits on a shelf somewhere. Sadly, the print shop that copied it has closed so I’ll look for an app that can stitch a number of scans together so I can share the document)

When the MoD closed the “UFO Desk” they official reason was the “administrative burden”, costs etc etc etc. Yet, I’ve been analysing the statistics for that time period and it’s interesting what you turn up when you start to really dig into the FOIA requests for that year. Hopefully I’ll turn it into a spreadsheet for your perusal. At the time, I also quoted an academic paper by Alasdair Roberts which documented the decline in FOIA requests the MoD were receiving but the naysayers whinged I wasn’t using the correct figures. How can using the MoDs own figures not be using the correct figures? Anyway, I’ll get some stats and we can show the true extent of the MoDs “administrative burden”. Using their own figures, naturally.

We’re still waiting for the 18 files the MoD curiously didn’t release when they claimed they were releasing all their files (of course, in reality they’ve just released the files that passed across the “UFO Desk”, and due to information compartmentalisation, I believe there is still much more lurking in the filing cabinets). John Burroughs, of the Rendlesham Incident, first mentioned these policy documents, and I decided to send an FOIA request to see whether John was correct. My FOIA request was sent on 25th August, the MoD responded on 11th September 2014 confirming the existence of the files, and we’re still waiting for the release. The MoD response can be found here. The MoD recently explained why the files were still being delayed, and that can be found here. Despite the claim by the MoD they would be released in “Early 2017”, we’re still waiting.

Paul Dean in a researcher who uncovers some interesting documents and one of his latest is quite interesting. As Paul explains:

“… a recent US Department of Defence manual with instructions regarding photographing UFOs by armed services personnel.

 The manual is promulgated by ASD-PA, and is applicable to all Military departmental level entities, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all Combatant Commands, the Office of the Inspector General of the DoD, all Defense Agencies, and DoD Field Agencies.

 Asked of Armed Forces servicemen is the photographing and/or filing of “Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) and Other Aerial Phenomena Imagery”. Again, “UFOs” are treated as distinct from aircraft, etc. Specifically, the phraseology is:“Aerial flying objects not obviously identifiable as conventional aircraft” and “Aerial phenomena (including moving lights and similar phenomena)”. Also, the imaging of such objects is asked thereof during “routine peacetime events” and “activities unrelated to either war, overseas combat…” and such. So, they aren’t talking about stray military drones or nasty long-range bomber contrails.

This isn’t some 1950’s, 1960’s, whatever doctrine. This is from the 2000’s, and departs radically from the US militaries assertions that “UFOs” and “aerial phenomenon” are simply not in their jurisdiction. See below.”




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