The British Ministry of Defence is still withholding high-level UFO public policy papers, along with other UFO documentation, despite the public stance that all material has been transferred to the National Archives, according to John F. Burroughs, a retired USAF security officer. Burroughs, 53, was stationed at RAF Bentwaters in the late 1980's and witnessed one of the most significant UFO events in English history.
Speaking to the Sedona MUFON section meeting on Friday May 16, Burroughs surprised the audience when he presented first results of his analysis of a declassified British MOD document, along with the stunning revelation that the MOD——despite the wide-spread perception that they've turned all classified UFO documentation over to the British National Archives——is still maintaining at least six major UFO/UAP Policy Papers, along with other documentation as classified, including a paper on Defence Policy and UFO's. The last is presumably a clear refutation of the MOD stance that UFOs, or at least UFO reports, are 'not of Defence Significance', however since it remains classified, there is no way to know.
Burroughs' two hour presentation included a brief review of the recently published book by St. Martin's Press, 'Encounter in Rendlesham Forest', co-authored with fellow USAF security officer Jim Penniston and former MOD UFO desk administrator Nick Pope; a discussion of the 'Sedona coordinate', a location specified by one possible decoding of retired Technical Sergeant James Penniston's controversial binary data, and details of Burroughs' struggle with the VA to acquire his complete service medical records, some of which have since been classified by unknown components of the US DOD.
The presentation fit together a number of pieces of an increasingly complex puzzle about what actually happened in the waning days of December, 1980 in a forest outside Joint Base RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge, a key front line Cold War US airbase in East Anglia. It also offered a novel possible explanation of the mysterious classification of his missing medical data, beyond the ongoing scandal of VA lack of treatment of veterans that recently forced the head of the VA to resign.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
The timeline of events Burroughs recounts is telling:
In June, 2000, the MOD shifted the titles of its public information Policy Papers, replacing the term 'UFO' with 'UAP' in order to throw investigators using the FOIA process to find UFO documentation off the trail. This served to mask documentation from public access on the basis of a technicality.
In December, 2000 the MOD commissioned a Top Secret Technical Memorandum 55/2/00 in 2000, which was intended to provide the pretext for closing down the MOD UFO desk. That Memorandum included a Key Recommendation that:
"It should no longer be a requirement for DI55 to monitor UAP reports as they do not demonstrably provide information useful to Defence Intelligence."
Subsequent to the internal release of the Technical Memorandum, the UK MOD shut down the public UFO reporting desk and began a process of transferring all of the UFO reports to the British National Archives.
According to a statement by MOD spokesman Dr. David Clarke in a June 21, 2013 video, Britain's Ministry of Defence revealed a new batch of UFO files for sightings which occurred between 2007 and 2009, the final release of such files from Britain. The implication was that the MOD had come clean. The video is attached to this article.
This seeming act of transparency was apparently a ruse, as FOIA requests by Burroughs have revealed two further versions of the truth.
One MOD response to a FOIA request admitted to the existence of the crucial high-level policy papers. Two of the policy papers, covering the periods of 1971-76 and 1996-2000, respectively, are titled 'UFO policy', while three more covering the periods of June-Dec 2000, Dec 2000-March 2004 and March 2004 are titled 'UAP policy'.
A subsequent MOD response to a follow up request further admitted the existence of a total of 18 unreleased UFO/UAP documents, including one titled 'Defence Policy Issues UFOs'.
"It's no big surprise, I guess, that the MOD is lying about transparency," Burroughs said in a phone interview from his Sedona home. "It's always a cat-and-mouse game with these agencies to get them to admit anything of substance about this subject."
It's now clear that MOD Scientific Memo 55/2/00 was designed to take a page out of the USAF playbook and provide a pretext for shutting down the MOD UFO report desk, a minimal public relations effort. The tactics mirror the process by which the USAF shut down acceptance of civilian UFO reports, with the refinement that a Top Secret memorandum limited in distribution to 7 copies was used in place of a public commission report.
A HISTORY OF EXTRACTION
In 1966, astronomer J. Allen Hynek in an off-the-cuff conjecture during a hastily arranged press conference, made the regrettable remark that lights observed in Michigan by over 100 witness which had garnered considerable media attention might be attributable to 'Swamp Gas'. It was a historic gaffe making Project Blue Book a laughing stock and triggering then Michigan Congressman Gerald Ford, the House Republican Leader, in whose district the sightings had occurred, to call for a congressional hearing on the subject.
That hearing took place on April 5, 1966 under the aegis of the House Armed Services Committee (89th Congress, 2nd Session).
In October, 1966, in the wake of the Swamp Gas incident and the initial hearing, the Air Force selected Dr. Edward U. Condon and the University of Colorado for a UFO research contract to do a study on the Blue Book project, the USAF's largely ceremonial public relations effort to accept and file UFO reports.
A subsequently leaked memo written by staff member Robert J. Low to university officials on August 9, 1966, indicated that the conclusion of the report was a forgone conclusion before it ever began. The memo read in part:
...Our study would be [ostensibly] conducted almost exclusively by non-believers who, although they couldn't possibly *prove* a negative result, could and probably would add an impressive body of evidence that there is no reality to the observations. The trick would be, I think, to describe the project so that, to the public, it would appear a totally objective study but, to the scientific community, would present the image of a group of nonbelievers trying their best to be objective, but having an almost zero expectation of finding a saucer. One way to do this would be to stress investigation, not of the physical phenomena, but rather of the people who do the observing -- the psychology and sociology of persons and groups who report seeing UFOs. If the emphasis were put here, rather than on examination of the old question of the physical reality of the saucer, I think the scientific community would quickly get the message... I'm inclined to feel at this early stage that, if we set up the thing right and take pains to get the proper people involved and have success in presenting the image we want to present to the scientific community, we could carry the job off to our benefit...
–– Condon Committee member Robert J. Low.
The Condon Committee effort was supported by a second Congressional hearing on July 29, 1968 under the aegis of the House Science and Astronautics Committee. That hearing included Dr. Hynek, the head of the Astronomy department at Northwestern University, Dr. James E. McDonald, Senior Physicist, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, University of Arizona, Dr. Carl Sagan, Dept. of Astronomy, Cornell University, and Dr. Robert L. Hall, Head, Dept. of Sociology, University of Illinois-Chicago among others.
It was the last serious effort at formal government sponsored discourse on the subject. To this day, many, including UFO reality advocate Stanton Friedman view U of A Physicist McDonald's testimony as the best prepared and presented set of unexplained cases ever presented.
Predictably, Condon's summation announced that there was no need for the USAF to maintain effort on Blue Book, despite the contents of the actual report, which includes a number of significant cases labeled 'Unexplained'. As a result, the USAF shut down the project and got out of the business of accepting UFO reports.
The MOD followed the same pattern over four decades later, commissioning a Top Secret report rather than a sham public accredited investigation that would recommend the shut down of the largely ceremonial MOD UFO report acceptance desk, and, having changed their terminology in advance an in accordance with the key recommendation, did exactly that.
"The memorandum itself is a masterpiece of bureaucratic double-speak," Burroughs stated in a press release accompanying the presentation, "You have to know what you are looking for and understand what is actually being stated."
The plan worked fairly flawlessly, as the MOD Technical Memorandum was largely overlooked by the UFO research community due in large part to the obscurity of wording and the intertwining of excess but relatively useless technical data on the reports, along with vague discussion of 'rare, but natural weather phenomenon.'
This tactic mirrors the content of a press conference held at the Pentagon in 1952 in the wake of the spectacular July sightings over Washington, DC of groups of as many as 7 UFO's of the form of silver saucers of phenomenal performance.
Air Force Director of Intelligence General Samford did make the oft-quoted statement that "However, there have remained a percentage of this total [of sighting reports], in the order of twenty percent of the reports, that have come from credible observers of relatively incredible things."
Samford issued a series of confusing statements discussing weather phenomena, but when pressed by reporters, admitted late in the conference that:
“There is nothing else known in the world that can do those things except the phenomena!”
— Air Force Director of Intelligence Lt. General John A. Samford
The properly confused press duly reported that the USAF felt that the Washington sightings were do to radar reflections resulting from temperature inversions, something the radar operators would later refute, although that was under-reported.
In 1956, Gen. Samford was appointed director of the National Security Agency, a posiction he held until his retirement in late 1960.
While experts such as Sheffield Hallam University lecturer David Clarke either overlooked or disregarded the significance of the material in MOD 55/2/00 — Clarke would later serve as an analyst/spokesman for the MOD on the issue, Burroughs notes — Burroughs dug deep into the document and discovered some surprising results.
[Clarke, in a 21 May Facebook posting takes exception to both the characterization of his relationship with the MOD and the assertion that unreleased MOD documents is 'news'.
The 'stunning revelation' that MoD is with-holding six UFO policy files is a load of old cobblers. The names and titles of those files are contained in the papers released by the National Archives in 2012-13. Gary Anthony and I made FOI requests for these files way back in 2006. MoD agreed to release them at that time and I have a complete copy of the DI55 UFO Policy file covering 1971-1996 sitting here on my desk. The 6 files will, however, be released during 2014.
— David Clarke, Facebook, May 21, 2014
Clarke says that the implication that he is working for the MOD or National Archives is a misrepresentation.
I acted as an unpaid consultant for The National Archives for the UFO files release - NOTE: National Archives is not MoD - simply to ensure that a valuable archive of material was saved for posterity. I did it for nothing and I asked for nothing in return.
— David Clarke, Facebook, May 21, 2014
Article revised by author]
To start with, the MOD admitted there is a real phenomenon, not a weather aberration at the root of the sightings reports data.
"That Unidentified Aerial Phenomena exist is indisputable. Credited with the ability to hover, land, take-off, accelerate to exceptional velocities and vanish, they can reportedly alter their direction of flight suddenly and clearly can exhibit aerodynamic characteristics well beyond those of any known aircraft or missile -- either manned or unmanned."
— British MOD Technical Memorandum 55/2/00, December 2000
This follows similar admissions by the USAF and France.
In a 1947 memo to then chief of staff Curtis LeMay, General Twining stated that:
“The phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious.”
In 1999 the COMETA Report, compiled by a prestigious panel of French scientific and military experts concluded that:
“They demonstrate the almost certain physical reality of completely unknown flying objects with remarkable flight performances and noiselessness, apparently operated by intelligent [beings].”
— COMETA Report, France, 1999
"These are but a few examples of confirmation that the phenomenon exists and the root cause is something beyond known human engineering capabilities," Burroughs maintains.
The choice of wording is not accidental.
Confirmation of the existence and nature of the phenomenon, Burroughs says, is a crucial and important conceptual distinction from 'Disclosure' of the facts, whatever they may be, as called for by Disclosure advocates.
"Disclosure is a political impossibility." Burroughs maintains, quoting again the COMETA report which concluded in part that:
"It is clear that the Pentagon has had, and probably still has, the greatest interest in concealing, as best it can, all of this research, which may cause the United States to hold a position of great supremacy over terrestrial adversaries, while giving it a considerable response capability against a possible threat coming from space.
Within this context, it is impossible for them to divulge the sources [or conclusions] of this research and the goals pursued, because that could immediately point any possible rivals down the most beneficial avenues. Cover-ups and disinformation still remain, under this hypothesis, an absolute necessity.
— The COMETA Report, France, 1999
"Confirmation trumps Disclosure," says Burroughs, 'in two respects. First of all it is politically workable. Secondly, it has already occurred."
Public acceptance of the confirmation of the phenomenon has the crucial attribute that it allows the maintenance of 'the orderly functioning of the body politic', a phrase at the heart of the 1953 Robertson Panel report, which was commissioned in the wake of the Washington, D.C, in the summer of 1952. That report was the impetus for a comprehensive program of public indoctrination that lasted for decades.
On one hand, the CIA, under the aegis of 'Project Mockingbird' co-opted the US national media (a transgression of their mandate not to interfere in US internal affairs) and began a campaign to reduce the UFO sightings reports problem to a socially unacceptable topic, the framework of which was recounted in 'The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA played America' by Hugh Wilford.
On the other hand, the CIA quietly funded the National Enquirer and soon the tabloid, which included a patently ridiculous UFO story amid juicy gossip and other low-brow entertainment, was a fixture at every supermarket checkout stand in America. This was documented in Terry Hanson's book 'The Missing Times'.
The combination worked, and soon thoughtful, serious discussion of the UFO topic was socially taboo, the subject reduced to the derogatory memes of 'little green men' in 'flying saucers' studied by people wearing 'tin-foil hats.' This social engineering produced a toxic atmosphere and relegated the UFO research community to a journalistic ghetto of belief driven obscurity.
In recent decades, a frontal assault on this circumstance has been mounted by a number of Disclosure advocates, who demand nothing less than a Presidential admission of 'an extraterrestrial presence on earth'.
Not only is this a political impossibility — the UFO topic is the electrified 'third rail' of American politics, as Rep. Dennis Kucinich discovered in a 2007 presidential candidate's debate — but it assumes as somehow a priori the exact nature of what would be 'disclosed'.
Whatever is known about the phenomenon in the bowels of the US security state is inextricably bound up with justifiably classified information, as the COMETA report notes.
Burroughs credits the concept of Confirmation to Las Vegas space and housing entrepreneur Bob Bigelow, who made an articulate assessment of the situation in a rare public appearance on George Knapp hosted Coast to Coast AM radio show in March of 2013.
Bigelow said in part:
"So, what I do is I try to distinguish the difference between Confirmation and Disclosure. To me, [there is] a very crucial difference between the way I choose to use those words.
And that is that Confirmation, to me, means simply the acknowledgment that the phenomena exists, that it is real. Getting the truth out that, just simply that the UFO topic is real, that these things really do exist, ET's really do exist.
And that's it. You draw the line, you stop right there. And you have just once and for all, established that it's real.
Confirmation is not Disclosure, it does not require and mean that details need to be immediately flooded out regarding craft and occupants and all kinds of things.
I also see that, to me, Confirmation is in process. I think this is an ongoing effort now, that is accelerating. I think it is on behalf of the phenomenon itself, because the exhibitions continue, and involvement in people's lives continue, so it's not as though there is an abatement in the prosecution of exhibitions on behalf of the phenomena, they don't stop."
— Robert Bigelow to George Knapp, Coast to Coast AM, March, 2013.
Finally, Burroughs presented a detailed correlation between statements in MOD Memo 55/2/00, a 2010 paper by physicist Hal Puthoff, PhD, and a 2003 paper by Jaques Vallee and Eric Davis prepared for Bigelow's National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS).
The extremely short version of this set of correlations is that observations by witnesses to Rendlesham and Burroughs' own life-threatening heart problems are consistent with the effects predicted by Puthoff's avante-guarde propulsion theoretical paper, which describes a means of engineering space-time to achieve faster than light speed without violating the terms of General Relativity.
Puthoff's paper, published in the peer reviewed Journal of the British Interplanetary Society is avant-guarde theoretical, and thus the correlation Burroughs describes hinges on the ultimate engineering of the Puthoff Drive and measured effects.
But if Puthoff is correct, John Burroughs exhibits the effects of a prolonged and close encounter with a form of blue-shifted EM radiation consistent with a propulsion field capable of interstellar travel.
The implications of that are obvious.
Finally, the British MOD report itself states that:
"The well-reported Rendlesham Forest/Bentwaters event[s] is an example where it might be postulated that several observers were probably exposed to UAP radiation for longer than normal UAP sighting times."
— British MOD Technical Memorandum 55/2/00, December 2000
Add to that the fact that Puthoff's theory of spacetime engineering would result in the paper's words:
"...an individual having spent time within such a temporally-modified field, would, when returned to the normal environment, find that more time had passed than could be experientially accounted for."
–– Puthoff, British Journal of Interplanetary Science, 2010
According to some accounts, Burroughs actually entered the object of unknown origin on the first night.
Both serviceman's watches were 45 minutes out of sync with clocks on the base after the incident.
The MOD report goes on to state:
“Currently the field characteristics of a UAP are unknown, but it is a corroborated fact that...some sort of field is emanated which has adverse effects on some people when they are close to the source.”
— British MOD Technical Memorandum 55/2/00, December 2000
Burroughs includes the following statement in a media briefing PowerPoint presentation developed from his Sedona MUFON Lecture:
"It is reasonable to conclude that the phenomenon I was exposed to in Rendlesham may have been an advanced propulsion system along the lines of Puthoff’s theoretical faster-than-light drive."
— John F. Burroughs, USAF, (Ret)
One of the responses to Burroughs' extensive FOIA request efforts admits that the MOD holds no information on the kind of radiation known to cause his heart condition. That information was not included in Burroughs' medical service records, portions of which have been deemed Classified by the US DOD.
Taken as a whole, it's clear that John Burroughs did not encounter a rare weather phenomenon in the Rendlesham Forest. Rare weather phenomena don't cause time to be slowed, nor do they induce specific life-threatening medical issues in the observer's heart.
Further proof of the nature of what he did encounter is probably locked in his DNA and in the portions of his service Medical Records, which someone at the DOD has seen fit to Classify so as to deny access to the Veteran's Administration.
"Why would they do that," Burroughs wonders instinctively, part of his law enforcement training, "unless something very important and very sensitive is included in my medical records?"
Confirmation of the true nature of the UFO/UAP phenomenon (as if more was needed) stands as a very likely explanation of what that sensitive something might provide.
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