Encounter in Rendlesham Forest New! Added 24th April 2014
Nick Pope has teamed up with the two witnesses at the heart of the
Rendlesham Forest incident - John Burroughs and Jim Penniston - to
write the definitive book about the UFO encounter that is increasingly
being regarded as more significant and compelling than the infamous
John Burroughs and Jim Penniston are the two United States Air Force witnesses who got closest to the UFO that landed in the forest adjacent to RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge in December 1980. The UFO was subsequently witnessed by other US Air Force witnesses, including the Deputy Base Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt.
The UFO was tracked on radar, and physical evidence was present at the landing site including indentations in the frozen ground where the UFO had landed, scorch marks on the sides on the trees facing the landing site, and radiation levels subsequently assessed by the MoD's Defence Intelligence Staff as being "significantly higher than the average background".
Encounter in Rendlesham Forest is packed with inside information about the incident and about government policy on UFOs more generally. It's largely based on candid interviews with a wide range of government, military and intelligence community personnel, and on formerly-classified documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Because of the authors' military/government backgrounds, and in view of the extreme sensitivities involved, this is the only UFO book ever to have required security clearance from both the American and British governments.
The book was serialised in the Daily Mail on 19th April and is rising rapidly up the best-seller lists.
Click on the buttons below to order the book in America or the UK.
Nick Pope UK Talk Announced
Nick Pope is to
make a rare public appearance in the UK.
Having moved to America in January 2012, Nick Pope has only returned to the UK on two occasions, for TV recording commitments. This one-off lecture provides a rare opportunity for the UK public to come and meet the man who ran the UK Government's real-life X-Files, investigating UFOs, alien abductions, crop circles and other mysteries.
More recently, Nick Pope has been the public face of the 5-year program to declassify and release the MoD's UFO files, and has been interviewed about this on TV shows including Newsnight, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Blue Peter and the main BBC and ITV news bulletins, as well as giving a talk about it at the Royal Albert Hall.
Now, on 3 April 2014, Nick Pope is coming to Berwick-upon-Tweed, where he's giving a special, one-off talk about his government UFO investigations, and giving the audience a chance to share their own thoughts and experiences on the subject, and to ask their questions. The talk is being held at the Maltings Theatre & Cinema and starts at 7.30pm. It lasts for 2h30m, including an interval.
Click here for details of the talk and how to book tickets.
Release of MoD UFO Files - Media
The recent release of the last-ever batch of Ministry of Defence UFO files made the headlines all around the world. This Daily Express article was typical of how the newspapers reported this story, while this Yahoo News feature was typical of the way in which major online news media sites covered events.
Most of the media coverage included quotes from Nick Pope, who worked on MoD's UFO project, had been involved in the release of the files and has become the public face of the story, carrying out several hundred TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews over the course of this five-year program to declassify and release the entire archive of UFO files and transfer them to the UK's National Archives.
The most extensive and high-profile media coverage of this story was a feature article in The Sun which Nick Pope wrote, showcasing some of the new material, explaining the background to the release and giving the definitive assessment of these real-life X-Files.
The UFO community covered the story extensively too, as one would expect, e.g. in this Open Minds feature on the story and in this Coast to Coast interview with Nick Pope, which starts at the 39 minutes point.
Further details of the release of these files can be found in the MoD UFO Files section of this website.
Final Batch of MoD UFO Files
The final batch of Ministry of Defence UFO files has been released today, bringing to a close the five-year program to declassify the files and transfer them to The National Archives.
There are 25 files in this final batch, comprising around 4400 pages of documents. This brings to an end a process which has seen the release of around 200 files and well over 50,000 pages of documents, some of which had been formerly classified Secret UK Eyes Only. The material released today includes policy files, UFO sighting reports, and correspondence with the public. Most of the material covers the period 2007 - 2009, the latter date being when MoD's UFO project was axed, after decades of official research and investigation.
Nick Pope worked for the Ministry of Defence for 21 years and worked on the UFO project from 1991 to 1994. He worked on these files (and indeed wrote some of them!) and has been involved in the release program. He has also been the public face of this 'Disclosure', having undertaken several hundred TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews on the story.
Nick Pope is available for interview on this latest release and the media can contact him via his firstname.lastname@example.org email address if they want opinions, quotes or interviews on this story. If deadlines are tight, the following quotes may be freely-used, as may any of the other material on this website:
"I hope people have as much fun reading these real-life X-Files as I had working on them. These documents don't resolve the UFO mystery but they certainly show how the phenomenon was just as intriguing to the government as it is to the public."
“These are the real-life X-Files. Most UFO sightings had conventional explanations, but a small percentage remained unexplained. These included cases where UFOs were seen by police officers, chased by pilots and tracked on radar. Whatever you think about UFOs, the release of these files shines a light on one of the most intriguing subjects ever studied by the British Government”.
Further details of the file release program can be found in the MoD UFO Files section of this website.
MoD UFO Files Update
The release of MoD's UFO files has been the biggest UFO-related story in recent years. Having worked on these files and been involved in the release program, Nick Pope gets more media questions about this than on any other aspect of his government work on this subject.
Nick Pope has now placed a MoD UFO Files section on his website, to try to address some of the most frequently asked questions, but he is also available for interview to discuss the release of these files to The National Archives. The media can contact Nick Pope via his email@example.com email address if they want opinions, quotes or interviews on this story.
Citizen Hearing on Disclosure
A major event to
discuss the UFO phenomenon is to be held at the National Press Club in
Washington DC from 29th April to 3rd May. The Citizen Hearing on
Disclosure will see a committee of six former congresspeople and
senators quiz various UFO witnesses and experts, in a format modelled
on a real congressional hearing. Nick Pope is one of a number of former
government officials involved and other witnesses include former
military and aviation community professionals.
The Citizen Hearing on Disclosure has already generated considerable mainstream media interest and is likely to be covered by a number of TV networks and newspapers. Nick Pope is happy to respond to media requests about his participation and will be available for interview at the event itself, throughout the week. Click on www.citizenhearing.org for details of the event.
Cosford Incident: 20th Anniversary
30/31 March is the 20th anniversary of one of the best-known and most compelling UFO incidents in the world. Collectively known as the Cosford incident, these were a series of several dozen sightings that took place over a period of about 6 hours on 30/31 March 1993. Many of the several dozen witnesses were police officers and military personnel. Sightings came in from many different parts of the UK and I led the official Ministry of Defence investigation into the incident, which took place midway through my three year posting to MoD's UFO project. We quickly ascertained that the re-entry of a Russian rocket probably explained a cluster of sightings at around 1.10am, but the more spectacular, lower altitude sightings remained unexplained. These included a scoutmaster and his scouts out hiking in the Quantock Hills, who saw a UFO "like two Concordes flying side by side and joined together", at around 8.30pm. The Meteorological Officer at RAF Shawbury witnessed a vast, triangular-shaped craft flying over the base at a height of around 200 feet, firing a narrow beam of light at the ground and emitting a low-frequency humming sound. The craft moved very slowly, before accelerating away to the horizon many times faster than a military jet (the witness had been in the RAF for eight years). Air Cadet Darren Perks, who went on to join the military, saw the UFO and said that it had been so big, the stars blacked out one by one as the UFO passed over his head. Click here to read a fuller account of the incident and here to access the first part of a Channel 5 documentary that I presented on the incident, which is one of numerous news bulletins, chatshows and documentaries on which I have discussed this case, which is probably the UK's best-known UFO sighting aside from the Rendlesham Forest incident. By a bizarre coincidence, the Cosford incident took place three years to the very night after a spectacular wave of UFO sightings in Belgium, where two F-16 fighters were scrambled to try to intercept a huge, triangular-shaped UFO that was seen by numerous witnesses and tracked on radar.
2012 Review/2013 Preview
2012 was a very busy year for Nick Pope. On the personal front, he emigrated to America in January and now spends his time between San Jose, California and Tucson, Arizona. Nick Pope continues to work as a journalist and broadcaster on a wide range of subjects, including the unexplained, conspiracy theories, fringe science, space, sci-fi and defence. He also undertakes PR work for various film companies. With regard to specific stories of interest, the UK Ministry of Defence released a further batch of UFO files on 12th July and as Nick Pope worked on MoD's UFO project and is the media's 'go to guy' for stories on the subject, he was the person to whom the world's media turned to comment on this story, as has been the case with the release of previous batches of these files. Nick Pope has now undertaken several hundred TV, radio and newspaper interviews on the release of these real-life X-Files, with credits including Newsnight, Radio 4's Today Programme, the main BBC and ITV news bulletins, Good Morning America, Larry King Live and CNN News. Nick Pope was also involved in an unprecedented panel discussion about UFOs at the National Atomic Testing Museum - a Smithsonian-affiliated institution. Nick Pope was busy with filming in 2012 and some of these projects included a new series called UFOs: The Untold Stories, on which he was lead commentator, and Countdown to Apocalypse, in which he commented on a range of scenarios that might wipe out life on Earth. Nick Pope also wrote an 8-page pullout on UFOs for the UK's bestselling national daily newspaper, The Sun. Never before has a national newspaper devoted 8 pages to the subject! Finally, Nick Pope was quoted extensively in the media about the hysteria surrounding predictions that the world would end on 21 December and was pleased that his prediction that the day would pass off without event proved to be accurate!
2013 promises to be an exceptionally busy year for Nick Pope. The 5-year process of declassifying and releasing MoD's UFO files comes to its climax with the release of a final batch and Nick Pope will again be at the heart of this process, undertaking a huge range of UK, US and other TV, radio and newspaper interviews to mark the occasion. In other news, Nick Pope is working on a new book about the Rendlesham Forest UFO incident - the world's best-known UFO case aside from Roswell. At the heart of this book is explosive new testimony from the two United States Air Force witnesses most closely involved, John Burroughs and Jim Penniston. The book has been placed with St. Martin's Press, one of the world's largest and most prestigious publishing houses, and is expected to be published in late 2013. Nick Pope is also recording TV interviews on a wide range of subjects for forthcoming documentaries and is in negotiations concerning fronting his own series.
Nick Pope on End of the World
As a broadcaster and journalist recognized as one of the world's leading (but most level-headed!) commentators on mysteries and conspiracies, Nick Pope has been in demand in the run-up to December 21, when some people believe an ancient Mayan prophesy predicts the end of the world.
Nick Pope has a 2012 Page on this website and has previously written a 2012 feature in The Sun but has just issued the following quote, which all media outlets are free to use, in whole or in part:
The world isn't going to end. All that's happening is that one cycle of an ancient calendar is coming to an end, but like our calendar, a new one will begin. Many cultures have apocalyptic beliefs, but all previous predictions and prophesies about the end of the world have proved to be false. This is a time for fun, not fear. People interested in this should have an end of the world party, but as the world isn't going to end, they will still have to do the cleaning up afterwards!
UFO Coverage in The Sun
On Sunday 2nd
December The Sun published an 8-page pullout on UFOs. Nick Pope wrote
most of the material, which went out under the title "The UFO Files".
The feature included material on some of the world's best-known UFO
cases, including Roswell and Rendlesham Forest, material from MoD's UFO
files, information on UFO hotspots, cases involving near-misses between
UFOs and aircraft, alien abductions, quotes from celebrities, photos,
humorous anecdotes and much more besides. This is the most
comprehensive UFO coverage ever featured in a UK national newspaper and
shows that media and public interest in UFOs is at an all-time high.
Click on the thumbnails below to read the feature.
All material is copyright of The Sun. For more great UFO stories check out www.thesun.co.uk.
UFOs: The Untold Stories
A new six-part series on UFOs is to be shown in the UK. Entitled UFOs: The Untold Stories this new series looks at some of the most intriguing sightings from the UK and (mainly) from other European countries. Featuring eyewitness testimony, expert analysis and some intriguing photos, videos and government documents, the show features some cases that people will be familiar with, alongside some lesser known - but no less interesting - UFO sightings and close encounters.
Nick Pope is lead contributor on the series. He comments on many of the incidents, giving his insider's view on how the government and the military viewed such cases and what they concluded. He also helped in the making of the series, working closely with the production company, suggesting cases to cover, witnesses and experts to interview, documents, photographs and videos to feature, etc. Nick Pope is undertaking various interviews to help promote this new series and the pre-publicity includes an article in The Scotsman and a feature in The Sun's TV Magazine.
The series will be shown on the National Geographic Channel in the UK and begins on Tuesday 13th November at 8pm.
Nick Pope said this about the new series:
"This new show is a must-see for anyone with the slightest interest in UFOs. Packed full of fascinating information, it will appeal to believers, sceptics and those who are undecided on the issue."
Is Ufology Dead?
There has been
extensive media coverage of a debate over whether or not 'ufology' is
dead. The provocative question is one that comes up every few years in
the UFO community. This time around it's been prompted by a conference
being organised by the Association for the Scientific Study of
Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP). The event is entitled
Summit on the Future of Ufology and is due to be held at the
University of Worcester on 17th November.
Nick Pope has a different perspective on this issue than ufologists. Having worked on the Ministry of Defence's UFO project, investigating UFOs was his government job, not a hobby. And he had other official duties too, including setting policy on the issue, handling media enquiries, etc. Accordingly, the media came to him on this story and his views have been widely published, with a Sunday Telegraph article and a feature on the Channel 4 news site carrying some of his remarks.
Nick Pope has made the following statement on the issue:
"Ufology isn't dead and if anything, sightings and interest are at an all-time high. The real problem is that the vast majority of these sightings invariably turn out to be aircraft lights, satellites, meteors, bright stars/planets, or Chinese lanterns. Additionally, sites such as YouTube are awash with fake UFO videos, and the subject certainly attracts more than its fair share of cranks and charlatans. We got around this problem on MoD's UFO project by focusing on sightings from police officers, military personnel and pilots, by analysing photographs and videos in a proper, scientific way, and by using military radar systems to aid our investigations. The UFO community simply doesn't get access to the personnel and resources that a government UFO project can bring to bear on the question. However, none of this means people should stop investigating UFOs. Even if you're sceptical - as I am - you should think of ufology in terms of low probability/high impact. And as we used to say on MoD's UFO project, the believers only have to be right once!"
NB - Nick Pope now lives in California and will not be returning to the UK to speak at the ASSAP conference, though he is able to speak to journalists running stories on the conference and on the question raised.
Rendezvous At Rendlesham
Former Ministry of Defence UFO investigator Nick Pope has signed a major deal to write a book which lifts the lid on a UFO incident that he and colleagues in the MoD regarded as being more significant and compelling than the Roswell incident. The December 1980 UFO encounters in Rendlesham Forest involved dozens of military personnel based at the twin United States Air Force bases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge.
Previously, only fragments of the story have emerged. Now, Nick Pope has teamed up with the two military officers at the heart of this incident, John Burroughs and Jim Penniston, who for the first time reveal what really happened. Nick Pope uses his unique access to the military witnesses and his inside knowledge of MoD’s UFO project, coupled with never before seen UK and US government documents on the incident, to produce a book that will fundamentally change people’s perceptions about the UFO mystery.
Rendezvous At Rendlesham will be published by St. Martin's Press in 2013.
National Atomic Testing Museum UFO
On 22nd September the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas will stage a unique panel discussion on UFOs.
The panellists aren't ufologists, but people who have investigated UFOs officially, for either the American or British Governments. The participants are Col. John Alexander, Col. Bill Coleman, Col. Robert Friend, Col. Charles Halt and Nick Pope.
Many of the US participants were involved in Project Blue Book, the United States Air Force UFO investigation program. Though not on the same scale, the British Government's UFO project was based on Blue Book - the terms of reference and the investigative methodologies being virtually identical. This will be a unique opportunity for Nick Pope to meet some of his US opposite numbers and to compare and contrast MoD's UFO project with the US Government's program. Nick Pope will also use his presentation to give an update on the ongoing work to declassify and release MoD's entire archive of UFO files - a process in which he's been closely involved and which is nearing its climax.
The National Atomic Testing Museum is affiliated with The Smithsonian and the event has already attracted the attention of the mainstream news media.
Click here for details of the event.
Major New Conspiracy Theory Article Published
A major new article on conspiracy theories has been published.
In this feature, Nick Pope sets out his views not on individual conspiracy theories (though some are briefly covered) but on the subject as a whole, addressing such issues as conspiracy in popular culture, and the way in which the media treats the topic.
This article was first published in the summer 2012 issue of The Skeptic. Notwithstanding this, the feature is far from being a 'hit piece'. While Nick Pope is known as a broadcaster/journalist who comments in the media frequently - and critically - on conspiracy theories, this new article is an even-handed treatment of the subject. While Nick Pope addresses, for example, the latent anti-Semitism of phrases such as "conspiracy of international bankers" and "small group of families who secretly rule the world", he also highlights the positive aspects of conspiracy theories: Nick Pope stresses that conspiracy theories have a role in critical thinking and democracy, in relation to the need to avoid blind acceptance of what people are told by the authorities. He also argues that the topic is under-reported in the mainstream media - an unfortunate situation that results in feelings of disenfranchisement.
The aim of the article is to set out some issues that might be helpful in relation to building bridges between academia and the conspiracy theory community. Conspiracy theories and the more general belief in conspiracy theories is an interesting area but one that has not been studied as extensively as one might expect. In part, this is because academia does not really understand the conspiracy theory community. It is also because those who believe in conspiracy theories are often distrustful of academics, who they wrongly see as trying to disparage their beliefs. A better mutual understanding should break down barriers here and could lead to some interesting collaborative projects.
Click here to read the article.
MoD UFO Files Media Coverage
The release of the latest batch of Ministry of Defence UFO files once again made international news, with the spotlight being shone on the work of MoD's UFO project itself, showing how its work included not just investigating UFO sightings, but briefing Tony Blair on the issue and dealing with Freedom of Information Act requests from vast numbers of 'ufologists', one or two of whom were decidedly odd and obsessive!
Nick Pope worked on MoD's UFO project and as with previous releases, was the person to whom the media inevitably turned for an interview and a quote. Nick Pope's ITN News interview announcing the release of the files was carried by multiple TV news outlets and the release was top story on Yahoo News and other sites, with phrases such as "MoD", National Archives", Nick Pope" and "UFO" being major 'trending topics'. There was extensive newspaper coverage too, with articles in the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Scotsman and elsewhere. The story was picked up by numerous websites, blogs, email lists and groups, with sites such as Open Minds giving the story top billing.
Generally speaking, reaction to the story from the UFO community has been less enthusiastic. Believers continue to assert that "all the good stuff is being held back", while a couple of skeptical commentaries were marred by dishonest or mistaken claims that individual ufologists were somehow responsible for MoD's decision to release its UFO files - in fact, the decision to release the files was taken because literally hundreds of people were making FOI requests on the subject and MoD was receiving more FOI requests on UFOs than on any other subject.
The negative reaction from the UFO community is interesting from a sociological and psychological perspective. The reason for this reaction, of course, stems from belief. Just as fascist and communist regimes are actually very similar, despite the apparent distance implied by phrases like left-wing and right-wing, so true believers and die-hard skeptics are actually chiselled from the same block, united by their dogma. The MoD files play to this, because they tell neither group what they want to hear. True believers want definitive proof of extraterrestrial visitation, while die-hard skeptics want confirmation that it's all nonsense. But the MoD UFO files don't tell them this. They reflect a more complex truth, i.e. that some UFO sightings appear to defy conventional explanation, but that even Nick Pope and his predecessors/successors on MoD's UFO project didn't know what they were.
More detailed information on the file release program can be found in the MoD UFO Files section of this website.
|MoD UFO Files - New Release
The latest batch of Ministry of Defence UFO files has
today been made available at the National Archives. There are 25 files
in all, comprising over 6000 pages of documentation.
Nick Pope worked on these files and has been involved in the release program. He has also spoken and written widely about this story in his capacity as a broadcaster and journalist. However, because he now lives and works in America, he will not be as readily available for UK media interviews as with previous releases. However, all media running stories on this subject are free to use the following quotes from Nick Pope:
"These are probably the most fascinating and bizarre
government files ever made available to the public."
Alien Invasion War
To mark the release of the alien invasion-themed Sony PlayStation game Resistance: Burning Skies, out exclusively on the PlayStation Vita, Sony asked Nick Pope to produce a war plan detailing how the British Government would respond to a real-life alien invasion. The war plan was drawn up by combining material from MoD’s UFO project with highly-classified war planning documents released to the ongoing Iraq Inquiry. In this way, while the alien invasion war plan is speculative, it’s as close as it’s possible to get to the sort of document the MoD would produce if we really were facing an alien invasion.
Nick Pope has taken part in PR campaigns for a number of extraterrestrial-themed sci-fi movies, including Super 8, Battle: Los Angeles, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, The Day the Earth Stood Still and War of the Worlds. He has also been involved (as consultant and/or contributor) in a number of TV documentaries on the subject, including the National Geographic show When Aliens Attack.
Click on the thumbnails below to read Nick Pope's alien invasion war plan.
The Calvine UFO Photo
A New Article has been posted in Articles section of this website, setting out the full story of the mysterious disappearance of the best UFO photographs ever sent to the Ministry of Defence. The photos were taken near Calvine, close to Pitlochry in Scotland, in 1990. Internal MoD documents relating to these photos have been released as part of the ongoing program to declassify and release MoD's UFO files, but the photographs themselves have disappeared. Nick Pope has discussed this story extensively in the media and has now revealed further details on this extraordinary story.
BBC Radio Interview with Nick Pope
Nick Pope has recorded a major new interview for the BBC. The
interview is to be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland on 15 March and
repeated on 18 March. It should also be available on BBC iPlayer. On
BBC radio shows, interviews can often last only 2 or 3 minutes, so this
30 minute feature is a rare opportunity for a really in-depth
discussion. Nick Pope will be talking about his official government
research and investigation into the UFO phenomenon, discussing MoD's
policy on the subject, as well as detailing some of the most
extraordinary cases he investigated and the conclusions that were
reached. He'll also be discussing the termination of MoD's UFO project,
the ongoing process to declassify and release MoD's UFO files, as well
as touching on the scientific search for extraterrestrial life - and
what might happen if we find it. Click
for details of the show.
This major new BBC interview is generating considerable mainstream news media coverage even before the broadcast date, with articles in The Sun, The Scotsman, the Scottish Daily Record and the Huffington Post. Most of these media stories have focused on the disappearance from MoD's files of arguably the best UFO photo the Department ever received - and the conspiracy theories that this disappearance has generated.
False Flag Alien Invasion at the 2012 Olympics
As someone who writes and broadcasts extensively in the media
on mysteries and conspiracy theories, Nick Pope was recently
commissioned to write a brief feature on one of the most bizarre
conspiracy theories currently doing the rounds: the suggestion that a
false flag alien invasion would be staged at the Closing Ceremony (the
date has occult significance) of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It's
suggested that a combination of special effects and holographic
technology will be used to create the illusion of an alien invasion. To
counter the apparent threat, the powers that be will declare martial
law, ushering in a New World Order. Arguably, this is just another
variation on Project Blue Beam, a conspiracy theory, part of which
involves using holograms to fake a “Second Coming” and create a new
world religion controlled by the ruling elite. Nick Pope's feature was
commissioned for Time Warner's TruTV Conspiratorium website. Click
to read it.
Nick Pope was also responsible for the only mainstream newspaper feature to have been published on the false flag alien invasion theory, when he and a journalist with The Sun attended a UFO conference where this was discussed. Click here to read The Sun's ground-breaking article, which includes a commentary piece from Nick Pope. Nick Pope also mentioned the false flag alien invasion theory in one of his own features for The Sun, as part of an article on the Mayan calendar and the theory that the world will end on 21st December 2012. Click here to read this 2012 feature.
Nick Pope is skeptical about this false flag alien invasion theory, but is the only journalist and broadcaster to have researched it and then discussed it in the mainstream media. Commenting on the theory, Nick Pope said "It's a failsafe prediction, because if it doesn't happen, its supporters will doubtless claim that by disclosing the details, they prematurely exposed and thereby thwarted the New World Order's fiendish plans."
Expect interest in this fascinating (and actually rather fun) conspiracy theory to grow in the run-up to the Olympics this summer.
All around the world, strange sounds are being heard and recorded. This started around six months ago in Kiev and the mystery has become an internet sensation, with numerous videos being posted on YouTube and countless discussions taking place on various websites, blogs, forums and email lists. There are many different theories about these strange noises. Some people think there's a UFO connection, or speculate that some secret, military tests (perhaps involving HAARP) are involved. Others believe a meteorological phenomenon might be responsible, or think that electricity cables or even railway lines may explain the sounds. Some skeptics have suggested that most cases are hoaxes and have speculated that this might be part of a viral marketing campaign for an upcoming sci-fi or horror movie. As someone who writes and broadcasts extensively in the media on mysteries and conspiracy theories, Nick Pope was featured in the first mainstream news media report about this phenomenon, discussing the various theories. Click here to view Nick Pope discussing the strange sounds mystery in an ITN News broadcast that was syndicated to the world's media.
Nick Pope speaks out on 2012
As someone who writes and broadcasts extensively in the media on mysteries and conspiracies, Nick Pope is increasingly being asked to comment on theories that the world will end in 2012, as many people believe is predicted by the Mayan calendar. Now 2012 is upon us, interest in this is expected to increase, as the date (21st December 2012) approaches. Recently, Nick Pope was commissioned by The Sun to write a major feature on this. Click here to read the article. He also undertook a series of interviews on various BBC stations to discuss the subject. Nick Pope is sceptical about the various theories surrounding 2012 but is interested in such beliefs and how they spread. Nick Pope will be making further media appearances to talk about this in the run-up to 21st December.
Massive Selection of New Articles Available
Nine articles have been added to the Articles section of this website. These cover subjects including the release of the MoD’s UFO files, the two Royal Society discussion meetings on extraterrestrial life and the relationship between ufology, sci-fi and the film industry. These articles originally appeared in UFO Matrix magazine, but are now being made available to everyone.
Nick Pope on Facebook and Twitter
Nick Pope has an official site on Facebook and Twitter, where those interested in his work can follow him more closely. Links can be found on the front page of this website.
|MoD UFO Files - New Release
The latest batch of Ministry of Defence UFO files has
today been made available at the National Archives. There are 34 files,
comprising around 9000 pages of documents, covering the period
1985-2007. This is the eighth batch of files to be released and is part
of a four year programme that began in 2008.
National Archives UFOs
The Discovery Channel (Canada) science show Daily Planet recently ran a very good feature on UFOs. I helped with the research for this and fronted the piece, which was filmed on location at the National Archives, the Ministry of Defence and in Rendlesham Forest. I spoke about the ongoing process to declassify and release the MoD's entire archive of UFO files, as well as covering the UK's two best-known and most compelling UFO sightings, the Bentwaters incident and the Cosford incident. Click here to watch the show. The relevant segment starts at 1:30 and concludes at 8:30.
Top 10 UFO Incidents in the UK
Having investigated hundreds of UFO sightings officially, for the Ministry of Defence, and being a frequent media commentator on the unexplained, I'm often asked which events I consider the most interesting or compelling. Questions like this are always tricky, because "interesting" and "compelling" are not the same thing. I recently drew up a Top 10 which attempted to give a mixture of cases, some that are interesting, some that are compelling and some that are just plain weird. The Telegraph published my list last week, together with an article about it. My top 10 has already generated a lot of discussion, debate and controversy in the UFO community, with lots of people questioning why their favourite case hadn't made the Top 10, or asking why I'd included some cases they didn't consider to be that strong. I make no apology for my choices, which were personal ones. This wasn't aimed at being a definitive list. Rather, it was aimed at highlighting a nice mix of cases and giving an overview of some of the more bizarre incidents documented in the MoD's UFO files. Click here to read the Daily Telegraph article and here to read my Top 10.
Nick Pope Conference Appearance,
2nd July 2011
I've had to scale back my public appearances recently, due to the pressure of other commitments. Sadly, lectures and conferences have had to take a back seat, due to the sheer volume of TV and promotional work that I'm doing at present. This is unfortunate, because I enjoy getting out there and meeting the public, not just delivering a presentation, but getting feedback and responding to questions. That's why I'm very pleased to announce that I'll be speaking at a one-day conference in Newcastle on 2nd July. The conference is being organised by the British UFO Research Association and will be held at the Royal Station Hotel. I won't be talking about UFOs, but will be discussing the two meetings that the Royal Society held in 2010 to discuss the search for extraterrestrial life. Having attended these meetings and reported on them in the media, I'll be highlighting some of the more controversial subjects discussed: if aliens arrived, would there be panic in the streets? How would it affect religion? If we picked up an alien signal, should we reply, what should we say and who should say it. Click here for details of the event.
|MoD Releases More UFO Files
The latest batch of Ministry of Defence UFO files has
today been made available at the National Archives. There are 35 files
and over 8500 pages of documents, making this the largest release of
UFO material to date. This is the seventh batch of files to be released
and is part of a four year programme that began in 2008. I'm
undertaking a series of TV, radio and newspaper interviews to publicise
Right: Nick Pope announces the release of the seventh batch of MoD UFO files, in an interview that was syndicated to the world's media
Global Competitiveness Forum
I've recently returned from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where I attended and spoke at the 2011 Global Competitiveness Forum. This event - and my presence at it - has generated some rumours in the UFO community and the conspiracy theory community, so I thought I would issue this brief statement on the subject, to explain the situation and, hopefully, to dispel a few misperceptions.
This event is similar to the World Economic Forum in Davos and takes place immediately beforehand, so that attendees can go straight from Riyadh to Davos. This event is organised by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority and takes places under the patronage of HM King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz. It was attended by Saudi Royals and government ministers, along with Board and CEO-level attendees from top companies including Google, Walt Disney, Reuters, Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Siemens, IBM, Ernst & Young and Rio Tinto. Other speakers at the conference included Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.
I spoke in a panel discussion entitled Contact: Learning from Outer Space and while other panel members such as Jacques Vallee and Stanton Friedman spoke about UFOs, I discussed space, astrobiology and the SETI programme. Specifically, I spoke about the search for extraterrestrial life being a new space race where innovative thinking and competitiveness were being demonstrated - the key themes of the conference. I also mentioned some financial implications that would arise from the discovery of extraterrestrial life and suggested that the business community might want to give some thought to this. The final panel members were theoretical physicist Michio Kaku and Zaghloul El Naggar, Professor of Earth Science and Geology, Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs. The panel was moderated by John Quelch, Dean of the China Europe International Business School.
The UFO community got very excited about this conference, suggesting it was part of 'Disclosure'. In truth, the panel discussion was about exposing business leaders to an interesting, topical and controversial subject they might not have thought about, but which might have something to teach them about hindrances to innovation. In his keynote speech, Bill Clinton made a remark which caused particular excitement with some people in the UFO community. He mentioned recent scientific discoveries relating to the human genome, sub-atomic particles and astrophysics. On the latter, in relation to discovering planets like Earth, he said, " ... and I don't have to tell you what the implications of that would be, if it turned out to be true". Click here for details about the conference, at the official website.
2010 Review, 2011 Preview
2010 has been an eventful year. The programme to declassify and release the MoD’s UFO files continued, with two further batches being made public on 18th February and 5th August. I wrote a number of features about this in my capacity as a freelance journalist as well as being interviewed about the story by a wide range of newspapers, TV programmes and radio shows. The most important UFO title of the year was undoubtedly Leslie Kean’s book, UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials go on the Record. With a foreword from Bill Clinton’s former Chief of Staff John Podesta and endorsements from people like Michio Kaku, this book is the best place to find verifiable information about UFOs from reliable sources. In other news, the Royal Society held two discussion meetings on the scientific and societal consequences of discovering extraterrestrial life. I attended both meetings. Some personal highlights included appearing on Blue Peter, speaking at the Royal Albert Hall and addressing the Oxford Union. On 2nd December NASA hosted a press conference where biochemist Felisa Wolfe-Simon announced the discovery of microbes that can use arsenic instead of phosphorous to build their DNA, fundamentally changing how we define life. The scientific debate over this discovery is ongoing. Finally, as previously reported, Rendlesham Forest incident witnesses John Burroughs and Jim Penniston returned to the UK and on 28th December gave a talk at Woodbridge. Click here to read my article on this in The Sun.
Looking ahead to 2011, further batches of MoD UFO files are scheduled to be released, with the programme expected to be completed late in 2011 or early in 2012, depending on other commitments. The files are being released in chronological order and a higher proportion of the more recent material comprises Freedom of Information Act requests. But aside from this public correspondence, there are still some interesting internal policy documents and sighting reports that have yet to be released. I shall continue to be at the heart of this process, promoting the story in the media. Another story to watch out for relates to WikiLeaks, following Julian Assange’s statement that some yet-to-be-released cables contain references to UFOs. However, these references are likely to be little more than factual accounts of UFO sightings in various countries, written up by US embassy staff detailing what interesting events are taking place in their host country. A book to look out for in February 2011 is ex-US Army Colonel John B. Alexander’s UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities. It’s absolutely fascinating and will be hugely controversial. Finally, on a personal note, while I’ll continue to write for several newspapers and contribute to various TV shows, I’m going to be moving increasingly into other areas, such as TV presenting and film/TV development.
Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident -
The period 26th - 28th December marks the 30th anniversary of the UK's best known and most compelling UFO sightings, collectively known as the Rendlesham Forest incident. A brief summary of events can be found here.
On 28th December two of the main United States Air Force witnesses to these events, John Burroughs and Jim Penniston, will be giving a talk about what happened and visiting Rendlesham Forest to retrace the route they took, 30 years ago, when they encountered the UFO. In 1994, while working on the MoD's UFO project, I undertook a cold case review of these UFO sightings. I will be taking part in this event with John Burroughs and Jim Penniston and undertaking a series of TV, radio and newspaper interviews to mark this anniversary.
NASA Announces Discovery of New Life Form
NASA has announced the discovery of a microbe that can use arsenic instead of phosphorous to build its DNA. This fundamentally changes how we define life and has profound implications for astrobiology and the search for alien life. It also makes the existence of extraterrestrial life far more likely, because the implication is that our existing ideas about what's required for life to arise are too restrictive.
The discovery was made in Lake Mono in California by a team led by Felisa Wolfe-Simon - a biochemist who I met at the second of the Royal Society's two discussion meetings on extraterrestrial life, entitled Towards a Scientific and Societal Agenda on Extraterrestrial Life (see the two features below for further details).
This discovery opens the door to the possibility of one of science's holy grails: the shadow biosphere. In other words, proof that life arose on Earth not once, but twice. Sometimes dubbed 'Genesis 2', the existence of a shadow biosphere would suggest that life is not some cosmic miracle, but arises easily. The follow-on deduction would be that the Universe is teeming with life. However, the problem with the shadow biosphere theory is determining whether something is Genesis 2, or merely Genesis 1.5 - i.e. an extremophile that's radically different from all other life on Earth, but still evolved from the same 'Universal Common Ancestor'. Felisa and her team are undertaking further research and additional papers are expected. Watch out for further exciting revelations.
Click here to read the NASA press release.
MSNBC Publish Article on Royal Society
As reported in my last update, on October 4th and 5th the Royal Society held a discussion meeting entitled Towards a Scientific and Societal Agenda on Extraterrestrial Life:
I attended this meeting and wrote an article about it, giving an overview of the event and addressing in particular the disagreement over replying to an alien transmission (or actively sending messages) and the media reports that Dr Mazlan Othman had been appointed as an "alien ambassador". This article has now been published on msnbc.com's prestigious technology & science site. Click here to read the article.
|Royal Society Conference on
The Royal Society is holding a meeting on 4th and 5th
a Scientific and Societal Agenda on Extraterrestrial Life.
This is a follow-up to a meeting held in January and will discuss
issues such as whether we should reply to any message received from
extraterrestrials, who should send such a message and what it should
Encounters at the Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is best known for hosting musical events such as the Proms. However, it also has an educational remit and a strategy to open its doors to a broad range of audiences. From 25th - 31st October it will host a series of events themed around space and alien life. There will be talks, exhibitions and film screenings, combining arts, science, fun and education. I shall be giving a talk as part of this festival. Click here for details of Close Encounters and here for information about my talk.
Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record
A newly published book on UFOs has generated favourable mainstream media coverage and stormed up the New York Times bestseller list. Entitled UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record, it's written by investigative journalist Leslie Kean. It's no ordinary UFO book: the foreword is written by Bill Clinton's former Chief of Staff, John Podesta, who more recently headed up President Obama's transition team. Endorsements include one from physicist Michio Kaku and another from CNN's former space/science correspondent, Miles O'Brien. Around half the material consists of direct testimony from high-ranking individuals who have either seen a UFO or undertaken official investigations into UFO sightings. Her contributors include five generals and Fife Symington III, the former governor of Arizona. Unlike many books on UFOs, there are no anonymous whistleblowers or unsubstantiated accounts. All contributors had to be able to back up their accounts with official documents. Another key difference from most other UFO books is that Leslie Kean and her contributors take no definitive view on the true nature of the UFO phenomenon. They say only that some UFO sightings cannot be explained as misidentifications and hoaxes and they therefore call for governments to take the subject seriously, not least because of the aviation safety implications of the phenomenon. If you only ever read one UFO book, read this one.
Releases More UFO Files
The latest batch of Ministry of Defence UFO files has today been made available at the National Archives. There are 18 files, containing a total of over 5000 pages of documents. The files cover the period 1995 to 2003 and include policy papers, UFO sighting reports and letters from the public. This is the sixth batch of files to be released and is part of a three year programme that began in 2008. I'm undertaking a series of TV, radio and newspaper interviews to publicise this story.
Whatever you believe about UFOs, there's some fascinating material in these real life X-Files. Most of these sightings turned out to be misidentifications of things like aircraft lights or meteors, but a small proportion could not be explained.
More detailed information on the file release programme can be found in the MoD UFO Files section of this website.
MoD Blocks Release of UFO Files
Some time ago a ufologist made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Ministry of Defence about my non-MoD work as an author, journalist and TV pundit. MoD concluded that these were private papers, which fell outside the scope of the ongoing release of the MoD’s UFO files. The decision was appealed, but the Information Commissioner recently agreed that the documents should not be released.
I have no objection to ufologists asking about my official MoD research and investigation into the UFO phenomenon. Indeed, that’s their right, under the Freedom of Information Act. But two or three ufologists in the UK have developed an unhealthy obsession with me. MoD and the Information Commissioner do not believe that such individuals should be given details about my private life and I agree with this decision.
A media article about this story can be found here.
New UFO Magazine Launched
A new UFO magazine will be launched on 30th July. UFO Matrix will be published on a bi-monthly basis and is the only magazine in the UK solely devoted to UFOs. Issue 1 has a print run of 25,000 and the magazine will be available from W H Smith and all other major news outlets. It will also be available in the US and in a number of other countries.
I'm one of the writers for this exciting new magazine. I've written two articles for Issue 1. One is a feature on recent footage on YouTube, which supposedly shows two military jets chasing a UFO. I discuss whether this is real or fake. However, my main contribution is a 2000 word article on the release of the Ministry of Defence's UFO files. Having worked on these files for the MoD and - more recently - having worked with The National Archives on their release, I hope that this in-depth article will be regarded as the definitive, inside story of the declassification and release of these real-life X-Files.
Check out www.ufomatrix.com and www.healingsofatlantis.com for details of the magazine, including details of how to subscribe online.
Nick Pope Conference Appearances
Nick Pope will be speaking at the following conferences in the next few weeks:
|19th - 21st March||2012 Cumbre Mundial OVNI||- World Trade Centre, Mexico City, Mexico|
|25th March||Paranormal Evening Charity Event||- Daniel Owen Centre, Mold, Flintshire, UK|
|28th March||The UFO Academy||- Garston Manor, Watford, Hertfordshire, UK|
|9th - 11th April||22nd Annual Ozark UFO Conference||- Eureka Springs, Arkansas, USA|
|17th - 18th April||18th World Symposium on UFOs||- Republic of San Marino|
|1st May||Nexus Conference 2010||- Amsterdam, The Netherlands|
|10th May||Café Scientifique||- Bishop's Stortford College, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, UK|
|29th - 30th May||Diálogos con el Universo||- Santiago, Chile|
New MoD Documents Released
The Ministry of Defence has released the documents setting out the reasons behind the termination of their UFO project. They have separately released the documents concerning the release of their UFO files to the National Archives. These papers have been placed in the Documents section of this website.
MoD to Destroy UFO Reports
The Ministry of Defence forwarded me the documents (including the Ministerial submission and defensive Q & A material for the press office to use with the media) telling the inside story of the decisions that lay behind the termination of the government's UFO project. Perhaps the most interesting revelation is that MoD is destroying any new letters or emails it receives about UFOs after 30 days, to avoid having to deal with Freedom of Information Act requests on the subject. The Times, the Daily Telegraph and numerous other media outlets ran this story, together with my comments on these latest revelations. Now MoD has terminated its UFO project and has no role in the subject, destroying UFO reports to avoid dealing with FOI requests isn't illegal. However, it's a great shame in terms of the interesting accounts that will never come to light unless witnesses report their sighting elsewhere, e.g. to the media or to a civilian UFO research group. This policy does not apply to reports received up until the point when MoD stopped investigating UFOs. This material will be sent to the National Archives as part of the ongoing programme to declassify and release the MoD's UFO files.
More Secrets from the Newly-Released UFO
Last week's release of 6000 pages of UFO-related MoD documents was a massive news story. I was quoted in most of the national daily newspapers and did a wide range of TV news and chat shows, together with numerous radio interviews. A feature I was commissioned to write for The Guardian was the most viewed article in their popular Comment is Free section. In a related development, it has emerged that prior to the release, MoD had to delete rude comments that officials had written on some of the hundreds of letters the department received from the public on this subject. Typically, this might be something along the lines of "this person is clearly a nutjob". MoD's lawyers were probably worried a UFO witness would sue the Department for libel. This was a tricky problem, because under the Freedom of Information Act, you're not supposed to black out a comment just because it's embarrassing. It's not clear how MoD got around this. I hasten to add that I never wrote any such comments and always treated witnesses politely and with respect, even when dealing with decidedly eccentric correspondence.
MoD Release More UFO Files
The Ministry of Defence has today released a further batch of UFO files and made them available at the National Archives. There are 24 files, containing a total of over 6000 pages of documents. The files cover the period 1994 to 2000 and include policy papers, UFO sighting reports and numerous letters from the public, seeking information about UFOs. Some of these files are entitled "persistent correspondent", which is MoD code for "this person is becoming a nuisance". In relation to the UFO sightings, some were explained, some unexplained, some funny and some just plain weird. This is the fifth batch of files to be released and is the biggest release yet, in an ongoing 3-year programme to declassify and release the entire archive of UFO files. I worked on these real-life X-Files and I'm pleased the public now have the opportunity to see them. It highlights one of the most fascinating subjects ever studied by the British government. There's some intriguing material in the newly-released files and I'm undertaking a series of TV, radio and newspaper interviews to discuss this. More detailed information on the file release programme can be found in the MoD UFO Files section of this website.
Royal Society Meeting on Extraterrestrial
On 25th and 26th January the Royal Society in London held a conference discussing the search for alien life and the implications for the world if we find it. I attended on both days, heard a series of fascinating presentations and had the chance to have some private discussions with many of the key figures. The full title of the event was “The detection of extraterrestrial life and the consequences for science and society” and the event included representatives from NASA, the European Space Agency and the UN Office for Outer Space affairs. Physicists, chemists, biologists, astronomers, anthropologists and even theologians came together to discuss a subject which, a few years ago, would have been regarded at best as fringe science. I was subsequently commissioned by The Sun to write a major feature on the conference, which was published in today's paper under the headline "If the cosmic phone rings ... don't answer".
Announces 2009 UFO Sighting Figures
The MoD published new figures yesterday, revealing that the Department received 643 UFO reports in 2009. This compares to 285 in 2008, 135 in 2007 and 97 in 2006. Indeed, the only year in which last year's total was exceeded was 1978, when 750 reports were received. It's ironic that the announcement that UFO sightings are at near-record level comes just weeks after MoD formally terminated its UFO project. Details of the sightings, including a brief description of what was seen, can be found in the FOI section of the MoD website. Many sightings are attributable to Chinese lanterns, but there are some more interesting cases, including instances where UFOs were seen by military personnel, police officers and air traffic controllers.
MoD Terminate UFO Project - Update
I have given numerous TV, radio and newspaper interviews about this story in the last 24 hours. I was also commissioned to write an article for The Guardian. This was published on 5th December. It is a useful summary of my views on the termination of the MoD UFO project and I have therefore posted it in the Articles section of this website.
Terminate UFO Project
With effect from 1st December 2009, the Ministry of Defence terminated their UFO project, ending over 50 years of research and investigation. The news was slipped out in a way designed not to attract attention, by making an amendment to an existing document in the Freedom of Information section of the MoD website, entitled "How to report a UFO sighting". The announcement states that "in over fifty years, no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom" and goes on to say that "MOD will no longer respond to reported UFO sightings or investigate them". Having worked on the UFO project from 1991 to 1994 I am sorry to see MoD disengage in this way. I believe that where evidence suggests that UK airspace has been penetrated by an unidentified object, this must automatically be of defence interest and should be investigated properly. Indeed, I am sure that sightings from pilots and uncorrelated targets tracked on radar will continue to be looked at, albeit outside of a formally constituted UFO project. From the Fifties to the present day, MoD received around 12,000 UFO reports. While most were misidentifications of ordinary objects and phenomena, around 5% remained unexplained.
Intelligence Staff UFO Revelations
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act this week show the Ministry of Defence received 394 sightings so far this year. In 2008 they received 285 sightings. UFO sightings are at a 10-year high and we're on course to smash the record - 750 reports in 1978. In a separate development the MoD has released documents from my opposite number in the Defence Intelligence Staff, showing that our primary aim in relation to UFO investigations was to secure the propulsion system of these craft - wherever they came from. In view of the sensitivities/classification, there's little more I can say about this.
UFO Files Released
The latest batch of MoD UFO files has been released today at the National Archives. There are 14 files, covering the period 1981 - 1996 and collectively, there are several thousand pages of documentation. I welcome the release of these real-life X-Files. This is a real blast from the past for me as I led the investigations into many of these cases that have now been declassified. Most sightings had conventional explanations but some were a complete mystery. There are cases where UFOs flew over RAF bases and instances where jets were scrambled to try and intercept a UFO being tracked on radar. There were also some near-misses with commercial aircraft. Whatever you think about UFOs, these sorts of cases show that there are serious defence, national security and air safety issues involved. The files also contain reports of crop circles and alien abductions.
A new series called That's Impossible is currently being shown on the History Channel (US). The six-part series looks at subjects such as robotics, nanotechnology, mind control, invisibility and weather warfare. I'm one of the lead contributors on the series, in my capacity as a defence analyst, commenting on the history and military applications of these technologies.
MoD UFO Files Released
A second batch of Ministry of Defence UFO files have been released and are now available at the National Archives. There are 19 files, many of which contain several hundred individual documents. The files date from 1986 to 1992 and therefore include cases from my tour of duty on the MoD's UFO project (1991 to 1994). It's fascinating to see these files again - it's a real blast from the past. Most of the UFO sightings in these newly released files can be explained as misidentifications of ordinary objects or phenomena, but some were more difficult to explain. The cases that concerned me most were those involving near misses between UFOs and commercial aircraft, including a case from April 1991 involving an Italian aircraft carrying 57 passengers, which was nearly blown out of the sky over Kent. Whatever one believes about UFOs, this shows that there are serious defence and air safety issues involved.
Government Releases UFO Files
The MoD has today begun a 4-year programme of releasing its entire archive of UFO files. I used to run the MoD's UFO project and because I worked on these files, I helped the National Archives on this project, selecting documents that might be of interest to the media. I commend the government for this move. These files don't prove we've been visited by aliens. Most UFOs can be explained as misidentifications of aircraft lights, satellites, meteors, stars and planets. But a small percentage are more difficult to explain and involve UFOs seen by police officers, commercial airline pilots and military personnel, or tracked on radar. Such incidents persuade me that whatever the true nature of the UFO phenomenon, it raises important defence, national security and flight safety issues.
Government to Release all UFO Files
The Ministry of Defence has made a firm commitment to release its entire archive of UFO files. I was informed of this intention earlier this year but have now been notified of the precise details. There are some 160 files dating back to the 1970s and it has been decided to place them in the National Archives over the next three years, commencing, it is hoped, in Spring 2008. The release will be undertaken on a rolling programme in chronological order, starting with the oldest files first. The files cover a wide variety of areas, ranging from policy and UFO sighting reports, through to public correspondence and the way the subject is handled when raised in parliament or covered in the media. Some material will be redacted in accordance with the exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act. This would cover material such as names of MoD officials, together with any classified information. I very much welcome the MoD's decision. Whatever one believes about UFOs, the files will offer an intriguing window on one of the most interesting and controversial aspects of the MoD's business.
Insiders Lobby US Government on UFOs
On 12 November 2007 a group of people with backgrounds in government, military and aviation held a press conference in Washington DC at the National Press Club. They called formally on the US government to reopen formal investigations of UFO sightings, which finished in 1969 when Project Blue Book was closed down. While taking no formal position on the nature of the UFO phenomenon, all those concerned had come together because of concerns over the defence, national security and flight safety issues raised. The event was moderated by former Arizona Governor Fife Symington. Other attendees included two retired generals and a number of civil or military pilots and people with government backgrounds. All of the panel had either seen a UFO while on duty, or been responsible for government/military investigations into the UFO phenomenon. I attended the event and was one of the signatories to the declaration. Further details of the event and the declaration can be found at the website of the Coalition for Freedom of Information, www.freedomofinfo.org
MoD to Open UFO Files
The MoD has announced that it is to release more UFO files.
The files concerned are Defence Intelligence Staff files and
had previously been contaminated with asbestos. It was originally
feared they would have to be destroyed, sparking conspiracy theories
among the UFO community. Now, the files have been decontaminated and
will be scanned onto the MoD website over the next few months. These 24
files are the tip of the iceberg. To date, the MoD has received over
10,000 UFO reports and a case file on a significant incident can
consist of over 100 separate documents. The MoD would dearly love to
release all its UFO files, as the French have done, not least because
of the burden of responding to requests on the subject (The MoD
receives more Freedom of Information Act requests on UFOs than on any
other subject). The complicating factor is the Data Protection Act. No
personal information concerning witnesses can be released, so every
page of every file has to be checked, and redacted to remove any such
data. It's a massive job, and full disclosure is probably years away.
Nonetheless, I greatly welcome this latest development, which should
provoke further interest in the UFO phenomenon and which reinforces
MoD's commitment to freedom of information and open government.
On 10 April I'll be appearing on a new Channel Five
documentary about the Roswell incident. On or around 2 July 1947
something crashed in the desert near Roswell in New Mexico,
USA. The military said that they had recovered a "flying disc", but
quickly retracted the statement and claimed that the object that
crashed was just a weather balloon. As we approach the 60th anniversary
of this most famous of all UFO incidents, this new investigative
documentary examines the various theories about Roswell and features
the testimony of believers and sceptics alike. The programme runs from
8pm to 9pm and was made by Love Productions, who also made "Bermuda
Triangle - The True Story".
On 5 April I'll be taking part in a three hour debate about
9/11, on James Whale's radio show on TalkSport. The other participants
are former MI5 officer Annie Machon, author Ian Henshall and
researcher Tim Sparke. We'll be discussing and debating the various
conspiracy theories that surround 9/11 and taking calls from listeners
who want to have their say. I'll be defending the US Government's
official view on 9/11, so I'm expecting a rough ride from conspiracy
theorists. TalkSport broadcasts on 1089/1053 AM to all of the
UK, and you can listen to the show live over the internet via
a link at their www.talksport.net website. The debate will
start at 10pm and run through to 1am.
MOD Psychic Study
It has been revealed that in 2001/02 the Ministry of
Defence ran a secret project aimed at recruiting psychics. The
official term used was remote viewing (sometimes known as psychic
spying) but what this amounts to is seeing whether people can use ESP
to track down people and items of interest to the government
and the military. Both the Pentagon and the CIA funded remote viewing
programmes aimed at searching for hostages in Beirut,
arms dumps, drugs caches and terrorists, as well as attempting to
identify the location of Soviet ballistic missile submarines. When I
was running the MoD's UFO project in the Nineties I was
approached by some people who claimed to be able to be able to remote
view and I had some speculative discussions about this with colleagues
in the Defence Intelligence Staff. But until now, there was no
indication that a study was ever commissioned. The report was
classified Secret UK Eyes Only and ran to 168 pages. Only three copies
were ever made. The tests themselves took place in a commercial
property, to disguise the fact that this was a government
programme. The potential remote viewers were monitored by a
sophisticated array of equipment and attempted to ascertain the test
targets, images of which were placed in sealed
envelopes. While many remote viewers were adjudged
not to have accessed the target, some assessments stated that "the
subject may have accessed the target" or that the subject "had accessed
some of the features associated with the target". The ultimate
aim of this study was "the selection of one or more
individuals who it is felt can be 'trusted' to be used for the
sensitive targets". The "sensitive targets" are not
detailed, but based on the CIA's project and bearing in mind
the date of the MoD study, it would be surprising if the targets did
not include Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and Osama Bin Laden.
The Cosford Incident
On 1 November 2006 I fronted a Channel Five
documentary, The British UFO Mystery. The programme focused on
a wave of UFO sightings that occurred on 30 and 31 March 1993,
where many of the witnesses were police officers and military
personnel. The UFO was described by some as a vast triangular-shaped
craft, capable of accelerating in seconds from a virtual hover to
speeds of around Mach 2. Steel Spyda, the production company
that made the show, used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the
MOD case file on the incident, which runs to over 100 pages. The
documentary drew an audience of over one million and the subsequent
public interest led the MOD to publish the case file on its website, in
the Freedom of Information section. More details of this case and the
documentary can be found in "The Cosford Incident", in the Selected
Articles section of my website.
Nick Pope Resigns From MOD
I resigned from the Ministry of Defence in 2006 and left the
Department in October, after 21 years of Government
service. I greatly enjoyed my MOD career and had a series of
fascinating jobs, but wanted to devote more time to my various
business interests. My departure became an international news story,
but much of the media coverage was exaggerated. I never claimed that an
alien invasion was imminent. What I said was that the UFO
phenomenon raises some flight safety, defence and national security
issues and that in view of this, sightings shouldn't be dismissed
without first undertaking some form of proper scientific investigation.
The Condign Report
The Ministry of Defence has revealed details of a formerly
secret UFO study. Codenamed 'Project Condign', the report is the most
highly classified UFO document ever to have been released under the
UK's Freedom of Information Act. Although I was involved in the
discussions that led to the commissioning of this report, I had left
the MOD's UFO Project by the time the study was undertaken and was not
involved. I am certainly not the author, as has been suggested by
various UFO researchers and journalists. The report runs to over 400
pages and delves into some fairly controversial areas, theorising about
electrically-charged atmospheric plasmas, and temporal lobe disorders.
The difficulty with this is that there's no scientific consensus on
such matters, and as a rule of thumb, one shouldn't try to explain one
unknown phenomenon by citing evidence of another! That said, the
release of this report should be welcomed by all those with an interest
in the UFO mystery, be they sceptics or believers. It will further the
debate on this issue and demonstrates the MOD's ongoing commitment to
releasing as much UFO documentation as possible, under the Freedom of
Information Act. The media are having a field day with this story, and
I've been doing numerous TV and radio interviews. The UFO mystery is
back in the spotlight and the release of this report shows that there
were those of us in the MOD who believed that the UFO phenomenon was
worthy of serious, in-depth study. The full report will be released on
the MOD's website on or before 15 May.