FW: UK Government Lied Over UFO FOI Figures

From: Andrew Johnson

Date: 2010-03-01 19:45:15

  From: Sent: 01 March 2010 18:53To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;Subject: UK Government Lied Over UFO FOI Figures UFO researcher Andy Russell seems to have caught theGovernment, Nick Pope and Dr David Clarke twisting thefacts over Freedom of Information enquiries on UFOs.In his blog thetruthhides.wordpr… Andyhas checked out the figures and his sums add up differentlyto those given by the authorities as a reason for closingdown the MOD’s reporting facility.In an investigation, headed MoD UFO Desk – The Real StoryAndy, from Wales, writes:Why after 50 years has the British Government closed down itsMinistry of Defence UFO desk?Official reasons given by the Government and echoed by Nick Popeand Dr David Clarke are that it’s too costly and the flood of UFOFreedom of Information Act enquiries is taking up an increasingand unacceptable amount of time.The facts have shown that both reasons are bunk – and even theUnder Secretary of State has been caught repeating a blatantlie over the figures.On 23rd December 2009 the UK Government called time on theUFO Desk, the MoDs UFO reporting facility. Despite operating formore than 50 years it was now deemed to be a resource theBritish Government could no longer justify. According to The Times,the cost per year was around £44,000. When we put into contextlater how much that equates to in the grander scheme of things,we can see that it is a drop in a mighty ocean. What was surprisingto me was the evidence that the Government, Nick Pope and Dr DavidClarke have put forward to re-enforce its position on this decision.When we look at the decision objectively, with some actual data andnot just vague comments from the aforementioned, we see that theUFO Desk is not a resource that is particularly draining on the MoDor the British taxpayer.First stop in our assessment of the data is the data itself. ProfessorAlasdair Roberts, of Sussex University Law School wrote a paperentitled ‘Preliminary Analysis of Data Relating to the Processing ofFreedom of Information Act Requests Received by the UK Ministryof Defence (Revised May 2009). Professor Roberts took datareceived from the MoD which showed all the FOIA requests madesince 2005 and broke it down into categories such as the type ofpeople making requests (such an ex-employee, media/journalists,private individuals etc), whether the requests received therequested documents etc. So in short, it was a snapshot of theFOIA function of the MoD.Professor Roberts highlights that since 2005 FOIA requests to theMoD have been declining. He also explains that the reason FOIArequests (in general) were so high is because there was a ‘pent up’need for information that the FOIA was now addressing and sincethen there was a decline in requests that was expected to continueto this present day. And judging by the fact that Professor Robertswas updated in May 2009, we can see that this assumption is provingcorrect.In relation to UFO requests the decline in requests is also apparent.If we take a quick snapshot:2005: 199 UFO related requests2006: 140 UFO related requests2007: 120 UFO related requestsSo we can see the diminishing requests for information. Now, outof the data of the 15,627 requests made in total to the MoD, thereare just 459 requests pertaining to UFOs. So our UFO requestssnapshot equates to only 2.93% of enquiries.Which is hardly the picture Nick Pope, Dr Clarke and the Governmentare painting.Now, in their official briefings, as highlighted on Dr Clarke’s blogdated 18 January 2010, the MoD did not expect the volume ofUFO requests to reduce, but according to the MoDs own data,that demand was diminishing every year. Yet these same MoDofficials were able to effectively lie to the Secretary of Stateand claim that the work regarding responding to UFO FOIA enquirieswas “[distracting] them from more important priorities”.As we have looked at the data we have seen that this only equatesto 2.93% of their FOIA requests. There are larger categories ofrequests such as the Iraq war, the Afghanistan conflict, yet the MoDis quibbling about 2.93%? Do not insult our intelligence.According to Under Secretary for Defence Tom Watson “There is areal and enduring interest in Unidentified Flying Objects. By far themost popular topic of FOI requests has been UFOs, followed byrecruitment enquiries, enquiries from staff, and historical eventssuch as World War Two, the Falklands conflict and the Balkans.Recent freedom of information releases on UFOs have attractedmedia interest from as far away as Japan.”(http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/DG_10036975)But this is an out and out lie! And even IF they were the most populartopic, they still represented only 2.93% of the overall requests made.Another good snapshot of the small amount of UFO FOIA requestsmade to the MoD comes via the website whatdotheyknow.com. Thisis an automated service which allows users to auto-generate andauto-submit FOIA requests to any branch of Government. The greatthing about this is that we can see the requests and their responses.Now, between 17/05/2008 and 19/02/2010 whatdotheyknow.comsubmitted 323 enquiries to the MoD. Of those 323 enquiries only 3were relating to UFOs. That calculates as 0.93% of FOIA relating toUFO submissions via the website. It’s another snapshot of how smalla percentage the UFO requests actually are.Just to put the boot in further, if we look at the latest FOIADisclosure Log (a log of all the FOIA requests the MoD has receivedbetween 7th December 2009 and 1st January 2010) the amount ofUFO related requests is 4.08% of the total requests made. Again, avery small amount.Now, 2009 was supposed to be a bumper year for reports, but thatdoesn’t really match with the claims that the UFO Desk was beingclosed because of FOIA requests. Requests. Not reports.Now, Nick Pope claims that in 2007 there were more requests aboutUFOs than anything else (www.nickpope.net/mod…) –yet the MoDs data shows that this is not the case. Only 120 requestswere made. So where Nick has obtained this information from isbeyond me, as the MoDs actual data tells a different story andthis is further verified by Professor Roberts’ paper.According to Nick “hundreds of people were bombarding the MoD with requests” (www.nickpope.net/mod….) Er, no, theyweren’t. That year it was only 120.But when Nick was told that all the files were being released due tothis “administrative burden” (same web page), Nick very generouslybroke the story to the media. Shame you didn’t check the facts first, Nick.So, let us put the gargantuan cost of the UFO Desk into context.According to The Times, the cost is £44,000 and the UFO Deskemployed one person. (That’s right. One. Now employed elsewherein the MoD)The MoD entire budget is around £39.6billion. Whilst the Governmentis looking to cut what it deems unnecessary burdens maybe they shouldhave looked at the 141 days lost (man-hours in total) as it gave MoDtroops and billion-pounds worth of equipment to be used in BBC’sTop Gear programme. So let me get this straight, the Governmentquibbles over £44k and security of its airspace, yet troops and theirequipment can go play with Jeremy Clarkson for a grand total of141 days? (As reported in The Guardian). The Government and NickPope can wring their hands in horror at the “administrative burden”and the costs attached to that, but the Government paid over £37million in bonuses of MoD staff in 2009.The Governments of this world, and the “experts”, can all comeforward all give us their sound-bite and their “insights” as to whydecisions are made, but in this case, as in so many others, the datadoes not support their claims. There is no desk being “bombarded”with UFO requests, there is no “administrative burden”, there is nodesk costing the MoD huge amounts of cash. We know this becausethe MoD’s own data tells us so.What there is, is a group of liars, a group of people who expect thegeneral public not to ask questions, not to dig in the background,but to blindly accept what they have been told. The MoD has beenlooking to distance itself from the UFO subject for a long time, andthis is just the flimsy excuse it will use. The MoD will get the usualsuspects to toe the party line and tell us half-truths to further its cause.This is a continuation of the MoD’s end-game or exit strategyregarding UFOs. So in the future, when there is another sighting,another incident or another Rendlesham, the MoD can smugly saythat is has nothing to do with UFOs, it was all closed down due tothe “administrative burden” and the “hundreds of requests” it wasreceiving, plus all the resources it was taking up.Or, as the press and others have just reported, the MoD will destroyall UFO reports after 30 days. What other Government departmentcould get away with such a stance? Your local Police authority willnow start destroying crime reports after 30 days? Your local SocialServices will start destroying reports of children at risk after 30 days?As with all Government departments it’s a case of ‘smoke and mirrors’.Andy Russell 07776 308 496 No virus found in this incoming message.Checked by AVG – www.avg.comVersion: 9.0.733 / Virus Database: 271.1.1/2715 – Release Date: 02/28/10 19:34:00

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