Actual happenings Nick Pope, the military and the UFOs

Actual happenings Nick Pope, the military and the UFOs



Currently a freelance journalist in the US, he recently posted on the internet the statement that was given as sworn testimony to a cross-party group of former US Congressional representatives in 2013. We will summarize below the main ideas in this statement.

From 1953 to 2009, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) had a UFO-track project. In that time, over 12,000 UFO sightings were logged and investigated. The role of the project was to determine whether these UFOs were evidence of any potential threat to the defense of the United Kingdom and if they possess some items which might be used for military purposes.

The UK’s interest in UFOs had its roots in the assumption that some objects might be military aircraft on reconnaissance missions or on missions to test the capabilities and effectiveness of our air defense network (radars, air defense fighters) coming from a foreign country, most likely from the Soviet Union.

A similar program also was embedded in the United States Air Force under various project names. The British concluded that most UFO sightings could be explained as misidentifications of known objects or phenomena, as hoaxes, or as psychological or psychiatric delusions. However, around 5% appeared to defy any conventional explanation, while also showing considerable interest.

The experts took no position on the nature of these sightings but remained open-minded, considering every possibility. In other words, while they were aware of no evidence that would support the theory that any UFO sightings were attributable to extraterrestrial visitation, they did not entirely rule out the possibility.

It was regarded as a “low probability/high consequence” scenario, which is why, from time to time, the possibility was at least considered in some internal discussions of the Ministry of Defense. Although the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence would have wider societal implications, the MoD’s interest was strictly focused on technology acquisition. Ministry experts in scientific and technological information were not averse to speculating about exotic energy sources, propulsion systems and aerodynamics, in relation to UFOs.

The purpose and duration of the visit

As an illustration, a 1995 Defense Intelligence Staff document contained the following: “If the sightings are of devices that do not originate from Earth their purpose needs to be established as a matter of priority.

There has been no apparent hostile intent and other possibilities are: 1) military reconnaissance; 2) scientific investigation; 3) tourism.” The intent of the document was practical, as the document went on to set out: “We could use this technology, if it exists.”
Although the British Ministry accepted UFO reports from everyone (and indeed the vast majority of sighting reports came from the public), the sightings that were of most interest were those where the witnesses were police officers, pilots, or military personnel. The Ministry was also particularly interested in sightings where there was some type of corroborative evidence such as radar data, photos or videos that could be assessed by specialist imagery analysis staffs.

Of particular concern to them were a number of incidents where there were near-misses between UFOs and commercial aircraft. There are several such cases in the files of the Ministry of Defense and Civil Aviation Authority. The best-known and the most convincing UFO incident in the UK is a series of sightings that occurred in December 1980 and are collectively referred to as either the “Rendlesham Forest incident” or the “Bentwaters incident”.

In the late nineties, the MoD’s Defense Intelligence Staff commissioned a review – called “Project Condign” – of the UFO sightings (called UAP – Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon) that the MoD had investigated over the years.

This evaluation was completed in 2000, ran to over 400 pages and attempted some trend analysis of the reports received, as opposed to reinvestigation of individual cases. The final report was classified Secret UK Eyes Only. However, it was declassified in 2006, following a number of Freedom of Information Act requests.

The project conclusion was that some UFO sightings might be attributable to exotic atmospheric plasmas, and that there might be novel military applications (e.g. in terms of directed energy weapons) that could merit further study. A recommendation stated: “At higher altitudes, although UAP appear to be benign to civil air traffic, pilots should be advised not to maneuver, other than to place the object astern, if possible”; and for military pilots: “No attempt should be made to exceed a UAP during interception”.

There is a widespread belief in the UK – as in the US – that the authorities know more about UFOs than they are telling the public, so that there is a cover-up and a conspiracy on this topic. Pope claims that there are two relevant factors here. Firstly, the MoD was (and still is) an inherently secretive organization, despite the introduction of the UK’s Freedom of Information Act.

Secondly, the Ministry of Defense consistently led a policy of concealing its interest in UFOs. To give an example, the ministry officially reported to the UK’s Parliament, the media and the public, that UFOs were of “no defense significance” while, at the same time, highly-classified intelligence studies such as Project Condign were being carried out, well away from public scrutiny. However, Pope said he is not aware of any cover-up or conspiracy in the sense that proponents of such theories mean.

In 2007, the Ministry of Defence has taken the political decision to declassify and make public its entire archive of UFO files, following a similar decision taken by the French Government. A first batch of files was made public in May 2008. By 2013, over 50,000 pages of documents have been released and sent to the UK’s National Archives.

The MoD’s UFO project was terminated in 2009 as part of a wider series of defense cuts. Therefore, the public has no longer an official point of contact to make sighting reports, but civil and military pilots can continue to make reports on an ad hoc basis, although it would be better for them to avoid the phrase “UFO” (or “UAP”) and use alternative phrases such as “unusual aircraft”. Such sightings are investigated as air safety incidents by the UK Airprox (Air Proximity) Board.

Pope said he has no unequivocal and elegant explanation for the UFO mystery and neither he is aware that anyone else in the British Government has reached a definitive conclusion. However, after three years of official research and investigation into subject, his assessment is that whatever the true nature of the UFO phenomenon, it raises important defense, national security and air safety issues.

Where are the aliens?

Meanwhile, Nick Pope was frequently asked a number of questions. The answers to most commonly asked questions were posted on the same website, as a complement to the above statement. We will summarize below some of the most interesting responses.

At first, when he was appointed the head of the bureau investigating reports of UFO sightings, he knew little about the subject and was broadly skeptical, but always conducted his research and investigations in an open-minded way.

He concluded that around 80% of UFO sightings were misidentifications of ordinary objects or phenomena: aircraft, aircraft lights, weather balloons, meteors, satellites, bright stars and planets, Chinese lanterns, etc. Some sightings were caused by the fact that people have seen secret prototype spy planes or drones. Other cases were hoaxes, or the result of a hallucination or psychological delusion.

Where are the aliens?

In around 15% of cases there was insufficient data to make a firm assessment. The remaining 5% of cases appeared to have no conventional explanation, even after a thorough investigation. Of course, it is important to note that if a UFO sighting was classified as unexplained, it doesn’t mean that what was seen was extraterrestrial. Unexplained means unexplained – nothing more and nothing less.

The UK’s Official Secrets Act is binding for life, without any connection with the fact that Pope no longer works for the Ministry of Defense. But Ministry of Defense has declassified and released most of its UFO files as a result of the UK’s Freedom of Information Act, Pope is free to discuss most of the aspects of his work on this topic.