Fwd = UFO UpDate: Ombudsman "MOD Blocked Rendlesham File Release"
- Forwarded by: fwestra@... (Frits Westra)
Originally from: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates@...> (by way of UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates@...>)
Original Subject: UFO UpDate: Ombudsman "MOD Blocked Rendlesham File Release"
Original Date: Tue, 03 Dec 2002 10:12:50 -0500
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From: David Clarke <cd292@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002 09:18:34 -0000
Subject: Ombudsman "MOD Blocked Rendlesham File Release"
Source: BBC News Online
3 December 2002
UFO CASE 'BLOCKED' BY MOD
Details of one of Britain's most famous UFO scares was among
information repeatedly suppressed by government defence chiefs,
according to a Westminster watchdog. Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann
Abraham said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) broke open government
rules three times in recent months over cases including the
Rendlesham Forest UFO scare.
Complaints about the MoD's refusal to list countries prioritised
for arms sales or reveal details of an armed services survey
were also up-held.
Former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle said the examples
outlined in the report on the Ombudsman's work between May and
October were symptomatic of a "culture of secrecy" in the MoD.
"It is one of those departments that have always opposed freedom
of information and are not very attuned to what is required in a
modern, open and accountable government," he said.
"Other departments and Whitehall as a whole have a problem with
openness but the MoD is on of the more incorrigible cases of
government by secrecy," he said.
Details of the alleged sighting at a Norfolk RAF base more than
20 years ago were released last week after the Ombudsman ruled
the MoD were wrongly suppressing them.
The "Rendlesham File" concerns a sighting of a "glowing"
triangular object by US Air Force police in Rendlesham Forest,
near RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk.
The documents have only previously been made available to around
20 people who used the American Freedom of Information Act to
gain access to them.
In the early hours of 27 December, 1980, a number of US Air
Force men witnessed the object hover in the darkness,
transmitting blue pulsating lights and sending nearby farm
animals into a "frenzy".
While the actual documents had not been released, the details
were widely known, the Ombudsman said in her report.
"Given their age and the fact that these documents contained no
information not already in the public domain, the Ombudsman saw
no reason why they could not be disclosed," the report said.
The Ombudsman also partially upheld complaints against the
Cabinet Office, DVLA, Driving Standards Agency and the
Department for Work and Pensions, the report revealed.
Restrictions on the MoD's "Rendlesham File" were dropped as part
of an opening-up of the inner workings of Whitehall.
Ministers are attempting to lift the official veil of secrecy by
repealing or amending a raft of legislation banning access to
Government departments will now be required to release
information on the internal workings of Whitehall, including
minutes of meetings of top civil servants.
Ministers say they will repeal or amend up to 100 items of
legislation which are currently prohibited from disclosure.
*** For the full text of the Ombudsman's judgement go to:
click 'What's New' and then 'Parliamentary Commissioner for
Administration - Access to Official Information - Investigations
Completed May-October 2002.
Ministry of Defence - Case A29/02 - Refusal to release
information relating to the Rendlesham Forest UFO incident can
be found on pgs 9-11 of the file in pdf format.
"Mr E" who made the complaint is of course Eric Morris of the
British UFO Studies Centre.
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