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Fwd = US base's report of UFO crash 'had MoD in a panic'

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl (Frits Westra) URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,543150,00.html Original Date: 29 Aug 2001
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 29, 2001
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      Forwarded by: fwestra@... (Frits Westra)
      URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,543150,00.html
      Original Date: 29 Aug 2001 17:53:55 -0000

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      Guardian Unlimited

      US base's report of UFO crash 'had MoD in a panic'
      Richard Norton-Taylor
      Tuesday August 28, 2001

      A report by the deputy commander of a US nuclear base in East Anglia
      of an unidentified flying object provoked panic in the Ministry of
      Defence, newly-released documents have revealed.

      In what was claimed to be Britain's first UFO landing, Lieutenant
      Colonel Charles Halt, commander of the US Bentwaters base near
      Woodbridge in Suffolk, reported that two of his security patrolmen had
      seen "unusual lights" early in the morning of December 27, 1980.

      Thinking that an aircraft had crashed, they reported seeing "a strange
      glowing object in the Rendlesham forest". The object was described as
      being "metallic in appearance and triangular in shape".

      It had a "pulsing red light on top and bank of blue lights
      underneath".

      Animals on a nearby farm were said to have gone into a " frenzy". The
      following day three depressions were found as well as traces of
      radiation, Col Halt reported.

      His report was released under the US freedom of information act two
      years later. What has not been disclosed until now is the MoD's
      response to it.

      British papers on the incident have been discovered by David Clarke, a
      researcher at Sheffield University who is writing a book on UFOs.

      The Halt report was sent to the MoD with a covering letter by Squadron
      Leader Donald Moreland, an RAF liaison officer, who referred to "some
      mysterious sightings".

      The ministry's scientists said they could offer "no explanation for
      the phenomena", or the radiation. Radar tapes from the night in
      question were impounded from nearby RAF bases to see if there was any
      evidence that British airspace had been invaded.

      The papers make clear the MoD was concerned more about protecting the
      base from unwelcome publicity than about the alleged UFO sightings.

      The ministry was worried about rumours being spread suggesting that
      the "alien landing" was a clever cover story for an accident involving
      nuclear weapons, the crash of a prototype Stealth aircraft, or even
      the secret recovery of part of a Soviet satellite.

      It was also worried that anti-nuclear campaigners would be alerted to
      the presence of nuclear bombs at Bentwaters.

      Yet it had something else to hide. Five documents are being withheld
      on the grounds that they contain confidential briefings to ministers,
      relate to national security, or affect Britain's relations with the
      US.

      Dr Clarke, of Sheffeld University's centre for English cultural
      tradition, and whose book is due to be published by Piatkus next year,
      has asked the MoD to release them.

      He said: "Here we had USAF servicemen at a highly sensitive Nato base
      chasing UFOs around a forest in the middle of the night."

      He added: "The files raise questions about how easily our defences
      could be fooled."
      _________________________________________________________________

      Guardian Unlimited � Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001

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