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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

AOP Bureau: The Report On Unidentified Flying Objects

I have been asked a couple of times now just how long it will be before I publish the Grey Book Report On Unidentified Flying Objects -the final report of the AOP Bureau from 1983?

Well, I have three cram-packed lever arch folders (approx 3000 pages), other files and reports that I need to pick through.

This might seem odd to some if the Report was published in 1983. I need to explain. The report was offered in a condensed version to UK ufologists -the main and well known ufologists and UFO groups. Every response was negative. One leading Ufologist offered a few back issues of an A5 newsletter their group produced in exchange for the full report.  I declined the offer and pointed out that the condensed report was thick enough and was offered FREE.

New objections:"It all sounds too James Bondish to me" -? This was possibly in reference to the fact that I had explained the opriginal report was restricted because so many people were named who did not wish to be identified with UFO work.  Back then (1977-1983) there was no luxury of using the Data Protection Act. So, after a lot of consulting the AOP Bureau instigated the Joint Scientific Intelligence Communications Document (JSICD) that was up-dated as and when needed.

"Scientific" because we sometimes dealt with information from scientists/astronomers et al and were privvy to equipment, etc., they were testing using as well as dealing with official scientific bodies that did not wish to court UFO Media attention.

"Intelligence" -this referred to the gathering of information from all sources whether civilian, ufologists, military, police or overseas correspondents/investigators. The AOP Bureau never ever claimed to be some ultra-secret spy group (despite the Russians and Chinese suspecting this!).  And I refer you to a definition of intelligence: "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns" (1995), a report published by the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association: Individuals differ from one another in their ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning,

So the AOP Bureau was set up to look into UFOs in all their complex phases, research, analyse, comment and report.

Immediately leaping to the conclusion that "intelligence" signifies "spies" and "James Bondish" mentality shows how dumb certain ufologists can be.

"Communications" because this covered correspondence, faxes, telex messages (no email back then) as well as face-to-face discussions and telephone calls.  Everything was treated as confidential even in circumstances where this was not dictated.

Do I really have to define "Document"??

Then there were the responses that "Ufology seems dead at the moment and we have to wonder whether its really worth requesting a copy of the report"  -I am NOT joking (a lot of ufologists in the mid-late 1980s reported on ufo activity decreasing and asking if the UFO phenomenon was now "gone?"

What I did not expect was for one group after another to respond by stating:"This all sounds far too nuts and bolts to us -have you even considered the spirituality of flying saucers?"  There were various responses like that and it seemed everyone in British ufology was going "flying saucer spirituality" crazy. 

In fact, the condensed version of the report was never printed because, out of 40 ufo groups/individuals not a single one wanted a copy.

The next step was to try to get the report published via a mainstream publisher.  Air Vice Marshal Sir Victor Goddard and Lord (Brinsley) Clancarty wrote covering notes stating that this was the nearest the UK had come to the USAF Project Blue Book and much more. 

Here the jealousy of ufologists crept in.  One leading UK ufologist dismissed the entire report because, if this was the major UK investigation why were 'they' not involved? 

Now, publishers often used people said to be knowledgable on certain subjects to read submitted manuscripts and state whether they were worth publishing.  Authors very rarely found out why their Mss were rejected or who suggested they be rejected. 

It has to be made very clear that the Ms clearly pointed out that it was the culmination of a study that took place from 1977-1983.  Therefore the subject material and cases were from pre-1983.  This was very heavily criticised by the two seperate reviewers "there is nothing in the way of new case reports here!" -This made no sense.  It is equivalent to stating that the Condon Report on UFOs published in 1969 contained no cases from 1970 onward!

Another gripe was that the end of each chapter dealing with a specific period of activity contained a table listing date, time, location, source for reports identified as comets, meteorites, etc..  "This makes no sense!" was the criticism.  Basically, the readers wanted every single one of those reports in full "otherwise this is useless" -in fact, as pointed out, the actual "genuine" incidents would have been lost in so much dross that it would detract from the purpose of the work.  A chapter covering one period with 75 incidents listed and all but two clearly identified as "explained".

There was another problem.  The readers did not like my writing style.  In fact, they were spitting venom over it.  Bearing in mind that by this period I was earning a living as a writer in various fields the remark "he is obviously not a proficient writer" was a little insulting.  Then there were the spelling mistakes;"there are a lot of spelling errors" -a professor of Engliush literature who was involved in ufology had proo-read the MS which totalled over 271,689 words had 20 spelling mistakes -which if you are typing all day and into the night (sometimes til 0300 hrs) is not bad.  But this, to the two ufologist readers was unacceptable.

There was another vehemic response to an aspect of the MS -"it is written as though he is talking to someone sat next to him."  Apparently, the very idea of explaining complicated aspects of science and ufology to the ley reader in terms they could understand while not talking down to them was an outrage! It was letting all the "punters" understand things -it took away the false air of 'science' these ufologists so loved. The whole purpose of the report MS was that everyone should be able to understand what was going on because, by its very nature (and as ufologists keep insisting) everyone should know what is going on.

I found it very interesting that the two ufologist readers kept referring to their own books -why weren't they referenced and "perhaps he ought to be directed to these books to purchase copies..." they were reviewing my manuscript for a publisher and touting their books!!! In fact, as the report covered 1977-1983 their books had not even been published!

But then there were the "Oh, he needs someone to edit his MS to make it workable" -I got the distinct impression the readers were desperately touting for work and if they were involved this MS would work!

Both readers, working for different publishers, were doing a hatchet job and damn any significance the end book might have because they were not involved.

The manuscript was obviously rejected because my knowledge of ufos "was out of date and limited".  As it so happened one of the AOP Bureau benefactors, Lord XXXXX, was involved in the board of both publishers and though he could not interfere, he did manage to get me the copies of both readers' reports. I was shocked to find out that both were people I had worked with and supported over the years -especially when they were heavily criticised by others.

I still have one of those readers reports and I have had no contact with those persons since.  I did not even let on that I knew what they had done -one I found later had not just touted the basic idea of my MS to other publishers but intimated to them that I had stolen ideas from them (and I note that one did use some notes from my MS  to use as their own work later. 

So, The Report will not contain new case reports because it would be totally out of context. The Report is an historical document that has been read widely by those in certain echelons (the last being Lord (Peter) Hill Norton) and will show how two separate phenomena  (UNP: Uninvestigated (by Science) Natural Phenomena and UFOB:seemingly constructed craft) were defined and how a mixture of so much chaff led to mainstream ufo research producing nonsense results –which it still does.

The good thing is that it will be self-published and so no one can interfere in it. Whether the second report, Alien Entity Cases In The United Kingdom, will be included or published separately will remain to be seen.  This is going to be one bulky book.

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