Saturday, June 25, 2016

The search through Australian government UAP records - 2012 to 2016

Introduction
 
After the success of the Disclosure Australia Project (2003-2008) in locating and arranging to have digitised, a large number of Australian government UAP files, I returned to the search in 2012 to locate further such files.
 
In 2013, I was joined in this search by Melbourne researcher Paul Dean. This blog post aims to provide readers with a summary of what  has been found in the period 2012 to 2016.
 
 
1. File series A9755
 
In 1994, when the Royal Australian Air Force got out of the UAP business, RAAF bases across the country closed off their UAP files and sent them off to RAAF HQ. Once bundled together, the 24 files were sent in one batch to the National Archives of Australia (NAA.)
 
The NAA 'top numbered' these files, and they became NAA file series A9755 part1 through to 24. During 2012 to 2016, I requested that this series be examined by the NAA, opened and digitalised. Paul Dean and I paid for this digitisation. Thus, almost all of the papers on these files, some as late as 1994, are today, available for anyone to view, via the NAA's website.
 
However, there were some documents on this file series, which were outside of the date range available through the Archives Act. I therefore submitted a series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the Department of Defence for those papers with a date range such that they were available under that Act. I received copies of many of these files and reported on their contents in a series of posts on this blog. About 95% of all the papers in this series are now publicly available. The other 5% still sit on the files, outside the date range of the Archive Act, but inside the date range of the FOI Act. The reason I have not obtained these pages is that in 2015/2016 the Department of Defence wished to charge the fees to provide them to me, which I felt was an unreasonable amount. In due course as the years go by, they will fall inside the date range of the Archive Act and thus become available in this way.
 
Anyway, we already know the details of the contents of all these files, as in the mid 2000's, Dominic McNamara and I, spent 18 hours at Edinburgh RAAF base in Adelaide, going through these exact files. We reported on the contents in a series of Disclosure Australia Newsletters, published at the time.
 
 
2. Previously unknown files
 
During the 2012-2016 time period, Paul Dean and I located a number of previously unknown NAA UAP files. These included:
 
1. NAA files series J63, control symbol 5/51/Air - about radar sightings from the Townsville area.
2. K95, control symbol 1986/871 - A Western Australian Aviation Department file.
3. Uncited file - A collection of already known papers, but being collected by someone in the DOD at Woomera, up to as late as 2006 (remembering the DOD got out of the business in 1994.)
4. M1148, control symbol "Unidentified Flying Objects" - The personal papers of the Rt. Hon. R G Casey, former Australian Prime Minister.
 
In addition, under the FOI Act, I located a Bureau of Meteorology file, date range 1982-2006.
 
Previous blog posts have reported on the contents of all the above files.
 
 
3. Files concerning the disappearance of Frederick Valentich
 
Despite the fact that the Department of Transport had advised me in 2004, that they believed that the main file relating to the disappearance of pilot Frederick Valentich, in 1978, had been destroyed by the NAA, I found it, and two others in the NAA. The files were:
 
1. NAA file series B1497, control symbol V116/783/1047.
2. B638, control symbol M116/783/1047 part 1.
3. B638, control symbol M116/783/1047 part 2.
 
Melbourne based researcher Andrew Arnold located another Valentich file:
 
4. A4073, control symbol 1978/1205.
 
 
4. FOI Act requests
 
During the period, I also submitted FOI requests to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB); Air Services Australia (ASA); and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) asking for any documents they held on "Unidentified Flying Objects."
 
CASA responded that they had no such file holdings. ASA provided correspondence between themselves and various outlets, plus between themselves and a private individual seeking aircraft movements as possible explanations for sighting reports. The ATSB provide me with a number of proforma on incidents reported to them. However, I already had most of these details from an earlier ATSB FOI request. I posted about these requests earlier in this blog.
 
Paul Dean also submitted a number of FOI requests to the ATSB; ASA, and the Department of Defence, again, seeking documents relative to UAP. In addition, he submitted FOI requests to the DOD seeking documents about current areas of the DOD which might be concerned with tracking unknown objects over Australia. The DOD responded and provided numerous internal documents and manuals concerning tracking 'contacts of interest.' Paul has reported his findings in a series of posts on his blog.
 
5. A listing
 
An updated listing of Australian government UAP files may be found on the Project 1947 website.
 
 
6. Current situation
 
Paul Dean and I, and sadly no other Australian researchers, continue to look for further NAA UAP files. One I recently found was file series A4090, control symbol 529/1/16 part 1 titled 'DSTO records of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena' with a date range of 1974-196. I have a request in with the NAA to have this examined, (its current status is 'closed;' 'with held pending advice'), opened and digitised.
 
There is no doubt, that other NAA files on UAP are yet to be located within the NAA. It would be good if other Australian researchers contributed to this work.
 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Did the DSTO investigate UAP reports?


In my last post, I mentioned that details of  a file about UAP, originating from the Defence Scientific and Technology Organisation (DSTO) had, for the first time,  just popped up in the RecordSearch database of the National Archives of Australia (NAA.)  I wondered what references had been made to the DSTO in Australian UAP literature?


Bill Chalker

In part three of his 1996 article 'UFOs sub Rosa Down Under,' Sydney based researcher Bill Chalker, wrote in part:

"A firm proposal was developed with the team to operate within the Defence Science and Technical Organisation (DSTO.)"

Here, Bill was speaking of the year 1969, and a proposed 'Secret Military "Rapid Intervention" Team.' The architect of this team was Harry Turner, then in the Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB) in the Australian Department of Defence.

I wondered whether or not, this reference to the DSTO, in the year 1969, was correct? Official government sources state that the DSTO was not created until 1974.

I therefore conducted further research. Firstly, I examined the digital copy of the JIB's UAP file in the National Archives of Australia (NAA.) NAA file series JIO63, control symbol 3092/2/000 titled 'Scientific Intelligence - General - Unidentified Flying Objects,' has a date range of 1957-1971. Although there are documents originating from Harry Turner on this file, there are no papers which mention the proposal for a 'secret' team, nor any reference to the DSTO (which of course wasn't created until 1974.)

Secondly, I read further portions of  'UFOs sub Rosa' and found "George Barlow of Defence Science and Technology (DST) had also offered the help of his group." So, here is mention of DST, but not DSTO.

George Barlow http://www.honeysucklecreek.net/supply/pioneers/index.html
I therefore searched the Internet, for information about the career of George Barlow. Did he work for the DSTO at any time? I found that in 1965 he worked for the then Department of Supply. In 1968, he was transferred to Canberra and took up the position of First Assistant Secretary/Defence Science. Then, in 1974 he moved into the newly created DSTO.

In summary, Bill's DSTO reference for 1969, seems to be incorrect, as the DSTO was not formed until 1974.

John Auchettl

At a 1998 Sydney UAP conference, Melbourne based researcher John Auchettl recounted an October 1997 'Pine Gap UFO intrusion' allegedly involving a UFO encounter leaving physical evidence. Bill Chalker in an 'Ozfiles' blog post dated 20 October 2011, cites details of Auchettl's presentation. In part, Bill wrote:

"I suspect that the Pine Gap people and DSTO (allegedly also involved in investigating the event)..."

However, nothing further is known about this alleged DSTO involvement.


Paul Dean

After reading my previous blog post, Melbourne based researcher Paul Dean, recalled that when the Department of Defence General Admin UAS policy was cancelled in 2012, that the distribution list of the cancellation memo had a DSTO officer on it.

The DSTO officer is listed as 'COO (DSTO) (F2-2-017.)' An Internet search found that COO stands for 'Chief Operations Officer.' F2-2-017, from FOI request knowledge, is a specific Department of Defence office address in Canberra.

Why a copy of a memo cancelling a Department of Defence UAS policy should be sent to the DSTO is unknown at this time.


Internet

There are other vague rumours on various Internet sites of UAP being seen in DSTO facilities in South Australia. These are simply rumours, with no hard documentation to back up the stories.

In summary, it will be fascinating to see what is actually on the DSTO file which has just surfaced in the NAA. Hopefully, I should have arranged for it to be examined, made available, and digitised, by December this year.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

DSTO UAP file found in the National Archives of Australia

Hi all,

Introduction

The Defence Science and Technology Group, is part of the Australian Department of Defence. Prior to 1 July 2015, it was known as the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO.) Its current website uses slogans such as 'Science and Technology for Safeguarding Australia;' and 'The Brains Trust of Defence.' It has a number of 'Research Divisions,' including one named 'Aerospace Division.' The 'Our history' section of the website, states that the DSTO, as an organisation, came into being in 1974.

Archive and FOI Act research

Between 2003 and 2008, the Disclosure Australia Project located over 100 files relating to UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena) held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA.) For a current list of these files click here. Many of these were digitised by the NAA, paid for by members of the Project.

In 2008, (updated in 2011) this author, on behalf of the Project, prepared, and published, a 121 page document summarising the Project's findings, titled 'UAS files located in the Australian Government record system.'    UAS - Unusual Aerial Sightings - was the term used by the RAAF for UAP.

The Project found files originating with such government departments as the former Department of Supply; the former Department of Civil Aviation; the former Department of Territories; the former Department of External Affairs; the Commonwealth Investigation Service; the Australia Security Intelligence Organisation; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation; and other agencies. Within the Department of Defence, files were located which originated from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Joint Intelligence Bureau.

In 2004, this author submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defence, for other areas of that Department, including the DSTO. The DOD response was that they were unable to locate any files originating in these areas dealing with the topic of UAS for the period 1977 to 2004.

DSTO

Imagine then,  the author's surprise last night, when conducting a keyword search of the NAA's RecordSearch, file database, to find a Department of Defence DSTO UAP file!

Screen shot of RecordSearch showing the file's details.

NAA file series A4090 (DOD Central Office), control symbol 529/1/16 Part 1, barcode 13685217, is titled 'DSTO records of unidentified Aerial phenomena.' It is held in the Canberra office of the NAA. Its date range is shown as 1974-1996. Its status is given as 'Closed.' The reason given for it being 'Closed'  is shown as 'Withheld pending advice.' This usually means that the file is with the originating body being examined for 'sensitivities.'

Archive request

I have today, submitted a request to the NAA to have the file 'opened.' This process usually takes up to three months. After that, I will be able to make a request for, and pay for, the file to be digitised, thus making it publicly available around Christmas 2016.

FOI Act request

I have also today, submitted an FOI Act request to the Department of Defence for copies of all parts of this file 529/1/16, held by them. 'Part 1' suggests there is likely to be a 'part 2' of the same file. There is no record of a 'part 2' in the NAA.

Now, all one can do, is await the outcome of these requests.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Updated Australian catalogue, and listing of Australian government UAP files

Hi all,

I have just completed work on an extensive update of one of my catalogues, titled 'A catalogue of the more interesting Australian UAP reports.'


I have included some new cases; checked sources for accuracy, and amended dates, times and other details, as necessary.

I have also just finished updating my listing of  known 'Australian government UAP files.' The list provides details of some 150 such files. Most of these may be read in digitised form, via the National Archives of Australia website.


Thanks to the good graces of John Stepkowski, who maintains the Project 1947 website, you can find my updated catalogue online here; and the files listing, online here.

Happy reading.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

New book alert - Contact Down Under - McGhee

Hi all,

An excellent new Australian book has just been published, titled "Contact Down Under: A century of UFO sightings in Australasia and the Western Pacific." Its author is Moira McGhee, and it is published by Independent Network of UFO Researchers (INUFOR); ISBN is 978-0646-305-042.


Moira has been interested in the subject for many years, and is an extremely dedicated researcher. She founded INUFOR and still coordinates it today. In the past, Moira has been associated with  the British UFO Research Association  in the United Kingdom; UFO Research Australia; the Australian Centre for UFO Studies; and the Mutual UFO Network in the USA.

This book is aimed at members of the general public, and as such, gives a representative overview of sightings in Australasia and the Western Pacific, over the last hundred years, focusing on Australia.

It is packed full of both well-known (eg Mundrabilla, WA, 20 January 1988; pp 152-156) and little-known (eg Portland, NSW, 12 March 1997; pp 104-108) observations. The spectrum of sightings range from anecdotal (eg Queensland, June 1984 "UFO crash;" p127) to well documented (eg Llangothlin, NSW, 19 October 1975: pp 78-81.) Some are sketchy (eg Trunkey Creek, NSW, 1997; p 104); while others are described in detail (eg Roma, Qld, 1963; pp 231-235.) There are sightings where mundane stimuli are the likely cause ( eg Ivy Tank, SA, September 1973; p 150); while others remain a mystery after a competent investigation (eg Boianai, Papua New Guinea, June 1959 pp 206-208.)

There are cases which cry out for a much longer treatment, eg Mundrabilla, WA; pp 152-156; but in a general work of this nature, this is not possible. There are others which Moira outlines, especially from central Australia, which I would like to see further investigated, documented and published.

As with all works, there are errors; eg page 3 tells us that the American A-12 aircraft could "hover"; not so. There are two versions, dated 28 May 1963 and 1965, of the same case on page 209. However, these do not really detract from the main thrust of the book, namely, sighting reports.

A long term blog reader will be aware that I enjoy a book which has plenty of factual information, together with analysis. This book has all of this. It is a treasure trove of Australian material.

I found that the book provides a great introduction to the topic. I thoroughly recommend you obtain, and read, a copy of this book. Details of how you may purchase it can be found at http://independentnetuforesearchers.com.au/

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"Guru" - counselor, inspirational source, sharing knowledge

Introduction
 
The mix of ideas which we have today in Ufology, is greater than it has ever been. Blog readers will be aware, that in recent times, I have covered the ideas of human/alien hybrids; and aliens mentoring humans. In the past, the blog has covered the field of exopolitics; spoken about individuals who pursue videography; and explored the idea of "scientific ufology."
 
 
Evidence
 
I have looked at the evidence for human/alien hybrids, and aliens mentoring humans; and in general, find the evidence for it being true; far from convincing.
 
Besides, individuals making these claims; there are also, so called "researchers" pushing these individuals along. These "researchers" appear, in my opinion, to guide individuals into the researcher's existing belief system. I feel that some "researchers" are actually creating false belief systems in the minds of receptive individuals. I have seen "researchers" who charge money to exorcise "greys" from people; say they can  determine the origin of "aliens" in people's bedrooms; and others who tell you, you are a "star child" and someone special.
 
Some advocates of exopolitics, are convinced that the U.S. Navy has a secret fleet of spacecraft in Earth orbit; that Nazis from World War 2 are still with us and in league with aliens; together with a whole host of other bizarre ideas, based on no firm, credible evidence.
 
Many UAP videographers build up extreme views of what they film. Few take a critical approach to the images they generate and market. Rarely do they self-analyse their material. How do "scientific ufologists" react to these divergent views? In recent times I have discussed this question with a number of my Australian colleagues. Two opposing views have emerged.
 
Firstly, some say you should totally ignore these bizarre and extreme perspectives. Instead, you should focus solely on your own scientifically oriented work.
 
Secondly, others say that these views need to be challenged. That the claims should be examined; flaws pointed out; and individuals who put them forward should be brought to account for their faulty claims.
 
My thoughts
 
I have seen the "other than scientific ufology" approach gather momentum in recent years, and it shows no sign of abating. Social media and other ways of digital communication,  have aided its mass appeal, where material is uncritically passed from person to person.  Anyone, with any kind of idea can push it into the public realm, often without any form of critical review.
 
However, to critically review some of these approaches, involves tackling individuals who are out there; often with a following, who are oblivious to their "guru's" faults and failures. Followers who do not understand the term "peer review," and who would see an unbiased review of their "guru's" claims, as a personal attack on their "guru."
 
This makes it difficult, but not impossible, to call a "spade" a "spade." However, I feel that the time has come, to engage some of these "guru's," and examine their views to see if they make sense; have some sort of evidence base; or are unacceptable; unscientific; and potentially psychologically dangerous to those who follow them.




Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Australian government UFO files - the journey

Hi all,

With the recent Internet upload of 1.7 GB's worth of Australian government UAP files, by Queensland UFO Sightings and Research, I'd like to place this release into historical context, lest people think this is something newly available.

 
Bill Chalker studying files at the Department of Defence

In the 1980's, Sydney based researcher Bill Chalker visited the Department of Defence in Canberra, to view and record details of RAAF UAP files. Bill published his findings in a series of articles in UAP magazines/journals, both here in Australia and overseas. His excellent work allowed other researchers, their first detailed look at how the RAAF had tackled the subject in this country.

 
 
A Joint Intelligence Organisation UAP file.

Between 2003 and 2008, a group of Adelaide UAP researchers, (working under the name 'Disclosure Australia', in conjunction with AUFORN) including this author, spent their time and money, accessing Australian government UAP files held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA) . Their combined efforts resulted in the digitisation of several dozen of these files, which then allowed anyone to view them in detail via the NAA website. The group published its work in a series of 30 'Disclosure Australia' Newsletters (still available on the website of AUFORN) and in the Australian 'UFOlogist' magazine.

First page of Disclosure Australia list of Australian government files.


The final 'Disclosure Australia' report, of 120 pages, remains the most detailed document available concerning the Australian government and UAP. It is essential reading, and is available here.

 

Between 2008 and 2015, Melbourne based researcher Paul Dean and this author, spent time and their own money, in locating a number of previously unknown UAP files held by the NAA. Paul and I again, paid for a range of files to be digitised, making them available for anyone to read.  Some of these files related to the 1978 disappearance over Bass Strait of pilot Frederick Valentich.  If you haven't visited Paul's excellent blog, then you should do so.



A while ago, English researcher Isaac Koi, with the permission of the NAA, turned almost 100 of their Australian government UAP files into PDFs and made them widely available, via the Internet.


Queensland UFO Sightings and Research

Finally, yesterday a Facebook entity (they have chosen to stay anonymous) under the name of Queensland UFO Sightings and Research, have taken this distribution of Australian government UAP files to another level, by uploading 80 plus Australian government UAP files to the Internet, providing easier access to them.

Other files
 
There are still more files to be processed. Paul Dean and I have a series of part files, dated later than what the Archives Act allows one to obtain, gained via the Freedom of Information Act from the Department of Defence. Most of these have never been seen by other researchers, although this author has shared details of their contents in a series of posts on his blog.
 
 
What have we collectively learnt from these government files?
 
1. No Australian government agency admitted to seriously studying Australian UAP reports. The RAAF collected sightings, and did some work on them. They did conduct interviews, but often only when political or public pressure forced them to do so. Their analyses of these sightings were mainly lacking in depth.
 
2. A behind the scenes investigation by Bill Chalker and 'Disclosure Australia', did find written evidence that some individuals, who worked in such government organisations as the Joint Intelligence Bureau and the CSIRO, conducted private research with the knowledge of their employer. However, their efforts were never officially endorsed.
 
3. There is currently no evidence available to suggest that any Australian government agency is overtly, or indeed covertly, studying the topic of UAP.
 

 
Are there still more files to be found?
 
Undoubtedly. Only 10% of all files held by the NAA are listed on their electronic database, RecordSearch. For example, it is known that UAP files were held by the head office of the former Department of Supply (DOS). These files have not yet been located in the NAA.
 
Who will rise to the challenge to find such files?