Tuesday, August 14, 2012

UK intelligence agencies and their interest in UFO researchers

Dear readers,

Long time readers of this blog will know of my interest in the involvement of various government's intelligence agencies in the UFO phenomenon. This blog contains a number of posts on this subject (e.g. click here and here.)

I recently came across a book, which I missed reading when it first came out, but which has quite a few accounts of intelligence operatives and UK UFO researchers. I'll summarise some of it, in case you have never read the book yourself.

Saucer spies:

The book in question is titled "On the Trail of the Saucer Spies: UFOs and Government Surveillance." The author is Nick Redfern, and the book was published in 2006 by Anomalist Books, San Antonio. ISBN is 1933 66 5106.


The first thread tells the story of a UK group calling itself the "Aerial Phenomena Enquiry network" (APEN). APEN (click here) contacted a range of UK UFO researchers and groups in the period 1974-1992.

Redfern writes "When APEN surfaced the intense, official surveillance of practically the entire British UFO research community began in earnest." (p.136.) Redfern source his knowledge, in part, to a character he refers to as "the Sandman." This individual claimed to have been involved in an "...operation...designed to carefully monitor a number of low-profile individuals in the north of England, Nottingham, Cambridge, Birmingham, London, Leicester and elsewhere, who were all tied...with underground and extremely ultra-right wing fascist organisations in Britain." (p.136.)

Sandman claimed the operation involved Special Branch, Scotland Yard and MI5. The Sandman went on to say that "...six of the people being carefully watched 'for extremist actions" had a personal interest in the UFO controversy." (p.137.) The thinking of the government agencies was that perhaps the UFO interest was just a cover for something else. The Sandman told Redfern this group of individuals created APEN to attempt to destabilise UK UFO groups, and recruit people for right-wing groups. The Sandman admitted to Redfern that to counter APEN's methods "We decided at Special branch and GCHQ that there was one way we could stop this: we began creating our own APEN letters and began sending them out." (p.142.) Redfern says that confirmation of Sandman's information came from another source via Andy Roberts. (p.142.)

Matthew Bevan:

Redfern interviewed "...a self confirmed computer hacker who lives in Wales..." (p.183) Bevan got into the subject of UFOs when "One guy in Australia - had on his bulletin board all these text files about UFOs. This was about 1994." (p.185.) He later hacked into computer files at Wright Patterson USAF base, looking for UFO information. Bevan's hacking activity came under the notice of Scotland Yard and the US "Defense Information Systems Agency" and the USAF Office of Special Investigations. Bevan was arrested and charged. later, be believed he was still under surveillance. (Click here for more on Bevan.)

Mathew Williams:

Williams was a South Wales UFO researcher, who in the mid to late 1990's was "...delving into claims that a crashed UFO and alien bodies were held deep below ground at a sensitive Royal Air Force installation in the south-west of England called RAF Rudloe Manor." (p.194.) Redfern asserts that Williams was under government surveillance, and that (citing the Sandman) "...questions would be asked at an official level about Williams' intentions - including even whether or not he was utilising his UFO research as a cover for working with none other  than the Irish Republican Army. " (p.220.) Click here for other views on Williams.

"The British Roswell:"

Following a lead to a reported UFO 'crash' in the UK in early 1964, Redfern interviewed one Harold South. South told a story of seeing what appeared to be an Army, Police and RAAF operation to remove "...a large object had been lifted on to the trailer and had been a partially covered by a tarpaulin." (p.224.)

This object seemed to be a triangular shape, and South said that he was later interviewed by a police inspector, and his camera and photographs he had taken of the scene were taken by police. South told Redfern that Ministry of Defence Police had called him shortly before the interview with Redfern. Redfern wrote "There seemed only one conclusion: somebody in the intelligence or defence community wanted to let us know that by  probing into the complexity of the Pentridge crash, we had opened up a sensitive can of worms." (p.228.)


The UK's Government  Communications Headquarters, was the target of research by UK researcher Robin Cole. Redfern reports "...that GCHQ has a large and impressive library that contains a considerable number of books on UFOs; that GCHQ was implicated in the study of military originated UFO encounters as far back as the early 1950's; and that GCHQ was involved in the investigation of an intriguing UFO incident that occurred off the East coast of England in October 1996..." (p.232.)

On 1992 Cole wrote a booklet titled "GCHQ and the UFO Cover-up." Someone from GCHQ rang Cole up to ask for his source. Later, he was interviewed by a Detective Sargent from Special branch, and apparently surveilled by the Ministry of Defence. For more on Cole click here.


If you have never caught up with this book of Redfern's it is worth getting hold of a copy and studying it.

I'd be interest to hear from any blog readers who were caught up in the APEN saga and for your views on the accounts given in Redfern's book.

1 comment:

  1. From reading Nick's book, Jenny Randles' 'The Truth About the Men in Black' and Peter Rogerson's article I was left with the impression that APEN was a malicious exercise by someone connected to UFO research. They caused discord and suspicion within several UFO groups, but were offering something that was doomed afore-hand to rejection.

    Mid to late 1970s England was fertile with racism and neo-nazism and yet English ufology is typically apolitical. If I'm right about that, dangling the opportunity to join a purported NAZI organisation just wouldn't work. Likewise, offering faux-bureaucratese documents to some savvy characters wouldn't work either. This would suggest they wished to unsettle the English ufological community whilst ensuring they wouldn't accidentally attract any of them to join.

    Whoever they were, it'd be interesting to know what they were up to...and why. The approach described by P. Rogerson was probably the best i.e. limited attention.


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