Thursday, December 20, 2012

National Archives of Australia - CSIRO UAP file - additional pages now available

Hi all,

One of the UAP files which the Disclosure Australia Project (2003-2008) located in the National Archives of Australia (NAA), belonged to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO.) Click here to read about the CSIRO's role.

NAA file series A8520 control symbol HM1/30 was titled "CSIRO - General - UFOs." 90 pages, with a date range of 1957-1968 were made available to the Project at that time.

A recent look at the digital version of this file reveals that someone has paid to have additional pages made available in digital format. There are now 130 pages available for this file, dated up to 1981. However, the new documents are almost exclusively pieces of correspondence between individual members of the public and the CSIRO. The CSIRO's consistent response was that they did not research UAP and referred correspondents to the Department of Air, who held responsibility for investigating reports of UAP.

There are however, a couple of interesting items on the newly available pages:

1. A 20 foot diameter circle of 'scorched' grass was found in March 1969 at Kyogle, New South Wales. A toadstool from within the circle was examined by the Botanic gardens who suggested the ring might be of fungal origin. For further details click here.

2. A CSIRO employee privately examined a photograph taken in October 1972 at Lake Hume and pronounced it a double exposure.

For a lengthy research article on the CSIRO and and its involvement with UAP, by myself, please click here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Australian Government is not "releasing" its UAP files

Hi all,

I would like to correct an impression that I have read about on the net, ( for example click here and here ) that the Australian Government, like some overseas countries, has a deliberate program to "release" its UAP files. This is not true.

Details of Australian Government UAP files which I have been reporting on (for example click here, here and here) have first been located in the National Archives of Australia's (NAA) electronic database RecordSearch. If the file has a status of "open" then anyone can pay their money and have the file digitised and thus it becomes available for anyone to read on the NAA website. If the file has a status of "not yet examined" then anyone can submit a written request to the NAA to have them send that file back to the original government department which created it, with a view to that department examining the file for sensitive material and then agreeing that the NAA can make it available. Once you are notified that the file now has a status of "open" then you can pay your money and have the file digitised and thus made publicly available.

There is no systematic Australian Government program to make these files available to us.

Most of the files which I have been reporting on have been in the archives for many years. The NAA then eventually gets round to recording details of the files on RecordSearch. They do not put out a message that the files are on RecordSearch, you simply in many cases accidently come across them when searching for something else, as happened with the Valentich file I found (click here.) Thus finding Australian Government UAP files is a little like a treasure hunt. The very opposite of the UK experience where the Ministry of Defence deliberately and very publicly made its UAP files available, or the French government's publishing of its UAP files.

Looking through my own blog posts, I realise that I may have contributed to this impression, by talking about "a file was released to me." In future, I will use alternate language to indicate that I have found and had arranged to have a file digitised.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"UFOs Caught on Film" - New book alert - including two Australian photographs

Hi all,

Introduction:

Recently, I came across a new book "UFOs Caught on Film: Amazing Evidence of Alien Visitors to Earth" by Billy J Booth. Published by David and Charles. 2012. ISBN 9-781-446-3016-92. It is part of a series of books, whose titles include "Ghosts Caught on Film;" "The Paranormal Caught on Film" and "Monsters Caught on Film."

On the front cover, the author, Billy Booth, is described as follows "...has been a UFO researcher and writer for over  30 years. He is webmaster of ufocasebook.com, one of the largest UFO websites, and has appeared on UFO radio and TV shows on the Discovery and History Channel. He has also been the guide at about.com for UFOs.

This 160 page book features dozens of photographs of UAP, and associated text.

Contents:

The contents of the book are broken down into eras. They start with "Early sightings (1800s to 1940s); through "The Golden Age of Flying Saucers (1950s to 1960s); "Close Encounters and beyond (1970s to 1980s); "The X-Files (1990s); and "Everyone's got a camera (Latest sightings.)"

There are classic photographs such as McMinnville, Oregon, USA (1950); Lubbock, Texas, USA (1951); Salem, Massachusetts, USA (1952); Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA (1965) and Lake Cote, Costa Rico (1971.)

Australian photographs:

The latest sightings section contains 40 photographs, with dates ranging from 2001 to 2011, including from the USA, UK, Europe, Asia and South America. There are two photographs from Australia, namely labelled Palmerston, Queensland (2009) and Sydney-Melbourne Flight (2011.) Given the multitude of photographs in this section, I decided to take a look at the two Australian ones, thinking they should be a representative sample of the whole 40.

Palmerston, Queensland.

"Multiple sightings of 'discs of light' in Australia

2009 - Palmerston, Queensland.

In April 2009 two men from Queensland spotted a mysterious white light as it moved  through the night skies. That same month several other sightings had also been logged, including photograph of two other UFOs from a woman who described them as two 'discs of light' which she accidentally caught on the frame of the picture she took on her mobile phone during a storm.

Her photograph only corroborates the sighting of a UFO by Michael Baker, a resident of Nerang. On the same day he had seen an unknown object in the sky above the shopping centre in Worongary. Yet another report came from Ian Mayes who was walking with his young daughter Chloe along the Peregian Beach when he saw a  'bright white light' in the sky. When asked about the report, an astronomer suggested that the witnesses could have seen a meteor shower. However, all those who saw the lights claimed that the object did not move quickly enough for it to be a sufficient explanation for what was in the sky that night. The two UFOs shown here are very clearly defined and therefore could not have been moving at a high rate of speed and could almost be stationary." (p.136.)

My comments on this photograph:

Looking for more information on this photograph, I first checked the database of UFO Research (Queensland) at their website (click here.) While there are eight reports shown for April 2009, none match those in the account above. I found that Nerang is a suburb of Brisbane; Worongary is a Gold Coast suburb; Peregian Beach is a small seaside town on the Sunshine Coast. Strangely, there was no location named Palmerston.

I then went to the original story at ufocasebook (click here) It turns out the photograph was not taken in Queensland but in the Northern Territory, a different part of Australia.The full text on the ufocasebook site is as follows:

"Palmo UFO is spotted in Qld
May 12th 2009.

Two men on Queensland's Gold and Sunshine Coast have  reported seeing a mysterious white light shooting through the night sky about the same time as a Territory woman claimed to have photographed UFOs near her Palmerston home.

The Territory mother-of-three who wanted only to be known by her first name Kym, photographed two 'discs of light' in the sky as she watched the dark rain clouds roll towards her Palmerston home last month.

Kym said the image was taken on her mobile phone and that she didn't notice the strange lights in the clouds until she downloaded the pictures on to her computer.

The Gold Coast Bulletin has revealed that Nerang resident Michael Baker was standing outside the Worongary shopping centre at sunset on the same day when he saw the strange light travelling from the west about 5.50pm. "We were just taking in the sunset, looking at the clouds and suddenly we saw a big white streak," he said. "As it came down towards the ground, it turned blue and then green as it broke up with a bit of a sizzle and a spark."

About the same time, Ian Mayes was taking his 10 year old daughter Chloe for a walk at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast when he saw an unusual light. "We just saw this bright white light, like a star, burning for a few seconds and then it fizzled out," he said.

But Springbrook Research Observatory astronomer Andre Clayden said the Queensland sightings were probably a meteor shower.

Kym said she had never had any previous UFO encounters. "I'Ve never really thought about them or had a view on them" she said..."

The source of the information for the ufocasebook story is given as http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2009/05/12/50661_ntnews.html.

If you take a look at the photograph itself, as shown on the ufocasebook site you will see it shows two horizontal lines of white light against dark clouds. It should be clearly noted that the witness did not report seeing these two objects in the sky when she took the picture. It is possible she failed to notice them, but more likely, in my opinion, is that the two white lines are due to something like faults in the digital imaging process.

Sydney to Melbourne in-flight photograph:

In "UFOs Caught on Film" there is a photograph and associated text which reads:

"Sydney to Melbourne flight attracts mysterious follower
2011 - Sydney-Melbourne flight.

The report of this UFO sighting and photograph was made public in January 2011. It is one of the rare photographs of an unknown object taken from a commercial plane, snapped while the plane was in flight from Sydney to Melbourne at approximately 8.00pm local time. The passenger was an amateur photographer and had intended to take some photos of the flight using an Olympus Digital camera (Model FE340.X855.C560) as it neared its destination. He was particularly interested in clouds. To accommodate the window shape he placed his camera in a vertical position.

While looking through the viewfinder searching for a good shot his attention was drawn to something in the sky, a ball-shaped metallic sphere. He pressed the picture button and captured the object. Looking for a second shot, he was disappointed to find the object had gone. He does not believe the UFO flew away but simply disappeared. The lack of blur in the image makes the photographer believe that the UFO was pacing the plane and therefore flying at 700-8000kph (450-500mph) at an altitude of about 18,000m (11 miles). The object appears to be a  round object of a metallic material in which the Sun's reflection is caught. It should be extremely difficult to explain the object away as a conventional craft." (p148.)

My comments on this photograph:

Again I went to the ufoccasebook site to check out the original account.

"Passenger Captures UFO on Camera during a Sydney to Melbourne flight
Published 8.44am 2/8/2011
Sydney to Melbourne, Australia - 01-14-11

While on a return flight from Sydney to Melbourne at around 9.00am I decided to take a photo outside of the plane window to capture the clouds.

While placing the camera in a vertical position and looking through the preview screen I noticed a ball shape appear a split second, just before I pressed the camera button and then it disappeared just as quickly. It did not fly away it simply vanished.

There is no motion blur in the photo as the plane was flying around 700-800 kph at an altitude of around 18,000 meters, so I can only assume that the object was following and keeping an exact pace with the aircraft in a "cloaked" state as it simply showed itself just as I was about to press the button.

There is no way I could have just fluked it, it was as if it appeared on queue.

Taken with Olympus Digital camera Model FE340, X855, C560 at 7.52 AM (Uncertain if camera timer was properly set.)"

The source cited is through www. mufon.com I went to the MUFON website but could not locate the report in the MUFON Case management System. However, there is text and the photograph on the ufocasebook site at click here).

I have a few observations on this photograph which are as follows:

1. The aircraft was said to be flying from Sydney to Melbourne which means the aircraft was travelling basically south-west. At 9am on the day in question the Sun would have been roughly in the north-east. The photograph appears to show the source of illumination on the "UFO" as coming from the left, i.e. roughly north -west, which is not the direction of the Sun at this time.

2. The observer, writing in the first person states that the aircraft was flying at about 18,000 metres. However, an Internet search confirmed my own thoughts that commercial aircraft do not fly at this altitude in Australia. They fly lower.

3. A search of the manufacturer's website for Olympus cameras shows that the Olympus FE-340 is a mid range model, with an 8 mega pixel camera with 5x optical zoom, and a 2.7 inch CCD.

4. The book credits the photograph to someone named "Annelies Middel." Interestingly, an internal search of the ufocasebook site reveals a previous photograph taken by a person of the same unusual name (click here.) This one was taken in Tenerife, Spain on 5 Nov 2010 and the photographer is shown as Annalies Middel. Here however, in my opinion, the "UFO" appears clearly to be a jet aircraft.

5. I located another site by Billy Booth (click here) On this site Billy says he spoke to the Tenerife photographer,  whom he says was female, not male as stated in his book.

6. To me the source of the report (with photograph) is a self submission to MUFON. I cannot find anywhere a detailed investigation report on the event and photo. It therefore appears to me, at this point, that it is simply another of those tantalising photographs which would have benefited from a detailed investigation. I am troubled by the discrepancies I have pointed out above.

In summary:

"UFOs Caught on Film" contains numerous photographs of diverse UAP. However, the reports of the two Australian photographs which I took a look at, contain errors of fact in the text. To me, they are both of very low evidential value, as to be almost worthless as  "Amazing Evidence of Alien Visitors to Earth."

I welcome Blog reader's comments on this post.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cold case - Zanci station - 1 Jun 1970

Hi all,

Introduction:

Readers who have been following my "cold case" series of posts, will know that in Australia, as with elsewhere in the world, the period 1965 to 1970 saw some extraordinary reports of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP.)

I have already posted previously unknown details on the 24 May 1965 Eton Ridge trace case ( click here); the 28 May 1965 Bougainville Reef aircraft encounter (click here); and the 30 Oct 1967 Boyup Brook "car stop (click here.)

RAAF files:

A little known, but very interesting report was made to the RAAF in 1970, where the RAAF's investigatory office wrote:

"If this is not a hoax and the object seen has been described accurately, then despite all efforts no explanation can be offered." (NAA file series A703, control symbol 580/1/1 part 13 p69.)

The report came to the RAAF via the Mildura Police Station. The witness, a Mr Vigar, was known to the reporting police office, Seargent Knowles. The text of the reporting telex included the words "Mr Vigar is considered a very reliable person by Sgt Knowles."

Here then, we have "a very reliable person" reporting an event which even the RAAF considered as an "unknown."  This "unknown"category as an explanation for an event was rarely used by the RAAF.

What was reported?

The following text was part of a telex from the Mildura office of the Department of Civil Aviation, to the COS Support Command (RAAF) dated 3 Jun 1970.

"UFO sighting report.

The following received from Sgt Knowles Mildura police at 030310. Quote Mr Albert Vigar of Zanci station approx 60NM SE Mildura reported sighting UFO between 7.30pm and 8pm last night 2/6/70.

Mr Vigar was spotlight shooting. He saw two small red lights which he thought was reflection from foxes eyes and gave chase. As he got closer to the source of the light he noticed it was a bright diamond object. Bright all over and about as large as a semi-trailer standing on end. It was transmitting a whistling sound.

On getting within 60 yards of the object it rose straight into the air. On reaching approx 100 ft the lights on the object faded but the whistling sound could still be heard.

When the object was first sighted it was 6 to 8 ft off the ground. Mr Vigar revisited this area today, but rain overnight had wasted away all tracks.

Mr Vigar is considered a very reliable person by Sgt Knowles."

Report form:

The witness completed  a standard "Report on Unusual Aerial Sighting" form for the RAAF. Additional details shown on this form are:

The witness was named Albert Arthur Vigar, aged 20, of Zanci Station, New South Wales, via Mildura. He listed his occupation as "station hand." The area of the sighting is described as "plain and sand."

The date of the observation is given as 1 Jun 1970 and not 2 Jun as stated on the telex to the RAAF. To the question on the form of "How accurate is the date?" Vigar responded with "positive."

The time of the observation is shown as "between 7.30 & 8pm." Duration is said to have been approx 15-20 minutes, no short term sighting.

At the time, Vigar was "approx 3 miles from homestead in easterly direction." (Quest 6.)

It was a "Clear night no wind."

To the question "Where was the object first observed?" he wrote "west of north of quest 6" To "angle of elevation?" he wrote "vertical and about 6ft from the ground."

To "what first attracted observer's attention?" " Red light."

To "What was the colour...?" "red at first changed to green and other back to red as I approached the object."

"What was the apparent size at nearest approach?" "30-40ft high."

"Describe any sound heard?" "high pitched whistle which made ears ring for a long time after."

"Where was the object last observed?" "eighty to hundred feet in the air."

"What was the manner of its disappearance?" "straight up. Lights out. Whine continued."

Sketches:

Vigar draw a sketch of the object as seen from close range. It shows a diamond shape, tall and thin, labelled as "between 30-40 ft high." He wrote on the bottom of the sketch "This is as object appeared to me at an approximate distance of between 50 & 60 yards. I got a real good look."

Another sketch shows his position as approx 3 miles to the east of the homestead. He indicates that the compass direction of the object from him was north-north-west and he wrote on the sketch between "my position" and "object" "approx 1 1/2 miles."

Going back to question 8 on the form, I noted he answered "telescopic sight rifle" to the question "Describe any aids/equipment used in the observation." Later he wrote "I know what I saw and it was nothing like I have ever seen before."

RAAF analysis:

The section of the form completed by the RAAF investigating officer showed that there were no military aircraft in the area at the time. A civilian aircraft, a Fokker Friendship was at 16,500ft, speed 300 kts; bearing NW over Ultima and descending, at 0943z (1943 local time.)

The observer's location is shown as approx 33 42S and 143 02E.

The planet Venus was stated to be azimuth 310 degrees (NW) elevation 65 degrees; while the planet Jupiter is shown as 29 degrees elevation and 32 degrees azimuth (NE).

A meteorological balloon is said to have been launched from Mildura at 1100z and the wind profile was:

0900z 010 deg 2kts vis 20 miles 3/8 cloud at 9,000ft temp 11 deg
1000z 020 deg 2kts vis 20 miles 2/8 cloud at 9,000ft temp 12 deg.

Satellite predictaions showed that at 1946 local time Cosmos 1965 73E was at azimuth 207 elevation 74 hdg 127.

To question 20 on the form, "The cause (or likely cause) of the sighting", the RAAF's investigating officer showed "cannot be determined."

The investigating officer also wrote on the form:

"If this is not a hoax and the object seen has been described correctly then despite all efforts no explanation can be offered.

Zanci Homestead and the people living there are well known to the police at Mildura as reasonable and respcted citizens and they know of no reason why Mr Vigar should submit an untrue statement. A copy of the original telex report as received through DCA is attached.

Via discussions with Sgt Knowles of Mildura police, Mr Vigar was in the "Walls of China" area (east of Zanci homestead) at the time of sighting (prominently marked on WAC chart Adelaide 3458.) This particular area has provided a wealth of local legend inspired by previous unexplained sightings. It is thought, however, that the peculiar geological structure of the area has caused the phenomena, but in what respect, has not been adequately explained.

No assessment can be made of the sighting."

The investigating officer's report is dated 15 Jul 1970.

Analysis:

1. Location:

According to my map, Zanci NSW is at latitude 33 42S 143 02E which places it at about 70 kilometres NE of Mildura, not SE as in the DCA telex.)

2. Night sky:

A look at the night sky at the time, as per two different sky chart programs on the net, indicates it was dark at the time. The Sun had set and so had the Moon. The planet Jupiter was located at about 53-58 deg elevation at 26 deg N of E. The planet Venus was very close to the horizon some 30 deg N of W - either just above or just below the horizon depending on the time you choose to put into the program. You will note the differences in data from the RAAF's form.

However, the object was reported as being in the NNW, away from both Jupiter and Venus.

3. Weather:

The witness' weather details of "Clear sky no wind" is reflected in the details obtained by the RAAF.

4. Other details:

a. For some general information on Zanci click here and here

b. For information on the "Walls of China" click here.  For photographs click here.

In summary:

Given the duration of the observation; the estimated closeness of the witness to object; the size described, its shape, and the reliability of the witness, one can only agree with the RAAF's conclusion that this sighting was of an "unknown."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Insiders" and their knowledge

Hi all,

Some readers of this blog will be aware that I have sometimes been critical of so called "insiders" who provide us with details of their "knowledge" of what the government knows about UAP (see my comments about Ed Mitchell for an example.) It was therefore of special interest to me, when I came across another "insider", when re-reading Leslie Kean's book "UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on The Record" (Published by Harmony Books. New York. 2010. ISBN 978-0-307-71684-2.) (Click here.)

Commander Will Miller: (click here)

Retired from the U.S. Navy, part of Miller's credentials, as cited by Kean, are:

"He later became a senior Department of Defense command center operations action officer, a senior intelligence analyst, and a program manager for DoD future operations programs such as  WWIII planning, non lethal weapons systems and future space systems. He was an advisor to US space command and US Southern Command and its international counter drug operations; Joint Inter agency Task Force east. As an expert in special contingency operations, Miller held  a Top Secret Clearance with Sensitive Compartmental Information (SCI) access..." (p.234.)

Kean mentions that Miller "...had his own sighting from a Naval vessel while serving near Vietnam." (p.234.)

Through the 1980's "I was simply a concerned officer who studied the subject, looked at the facts, and talked to people in the military...People with personal knowledge would seek me out because they knew I had an interest. I've done this for a long time." (p.234.)

1994:

In 1994 he retired from the Navy. He "...began taking steps to set up a series of information briefings that culminated in meetings in 1997 with Vice Admiral Thomas R Wilson, vice director for intelligence on the Joint Staff (click here) and in 1998 with Lieutenant General Patrick M Hughes (click here) , director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)..." (pp234-235.)

Kean writes "He explains that he raised two national security concerns at his briefings: the risk of uninformed human aggression towards UFOs, leading to a possible disaster, and the government's disregard for public concern about UFOs and its refusals to provide honest answers to legitimate questions." (p.235.)

According to Kean, "Throughout the years, as he continued to speak with his contacts, he became more and more concerned of the existence of a well-concealed, "need-to-know" UFO program, based on statements that he says confirm this fact, made by military personnel attending his Pentagon briefings and others." (p.236.)

Miller himself, in a 2009 email to Kean writes:

"The 'control group' cannot allow any information on their closely held UFO research to be accessed by anyone outside of those specifically cleared for that Unacknowledged Special Access Program (USAP). Neither Joint Chiefs of Staff Intelligence nor the director of the DIA himself could get ANY information on the subject; this is a fact." (p.236.)

Australia:

After typing the above material, I asked myself if we had ever had any Australian "insiders" who claimed that there was an ongoing secret Australian UAP study?

I'll take a moment to think back over the years....No, I cannot think of anyone in the RAAF; CSIRO; DSTO or the intelligence agencies who has come forward making this claim.

On the other hand, an Australian insider named Ken Llewelyn, a RAAF Senior Public Relations Officer, wrote a 1992 book "Flight Into the Ages" about government knowledge (click here.)

Bill Chalker, writing about Llewelyn in the recent book "UFOs and Government" (Swords, Powell et al. Anomalist Books. San Antonio. ISBN 19 33 66 55 80. click here ) says:

" When asked about the perennial charges of cover-ups, he said he had such regular and sufficient contact at high levels in the RAAF to be certain that there was no evidence of hidden cells of high power in the UFO mystery...that as of 1992, the current intelligence head was emphatic that there had been no real interest since 1984..." (p.411.)

Final comment:

Anonymous and named "insiders" abound on the Internet. Their stories initially, may sound credible and amazing. However, deeper checks almost inevitably reveal problems.

Committee members of the VFSRS/VUFORS : 1959 - 1972

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