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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 23

Re: Freedom of Information Bill in the UK?

From: Tim Matthews <matthews@zetnet.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 10:39:39 +0100
Fwd Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 23:38:01 -0400
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information Bill in the UK?

The British Labour Government, elected in 1997, has made various
promises relating to a future Freedom of Information Bill. This
proposed legislation would be not unlike the US FOIA. I
understand that although the general principles of the
legislation are agreed upon there is much argument by civil
servants and ministers behind closed doors about the nature of
the material that would emerge.

Clearly this bill could mean that recent UK 'UFO' files might be
made available for our perusal....

Whitehall mandarins, the men in grey suits, have apparently made
their position known regarding information that might be
'damaging to the National Interest' - should it be released.
They seem to be fighting a rearguard action at the highest

Under these circumstances, and given the many problems
encountered by advocates of this long overdue legislation, I was
pleasantly surprised to learn today that Ann Taylor (Member of
Parliament for Dewsbury, President of the Council and Leader of
the House of Commons) would be presenting a 'draft bill' in
Autumn this year.

The challenge for British Ufologists is clear. We must put what
little pressure we can on our elected representatives to ensure
that 'UFO' files, those opened by S4, DS8 and latterly Sec AS2a,
are made available to us via the PRO and by request. Given the
OFFICIAL position (and I emphasize the word official) that UFOs
are 'of no defence significance' then there can be no legitimate
reason to withhold them.

In addition, and this might be a point worth making in
depositions, as much other (and recent) UFO-related material,
for instance Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) files, should also
be made available.

I can understand why UK Ufologists might feel that mundane
activities such as letter writing and visiting MPs at their
surgeries might not be profitable. Nevertheless, my and others
experience of such efforts have been rather enlightening! In
addition, we have every reason to believe that a range of
fascinating 'UFO' files could be made available to us under the
provisions of a future UK FOI Bill......

It doesn't matter what we think 'UFOs' are - both the skeptic
and believer must have an equal interest in knowing what new
information on this subject is to emerge. I hope that people
will take this opportunity to make common cause with other
pressure groups in order to ensure that this opportunity is not
allowed to slip through our fingers...

Get writing! Make history, not excuses!

Tim Matthews,
Lancashire UFO Society,
British UFO Studies Centre.

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