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UFO Files: Are You On The List? Pt. 2

Part-1 of this article demonstrated that, as far back as the late 1940s/early 1950s, government agencies opened files on many figures within the field of Ufology. As I noted, this included such characters as George Van Tassel, Silas Newton, George Adamski, Leo Gebauer, and George King. As I also noted, however, the thrust of the surveillance was not directly connected to UFOs. It actually revolved around certain other issues which those same figures were tied to. We’re talking about people who – as well as looking for aliens – were also championing the world’s biggest piece of scum that ever lived (Adolf Hitler), engaging in swindles and cons, and promoting communism.

All of which brings us to today. Where, exactly, do things stand now? Well, it’s pretty much the same as it was way back then. As I noted in part-1, in 2006 I wrote a book titled On the Trail of the Saucer Spies, which was a full-length investigation of the monitoring of the UFO research community by intelligence- and military-based agencies. After the book was published, the well-known UFO researcher Dr. Bruce Maccabee reviewed it for The Journal of Scientific Exploration. He noted the following in his review:

“…After I spoke at a UFO conference near Washington, D.C. in February 1993, I was contacted by an assistant military attaché who was stationed at the Russian Embassy. He wanted to know how to obtain US government files on UFOs…you can imagine my surprise and amusement when, about six months later, while I was at work I got a call from the ‘dreaded’ FBI…it became obvious to me that the agent didn’t know much about the UFO phenomenon and was amused to learn about the FBI files on the subject. But he was especially interested in my interactions with the military attaché.”

George King

George King

This, of course, is very similar to the situation spelled out in part-1 of this article, in which the UK Police Force’s Special Branch opened a file on George King of the Aetherius Society. Not because King was championing the UFO phenomenon, but because he was an adherent of the idea that nuclear disarmament was a good thing. Something which surely pleased the Kremlin. And it wasn’t UFOs that caused the FBI to pay Maccabee a visit. It was that certain Russian military attaché who, no doubt, was following some not entirely innocent agenda. To say the least.

Also not long after my On the Trail of the Saucers Spies was published, a batch of interesting and entertaining files surfaced under the provisions of the Australian Freedom of Information Act. From the archives of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) we learned that Australian UFO researchers had been watched because of wide and varied concerns. That list included matters relative to communism, vegetarianism, and even nudism! It’s clear that the ASIO was focusing its attention on people who it viewed as “different.” And that included UFO researchers. No doubt, those researchers who were communist, avoided meat, and regularly ran around butt-naked became the subjects of the most comprehensive files!

Decades after the Special Branch file on George King was closed, its personnel were on the trail of a couple more men who were causing them concern. Their names were Robin Cole and Matthew Williams. In the mid-1990s, Cole focused his attention on a place in Cheltenham, England called the Government Communications Headquarters. For those who may not know, GCHQ is the UK equivalent of Edward Snowden’s former employers, the National Security Agency. That Cole was asking a lot of questions not just about UFOs and GCHQ, but about the agency itself, led him to get the kind of visit that Bruce Maccabee got for chatting with a pesky Russian. Special Branch knocked on Cole’s front-door, he let them in, and then found himself grilled by two detectives who wanted to know what he was up to with his GCHQ research. And why.

As for Williams, at the same time Cole was digging deep into the world of GCHQ, he was poking his nose where it definitely wasn’t wanted: a military installation in Wiltshire, England, called Royal Air Force Rudloe Manor. It’s a place where – the UFO rumor-mill of the day suggested – top secret research into UFOs was taking place. There were even rumors of dead aliens stored deep below the base, and amid numerous winding tunnels, caves and caverns.

Matt Williams took a memorable and alternative approach to finding the truth of the Rudloe-UFO link. On several occasions he stealthily scaled the fence of the base and photographed just about anything and everything he could before quickly escaping. And on more than a couple of times, he penetrated those old tunnels, too. Williams also knew Robin Cole. And, as a result of all this, Special Branch was soon seeking to find out what Williams’ agenda was. And what his link was to Cole. Forget UFOs: Special Branch suspected Williams was collecting data for terrorists, and using his UFO research as a convenient cover-story.

Yet again, we’re seeing extensive surveillance of UFO researchers, but in situations where UFOs themselves are not actually the primary area of interest. It’s what else is going on in the lives of those same researchers that so often prompts an agency to sit up and take notice. You should remember that. If you suspect, or even have evidence, that you’re being watched, it may not be because you recently interviewed some old guy who claimed to have seen the Roswell bodies. It may be because you once demonstrated against the war in Iraq. Or because you penned an article on the Patriot Act.

I’m not, of course, saying that ufologists are never watched specifically because of their UFO pursuits. What I am saying, however, is that, so far, just about everything that has surfaced via Freedom of Information legislation shows that UFOs were secondary. It was concerns about communism, terrorism, subversion, and alternative lifestyles which dominated the investigations. And which, in many ways, is even more interesting than if it were just little gray men with big, black eyes that provoked all the surveillance…

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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