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Churchill Accused of Sealing UFO Files, Fearing Public Panic 615

Posted by samzenpus
from the truth-is-out-there-in-that-filing-cabinet dept.
Newly released secret files show that Winston Churchill ordered a cover-up of an alleged encounter between a UFO and a RAF bomber because he feared public panic. From the article: "Mr Churchill is reported to have made a declaration to the effect of the following: 'This event should be immediately classified since it would create mass panic among the general population and destroy one's belief in the Church.'"
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Churchill Accused of Sealing UFO Files, Fearing Public Panic

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  • blah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:38PM (#33152146) Homepage

    FTFS:

    This event should be immediately classified since it would create mass panic among the general population and destroy one's belief in the Church.

    One can take the bolded section in one of two ways:

    1. If you believe in god, why would the existence of aliens prove that god doesn't exist?

    Or

    2. Why would you deny evidence in front of you?

    • Re:blah (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:58PM (#33152416)

      1. If you believe in god, why would the existence of aliens prove that god doesn't exist?

      Read Genesis. God created the heavens, the Earth, Man and assorted other critters and varmints. God creating aliens is never mentioned. And the Bible is infallible, so UFOs with an alien crew would put theologists in a bit of a bind. And in the part about Noah's Ark, it is never mentioned that Noah rounded up two aliens.

      2. Why would you deny evidence in front of you?

      Unfortunately, religion is not about evidence, it's about faith. Which is why religion has caused humanity so much suffering over the milleniums.

      • Re:blah (Score:4, Interesting)

        by rickb928 (945187) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @01:08PM (#33152540) Homepage Journal

        "Unfortunately, religion is not about evidence, it's about faith."

        True, but some come to faith by evidence.

        "Which is why religion has caused humanity so much suffering over the milleniums."

        Suffering is the human condition. Religion is merely one of the 'causes', and perhaps not the most common or greatest.

        And some believers find solace and comfort, even relief, from their religion.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by bareman (60518)

          [engage Groucho Marx voice]

          And we could all use a bit of relief from religion. o.O

          [disengage]

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Walkingshark (711886)

          And some believers find solace and comfort, even relief, from their religion.

          This is actually part of the problem with religion. I leave the reasons why as an exercise for the student. Answers will be graded for style as well as content.

        • Re:blah (Score:5, Informative)

          by terjeber (856226) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @07:16PM (#33156592)

          True, but some come to faith by evidence.

          Not to religious faith, there is no evidence. Not a single piece. There isn't even a valid hypothesis let alone a theory.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by rolandog (834340)

        And in the part about Noah's Ark, it is never mentioned that Noah rounded up two aliens.

        Why would the aliens have needed to be inside Noah's Ark to survive? They were else-where, cruising through the Universe...

      • Re:blah (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte@@@gmail...com> on Thursday August 05, 2010 @01:30PM (#33152886)

        Absolutely. What I don't understand is why all the crackpots that believe in the invisible space-jew would actually care about aliens. Hell, the bible has been proved wrong so many fucking times we've lost count. Dinosaurs, for instance. They would just say "The devil created those aliens" or "god put those aliens there to test your faith", or some other bullshit, just like they do now with all the rest of the stuff they were wrong about.

    • Re:blah (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kalirion (728907) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @01:04PM (#33152478)

      One can take the bolded section in one of two ways:

      1. If you believe in god, why would the existence of aliens prove that god doesn't exist?

      Or

      2. Why would you deny evidence in front of you?

      "Belief in God" is quite different from "Belief in what the Church tells you."

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because it might validate theories such as this [wikipedia.org], which scares the hell out of established religion. [wikipedia.org] Which all more or less ignores the fact that almost ALL regions before modern religions, had the same beliefs with only variations in back history and that these back histories clearly document both technology and aliens; aka gods of the stars.

    • Re:blah (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte@@@gmail...com> on Thursday August 05, 2010 @01:17PM (#33152712)

      Well, There is no god, and just about everything that surrounds us is conclusive proof that there is no such thing as a god.

      Regarding why anyone would deny evidence ... that's what religious people do. The only way to believe in a magic flying jew that is his own father is to deny logic, science, and any kind of common sense.

    • Re:blah (Score:5, Funny)

      by Alyred (667815) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @01:17PM (#33152726)
      Of course, it could also be that he was so ahead of his time he referred to himself as "The Church, yo".
    • Re:blah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp&Gmail,com> on Thursday August 05, 2010 @02:51PM (#33153966) Homepage Journal

      FTFS:

      This event should be immediately classified since it would create mass panic among the general population and destroy one's belief in the Church.

      One can take the bolded section in one of two ways:

      1. If you believe in god, why would the existence of aliens prove that god doesn't exist?

      Or

      2. Why would you deny evidence in front of you?

      Frankly, I don't buy it that Churchill actually made the church quote. Until someone proves differently, I think someone pulled that out of their ass.

      "The allegations involving Churchill were made by the grandson of one his personal bodyguards, an RAF officer who overheard the discussion, who wrote to the Ministry of Defence in 1999 inquiring about the incident after his grandfather disclosed details to his family."

      So what we have is a story passed down over three generations, related third-hand that Churchill said this. Considering the British public's fear of V-weapon atacks, I can see the panic angle. But the religion angle? That sounds like it made its way into the story over the years. It doesn't sound like something Churchill would say.

  • Bad summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jay L (74152) * <jay+slashNO@SPAMjay.fm> on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:41PM (#33152186) Homepage

    Summary says:

    Newly released secret files show that Winston Churchill ordered a cover-up of an alleged encounter between a UFO and a RAF bomber

    It should say:

    Newly released secret files show that the grandson of Winston Churchill once claimed that Churchill ordered a cover-up of an alleged encounter between a UFO and a RAF bomber"

    Kinda different.

    • Re:Bad summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by Runefox (905204) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:45PM (#33152234) Homepage

      Actually, it should say:

      Newly released secret files show that the grandson of one of Winston Churchill's personal bodyguards once claimed that Churchill ordered a cover-up of an alleged encounter between a UFO and a RAF bomber"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >Kinda different.

      The real question is why does shit like this get posted here? I see "OMG READ UFOES!!" stories on slashdot and io9 more often than I like. Actually, I'd like it to be never. Unfortunately, conspiracy theories and wishful thinking get ad impression from morons. Considering there's no shortage of paranormal shows on television and that the "History" channel is little more than the conspiracy theory channel, we might be entering a new age of ignorance and superstition. So much for the who

  • by rev_sanchez (691443) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:41PM (#33152194)
    and still the doctor never gets any credit.
  • Well, sure. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:42PM (#33152206) Homepage Journal

    True, the nation might be responding to bitter human enemy's nighttime heavy bomber raids with a stiff upper lip, but I say! An extrasolar tourist on a sightseeing holiday? That is really terrifying.

  • by joeflies (529536) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:45PM (#33152228)
    The world is too caught up that the Earth is the one place for any type of life in the universe, we're not prepared to deal with other possibilities. I think that even the course that NASA is demonstrating now - proving that it's possible that there was water on Mars, opening up the possibility of a discovery of some type of life perhaps long extinct - is preparing the general public to slowly get ready to the idea that there's the existiance of extraterrestrial life. Tin foil hat time - Perhaps NASA already knows that this life exists, but they need to get the public ready for acceptance of it by slowly introducing more and more evidence so that society doesn't lose its marbles.
    • by timholman (71886) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @01:08PM (#33152546)

      The world is too caught up that the Earth is the one place for any type of life in the universe, we're not prepared to deal with other possibilities. I think that even the course that NASA is demonstrating now - proving that it's possible that there was water on Mars, opening up the possibility of a discovery of some type of life perhaps long extinct - is preparing the general public to slowly get ready to the idea that there's the existiance of extraterrestrial life. Tin foil hat time - Perhaps NASA already knows that this life exists, but they need to get the public ready for acceptance of it by slowly introducing more and more evidence so that society doesn't lose its marbles.

      I would argue that the boom in popularity of science fiction/fantasy movies and TV (e.g. E.T., Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Stargate SG-1, etc.) over the past 40 years has done more to prepare people for the possibility of extraterrestrial life than any NASA press release.

      • Ahhh... But we must continue to wonder if aliens are secretly behind the sci fi scenes, molding us and educating us. But for what? Perhaps preparing us for the day when they will cook us and eat us. Perhaps our intelligence is just something their bio engineers built in as a way to insure that most of the biomass of Sol 3 is concentrated into six billion bite sized nuggets when they swing by three billion years later. "Hey Vorb! These are great. Just pull off the head and suck out the juice. Bitchin', dude.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      People would be fine. If NASA did have actual evidence, they would anouce it and then get a big fat increase in funding.

      In other words, it's in NASAs best interesting to make it public knowledge.

      Stop being stupid.

      Did people panic when they found the Chinese? American Indians? did the church collapse when they found groups of people who had never heard of God or Jesus?

    • by dpilot (134227) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @02:14PM (#33153488) Homepage Journal

      I'll throw one simple belief into the fray:

      The sheer quantity of power required for interstellar flight is so tremendous that if members of a species have too much (How much is too much? I don't know, but I strongly suspect that we're well over the limit right now.) tendency to kill each other, that species will self-destruct before achieving interstellar flight.

      Therefore I suggest that any interstellar travelers that find us will be peaceful.

      One extra supposition is needed - that this is relatively independent of psychology. Some have proposed the rabidly xenophobic hive-mind as a way to be peaceful enough to achieve interstellar travel, yet remain warlike toward what they find out there. I would argue that before you achieve interstellar flight, you've got to get to interplanetary flight. Hive minds remain hive minds through close communication. The bigger supposition is that hive minds cannot remain intact at large (relative to C) distances - they lose the tight communication needed. You wind up with two hive minds talking to each other. What's more, you likely have two hive minds in radically different environments with attending radically different needs. At some point the xenophobia kicks in.

      This leads to a few more things...

      Once you have the technology for interstellar flight, you don't really need planets, or at least not habitable ones. You certainly need mass, and you certainly need metal, but those can come from comets, asteroids, and other uninhabitable places.

      Chances are very good that you're no longer biological. The demands, hazards, and logistics of moving a body around our own solar system are tough enough. Interstellar flight is that much tougher. Assuming we reach Ray's Singularity, we'll simply send Turing images of ourselves. Much simpler, plus you can either turn yourself off or slow your time perception during the boring parts of the trip.

      I also think that planets like ours would remain interesting to interstellar travelers. You don't get our there without curiosity, and there would be a kind of historical interest in planetary life. At the same time, when you study something you try not to interfere with it - you try to minimize our effect on the system, unless you're doing a deliberate cause-effect experiment.

      Perhaps one of the greatest hazards would be some primitive species getting technology that it's not psychologically ready to have. If we were to find and reverse-engineer a functional starship, we might get out there before we've learned to behave ourselves. This bunks my whole argument - give/stolen, as opposed to self-developed interstellar travel.

      Put this together, and you're likely to see interstellar travelers being very careful to avoid contact - something like the Prime Directive. The "test" of developing a warp drive as a requisite for first contact also makes sense in this light. Perhaps the Vulcans had the Right Stuff in their cargo bay to turn the Earth into a cinder had they been too disappointed in us.

      Given that we've been detecting extrasolar planets for a number of years, getting better by the year, it's easy to believe that an interstellar species could detect the Earth and tell that it has life, if they have a suitably clear (not obscured by too much dust or other stars) view.

      So imagine a mission out there in the asteroid belt, a loose association of Turing images from planets around other stars, watching us. They used to be closer, but as our technology has advanced, they've had to move further out. Of course listening to our communications has given still more information perhaps, than they could get before. Imagine for a moment that after hours, they wear their virtual bodies, gather in a virtual bar, and talk about us, perhaps taking bets on how long it'll take us to either destroy ourselves or overcome our juvenile impulses. Maybe they liked "Star Wars", and the virtual bar is straight out of the Mos Eisley Cantina.

  • by minogully (1855264) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:46PM (#33152248) Journal
    Winston probably called himself "the Church".
  • Well (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ch-chuck (9622) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:46PM (#33152250) Homepage

    They told the London populace that German V-2 impacts were 'gas pipe' explosions to keep panic down.

    • Re:Well (Score:4, Interesting)

      by alen (225700) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:56PM (#33152376)

      and the germans had secret experimental jet and stealth aircraft at the time that were never produced in volume due to the allies bombing the germans' industrial capabilities. Northrop had test versions of what is now the B2 back before world war 2 but it had problems back then which is why it took so long to finally make a flying wing design.

  • Panic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ADRA (37398) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:47PM (#33152266)

    This could be:
    a. Yet another part of the ever growing, ever large conspiracy to cover up the existence of seeming observational aliens
    b. A maneuver by Churchill to silence a few pilots who didn't want to fly the channel anymore and made up a story to get out of getting themselves blown up. If the story had gotten out (true or not), it would've caused possible panic and more importantly a good reasons for pilots to refuse to fly, this with the backdrop of the a truly catastrophic war.

    Read the article and find that the story is told by the grandson of a guard who overheard a conversation. Wow, that is just brilliant.

  • by Jodka (520060) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:48PM (#33152278)

    Nope, no room for doubt here. From the article:

    The allegations involving Churchill were made by the grandson of one his personal bodyguards, an RAF officer who overheard the discussion

    Apart from telling his daughter – the scientist’s mother – about the incident when she was nine, the bodyguard, who was “greatly affected by his experience”, only disclosed the details to his wife on his deathbed in 1973.

    The scientist, also an expert in astronomy who said he developed software for use in "spacecraft thermal engineering", was told years later by his mother.

    Stressing he was not a “crackpot”...

  • Let's be clear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clickclickdrone (964164) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @12:48PM (#33152288)
    Even assuming this nth hand story is true, UFO aliens. It could just as easily be one of Hitler's various secret experiments or any number of less exciting things.
  • by Dunbal (464142) *

    So after reading TFA, all we have is the word of what one person's mother was allegedly told by Winston Churchill's bodyguard about what Sir Winston apparently did to an alleged report by two crewmembers.

    Unfortunately there's a lack of any kind of "evidence" that said incident even took place, since any possible files with reference to the alleged event were destroyed 60 years ago. So, what was the news here again?

  • Summary said: "t should say: Newly released secret files show that the grandson of Winston Churchill once claimed that Churchill ordered a cover-up of an alleged encounter between a UFO and a RAF bomber" Kinda different." And Summary is incorrect: the person making the claim is the grandson of one of Mr. Churchill's bodyguards. He, the grandson, is a respected physicist and an expert in Astronomy. Please re-read the link in the /. article.
  • Why the big fuss? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bcmm (768152) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @01:10PM (#33152568)
    WWII produced quite a lot of UFO stories, and the event in the article sound pretty much like a foo fighter [wikipedia.org], which are a pretty well-documented, if unexplained, phenomenon. In other words, there are dozens of similar stories which nobody has made any effort to cover up.

    Also, the article annoys me greatly be implicitly equating UFOs with extraterrestrial spacecraft throughout:

    Another person at the meeting raised the possibility of a UFO

    Really? During a meeting discussing an unidentified flying object?

    The comment about the Church implies that the object was assumed to be extraterrestrial, which is perhaps the least plausible bit: why would a group of military experts assume such a thing?

  • Regardless of whether or not this story is BS, which I'm rather certain it is, I fail to see why it would be catastrophic to the human race to learn that extraterrestrials do exist, assuming they're not bent on our destruction. It would undoubtedly have profound implications on humanity, but I have a hard time believing that it would provoke mass panic.

    Additionally, why would such an event instill doubts in religion? Any logical religious person would simply see this as a sign that god is even more awesome

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by taxman_10m (41083)

      A non-trivial percentage of the human race freaks out if women don't cover themselves in a tarp. So yes, I think aliens may ruffle some feathers.

  • by muindaur (925372) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @02:47PM (#33153904) Journal

    It's:

    1) Atmospheric reflection(hmm five lights moving really fast can't be a five fighter formation?)
    2) Many bombers encountered ball lightning in WWII but because of lack of science education classified them as UFOs
    3) Astronauts aren't seeing aliens.
    4) X Planes: Flying wings were classified as aliens but have been in development since WWII. Area 51 was just a base for testing classified military aircraft.
    5) Alien abductions are a) mass hysteria and b) usually involve some sort of dream or psychotic episode.
    6) Roswell was established as a military x-plane crash at a later date. (The aliens being test pilots in jump suits some drunken hick though were aliens.)

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