Keep Calm and Never Mind, Britain Says in Its X-Files

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If you’ve ever been kidnapped by aliens from outer space, don’t complain to the British Ministry of Defense.

“Abduction is a criminal offense and as such is a matter for the civil police to handle,” the ministry advised a constituent from Lancashire. “The police can only investigate allegations of abduction if there is evidence to suggest that such a crime has taken place. As to date, the M.O.D. is not aware of any evidence which might substantiate the existence of extraterrestrial life forms, the matter of abduction by ‘aliens’ remains a nonissue as far as the M.O.D. is concerned.”

On Thursday, the British National Archives released thousands of pages of the government’s classically understated responses to sightings of flying saucers and other unidentified flying objects (which, a summary explains, some experts prefer to call “unidentified aerial phenomena” which “does not imply the existence of an ‘object’ of extraterrestrial origin”)....

While the documents contain no smoking space gun, they recall that some senior military figures took the reports of sightings seriously. Lord Mountbatten, the chief of the defense staff, “believed U.F.O.’s were real and of interplanetary origin,” a briefing document from the ministry said.

And the documents acknowledge that of the 11,000 U.F.O. reports logged between 1959 and 2007, about 10 percent could not be readily explained. That does not necessarily suggest that 1,100 flying saucers were sighted, the Air Ministry explained early in that period....

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