Project Condign, a top-secret British Ministry of Defense (MoD) investigation of a series of UFO sightings in the U.K., concluded in a report released into the public domain in May 2006 that the existence of UFOs was "indisputable."
According to declassified files summarizing the conclusions of the investigation, unidentified flying objects (UFOs) -- termed unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) in the study -- exist and have the confirmed ability to "hover, land, take-off, accelerate to exceptional velocities and vanish."
"That UAPs exist is indisputable," the 400-page study said. "Credited with the ability to hover, land, take-off, accelerate to exceptional velocities and vanish, they can reportedly alter their direction of flight suddenly and clearly can exhibit aerodynamic characteristics well beyond those of any known aircraft or missile – either manned or unmanned."
The MoD study, which draws on nearly 10,000 sightings, was conducted in the 1990s by a special section of the U.K.'s Defense Intelligence Staff (DIS) known as the Directorate of Scientific and Technical Intelligence (DSTI).
The anonymous report was released into the public domain at the National Archives in May 2006 following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed in September 2005 by two disclosure advocates, Dr. David Clark of Sheffield Hallam University and Gary Anthony.
Many UFO researchers noted the report proved that contrary to government's public posturing over the years that it was not interested in UFO phenomenon, the government had been studying UFOs secretly for years, and military officials had even hoped they might be used for "novel military applications."
"I think the most fascinating thing about Project Condign is this – for decades the MoD told Parliament, the media and the public that UFOs were of no defense significance and of very limited interest," Express reports British UFO researcher Nick Pope as saying.
Pope was involved in the MoD studies in the 1990s."Project Condign was a highly classified intelligence assessment of the UFO phenomenon which recommended that further study be made of aspects of the mystery that might result in 'novel military applications,'" Pope added.
UFO researchers and enthusiasts also took note of the strained efforts of the investigators and the report writer to avoid conceding that UFOs might be of extraterrestrial origin. Instead, the report writer speculated that they were mysterious natural atmospheric or meteorological phenomena not well understood by science, despite stating in the same report that the UFOs could "hover, land, take-off, accelerate to exceptional velocities, alter their direction of travel, and vanish."
"No evidence exists to suggest that the phenomena are hostile or under any type of control, other than that of natural forces.""There is no evidence that any UAP, seen in the UK Air Defense Region, are incursions by air-objects of any intelligent (extra-terrestrial or foreign) origin, or that they represent any hostile intent," report declared.
The report also avoided using the popular term "UFO" (Unidentified Flying Objects). Instead, the investigators invented the alternative term "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" (UAPs) to "avoid the pop baggage of UFOs," according to Pope.
But many UFO researchers pointed out that regardless of the label adopted, the admission that the nature of the aerial objects was a mystery acknowledged the implication of the popular term, Unidentified Flying Object (UFO).
The study then went on to list types of rare natural atmospheric phenomena that could be responsible for unresolved UFO sighting cases.
Examples of "rare natural phenomena" unexplained by science that could account for unresolved UFO sightings include "buoyant plasma" similar to ball lightning, according to the report.
Buoyant plasma objects are formed when meteors fail to burn up completely following entry into the atmosphere.
Others include "loose plasma objects" that appear to observers as "black triangle" UFOs due to electromagnetic energy fields generated by the objects.
The report also listed plasma objects that cause car engines running nearby to malfunction.
The report went on to attribute UFO sighting experiences akin to perceptual hallucinations to the effect of electromagnetic fields generated by plasma phenomena and suggested further research to explore possible "novel military application" of plasma phenomena.
Investigators noted that Soviet scientists had acknowledged the relationship between UFOs and plasma objects and had initiated inquiry into their potential military applications.
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