Monday, November 30, 2020

Nick Pope Revisited


Let’s start again. I was a little disturbed about the allegations slung at Nick Pope by Dr. David Clarke recently and that Nick Pope had not had the opportunity to respond to them. I also want to point out that I have no dog in this fight and was looking for a little fairness in all this. I expected some pushback, but, in this world today, who wouldn’t expect some pushback. I have now heard from a number of others about all this.

First, I suppose, is to answer the question of why Dr. David Clarke would bring this up now, if the issue had been settled decades earlier. According to what he told me; the simple answer is that he didn’t. He was responding to a question asked by Martin Willis during Willis’ podcast.

Nick Redfern - Photo copyright by
Kevin Randle

Second, all those who emailed me seemed to object to my use of the term “allegations” against Nick Pope. All who emailed me said that there had been no allegations, just statement of facts. One of those facts, an important one, had to do with Nick Pope’s duty at the MoD and whether or not he, Nick Pope, had conducted official UFO investigations. While serving in the MoD, Nick Pope had other duties and devoted only 20% of his salary to dealing with UFOs. In other words, the majority of his time went to other things. His UFO duties involved taking down the initial information about a UFO sighting and then passing it on to another organization. To quote Nick Redfern (and now you know why I kept saying Nick Pope), back in 1994, Nick Pope told Nick Redfern, “There is no specific ‘UFO budget,’ except the staff costs, i.e. around 20% of my salary, together with a tiny percent of some other salaries, reflecting my line management’s supervisory role.”

For those interested, here is a link to an article an Nick Redfern published a number of years ago that dealt with some of this:

That, of course, does not rule out Nick Pope having investigated UFO sightings. It suggests that there wasn’t much of a budget for any investigation. It could be said that the initial intake of information over the telephone is part of an investigation, though certainly not the most important aspect of it. However, there is additional information that is relevant to the discussion.

David Clarke noted in communication with me, “Sec(AS) [Secretariat Air Staff] where Nick worked 1991 – 1993 was not authorized or funded to investigate UFO reports.”

That seems to be fairly definitive but there is more relevant information. According to what David Clarke provided, “This is set out clearly in the attached policy document from 1997, written by Pope's line manager, that says any follow-up investigations that were required were carried out by the DI55 intelligence staff and/or the Royal Air Force.”

In still another document that came from official sources, and of which I now have a copy, it says:

Mr. Pope at one time served as EO (Band D) in the Secretariat Air Staff [a junior civil servant grade] ... [and] left Sec(AS) in 1994...and his knowledge of this issue, other than from publicly available sources, must be regarded as dated. Mr. Pope elected to describe his position as the "Head of the MoD's UFO Project", a term entirely of his own invention, and he has used his experience and information he gathered (frequently going beyond the official remit of his position) to develop a parallel career as a pundit on the topic, including writing several books, some purportedly non-fiction. Mr. Pope constantly puts himself forward in various parts of the media, solicited and unsolicited, as an "expert" (despite his lack of recent knowledge about the work carried on in the branch concerned) and seeks credit amongst other aficionados for having "forced" the MoD to reveal its "secret" files on the subject. The latter is far from the truth...

Finally, in what might be the final straw here, David Clarke provided the following, “In another document from the same period, the head of the Air Historical Branch (RAF) is even more forthright, saying ‘Far from accurately representing the Department's position, he [Pope] has sought to embellish the truth at almost every turn’.”

I suppose, that if you wish to be generous, you could say that taking the initial report and asking questions about it could be considered part of an official investigation. But that is really stretching a point and doesn’t accurately reflect the situation. The actual investigation into the reports that demanded additional work was carried about by other British government organizations and Nick Pope had virtually nothing to do with that.

But the real problem here is what Nick Pope published on his own website. Any errors, embellishments, alterations of fact can’t be blamed on the webmaster. Nick Pope approved the content. This biography said:

Nick Pope ran the British Government’s UFO project. From 1991 to 1994 he researched and investigated UFOs, alien abductions, crop circles and other strange phenomena, leading the media to call him the real Fox Mulder. His government background and his level-headed views have made him the media, film and TV industry’s go-to guy when it comes to UFOs, the unexplained and conspiracy theories.

Another aspect of this was that Nick Pope had apparently accused David Clarke of plagiarism and of being a needy, dishonest ufologist. The direct quote from David Clarke is, “Nick Pope has called me dishonest, a liar, a nut and a serial plagiarizer - despite providing absolutely no evidence for any of these things all of which are seriously defamatory.”

But this particular allegation has been debunked by Hayley Stevens a post to her blog which you can read here:

I mean you can disagree with someone but this is unreasonable. There is additional information contained in this post that sheds additional light on the problem. Some of the sources or documents she mentions I have seen and have copies for verification.

Philip Mantle

I’m not sure if this is piling on, or if it is relevant information. As noted above, Nick Pope claimed that he had investigated claims of alien abduction, crop circle formations or animal mutilations as part of his job at the MoD. Philip Mantle supplied the following information:

Just read this from UK documentary producer Matt Quinn. This was posted in the comments section of the martin Willis podcast:

From that reference Phillippe... "From 1991 to 1994 Mr. Pope worked as a civil servant within Secretariat (air staff). He undertook a wide range of secretariat tasks relating to central policy, political and parliamentary aspects of non-operational RAF activity. Part of his duties related to the investigation of unidentified aerial phenomena reported to the Department to see if they had any defence significance." This doesn't actually contradict what David Clark has said, and what has been 'common knowledge' for a very long time... it also completely fails to support in any way, Nick Pope's ridiculously-aggrandised claims... But in reality? I can only paraphrase Martha and the Muffins...

" _From nine to five, he had to spend his time at work His job was very boring as an office clerk The only thing that helped him pass the time away Was knowing he'd be back at Echo Beach someday_ " As we're 'buying' UK government publications (when it suits) do a search with the UK's National Archive service... And I do very much encourage you to do your own legwork; don't just take my word for it. I can tell you (as a media professional) that when 'Open Skies Closed Minds' was published it was generally received by the press as highly entertaining bollocks... riding a wave that was well in motion at the time. Just a 'jolly japes' type romp through an over-egged fantasy world... Good copy, bit of a laugh. But Nick Pope always had more in common with Dilbert than Mulder. The woman who got Nick Pope's job after him is called Kerry Philpott, and is on record stating there was no "strange phenomena section" at the MOD and that whilst Nick had been an 'EO' - Junior management grade administrator - just as she now was, she wrote "neither he nor indeed am I the head of any 'UFO' section"...

There is a chap called James Easton who is fairly well known here in Scotland as something of a 'UFOlogist'. Way back in 1999 he wrote an open letter to the MOD which posed many questions about Nick's duties and the MOD's locus in relation to various 'Fortean' phenomena... The response he got was. “The main duties of the post concern non-operational RAF activities overseas and diplomatic clearance policy for military flights abroad. A small percentage of time is spent dealing with reports from the public about alleged ‘UFO’ sightings and associated public correspondence. The MoD has not investigated a claim of alien abduction, crop circle formations or animal mutilation.” I'm sure it's now well over a decade since David Clark put that information up on his own site - over 20 since James got the response he did from the MOD and I honestly cannot tell you of anyone (except the incredibly non-credible) to whom that was in any way, shape or form a surprise. David Clark hasn't lied. - You don't have to like the guy, or not be disappointed at Nick. But David hasn't lied.  

This then, is the other side of the coin. I provided Nick Pope with a platform for his comments, and it is only fair that I supply the others with a similar courtesy. I’m inclined to say that the reader should take his or her own view of the material and decide what to believe. However, that is a somewhat weasel-worded claim for me to make. I waded into this swamp because I believed that Nick Pope should be heard, but now, having seen the other side, and although I think of Nick Pope as a friend (and can say the same about Philip Mantle and Nick Redfern), I must come down on their side of the fence.

What we see here is just another of the nasty fights that erupt in this field, though this one played out in the UK rather than here in America. If you care to comment, then you must be prepared for the consequences of that commentary. It had seemed to me, originally, that this was a bit of a fight over semantics, but it has, of course, ranged far beyond that. I don’t like the name calling or the allegations of plagiarism, having had that directed at me for a long time, but sometimes you just have to make a stand.

Here then, is what I believe to be the whole truth of the matter. And while I could say that I wish I had not involved myself in it, I would rather say that I think here is enough information that we all know the truth.

Following is one of those documents that seems to clarify the situation. I append it here for those who wish to see a little more of the evidence.

One of the documents that seems
to refute some of Nick Pope's


John Steiger said...

To his credit, Mr. Pope co-authored Encounter in Rendlesham Forest (2014), an important account of the first night's interaction of his co-authors, Jim Penniston and John Burroughs, with a UFO craft. The events detailed herein have been substantiated in other works on the subject.

In addition, Nick Pope is a human being. Human beings are an imperfect species. We all have flaws. said...

From what I have seen and experienced in this field over 22 years of my investigations and research is the field has become about entertainment. Most of the experts have never conducted an investigation. Anyone can be an expert. That's the problem; lack of credentials. I think Nick is an expert and is limited by confidentiality agreements with the gov't. Do I agree with everything he says? No but I never believed Stan Romanek, Ray Santilli, Jamie Mausson, Georgio and a host of others. We need to start making Ufology Great Again like in the 1950's.

Unknown said...

Did you know about all this stuff regarding Pope John, he is on the back cover of your book and am sure Philip would have informed you before publishing, yes? Whatever the case is you chose to have Nick Pope on the back of your book regardless of any pending problems that might come to light. I assume you are happy with all things Pope then.

Philip Mantle said...

Thank you Kevin for putting the record straight. In my humble opinion Mr. Pope has lost all credibility. There are yet more documents of a similar nature in the MoD files that prove exactly what Dr. David Clarke and others have been saying is correct. No one has to believe me of course as they can check for themselves. The MoD UFO files are all online. Mr. Pope has yet to produce one document that supports his claims. Nick Pope's ship has now sunk with all hands lost.

Matt Quinn said...

The truth here is quite prosaic... Nick Pope’s father was a man of influence in the aeronautical field; circa 1985 – at a time of sickening unemployment and lack of opportunity for young people - he got his son, who hadn’t done particularly well at his posh school, a cushy job as a basic Clerk in the Civil service. – The sort of job normally taken up by a bright 16 or 17 year old straight after ‘O’ levels; Nick was 19, knocking on 20.

Six years on he was promoted to a ‘Grade D’; which anyone who worked in the Civil Service at the time will tell you, is a rate of progress merely to be expected if you keep your nose clean and head down. – Unremarkable.

This ‘lip service’ post is well recorded for what it is, or rather was. From his record it can be interpolated that Pope was something of a passenger at school, and likewise in the 21 years he spent accumulating a nice Civil Service pension. He seems to have taken no advantage of the staff development opportunities available to him. And has since donned the mantle of “Broadcaster and journalist” without any qualification or training.

To be fair I think it was others – with, arguably, an equally dubious claim to the title ‘journalist’ – who framed him as “the real Fox Mulder” etc. He took that (fools) cap, found it fitted and danced gleefully around the room wearing it. - Which must have broken the monotony of being a dull grey man in a dull grey job for so many dull grey years.

21 years on and it’s ‘pension time’, Nick makes his escape... still trotting out the same old tired (and long since disproved) party-piece and milking the bit-part played ‘back in the day’ like a pantomime cow.

Now... this would have been the time to ‘break out’. To put the legwork in and actually do some proper investigating. But no... What Nicked joined was the green screen flea circus where a ‘Head On A Stick’ is wheeled in to a ‘chromakey’ studio for the day, asked to blabber on and on about allsorts – and from this and other ‘stock’ footage, cheap ‘documentaries’ are cobbled together for fourpence-ha’penny to be trotted out on backwater channels at the arse-end of the EPG.

Nick’s ‘entitled’ background combined with his laziness is what has locked in this destination... He’s had almost a DECADE-AND-A-HALF to develop a genuine locus in investigating these topics. But, unlike those he now tilts at – he just didn’t do that. He just licked the slops off the gravy train and if anything has only contributed to the subject being driven further and further up ‘looney lane’; making it harder and harder for those who might have a serious – or at least honest – interest to gain traction and thus commission programmes.

KRandle said...

Unknown -

Whoever the hell your are... Nick Pope is on the back of which of my books? If you are referring to The Best of Project Blue Book, there is no photograph, nor is there a mention of Nick Pope in that book. Your assumption is wrong.

Philip Mantle said...

Nick Pope wrote a foreword for my book 'WITHOUT CONSENT'. I have since removed it.

Unknown said...

Nick Popes words are on the back of John Steigers recent book published by Philip Mantle, you are also included on the back cover.

KRandle said...

So, how does this translate into Nick Pope being on the back of one of my books. Nick's words are on the back of John's book, which I have nothing with which to do. You are way off base on this one.

Unknown said...

@ Kevin, I have not said anything about Nick Pope been on the back of any of your books. I think you have gotten confused.

@ Philip you continued selling a book knowing full well what was going on regardless of anything relating to David. I have read your reasoning about all of that, but the fact remains, you still continued selling book material. Only now in the past few days you have told the public you are now removing Nick Pope.

So from my perspective it appears Pope is Mr bad guy which you have pointed out ten times over with info which is already known, but still sold material that Pope had endorsed regardless.

I think enough has been said, the whole situation is like beating a dead horse.

And please can you stop copying and pasting your responses out there which appear as though they are scripted. How many times have you told us you like Nick Pope and he has been to your house but but but.....

TheUFOGuy said...

Sadly, pre fabricated resumes are a problem with self proclaimed Ufologist. Many have been outed in the last few years, and some are still the prominant speakers on the Alien circuit. Credibility is earned through investigative work, not created as a fictional word document. I have seen Nick Popes tenure at this fictional position portrayed on several tv shows as having lasted anywhere between 4 and 12 years. Kevin, and Nick Redfern, as well as Philip Mantle, are simply telling the truth and backing it up with facts.

Philip Mantle said...

Hi Kev, you are right, it has nothing to do with you at all. John has a quote from Nick on the back cover of his book. John has been made aware of the downfall of Nick Pope and is happy to leave his quote where it is. I fully respect his decision but like you say it has nothing to do with you.

KRandle said...

Unknown -

You are correct. I misread what you had written, thinking you were referring to my book about Project Blue Book.

The sad truth is that Nick Pope, like so many others, has embellished his resume. Not all of us do that. I'll have more say about this later.

Philip Mantle said...

Hi Kevin, glad that's sorted out. I just want to point out to people that this not any kind of vendetta against Nick Pope. I like Nick and he's been a guest in my home and has spoken at a conference I helped organise. The sad truth as you've pointed out Kevin is that he's not done any of what he claimed. I have his full job description here which was obtained direct from the MoD. I will happily make it available to anyone who wants a copy. All Nick has is insults and nothing to support his claims. It makes me laugh, Pope touted your first post on this as proof that myself and Dr David Clarke were liars. I don't see him touting your second post where you have set the record straight. I dare say Nick will carry on with this nonsense as he's dug himself too far into a hole for him to escape. He's now fast become the UK's version of Jaime Maussan. said...

What book are you referring to? I don't have Nick's quote or position statement on the back of any of my books.

Philip Mantle said...

Pope claims the facts we have presented are fraudulent. This from his facebook page.

Nick Pope: The false allegations Mantle and Clarke made about the MoD's UFO investigations have now been exposed as fraudulent. The question isn't so much why they were being dishonest, but why they'd bother telling such an obvious lie, which was disproved years ago and which can be shown to be bogus by doing the sort of basic journalistic fact-checking that Kevin Randle just did.

Philip Mantle said...

I would ask that Kevin invite Nick Pope and Dr. David Clarke onto his podcast for a 1-2-1 debate on this matter. I bet Nick Pope would decline. Just an idea.

KRandle said...

Philip -

Already asked him on and he declined. Didn't have a slot available until January anyway.

anon said...

Fleur here, not sure how to change myself from "unknown" to "known". If Pope wants an honest debate as to his credentials he should be more than eager to come on your podcast and be willing to answer all questions in a fair and scholarly manner. Instead he is sitting on his facebook and twitter pages as smug and pompous as ever, with his standard reply: "it can't be ruled out" or "I won't dignify that with an answer". He is one of the most annoying, arrogant individuals on the ufo "circuit" and will not come clean about his background under rigorous scrutiny. His eager facebook fans are lapping it up and some say its wrong to even QUESTION his credentials, which is quite ridiculous. The Smug is strong with Pope and I wish he'd clear the smell and come on your podcast.

Philip Mantle said...

What does he have to hide Kevin ?

DJK said...

...why aren’t you guys spending your time conducting some backdoor research and get into that new Navy Project or something productive?

DJK said...

To be fair I appreciate your work Kevin, but you associated yourself many years with Don Schmitt and his background is not clean, and what he did with Maussan in Mexico and his BS production of Halt’s death bed affidavit to help his daughter and the museum. That guy has signal handed ruined any further Roswell investigation. Point being this field is ALWAYS filled with 90% who are full of it or nuts and 90% of the stories are fake. Why does this continue to surprise? I do appreciate you calling out people but get on the damn phone, send some emails and find out the truth. Stop whining about a guy who is just a more successful bullshitter

DJK said...

It’s no surprise that TTSA wants very little to do with the “ufo community”

DJK said...

And to clarify, I misspelled Walter Haut’s name and his daughter, the owner of the Roswell Museum, not to confused with Charles Halt

Unknown said...

From UK Parliament release:

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in what capacity Mr. Nick Pope was employed by his Department between 1991 and 1994.

Mr. Touhig: From 1991 to 1994 Mr. Pope worked as a civil servant within Secretariat (air staff). He undertook a wide range of secretariat tasks relating to central policy, political and parliamentary aspects of non-operational RAF activity. Part of his duties related to the investigation of unidentified aerial phenomena reported to the Department to see if they had any defence significance.

KRandle said...


Not sure what your problem is... Emailed Nick Pope to get his side of the story, communicated with Nick Redfern, Philip Mantle and David Clarke to get theirs. Looked at and published documents about this... what more would you have me do. Presented the evidence for both sides and explained my rationale on this.

KRandle said...

Unknown -

Published some of that information in favor of Nick Pope and published other documents that clarify his position. It is true that Nick Pope worked for the MoD, it is true that he received UFO reports but he only passed the information to others. His role was limited and his tales of what he did can be generously called embellishment.

Matt Quinn said...

"From UK Parliament release:" (SNIP!)

One Swallow doesn't make a summer... Pope often refers people to that (frankly weak) piece as if it negated all else; but it doesn't. There is a host of other information from other government sources that proves conclusively - Nick was nothing more than a little Clerk ...slightly 'jumped up'. That's all.

Philip Mantle said...

Any real UFO investigations conducted by the MoD was done by D!55 another very different department to the one in which Nick Pope worked. Nick's position was mainly clerical. It's not that we are discussing, it is the claims made by Pope that He ran the UK governments UFO project, was the MoD's UFO expert and that he officially investigated UFOs, crop circles and alien abductions. None of this is true. Embellishment is not the word I would use.