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Britain says no to alien welcomes
The visitors traveling the longest distances to Britain will find the phones shut off. Citing the high costs of operation, the British military has shut down its UFO hotline. So, not only will aliens not be welcomed personally, the messages reported via their crop circles will go unreported. This is the end of a half-century commitment in the United Kingdom to helping the nutty find an audience.
According to the Ministry of Defense, ditching the UFO office will translate to an annual savings of around $73,000 a year, money much better spent supporting the 9,500 soldiers the country has deployed to Afghanistan. No jobs were lost as a result of this decision, and the military isn't taking a position on the existence of UFOs or alien life. More than 12,000 sightings were reported to the UFO office, some of which were accompanied by pictures drawn by those lucky enough to witness the arrival of little green men. None was interpreted as a threat to national security.
Many Britons are upset about the closing of the UFO hotline, which was accompanied by the deactivation of the UFO e-mail account. Roy Lake, founder of the London UFO Studies group, calls this "a threat to national security." He tells The Associated Press, "We take this quite seriously. We know that sometimes things can be explained as natural phenomena but there could be that one thing that's not. I think the government knows damn well what's going on up there and they're covering it up."
Of course, any life form that could find its way to Earth would probably master Twitter pretty quickly, so the shuttering of the British UFO office probably isn't a big deal. I can see it now: "Hey #Earth. Here from Mars. @Gadling reco place 2 stay? #herefromanotherplanet"
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense counters Lake's worries: "None of the thousands of UFO sightings reported over the years have ever provided substantiated proof of the existence of extraterrestrials." He continued, "There is no defense value in investigating UFO reports."
Nonetheless, Nick Pope sees a concern. He has helped the British military investigate UFOs and believes that the decision is "a great shame." Pope says the program encouraged pilots and other experts to tip off the authorities to suspicious activity, saying, "That's one thing we learned in the 9/11 attacks, the threat of incoming aircraft with transponders turned off." Meanwhile, he seems to overlook the fact that these risks can be addressed through many other existing channels of communication.
And, if you do see a UFO in Britain, there are still plenty of organizations you can call. And, there's always YouTube, as you can see from the clip below.
[Photo by mujitra via Flickr]