Thursday, September 29, 2005

Paul Hellyer - The Big Fish Flops

Poor Paul Hellyer.

He agrees to speak at a UFO / Exopolitics conference (it seems even the organisers weren't quite sure which) in Toronto this past weekend. The news media pick up on it, and, all of a sudden, there he is - Canada's former Minister of National Defence, on the front pages of all the newspapers again.

Well, not the front pages, exactly, but at least he was in the paper, which for Hellyer is all that matters.

He's a somebody again. He's important. A Big Fish.

Sure, a Big Fish in a very, very, small pond - but still, a Big Fish.

For someone like Hellyer, however - a guy who once stood at the pinnacle of the Canadian political system, and then proceeded to flush his once-promising career down the toilet over a period of three decades, to the point where he exists now as little more than the answer to a trivia question ("what idiot put the Canadian navy and air force in army green?") - it isn't the size of the pond that matters anymore, but the size of the fish. Particularly when he's the fish.

Most important to the ETH proponents (and their more radical off-shoots, the True Believers), he was a VIP (sure, that was forty years ago, but they'll take what they can get these days).

He was going to blow the roof off the joint.

He was going to expose secrets.

In the words of one of the event organizers when he introduced Hellyer this past Sunday, "we are here today witnessing history."

As Hellyer's fellow speaker, exopolitics-activist / conspiracy theorist Steven Bassett, wrote:

"The Toronto Symposium will break new ground. It will mark thefirst time in history that any defense minister or secretary of defense of any first world nation (and possibly any nation) will state publicly that he or she is convinced the UFO phenomenon is extraterrestrial in origin." [see http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/sep/m23-007.shtml]

And then The Big Fish opened his mouth.

THUD.

See his speech at http://www.checktheevidence.com/video/

Yes, he says, a few UFO reports came across his desk when he was Minister of National Defence (hardly a controversial claim, as I've shown over and over that it was the RCAF that was tasked with investigating UFO sightings until the National Research Council took over in 1968), but he didn't really look at them, because he had more important things to do.

Huh?

More important things to do??

I guess that puts UFOs in perspective.

Someone asked him about Shag Harbour, and the Michalak case, both of which occurred on his watch at the Department of National Defence - and both of which were investigated by the Canadian Armed Forces.

Hadn't heard of them at the time, he said.

A top secret Canadian program to deal with UFOs?

Nope. No mention of it.

But he does believe that UFOs are real, that they are aliens, and that there is a massive government conspiracy. He even believes that they have crashed, and that we have reverse engineered their technology (clever little monkeys that we are).

Oh yeah - re: alien abductions, he stated that: "What crimes have they committed? The aliens may have mutilated a few cattle, and allegedly abducted a few people, but to the best of my knowledge, they have not killed anyone. So - are they really an enemy, or legitimate explorers from afar?"

To Hellyer, the answer is simple - they're our Space Brothers (the central theme of Exopolitics, and, before it, Contactee-ism).

THUD.

And now the backlash has begun... sort of.

John Velez, a leading proponent of the reality of alien abductions (and who claims to have been abducted himself), wrote today at UFO Updates:

"If it had happened to him, and his wife and kids, he'd be whistling that little tune out of the other side of his mouth."

Velez's full comments can be found at: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/sep/m28-029.shtml

I don't blame Velez. Frankly, I don't know what to make of the abduction phenomenon, but if I was convinced that it was real, in the "aliens are doing it" sense (as Hellyer obviously does), then I wouldn't say (and I paraphrase here) "hey, they haven't killed anybody, so they can't be all bad, and we certainly shouldn't be building weapons to aim at them, like the evil Americans are doing right now."

Hey, Paul - FYI: if alien abductions ARE real, then it shows that the aliens ARE NOT our pals. Under these circumstances, building weapons against them is exactly what we should be doing.

Other than Velez, however, ufology is being pretty silent about Hellyer now, with the exception of a few, like Eugene Frison, who have been critical. Oh, and the ubiquitous Michael Salla, who views Hellyer's speech as a major event of world shattering significance (see http://www.exopolitics.org/Exo-Comment-38.htm for a good chuckle).

In short, it seems that the Big Fish has become the Big Flop.

Why?

Because they've finally figured out that he doesn't know anything, at least not in an official capacity.

Worse, he's not just another believer. He's an exopolitical, Phil Corso-reading believer.

If you listen to his speech, there can be little doubt of this. Hellyer began by calling Corso's book The Day After Roswell "one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. It is the unimpeachable source of what I am going to say to you today."

THUD.

The sad part is that I think he believes that.

Eek!

No surprise to some of us, but it's come as a major embarrassment for conspiracy theorists.

Why?

Because if anyone in Canada would have known about the Cosmic Watergate, and UFO secrets, and alien bases, etc etc, it would have been the Minister of National Defence in the mid 1960s.

That's what they were all hoping he was going to say, although if they had read his statements prior to the Conference, they would have known better.

Instead, nada. Nothing. "Rien," as they would say in Quebec.

Now, there are four possible explanations for this, three of which, I confidently predict, will be quickly employed by various conspiracists to try and "cover-up" this embarrassment.

First, they'll say, Hellyer lied (watch out, Paul - conspiracists will turn on you faster than you can blink). He knows exactly what went on (and goes on still), but he wouldn't say. Possibly he's a disinformation agent, or something like that.

He is Canada's real "cigarette man" (as opposed to the fictional one, as portrayed by Canadian actor William Davis in the X-Files television series - pictured above).

The second explanation will go in the opposite direction - he knows lots of stuff, but he's scared they'll "rub him out" like they did James Forrestal, or Edward Ruppelt, or James McDonald, or __________ (fill in the blank), so he has to be careful about what he says, and to whom. In short, he's not "cigarette man," but a Canadian ufological Deep Throat / Mr. X.

If those two don't work, or as an alternative, they will go with, "Well, he was kept out of the loop, of course." After all, the conspiracy is very restricted, and very few people are "in the Know" - despite the fact that the conspiracy is also massive. Hey - they never told him! They just fobbed him off with a few UFO reports. He didn't have MJ-12 Top Secret Restricted clearance. And so on.

This is what I call the "Sergeant Schultz" theory, after the Hogan's Heroes character (pictured above) who saw nothing, heard nothing - in short, knew nothing.

Which raises the question:

They told Wilbert Smith, and they didn't tell Paul Hellyer?

Sure.

How much are you willing to pay for that bridge in Brooklyn again?

The third explanation is patently ridiculous, and the first two make no sense. The "he lied" explanation also has the added bonus of making those conspiracists who were all agog about Hellyer before the Conference look like idiots, although, given their mind set, this is the explanation that they might find the most palatable - "hey - we were duped again by the evil conspiracy!" Rather than knock some common sense into them, it will probably feed their peculiar brand of paranoia.

Either way, rest assured that the conspiracists will trot out one of the three explanations noted above (I confidently predict the "he was out of the loop" will be the front-runner) as the real reason behind what Hellyer said, and, more important, what he didn't say.

In the process, they will completely ignore the fact that there is a fourth explanation.

The conspiracists won't like it, but it's the one that makes the most sense.

It's the one that has always made the most sense.

Hellyer didn't know about a conspiracy, and didn't take UFOs terribly seriously while serving as Minister of Defence, because there is no conspiracy (at least, not the one the conspiracists are talking about), and no-one took UFOs as seriously back then as some ufologists now seem to think they did.

They were puzzled by them. They investigated them. That is beyond doubt. But, when they came to the conclusion that most could be explained, but some couldn't, they shrugged their shoulders and said, "well, that's that."

After all, what government would want to admit that there was something going on in the skies that they could not explain?

Besides, there were, as Hellyer stated, more pressing matters to deal with. Problems that they could solve, and that were of real concern to ordinary people (i.e. the voters).

Ergo...

There was no super secret Wilbert Smith research project. After all, Hellyer served as Minister of Transport from September 19, 1967 until April 29, 1969 - surely he would have been informed of Smith's work then?? Of course, if it had been that important, he would have already been informed as Minister of National Defence.

There was no super secret plan to get an alien spacecraft to land in Alberta.

There was nothing that did anything more than arouse Hellyer's - or anyone else's - curiosity.

That's the reality.

Because if there had been more to it than "the UFO phenomenon is real, but we have no idea what it is," then Hellyer would have known. And, unless he's lying now (see explanation #1, above), he would have said something at this "historic opportunity."

But he didn't.

If you happen to be a conspiracist, or Exopolitics type (is there a difference??), that sound you heard, once again, was...

THUD.

For the rest of us, however, that "Thud" is the silver lining in this debacle.

Anyone who takes the study of the UFO phenomenon seriously owes Paul Hellyer a huge "thank you."

He's set the record straight... despite himself, and despite the efforts of those conspiracists and Exopolitical svengalis who fed him the information that he regurgitated on cue last Saturday.

Paul Kimball

P.S. As an aside, here's one of Canada's pre-eminent historians, Dr. Jack Granatstein, on Hellyer's tenure as Minister of National Defence:

"Defence Minister Paul Hellyer also ranks as one of the killers of the Canadian military. The idea of unification was not a bad one. The military should work together. However, Hellyer’s tactics were terrible: changing uniform and rank structures was not necessary to effect unification. Hellyer went too far and killed the Canadian military."

See: http://www.cda-cdai.ca/CDA_GMs/AGM67/granatstein.htm

19 comments:

Jack Rousseau said...

Paul - Sounds like he might just have unwittingly put a stake in the heart of exopolitics as well. One can always hope. - JJR

An Historian said...

The Day After Roswell "is the unimpeachable source of what I am going to say to you today."

That's embarrassing. Any fool could stand up there and regurgitate Corso, how does it make it more credible if it's done by an ex-minister who by his own admission doesn't any relevent knowledge of his own?

Paul Kimball said...

AH:

The whole Hellyer thing has been an embarrassment from the get-go. I even feel somewhat sorry for the 82 year old Hellyer, who may well have been manipulated by the exopolitics crowd (who probably gave him the Corso book in the first place). If you watch his lecture at Toronto, he's just reading a prepared text, and in the Q & A session was confused at times, and incapable of providing any type of detailed answers. He reminded me a bit of the historian character in the Star Trek episode Patterns of Force, who the bad guys have drugged and then propped up as a figurehead. In Hellyer's case, an appeal to his ego, combined with an appeal to his anti-Americanism, and his own declining faculties, have probably had the same effect.

It's a sad episode all the way around.

Paul

Paul Kimball said...

Jack:

You wrote: "One can always hope."

Alas, don't hold your breath!

Paul

Mac said...

Nicely done!

GordH said...

Nicely done?

Seems like just another classic case of debunking - attacking the person rather than discussing the issues in any sort of intelligent manner.

"There was no super secret Wilbert Smith research project" - No, the government funded portion of Project Magnet, run by Wilbert Smith ran from 1952 to 1954, after which Wilbert ran his research on a part time basis. This was clearly not a secret project as it was written about in the Toronto Globe and Mail on Nov. 23rd, 1953 which also a photograph of the site being used by the government to detect UFOs.

Why would Hellyer have been briefed about a project that had ended a decade before he became defence minister?

"There was no secret plan to get an alien spacecraft to land in Alberta."

Well, according to an article published in the Ottawa Journal on July 20, 1967, "UFO Landing Site Was 13 Year Secret" "The Canadian government 13 years ago made available the defence research board experimentla station at Suffield, Albert as a landing site for Unidentified Flying Objects, Defence Minister Paul Hellyer has now disclosed."

Your weblog begins to look more and more like disinformation, primarily obsessed with personal attacks on those whom you disagree with.

Isn't the "The Other Side of Truth" perhaps a lie?

Paul Kimball said...

Gord H:

The facts on the Smith case speak for themselves, if you choose to look at ALL of them. Most ufologists who support Smith's stories have not examined them, or, if they have, seem to avoid mentioning them, instead simply proclaiming what they think (mistakenly) is the truth. Thus, Dr. Omand Solandt is brushed aside as a liar, and Smith's word is taken as gospel, despite the fact that (a) Solandt had a far more distinguished career (something which ufologists take as important when it suits their purposes), and (b) his account makes more logical sense, and is backed up by the facts, whereas Smith's does not and is not. If you can explain to me why a mid-level civil servant in the Canadian Department of Transport was let in on the biggest secret of all time (so secret that some people speculate that even Presidents are not told everything), then be my guest. Alas, people latched on to Smith - and ignored the context of who he was and what he did - because what he wrote confirmed, in the early 1980s, their views on crashed flying saucers.

Ask yourself - have the pro-ETH / pro-Smith / pro-crashed flying saucer ufologists applied the same level of scrutiny to Smith's background as they have (rightly, in my view) to Michael Salla's alleged whistleblowers?

No.

As for Hellyer, if UFOs were alien, had been captured, and were as important a subject as the pro-ETH types claim, then of course the Minister of National Defence would have been informed of the work that WAS being done, and, just as importantly, HAD been done.

After all, isn't the whole point of the supposed MJ-12 EBD that Ike needed to be informed of what MJ-12 had been up to since 1947?

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

As for Hellyer himself, I feel sorry for the guy, to a degree, but to anyone familiar with Canadian political history (and most Americans, and more than a few Canadians, are not), the man has become - not to put too fine a point on it - a joke, which is a shame, because he had it within his abilities to make a real positive, longstanding contribution to my country, but let his ego get in the way.

Again, people need to be able to - as Stan Friedman would say - pass muster. Hellyer and Smith do not.

If you don't like my conclusions, that's fine - to each their own. I suppose in that case you could always choose the easy way out, and simply label me as a debunker / liar / disinformer...

Oh, wait - you already have.

Which says more about you, and how you think & view the evidence, than it does me.

Regards,

Paul Kimball

GordH said...

I notice that you continue to evade the facts which you mis-stated in your post and simply sidestepped by talking about something else.

And what possible relevance to the issue of UFOs/exopolitics were the critical comments on Paul Hellyer's handling of armed forces unification? Yes, when I was in the post-unification naval reserve, I heard lots of negative comments about Hellyer and unification. This has no relevance to the issue. Name a politician who hasn't made enemies.

One thing you might say about Hellyer is that he was probably not much of an opportunist to end up the leader of a minor party devoted to preserving Canadian economic and political independence. What a subversive idea!!

As far as the commentary about your website, I am simply observing that you seem to have fallen into the trap of focussing on attacking the persons who you disagree with. This is very a very common practice on UFO Updates and seems to be creeping into the UFO related web log world.

I certainly don't disagree that this is your right, and if this is what you wish to devote your time to, go right ahead.

Paul Kimball said...

Gord H.

I'm not "attacking" anyone (well, there may have been one exception, but he deserved it) - I'm pointing out facts, plain and simple, and my interpretation thereof. That you disagree with that interpretation is your right, although it does not strike me as particularly informed, or objective.

As for attacking, it's you who labeled me. Mirror, mirror, Mr. H.

Finally, I sidestepped nothing. There was NO super secret UFO program headed by Wilbert Smith. There was NO super secret plan to land an alien spacecraft in Alberta. I have dealt with the former at great length, and am not inclined to regurgitate it here just for you - if you want the information, check the archives. As for the latter, saying the DND made facilities available is meaningless until you know what those facilities and resources were, and how seriously it was all taken (the answers are a. almost none, and b. not very).

As for the "UFO landing pad" in St. Paul, it was designed in 1967 SOLELY as a tourist attraction, as anyone in St. Paul will tell you if you ever go there. It was one of MANY Centennial year projects that they undertook, which were funded by the government. When they built the Flying Saucer shaped Chamber of Commerce addition in the early 1990s, it was again designed SOLELY as a tourist attraction, and to garner some notoriety for the town - again, as anyone out there will happily tell you.

You should probably get your UFO reading material elsewhere.

Regards,

Paul Kimball

The Manager said...

Uh, look, I don't really want to pile on Mr. Hellyer (and thus find myself labelled as an attacker, etc.) However, it strikes me that the former Minister of Defense really doesn't have the smarts, especially at his advanced age, to lie in a convincing manner. This adds weight to the argument that the first two explanations cited for the lack of substance in his speech (he lied, or he held back) make no sense. I simply do not believe that Paul Hellyer has the grey matter to pull either one of these off.

However, this does actually add weight to the third explanation: he was kept out of the loop. It's easy to keep someone a little on the dim side out of the loop. (I fully acknowledge that others may not share this opinion of Mr. Hellyer.) As for the notion that a mid-level civil servant (Smith)ought not to know things -- important, top-secret, conspiratorial things -- without the concurrent knowledge and authorization of a bigwig like the Minister of Defense, I'm afraid stuff like this happens all the time. It certainly happens in the private sector -- underlings get involved in shady projects under the direction of someone other than their bosses, e.g., a higher-up with security clearances claiming to be engaged in activity for the good of the organization, and better that Mr. or Mrs. Owner / Director doesn't find out about it just yet.

What I'm saying is that Smith may have been working on something with the knowledge of someone high up in the military, or another cabinet minister. There are conspiracies everywhere -- just because they don't follow the chain of command in a sensible pattern does not deny their possibility.

Paul Kimball said...

TM:

Two problems - one, Hellyer was at the top of his game when he was Minister of Defence, at least in the sense that he hadn't completely self-destructed yet. Is it possible that information was withheld from him - of course it was, but there is no evidence that this was the case. You can't just say, "well, it could have happened, so it did happen." Using that "logic," I guess Hellyer slept with Mike Pearson while Paul Martin Sr. took photos.

Interestingly, Hellyer wasn't always a raving looney lefty - in the early 1960s, he was one of the Liberal heavyweights who prevailed upon Pearson to adopt a pro-Bomarc missile stance re: the United States, much to the relief of the Americans and the chagrin of Diefenbaker (another Grade A loon).

As for Smith, again, of course it is possible for mid-level civil servants to have access to secrets, or even top secrets. But in Smith's case, as the evidence clearly shows (and as I've demonstrated, ad infinitum), Smith was not in a position where his opinion would have been sought. It was well outside the purview of his job at the Department of Transport. Indeed, there was a whole section within the DOT that was involved with the kind of work that may have been relevant - but it wasn't Smith's department. However, what Smith DID have - in spades (funny how no ufologist talks about his contactee beliefs)was a pre-disposition to believe aliens are here stories if they were fed to him.

That's what makes his story bunk. Frankly, if he wasn't such a pivotal part of the crashed-saucer and MJ-12 stories, and certain ufologists weren't so deeply invested in his story, he would be viewed as nothing more than Canada's Phil Corso, or Bob Lazar - because that's where the evidence leads.

The Manager said...

Sir, I'm looking over my previous comment to find the passage where I state, to quote you, "Well, it could have happened, so it did happen." Gosh, I can't find it.

Which means that you may be reading a little too much into my overall point: that Hellyer may have been kept out of the loop. I make that point just to counter your argument that this explanation is, and here I actually quote you, BTW, "patently ridiculous."

But I take your overall point: I have no evidence to proffer. I am simply rebutting your characterization of the possibility, that is all. Honest.

As for your more specific point about Smith, fair ball, home run, dude. I stand by my more general assessment of the possibilities of underlings knowing more than their bosses, but obviously I should not have used Smith as my example.

I think it's obvious to all that I'm in a little over my head. But then, a little rabble-rousing sometimes serves well to draw out a few of the more arcane points of the story.

Paul Kimball said...

TM:

Oh well, at least you're not trying to sell me on your views on the Canadian constitution!

Hahahaha...

PK

Paul Kimball said...

TM:

I should have added that while you did not state specifically "Well, it could have happened, so it did happen," that is where your line of reasoning (which I recognise may not actually be yours, you old Devil's Advocate, you) leads.

I also agree (and said so) that mid-level civil servants can and do have access to high secrets (Ollie North, who was effectively a mid-level civil servant, pops to mind). But their superiors usually know about it - or do you really believe that a few rogue Liberal operatives were funneling millions of dollars into Quebec without the knowledge of their superiors?

If so, I suggest you mark your "X" for the Liberal Party in the nest federal election! :-)

Paul

The Manager said...

Whew! You must be out of breath after jumping to these conclusions.

Anonymous said...

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After reading your blog, comments and thinking about the tone of your blog which ultimately is an attempt at comedic personal attack on Hallyer I became convinced that Hellyer is a credible individual. As a bonus I’ve learned that he had an interesting and practical vision for Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian political system as well.
If I ever was interested in watching your movie or hearing more of your views on…actually anything… you cured it with this blog.

This is not the way to debunk anybody.

Abhijeet said...

As an important member of the Queens privy council for canada Paul Hellyer should launch an independent investigation of Government coverup and the Shag Harbour Incident in Nova Scotia. The people of Shag Harbour need answers right now!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

How did Wilbert Smith know about Robert Sarbacher and Eric Walker if he was a fraud and a UFO fanatic--a man who had no real information?

Anonymous said...

Hellyer, like most of the ministers, are just public relations agents.

They are not involved deeply into files and they barely manage anything in their own office.

Look at the Charbonneau Commission going on in Montreal. It clearly shows that many public officials are especially chosen to be ignorant while showing a credible image to the public. And this "conspiracy" is just about corruption in the construction buisness.

Imagine what could be done for greater secrets.