When four years ago Wikileaks published 250,000 US state department cables dating back to the 1960s, a believer in ET visitations asked why, in the great mass of data, there was not one major UFO secret.
Soon afterwards, during a live Q&A, Wikileaks supremo Julian Assange explained that ‘many weirdoes email us about UFOs’ but none of the stories they supply satisfied their twin publishing criteria, which was: ‘that the documents not be self-authored; that they be original’.
Now former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has upped the ante with a massive leak of two million top secret documents. Snowden’s leak to The Guardian and New York Times has been described by Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame as ‘the most significant leak’ of classified material in US history.
Yet Snowden’s revelations have failed to produce the ‘smoking gun’ that would prove the alien presence on Earth, the real ultimate secret if you buy into the UFO myth.
Even if you don’t it cannot be denied that if such knowledge really existed it should merit at least a tiny reference in the files of the world’s most powerful intelligence agency.
The revelation that flying saucers have landed and governments are in contact with alien intelligences would make the ongoing debates about mass surveillance and the balance between national security and information privacy seem like an afterthought.
So far not a single authentic piece of paper, memo or PowerPoint has emerged from either Wikileaks or Snowden-gate to support this widely held modern myth.
The UFO industry has struggled to explain this odd omission and its corporate arm, the so-called ‘exopolitics’ movement led by the Paradigm Research Group, has continued on its merry way organising mock congressional hearings as if nothing in the world had changed.
Then, early in the new year someone decided it was time to stitch the breaking Snowden story together with the UFO conspiracy rumours. Snowden fled to Russia in June 2013 and has been granted temporary asylum.
In January what the Washington Post describes as ‘an ultra-fringe conspiracy website’, www.whatdoesitmean.com published a story based upon what it claimed was a FSB dossier summarising NSA secrets handed over to the Russian security service by Snowden.
The author of this piece, one ‘Sorcha Faal’, claimed its contents provided ‘incontrovertible proof’ that ‘an alien/extra-terrestrial intelligence agenda’ is driving US foreign policy. The dossier said the US government has been secretly run by a ‘shadow government’ of extra-terrestrials since the Second World War.
No good UFO story is complete without a Nazi element so the hoax included the ‘fact’ that Hitler built up his U-boat fleet ‘with alien assistance’, updating the familiar ancient astronauts meme to WW2. According to the story, after backing the wrong side in WW2 the aliens are now holed up at Area 51 with President Obama as their willing dupe and are plotting to use the omnipresent NSA to take over the world.
Hoax documents have always been a favourite trope in UFOlogy and the fake MJ12 papers, offered as proof of the Roswell incident during the ‘80s, provide a useful template. Further evidence? Sorcha Faal is so obviously a made-up name and whatdoesitmean is a notorious source of fake stories.
Only the gullible or credulous were likely to pay any attention to nonsense published on ‘an ultra-fringe conspiracy website’. But some have grounds to suspect it is run by someone spreading disinformation on behalf of one or more intelligence agencies. It is equally possible that ‘Faal’ is simply having fun by publishing nonsense that he or she knows will be swallowed by those want to believe it.
If there is any truth in the disinformation theory, on this occasion the spooks scored a direct hit. Soon after its appearance ‘the semi-official Iranian news agency’, FARS, swallowed the hoax whole. On 12 January Fars published a breathless regurgitation of the FSB story, faithfully referenced to its source: whatdoesitmean.com.
They also repeated Faal’s claim that the contents of the Russian dossier had been confirmed by the former Canadian defence minister, Paul Hellyer, during a live interview on Russian TV on 30 December 2013. The 90-year-old, FARS claimed, had been consulted by the FSB during his Russian trip on the accuracy of the alien story.
Hellyer’s faith in aliens includes his claim that ‘at least four species of aliens’ have been visiting Earth for thousands of years. These include ‘Nordic blondes’ and Tall Whites that live on earth ‘and are working with the United States government’.
So far so weird. Hellyer can’t provide any proof, but neither could Lord Hill Norton or any of the other cranky ‘top people’ who have swallowed the wilder products of the UFO industry whole in their dotage.
But in this case Hellyer, by talking about ‘Tall Whites’ and aliens secretly running the US government since the ’50s, played right into the hands of the person or persons responsible for concocting the Nazi alien hoax.
Both Hellyer and Disclosure spokesman Stephen Bassett have since published disclaimers, blaming what they believe is a CIA plot to smear them. In this case they may be right. The spooks have form in using belief in UFOs and other fringe phenomena to discredit politicians and other targets. In 2001, the renegade SIS officer Richard Tomlinson claimed that during the run-up to the 1992 elections for the UN Secretary General, the CIA ran a smear campaign against the Egyptian candidate, Boutros Boutros Ghali, who they claimed ‘was a believer in the existence of UFOs and extra-terrestrial life’ (The Independent, 1 June 2001).
The smear was allegedly run by planting false stories in the media, much as Sorcha Faal tries to do.This operation failed as Boutros-Ghali was elected. But in the Fars case it seems to me that Hellyer and the UFO believers were roped in as cannon-fodder.
The real target is Snowden himself and the intention is to portray him as unbalanced and a traitor who passes secrets to the Russians . According to Luke Harding’s 2014 book The Snowden Files his haul of NSA documents is protected by several layers of sophisticated encryption and has not fallen into the hands of his hosts.
I have to agree with Max Fisher of the Washington Post, who described this hall of mirrors as ‘highly entertaining’. And until new information emerges I await a convincing answer to the question I posed in 2010: ‘where are the UFO whistle-blowers?’ Sorry, Paul Hellyer doesn’t count.