Thursday, March 03, 2005

UFO Researchers & "The Need to Know"

Grant Cameron - the Canadian Frank Feschino, ie. a man who is a diligent gatherer of information but a poor interpreter of what that information means (a condition known as the "Feschino Effect") -has written at his website (click on Wilbert Smith, and then Top Secret Committee?) that Canada had a Top Secret UFO Committee (and no, he isn't referring to Project Magnet). According to Cameron:

"In 1978, during my meeting with Murl Smith, the wife of Wilbert Smith, the director of the official Canadian investigation into flying saucers known as Project Magnet, she told me of the efforts by the Canadians to land an alien by the name of AFFA at the Top Secret Defense Research Board Station at Suffield, Alberta. The three groups that were involved in the negotiations for the government, according to Mrs. Smith were “the government” (then Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent was mentioned in this regard), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Defense Department. The inclusion of the Prime Minister on such a committee makes sense, as does the inclusion of the Defense Department. Suffield after all was the Canadian equivalent to Area –51 where the Defense Department’s Defense Research Board tested chemical weapons and new weapons of war. The inclusion of the R.C.M.P., however made no sense. What did they plan to do at Suffield – arrest the alien? The R.C.M.P. in many respects was nothing more than a glorified police force in 1954 when the planned landing of the alien took place."

Leaving aside for now the question of whether or not such a committee actually existed (another time, another day for that subject), and, if it did, what its true purpose or scope was, I was immediately struck by Cameron's lack of basic knowledge about the history of Canadian security and intelligence gathering. He states that the inclusion of the RCMP doesn't make sense, when in fact, if there had been such a committee, the RCMP would have been a logical choice to be represented on it, as they were, prior to the formation of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service in 1984, the agency responsible for handling security and intelligence matters in Canada, both foreign and domestic. They were far more than a "glorified police force."

For a quick brief on the RCMP's security history, go to:

Cameron then details how he tracked down information through Canadian politician one-time Minister of Defense Paul Hellyer (a somewhat less than reliable source of information, but that's a subject for another blog on another day) that - wowee - confirmed the RCMP would have been involved. According to Cameron:

"In 1967, then Canadian Minister of Defense, Paul Hellyer, referred to the group who had been involved in opening the UFO landing base at Suffield, as a Top Secret Committee. He did not, however, spell out who was on the committee. Hellyer was pressured by researcher Arthur Bray and myself to answer two questions regarding his 1967 statement made at the opening of a UFO landing base in St. Paul, Alberta. The small concrete “base” had set up as a town Centennial Project, and tourist attraction. The two questions Hellyer was pressed on were: How did the aliens know where to land? Who was the top defense official who had supposedly told him the story? The first question was never answered by Hellyer, but over a couple years he tried to convince us he was trying to answer the second. He stated that the official in question was the “UFO expert” in the defense department, but he unfortunately couldn’t remember his name. He assured Arthur Bray that there was no UFO cover-up as far as he knew “at least on this side of the border.” The official had provided him with a good UFO file, and had told him the story about the opening of the Suffield base for any UFOs that cared to land without being shot at. Hellyer even claimed he had gone to the National Archives to look for the file, and couldn’t find it. After many years of reflection he was never able to remember the name of this top official in his department. What he did reveal is that the official had been the R.C.M.P. official on the Top-Secret committee in 1954, and thus was aware of what had happened. He had moved up to become a top defense official in 1967. Although this provided no leads to us in talking to the top UFO expert in the Canadian Defense Department, it did provide a confirmation of Mrs. Smith’s story that the R.C.M.P. had been involved."

It is incumbent on UFO researchers like Cameron to familiarize themselves with related topics -in this case, the structure of the Canadian intelligence system in the relevant years, and the critical role of the RCMP - before they wander down the merry lane of conspiracy theory, or start posing questions ("why would the RCMP be involved?") that lead them on a "search" for information that was readily available, if only they had possessed a basic knowledge of - in this case - Canadian history and the RCMP. Of course, this would mean that they couldn't present themselves as the detectives who had solved a great riddle, because it would show that there wasn't a riddle in the first place.

Why should we trust the conclusions of "researchers" like Cameron about UFOs if they can't get the little details right?

The answer is that we shouldn't, at least not until they recognise that the "need to know" about basic facts - which often include history, politics, even religion - is just as important as the "need to know" about the truth behind the UFO phenomenon, whatever it is. Indeed, one cannot hope to discover the latter without possessing the former.

Paul Kimball


RRRGroup said...

The Hellyer episode is fascinating in several respects, one of them being why would anyone make up the stories he allegedly related to Cameron? It doesn't gel.

Moreover, to create a scenario and then not be able to provide essential details indicates a raft of problems, most having to do with character or mental illness.

This kind of absent-mindedness about something as profound as secrecy, UFOs,government bungling and/or cover-ups has to be dealt with at some point.

Why didn't Cameron and Bray call Hellyer out on his convenient amnesia?

They seem to have been as derelict as Hellyer, and this is not atypical of UFO "investigators."

Rich Reynolds

Paul Kimball said...


Hellyer is a fascinating guy - I'll be doing a backgrounder on him soon. He was once Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister (a post that is not quite the equivalent of the Vice-President, as many Americans - and more than a few Canadians - seem to believe), but then slipped off the edge and eventually wound up on the looney fringe of Canadian politics. Most military types still hate him because he was the guy at the helm when the services were unified in the late 1960s, and everyone was given a standard green uniform. You have no idea how much sailors and airmen hated wearing green (instead of their traditional white and blue, respectively), until you've talked to one of them!