BRANTFORD, Canada—Former high-level government officials were among the panelists at a June 25 hearing calling for disclosure of any remaining classified government information on unidentified aerial phenomena (the new preferred term for unidentified flying objects, or UFOs).
Nick Pope, who handled the UAP files for the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence in the early ’90s, testified at the hearing in Brantford, Canada. The Hon. Paul Hellyer, former minister of defense for Canada (1963 to 1967) and deputy prime minister under Pierre Trudeau, also testified.
The other panelists were Stanton Friedman, a nuclear physicist and UAP researcher; Travis Walton, an alleged abductee whose story was made famous in the 1993 movie, “Fire in the Sky”; Grant Cameron, a Canadian UAP researcher who has examined stacks of documents received through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests; Richard Dolan, a prominent UAP researcher who first delved into U.S. government files on UAPs 22 years ago while writing a doctoral dissertation on the presidency of Harry Truman; and Steve Bassett, the executive director of the Paradigm Research Group, which advocates for disclosure of all government UAP knowledge.
Hellyer said he had heard about UAP sightings while he served as minister of defense, but he was never briefed on any intimate, hidden knowledge of the UAP phenomenon. He began researching UAPs and speaking out about them in 2005, after he had already left public service.
However, his connections in the government did help his research, he said. At the hearing, he recalled a deathbed interview he conducted with Nickolas Evanoff, an emergency services official in the Canadian government.
Evanoff told Hellyer that American officials had shown him an extraterrestrial spacecraft at Area 51 in the late 1970s. Sworn to secrecy, Evanoff purportedly kept quiet about it until shortly before his death in 2007.
Hellyer firmly believes the Canadian and American governments are hiding important information about UAPs.
While he was minister of defense, he had no interest in the topic and didn’t ask about it, but in retrospect he is not happy that he wasn’t briefed on it. He said in a follow-up email with Epoch Times: “I personally think that ministers of defence should have been fully briefed, but that isn’t the way the system works. High ranking public servants who have been trusted with top secret information often keep it to themselves. I suspect it gives them a sense of power and self-importance when they know more about a subject than their alleged superiors.”
He said he does not know whether his former boss, Pierre Trudeau—or Trudeau’s son, the current Canadian prime minister—had any interest in the UAP subject.
Pope was more conservative than Hellyer in his claims. He’s not so sure the world’s governments are hiding anything major regarding UAPs, though he did admit that the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) publicly downplayed its interest in UAPs.
He said: “We consistently told the U.K.’s Parliament, the media, and the public that UFOs were of ‘no defence significance,’ while in parallel, highly-classified intelligence studies … were being carried out away from public scrutiny.
“That said, despite the secrecy and the downplaying of the MoD’s UFO-related work, I’m not aware of any cover-up or conspiracy in the sense that supporters of such theories mean. In short, if there’s a spaceship hidden away in an air force hangar somewhere, I’m afraid it isn’t in the U.K.”
Most of the thousands of UAP reports in the MoD files could be explained by conventional means, Pope said. But about 5 percent defied conventional explanation and remain unsolved.
The panelists presented various pieces of evidence to support or refute the claim that governments are hiding UAP knowledge. Much of the evidence has already been thoroughly debated by skeptics, believers, and those who fall somewhere in between.
For example, Friedman discussed the witness testimonies he gathered as the first citizen investigator of the purported UAP crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. He said these testimonies—particularly the description of the crash debris by Major Jesse Marcel—contradict the official Air Force statement that it was a balloon that crashed.
The hearing discussion turned to the more philosophical topic of how disclosure would impact the world, if governments really are hiding knowledge of extraterrestrials.
What Would Happen If We Knew for Sure ET Exists?
Even if governments were to announce that extraterrestrials have definitely visited Earth, Pope said it wouldn’t necessarily have a big impact: “If you look at opinion polls, which consistently show a sizeable number of people already believe there’s life out there and that we’re being visited and that governments aren’t being straight to us—you don’t really shock people by telling them something they already believe.”
He said that he would be excited by the possibility of technological and scientific advancement. Yet some of the panelists think it is exactly the desire to keep advanced extraterrestrial technology under wraps—for example, energy sources used by UAPs independent of fossil fuels—that motivates the secrecy.
Dolan noted that at the time of the purported Roswell crash, the United States government was loath to give up its atomic technology to the United Nations. With the end of the second world war and the start of the Cold War, advanced technology was not openly shared.
“What we know for absolute fact,” Dolan said, “is that this is a phenomenon that was a serious issue involving sensitive air bases.” He asked the audience members to put themselves in President Harry Truman’s shoes: “Would you tell the world about this? … I think the answer is ‘no.'”
Walton, as an alleged abductee, considered the panic people might feel if the existence of extraterrestrials were announced—if the threat of abduction were to suddenly become real to many people.
“I can acknowledge and conceive that perhaps some of the secrecy is for our own good,” he said. He noted that it could be justified, “not just on the part of the government, but on the part of the aliens themselves.”
He said, “their reason for not landing and making open contact might also have to do with an awareness of what the consequences would be.”
Dolan said: “The problem with secrecy is it could be started for very good reasons. … [but] it develops a life of it’s own, and eventually it is a corrosive, not a helpful, influence on our society.”
Could the UAP issue one day culminate in a “cosmic Watergate” as Friedman described it?
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