The craziest story to emerge from the Edward Snowden leaked documents affair probably has nothing to do with Edward Snowden ... or reality.
According to a story posted by Iran's Fars News Agency, the U.S. government has been under the control of a shadow government overseen by extraterrestrials who helped Nazi Germany's rise in the 1930s.
The news agency story suggests that documents revealed by Snowden are part of a Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) report which states the information provides "incontrovertible proof that an alien/extraterrestrial intelligence agenda is driving U.S. domestic and international policy, and has been doing so since 1945."
The Washington Post and other news sources have pointed out that Iran's quasi official news agency has a tendency for fanciful tales and fabricated quotes.
But what has yet to be clarified is how the reputation of one prominent member of the community of UFO believers -- former Canadian defense minister Paul Hellyer -- has been exploited and misrepresented.
As this story spiraled out of control, Hellyer allegedly confirmed the Fars story was totally accurate. But let's do a little fact checking.
It is true that Hellyer is outspoken about his belief that Earth has been visited by ETs. Nevertheless, he denies any connection to the original source of this Nazi space alien yarn.
The Toronto-based ZlandCommunications News Network, on behalf of Hellyer, sent correspondence to the Washington Post, including:
Mr. Hellyer categorically rejects all and any statements and sources ... which in any manner serve to associate Mr. Hellyer with the following: Edward Snowden, Mr. Snowden's documents, the NSA, the FSB (the Russian Federal Security Service), the website Whatdoesitmean.com and the Fars News.
At no time was Mr. Hellyer ever in communication with the FSB, Fars News or What Does It Mean. ... We insist that the Washington Post publish a full retraction as well as a public apology to Mr. Hellyer.
In fact, the only reason why Hellyer is involved with this story is because of his recent appearance on Russia Today's TV program, "SophieCo."
Hellyer, 90, was Canada's minister of defense during the 1960s. After his retirement, he became the first cabinet-level politician from a G8 country to go on the record claiming that extraterrestrials are already on Earth.
On the "SophieCo" program, Hellyer was outspoken about Earth's interaction with many extraterrestrials, including a race of "Tall Whites" that are allegedly mentioned in Snowden's documents.
While some might link "Tall Whites" to Hitler's idealized super race of white Aryans, Hellyer never made such an association. That false connection seems to be how the Canadian politician got snagged in this mess.
It turns out that Fars didn't even write the story described above. By its own admission -- at the very bottom of the web page -- it acknowledges that it merely reprinted the whole thing, word-for-word. The story originated a day earlier on what the Washington Post refers to as "the ultra-fringe conspiracy theory website, whatdoesitmean.com." Their story was written by one "Sorcha Faal," who is further identified as "Sister Maria Theresa, the 73rd Sorcha Faal of the Sorcha Faal Order, elected as Mother Superior 3 February 2007."
Faal's story contained references to Hellyer's appearance on Russia Today, where he mentioned the Tall White aliens. Then, Faal reported that these Tall Whites were included in Snowden's alleged alien-related documents. Of course, there's no proof that Snowden's documents had such a reference, either.
And then, Fars News picked up Faal's story, saying, "This report has been wired from whatdoesitmean.com. ... All responsibility for the veracity, authenticity and reliability of this report lies with its original source, whatdoesitmean.com."
It probably would've helped clarification of all of this if Fars had added that piece of information at the top of its story rather than all the way down at the bottom.
Fars even explains why it decided to reprint the whatdoesitmean.com story in the first place:
To those of you who may ask why we have basically carried this story, we should say that FNA has been seeking to inform its viewers of those stories which are ignored by the mainstream media, specially in the West. A part of our daily efforts is focused on such reports. In doing so, we sometimes try to cover some -- specially controversial -- topics with different reports to give our viewers a chance to study them from various perspectives.
And there it is, in a nutshell, or nutcase. Fars is essentially off the hook re. where this entire story originated.
Timeline: It all started in December, with Hellyer's televised appearance where he continued his claims about ETs on Earth -- claims he's made for years.
Hellyer was one of many speakers who testified in front of six former members of Congress at the 2013 Citizen Hearing On Disclosure in Washington, D.C.
Shortly after Hellyer's TV rant -- purely coincidental with the ongoing Snowden stories that have seeped into our consciousness -- all of a sudden, whatdoesitmean.com comes out with a story that combines Snowden's leaked documents with Hellyer's comments, and places that far-fetched nonsense into a general environment where people often believe anything they read, especially when the elements of UFOs, aliens, world domination and Nazis are tied together.
That's exactly what happened with this story. In fact, the only thing we know for sure is that Hellyer was on television. But, even that is filled with credibility gaps, as the former Canadian defense minister hasn't come up with even a shred of real evidence of the things he talks about.
Where does credibility begin and end here?
Here are some excerpts from the Hellyer interview after Sophie Shevardnadze asks him why he believes UFOs are as real as airplanes flying over our heads:
Because I know that they are. As a matter of fact, they've been visiting our planet for thousands of years. ... There's just so much evidence, if anybody will take time off to do a little bit of research and study. Some people are interested and will take the time, and others just say, 'Oh, you know it's just fantasy.' Since I've been public on this subject, I get probably three or four emails a week from all over the world, from people who've actually witnessed sightings, and some of them who've actually been on the ships, and some of them who've actually been transported to another planet.
The latest reports that I've been getting from various sources are that there are about 80 different species (of aliens) and some of them look just like us and they could walk down the street and you wouldn't know if you walked past one. They are what we call Nordic Blondes and also the Tall Whites who were actually working with the U.S. Air Force in Nevada. They're able to get away with that -- they had a couple of their ladies dressed as nuns go into Las Vegas to shop and they weren't detected.
Here's the complete interview with Paul Hellyer broadcast on Russia Today's "SophieCo":
All that's really left are the continuing questions about Hellyer and why he maintains his story about aliens visiting Earth. If only he could offer some real, tangible evidence for his claims. That would be nice.