Disinformation Continued? The Exploration of Project Beta, Truth Amongst The Fictions
Nov 19, 2010
It's difficult to reach any profound conclusion about the volume of events discussed in PROJECT BETA: THE STORY OF PAUL BENNEWITZ, NATIONAL SECURITY, AND THE CREATION OF A MODERN UFO MYTH; much like the title alone, the information presented isn't necesssarily additive to any other result but "don't believe what you were just told."
Of course, this fact goes hand-in-hand with the book's subject: Bennewitz, an inventor and businessman, discovers possibly 'irrefutable' scientific evidence that something 'alien' is taking place involving the DOD's Sandia Labs. Monitored and decoded radio transmissions give the appearance that the Earth is being considered ripe for invasion by an unseen alien force. Rather than find his efforts stymied by the military, Bennewitz finds himself a sort of confidante by a plethora of insiders, all whom poke and prod the man to continue his work in possibly fradulent avenues. For the next decade, he finds himself pushed to his psychological limit, believing that he has somehow been placed in a clandestine race to save mankind partnered with Air Force investigators unwilling to do anything about it.
Of course, the principle problem with constructing an account about disinformation is that the author is showing you his cards at the poker table. Greg Bishop knows that the reader will understand the nature of disinformation as he's stripped the theory naked as part of the story he's telling. However, what he doesn't do very well is 'reconstruct' these events to any ultimate conclusion, despite Bennewitz's obvious mental abuse. Few of the details Bishop discusses can be substantiated because of the massive disinformation campaign, and any reasonably intelligent person can probably reach the midpoint of PROJECT BETA and have the revelation, "How am I to know for certain that I'm not the one being misinformed here?"
Still, author Bishop manages to craft a novel that is equal parts intriguing, frustrating, and confusing. The reader cares for Bennewitz -- despite some reservations about the man's stability -- and any reader would genuinely hope that some of these players who confess to be 'good friends' with the man would break their patterns of deceit long enough to help the inventor keep his fragile sanity. Bishop appears to justify their continued abuse of Bennewitz by routinely underscoring how much these men and women cared about the kindly inventor, but that becomes an increasingly difficult 'reality' to accept given Bennewitz's eventual destination.
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