Re-Blog: Surviving A Nuclear War


(Originally posted 8/29/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

With Trump and Kim Jong Un rattling their sabers, many minds are pondering what happens in the event of nuclear war. Although the gringa thinks both knuckleheads are simply posturing, trying to establish who is the big dog on the porch, their silly pissing contest also has me thinking. 


What kind of plans are in place? Will the US government try to save most of the American people or is it every man for himself? Please do tell, government by the people and for the people, is there a plan for these here people?


According to de-classified CIA documents that date back as early as the Carter administration, along with presidential archives, there is good news. Nuclear war survival plans do, indeed exist. The big questions is, “The survival of WHOM?”


Early plans were developed to survive a nuclear holocaust with the old Soviet Union. Although the general public believes a tense but effective truce is in place between the US and Russia based on what is commonly called the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine, the gringa says, “Um, not so fast.”


The US government doesn’t really have any faith in such a doctrine. That’s why, since the 1950s, preparations have always been underway and updated for the the country to survive an all-out nuclear war. Where the government is concerned, the needs of the rabble are low on the priority list. Topping their list of problems to solve are:

  1. Can the presidency survive a nuclear war?
  2. If so, what would it do after a nuclear holocaust?
  3. How is the identification of the Commander-In-Chief verified and confirmed for the public?
  4. Who is responsible for official identification?
  5. How will a surviving president fulfill the 3 main duties of office: lead the government, perform as head of state, and command the armed forces?

Yeah, sorry folks, not a single word about the survival of the US populace. Although one can infer that surely there is still a plan to save us all. Otherwise, what point would there be to maintain a presidency? Who would there be to govern and rebuild the radiated ravaged nation?

To address the 5 predicaments of a post-apocalyptic presidency, President Carter came up with the bright idea of Presidential Directive 58. He issued this directive near the end of his term. Ronald Reagan added his own flourish to the directive in 1983. It is this amended version which would be in effect should Trump drag us into nuclear war with North Korea. 

Now, the gringa would like to inform the dear reader that key to survival is preparedness. Although we Americans would like to think that our government has our best interest at heart, the lack of drills, preparedness training, community evaluation and basic instruction and education on surviving a nuclear holocaust testifies to a different reality.

There are all sorts of crises that will erupt in the event of nuclear disaster. And as far as the gringa can tell, the public’s lack of any training and education makes it completely reliant on agencies like FEMA or the local National Guardsmen posted in our local communities.

While each federal agency is fortunate enough to have a fully-stocked, state-of-the-art underground facility to escape to, where do us regular folk go? The best advice I’ve heard so far is to tape up the windows and don’t use conditioner when you wash your hair. Really? Pretty sure the last thing the gringa will be interested in is using radiation contaminated tap water all over her body in the shower. But I digress.

The truth is, despite living in a country that touts the benefits of an armed populace to preserve freedom, that same well-armed populace has never been tapped by the government to create a credible and functional civil defense program. Do we then assume that the US government’s lack of attention to the welfare of civilians is a Darwinian approach? Do they just leave us to duck and cover, the survivors hunkering down, and at the end of this survival of the fittest exercise the new American emerges? The deserving American? The American who had true grit? That sounds about right.

If nuclear war happens, there is an expectation that martial law will be declared. Resources will be under government control and re-distributed as they see fit. Does that mean resources will be strategically deployed to areas the government considers to be the most likely to benefit? Will a capitalist attitude affect redistribution decisions? Will they consider return-on-investment more important than equitable distribution? Could some communities get nothing at all because, strategically speaking, they are just not worth depleting precious, limited resources?

These are the nasty little questions that will always be asked. That is exactly why politicians have no intention of bringing up such a nasty little subject. And that is just one more reason the nation does not pursue a goal of organizing a credible civil defense program involving actual civilians. When the government keeps secrets and makes secret plans, there is only one reason for doing so. The public will not like any of it.  

Government survival plans have relocation sites scattered across the nation at about 60 sites, mostly concentrated in southern and east coast states so as to be near DC. The dear reader can bet their bottom dollar that those are the areas that will receive the surest and largest portion of re-distributed resources. If you happen to live on the west coast you better have some really good walking shoes. Because, chances are, if you want to eat you will have to head east.

In the end, the US government doesn’t look at Americans as people when it comes to nuclear holocaust survival plans. They just look at us as numbers. And the magic number is that the government expects only about 80% of us to survive. Doesn’t sound too bad unless you happen to be among the unfortunate 20%.  And the stockpile of resources is not designated so much for the civilian population’s continued survival but more so that the government can rebuild its own stability and strength.

That also means that, in order to rebuild critical infrastructure like communications and transportation, survivors may also find themselves pressed into service and labor. The gringa’s advice is that if you value your freedom as an American, start organizing within your own community. 

Don’t count on the government to show up with the cavalry and pass out bottled water and diapers. Muster your real American spirit and make a plan to do it all on your own, along with the help of your neighbors. Otherwise you might have to become an indentured servant for clean water and a bunk. In other words, a post-apocalypse American slave. 

The video below has some nuclear war survival tips. If you want to skip the bluster and politics and get straight to the tips, start at the 3:25 mark.

Source: 

Image Credit: A Sheep No More

Video Credit: The Economist

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US Capitalism Is The Cause Of War & Terror


(Originally posted 7/13/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

How important is it to really know and understand history? There is the common sense approach to history that knowing it empowers one to avoid making the same mistakes of the past. But ignorance of history can be disastrous and deadly. It can result in an endless cycle of war, chaos and suffering. And, quite often, a society can know nothing at all about certain historical events until decades later. That is because many things that a government does is done in secret.

It is not until enough time passes that it is safe to de-classify information, when agents are no longer operating in the field on a particular mission, that the public can discover critical history. Just because a person reads a history book in grade school, high school or college, one must not lapse into a false sense of security that they have a firm grasp on history. Because most of the devastating events occurring in the present are the fallout of an unknown past. These past catalysts, shrouded in mystery, must be discovered if the right solutions are to be found.

For example, a top secret US strategy that took place nearly 50 years ago is vital to understanding what is going on today in the world. Without an in-depth look at the responsibility of the US in Operation Condor, a person devoted to freedom might continue to mindlessly support America’s position in “spreading democracy”. Understanding Operation Condor means recognizing that endless wars and terrorism can be laid right at the feet of the US government.

Although Operation Condor was the brain-child of the governments of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil, the US was also complicit and made the execution of operations possible. Without the technical and military support provided during the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan presidential administrations, the world would likely have not seen the mass terror it experienced then and is experiencing now. Perhaps thousands of Central and South Americans, and victims worldwide, might have survived rather than experienced horrific tortures and executions.

Facts gleaned from de-classified NSA documents concluded that a September 1976 car bombing in Washington DC was directly tied to Operation Condor. Follow the trail of events and come to understand the long-term implications:

–          -June 4, 1976, State Document 137156: In March 24, 1976 a military coup occurred in Argentina. Major leaders were exiled. Many of these exiles died by violent assassinations. This State Department document ordered “immediate action” in response to these events in order to stabilize neighboring nations.

–          -July 2, 1976, CIA Weekly Summary: Operation Condor reports 6 governments (Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil) coordinated efforts to raid a Buenos Aires human rights office in order to steal records about refugees so the governments could squash dissent. Leftist leader Edgardo Enriquez was consequently arrested, turned over to Chile and executed.

–          -July 17, 1976: CIA obtains documents revealing Operation Condor plans to execute Pinochet’s political rival. The CIA intercepted a document from Chile’s Chief of Intelligence Col. Manuel Contreras to Paraguay intelligence requesting assistance for Chile’s agents. Paraguay was to supply the Chilean spy/assassins with false Paraguay passports. This mission was leaked to the US Ambassador who consequently reported it to the CIA.

NOTE: The “leak” to the US Ambassador was the first step in US subversion to create plausible deniability. The US Ambassador was simply a patsy for a US plan to create circumstances to “save face” politically. The CIA already knew the assassination plot when informed by the Ambassador. In fact, it was the CIA who created the “leak” yet disguised the CIA as the source of information.

If the US had wanted to prevent the assassination of Letelier, they could have done so, yet they did not. The only thing they desired was plausible deniability of their involvement and complicity in the mission.

Why would the US support the assassination of Letelier? Could it be that his political position as a strong leftist socialist is not the kind of political leader that benefits the interests of the US, like exploitation of natural resources? Such a leader would do what was best for the people he represented rather than the corporations of a foreign power.

On the other hand, a far right extremist, like Pinochet, is interested only in amassing more power and the wealth that such power can accumulate. For a country like the US, where corporate interests come first, Pinochet was a devil the nation was willing to deal with.

–         – July 20, 1976, Uruguay/US Embassy Communication: Uruguay’s Ambassador Ernest Siracusa defends the actions as sovereign nations taking military action against domestic terrorism. Siracusa points out that the US has long urged southern neighbors to take internal security more seriously so why condemn their actions when they do? He explains that if these nations do not provide for the safety of their populations, they will be alienated by the rest of the world.

–          -July 30, 1976, CIA Report: Operation Condor gains more power. Expanding past intelligence gathering, spies are now authorized to locate and assassinate guerilla leaders. Executions were planned in Paris and London. The CIA officially became an international political assassination organization through Operation Condor by providing intelligence and military training to Operation Condor operatives.

–          -August 3, 1976 Bureau of Inter-American Affairs (State Dept ARA): US ARA Assistant Secretary for Latin America, Harry Shlaudeman drafts a memo to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He summarizes that the 6 Latin American governments are engaging in, literally, World War 3 as a war on terrorism. They are using as their frontline assault force the CIA-trained assassins authorized by Operation Condor. And assassination plans are crafted based on CIA provided intelligence. Terrorist targets are defined as anyone who “opposes government policy”.

–          -August 18, 1976, State Document 209192: Secretary of State Henry Kissinger responds with instructions to US ambassadors of Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay to express to the respective foreign governments they work with that the US warns of serious moral and political problems if Operation Condor continues as an organization of political assassination cooperating with the CIA. In other words, the State Department of the US government appears to not have the power to reign in who the CIA trains as assassins and provides intelligence to. The US can only appeal to foreign nations not to cooperate with CIA-trained assassins.

NOTE: Who really runs the US? Who really has oversight and authority of the CIA?

–          -August 24, 1976 US Ambassador To Chile’s Response: Ambassador David Popper met with CIA station chief and deputy chief. The CIA chiefs advised Popper not to follow Kissinger’s instructions to request Argentine leader Pinochet to stop cooperating with Operation Condor’s organized assassinations because Pinochet might feel “insulted”. The CIA chiefs instead advise Popper to have the discussion with Argentina’s chief of DINA (Argentina’s equivalent of the CIA).

NOTE: Does the CIA have the authority to override the instructions of the Secretary of State, instructions given directly to a US Ambassador? Again, who runs the US? Who oversees and has authority over the CIA? Whose interest does the CIA actually represent?

–          -August 27, 1976 ARA/CIA Meeting Memo: It is decided not to ask Pinochet to disengage from Operation Condor assassination plans. Other alternatives for dealing with Pinochet are discussed.

NOTE: Without authorization from his boss, Secretary of State Kissinger, the US Ambassador complies with the CIA’s direction.

–          -September 20, 1976 State Dept ARA Orders: US Ambassadors are instructed to take no action regarding Operation Condor and that US opposition to assassination plans under Operation Condor have become a matter of official record.

NOTE: The State Department now follows a policy aligning with CIA recommendations: inaction which allows Operation Condor to continue unleashed, yet creating an “official” public record of opposition to the operation which contradicts US practical position of being supportive and complicit. In other words, the US could say to Americans and the world, “We are the good guys.” while at the same time enabling and empowering terrorism. And this type of policy was established by the CIA, not the democratically elected presidential administration.

–          -September 21, 1976 US State Dept documents 6177 & 6276: US Ambassador to Argentina, Robert Hill, summarizes his meeting with Argentine military ruler General Videla: Hill does not mention US opposition to Operation Condor’s organized assassination plans. The pair discuss human rights. Hill criticizes the murder of a priest and mass killing of residents of a small town. Reminds Videla that the US views these actions as violations of human rights. Videla’s response was to point the finger at US support of such actions seen in Kissinger’s perspective that they were a form of getting “terrorism under control as quickly as possible”.

NOTE: Basically, Kissinger is engaging in double-speak. Officially, the US condemns assassinations and government’s murdering civilians en masse. Unofficially, the US encourages any measure taken by a government to control its population and stabilize the nation. In other words, no one can ever believe a word out of an American official’s mouth when they try to portray the US as the “good guys”.

–          -September 21, 1976: Orlando Letelier, political opponent of Augusto Pinochet, is assassinated with a car bomb while living in exile in the US, the assassination directly ordered by Pinochet.

The dear reader can follow the source links to further study the many de-classified documents. It is important to note that no politician is going to reveal motives in a document. Often, such documents contain double-speak as a means to have an official source that can be pointed to for plausible deniability and absolve guilt. But when a person reads critically and applies sound logic to how certain actions or words lead to specific results, it becomes clear that there are no accidents, ever, in government policy or diplomacy. Every word or action is carefully chosen and crafted in order to bring about a specific result.

And the take away from Operation Condor is that the US had a vital interest in having Pinochet, a murderous tyrant, at the helm of Chile’s government. And copper was at the heart of US interests in Chile during this era. Up until the mid-1960s, US business owned the greater part of the Chilean copper industry. And it was incredibly lucrative for American owned Anaconda Mining and Gran Mineria.

Once Chile’s political left gained power in the mid 1960s, the US quickly became disenchanted with Chile’s socialist president, Salvador Allende, and his right hand man, Letelier. The particular reason for this disenchantment was because Letelier was highly influential in Allende’s policy to nationalize Chile’s copper mines. The US justified overt and covert action to overthrow Allende with President Kennedy’s 1961 policy, “The Alliance for Progress”.

JFK’s policy had nothing to do with supporting the values of democracy as a part of “progress”. Rather, it was a policy to preserve capitalism by authorizing action to prevent the spread of socialism throughout the hemisphere. Basically, it was a political position of arrogance and aggression toward any continental neighbor whose population democratically elected a representative government committed to a socialist model that put the interests of the population above corporate wealth interests, hence exploitive US investors.

This policy is nothing more than a means for the US to continue to wage war as an open aggressor and covert de-stabilizer in the name of capitalism, not freedom. And it has led to the US being an originator and sponsor of terrorism for decades. If the world would really like to see terrorism end, then it will have to commit itself to first putting an end to capitalism.

Without the massive wealth corporate sponsors accumulate to power their war engines, US terror and war can no longer be staged. Without the consequential practical enslavement of masses of people exploited in the process of creating this wealth, corporate warfare can no longer victimize weakened and powerless populations. When a population is truly free, they can resist corporate warmongers and bring their terror to a grinding halt.
US strategy is to condition Americans to believe that they live in a nation whose primary interest is democracy. Free and open elections occur regularly to “prove” this point. First amendment protection is vigorously upheld to “prove” this point. Americans become conditioned to believe that their nation is noble and good and true. But a nation that truly believes in democracy would pursue this ideology everywhere else in the world. The US doesn’t.
Gross luxury and indulgence is marketed in the US as the key to happiness. Americans are conditioned to believe that the ability to afford luxury is what defines a person as success. Americans are conditioned, like good capitalists, to see the homeless person as a person who deserves their misery. American capitalists are conditioned to believe that socialists or communists are thieves who destroy creativity and work ethos. This conditioning creates an arrogant capitalist population incapable of true self-examination which requires overcoming the challenge of accepting inconvenient and painful truths. It creates a cold-hearted population who ignores the hypocrisy of calling itself a “Christian” nation while at them same time mocking and rejecting the Christian value of being its down-and-out brother’s keeper.
In America, the illusion of democracy and Christian values are only tools used by the US government to delude the American people. These political devices are wielded so expertly that most citizens are no match for the well-honed propaganda machine the US government works 24/7. It is a lie that America is the defender of democracy and Christian values.
You see, while the US government goes about building up American egos as the citizens of a capitalist democracy that is better and more honorable than any other country in the world, that same government is covertly, aggressively and violently pursuing, all around the world, its capitalist interests, eagerly partnering with brutal dictators and government leaders who are corrupt, willing to sell out their people and natural resources for a handful of gold.
And should a nation turn socialist or communist as a political maneuver to protect national resources and provide a better life for its people, shielding them from foreign exploitation, the US disregards every principal of democracy in order to purposely de-stabilize these nations.
They are then maneuvered into a civil war, so that the US can become the “good guys” who swoop in and set everything “right” again.
Americans, please stop falling for this crap. Want to end war? End capitalism in the US. End this government by the corporations, for the corporations. Do the entire world a favor. Wake up. Resist. Revolt.

Sources: NSA Archive

State Government History & Milestones

Villanova Law

Yale

Image Credit: IMG Arcade

Video Credit: CGTN America

If You Can’t Trust The CIA, Who Can You Trust?


Conspiracy theories seem to be taking center stage in American politics these days. That being said, the current president seems to find conspiracies believable. Now, why do so many people believe conspiracy theories? When Trump makes an outrageous claim with no evidence to back it up, why are there so many people jumping on the bandwagon?

Maybe it’s because some of the institutions in our country that should be reliable have done things that have damaged their credibility. When agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) lose public trust, then it’s easier to turn to conspiracy theories as reliable information. So how bad have the “good guys” become?

The CIA was created in 1947. It’s job has been to collect and analyze information about foreign nationals, organizations, businesses and government officials on the down-low. No one is supposed to know they are being spied on. However, thanks to whistle-blowers and the viral nature of the worldwide web, many of their nasty, little secrets have been revealed. And now, the CIA may have to suffer the consequences of being damaged goods unworthy of public trust.

Now, the gringa understands that the spy business is a nasty business. No one likes a snoop, a snitch or a turncoat. But, the reality is, if a country wants to know what the enemy is up to, spies are necessary. We may despise a spook, but without them, we would all be much more vulnerable. But what do we do if our spy community takes advantage of secrecy to abuse their broad authority? What if that results in our “good guys” morphing into the “bad guys”? Well, then the whole world is in trouble. For anyone to be truly safe, it has to be clear who, exactly, the good guys are.

Operation Ajax: Many people today may not even think about a serious power struggle in Iran that took place more than half a century ago. In 1951, the current Shah, Reza Pahlavi, survived an attempt on his life. It’s possible this assassination plan was cooked up by none other than his Prime Minister who wanted to reduce the Shah’s power. The CIA took interest because of, what else, oil. Particularly a British oil company, AIOC.

The Shah’s opposition considered this foreign oil company’s presence just one step too close to invasive British imperialism. Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh demanded an audit which AIOC refused. What’s a Prime Minister to do when his authority is insulted? Seize the company and make it a national asset.

The 1950s was the height of the Cold War. Every European nation, including the great island of the UK, kept oil supplies ready and at hand, their military capabilities primed should Russia strike. With British oil supplies in Iran threatened, which, in turn, threatened the readiness of their military, who else does the UK turn to but their powerful cousin across the pond, the US.

The Eisenhower Administration was on board, eager to flex its muscles for all the world to see. Especially Russia. And Mossadegh’s aggressive takeover of a British company was interpreted by Americans in the throes of the Red Scare as one step toward Communism for Iran.

Of course, the US was then “obligated” to save the vulnerable Iranians from Communism and “preserve” democracy”. Yep, the same old recycled story of preserving democracy as a cover for interfering in the sovereignty of a country in order to control their valuable oil.

The funny thing is that Prime Minister Mossadegh was actually an advocate of democracy. He, himself, was a democratically-elected official. His political goal was to diminish the power of the station of Shah who was a hereditary monarch. See the conflict here? In the end, however, the CIA launched Operation Ajax.  This is how things went down:

  • Iranian officials and mafiosos were bribed.
  • Staged protests were bought and paid for in every major Iranian city.
  • CIA agents were boots on the ground, using radios to transmit coverage of protests to the US and other media around the world.
  • The media covered this news, effectively convincing their respective populations that Tehran was about to be overwhelmed by a populist army of rebels. (Is this beginning to sound familiar, you know, like Syria?)
  • Mossadegh saw the writing on the wall and resigned.
  • The new Prime Minister was a British/US puppet who restored oil monies to the British and the power of the throne to the Shah.
  • The Shah responded with a security crackdown: secret police, traitors prisons for suspects without hearing or trial, and a major propaganda campaign to practically deify the Shah in the eyes of all Iranians.

Considering the outcome of the operation, it’s pretty easy to see that the “preserve democracy” justification was a sham.  The West’s only interest was to get rid of Mossadegh because the only goal was to preserve British control of oil interests. So long as the Shah followed the program, the CIA was more than happy for this bloody tyrant to stay in power.
As it turns out, the CIA, British and Americans were no real friend to the Shah. They stood idly by while Communists and radical Islamists oranized secretly right under his watchful nose. It took more than a quarter of a century but, eventually, these rebels rioted and drove the Shah right off his throne. This was followed up with massacres of those who supported the Shah and any foreigners in Iran exploiting oil interests. Children were not spared.

What happened next is the installation of the Shah most of us are more familiar with, Ayatollah Khomeni. And he was incredibly ruthless, loyal to none. Once in power he turned right around and slaughtered the leftists who had led the rebellion that ousted his predecessor. What a reward for loyalty! Tens of thousands were imprisoned. This is when the famous hostage crisis at the American Embassy occurred during the Carter administration.

Neighboring Iraq took full advantage of the chaos. They invaded Iran on their western border. It is this key invasion event that created a ripple effect of events that are still unfolding today in all that is going on in the Middle East. Because, if not for the original interference of the CIA in 1953 that resulted in a political and monarchal coup in Iran, the de-stabilization and continued conflict for superior power present today would not have resulted. Iran had been, up until that time, a stabilizing seat of power in the Middle East.

By organizing a revolution the CIA set the stage for Islamic radicals and political rebels to flourish. Nw these rebels and radicals knew that there were powerful nations willing to arm and supply them if profit and oil interests would be in their favor by doing so. The precedence was set for the US and UK to exploit mercenary Middle Eastern rebels and radicals as a means to maintain Western control of Middle East oil reserves. They would use these assets to threaten a leader who stepped out of line or replace a leader who dared to go rogue.

The gringa knows that lots of people like to blame the war on terror on George W. or other contemporary political actors. The reality is that the seeds were planted much, much earlier in history for this poisonous tree that is bearing toxic fruit today.

Sources: ColdWar.org

The Latin Library

CIA

Video Credits: AICBroadcast

Sparky & Boot, The Greatest Heroes of All Time


Although the gringa doesn’t often write about dogs, there is, indeed, a very soft space in my heart for them. In fact, I love them with all of my heart. I think dogs are just grand. In fact, in my own life I consider a dog named Sparky to be a hero. Alone on a rural farm with my oldest son who was about 5 years old at the time, Sparky took a bullet while keeping out an intruder. The gringa’s dear readers can only imagine how that dog lived a life fit for a king the rest of his days, even if he was left with one paw that resembled a flipper as a result of his wounds.

That being said, and after the gringa regained her composure and was able to type once again, I am moved to share the story of Boot.  He was the only retriever in a company of twenty military service dogs comprised of German Shepherds and Dobermans. Serving aboard an attack boat, he landed on the shores of enemy territory in Japan during World War II.

Trained at Camp Pendleton in California, Boot was actually the pet of a Sergeant and soon earned a reputation as playful, friendly and a bit of a character. When the ship was asea, the War Dogs were housed in kennels. Boot, however, got special privileges as a pet. He enjoyed more freedom as an on-board mascot and liked to cruise the decks, sneaking up behind unsuspecting sailors and grabbing their arms from off the railings. When forces landed at Iwo Jima, Boot was part of the invasion force and his later unexpected performance in battle made headlines in local papers.

The story goes that a Lieutenant arrived at camp and requested a War Dog to flush out some enemies forces who were hiding out in nearby caves. The Sergeant explained that all the War Dogs were currently out on duty and he would have to wait until their return. Noticing Boot, the Lieutenant asked why he could not be deployed. The Sergeant explained that, despite the fact that he had been fully trained as a War Dog, he was actually a pet, the troop’s mascot, but, since he knew all the battle commands, the Lieutenant could take him and give it a shot. The Lieutenant did just that and Boot was successful at clearing out three caves that were being held by enemy forces.

Because of Boot’s heroic actions, U.S. Marines were able to advance their battle line. Once Boot returned home, his fame followed him. He and his Sergeant made a guest appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

The nation’s very first Marine War Dog Training School was at Quantico Bay. It opened in January, 1943 under the command of Captain Samuel T. Brick. Fourteen Doberman Pinschers and a single Boxer were the first recruits. The Boxer, named Fritz, was the first dog sworn in as part of the Marine Corp. By the time Boot joined the Marine Corp, the United States had several War Dog training camps, including the one he attended at California’s Camp Pendleton.

When training began, War Dog recruits were ranked as Privates. Within three months successful recruits became Private First Class. Corporal rank was achieved at one year, Sergeant at two years and Platoon Sergeant at three years. Four year War Dog veterans became Gunner Sergeants and one year later they promoted to Master Gunner Sergeant. It was not uncommon for a War Dog to have a higher rank than their handler who might be fresh out of boot camp.

As the gringa envisions Boot fearlessly chasing the enemies in the close confines of the caves, she is taken back in her memory to the day Sparky took a bullet. He started out as a stray taken in as a pup. The gringa can’t count the number of times he tore up the fence and caused any number of problems. At one time the man of the house became so frustrated that he ordered the gringa to “take that dog to the pound”. The gringa obediently loaded Sparky up into the car the next day, drove to the pound, read the documents that required a signature releasing the dog for euthanasia in the event an adoption never happened, then burst into tears and loaded that darn dog back into the car and returned home.

When the man of the house returned and growled, “I thought I told you to take that dog to the pound.” The gringa calmly replied, “I did. You didn’t say anything about leaving him there.” And that was that. Although one would have never known from all the trouble he caused as a one year old spunky pup, that darn dog grew up to become the most amazing dog the gringa has ever known.

We lived on a farm and had loads of chickens. That came about because the gringa had the bright idea of becoming a chicken farmer. What wasn’t expected was that when it came time to sell hens to become roasters on family tables or roosters that might end up in a soup pot or illicit cockfighting ring, the gringa could not bear to destine the little creatures to such a fate. So, the chicken farm became an egg farm and rooster bachelor haven. It also became the hub for local chicken hawks looking to score an easy meal.

Although Sparky had no training whatsoever, it did not take him long to realize that the chickens were part of the family and he became their self-appointed protector. He would go bananas barking and lunging upward as far as he could, threatening chicken hawks that seemed to be miles away in the sky. If the chickens got too spread out as they foraged, he would herd them closer to the barn where they could skedaddle to safety if a chicken hawk showed up.

Sparky wasn’t our only dog on the farm. Living out in the country meant that it was not uncommon for people to dump an unwanted dog, expecting it to somehow revert to its wild nature and survive alone. We also had Dot, a dumped deaf Dalmatian, Trixie, a golden chow the man of the house found as a homeless golden puffball that the gringa relentlessly shaved down to the skin all year round, and Scooby, a fat black retriever looking thing who revealed an amazing rapid weight loss overnight which caused us to realize that she was only fat because she was pregnant. So then we had 6 more dogs on our hands, which we eventually found homes for.

Out of all of these dogs who had a grand farm dog life, Sparky was the only one who exhibited remarkable intelligence. The others were all fine dogs in their own respects but there is no doubt that Sparky alone stood out as a hero.

For instance, there was the day a neighbor moved in about 5 acres over. She was a single woman who, the gringa believes, must have had a very tragic story. She was not just reclusive but obsessed with security. She installed an electrified security fence that was 8-10’ tall around her house. If that weren’t enough she put in a small shooting range and was outside all the time practicing her marksmanship with her pistols. Then she got some dogs. And not just any dogs.

You see, we lived on the flatland prairie north of Dallas at that time. A person could step outside and practically see for miles. And sound carried even further. It didn’t take too many trips to the barn before the gringa witnessed the new neighbor outside her secure perimeter with four full-grown German Shepherds and a professional handler in a protective suit training the dogs to attack. I tell ya, the gringa went from thinking she had a recovering victim next door to considering a full-fledged, dangerous lunatic was near at hand.

After weeks of training, the handler no longer came. The neighbor, however, continued to take the dogs outside the security fence and work with them on the open prairie. Her confidence in controlling them was misplaced.

One day, while I was outside working and our oldest son was doing his thing on the swingset, the gringa could hear the whistles and commands that indicated the nut next door was working with her dogs. Soon her tone of voice changed. The gringa heard crazy barking and turned to see her pack of attack dogs high-tailing it across the fields, making a bee-line for me and mine. I threw down my feed buckets, ran and scooped up my son, threw him through the back door of the house then hoped I had time to lock the gate on the pen to the barn where my donkeys were happily munching away on some fresh hay I had just laid out. I gave the chickens up for dead and started calling the dogs to me.

I locked up the pen and headed back for the house eyeing the distance that was quickly closing between me and the German Shepherds. I realized I had to make a decision. I might not even have time to make it into the house myself, there was no way to even attempt penning up my dogs. All of them were outside dogs, housed in the barn at night and during bad weather. These unmannered barn dogs were all going to have to go in the house with me. I didn’t care and they were more than happy to follow and see what the mystery was all about in this one structure they had never been allowed to explore.

As I turned to close and lock the patio door, seeing the German Shepherds lunge through the gap between barbed wire strands of our fence I realized that Sparky was still out on the deck barking like a maniac at the intruders. I called and called but he ignored me and stood his ground. In the midst of the chaos and fear it took some time before I realized that his refusal to obey me was because, in the confusion, Trixie, still quite young, had run under the deck instead of into the house. I could see her trembling in the gaps between the wooden steps. He was protecting her. Crap. Now what does the gringa do?

The gringa instructs her 5-year-old son to man the back door. The gringa runs to the front door on the other side of the house, slips out and under the porch, belly crawls under the house, grabs Trixie, crawls back to the front, puppy in tow, still listening to the ruckus Sparky is making, hoping he survives but grateful for the distraction so I can safely rescue Trixie. By now I can hear the shouts from my neighbor who has obviously been making her way across the pasture to get her crazed dog pack.

I get back in the house, dump Trixie and load my shotgun with birdshot. I get my son out of the way who has been cheering Sparky but then suddenly becomes very serious when he sees his dirty, cobweb covered mother with an enormous gun in her hand (and most likely a very mean, murderous gleam in her eye).

I walk out beside Sparky and yell at the dogs to get. They go bananas, even crazier, and the gringa is pretty sure that she has just poured gasoline onto a fire. I don’t dare touch Sparky and try to drag him in the house. He is so pissed he might just bite me. The German Shepherds are not listening to their master as she uses her stupid dog whistle from the other side of the fence. Finally, the gringa makes her most critical decision. I maneuver over to the side of the deck slowly and land a blast of birdshot on the behind of the dog in the most unfortunate position of the outside of the pack. I never in my life thought a dog could jump straight up like a cat. However, when they are shot with birdshot in the backside, they do.

For a split second everything was quiet. We were all in shock. It was like the dogs were saying, “Did she just shoot one of us?” And Sparky was thinking, “What should I do next?” And then it was all chaos again. The neighbor lady was about to stroke out in her madness that I had just shot one of her dogs, not realizing it was only a flesh wound. One of her dogs was wailing in pain, the others were circling the deck, eyeing the steps as they prepared to rip me apart, and the gringa took advantage of Sparky’s momentary lapse back into reason to grab his collar and back up to the door. Thankfully my son was still performing his door duty because it promptly opened when my own backside struck it.

When the man of the house returned home from work, true to 5-year-old form, our son streaked right out the door and before his father could set one foot out of his truck, he promptly tattled on his mother and said, “Mom shot the neighbor’s dog today.”

And who knows, Sparky’s future injury may have very well been payback. The gringa will never know. All she does know is that it was afternoon naptime for her and a very grubby 6-year-old boy about six months after the gringa shot the neighbor’s dog. We had been sound asleep for about one hour when there came a strange, repeating pound on the front door accompanied by whines and yips. Dog sounds, yes, but not the usual dog sounds our little pack made.

I went to the front door and found Scooby and Dot jumping up on the door and the side of the house in distress. Scooby, like a retriever, took my hand in her mouth and tugged. Dot just made circles and strange yipping sounds. I followed, puzzled. They led me to the front gate of our driveway that was about the length of a football field. It couldn’t be seen from the house because of a cluster of trees that surrounded a small watering hole directly in front of the house. When I got to the gate there sat Sparky, shivering in pain and shock as Trixie comforted him by licking his wounded paw that would become a flipper after removing all the pieces of shattered bone in order to avoid amputating the whole darn leg.

I rushed Sparky to the vet not knowing exactly what had happened. I wouldn’t learn the truth until I talked to our other neighbor. He was a horse trainer and almost always outside working on his property which was across the road from me. He only noticed what happened after he heard the shot. He saw a person, too far away for any other details, running down the road and eventually out of sight. By the time he had put up his horses and come over to check on us we were already at the vet’s office. He said he saw the enormous cloud of dust I left behind as I drove like a  bat out of you know where.

When the vet found out that Sparky had been injured in the line of duty, he was very impressed. He knew that saving Sparky was going to be very expensive and that the gringa was not made of money. He offered to save Sparky for free if I would let him keep my hero dog. The gringa said no thank you, that a certain little boy would never forgive me for such a betrayal, and chose to max out a credit card instead.

Despite my own notoriety with a shotgun, it was really Sparky’s fame that ended up stretching far and wide throughout the local high school. When he reached the end of his days at 17-years-old and the appointment was made with the veterinarian to ease his passing, for three days high school students that were classmates and friends with our children made their way over for one last visit with Sparky. You see, since our kids were school age, Sparky faithfully made the morning and afternoon pick-up and drop-off trips to the school. Often he was hanging out the window, mooching a scratch from any passerby. Everyone knew Sparky, the dog with a limping flipper who was a hero. And now the gringa is crying again.

Sources:

www.uswardogs.org

k9history.com

 

Let It Rain, Let It Rain, Let It Rain


Although Olympic focus has been trained on Rio, the gringa would like to take the dear reader back in time and to the other side of the globe to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. When China was preparing to host this historical event, pollution was high on the list of problems to solve. Although everyone is probably familiar with the tactic of temporary bans on driving & factory operations as drastic measures to help reduce smog. What many may not be aware of is China’s ambitious plans to control the weather, a $30 million dollar plan that they are still working on today. A plan to shoot into the heavens special “bullets” filled with salt and other minerals. What in the world are those crazy Chinese scientists up to? Apparently, nothing new! They’re just trying to make it rain.

Officially called “weather modification”, China helped clear their smog-filled skies during the Olympic games by making it rain, rain, rain. They are not alone in being rainmakers. Fifty-two other countries have developed their own rainmaking strategies. Ten of these countries joining the rainmaking team only five years ago. Rainmaking countries include: Canada, United States, Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Australia, India, Senegal, South Africa, Russia and the list goes on. You can see the map created by the World Meteorological Organization to see who all is in on the rainmaking game.

The gringa is rather ashamed to admit that as for the United States, the origins of its weather modification program is not as noble as China’s. For the U.S., it all started with Operation Popeye which was a top secret program that weaponized weather during the Vietnam War. Although I’m sure the scientists who worked for General Electric had noble intentions, they probably had no idea that the U.S. government was going to take their technology and rain down silver iodide on the poor Vietnamese people.

But I digress. Back to China. In addition to creating rain to saturate polluted air and get rid of smog, they also wanted to prevent rain from spoiling events taking place in the stadium that was dubbed the “Bird’s Nest”. To achieve this amazing god-like feat, the Chinese implemented a 3 stage weather modification strategy:

  1. Officials tracked weather patterns with satellites, planes, radar and supercomputer.
  2. 2 aircraft, 20 rocket launcher & artillery sites sprayed silver iodide and dry ice into remote cloud systems that might approach the stadium so they would dump their rain before arrival.
  3. Nearby cloud systems filled with rain were seeded with chemicals that shrink the water droplets thus ensuring that the clouds would have time to pass over the Bird’s Nest without dropping their rain.

Now was all of this really necessary? The Beijing Olympics were held in August which is a high precipitation season for China so, yes, the gringa supposes that it was necessary. Consequently, China’s success in being a master rainmaker or rainstaller has resulted in China being the world leader in the weather modification sciences. They have more than 1,500 professionals devoted to all things necessary in controlling the weather: scientists, pilots, flight crews. Also proudly serving in the program are tens of thousands of peasant farmers who are more than happy to help their government blast away a cloud when crops have been inundated or have clouds seeded during times of drought. Peasants are on call to operate more than 7,000 aircraft guns and almost 5,000 rocket launchers when called to report to rainmaking duty.

The gringa is not too sure what to make of all this. For the most part I am the type to believe that the less we interfere with nature, the better. However, considering how bad mankind has screwed things up where climate change is concerned, it may just be that Mother Nature could use a few rainmakers. So, I say to the Chinese:

Let it rain. Let it rain. Let it rain.

 

Sources:

www.technologyreview.com

www.wmo.int

uspto.gov

fas.org

wikipedia.org/OperationPopeye

Image Credit:  cloudfront.net

 

 

Asteroids Are A Blast


If you are an amateur stargazer who enjoys viewing interesting cosmic objects through a telescope, there are a few galactic peepshows you want to make sure you execute before the subjects disappear forever. Russia has announced their intention to test their intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) by blasting to smithereens certain near-earth objects (NEOs). The spacerocks in their crosshairs range in size from  20-50 meters (65-165 feet). Potential targets are asteroids as well as meteorites that have broken off from asteroids  which orbit the Sun and are capable of surviving the atmospheric burn of falling to Earth, posing the risk of slamming into the surface of our planet. Russia’s target practice could serve to save lives which usually runs counter to the whole point of ICBMs.

The first scheduled missile test is slated for 2036. That is when scientists expect asteroid 99942 Apophis to come within a dangerous close proximity to Earth. Although NASA has definitively ruled out the possibility of an impact, it is still expected to be a close enough encounter that Russia believes it will be within missile range. What weapons junkie could resist such an opportunity?

However, these high grade shoot-en-anny toys require upgrades. It takes days to properly prepare the fuel the rockets use. That means that Russia’s current ICBM’s cannot be rapidly deployed to destroy a meteorite that Earthlings may only detect within hours of coming into range, such as the Chelyabinsk meteorite. It will take millions of dollars to make the necessary changes. However, when they are completed Russia’s weapons of war will be converted to defensive weapons keeping the entire world safe. Instead of Russia launching people killers, they will be launching people saving asteroid blasters. Does that mean that by means of defensive measures we all become Russian by proxy? Or perhaps that simply means for a brief moment, we all become one united human race? Either way, the gringa thinks the sentiment is sweet.

Bottom line for backyard stargazers is that if you want to have a chance of seeing Apophis, you will get your last chance in about thirteen years. The asteroid was discovered twelve years ago and is a bit larger than three football fields. A pass of the asteroid is expected in 2029. This may be humanity’s last chance to view it before it’s 2036 pass that could be its final one if Russia gets its proposal approved and succeeds in blasting Apophis to infinity and beyond.

Although the 2036 pass only has a one in a million chance of impacting Earth, it is still an historical event where astronomy is concerned. Apophis will be the largest asteroid that has ever come as close to Earth as it is projected to. It will zoom by almost 19,000 miles over the heads of unsuspecting Earthlings. Although there are other asteroid’s that pass closer, such as 2012 DA14 which does a 17,000 mile altitude flyby, Apophis is much, much larger than the nearer pipsqueaks.

It is amazing how many NEOs travel by our home planet. Astronomy is a career where there is never a dull moment if you are entrusted with the task of tracking NEOs and projecting trajectories.  This is a very important job to determine courses in order to protect all of humanity from the possibility of a collision. For kids intrigued with outer space and who don’t mind the math, astronomy offers the opportunity of a lifetime. To get a taste of the work they do, follow their reports on NASA’s Asteroid Watch program and stay current with updates through Twitter.

Sources: tass.ru

www.nasa.gov

Image Source:  iluminaci.com

 

 

Operation Highjump – Not The Launch of a Dark Ops Space Program


Certain conspiracy theorists (CTs) have put forth that there is a dark ops space program called Dark Fleet that is an offshoot of technology and goals that originated with secret societies that organized during the heyday of Nazi Germany. The members of these organizations were not so much devoted Nazis but, rather, exploited the resources and power of the Nazi party in order to realize their fantastical dream of reuniting with a superpower, extra-terrestrial, master race.

After the Nazi empire crumbled when they lost World War II, many of the members of the secret societies relocated to other countries and kept their dreams and research alive, supposedly developing advanced weapons and spacecraft technology. As proof, CTs offer up the records of Admiral Byrd’s expeditions to the North and South Poles. The gringa says, “Well, let’s take a look at those records.”

There is a wealth of information about Admiral Byrd but the gringa wants to stick with facts and eyewitness accounts. To begin with, a look at official military records. Is there anything interesting there? Hmmm. Let us see…

From 1946-1947 the U.S. Navy had Operation Highjump underway. This operation was overseen by the U.S. Navy Antarctic Developments Program. Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, Jr. was Officer in Charge, leading Task Force 68, and Rear Admiral Richard H. Cruzen was commanding officer. When these two admirals put to sea, they were joined by 4,700 seamen and airmen, 13 military ships, and 33 military aircraft. To achieve the goal of establishing a research base, Little America IV, it sounds like an awful lot of firepower was put into play, but, that’s just the gringa’s curious little mind in overdrive. It could have been perfectly normal to pack all that weaponry on an Antarctic excursion.

The published objectives of the mission were:

  • Personnel training and equipment testing in subzero temperatures
  • Evaluate how to establish, maintain and utilize Antarctic military bases and scout sites
  • Develop techniques for creating, maintaining and using military bases in ice
  • Make new discoveries of the following Antarctic conditions: electromagnetics, geological, geographic, hydrographic, and meteorological

Up until this time it was primarily the British who had spent time exploring Antarctica with eleven expeditions from 1898-1945. Other countries who had explored the earth’s South Pole region: France (2 missions); Germany (3) missions; Belgium, Japan, Norway, and Sweden (all a single mission). Operation High Jump was the second U.S. mission, following the conclusion of Byrd’s initial exploratory expedition four years earlier.

The fleet of ships arrived in the Antarctic December 12, 1946 and immediately set up weather monitoring stations. Within 12 days of arrival aircraft was in the air flying reconnaissance missions. Some of the ships that were in the flotilla:

  • Henderson – Destroyer class, commissioned in 1945 and served with distinction for 35 years receiving (8) battle stars for service in the Korean War and (7) battle stars and a commendation for service in the Vietnam War; armament at the time of Operation Highjump: (6) 5” guns, (12) 40mm anti-aircraft (AA) guns; (11) 20mm AA guns; (10) 21” torpedo tubes
  • Cacapon – Cimarron class fleet oiler; commissioned 1943, decommissioned 1973 and scrapped; armament: (1) 5” gun; (4) 3” guns; (4) twin 40mm AA guns; (4) twin 20mm AA guns
  • Currituck – Currituck class seaplane tender, nicknamed “Wild Goose”; commissioned June 1944, decommissioned October 31 1967, scrapped 1971; armament: (4) 5” guns

Eighteen days after arrival (3) men were killed when their plane crashed during a blizzard. Six crewmen survived the crash and were rescued two weeks later. The remains of the plane and the three lost airmen have never been recovered. The aircraft they were flying was a Martin PBM Mariner. This craft is a patrol bomber flying boat. Standard armament for the Mariners were: (8) 50” machine guns, 2 tons of bombs or depth charges or (2) Mark 13 torpedoes. The gringa can only ask why a bomber would be needed in an exploratory, scientific expedition in Antarctica?

An interesting thing to note is that there was a Navy chaplain serving on the mission. He held a religious service and consecrated Antarctica. The gringa scratches her head and wonders if this is typical or strange? I’m no Catholic so I wouldn’t know.

New Year’s Day, 1947, American dive team began exploring underneath Antarctic ice shelves. The gringa supposes this may have been related to search efforts to locate the downed bomber. No big mystery there.

Two weeks later an airfield was constructed and named “Little America IV”. Within a month, late February, weather conditions worsened and the expedition was terminated. The return trip home would have the expedition making a stop in March along the South American coast. Admiral Byrd gave interviews and a Chilean newspaper, El Mercurio, reported. The most interesting quote the gringa will share is often cited by CTs to prove that something dark was afoot underneath the ice:

“… Byrd warned today that the United States should adopt measures of protection against the possibility of an invasion of the country by hostile planes coming from the polar regions.”

Now, was Byrd’s warning because he thought something sinister was going on secretly at either the North or South Pole? No. That’s not what his warning was about. CTs take that important quote out of context. They don’t usually reveal the rest of the interview which explains Byrd’s reasoning.

He recognized that technology meant the world was shrinking. America was no longer safe from enemy invasion because of isolation and distance. It was well within the capabilities of other nations to fly from one side of the globe, passing over either pole, and reach the U.S. Byrd was not fearful of a threat from an extra-terrestrial master race living within the earth and Antarctica being its headquarters.

So why all the firepower on an exploratory mission? It was right after World War II. The U.S. had already experienced the surprise air assault of Pearl Harbor. The militaries of the Allied Powers knew that Germany had been developing new weapons and technologies. The Navy had no idea what to expect and was taking no chances. The gringa says, “I don’t blame them.” So, no big suspicious, nefarious plot behind packing all the big guns on an expedition to Antarctica.

Just a few of the vessels that comprised the fleet’s complement:

  • Sikorsky R-4 helicopter
  • (2) Coastguard icebreakers
  • US Navy icebreaker
  • (2) Seaplane Tenders
  • (2) Destroyers
  • (2) Tankers
  • Battleship
  • (2) Supply ships
  • Submarine
  • Aircraft carrier (Byrd’s ship)

The gringa thinks that the main reason behind U.S. interest in Antarctica at that time is the same ol’, same ol’ imperialistic territory seeking mentality that has motivated the country’s interest throughout history. Great Britain had spent a lot of time in Antarctica. They also created all sorts of problems over the Falkland Islands. When the U.S. decided to stick their big nose in and establish a military base in Antarctica most of Latin America was none too happy about it.

The Cold War was getting under way and Russia was perfectly suited to wage war in the bitter conditions of a European winter. Americans? Not so much. So, according to official records the expedition to Antarctica was absolutely about military strategy. Not about little green men living under the ice. But, then, there’s Admiral Byrd’s personal diaries. What do they say? Well, come back and see what the gringa finds out!

Sources: Wikipedia and http://www.navy.mil

Photo credit: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz