Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Phantom Cosmonauts and Angry Top Tens.

 Space Oddities: Phantom Cosmonauts, or, Jet-Age Ghost Stories: Just in time for Halloween!
The below link is for a site attempting to debunk the Torre Bert recordings (they do a decent job too).

Lets gather round the flickering television (tuned, of course, to a dead channel), huddled under cozy Mylar blankets and enjoy frozen dinners on our Twilight Zone TV dinner trays. Its time for a good old-fashioned ghost story!

Lost Cosmonauts, or Phantom Cosmonauts, those (alleged) brave explorers of the final frontier who were lost in accidents too grim to imagine. That we will be imagining for this article, lucky us, 'eh comrade? Note that this will only cover those thought to be lost. Either killed on re-entry, lost to the void, or those who died before they made orbit. Never escaping Earth, memories blacked out by a government fearful of embarrassment in the eyes of the west.

Men like Valdamir Ilyushin, who lived to a ripe old age, are excluded. Though his story is pretty neat, he allegedly beat Yuri Gragarin into orbit by a few weeks. His mission was disavowed due to an issue with his orbit that caused him to come down early... and in China. Despite both being red the USSR and the Peoples Republic were not the best of friends. So Vlad got to be a guest of the Chinese government for a year before they released him. By that time everyone (on Earth) knew who Gragarin was, and what he had done, so Ilyushin was told to keep his mouth shut unless he wanted to have another, more permanent, accident. Ilyushin himself denied the story, but several government types confirmed it over the years including Sergei Kruschev (son of former Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev).

Anyways, back to PhAnToM CoSmOnAuTs! Spooky!

The earliest claim of suppressed Soviet cosmonaut catastrophes (Soviet Cosmonaut Catastrophe is the name of my Russian language GWAR cover band) comes from Hermann Oberth (Rocketry pioneer, physicist, NASA consultant, mentor of Wherner Von Brahn, and, of course, Nazi) who claimed a man named Aleksei Ledovsky was shot into orbit in a modified single-stage R-5 ballistic missile. As the story goes he died either in orbit or on the way up, but Oberth provided no source for this or another story from 1958 of a similar launch with similar results.

Others at the time claimed stories of a similar nature, including sci-fi legend Robert Heinlein and a US Army Colonel speaking in an official capacity. Though to be fair the Colonel was referring to a prototype of the Vostok capsule (the type Gragarin piloted) which contained a crash test dummy and a recording of a human voice. Stuck in orbit due to malfunctioning rockets that pushed it into a higher orbit instead of lower. The press conference was in 1962, the capsule had been orbiting at that time at least two years.

Its entirely possible these both refer to the same hushed up launch. Heinlein claimed he was told it was a manned launch by a member of the Red Army. Gragarin said in his biography that two launches were made at the time Heinlein was in Russia but the launches were dummy modules to check equipment, so they wouldn't have been publicized. Not a lot of glory in testing to see if the radio will work. One of those might have been the malfunctioning empty spacecraft Col. Oldfield was referring to. It seems to fit.

Torre Bert, or, How I learned to stop worrying and learned to trust Italian radio pirates.

In 1960 two Italian brothers, using homemade and scavenged equipment they set up in a disused German bunker, managed to record secret transmissions from equally secret Soviet space missions. Their story is fascinating, their recordings compelling, and the revelations there in shocking. One purports to relay the tragic death of the real first woman in space, another imply's the grim death of a group of cosmonauts lost to deep space, and one even implies a capsule was abducted by aliens. Its pretty strange stuff, and if true pretty mind blowing.

Its also most likely bullshit, at least some of it.

Its entirely possible that the first few recordings they made were genuine, however as their fame spread so to did their recordings get more amazing. There also seems to be the problem of the voices in the recording not sounding at all like educated native-Russian speakers. Nor do they use known communications protocols or call signs. Or really anything that sounds like that at all.

I accept that some of their recordings of telemetry data of unknown missions might be genuine, but it seems unlikely that the voice recordings are. Sadly the last bit taints the former.

There isn't too much more that can safely be surmised. It is known that the Russians would disavow anyone who died, failed, or otherwise made the state look bad. That went triple with cosmonauts. They would go so far as to threaten families of accident victims to say they had never existed. Which is pretty fucked up.

While the evidence is a bit less than conclusive it certainly doesn't rule out the possibility either. Valdamir Ilyushin's story is honestly the most likely, despite his denial of it. Too many high ranking types who were in the right places at the right times have confirmed it. It would serve no purpose to undermine the Yuri Gragarin story for any of them. Followed closly would be the unmanned Vostok capsule that orbited for nobody knows how long broadcasting a loop of  Russian pilot speak and telemetry data that might have been moving slowly away from earth, at least for a little while..

One of these days, when the research is done on my part, there will be a pretty massive sequel to this article. Concerning a manned Soviet mission to mars.

Before anyone asks, yes, I have watched Pioneer One (and enjoyed it, despite some plot holes that existed solely due to its tiny budget). Yes, I would be writing about the intel rumor thats been floating around for years that the show was based on. Its one of my favorites.

Ten Conspiracy Theories That Won't Go Away From A Magazine For Middle Aged Upper-Middle Class Housewives

They aren't presented in any detail, but are doled out with a fairly dismissive tone. Clearly its all bullshit to amuse yourself with between facials at the spa or from the pool boy. Lets take a look at the bitchy yuppy suburbanites guide to conspiracy theories, shall we?

1. Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone (or possibly at all).
This one always gets my dander up, largely because subsequent investigations (anything post Warren Commission) by the government itself has come to the same conclusion; Oswald didn't act alone. Nobody can ever say for sure who else was involved, but every time. Every single time the issue comes up in an official capacity the CIA does a damned good job of blocking inquiries, even if those inquiries are not directed at the CIA.

2. Princess Diana was killed on purpose.This is a tricky one, because there is evidence that something was in the works. Its clear Di was pissing off all the wrong people, its highly likely she was pregnant with Dodi's child, and was planning to marry him (conversion to Islam could go either way, they were clearly living in sin so he couldn't have been all that strict). I do think some cruel fate was planned for her, however not an automobile crash in front of dozens of photographers. Too difficult of a situation to control, too many witnesses and variables. Her driver, Henri Paul, was a known intelligence asset. He was also drunk and on anti-depressants at the time of the crash.

3. AIDS is a man-made disease.This is one that does need to go away. Its bullshit. The disease can be traced back reliably to the 1940's in Africa. It has a clear evolutionary pathway from a existing disease in primates. This one does need to die.
4. The government was involved in 9/11.Did the government do it? No. Did the government bring down the towers with controlled demolitions? Not likely. Did anyone know about the attacks beforehand? Yes, absolutely. Hell, Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco (as well as other public officials) were told not to fly anywhere on Sept 11th by "security people". Brown was told on Sept. 10th not to fly to New York. How does anyone know? He admitted it to papers the day after 9/11.

5. Elvis never really left the building.Yeah, I think Elvis faked his death. I'm not going into it here, saving it for a future article (look for it in 2017). It might be, on the face of it, one of the craziest ideas I put some stock in. Which is saying something.

6. The 1969 Apollo moon landing didn’t happen.
We totally did go to the moon. Seriously. For one thing all those moon rocks we gave away for scientific study and as presents to other nations are a big clue. Somebody would have squealed and squealed loudly if they were just pebbles from the Nevada desert. Then you have the telemetry data stream from Apollo 11 that EVERYONE was tracking, especially the Russions. If that was off even a little bit you can bet your sweet bippy the Kremlin would have told everyone. Everyone.
On the other hand the photos from the lunar surface might be faked, but we went. Not because of lost alien civilizations or UFO's or the dreaded moon worms. No no, because of the Russians. The Hasselblat cameras they used on the Apollo suits were chest mounted, manually advanced, and manual focused cameras. The viewfinder was on the top, which would be fine if the person using them wasn't wearing a giant space helmet with no neck articulation. Plus they were insulated with only three coats of aluminum paint. The astronauts couldn't see what the camera saw, so had no way to frame images or focus. In short I think all those clear, crisp images with the occasional anomaly are bullshit. When 11 got back and they developed the film the few people who saw them might have peed just a little,and not in a happy way. They used shots from the training sessions tarted up, and shot some new ones.
We needed the PR victory that those pictures would be. The live video from the moon was a bust, so we need those photos of American explorers on the fucking moon to show the Reds who was boss. After that the public had a certain expectation of what photos from the moon should look like so they had to keep it up. Hell, just look at the amount of photos taken. The time spent on the moon and the amount of exposures means each astronaut had to shot one frame every 3 seconds across every mission. Which is fine, if you don't have to wind, manually focus, and, oh yeah, do everything else they had to on the damn moon.

7. A UFO crashed in Roswell, New Mexico.
We have covered this one before. Whatever happened it sure scared the shit out of the military/industrial complex. Balloons don't usually do that.

8. Global warming is a hoax.
This one also needs to die.

9. Shakespeare didn’t write all those plays.It's possible, kinda, but at this point unless someone finds something in the bards own handwriting where he thanks his old buddy Kip for ghostwriting all those popular plays its a dead subject.
10. Reptilian humanoids control all of us.
Its pretty clear this is a troll on David Ickes part, and a damn good one. The rest of his theories are pretty solid, but he frames them all with the Reptile-people thing so he looks like an idiot. Idiots get laughed at, not detained in secret prisons.

...and now something more current!
"Three billion human lives ended on August 29, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare – the war against the Machines.

So nobody pays attention to sci-fi anymore? Hmm. I'm not saying giving AI weapons and unlocking them to plan and use them at their discretion is a bad idea, I'm saying it could turn out to be a shit idea.

Then again, it not like a drone going off the reservation has been a problem before.

Oh wait.
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A new post! Huzzah! Also, I'm already working on another. My motivation knows no bounds.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lions, and Tigers, and New Posts, oh my!

I haven't had the time to plan returning to the scene because I haven't left it. - Mick Jagger

The Quotable Roswell Incident
This book, featured in the link below, features one of the most convoluted and fucked up explanations of Roswell, ever. How fucked up? Futurama and Star Trek: DS9 had explanations that made more sense.

I promised I would. So many times. Granted I make a lot of promises like that. No doubt due to my mercurial nature when drunkenly excited about something. I kept telling you I would write about Roswell.

The truth is, I can't.

Not really.

There has been too much in the way of crackpot insinuation, deliberate, official obfuscation and disinformation, memories rendered unreliable by the passage of time, and other factors to really write something meaty about the Roswell incident. Its a sad state of affairs, as its a very interesting thing indeed.

What can be said conclusively is that for a few hours in 1947 the United States Army Air Force was confirming to the press that they had recovered a flying disc of non-terrestrial origins. Eventually once the top brass was awake and informed of the incident the story changed hastily to the weather balloon explanation.

An explanation that witnesses and government types now long retired and close to death confirmed the government was very, very keen to get out to the public as fast as possible. Despite the fact that the (alleged) balloon in question was part of a secret program to monitor atomic testing in the Soviet Union. Huh.

So instead of me writing something witty and incisive on the subject (as you no doubt expected) I will instead present a collection of quotes concerning the event from people who might have been in a position to know something about it. No frightened farmers or curious rubberneckers or crusading journalists or even kooky physicists (sorry Dr. Stanton Friedman). No no, this is a list of quotes from military top brass, government officials, soldiers, and the like. You know, people who are generally considered credible and trustworthy, unless they talk about little green men.

On with the show!

"Let there be no doubt. Alien technology harvested from the infamous saucer crash in Roswell, N.Mex., in July 1947 led directly to the development of the integrated circuit chip, laser and fiber optic technologies, particle beams, electromagnetic propulsion systems, depleted uranium projectiles, stealth capabilities, and many others.
How do I know? I was in charge!
I think the kids on this planet are wise to the truth, and I think we ought to give it to them. I think they deserve it."
- Colonel Philip Corso, Former Head of Foreign Technology at the U.S. Army's Research and Development Department at the Pentagon. Four years Director of Intelligence on President Eisenhower's White House National Security Staff.

"Col. Blanchard took me personally to Building 84, a B-29 hangar located on the east side of the tarmac. ...I observed that it was under heavy guard both outside and inside. Once inside I was permitted from a safe distance to first observe the object just recovered north of town. It was approx. 12 to 15 feet (4.6 m) in length, not quite as wide, about 6 feet (1.8 m) high, and more of an egg shape. ...Also from a distance, I was able to see a couple of bodies under a canvas tarpaulin. Only the heads extended beyond the covering, and I was not able to make out any features. The heads did appear larger than normal and the contour of the canvas over the bodies suggested the size of a 10-year old child. ...[Later Blanchard] would extend his arm about 4 feet (1.2 m) above the floor to indicate the height. I was informed of a temporary morgue set up to accommodate the recovered bodies. ...I am convinced that what I personally observed was some type of craft and its crew from outer space."
- 1st Lt. Walter Haut, Public information officer (PIO) at the 509th Bomb Group based in Roswell, New Mexico. Quote taken from an affidavit filed just before his death in 2005. He issued the infamous "Flying Disc Recovered" press release, and subsequent denials. He (more or less) maintained the official Army story until a few years before his death.

"A couple of guys thought it might be Russian, but the overall consensus was that the pieces were from space. ...Roswell was the recovery of a craft from space."
- Air Force Brig. Gen. Arthur E. Exon, Former commanding officer at Wright-Patterson AFB (destination of the Roswell debris)

These are just a few, obviously. A few from folks positioned to actually know what was going on. There are some other very respectable folks I would suggest checking out.

Chester Lytle (engineer on the Manhattan Project, Top-Secret cleared staff for the Atomic Energy Commission) for one. He states that Gen. William Blanchard told him flat out it was an alien spacecraft and that four non-human occupants were recovered. While he has fantastic credentials his statements are not first hand.

June Crain is someone worth reading about as well. She was a secretary with top-secret clearance at Wright-Patterson (her job was transcribing classified materials). She handled documents related to the crash and even had a piece of the debris dropped on her desk by an officer with access who was trying to impress her. She held her lighter to the material and held it with her other hand for several minutes and found it had almost zero thermal conductivity (as well as the crinkle-it-and-it-flattens-back-out property that everyone else describes). She broke her silence shortly before dying, as did Colonel Edwin Easley, Roswell base Provost Marshal in charge of the MP's. He kept his mouth shut until the end, when he gave a deathbed confession of what he saw to his children. He apparently gave detailed descriptions of the "creatures" they found in the wreck.

There have been others as well. Captain Oliver "Pappy" Henderson, the pilot who flew the debris to Wright Field, Lt. Robert Shirkey the ops officer on that flight. Lt. Col. Marion M. Magruder allegedly gave a deathbed confession to his four sons that involved numerous details substantiated by other military personnel. Interesting enough the Lt. Col. also mentions seeing one of the ships occupants alive at Wright-Patterson. Steven Lovekin from the White House Army Signal Corp whose job it was to handle classified material and communications claimed to have been involved in briefing the White House and members of the Pentagon on the matter. He insists they were shown part of the debris, an unusual metal beam with strange writing on it (also reported by a few other witnesses) and that later he heard President Eisenhower "talking and worrying about how control was slipping out of government hands and being assumed by corporations tasked with studying the situation."

Keep in mind not every government or military type involved with Roswell has come forward, on their deathbed or otherwise, to indicate that something other than a weather balloon crashed. These are just a lot more interesting. Plus, you expect the official types to stick to the official story. Thats their job, thats what they do. The fact that so many have come forward with an alternate story, and that those stories all sync up very, very well, is interesting. Does it prove little green men? Surely not, but it does ask a lot of questions that some people have spent a great deal of time and money trying not to answer.

What is also interesting about July 8th, 1947 has to do with military communications. The various branches of the armed services are very meticulous about keeping records. Every teletype, telegram, phone call, etc.. was (and is) kept in case it might need to be referred back to later. You can go back to the start of WW2 and its a pretty complete record, beyond that its a bit more.. haphazard. After the war however things continued to be tight, and barring classified material you can FOIA request just about any coms.

Except for July 8th, 1947. Whatever happened on that day warranted a total blackout. Not 9/11, not Pearl Harbor, not D-Day, not the evacuation of Saigon, no other day of intense military activity has so little on the record. Hell, no day of the military doing absolutely fuck-all has so little either.

What does that prove? Nothing.

It is however, very, very interesting.

"If you believe they put a military base on the moon, a military base on the moon..." - R.E.M., "Man on the Moon" (the secret lyrics, NWO/MJ-12 Mix, released on All-Seeing Eye Records)

I will say this up front, this is a cross between my historical articles and debunking articles. The two least popular articles I write. However I like this one, so choke on it. Thats how I keep my readers, I kill them with kindness.

This is a story about blind ambition, ambition that far exceeds its reach (given the technological limitations of the day). About cigar chomping military men staring down the barrel of an implacable commie foe that was achieving more successes with its space program than the Beatles were dampening teenaged panties. About Nazi war criminal super-scientists trying to realize their private dreams at any cost, regardless of what flag was on the soldiers uniform. To say nothing of their desire to seem worth the trouble of keeping around to their CIA handlers.

This is a story of the very early days of the space race, when the plan was to put men on the moon. To build a frontier outpost in the near vacuum of the lunar surface. To leave 12 strapping young male soldier/astronauts there and hope to Eisenhower that they didn't get space madness of the gay kind (I am positive that I have seen that movie on Cinemax late at night). Also, to arm the shit out of them (with unguided, "fire from the hip" Davey Crockett man-portable nukes and redesigned claymore mines that specifically punctured pressure suits) just in case the Soviet Union sent some cosmonauts around to borrow a cup of oxygen.

Thats right, this is a story of the cold war... on the moon. Also of the US militaries plan to build a base on the moon. I thought the first sentence sounded punchier, don't you?

It should be no surprise that the father of this scheme was Werner Van Braun. Everyone's favorite Nazi war criminal mad scientist that didn't make a (successful) break for Argentina. The man who gave England the distinction of being the first nation to have ballistic missiles used against it. Most of his biographers and apologists will say that his real motivation for rocket development was for use in space travel, which is actually true. Of course he did crack open the expensive champagne when the first of his idealistically developed and totally only intended for peaceful purposes rockets slammed into London warhead first, so who can say?

Look people, he was a mad scientist for fucks sake! He worked 20 thousand Jewish/Gypsy/Homosexual slaves to death in his underground rocket factories. He requested that his labor come from the camps because it was faster and more efficient than paid workers. Hell, when he was told by subordinates that the conditions/hours they were being forced to deal with were killing the workers/slaves his response was to order more of them from the camps.
Sorry, tangent.

Anyways *deep breath* Van Braun had it in his head that the Reich was going to conquer the rest of the solar system after it got done with boring and easily managed Earth. His plans included a space station (in the now classic wheel design for producing artificial gravity, yep, he invented that) that could be used as a staging area to building other craft to get to the moon and elsewhere. Really a very clever idea. The station, and subsequent moon base, would be primarily constructed structurally speaking from spent fuel tanks.

Damn it, another tangent. Where was I? Oh yes.. Project Horizon.

In 1959 the US military went to Herr Doktor and asked about the feasibility of building a small military base... on the moon. The burgeoning military-industrial complex was totally convinced that the Reds would not only beat us there, but would weaponize the hell out of the moon.

Makes sense, right? I mean first you have to launch men and missiles to the moon (successfully) then you must maintain both until such a time as you decide to launch (again) those missiles back to Earth. While launching a missile from the moon is easier (by two thirds at least! Ha ha! Gravity joke. Ahem. Anyways) you must first get said missile to the moon, which requires launching it the old fashioned way from Earth. Then it will take this missile a few days to get to its target. Which required either a suicidal cosmonaut who was really good at math or a really nifty computer guidance system that the Soviets just did not have. This also leaves open the (very real) possibility of Earth-based or orbital detection systems picking up the launch and the US glassing Moscow as a result.

This makes no sense, at all. However there has yet to be an insane idea about space that men of means did not warm up to like a cheap bar slut for at least a little while. Herr Doktor was all to happy to head this project.

Officially it even got all the way to the feasibility studies. Which concluded that it would take 61 Saturn I rocket launches and 88 Saturn II to get the base fully up and running by 1966. In 1959 NASAs budget was $145 million buckaroos. Best I can tell the minimum cost of a Saturn I launch was $37.4 million. 21.28 launches a year would be required to have things on schedule. This assumes that every launch is perfect. No delays, no accidents, everything runs like clockwork.

$759 Million dollars a year is what the project would cost, in launches alone. About seven times more than NASAs entire budget. Factor in training, materials, snacks, kick-backs, accidents, and.. yeah. Like I said, ambitious.

It amazes me that this idea made it out of the bar where it was dreamed up. Some basic math on a cocktail napkin could have saved the taxpayers a lot of money.

Now for the debunking.

There is no secret moon base. The blurry spots on the lunar photos, the ones that look altered? Hell, they might be. They are not however concealing secret lunar colonies for the Secret Masters. Why? Because you could not launch that many missions to the moon in secret. Its not feasible unless every single one went off without a hitch, you murdered all the astronauts who flew them, and you did it from a secret, undetectable base on Earth.

Also, too expensive. When unraveling any decent conspiracy one should always follow the money. In this case there would be an unrealistic expenditure for relatively little gain (compared to the cost). A simple cost/benefit analysis says "No fucking way".

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How about that? Another post! Now that things are settling back down I can get back to writing more regularly. You must be thrilled.
/End Transmission.