Just the Facts?: Baltic Sea Anomaly / Nazi Connection? -- Richard III Found? -- Katyn Massacre Cover-Up
Baltic Sea Anomaly: Is There A Nazi Connection?
When the strange object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea was first spotted, some thought it might be a UFO that crashed into the waters between Sweden and Finland, and at the very least, it bore a striking resemblance to the "Star Wars" Millennium Falcon.
Hardly any media outlets are still calling it a UFO -- and that's a relief, since there's never been any evidence of any kind that this thing was ever an unidentified flying object.
But there's a lingering wrinkle in the origin of this mushroom-shaped anomaly: Could it have been part of a Nazi secret anti-submarine device?
According to Pravda, the Russian newspaper, a retired Swedish submarine officer, Anders Autellus, previously speculated that the undersea object may have been the base of a structure used during World War II to block Russian and British submarine signals.
Autellus told the Swedish newspaper, Expressen, that huge concrete structures were built as traps by Germany to make it difficult for Soviet submarines to navigate in the Gulf of Finland during the war. These large steel wire mesh constructions were reportedly meant to cause signal and radar problems in submarines.
Even as recently as the June expedition to the bottom of the Baltic Sea, divers reported equipment malfunctions when they approached the anomaly, but a concrete reason for it hasn't been determined.
So, no one is saying definitively that the object was, in fact, Nazi-related or more simply, a glacial deposit just sitting on the sea floor.
This entire Baltic Sea drama started back in June 2011 when Peter Lindberg, captain of the Ocean Explorer, and his co-researcher Dennis Asberg, using side-scan sonar -- see image at right -- found something unusual 300 feet below the surface of the water.
At first, the reportedly 200-foot-wide circular object made headlines because it looked like the fictitious Millennium Falcon spacecraft from "Star Wars."
Lindberg and Asberg returned to the submerged site this past June to take a closer look at the object that had caused a viral stir, which speculated the anomaly could be anything from sonar glitches, a sunken Russian ship, stone outcroppings, or an alien spaceship.
Pictures and videos were taken of the object, with the eyewitnesses claiming it looked like a giant mushroom, and samples of it supposedly brought to the surface for analysis.
Some of the material was given to Volker Bruchert, an associate professor of geology at Stockholm University, reports Life's Little Mysteries.com.
"My hypothesis is that this object, this structure was formed during the Ice Age many thousands of years ago," Bruchert said.
And yet, Lindberg and Asberg have also claimed that the only samples they've given for analysis were not from the anomaly itself, but were items from the "vicinity" of the object," writes Open Minds.tv.
Lending yet another mysterious aspect to this whole thing is a description of the Baltic Sea anomaly given by Lindberg during a recent radio interview, where he said, "It has these very strange stair formations, and if it's constructed, it must [have been] constructed tens of thousands of years ago before the Ice Age."
So, where does all of this leave the jumbled, confusing un-focused adventure of the Baltic Sea anomaly?
Nobody seems to want to fund any further investigations of Lindberg's discovery, says Life's Little Mysteries.
And Lindberg is soliciting people to help support his research by purchasing apparel from his Ocean X website. - THP
Hitler's Suppressed and Still-Secret Weapons, Science and Technology
Dark Star: The Hidden History of German Secret Bases, Flying Disks & U-Boats
Strange Secrets: Real Government Files on the Unknown
U.S. covered up Soviet massacre in Katyn Forest
It's often said during wartime that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Nowhere in the annals of history is this more true than the uneasy alliance that was hoisted upon the United States and the Soviet Union during World War II. Now, 72 years later, the U.S. National Archives has released 1,000 declassified documents showing the extremes that the U.S. went to to ensure that the alliance would not be compromised: As early as 1943, Washington knew that the 1940 Katyn Massacre, in which 22,000 Poles were killed, was the work of Josef Stalin and not the Nazis — and deliberately suppressed the evidence.
Since the massacre, Poles have alleged that the U.S. government was involved in a coverup. The newly released documents suggest that their suspicions were correct, a surprising and upsetting revelation that some historians are calling "potentially explosive." Here's how the wartime episode unravelled, and how the history books will have to be rewritten.
The alliance between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. was a union of sheer necessity, one propped-up on weak foundations. Back in 1939, Hitler and Stalin had connived to sign a nonaggression treaty that essentially gave the Nazis free license to romp all over Europe. But shortly after Hitler invaded Poland in late 1939, the Soviet Union conducted their own invasion of the country and occupied its eastern regions.
In an effort to consolidate their occupation, Stalin ordered the massacre of over 22,000 Poles, including military officers, police, and the intellectual elite. Rumours that the Soviets were involved trickled out of Poland and into Washington — but there was no evidence to support such a claim, and many simply refused to believe it. Moreover, if true, it would be much more convenient to blame the Nazis.
Then, in June 1941, in complete violation of the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact, Hitler launched a devastating surprise attack on Russia. The Soviet Union was forced to clamor back to Britain and its allies. In just a matter of a few months, the Russians were defending a front line that extended from Leningrad down to the Black Sea — a distance comparable to a line running across the continental United States.
President Roosevelt was desperate to see this Eastern Front hold, especially in consideration of Allied activities in North Africa — and their planned invasion of Western Europe. Maintaining friendly terms with the communist and despotic U.S.S.R. was seen as a necessary evil; America quickly forgot about the Red Scare and Stalin's pact with Hitler. Hollywood propaganda lauded the courageousness of the Russian people, while American factories spewed out tanks and other supplies destined for the Eastern Front.
By 1943, events had progressed in Europe, as had American involvement in the war. And it's at this stage that the recently declassified documents hold relevance. Vanessa Gera and Randy Herschaft of Associated Press were able to take an early look at the secret memos, and here's what they discovered:
It was May 1943 in the Katyn forest, a part of Russia the Germans had seized from the Soviets in 1941. A group of American and British POWs were taken against their will by their German captors to witness a horrifying scene at a clearing surrounded by pine trees: mass graves tightly packed with thousands of partly mummified corpses in well-tailored Polish officers uniforms.
The Americans - Capt. Donald B. Stewart and Lt. Col. John H. Van Vliet Jr. - hated the Nazis and didn't want to believe the Germans. They had seen German cruelty up close, and the Soviets, after all, were their ally. The Germans were hoping to use the POWs for propaganda, and to drive a wedge between the Soviet Union and its Western Allies.
But returning to their POW camps, the Americans carried a conviction that they had just witnessed overwhelming proof of Soviet guilt. The corpses' advanced state of decay told them the killings took place much earlier in the war, when the Soviets still controlled the area. They also saw Polish letters, diaries, identification tags, news clippings and other objects - none dated later than spring of 1940 - pulled from the graves. The evidence that did the most to convince them was the good state of the men's boots and clothing: That told them the men had not lived long after being captured.
Soon after this experience, the POWs, with the help of MIS-X (a group that helped prisoners escape and transmit intelligence reports), were able to send coded messages back home — including a note by Clayton Bissell which clearly stated, "German claims regarding Katyn substantially correct in opinion of Van Vliet and myself."
Other newly released documents show that Roosevelt received a detailed report from Winston Churchill indicating what had happened in the Katyn Forest.
This newly released evidence strongly indicates that Roosevelt and other members of the top brass knew about the Katyn Massacre, but deliberately ignored it and kept the information hidden for the sake of maintaining an alliance with the Soviet Union. And by 1950, aware of the implications of hiding this information during the war, the U.S. government continued to issue a gag order on the entire affair. The directive was to "never to speak about a secret message on Katyn." During the 1951-52 Congressional hearings, for example, no material was presented to demonstrate that Washington knew about Katyn as early as it did.
From a geopolitical perspective, and as historian Allen Paul told the AP, the U.S. cover-up delayed a full understanding of the true nature of Stalinism — an understanding that came only later, after the Soviets acquired the atomic bomb and set up the Iron Curtain.
And historiographically speaking, the sudden presentation of previously classified information is a potential indication that there may still be more to come. Because many of the key players have now passed on, and because they no longer face any potential recrimination for misdeeds or wrongdoings, this information is finally being released to historians and the public. The history of World War II, it would seem, has yet to be completely written.
All of the newly-released documents and maps at the National Archives can be found here. - io9
Katyn: Stalin's Massacre and the Triumph of Truth
Class Cleansing: The Massacre at Katyn
Katyn 1940: The Documentary Evidence of the West's Betrayal
Do all species have the right to exist?
The idea that all species have an equal right to exist makes as much sense as believing we should bring back dinosaurs and dodos, a scientist has suggested.
A report on the 100 most critically endangered species in the world has been published by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), with its authors arguing they should all be saved.
But Dr Sarah Chan, deputy director of the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at Manchester University, challenged the belief that all species should be preserved.
She said: “When we say that all species have an equal right to exist, do we mean just all of the species that currently exist? What about the species that have already gone extinct?
“I don’t see any good reason to limit ourselves only to this precise moment in time in terms of the species that we should be concerned about.
The list of threatened species includes the pygmy three-toed sloth, the Jamaican rock iguana and Tarzan’s chameleon.
The report on them, entitled Priceless or Worthless, identifies the threats they all face and how they can be addressed.
Professor Jonathan Baillie, co-author and director of conservation at ZSL, said allowing species to die out would lead to “a situation where we don’t have enough species to provide.”
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “They should be saved in their own right, it’s an ethical issue as well as a question of sustainability.
“But it’s also about the future generation, and we should be doing everything we can to show that we respect all forms of life. How we treat these 100 on the list is really representative of how we’ll treat the rest of life.”
All the species listed in his report face extinction “driven by humans”, he said, adding: “We have the ability to reverse these declines and it’s really our moral imperative to do so.” - telegraph
The Fate of the Species: Why the Human Race May Cause Its Own Extinction and How We Can Stop It
The Anthropology of Extinction: Essays on Culture and Species Death
On The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection: Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life
FAA: Mysterious Roof Holes Not Caused by Falling Frozen Waste
Two Long Island families with mysterious holes in their roofs think plummeting frozen waste from overhead airplanes might be the cause of their troubles.
Lois Farella awoke to a thunderous crash at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning (Sept. 9) and found that her roof had a hole the size of a basketball leading straight through the shingles, plywood and insulation, according to CBS New York. At the same time, the roof of Farella's next-door neighbor's house got a similar makeover. And when her roofer, Bryan Lanzello, investigated the damage, he reportedly found a brown, wet stain in the attic where the offending object would have landed.
“That’s a lot of blunt force that did that [and it] was coming from a distance. It blew through an inch and a half of shingles and those shingles are tough,” Lanzello said.
Convinced that the holes could only have been caused by something falling from an airplane, the two households called the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to investigate whether they'd been the victims of a shower of "blue ice."
Blue ice is a euphemism for the industrial-deodorizer-hued chunks of frozen human waste that can occasionally fall from airplanes with faulty waste tanks.
Though waste should never be released from an airplane during flight, and in fact can't be released intentionally since the valve to open the tank is on the exterior of the plane, sometimes a leak will allow some waste to freeze to the outside of an airplane at high altitude.
As the plane makes its descent, the frozen mass will begin to warm and can decouple from the craft.
According to a fact sheet on the FAA’s website, any such blue ice “would melt long before it hit the ground, dissipating into miniscule droplets that are nearly invisible."
But Arlene Salac, a spokesperson for the FAA's eastern region office, told Life's Little Mysteries, "If it's a large enough chunk of it, it falls off down to the ground. It does definitely occur." She added that in the past, people have frozen specimens of blue ice that landed in their yards or homes to be back-matched to the namesake lavatory chemical and hopefully linked to the airline responsible.
Salac said blue ice did not cause the mysterious Long Island roof holes, however.
"Inspectors went out there today and it doesn't appear from the information we have at this point to be a case of blue ice," she said. "Whenever we have these cases we pull the radar tracks over the residents and there weren't any aircraft going over that house at that time. The closest one was 3 miles away, so it's not a case of blue ice, but we don't know what happened to the house."
Asked whether frozen waste might drift 3 miles on a collision course with a Long Island rooftop, Salac said no. - yahoo
Have the remains of King Richard III, last of the Plantagenet Dynasty, been found?
Archaeologists searching for the grave of Richard III have said "strong circumstantial evidence" points to a skeleton being the lost king.
The English king died at the battle of Bosworth in 1485.
A dig under a council car park in Leicester has found remains with spinal abnormalities and a "cleaved-in skull" that suggest it could be Richard III.
The University of Leicester will now test the bones for DNA against descendants of Richard's family.
Professor Lin Foxhall, head of the university's School of Archaeology, said: "Archaeology almost never finds named individuals - this is absolutely extraordinary.
"Although we are far from certain yet, it is already astonishing."
A university spokesperson said the evidence included signs of a peri-mortem (near-death) trauma to the skull and a barbed iron arrow head in the area of the spine.
Richard is recorded by some sources as having been pulled from his horse and killed with a blow to the head.
The skeleton also showed severe scoliosis - a curvature of the spine.
Although not as pronounced as Shakespeare's portrayal of the king as a hunchback, the condition would have given the adult male the appearance of having one shoulder higher than the other.
Philippe Langley, from the Richard III Society, said: "It is such a tumult of emotions, I am shell-shocked.
"I just feel happy and sad and excited all at the same time. It is very odd."
As the defeated foe, Richard was given a low-key burial in the Franciscan friary of Greyfriars.
This was demolished in the 1530s, but documents describing the burial site have survived.
The excavation, which began on 25 August, has uncovered the remains of the cloisters and chapter house, as well as the church.
Work focused on the choir area, in the centre of the church, where it was indicated Richard was interred.
The bones were lifted by archaeologists wearing forensic body suits in an effort to limit contamination by modern materials.
DNA will be extracted from the bones and tested against descendants of Richard's family.
Dr Turi King, who is leading the DNA analysis, said: "It is extremely exciting and slightly nerve-wracking.
"We have extracted teeth from the skull, so we have that and a femur, and we are optimistic we will get a good sample from those."
The tests are expected to take about 12 weeks to complete.
If their identity is confirmed, Leicester Cathedral said it would work with the Royal Household, and with the Richard III Society, to ensure the remains were treated with dignity and respect and reburied with the appropriate rites and ceremonies of the church.
Work to record the finds are continuing and discussions about when to fill in the trenches are ongoing, officials said.
The Tragedy of King Richard III: The Oxford Shakespeare The Tragedy of King Richard III (Oxford World's Classics)
Richard III and the Murder in the Tower
The Last Days of Richard III
NOTE: Richard III fell in the Battle of Bosworth Field, making him the last English king to die in battle. Henry Tudor along with his contingent of French troops, Welsh foot soldiers and skilled archers, defeated Richard III thus ending the Plantagenet Dynasty. Hence forth the Middle Ages had essentially come to an end in England as the House of Tudor began it historic ascendancy that ended the subjugation Wales and its people had suffered for centuries under the English monarchy...Lon