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From CNN:

The search for the Titanic was a secret Cold War mission

For years, the incredible discovery of the Titanic’s wreckage at the bottom of the ocean in 1985 was thought to have been a purely scientific effort.

But that was a ruse.

Speaking to CNN on Thursday about now-declassified events, Robert Ballard, who discovered the Titanic, said that the expedition was part of a secret US military mission to recover two sunken nuclear submarines on the bottom of the ocean. …

“We knew where the subs were,” Ballard said. “What they wanted me to do was go back and not have the Russians follow me, because we were interested in the nuclear weapons that were on the Scorpion and also what the nuclear reactors (were) doing to the environment.”

This is the mirror image of Howard Hughes’ Glomar Explorer, which was launched under the cover story of searching for manganese nodules on the seafloor.

This marine geology cover story became surprisingly influential, causing many others to examine the idea.

I can remember mining nodules off the ocean floor coming up in high school debate in 1975. I haven’t heard about it since.

But the Glomar was really paid for by the CIA to haul up the lost Soviet sub K-129 from 16,000 feet down.

In general, the Cold War was extremely well funded.

One interesting question was whether there were any conspiracy theories that Ballard was really on a mission to find missing Navy subs. Do conspiracy theorists ever get anything right?

A 1985 New York Times article speculated that the Navy might next use Ballard’s techniques to search for the missing Thresher and Scorpion, as well as K-129, and the hydrogen bomb the Air Force lost in the Atlantic near Spain in 1966 (although Wikipedia says the Navy found it after a few months of searching).

One theory against conspiracy theories is that it’s impossible to keep big project secrets. For example, the L.A. Times broke the story of the Glomar Explorer in 1975, the year after it hauled up part of the Soviet sub.

But then with this new revelation about the Titanic conspiracy, it turns out it’s not even a new revelation: Ballard revealed it at least as early as 2008. But most people (like me) didn’t hear about it then or had forgotten about it.

 
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  1. “In general, the Cold War was extremely well funded.”

    You could not tell that by the troops’ pay at the time.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Lugash
  2. “The name’s Cameron, James Cameron.”

  3. Lagertha says:

    Yah. Subs were new technology…and…yah.

  4. Anonymous[237] • Disclaimer says:

    Was the cause of the loss of the Thresher ever ascertained?

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
    , @JimS
  5. I can remember mining nodules off the ocean floor coming up in high school debate in 1975. I haven’t heard about it since.

    The excitement about the value of manganese nodules just lying around on the sea floor really focused the minds of many countries around the world on offshore mineral rights and provided a big impetus to the third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in the 1970s and ’80s, resulting in the UN Law of the Sea treaty.

    One of the new concepts in maritime law that came out of it was the concept of a 200 mile offshore exclusive economic zone or EEZs.

    America is not a signatory, but many other countries are. But we respect all of the treaty except for the part related to EEZs. We continued to negotiate with states individually about offshore rights and will likely eventually join the treaty, with some modification to the EEZ rules to guarantee us a permanent seat on the Seabed Authority so we have a say-so about how American firms can prospect for minerals near other countries.

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @EliteCommInc.
  6. Thurston says:

    The CNN piece’s writer seems to not understand the topic: “The expedition was part of a secret US military mission to recover two sunken nuclear submarines on the bottom of the ocean”? “[R]ecover!? IDIOT! Consider the cost of Project Azorian and then attempt to justify the use of the word “recover”.

    The CNN writer should have paid attention to what Dr. Ballard said: “… we were interested in the nuclear weapons that were on the Scorpion and also what the nuclear reactors (were) doing to the environment”.

    This story is a useful reminder of the Gell-Mann amnesia effect.

    • Replies: @CAL2
  7. JIA says:

    It’s still pushed that JFK was killed by a lone gunman, even though congress/senate confirmed there was a conspiracy. But yeah conspiracy don’t exist, hence no laws about them. Also Jews don’t work together for mutual gain to the detriment of none Jews. Think I read that in the NYT, WaPo or somewhere.

    • Replies: @Paul Jolliffe
  8. “.. it’s impossible to keep big project secrets”

    More than ten thousand people worked at Bletchley Park in WW2 and it was kept secret ’til the mid 1970’s.

  9. LondonBob says:

    I suspect the Soviets knew exactly what was going on.

    There was that really bad film Raise the Titanic which has it all as a Cold War plot to find nuclear material that the Titanic was transporting. It was produced before the Titanic was discovered and was based on a novel written in 1976. Maybe it had its inspiration from real events, or in term inspired real events.

  10. Trevor H. says:
    @Anonymous

    Not really. But the story made for a really gripping book. “Death of the USS Thresher”

  11. @Martin Davies

    Most of them didn’t understand what they were working on. That always makes secrecy easier.

  12. Sean says:

    Raise the Titanic (film)
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Release date
    1 August 1980
    Running time
    114 minutes
    Country United Kingdom
    United States
    Language English
    Budget $40 million[1]
    Box office $7 million[1]
    Raise the Titanic is a 1980 adventure film produced by Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment and directed by Jerry Jameson. The film, which was written by Eric Hughes (adaptation) and Adam Kennedy (screenplay), was based on the book of the same name by Clive Cussler. The story concerns a plan to recover the RMS Titanic due to the fact that it was carrying cargo valuable to Cold War hegemony.

  13. I seem to remember a documentary a few years ago with an interview of Ballard that said the agreement was he find the sub and any time/money leftover could then be used to search for the Titanic.

  14. anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:
    @Martin Davies

    Mr. Davies:

    For that to occur, you need:
    -a population with a shared sense of identity and purpose,* and

    – a Fourth Estate which has not become a Fifth Column*2 and, either out of national loyalty or fear of prosecution, will not betray the project.

    The journalists I have dealt with have been rodent-like people, kind of like political consultants, not even loyal to each other. Remember, JournoList was betrayed by one of its own members.

    *America today is not that.

    *2 Ditto.

  15. CAL2 says:
    @Thurston

    What do you expect when the picture caption is this:

    The wreckage of the Titanic, which sank in 1912, was discovered near the bottom of the ocean in 1985.

    Somehow the wreck of the Titanic is floating just above the ocean floor.

  16. They were searching for the byzanium needed to power the Sicilian Project.

  17. prosa123 says:
    @Almost Missouri

    Compartmentalization also worked very well on the Manhattan Project. Estimates vary, but as an absolute minimum 99.9% of the participants did not know what it involved. To the extent they tried to guess, some sort of death ray or new poison gas was the most common idea.

    Some private businesses, especially in high tech, are very much into compartmentalization today. Rumor has it that Apple really likes the concept.

    • Replies: @Rufus
  18. One of the most surreal post cold war videos, for me, was the Glomar Explorer funeral for the Soviet sailors they recovered in the sub. I am glad the CIA did that, though

  19. Rufus says:
    @prosa123

    Like Lindsey Graham and …sexuality

  20. This is completely off the wall, but wouldn’t it be cool if the CIA allowed the Chinese to steal some “highly secret information” on militarily valuable “mineral deposits” in some submarine trench and got them to spend $100 billion trying to recover them, and when they finally unloaded the first cargo it turned out to be a hollow rock containing a plaque with the Chinese characters for “suckers”?

    • Replies: @JLK
  21. We live in a world where it’s easy to keep deep state secret missions from the public because

    (1) the media won’t cover whistleblowers (did you ever read about any of the 9/11 whistleblowers? credible ones exist. Most people don’t even know about Binny and the NSA. Read about the CDC senior scientist whistleblower?)

    and (2) even when the Conclusive evidence is out there and published ant unquestionable, it’s almost always true that the majority view ignores a correct dissenting minority view on almost every subject. Here’s a proof tree establishing it: https://truthsift.com/search_view?topic=On-Controversial-Topics,-Who-is-More-Often-Right,-the-Majority-or-a-Minority?&id=466 . If you think you have a rational objection to any step in the proof, the website will support you in adding it and it will change the rating Of the evidence you challenge and anything that logically relies on it.

  22. For me, the interesting element of the Titanic story from 1985 was the New York Times at the time identifying the true nature of the story, the search for nuclear reactors and weapons lost on the sea floor, then just dropping that line of inquiry. It’s like the Times just lost interest in the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and what they were actually doing on the ocean floor. The story became the broken china and the grand staircase filmed from the sunken Titanic.

  23. Big Bill says:
    @Almost Missouri

    A billionaire should “compartmentalize” research for developing fertility-reducing CRISR vectors. Set up a foundation (“Save the Birdies Foundation”) to develop CRISPR technology to sterilize feral cats.

    Create a 501(c)(3) entity (“Save Our Songbirds!”) to spread the word that songbirds are being killed by feral cats, and how it is critical to stop feral cats from reproducing, but NOT kill the cats (that would be mean!). Collect tax-free donations from cat ladies.

    Only a small inside team would know the secret plan: to create a CRISPR vector to suppress human fertility in … ahh … certain populations. [insert your Evil Population of choice here.]

    Only the top guys would know the real goal. Everyone else could be left completely in the dark.

    [Now that I think about it, if the billionaire loves birdies we don’t even have to tell him what the plan is.]

  24. Bill H says: • Website

    Let’s see. Thresher was found withing months of the sinking. Scorpion was in transit from the Mediterranean to Virginia. Titanic was off Nova Scotia. The search areas were so close together that disguising one for the other was a slam dunk, right?

    Like the drunk who dropped a quarter and is looking for it under a street light. When people finally ask where he lost it he points down an alley and says he is looking where he is “because the light is better here.”

  25. Anonymous[346] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Alarmist

    You could not tell that by the troops’ pay at the time.

    These troops’ made (and make) more money and benefits than their civilian counterparts with equivalent education and experience. And they get a lifetime of benefits. Most get a VA check for a service related disability (VA encourages and pushes this). The VA budget is $180,000,000,000 per year and increasing. That’s about double what General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin combined make each year (with a total of 270k employees, many Ph.D. engineers and scientists).

  26. JimS says:
    @Anonymous

    To a great degree, though we don’t know the actual problem they suffered, we think we know why they could not recover:

    https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/atomic-submarine-sinks-in-atlantic
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Thresher_(SSN-593)

    If you have some sort of leak, you have the option of an “emergency blow” or “EMBT blow”, forcing high pressure air to the ballast tanks to drastically lighten the submarine:

    Here is a more realistic simulator version by a Navy Chief Petty Officer:

    But the problem is you are rapidly expanding compressed air, which cools down according to the ideal gas law. If you have some quality problem with your system, that can freeze and rupture the pipes taking compressed air into the ballast tanks, and you won’t be able to get to the surface quickly. Afterwards, the Navy fully implemented a massive quality assurance program for those systems.

    The other thing is that the accident is believed to have caused or required a “scram”, or quick shut down, of their reactor. Back then, this procedure had them cut off all the supply of steam to the engine room, so you don’t have propulsion and you are relying on battery power, and it was not quickly that they could recover from it. If you don’t have propulsion, then you’re either rising or sinking, depending on your weight, and the only thing that can change that is moving through the water. If there was a leak from a pipe, they would have gone down quickly. The practice of quickly re-starting a scrammed reactor has been a heavily-emphasized training point ever since, and you never cut off the steam supply to the engine room, so you always have some propulsion.

    So, the answer is, we don’t know what happened exactly, but we’re pretty sure of why they could not recover from it. As for the Scorpion, I don’t know if anyone knows. I’ve heard theories of a torpedo arming in its tube, or a failure of a protective feature on a jettisoned torpedo that made it come back to its own submarine. But nothing really convincing.

    I remember a commenter going as “ex Submarine Officer” or something posting many years ago. Perhaps he can comment, if he’s still around?

    PS – One thing I find odd is in the wikipedia description:
    “The logical action at this point would have been for Harvey to order propulsion shifted to a battery-powered backup system.” Today, this is pretty much the last thing you should do, since this system gives you so little propulsion, and flooding would just overpower its effect, and it delays you in getting normal propulsion back. Maybe that was something they did back then, though?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  27. eD says:

    On compartmentalization, Apollo Program conspiracy theories are a popular topic on the Unz forums, with people always emerging out of the woodwork to debunk them, but as a thought experiment, try turning the situation around.

    Suppose for some strange reason (investigate signs of space aliens? rare minerals?) the United States government wanted to send astronauts to the Moon and return them but wanted to keep it a secret. Could they have done this? Could they have come up with some other reason to build a really big rocket and told the engineers and ordinary NASA employees that, while the astronaut training would be just the normal low Earth orbit training or maybe for an expedition to Antarctica. I think in this scenario, it would have been decades before the general public found out that Americans had walked on the Moon, and I think the USSR could have done the same thing.

    • Replies: @eD
    , @Faraday's Bobcat
  28. Mike1 says:

    The idea that large groups of people cannot keep a secret is very silly. Organizations have enormous cultural power over their people and have very strong enforcement mechanisms against rule breakers.

    My reply to this idea is usually “tell me MS13 smuggling routes”. This is an exaggerated example but proves the point.

    • Replies: @bomag
    , @Kratoklastes
  29. Abe says: • Website

    Isn’t it possible (likely?) that this story itself is a plant meant to skew our understanding of the Deep State’s capabilities/motives? Thinking about 9/11 recently, I guess this is a big datapoint in favor of of the CIA not being omnicompetent (or even particularly competent), given they let a gang of morons with boxcutters (did even one of the conspirators have a 3 digit IQ?) wreck important real estate in its own backyard. And I guess I’m not willing to jump into the rabbit hole (yet) of 9/11 being a false object lesson in the Deep State’s relative ineptness, given that they waxed charter member Theodore Olson’s wife while doing it.

    So let’s talk about the Jamal Khashoggi thing unfolding before our eyes. The Saudi Prince and his entourage, being probably double digit IQ morons themselves, were lured into doing a very messy bit of business inside freakin’ archrival Turkey which of course had their embassy bugged up to the gills. The question is now why is the CIA pushing this line, to the point of getting a Senate resolution against supporting the Saudis in their Yemen War (ongoing for several years under Obama, yet being almost a total media blachg here, despite I’m sure producing as many wrenching photos of dead children as Syria ever did)?

    Regardless of what you think about President Trump’s personality or effectiveness in office (and personally I love him to death) EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE in America owes him a profound debt of gratitude for waking them up from these dogmatic, mass media slumbers we’ve been dreaming under for the last 50 years (I like to jolt anti-Trump friends and family members with the truth-bomb that their cable new is basically professional wrestling for the under-130 IQ set).

    So what is the real deal with Khashoggi beyond the “killing journalists is not-who-we-are” smoke for the masses? Our alliance with the Saudis is by far the most net beneficial foreign relationship we have. The Saudis basically give us oil and middle class defense sector jobs for free. Taking Saudi oil off the US dollar would probably put a PERMANENT dent in US prosperity. So what is the real deal? Is the CIA simply taking a hand in internal palace politics, trying to put in place a more worthy, less erratic king? Or is this intramural North Virginia rivalry, the CIA easing the Pentagon off a war it likes but the spooks think is a net negative for US policy? Thoughts?

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @Forbes
    , @Forbes
  30. eD says:
    @eD

    Apologize for the following two dozen responses discussing the Apollo program and not Steve’s original point, but I think the general point about government programs and conspiracy theories was worth risking thread hijack.

  31. Alfa158 says:

    The Reagan Library in Simi Valley had a recent Titanic exhibit and the first part of the exhibit covered the submarine search. Basically, Ballard was told that after he found the subs, if there was still budget left over, and the weather was holding up, then he could try and find the Titanic as well.
    I visited the Glomar Explorer once because the company I worked for had navigational electronics on it. The Captain had had a larynxectomy and spoke by putting a microphone up to his throat which produced that strange robotic voice. I thought it was kind of a Strangelove-like effect for the captain of a CIA operation.
    The battered casings of the Spanish Broken Arrow incident H-bombs were, at least at one time, on public display at the atomic weapons museum in Albuquerque. Fascinating place to visit. They actually have the entire sail of a de-commissioned nuclear missile sub in their outside display area, looking eerily like the sub is surfacing out of the desert.

    • Replies: @Lurker
  32. Lot says:
    @PiltdownMan

    We “mine” oil and gas and NGLs offshore. Anything else? There used to be gold randomly on the ground so that even primitive Indians had it when the Spanish arrived. Have people checked in the ocean floor too?

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  33. Lot says:
    @Abe

    My Saudi theory is the Zionist/hard right faction of the deep state likes MBS because he’s the most pro-Israel/anti-Saudi leader Saudi Arabia could plausibly have.

    The center/left faction of the deep state hates MBS because he robbed their generous rich prince friends of billions after taking power. And killed one of them!

    The current anti-Saudi moment is them signaling to MBS that he better start paying up and spreading $$$ around DC if he wants their support after Trump is gone.

  34. anon[922] • Disclaimer says:
    @Martin Davies

    Hanford is the size of Rhode Island and the bomb making project there was kept secret until Hiroshima.
    The green runs occurred in the 50’s and were kept secret until the 80’s.

    • Replies: @Hu Mi Yu
  35. @Almost Missouri

    The vast majority of people involved with any conspiracy are just useful idiots. Even if they put things together and talk, hardly anyone believes them or wants to believe them.

  36. Lugash says:
    @The Alarmist

    Troop pay isn’t much concern in a conscript army.

    I thought that the there was a secret Navy component to the mission was known from the get go. I could haves sworn that the original articles in NatGeo mentioned he was using advanced Navy sonar tech and had top secret clearances.

  37. @eD

    It would be pretty easy to deduce from the size of the rocket that it was intended to take a substantial payload somewhere outside Earth orbit.

  38. Bugg says:

    Georgia coastal communities use this missing bomb as a tourist attraction like Bigfoot, but would wager it was found and the Navy simply doesn’t want to get into details

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1958_Tybee_Island_mid-air_collision

  39. Interesting timing given that Vox Day just devoted several posts to the question of whether the moon landing was a hoax. It was prompted by an Owen Benjamin live stream. For some reason, Vox Day thinks highly of Benjamin, but every time I try to listen to him, he sounds like one of my old stoner friends, about a degree short of Tommy Chong. I am not entertained by him and just can’t take him seriously — he can barely speak, no less think straight. I just don’t get what people see in him.

    • Agree: Forbes
  40. Maybe this is why Ballard never claimed rights to the wreckage.

    I used to know the man who did. He owned the Titanic when I knew him. (Or his corporation did. I don’t remember how it was organized, but he was the man.) One time I did something particularly helpful, and he asked me what he could do for me. I jokingly said, “bring me a lump of coal from the Titanic.” I knew he had been bringing some up.

    When I arrived at work the next day, there was a lump of coal on my desk. It was from the Titanic. I’m looking at it now on my bookshelf. Somehow he got it on my desk before I got to work. You can buy them online, but mine came from the man who went down himself in a mini sub, the man who claimed the rights Bob Ballard did not.

  41. cameron made this the plot of the abyss in 1989.

    i imagine trying to recover lost nuclear devices and nuclear reactors to be a big problem. apparently the soviet union launched dozens of nuclear reactors into orbit in the 70s and 80s and most of them are still up there, orbiting the earth with live radioactive cores. i wonder if anybody will try to recover those eventually.

    one crashed in canada in the 70s and spread material everywhere.

    there are 3 ways to power outer space craft. solar panels, thermal reactors, and nuclear reactors. i don’t think anybody is worried about losing reactors out in space, but NASA still shut down nuclear reactor deployment for decades. the word is they will allow them again starting soon, probably because they would be required for serious mars missions.

    the americans lost a nuclear reactor in space in the 60s. it’s still up there.

  42. But the Glomar was really paid for by the CIA to haul up the lost Soviet sub K-129 from 16,000 feet down.

    Someone related to Rosalynn Carter’s press secretary went down in a small yacht off Long Island in the late 1970s. The Coast Guard sent a buoy tender or two to go hunt for the wreckage. That’s stretching their job description.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  43. One interesting question was whether there were any conspiracy theories that Ballard was really on a mission to find missing Navy subs. Do conspiracy theorists ever get anything right?

    Conspiracies are all over the place. But most of the actual conspiracies go unnoticed, while most of the “theories” involve conspiracies that don’t actually exist. If you were to draw a Venn Diagram of real and theorized conspiracies it would be two huge circles with a tiny overlap.

  44. @Hypnotoad666

    Yes, a Venn diagram is a good way of describing it. What are some of the overlaps?

  45. I can remember mining nodules off the ocean floor coming up in high school debate in 1975. I haven’t heard about it since.

    Hah! “Resolved: that the development and allocation of scarce world resources should be controlled by an international organization.”

    If you’d tried running the Manganese nodules case against me, Steve, you woulda walked into a buzzsaw of “evidence cards” I prepared from Time, Newsweek and US News.

    Good times…

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
  46. mr. wild says:

    My grandfather recently went to his grave with countless experiences and shadowfacts from West Berlin in 1945 to whatever he was doing up in the Golden Triangle with Hmongs and “friends” in the 1950’s and 60’s that he never divulged to anyone.

    • Replies: @bomag
  47. Anon[811] • Disclaimer says:

    “One theory against conspiracy theories is that it’s impossible to keep big project secrets. For example, the L.A. Times broke the story of the Glomar Explorer in 1975, the year after it hauled up part of the Soviet sub.”

    Yeah, remember when the NYT revealed the Manhattan Project?

  48. @Lot

    I think the discovery of high purity manganese nodules just lying around in the ocean floor sand caught the interest of geologists, and speculative excitement took over. The thinking went, who knows what else could be lying around in there in the briny deep, just ready to be scooped up?

    Nothing, as it turned out, and as you point out.

  49. @Hypnotoad666

    while most of the “theories” involve conspiracies that don’t actually exist.

    Which of these non-existing conspiracies “don’t actually exist”?

    As far as I can tell, a large fraction of these conspiracies are real. Starting with the JFK&RFK assassinations, which seem to be the most popular topic with conspiracy theorists.

    Ron Unz has written a very convincing article about how 9/11 was perpetrated by a conspiracy.

    http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-911-conspiracy-theories/

    Ron Unz wrote another convincing article about how TWA Flight 800 was shot down by the U.S. military. The govt apparently apparently manipulated the media to blame the downed flight on mechanical issues.

    http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-the-destruction-of-twa-flight-800/

    There’s quite a lot of evidence that the Reagan-Bush campaign secretly bargained with the Iranian hostage takers in order to keep the hostages there until after Reagan’s inauguration. Then, of course, this spiraled into Iran-Contra.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/11/the-october-surprise-was-real/

    By the way, it’s interesting that during the Iraq-Iran war, the U.S. sold arms to both nations. Imagine that.

    Obviously not all conspiracy theories are real, but a large fraction seem reasonable enough.

  50. @Steve Sailer

    Yes, a Venn diagram is a good way of describing it. What are some of the overlaps?

    Categories of conspiracy that have turned out to be true or mostly true:

    Communist Infiltration. A lot of the allegations dismissed as John Birch “Red-Scare” conspiracy stuff turned out to be pretty much true when the Cold-War ended and the Verona papers and other Soviet records were released. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Eastern_Bloc_agents_in_the_United_States

    CIA mind control experiments. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKUltra

    Leftist Journalist Collusion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JournoList

    The Pedophile Priest Coverup. This worldwide coverup lasted for decades (centuries?) even though everyone sort of knew it was a problem.

    Pretexts for War. This seems to be a recurring theme. From “Remember the Maine,” to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, to Saddam’s WMD, there seem to be many, many examples of casus belli that were deliberately fabricated or exaggerated.

    Another interesting category could be “Competing Conspiracy Theories, One of Which Must be True.” For example, the Trump-Russia business is either a conspiracy between Putin and Trump, or it is a conspiracy of Deep State operatives to frame Trump and get him out of office.

    Likewise, the conventional history is that the Holocaust was a conspiracy by Nazis to carry out a secret mass murder program without written orders, by speaking in coded messages about their intentions, and by destroying the physical evidence of their crimes. But the Holocaust “deniers” claim there has been a conspiracy to exaggerate the extent of the Nazi conspiracy. So regardless of who is right, someone has been conspiring.

    • Agree: Prodigal son
  51. Forbes says:
    @Abe

    cable new is basically professional wrestling for the under-130 IQ set

    I’d have said considerably lower than 130. Most I know enamored with TV/cable “news” product are couch vegetables–not busy professionals with IQs upwards of 130, who lack the time to watch the boob tube.

  52. @PiltdownMan

    The Philippines just won a major case regarding the EEZ off their shores against China. China for her part accepts UNCLOS except those sections they disagree with.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  53. Forbes says:
    @Abe

    As to what’s going on? The lapdog, ankle-biting media hates Trump, wants him out of the WH, and will do anything they can to disrupt his presidency. They are the resistance and opposition. Simple as that. There’s no logic other than “team sport politics.” Trump is the other team, and he must lose–American interests be damned.

  54. @Steve Sailer

    JFK&RFK
    Iran-Contra and the October Surprise
    TWA Flight 800
    9/11
    Sibel Edmonds
    Bush administration ordering yellow cake Habbush forgery
    Benghazi

  55. @JohnnyWalker123

    A lot of conspiracy stuff falls into the category of “highly plausible, but not quite provable.” For example, I did read Ron’s Flight 800 article and there is definitely enough fishy with that official story that I’d be willing to believe the alternative conspiracy theory.

    But for every plausible or provably true conspiracy there are dozens of wackadoodle theories — Alien abductions, faked moon landings, chem trails, the earth is really flat, etc. etc.

    The final category, however, is the conspiracies that are so well executed that no one is even “theorizing” about their existence at all. The “unknown unknowns” as Rumsfeld might have called them. Those are probably the ones we need to really worry about.

  56. Lurker says:
    @Alfa158

    I was reading about the Glomar Explorer recently. She was only finally scrapped in 2015. I’m kind of surprised there was no serious attempt to make her operational again, given she seemed to have some impressive capabilities. Just too specialised I suppose.

  57. Lurker says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    Presumably a good first start would be to compare known operations conducted by Ballard and see if they coincide with anything interesting.

    Here’s the Wiki list of his other (public) operations:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Ballard#Other_wrecks

  58. @International Jew

    My father had a subscription to The Futurist magazine in the 1970s and I distinctly remember a story on deep-sea manganese nodules. It had pictures of these fantastically valuable egg-shaped rocks strewn across the sea bed like a carpet.

    Sometimes I wondered why we never got around to just picking up this unexploited treasure. But now it seems I was just being played by the Deep State the whole time.

    • Replies: @Prusmc
  59. Shoot. Someone took my idea.

    I do like this suggested mascot. Shall we call him Octavian?

  60. @EliteCommInc.

    China for her part accepts UNCLOS except those sections they disagree with.

    Paging Napoleon Solo– the Man from UNCLOS.

  61. Hu Mi Yu says:
    @anon

    Hanford is the size of Rhode Island and the bomb making project there was kept secret until Hiroshima.

    It was kept secret…from the American people…only because of wartime censorship. Soviet and German leaders knew all about it. Nuclear fission was discovered by the German physicist Otto Hahn. According to deep state contacts Einstein’s August 2, 1939 letter to President Roosevelt reached Hitler’s desk before the President saw it. One claimed that Poland was negotiating for an Anglo/American Navy base, and this letter led to the joint German/Soviet invasion on September 1.

    German scientists knew about the bomb, but none of them were stupid enough to give it to Hitler. Einstein’s letter reads in part:

    ( see: https://www.atomicheritage.org/key-documents/einstein-szilard-letter )

    …This new phenomena (sic) would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable – though much less certain – that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory. However, such bombs might very well prove to be too heavy for transportation by air…

    Einstein should be remembered as the father of not only the atomic bomb, but the modern suicide bomber as well.

    The Roosevelt administration began a navy-run bomb effort run based on this letter. After Pearl Harbor the project was accelerated. In early 1944 two successful denotations took place at White Sands proving grounds in New Mexico. A third bomb was offered to support the D-Day invasion on June 6, but responsible parties demurred on the grounds that enemy ports needed to be captured intact to supply the invasion force.

    Plan B was to offer a ruthless demonstration of the bomb to German witnesses. The site selected for this event was a small California fishing village with a general store, a movie theater, a drug store, a barber shop and a Fisherman’s Exchange: California’s Kennebunkport. It was called Port Chicago.

    The Navy had confiscated the port, and it rushed to build a Navy base alongside the town. The small base that opened on December 8, 1942 had just enough room for one ship to dock on the river side of the pier. Ammunition marked for Port Chicago was mostly loaded at Mare Island a few miles down river.

    Then in 1944 the pier was widened, and in the summer a second ship docked on the land side of the pier. The water here was so shallow that that the second ship could never have sailed under load. In fact the SS E. A. Bryan never sailed again. On the evening of July 17, 1944 it was vaporized in an enormous explosion. Not a single piece of it was ever found. Californians from Sacramento to San Francisco felt the blast.

    The media first claimed a Japanese attack. When that story didn’t sell, it became an accidental explosion of conventional munitions. Two witnesses claimed that among the observers that night was the famous physicist Dr. Einstein. He apparently spent the night as a guest in the chancellor’s residence at the University of California. One of these witnesses was kidnapped and taken to Canada in the trunk of a limousine. There he spent six weeks in the care of the notorious Dr. Cameron as part of the MK-ULTRA program. After that he couldn’t remember a thing about it. The second witness hung himself with a hula hoop and then slung himself from his bathroom door. That is what the newspaper said.

    A third witness claimed to have been a member of the secret service assigned to be part of the honor guard that accompanied Dr. Einstein to a lookout in the Berkeley hills where the explosion would be in clear view. His orders were to shoot the famous physicist if the bomb did not go off.

    A German observer was given a briefcase and told their was an atom bomb inside. He was supposed to use it on Hitler within two days. This is the bomb used in the July 20 assassination attempt by Claus von Stauffenberg. However the real atom bomb weighed 10,000 pounds and would never have fit in a briefcase. Hitler escaped with his life by kicking the suspicious object away after it was placed close to him.

    Thousands of people knew that the first city to be destroyed by an atom bomb was Port Chicago California, but press control and an enduring effort to compromise anyone who spoke out kept the general public from learning of it. To name one example a mysterious Colonel Bishop went through the area who claimed to work for the government. He sold witnesses tax shelters that later turned out to be fraudulent.

    The lying press is the lugenpress. So it is now and was it ever. Why is it that so many of us who know we are being lied to now still believe the stories about how great we used to be?

  62. JMcG says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    I believe the Navy went looking for JFK jr after he flew himself and two others into the ocean. Some animals are more equal than others.

  63. Neoconned says:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/politics/mounting-legal-threats-surround-trump-as-nearly-every-organization-he-has-led-is-under-investigation/2018/12/15/4cfb4482-ffbb-11e8-862a-b6a6f3ce8199_story.html

    Trump has 6 months, tops, to launch a vicious counter attack on Mueller and others. Threaten Mueller w arrest for treason, ETC

    Go full neocon paranoid, worked for Bush,.he shut.his enemies up by associating them falsely w the promotion of Islamic terrorjsm….

  64. @Anonymous

    The VA employs tens of thousands of black Americans in jobs where the only people they can hurt are poor veterans. Most of those employees are not smart or hard working enough to get jobs in the private sector, but are smarter than the usual black leaders like those found in the local political circles. Far better they have jobs to distract them from interfering in their communities.

  65. bomag says:
    @Mike1

    I’m not seeing your point. Large enough conspiracies get revealed over time; evidence accumulates for small ones.

    Much of what gets chalked up to conspiracies is an emergent characteristic of bureaucratic processes.

  66. bomag says:
    @mr. wild

    countless experiences and shadowfacts from West Berlin in 1945 to whatever he was doing up in the Golden Triangle

    Would those count as conspiracies under the usual discussion?

    We expect our intelligence agencies to engage in a certain amount of skulduggery.

    • Replies: @mr. wild
  67. JLK says:
    @Faraday's Bobcat

    This is completely off the wall, but wouldn’t it be cool if the CIA allowed the Chinese to steal some “highly secret information” on militarily valuable “mineral deposits” in some submarine trench and got them to spend $100 billion trying to recover them, and when they finally unloaded the first cargo it turned out to be a hollow rock containing a plaque with the Chinese characters for “suckers”?

    Be careful what you wish for. “Unsophisticated” investors make bad decisions all the time based on deliberate media disinformation, and most of them are not Chinese. You could make a lot of money on Wall Street if you had a good source telling you which stories in the NYT and WSJ were fake.

    Given the close relationship between the gilded investment banks and the deep state, it should be caveat emptor for the little guy on E-Trade who hopes to beat The Street.

  68. Busby says:
    @Almost Missouri

    The joke that won the war was so dangerous, it was translated by different people one word at a time. A translator saw two words together and was hospitalized as a precaution.

  69. It was said of one Titanic epic,it would have been cheaper to lower the ocean.The internet is great for conspiracy theories.

  70. Busby says:
    @Anonymous

    Cold War, 1945 to 1990.

    In 1984 a bachelor SP4 with 4 years of service pulled down a cool $779 a month before taxes. Plus free room in the barracks which in the Army could be anything from a 10 man squad bay to the more likely 4 man room. With a communal bathroom. And free meals in the mess hall. This was certainly not the povert pay experienced by draftees prior to 1973 but hardly the stuff of high living. Of course you can’t put a price on the Fun, Travel and Adventure.

    The old GI Bill was replaced in 1977 by the VEAP program which required contributions from the soldier. Since replaced in 1985 by the Montgomery Bill which combines features of the old GI Bill with the VEAP plan. Confused yet? I know I was.

    You have no idea how difficult it is to get a service connected disability rating from the VA. Once again just to remind you, the subject is Cold War service. A soldier spends 8 years in the infantry, peace time service, chances are they suffer significant hearing damage, maybe even chronic tinnitus. Maybe, if they are really lucky, they might get hearing aids from the VA. The chances of receiving a disability rating are very very low. And the likelihood of any Cold Warrior receiving any form of medical care is near zero unless they are living in abject poverty.

    The VA has lots of problems, but Cold War Vets soaking off the government teat is not one of them.

  71. Mr. Anon says:

    The Glomar Explorer cover story seemed plausible back then, as it was still a time of big ambitions. The Alaskan Pipeline (which did actually get built), commercial submarines to carry oil and cargo beneath the arctic icecap (didn’t ever get built), and this development in Brazil which I remember reading about in National Geographic when I was a kid:

    https://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/09/business/mirage-amazonian-size-delusions-economic-grandeur-deep-brazil-s-interior.html

    when American billionaire Donald Ludwig planned an enormous economic development in the amazonian jungle, and even had a paper mill and a plant to power it built in Japan, and towed to Brazil.

    I suppose the space ambitions of Musk and Bezos are equally grandiose designs today.

  72. Mr. Anon says:
    @JohnnyWalker123

    I didn’t find anything in the article about 9/11 very convincing. It seemed to be a lot of the standard Truther fare. However, Ryan Dawson of Anti-Neocon Report has, I think, made a pretty convincing case that there was more to those events than the accepted “official” story. I reccomend his work.

    The article on TWA800and the two documentaries linked therein that Mr. Unz recommended were indeed eye-opening. I am persuaded that there likely was a cover-up there, and that the official story is bogus.

  73. @Anonymous

    All what you say about pay and entitlements may be true, but I don’t see many college graduates knocking on the doors of enlistment offices.

    • Replies: @William Badwhite
  74. Anon[262] • Disclaimer says:

    1968 was a dangerous time to be a submariner. The USA, USSR, France, and Israel each lost one.

    An interesting take on the construction of conspiracies can be found in The Silent War by John P. Craven, who was involved in the Polaris missile program, “Sand Dollar” – the search for missing nuclear objects on the seabed, and, ” The Hunt for Red November” – which he says was the internal nickname for the search for the K-129 – and later Scorpion. P 129-30:

    Every project must have a cover project that must be true. Thus is formed a hierarchy of projects, with one or more Special Intelligence projects at the top of the pyramid. Most participants in a cover project do not know it is a cover project. One or more individuals who are cleared for both projects make the link between Special Intelligence and their covers. The chain proceeds all the way down to unclassified projects. Thus, I was told, the DSSP [Deep Submergence Systems Project] could serve as the host for projects at every level with a structure that deflected penetration anywhere. If someone stumbled on information to which he was not privy, he was briefed at the lowest level of security for which he was cleared and warned against further release of that material.

    Those who understood the system appreciated the fact that the project they were working on was real and significant but at the same time might be cover for a project whose mission was more sensitive. You would never whether you had penetrated the “seventh veil” except by the length of the clearance list…

    From this description, I would surmise that Ballard’s account is true as far as it goes, cover stories being true, but that the geographic location of the Titanic’s resting place indicates other special intelligence activity. My guess would be a new chart of the North Atlantic ocean floor, in previously unknown resolution.

    Craven, in his book, went on to detail the search for the Scorpion and K-129 as much as he was able, which has proved fertile ground for some interested in conspiracies: see Kenneth Sewell and Clint Richmond’s Red Star Rogue – where Sewell expands on Cravens’s observation that there was a “small but non-zero” possibility that the K-129 had somehow gone rogue from Soviet Navy control and attempted to launch her 3 missiles at Pearl Harbor. All Hands Down by Sewell and Jerome Preissler, which posits Scorpion was the victim of a Soviet ambush, perhaps in retaliation for K-129 loss. Red November by W. Craig Reed fills out the signals intelligence picture slightly more in relation to the K-129 loss, where he demonstrates that the US had the capability to locate and track Soviet diesel-powered ballistic missile submarines through their HF burst check-ins alone. Project Azorian by Norman Polmar and Michael White is, I think, an attempt to re-establish a more traditional narrative, with the authors taking digs at certain “conspiracy theroists” without bothering to cite Sewell or Reed’s work. Polmar is a noted naval expert but the book contains pages of declassified – including the “new” project name (previously known as “Jennifer”)) and even a page showing a Glomar Explorer crew menu.

    Craven also described the bureaucratic tussle between Navy and CIA concerning underwater projects – it seems to me that CIA prevailed in this area for at least a few decades. He shows bitterness in places:

    In the meantime, CIA took charge of this operation, actively excluding others. The agency did not coordinate its strategy with the State Department, DIA, and other government authorities who had a need to know. The false cover story about the manganese nodules would wreak great damage. It would, as will be seen, result in worldwide misunderstanding of the limits of ocean resources and wast of precious development resources. Gagged by security restrictions, my inability to reveal the truth when the truth would have made a difference would become an albatross around my neck. I did not know that my future professional activities would place me in positions where my oath of silence would make me an unwilling participant in the distortion of Amerrica’s foreign policy, obstructing its ability to develop ocean resources, and hurting its accomplishments in inner space.

    Anon (Inscrutoroku Japamoto)

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  75. Prusmc says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    I read about them in Popular Mechanics or Popular Science in the 1950s.

  76. We need another Glomar Explorer program to find the “nodules” missing from the GOP’s shriveled sacks! We had the technology three decades ago to find a busted steamship three miles down on the ocean floor, but not to erect a steel and concrete barrier on our internationally-recognized national boundary today? That does not compute!

  77. The Glomar Explorer cover story was so widely propagated that it showed up in grade school “Weekly Reader” articles, complete with fanciful schematics of the ship scooping up these ultra-valuable “nodules” off the seabed like an arcade game’s claw grabbing worthless trinkets. After all, the gummint wouldn’t lie to impressionable kiddies, right?

    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
  78. @VivaLaMigra

    The manganese nodules along with ice-embedded seabed methane are for real — there are untold riches on the seafloor.

    At least with deep water oil, if you can somehow manage to stabilize a drilling platform and go down that far in the water and even more into the seabed, you can pump oil out — some of it is under such insane pressure that it is hard to not get a blow out like the Deepwater Horizon.

    But how do you bring up those nodules? Do you vacuum them? Pick them up with some kind of claw? Thousands of feet below the surface of the water. There are some non-trivial technical challenges not apparent to people writing those “school readers” on the subject.

    It makes a great cover story because the resource is for real, but the technical challenges are not apparent to those who say, “you just pick them up off the floor.”

  79. @Mike1

    The idea that large groups of people cannot keep a secret is very silly. Organizations have enormous cultural power over their people and have very strong enforcement mechanisms against rule breakers.

    There are also ‘open’ secrets, where a significant number of people know of a conspiracy but do nothing. Often, those who know-but-do-nothing will attack those who try to expose the conspiracy, even when the attackers are not beneficiaries from the continued existence of the conspiracy.

    A very large number of Catholics knew, or at the very least strongly suspected, that there was a systematic protection of paedophiles in the ranks of the Catholic clergy, and that the conspiracy reached to the very top of both national and international church hierarchies.

    However they (the Catholic laity) did not voice their concerns until the social power of the church had been reduced significantly. They often attacked ‘whistleblowers’.

    And now, there is an absolute deluge of cases – globally.

    There’s that famous aphorism (falsely attributed to Schopenhauer) that speaks volumes –

    Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first stage it is ridiculed, in the second stage it is opposed, in the third stage it is regarded as self-evident.”—Schopenhauer (NOT)

    However I think perhaps a better aphorism is the one from Planck –

    A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

    That is often paraphrased as

    The truth advances one funeral at a time.

    And lastly, the aphorism falsely attributed to Gandhi:

    First They Ignore You, Then They Laugh at You, Then They Attack You, Then You Win

  80. mr. wild says:
    @bomag

    By “usual discussion”, no. I use “conspiracy” in the older sense of the term- a confidential plan. As Steve has pointed out before, we’ve come to use a narrower meaning that makes conspiracies having to be something more outrageous than they usually are. That’s the “usual discussion”. The effect is that people become more reluctant to speak of conspiracies at all for fear of seeming like rubes.

    To give an example of where the more mundane skullduggery crosses over into another level, there’s the conspiracy theory of what took place up in the borderlands after my grandfather’s early bunch of “advisors” left the scene- Air America and the heoin connection. Did it really happen? Don’t know for sure. If so, was it getting planned even while he was still there? I would hope not…..

  81. Anonymous[344] • Disclaimer says:
    @JohnnyWalker123

    I remember initial reports of the United 93 crash that the plane had been shot down by the USAF to protect the White House. However this story was immediately pulled and memory-holed, and eventually replaced with the heroic “let’s roll” passenger revolt narrative.

    It was all very suspicious.

    It’s also very strange that the memorial to the dead of that incident is shaped like an Islamic crescent. The people who approved that design knew exactly what they were doing. The question is their motive. It may have been a silent protest against what they knew was a lie.

  82. @JIA

    Forget about the HSCA’s conclusion in 1979.

    Just listen to LBJ and Warren Commission member Richard Russell dismiss the key contention of the Warren Report, the cornerstone of the no-conspiracy loons, the idea that both President Kennedy and Governor Connally were struck by the same bullet:

    Russell: “Well they said that the same bullet hit Kennedy hit Connally. Well, I don’t believe it.”
    LBJ: “I don’t either . . .”

  83. Anonymous[416] • Disclaimer says:
    @JimS

    JimS, I hope I am not saying more than is unclass. We don’t know exactly what happened on Thresher, but after the loss, the following changes were made:

    1. The SUBSAFE QA program was institituted. Hydro tests, material compatibility, controlled work packages for repairs of any pressure boundary (flooding risk).

    2. Older ships not built/repaired under SUBSAFE were restricted in depth.

    3. EMBT blow valves (chicken switches) were made more rugged and EMBT piping wider (no danger of icing shutting them).

    4. Procedures for the nuclear plant during flooding were changed to emphasize ship safety over reactor safety.

    5. The incident was trained on, both with force at the time as well as every new generation of sailors.

    6. Procedures were implemented to require some fraction of the shipyard workers to actually go on the sea trial (IOW risk their lives with the welds and brazes that they did).

    P.s. The Scorpion is actually the more mysterious event. Thresher had WQC comms during its incident and it was not a surprise to lose a ship in sea trials (don’t want it to happen of course, but part of purpose of sea trials.) The Scorpion literally had wives on the pier who waited and then the ship did not come in.

    After Scorpion, procedures were changed to require a call in (night before) of a sub returning. That way at least you don’t have the families on the pier. However outbound comms from subs remain extremely rare during ops. So it is quite conceivable to lose a sub and not know about it for weeks. It is a completely different mindset from being in the regular Navy with constant comms back and forth with the fleet. Or the God damned Army or Air Force with the shore base mindset. It is a very out there feeling. Nothing funky, but in some ways even more remote than being in space.

  84. Anonymous[416] • Disclaimer says:

    I remember Ballard coming to the Boat School and giving a Forestall (“bore us all”) lecture in the mid 80s. I was not expecting it to be good (too sciencey, not military). But I remember really enjoying it and thinking it was great. Can’t remember how much he shared or hinted. But it was obvious he was “one of us”. Think I remember him talking about sonar mapping ocean floor. I don’t remember the details but it was one of the best Forestall lectures of my time. And it surprised me to be so good.

    An opposite remembrance is Sandra Day coming to talk to us. She had pulled (or had a researcher pull) whatever she could find on connection of the Navy with Supreme Court and then gave an extremely dry talk full of case references (dull lawyer stuff). She would have been better off ditching that idea to relate to us and just given a straight talk about something of interest to here (motivation to be a lawyer or whatever). I thought she would be great. But it was way the opposite.

    The audience was extremely unhappy (more so than even normal bore us all). We took it out on here by punishing her in the Q and A and she almost cried. And it was actually cut short by senior officers. Only one I’ve seen that. Usually we would just leave and gripe. But honestly…her boredom was like an active weapon. It deserved retaliation. Several Mids went on restriction. One I know (who had asked a legit question that was interpreted as flippant) refused to apologize to her. As he was not yet past “two for seven”, he left after youngster year. Is now a senior government lawyer in SOCAL.

  85. Anonymous[416] • Disclaimer says:

    There’s obviously some connect in methods, etc. between research oceanography and the submarine service. Probably see it more in a place like COMSUBDEVGRUONE with DSRVs and Parche and the like than in a regular attack squadron. Doesn’t mean every civilian program is compromised of course. But exploitation and understanding of underwater “Tactical Use of the Ocean Environment” (too-a-toe) is an obvious thing for the Nav to worry about.

    I mean heck…air ops is really into weather…that’s obvious too. Going to a CVBG briefing and hearing half of the N-6 report be a weather report blew my mind…but I guess pilots care about wind and stuff.

  86. Anonymous[416] • Disclaimer says:

    The one I’ve always wondered about was Liberty. Some people I really respect (not brainless conspiracy types) always felt it was a coordinated attack by Israel.

    I don’t know though. I could see them being that sneaky. Then again, I know shit happens. And the Israilis are not some great military operators (easy to look like great warriors when you fight Arabs per Moshe Dyan).

  87. @Simply Simon

    If you are a college graduate and want to join the military, there are not many reasons to enlist rather than try Officer Candidate School.

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