Friday, March 14, 2014

Capt. Cook's Famous Ship Could Soon Rise from Newport Harbor

Capt. Cook's Famous Ship Could Soon Rise from Newport Harbor - Around Town - Newport, RI Patch:

Capt. Cook's Famous Ship Could Soon Rise from Newport Harbor

The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project is meeting with Australian officials about collaborating on possible excavation of shipwrecks that might lead them to Cook's famed HM Bark Endeavor.
Capt. James Cook. (Courtesy: RIMAP)
Capt. James Cook. 
Eighteenth Century British explorer Capt. James Cook explored more of the world than any man who ever lived and artifacts from his most famous vessel, the HM BarkEndeavor, could soon be rising from the waters off Newport thanks to decades of work by a local marine archaeology nonprofit.
Meanwhile, officials from the Australian National Maritime Museum are once again descending upon the area as interest piques on the fleet of 13 British transport ships sunk during the Revolutionary War in Newport Harbor. Australia was first explored by Cook aboard the Endeavorand any artifacts or treasures that emerge from the wreckage could be vital to their historic record since it’s considered their founding vessel.
Though the Endeavor’s potential resting place among those wrecks was announced 15 years ago, scientists and volunteers are now much closer to potentially identifying the exact location and begin excavating artifacts. RIMAP presented the results of an intensive, time-consuming mapping project in January that details eight sites. Those results prompted an upcoming meeting on March 25 between RIMAP and Kevin Sumption, director of the Australian museum, said RIMAP Founder and Executive Director Dr. Kathy Abbass.
“It is slow work and it takes a long time, but we’ve made great progress,” Abbass said, noting that the organization is hopeful that talks might lead to financial and logistical support in getting divers under the water.
“Rhode Island owns the ship if we find her, but the Aussies are very interested and they want to share it,” Abbass said. “But we don’t want to give her away.”
Excavating means RIMAP will need a facility to manage artifacts and they’re eyeing a site in Portsmouth near the High School that Abbass said is an “overgrown and unfortunately neglected” spot that happens to be Butts Hill Fort and the largest Revolutionary War earthwork in Southern New England and the center of the American line in the Battle of Rhode Island in 1778.
That makes it a perfect spot for RIMAP’s long term vision to build a facility that would enable them to greet visitors from around the world who would be interested in not just Capt. Cook andEndeavor but any and all artifacts that come from the wreckage sites as well as the overarching story of the war and the sea.
The National Park Service has given RIMAP grants to craft a management plan for Butt Hill Fort, but that’s a first step. And there’s no guarantee that they’ll find Endeavor or be able to confirm it even if they do. But they know that there is international interest in that ship and the enormous fundraising challenges that lie ahead will be much easier to meet as long as Capt. Cook’s name is attached.
“We can use it to our advantage,” Abbass said. “It would be a tremendous historic tourism destination.”
RIMAP is different from other organizations that do similar work in that it doesn't fall under the auspices of a federal agency and isn’t part of any school or university. Some money comes in through grants but the bulk of the work is done by volunteers.
Abbass said that means the people who work on RIMAP’s projects don’t have to be graduate students enrolled in a marine science or archaeology program.
“We’re committed to that small, democratic approach to archeology,” Abbass said.
In fact, RIMAP offers classes in marine archaeology, site mapping, artifact management, history lessons and other classes out of the Masonic Temple in Portsmouth. Abbass said that having the public participate in this way gives the programs an extra boost of support in many ways. More than 800 people have passed through the program so far and more are always encouraged.
Teams will be trained by professionals in April and anyone who wants to be a diver can get involved, though you don’t have to be a diver to lend a hand.
Be sure to go to RIMAP’s Web site for more information, volunteer opportunities and details on their work on mapping shipwrecks in Newport Harbor and Capt. Cook’s story.
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Experts settle on two definitions for mysterious Gulf War illness - Operation Desert Storm

English: Military personnel examine a Scud mis...
English: Military personnel examine a Scud missile shot down in the desert by an MIM-104 Patriot tactical air defense missile during Operation Desert Storm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Experts settle on two definitions for mysterious Gulf War illness -

In the latest attempt to settle the debate, the Department of Veterans Affairs commissioned the prestigious Institute of Medicine to develop a definition. But in a report released Wednesday, its experts said the symptoms — including joint pain, fatigue, headaches, rashes, digestive problems and cognitive impairment — vary so widely that there was no way to reach a scientific consensus.
So they chose two definitions.
The first, developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, takes a broad view of the illness. It may be most useful to doctors who don’t want to overlook any patients who may be afflicted.
A second, more restrictive definition was formulated by scientists studying Kansas veterans and may be better suited to research studies.
Defining the illness — and the universe of people who have it — is essential for investigating potential causes and standardizing treatments.
When veterans first began reporting a strange variety of opaque symptoms in the wake of the 1991 war, they were often met with skepticism. Many studies, however, have shown that service members deployed to the war went on to suffer a variety of health problems at a higher rate than those deployed elsewhere.
Up to one third of the 700,000 U.S. troops who served in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm are thought to be affected.
But without a blood test or other biomarker to distinguish Gulf War illness, it can only be diagnosed by its symptoms, many of which occur in other conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Severity ranges from mild to debilitating. In some cases, veterans became ill immediately after the war. Others got sick years later. Recovery varies too.
The biggest mystery is the cause. Exposure to pesticides, nerve agents and smoke from burning oil wells have all been investigated as possible culprits, without definitive results.
At the behest of the VA, the experts did resolve one debate.
When it first appeared, the illness was called Gulf War syndrome. Then other terms began appearing in the medical literature, including “unexplained illness” and “chronic multisymptom illness,” which became widely accepted.
Gulf War illness is the most appropriate name, the IOM concluded in its report.
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Military wives: My life with defense cuts

Military wives: My life with defense cuts

The Pentagon is shrinking the Army to its pre-World War II size. The brunt of overall Defense cuts is being felt by military families. Housing allowance and pay raise cuts only make it worse. 5 military wives share their stories, in their own words, edited for clarity.

Applied for food stamps

  • Name: Elizabeth Toon
  • Spouse's military service: Army National Guard, served in Iraq
  • Number of kids: 5
  • Home: Owings Mills, Md.
My husband now serves with the U.S. National Guard and also holds a job at an auto diesel truck company. He makes between $1,200 and $1,600 a month. My kids have never had new toys or brand-name clothes. We shop at a consignment shop that gives military families a 40% discount.
We've applied for food stamps, and I think we're going to qualify. In the summer, we grow vegetables and I can produce from our garden. My husband wants to get back into hunting. Two deer and two turkeys would last us a whole winter. We use a lot of coupons at the grocery. People think we're well off and cared for because we're military. It's just not the case.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

NATO Nuclear Weapons Security Costs Expected to Double

NATO Nuclear Weapons Security Costs Expected to Double - FAS Strategic Security Blog

The cost of securing U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons deployed in Europe is expected to nearly double to meet increased U.S. security standards, according to the Pentagon’s FY2015 budget request.
According to the Department of Defense NATO Security Investment Program , NATO has invested over $80 Million since 2000 to secure nuclear weapons storage sites in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey.
But according to the Department of Defense budget request, new U.S. security standards will require another $154 million to further beef up security at six bases in the five countries. 
DOD budget document says expensive security upgrades are needed for nuclear bases in Europe.
DOD budget document says more expensive security upgrades are needed for nuclear bases in Europe.
After a US Air Force Blue Ribbon Review in 2008 discovered that “most” U.S. nuclear weapons sites in Europe did not meet U.S. security requirements, the Dutch governmentdenied there were security problems.
Yet more than $63 million of the over $80 million spent on improving security since 2000 were spent in 2011-2012 – apparently in response to the Blue Ribbon Review findings and other issues.
The additional $154 million suggests that the upgrades in 2011-2012 did not fix all the security issues at the European nuclear bases.
The budget document – which also comes close to officially confirming the deployment of nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey – states:
NATO funds infrastructure required to store special weapons within secure sites and facilities. Since 2000, NATO has invested over $80 million in infrastructure improvements in storage sites in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. Another $154 million will be invested in these sites for security improvements to meet with stringent new U.S. standards.
The US Air Force still deploys about 180 nuclear B61 bombs at six bases in five European countries. Despite tight security, the bases are not secure enough.
In addition to the growing security costs, the United States spends approximately $100 million per year to deploy 184 nuclear B61 bombs in the five NATO countries. And it plans to spend an additional $10 billion on modernizing the B61 bombs and hundreds of millions on integrating the weapons on the new F-35A Lightning fighter-bomber.
No doubt the United States and NATO have more urgent defense needs to spend that money on than non-strategic nuclear weapons.
This publication was made possible by a grant from the Ploughshares Fund. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.
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Hitler’s Political Testament, Personal Will, and Marriage Certificate:From the Bunker in Berlin to National Archives in Washington, D.C.

English: Adolf Hitler's signature.
English: Adolf Hitler's signature. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Text Message » Hitler’s Political Testament, Personal Will, and Marriage Certificate: From the Bunker in Berlin to National Archives in Washington, D.C. {Part II: The Couriers Take the Documents}:

he National Archives and Records Administration plans to display Adolf Hitler’s Political Testament, Personal Will, and Marriage Certificate (National Archives Identifier 6883511) in the exhibit“Making Their Mark” beginning March 21, 2014.  This series of blogs traces the aforementioned documents from the time of their creation to first being exhibited at the National Archives in 1946.
At around 6am April 29, 1945 the regular intense Russian artillery bombardment began with the whole area around the Reich Chancellery and the government district coming under fire. The Soviets launched their all-out offensive against the center of Berlin – fighting wahs soon in progress on Kurfuestendamm and on Bismarckstrasse and Kantstrasse. The front line was now only some 450 yards from the Chancellery.
During those same early morning hours, Adolf Hitler planned for the three copies of his personal testament and personal will to be taken out of Berlin and delivered to Grand Admiral Doenitz and Field MarshalSchoerner, commander of Army Group Center in Bohemia (and, by way of Hitler’s political testament, newly appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Army).
At about 8am Lieutenant General Burgdorf sent for Major Johannmeier (Hitler’s 31 year old adjutant to the Army) and told him that an important mission had been entrusted to him. He was to carry a copy of Hitler’s political testament and personal will out of Berlin, through the Russian lines, and deliver them to Field Marshal Ferdinand Schoerner. With him would go two other messengers, bearing similar documents. They were SS-Colonel Wilhelm Zander, an aide representing Bormann, and Heinz Lorenz, an official of the Propaganda Ministry representing Goebbels. These two men would receive separate instructions. Johannmeier was charged to escort the party on their journey through enemy lines. Burgdorf then gave him the documents he was to carry, along with a covering letter from himself to Schoerner, transcribed below:
Fuhrer’s HQ April 29, 1945
Dear Schoerner
Attached I send you by safe hands the Testament of our Fuehrer, who wrote it today after the shattering news of the treachery of the RF SS [Himmler]. It is his unalterable decision. The Testament is to be published as soon as the Fuehrer orders it, or as soon as his death is confirmed.
All good wishes, and Heil Hitler!
Maj. Johannmeier will deliver the Testament.
About the time Burgdorf was meeting with Johannmeier, Zander was receiving his instructions from Bormann, the most important of which was to take copies of Hitler’s personal will and political testament to Doenitz.  When Zander expressed his desire to stay, Bormann went to Hitler and explained Zander’s desire. Hitler said he must go and Bormann conveyed this to Zander. Thereupon he handed Zander copies of Hitler’s personal and private testaments, and the certificate of marriage of Hitler and Eva Braun.  To cover these documents Bormann scribbled a short note to Doenitz: ”Dear Grand Admiral,-Since all divisions have failed to arrive, and our position seems hopeless, the Fuehrer dictated last night the attached political Testament. Heil Hitler.-Yours, Bormann.” Later that morning Zander sewed the documents into his clothing.
Later that morning, Lorenz reported to Goebbels sometime before 10am, and was told to go to Bormann where he would receive copies of Hitler’s personal and political testaments. Bormann told Lorenz that he had been given this mission because as a young man with plenty of initiative, it was considered that he had a good chance of getting through. Lorenz then returned to Goebbels, who gave him his Appendix to Hitler’s political testament. It is unclear where Goebbels told him to take the documents. It seems that he was to take them to Doenitz if possible or failing him, to the nearest German High Command, and if all else failed, he was to publish the wills for historical purposes, and ultimately, store the documents at the Party Archives in Munich.
With the will and testament in his possession, Johannmeier went to see Hitler around 9am. Hitler told him that this testament must be brought out of Berlin at any price, that Schoerner must receive it, and that he believed he would succeed in the task.  Johannmeier said they both realized that they would not see each other again and this influenced the tone in which they said goodbye. Hitler spoke very cordially. Hitler shook his hand. Johannmeier realized that Hitler was going to die.
While Johannmeier, Zander, and Lorenz were getting their instructions, the Russian attack drew ever relentlessly near the bunker. At about 9am the Russian artillery fire suddenly stopped, and shortly afterwards runners reported to the Bunker that the Russians were advancing with tanks and infantry towards the Wilhelmplatz. It grew quite silent in the bunker and there was great tension among its occupants.
Later on that morning Secretary Gertrude Junge went back to Hitler’s bunker to see whether any changes had taken place. She noted that Hitler was uneasy and walked from one room to another.  Hitler told her he would wait until the couriers had arrived at their destinations with the testaments and then would commit suicide.
At noon, with the Russians closing in on Hitler’s bunker, Hitler held his situation conference. Joining Hitler were BormannKrebsBurgdorf, Goebbels, and a few others. Also around noon, the couriers (Lorenz in civilian clothes; Zander in his SS uniform; and Johannmeier in a military uniform) joined Corporal Heinz Hummerich (a clerk in the Adjutancy of the Fuehrer Headquarters) left the Bunker, and headed west.
The following afternoon Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide in the bunker in Berlin. On May 1 at 246pm Goebbels, about six hours before committing suicide, sent Doenitz a message (received at 318pm) that Hitler had died at 330pm on April 30, and that his Testament of April 29:
“appoints you as Reich President, Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels as Reich Chancellor, Reichsleiter Bormann as Party Minister, Reich Minister Seyss-Inquart as Foreign Minister. By order of the Fuehrer, the Testament has been sent out of Berlin to you, to Field-Marshal Schoerner, and for preservation and publication. Reichsleiter Bormann intends to go to you today and to inform you of the situation. Time and form of announcement to the Press and to the troops is left to you. Confirm receipt.-Goebbels.”
At 1026pm May 1, Doenitz, over Hamburg Radio, announced Hitler’s death and his own succession.
As Berlin surrendered, Lorenz, Zander, Johannmeier, and Hummerichwere on the Havel River on the 2nd of May, 1945. Before dawn on May 3, they made their way to Potsdam and Brandenburg, and on May 11 crossed the Elbe at Parey, between Magdeburg and Genthin, and ultimately, as foreign workers, passed into the area of the Western Allies, transported by American trucks. By this time the war was over, and Zander and Lorenz lost heart and easily convinced themselves that their mission now had no purpose or possibility of fulfillment. Johannmeier allowed himself to be influenced by them, although he still believed he would have been able to complete his mission.
After abandoning their mission, the four men split up. Zander and Lorenzwent to the house of Zander’s relatives in Hannover.  From there, Zander proceeded south until he reached Munich where he stayed with his wife, and then continued to Tegernsee. At Tegernsee, Zander hid his documents in a trunk. He changed his name, identity, status, and began a new life under the name of Friedrich Wilhelm Paustin. Johannmeiermeanwhile went to his family’s home in Iserlohn in Westphalia, and buried his documents in a bottle in the back garden. Lorenz ended up in Luxembourg and found work as a journalist under an assumed name.
Lorenz and the documents he was carrying were seized by the British Army, in the British Zone of Occupation of Germany, in November 1945.  The Americans captured Zander and the documents he was carrying (including the original marriage license of Hitler and Braun, and the hand-written letter of transmittal for the documents from Bormann to Doenitz) with the assistance of British intelligence officer Major H. Trevor-Roper, in Bavaria on December 28.
After Zander’s arrest, interest switched to Johannmeier, who had been living quietly with his parents in Iserlohn, in the British Zone of Occupation.  Trevor-Roper had him detained and interrogated on December 20th. Johannmeier maintained that he had no documents, but had just escorted Zander and Lorenz out of Berlin. Trevor-Roper met with Major Johannmeier on January 1, 1946, and explained to him that Zander and Lorenz were both in Allied hands (he had already read in the newspapers about Zander’s arrest), and that in view of their independent but unanimous testimony, it was impossible to accept his statement that he had been merely an escort, and had not himself carried any documents. He nevertheless maintained his story. He agreed that the evidence was against him, but insisted that his story was true.
He gave a version of the words which General Burgdorf had used when giving him his instructions to escort Zander and Lorenz.  Asked if he was prepared to settle the matter in the presence of these others, he replied unhesitatingly, yes. Asked if he could name any witness whose testimony might offset that of Zander and Lorenz, he stated that he had spoken to no one about his mission, and that the only man who knew the details was the man who had given it to him – Burgdorf. When told that Burgdorf was missing, and believed dead, Johannmeier exclaimed “Then my last hope is gone.”
The position was put sympathetically to Johannmeier: that he must realize that the documents were already in Allied hands, and that another revelation could add nothing to their knowledge, and continued resistance to the evidence would entail his imprisonment; but still he insisted that his story was the truth. He agreed to sign a written declaration to that effect. “If I had the documents, it would be senseless to withhold them now, but what I have not I cannot deliver. I cannot even prove that I have not got them?” By his otherwise unaccountable persistence in this story, by which he was condemning himself to imprisonment for no conceivable advantage to anyone, and by the ingenuousness of his protestations, Johannmeier had almost persuadedTrevor-Roper that there must after all be some flaw in the evidence against him, some element of truth in his improbable but unshakeable story.
They were alone in the headquarters; everyone else had left for the holiday. Trevor-Roper had nowhere to put Johannmeier. He decided that he must admit failure and summon a truck to take him away.  But when he left the room for two hours for a long distance phone call, Johannmeier had leisure to think. When Trevor-Roper returned and began the mechanical questioning again, he became aware of a change in Johannmeier’s attitude.  Johannmeier, according to Trevor-Roper, seemed to have already resolved his mental doubts, and after a little preliminary and precautionary fencing, in which he sought assurance that he would not be penalized if he revealed his secret about the documents – he declared “I have the papers.” He stated that he had buried them in a garden of his home in Iserlohn, in a glass jar; and he agreed to lead Trevor-Roper to the spot.
On the long drive back to Iserlohn, Johannmeier spoke freely on various topics which were discussed.  When they stopped for a meal, Trevor-Roper asked him why he had decided to reveal the truth. Johannmeier said he had reflected that if Zander and Lorenz had so easily consented to betray the trust reposed in them, it would be quixotic for him, who was not a member of the Party or connected with politics, but who was merely carrying the documents in obedience to a military order, to endure further hardship to no practical purpose.  In Iserlohn they left the car some distance away at Johannmeier’s request – he did not want the neighbors to see a British staff car outside of his parents’ home. The two men walked together through the cold to the house. It was now night-time and the ground had frozen hard. Johannmeier found an axe and together they walked out into the back corner of his garden. Johannmeier found the place, broke frozen surface of the ground with the axe, and dug up the glass bottle. Then he smashed the bottle with the head of the axe and drew out the documents which he handed over to Trevor-Roper. They were the third copy of Hitler’s private will and personal testament plus a covering letter from Burgdorf to Schoerner. The Allies now had the three sets of documents that had been carried out of the bunker on April 29, 1945.
Bibliographic information will furnished at the end of the final post in 

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