I just finished reading a new book on the history of Area 51 – the super secret American military base located in Nevada. The book is titled “Area 51 – An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base” by Annie Jacobsen. Ms. Jacobsen manages to uncover never before released facts about the little understood secret goings on at Area 51. There are enough secret projects talked about in the book to do five or six lists. It’s amazing what scientists, engineers, the military and intelligence agencies will do when they have unlimited budgets, little to no accountability and everything they do is kept top secret. And remember, these are the projects we know of (or think we know of). Imagine what goes on at Area 51 that we do not know, and probably never will know.

Nukerange

Project Nutmeg has historical significance because it was the top-secret project that gave birth to the Nevada Test and Training Range. Prior to testing atomic devices on US soil, nuclear bombs were tested in the Pacific Ocean at what was called the Pacific Proving Grounds. While this afforded the US a remote (and huge) area to test secret atomic devices, the cost involved in sending men, materials and equipment half way around the world, was staggering. America felt it had to find someplace secure, yet within its borders that was reasonably close to where most atomic scientists were working at that time (such as Los Alamos, New Mexico). Project Nutmeg was authorized by the President to locate such an area. An ideal location was a region of desolate desert that had been a wildlife reservation. This area also had the benefit of already having a landing strip nearby, left over from military training exercises during WWII. The selected site in Nevada became 687 square miles of government-controlled land, and what we know today as the Nevada Test Site (of which Area 51 is the most well know, and most secret, parcel of land).

Predator Drone

This project began sometime in the late 1960’s and involved some of the first remote controlled aircraft experiments that would later become the Predator drones that are operating in the Middle East, today. It was a six-foot remote controlled drone designed to look like an eagle or buzzard in flight. It carried a television camera in the nose, as well as sensors and electronic surveillance equipment.

The project began as an attempt to investigate a mysterious watercraft the Soviet Union had constructed and was spotted testing (by satellite reconnaissance) on the Caspian Sea (that they later nicknamed the Caspian Monster). The project remains classified today, but a British documentary uncovered what is thought to have been the target for the Aquiline drone – a Soviet hydrofoil called Ekranopian. The Aquiline drone was designed to track in on its target following established communication lines in foreign countries, and be launched from a submarine. The Aquiline drone was built and tested (it crash landed often) but the CIA eventually canceled the program.

2000Insectothopter

Similar to the Aquiline project, this was another attempt by the CIA to mimic the animal kingdom in the development of remote controlled aircraft. Project Ornithopter involved a birdlike drone designed to blend in with nature by flapping its wings. Another even smaller drone was designed to look like a crow that would land on window ledges and photograph, through the window, what was going on inside the building. Project Insectothopter took the concept to an even smaller animal – a drone designed to look like a dragonfly. Insectothopter was a green drone that flapped wings powered by miniature gas engines.

Not satisfied with mimicking mother nature – the CIA also used actual animals to do surveillance, including pigeons with “pigeon-cams” attached to their necks. Unfortunately, the birds were tired out by the extra weight of the cameras and returned to the CIA base on foot – too tired to fly (the project was abandoned). Maybe the strangest project of all was Project Acoustic Kitty, which placed acoustic listening devices on household cats. That project was abandoned when the cats strayed too far off target searching for food, and one was run over by a car.

Nts2

This was a “safety test” conducted at the Nevada Test Site to simulate what would happen if an airplane carrying an atomic bomb crashed and released radioactive material into the environment. In this way, Project 57 would become America’s first “dirty bomb” experiment. Scientists theorized that the detonation of the high explosives surrounding a nuclear warhead (but that did not initiate a full chain reaction) would release plutonium into the environment. But they did not know for certain, nor did they know how much plutonium would be released, how far the plutonium would travel, etc. The military and CIA felt the test was needed because more and more American nuclear warheads were being carried by more and more aircraft. Sooner or later (and it would come sooner than anyone thought), an airplane accident was bound to happen when the aircraft was carrying live nuclear weapons.

A part of the test site called Area 13 was selected and workers began to set up thousands of “sticky pans”, steel pans sprayed with a sticky resin that would capture and hold plutonium particles released into the air by the explosion of the bomb. Mock cities were set up to determine what would happen if the explosion occurred in an urban area. Fourteen hundred blocks of asphalt streets were laid, and cars parked at various locations on the asphalt. Nine burros, 109 beagles, 10 sheep and 31 rats were placed in cages to measure the physical impact of the plutonium release. At 6:27 AM on April 24, 1957, the nuclear warhead was fired in such a way as to mimic a plane crash. When the radioactive dust settled, 895 square acres had been contaminated.

Plutonium is one of the most deadly substances known to man; one millionth of a gram of plutonium is lethal if it is inhaled. Plutonium remains deadly for 20,000 years. Scientists learned much about how plutonium acts by studying the effects on the test animals, but the actual data is still classified. They also found that the plutonium did not move far – it tended to settle on the top of the soil and stay there. After a year of study, Project 57 was shut down and the area never cleaned up. It was fenced off, the material (including the cars) were buried. That was it, or so the scientists thought, until the following year when another scientist authored a paper theorizing that earth worms passing through the contaminated area would move the plutonium with them, out of the restricted zone (as would birds which ate the worms and flew off with the radioactivity in them).

Project 57-2

Not a project really but a mission. On January 21, 1968, a fire started on board a B52G bomber during a secret mission over Greenland. Most of the crew bailed out and the aircraft smashed into the Greenland ice sheet. On impact, the high explosives in at least three of the atomic bombs on board exploded. This spread radioactive plutonium, tritium and uranium over a large area. The CIA and US military now had a real Project 57 on their hands. The fire melted the ice and at least one atomic bomb fell into North Star Bay and below the ice covered sea. Apparently the US tried to recover the bomb but was unsuccessful.

Even though project 57 had provided lots of data about what happens when a nuclear warhead explodes and spreads radioactive contamination over a wide area, the military and CIA still did not have a permanent emergency response unit dedicated, equipped and trained to respond to these dirty bomb like disasters. So an ad-hoc group of scientists and military people were put together and sent to Greenland for what would become the toughest dirty bomb clean up operation in history. With temperatures dropping to – 70 F and winds up to 100 mph, the conditions made it all but impossible for the men to clean up all of the radioactive contamination. Less than 50% of the radioactive material was recovered. The crew cleaned and froze for eight months and when they were done had cleaned up 10,500 tons of radioactive ice, snow and crash debris, which was flown to South Carolina for disposal. The crew would call themselves “Dr Freezelove”.

Operationmorninglightcrew

This was another secret clean up of radioactive material but this time not American radioactive material – Russian. On September 18, 1977, the Soviet union launched Cosmos 954, a nuclear-powered spy satellite. The satellite was 46 feet long and weighed over 4 tons. Within months of its launch, the US knew the satellite was in trouble. In December of 1977, analysts determined Cosmos 954 was slipping out of orbit and unless the Soviet Union took action, it would plummet to Earth. They further determined that if the Soviets could not gain control of the satellite it would reenter the atmosphere and crash somewhere in North America. Pressed by the Carter Administration to divulge what exactly was on board the satellite, the Soviets admitted it carried 110 pounds of highly enriched uranium.

At the direction of the CIA – the decision was made by the US government not to inform the public. The CIA knew a satellite carrying a live nuclear reactor was going to crash somewhere in North America, but believed that “a sensationalized leak would disturb the public in unforeseeable ways”. So the public was kept in the dark.

Fortunately by 1978, the US had a trained team to respond to such emergencies – the Nuclear Emergency Search Team or NEST. The NEST team stood by, waiting to deploy the minute the satellite crashed (no one could predict exactly where it would land). Eventually, national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski did tell the public that America was experiencing “a space age difficulty”.

When Cosmos 954 crashed it struck across a large swath of ice in the Canadian tundra, 1000 miles north of Montana near the Great Slave Lake. The NEST team vans carrying the specialists were dispatched by C130 transport to the crash scene. The vans were disguised as bakery vans. As part of Operation Morning Light – the NEST team members searched over a fifty by eight hundred mile corridor for radioactive debris. After several months, 90 percent of the debris from Cosmos 954 was recovered. After the crash, officials calculated that if Cosmos 954 had made one more orbit of the Earth before it crashed, it would have landed somewhere over the populated American East Coast.

6A00D8341C4Df253Ef00E54F78C02D8834-800Wi

In the 1960’s, the US was on its way to the moon. Lesser known is the fact that, at area 25 (a sister top secret site to Area 51) of the Nevada Test Site, NASA and AEC scientists were working on something even more ambitious – a trip to Mars on a nuclear powered rocket. This was called project Nuclear Engine Rocket Vehicle Application or NERVA. Sixteen stories tall, the rocket ship, called Orion, would send 150 men to Mars in only 124 days. Orion would blast off from eight 250-foot-tall towers out of a cloud of radioactivity generated by a powerful nuclear reactor and engine aboard the ship. When running at full power the nuclear engine operated at 3,680 degrees Fahrenheit; it had to be cooled by liquid hydrogen gas. To test such a monster engine and reactor it had to be bolted down to the earth. When tested, the NERVA engine would shoot into the atmosphere a plume of hydrogen exhaust that had passed through a superheated uranium fission reactor.

The Los Alamos scientists then decided they wanted to know what would happen if scientists lost control of one of these nuclear engines, and it exploded. Thus was born Kiwi – a test to deliberately blow up one of these reactor/engines. On January 12, 1965, a nuclear rocket engine, codenamed Kiwi, was allowed to overheat. At a temperature of 4,000 degrees Centigrade, the reactor burst – shooting radioactive fuel skyward, glowing every color of the rainbow. The explosion blew a 100-pound chunk of radioactive fuel a quarter mile away. The radioactive plume rose to 2,600 feet, and the wind eventually carried the radioactive cloud west, passing over Los Angeles and out to sea. Scientists were airborne with instruments measuring the amount of radiation that was released into the atmosphere, but as of today that data remains classified.

Though this was passed off as another “safety test”, the release of so much radiation into the atmosphere possibly violated the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, that banned the airborne explosion of atomic bombs. But scientists now knew what they needed. If the rocket engine exploded on the launch pad – anyone standing within 100 feet would die almost immediately from radiation exposure. Anyone within 400 feet would receive a serious does of radiation that could be fatal, and anyone within 1000 feet would be overexposed to radiation.

Five months later, the real thing took place when another design of the nuclear rocket engine, code named Phoebus, did overheat. It exploded when one of the liquid hydrogen cooling tanks accidentally ran dry.

Stealth01

In the development of America’s first stealth aircraft, dubbed “Oxcart”, all manner of new technology was created at Area 51 to make the aircraft invisible to radar, or at least as small a radar image as could be achieved. Materials that would absorb radar, space age design and electronic counter measures were all employed. Yet when President Kennedy gave Oxcart it’s mission to fly surveillance over Cuba to look for nuclear missiles being secretly installed there by the Soviet Union, the aircraft was still not quite ready. Researchers and scientists redoubled their efforts, but it was decided that Oxcart was still not stealthy enough. Some other way had to be found to make it all but invisible to enemy radar.

Project Kemper-Lacroix was one possible solution. At Area 51, scientists came up with the idea of attaching two giant electron guns, one on either side of the aircraft. The guns would shoot out a 25-foot wide ion cloud of highly charged particles in front of the aircraft (an aircraft which was already moving at speeds above Mach 3). The ion gas cloud would further absorb enemy radar waves coming up from the ground, providing the plane with more stealth.

Testing on scale models of the Oxcart aircraft showed the theory would work. Testing the electron beam guns on the full scale Oxcart aircraft, the researchers soon discovered the radiation given off by the guns would kill the pilot. So more engineers worked on developing an x-ray shield the pilots could wear to protect them from the radiation. But the first test pilot to wear the shield said it was too cumbersome to allow the pilots to fly the aircraft. Project Kemper-Lacroix was abandoned.

Nuclear-Bomb-Explosion-Ndep

Perhaps the most wrong-headed, ill-advised and dangerous of all the atmospheric nuclear explosions by the US, Projects Teak and Orange were right out of a science fiction story about mad scientists and their crazy experiments leading to the destruction of the planet.

Teak and Orange were two massive, 3.8 megaton nuclear devices which would be detonated in the Earths upper atmosphere over the Johnston Atoll, 750 miles west of Hawaii. Teak was exploded at 50 miles and Orange was exploded at 28 miles in the upper atmosphere. The purpose of these tests was to give the US a measuring stick to use so as to determine if the Soviet Union did the same thing (exploded a nuclear device high in the Earths atmosphere). As if such an explosion would be difficult to detect? It seems mad now, looking back, that such tests were green-lighted, but that was the mood of the Cold War in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Test first, ask questions later.

How obvious is it to explode a 3.8 megaton nuclear device 28-50 miles up? The fireballs produced burned the retinas of any living thing within a 225 mile radius of the blast. Anything that had been looking at the sky when the blast occurred, without protective goggles was blinded. This included hundreds of monkeys and rabbits flown in aircraft nearby. The animals had their heads locked into devices that forced them to look at the blast. From Guam to Wake Island to Maui, the blue sky turned red, white and gray, creating an aura over a 2,100 mile section of the meridian. Radio communication throughout a huge part of the Pacific went dead. One of the weapons test engineers stated it chillingly – “we almost blew a hole in the ozone layer”. In fact, prior to the explosions scientists had warned that it would be possible to blast a hole in the Earths protective ozone layer, but Teak and Orange went ahead regardless.

Argusx17

Not to be outdone, even higher high-altitude nuclear tests were conducted, these under Operation Argus. Nuclear tipped missiles were fired from ships for the first time as part of Argus. On August 27, 30 and September 6, 1950, nuclear warheads were shot into space by X-17 rockets from the deck of a US warship anchored off South Africa. These missiles went 300 miles out into space. The reason for these nuclear tests in outer space? One scientist theorized that exploding nuclear bombs in the Earths magnetic field (but above the Earth’s atmosphere) could create an electronic pulse that would render incoming Russian ICBM’s inoperative. Though a magnetic pulse was created by the nuclear explosions, the pulse was not large enough to have any affect on the ICBM’s. The project was another dangerous, and ultimately futile, experiment.

Roswelldebris

I included this as a bonus, though if true, it would easily be #1 on any list. Is it true? You decide. In July 1947, the US military and Army intelligence recovered something that crashed at Roswell, New Mexico. The initial report was it was a crashed flying saucer and the bodies that were recovered were alien. The military quickly changed this story to it being a weather balloon, and so began the mystery of what really happened at Roswell, and the most famous UFO incident in American history.

The author of “Area 51” postulates that it was what was really recovered at Roswell that led to the creation of Area 51, in 1951. Something so stunning that an entire secret area had to be established for it to be studied. Immediately after the crash, the recovered material and bodies were sent to Wright Field (later called Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) in Ohio. The Atomic Energy Commission, under the direction of Vannevar Bush, then took over, created Area 51 and moved it all to Area 51, in Nevada.

According to the author, what the US really recovered at Roswell was not a spacecraft with aliens from outer space, but a Soviet aircraft with unknown and mysterious flying capabilities. The US knew the crashed aircraft was of Soviet, and not other-worldly, design because Russian language lettering had been found on the crashed remains. The aircraft had capabilities no one in Area 51, or anyone else, had ever seen. The aircraft could both hover and fly. No US technology at the time could do such a thing. Vannevar Bush ordered six selected engineers, working in total secrecy, to reverse engineer it and figure out how it worked. The project would be so secret, it would remain black forever, it would never be known outside a mere handful of people, such as Bush. The operation would have no name, it would simply go by a letter-number designation, S-4 or Sigma-Four. But there was more……..

The engineers also had to reverse engineer the bodies recovered from the crash scene. Not alien bodies, human bodies. But human bodies like none ever seen – mutated, surgically altered children. Two of the child-size aviators were still “alive”, but not conscious, in a comatose state. They were kept alive in life-support chambers at Area 51, so they could be studied. They were tiny even for children, and had very large heads compared to the rest of their bodies. They were estimated to be thirteen years old, and also had oversized eyes. The engineers who would experiment on these aviators were told it was possible Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele had operated on them (in exchange for a promise by Stalin to get his own laboratory in Russia, a promise Stalin did not keep) before he escaped Europe for South America.

But why would the Soviet Union send their cutting edge technology aircraft, with their biologically/surgically modified alien looking tiny human children, to the US? The author states the engineers were told Stalin believed the craft would land, and the children-aliens would emerge and send the US into a panic far worse than had occurred only a decade earlier, with the fake alien attack during the radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds”. Stalin believed the US populace would panic at the sight of “real aliens”.

Of all the strange, weird, and mysterious activities we know of, this, if true, would have to qualify as the strangest and most mysterious. Did it happen? You be the judge.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/06/12/10-secret-us-military-intelligence-projects/

Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker Max Morse / Getty Images

Cory Booker may be “America’s favorite mayor,” but in New Jersey, his fast rise and transparent ambition has rankled many establishment Democrats, who suggest he’s putting himself above his state party.

The Newark Mayor’s December announcement that he’d “consider” a Senate bid in 2014 — a decision that followed a long, public deliberation played out on Sunday shows and cable news — may have served to raise his national profile. But Democratic insiders complain that it upended the state’s political landscape, making Republican Governor Chris Christie, without Booker challenging him, a virtual lock to win re-election, and setting in motion an intra-party war that has the state choosing sides between Booker and the 88-year-old incumbent Senator Frank Lautenberg.

Technically, Booker says the Senate bid is only a possibility, but N.J.’s political class knows better.

By the morning of Booker’s video announcement, the call to supporters was already out and a political action committee was poised to send an e-mail blast to 75,000 potential Booker-for-Senate donors — “Cory Booker is running for Senate,” the email said. The group, PAC Plus, now plans to contact 500,000 supporters over the next month, with a goal of raising $100,000 for Booker by June, director Steve Phillips told BuzzFeed.

The Senate run that Booker said he would “explore” — a “possibility,” he called it in his announcement video — was in high-gear from day one.

As a N.J. Democratic official put it, “Booker is running — that’s the bottom line.”

“No one in the state ever thought he was running for governor,” said the official. “That was all bullshit. Christie owns him, but he was really being pushed by other power brokers in the state who are much more concerned about the down-ballot effect of what could potentially be a slaughter in 2013.”

Even before Booker said he wouldn’t challenge Christie for the governorship, the chances of any Democrat taking on the incumbent seemed grim. The governor’s approval ratings went as high as 77 percent after Hurricane Sandy.

But with Booker out of the gubernatorial race, the chance of a major thumping in 2013 is all the more likely. The party has yet to rally behind a single candidate, in part, sources say, because the bench players had to wait on Booker’s decision before they could get in the game themselves.

Already late in the race, only one Democrat — progressive state Senator Barbara Buono — has officially declared herself a contender. Other possible Democratic candidates include Rep. Bill Pascrell, former N.J. governor Dick Codey, and state Senate president Stephen Sweeney, who received a call of encouragement from Booker himself last month.

New Jersey state Senator Loretta Weinberg told BuzzFeed she’d personally tried courting Booker for a gubernatorial run as early as the Democratic National Convention in September to avoid the disparate field with which the party is now coping.

She wasn’t the only one, either. In the Charlotte hotel where New Jerseyans set up camp for the DNC, the bar was host to private confabs between state officials. “You could see all the grand poobahs in the Democratic party meeting with him,” Weinberg remembered. “We thought Booker would be an excellent candidate.”

Weinberg said she’d given the mayor some advice: “In politics, you’re usually better off going to the position that’s offered to you, not necessarily the one you want two years from now, because they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive.”

But when it became clear that Booker was leaning away from the governor’s race, Weinberg would make a public plea to Booker — an open letter on bluejersey.com. “The state needs you and our party needs you,” she wrote.

Ten days later, on the morning of the announcement, Weinberg got a call from Booker with the heads-up — he wasn’t going to be taking her advice.

The big problem, though, was that Booker “took a long time to make his decision and was inappropriately agonizing over it,” said Weinberg. “I’m not angry, I’m disappointed. And I don’t think it was handled in the most appropriate way because it took much too long.”

Democrats are desperate, said Weinberg, to regain control of the New Jersey governorship, considered one of the most powerful of any state in the country. By law, Christie has the authority to traditionally veto, outright veto, or rewrite any piece of legislation and send it back in a different form to the Democrat-controlled state Senate.

“The longer we take and the less unified we are, the harder it’s going to be,” she said, referring to the governor’s race this fall. “We’re very anxious now as a party to rally around our candidate whoever it will be. The sooner it will get through this, the better it will be for the party.”

The party is also faced with the uncomfortable dynamic Booker’s Senate race has created surrounding Sen. Frank Lautenberg, one of the most respected, storied figures in the state’s political history, who also happens to be 88 years old and hell bent on staying in office — or at least retiring on his own terms.

Although Lautenberg would be 90 years old in 2014, running a re-election bid for a six-year term, he has not publicly indicated even the impression that he wants to retire.

Lautenberg did retire once before in 2001, but he was asked a year later to unseat an incumbent candidate, Sen. Bob Torriecelli, after he was charged with federal corruption. But Lautenberg’s respite from office was a decision he is said to have regretted within minutes of making.

Although Lautenberg’s office received advance warning of Booker’s announcement, a N.J. Democrat said, the Senator was offended that his retirement should be anyone’s decision but his own.

Booker chose his words on the subject carefully in the video announcing his Senate run. “I forward to consulting with Senator Frank Lautenberg,” said Booker, adding that “it would be a privilege and honor to continue his legacy of service.”

Booker also tweeted hours later that Lautenberg “has served NJ well. Right now I’m going to talk with him,” he wrote.

But Booker wasn’t waiting around for Lautenberg to make up his mind. The mayor was already on Twitter, rallying the troops. “So happy to hear of your plans to run for US Senate,” said one supporter. Booker’s response — “Thanks! Please register at corybooker.com.” Another supporter, on the day of Booker’s announcement: “Caught up on the news of today. Cory Booker has my vote.” The response from Booker again — “Please register your email at corybooker.com.” Ten more such tweets exist on Booker’s feed.

A day after the announcement, Booker told NBC Channel 4 that he personally had “not been able to connect with the Senator.” That same day on NJTV, when asked about a potential primary race against Lautenberg, Booker responded, “That hypothetical question is inappropriate right now. Let me afford him the respect of hearing what his thoughts are and what he wants to do. He hasn’t commented on that yet.”

(Lautenberg, meanwhile, had issued a response. The day before, the Senator’s spokesman Caley Gray released a statement to the press: “This is not the time for political distractions and the Senator will address politics next year,” said Gray.)

Booker should have shown more deference to Lautenberg, Weinberg said, but added that “it’s very difficult to find language that covers both sides of the coin — the respect for Senator Lautenberg, and also the plan to run.”

One N.J. Democratic official said Senator Lautenberg’s decision about 2014 won’t be swayed by Booker’s announcement. “The analysis about respect and disrespect — it doesn’t matter, Booker is running, and Lautenberg will have to make his own decision,” said the official.

“It’s up to Senator Lautenberg,” said Weinberg. “Frank Lautenberg has earned the right to make this decision in his own time and in his own place. He is still our Senator.”

Weinberg indicated that if Lautenberg did put up a primary fight, the majority of the state party would support him over the Newark mayor. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said as much on the day of Booker’s announcement. “I always support incumbent Senators,” Reid said. “I would always support Lautenberg or anyone else that’s up for reelection.”

In 2008, Lautenberg faced a similar, if not more confrontational, challenge to his seat from Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews, who openly gestured toward Lautenberg’s age during his campaign for the nomination.

Lautenberg, then 84 years old, retained the support of Governor Jon Corzine and the state county chairs.

But one powerful New Jersey Democrat said Lautenberg wouldn’t enjoy the same level of backing this year, were he to run for another term.

“The support that Frank Lautenberg had when Rob Andrews ran against him four years ago and brought up the age issue that offended so many people wouldn’t offend those supporters now,” said the source. “With Chris Christie in office, able to appoint a Republican successor, it would be a completely different situation.”

But even if state Democrats rally behind the Lautenberg camp, the Senator would face a bitter primary fight. A poll released in late November by Public Policy Polling showed Booker leading Lautenberg in a theoretical primary by a 59-22 percent margin.

A third potential contender for the Senate seat, Congressman Frank Pallone, is “all but certain to run for Senate if Lautenberg retires in 2014,” according to a report by Roll Call.

But the difference, the N.J Democratic official told BuzzFeed, is that Pallone has long showed Lautenberg the deference that the senior Senator so values. “Pallone handled it in a way where it’s always been clear that he would only run if Lautenberg retires. He’s been saying that for years.”

“The real question is, will Pallone hypothetically let Booker step into the seat, or anybody else,” said the official. “Open Senate seats don’t come around often, and he’s been waiting his turn patiently.”

Democrats in the state know that if Lautenberg is offended enough, he may step out of the race only to endorse Pallone, a candidate more likely to spend decades in his Senate post — in the tradition of Lautenberg — rather than Booker, who might make another pass at governor or go all the way to the White House.

But a potential primary between Lautenberg and any candidate, the Democratic official said, would be “a super-contested and messy race against a Democratic legend.”

In short, a bad look for New Jersey.

Lautenberg, who will likely have to make a decision before June of 2013, is a fighter and “he’s not gonna be boxed out of a fight,” said the official. “Booker is running — it is what it is. And Lautenberg will make his announcement when he’s ready. No one is counting him out — anybody in New Jersey politics would be crazy to count Lautenberg out.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/new-jerseys-cory-booker-problem

The United States have a well known history of providing military support to countries in need. But from time to time, the US Government has provided secret forces. While many are successful, there have also been a number of failures. This is a list of the ten top secret armies of the CIA.

1. Ukrainian Partisans Wikipedia

From 1945 to 1952 the CIA trained and aerially supplied Ukranian partisan units which had originally been organised by he Germans to fight the Soviets during WWII. For seven years, the partisans, operating in the Carpathian Mountains, made sporadic attacks. Finally in 1952, a massive Soviet military force wiped them out.

2. Chinese Brigade in Burma Wikipedia

After the Communist victory in China, Nationalist Chinese soldiers fled into northern Burma. During the early 1950s, the CIA used these soldiers to create a 12,000 man brigade which made raids into Red China. However, the Nationalist soldiers found it more profitable to monopolise the local opium trade.

3. Guatemalan Rebel Army Wikipedia

After Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz legalised that country’s communist party and expropriated 400,000 acres of United Fruit banana plantations, the CIA decided to overthrow his government. Guatemalan rebels were trained in Honduras and backed up with a CIA air contingent of bombers and fighter planes. This army invaded Guatemala in 1954, promptly toppling Arbenz’s regine.

4. Sumatran Rebels Wikipedia

In an attempt to overthrow Indonesian president Sukarno in 1958, the CIA sent paramilitary experts and radio operators to the island of Sumatra to organise a revolt. With CIA air support, the rebel army attacked but was quickly defeated. The American government denied involvement even after a CIA b-26 was shot down and its CIA pilot, Allen Pope, was captured.

5. Khamba Horsemen Wikipedia

After the 1950 Chinese invasion of Tibet, the CIA began recruiting Khamba horsemen – fierce warriors who supported Tibet’s religious leader, the Dalai Lama – as they escaped into India in 1959. These Khambas were trained in modern warfare at Camp Hale, high in the rocky mountains near Leadville, Colorado. Transported back to Tibet by the CIA operated Air American, the Khambas organised an army number at its peak some 14,000. By the mid-1960s the Khambas had been abandoned by the CIA but they fought on alone until 1970.

6. Bay of Pigs Invasion Force Wikipedia

In 1960, CIA operatives recruited 1,500 Cuban refugees living in Miami and staged a surprise attack on Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Trained at a base in Guatemala, this small army – complete with an air force consisting of B-26 bombers – landed at the Bay of Pigs on April 19, 1961. The ill-conceived, poorly planned operation ended in disaster, since all but 150 men of the force were either killed or captured within three days.

7. L’armee Clandestine Wikipedia

In 1962, CIA agents recruited Meo tribesmen living in the mountains of Laos to fight as guerrillas against Communist Pathet Lao forces. Called l’armee Clandestine, this unit – paid, trained, and supplied by the CIA – grew into a 30,000 man force. By 1975 the Meos – who had numbers a quarter million in 1962 – had been reduced to 10,000 refugees fleeing into Thailand.

8. Nung Mercenaries Wikipedia

A Chinese hill people living in Vietname, the Nungs were hired and organised by the CIA as a mercenary force, during the Vietnam war. Fearsome and brutal fighters, the Nungs were employed throughout Vietnam and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Nungs proved costly since they refused to fight unless constantly supplied with beer and prostitutes.

9. Peruvian Regiment Wikipedia

Unable to quell guerrilla forces in its eastern Amazonian provinces, Peru called on the US for help in the mid-1960s. The CIA responded by establishing a fortified camp in the area and hiring local Peruvians who were trained by Green Beret personnel on loan from the US army. After crushing the guerrillas, the elite unit was disbanded because of fears it might stage a coup against the government.

10. Congo Mercenary Force Wikipedia

In 1964, during the Congolese Civil War, the CIA established an army in the Congo to back pro-Western leaders Cyril Adoula and Joseph Mobutu. The CIA imported European mercenaries and Cuban pilots – exiles from Cuba – to pilot the CIA air force, composed of transports and B-26 Bombers.

11. The Cambodian Coup Wikipedia

For over 15 years, the CIA had tried various unsuccessful means of deposing Cambodia’s left-leaning Prince Norodom Sihanouk, including assassination attempts. However, in March, 1970, a CIA-backed coup finally did the job. Funded by US tax dollars, armed with US weapons, and trained by American Green Berets, anti-Sihanouk forces called Kampuchea Khmer Krom (KKK) overran the capital of Phnom Penh and took control of the government. With the blessing of the CIA and the Nixon administration, control of Cambodia was placed in the hands of Lon Nol, who would later distinguish himself by dispatching soldiers to butcher tens of thousands of civilians.

12. Kurd Rebels Wikipedia

During the early 1970s the CIA moved into eastern Iraq to organize and supply the Kurds of that area, who were rebelling against the pro-Soviet Iraqi government. The real purpose behind this action was to help the shah of Iran settle a border dispute with Iraq favourably. After an Iranian-Iraq settlement was reached, the CIA withdrew its support from the Kurds, who were then crushed by the Iraqi Army.

13. Angola Mercenary Force Wikipedia

In 1975, after years of bloody fighting and civil unrest in Angola, Portugal resolved to relinquish its hold on the last of its African colonies. The transition was to take place on November 11, with control of the country going to whichever political faction controlled the capital city of Luanda on that date. In the months preceding the change, three groups vied for power: the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). By July 1975, the Marxist MPLA had ousted the moderate FNLA and UNITA from Luanda, so the CIA decided to intervene covertly. Over $30 million was spent on the Angolan operation, the bulk of the money going to buy arms and pay French and South African mercenaries, who aided the FNLA and UNITA in their fight. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, US officials categorically denied any involvement in the Angolan conflict. In the end, it was a fruitless military adventure, for the MPLA assumed power and controls Angola to this day.

14. Afghan Mujaheedin Wikipedia

Covert support for the groups fighting against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan began under President Jimmy Carter in 1979, and was stepped up during the administration of Ronald Reagan. The operation succeeded in its initial goal, as the Soviets were forced to begin withdrawing their forces in 1987. Unfortunately, once the Soviets left, the US essentially ignored Afghanistan as it collapsed into a five-year civil war followed by the rise of the ultra-fundamentalist Taliban. The Taliban provided a haven for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

15. Salvadoran Death Squads Wikipedia

As far back as 1964, the CIA helped form ORDEN and ANSESAL, two paramilitary intelligence networks that developed into the Salvadoran death squads. The CIA trained ORDEN leaders in the use of automatic weapons and surveillance techniques, and placed several leaders on the CIA payroll. The CIA also provided detailed intelligence on Salvadoran individuals later murdered by the death squads. During the civil war in El Salvador from 1980 to 1992, the death squads were responsible for 40,000 killings. Even after a public outcry forced President Reagan to denounce the death squads in 1984, CIA support continued.

16. Nicaraguan Contras Wikipedia

On November 23, 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed a top secret National Security Directive authorising the CIA to spend $19 million to recruit and support the Contras, opponents of Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. In supporting the Contras, the CIA carried out several acts of sabotage without the Congressional intelligence committees giving consent – or even being informed beforehand. In response, Congress passed the Boland Amendment, prohibiting the CIA from providing aid to the Contras. Attempts to find alternate sources of funds led to the Iran-Contra scandal. It may also have led the CIA and the Contras to become actively involved in drug smuggling. In 1988, the Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism, and International Operations concluded that individuals in the Contra movement engaged in drug trafficking; that known drug traffickers provided assistance to the Contras; and that ‘there are some serious questions as to whether or not US officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war effort against Nicaragua’.

17. Haitian Coup Wikipedia

In 1988, the CIA attempted to intervene in Haiti’s elections with a ‘covert action program’ to undermine the campaign of the eventual winner, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Three years later, Aristide was overthrown in a bloody coup that killed more than 4,000 civilians. Many of the leaders of the coup had been on the CIA payroll since the mid-1980s. For example, Emmanuel ‘Toto’ Constant, the head of FRAPH, a brutal gang of thugs known for murder, torture, and beatings, admitted to being a paid agent of the CIA. Similarly, the CIA-created Haitian National Intelligence Service (NIS), supposedly created to combat drugs, functioned during the coup as a ‘political intimidation and assassination squad.’ In 1994, an American force of 20,000 was sent to Haiti to allow Aristide to return. Ironically, even after this, the CIA continued working with FRAPH and the NIS. In 2004, Aristide was overthrown once again, with Aristide claiming that US forces had kidnapped him.

18. Venezuelan Coup Attempt Wikipedia

On April 11, 2002, Venezuelan military leaders attempted to overthrow the country’s democratically-elected left-wing president, Hugo Chavez. The coup collapsed after two days as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets and as units of the military joined with the protestors. The administration of George W. Bush was the only democracy in the Western Hemisphere not to condemn the coup attempt. According to intelligence analyst Wayne Madsen, the CIA had actively organised the coup: ‘The CIA provided Special Operations Group personnel, headed by a lieutenant colonel on loan from the US Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to help organise the coup against Chavez.

Source: The book of lists

Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/07/10/top-10-secret-armies-of-the-cia/

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

Brian To / WENN

 

Batman fans were torn Thursday night over the announcement that Ben Affleck would play the superhero in the 2015 sequel to this summer’s Man of Steel.

But Affleck did have one big booster tweeting his support to his 1.4 million followers: Newark mayor and candidate for United States Senate, Cory Booker.

When a fan tweeted at Booker Thursday that, if he wasn’t a candidate for Senate “he’d definitely be on Twitter talking about Affleck as Batman,” Booker retweeted the message and responded with a wave of support for Affleck: “Senate or not this comic book fan is very excited,” Booker said, telling detractors, “I’m pro-Ben.”

The endorsement may appear arbitrary, but Affleck has been a longtime Booker donor. In 2006, Affleck contributed $10,000 to Booker’s successful Newark mayoral campaign. And this year, according to a review of FEC reports, Affleck and his wife, actress Jennifer Garner, have given Booker a combined $5,000 to help his campaign in this year’s special election.

In April, Affleck and Garner also gave a combined $10,000 in funding to what would have been Booker’s 2014 general election, before Sen. Frank Lautenberg passed away and a special was scheduled for this October.

Affleck’s best friend, actor Matt Damon, has contributed $10,400 as well.

Booker has been a Hollywood favorite for years. Earlier this year, mega-producer Jerry Weintraub hosted Booker at his home for a fundraiser attended by Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO of DreamWorks Animation; Bob Iger, the chairman and CEO of Walt Disney; and actor Bruce Willis, among others.

Affleck and Garner’s contributions to Booker’s special election campaign earlier this month. Via fec.gov

Affleck and Garner’s contributions to Booker’s senate campaign in April. Via fec.gov

This post has been updated.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/cory-booker-is-the-only-one-excited-about-ben-affleck-playin

And then, the internet happened.

Your friendly federal government auction site wants to stock you up with last-minute, unique Christmas SWAG for your loved ones!

1. Do you need your own CH-47D Chinook?

You could have Christmas dinner in one of these bad boys!

 

Look at that tail feather!

*Might take some time to wrap*

Only 3 million bucks!

2. That chopper too big for you? Try this one!

Think of how much fun you and your friends will be having in this baby!

 

“Ooh look at that!”

For the price of an iPhone.

3. Want to get a boat for your dad?

Look at that captains chair and stove!

 

$140K is a bit high-end, but YOLO!

4. Need some fresh bling for a significant other?

*don’t ask where they got it.

The federal government’s got bling in all shapes and sizes.

 

5. IPod nano for the cousin?

6. Xbox 360: still a pretty cool present for your little sibling.

7. Want some TV SWAG?

That’s like a quarter of the retail price.

There are some lesser models available too.

 

Reflection of the government employee taking the photo sold separately.
I’m sure the dust will wash off easily.

Pretty CHEAP.

8. An examination table for the weirdo in the family!

No questions asked!

 

The creepiest 25 bucks you will spend this holiday.

9. What grandfather does not want his own bulldozer?

 

$13K is a bit pricey, but think of the damage he could do!

10. What dad would not want this old-timey tractor?

 

PERFECT for your favorite Schnauzbart!

$732! Your dad will love you!

11. No man is an island right? But what if you owned your own island?!

Like you have to take a boat out to it and everything.

What is up?! You could throw legendary ragers in here!

 

$25K is really not that much for your own island.

12. Want your own building on an Air Force base?

10 Covert Military Operations

In recent history there have been some amazing secret military and intelligence operations undertaken. This list looks at 10 of the most interesting or important. Be sure to use the comments to mention others that may not be included here.

Gen-Gehlen-In-Wwii

After the defeat of the Nazis during World War II, there was a scramble by all the major powers (U.S., U.K. and Russia) to capture the leading Nazi scientists and intelligence agents. The US operation was named operation paperclip. Many Nazi scientists were captured as a result – the most famous of whom were Wenher Von Braun and Arthur Rudolph, who helped the U.S. develop rockets for space exploration and, ultimately, the moon landing. The most famous of the intelligence agents recruited was Reinhard Gehlen, who was used to set up a spy ring against the Soviet Union (known as the Gehlen Organization). He also helped train the Israeli Special Forces Mossad.

 Ceo Wp-Content Uploads 2009 12 Cia Mk-Ultra-Mkultra-Lsd

Inspired by North Korea’s brainwashing program, the CIA began experiments on mind control. While including hypnosis and I.Q. tests, the most notorious part of this project involved giving LSD, and other drugs, to American subjects. In one reported case, a subject was given LSD continuously for 77 days. Scottish scientist Donal Ewen Cameron was also involved, in attempting to remove schizophrenia by erasing all memories and reprogramming the individual. His experiments included putting subjects into drug-induced comas for weeks at a time, while playing tapes of noise or simple repetitive statements.

Heydri8

This was the code name for the plan to assassinate Nazi Reinhard Heydrich, in 1942. Many called Heydrich The Hangman of Prague, due to his part in the planning of the killing of millions of Jews through “The Final Solution”. Two soldiers from the Czechoslovakian Army based in Britain were assigned, Josef Gabcik and Jan Kubis. On May 27, 1942, during, Heydrich’s daily commute, Gabčík and Kubiš waited at a tram stop. As Heydrich’s open-topped car neared the pair, Gabčík stepped in front of the vehicle, trying to open fire, but his gun jammed. Heydrich ordered his driver to stop the car. When Heydrich stood up to try to shoot Gabčík, Kubiš threw a grenade at the vehicle, and its fragments ripped through the car’s embedding shrapnel into Heydrich’s body. Heydrich, got out of the car, returned fire and tried to chase Gabčík, but collapsed. The assassins were initially convinced that the attack had failed. But after surgery, and several days in hospital, Heydrich died from infections from the wounds.

War3024 Bayofpigs

Better known as the Bay of Pigs invasion, although conceived by the Eisenhower administration, it came to define the early days of the J.F.K. presidency. The plans involved an invasion of southern Cuba by CIA trained Cuban rebels, with the help of American air support. The planners had imagined that the invasion would spark a popular uprising against Castro, which never happened, due to underestimated support for him. A promised American air strike also never occurred. This is the CIA’s first major public setback, causing President Kennedy to fire CIA Director of the time, Allen Dulles. Interestingly, Operation Pluto was also the name used for a WWII attempt to build a major oil pipeline in the sea between France and England.

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After the Terrorist group Black September kidnapped and murdered 11 Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics in 1972, the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad decided to seek revenge under Operation Wrath of God. During this time, covert Israeli assassination units killed dozens of suspected conspirators across Europe. The string of assassinations spurred retaliations and criticism of Israeli. The film Munich outlined these events.

5Th November Operation Payback

While maybe not, strictly, a covert operation in the traditional sense, I felt the need to include it because of how recent it was and the news it generated. It was a series of DoS (Denial of Service) attacks, by a group calling itself “Anonymous”, against many of the websites which withdrew their support for Wikileaks after the leaking of the Iraq War logs and cable leaks, in 2010. Those websites attacked include Visa, PayPal and MasterCard, among others.

Ddsuiw 137 1

After the allied invasion of Sicily and the collapse of the Italian government, Mussolini was arrested by King Victor Emmanuel of Italy, and imprisoned. Mussolini was imprisoned at the Campo Imperatore Hotel in the ski resort in Italy’s Gran Sasso. Otto Skorzeny was personally selected by Hitler to carry out the mission, and intercepted a coded message by the Italians to discovered Mussolini’s whereabouts. Skorzeny joined the Luftwaffe paratroopers when they crashed gliders into nearby mountains, before overwhelming the Italians without a shot being fired. Mussolini received a hero’s welcome at Hotel Imperial in Austria.

D388-046 Wa

Carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces, this was a rescue of 248 people from an Air France plane at Entebbe Airport, in Uganda. The Plane had been hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), while going from Athens to Paris. On July 4th, 1976, a raid took place at night by 100 elite Israeli commandos, after landing near the airport in three Hercules transport planes. The operation took only 35 minutes, the commandos caught the hijackers by surprise and killed all seven, as well as 20 Ugandan soldiers. Three hostages were killed as well as one Israeli commando, all other hostages were taken to Israel.

Navyseal

The attack on Osama Bin Laden’s safe house in Bilal town, Abbottbad, Pakistan, occurred at 1:00 a.m. when the walls were breached by around 20 Navy SEALS using explosives. An airborne unit of the US special operations command, known as the Night Stalkers, provided two modified Black Hawk Helicopters and two Chinooks as backups. The SEALS split into two groups, one group taking to the main house. This group found Bin Laden on the third floor, unarmed, and shot him twice, one hit the left side of his head, another hit his chest. After the raid, U.S. forces took bin Laden’s body to Afghanistan for identification, then buried it at sea within 24 hours of his death. There is currently some backlash as a result of the non involvement of the Pakistani intelligence (ISI) during the operation.

Clausvonstauffenberg

While not successful in its end goal (assassinating Adolf Hitler) it is the most famous (helped by the Tom Cruise film). The Attempt was made by Claus Von Stauffenberg and other anti-Nazi Germans. With the Normandy invasion many believed the end of the Nazi regime was forthcoming, and the plot was the culmination of the efforts of several groups in the German resistance to overthrow the Nazi regime. It was decided Claus would deliver the bomb, as he had close access to Hitler. The attempt was called off twice, because the conspirators wanted to kill other high ranking Nazi officials, also. Eventually, on the 20th July 1944, Colonel von Stauffenberg entered a conference room, moved up close to Hitler and placed the briefcase containing the bomb on the floor beside the German leader. A few minutes later, he left the room with the excuse of taking a phone call. It was later learned that after von Stauffenberg had placed the bomb and left the room, Colonel Heinz Brandt had found the briefcase in his way and moved it to the other side of a heavy table leg away from Hitler. When the bomb exploded, Hitler escaped with an injured hand and damaged eardrums.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/05/12/10-covert-military-operations/

1. Building Websites

According to a federal government white paper prepared by the Department of Homeland Security in 2009, there were a total of just 12 terrorist websites active in 1998. With the rise of the internet, that number has risen to nearly 7,000 active terrorist sites.

2. Using Social Media

According to a 2012 United Nations report, terrorists distribute their content using a wide range of social tools. These include their websites, but also chat rooms, online message boards, forums, magazines such as al-Qaeda’s Inspire, and social platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, RapidShare, and other sites. The report notes that indexing of these materials by search engines makes them easily findable for prospective recruits. The screenshot above is the Twitter account of the Somali-based terrorist organization Al Shabaab.

3. Targeting Prospective Recruits

The Department of Homeland Security cites three ways young people find sites to become radicalized: browsing for entertainment; searching for a community to belong to; looking for information related to heritage, traditions, or ideologies associated with a particular radical group. Knowing this, terrorists are able to tailor their efforts to find the most likely recuits.

Terrorist propaganda on sites is often meant to target these groups. By targeting both susceptible and marginalized members of society, terrorists exploit individuals’ feelings of loneliness, weakness, shame, or need for belonging. These can be shifted to target specific genders, age groups, economic classes, or ethnicities.

4. Indoctrinating Children with Cartoons

Both Hamas, through its website Al Fateh, and al-Qaeda have attempted to recruit children using Disney-style animated videos. Al Fateh’s website uses these cartoons to advocate violence against Israel and the glory of martyrdom. In 2011, the AP reported that an al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen released a short film featuring “Disney-like” cartoons in which young boys dressed in battle fatigues participated in terrorist plots and raids. Hamas’ website even has GIFs of cartoon animals.

5. Repeating Clear, Simple Messages and Talking Points

Bruce Hoffman, a Georgetown professor formerly of the RAND Corporation, says there are three core messages terrorists drive home on their websites during recruitment: that the West is extremely aggressive and threatening toward Islam; that the only way to address the West’s threat is through violence; and that because of these two things, the only option to counter the West is jihad.

6. Communicating Through Streaming Video

Grassroots-level jihadists have been cited as the largest category of cyber extremists, including both active jihadists and passive supporters. Messages from leaders like Osama bin Laden help rally these communities. While these videos may only use one-way communication, other lesser figures can participate in chat rooms and issuing fatwas online, according to a report from Hanna Rogan of the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment.

7. Online Video Games

Islamic terrorist groups have released video games online to appeal to teens and young adults. Hezbollah released the games Special Force and Special Force 2, which depict themselves fighting the Israeli military. The Global Islamist Media Front, in association with al-Qaeda, released the Quest for Bush game online. The game, aimed at children, gave them the goal of killing then-President George W. Bush.

8. Instructing Future Recruits How to Carry Out Attacks

With the rise of the internet, terrorists find themselves being able to use the online world as a new virtual training ground. Terrorists can instruct potential recruits on how to build explosives, how to execute specific terrorist attacks, how to obtain firearms, how to join a terrorist organization, and how to build additional non-explosive dangerous material.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/8-ways-terrorists-use-the-internet-for-recruitment