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I was idly surfing YouTube last night...

...after following a link in a comment somewhere to a video of the biggest glacier calving event ever filmed. Saw more calving events, some icebergs flipping upside down in the water, stuff like that. Just clicking on the array of "videos you might like" that comes up whenever one video is done.

Ended up with a compilation video from the U.S. Army from 1961 about the creation of "Camp Century" in northwestern Greenland. It had everything - fancy big snow/ice chewers/blowers from Sweden to carve tunnels, Super-big SnoCats to haul megatons' worth of materiel from the Thule airbase, a Malamute mascot named "Mukluk," and a 2Mw 'semi-portable' nuclear reactor. The whole thing was under the ice of the Greenland ice sheet, covered over with new ice so it was invisible. Except for scattered emergency exits like Army green pipes sticking out of the ice. Jeez, guys. Why didn't you paint 'em white?

It's the usual newsreel style PR fluff piece from the good old Cold War days about a project "at the top of the world," and quite entertaining [28 minutes long, but you can get it in 4 parts]. So then I went Googling for more info on this "Camp Century." Sure enough, this innocuous (but impressive and expensive) effort to colonize the Greenland ice sheet wasn't so innocuous after all...

Project Iceworm was the code name for a US Army Top Secret proposal during the Cold War (a study was started in 1958), to build a network of mobile nuclear missile launch sites under the Greenland ice sheet. The ultimate objective of placing medium-range missiles under the ice - close enough to Moscow to strike targets within the Soviet Union - was kept secret from the Danish government. To study the feasibility of working under the ice, a highly publicized "cover" project, known as "Camp Century" was launched in 1960...
Watching the PR video, the sheer gumption of the project seems positively... patriotic. It doesn't hurt that the constantly reiterated 'under-theme' is of scientific research and experiments in the arctic environment, of course. Here's a description of the camp from the above Wiki link...
The "official purose" of Camp Century, as explained by the US Department of Defense to Danish government officials in 1960, was to test various construction techniques under Arctic conditions, explore practical problems with a semi-mobile nuclear reactor, as well as supporting scientific experiments on the Icecap. A total of 21 trenches were cut and covered with dome roofs within which prefabricated building[s] were erected. With a total length of 3,000 meters [3 kilometers] these tunnels also contained a hospital, a shop, a theater and a church. The total number of inhabitants was around 200. From 1960 until 1963 the electricity supply was provided by means of the world's first mobile/portable nuclear reactor, designated the PM-2A and designed by Alco for the US Army. Water was supplied by melting glaciers and tested to determine if germs such as the plague were present.
It was rather quickly discovered by the Corps of Engineers that the ice sheet is constantly moving outward from the center, so the Camp Century roofs and tunnels began listing and collapsing. The camp was abandoned in 1965 and the reactor removed, along with the Whack-a-Mole mobile missile project.

Just ruminating on how amazingly weird this world's Political/Military/Industrial complex has been in my lifetime. Those of us born after World War II - and its 'gift' of nuclear SuperWeapons [aka WMDs] actually used against civilian populations in war - are the first generations of humans born and raised in a world where the political will to make humanity extinct is as clear and present as the weapons designed to do so. Fortunately, that Sword of Damocles has had its hanging thread considerably strengthened in the decades since, to the point where our grandchildren are not spending their formative years constantly under the shadow of violent mass extinction meted out (ultimately) by stupendously wealthy oligarchs so soul-numbingly greedy that they'd rather wipe out civilization and/or humanity entirely than share with the rest of us.

Not really sure why I'm writing this diary. Maybe to remind us that we're all in this together and need each other if anything hopeful is ever to be done in this world.

Or maybe to point out that during 'interesting times' (usually involving war of hot or cold variety), government isn't necessarily concerned with what the people may think about their activities - and will lie with impunity whenever it determines for itself that we have no need to know what's really going on.

Possibly to suggest that critical thinking in light of past experience doesn't support blind faith in political parties, individual political leaders, or the political process itself to have our desires or our best interests in mind.

Who knows? What does this trip down memory lane (some of the details about these projects weren't released under FOIA until 2011, some remains classified) conjure in your mind that relates to where we find ourselves socio-politically at this 'interesting' juncture of history?

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