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Category Archives: Germ Warfare

PETER MCKENNA: Revisiting General Jeffrey Amherst – The Guardian

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:45 pm

But what I think is important to note here is not what he actually says. No, whats most revealing is what he doesnt say. Lockerby professes in his August 15 letter that he is no apologist for Lord Jeffrey. Really! He should re-read out loud his last few letters. To me, he seems intent on painting Amherst in a positive light and casting doubt on those who question his moral failings. He doesnt say anything about the fact that Amherst, who as far as I can tell never stepped foot in P.E.I. or its French equivalent, had nothing but contempt and hatred for Indigenous communities in the whole of British North America. Furthermore, he singles out scholars Bernhard Knollenberg and Philip Ranlet (which Ive examined), who Lockerby uses to buttress his skepticism about Amhersts use of smallpox-infected blankets against Indigenous peoples in Pennsylvania. But it is worth pointing out, since Lockerby missed it, that Knollenberg actually changed his position on Amherst after receiving a letter from Donald H. Kent (editor of Colonel Henry Bouquets papers). Kent informed him there is direct evidence that an attempt was actually made on the Indians with smallpox and that it was an official action. Though Ranlet still challenges this evidence, many historians accept the germ warfare charge. Very few scholars think that Amherst was incapable of such an atrocity given his deep enmity toward Indigenous peoples. Historian Elizabeth Fenn from the University of Colorado published a journal piece in 2000, Biological Warfare in Eighteenth Century North America: Beyond Amherst, where she argues that Amhersts giving/ordering of infected blankets at Fort Pitt may not have been an isolated incident – and that there is evidence of an earlier case by British forces. As for Amherst College, Lockerby neglected to mention that the College has moved to rename the Lord Jeffrey Inn (the only campus building named after him) and to no longer use Lord Jeff in its official communications or symbolism – including the ending of its unofficial Lord Jeff mascot. Most significantly, I found it curious that Lockerby would not indicate whether he supports the Mikmaq legal claim to the 400-plus acre Mill River golf resort. Perhaps that omission says more about whats in Lockerbys heart and mind than anything else. Finally, Id like to reassure Mr. Lockerby that I have indeed been doing my homework. Ive corresponded with two Parks Canada experts on Fortress Louisbourg, communicated with Saint Marys University historian John Reid (a leading expert on the Mikmaq of Nova Scotia) and have perused John Knoxs book, An Historical Journal of the Campaigns in North America. None of them paint Amherst and his engagement with Indigenous peoples in a positive light. But Im still digging. Can Lockerby say the same? Right now, though, I should get back to my own book on Stephen Harper for the University of Toronto Press.

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Heated debate | New Scientist – New Scientist

Posted: August 10, 2017 at 6:41 am

In your article about housework (Germ warfare, 14 January), you said that after washing dishes we should rinse with plenty of water, preferably hot. Why hot? Wouldnt it save money if they were rinsed with the cold water that comes directly from the mains?

Iain Sharp, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

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Former House Majority Leader worked with the CIA to use a Congressional investigation for propaganda – and it … – MuckRock

Posted: August 6, 2017 at 3:38 am

August 3, 2017

Agency felt investigation into Soviet war crimes might have led to charges of U.S. biological warfare in Korea

Declassified CIA documents describe the Agencys agreement to work with a Senators plan to use a 1952 Congressional investigation into Soviet war crimes for propaganda purposes. Congress was looking into the Katyn massacre in which the KGBs predecessors, the NKVD, murdered thousands of Polish prisoners of war and which the Soviet Union denied responsibility for until 1990. In 1952, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives sought to use the investigation of very real Soviet war crimes as a propaganda opportunity, and while it may have worked in the short run, documents indicate that both CIA and State Department personnel believe it may have backfired, and led to charges the U.S. was using biological weapons in Korea.

According to the formerly TOP SECRET CIA document describing the February 28, 1952 Directors Meeting, then Deputy Director Allen Dulles was approach by John Mitchell, the Counsel of the Committee which was investigating Katyn (no relation to Nixons John Mitchell). Mitchell, who discussed the matter with Congressman McCormack, hoped the Agency would be cooperative with the probe to their mutual benefit.

However, those attending the Directors Meeting had some concerns -someone whose name is redacted, likely Mitchell or McCormack, was seen as unreliable and not worth trusting with Agency operational details. Previously, the Agency had expressed concern that Mitchell would ask them to provide a lot of assistance with the probe. Regardless, the Agencys senior staff decided they couldnt let the opportunity go by in view of its propaganda value. As a result, Deputy Director of Plans Frank Wisner agreed to follow through on the matter. While a memo was apparently written from Dulles to Wisner memorializing the conversation with Mitchell, it has not yet been declassified.

Wisner had earlier recommended against working with Mitchell or any Congressional investigation. Several months earlier, Mitchell had approached Wisner when he first became the Counsel for the Committee investigation. According to a formerly SECRET memo from Wisner to the Department of State, Mitchell had approached Wisner about cooperating on the probe with no apparent mention of propaganda except a desire to avoid investigating government officials (presumably of G-2) who had been accused of having suppressed certain highly relevant documents. Wisner appropriately referred him to the Office of Legislative Counsel without commenting. In his memo, Wisner added that he did not consider it appropriate for this Agency to become involved in Congressional investigations – Wisner felt that was this was the Department of States jurisdiction.

According to another formerly SECRET memo, which had curiously been referenced two days before it was written, Congressman McCormack followed up with CIAs Legislative Counsel when the hearings had all but concluded, with only two days and five of eighty-one witnesses still to testify, to discuss the Katyn propaganda effort. While he wanted to know how CIA evaluated the overseas propaganda value of the Congressional Committee investigating the Katyn Massacre, he felt that it had been extremely successful from the standpoint of favorable United States propaganda.

While neither the hearings nor Mitchells liaising with CIA had come to an end, Congressman McCormack already his eye on the future. To his view, the effort had been more than successful enough to warrant considering doing the same thing again. McCormack openly speculated as to whether it might not be helpful if other Congressional investigations might be undertaken with a view towards utilizing them for psychological warfare purposes. Where the cooperation over the Katyn investigation had coalesced around an already existing effort on the part of Congress, McCormack now suggested forming new committees with that explicit expectation. In particular, he was considering a special Congressional Committee to investigate atrocities against American soldiers in Korea, with broad enough authority to include examining into [sic] the germ warfare charges.

In response, CIA Director General Walter Bedell Smith responded that the Agency should have no interest in this matter. The Directors refusal to cooperate may have had several motivations. The first may have simply been a refusal to create Congressional investigations for propaganda purposes – using an existing investigation into war crimes as an opportunity for propaganda was one thing, but creating Congressional investigations with that purpose in mind was something altogether different.

Assuming that McCormack had meant investigating Communist use of biological weapons in Korea, then the Agency had a major obstacle to pursuing that propaganda angle. According to the formerly TOP SECRET record of another Directors Meeting held soon after, the Agency already had a proposed propaganda plan involving Communist bacteriological warfare in Korea. The problem was that the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff had disapproved of the plan since the Agency had been unable to prove there was a Communist bacteriological warfare unit in Korea.

There was another reason for the Agency to show no interest in the matter – some staff members of CIA and the State Department believed that the propaganda relating to the Katyn investigation had backfired. According to a formerly SECRET issue of the Current Intelligence Digest from April 12, 1952, the Italian Embassy reported that the Communist press was continuing an intensive propaganda campaign that alleged U.S. use of biological warfare in Korea. The Embassy believed that the campaign may have been designed in part to draw public attention away from the investigation of the Katyn massacre.

The Embassy and the CIA analysts reviewing their information werent the only ones to see such a link as plausible. A declassified Psychological Strategy Board memo written several months later describes an October 1952 conversation between John Elliott and Charles Bohlen, who was then the Counsellor to the State Department and would be named, several months later, as the Ambassador to the Soviet Union. In their discussion, Bohlen brought up the U.S.s past propaganda against the Soviet Union. In Bohlens mind, the propaganda tended to be too strident and shrill. Bohlen believed that this resulting in alarming the U.S.s allies more than any intimidation to the Kremlin. Worse, the sharp attacks reinforced the incipient impression lurking in the minds of the peoples of the democratic world that the U.S. was a warmongering nation trying to incite hostilities with the Soviet Union. Creating this image, Bohlen noted, was a goal of Soviet propaganda – one that the U.S. had inadvertently been helping them with.

Bohlen cited that Katyn massacre investigation as a specific example of this. He felt that the barrage of propaganda released in connection with the investigation had backfired. Like the Embassy staff members several months earlier, Bohlen felt that it may have been responsible for the launching of the Communist bacteriological warfare charges against the United States in reprisal.

Perhaps the Agency should have listened to Frank Wisner in 1951.

You can read additional CIA documents discussing Katyn here, the seven volumes of Congressional hearings here, the interim report here and the final report here. The Directors Meeting memo is embedded below.

Like Emma Bests work? Support her on Patreon.

Image by Eleanor Lang via Wikimedia Commons and licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0.

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Former House Majority Leader worked with the CIA to use a Congressional investigation for propaganda – and it … – MuckRock

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Sanctions and Threats against North Korea. All Options are on the Table – Center for Research on Globalization

Posted: at 3:38 am

In a press briefing on Monday, ending Chinas July Presidency of the UN Security Council, Chinese Ambassador Liu stated the firm Chinese position that the United Nations resolutions sanctioning the DPRK require all parties, not only the DPRK, to refrain from threats exacerbating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and require all parties to engage in dialogue and negotiations to resolve the inflammatory situation in Northeast Asia.

The new U.S. travel ban, which takes effect on September 1, preventing U.S. citizens from traveling to the DPRK, is in direct and flagrant violation of the sanctions resolution requiring all parties to engage in dialogue: this unconstitutional U.S. travel ban intends precisely the opposite escalating hostility and crushing the rich opportunity for understanding provided by direct person-to-person exchanges, which reduce deadly fear and prejudice between peoples. It is not only the DPRK that is allegedly violating U.N. resolutions by testing nuclear weapons, it is also the U.S. that is in violation of these resolutions by aggressively prohibiting dialogue between U.S. citizens and the citizens of North Korea. Resolution 1718 explicitly encourages further the efforts by all States concerned to intensify their diplomatic efforts, to refrain from any actions that might aggravate tension.

Repeated U.S. threats that: all options are on the table obviously referring to military intervention, greatly exacerbate tensions, and are provocations motivating the DPRK to increase its efforts to protect itself militarily, especially with advanced nuclear weapons. U.S. threats provoke a vicious spiral of violence, and the possibility cannot be excluded that this is intentional. The U.S. placement of THAAD missiles in the Republic of Korea destabilizes China and Russia, and is a thinly disguised assault on the national security of both these countries. And the US-ROK military exercises this month constitute an existential threat to the survival of North Korea, and raise the level of tension in the area to a tipping point intolerable to the DPRK.

Aside from the fact that this U.S. travel ban is also a brazen violation of the United States Constitution, an infringement upon the First Amendment right of freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press, this prohibition of United States citizens right to travel has no justification, whatsoever, and is intended deliberately to tighten the noose strangling the economy of the DPRK.

Last week the New York Times quoted numerous U.S. citizens who had traveled to the DPRK and attested to the complete safety of travel to North Korea. As usual, the U.S. will exploit the tragic death of Otto Warmbier in an effort to claim that its travel ban is intended to protect U.S. citizens. This is preposterous. United States tourists, businessmen, journalists, politicians traveling in various countries throughout the world, have occasionally (and in some places frequently) been arrested, kidnapped, tortured or murdered , and no travel ban has been enacted to prevent U.S. citizens from traveling to these often perilous areas.

There is no travel ban against any country in the Middle East or Africa, where there has been great danger to American citizens. Many American citizens, including James Foley and Steven Soloff, have been beheaded by ISIS in the Middle East, but U.S. citizens continue to enjoy unrestricted travel there. The U.S. frequently tries to justify its acts of aggression with the rationalization that it is protecting U.S. citizens, such as during the invasion of Grenada, which Ronald Reagan attempted to justify as protecting U.S. medical students studying in Grenada, despite the fact that these medical students publicly stated they were in no danger, and did not want U.S. military protection.

Any attempt to exploit the death of Otto Warmbier as justification for this unconstitutional travel ban is deceitful. In early 2016 the DPRK had repeatedly sought peace talks with the United States. President Obama repeatedly refused to meet with North Korea to discuss matters of urgent mutual concern. In March, 2016 Otto Warmbier was at trial in Pyongyang. If the Obama administration was sincerely concerned with Warmbiers life, they could have urged his release during peace talks with the DPRK. They failed to do so. The DPRK was so anxious for this meeting, to discuss substantive matters, such as the sanctions and efforts to normalize relations between the US and the DPRK, that they would have undoubtedly agreed to release Warmbier, whose detention was of less significance in a much larger crisis, the ongoing war between the two countries, locked in and frozen by the armistice. By contrast, Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea, and successfully obtained the release of two Americans detained there.

China is correct in stating that the problem of North Korea can only be resolved between the United States and the DPRK, and only a peace treaty finally agreed to by these two nations will accomplish this.

Too often, Americans and Europeans fail to place current crises in historic context. One hundred years after the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by the Turks, Armenians still feel the rage and the raw wounds of that horror. Operation Nemesis by Eric Bogosian describes the masterminds of the assassination of the Turkish leaders who commanded the massacre. All the assassins were ultimately acquitted of the murders, which were acknowledged as a form of justice. Seventy years after World War Two, Jews and citizens of the former Soviet Union still remember the terror of the monstrous atrocities inflicted upon them by the nazi scourge. And the Nuremberg trials imposed the death sentence upon many of the naziwar criminals. But these are Europeans and Americans.

Why have no war crimes tribunals been established to hold to account the soldiers who perpetrated massacres against the North Korean people between 1950-1953?

It is obligatory that the horror suffered by North Koreans, the murders and tortures inflicted upon them by American soldiers be acknowledged and compensated for.

Between 3 to 4 million Koreans died during the U.S. invasion between 1950-1953. Every town in North Korea was reduced to ashes, as a result of saturation bombing, napalm and germ warfare. Korean prisoners were used as human guinea pigs to test new forms of germ weaponry, in complete violation of the Geneva conventions. (See:Thomas Powell,Biological Warfare in the Korean War: Allegations and Cover-up,Socialism and Democracy April 2017)

The massacre at Sinchon county is only one example of the savage obliteration of North Korea, and can never be forgotten.

Where is there a tribunal offering justice to the people of North Korea?

Why have no war reparations been made to the North Korean victims?

And how can they ever forget this agony inflicted upon them by American and South Korean soldiers, with UN collusion?

Citizens of the DPRK live with the foreboding terror of a repetition of the atrocity they were forced to endure between 1950-1953.

Ironically, on August 1, The New York Times op-ed section featured an editorial stating:

Mr. Trump should drop the bluster and dispatch Secretary of State Rex Tillerson or some other high level envoy to explore whether there is any basis for negotiations. In May, the president raised the possibility of meeting the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, himself under the right circumstances to defuse tensions..The Norths program is advanced and its leadership deeply distrustful. Talks should begin without preconditionsAre the North Koreans even interested in talks? American experts who study the issue say there have been repeated signals in recent weeks that they are. That cant be known, however, unless someone goes and asks them.

And ironically, more than 10 years ago, in an astoundingly moving exercise of the Right of Reply at the UN Security Council, on Saturday, October 14, 2006, North Korean Ambassador Pak Gil Yonanswered every conceivable question, regarding the DPRKs position [including nuclear weapons]:

The delegation of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea expresses its disappointment over the fact that the Security Council finds itself incapable of saying even a word of concern to the United States, which threatens the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea with a nuclear pre-emptive attack and aggravates tension by reinforcing armed forces and conducting large-scale joint military exercises near the Korean peninsula The Democratic Peoples Republic of Koreas nuclear test was entirely attributable to the United States nuclear threat, sanctions and pressure. The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea has exerted every possible effort to settle the nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations, prompted by its sincere desire to realize the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The Bush Administration, however, responded to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Koreas patient and sincere effort and magnanimity with a policy of sanctions and blockade. The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea was compelled to substantially prove its possession of nukes to protect its sovereignty and the right to existence from the daily increasing danger of war from the United States.

Although the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea conducted the nuclear test due to the United States, it remains unchanged in its will to denuclearize the peninsula through dialogue and negotiations. The denuclearization of the entire peninsula was President Kim Il Sungs last instruction and is the ultimate goal of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea has clarified more than once that it would feel no need to possess even a single nuclear weapon once it was no longer exposed to the United States threat and after that country had dropped its hostile policy towards the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and confidence had been built between the two countries..The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea is ready for both dialogue and confrontation. If the United States persistently increases pressure upon the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, my country will continue to take physical countermeasures, considering such pressure to be a declaration of war. (emphasis added)

North Koreas commitment to peace was flawlessly expressed in Ambassador Paks statement, on behalf of the people and government of the DPRK. He presented a peace initiative both to US and the UN Security Council. Their failure to address and discuss this initiative eleven years ago was irresponsible, and has jeopardized the stability of Northeast Asia. As a result, today the fate of the world depends upon the United States cooperation and respect for the right of the people of the DPRK to live securely in an economic system of their own choosing.

The first step will be dialogue and engagement. And this requires person-to-person encounters at the highest levels of government, as well as citizen diplomacy. It is imperative that the unconstitutional United States travel ban perpetuating groundless fear and prejudice must be immediately removed.

Carla Steais Global Researchs correspondent at United Nations Headquarters, New York, N.Y.

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‘Feeling lousy’ and ‘off colour’: Disease outbreaks have influenced the way we talk – Scroll.in

Posted: July 30, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Despite being so small they cant be seen with the naked eye, pathogens that cause human disease have greatly affected the way humans live for centuries. Many infectious diseases have been significant enough to affect how and where we live, our economies, our cultures and daily habits. And many of these effects continue long after the diseases have been eliminated.

Infectious diseases have changed the structure and numbers of people living in communities.

The European bubonic plague, or Black Death (1348-1350), identified by painful swollen lymph nodes and dark blotches on the skin, killed 80% of those infected. At least 20 million people died, which was about two-thirds of the European population at the time. It slowed urbanisation, industrial development and economic growth as people left cities and reverted to rural and agricultural life. Those who survived, however, were highly sought after for work.

The accidental introduction of measles to Fiji (1875) by people travelling between Fiji and the West caused massive numbers of deaths in communities previously not exposed to the disease. In a few months 20-25% of Fijians and nearly all of the 69 chiefs died. The leadership vacuum and loss of working-age population became an opportunity for the colonial government to import labourers from other nations to work in the agricultural industries.

In the Caribbean island Hispaniola it is estimated that within 50 years of the arrival of Columbus, his crew and their pathogens (like measles, influenza and smallpox), the indigenous Taino people were virtually extinct. This pattern of large death tolls among Indigenous populations in the Americas is repeated in many locations, causing loss of traditional ways of life and cultural identity, and changing the course of their history.

Unfortunately, introduction of an infectious disease into a susceptible population was not always accidental. Germ warfare was a strategy used in many colonisation and war efforts. This includes North American Indigenous populations (there are reports of blankets from smallpox-infected corpses being deliberately distributed in the late 1700s); bodies of dead animals or humans being thrown into water supplies during warfare in Italy in the 12th century; and saliva from rabid dogs or the blood of leprosy patients being used by the Spanish against French enemies in Italy in the 15th century.

Infectious diseases, as well as the search for cures, have had many influences on economies over the centuries. In 1623, the death of ten cardinals and hundreds of their attendants led Pope Urban VII to declare that a cure for malaria must be found.

This was a common risk in Rome, where mala aria (bad air from marshes thought to be its origin) had existed since late antiquity. Jesuit priests travelled from Europe to South America to learn about local treatments. In 1631, they identified quinine, made from the bark of the local cinchona tree in Peru, as a cure.

After that discovery there was a race to control quinine in order to keep armies fighting European wars, including the Napoleonic, and attempting to capture territories. At this time quinine became a commodity more precious than gold.

In the late 1880s Tunisia experienced severe infectious disease epidemics of cholera and typhoid, and famines, which so badly depleted its economy that it was unable to pay off its debts. This made it vulnerable to French occupation and then colonisation.

In recent times, it has been estimated that the HIV epidemic in South Africa may have reduced its gross domestic product by 17% (from 1997 to 2010) and that SARS cost East Asia around $15 billion, (0.5% of GDP).

The origins of many food taboos appear to be linked to infectious diseases. These include prohibitions on drinking raw animal blood, on sharing cooking and eating utensils and plates between meat and other foods, and on eating pork in Judaism and Islam (most likely concerned about dangerous pig tapeworms).

Newer examples of these food exclusions that are still the norm today include:

Many words and expressions commonly used in English have origins linked to an infectious disease. One such common phrase, used for a person who may not have symptoms of an infectious disease but can transmit it, is to call them a Typhoid Mary. In 1906 Mary Mallon, a cook, was the first healthy person identified in the USA as a carrier of the typhoid bacilli that causes typhoid fever, a serious disease for the Western world in the 19th century (but which globally exists and has often existed in poor communities).

One public health engineer traced an outbreak in Oyster Bay and a path of outbreaks wherever Mary worked. In New York, she was put into isolation where she stayed until she died nearly three decades later.

Other such additions to our everyday conversations include:

The 14th-century French brought us two terms used in infectious diseases: contagion meaning touching/contact; and disease from des (lack of) ease (comfort). And the 16th-century term epidemic is from the French epi among, demos people.

So pathogens evolve with us and have shaped our lives and will remain one of the forces that we adapt to as we progress through human history.

Maxine Whittaker, Dean, Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University.

This article was first appeared on The Conversation.

This is the last article in a four-part series looking at infectious diseases and how theyve influenced our culture and evolution. Read the first three parts here, here and here.

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‘Feeling lousy’ and ‘off colour’: Disease outbreaks have influenced the way we talk – Scroll.in

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Norman Duquette shot down on recon mission – Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

Posted: July 29, 2017 at 7:40 pm

CEDAR FALLS Norman Earl Duquette had everything planned out.

As a U.S. Air Force pilot flying over North Korea in 1952, he would be rotated back to the states after 100 missions. With any luck, he could make it back to Iowa for the birth of his third child anticipated for early April.

I would have finished just about in time to get home. But it didnt work out that way, Duquette told a Grout Museum historian in a 2003 interview.

On Duquettes 87th mission, a reconnaissance job to photograph an airfield near the Chosin Reservoir north of enemy lines, a North Korean proximity flak round detonated near his RF-80A jet as he was descending toward his target through cloud cover on Jan. 26, 1952.

Some of the shrapnel pierced the canopy and hit him in the head, and the plane started smoking.

The aircraft, which was designed during the tail end of World War II, didnt have auto ejection, so he tried the hand crank to open the cockpit.

I tried to get the canopy off, and it wouldnt come. Apparently it jammed when I got hit, he said. Next, he unbuckled and tried to open the cockpit with his shoulders, but that, too, failed.

Finally, he pulled himself back into his seat as the plane spiraled toward Earth and was able to bring the jet under enough control to bring it down in a clearing. Duquette hadnt re-buckled his harness, and he slammed forward and lost consciousness.

The first thought that occurred to me was that being dead is not that uncomfortable, said Duquette, who suffered two broken vertebrae in the collision. When he awoke, and climbed out of the cockpit, he dropped into 3 feet of snow.

He was taken prisoner by a squad of North Korean soldiers and almost executed on the spot had it not been for an officer who stepped in and took him prisoner.

After being marched through a village where residents cursed at him and threw rocks, he was whisked away to a facility in Hamhung, North Korea, and eventually transported to an interrogation center north of Pyongyang.

He lived in an 8-foot-square room with seven to 12 prisoners of war. It was the coldest winter on record for Korea, and everyones breath condensed on the mud walls, Duquette said.

It was so cold that the mud walls on the inside, it was like the inside of a deep freeze with frost on the walls, he said. He got callused hips from sleeping on the dirt floor, and recalled the smell of up to a dozen men packed into close quarters.

They were fed sorghum grain with kelp seaweed. Maybe once a month they had rice, which was a treat, and there was an occasional potato.

They were eventually taken 10 miles north to what Duquette and his fellow prisoners called the slave camp where they unloaded gasoline, rice and other supplies into and out of bunkers.

For water, they had to drink from a rice paddy and soon developed dysentery.

After another stint at the North Korean interrogation facility, they were taken some 200 miles to the north and handed over to the Chinese. There, Duquette was put through a system of solitary confinement and interrogation as the Chinese tried get them to sign confessions sometimes at gunpoint alleging they had been involved in germ warfare in Korea. The interrogators accused him of being a war criminal and told him he wouldnt be returned to the states.

After awhile, Duquette was housed with a group of 13 other non-confessors who were later rotated back to the interrogation program.

The rotations didnt stop when war ended in July 1953.

Duquette recalled a last-ditch attempt to get him to confess to germ warfare in August 1953. When he again refused, he was told the war was over and he would be repatriated.

He was returned to his solitary cell and scratched The war is over into the wood. He figured other non-confessors who were unaware of the developments were likely going through the same interrogations, and he felt it would keep their spirits up.

I thought the message might do them some good, Duquette said.

Duquettes Korean service was actually his second time fighting in a war.

The Plattsburgh, N.Y., native, had signed up for the U.S. Navy immediately after graduating from high school in 1943 during World War II. He flew TBF torpedo bombers looking for enemy submarines in the Atlantic Ocean. In 50 missions, he was involved in one sub attack that lost two aircraft from his unit.

After World War II, there were questions about the future of the Navys flight program as the U.S. Air Force was founded.

The Navy flight training program got pretty well bogged down. They didnt know whether to finish off the people who were in flight training to get their wings or just what they were going to do, said Duquette, who returned to civilian life in 1947.

He had met his wife, a Traer native, while studying at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and he returned to the East Coast to study engineering.

Then a movie called about fighter pilots came out, and Air Force recruiters were in the lobby. They were offering a deal to allow married men into flight school.

Duquette signed up, and he graduated from the program with Gus Grissom, who would later go on to become a NASA astronaut.

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70s Rewind: In THE OMEGA MAN, Charlton Heston Tries to Save the Planet – ScreenAnarchy (blog)

Posted: July 17, 2017 at 4:39 am

Nearly 50 years ago, Charlton Heston represented the modern human race in the original Planet of the Apes. His character was unquestionably the alpha male among his own kind, who were enslaved and unable to speak for themselves, but the mastery of the apes was absolute and the poor guy had to flee for his life to gain his freedom, only to learn … well, we know what he learned at the end of the movie.

By that point of his career, Heston was well-established in Hollywood. He had begun landing key roles in his late 20s; he was 33 when he starred as Moses in The Ten Commandments (1956) and 36 when he embodied Ben-Hur. His Academy Award-winning performance set him up nicely for the 1960s. He became a box office star and was able to exercise a fair degree of creative control, as he recounts in his autobiography In the Arena.

In 1968, Heston made his first science-fiction picture, Planet of the Apes. He says he told director Franklin Schaffner: “I smelled a hit in this from the beginning, but I think maybe we also made a very good movie.” (Heston was always very happy to claim credit on his successful films.) Appearing in the first sequel, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, only reluctantly, Heston says he ‘talked the director into letting me detonate an atom bomb in the last scene, presumably wiping out both the ape civilization and any further sequels.’

Sometime after those experiences, Heston says that he “stumbled across” I Am Legend, a short novel by Richard Matheson — his first — that was originally published in 1954. The novel, which I recently read again, tells of an apocalypse from the perspective of Robert Neville, a scientist who believes he is the sole survivor of a worldwide pandemic.

It is slowly revealed that the disease resembles vampirism. Neville suffers the tragedy of losing his dear young daughter, and then must kill his beloved wife after she succumbs to the disease and shortly thereafter rises from the dead. He is haunted by the calamity that he alone has survived; he feels compelled to search out vampires by day and kill them permanently.

The novel is a poignant journey through everlasting grief. Ten years later, it was adapted into The Last Man on Earth in Italy, starring Vincent Price as Neville. Matheson, by that time a veteran of film and television scripting, wrote the screenplay, but it was later revised and changed so much that he used the pseudonym of Logan Swanson for his cowriting credit. Price is quite effective in the lead role and provides the best reason to watch the film, which unaccountably slows down in its second half and drags out the narrative, despite running only 86 minutes.

George A. Romero took direct inspiration from Matheson’s novel for his own Night of the Living Dead. And then Heston “stumbled across” it and worked with producer Walter Seltzer to bring it to the big screen.

Heston pats himself on the back for coming up with a “different approach to the script” (along with Seltzer) by identifying the source of the apocalypse as a bacteriological war started by the Chinese. Cowriter Joyce Corrington claims credit herself, saying in a 2003 interview included on the Blu-ray: “It was all about vampires, and it just didn’t feel right to do vampires. I have a PhD in Chemistry … and germ warfare was on my mind as something that could wipe out mankind, so we used that instead of vampires.”

But did any of them actually read Matheson’s novel? He clearly identifies a disease as the reason for the apocalypse, so he deserves the credit for that idea. Instead, Heston and the Corringtons focused on removing nearly any suggestion that the victims in any way resembled vampires. They also stamped out any hints that, in his increasingly blinkered and isolated existence, and desire to rid the world of the infected, Neville had been committing genocide, preempting any possibility that someone other than himself might ever survive.

It’s a chilling thought, namely, that in trying to preserve what was left of humanity, Neville was, in fact, destroying it. In Neville’s own mind, diseased not by a virus but by isolated loneliness, he was doing what was necessary.

None of that is preserved in The Omega Man. What the film establishes is that Neville is a righteous gunsmith; the opening sequence features Neville, a former soldier, careening through the empty streets of Los Angeles in a large convertible, stopping only to fire his automatic weapon blindly at distant figures he sees in an office building.

Neville stops at a movie theater to fire up Michael Wadleigh’s documentary Woodstock so he can watch it for the umpteenth time. Clearly, irony is intended as Neville has memorized a key passage, but as he steps back outdoors, he realizes it is nearly dark. He races home to his house on the studio backlot, where he encounters ghastly figures who have been disfigured by the bacteriological war and who are intent on killing him.

The essential element that the survivors are sensitive to light — hey, just like vampires! — allows Neville to prowl the city by day, searching carefully for them so he can kill them all. It also forces him to barricade himself into his multi-story house at night, since they are constantly seeking him out to destroy him because he is a member of the military-industrial complex, and thus a reminder of what once was.

Thus, Neville is shown to be a very righteous dude, chased after by the hippie rabble — hey, just like Woodstock! — even though all he wants to do is find a cure. Neville is hip to the cause, though; he is sufficiently open-minded that when he stumbles across a healthy survivor, an African-American woman named Lisa (Rosalind Cash), he is willing to cross racial boundaries to romance her, quite a surprising thought in 1971, the year of the film’s release. (Joyce Corrington says that was her idea too, as a means of creating conflict and a little “racial pizazz.”)

Neville is immune to the virus, so he comes to realize that adding components of his blood to a serum he’s cooked up in his home laboratory can actually heal people. In his autobiography, Heston writes: “The analogy to Christ as Savior is inescapable, though there’s no such reference in the script, and we didn’t plan the shoot in those terms. Still, there were irresistible spins I added in performance.” The one thing he notes specifically is the final scene, which I’ll avoid spoiling.

By that point, though, The Omega Man has fallen victim to the same traps as the first version, slowing down its narrative drive just when it should be speeding up its intensity. There is much more traditional action, but the shots get more leisurely, somehow, even as Heston and/or his stunt double races a motorcycle away from the diseased survivors. The film clocks in at 98 minutes, though it feels longer.

I’ve seen the film several times, but my original affection for it has diminished over the years. On Blu-ray, its limitations become more obvious.

Director Boris Sagal began his career in the live television era of the 1950s and started directing features in the 1960s. Evidently he was a competent journeyman, but it’s difficult to shake the notion that he shot The Omega Man like a TV movie, even with the presence of Russell Metty, an Academy Award-winning cinematographer for Spartacus.

When theatrically released in August 1971, the film did well, in view of its presumably modest budget, earning nearly $9 million at the box office. Heston described it as “a large hit in the theaters. It was high bloody time; of the four films I’d made in the previous two years, none had been huge at the box office.”

Heston returned to science fiction two years later with Soylent Green and, a bit later, helped to invent disaster porn with Earthquake ( a personal touchstone) and then tried to expand it with Two-Minute Warning (a minor film with one standout, extended sequence).

Cash, who made his big-screen debut in Klute, went on to appear in The New Centurions, Hickey & Boggs, The All-American Boy, and Uptown Saturday Night, all notable and all released within three years. She continued active, mostly in television, until her death in 1995.

Likewise, director Sagal continued busy, almost entirely in television, until his death in 1981. Writers John William Corrington and Joyce Hooper Corrington later collaborated on the screenplay for Battle for the Planet of the Apes, based on a story by Paul Dehn, which features radiation-scarred human who kinda resemble the ones in The Omega Man. They also scripted Martin Scorsese’s Boxcar Bertha and Steve Carver’s The Arena before turning to television.

The Omega Man is no Planet of the Apes, but the contrast between Richard Matheson’s novel and this film version is certainly instructive. And, despite my reservations, Heston’s supremely confident screen persona remains fascinating, if not always compelling, to watch.

70s Rewind is a column on movies released during the writer’s favorite decade for filmmaking.

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70s Rewind: In THE OMEGA MAN, Charlton Heston Tries to Save the Planet – ScreenAnarchy (blog)

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Human, all too human: 10 sci-fi films that show what it means to be alive – The Guardian (blog)

Posted: at 4:39 am

Surreal sci-fi: Jubilee, The Craven Sluck, Her, World on a Wire, Przekadaniec and Strange Days. Composite: PR

When putting together MoMAs new film series, Future Imperfect: The Uncanny in Science Fiction, its curator, Josh Siegel, set out to compile a list of pictures that defined the genre within more earthly parameters. He decided to seek out sci-fi that took place on Earth, had no aliens or invasions, and instead investigated what it meant to be human at the time of the films release. Before the retrospective, Siegel, along with museums chief curator of film, Rajendra Roy, discussed their favorite films in the series.

This is a Mike and George Kuchar fantasy about a housewife who seeks stimulation and finds it in the most unlikely place. Bob Cowan actually plays two roles. He plays the wife of the husband with whom the housewife is cheating, as well as the housewifes own husband. Its a challenging, tongue-in-cheek, demented performance. They were scraping money together to make these films, but they were fairly ingenious in their creativity, imagination and resourcefulness. JS

This is one of those films thats cherished by a certain film-going set in the Czech Republic, and is one of a number of post-apocalyptic films in the series. Its by Jan Schmidt and is about the last surviving group of women on Earth, who are left in a forest and have to survive on their own and seek a way of perpetuating human civilization. They sort of oscillate between these two atavistic or primitive states. Its very bleak, cruel, but also very beautiful. JS

This is a short by Andrzej Wajda. It was a collaboration with the Solaris author, Stanislaw Lem, who I think is probably the most widely read science-fiction writer in history, but somebody who is less well known in the west. The film is ostensibly a comedy about a race car driver who nearly kills his own brother in a race. He also almost dies, but he inherits half of his brothers organs after the incident. Then the insurance company denies coverage because they say that his brothers not really dead because he lives on in his brothers body. Its this kind of absurdist conundrum about the problems we face with getting denied medical coverage in the US. JS

With a small budget, George Romero was able to create something exceedingly enjoyable and fast-paced, while at the same time actually having something profound to say about American society on two levels. On one level its a film about a germ the military is working on that ends up in the water stream of a small Pennsylvania town and renders everyone in the town a homicidal maniac. But theres also this demented comic element that I think is deriving something from Preston Sturges films; throughout this kind of comical suspense film about germ warfare and anti-government groups trying to survive the takeover of their towns is this really interesting take on the American family. JS

This is a film originally made for West German television in the early 70s. Its close to us because we actually helped fund and finish the restoration that took place a few years back. Its really an amazing example of Rainer Werner Fassbinders vision taken into a new realm. He was able to bring his own unique, intense sensuality and sexuality into this realm. I think that has long-lasting implications and influences throughout other future-dystopian narratives, including The Matrix, to a certain extent. RR

This Krsto Papi film is based on one of Alexander Grins stories and involves a struggling, impoverished writer who is ostracized and basically a pariah. He stumbles on an underground society of rat people who he discovers are dining on champagne and roast pig, on the suffering of workers, and he tries to tell people about this conspiracy thats brewing in the sewers of the city. Its essentially a body-snatchers story. But it was attacked paradoxically as kind of an anti-communist allegory at the time by critics. In fact, what it really is is an attack on collectivity, its impact on feudalism in the mid-70s and the idea of falling into lock-step with the totalitarian state. JS

Derek Jarmans film came out in the late 70s at the height of the cold war. He brings this queer aesthetic, that was rooted in an anti-establishment, tear-it-all-down anarchy. I dont see how anyone walks out of that screening not making parallels to where we are today this feeling of utter hopelessness in the conventions and structures of society that we live in. Again, although its dirty and raw and super-punk, I would hope kids see it and say, Fuck yeah! RR

This is a slightly more contemporary pick, even though its over 20 years old. I think its incredible how when people talk about the implications of the current generation of virtual reality experiences, there are two areas where it seems like theres a viable future for it. First is in creating situations of empathy like Alejandro Gonzlez Irritus project that puts you on the border between the US and Mexico creates an incredible sense of empathy. The other is porn. Kathryn Bigelow really took on the idea that the future of intimacy and sexuality would take place in a virtual realm, which is incredibly spot-on and obviously very current. RR

Lynn Hershman Leesons film is 15 years old but the idea of cloning, and the decoupling of sexuality and reproduction, is such an intriguing hypothesis. Her ability to decouple the procreative nature of sexuality, but embed the lustful nature of human interaction even in the clones form, is fascinating. Were getting to the point where actual clones are on the not-so-far-off horizon. Leeson has always been interested in the relationship between science and art, and the practice of scientists in relation to creation, and this is a perfect synthesis of the two. RR

I wanted to include something that might be more familiar for audiences because we want this to be an accessible series. A film like Her obviously has contemporary weight for people in terms of the way they interact, meet each other and fall in love, fall in love with ideas of people, fall in love with actual devices: thats something everyone can dive into and think about in their own lives. RR

Link:

Human, all too human: 10 sci-fi films that show what it means to be alive – The Guardian (blog)

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How infectious diseases have shaped our culture, habits and language – The Conversation AU

Posted: July 14, 2017 at 5:42 am

The bubonic plague slowed urbanisation, industrial development and economic growth in Europe for many years.

This is the last article in our four-part package looking at infectious diseases and how theyve influenced our culture and evolution. Read the other articles here.

Despite being so small they cant be seen with the naked eye, pathogens that cause human disease have greatly affected the way humans live for centuries. Many infectious diseases have been significant enough to affect how and where we live, our economies, our cultures and daily habits. And many of these effects continue long after the diseases have been eliminated.

Infectious diseases have changed the structure and numbers of people living in communities.

The European bubonic plague, or Black Death (1348-1350), identified by painful swollen lymph nodes and dark blotches on the skin, killed 80% of those infected. At least 20 million people died, which was about two-thirds of the European population at the time. It slowed urbanisation, industrial development and economic growth as people left cities and reverted to rural and agricultural life. Those who survived, however, were highly sought after for work.

The accidental introduction of measles to Fiji (1875) by people travelling between Fiji and the West caused massive numbers of deaths in communities previously not exposed to the disease. In a few months 20-25% of Fijians and nearly all of the 69 chiefs died. The leadership vacuum and loss of working-age population became an opportunity for the colonial government to import labourers from other nations to work in the agricultural industries.

In the Caribbean island Hispaniola its estimated that within 50 years of the arrival of Columbus, his crew and their pathogens (like measles, influenza and smallpox), the indigenous Taino people were virtually extinct. This pattern of large death tolls among Indigenous populations in the Americas is repeated in many locations, causing loss of traditional ways of life and cultural identity, and changing the course of their history.

Unfortunately, introduction of an infectious disease into a susceptible population was not always accidental. Germ warfare was a strategy used in many colonisation and war efforts. This includes North American Indigenous populations (there are reports of blankets from smallpox-infected corpses being deliberately distributed in the late 1700s); bodies of dead animals or humans being thrown into water supplies during warfare in Italy in the 12th century; and saliva from rabid dogs or the blood of leprosy patients being used by the Spanish against French enemies in Italy in the 15th century.

Infectious diseases, as well as the search for cures, have had many influences on economies over the centuries. In 1623, the death of ten cardinals and hundreds of their attendants led Pope Urban VII to declare that a cure for malaria must be found.

This was a common risk in Rome, where mala aria (bad air from marshes thought to be its origin) had existed since late antiquity. Jesuit priests travelled from Europe to South America to learn about local treatments. In 1631, they identified quinine, made from the bark of the local cinchona tree in Peru, as a cure.

After that discovery there was a race to control quinine in order to keep armies fighting European wars, including the Napoleonic, and attempting to capture territories. At this time quinine became a commodity more precious than gold.

In the late 1880s Tunisia experienced severe infectious disease epidemics of cholera and typhoid, and famines, which so badly depleted its economy that it was unable to pay off its debts. This made it vulnerable to French occupation and then colonisation.

In recent times, it has been estimated that the HIV epidemic in South Africa may have reduced its gross domestic product (GDP) by 17% (from 1997 to 2010) and that SARS cost East Asia around $US15 billion, (0.5% of GDP).

The origins of many food taboos appear to be linked to infectious diseases. These include prohibitions on drinking raw animal blood, on sharing cooking and eating utensils and plates between meat and other foods, and on eating pork in Judaism and Islam (most likely concerned about dangerous pig tapeworms).

Newer examples of these food exclusions that are still the norm today include:

consumption of raw milk being illegal in many countries, to prevent spread of bovine (cow) tuberculosis

not eating soft cheeses when pregnant to avoid contracting listeria, which can cause miscarriages and stillbirths

trying to stop people licking the cake bowl because of the risk of egg-borne salmonella bacteria.

Many words and expressions commonly used in English have origins linked to an infectious disease. One such common phrase, used for a person who may not have symptoms of an infectious disease but can transmit it, is to call them a Typhoid Mary. In 1906 Mary Mallon, a cook, was the first healthy person identified in the USA as a carrier of the typhoid bacilli that causes typhoid fever, a serious disease for the Western world in the 19th century (but which globally exists and has often existed in poor communities).

One public health engineer traced an outbreak in Oyster Bay and a path of outbreaks wherever Mary worked. In New York, she was put into isolation where she stayed until she died nearly three decades later.

Other such additions to our everyday conversations include:

God bless you after someone sneezes is said as it signalled that someone was unwell, perhaps seriously. Its credited to St Gregory the Great, although words wishing the sneezer safety from disease have been found in ancient Greek and Roman.

the phrase off colour appears to have derived from the late 1800s where a diamond and then other items that were not their natural or acceptable colour were off colour, or defective. It soon extended to describe being unwell.

feeling lousy means feeling poorly. A person infested with lice often scratches, may be anaemic from the lice feeding on their blood, and doesnt feel well.

The 14th-century French brought us two terms used in infectious diseases: contagion meaning touching/contact; and disease from des (lack of) ease (comfort). And the 16th-century term epidemic is from the French epi among, demos people.

So pathogens evolve with us and have shaped our lives and will remain one of the forces that we adapt to as we progress through human history.

Read the first three instalments in the series:

Four of the most lethal infectious diseases of our time and how were overcoming them

How infectious diseases have driven human evolution

How we change the organisms that infect us

More:

How infectious diseases have shaped our culture, habits and language – The Conversation AU

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For $5500, Could This 1995 Ford F350 Crewcab Dually Really Make America Great Again? – Jalopnik

Posted: at 5:42 am

Todays Nice Price or Crack Pipe F350 has a Trump 2016 license plate on its front bumper. It is about the most stereotypically old school all-American thing you could buy, but will its price eventually also trump all?

Do you remember back when you were a kid, your mom would always ask if you had washed your hands before dinner? Yes, you in fact had glanced at the bathroom tap on your way to the table so you assured her that your hands were whistle clean. She invariably would call you on the veracity of that assurance, and upon inspection of your foul mitts would send you back for an some actual germ warfare using running water and perhaps even soap.

I bring this up simply to point out that not everyones concept of clean is the same. Thats an important consideration in light of yesterdays 1981 VW Rabbit Pickup. It was claimed by its seller to be the cleanest in the Northeast, and while we dont really have a baseline against which to compare that assertion, that Caddy was sufficiently jacked up in a number or waysmissing interior trim, wonky front fender, etc.to make it seem totally specious.

In the end, its cleanliness level couldnt support its $6,999 asking price, and it fell in an overwhelming 88-percent Crack Pipe loss.

And now I think we should wash our hands of the whole matter.

Have you ever needed to tow something large, say a commercial aircraft or perhaps one of the Mount Rushmore heads after having won it in a game of poker? What exactly would you use to do so? Well, should such a need arise anytime soon, dont worry, I got you fam. Check out this 1995 Ford F350 Crew/Dually which is not only built to tow, but has pics in its ad showing it doing just exactly that.

What makes this such a good tractor for your trailer? Well, primarrily its the Navistar 7.3-litre PowerStroke that lives under the hood that make this a big tow. That 210-bhp/425 lb-ft of torque turbo diesel V8 has a rep for getting the job done. This one is backed up with a five-speed and includes a spate of updated parts that should keep the truck running for well beyond its current 260,000 miles. More on that a little later, however.

Aesthetically, theres some evidence of all those miles. The clear coat is going bye-bye in places, and the ad notes some old Bondo in the body going bad. On the plus side, it has running boards you can actually run on, as well as extendable Chevy trailer mirrors that are so big you could do a Coachellas-worth of coke off of them. Youll need those to see past the dually rear fenders.

The interior is as lived-in as your favorite pair of old blue jeans, and this being a Centurion conversion means it comes with an overhead CB radio and some other niceties. I particularly like the neckers knob on the wheel.

As far as the towing goes, theres a set of rails for a fifth wheel bogie in the bed, as well as a hidden gooseneck and a standard ball out back. The toolbox shown in a couple of the pics is not included unfortunately, but you do get a clean Florida title.

So far youre in love, right? Well, youll need to know this trucks foibles before you can fully commit. The seller notes that the engine is running a little rough, and is smoking intermittently. Hell, at least its not vaping.

The real issue seems to be the transmission, which apparently is suffering a failure on the third gear synchro. That or a clutch, the sellers not sure, and according to the ad hes just so done working on the truck. Oh, and that seller seems to really like Trump, so if you dont be prepared to deal with that when negotiating.

Okay, so weve got a pretty unique deal herea Centurion F350 thats kitted to kill it when it comes to the towing competition. Yes it needs some workor acceptance of its inherent foibles just like your mom did of youbut overall it seems drivable and ready for modest action. The price is $5,500 which seems mechanics special range, but which well now need to square with the trucks description. What do you think, is this F350 worth that kind of scratch? Or, does that price just not tow the line?

You decide!

Spokane, WA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a fixed-price tip, and remember to include your Kinja handle.

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For $5500, Could This 1995 Ford F350 Crewcab Dually Really Make America Great Again? – Jalopnik

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