Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Project Iceworm and Camp Century

Once in a while, even a conspiracy devotee can post something interesting.

I saw this YouTube video posted to a Facebook friend's wall regarding Camp Century.  I found it quite intriguing.  Apparently it was all declassified in 1997 but this is the first I've heard of it.

Camp Century was a project by the United States military in the 1950s to build a massive, city-like complex beneath the ice of Greenland just under 800 miles from the North Pole.  As it's from the 50s, the film has very much a "Disney presents the World of Tomorrow" feel to it or somesuch.  Help support our fighting boys as they conduct arctic research.

Of course the complex wasn't being built for "research." It was built for Project Iceworm

In a furthering of Pax Americana, this was an effort to establish several hundred silos of nuclear missiles within close range of the Soviet Union. These would be "Iceworm" missiles, shortened versions of the Air Force's Minuteman.  The ice would cover the missiles, making them all but undetectable to the surveillance methods of the time.  Additionally, they would be shuffled around to different locations, presumably on rail in a sort of Cold War "shell game." 

What the military didn't know at the time (neither did anybody else, really) was that snow and ice may look solid at the North Pole but they are actually quite viscous matter.  They morph and change shape over time.  The tunnels dug for the "city" complex began to warp, deform, and drop and the whole project was eventually abandoned.

Despite it not panning out, I find this to be an interesting ten-minute chapter in history.  For one, I marvel at the engineering involved.  I've always been fascinated by how the military has built secret fortifications underground or inside of mountains (makes me wonder what's under the sea).  This joint in question was to eventually be a sprawling 50,000 square miles in size, complete with a hospital, a church, a nuclear power plant (!), stores, and a theater.  I'm going to assume the latter was of the movie variety, even though the idea of the military putting on all-male productions of musicals like Oklahoma! or Brigadoon does make me snicker.  But I digress...

Watching the snowcrawlers in the filmstrip, lugging people and materials through stretches of the most inhospitable land in the world, shows me what's possible when we really set our minds to it.  Take that however you want, I'm not going to digress into either space exploration or the eradication of HIV and world poverty.

Aside from that, I guess my interest is very much tied in with my simultaneous fascination with and utter fear of nuclear war.  I've blogged many times about how I spent my childhood convinced the world might end at any moment.  This tidbit of military operations shows just how far the powers that be were willing to go to do it.

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