41) Codeword Overlord

Surely a military-run government agency like NASA wouldn’t cover up what they’re really doing by deliberately leaking false information to the media? Surely red-blooded patriotic Americans wouldn’t lie!

Using our common sense, the exact opposite argument is more credible.Spreading misinformation to gain a military advantage is a common strategy.

on 6 June 1944, 168,000 Allied troops stormed ashore on the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of Nazi-occupied Europe, supported by 12,000 aircraft and nearly 7,000 ships.The invasion plan, initially codenamed Overlord and then designated Neptune and a dozen other subordinate components, was the largest amphibious assault ever contemplated, and was an extraordinarily high-risk enterprise.

The key to success would be the element of surprise…the enemy was fully aware that an invasion attempt was probable sometime during the summer of 1944.

The Allies’ masterplan was devilishly complex…a group of ingenious American and British planners had persuaded the Allied Supreme Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, that a gamble on Normandy in preference to the more obvious choice, might catch the enemy off guard and enable a sizeable beachhead to be achieved before encountering the danger of counter-attack. The argument was that the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht was predisposed to accept the Pas-de-Calais as the only sensible invasion objective, and the Allies possessed the means to reinforce this judgment by providing the necessary evidence. Indeed, the deception planners exercised control over the enemy’s network of spies, had access to his most confidential communications, enjoyed air superiority and could impose the very strictest security conditions on the British Isles that could…be exploited by an intelligence community that had experimented with deception schemes in the Mediterranean and Middle East to gain unprecedented experience of the art of misdirecting the Axis…skilful, co-ordinated manipulation of wireless traffic, double agents and camouflage could accomplish much by exaggerating strengths, disguising weaknesses and confusing the adversary.

It was their patriotism during the Red Scare that drove many Americans to conspire with American government agents in the Cold War.

plakatIn the early 1950s, American leaders repeatedly told the public that they should be fearful of subversive Communist influence in their lives…lurking anywhere…to aid the program of world Communist domination… between 1950 and 1954…Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin…launched a series of highly publicized probes into alleged Communist penetration of the State Department, the White House, the Treasury, and even the US Army…No one dared tangle with McCarthy for fear of being labeled disloyal. How easy was it to reassure a panicky American public that we achieved supremacy over the Communists through a Wizard of Oz magic show?

The Department of Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission were thorough in their visual documentation…Dozens of photography and cinematography units were dispatched to various locations around the world, armed with almost every available type of still and film camera, in order to capture imagery that could be analyzed and used both for scientific and public-relations and storytelling purposes—the diagnostic and the documentary. For over two decades, the United States Air Force even operated a “secret,” 100,000-square-foot film studio in Los Angeles’s Laurel Canyon. At “Lookout Mountain,” teams of Hollywood craftspeople photographed, processed, edited, screened, and distributed images that ended up in everything from LIFE magazine photo spreads to newsreels and tourist postcards.

The penultimate rocket scientist Werner von Braun worked with Walt Disney on a series of films.

Together, von Braun (the engineer) and Disney (the artist) used the new medium of television to illustrate how high man might fly on the strength of technology and the spirit of human imagination…Disney personally introduced the first television show, “Man in Space,” which aired on ABC on March 9, 1955. The objective, he said, was to combine “the tools of our trade with the knowledge of the scientists to give a factual picture of the latest plans for man’s newest adventure…” But it also relied on Disney’s trademark animation techniques…

Von Braun’s official duties for the Army often took him to the West Coast to meet with Jupiter and Redstone contractors. After the meetings, he and Stuhlinger would go to the Disney studios where they would work into the morning hours with the artists and producers.

Then there was the American Espionage Act.

on June 15, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill into law. Officially titled “An act to punish acts of interference with the foreign relations, the neutrality and the foreign commerce of the United States, to punish espionage, and better to enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and for other purposes,” the law is more commonly known as the Espionage Act of 1917…

in the century after it became law, as its vague language about foreign espionage was re-interpretedas a broad prohibition against the activities of anti-war activists, whistleblowers and journalists…

The law — which remains on the books to this day, as Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 37 of the U.S. Code…outlaws the disclosure of any “information, documents or other articles relating to security or intelligence.”

the Espionage Act doesn’t just apply to government employees who violate their security clearances by providing sensitive national security information to foreign spies; it applies to any person who learns of such information and then communicates it to any other person.

We are talking military secrets here, aren’t we? 

The argument is made that too many people were involved in the space program to keep the space-program-is-really-a-military-program a secret. How can the American government keep all this secret when so many people are involved in working it out?!

To answer that question, let’s review an actual, true, real-life occasion of just exactly this governmental top-secret militaristic research and development program.

Here’s a look at are some of the secret, lethal weapons the Nazis created during World War II:

The Horten Ho 229 bomber was…the world’s first stealth aircraft and took its first flight in 1944…the bomber’s engineering did inspire today’s modern stealth aircraft — like the Northrop Gruman B-2 bomber.

Considered the “grandfather of smart bombs,” the Fritz X was a 3,450-pound explosive equipped with a radio receiver and sophisticated tail controls that helped guide the bomb to its target. According to the US Air Force, the Fritz X could penetrate 28 inches of armor and could be deployed from 20,000 feet, an altitude out of reach for antiaircraft equipment at the time. Less than a month after it was developed, the Nazis sank Italian battleship Roma off Sardinia in September 1943…

Known as the “Doodlebug” by US troops, the mini-tank was controlled with a joystick…designed to carry between 133 and 220 pounds of high explosives…used to navigate minefields and deliver its explosive payload to defensive positions. The Nazis built more than 7,000 Goliaths during the war and paved the way for radio-controlled weapons.

By the late 1930s, the Germans were developing the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, a rocket-powered jet with speeds of up to 700 mph…the vaunted American P-51 Mustang fighter, in comparison, topped out at less than 440 mph…More than 300 Komets were built and equipped with twin 30 mm cannons.

The German V-2 rocket was the world’s first large-scale liquid-propellant rocket vehicle,the first long-range ballistic missile, and the ancestor of today’s large rockets and launch vehicles. Over 10,000 concentration camp prisoners died in their creation. The rockets were 76 feet tall, streaked through the skies faster than the speed of sound to targets over 200 miles away carrying over a ton of explosives. More than 3,000 V-2 rockets delivered explosives that demolished European cities in the months before the end of the war.

German physicists were the first to split the atom in 1938 and begin developing the atomic bomb. Despite desperate efforts by the British, American and Russians who sent covert teams of commandoes deep into German territory, the German weaponry remained secret until the end of the war.

From nerve and disease agents to the feared and coveted V-1 and V-2 rockets, Nazi scientists worked on an impressive arsenal... 

In the days and weeks after Germany’s surrender, American troops combed the European countryside in search of hidden caches of weaponry to collect. They came across facets of the Nazi war machine that the top brass were shocked to see…

“They had no idea that Hitler was working on…suddenly the Pentagon realizing, ‘Wait a minute, we need these weapons for ourselves…’”

American and British organizations teamed up to scour occupied Germany for as much military, scientific and technological development research as they could uncover…

In a covert affair…named Operation Paperclip, roughly 1,600 of these German scientists (along with their families) were brought to the United States to work on America’s behalf during the Cold War. The program was run by the newly-formed Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), whose goal was to harness German intellectual resources to help develop America’s arsenal of rockets and other biological and chemical weapons…

Operation Paperclip was top secret at the time…Even agents with the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which the U.S. government tasked with hunting down top Nazi officers who went on the lam after the war, were unaware for decades of the extent to which government officials were collaborating with their quarry…

Wernher von Braun was a member of the Nazi Party and Allgemeine SS, as well as the leading figure in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany. He helped design and co-developed the V-2 rocket at Peenemünde during World War II.

Following the war, he was secretly moved to the United States, along with about 1,600 other German scientists, engineers, and technicians, as part of Operation Paperclip

In 1960, his group was assimilated into NASA, where he served as director of the newly formed Marshall Space Flight Center and as the chief architect of the Saturn V super heavy-lift launch vehicle that propelled the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon.  In 1967, von Braun was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering, and in 1975, he received the National Medal of Science.

Von Braun is widely seen as either the “father of space travel”, “father of rocket science” or “father of the American lunar program”.

Still think the American government 1) couldn’t or 2) wouldn’t keep secrets from its democratic population?

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