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South Pole Update
By 
Mike Bara

After the publication of our recent story "Strange Happenings at the South Pole," we got some additional information from listeners to the Art Bell Show, and our own readers. One of the first things pointed out to us is that the phrase "filling your pockets with salt" -- as reported in news stories about the replacement doctor being asked to bring salt packets to the South Pole, literally in her jacket pockets -- is actually a term commonly used in the nuclear industry. It refers to the practice of taking iodine pills to shield people's thyroids during a nuclear emergency. According to this source, "fill your pockets with salt" is industry lingo for "pop the iodine pills, we're radioactive here." Now, in the absence of iodine pills -- which would certainly not be available in any significant quantity in a nuclear free zone like the Antarctic -- the alternative would be to take large quantities of iodized salt.

This would neatly explain the shortage (in fact, absence) of salt at the Pole -- at a time when there should be plenty left in the supplies brought in at the beginning of the calendar year (end of the Antarctic Summer). In our "scenario," it's been used up -- not just by workers under prolonged outside exposure to the dehydrating conditions of the Pole itself, but perhaps to high levels of radioactivity incurred in their pursuit of a "Special Project" on the Continent!

This would also explain the need for a sudden and unprecedented extraction of a dozen Raytheon Polar Services employees from the Continent yesterday. Their "illness" could be directly related to radiation exposure, and Raytheon did confirm to an Enterprise contact in New Zealand last night, that two of the extracted employees were in "critical but stable" condition. The question of the day, however, is what exactly could they have been exposed to -- if they were "exposed" -- that was radioactive?

Under the terms of several international treaties to which the United States is a prime signatory, the Antarctic Continent is a rigidly-controlled, nuclear-free zone. Even the reactor which used to power McMurdo Station was removed in 1993. There are not supposed to be any nuclear devices, of any kind in Antarctica ... at all!

One possibility that has been mentioned to explain this current, highly anomalous situation (the emergency evacuations), is that if workers were able to drill through the ice to Lake Vostok itself, it could be that the source of "internal heating" in the Lake is itself radioactive.

However, radioactivity generated by such a process would be insufficient to cause radiation sickness in humans -- certainly in a "short" time frame of mere months. The only viable explanation remaining for "a case of radiation sickness" is if a radioactive device was discovered under the ice ... or ... if the act of drilling through the ice itself was what inadvertently exposed the workers to significant radioactivity. It is this second possibility we now consider the most likely, in our continuing "scenario."

Decades ago, the US government, under the auspices of the Atomic Energy Commission and the military services, quietly began research on nuclear-powered tunneling devices. The idea was that superheated fluids used to cool the reactor itself could be redirected to the tip of the bore, literally melting the solid rock in front of the "drill" and leaving a 40-foot wide, smooth glass encased tunnel in it's wake (kind of reminds one of what we've recently found on Mars ... doesn't it?). Patents were even issued (U.S. Patent No. 3,693,731 dated Sept. 26, 1972), and the devices were apparently operational by the mid 1970's. The boring machines, dubbed "nuclear subterrenes," have evidently been used for secret "black" tunneling projects since that time. It's easy to imagine a smaller, more compact and less powerful version (built, for instance, around NASA's controversial Snap-100 space power reactor) being adapted to effectively cut vertically down through the ice to get to Vostok. It is also possible that if such a device were rushed into the field (because of a "2001" deadline?), it might not have quite enough shielding ... or might, in fact, have little or none at all! This could easily lead to direct exposure of the workers to dangerously "high levels" of radiation -- as they were engaged in the secret, crash project to "get through the ice" at all costs ...

If this scenario is even close to what has actually happened, it would also now explain why the workers would have to be totally removed from the Continent: the hospitals at McMurdo are well equipped to handle a variety of "normal" illnesses and emergencies, but "radiation sickness" is certainly not on that expected list.

Of course, our alternative scenario -- that this is all just a cover in order "get something out" -- is still very much in play. In fact, it could be both. We'll just have to wait and see what other information trickles out in the coming days ...

As to the extraction itself, by all accounts it went well. The four "injured" (and the seven "homesick" -- according to one report on CNN!) men were apparently brought back to Christchurch in reasonable shape. One, an injured fireman (who supposedly had a "serious head injury") was interviewed by Independent TV in New Zealand. He had no bandages on his head, and had a full unshaven head of hair. He even spoke coherently when interviewed. Another report noted that four of the extractees that had to be hospitalized had been "lost" by the hospital -- they could not account for their whereabouts. We are attempting to confirm this aspect of the story with our sources in New Zealand.

On another aspect of this story: JPL's Frank D. Carsey, who runs the JPL ice-boring project in Antarctica, denied in an e-mail to Enterprise that the NSA "has taken over the funding for the drilling project." He insists that the funds come from NASA and the National Science Foundation, not the NSA -- although he has confirmed that NASA funding will run out next year. He did not comment on whether, to his knowledge, the NSA had taken over any part of his project, or had a similar project of its own. I have asked him for clarification on this aspect of the story and will publish his answer if and when I get it.

So, until then ... just stay tuned.




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