The Nuclear Bunker Where America Preserves Its Audio-Visual Heritage

 

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The Library of Congress has over 160 million items in its collection, including 23 million books, and more than 1.1 million films, and television programs ranging from motion pictures made in the 1890s to today’s TV programs. It has the original camera negatives of 1903’s The Great Train Robbery and Victor Fleming’s Gone With The Wind. It even has all the sequels of Scary Movie and modern hit TV shows such as Judge Judy. The library also holds nearly 3.5 million audio recordings of public radio broadcasts and music, representing over a hundred years of sound recording history. It has films and audio on nearly all formats, from cylinders to magnetic tapes to CDs. It’s the Noah’s Ark of the creative history of the United States.

Most of the library’s audio and video collections are stored in a Cold War bunker at the foothills of Blue Ridge Mountains in Culpeper, Virginia. Known as the Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, it is the Library of Congress’s latest audiovisual archive storage facility.

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The Packard Campus was originally built in 1969 as a high-security storage facility where the Federal Reserve Board stored $3 billion in cash, so that it could replenish the cash supply east of the Mississippi River in the event of a catastrophic war with the Soviet Union. Like most nuclear bunkers built during the Cold War period, the radiation-hardened Packard Campus was constructed of steel-reinforced concrete one foot thick, had lead-lined shutters and was surrounded dirt strips and barbed-wire fences. The bunker could also house up to 540 people for a month. It had beds and freeze-dried food, an incinerator, indoor pistol range, a helicopter landing pad and a cold-storage area for bodies awaiting burial in case radiation levels were too high to go outside.

After the Cold War ended, the bunker was decommissioned and sat abandoned for four years before it was purchased by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation on behalf of the Library of Congress. Nearly $240 million was spent transforming the bunker into a state-of-the-art storage facility with more than 90 miles of shelving for collections storage, 35 climate controlled vaults for sound recording, safety film, and videotape, and 124 nitrate film vaults.

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The facility also housed the Culpeper Switch, which was the central switching station of the Federal Reserve’s Fedwire electronic funds transfer system, which at the time connected only the Fed’s member banks. The Culpeper Switch also served as a data backup point for member banks east of the Mississippi River.

In 1988, all money was removed from Mount Pony. The Culpeper Switch ceased operation in 1992, its functions having been decentralized to three smaller sites. In addition, its status as continuity of government site was removed. The facility was poorly maintained by a skeleton staff until 1997 when the bunker was offered for sale. With the approval of the United States Congress, it was purchased by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond via a $5.5 million grant, done on behalf of the Library of Congress. With a further $150 million from the Packard Humanities Institute and $82.1 million from Congress, the facility was transformed into the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, which opened in mid-2007. The center offered, for the first time, a single site to store all 6.3 million pieces of the library’s movie, television, and sound collection.

 

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The Packard Campus was designed to be a green building, being situated mostly underground and topped with sod roofs. It was designed to have minimal visual impact on the Virginia countryside by blending into the existing landscape. From the northwest, only a semi-circular terraced arcade appears in the hill to allow natural light into the administrative and work areas. Additionally, the site also included the largest private sector re-forestation effort on the Eastern Seaboard, amassing over 9,000 tree saplings and nearly 200,000 other plantings.

The campus also contains a 206-seat theater capable of projecting both film and modern digital cinema and which features a digital organ that rises from under the stage to accompany silent film screenings. The Packard Campus currently holds semi-weekly screenings of films of cultural significance in its reproduction Art Deco theater.

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Justin Trudeau Honours Wolverine with The Order of Canada Medal

On his current trip to British Columbia Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presented Wolverine with Canada’a highest achievement award, the Order of Canada Medal. Trudeau thanked Wolverine for his service to the country and the western world. More specifically, the PM thanked him for his crusade battling evil mutants, communists, Islamic extremists and deranged rogue superheroes.

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Wolverine was born James Howlett in northern Alberta, Canada, during the late 1880s, purportedly to rich farm owners John and Elizabeth Howlett, though he is actually the illegitimate son of the Howletts’ groundskeeper, Thomas Logan. After Thomas is thrown off the Howletts’ property for an attempted rape perpetrated by his other son, named simply Dog, he returns to the Howlett manor and kills John Howlett. In retaliation, young James kills Thomas with bone claws that emerge from the back of his hands, as his mutation manifests. He flees with his childhood companion, Rose, and grows into manhood on a mining colony in the Yukon, adopting the name “Logan”.
When Logan accidentally kills Rose with his claws, he flees the colony and lives in the wilderness among wolves, until he is captured and placed in a circus. Saul Creed, brother of Victor Creed, frees Logan, but after he betrays Logan and Clara Creed to Nathaniel Essex, Logan drowns Creed in Essex’s potion. Logan returns to civilization, residing with the Blackfoot people. Following the death of his Blackfoot lover, Silver Fox, at the hands of Victor Creed, now known as Sabretooth, he is ushered into the Canadian military during World War I. Logan spends time in Madripoor before settling in Japan, where he marries Itsu and has a son, Daken. Logan is unaware of his son for many years.

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During World War II, Logan teams up with Captain America and continues a career as a mercenary. He serves with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion during D-Day, and later with the CIA before being recruited by Team X, a black ops unit.
As a member of Team X, Logan is given false memory implants. Eventually breaking free of this mental control, he joins the Canadian Defence Ministry. Logan is subsequently kidnapped by the Weapon X program, where he remains captive and experimented on, until he escapes. It is during his imprisonment by Weapon X that he has adamantium forcibly fused onto his bones. James and Heather Hudson help him recover his humanity, and Logan begins work as an intelligence operative for the Canadian government’s Department H. He becomes Wolverine, one of Canada’s first superheroes. In his first mission, he is dispatched to stop the destruction caused by a brawl between the Hulk and the Wendigo.

King of the Conspiracy Theorists Jim Marrs Moves on to the Big Racket in the Sky

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Jim Marrs (December 5, 1943 – August 2, 2017) was an American newspaper journalist and New York Times best-selling writer of books and articles on a wide range of alleged cover-ups and conspiracies. Marrs was a prominent figure in the JFK conspiracy press and his book Crossfire was a source for Oliver Stone’s film JFK. He wrote books asserting the existence of government conspiracies regarding aliens, 9/11, telepathy, and secret societies. He was once a news reporter in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metroplex and taught a class on the assassination of John F. Kennedy at University of Texas at Arlington for 30 years. Marrs was a member of the Scholars for 9/11 Truth.

According to Stephen E. Ambrose (in an essay generally critical of conspiracy theorists) Marrs wrote in Crossfire that motives for the murder of Kennedy were “Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s attack on organized crime (Mafia motive); President Kennedy’s failure to support the Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs Invasion (Cuban and C.I.A. motive); the 1963 Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (military–industrial complex, or M.I.C. motive); Kennedy’s plan to withdraw from Vietnam before the end of 1965 (Joint Chiefs of Staff and M.I.C. motive); Kennedy’s talk about taking away the oil-depletion allowance (Texas oil men motive); Kennedy’s monetary policies (international bankers motive); Kennedy’s decision to drop Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson from the ticket in 1964 (L.B.J. motive) and Kennedy’s active civil rights policy (Texas racist billionaires motive).”

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In May 1997, Marrs’ investigation of UFOs, Alien Agenda, was published by HarperCollins Publishers. The paperback edition was released in mid-1998. It has been translated into several foreign languages and become the top-selling UFO book in the world. Publishers Weekly said:
Marrs shows little discrimination, overemphasizing dubious phenonmena like remote viewing and crop circles, and giving nearly equal weight to ludicrous pretenders like Billy Meier (who claimed close encounter with Pleiadians) and sophisticated commentators like Jaques Vallee. Marrs even devotes a chapter to theories that the moon may be a UFO, and he refuses to rule out obvious frauds like the alien autopsy tapes. But if rigorous analysis escapes Marrs, little else does; this is the most entertaining and complete overview of flying saucers and their crew in years.

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Jim Marrs is the perfect example of somebody who makes a good living passing off fiction as non-fiction. This guy promoted every conceivable and ludicrous conspiracy theory out there.  His whole life’s work was a lie, and it didn’t seem to bother him one bit.

I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. If you want to be persuaded read “Case Closed” by Gerald Posner.

 

Nutty Kim Jong-un and his Suckup Apparatchiks

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Why is Kim Jong-un always surrounded by people taking notes?

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There’s a newly released batch of photographs of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on a series of site visits. The dozens of photos all have one curious detail in common – the leader is surrounded by officials and generals making notes in identical notepads, writes Kathryn Westcott.

In the photographs – from the country’s official Central News Agency (KCNA) – Kim Jong-un observes a unit of women conducting a multiple-rocket launching drill. He strides around a fishery station. He gives a pilot on flight training a pep talk. He enjoys the facilities at a renovated youth camp.

But who are those men meticulously taking notes? They’re not journalists, but soldiers, party members or government officials, says Prof James Grayson, Korea expert at the University of Sheffield. What is happening is a demonstration of the leader’s supposed power, knowledge, wisdom and concern, says Grayson. It’s “on-the-spot guidance”, something instigated by his grandfather Kim Il-sung in the 1950s. “It’s part of the image of the great leader offering benevolent guidance,” says Grayson.

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At a renovated youth camp

 

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Offering advice at a soon-to-be commissioned fishery

What might that guidance be? Well, if Kim’s anything like his grandfather it could be practical advice. Very specific practical advice. After Kim Il-sung visited a fishery in 1976, KCNA published this: “Watching a truck at work, the president said that its bucket seemed to be small in comparison with its horsepower. He said the problem of carriage would be solved if the bucket was enlarged. Afterwards the truck’s bucket capacity increased to two tons from 800 kg. As a result, 20 trucks were capable of carrying the load to be done by 50 trucks.”

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Kim Jong-il carried on the field guidance policy after his father Kim Il-sung died

Despite the fact that tablets are available in the country, paper notebooks remain the favoured medium. “These are pictures that will be broadcast on television and shown in the state media, so those who are there want to be seen recording Kim Jong-un’s every word,” says Grayson. “It’s about presenting him as having broad knowledge – however, it’s ridiculous, he can’t possibly know about all of these different things. It’s important, however, that the apparatchiks that surround him are seen to be hanging on his every word.”

According to Prof Steve Tsang, chair the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham, the note-takers will be writing extremely carefully. “They wouldn’t want to write down anything that was, say, politically inaccurate, or it might come back to bite them.” The notes are not usually published or available for the public to view, says Tsang. “If anything comes out of them, it would be via the propaganda department. Whether it was what was actually said, or is different to the guidance given at the time, doesn’t matter. No-one will ever question it. If you were at the factory and the advice that was released wasn’t quite what you had in your notebook – what are you going to do about it?”

 

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Kim Jong-un visits a flight training centre

“In high school Kim Jong Un starred in a production of the musical ‘Grease.’ That’s also where Kim met his first wife, Olivia Newton Jong.” –Conan O’Brien

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Here he is on a North Korean amphibious assault boat.