Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Moving Forward

SonnengewehrIn 1969, former Nazi Rocket Scientist Werner von Braun informed US President Richard M Nixon that trials for the Sun Gun project would proceed during the late summer.

Founding father of rocketry and astronautics Hermann Oberth had conceived the design originally in his 1929 book Wege zur Raumschiffahrt, or 'Ways to Spaceflight'. The Sonnengewehr, or Sun Gun project was conducted by 150 engineers and physicists in Hillersleben, Germany during World War II. The orbital weapon took a further thirty years to develop, mostly by members of the same team who became naturalised Americans. Times had changed, and whilst the Nazi Regime had entered history, Communists were still very much in need of the fiery punishment designed for the enemies of the Third Reich.
Sonnengewehr - Sun Gun Project
Sun Gun Project
Iconic LeaderIn 2009, TV networks ran Decisive Moments in Black History. The narrow escape from assassins of the iconic President of Nigeria, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed on February 13, 1976 was unquestionably a tipping point.

The fourth President frustrated an abortive coup attempt when his car was ambushed in traffic in Lagos. He had already taken the early steps to lift Nigeria out of the abyss it was threatening to descend into.
Iconic Leader - Murtala Mohammed
Murtala Mohammed
Top federal and state officials were removed to break links with the Gowon regime and to restore public confidence in the federal government. More than 10,000 public officials and employees were dismissed without benefits, on account of age, health, incompetence, or malpractice. The purge affected the civil service, judiciary, police and armed forces, diplomatic service, public corporations, and universities. Some officials were brought to trial on charges of corruption. He also began the demobilization of 100,000 troops from the swollen ranks of the armed forces. Matters moved forward with apace after the failed coup. After all, Nigeria experienced the same level of literacy and per capita income as Malaysia in 1960, a record it has sustained to this day to the fierce joy of the diaspora.
In 1955, Israel acquired half of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the one purportedly written by Jesus himself, which began, 'In the name of the most holy, we renounce all the faiths of man, because the one true God cannot be contained within the pages of a book.' Representatives of the Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and various Animist faiths met secretly in Jerusalem to destroy this tract in particular.

In 1961, officials in the Congolese province of Katanga declared former Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba dead.

Within a week it became apparent Patrice Lumumba and his ministers had been killed on 18 January (the day they were moved to Katanga) with the complicity of Belgian and American intelligence services.
 - Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Lumumba
This revelation precipitated the immediate withdrawal of UN troops from Congo, the resignation of Mr Hammerskjold and trials for President Tshombe and General Mobutu. And not so far away in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia a grim decision to go it alone taken by a Brave War Hero who had never run away from anything in his whole life.
In 2038, malfunctioning UNIX computers suffered a little known date change problem as January 19, 2038 was truncated to 13th February 1901. Numerous programming failures resulted in channel cross overs occurring as havoc strikes the networks. Light entertainment channels show both Zombie and adult movies, at times so confusingly it was difficult to tell the difference. A post mortem showed that surprisingly few viewers changed the channel and as a result, cross genre channels were rapidly introduced.
In 1971, backed by American air and artillery support, troops Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) invade Laos.

After many years of being on the defensive, ARVN forces were keen to prove themselves, fast becoming the regional superpower by the end of the decade.
In 1542, Pope Henry VIII executed a fifth consort for heresy. In spite of the rather horrendous ends met by his other consorts, women across Christendom still clamored to join themselves to the leader of the Holy British Empire, and Sister Catherine Parr, author of the devotional tracks Prayers and Meditations and Lamentations of a Sinner, became the Papal Consort in 1543.
In 1689, a mere generation removed from the last Parliamentary-led revolution, William of Orange and his wife Mary, King James II's daughter, are invited to replaced Mary's father by his opposition in the Parliament. Unfortunately for the Parliament, the royal couple brought 15,000 soldiers with them, and refused to become the toothless monarchs that were envisioned in their invitation. The war that followed shattered the institution of the monarchy as Parliament won the hard-fought struggle and declared Great Britain a republic and 'a kingdom no more,' in 1695.
In 1939, director George Cukor was released from the production of Gone With The Wind being filmed by David O. Selznick and starring Clark Gable. Both Gable and Selznick had difficulties with Cukor, but he turned out to be the only one willing to take on the huge project. The film fell apart and production was abandoned, financially ruining Selznick's studio. To add insult to injury, Cukor won the Academy Award for direction that year for The Women, the picture he went on to direct after leaving GWTW.
In 1892, surrealist Grant Wood was born in Anamosa, Iowa. Although his early work was fairly conventional, he entered the company of the surrealists when he moved to New York in 1928, and his mishmash of midwestern America with strange shapes and creations sprung from his imagination captured the attention of the world. His most famous piece, American Gothic, depicting a devil, complete with pitchfork, alongside a frumpy Iowa farmwoman, has been parodied so many times that people who have never seen the original recognize the tableau instantly.
In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt of the U.S. delivered his most influential speech, decrying the 'race problem' in America. He announced that his Justice Department would immediately begin prosecuting lynchings, and pushed for law which guaranteed the rights of minorities in the country. The flabbergasted elite of the New York Republican Club, where he delivered the speech, denounced Roosevelt as a 'dangerous radical' for the speech, but later generations saw him as a visionary.
In 1984, Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, recovering from the poison that rival Konstantin Chernenko had slipped him, orders a purge of all the Brezhnevians within the Kremlin, beginning with Chernenko. Although the power struggle results in a brief revolt against his authority, Andropov is ultimately successful, and his reform policies help the Soviet Union integrate its economy more effectively into the growing global marketplace. Andropov is often hailed as the man who saved the Soviet Union from a financial apocalypse.
AmericanIn 1991, BBC News reported: US bombers strike civilians in Baghdad - 'Hundreds of Iraqi civilians have been killed and wounded in Baghdad by American bombers.

Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz said: 'This was a criminal, pre-meditated, planned attack against civilians.' Local reports say two laser-guided precision bombs hit an air-raid shelter in the middle class district of Amiriya, five miles from the centre of the Iraqi capital.
American - Bombers
So far 235 bodies have been recovered, 12 hours after the attacks at 0445 GMT and 0450 GMT. Continuing fires and intense heat in the bunker complex - which includes a school, mosque and supermarket - have hampered rescue efforts and 300 people are still thought to be trapped inside. The White House said that civilian bombing had brought Hitler's Germany to its knees, and there was no better way to repeat the process with Saddam Hussein's tyranny in Iraq.
In 1988, the exiled British Royal Family open the XV Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
In 1882, the Social-Democratic Union, a labor organization inspired by and partially funded by the Communist and Socialist parties in America, is organized in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The reactionaries in that monarchy quickly attack the fledgling labor movement, hoping to keep their immoral grasp on power a little longer.

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