Grey Wethers, nr Temple Farm, Wiltshire. Reported 14th July.
Grey Wethers, nr Temple Farm, Wiltshire. Reported 14th July.
IT’S NOT OIL: No one in the area can recall seeing anything like it before.
Something big and strange is floating through the Chukchi Sea between Wainwright and Barrow.
Hunters from Wainwright first started noticing the stuff sometime probably early last week. It’s thick and dark and “gooey” and is drifting for miles in the cold Arctic waters, according to Gordon Brower with the North Slope Borough’s Planning and Community Services Department.
Brower and other borough officials, joined by the U.S. Coast Guard, flew out to Wainwright to investigate. The agencies found “globs” of the stuff floating miles offshore Friday and collected samples for testing.
Later, Brower said, the North Slope team in a borough helicopter spotted a long strand of the stuff and followed it for about 15 miles, shooting video from the air.
The next day the floating substance arrived offshore from Barrow, about 90 miles east of Wainwright, and borough officials went out in boats, collected more samples and sent them off for testing too.
Nobody knows for sure what the gunk is, but Petty Officer 1st Class Terry Hasenauer says the Coast Guard is sure what it is not.
“It’s certainly biological,” Hasenauer said. “It’s definitely not an oil product of any kind. It has no characteristics of an oil, or a hazardous substance, for that matter.
“It’s definitely, by the smell and the makeup of it, it’s some sort of naturally occurring organic or otherwise marine organism.”
Something else: No one in Barrow or Wainwright can remember seeing anything like this before, Brower said.
“That’s one of the reasons we went out, because in recent history I don’t think we’ve seen anything like this,” he said. “Maybe inside lakes or in stagnant water or something, but not (in the ocean) that we could recall …
“If it was something we’d seen before, we’d be able to say something about it. But we haven’t …which prompted concerns from the local hunters and whaling captains.”
The stuff is “gooey” and looks dark against the bright white ice floating in the Arctic Ocean, Brower said.
“It’s pitch black when it hits ice and it kind of discolors the ice and hangs off of it,” Brower said. He saw some jellyfish tangled up in the stuff, and someone turned in what was left of a dead goose — just bones and feathers — to the borough’s wildlife department.
“It kind of has an odor; I can’t describe it,” he said.
Hasenauer said he hasn’t heard any reports of waterfowl or marine animals turning up.
Brower said it wouldn’t necessarily surprise him if the substance turns out to be some sort of naturally occurring phenomenon, but the borough is waiting until it gets the analysis back from the samples before officials say anything more than they’re not sure what it is.
“From the air it looks brownish with some sheen, but when you get close and put it up on the ice and in the bucket, it’s kind of blackish stuff … (and) has hairy strands on it.”
Hasenauer said the Coast Guard’s samples are being analyzed in Anchorage. Results may be back sometime next week, he said.
The two Coast Guard experts sent up to overfly the area with the borough said they saw nothing that resembled an oil slick, Hasenauer said.
“We brought back one sample of what they believe to be an algae,” he said, and a big algae bloom is one possibility.
“It’s textbook for us to consider algae because of all the false reports of oil spills we’ve had in the past. It’s one of the things that typically comes up” when a report turns out not to be an oil spill after all.
But, he said, “there’s all types of natural phenomena that it could be.”
Meanwhile, the brownish-blackish gunk is drifting along the coast to the northeast, Brower said.
“This stuff is moving with the current,” he said. “It’s now on beyond Barrow and probably going north at this point. And people are still encountering it out here off Barrow.”
For the most part, the mystery substance seems to have stayed away from shore.
“We did get some residents saying it was being pushed against the shoreline by ice in some areas,” Brower said, “but then we get another east wind and it gets pushed back out there.”
One of Canada’s top Arctic archeologists says the remnants of a stone-and-sod wall unearthed on southern Baffin Island may be traces of a shelter built more than 700 years ago by Norse seafarers – a stunning find that would be just the second location in the New World with evidence of a Viking-built structure.
The tantalizing signs of a possible medieval Norse presence in Nunavut were found at the previously examined Nanook archeological site, about 200 km southwest of Iqaluit, where people of the now-extinct Dorset culture once occupied a stretch of Hudson Strait shoreline.
A UNESCO World Heritage site at northern Newfoundland’s L’Anse aux Meadows – about 1,500 km southeast of the Nanook dig – is the only confirmed location of a Viking settlement in North America. There, about 1,000 years ago, it’s believed a party of Norse voyagers from Greenland led by Leif Eiriksson built several sod-and-wood dwellings before abandoning their colonization attempt under threat from hostile natives they called “Skraelings.”
But over the past 10 years, research teams led by the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s chief of Arctic archeology, Pat Sutherland, have compiled evidence from field studies and archived collections that strongly suggests the Norse presence in northern Canada didn’t end with Eiriksson’s retreat from Newfoundland.
At three sites on Baffin Island, which the Norse called “Helluland” or “land of stone slabs”, and at another in northern Labrador, the researchers have documented dozens of suspected Norse artifacts such as Scandinavian-style spun yarn, distinctively notched and decorated wood objects and whetstones for sharpening knives and axes.
A single human tooth from one of the sites was tested a few years ago for possible European DNA, but the results were inconclusive.
Among the new artifacts found near the sod-and-stone features at Nanook is a whalebone spade – consistent with tools found at Norse sites in Greenland, and which might have been used to cut sections of turf for the shelter.
There is also evidence at Nanook of what appears to be a rock-lined drainage system comparable to ones found at proven Viking sites.
The apparent “architectural elements” found at the site “still have to be confirmed,” Sutherland told Canwest News Service. “They’re definitely anomalous for Dorset culture. And when you see these things in connection with Norse artifacts, it suggests that there may have been some kind of a shore station.”
Sutherland’s theory is that Norse sailors continued to travel between Greenland and Arctic Canada for generations after the failed colonization bid in Newfoundland. She believes they encountered and possibly traded with the Dorset, ancient aboriginals who were later overrun – probably before 1400 A.D. – by the eastward-migrating Thule ancestors of modern Inuit.
The theory is a controversial one.
University of Waterloo archeologist Robert Park recently challenged the dating of artifacts and Sutherland’s interpretations of evidence in a paper published by the journal Antiquity.
Park argues that the “most plausible explanation” for Norse-like traces at Nanook and other sites is that “none of these traits come from Dorset-European contact.”
He suggests such items may have been developed without any Norse influence by the ancient indigenous inhabitants of northern Canada.
“Despite the difficulty of proving a negative – i.e. establishing that Dorset did not come into contact with the Norse – on the basis of these data there appears to be no convincing archeological evidence that contact occurred,” Park concludes.
Sutherland insists that while proof of Norse-Dorset interaction isn’t overwhelming, there are now “several lines of evidence” pointing to sustained contact. And she notes that the kind of “boulders and turf” structural feature observed at Nanook is “atypical for Dorset” and consistent with Norse culture.
“I think in any scientific field, when something new comes along that hasn’t been given much consideration in the past, it generates debate,” she said.
Sutherland, whose research is also featured in the current issue of Canadian Geographic, said a scientific paper summarizing a decade’s worth of work on the national museum’s Helluland project is due to be published in August.
Further field work at a Dorset site in northern Labrador is scheduled for 2010, she added.
A U.S. Army Reserve major from Florida scheduled to report for deployment to Afghanistan within days has had his military orders revoked after he argued that he should not be required to serve under a president who has not proven his legitimacy for office.
His attorney, Orly Taitz, confirmed to WND the military has rescinded his impending deployment orders.
“We won! We won before we even arrived,” she said with excitement. “It means that the military has nothing to show for Obama. It means that the military has directly responded by saying Obama is illegitimate – and they cannot fight it. Therefore, they are revoking the order!”
She continued, “They just said, ‘Order revoked.’ No explanation. No reasons – just revoked.”
A hearing on the questions raised by Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook, an engineer who told WND he wants to serve his country in Afghanistan, was scheduled for July 16 at 9:30 a.m.
“As an officer in the armed forces of the United States, it is [my] duty to gain clarification on any order we may believe illegal. With that said, if President Obama is found not to be a ‘natural-born citizen,’ he is not eligible to be commander-in-chief,” he told WND only hours after the case was filed.
“[Then] any order coming out of the presidency or his chain of command is illegal. Should I deploy, I would essentially be following an illegal [order]. If I happened to be captured by the enemy in a foreign land, I would not be privy to the Geneva Convention protections,” he said.
The order for the hearing in the federal court for the Middle District of Georgia from U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land said the hearing on the request for a temporary restraining order would be held Thursday.
Cook said without a legitimate president as commander-in-chief, members of the U.S. military in overseas actions could be determined to be “war criminals and subject to prosecution.”
He said the vast array of information about Obama that is not available to the public confirms to him that “something is amiss.”
“That and the fact the individual who is occupying the White House has not been entirely truthful with anybody,” he said. “Every time anyone has made an inquiry, it has been either cast aside, it has been maligned, it has been laughed at or just dismissed summarily without further investigation.
“You know what. It would be so simple to solve. Just produce the long-form document, certificate of live birth,” he said.
He said he was scheduled to report for duty tomorrow, on July 15, to deploy to Afghanistan as part of President Obama’s plan to increase pressure of insurgent forces there.
He told WND he would be prepared for a backlash against him as a military officer, since members of the military swear to uphold and follow their orders. However, he noted that following an illegal order would be just as bad as failing to follow a legal order.
Named as defendants in the case are Col. Wanda Good, Col. Thomas Macdonald, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Obama, described as “de facto president of the United States.
According to the court filing, Cook affirmed when he joined the military, he took the following oath: “I, Stefan Frederick Cook, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the president of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
According to the claim, “Plaintiff submits that it is implicit though not expressly stated that an officer is and should be subject to court-martial, because he will be derelict in the performance of his duties, if he does not inquire as to the lawfulness, the legality, the legitimacy of the orders which he has received, whether those orders are specific or general.“
The military courts offer no option for raising the question, so he turned to civilian courts to consider “a question of paramount constitutional and legal importance: the validity of the chain of command under a president whose election, eligibility, and constitutional status appear open to serious question.”
“Barack Hussein Obama, in order to prove his constitutional eligibility to serve as president, basically needs only produce a single unique historical document for the Plaintiff’s inspection and authentication: namely, the ‘long-form’ birth certificate which will confirm whether Barack Hussein Obama was in fact born to parents who were both citizens of the United States in Honolulu, Hawaii, in or about 1961,” explains the complaint.
Taitz said she will attend the hearing to amend the temporary restraining order to an injunction because more members of the military have joined the cause.
“We are going to be asking for release of Obama’s records because now this completely undermines the military. It revoked this order, but it can come up with another order tomorrow. It can come up with orders for other people,” she said. “Am I going to be flying around the country 1,000 times and paying the fees every time they issue an order?”
Taitz said the issue “must be resolved immediately,” and she will continue working to ensure Obama proves he is eligible for office.
“We’re going to be asking the judge to issue an order for Obama to provide his vital records to show he is legitimately president,” she said. “We’re going to say, we have orders every day, and we’ll have revocations every day. This issue has to be decided.”
She said there cannot be any harm to the president if he is legitimately holding office.
“If he is legitimate, then his vital records will prove it,” Taitz said. “If he is illegitimate, then he should not have been there in the first place.”
Asked what this decision means for every other serviceman who objects to deployment under a president who has not proven he is eligible for office, Taitz responded:
“Now, we can have each and every member of the military – each and every enlistee and officer – file something similar saying ‘I will not take orders until Obama is legitimately vetted.’”
Multiple questions have been raised about what that would mean to the 2008 election, to the orders and laws Obama has signed and other issues, including whether he then is a valid commander-in-chief of the military.