CHINA SENDS FLOTILLA TO ANTARCTICA
It's been a while since we've heard of any strange happenings on planet Earth's strangest place, Antarctica, but just when you think everyone has forgotten about that continent's strange connections to Herman Goering, Rudolf Hess, Buzz Aldrin, Patriarch of Moscow Kirill III, or Obama Secretary of State (and current Bai Den Dzhao "Climate Change Tsar) John Ketchup Kerry, something comes along that makes one think that, once again, something is "up" down there. Indeed, there is in this article shared by S.D. something that caught my attention, and makes me go "hmmm"; see if you can spot it:
Now granted, China has been in Antarctica for a while, and like everyone else "down there," it has been conducting all sorts of research. One can only assume that they have an interest in the neutrino detector down there, and a host of other things as well. But I have difficulty imagining that the Chinese Communist Party's interest is purely scientific, just as I have a tremendous difficulty that Herman Goering's interest was purely scientific and that he was just sponsoring a glitzy science project. Of course, we had the "commerce and lubricants" explanation for Goering's interest (and the British raising the subject of Antarctica with Rudolf Hess after the latter had flown to Britain on his infamous and ill-fated peace mission, a topic unfortunately too long and weird to get into here, but if you're interested, see my book Hess and the Penguins). Then there was Admiral Byrd's Operation High Jump, which was quite literally a fully-fledged combined arms operation which invaded the continent, but oddly, did so by landings everywhere but where the Nazis had explored.
And now the Chinese are sending a little flotilla of two icebreakers and a cargo ship to build yet another research facility there. So what is it about the place that attracts the attention of fascist Germany, communist China, and capitalist America, and why are the cover stories explaining that interest so laughably transparent? From "we need lubricants and can get it from whaling" (Nazi Germany), to "we need to test our new military equipment and combat capability under Arctic conditions, and we need to do it down there even though our access to the Arctic via Alaska and Canada is so much easier" (the Americans and Operation High Jump), to "we need to monitor neutrinos" (pretty much everyone), to "what I saw down there was pure evil" (allegedly from Buzz Aldrin), to "I need to personally check out climate change" (Ketchup Kerry, when interrupting a diplomatic junket in 2016), and now to Communist China, which, according to the article in search of its own explanation, is offering this one for your consideration:
Work on the first Chinese station in the Pacific sector began in 2018. It will be used to conduct research on the region’s environment, state television reported.
China has four research stations in the Antarctic built from 1985 to 2014. A U.S.-based think tank estimated the fifth could be finished next year.
The facility is expected to include an observatory with a satellite ground station, and should help China “fill in a major gap” in its ability to access the continent, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said in a report this year.
The station is also well situated to collect signals intelligence over Australia and New Zealand and telemetry data on rockets launched from Australia’s new Arnhem Space Centre, it said.
China rejects suggestions that its stations would be used for espionage.
Oh those clever, nasty, sneaky Chinese! Why, they're building a fifth station in Antarctica because they need to spy on arch-rivals Australia and New Zealand!
As explanations go, this one is right up there with Reichsmarschall Goering's "we need lubricants from whales" and Admiral Byrd's "we need to test equipment in Arctic conditions" explanations for sheer brassy and ultimately nonsensical chutzpah. Now, I have no difficulty imagining that the Chinese would want to spy on Australia and New Zealand. They spy on everyone else, so why should Aussies and Kiwis get an exemption? And I have no doubt that Antarctica would be an ideal place from which to listen in. But my problem is that the Chinese probably already have that capability to listen in, and that building yet another base in Antarctica seems to be a rather cost-ineffective way to do so: why not just launch another geo-synchronous satellite in orbit over those recaltitrant Aussies and Kiwis, and save some money? So, assuming that the "environment" and "listening in" explanations offered by the article are true, then what about the south pole gives such a unique perspective on the planet's environment, and more importantly, who is really the target of those eavesdropping efforts? Since the American corporation Raytheon announced its own presence on the continent, that would be a possible target. Or maybe it is "someone else"? Is someone sending messages in the aurora australis?
Who knows? But it is perhaps telling that the Chinese, whatever their motivations, appear to be in a hurry to complete that fifth Chinese Antarctic "research station."
Of course, there's a final possibility, namely, that an Antarctic research station, as the article avers, could help monitor Australian space launches... but it could just as easily monitor comings and goings from and to the planet that might be taking place down there....
See you on the flip side...
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