Posts Tagged With: starvation

Skeletons Of Napoleon’s Soldiers Discovered In Mass Grave Show Signs Of Starvation…..

As snow lashed across their faces, archaeologists quickly excavated a mass grave in Vilnius, Lithuania. The jumbled bones, haphazardly oriented, were punctuated with finds of shoes, clothing, and armor. Buttons revealed the identity of the dead: over 40 different regiments were represented, all from Napoleon’s Grande Armée. Archaeologists had found the final resting place of over three thousand men who perished during Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow in 1812. Now, new chemical analyses of the bones are revealing where these soldiers hailed from and just how difficult it was to find enough to eat.

Napoleon’s exploits are well-known from history. In an attempt to prevent invasion of Poland by Russian Czar Alexander I, Napoleon decided to invade Russia first. He started out with around 675,000 men who came from all over Europe; French, Germans, Polish, Lithuanians, Spanish, and Italians, however, made up the majority. This Grande Armée dwindled on its advance to Russia, then retreated when the czar refused to surrender and there were no supplies for the army in Moscow. By the time the army got to Smolensk, Russia, there were just 41,000 soldiers remaining. Charles Minard, a 19th century engineer who pioneered the creation of infographics, famously depicted just how treacherous this campaign was and what the loss of life looked like.

Figurative Map of the successive losses in men of the French Army in the Russian campaign 1812-1813. Drawn up by M. Minard, Inspector General of Bridges and Roads in retirement. Paris, November 20, 1869. The numbers of men present are represented by the widths of the colored zones at a rate of one millimeter for every ten-thousand men; they are further written across the zones. The red [now brown] designates the men who enter into Russia, the black those who leave it. —— The information which has served to draw up the map has been extracted from the works of M. M. Thiers, of Segur, of Fezensac, of Chambray, and the unpublished diary of Jacob, pharmacist of the army since October 28th. In order to better judge with the eye the diminution of the army, I have assumed that the troops of prince Jerome and of Marshal Davoush who had been detached at Minsk and Moghilev and have rejoined around Orcha and Vitebsk, had always marched with the army. The scale is shown on the center-right, in “lieues communes de France” (common French league) which is 4,444m (2.75 miles). The lower portion of the graph is to be read from right to left. It shows the temperature on the army’s return from Russia, in degrees below freezing on the Réaumur scale. (Multiply Réaumur temperatures by 1¼ to get Celsius, e.g. −30°R = −37.5 °C) At Smolensk, the temperature was −21° Réaumur on November 14th. (Public domain image via wikimedia commons)
Figurative Map of the successive losses in men of the French Army in the Russian campaign 1812-1813.
Drawn up by M. Minard, Inspector General of Bridges and Roads in retirement. Paris, November 20, 1869.
The numbers of men present are represented by the widths of the colored zones at a rate of one millimeter for every ten-thousand men; they are further written across the zones. The brown designates the men who enter into Russia, the black those who leave it. (Public domain image via wikimedia commons)
Local residents look at bones in a mass grave where bodies of Napoleon-era French soldiers were found in a suburb of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, Friday, March 15, 2002. The mass garve containing as many as 2,000 French soldiers who fought for Napoleon Bonaparte during the War of 1812 has been unearthed in a Vilnius suburb. The site was discovered by construction workers. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
The Grande Armée continued west, crossed the Beresina River, and arrived in Vilnius. But there was little to eat there either. Around 20,000 soldiers died in Vilnius of hypothermia, starvation, and typhus. Corpses were thrown into mass graves. One of these, containing the remains of at least 3,269 people, was excavated by bioarchaeologist Rimantas Jankauskas and his team in just one month in 2001. Bodies were packed seven to a square meter, tossed in with clothing and other items. Based on the bones, archaeologists found that almost all the dead were males, with the exception of two dozen females, and that most were in their 20s at death.

Two new research studies on these remains have attempted to answer questions about soldiers’ homelands and their diet leading up to their deaths. University of Central Florida anthropology students Serenela Pelier and Sammantha Holder, under the direction of UCF bioarchaeologist Tosha Dupras, performed stable isotope analyses on samples of the remains. Pelier used oxygen isotopes to find out the geographical origin of nine of the skeletons, while Holder used carbon and nitrogen isotopes to learn about diet and starvation.

Pelier took samples from the femur of eight males and one female for oxygen isotope analysis. Oxygen isotopes in the biosphere vary depending on factors like humidity, distance from the sea, and elevation. By measuring the oxygen isotopes in human bone, it is possible to learn whether that individual was born in a particular geographic area. Pelier found that none of the individuals she tested had oxygen values that would be expected for Vilnius; no one was local. Based on the much higher oxygen values, they were more likely from central and western Europe, with three individuals possibly from the Iberian peninsula and one who may have participated in an African campaign before the Russian one. Additionally, the one woman who was tested may have hailed from southern France.
Holder also took samples from the femur of 73 males and three females buried in the mass grave, and she performed an analysis of the stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in the bone. While carbon isotopes provide information mainly about the carbohydrate portion of the diet, nitrogen isotopes can give data on the protein component. Holder found that most of Napoleon’s soldiers were eating plants like wheat, while a few may have come from areas like Italy where more millet was consumed. The carbon isotopes did not hold any surprises.

But Holder was much more interested in the nitrogen isotopes. More than two dozen of the people she sampled had high nitrogen values. Often, this is an indication that someone was eating high on the food chain, as nitrogen levels are higher in carnivorous animals compared to herbivores. Holder suspected, though, that something else was going on with these soldiers. When the human body is deprived of protein, nitrogen isotope values can skyrocket. So conditions like anorexia, prolonged morning sickness, vitamin D deficiency, and starvation can cause an increase in nitrogen signatures.
Napoleon’s men were not in good health, even before their ill-fated stop in Vilnius. Research on the teeth of the soldiers in the mass grave showed rampant dental cavities and indications of stress during childhood, and over one-quarter of the dead had likely succumbed to epidemic typhus, a louse-borne disease. A febrile illness like typhus could cause increased loss of body water through urine, sweat, and diarrhea, which may also cause a rise in nitrogen isotopes. And, of course, historical accounts detail how troops fruitlessly scoured the countryside for food and how many of them ate their dead or dying horses.

Fragment of a pocket of a soldier’s uniform, with regimental buttons, from the mass grave of 1812 in Vilnius. (Image used with kind permission of Rimantas Jankauskas)
Fragment of a pocket of a soldier’s uniform, with regimental buttons, from the mass grave of 1812 in Vilnius. (Image used with kind permission of Rimantas Jankauskas)
What caused the high nitrogen values among the Grande Armée? It could be the result of consumption of marine resources, from pathological conditions, or from starvation – or even from a combination of these. While the soldiers were not getting seafood from frozen Vilnius, I wondered about preserved fish and asked historian Max Owre, executive director of humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, about the provisioning of the army. “There was no large scale tinning of goods,” Owre says, which means that “it’s possible that soldiers could have carried saltied, dried cod, but more likely they were simply starving.” The carbon isotope values also help rule out seafood consumption, as they are more negative than the typical range for marine-based diets. This leaves illness or lack of food.

“The prolonged periods of starvation possibly stem from career-long military service in numerous campaigns throughout the Napoleonic Wars,” Holder writes, “or from nutritional stresses prior to military conscription.” Although she admits she cannot say definitively what the cause of the elevated nitrogen values was, Holder notes that, given all the available evidence from historical records and previous studies, the “nitrogen enrichment is most likely the result of prolonged nutritional stress.”

Both Pelier and Holder tested the bones of women as well as men. But why would there have been women in a mass grave of Napoleonic soldiers? Owre told me that “there were plenty of camp followers as well as official woman cantinières and vivandières who sold goods to the troops. This woman from southern France would likely have been one of these or a follower. Some wives did tag along.” Finding the remains of women in this mass grave means archaeologists can add to the historical record, which largely glosses over women’s experiences in this war.
Studies of the bones of Napoleon’s soldiers are key evidence in finding out what really happened in the Russian Campaign. Owre tells me that a large amount of pro-Napoleon scholarship places the blame for massive troop death on the cold Russian winter. But, he points out, “military logistics at the time were incapable of supporting an army this size, even considering that living off the land—stealing from locals—was the modus operandi of Napoleon’s armies and his enemies by this point.” If Holder is right that the elevated nitrogen signatures represent starvation, this “would be another piece of evidence for the failure of the Russian campaign,” Owre concludes.

The members of Napoleon’s Grande Armée who perished in Vilnius in the winter of 1812 are now in a new burial location: the Antakalnis Military Cemetery, where they rest with other war heroes. Bone samples that have been preserved, however, may yet yield additional information about the short lives and tragic deaths of these young men and women.

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North Korea EMP attack could destroy U.S. – right now!!….

‘Red Dawn’ scenario is kid’s play compared with this scenario.

North Korea now has an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to the United States, as demonstrated by their successful launch and orbiting of a satellite on Dec. 12, the Washington Times reports.

In fact, the Times report says, “North Korea is a mortal nuclear threat to the United States – right now.”

It’s not just the threat of conventional nuclear attack that has experts worried. Nor is the North Korea invasion scenario in the new remake of “Red Dawn” a realistic risk.
The real concern is that North Korea now has miniaturized nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery and armed missiles with nuclear warheads that could destroy the U.S. in a single blow with an EMP attack that would send the U.S. back to 19th century technology a la the NBC TV show “Revolution.”

And North Korea is hardly the only threat to destroy what some other nations and rogue players call “the Great Satan.”

Imagine if all the lights in America went off – never to come back on again.

Imagine if all the computers in America got fried – never to come back on again.

Imagine if all the cars in America dependent on fancy circuitry wouldn’t start – ever again.

Imagine if the grocery stores and the gas stations had to close up – for good.

That’s the kind of scenario an EMP attack can cause. The scenarios suggest massive starvation, lawlessness and chaos beyond anything Americans can imagine.
Scientists and other experts have warned for years that the nation’s electrical grid system, together with other critical infrastructures that have an almost complete dependency on electricity and electronic components, are highly vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse event, either from natural or man-made causes.

However, Congress and the administrations of previous and current presidents largely have ignored those warnings.

Events such as the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States, then the devastating Hurricane Katrina and more recently Hurricane Sandy revealed vulnerabilities to those infrastructures, for a time heightened that concern.

Nevertheless, none of this was enough to awaken policymakers who seem more preoccupied with making you less safe by restricting your ability to get firearms.

Make no mistake about it: An EMP attack poses the biggest threat to U.S. national and economic security in our lifetime.
An electromagnetic pulse attack on our critical infrastructures, either from an impending solar storm of serious intensity expected between 2012 and 2014 or from a high-altitude nuclear explosion, could have long-term catastrophic consequences for our society and our way of life.

A few years ago, a congressional commission went into considerable depth on those consequences to our electricity-dependent infrastructures that include not only the power grid itself but also telecommunications, our banking and finance system, our transportation system that delivers the very food and water on which our society depends on a daily basis, and the fuel needed to keep our houses warm in the winter and air-conditioned during the summer.

While these critical infrastructures continue to face such an impending crisis, Congress basically has ignored its own commission report and instead has treated the threat of an electromagnetic pulse event as a political football to be weighed against the need to establish an antiballistic missile system. Out of the debate, nothing has happened in either direction.

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Americans are getting a bit of advice from a columnist in Pravda, long considered the voice in front of the massive power of the Soviet Union: Keep your guns.

“This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth,” wrote columnist Stanislav Mishin in his recent column.
“This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well, those are bullet holders for rifles.”

However, the communists weren’t stupid, he wrote, and when they took power, “One of the first things they did was to disarm the population. ”

“From that point, mass repression, mass arrests, mass deportations, mass murder, mass starvation were all a safe game for the powers,” Mishin wrote.
“To this day, with the Soviet Union now dead 21 years, with a whole generation born and raised to adulthood without the SU, we are still denied our basic and traditional rights to self defense. Why? We are told that everyone would just start shooting each other and crime would be everywhere …. but criminals are still armed and still murdering and [too] often, especially in the far regions, those criminals wear the uniforms of the police.”

Even today, the columnist wrote, authorities “do as they please, a tyrannical class who knows they have absolutely nothing to fear from a relatively unarmed population. This, in turn, breeds not respect but absolute contempt and often enough, criminal abuse.”

Mishin said America’s Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, “is a rare light in an ever darkening room.”

“Governments will use the excuse of trying to protect the people from maniacs and crime, but … in reality, it is the bureaucrats protecting their power and position,” he said.
“In all cases where guns are banned, gun crime continues and often increases. As for maniacs, be it nuts with cars (NYC, Chapel Hill, N.C.), swords (Japan), knives (China) or home made bombs (everywhere), insane people strike. They throw acid (Pakistan, UK), they throw fire bombs (France), they attack. What is worse, is, that the best way to stop a maniac is not psychology or jail or ‘talking to them,’ it is a bullet in the head, that is why they are a maniac, because they are incapable of living in reality or stopping themselves.”

He continued: “Do not be fooled by a belief that progressives, leftists hate guns. Oh, no, they do not. What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question. They hate guns in those whom they have slated for a barrel to the back of the ear.

“So, do not fall for the false promises and do not extinguish the light that is left to allow humanity a measure of self respect.”

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Welcome back to the 19th Century……

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security still hasn’t adopted a National Planning Scenario in the event of an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, event – even though the department is well aware of the potentially debilitating consequences of such an event on the nation’s electrical grid system and the critical infrastructures that depend on that grid system to function.

Brandon Wales, director of the DHS Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center, also was unable to give a cost breakdown for Congress to know how much money needs to be provided by the federal government to protect the grid in view of the tremendous costs private utilities would incur.
Wales, along with other federal agency witnesses, provided his testimony on Sept. 12 before the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies on the consequences of either a natural or man-made EMP event on the national grid.

A natural event could be triggered by a solar flare; a man-made event by a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere.

DHS has outlined 15 such National Planning Scenarios as an element of its risk analysis mission, according to James Carafano of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation.

He said that such scenarios describe possible high-consequence threats, such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters, but an EMP attack is not included, despite a call for such a scenario in a report from the congressionally mandated 2008 EMP Commission.

“In 2008, under the National Defense Authorization Act for (fiscal year) 2008,” Carafano said, “the Department of Homeland Security was required ‘to coordinate efforts with the (EMP) Commission for work related to electromagnetic pulse attack on electricity infrastructure, and protect against such an attack.’

“Therefore, efforts were made to create interagency cooperation on such a critical threat to U.S. homeland security,” Carafano said. “Despite the grave dangers posed by an EMP attack, an EMP threat scenario has yet to be incorporated into the National Planning Scenarios.”

Michael Frankel, who was executive director of the EMP Commission, pointed out in congressional testimony in August 2010 that the commission had provided 75 unclassified recommendations, most of which were aimed at DHS and intended to “mitigate vulnerability and increase resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructures.”

“Unlike the response of the (Department of Defense), there has been no detectable resonance as yet out of the DHS,” Frankel had testified. “As a result, the commission’s recommendations seem to have simply languished.”

Existence of the National Planning Scenario provides the DHS with priorities on how to proceed in the event of a national emergency.

As sources point out, however, an EMP event is not one of them, despite the high prospect for what is termed a solar storm maximum which scientists and experts say is expected between now and 2013 that could have catastrophic effects on the vulnerable national grid system, depending on its intensity.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Academy of Sciences have confirmed to WND that such a solar storm maximum could occur sometime between now and 2014, with the most likely peak of its 11-year cycle occurring in 2013.

The sun produces solar explosions, or coronal mass ejections also called CMEs, that propel bursts of particles and electromagnetic fluctuations into the Earth’s atmosphere.

These electromagnetic fluctuations in turn could induce electric fluctuations at ground level that then blow out electrical transformers in power grids. The CME’s particles also collide with crucial electronics onboard a satellite and disrupt those systems, which could greatly impair Ground Positioning Systems and worldwide telecommunications.

A solar storm maximum today could result in large-scale blackouts affecting more than 130 million people and would expose more than 350 transformers to high risk or permanent damage.

Without taking adequate protective measures between now and the time of the expected “severe geomagnetic storm scenario,” experts agree the cost from space weather-induced outages that in turn could cause “non-space-weather-related events” could run from $1 trillion to $2 trillion during the first year alone, with a recovery time taking anywhere from four to 10 years.

Such a natural solar storm, and especially an EMP from a man-made high-altitude nuclear explosion, has the potential of thrusting the United States back to the 19th century, cutting off access to the basic necessities of life such as water and food delivery for millions of people, resulting in massive starvation.

Not only will such a development impact critical civilian infrastructure, but could have an adverse effect on U.S. military systems because of their heavy reliance on commercial satellites for worldwide communications.

Testimony from the Department of Defense at the Sept. 12 House congressional hearing confirmed that the military has a 99 percent dependency on the civilian electrical grid system.

“The biggest failure is in the White House, with the president,” one congressional source told WND.

“Even though Obama personally is concerned about the natural EMP threat from a great geomagnetic storm, he has failed to show personal leadership,” the congressional source said.

“He deserves kudos for PPD-8 and the 2011 Strategic National Risk Assessment that for the first time includes a geostorm scenario. But he is letting the bureaucrats spin their wheels forever on ‘paper progress’ that leaves the grid unprotected.”

The congressional source questioned why Obama has not ordered DHS to adopt a National Planning Scenario focused on EMP.

“All federal, state and local emergency planning, training, and resource allocation is based on the National Planning Scenarios,” the congressional source pointed out.

“Absent an NPS for EMP, the threat is on nobody’s radar screen, except at DOD and in Congress. Obama should press NERC to start hardening the grid, or at least to launch experimental pilot programs for grid hardening in some states,” he said.

The NERC refers to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation which is an organization of U.S. electrical grid operators of the private utilities. They determine and implement standards for keeping the grid in functioning order.

While the federal government through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is charged with developing reliability standards, only private industry can implement those standards.

In his Sept. 12 Capitol Hill testimony, FERC Director Joseph McClelland expressed concern that private utilities are not prepared to handle a catastrophic EMP event, saying that the effects would be widespread on the national grid system.

McClelland pointed out that the FERC’s jurisdiction is limited to the “bulk power system” under the Federal Power Act and excludes local distribution facilities.

The FPA also excludes all of Alaska and Hawaii, as well as any federal facilities located in these states. Their authority also excludes all local distribution facilities, including those connected to the defense infrastructure.

This has the effect, McClelland testified, of “precluding commission action to mitigate cyber or other national security threats to reliability that involve such facilities and major population areas,” which would be every major city in the United States.

McClelland added that the challenge will be in getting local electrical distribution facilities to take the threat of an EMP seriously and put up the capital investment.

The congressional source pointed out that promising legislation called the SHIELD Act is languishing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.

H.R. 668, known as the Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act, or SHIELD, was introduced last year by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz.

The SHIELD Act would amend the Federal Power Act to authorize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, with or without notice, hearing, or report, to order emergency measures to protect the reliability of either the bulk-power system or the defense critical electric infrastructure whenever the president issues a written directive or determination identifying an imminent grid security threat.

Among other things, it also directs the FERC to order the Electric Reliability Organization, or ERO, to submit reliability standards to:

Protect the bulk-power system from a reasonably foreseeable geomagnetic storm event or electromagnetic pulse event (EMP); and
Require entities that own or operate large transformers to ensure their adequate availability to restore promptly the reliable operation of the bulk-power system in the event of destruction or disability as a result of attack or a geomagnetic storm or EMP.
“Obama should call Upton and ask him to pass SHIELD,” the congressional source said. “Obama should tell (U.S. Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid to introduce a Democrat version of SHIELD in the Senate. Contrast this with Obama’s aggressive leadership to stop ‘global warning’ through promotion of green energy and draconian regulations.

“Obama spends his political capital on the fictional threat from global warming,” the congressional source added, “leaving the nation vulnerable to EMP just as we are entering the solar maximum.”

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, who was staff director of the 2008 EMP Commission, also acknowledged that the SHIELD Act is stalled but praised the work of a number of members of Congress for their continued work on the threat of an EMP event on the national grid system.

“The biggest kudos to the Congress (in the House who are) the real leaders on this issue,” Pry said in an email to WND. “Hats off to the Congressional EMP Caucus led by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R), Rep. Trent Franks (R), and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D). They have launched numerous initiatives to protect the nation from EMP, and understand the grave and immediate nature of the threat.”

A new network television drama also recently presented the cataclysmic consequences of an EMP attack, in “Revolution,” which portrays life in the former United States 15 years after an electromagnetic pulse disables all electronics.

In the story, society has collapsed and the country devolved into a collection of mutually hostile self-styled militias, private armies and warring tribes. Former members of the Marine Corps become warlords. Google executives become rifle-toting soldiers. Insurance salesmen transform into militia members.

It shows that basic necessities that Americans take for granted, such as widely available food and clean water, become inaccessible as millions die from starvation, disease or widespread violence.

A coming book, “A Nation Forsaken,” suggests that the show actually may downplay the real threat.

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