In early 1990, Iraqi military forces began a high-effort assault on Kurdish populations and forces in Kurdistan, northern Iraq. Although then-current Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti claimed the military operations were due entirely to rebel activity by factions within Kurdistan, LAUNDRY contacts disagreed. The LAUNDRY, having a longer history in the northern Euphrates area, received word from two embedded sources that some form of unexpected disaster had occured in the Zagros Mountains. Covert investigation by LAUNDRY, DEEP BLACK, CIA and MI6 sources and assets revealed a cordon zone set up around the site of Shanidar Cave. Several famous Neanderthal skeleton finds had been excavated from this site in the 1950s and 1960s; following that, there had been no new finds, and the site had been relegated to a tourist curiousity. However, in early 1990, a cordon had been set up by Directorate 4 of the Jihaz Al-Mukhabarat Al-A'ma - the Iraqi Intelligence Service. Approximately a week later, Kurdish forces staged a surprise raid on the site. No information was forthcoming as to what they recovered; however, the military was called in to reinforce the area.

Information then surfaced indicating that the investigation and subsequent military operation was the result of an ongoing response to the Halabja incident of March 1988. A defector who was evacuated by covert US assets indicated that the Shanidar region had in fact been isolated two years prior, in January 1988, but at that time by Kurdish irregulars. Several objects had been excavated and removed to rebel strongholds elsewhere in Kurdistan. In March of 1988, as the Iraqi army and Mukhabarat were searching for the rebels involved, there was a containment breach of what appear to have been SPECWEAPS at the Halabja site. The defector claims to have been a member of the first-in investigation team. His statement is excerpted as follows from file SAPPHIRE HARPERS BACKFIRE 118/374Y:

(He) describes a town denuded of life, with a track some four point five meters wide extending from the basement of a large structure, out a bulkhead door, across an open square and terminating at a well. There was significant searing or chemical erosion of the rock surface between the door and the well, and no bodies were found in that area - all were found twenty meters or further from the track.

The track itself was sharply defined, with no indentations or protrusions of the rock surface remaining within its boundaries of greater than approximately ten microns. Strong radiation signature was present, both gamma and beta as well as several unknown compounds which dissipated before adequate samples could be taken. Four members of the initial exploitation team fell to radiation sickness and were removed. The subject has no information of their final whereabouts.

Determining the edge of the affected area, the subject and his team of seven approached the well which the unknown track terminated at. The direction of travel was determined from disturbances of nonorganic objects along the track - no organic samples remained intact within or close to the track's boundaries, but mineral detritus survived and scrape marks indicated the angle of disturbance. The well was outwardly unaffected save for erosive damage to the stone block well coping. A member of the team peered into the well but was unable to make out anything unusual; the well top was in shadow by that point and no light was available. One of the soldiers escorting the exploitation team tossed an illumination flare into the well, igniting it before dropping it in.

At this point, the subject is unable to continue with the description, and various measures ranging from electro-convulsive therapy to drug therapy have been unsuccessful. He has over the course of two weeks debrief produced several snippets of descriptive language, each typically followed by a seizure or loss of consciousness. The only words clearly heard in these snippets include one which sounds like "rill-yah" or "erell-yih" (Note: no cross references available) and "fit-aygin" or possibly "feht-ah-gun."

Intelligence reports indicate that shortly following the recovery of the remains of the exploitation teams, Iraqi forces began an immediate reduction of Halabja village. Chemical weapons were deployed for counterintelligence purposes, and conventional demolition teams destroyed all remaining structures. The well area was obliterated using ether extremely powerful conventional demolition charges or a small MANHATTAN asset, although overflights by U.S. Whisky Charlie 135 units produced no evidence of radiation fallout which points to the former.

DEEP BLACK and LAUNDRY designated the Mukhabarat operation a likely Dresden/Yalta violation and a SPECWEAPS concern. Saddam Hussein refused to coordinate information with either Western or Eastern D/Y agencies, and DEEP BLACK, LAUNDRY and ANCESTRAL GIFT agreed that surveillance was required. DEEP BLACK and LAUNDRY set up a surveillance command post in Kuwait to coordinate SPECWEAPS operations in the Iran/Iraq theater of operations.

The Mukhabarat discovered the DEEP BLACK operations through unknown means. Rather than object via the Dresden/Yalta communications channels offered to Iraq during the prior protest, Iraq invaded Kuwait under cover of a general military operation. The DEEP BLACK/LAUNDRY command post was successfully sanitized prior to the arrival of Iraqi forces, but two DEEP BLACK agents were captured by the Mukhabarat. Their Servitor implants verified their successful suicide under questioning.

POTUS Bush authorized an immediate mobilization for the possible containment of rogue SPECWEAPS and Dresden/Yalta incursion. Operation DESERT SHIELD was initiated as a cover for SPECWEAPS contingency operation SIERRA BACKFIRE. Coalition military forces were immediately deployed to Saudi Arabia and other regional areas. DEEP BLACK assets indicated that Iraq might have managed to militarize aerial SPECWEAPS, possibly with the support of HARPERS FERRY. As a result, newly-completed SPECWEAPS-capable MIM-104C PATRIOT batteries were emplaced around Iraqi theater targets to intercept rumored TEKELI delivery systems atop Iraqi SCUD-B SRBMs.

Several dozen SCUDs were fired during Operation DESERT SHIELD and Operation DESERT STORM. Most contained conventional high explosive warheads. One SCUD launched towards Coalition marshaling areas south of the Kuwait border, however, wobbled badly on launch and came down several miles offshore in the Gulf. As a result, it was not engaged by PATRIOT assets. Two days later, the government of Iran alerted DEEP BLACK contacts in Kuwait that a SPECWEAPS Dresden Incursion had occurred at the coastal town of Bandar-e Maqam and contact with the town had been lost. DEEP BLACK coordinated a joint operation between U.S. Marine Corps special forces and Iranian Revolutionary Guards. An amphibious landing revealed a kill zone of approximately four hundred meters along with an exclusion effect which rendered the kill zone 'invisible' to residents of the town, the surviving members of whom were unaware of anything out of the ordinary. USMC and DEEP BLACK assets handed control of the anomaly over to the Iranian RG and departed, not having left the exclusion zone and hence unnoted by the residents. Iran later reported that no SPECWEAPS were found outside the exclusion zone but radiation contamination was detected scattered near the center of the circular area. DEEP BLACK became concerned that HARPERS FERRY or rogue Iraqi Servitor systems had departed aerially from the region, but no tracking information was available.

Information is available with high confidence that suggests Iraqi forces lost containment on one or more SPECWEAPS systems or HARPERS FERRY liaisons around the January 20 timeframe. Several spurious 'poison gas attacks' by Coalition forces were reported by Iraqi media, and on January 25 Iraqi forces began systematic dumping of crude oil into the Persian Gulf waters off the Shatt al-Arab, setting some of the slicks afire. As there were no Coalition forces nearby, DEEP BLACK and LAUNDRY speculate that these coordinated spills were an attempt to attack subsurface SPECWEAPS installations in the Northern Gulf and into the Shatt al-Arab. U.S. Navy forces were alerted to be on the lookout for any unidentified 'wildlife damage' in the Gulf. No corpses not identifiable as terrestrial aquatic life were recovered, however.

In the early February timeframe, a LAUNDRY agent was captured by Iraqi forces and tortured. He was unsuccessful in suiciding, and was later released by Coalition forces. He broke security to report the sighting of SPECWEAPS near a Baghdad underground facility. His report was garbled by non-cleared personnel to indicate MANHATTAN assets (WMD) and a strike package was assembled before DEEP BLACK or LAUNDRY could intervene. The resulting strike destroyed a subcellar containment pool and also killed several hundred civilians who had been sheltering in the facility. Later examination showed a lead foil lined containment pool with radiation traces and a subsurface channel to a deep cave system with a now-recognizable Shoggoth erosion track indicating at least one SPECWEAPS asset had successfully evacuated the bunker.

In response, the United States issued an ultimatum to Iraq - a public one to withdraw from Kuwait, and a private message indicating that all SPECWEAPS must be declared and turned over or Iraq would face ground incursion and forcible D/Y disarmament. At this point, it seems likely from information captured later that the entirety of SPECWEAPS systems and personnel inside Iraq were in the process of evacuating under the auspices of HARPERS FERRY and that Iraqi personnel were no longer in control of these systems and assets. However, this was not communicated to Coalition forces, and on February 24, 1991 Coalition ground forces invaded Iraq and Kuwait. General Norman Schwarzkopf dispatched a far westerly force - the Left Hook - to cover movements by special SPECWEAPS units as they searched a region past Khafji for SPECWEAPS violations reported by several Iraqi defectors and prisoners. Several facilities were found but were empty.

Operation DESERT STORM ended with Saddam Hussein withdrawing from Kuwait but without any acknowledgement on the part of Iraq of its SPECWEAPS violations.

During Operation DESERT STORM, exploitation efforts in SITE GAMMA behind Mt. Erebus were stepped up. Exploitation teams finally penetrated the rockfalls without futher damage and accessed the subsurface watershed, christened MOON POOL for an unknown source of illumination at the deep bottom of the lake. Efforts began to portage a small submersible up onto the Erebus plateau, through the ruins, and down to MOON POOL for exploration.

After seven months the covert twin to DSV-2 Alvin, DSVC-3 Ailey, along with its minimal ground support equipment were portaged onto the shore chamber of MOON POOL. Two DEEP BLACK research personnel and two Navy crew took Ailey down to the lower depths of MOON POOL during a series of seven dives. No signs of life were discovered until the submersible reached the first tier of the bottom shelf at approximately five hundred meters down, when regular ruins bearing strong resemblence to the Erebus Plateau ruins were discovered. Instruments showed that the unknown illumination from the center of the lake, which waxed and waned on a complex schedule, was strongly radioactive when the sixth dive near the center measured a flux of approximately one hundred roentgens/hr at three hundred meters depth. The lake began to show signs of warming as Ailey approached the anomaly.

On the ninth dive, Ailey reached the center bottom of MOON POOL and discovered a large and complex mound, in ruins, with light emanating strongly from the center. Investigation by ROV showed a roughly-disc-shaped discontinuity in the center of the collapsed structure which was emitting (at the time) dim light and some radiation. The ROV was sent across the discontinuity plane but immediately lost contact with Ailey.

After several weeks of work, Ailey was inserted through the discontinuity plane with two crew and two DEEP BLACK researchers aboard. Contact was lost immediately and was not reestablished. After three days, the duration of onboard life support on the Ailey, the SITE GAMMA exploitation team declared possible PRIOR TENANT OLIVE THUNDER or HARPERS FERRY CHARTREUSE BACKFIRE and the MOON POOL cavern was sealed against further exploration under SPECWEAPS threat class.

In 1994, an Indian Navy missile boat on maneuvers in the southwestern Indian Ocean was taken under subsurface attack by forces unknown. It was lost with all hands after reporting seismic disturbances. The Indian Navy dispatched search and rescue vessels and were shadowed by United States submarines. Upon locating the site of the sinking due to a recovered disaster buoy, India officially requested assistance from the U.S. in strict secrecy. The U.S. Navy and Indian submersibles located the wreck of the missile boat in the Crozet Basin at a depth of some 4,000 meters. It was surrounded by unknown plasmid systems.

The U.S. Navy, following protocol, notified DEEP BLACK. When DEEP BLACK attempted BENTHIC OUTREACH protocols, no response was forthcoming. Evidence of known HARPERS FERRY systems interference were detected on the frigate's hulk. Assets of the U.S. and Indian navies surveyed the area and located a stone structure some seventeen kilometers from the boat's hulk which bore signs of PRIOR TENANT architecture. When no communication from the structure was forthcoming, the U.S. Navy SSN USS Boston (SSN-703) deployed a MANHATTAN armed torpedo in accordance with Dresden protocols on benthic defense in the face of a violation of the PRIOR TENANT terms. The structure was destroyed. DSP satellite NUDETS recorded a garbled characteristic double-flash on its primary bhangmeter; non-SPECWEAPS cleared policy and military arms debated for several weeks whether this was an actual detection before the report was buried and a coverup began at DEEP BLACK's behest, replacing all references to the MANHATTAN deployment and detection with references to the Vela Incident of 1979.

In 1996, a badly-attenuated lasercom signal was received by DEEP BLACK instrumentation aboard the Hubble Space Telescope. It contained a three still frame images, repeated and encoded using the Graphic Interchange Format. Frame one showed the base of a waterfall of approximately Niagara's width and indeterminate height, with a clearly-wrecked DSVC-3 Ailey near the edge of the basal pool. Frame two showed a clear image of a night sky, with good definition of various stars, and a handheld chronometer set into the frame showing a date three days after contact had been lost with Ailey (the chronometer was accurate to a ten thousandth of a second, having been synchronized just prior to Ailey's departure). Frame three showed a densely but clearly written report, apparently scribed onto a white surface with a standard marker.

The Ailey had exited the portal at a shallow point in a wide river and immediately been swept over the waterfall. Two of the four crew had died on impact. One had broken several ribs and a femur. The DEEP BLACK researcher survivor had escaped with minor bruising. The two survivors quickly determined that the gamma flux in their environment (which had been designated PORTAL/ALEPH) was lethal, but in the time remaining to them they managed to cobble together their normal underwater lasercom link to a laptop computer. The DEEP BLACK survivor had scrambled back up the waterfall and managed to thrust the assembly back through the portal. However, it had not returned to MOON POOL but to a different gate location, as far as he was able to determine, for it came back frozen. He guessed that the return path led to open space, and after two more days of work managed to remove a gyroscope stable platform cage from Ailey and wire the lasercom assembly into it along with a rudimentary star tracker application. Then both survivors wrote out the report in Frame III and apparently managed to return the entire assembly through the portal completely. The elapsed time and direction of the contact indicated that the assembly had returned to sidereal space in the vicinity of Alpha Centauri A, whereupon it had oriented itself and begun transmitting.

Seven hours, ten minutes and sixteen seconds of repeated transmissions were recorded before the signal ended.





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