U.N.: Grow Some Balls, Expel Communists China’s Government From U.N. Right Now

U.N.: Grow Some Balls, Expel Communists China’s Government From The U.N. Right Now 

 

This article to you tonight is one I have been thinking about writing for a couple of weeks but because of the length I knew it would be I have avoided taking the time to write it. First I want to let you know that I got a lot of the information for this article from the New York Times so I want to make sure to credit them. Also, a lot of this information is simply garnered from all of the years of taking history classes in high school and in college. There is another point that I want to make clear to folks about how I feel/believe about the “People’s Republic of China” or the ‘PRC.’ for the purpose of this article I will refer to the Communists murderers in Beijing as the rulers of the Mainland. My personal opinion and belief is that Taiwan’s government, the “Republic of China” is the real legal government of all of China, not just the Taiwan Island.

 

The PRC is a leading member of the U.N., they also sit as one of the 5 permanent member seats of the Security Council. Up until 1950 the ROC was a founding member of the U.N. and had a seat on the Security Council. In 1950 the balless wonders at the U.N. not only removed the rightful government of the Chinese people from the Council they removed them as a member State and they demoted them to an “Observer State.” If you are a person who has not been paying attention to the blatant aggression of the PRC government through their President Xi Jinping, you need to, everyone on the planet does. The following is information on some of the reasons that I made that statement and is some of the reasons that I have decided to take the time to write this article to you.

 

July 12th of 2016, the Communist government of Mainland China totally told the U.N. and the rest of the world to go  F–k themselves. On that day the World Court which is through the U.N. made a ruling concerning the PRC’s blatant aggression in the South China Sea. The PRC was told to quit their activities of aggression toward their neighbors and the rest of the world. The Communist government of the Mainland told the U.N. and the World Court that they “did not recognize the authority of the U.N or of the World Court.” So, the question I have for you, and to the U.N. is, if they refuse to recognize the authority of the World Court and the U.N. then why in the bleep has the U.N. not removed these murderers both from the Security Council and from the U.N. itself? Why on earth would the balless wonders who run the U.N. allow the PRC to remain on the Security Council where they have Veto Power to cancel out all of the good things that the rest of the world is trying to accomplish? This makes no sense, it is totally stupid. The only thing that I can think of is, they are cowards! If the U.N. cared about the world in general they would remove the PRC from the Council, and reinstate the ROC (Republic Of China/Taiwan) to its rightful position in the U.N. and on the Security Council. Also, they should lower the PRC to the position that the ROC has now, only as an Observer State and if the PRC chooses to balk at that then they should be removed from the U.N. all together.

 

July 12th, 2016. The International Tribunal at the Hague delivered a sweeping rebuke of the PRC and their actions in the South China Sea which includes the construction of artificial islands. The Court also ruled that their expansive claim to sovereignty over the air and sea has no legal basis. The PRC could have been and should have been named as an “International Outlaw.” This was the first time that the PRC has ever been summoned before the International Justice System. The PRC claims that they have “Historical rights over almost all of the South China Sea,” basically about 90% of it. The International Court disagrees and they sided with their neighbors who brought the suit against them. The International Court also said that the PRC violated International Law by causing “irreparable harm” to the marine environment, endangering Philippine ships and interfering with Philippine oil exploration. Globally the rulings of the International Court are binding but the problem is that there is no system in place to physically enforce the law. At the very least the U.N. does have the authority to require all UN member nations to totally and completely boycott all imports and exports into and out of the PRC Mainland. The PRC obviously knew that they were going to lose this court battle so they didn’t even bother to send a low-level representative to the Court. They also made it very clear to the U.N. before the litigation began that they would not abide by the Court’s ruling.  The countries that brought the complaint to the Court were the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

 

Speaking at a meeting of European Leaders the PRC President Mr. Xi Jingping was defiant in his claims about them having sovereignty over the South China Sea since “Ancient Times.” Since the ruling the PRC has accelerated their aggression in the South China Sea trade routes, fishing waters as well as stealing the oil and other mineral rights of their neighboring. The PRC has built a large artificial island upon an atoll known as Mischief Reef. They have built a large military airstrip and Naval births there even thought the World Court ruled that this was in Philippine National waters. The PRC claims what they call the “nine-dash-line” which encircles 90% of the South China Sea, the area we are talking about here is equivalent to the size of Mexico. The Philippines had asked the International Court to rule against the PRC because the PRC is in violation of the U.N. Convention on the “Law Of The Sea” which both the PRC and the Philippines signed and ratified as being valid.

 

The International Court also ruled that several disputed rocks and reefs in the South China Sea were too small to claim control of economic activities in the waters around them. As a result the Court ruled that the PRC was engaging in unlawful behaviour in the Philippines waters including activities that have made the dispute worse. This is no light matter, think about what the PRC is trying to do. They say they control all shipments of goods into and out of all of these Nations. They are saying that they control all air routes into and out of all of these Nations that would go into or over the South China Sea. If these illegal actions are not forcibly stopped right now the PRC will be able to totally control and or totally tank every Nation’s economy not just in the region but in the world. At the very least the PRC is quickly becoming capable of charging every ship and every plane a toll of their own chosen level, they can do anything they choose to any nation or people. The whole world, the U.N. must grow a set of Balls and stand up against the PRC in every possible way, right now, for if not, we will all soon be needing to learn how to speak Mandarin Chinese. If you have paid any attention the Communist PRC isn’t even the Legal Government Of China, the Legal Government is the ROC (Republic of China) which at this time resides on the Island of Taiwan. These mass murderers killed ten of millions of China’s people when they forced themselves onto the Mainland population. The first Leader of the PRC was Chairman Mao and during the 1950’s he murdered tens of millions if not a few hundred million of the Chinese people via starvation. You may ask, what that has to do with now and that is a fair question. The answer is that the President for life of the PRC, Mr. Xi Jinping is a devout student, believer and follower of Chairman Mao. Wake up world, grow some Balls U.N. or soon you will not exist any longer.

 

 

 

It Is The Communist Government Of China That Is “Confused” Not The Whole World

(This article is courtesy of the Reuters News Agency)

China says Japan trying to ‘confuse’ South China Sea situation

China on Monday accused Japan of trying to “confuse” the situation in the South China Sea, after its neighbor said it would step up activity in the contested waters, through joint training patrols with the United States.

Ties between Asia’s two largest economies have long been overshadowed by arguments over their painful wartime history and a territorial spat in the East China Sea, among other issues.

China has repeatedly denounced what it views as interference by the United States and its ally Japan in the South China Sea.

Japan will also help build the capacity of coastal states in the busy waterway, its defense minister said last week during a visit to Washington.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said countries in the region had reached a consensus that the South China Sea issue should be resolved through talks between the parties directly involved, and that China and Southeast Asian countries should jointly maintain peace and stability there.

“Let’s have a look at the results of Japan’s throwing things into disorder over this same time period … trying to confuse the South China Sea situation under the pretense of (acting for) the international community,” Lu told a daily news briefing, when asked about Japan’s announcement.

Japan’s actions have simply pushed other countries away from it, and it has failed to compel other nations to see its point of view, he added.

“China is resolute in its determination to protect its sovereignty and maritime interests,” Lu said.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, through which ships carrying about $5 trillion in trade pass every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims in the sea, which is also believed to be rich in energy resources and fish stocks.

In July, an arbitration court in the Hague said China’s claims to the waterway were invalid, after a case was brought by the Philippines. Beijing has refused to recognize the ruling.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

China ‘likely’ training pilots to target US, Pentagon report says

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

China ‘likely’ training pilots to target US, Pentagon report says

Washington (CNN)China is actively developing its fleet of long-range bombers and “likely” training its pilots for missions targeting the US, according to a new Pentagon report.

“Over the last three years, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against US and allied targets,” the report said.
The “Annual Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” is a US government report mandated by Congress, which details Chinese military developments over the previous year.
This year’s report also claims that China is pursuing a nuclear capability on its long-range bombers, saying the Chinese air force “has been re-assigned a nuclear mission.”
“The deployment and integration of nuclear capable bombers would, for the first time, provide China with a nuclear ‘triad’ of delivery systems dispersed across land, sea, and air,” the report said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has made no secret of his desire to modernize China’s armed forces, including weeding out widespread corruption in the ranks and updating the country’s military hardware.
As Thursday’s report notes, the PLA is undergoing “the most comprehensive restructure in its history to become a force capable of fighting joint operations.”
The United States released a new Defense Strategy at the beginning of 2018 where it proclaimed “long-term strategic competitions with China” as one of the US military’s top challenges.
According to Thursday’s report, China is working on a “stealthy, long-range strategic bomber with a nuclear delivery capability that could be operational within the next 10 years,” in addition to the bombers it already operates.
In a show of the expanding reach of Beijing’s power, the Chinese military landed nuclear-capable H-6K bombers on one of their artificial islands in the South China Sea for the first time in May.
us navy plane warned south china sea watson dnt vpx_00030107

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US Navy plane warned over South China Sea 03:02

Cold War mentality

This year’s report comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and China, amid an escalating trade war and disagreements over Beijing’s actions in Taiwan and the South China Sea.
Even before the new report’s release, Washington was feeling the full brunt of the Chinese military’s fury over a new $717 billion US defense bill which encourages closer cooperation with Taiwan to counter Beijing.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Chinese Ministry of Defense spokesman Wu Qian said the United States was”full of Cold War mentality.”
“A man cannot prosper without honesty, the same is true for a country,” Wu said. “We urge the US to stick to its promises to China regarding Taiwan question, and uphold the one-China policy.”
The new US report released on Thursday said China was deploying “increasingly advance military capabilities intended to coerce Taiwan” in a bid to prevent the island from declaring independence.
Despite Taiwan being self-governed for almost 70 years, the mainland Chinese government continues to view the island as an integral part of its territory.
The US report didn’t just highlight threats to the United States or its allies — there was also a broader discussion of the spread of Chinese influence around the world.
The document notes China has established its first overseas base in Djibouti and that it “will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries.”
China formally established its Djibouti military base in July last year, followed several months later by the country’s controversial acquisition of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka.
Around the time of the Djbouti base opening, an editorial in the state-run Global Times stressed its importance to Beijing’s plans. “Certainly this is the People’s Liberation Army’s first overseas base and we will base troops there. It’s not a commercial resupply point… This base can support Chinese Navy to go farther, so it means a lot,” said the paper.
The Pentagon report said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature infrastructure policy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), served to encourage countries to fall into line with China’s ambitions.
“China intends to use the BRI to develop strong economic ties with other countries, shape their interests to align with China’s, and deter confrontation or criticism of China’s approach to sensitive issues,” the report said.
China also continues to develop counterspace capabilities, “including kinetic-kill missiles, ground-based lasers and orbiting space robots,” the report saida time when US President Donald Trump plans to establish a Space Force by 2020 to protect US assets in space.
Beijing is also working “to expand space surveillance capabilities that can monitor objects across the globe and in space and enable counterspace actions.”

Snowy dirtballs streak across sky in dazzling meteor shower

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ST. GEORGE NEWS)

 

Snowy dirtballs streak across sky in dazzling meteor shower

Composite image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Earth’s ancient relative, the Smith-Tuttle comet, is set to be the headliner for three nights in August, producing a brilliant light show as fragments of the 4-billion-year-old snowy dirtball streak across the skies during one of the most active meteor showers of the year.

The Perseid meteor shower will make its peak three-night appearance from Aug. 11-13, and is known to be a rich, steady meteor shower that sends 60-70 meteors slamming into the Earth’s atmosphere at more than 130,000 mph every hour. This year’s meteor shower event will be make even more spectacular by the “slender waxing crescent moon,” according to EarthSky’s 2018 Meteor Shower Guide. 

Star map depicting outline of constellations, including Perseus, where the Perseid meteor shower originates | Image courtesy of EarthSky, St. George News

Meteors are small fragments of cosmic debris entering the earth’s atmosphere at extremely high speed. They are caused by the copious amounts of particles produced each time a comet swings around the sun and eventually spread out along the entire orbit of the comet to form a meteoroid stream.

If the Earth’s orbit intersects with the comet’s orbit, as it does with the Swift-Tuttle Comet, then it passes through that stream, which produces a meteor shower. If that intersection occurs at roughly the same time each year, then it becomes an annual shower, according to the American Meteor Society.

Swift-Tuttle has an eccentric, oblong orbit around the sun that takes 133 years. The comet’s orbit takes it outside the orbit of Pluto when farthest from the sun, and inside the Earth’s orbit when closest to the sun, releasing particles of ice and dust that become part of the Perseid meteor shower.

Perseid showers last for weeks instead of days and have been streaking across the sky since July 17, and while they are heaviest during the three-day period beginning Saturday, they will continue for at least 10 days after.

The fast, bright meteors appear in all parts of the sky, roughly 50 to 75 miles above the earth’s surface and leave continual trains, which is the persistent glow caused by the luminous interplanetary rock and dust left in the wake of the meteoroid, and often remain long after the light trail has dissipated.

These meteors, which can reach temperatures of more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, start from northerly latitudes during mid-to-late evening and tend to strengthen in number as the night continues, typically producing the greatest number of showers in the hours just before dawn, which is also moonless and makes them easier to see against the black backdrop.

Because meteor shower particles are all traveling in parallel paths at the same velocity, they appear to radiate from a single point in the sky, similar to railroad tracks converging to a single point as they vanish beyond the horizon. The Perseid shower originates from a point in front of the constellation Perseus, which ranks 24 on the list of largest constellations and is visible from August to March in the Northern Hemisphere.

Here are Perseid meteor shower viewing tips:

  • An open sky is essential as these meteors streak across the sky in many different directions and in front of a number of constellations.
  • Getting as far away from city lights will provide the best view, and the best time to watch the showers is between midnight and dawn.
  • Provide at least an hour to sky watch, as it can take the eyes up to 20 minutes to adapt to the darkness of night.
  • Put away the telescope or binoculars, as using either one reduces the amount of sky you can see at one time, and lowers the odds that you’ll see a meteor.
  • Let your eyes relax and don’t look in any one specific spot. Relaxed eyes will quickly catch any movement in the sky and you’ll be able to spot more meteors.
  • Be sure to dress appropriately – wear clothing appropriate for cold overnight temperatures.
  • Bring something comfortable on which to sit or lie. A reclining chair or pad will make it far more comfortable to keep your gaze on the night sky.
  • Avoid looking at your cell phone or any other light, as both destroy night vision.

To mix things up a bit, the Delta Aquariids meteor shower, which peaked July 27, the same night as the century’s longest lunar eclipse, is still showering icy space dust across the sky and is running simultaneously with the Perseid’s.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

Norfolk Island: The History Knowledge And Known Truth About

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Norfolk Island

Introduction Two British attempts at establishing the island as a penal colony (1788-1814 and 1825-55) were ultimately abandoned. In 1856, the island was resettled by Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions.
History Early history

Norfolk Island was first settled by East Polynesian seafarers either from the Kermadec Islands north of New Zealand or from the North Island of New Zealand. They arrived in the fourteenth or fifteenth century, and survived for several generations before disappearing. Their main village site has been excavated at Emily Bay, and they also left behind stone tools, the Polynesian Rat, and banana trees as evidence of their sojourn. The final fate of these early settlers remains a mystery.

The first European known to have sighted the island was Captain James Cook, in 1774, on his second voyage to the South Pacific on HMS Resolution. He named it after the Duchess of Norfolk, wife of Edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk (1685-1777). The Duchess was dead at the time of the island’s sighting by Cook, but Cook had set out from England in 1772 and could not have known of her May 1773 death.

Cook went ashore on Tuesday 11 October 1774, and is said to have been impressed with the tall straight trees and flax-like plants. He took samples back to the United Kingdom and reported on their potential uses for the Royal Navy.

Andrew Kippis as the biographer of this voyage puts it as follows:

As the Resolution pursued her course from New Caledonia, land was discovered, which, on a nearer approach, was found to be an island, of good height, and five leagues in circuit. Captain Cook named it Norfolk Isle, in honour of the noble family of Howard (Fn.: It is situated in the latitude of 29° 2′ 30″ south, and in the longitude of 168° 16′ east). It was uninhabited; and the first persons that ever set foot on it were unquestionably our English navigators. Various trees and plants were observed that are common at New Zealand; and in particular, the flax plant, which is rather more luxuriant here than in any other part of that country. The chief produce of the island is a kind of spruce pine, exceedingly straight and tall, which grows in great abundance. Such is the size of many of the trees that, breast high, they are as thick as two men can fathom. Among the vegetables of the place, the palm-cabbage afforded both a wholesome and palatable refreshment; and, indeed, proved the most agreeable repast that our people had for a considerable time enjoyed…

At the time, the United Kingdom was heavily dependent on flax (for sails) and hemp (for ropes) from the shores of the Baltic Sea ports. Any threat to their supply endangered the United Kingdom’s sea power. The UK also relied on timbers from New England for mainmasts, and these were not supplied after the American War of Independence. The alternative source of Norfolk Island for these supplies is argued by some historians, notably Geoffrey Blainey in The Tyranny of Distance, as being a major reason for the founding of the convict settlement of New South Wales by the First Fleet in 1788.

James Cook said that, “except for New Zealand, in no other island in the South Sea was wood and mast-timber so ready to hand”.

John Call, member of Parliament and the Royal Society, and former chief engineer of the East India Company, stated the advantages of Norfolk Island in a proposal for colonization he put to the Home Office in August 1784: “This Island has an Advantage not common to New Caledonia, New Holland and New Zealand by not being inhabited, so that no Injury can be done by possessing it to the rest of Mankind…there seems to be nothing wanting but Inhabitants and Cultivation to make it a delicious Residence. The Climate, Soil, and Sea provide everything that can be expected from them. The Timber, Shrubs, Vegetables and Fish already found there need no Embellishment to pronounce them excellent samples; but the most invaluable of all is the Flax-plant, which grows more luxuriant than in New Zealand.”[4]

George Forster, who had been on Cook’s second voyage to the Pacific and had been with him when he landed on Norfolk Island, was at the time professor of natural history at the University of Vilna (or Vilnius) in Polish Lithuania: Forster discussed the proposed Botany Bay colony in an article written in November 1786, “Neuholland, und die brittische Colonie in Botany Bay”. Though unaware of the British intention to settle Norfolk Island, which was not announced until 5 December 1786, Forster referred to “the nearness of New Zealand; the excellent flax plant (Phormium) that grows so abundantly there; its incomparable shipbuilding timber”, as among the advantages of the new colony.

The proposal written by James Matra under the supervision of Sir Joseph Banks for establishing a settlement in New South Wales, stated that Botany Bay was: “no further than a fortnight from New Zealand, which is covered with timber even to the water’s edge. The trees are so big and tall that a single tree is enough to make a mast of a first rate man of war. New Zealand produces in addition flax, which is an object equally of utility and curiosity. Any quantity of it might be raised in the colony, as this plant grows naturally in New Zealand. It can be made to serve the various purposes of cotton, hemp and linen, and is easier manufactured than any of them. In naval affairs, it could not fail of being of the utmost consequence; a cable of ten inches (250 mm) being supposed to be of equal strength and durability to one of European hemp of eighteen inches.

In 1786 the British Government included Norfolk Island as an auxiliary settlement, as proposed by John Call, in its plan for colonization of New South Wales. The flax and ship timber of New Zealand were attractive, but these prospective advantages were balanced by the obvious impossibility of forming a settlement there in the face of undoubted opposition from the native Maori. [7] There was no native population to oppose a settlement on Norfolk Island, which also possessed those desirable natural resources, but the island was too small of itself to sustain a colony. Hence the ultimate decision for a dual colonization along the lines proposed by Call.

The decision to settle Norfolk Island was taken under the impetus of the shock Britain had just received from the Empress Catherine of Russia. Practically all the hemp and flax required by the Royal Navy for cordage and sailcloth was imported from the Russian dominions through the ports of St. Petersburg (Kronstadt) and Riga. Comptroller of the Navy Sir Charles Middleton explained to Prime Minister Pitt in a letter of 5 September 1786: “It is for Hemp only we are dependent on Russia. Masts can be procured from Nova Scotia, and Iron in plenty from the Ores of this Country; but as it is impracticable to carry on a Naval War without Hemp, it is materially necessary to promote the growth of it in this Country and Ireland”. [8] In the summer of 1786 the Empress Catherine, in the context of tense negotiations on a renewed treaty of commerce, had emphasized her control over this vital commodity by asking the merchants who supplied it to restrict sales to English buyers: “the Empress has contrary to Custom speculated on this Commodity”, complained the author of a subsequent memorandum to the Home Secretary. “It is unnecessary”, said the memorandum, “to remark the Consequences which might result from a prohibition of supply from that Quarter altogether”. [9] This implicit threat to the viability of the Royal Navy became apparent in mid-September (a month after the decision had been taken to settle Botany Bay) and caused the Pitt Administration to begin an urgent search for new sources of supply, including from Norfolk Island, which was then added to the plan to colonize New South Wales.

The need for an alternative source of supply of naval stores to Russia is indicated by the information from the British Ambassador in Copenhagen, Hugh Elliott, who wrote to Foreign Secretary, Lord Carmarthen on 12 August 1788: “There is no Topick so common in the Mouths of the Russian Ministers, as to insist on the Facility with which the Empress, when Mistress of the Baltic, either by Conquest, Influence, or Alliance with the other two Northern Powers, could keep England in a State of Dependence for its Baltic Commerce and Naval Stores”.[10]

On 6 December 1786, an order-in-council was issued designating “the Eastern Coast of New South Wales, or some one or other of the Islands adjacent” as the destination for transported convicts, as required by the Transportation Act of 1784 (24 Geo.III, c.56) that authorized the sending of convicted felons to any place appointed by the King in Council. Norfolk Island was thereby brought officially within the bounds of the projected colony.

An article in The Universal Daily Register (the forerunner of The Times) of 23 December 1786 revealed the plan for a dual colonization of Norfolk Island and Botany Bay: “The ships for Botany Bay are not to leave all the convicts there; some of them are to be taken to Norfolk Island, which is about eight hundred miles East of Botany Bay, and about four hundred miles short of New Zealand”.

The advantage of Britain’s new colony providing an alternative source to Russia for naval supplies of flax and hemp was referred to in an article in Lloyd’s Evening Post of 5 October 1787 which urged: “It is undoubtedly the interest of Great-Britain to remain neutral in the present contest between the Russians and the Turks” and observed, “Should England cease to render her services to the Empress of Russia, in a war against the Turks, there can be little of nothing to fear from her ill-will. England will speedily be enabled to draw from her colony of New South Wales, the staple of Russia, hemp and flax.”

First penal settlement

Before the First Fleet sailed to found a convict settlement in New South Wales, Governor Arthur Phillip’s final instructions, received less than three weeks before sailing, included the requirement to colonize Norfolk Island to prevent it falling into the hands of France[citation needed], whose naval leaders were also showing interest in the Pacific.

Phillip’s instructions given him in April 1787 included an injunction to send a party to secure Norfolk Island “as soon as Circumstances may admit of it…. to prevent its being occupied by the Subjects of any other European Power”. This could only have been a reference to the expedition then in the Pacific commanded by Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse. The Daily Universal Register of 11 November 1786 had stated: “the Botany Bay scheme is laid aside, as there is a strong presumption that a squadron from Brest are now, or soon will be, in possession of the very spot we meant to occupy in New Holland”. This may have been a reference to a report from the British Ambassador in Paris, who had believed that when Lapérouse’s expedition set out from Brest in August 1785 it had as one of its objectives the establishment of a settlement in New Zealand to forestall the British.

Lapérouse did attempt to visit Norfolk Island, but only to investigate, not to take possession. He had instructions to investigate any colonies the English may have established and learned of the intention to settle Botany Bay and Norfolk Island from despatches sent to him from Paris through St. Petersburg and by land across Siberia to Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka, where he received them on 26 September 1787, just four days before his departure from that port.[12] His ships, the Boussole and Astrolabe, anchored off the northern side of the island on 13 January 1788, but at the time high seas were running that made it too dangerous for the two ships’ boats that were put out to attempt a landing: “It was obvious that I would have had to wait maybe for a very long time for a moment suitable for a landing and a visit to this island was not worth this sacrifice”, he recorded in his journal.[13] Having noted that the island was still uninhabited, he was presumably the less inclined to risk a landing when there was no English settlement there to report on.

When the First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson in January 1788, Phillip ordered Lieutenant Philip Gidley King to lead a party of fifteen convicts and seven free men to take control of the island and prepare for its commercial development. They arrived on 6 March 1788.

A “Letter from an Officer of Marines at New South Wales, 16 November 1788”, published in the London newspaper, The World, 15 May 1789, reported the glowing description of the island and its prospects by Philip Gidley King, but also drew attention to the fatal defect of the lack of a safe port: “The said Island lies near Port Jackson, and is nearly as large as the Isle of Wight. Lieutenant King, who was sent with a detachment of marines and some convicts, to settle there, gives the most flattering portrayal of it. The island is fully wooded. Its timber is in the opinion of everyone the most beautiful and finest in the world…they are most suitable for masts, yards, spars and such. The New Zealand flax-plant grows there in abundance. European grains and seeds also thrive wonderfully well on Norfolk Island. It only lacks a good port and suitable landing places, without which the island is of no use, but with them it would be of the greatest importance for Great Britain. How far these deficiencies can be improved by art and the hand of man, time must decide.”

It was soon found[citation needed] that the flax was difficult to prepare for manufacturing and no one had the necessary skills. An attempt was made to bring two Māori men to teach the skills of dressing and weaving flax, but this failed when it was discovered that weaving was considered women’s work and the two men had little knowledge of it. The pine timber was found to be not resilient enough for masts and this industry was also abandoned.

More convicts were sent, and the island was seen as a farm, supplying Sydney with grain and vegetables during its early years of near-starvation. However, crops often failed[citation needed] due to the salty wind, rats, and caterpillars. The lack of a natural safe harbour hindered communication and the transport of supplies and produce.

Manning Clark observed that “at first the convicts behaved well, but as more arrived from Sydney Cove, they renewed their wicked practices”. These included an attempted overthrow of King in January 1789 by convicts described by Margaret Hazzard as “incorrigible rogues who took his ‘goodwill’ for weakness”. While some convicts responded well to the opportunities offered to become respectable, most remained “idle and miserable wretches” according to Clark, despite the climate and their isolation from previous haunts of crime.

The impending starvation at Sydney led to a great transplantation of convicts and marines to Norfolk Island in March 1790 on HMS Sirius. This attempt to relieve the pressure on Sydney turned to disaster when Sirius was wrecked and, although there was no loss of life, some stores were destroyed, and the ship’s crew was marooned for ten months. This news was met in Sydney with “unspeakable consternation”.[14] Norfolk Island was now further cut off from Sydney which, with the arrival of the Second Fleet with its cargo of sick and abused convicts, had more pressing problems with which to contend.

In spite of this the settlement grew slowly as more convicts were sent from Sydney. Many convicts chose to remain as settlers on the expiry of their sentence, and the population grew to over 1000 by 1792.

Lieutenant governors of the first settlement:
6 March 1788–24 March 1790: Lieutenant Philip Gidley King (1758–1808)
24 March 1790–Nov 1791: Major Robert Ross (c.1740–1794)
4 November 1791–Oct 1796: Lieutenant Philip Gidley King
October 1796–Nov 1799: Captain John Townson (1760–1835)
November 1799–Jul 1800: Captain Thomas Rowley (c.1748–1806)
26 June 1800–9 September 1804: Major Joseph Foveaux (1765–1846)
9 September 1804–January 1810: Lieutenant John Piper (1773–1851)
January 1810–15 February 1813: Lieutenant Thomas Crane (caretaker)
15 February 1813–15 February 1814: Superintendent William Hutchinson

Norfolk Island was governed by a succession of short-term commandants for the next eleven years, starting with King’s replacement, Robert Ross 1789-1790. When Joseph Foveaux arrived as Lieutenant Governor in 1800, he found the settlement quite run down, little maintenance having been carried out in the previous four years, and he set about building it up, particularly through public works and attempts to improve education.[15]

As early as 1794 King suggested its closure as a penal settlement as it was too remote and difficult for shipping, and too costly to maintain. By 1803, the Secretary of State, Lord Hobart, called for the removal of part of the Norfolk Island military establishment, settlers and convicts to Van Diemen’s Land, due to its great expense and the difficulties of communication between Norfolk Island and Sydney. This was achieved more slowly than anticipated, due to reluctance of settlers to uproot themselves from the land they had struggled to tame, and compensation claims for loss of stock. It was also delayed by King’s insistence on its value for providing refreshment to the whalers. The first group of 159 left in February 1805 and comprised mainly convicts and their families and military personnel, only four settlers departing. Between November 1807 and September 1808, five groups of 554 people departed. Only about 200 remained, forming a small settlement until the remnants were removed in 1813. A small party remained to slaughter stock and destroy all buildings so that there would be no inducement for anyone, especially from another European power, to visit that place.

From 15 February 1814 to 6 June 1825 the island lay abandoned.

Second penal settlement

Commandants of the second settlement:
6 June 1825–March 1826: Captain Richard Turton
March 1826–August 1827: Captain Vance Young Donaldson (1791–?)
August 1827–November 1828: Captain Thomas Edward Wright
November 1828–February 1829: Captain Robert Hunt
February 1829–29 June 1829: Captain Joseph Wakefield
29 June 1829–1834: Lieutenant-Colonel James Thomas Morisset (1782–1852)
1834: Captain Foster Fyans (1790–1870) (Acting)
1834–April 1839: Major Joseph Anderson (1790–1877)
April – July 1839: Major Thomas Bunbury (b. c1791)
July 1839 – March 1840: Major Thomas Ryan (b.c1790) (Acting)
17 March 1840–1844: Captain Alexander Maconochie (1787–1860)
8 February 1844–5 August 1846: Major Joseph Childs
6 August 1846–18 January 1853: John Giles Price (1808–1857)
January 1853–September 1853: Captain Rupert Deering
September 1853–5 May 1855: Captain H. Day
5 May 1855–8 June 1856: T.S. Stewart (Caretaker)

In 1824 the British government instructed the Governor of New South Wales Thomas Brisbane to occupy Norfolk Island as a place to send “the worst description of convicts”. Its remoteness, seen previously as a disadvantage, was now viewed as an asset for the detention of the “twice-convicted” men, who had committed further crimes since arriving in New South Wales. Brisbane assured his masters that “the felon who is sent there is forever excluded from all hope of return” He saw Norfolk Island as “the nec plus ultra of Convict degradation”.

His successor, Governor Ralph Darling, was even more severe than Brisbane, wishing that “every man should be worked in irons that the example may deter others from the commission of crime” and “to hold out [Norfolk Island] as a place of the extremest punishment short of death”. Governor George Arthur, in Van Diemen’s Land, likewise believed that “when prisoners are sent to Norfolk Island, they should on no account be permitted to return. Transportation thither should be considered as the ultimate limit and a punishment short only of death”. Reformation of the convicts was not seen as an objective of the Norfolk Island penal settlement.

The evidence that has passed down through the years points to the creation of a “Hell in Paradise”. A widespread and popular notion of the harshness of penal settlements, including Norfolk Island, has come from the novel For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke, which appears to be based on the writings and recollections of witnesses and from the fictional writings of Price Warung.

Following a convict mutiny in 1834, Father William Ullathorne, Vicar general of Sydney, visited Norfolk Island to comfort the mutineers due for execution. He found it “the most heartrending scene that I ever witnessed”. Having the duty of informing the prisoners as to who was reprieved and who was to die, he was shocked to record as “a literal fact that each man who heard his reprieve wept bitterly, and that each man who heard of his condemnation to death went down on his knees with dry eyes, and thanked God.”

The 1846 report of magistrate Robert Pringle Stuart exposed the scarcity and poor quality of food, inadequacy of housing, horrors of torture and incessant flogging, insubordination of convicts, and corruption of overseers.

Bishop Robert Willson visited Norfolk Island from Van Diemen’s Land on three occasions. Following his first visit in 1846 he reported to the House of Lords who, for the first time, came to realise the enormity of atrocities perpetrated under the British flag and attempted to remedy the evils. Willson returned in 1849 and found that many of the reforms had been implemented. However, rumours of resumed atrocities brought him back in 1852, and this visit resulted in a damning report, listing atrocities and blaming the system, which invested one man at this remote place with absolute power over so many people.

Only a handful of convicts left any written record and their descriptions (as quoted by Hazzard and Hughes) of living and working conditions, food and housing, and, in particular, the punishments given for seemingly trivial offences, are unremittingly horrifying, describing a settlement devoid of all human decency, under the iron rule of the tyrannical autocratic commandants.

The actions of some of the commandants, such as Morisset and particularly Price appear to be excessively harsh. All but one were military officers, brought up in a system where discipline was inhumanely severe throughout the period of transportation. In addition, the commandants relied on a large number of military guards, civil overseers, ex-convict constables, and convict informers to provide them with intelligence and carry out their orders.

Of the Commandants, only Alexander Maconochie appeared to reach the conclusion that brutality would breed defiance, as demonstrated by the mutinies of 1826, 1834 and 1846, and he attempted to apply his theories of penal reform, providing incentives as well as punishment. His methods were criticised as being too lenient and he was replaced, a move that returned the settlement to its harsh rule.

The second penal settlement began to be wound down by the British Government after 1847 and the last convicts were removed to Tasmania in May 1855. It was abandoned because transportation to Van Diemen’s Land had ceased in 1853 and was replaced by penal servitude in the United Kingdom.

Settlement by Pitcairn Islanders

On 8 June 1856, the next settlement began on Norfolk Island. These were the descendants of Tahitians and the Bounty mutineers, resettled from the Pitcairn Islands, which had become too small for their growing population. The British government had permitted the transfer of the Pitcairners to Norfolk, which was thus established as a colony separate from New South Wales but under the administration of that colony’s governor. They left Pitcairn Islands on the May 3, 1856 and arrived with 194 persons on June 8.

The Pitcairners occupied many of the buildings remaining from the penal settlements, and gradually established their traditional farming and whaling industries on the island. Although some families decided to return to Pitcairn in 1858 and 1863, the island’s population continued to slowly grow as the island accepted settlers, often arriving with whaling fleets.

In 1867, the headquarters of the Melanesian Mission of the Church of England were established on the island, and in 1882 the church of St. Barnabas was erected to the memory of the Mission’s head Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, with windows designed by Edward Burne-Jones and executed by William Morris. In 1920 the Mission was relocated from the island to the Solomon Islands to be closer to its target population.

Twentieth century

This stamp was issued in 1981 to commemorate the first landing of an aircraft at the island, Sir Francis Chichester’s Gypsy Moth “Mme Elijah”, at Cascade Bay on March 28, 1931.

After the creation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, Norfolk Island was placed under the authority of the new Commonwealth government to be administered as an external territory.

During World War II, the island became a key airbase and refuelling depot between Australia and New Zealand, and New Zealand and the Solomon Islands. Since Norfolk Island fell within New Zealand’s area of responsibility it was garrisoned by a New Zealand Army unit known as N Force at a large Army camp which had the capacity to house a 1,500 strong force. N Force relieved a company of the Second Australian Imperial Force. The island proved too remote to come under attack during the war and N Force left the island in February 1944.

In 1979, Norfolk was granted limited self-government by Australia, under which the island elects a government that runs most of the island’s affairs. As such, residents of Norfolk Island are not represented in the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia, making them the only group of residents of an Australian state or territory not represented there.

In 2006, a formal review process took place, in which the Australian Government considered revising this model of government. The review was completed on December 20, 2006, when it was decided that there would be no changes in the governance of Norfolk Island.

Geography Location: Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia
Geographic coordinates: 29 02 S, 167 57 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 34.6 sq km
land: 34.6 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: about 0.2 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 32 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: subtropical; mild, little seasonal temperature variation
Terrain: volcanic formation with mostly rolling plains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Bates 319 m
Natural resources: fish
Land use: arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: typhoons (especially May to July)
Environment – current issues: NA
Geography – note: most of the 32 km coastline consists of almost inaccessible cliffs, but the land slopes down to the sea in one small southern area on Sydney Bay, where the capital of Kingston is situated
Politics Norfolk Island is the only non-mainland Australian territory to have achieved self-governance. The Norfolk Island Act, passed by the Parliament of Australia in 1979, is the Act under which the island is governed. The Australian Government maintains authority on the island through an Administrator (currently Owen Walsh as Acting Administrator), who is appointed by the Governor-General of Australia. A Legislative Assembly is elected by popular vote for a term of not more than three years, although legislation passed by the Australian Parliament can extend its laws to the territory at will, including the power to override any laws made by the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly.

The Assembly consists of nine seats, with electors casting nine equal votes, of which no more than two can be given to any individual candidate. It is a method of voting called a “weighted first past the post system”. Four of the members of the Assembly form the Executive Council, which devises policy and acts as an advisory body to the Administrator. The current Chief Minister of Norfolk Island is Andre Nobbs. All seats are held by independent candidates. Norfolk Island has yet to embrace party politics. In 2007 a branch of the Australian Labor Party was formed on Norfolk Island, with the aim of reforming the system of government.

The island’s official capital is Kingston; it is, however, more a centre of government than a sizeable settlement.

The most important local holiday is Bounty Day, celebrated on 8 June, in memory of the arrival of the Pitcairn Islanders in 1856.

Local ordinances and acts apply on the island, where most laws are based on the Australian legal system. Australian common law applies when not covered by either Australian or Norfolk Island law. Suffrage is universal at age eighteen.

As a territory of Australia, Norfolk Island does not have diplomatic representation abroad, or within the territory, and is also not a participant in any international organisations, other than sporting organisations.

The flag is three vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and green with a large green Norfolk Island pine tree centered in the slightly wider white band.

People Population: 2,128 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.2%
15-64 years: 63.9%
65 years and over: 15.9% (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.006% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: NA
Death rate: NA (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA
Sex ratio: NA
Infant mortality rate: total: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: NA (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Norfolk Islander(s)
adjective: Norfolk Islander(s)
Ethnic groups: descendants of the Bounty mutineers, Australian, New Zealander, Polynesian
Religions: Anglican 34.9%, Roman Catholic 11.7%, Uniting Church in Australia 11.2%, Seventh-Day Adventist 2.8%, Australian Christian 2.4%, Jehovah’s Witness 0.9%, other 2.7%, unspecified 15.2%, none 18.1% (2001 census)
Languages: English (official), Norfolk – a mixture of 18th century English and ancient Tahitian
Literacy: NA

Netherlands And Australia Hold Russia Partly At Fault For Downing Of Malaysian Jet

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

(FLIGHT MH17 WAS SHOT DOWN WITH A RUSSIAN MISSILE FROM A RUSSIAN HELD MILITARY LOCATION)

Friday – 9 months of Ramadan 1439 H – 25 May 2018 m
Joint investigation team in Malaysia plane crash offers a shattered missile (Reuters)
Amsterdam: Middle East Online
The Netherlands and Australia have taken responsibility for the downing of the Malaysian plane over Ukraine during its flight MH17 in 2014, officials said on Friday, in a move that could trigger a judicial move.
In a statement, the Dutch government said the two countries “hold Russia partly responsible for the downing” of the Malaysian plane, a day after investigators found that a Bock missile hit the plane while it was flying, moving from a Russian military unit in Kursk. All 298 passengers, mostly Dutch, were killed.

Pregnant, deaf woman punched along with her service dog on airplane

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF WTHR CBS ORLANDO FLORIDA)

 

Pregnant, deaf woman punched along with her service dog on airplane

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Image from Phillip Moreno
PUBLISHED: 
UPDATED: 

ORLANDO, Florida (WESH) – Chaos on-board an airplane heading to Orlando when police say a man punched a service dog in the face because his wife was allergic.

He also hit the animal’s owner, who is deaf, and pregnant.

“I heard yelling. At first I didn’t think it was anything and I looked over and there was a big group of people,” said Phillip Moreno, who works at the Orlando Airport. “It was kind of shuffle. I saw a dog running around.”

What Moreno didn’t see was what had happened on the plane as it was landing.

The woman with the dog and her husband are both deaf and travel with their Great Dane service dog. Their children were also flying with them.

Police say the suspect claimed his wife complained of an allergy to dogs.

And he felt the dog was taking more space than it deserved, so he punched it with a closed fist.

The dog yelped.

Then, at some point, the pregnant woman was punched in the stomach by the suspect, who also touched her two children.

A flight attendant notified local police when the plane landed.

Moreno, working at the gate, took cell phone video. “I saw a woman, I couldn’t really understand what she was saying,” he said. “She was freaking out. And I couldn’t figure out why this man was chasing another man.”

So far no one has been arrested, but federal charges could be filed because the incident happened in the air.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crash was deliberate

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS AND ’60 MINUTES AUSTRALIA’)

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crash was deliberate, aviation experts suggest

An investigation by an Australian TV news program suggests the pilot of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared with 239 people aboard more than four years ago, deliberately crashed into the Indian Ocean.

Investigators are still searching for the aircraft, but these findings raise the possibility that one of the greatest aviation mysteries in modern history may not have been a catastrophic accident, but instead a possible mass murder-suicide.

“60 Minutes Australia” brought together an international group of aviation experts who say that the disappearance of MH370 was a criminal act by veteran pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

“He was killing himself; unfortunately, he was killing everybody else on board, and he did it deliberately,” said Canadian Air crash investigator Larry Vance.

mh370-expert-panel-60-minutes-australia-620.jpg

A panel of aviation experts and air crash investigators discusses the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

“60 MINUTES AUSTRALIA”

Boeing 777 pilot and instructor Simon Hardy reconstructed the flight plan based on military radar, and says Captain Shah flew along the border of Malaysia and Thailand, crossing in and out of each country’s airspace to avoid detection.

“It did the job,” Hardy said, “because we know, as a fact, that the military did not come and intercept the aircraft.”

Hardy also made a strange discovery: Captain Shah likely dipped the plane’s wing over Penang, his hometown.

“Somebody was looking out the window,” he suggested.

“Why did he want to look outside Penang?” asked reporter Tara Brown.

“It might be a long, emotional goodbye — or a short, emotional goodbye,” Hardy replied.

Two experts from the “60 Minutes Australia” investigation also disagreed with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s scenario of the “death dive” with no one in control.

“I think someone was controlling the aircraft until the end,” said Hardy.

They argue instead that Captain Shah flew Flight MH370 another 115 miles than originally thought. “This was a mission by one of the crew to hide the aircraft as far away from civilization as possible,” Hardy said. “Which puts us way outside the search area that is currently being done.”

The wreckage uncovered so far may be further evidence that the pilot actually had control and that it was not a high speed crash. As Larry Vance noted of one wing component recovered from the shore of Africa, “The front of it would be pressed in and hollow. The water would invade inside and it would just explode from the inside. So this piece would not even exist.”

mh370-plane-component-60-minutes-australia-620.jpg

Larry Vance and reporter Tara Brown with a wing component recovered from the vanished MH370.

 CBS NEWS

“They are very compelling,” aviation analyst Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group, told CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave. “What I find very compelling is the hypothesis that the pilot did this deliberately, and did one of the most heinous acts in modern commercial aviation.”

CBS News spoke to multiple family members of the MH370 victims, and some say that this is nothing new and that without forensic evidence, they will not be convinced.

Captain Shah’s family tells CBS News that “pointing a finger toward him does not make them expert investigators — they have to find the plane.”

Malaysia Airlines has not yet responded to our requests for comment.


To watch the full “60 Minutes Australia” report, “MH370: The Situation Room,” click here or watch below:

Chinese military lasers injure US military pilots in Africa

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Chinese military lasers injure US military pilots in Africa

(CNN)Chinese personnel at the country’s first overseas military base in Djibouti have been using lasers to interfere with US military aircraft at a nearby American base, activity that has resulted in injuries to US pilots and prompted the US to launch a formal diplomatic protest with Beijing, two military officials told CNN.

The US issued a notice to airmen “to exercise caution when flying in certain areas in Djibouti,” which “was issued due to lasers being directed at US aircraft on a small number of separate occasions over the last few weeks,” according to the notice obtained by CNN.
“During one incident, there were two minor eye injuries of aircrew flying in a C-130 that resulted from exposure to military-grade laser beams, which were reported to have originated from the nearby Chinese base,” the notice said.
Two US military officials told CNN that the issue was of major concern as such activity can cause major accidents. The officials said that the State Department had lodged a formal diplomatic protest with Beijing in an effort to get China to stop the activity.
Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White confirmed the incidents later on Thursday, saying the United States has “formally demarched” the Chinese government over the incidents and has “requested” that the Chinese launch their own investigation of the situation.
“This activity poses a true threat to our airmen,” White said, later saying that the incidents had grown increasingly serious over the last few weeks.
A US defense official told CNN that the US military also believes the Chinese use similar lasers to interfere with US aircraft in the South China Sea.
Last month the US military was forced to briefly halt air operations in the East African nation of Djibouti, a critical location in the fight against terrorism, following a series of accidents involving aircraft. The halting of air operations was done at the request of Djiboutian government.
There are about 4,000 US personnel in Djibouti, based at Camp Lemonnier. The US military places a lot of importance on its ability to base forces in Djibouti given its critically strategic location near countries like Somalia and Yemen, where the US regularly targets terrorists in airstrikes.
But US officials have recently expressed concern about the growing influence of China in Djibouti, noting its establishment of its first military base there and its close economic links with the country.
Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, who oversees US Africa Command, acknowledged both challenges during an appearance before Congress in March.
“We are taking significant steps on the counterintelligence side so that we have all the defenses that we need there, there is no doubt about that,” said Waldhauser, referring to the proximity of the new Chinese base.

Air Force Plane Belonging To 156th Air Wing Of Puerto Rico Has Crashed Killing 5

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF YAHOO NEWS)

 

Military cargo plane crashes in Georgia, killing 5

RUSS BYNUM

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Associated Press
Military cargo plane crashes in Savannah, Georgia
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PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (AP) — An Air National Guard C-130 cargo plane crashed Wednesday onto a busy highway after taking off from a Georgia airport, killing at least five National Guard members from Puerto Rico, authorities said.

Black smoke rose into the sky from a section of the plane that appeared to have crashed into a median on the road outside Savannah, Georgia. Firefighters later put out the blaze.

Capt. Jeff Bezore, a spokesman for the Georgia Air National Guard’s 165th Air Wing, said the crash killed at least five people. He said he couldn’t say how many people in total were on the plane when it crashed around 11:30 a.m.

Senior Master Sgt. Roger Parsons of the Georgia Air National Guard told reporters the cause of the crash was unknown and authorities were still working to make the crash site safe for investigators.

“Any information about what caused this or any facts about the aircraft will come out in the investigation,” he said.

The plane had just taken off from the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport when it crashed, Parsons said.

The Air Force said the plane belonged to the 156th Air Wing out of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico National Guard Spokesman Maj. Paul Dahlen told The Associated Press that all those aboard were Puerto Ricans who had recently left the U.S. territory for a mission on the U.S. mainland. He said initial information indicated there were five to nine people aboard the plane, which was heading to Arizona. He did not have details on the mission.

“We are saddened by the plane accident that occurred today in Georgia,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said in a tweet. “Our prayers are with the families of the Puerto Rican crew.”

The plane crashed onto state highway Georgia 21, about a mile from the airport, said Gena Bilbo, a spokeswoman for the Effingham County Sherriff’s Office.

“It miraculously did not hit any cars, any homes,” Bilbo said. “This is a very busy roadway.”

The crash caused a big fireball and scattered debris over a large area, Bilbo said.

A photo tweeted by the Savannah Professional Firefighters Association shows the tail end of a plane and a field of flames and black smoke as an ambulance stood nearby.

The only part of the plane that remained intact was the tail section, said Chris Hanks, the assistant public information officer with the Savannah Professional Firefighters Association. The tail section was sitting on the highway and the ground in front of it was black and littered with debris, he said.

Savannah’s Air National Guard base has been heavily involved in hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. In September 2017, it was designated by the Air National Guard as the hub of operations to the island in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the base announced at the time.

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport said on social media that some flights were being affected though the crash happened off its property. The airport advised passengers to check with their airline for updated flight information.

___

Associated Press writers Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Jeff Martin in Atlanta have contributed to this report.