I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon’s Black World (2)

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Once again, sorry for the brief pause in posting, I don’t know whether anyone’s noticed (I hadn’t till recently!) but Sci-Fi-O-Rama is about to reach 300th posts – thanks for all the support so far! Too mark this cyber milestone I have something pretty special planned – more on this very soon…

In the meantime lets shift the focus of this 299th post back to the comically surreal world of US Black Ops patch art, all images are scanned from Trevor Paglen’s excellent book “I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon’s Black World” which turned up in the post the other day.

Here then are my notes:

Top: First up is the wonderfully sinister “Global Engagement – Military Spaceplane Technology Program”.

The source of this patch is the Philips Laboratory Military Spaceplane Technology Program (MiST) at Kirtland airbase New Mexico. Interesting too note here that the swooping X-Wing derived craft was in fact deemed too derivative and in stepped George Lucas’s army of lawyers with a cease and desist order! The patch you see here is an updated version featuring a modified craft, these modifications presumably include shoving the the cockpit down the nose cone and fitting a cosmic cow catcher to the front.

2nd Top: “Pete’s Dragon II”

This evil looking little creature sits on a commemorative patch apparently worn by Stealth Fighter Test Pilot Pete Barnes during secret flight tests in the mid eighties. The design is based on the 1977 Disney film Pete’s Dragon which follows the story of a green dragon named Elliot who was invisible to every one except a boy named Pete…

3rd Top: “Procul Este Profani – Special Projects”

More dragon action here with this snarling variant gleefully ripping through a thundercloud. This macho patch is from the 416th Flight Test Specials Projects flight working on advanced technologies for the F16 combined Test Force situated at Edwards Air Force Base. Members of the unit translate the latin phrase as “Keep your distance, you who are uninitiated”

Bottom: “National Reconnaissance Office – Snakes”

3 Cobras writhe and encircle our planet, more super menacing stuff from the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Trevor Paglen notes that this patch’s origin is entirely obscure, perhaps the Latin phrase might give a clue which translates as “Never Before, Never Again” – maybe something to do with an missile early warning system? Incidentally is there sexual dimorphism in Cobras? I couldn’t work out why only the centre snake has the famous flared hood.

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As with the last post for further reading and imagery check this New York Times article and interview with Trevor Paglin http://is.gd/eMcOz or visit Trevor’s home site: http://www.paglen.com/

Also as I now have a copy of “I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon’s Black World”  I highly recommend purchasing a copy yourself via Amazon, here’s a link: http://is.gd/eMdbl

And here’s a link to the prior post…

7 thoughts on “I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon’s Black World (2)

  1. “note here that the swooping X-Wing derived craft was in fact deemed too derivative and in stepped George Lucas’s army of lawyers with a cease and desist order!”

    This is so funny on so many levels – a supposedly secret Military project has a patch made (where did they wear them?), the project obviously has a high Geek component as they knock off an X-wing in the design, and then GL’s lawyers do a C&D on them!

    Obviously, either GL’s lawyers have bigger mojo than Disney’s, or Disney’s IP lawyers thought it was cool that a test pilot wanted to wear one of their designs and ignored it or, perhaps, the Stealth Fighter programme had better security than the space plane project.

  2. haha, I know David the whole things hilarious – how can a supposedly secret project be rumbled by GL’s web of lawyers – I guess quite easily – and regarding the geek component, yeah it’s through the roof isn’t it!

    As for where they’re worn I presume on the shoulder/arm, or they’re just kept as memorabilia… As pieces of design I think there just fantastic simply because there so funny

  3. :) Whoever made that badges, their Latin is more of the “looking up words” kind.

    “Never before – never again” should be “numquam ante – numquam post”; Latin “iterum” means “again” as in “Once again, I tried to look up the right word, but again I failed.”

  4. Hi Nele, yeah my Latin is useless bar a few phrases – so I’m just going on what the book has written, there’s loads more coded stuff in there, some of it completely obscure….

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