Dark Age America - Climate

SUBHEAD: Eastward ho! A look 500 years into the likely future climate of North America.

By John Michael Greer on 30 July 2014 for the Archdruid Report -
(http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/07/dark-age-america-climate.html)


Image above: Warming climate may spread drying to a third of Earth, says study. From (http://phys.org/news/2014-03-climate-earth.html).

[IB Editor's note: It is relevant that micro-climate can be affected by small groups of people. So start planting a low-maintenance, fast growing start to a food forest wherever you are now. Keep at it and add longer maturing and delicate plants as soil, moisture, shade and other conditions warrant. There is no excuse not to make where you are the greenest oasis possible.]

Over the next year or so, as I’ve mentioned in recent posts, I plan on tracing out as much as possible of what can be known or reasonably guessed about the next five hundred years or so of North American history—the period of the decline and fall of the civilization that now occupies that continent, the dark age in which that familiar trajectory ends, and the first stirrings of the successor societies that will rise out of its ruins.

That’s a challenging project, arguably more so than anything else I’ve attempted here, and it also involves some presuppositions that may be unfamiliar even to my regular readers.

To begin with, I’m approaching history—the history of the past as well as of the future—from a strictly ecological standpoint. I’d like to propose, in fact, that history might best be understood as the ecology of human communities, traced along the dimension of time. Like every other ecological process, in other words, it’s shaped partly by the pressures of the senvironment and partly by the way its own subsystems interact with one another, and with the subsystems of the other ecologies around it.

That’s not a common view; most historical writing these days puts human beings at the center of the picture, with the natural world as a supposedly static background, while a minority view goes to the other extreme and fixates on natural catastrophes as the sole cause of this or that major historical change.

Neither of these approaches seem particularly useful to me. As our civilization has been trying its level best not to learn for the last couple of centuries, and thus will be learning the hard way in the years immediately ahead, the natural world is not a static background. It’s an active and constantly changing presence that responds in complex ways to human actions. Human societies, in turn, are equally active and equally changeable, and respond in complex ways to nature’s actions.

The strange loops generated by a dance of action and interaction along these lines are difficult to track by the usual tools of linear thinking, but they’re the bread and butter of systems theory, and also of all those branches of ecology that treat the ecosystem rather than the individual organism as the basic unit.

The easiest way to show how this perspective works is to watch it in action, and it so happens that one of the most important factors that will shape the history of North America over the next five centuries is particularly amenable to a systems analysis. The factor I have in mind is climate.

Now of course that’s also a political hot potato just at the moment, due to the unwillingness of a great many people across the industrial world to deal with the hard fact that they can’t continue to enjoy their current lifestyles if they want a climatically and ecologically stable planet to live on.

It doesn’t matter how often the planet sets new heat records, nor that the fabled Northwest Passage around the top end of Canada—which has been choked with ice since the beginning of recorded history—is open water every summer nowadays, and an increasingly important route for commercial shipping from Europe to the eastern shores of Asia; every time the planet’s increasingly chaotic weather spits out unseasonably cold days in a few places, you can count on hearing well-paid flacks and passionate amateurs alike insisting at the top of their lungs that this proves that anthropogenic climate change is nonsense.

To the extent that this reaction isn’t just propaganda, it shows a blindness to systems phenomena I’ve discussed here before: a learned inability to recognize that change in complex systems does not follow the sort of nice straight lines our current habits of thought prefer. A simple experiment can help show how complex systems respond in the real world, and in the process make it easier to make sense of the sort of climate phenomena we can count on seeing in the decades ahead.

The next time you fill a bathtub, once you’ve turned off the tap, wait until the water is still. Slip your hand into the water, slowly and gently, so that you make as little disturbance in the water as possible. Then move your hand through the water about as fast as a snail moves, and watch and feel how the water adapts to the movement, flowing gently around your hand. .

Once you’ve gotten a clear sense of that, gradually increase the speed with which your hand is moving. After you pass a certain threshold of speed, the movements of the water will take the form of visible waves—a bow wave in front of your hand, a wake behind it in which water rises and falls rhythmically, and wave patterns extending out to the edges of the tub. The faster you move your hand, the larger the waves become, and the more visible the interference patterns as they collide with one another.

Keep on increasing the speed of your hand. You’ll pass a second threshold, and the rhythm of the waves will disintegrate into turbulence: the water will churn, splash, and spray around your hand, and chaotic surges of water will lurch up and down the sides of the tub. If you keep it up, you can get a fair fraction of the bathwater on your bathroom floor, but this isn’t required for the experiment!

Once you’ve got a good sense of the difference between the turbulence above the second threshold and the oscillations below it, take your hand out of the water, and watch what happens: the turbulence subsides into wave patterns, the waves shrink, and finally—after some minutes—you have still water again.

This same sequence of responses can be traced in every complex system, governing its response to every kind of disturbance in its surroundings. So long as the change stays below a certain threshold of intensity and rapidity—a threshold that differs for every system and every kind of change—the system will respond smoothly, with the least adjustment that will maintain its own internal balance.

Once that threshold is surpassed, oscillations of various kinds spread through the system, growing steadily more extreme as the disturbance becomes stronger, until it passes the second threshold and the system’s oscillations collapse into turbulence and chaos. When chaotic behavior begins to emerge in an oscillating system, in other words, that’s a sign that real trouble may be sitting on the doorstep.

If global temperature were increasing in a nice even line, in other words, we wouldn’t have as much to worry about, because it would be clear from that fact that the resilience of the planet’s climate system was well able to handle the changes that were in process.

Once things begin to oscillate, veering outside usual conditions in both directions, that’s a sign that the limits to resilience are coming into sight, with the possibility of chaotic variability in the planetary climate as a whole waiting not far beyond that.

We can fine-tune the warning signals a good deal by remembering that every system is made up of subsystems, and those of sub-subsystems, and as a general rule of thumb, the smaller the system, the more readily it moves from local adjustment to oscillation to turbulence in response to rising levels of disturbance.

Local climate is sensitive enough, in fact, that ordinary seasonal changes can yield minor turbulence, which is why the weather is so hard to predict; regional climates are more stable, and normally cycle through an assortment of wavelike oscillations; the cycle of the seasons is one, but there are also multiyear and multidecade cycles of climate that can be tracked on a regional basis.

It’s when those regional patterns start showing chaotic behavior—when, let’s say, the usually sizzling Texas summer is suddenly broken by a record cold snap in the middle of July, in a summer that’s shaping up globally to be among the hottest ever measured—that you know the whole system is coming under strain.


Image above: Ahem. Channel 7 KLTV StormTracker - "Longview, Texas - 71º Coolest High Temperature EVER in the mopnth of July since 1902". From (http://www.kltv.com/story/26058367/48-hours-for-the-weather-record-books-in-east-texas).

I’m not generally a fan of Thomas Friedman, but he scored a direct hit when he warned that what we have to worry about from anthropogenic climate change is not global warming but "global weirding:" in the terms I’ve used in this post, the emergence of chaotic shifts out of a global climate that’s been hit with too much disturbance too fast.

A linear change in global temperatures would be harsh, but it would be possible to some extent to shift crop belts smoothly north in the northern hemisphere and south in the southern. If the crop belts disintegrate—if you don’t know whether the next season is going to be warm or cold, wet or dry, short or long—famines become hard to avoid, and cascading impacts on an already strained global economy add to the fun and games. At this point, for the reasons just shown, that’s the most likely shape of the century or two ahead of us.

In theory, some of that could be avoided if the world’s nations were to stop treating the skies as an aerial sewer in which to dump greenhouse gases. In practice—well, I’ve met far too many climate change activists who still insist that they have to have SUVs to take their kids to soccer practice, and I recall the embarrassed silence that spread a while back when an important British climate scientist pointed out that maybe jetting all over the place to climate conferences was communicating the wrong message at a time when climate scientists and everyone else needed to decrease their carbon footprint.

Until the people who claim to be concerned about climate change start showing a willingness to burn much less carbon, it’s unlikely that anyone else will do so, and so I think it’s a pretty safe bet that fossil fuels will continue to be extracted and burnt as long as geological and economic realities permit.

The one bleak consolation here is that those realities are a good deal less flexible than worst-case scenarios generally assume. There are two factors in particular to track here, and both unfold from net energy—the difference between the energy content of fossil fuels as they reach the end consumer and the energy input needed to get them all the way there. The first factor is simply that if a deposit of fossil carbon takes more energy to extract, process, and transport to the end user than the end user can get by burning it, the fossil carbon will stay in the ground.

The poster child here is kerogen shale, which has been the bane of four decades of enthusiastic energy projects in the American West and elsewhere. There’s an immense amount of energy locked up in the Green River shale and its equivalents, but every attempt to break into that cookie jar has come to grief on the hard fact that, all things considered, it takes more energy to extract kerogen from shale than you get from burning the kerogen.

The second factor is subtler and considerably more damaging. As fossil fuel deposits with abundant net energy are exhausted, and have to be replaced by deposits with lower net energy, a larger and larger fraction of the total energy supply available to an industrial society has to be diverted from all other economic uses to the process of keeping the energy flowing.

Thus it’s not enough to point to high total energy production and insist that all’s well; the logic of net energy has to be applied here as well, and the total energy input to energy production, processing, and distribution subtracted from total energy production, to get a realistic sense of how much energy is available to power the rest of the economy—and the rest of the economy, remember, is what produces the wealth that makes it possible for individuals, communities, and nations to afford fossil fuels in the first place.

Long before the last physically extractable deposit of fossil fuel is exhausted, in other words, fossil fuel extraction will have to stop because it’s become an energy sink rather than an energy source. Well before that point is reached, furthermore, the ability of global and national economies to meet the energy costs of fossil fuel extraction will slam face first into hard limits.

Demand destruction, which is what economists call the process by which people who can’t afford to buy a product stop using it, is as important here as raw physical depletion; as economies reel under the twin burdens of depleting reserves and rising energy costs for energy production, carbon footprints will shrink willy-nilly as rapid downward mobility becomes the order of the day for most people.

Combine these factors with the economic impacts of "global weirding" itself and you’ve got a good first approximation of the forces that are already massing to terminate the fossil fuel economy with extreme prejudice in the decades ahead. How those are likely to play out the future we’re facing will be discussed at length in several future posts.

For the time being, I’ll just note that I expect global fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to peak within a decade or so to either side of 2030, and then tip over into a ragged and accelerating decline, punctuated by economic and natural disasters, that will reach the zero point of the scale well before 2100.

What that means for the future climate of North America is difficult to predict in detail but not so hard to trace in outline. From now until the end of the 21st century, perhaps longer, we can expect climate chaos, accelerating in its geographical spread and collective impact until a couple of decades after CO2 emissions peak, due to the lag time between when greenhouse gases hit the atmosphere and when their effects finally peak.

As the rate of emissions slows thereafter, the turbulence will gradually abate, and some time after that—exactly when is anybody’s guess, but 2300 or so is as good a guess as any—the global climate will have settled down into a "new normal" that won’t be normal by our standards at all.

Barring further curveballs from humanity or nature, that "new normal" will remain until enough excess CO2 has been absorbed by natural cycles to matter—a process that will take several millennia at least, and therefore falls outside the range of the five centuries or so I want to consider here.

An educated guess at the shape of the "new normal" is possible, because for the last few million years or so, the paleoclimatology of North America has shown a fairly reliable pattern. The colder North America has been, by and large, the heavier the rainfall in the western half of the continent.

During the last Ice Age, for example, rainfall in what’s now the desert Southwest was so heavy that it produced a chain of huge pluvial (that is, rain-fed) lakes and supported relatively abundant grassland and forest ecosystems across much of what’s now sagebrush and cactus country.

 Some measure of the difference can be caught from the fact that 18,000 years ago, when the last Ice Age was at its height, Death Valley was a sparkling lake surrounded by pine forests. By contrast, the warmer North America becomes, the dryer the western half of the continent gets, and the drying effect spreads east a very long ways.

After the end of the last Ice Age, for example, the world entered what nowadays gets called the Holocene Climatic Optimum; that term’s a misnomer, at least for this continent, because conditions over a good bit of North America then were optimum only for sand fleas and Gila monsters.

There’s been a running debate for several decades about whether the Hypsithermal, to use the so-called Optimum’s other name, was warmer than today all over the planet or just in some regions.

Current opinion tends to favor the latter, but the difference doesn’t actually have that much impact on the issue we’re considering: the evidence from a broad range of sources shows that North America was significantly warmer in the Hypsithermal than it is today, and so that period makes a fairly good first approximation of the conditions this continent is likely to face in a warmer world.

To make sense of the long-term change to North American climates, it’s important to remember that rainfall is far more important than temperature as a determining factor for local ecosystems.

If a given region gets more than about 40 inches of rain a year, no matter what the temperature, it’ll normally support some kind of forest; if it gets between 40 and 10 inches a year, you’ve got grassland or, in polar regions, mosses and lichens; if you get less than 10 inches a year, you’ve got desert, whether it’s as hot as the Sahara or as bitterly cold as the Takla Makan.

In the Hypsithermal, as the west dried out, tallgrass prairie extended straight across the Midwest to western Pennsylvania, and much of the Great Plains were desert, complete with sand dunes.

In a world with ample fossil fuel supplies, it’s been possible to ignore such concerns, to the extent of pumping billions of gallons of water a year from aquifers or distant catchment basins to grow crops in deserts and the driest of grasslands, but as fossil fuel supplies sunset out, the shape of human settlement will once again be a function of annual rainfall, as it was everywhere on the planet before 1900 or so.

If the Hypsithermal’s a valid model, as seems most likely, most of North America from the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges east across the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains will be desert, as inhospitable as any on Earth, and human settlement will be accordingly sparse: scattered towns in those few places where geology allows a permanent water supply, separated by vast desolate regions inhabited by few hardy nomads or by no one at all.

East of the Great Desert, grassland will extend for a thousand miles or more, east to the Allegheny foothills, north to a thinner and dryer boreal forest belt shifted several hundred miles closer to the Arctic Ocean, and south to the tropical jungles of the Gulf coast.

Further south, in what’s now Mexico, the tropical rain belt will move northwards with shifts in the global atmospheric circulation, and the Gulf coast east of the Sierra Madre Oriental will shift to tropical ecosystems all the way north to, and beyond, the current international border. Between the greatly expanded tropical zone in the south and east and the hyperarid deserts of the north, Mexico will be a land of sharp ecological contrasts

Factor in sea level rise, on the one hand, and the long-term impacts of soil depletion and of toxic and radioactive wastes on the other—issues complicated enough in their causes, trajectory, and results that they’re going to require separate posts—and you’ve got a fairly limited set of regions in which agriculture will be possible in a post-fossil fuel environment: basically, the eastern seaboard from the new coast west to the Alleghenies and the Great Lakes, and river valleys in the eastern half of the Mississippi basin.

The midwestern grasslands will support pastoral grazing, and the jungle belts around the new Gulf coast and across southern Mexico will be suitable for tropical crops once the soil has a chance to recover, but the overall human carrying capacity of the continent will be significantly smaller than it was before the industrial age began.

Climate isn’t the only force pushing in that direction, either. We’ll get to the others in the weeks ahead as we continue exploring the deindustrial landscapes of dark age America.

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Alaskan Environmental Failure

SUBHEAD: Global Warming, Ocean Acidification, Fukushima Radiation, Overfishing? Alaska fisheries are in midst of an economic collapse.

By Canis Maximus on 29 July 2014 for Daily Kos -
(http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/29/1317631/-Alaska-Fisheries-In-Midst-Of-An-Economic-Collapse#)


Image above: Unusual growth observed in salmon tissue from Hydaburg, Alaska on 24 October 2013. From (http://beforeitsnews.com/mass-animal-death/2014/01/fuked-white-goo-everywhere-creepy-white-stuff-in-alaskan-salmon-2432326.html).

And not one politician is talking about it. But fisherman are talking about it. The people in the villages are talking about it. People who rely on outfitting the boats, who repair boats; the fish buyers and brokers. The cannery workers(!), the roe packers, and all the ancillary businesses.

They're talking about it. And what they are talking about is ocean acidification.

My daughter is a customer service rep at a major company. She deals with customers from all over the state; from Barrow to Ketchikan to Nome to Valdez to Cantwell to Kodiak, Dutch Harbor and ALL the Interior. So she hears a LOT of 'local' news from people who chit-chat; who k'vetch about politics, the economy and Obama.

But since the opening of the herring fishery and the salmon fisheries, it been about the failure of the runs. But as you see in the link, they aren't talking about why and what might be happening in the ocean while the fish are pelagic. One captain with whom my daughter spoke said it's the worst he's ever seen. He's hauled maybe 5 tons when he should have had 100-120 thousand pounds.

Others (crew, hands, etc) talk about working two weeks and being basically in the hole. My daughter says that many, many of them talk about 'ocean acidification.' The salmon just aren't showing up, especially Reds and Kings.

Many have lesions or worms and parasites.The crabs they are seeing are more easily damaged and there is a lot of 'dead catch'.

She also says that many of the old-timers are talking about Fukushima too. She says these guys are convinced it has something to do with it.

Other fisheries and species are also dropping off the cliff (herring, rock cod, ling cod, halibut, pollock) This is what is NOT being talked about in the so-called 'media' up here.  Don't want the tourists to stay away.

Here's something else you won't see soon (at least until fall when the people start applying for food stamps en masse.)

The Interior villages are hurting. Especially the Elders who depend on the salmon as their traditional diet and to feed the sled dogs, if they have them. As you see here from January 2013, this has been happening for some time.

While this was reported, it doesn't make a blip of difference in "Seattle North" (Anchorage). Out of sight out of mind. Just like Native Americans in the lower 48.

But this little slice of the growing ecological disaster will snowball to an avalanche (get it, Alaskans?) and one of the pillars of the economy will collapse taking a LOT of capital with it. It will be interesting to watch who starts bailing first: The big corporate factory ships and Japanese investors or the fishermen themselves who can't make a go on 5 or 10% of what they need to make it profitable.

The Arctic is the laboratory for Climate Change. In the more than 34 years I've been here, I've watch most of the vegetation change. I've felt the differences in the winters and summers now and then.

(This summer is warm and gorgeous, BTW)

I've watched year to year as the animals change behaviors; invasive weeds; seen the bubbling methane in our lakes and ponds; and watched my favorite fishing places -where at times it was possible to catch a fish every cast!- now bereft of even sculpins.

Yet, from the politicians who are promising everything BUT action on climate change we get jabber about everything BUT climate change, even though it's slapping us in the face. Recently the Republican-dominated Legislature made a HUGE giveaway to the oil companies in the form of tax breaks. The people didn't want it, but the 'pubs did so....

There great advantages to living in Alaska and one of them is our ballot initiative laws. An initiative here quickly put the repeal of that giveaway on November's ballot (along with cannabis legalization!) Since then, the Kochs and others are wasting millions of dollars to fight the evil environmentalists who don't like mushy crabs.

Ah, well.... I meant to turn this into a real diary with charts and pictures and EVERYTHING! But I got lazy and it turned into a rant. I realize most people don't care what happens up here apart from reality shows, but I present this as a slice of what is happening before our eyes if we will see it.

The world is dying.


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Environmentalism by Decree

SUBHEAD: Is Obama dictating more U.S. control over the endangered Pacific or is he the danger himself?

By Lynn McNutt on 30 July 2014 in Island Breath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2014/07/environmentalism-by-decree.html)


Image above: Scene from recent movie starring Godzilla, a monster created in the Pacific Ocean by America's nuclear program after World War Two is still a threat. From (http://www.ibtimes.com/godzilla-full-trailer-released-2014-watch-bryan-cranston-get-scared-video-1557918).

WHAT:
Pacific Fishing Proposal Town Hall Meeting concerning expansion restricted fishing in the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monuments (PRIMNM).

WHEN:
Monday, 11 August 2014 from 5:00 to 7:00pm

WHERE:
Ala Moana Hotel, Carnation Room,
410 Atkinson Drive
Honolulu, Hawaii

WHO:
Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance for Conservation and Tradition (HFACT.org) Motto: "The Ears and Voice of Hawaii's Fishermen"Position: "Expanding the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument is wrong on all fronts."

COMMENT:
Written comments will be taken by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a division of the U.S. Commerce Department.  Email: PRI@noaa.gov no later than 15 August 2014.

Be there August 11, 2014, for a town hall meeting at the Ala Moana Hotel, Carnation Room, 410 Atkinson Drive Honolulu, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. to discuss President Obama's proposal to expand protections of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM). This area includes The Marshall Islands, Wake, Jarvis, Pamyra, Howard and Baker Island as well as nearby Johnston Atoll.

[IB Editor's note: HFACT obviously has a dog in this fight. The fact remains that 90% of the marine megafauna have been fished out of the Pacific Ocean. The fishing industry has been anything but sustainable. Besides the pressure by over-fishing we face three other Pacific wide catastrophes - 1) industrial waste and garbage creating multiple gigantic gyres of floating toxic debris - 2) Man made global warming and ocean acidification destroying environments reefs everywhere - 3) The continuing monumental disbursal into the Pacific Ocean of radioactive elements from the meltdown of multiple nuclear reactors in Fukushina, Japan. It is long overdue that humans had a "time-out" in the Pacific.] 

WHY THE ISSUE IS IMPORTANT TO YOU: Your fishing areas may be next!

A SNAPSHOT OF WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT:
  • President Obama has signaled the he is interested in expanding an area by more than 700,000 square miles that President Bush closed to the sustainable U.S. Pacific fishing fleet in 2009.
  • To visualize the size of the proposed expanded area, if overlaid upon the Gulf of Mexico, it would cover the Gulf entirely and then some.
  • Closing more waters will accomplish very few, if any, of the conservation benefits advocated by supporters of the expansion.
  • President Obama can, without agreement from Congress, cause the expansion to happen. (Sen Murkowski (AK), has introduced legislation to block the Obama Administration from unilaterally using the Antiquities Act to lock up millions of acres of public lands and waters.)
  • Expansion of the monument will further erode U.S. fishermen opportunities to successfully compete against foreign nations.
  • Remember, your fishing areas could be next. Science should prevail. Not whim.
[IB Editor's note: There are others with dogs in this fight - not the least of them the US Navy whose two largest test range facilities for the practice of continual war in the Pacific Ocean overlap the Marine National Monuments: The Mariana Test & Training Area (MITT) overlaps the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument (MTMNM) and the Hawaii Island Range Complex (HIRC) overlaps the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument  (NWHMNM) and the proposed Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM). See (http://www.islandbreath.org/2014Year/06/140626overallbig.jpg) for a more detailed map. The post World War Two claims of the United States encompasses much of the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to Japan, Korea and the Philippines. It would seem the American military would be perfectly happy with Obama's expansion of fishing restrictions. Our advise is trust no-one with a dog in the fight.]

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Ukrainian False Flag Fiasco

SUBHEAD: Indications are that Ukrainians at least as involved as Russians in shootdown of flight MH17.

By Ms. X on 17 July 2014 for Pissin' on the Roses -
(http://pissinontheroses.blogspot.com/2014/07/alert-777-shoot-down-video-shows-chaff.html)


Image above: Still from video showing chaff streaming from smoking trail of Boeing 777 flight MH17 in Ukraine.

The video below is purported to be of the flight MH-17 Boeing 777 shot down in Ukraine. Note that at 11 seconds into the video chaff streamers are floating down on to the wreckage site. Chaff is dispensed from military aircraft to obscure an aircraft from RADAR and RADAR guided missiles. The presence of the Chaff indicates something is not right about the story being told.

IF this is video of the 777 shoot down in Ukraine, it indicates that a military aircraft was involved in the shoot down. This could be anything from a fighter actually shooting down the 777, to a fighter shadowing the 777 and having to launch Chaff to avoid a missile.

What ever the case, the glittering streamers and specs in the video show that the official story being told is not correct.


Video above: Smoke trail of shot down flight MH17 reveals chaff from military plane. From (http://youtu.be/kDRwBwW_fas).


UPDATE:
Based on video we've seen of bodies at the crash site, its clear that it was a lower speed crash as the bodies have limbs intact. This means that when MH17 went down there were some controllable lifting surfaces. The fact that there was a large fireball indicates fuel tanks were mostly intact before impact.

The above information leads us to the following different scenarios:
  1. The 777 engines were FODded by the Chaff fired from a fighter jet shadowing it; resulting in the crash.
  2. The Ukrainian fighter jets we're shadowing the B777 thinking the Russians would not shoot at them.
  3. Shooting down a commercial airliner and being able to site the detection of a Ukrainian fighter jet as the reason fits right up Russia's propaganda alley.
  4. Russian aircraft intercepted the B777 and were targeted by a fire control RADAR resulting in CHAFF dispersal.
Having the cockpit voice and data recorder would give a lot more insight, but given the pretty obvious nature of what has happened and the lack of reporting on the CHAFF, it seems clear all sides have something to hide.

UPDATE 2:
If you want to more insight into this particular type of CHAFF, Google  'Continuous Stream Saturation CHAFF foil'



Uncle Sam Saving Face 

SUBHEAD: The best that the US can do in this situation is to bug out of Ukraine while continuing to babble incoherently.

By Dmitry Orlov on 29 July 2014 for Club Orlov -
(http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2014/07/saving-face.html)


Image above: A Russian made BUK-M1 ground-to-air mobile missile system like the one thought to have brought down flight MH-17. From (http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-9K37-Buk.html).


The Americans are finding out the hard way that a fact-free zone is not a comfortable place to inhabit. The initial knee-jerk allegations, voiced by Obama, by the screechy UN representative Samantha Power, by John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and any number of talking heads, were that the downing of flight MH17 was all Putin's fault.

These were swiftly followed by a complete and utter lack of official evidence of any Russian involvement but lots of strange, unexplained coincidences pointing to Ukrainian and American involvement. These were, in turn, followed by an uncharacteristically frank admission from US intelligence that there is no proof of Russian involvement.

The newly installed Ukrainian oligarch-turned-president Poroshenko (code-name “Piglet”) switched from claiming that he had proof of Russian complicity to being very very quiet. Incompetently concocted fake “evidence” of this and that continues to appear on social media sites, only to be swiftly disproved. Once disproved, the fake evidence vanishes, only to be replaced by more of the same.

The latest fake is of Russian artillery bombardment from across the border. All of this has added up to quite an awkward situation for the Americans. Barefaced lying may be fun and profitable, but it does not provide a solid foundation for foreign policy. Nobody wants to go down in history for blowing up the world over some fake Youtube videos.

The list of questions that demand answers is quite extensive.
  • Why did the Ukrainians suddenly choose to activate their BUK M1 air defense system, with several rocket batteries and a radar, in Donetsk region, on the day of the crash?

  • What was the Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 fighter jet (attested by numerous eye-witnesses) doing trailing after the Boeing?

  • Why did Ukrainian air traffic control in Dnepropetrovsk redirect the flight to fly at a lower altitude and over the war zone?

  • What were all those foreigners doing in the air traffic control center in Dnepropetrovsk right after the crash, and what happened to the flight control records they confiscated?

  • What was the experimental US spy satellite doing flying over that exact spot at that exact moment? 

By the way, was anything interesting happening that day at the American drone base in Kanatov, in Dnepropetrovsk region, which, incidentally, is right on the flight path of MH17? (We know that it's active; two of their drones have already been shot down by the rebels, one of which landed more or less intact, and the Russians are probably having fun tinkering with it.)

Some people are surmising that the crash was a failed false flag attack orchestrated by the Ukrainians with, at a minimum, American complicity. The idea, this version goes, was to pin the blame on the rebels and, by extension, on Russia, in order to escalate the conflict.

This version of events may sound plausible to some people, because false flag operations are part of the standard American playbook. After all, there was that chemical attack in Syria which almost led to a US bombing campaign.

The chemical attack was blamed on the Assad regime, but then it turned out to have been a false flag: it was made by the Syrian rebels, on Syrian rebels, with help from Saudi Arabia, in order to smear Assad and escalate the conflict. Russia was able to deescalate the conflict by persuading Assad to give up his chemical weapons stockpile. (It didn't take much convincing, because Assad no doubt realized that this stockpile was more of a liability than an asset.) The Americans were livid; they had been itching to bomb Syria.

Had they done so, the too-evil-for-al Qaeda “Caliphate” known as ISIS, which recently spilled out of Syria and rolled right across northern Iraq, would probably be enthroned in Damascus by now as well.

But in the case of flight MH17, the false flag theory rests on an untenable assumption: that the Ukrainians, if tasked with shooting it down, would in fact succeed in shooting it down.

All previous evidence illustrates that when Ukrainians want to shoot down a plane, they may succeed in shooting down  a nursery school, a maternity ward, an apartment building full of elderly Ukrainians, but never a plane. Conversely, if Ukrainians set out to destroy a maternity ward or a kindergarten (as they are known to sometimes do) odds are that they will hit a Boeing.

They inherited a now rather obsolete BUK M1 air defense system from the USSR, which, in skilled hands, is quite capable of shooting down a Boeing flying at cruising altitude, but you'd be wrong to think that they have figured out how it works. They held exactly one training exercise using this system, in 2001, and succeeded in... shooting down a Russian civilian airliner! There were no training exercises in using this system until... it was used to shoot down MH17!

It was used in Georgia during the war of 2008 over South Ossetia, where it did shoot down four Russian military aircraft, but there it was commanded by American mercenaries of Polish descent. Ukrainians excell at robbing, selling out, dismantling and destroying their own country; but achieving a specific, precise result as part of a highly coordinated mission? Not so much.

Case in point: some Australian and Dutch troops wanted to go and maintain security at the crash site, but couldn't, because the Ukrainians chose the occasion of their arrival to attack some neighboring towns and villages.

You'd think that they would treat the opportunity to get some NATO boots on the ground as a Godsend, and act accordingly, but such rational behavior would be, you know, un-Ukrainian. The proper thing for them to do is to go and strafe some nearby village, and get themselves ambushed and slaughtered to a man by an angry babushka with a Kalashnikov.

Once you discount the theory that the downing of MH17 was a highly orchestrated false flag operation, everything falls into place.

Why did the Ukrainians deploy their BUK M1 batteries and radar in Donetsk region, even though there was no enemy for them to shoot at?
Because they are idiots. Why was there a Ukrainian Sukhoi 25 jet fighter in the air there? Trailing behind passenger jets and using them as human shields is standard Ukrainian practice.

Why did that fighter zoom up into the Boeing's flight corridor and pop up on air traffic control radar at the exact time the Boeing was shot down?
That's a standard evasive maneuver: the pilot saw a missile being launched, and tried to get out of its way by aiming up. If he hadn't done that, then the story would have been that Ukrainians shot down their own jet fighter as part of a successful (by Ukrainian standards) exercise, held in the vicinity of an international passenger flight just to spice things up.

Why did Dnepropetrovsk APC redirect the flight over the war zone and the BUK M1 batteries? Because the Ukrainians had recently issued an order that closed the airspace over Donetsk, well below the plane's cruising altitude and away from its flight path, but perhaps something was lost in translation to Ukraine's wonderfully precise official language, and so the APC redirected the flight right over the closed airspace and told it to fly right above the minimum altitude.

Why did the Ukrainians launch the rocket?
Well, that was probably something like what happened in the movie The Three Stooges in Outer Space. The stooges find themselves inside a rocket. Moe gets hungry and pushes a button that he thinks says “LUNCH” except that it says “LAUNCH.” Hilarity ensues.

If that is what happened, then that's really embarrassing, not just for the Ukrainians, for whom embarrassment has become something of a national sport, but for their self-appointed American minders. What's making this situation even more difficult is that western news teams, following in the wake of the investigative teams visiting the crash site, got a chance to look at, and report on, the carnage and devastation perpetrated by the Ukrainians against their own people.

Worse yet, the Ukrainian government, so carefully slapped together out of US State Department-approved dregs of Ukrainian society, has in the meantime come unstuck. The coalition government failed after a spectacular fistfight on the floor of the Supreme Rada, with the two rabidly nationalist parties walking out (OK, I won't call them Nazi, but only today).

Prime minister Yatsenyuk (who had been hand-picked for the job and nicknamed “Yats” by Victoria Nuland of the US State Department) has resigned. [Update: he changed his mind and decided to stay: or did his American handlers change his mind for him?] President Piglet is still there, but it's unclear what it is he is doing.

In fact, it is becoming unclear whether there even is a Ukrainian government; of late, the officials in Donetsk have been receiving very strange, barely coherent missives from Kiev, obviously written in American English and clumsily translated, then signed and stamped by some Ukrainian monkey to make them look slightly more legit.

If the Ukrainian translators run away too, then the American minders will be forced to resort to using Google Translate, making it the world's first experiment in governance through word salad.

The MH17 disaster and Eastern Ukraine are now front page news across the entire world. The circumstances of the crash are anything but clear, but it is clear that they are not what the Americans initially alleged. This they have already admitted.

The Ukrainian government is in disarray bordering on nonexistence. The Ukrainian military is either kettled in traps of their own devising and suffering horrific losses, or blasting away at densely populated districts with heavy artillery and rocket fire. The Ukrainian economy is in freefall, with trade links to Russia severed and industry nearing standstill.

The country is bankrupt and at the mercy of the IMF. If you feel that the several hundred lives lost aboard MH17 are a tragedy, then you should consider a larger number: 42 million. That's the population of Ukraine minus Crimea (which will be fine) and that's the number of lives at risk from civil war and economic collapse.

The best that the US can do in this situation is to bug out of Ukraine while continuing to babble incoherently. This shouldn't be hard; bugging out and babbling incoherently are two things that the Americans are clearly still very good at; just look at Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
.

Two Realities

SUBHEAD: Horrible consequences from past growth are inevitable, but how bad, to a degree, is up to us.

By Richard Heinberg on 22 July 2014 for Resilience -
(http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-07-22/two-realities)


Image above: Two paths in the woods. From original article.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
–Robert Frost

Our contemporary world is host to two coexisting but fundamentally different—and, in at least one crucial respect, contradictory—realities. One of these might be termed Political Reality, though it extends far beyond formal politics and pervades conventional economic thinking. It is the bounded universe of what is acceptable in public economic-social-political discourse. The other is Physical Reality: i.e., what exists in terms of energy and materials, and what is possible given the laws of thermodynamics.

For decades these two realities have developed along separate lines. They overlap from time to time: politicians and economists use data tied to measureable physical parameters, while physical scientists often frame their research and findings in socially meaningful ways. But in intent and effect, they diverge to an ever-greater extent.

The issue at which they differ to the point of outright contradiction is economic growth. And climate change forces the question.


The voice of political reality tells us that economic growth is necessary. We need it for job creation; we need it to enable poor people to become wealthier, to maintain technological progress, to provide returns on investments, and to increase tax revenues so as to make essential government services available. Growth is even required to address environmental problems: after all, we need ever more money to fund disaster relief and renewable energy transition efforts. Only by growing the economy now can we become wealthy enough to afford to fix the problems created by past growth. Meanwhile population growth must continue because it is an essential component of GDP growth.

Within the realm of political reality, anybody who questions the importance of growth is not to be taken seriously. Such a person is obviously not a humanitarian, nor a responsible participant in mainstream political and economic discussions.

It wasn’t always this way: as I’ve explained in my book The End of Growth, and in a brief essay on the history of consumerism, economies tended to grow slowly or not at all prior to the fossil-fueled industrial revolution. Cheap, concentrated energy enabled industrial expansion and overproduction, which in turn laid the groundwork for consumerism, globalization, and financialization. Economies and governments came to expect high rates of growth, and to rely on them to fulfill increasingly extravagant promises.

The result has been—I’m choosing my words carefully—the gradual accretion of a set of widely shared assumptions that constitute a bounded ideational realm with rigidly consistent internal rules. Deviate from these rules, and there are predictable consequences. When any public person (writer, economist, scientist, whatever) demonstrates a disconnection from political reality by questioning the desirability or possibility of continued growth, the minders of the mainstream media turn their attention elsewhere.

How different physical reality is. Simple arithmetic shows that growth in population and consumption cannot continue indefinitely. In his book The No-Growth Imperative, Gabor Zovanyi offers an illustration: “If our species had started with just two people at the time of the earliest agricultural practices some 10,000 years ago, and increased by 1 percent per year, today humanity would be a solid ball of flesh many thousand light years in diameter, and expanding with a radial velocity that, neglecting relativity, would be many times faster than the speed of light.” Today’s global population growth rate of 1.1 percent per year is obviously unsustainable over any significant time frame. Growth in consumption levels faces similar practical limits.

Of course, long before we become a solid ball of flesh expanding at light speed while consuming galaxies of raw materials at a gulp, we will arrive at a point where the costs of further growth outweigh any real benefits. Those costs are likely to make themselves known in the forms of rising commodities prices, pollution dilemmas, biodiversity loss, crashing economies, declining real standards of living, and rising levels of conflict as nations and social factions fight over scraps.

Plenty of intelligent people whose first allegiance is to physical reality believe we are near or at that point now.

Some on both sides of the reality divide offer to compromise. If you’re an environmentalist and want to be taken seriously by politicians and economists, you propose ways to expand the economy with more environmentally responsible practices under the banner of “green growth.” If you’re an economist, politician, government bureaucrat, or business executive and you want to be taken seriously by environmentalists, you propose ways to solve environmental problems without sacrificing growth, such as by creating limited pollution regulations, promoting “green” products, or subsidizing renewable energy. Such projects and proposals help address some of the metastasizing crises resulting from humanity’s still-expanding population and rates of consumption, but so far they haven’t succeeded in changing worrisome consequence trends (warming climate, declining ore grades, depleting fossil fuels, disappearing biodiversity) or resolving the fundamental contradiction between the two realities.

Meanwhile many intellectuals mired in political realism reinforce the divide by arguing that physical limits are unimportant or nonexistent due to the promise of future (theoretical) technologies, resource substitution, efficiency, “dematerialization,” or “ephemeralization.” The late economist Julian Simon made a career of this, and his most famous follower, Bjørn Lomborg, proudly maintains the tradition. Physical realists refute such arguments as quickly as they are made, but that news doesn’t travel far in the world of political realism.

And so the disconnect continues and worsens.

Climate change has the potential to force the issue. To be sure, political realists work overtime to assure one and all that the world can reduce carbon emissions at a minimal cost, or even at a profit. (A recent example: The IPCC has released a report saying that the world can manage the climate crisis at a cost of “an annualized reduction of consumption growth by 0.04 to 0.14 … percentage points over the century.”) But they do this by deliberately underestimating costs, ignoring differences in energy quality, and overestimating the potential of alternatives to replace oil in the crucial transport and agriculture sectors. (The IPCC report just referenced does all these things.)

Climatologist Kevin Anderson of University of East Anglia’s Tyndall Centre concludes that, if we are to reduce carbon emissions as significantly and as quickly as needed, the economy will have to contract. Anderson estimates that industrial nations must cut emissions by 10 percent per year to avert catastrophe, and figures that such rapid reduction would be, in his words, “incompatible with economic growth.” Significantly, George Monbiot—a prominent voice in the world of climate change journalism—has adopted essentially the same view.

Given the dire planetary outcomes now looming, policy makers are increasingly committing themselves to doing something serious about climate change. If they do, the irresistible force and the immovable object will meet head-on. If they don’t, it will be because world leaders value political realism more highly than physical survival.

How to reconcile these two realities? This is one of the central problems of our time—and one of the least discussed.

Clearly, we’ve got to get past predictable cynical responses, with physical realists shouting “You’re driving us toward planetary catastrophe!” while political realists respond with, “You want to take us back to the Dark Ages!” That standoff accomplishes little.

Does this mean we should split the difference? In a word, No. In the contest between physical and political realities, it is political reality that must yield. Attempts to meet somewhere in the middle amount simply to reducing delusional thinking from absurd, world-annihilating levels to pathetic, self-immobilizing levels.

Our only hope of minimizing human suffering and wholesale ecosystem mayhem this century lies in coming to grips with the very limits that political realists spend their time seeking to hide and ignore. Their successful efforts at managing the public’s perceptions and beliefs have imperiled everything worth caring about. Soon the misled mass of humanity will be grappling with consequences of attitudes and actions that were insane from the get-go, yet cheered, rationalized, and normalized by nearly every respected public figure. Delusional expectations are about to crash upon the shoals of hard truth.

As we know from history, whole societies can descend into systemically delusional thinking. In the United States, with belief in climate change having become a matter of political affiliation, and with business pages of newspapers hailing each shred of ersatz evidence of economic “recovery” (i.e., return to GDP growth), we appear already to be far along that path.

Essayist John Michael Greer argues that the lunacy of managerial elites is a symptom invariably seen when civilizations approach collapse; he believes our society is in the early stages of one of history’s periodic, predictable, and inevitable phases of decline, and there’s essentially nothing we can do to stop the process.

I think he’s right, in that economic contraction is now inevitable. This is true whether or not governments and central banks are able to blow yet another bubble (perhaps one even beyond the current stock market / real estate / fracking bubble that’s set to burst the moment interest rates increase). What really matters is how contraction proceeds.

There are good arguments to be made that it’s too late to change population-consumption-pollution trends now converging, and that the best course of action for those of us awake and aware of physical reality is to adapt intelligently to the phases of collapse as they occur, while building resilience in our lives and communities so as to weather coming storms (literal and metaphorical) as successfully as possible. An equally good case holds that we should continue to do everything we can to counter those trends, so that whatever future unfolds is more survivable, and so that less damage is done to the ecological web on whose integrity the lives of future generations will depend. In my opinion, both are correct.

What’s needed is a contraction pathway that minimizes human suffering, averts the worst environmental impacts, and yields the best ultimate outcome of sustainable and thriving human cultures situated in functioning, restabilizing ecosystems.

Put off, for the moment, objections that “it’s too late” or “we don’t have the capacity.” What would be a strategy for reorienting society toward physical reality without incurring a collective psychological breakdown, so that the optimal contraction pathway can be realized?

At this late date, the following recommendations may constitute merely a speculative wish list. But just in case there is someone awake to physical reality at the Gates Foundation (which owns the only private philanthropic pile of money big enough to accomplish much of this), here are some ideas that could help avert the worst of the worst.

Start by putting effort into building a stronger consensus for action among those in the “physical reality” camp. Then pursue strategic alliances. There is a spectrum among those wedded to political reality, with denial of climate change and biological evolution at one end. Open a wider dialogue with those at the more physically realistic end of that spectrum, calmly insisting on the primacy of limits to growth while seeking common ground. Then help these reasonable folks work from the inside to transform political reality until it more closely resembles physical reality.

Dedicate major funding to a public education program in critical thinking. An Inconvenient Truth and Cosmos were helpful first volleys, but what is needed is something on a far larger scale; maintained over several years; encompassing classroom materials as well as television, YouTube, and social media; and addressing the population-consumption growth dilemma as well as numeracy, ecological literacy, and climate change.

Fund major culturally informed and targeted family planning campaigns throughout the world, with a special emphasis on nations with high birth rates.

There are already several movements aiding individuals and communities to adapt to a post-growth, post-carbon economic regime: localism, Transition Towns, the organics movement, Slow Food and Money, the voluntary simplicity movement, and more. These need far greater support.

Such movements tend to soft-peddle critiques of our society’s overarching systemic problem—the growth imperative built into our financial system, our economic system, and (some would argue) even our monetary system—simply because the issue is too big for local organizations to effectively address. The emerging discourse on alternative economics, including the economics of happiness and alternative economic indicators as well as the degrowth and post-growth movements, begin to fill that gap. This discourse also needs major support and elaboration, with the goal of utterly transforming both the discipline of economics (e.g., economics textbooks and classes must begin teaching ecological, steady-state economics) and the economy itself.

At the same time, think tanks should be funded to craft and promote policies that help households and institutions adapt to a contracting economy. These might include, for example, quota rationing of energy and informal training in home-scale arts of production and repair as well as supporting local distributed renewable energy; investment in public transit, electrified transportation, and nonmotorized transportation; and import substitution; and relocalization of appropriate industries.

Within a contracting economy, income and wealth inequality becomes a critical political and social issue. Unless policies dictate otherwise, those with prior economic advantage tend to aggressively aggregate an ever-larger share of overall societal wealth and income, while those at the bottom of the heap descend into absolute misery. Solutions would begin with taxing financial transactions, inherited wealth, high incomes, and luxury goods, with the revenues spent on building renewable energy infrastructure, redesigning food and transport systems to dramatically reduce oil dependence, and helping poor folks adapt and get by. These policies must be promoted on a national and global scale with major funding and the enlisted expertise of messaging professionals.

Now for those objections—“It’s too late,” “We haven’t the capacity.” They are persuasive. The fulfillment of the above wish list (it could be lengthened considerably) is indeed a far longshot. But even minor progress along any of these lines could help change the trajectory of collapse and our chances for a desirable outcome.

If the problem of political realists is self-delusion, the predicament of many physical realists is a sense of defeat and dread. So for the sake of the latter I will conclude with a little pep talk (directed as much to myself as to readers). Too much is at stake to retire in cynical self-assurance that we are right, they are wrong; we are weak, they are strong. Yes, horrible consequences from past growth are inevitable; today’s physical reality is a given. However, tomorrow’s reality is still, at least to some degree, up to us.


.

Washington thinks we are fools!

SUBHEAD: And Uncle Sam counts on Americans! To swallow it all hook line and sinker. It works like a charm to date.

By Raul Ilargi on 28 July 2014 for the Automatic Earth -
(http://www.theautomaticearth.com/debt-rattle-jul-28-2014-washington-thinks-americans-are-fools/)


Image above: Did anyone at the time believe that Colin Powell actually brought a vial of anthrax into the UN General Assemby? If they didf they may have believed the rest of the False Flag lies dreamed up by Cheney and Rumsfeld. From (http://www.accuracy.org/release/colin-powells-infamous-u-n-speech-10-years-later-deceiving-public-ignoring-whistleblowers-led-to-war/).

At this point, you may want to consider making it personal. Your government, wherever you are in the west, but especially in the US, takes you for a bunch of fools they can feed anything at all and fully expect you to believe all of it. As for the media who convey government messages, it’s up in the air whether they too take you for a flock of dimwits, or are just plain fools themselves. As for your families, friends and neighbors, you decide.

After failing to present a single shred of evidence in 10 days to substantiate their claims that either the rebels, Russia or all of the above were involved in the downing of MH17, they still haven’t. They did, however, come with something that is as devoid of shame as it is full of disgrace. And the media, surprise, present it as the real deal once again. Which goes to prove that nothing has to be real or true, Washington only has to claim it is.

The latest ‘release’ allegedly proves that Russia is firing missiles into Ukraine across the border. But the country with by far the best satellites and other spy equipment (or should we from now on just say the most expensive?), with which it, on a daily basis, traces every move of millions of people worldwide, in particular its own citizens both home and abroad, hasn’t been able so far to locate one single incriminating piece of ‘evidence’ on its own multi-multi-billion dollar spy networks.

For its first ‘real’ proof it turns to a company called Digital Globe, which apparently has produced a number of satellite pics that the US now uses to show the world that the Russians indeed fire those missiles. Remember the precision bombing footage on CNN in the Gulf War? Think 50 years before that in technology. Think grainy pics you couldn’t make out anything on without the help of ‘useful’ US provided arrows and descriptions of what you see.
 
If you were a religious person, and one of those helpful arrows and partial blow-ups said “that’s Jesus walking on water there”, you’d probably believe it too. And if you’re of the anti-Putin conviction, you’ll be inclined to take these pics for gospel. But that still does not come anywhere near to constituting evidence.

Now if the US would really want to present these things as evidence to the whole world, in a serious way, they would do one of two things: either have Colin Powell take them to the UN and do a show and tell for the General Assembly (worked like a charm before), or at the least do a multi-hour State Dept. and/or Pentagon press-op, simulcast across all major networks, in which various experts can point long sticks at large blowups of the pics and tell us what we see (Thar walketh the Lord … ).

But that’s not what happened. Instead, the Digital Globe pics were released through, of all places, the Twitter account of Geoffrey Pyatt, the infamous US ambassador in Kiev who rose to fame when word got out that he and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland had handpicked the next Ukraine government even before the last – and elected – one had gone, after spending $5 billion to make sure the change happened.

Look, I don’t want to keep getting wound up about all this. What use is it? Suffice it to say that if Washington had solid proof of any of the accusations it has made against any of the parties it has made such accusations against, the ‘evidence’ wouldn’t be presented this way. That’s not the MO, and no, the government hasn’t all of a sudden gone all modern; things presented this way are simply much easier to dismiss when push comes to shove. That’s why they are.

Most accusations against Russia, Putin and the east Ukraine rebels since MH17 crashed 10 days ago have been made – and then easily refuted -through social media accounts located somewhere in Kiev, many through Kiev government accounts, and now Geoffrey Pyatt. This whole set-up stinks five ways into Tuesday.

One more thing: there is another implication of the release of the Digital Globe pics, namely that they make it even less probable that we’ll ever see any evidence that the rebels downed the plane. Unless Digital Globe has pictures of that too. The US government does not, or it would have already made it public. Then again, it has no need to: whatever it says is swallowed up whole by the faithful regardless of how likely its ‘reports’ are to be true.

The Dutch, Australian and Malaysian forensic experts who have been sent in to work on the crash site to save what is left of the bodies and dignity of the victims whose remains haven’t yet been found, cannot enter the area, because the Ukraine army happened to have elected the past weekend to start a new offensive against the rebels. Ostensibly to clear the crash site for the experts, but they would have had full access already without the offensive.

Rebel leader Borodai says the army went in to ‘evade exposure’ (i.e. hide evidence) of its culpability in the crash, and I’m wondering how far off he could possibly be.

And that brings up yet another question: who commands the Ukraine army? The latest offensive began after former PM Yatsenyuk resigned, and just yesterday Ukraine president Poroshenko told journalists – again – that he had ordered to stop combat operations in a 40-kilometer zone around the crash site (the latest attacks take place much closer than that). If it’s not the government or the president ordering the latest attacks, the ones that make truth finding impossible, then who is it?

Does Poroshenko lie through his teeth or is something else going on? The country’s bankrupt. It has used large swaths of its IMF loans to fund its army, it has proposed conscription for all men under 50 years old, soldiers are fleeing to Russia because they don‘t want to shoot their own countrymen, but attacks with bombers and tanks on cities filled with civilians are intensified.

I still haven’t seen one single western leader call for an immediate cessation of all attacks on both sides, so the dead can be properly and respectfully buried. Not one. Not even the Dutch PM. And I think that should tell you all you need to know about what the true priorities are that ‘we’ have. Respect is a fleeting term.

Not that it’s only in matters related to Ukraine that Washington fully and arrogantly expects you to take for granted anything it says. Libya is going down the drain as we speak, and weren’t we just there recently? Israel is once again shooting fish in a barrel in the Gaza strip (and I know it’s not black and white), and “we” are not just outside observers there either. The blood-smeared ISIS campaign in Iraq can’t even make the headlines anymore, but “we” obviously have something to explain about our recent involvement there too.

“America” and “peace initiative” are two terms that are getting ever harder to fit into one sentence. And somehow, no matter how naive it may sound, that still feels like a giant betrayal of what the nation once stood for.

America doesn’t want peace, because peace doesn’t rhyme with power.

Meanwhile, at home, whenever you see someone anyone talk about ‘recovery’, you now know they’re full of it. The Russell Sage Foundation issued a 2-page report
that makes clear ‘recovery’ is about the worst possible and least applicable term to use to describe what is happening in the US economy.

Households at the “median point in the wealth distribution – the level at which there are an equal number of households whose worth is higher and lower”, saw their wealth plummet -36% from 2003 to 2013. From the highest point, in 2007, to 2013 the number is -43%.

Five years after 2008 and Lehman, five years into the alleged recovery, which raised US federal, Federal Reserve, and hence taxpayer, obligations by $10-$15 trillion or more, US median household wealth was down -36% from 2003. And that’s by no means the worst of it:

If you look at the 5th and 25th percentile ‘wealth’ numbers (much of it negative), you see that they went down from 2003 to 2007, while the median was still rising. For both, wealth in the 2003-2013 timeframe deteriorated by some -200% (or two-thirds, if you will). -$9,479 to -$27,416 for the poorest 5%, $10.219 to $3,2000 for the lowest 25%.

This is how Washington defines recovery. Just in case you were wondering.

But they’re going to talk about it again, you just wait for it, just like they’re going to continue to blame Putin and the rebels for everything that goes wrong in Ukraine. They’re not going to stop until they have control over Russia’s resources, no matter what the body count, and they’re not going to stop until most Americans are de facto debt slaves.

And Uncle Sam counts on you! To swallow it all hook line and sinker. It works like a charm to date.

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Movie - America's Drone Wars

SUBHEAD: As RIMPAC 2014 winds down it seems the dogs of war are loose again... and now they have wings.

By Kip Goodwin on 26 July 2014 for Kauai Alliance for Peace -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2014/07/americas-drone-wars.html)


Image above: No we are not in Kansas anymore. Illustration from a scene in movie "Oz the Great and Powerful". From (http://www.blastr.com/2012/11/new_poster_for_sam_raimis.php).

WHAT:
Documentary film "Unmanned: America's Drone Wars"

WHEN: 
Wednesday July 30, 6:00-8:00pm

WHERE: 
Kapa`a Public Library,
4-1464 Kuhio Highway
Kapaa, Kauai

SPONSOR:
Kauai Alliance for Peace and Social Justice

COST:
Free event.

INFO:
Please call Kip at (808) 822-7646 or
email Ray at may11nineteen71@gmail.com.

America's Drone War, the eighth full-length feature documentary from director Robert Greenwald and his Brave New Foundation organization, investigates the impact that U.S. drone strikes have across the globe.

The film reveals the realities of drone warfare-the violation of international law, the loss of life, the far-reaching implications for the communities that live under drones, and blowback the United States faces. Unmanned details the death of Tariq Aziz, a 16 year-old Pakistani boy, who like most teenagers, loved soccer and his computer.

He was killed in a drone strike three days after attending a public meeting in Islamabad calling for the end of drone strikes in Pakistan. Unmanned also investigates the Obama administration's use of signature strikes that targets people based on 'pattern of life' characteristics.

One such example took place in 2011 in Datta Khel, a tribal region in northern Pakistan, killing approximately 41 people and injuring scores more.

Robert Greenwald's newest full-length feature is now available.



Video above: The trailer for director Robert Greenwald's highly film. From (http://youtu.be/u7j8JudYOGI).

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RIMPAC 2014 - another whale death

SUBHEAD: It's not like this has not happened here before. The Navy washes off the blood and wears white.

By Juan Wilson on 27 July 2014 for Island Breath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2014/07/rimpac-2014-another-whale-dead.html)


Image above: Image of pilot whale washed against shore along Hanalei Beach looking west. Photos provided by Pamela Burnell on 7/25/14. She noted: "My husband took these this morning.. 7ish.. distressing photo. He said it looked like it got shot??? It was still barely alive and thrashing about at the time."

It's not as if this has not happened before when the U.S. Navy is operating nearby. Shit happens! In this case another whale is stranded in Hanalei Bay here on Kauai during a RIMPAC exercise. Ten years ago, in 2004, it was 200 melonhead whales stranded (see below).

Some might call the current situation an improvement. Others might say the U.S. Navy is getting smarter about hiding the evidence of its crimes. And based on what we know now they are premeditated crimes.



By Phil Gast on 11 May 2012 for CNN -
(http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/11/us/navy-marine-mammals/)
Navy treads fine line when protecting marine mammals.

"I am not saying they are not well-intentioned," said Zak Smith, staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "But I am not sure their choices make the U.S. Navy the best environmental stewards they could be."

The debate over sonars and whales has gone on for years. It centers on balancing the need to defend the United States, while safeguarding its natural resources...

... Smith argued that the use of lookouts aboard Navy ships is not fully effective.

"Most marine mammals don't spend much time at the surface," he said. "When they do, you better have good weather conditions to see them."

Smith points to other consequences from the use of sonar and other acoustic sources off California and Hawaii.

Government estimates for 2014 to 2019 indicate there may be about 2 million cases of temporary hearing loss among marine animals, Smith told CNN. "Marine mammals use hearing the same way we use sight" to find food, he said.

"This kind of constant barrage and harassment is not a recipe for healthy populations," Smith added.



By David Kirby on 18 December  2013 for Yahoo News -  (http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/5803/20140128/navy-sued-violating-marine-mammal-protection-act-connection-sonar-training.htm)


A coalition of animal and environmental organizations filed a lawsuit Monday against the National Marine Fisheries Service asking it to compel the U.S. Navy not to proceed with a five-year plan to increase sonar and live-fire training exercises in a massive swath of the Pacific Ocean.


Announced last Friday but anticipated for months, the naval plan would, according to a study conducted by the Navy, kill or injure up to 2,200 marine mammals. An additional 9.6 million incidences of minor harassment, such as forcing whales and dolphins to stop feeding in a certain area, could also occur.

Through 2019, Navy training and testing in this zone, which covers an area of the eastern Pacific Ocean larger than all 50 U.S. states combined, will emit upwards of 60,000 hours of the military’s “most powerful mid-frequency active sonar,” emit more than 50,000 hours of other frequency sonar, and detonate more than 260,000 explosives, according to a lawsuit—filed Monday in federal court in Honolulu by Earthjustice, the Center for Biological Diversity, and other groups—seeking an injunction against the plan.

Barring a court victory by the coalition, the carnage will be considerable.

Under current rules, Navy training and testing in the zone are permitted to kill or injure up to 100 marine mammals over a five-year period. “Now, they’re going to be killing or injuring 2,200 over five years—or 22 times more,” says David Henkin, an Earth Justice staff attorney.



From Koohan Paik on 30 July 2014 via email
I want to share with you all a very interesting comment I received from a top cetacean expert from Holland, now based in Peru, after I sent him the news of the whale washing ashore at Hanalei. Here's what he said (I highlighted the parts i found interesting):

"Seems things are turned upside down, why not have the Navy demonstrate they supposedly are not the culprits, the burden of proof should be on them as they are a proven hazard. A subadult pilot whale in good body weight coming ahore alive, alone and dying would be most consistent with acoustic trauma.

Let's see what the necropsy says. but then who will trust NOAA Fishery to report all the evidence. And Navy got themselves mortality allowance to start with. Any democratic consultation on that?"


and in another comment...

"Nobody should jump to conclusions before necropsy results are in, absolutely. But it is accepted and normal practice in any scientific investigation to suggest working hypotheses re most plausible causes of a studied phenomenon that requires explanation.

This helps focus the investigation. Anybody who suggests a priori that the RIMPAC exercises should not be a primary suspect, is being un-scientific, and is invited to provide arguments of why not."




Dolphins, whales and other marine mammals that depend on sonar and echolocation to find food and navigate, will be in the crosshairs of a five-year naval exercise in the waters between Southern California and Hawaii.



< The lawsuit, which was filed by the influential non-profit group National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and several conservation organizations, says that the federal government, via the National Marine Fisheries Services, illegally granted the Navy permission to harm marine mammals during its ongoing underwater sonar and explosives training activities, which are scheduled to take place until 2018.
The U.S. Navy's current strategy to "protect" America will inevitably lead to the destruction of life in the oceans. They have no healing tools - only weapon systems. They continue to deal death and destruction while pretending to care for the environment. RIMPAC - what a load of bullshit!


Below is the Garden Island News story.



Whale washes up, dies
By Tom LaVenture  on 26 July 2010 for the Garden Island -
(http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/whale-washes-up-dies/article_d6bd3ca6-148e-11e4-9dfe-0019bb2963f4.html)


Image above: Image og pilot whale washed against shore along Hanalei Beach looking east. Photos provided by Pamela Burnell on 7/25/14.

A 16-foot sub adult pilot whale was pulled from the water at Waioli Beach Park after it died Friday.

Terry Lilley, of Hanalei, a marine biologist who has been studying coral disease on the North Shore, said he was on the scene early Friday when the whale was still alive and washing up to shore.

“This whale was alive and breathing at 6 a.m. this morning,” Lilley said. “It was sideways and just rolling in. It was already dying and there was no way to save it.”

The popular beach on Hanalei Bay was crowded with hundreds of people who watched as the mammal was moved from the shoreline to a trailer and taken from the scene just before noon.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources took charge of removing the whale, using heavy equipment from the County of Kauai and a DLNR trailer. It was unknown if the whale was a male or female.

NOAA Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Region spokesperson Wende Goo, said the death is being investigated.

“Arrangements are being made for a necropsy and other procedures,” Goo said. “We currently do not have enough information to be able to say how the whale died.”

Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement personnel secured the site to safely recover the whale from where a large crowd watched.

Officials on scene discussed with volunteers the appearance of what looked like bite marks, possibly from a type of dogfish shark that gets its name from the way they attach and bite flesh with their snout, leaving deep, round marks on its prey.

Jean Souza, Hawaii programs coordinator for the Humpback Whale Hawaiian Islands National Marine Sanctuary, spoke to bystanders after the recovery to explain what had occurred and what would happen next to the whale. She said it is not uncommon for whales to beach there.

“Many times when they strand here in Hawaii, it is not like on the Mainland where a big tidal shift might cause them to get confused,” Souza said. “Most of the stranding that happens in Hawaii is because something is wrong with the animal.”

The mammal looked fresh with the skin intact and not yet decomposing, she said.

“That is the reason for quickly getting it off the beach to ship it to Oahu, for NOAH Fisheries to conduct a complete necropsy,” Souza said. “Because it is fairly fresh that means the chances are good for getting good information about tissue and structure.”

Lilley said the death could be a result of the military’s RIMPAC exercises going on in Hawaiian waters. The fact that a young and otherwise healthy whale died showing no visible signs of disease or attack should make military sonar and other war game activities suspect, he said.

Lilley said the military has a permit to injure or kill whales and dolphins during the ongoing multinational maritime exercise.

“This pilot whale has great body weight, and shows no visible infections, no problems with its mouth, and just two round wounds on the side that look like gaff wounds,” Lilley said. “This is a very healthy adult pilot whale with good weight, no obvious problems.”

Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nick Sherrouse said there is no indication that the loss of this animal was caused by naval activities and it would be premature to speculate.

“The Navy cares about the ocean environment, and we are fully cooperating with the National Marine Fisheries Service on the investigation,” Sherrouse said.



RIMPAC 2010 return stirs debate
By Coco Zyckos on 11 July 2010 for the Garden Island -
(http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/rimpac-return-stirs-debate/article_223d6a68-8d7d-11df-8d90-001cc4c002e0.html)


Image above: A mix of cetacean species stranded together in Tasmania in 2009 was enough to arouse suspicions of a human factor, including the use of sonar by the military. Photo by Dennis Fujimoto. From (http://kahea.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/another-mass-whale-stranding/).

The return of the military’s biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise this month has environmentalists concerned.

Training activities associated with sonar have coincided with marine mammal strandings in the past, including some 200 melon-headed whales which herded into Hanalei Bay for more than 28 hours during the Navy’s 2004 RIMPAC exercises, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration documents.


“During this period, please keep your eyes open” said Surfrider’s Dr. Carl Berg. “We have to be super vigilant and really look out for the marine environment.”

Even though “causation” of the 2004 event was never “unequivocally determined,” the NOAA reported that “the active sonar transmissions” during that time were “a plausible, if not likely, contributing factor.”

“For them to come into the bay is definitely unusual behavior,” said Pacific Missile Range Facility spokesman Tom Clements.

However, one to two marine mammal strandings occur “somewhere in the state” each month, he said. “Biologists have told me this is a natural occurrence, and necropsies typically show disease as the cause.”

There has been no evidence of any stranding taking place during RIMPAC’s month-long exercises of 2006 and 2008, Clements added.

Marine mammals — who use sound to communicate, travel and discover food — have attempted to avoid sonar in the past, according to NOAA documents. Four mass strandings — Greece in 1996, Bahamas in 2000, Madeira in 2000 and Canary Islands in 2002 — involved beaked whales (similar to melon-headed whales) and NOAA identified the “most likely” cause as “active military sonar.”

Sonar produces “intense sound waves that sweep the ocean like a floodlight, revealing objects in their path,” according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Some sonar systems emit sound waves that “can travel tens or even hundreds of miles of ocean.”

Even at 300 miles, the “sonic waves” can “retain an intensity of 140 decibels — a hundred times more intense than the level known to alter the behavior of large whales,” the NRDC says.

Many of the whales involved in mass strandings where they beach themselves suffer “physical trauma, including bleeding around the brain, ears and other tissues” along with “large bubbles in their organs,” according to the NRDC.

“Deep-diving whales seem to be especially affected by low-frequency sounds, even at quite low received levels,” according to a 1998 study conducted by A. Frantzis at the Department of Biology’s Zoological Laboratory in Athens, Greece.

Melon-headed whales “prefer deep, equatorial ocean waters and are thought to feed deep in the water column,” according to NOAA.

The Navy’s most widely used sonar systems operate in the mid-frequency range, according to the NRDC.

Sonar is “not the primary focus” of the Navy’s training activities, Clements said. And several measures are employed when training in areas known to host marine mammals.

In addition, the Navy is one of the “largest contributors” to the billions of dollars spent every year to determine the effect of sonar on marine mammals.

“There is a whole lot more research to be done before we start looking at conclusions,” Clements said.

Moreover, this year’s RIMPAC activities are “almost exclusively off-shore,” Clements said. There are no scheduled actives on Kaua‘i.

“We’re not calling wolf,” Berg said. “This is something that’s real. It could happen again.”



RIMPAC 2008 - Navy to use sonar


By William Cole on 24 January 2007 in the Honolulu Star Bulletin -
(http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Jan/24/ln/FP701240404.html)


Image above: Still image from KITV-News video of stranded dead beaked whale being removed from beach on Molokai durint RIMPAC 2008. From (http://www.islandbreath.org/2008Year/17-peace_war/0817-27RIMPACkillswhale.html). See also (http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2008/navy-sonar-heard-nearby-one-day-before-whale-strands-on-moloka-i-beach).

The Defense Department has exempted the Navy and its use of sonar from the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act for two years — causing an outcry from a national environmental group that maintains the underwater sound harms whales.

Last summer, a six-month exemption granted during biennial Rim of the Pacific, or Rimpac, naval exercises off Hawai'i led to a legal challenge, and a federal judge briefly prohibited midfrequency sonar use during the war games.

Rimpac is one of the largest naval exercises in the world, and last year involved eight nations, more than 40 ships, six submarines, 160 aircraft and almost 19,000 service members.

The new two-year exemption is the latest turn in an ongoing battle that has pitted environmentalists and emerging science on the harm of sonar to whales against the Navy's need for sonar training to detect a growing fleet of extremely quiet foreign diesel submarines.

The next court clash could come over expected Navy sonar use off the coast of California, but the Defense Department exemption would extend through the 2008 Rimpac exercises off Hawai'i.

Federal marine regulators last spring said sonar use was a "plausible, if not likely, contributing factor" in the stranding of up to 200 melon-headed whales off Kauai during July 2004 Rimpac war games.

The mass stranding of such whales was the largest recorded in Hawaii waters, but the science related to sonar impact on various types of marine animals is far from clear-cut.

"The Navy's position is that continued training with active sonar is absolutely essential in protecting the lives of our sailors and defending the nation," the Pentagon said yesterday in announcing the exemption.

PROTECTION EFFORTS
The Defense Department also said the Navy continues to work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, on a long-term sonar-use plan, and a range of marine mammal protection measures will remain in place.

"We will continue to employ stringent mitigation measures, developed with NOAA's concurrence, to protect marine mammals during all sonar activities," said Rear Adm. James Symonds, director of environmental readiness for the Navy.

But the Natural Resources Defense Council, which filed suit against the Navy in 2005 over midfrequency sonar use, said "numerous" mass strandings and deaths have been associated with sonar use.

Joel Reynolds, a senior attorney and director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Marine Mammal Protection Project, objected to the exemption from federal law.

"Obviously, the (Marine Mammal Protection Act) is a statute that is designed to protect marine mammals," Reynolds said. "When you nullify that, there's no getting around the fact that they are undermining the protection that federal environmental law provides."

Reynolds said the Navy has "more than enough room in the ocean to train effectively without injuring or killing endangered whales and other marine species," but chooses some locations because of their convenience.

PERMIT TO 'HARASS'
Responding to growing scientific evidence that sonar can disrupt, injure or kill whales or dolphins, the Navy for the first time last summer sought a federal permit under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to "harass" the sea creatures when it uses midfrequency sonar during Rimpac.

After NOAA Fisheries granted the permit, environmental groups sued to try to stop it. The Defense Department stepped in, said national defense concerns pre-empted the act, and granted a six-month exemption.

A federal judge subsequently said other environmental laws still applied and ordered the Navy and environmental groups to negotiate.

SAILORS ON LOOKOUT
Among the protections the Navy agreed to undertake were to not use sonar within 25 miles of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, and to report the presence of marine mammals detected through underwater listening devices or visual scanning.

The Navy also posted one person per ship whose job it was to search the waters for marine mammals during the exercises, and three others keeping an eye out.

Instead of applying for federal permits to "harass" marine animals for each and every sonar exercise, the Navy wants to conduct environmental impact analyses for "bodies of water."

"We did it (individually) for Rimpac, and that was kind of the example of, 'This isn't going to work,' " said Lt. Ryan Perry, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon.

Reynolds said the Navy can accomplish some of its sonar training at locations such as the Pacific Missile Range Facility ocean areas, "but the way they've done it historically is to train all over the Hawaiian Islands, and inside of sanctuaries, really without regard to environmental harm. I think that's a mindset that has to change."



RIMPAC 2004 - Melonheads Stranded

Editorial on 1 September 2004 in the Honolulu Star Bulletin -
(http://www.islandbreath.org/2004Year/03-environment/enviro17Whales&Navy.html)


Image above: Two-hundred melon-head whales swim in circles in the shallow waters of Hanalei Bay in this July 3, 2004. The return of Navy RIMPAC exercises this month has environmentalists concerned a similar situation could arise again. Photo by Dennis Fujimoto. From (http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/rimpac-return-stirs-debate/article_223d6a68-8d7d-11df-8d90-001cc4c002e0.html).

The Navy has acknowledged that sonar was used in the hours before a pod of deep-water whales swam into Hanalei Bay. New information calls into question the Navy's contention that the use of sonar during maneuvers off Kauai had nothing to do with driving a large pod of deep-water whales into Hanalei Bay during the Fourth of July weekend.

The information further validates a collection of evidence, which the Navy dismisses, that sonar presents a danger to marine life and buttresses arguments for some restraints.


About 200 melon-headed whales alarmed residents and marine biologists they were spotted in the bay about 7:30 a.m. July 3, swimming in a tight circle about 100 feet from the beach. These whales normally stay at least 15 miles off shore. Specialists and volunteers managed to herd the whales out to sea, but a newborn calf became separated from the pod and eventually died of starvation.

At the time, Rim of the Pacific naval exercises were being conducted about 20 miles northwest of Kauai, but Navy officials said no sonar had been used before the whales were seen in the bay. A spokesman told the Star-Bulletin that active sonar-tracking simulations had not begun until 8 a.m. while another told the Washington Post the exercises began at 8:30 a.m.

The Navy now acknowledges that ships had used their sonar at intervals through about 20 hours before the whales appeared in the bay and specifically from 6:45 and 7:10 a.m. on July 3, according to the Post.

The Navy still maintains that the ships' distance and the time frame do not mesh with the near-stranding, but its conclusions appear as uncertain as its credibility.

Growing evidence suggests that sonar can kill marine mammals by causing their organs to hemorrhage or by frightening them so they beach, as the Navy has admitted happened in the Bahamas four years ago. There have been dozens of other incidents -- off the coast of Washington State, the Canary Islands, northwest Africa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and in Greece -- when strandings and deaths have coincided with sonar exercises.

Moreover, scientists suspect that most of the mammals harmed by sonar use aren't even tallied since their deaths may occur at sea.

The Navy says exercises are necessary to prepare sailors and Marines to counter a substantial and growing threat from diesel submarines that can only be detected by active sonar, but safeguards may be in order. Training can be conducted in low-risk areas and sonar signals can be reduced to minimize risk to ocean wildlife. Protecting whales and other marine animals need not be at odds with national security.




Kayaks used to move the whales out to sea

By Mary Vorsino on 5 July 2004 for the Honolulu Star Bulletin -

(http://archives.starbulletin.com/2004/07/05/news/story4.html)

Hundreds of volunteers herded a pod of about 200 melon-headed whales out of Kauai's Hanalei Bay and into deeper water yesterday morning, a day after the animals had initially come near shore in what experts called unusual behavior.

"It was a storybook ending," said Bob Braun, a veterinarian who helped lead the effort to get the whales out of the bay, "scripted from Hollywood ... and putting an exclamation point on Independence Day."

While in the bay, the whales stayed "in a fairly tight group" about 100 yards offshore and did not appear to be in distress, Braun said.

Some 200 volunteers, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and marine biologists from other organizations drove the whales into deeper water by moving out from shore in kayaks and canoes, he said.

"There was an awful lot of people involved," Braun said. "It was an extraordinary effort by a very large, diverse group."

By about 10:30 a.m. the group had prodded the pod more than a half-mile out. No whales had returned to the bay last night, but residents were expected to monitor the waters and alert officials if the animals returned.

The whales were first spotted in the bay at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Lifeguards said they remained tightly packed together throughout yesterday and made no effort to swim toward the beach or the open mouth of the bay.

Marine biologists on Oahu who specialize in whale strandings arrived at the bay Saturday evening and camped on the beach overnight to make sure no whales came too close to shore. Bay residents also kept a close watch, Braun said.

Pods of melon-headed whales, which range from 100 to 500, are often seen in Hawaiian waters, but they usually swim at least 20 miles offshore.

"They're an offshore species," said Tamra Faris, a NOAA assistant regional administrator for protective species. "It's very unusual. ... The main pod was in a fairly healthy state."

The last time there was a mass sighting of melon-headed whales close to shore was about 40 years ago off the Big Island. There is no record of any similar events occurring in Hanalei Bay, Faris said.

It's still unclear why the whales came into the bay, she said.

And it's too early to tell whether Navy Rim of the Pacific sonar exercises Saturday morning were a factor in the whales' behavior, said RIMPAC spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Greg Geisen.

After the Navy received word of the whales' movement into the bay Saturday afternoon, sonar operations were suspended as a precaution.

"There's so many potential causes of this," said Brad Ryon, a NOAA marine biologist. "It's really hard to determine what it would be. There's always a potential that (the sonar) might have some effect. But there's not enough information to conclude anything about the cause."

The Navy had six ships about 23 miles northwest of Kauai at about 8 a.m. Saturday in operations that involved underwater sonar tracking, Geisen said.

He said the Navy will look over the ships' logs to determine how close they were to the pod while sonar was in use. He could not say when sonar tracking would be resumed.

"The best we can do is to make sure that we have a very good idea on where our vessels were when they were using that sonar," he said.

Navy scientists and mathematicians, Geisen said, are trying to figure out whether "sound could have traveled" in the direction of the whales.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC 2014 in Full March 7/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: 21st Century Energy Wars 7/10/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC War on the Ocean 7/3/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Voila - World War Three 7/1/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The Pacific Pivot 6/28/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC IMPACT 6/8/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC Then and Now 5/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Earthday TPP Fukushima RIMPAC 4/22/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The Asian Pivot - An ugly dance 12/5/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Help save Mariana Islands 11/13/13
Ea O Ka Aina: End RimPac destruction of Pacific 11/1/13 
Ea O Ka Aina: Moana Nui Confereence 11/1/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy to conquer Marianas again  9/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Pagan Island beauty threatened 10/26/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy license to kill 10/27/12 
Ea O Ka Aina: Sleepwalking through destruction 7/16/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawa breathes easier 4/27/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy Next-War-Itis 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: America bullies Koreans 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Despoiling Jeju island coast begins 3/7/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Jeju Islanders protests Navy Base 2/29/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii - Start of American Empire 2/26/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Korean Island of Peace 2/26/12   
Ea O Ka Aina: Military schmoozes Guam & Hawaii 3/17/11
Ea O Ka Aina: In Search of Real Security - One 8/31/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Peace for the Blue Continent 8/10/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Shift in Pacific Power Balance 8/5/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RimPac to expand activities 6/29/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC War Games here in July 6/20/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Pacific Resistance to U.S. Military 5/24/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam Land Grab 11/30/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam as a modern Bikini Atoll 12/25/09
Ea O Ka Aina: GUAM - Another Strategic Island 11/8/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Diego Garcia - Another stolen island 11/6/09
Ea O Ka Aina: DARPA & Super-Cavitation on Kauai 3/24/09
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 - Navy fired up in Hawaii 7/2/08
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 uses destructive sonar 4/22/08
Island Breath: Navy Plans for the Pacific 9/3/07
Island Breath: Judge restricts sonar off California 08/07/07
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 sonar compromise 7/9/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 - Impact on Ocean 5/23/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2004 - Whale strandings on Kauai 9/2/04
Island Breath: PMRF Land Grab 3/15/04