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The Sheep Incident

Article #317 • Written by Scott Cianciosi

It was half past midnight on March 17th, 1968. Keith Smart, the director of epidemiology and ecology at Utah's Dugway Proving Grounds, was awakened by the ringing of a phone. On the other end was Dr. Bode, a professor at the University of Utah, and the director of the school's contract with Dugway. There was a problem. Calls had been coming in. About 27 miles outside of the base, in the aptly-named Skull Valley, thousands of sheep had suddenly died. There were some survivors among the flocks, but it was clear that their hours were numbered. Veterinarians were dispatched to euthanize the few remaining animals.

Army officials began drafting their official denial. A few days earlier, one of their planes had flown high over the Utah desert at Dugway with a bellyful of nerve agent. The plane's mission was simple: using a specially rigged delivery system, it was to fly to a specific set of coordinates and spray its payload over a remote section of the Utah desert. This test was a small part of the ongoing chemical and biological weapons research at Dugway, and it was one of three tests held that particular day. The flight would soon prove to be far more important than anyone could have guessed at the time.

The sprawling 800,000 acres of Dugway Proving Ground is a mix of target ranges, dispersal grounds, laboratories, and military bunkers. The facility was established in the 1940s to provide the military with a remote locale to conduct safer testing. It was briefly shut down following World War 2, but the base enjoyed a grand reopening during the Korean War. By 1958, it was the official home of the Army Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Weapons School. The base tested all manner of unconventional military hardware; from researching new toxic agents to developing antidotes and protective clothing.

In March 1968, the toxin under scrutiny was VX, one of the most potent nerve agents in existence. The original compound was created by Ranajit Ghosh, a chemist working at Imperial Chemical Industries. The liquid proved to be an effective pesticide and it was quickly put on the market under the name Amiton. Not long afterwards, however, it was taken off the market for being too toxic to handle safely. The agent's extreme toxicity drew the attention of government weapons research labs, whose scientists were always on the lookout for more efficient ways to kill people. Amiton, the pesticide too successful for its own good, was to become the “V” class of nerve agent. The majority of the research done on V-Class agents went into developing a potent weapons-grade version of the chemical. That research birthed VX.

A Target Epicenter at Dugway (Credit: CLUI)
A Target Epicenter at Dugway (Credit: CLUI)

VX was a triumph among the biological warfare community. Odorless and tasteless, it's three times as toxic as Sarin. In initial trials, this over-achieving compound was also found to be highly stable, enabling long shelf life and environmental persistence. VX works by blocking chemicals in the victim's body from functioning. It prevents the enzyme acetylcholinesterase from allowing muscles to relax, resulting in the contraction of every muscle in the body. Exposure to a minute or diluted dose of VX will cause muscle twitching, drooling, excessive sweating, and involuntary defecation, among other unpleasantries. Exposure to a lethal dose -- about ten milligrams -- will cause convulsions, paralysis, and eventually asphyxiation due to sustained contraction of the diaphragm muscle. Unless the affected skin is cleaned and an antidote is administered immediately, a single drop of liquid VX will kill a person in around ten minutes.

On March 13th, Dugway ran a series of three tests using VX. The tests were routine, like any of the thousands of weapons tests that were conducted there over the previous twenty years. In the first test, an artillery shell packed with VX was fired onto the range; and in the second, 160 gallons of the compound were burned in an open pit. Both tests were completed without incident. The third test involved delivery via airplane, with over a ton of a special VX mixture sprayed over the desert. Unbeknownst to the pilot, the spray nozzle that controlled the flow of the chemical had broken. As he climbed to a higher altitude, the chemical continued to seep from the plane. Winds that day were blowing between 5-20 mph, with gusts reaching 35 mph. These strong easterly winds carried the VX straight to Skull Valley. The next day, the sheep grazing in the area began to die, and within days thousands of them had perished. The government and local numbers differ, but anywhere between 3,483 and 6,400 sheep died in the aftermath of the test.

Skull Valley resident Ray Peck was working in his yard the evening after the tests, but retired early after developing an earache. The next morning the ground outside his home was littered with dead birds, and he watched as a dying rabbit struggled in the distance. A helicopter touched down soon after and unleashed its cargo of equipment and scientists upon the confused family. They quickly collected wildlife carcasses, performed blood tests on the Pecks, and departed. Though they suffered no fatalities from their exposure, the family complained of numerous ailments in the years following the tests. Ray Peck said he began suffering from violent headaches, numbness and paranoia. His daughters -- children at the time of the incident -- experienced an unusually high rate of miscarriage in their adult years. While there's no way of definitively knowing what caused the problems, the Pecks believe their exposure to VX is the cause of their many health problems.

The Army was characteristically roundabout in their comments on the incident. They admitted to having tested a chemical in that immediate time period. They even made mention that the plane carrying the VX may have malfunctioned. However, they assured the public that the massive, unexplained die-off could not possibly have been caused by the ton of VX dropped less than 30 miles from Skull Valley. Despite their assurances that they were innocent of any wrongdoing, the Army ultimately chose to pay the ranchers for their losses and bury the animals on base property.

Satellite Image of Dugway Proving Grounds
Satellite Image of Dugway Proving Grounds

The Army worked furiously to stuff all of the worms back into the Dugway can, but the damage was already done. The Dugway Sheep Kill received widespread attention both at home and abroad. The outrage over the incident was intensified just a year later when the US media was tipped off to the existence of CHASE. The Cut Holes And Sink 'Em program was the Army's plan for discreetly disposing of dangerous surplus materials. It involved the scuttling of ships loaded with the deadly cargo up to 250 miles offshore. Unfortunately for the US Army's PR department, some of the materials involved were mustard gas, Sarin, and VX. Apparently a good many people had serious misgivings about dumping dangerous chemicals into the ocean. These concerns were further reinforced by the fact that the Army itself wasn't sure whether or not the metal and concrete slabs that housed the chemicals would survive the massive pressure during their 16,000 foot descent to the ocean floor.

In 1974 the US Senate ratified the international Biological Weapons Convention which prohibited the use of toxin-based weapons such as VX. Less than two years later, on July 4th, 1976, the base was again in the news; this time after 20 wild horses were found dead. The horses had died where they stood, many with open oozing sores and ashen mucous membranes. Scott Baranowski, a soldier on duty that day, was the first to arrive. He also took part in the investigation and burial of the sick and dying horses. Within days, fifty of the animals had died, and Baranowski found himself bedridden with a high fever, severe joint pain, and headaches.

The government's internal testing on the carcasses came up negative for all known chemical nerve agents. The Army refused to officially admit fault for the deaths and ultimately attributed them to dehydration. The official report states that the animals were confused by a recent relocation of a watering hole and had died before discovering the new one -- a phenomenon that was later observed in some populations of wild horses. The Bureau of Land Management rejected this explanation, citing that some of the horses had died within a few yards of the new water source, and that all of them had died in a relatively short amount of time. Since the horses were wild, there were no legal damages to be claimed or paid, so the Army's explanation was reluctantly accepted. As for Scott Baranowski, he reports that he has suffered chronic health issues since that early July day. Attempts to obtain his medical records from that time have met with little success. Baranowski has been told they "don't exist."

Some of Ray Peck's dead sheep. (Credit: Deseret News)
Some of Ray Peck's dead sheep. (Credit: Deseret News)

While the Dugway incidents cannot take all the credit, they certainly contributed to the volatile politics of the late 1960s and early 70s. The American public had grown weary of the Vietnam war, and the Army's dangerous tests and reckless disposal of deadly chemicals were too much for many people to accept. Animals had been dying for decades to help improve the technology of warmaking, but the casualties of Dugway and CHASE actually managed to impede military progress: In response to public protests over these incidents, President Nixon disbanded the Army Chemical Corp, and took action to ratify the Geneva Protocol to prohibit chemical weapons in war.

In 1998, the government's report on federal and state studies from the incident twenty thirty years earlier was made public. The findings showed that the levels of VX were “sufficient to account for the death of the sheep.” Even in the face of this evidence, the Army has failed to take official responsibility for the debacle.

Article written by Scott Cianciosi, published on 17 March 2008. Scott is a writer and teacher currently living in South Korea. At night, he dons a cape and fights crime on the streets of Seoul.

Article design by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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160 Comments
Scorpiona
Posted 17 March 2008 at 10:57 am

Amazing. It's a pity the US Government gets away with all these things consistently. It'll be another 10 years before the army "officially" admits responsibility, if that.


sid
Posted 17 March 2008 at 11:02 am

"...cause muscle twitching, drooling, excessive sweating, and involuntary defecation, among other unpleasantries."

Wait, wasn't this pulled from the article on humor?


MonkeyBones
Posted 17 March 2008 at 11:05 am

I'm disgusted. How many lamb chops were wasted because of this experiment! "Lamb chops à la VX", how about that on your favorite restaurant's menu!!!


snater
Posted 17 March 2008 at 11:09 am

quatro!!!


Jaded
Posted 17 March 2008 at 11:17 am

When you're taking the casuality tolls of massive sheep death, how do you manage to stay awake?


Groad
Posted 17 March 2008 at 11:26 am

I blame the Chupacabra.


Jaded
Posted 17 March 2008 at 11:29 am

Groad said: "I blame the Chupacabra."

I thought he ate goats.


ggnutsc
Posted 17 March 2008 at 11:39 am

Damn interesting and damn scary....


elphaba
Posted 17 March 2008 at 11:45 am

That is horrible. It's just sick that our government can get away with that, and doesn't even have the balls to admit they're wrong.


sapguy_wi
Posted 17 March 2008 at 12:06 pm

I saw the title and thought for sure this was going to be about some unsavory farm goings-on. Perhaps that says more about me than is appropriate?


Ard Ri
Posted 17 March 2008 at 12:07 pm

Damn!


oddharmonic
Posted 17 March 2008 at 12:36 pm

While the chupacabra (lit., 'goat sucker') is traditionally associated with goats, it's also been associated with other animal mutilations.

The chupacabra is blamed for a human mutilation in a modern novel, "So Far From God" by Ana Castillo. (The book invokes a lot of the characteristics of supernatural Mexican-American fiction, so take it as you will.)


Deccion
Posted 17 March 2008 at 12:53 pm

Wasn't VX the chemical agent the rogue military force was going to use on San Francisco in 'The Rock'?


Bolens
Posted 17 March 2008 at 01:01 pm

Elchupanebre was vanquished in about the year 3000 by Bender Rodriguez when he was flushed into the lower sewers beneath the decaying ruins of old New York.


sid
Posted 17 March 2008 at 01:05 pm

Deccion said: "Wasn't VX the chemical agent the rogue military force was going to use on San Francisco in 'The Rock'?"

Bingo, according to wiki. Nice pull.


bbeoj
Posted 17 March 2008 at 01:12 pm

Possibly the real story can be gleaned from the satellite image: artillery shells full of VX + golf course = Caddyshack ??!?


1c3d0g
Posted 17 March 2008 at 01:30 pm

Damn, that was an interesting read. I already knew VX was highly poisonous if airborne and inhaled even in extremely small quantities, but I wasn't aware that if the chemical came in contact with your skin you'd be dead in 10 minutes or less. How does it achieve this? Is it like some type of acid, where it burns through your skin and goes into your bloodstream?


neill1973
Posted 17 March 2008 at 01:50 pm

When I was in basic training the senior drill seargent's MOS was NBC and he asked us if we had ever seen a bug die from Raid, then told us that a human will spasm and twitch and eventually die in the same way when exposed to a nerve agent. A really horrible way to die. From what I remember from my NBC training you were supposed to inject the antidote within the first minute (I am not sure of the amount of time it has been over 15 years) so I think the author was being a bit generous when he said that you had about 10 minutes to live.


sh0cktopus
Posted 17 March 2008 at 01:57 pm

Interesting, but not surprising. I just can't wait to see what worms come out of this can. I know Inti and sid are itching to claw each other's eyes out and pull hair over this one. Yay.


Anthropositor
Posted 17 March 2008 at 02:29 pm

In the early 1980's I was freelancing in the south. I heard some strange things about the demise of a fellow named Herschell Bennett, and that in spite of the strangeness and unusual nature of his death, no autopsy had been deemed necessary by the local authorities.

Mr. Bennett had died in the water intake channel of a nuclear reactor. Mr. Bennett was an adjacent neighbor of said reactor who had previously complained of some incidents with regard to his livestock and his orchards. He had gotten quite a runaround from the administration of the reactor and agricultural experts that they brought in.

I was perhaps excessive in my pursuit of answers in the story, apparently making some unknown enemies along the way. Unpleasant things began to happen. During this time, I saw a movie called Silkwood. This may have had a salutary effect on my life.

Prudence being the better part of valor, I decided to drop the matter, destroyed my notes, made several phone calls expressly stating that the story I was working on had reached a dead end, and that I was not going to pursue it further.

Maybe someone younger, either more foolish or courageous than I, who has not had a stroke, and who is not trying to stave off some cataract operations as long as possible, might look into it further. Someone who is at a greater distance from said reactor than I, preferably in a distant state. But don't expect any help from me. I remember nothing.


Silverhill
Posted 17 March 2008 at 02:47 pm

Disgusting (and DI). Unfortunately, the armed services and various other agencies (BATF, et al.) are infamous for following the advice of: "When you're caught with your pants down---deny, deny, deny!"

[nitpick]
The caption for the second picture says "A Target Epicenter at Dugway" ... to be quite proper, it's not an epicenter, which is the location above some incident (especially an earthquake). It is commonly used more broadly than that, however, to indicate simply the focus of something. If one wishes to indicate a critical location below, such as a drop point for VX, the term is "hypocenter".
[/nitpick]


dziban303
Posted 17 March 2008 at 03:15 pm

1c3d0g said: "How does it achieve this? Is it like some type of acid, where it burns through your skin and goes into your bloodstream?"

Its absorbed. Know how your fingers get pruned if you're in the pool too long? Same thing.

Lots of drugs are deployed transdermally. Nicotine patches, for example.


Chris
Posted 17 March 2008 at 04:51 pm

"The Army refused to officially admit fault for the deaths"
After hearing denial for some time, no wonder we find it hard to believe them........ especially when there seems to be strong evidence to the contrary.


oldmancoyote
Posted 17 March 2008 at 05:59 pm

The military's treatment for VX exposure: intramuscular injections of atropine and 2-pam-chloride. Repeat every 5 minutes until the the exposed person is dead. Kinda sucks but that's what it amounted to when I went to training.

Silverhill, when caught with one's pants down, the proper response is: "I was just peeing!"

sapguy_wi said: "I saw the title and thought for sure this was going to be about some unsavory farm goings-on. Perhaps that says more about me than is appropriate?"

I must say, the same thought came to mind.Kinda like the three lies a Montana boy will tell: I won this belt buckle. The truck is paid for. I was just trying to help that sheep over the fence.

...will cause muscle twitching, drooling, excessive sweating, and involuntary defecation, among other unpleasantries.

The same results can be achieved by watching anything starring Paris Hilton.

Scott, excellent article. I had heard some of the goings on at Dugway, but I had not heard the part about the horses.


Anonymousx2
Posted 17 March 2008 at 07:14 pm

Anthropositor said: "In the early 1980's I was freelancing in the south. I heard some strange things about the demise of a fellow named Herschell Bennett, and that in spite of the strangeness and unusual nature of his death, no autopsy had been deemed necessary by the local authorities.

Mr. Bennett had died in the water intake channel of a nuclear reactor. Mr. Bennett was an adjacent neighbor of said reactor who had previously complained of some incidents with regard to his livestock and his orchards. He had gotten quite a runaround from the administration of the reactor and agricultural experts that they brought in.

I was perhaps excessive in my pursuit of answers in the story, apparently making some unknown enemies along the way. Unpleasant things began to happen. During this time, I saw a movie called Silkwood. This may have had a salutary effect on my life.

Prudence being the better part of valor, I decided to drop the matter, destroyed my notes, made several phone calls expressly stating that the story I was working on had reached a dead end, and that I was not going to pursue it further.

Maybe someone younger, either more foolish or courageous than I, who has not had a stroke, and who is not trying to stave off some cataract operations as long as possible, might look into it further. Someone who is at a greater distance from said reactor than I, preferably in a distant state. But don't expect any help from me. I remember nothing."

I am not trying to be funny at all when I say this: Is there any chance at all that your stroke was induced by outside agents?

Given the CIA's and the NSA's abilities, one has to wonder.


Anonymousx2
Posted 17 March 2008 at 07:26 pm

An article such as this can make one begin to wonder if the Black Helicopter Crowd might just be right about:
1. Chemtrails.
2. AIDS
3. Vaccines
4. the Trilateral Commission
5. the Masons
6. Area 51
7. Shadow People
8. Alien abductions
9. Implanted transmitters
10. the Skull and Bones Society
11. Men in Black

and that's to name but a few.

Want to have some fun? Type "Black Helicopters," "Conspiracy Theories," etc. into any search engine.

(Before I sign off, a note for the humor-impaired who seem to haunt this site and who will think that I am doubting the veracity and accuracy of Mr. Cianciosi's article and that I am making fun of him: Get an intellect.)


GeorgeAR
Posted 17 March 2008 at 07:43 pm

bbeoj said: "Possibly the real story can be gleaned from the satellite image: artillery shells full of VX + golf course = Caddyshack ??!?"

That explains Carl the assistant greenskeeper.


oldmancoyote
Posted 17 March 2008 at 08:47 pm

C'mon, GeorgeAR. Carl seemed more like the result of 20 generations of inbreeding. Besides, he was obviously a gov't agent. Blow up an entire golf course to kill one gopher(golfer?)? only the gov't would be so bold.


D Hall
Posted 17 March 2008 at 11:17 pm

I was 13 and living in Salt Lake City when the sheep kill went down. Most of my relatives lived in Tooele, a town 35 miles west of SLC and about 30 miles east of Dugway. I remember the first stories coming out of the incident said the sheep were killed by eating loco weed or some such BS. The locals called Army's bluff on that, pointing out that sheep had been eating the same weeds in the same valley for at least 50 years. Then the Army said dew forming on one of the weeds caused some sort of fermentation that caused the sheep to get sick and die. That story got shot down pretty quickly too. I remember my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all wondering how many people would have died if the wind had been blowing a different way.


Cloudshadow
Posted 18 March 2008 at 12:16 am

I've heard stories of a nomadic society of terrorist sheep. Perhaps the sheep slaughtered in this article were victims of this shadowy sect because of their unholy sexual relationships with the humans.


7HS
Posted 18 March 2008 at 01:14 am

Nice DI. Strikes me strangely reminiscent of a not-so-science-fiction-anymore novel by the late John Brunner, titled - serendipitously - "The Sheep Look Up."


artguy
Posted 18 March 2008 at 02:27 am

Longtime listener, first time caller.

What this story reminded me of was the 1972 film with George C. Scott called "Rage."


Anthropositor
Posted 18 March 2008 at 03:16 am

Anonx2,
While the cause or causes of my stroke are not established, there are many more effective and practical ways of dealing with someone like me. It was quite different back then. Everything was fresher. Herschel had relatives who cared. But nobody else did. The truth is, few people can continuously generate the commitment and resolve to break through the barriers obscuring the truth. Particularly when they are not actually on the payroll of a publication or news agency. We supposedly have a free press, but it is not at all that simple. For every crusading editor, there are ten who will jackrabbit at the first sign of heavy flack.

Look, let me just give you a couple of historic examples. The Warren Commission resolved the JFK assassination. It was a huge book, about as easy to sort out as an equal volume of tax legislation. The conclusions did not stem from the evidence. That was buried in irrelevant and contradictory detail. Some people, like Mort Sahl, couldn't leave it alone. He was at the top of his game, a comedic pioneer of standup. His career soon took a sharp turn south, because people can't keep listening to things that just can't be sorted out, for whatever reason. What is worse, assassination is not funny. And it is old news.

But look at the 911 Commission. They agreed in advance that there would be no "blaming," no assigning of responsibility to any of our agencies or institutions or branches of government. How can valid conclusions be generated from that starting point?.

And look at the critical financial crises of just the past few days. Bear Stearns toppled because of the sub prime mortgage disaster and the waging of a three trillion dollar war. Poof, poof. More than a hundred billion dollars has simply evaporated without a trace in Iraq. Poof. We just lost a two billion dollar stealth aircraft. Poof. Oh, and let us not forget the tiny expenditures constantly being shoved up our budgets that our politicians euphemistically refer to as "earmarking." Or the trifles like the $70,000,000 missile that we just used to take down a satellite in orbit. Does anyone really think that the Hydrazine had any prospect at all of reaching the surface of the Earth?

Our currency, until recently the benchmark money of the planet, has dropped precipitously in value. POOF! Our overconfidence is catching up with us. What is on the immediate horizon is an accelerating runaway inflation, the likes of which we have never seen in this country.

And finally, do you want to know how to hide the few real conspiracies? Hide them in a huge pile of trumped up conspiracies, some of them ridiculous. Great camouflage.


helmett
Posted 18 March 2008 at 03:39 am

Sheep croaking aside, our bio-chem research and testing is a model of restraint compared to that of our foes at the time who were feverishly doing the same. In the face of Cold War paranoia it is of little surpise to me that the US Army was rushing to production these agents.

Look up Biopreparat (I think that's it) and some of the old Soviet agencies responsible for bio and chem weapons. They killed massive numbers of their own citizens doing the same thing we did. Read up about them killing people with weaponized anthrax, blaming it on bad meat, and then killing more people when they clumsily tried cleaning it up but only aeresolized it AGAIN.

Our mistakes killed sheep, and PERHAPS made a family sick. I regret the human folks getting ill (which still seems unsubstantiated) but please frame your judgements against the time during which this all occurred.

Sheep vs people. The same thing seems to hold true of our nuclear power programs. TMI and Chernobyl both had about 1/3 of the core melt down. Western PWR design means some people got a chest X-ray worth of dose. Rushed Soviet designs that were unstable at low power (and the fact they built, essentially, a tin shed over the reactor) to keep up with the West meant thousands died.

Get some perspective about these things. Please.


grahamgreving
Posted 18 March 2008 at 04:27 am

Dont tell PETA.


FixitDave
Posted 18 March 2008 at 05:01 am

helmett said: "Sheep croaking aside, our bio-chem research and testing is a model of restraint compared to that of our foes at the time who were feverishly doing the same. In the face of Cold War paranoia it is of little surpise to me that the US Army was rushing to production these agents."

Wow...are you for real???
So basically, what you're saying is, as long as other countries are doing this (and worse!)...it's perfectly fine for you to do it...have you every thought of living by example, you should try it.

helmett said: "Our mistakes killed sheep, and PERHAPS made a family sick. I regret the human folks getting ill (which still seems unsubstantiated) but please frame your judgements against the time during which this all occurred."

Wow, you really are war happy...

helmett said: "Get some perspective about these things. Please."

Maybe you should read this section again...please, get some perspective...

Great article and just goes to prove what the military will do to kill people...including people from their own county!!!!


Anonymousx2
Posted 18 March 2008 at 05:16 am

artguy said: "Longtime listener, first time caller.

What this story reminded me of was the 1972 film with George C. Scott called "Rage.""

Artguy: I recall watching that movie, but I have completely forgotten that it was about chemical agents. If you have the time, will you give a brief synopsis of the movie? Thanks.


Anonymousx2
Posted 18 March 2008 at 05:30 am

Anthropositor:

First, please pardon me if I sound as if I am becoming sycophantic, but your writing impresses me. If you have had a stroke, either it has not affected your thinking and writing or you were on an unbelievable level before.

Second, I suspect that the real reason for the government's desperate attempts to stave off a recession is that they are actually attempting to prevent a depression that will make the 1930's look like a mild correction. A prophetic movie that actually dealt well with this topic (ordinarily, movies are poor substitutes for reading) is Rollover, starring Kris Kristofferson. Frankly, it is not only damn interesting, but it is also damn scary.

Third, I agree with all of your other points, especially that of hiding real conspiracies in the midst of ludicrous ones.

In closing, I wonder what the Current Transient of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is doing now that the national media are focused upon the Democrats' troubles? Much mischief can be done while we are looking the other way. All of which leads to this thought: The fellow who said that we "have nothing to fear but fear itself" was a great liar. He was an impressive President in many other ways, but, in his ability to fool the public, he was frightening. Of course, then, as now, only those people who want to be fooled stay fooled for long.


Anonymousx2
Posted 18 March 2008 at 05:36 am

Anthropositor:

Sorry to post again, but I just thought of something that you might enjoy. You strike me as a chap who enjoys alternative views and news sources.

One that I found is http://www.1230thebuzz.com/. It's an African-American radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio (the city where it's not a good idea to be black), and the hosts and callers present an interesting juxtaposition to the cloned blather on all of the Clear Channel stations, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, et al. The program from 10 AM to 2 PM EST is especially worthwhile.


helmett
Posted 18 March 2008 at 06:08 am

Fixit Dave,

I am not war happy. No American civilians died (or have died) as a result of chem-bio weapons testing.

I was asking folks to frame these events with the time frame it was happening. As far as we knew (and as far as the Soviets were also telling citizens) we were both preparing to repel an overwhelming attack from each other. This wasn't last week. It was 40 years ago.

Our enemies killed their own citizens in accidents. What follows is only my opinion, but it seems we avoid this COMPLETELY. I was commenting, regarding perspective, that the "Black Helicopter" theorists are getting their feathers ruffled over dead sheep. Not humans....sheep.

Grow up, Fixit. How you can infer how I conduct myself with others and treat people from a comment on this article is remarkable. My political affiliations and work with charities, not to mention supporting my extended family and adopting an autistic nephew to care for him is evidence enough of my care for my fellow humans.

Take a deep breath, bud.


helmett
Posted 18 March 2008 at 06:08 am

Fixit Dave,

I am not war happy. No American civilians died (or have died) as a result of chem-bio weapons testing.

I was asking folks to frame these events with the time frame it was happening. As far as we knew (and as far as the Soviets were also telling citizens) we were both preparing to repel an overwhelming attack from each other. This wasn't last week. It was 40 years ago.

Our enemies killed their own citizens in accidents. What follows is only my opinion, but it seems we avoid this COMPLETELY. I was commenting, regarding perspective, that the "Black Helicopter" theorists are getting their feathers ruffled over dead sheep. Not humans....sheep.

Grow up, Fixit. How you can infer how I conduct myself with others and treat people from a comment on this article is remarkable. My political affiliations and work with charities, not to mention supporting my extended family and adopting an autistic nephew to care for him is evidence enough of my care for my fellow humans.

Take a deep breath, bud.


nona
Posted 18 March 2008 at 06:17 am

It's stories like this that prove that labelling a theory as a 'conspiracy theory' doesn't mean it's not true.

Everytime someone comes up with an alternative theory to the 'official' explaination to events such as 9/11 or the death of Dr David Kelly, the establishment simply calls them 'conspiracy theorists' and that somehow seems enough to label these people idiotic daydreamers trembling on the brink of insanity, and everything they say as lacking any veracity or basis. Even when proof is discovered, the establishment falls back on 'that's faked' , 'that's a coincidence' or 'well, the facts can be twisted to suit any theory'.

Too many 'conspiracy theories' have been proved true (such as the theory that the Nazis, not the Communists burnt the Reichstag) for the people to continue using the phrase 'conspiracy theory' to mean 'ignore them, they're bonkers, we're right, we're the establishment, would we lie to you?' And now here's another one that looks to be undoubtably true, despite what the army says


Jack Olson
Posted 18 March 2008 at 06:57 am

Nona, the problem with conspiracy theories isn't that conspiracies do not exist, but that it's practically impossible to keep them secret. The government which is supposed to have covered up the conspiracy behind the assassination of President Kennedy is the same government which couldn't cover up the Watergate burglary. As one of the Watergate conspirators, Charles Colson, pointed out, the conspiracy to cover up the burglary started falling apart in two weeks as the conspirators began working at cross-purposes. During the Depression, a group of businessmen conspired to launch a military coup against President Roosevelt and recruited Marine General Smedley Butler to head it--a poor choice, since Butler immediately spilled the beans. Conspiracy theories share this weakness with conspiracies: They require an implausible level of secrecy, as the late Guy Fawkes could tell.

It's all the worse when the conspiracy concerns a matter of public health. We all know that silicone breast implants cause health problems. Except that they don't. And that thimerisol in vaccines causes autism. Except that it doesn't. And that overhead power lines cause leukemia in children. Except that they don't. But, when you point out to people that there is no evidence that anybody ever got mercury poisoning from a dental amalgam, they conclude that you are a fool for believing "the official story." They know better. How do they know? They just know.


djs.specs
Posted 18 March 2008 at 08:00 am

How incredibly unsurprising that the military is only just now making a half-assed admission of wrong-doing.


Yardvark
Posted 18 March 2008 at 08:44 am

Jack Olson said:
"the problem with conspiracy theories isn't that conspiracies do not exist, but that it's practically impossible to keep them secret. "

Who paid you to say that? And "Jack Olson?" Obviously a pseudonym.

Seriously though, you see criminal conspiracies ruined all the time when one of the members "spills the beans," either because of pressure or because they just can't keep their mouth shut.


sid
Posted 18 March 2008 at 09:33 am

Anonymousx2 said: "Artguy: I recall watching that movie, but I have completely forgotten that it was about chemical agents. If you have the time, will you give a brief synopsis of the movie? Thanks."

From IMDB (Plot Outline):
An accidental nerve gas leak by the military kills not only a rancher's livestock, but also his son. When he tries to hold the military accountable for their actions, he runs up against a wall of silence.


Anthropositor
Posted 18 March 2008 at 09:40 am

Helmett,
Repeating yourself word for word in two successive posts adds some emphasis I suppose. It does not make your assertion(s) either convincing or correct. You are paying lip service to something that has been stuffed into your head.

Jack Olson,
Some conspiracies do get exposed. The tip of the iceberg. Most do not. The roots of the JFK assassination are still hotly debated more than forty years later. The McCarthy witch hunts went on for four long years, turning countless lives upside down, bringing ruin to many and death to a few. Eisenhower, a President I respected in a variety of ways, did nothing whatsoever about it, while it was going on. Afterward he made a short speech of approval at the turn of events brought about by a few very courageous individuals who took great personal risks to bring an end to it.

Government is in a position to engage more effectively in conspiracies than anyone else. They CAN simply declare things secret and refuse to respond about them, and in times of war, cold or hot, against rogue nations or groups with no national focus, they can make some case for doing so.

Even so, government is not directly responsible for most conspiracies, although it gets tangled up in a great many. Large corporations, often multinational, and other organized crime, like the defense industry, the medical industry, the insurance industry, banking, real estate, the so called professions of medicine and law, and individual politicians in great number, not to mention the advertising industry, account for the lion's share of conspiracies. They are all intertwined like a huge impossibly tangled Gordian knot. Not only is it tangled, It is superglued by lobbyists, fancy whores with largely unlimited license to ply their trade.

You have managed to cite a variety of examples in which the fears are not particularly valid, or are greatly outweighed by the benefits. To that extent, you have contributed some sense of proportion.

Anonx2,
Thanks for the kind remarks. I lost perhaps 40 points of IQ. Some of that has returned, and I have been rewarded with some new skills, as well as a certain humility which had not previously been a characteristic I particularly cultivated or desired. All in all, the stroke was good for me.

FixitDave and Nona
Hi. Nice to see you.


abbakd
Posted 18 March 2008 at 09:42 am

"…cause muscle twitching, drooling, excessive sweating, and involuntary defecation, among other unpleasantries."

Seen this on TV just yesterday, only it was an advertisement listing all the side effects of the 'ED' drug they were selling.

What I would like to know is how separated are the research labs for the major Pharma companies from the Govt. ran chem warfare labs as talked about in this article. Does the research overlap, are some things shared?

Also one could perhaps think that the sheep kill would have been considered a success, malfunctioning valve or whatever aside, the plan was to take it up and release it. Surely they would have known the wind speed/direction for that day. Even if delivery was to be at a low altitude, a 20mph wind could certainly move the dispersed chemical a good distance from the drop zone. Must of been some secret 'high 5s' the next day when the sheep kill was reported.


Mikell
Posted 18 March 2008 at 10:02 am

elphaba said: "That is horrible. It's just sick that our government can get away with that, and doesn't even have the balls to admit they're wrong."

Yeah, other governments use humans for these kinds of experiments.


sid
Posted 18 March 2008 at 10:38 am

Anonymousx2 said: "An article such as this can make one begin to wonder if the Black Helicopter Crowd might just be right about:
1. Chemtrails.
2. AIDS
3. Vaccines
4. the Trilateral Commission
5. the Masons
6. Area 51
7. Shadow People
8. Alien abductions
9. Implanted transmitters
10. the Skull and Bones Society
11. Men in Black

and that's to name but a few.

Want to have some fun? Type "Black Helicopters," "Conspiracy Theories," etc. into any search engine.

(Before I sign off, a note for the humor-impaired who seem to haunt this site and who will think that I am doubting the veracity and accuracy of Mr. Cianciosi's article and that I am making fun of him: Get an intellect.)"

Don't forget the Illuminati, Bildebergs, and CFR, all marching us toward the NWO. Long live Operation Vampire Killer 2000!


Jack Olson
Posted 18 March 2008 at 12:08 pm

Anthropositor, you wrote that "Large corporations, often multinational, and other organized crime, like the defense industry, the medical industry, the insurance industry, banking, real estate, the so called professions of medicine and law, and individual politicians in great number, not to mention the advertising industry, account for the lion's share of conspiracies." According to you, the conspiracies which get exposed are merely "the tip of the iceberg." That would be true only if you define conspiracy so broadly that it includes more things than it excludes. I've got a conspiracy, you've got a conspiracy, all God's chillen got a conspiracy.

Some people think, for example, that Coca Cola never intended to make New Coke a success, that its introduction was a publicity stunt to drive up sales. The executives of Coca Cola, though, point out that they spent a lot of money on their failed product launch and the sales of Coke were no higher than before. Naturally, the conspiracy theorists dismiss that as the "official story", fodder for dupes.

Unfortunately, some conspiracy theories do real damage because people who believe absurdities commit atrocities. His belief in conspiracies all around him and all against him made Josef Stalin one of the biggest mass murderers of all time.


noway
Posted 18 March 2008 at 12:14 pm

Jaded said: "When you're taking the casuality tolls of massive sheep death, how do you manage to stay awake?"

this was cheesy, but absolutely hilarious too!


afteryou
Posted 18 March 2008 at 12:26 pm

...."took part in the investigation and burial of the sick and dying horses. Within days, fifty of the animals had died"....

Burying animals before they die is just wrong. Of course they died within days.


Kao_Valin
Posted 18 March 2008 at 12:38 pm

Until I see someone come forward with firsthand experience in a conspiracy, I dont usually believe it. Even then I am pretty skeptical.

Besides, some conspiracies just arent worth the effort of knowing or even caring about. Such as the New Coke conspiracy. So what if they did what the conspiracy said? Practically every business before, currently, and in the future utilized some kinda of marketing gimmic or technique to try to get you to buy from them.

Gettin back to the sheep conspiracy, bio weapons are some nasty business, war generally is. Can you really blame the government for telling everyone things are "A Okay"? People go crazy for a lot less. The reality is probably a lot closer to "oops" than "holy mother F&%k3r!". Admitting to the "oops" translates to the loudest amoung us as the former "holy mother F&%k3r!". It's like not telling your wife something bad you did thats already being handled and you already learned your lesson on your own. Then again, some believe good relationships require complete disclosure heh.


smokefoot
Posted 18 March 2008 at 01:38 pm

"But look at the 911 Commission. They agreed in advance that there would be no "blaming," no assigning of responsibility to any of our agencies or institutions or branches of government. How can valid conclusions be generated from that starting point?."

That is the correct way to find out the root of a problem and go about fixing it. A commission that is only looking into finding a scapegoat will never actually solve the problem - information from potential scapegoats is stonewalled until the scapegoat is identified, the scapegoat is sacrificed, everyone else breathes a sigh of relief and goes back to business as usual.


DaveS
Posted 18 March 2008 at 02:18 pm

Enron was a conspiracy. It lasted long enough to hurt lots of people. Now, with SOX, I could go to jail if I don't cross the I's and dot the T's properly.


smokefoot
Posted 18 March 2008 at 02:22 pm

"And look at the critical financial crises of just the past few days. Bear Stearns toppled because of the sub prime mortgage disaster and the waging of a three trillion dollar war. "

Note that the war has not cost 3 trillion yet - that is just the potential ultimate cost when taking care of the veterans is taken into account. And Bear Stearns was toppled mostly because they liked to write mortgages without requiring proof that they could ever be repaid (no-doc loans). The cost of the war will be longer term effects like a lower dollar and higher inflations as long as we continue to believe that the government can spend as much as they like by just borrowing it. Come to think of it - they two issues *are* related...


Silverhill
Posted 18 March 2008 at 02:42 pm

helmett said: "I am not war happy. No American civilians died (or have died) as a result of chem-bio weapons testing. ... What follows is only my opinion, but it seems we avoid this COMPLETELY. I was commenting, regarding perspective, that the "Black Helicopter" theorists are getting their feathers ruffled over dead sheep. Not humans....sheep."
Various people are "getting their feathers ruffled" because humans were placed unnecessarily at risk of being killed by the sloppy operations (as well as the stonewalling and ludicrous denials). No, no humans were killed, but that seems to have been largely a matter of luck!
You said, "Our enemies killed their own citizens in accidents." The Dugway sheep kill was an accident too, remember. It doesn't make our record really any better than The Other Guys'.

===========

Anthropositor, welcome aboard! We need lots of perspicacity. Post long and prosper.

Anthropositor said: "Helmett,
Repeating yourself word for word in two successive posts adds some emphasis I suppose. It does not make your assertion(s) either convincing or correct."
Don't be hard on Helmett about the repeat, though---s/he was likely a victim of an accidental double post. Sometimes a browser will seem to have stalled, or some other glitch will make it seem as though the Submit operatoin failed, and the reader will click Submit again to try to get it to work. This can result in a double posting that was unexpected as well as unintended. It has happened to several of us; no big deal.


Anthropositor
Posted 18 March 2008 at 03:09 pm

Jack Olson and Kao Valin,
In very recent news, not to get too comprehensive, let's see: We have 143,000,000 pounds of beef recalled because of improper, unlawful and dangerous production practices. Was a profit based conspiracy involved? Of course there was. The odd thing is that much of this meat has already been consumed.

A squeaky clean Governor, previously a crusading prosecutor who was noted for bringing down major prostitution rings, was caught red-appendaged, conspiring across multiple state lines to commit multiple Federal felonies. What was he doing? Using the services of prostitutes of an extremely large and lucrative criminal organization. Acts which he had apparently committed multiple times over multiple months or years. I hear he may have spent more than $80,000.00. That is a hell of a lot of p... product.

Only a week went by after the head of Bear Stearns assured the public that the liquidity of the bank was solid. The meltdown that has now occurred threatens the financial systems of the entire planet. Is that inconsequential? Who takes the hit? Aside from thousands and thousands of Bear Stearns employees who have lost their life savings and probably their jobs as well, the American citizen will pay the biggest bulk of it in terms of lost purchasing power due to the inflationary effects of the bailout. Were their conspiracies involved? Of course there were.

Almost 100,000 deaths occur annually in American hospitals and clinics, due to negligence and preventable error. And until very recently, these institutions were getting paid by insurance companies the states and the Federal government for these negligent actions, just as if they were curative actions. I am not talking ancient history here. I have gone back mere days.

And you manage to cite some nonsense about a sodapop flavor? I have no idea what that one is about.

And it may well be that the conspiracies DO pervade the business community to such an extent that it is considered standard, normal, accepted business practice. "Business as usual."

Then there is Halliburton and Blackwell... the Enron disaster... I could go on and on. Where does it stop? I don't know, and you certainly don't either.


Bewildered
Posted 18 March 2008 at 03:28 pm

How many times do you have to be lied to by your government before you actually realise that they'll do whatever they want, whenever they want, with you paying their way. Wake up and smell the coffee people - you are the sheep.


tarteauxpommes
Posted 18 March 2008 at 04:25 pm

Damn. I actually feel the most sorry for the sheep. Hell of a way to die.


sh0cktopus
Posted 18 March 2008 at 04:39 pm

Anthropositor, you are a welcome addition to the comments section. We need more people like you to balance out the preposterous flame wars that have dominated these hallowed pages of late. I just love the polarizing effect of most all DI articles. People either come down hard on one side or the other, and then there's a small percentage that acknowledges the uncertainty of our "knowledge" of the past. Wheels within wheels ... etc. Who among us has the requisite knowledge to see the big picture, the total picture? I would venture to say that no one does. All of these underground workings combine to form something that no one person can possibly have a complete grasp of. Isolated incidents are merely symptoms of the gestalt of humanity, which is changing at a chaotic accellerating rate. We are in the nexus, as we always have been. The turbulence is increasing. It's an exciting time to be alive, as always.

P.S. To the poster that wanted some recommended reading material in the last article, I would like to suggest "Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" by Douglas R. Hofstadter, as well as Ray Kurzweil's "The Age of [Intelligent/Spiritual] Machines" and "The Singularity Is Near." These books are way better than "A Short History of Nearly Everything," because the authors are experts in their fields, and make the concepts understandable to the layperson, instead of being the blind leading the blind.

Peace and love to all of you, I hope this day finds you well.


thingummy
Posted 18 March 2008 at 04:47 pm

Jaded said: "I thought he ate goats."

...picky, picky...


oldmancoyote
Posted 18 March 2008 at 05:04 pm

Anthropositor said: "Jack Olson and Kao Valin,
In very recent news, not to get too comprehensive, let's see: We have 143,000,000 pounds of beef recalled because of improper, unlawful and dangerous production practices. "

I can fully appreciate a recall of this nature. Unfortunately another recent recall comes to mind. Meat recalled due to inhumane slaughter technique. Huh? This meat was perfectly safe for consumption. The critters were dead, let them go to market. Fine the company more than the meat was worth. Instead, the decrease in supply helps drive consumer cost up. Totally unnecessary.

helmett,
You say

helmett said: "Sheep croaking aside, our bio-chem research and testing is a model of restraint compared to that of our foes at the time who were feverishly doing the same. In the face of Cold War paranoia it is of little surpise to me that the US Army was rushing to production these agents.

Our mistakes killed sheep, and PERHAPS made a family sick.

Get some perspective about these things. Please."

helmett said: "Fixit Dave,

No American civilians died (or have died) as a result of chem-bio weapons testing."

None that we are aware of. On the other hand, how many of our military personnel have died as a direct result of NBC warfare testing? One would be too many and I can assure the numbers are higher. Many of those deaths didn't happen instantly. Look at how close we placed troops to exploding nuclear weapons. These men received far more than "a chest X-ray worth" of radiation. They didn't die right there. they got to spend a life suffering from long term health problems first.

I don't condemn the U.S. or Russia for devloping these weapons. I do condemn them for the testing methods and lack of safety protocols. VX was intended to remain stable so that it would remain in an area long after dispersal. It doesn't take a scientist to realize that aerial release was a bad idea. As far as a model of restraint, the U.S. had the largest stockpiles of NBC weapons in the world.


Anonymousx2
Posted 18 March 2008 at 06:18 pm

Anthropositor said: "Anonx2,

Thanks for the kind remarks. I lost perhaps 40 points of IQ. Some of that has returned, and I have been rewarded with some new skills, as well as a certain humility which had not previously been a characteristic I particularly cultivated or desired. All in all, the stroke was good for me."

Damn. I don't even want to imagine what the IQ used to be. Mine is fairly respectable, but I doubt that it matches what you have even after the stroke.

Incidentally, please consider yourself lucky to have come out of it so well. My grandfather was left severely disabled (housebound, essentially) for eleven years after a stroke, and a severe stroke took my dad unexpectedly and completely in September. He was 83, and he was gone within 75 minutes of the stroke's hitting. Thankfully, he didn't have to live on as did his father.

I suspect, of course, that a stroke is what will hit me someday. It's actually a liberating thought. I no longer fear death, nor do I worry about lingering as did Granddad. If I do, I do. If I don't, I don't. And whenever it happens, it happens. I find that I am a much happier person now, even though I will never recover from the loss of my dad. My dad is even more of an inspiration now than when he was here.

I'd better sign off. I'm becoming maudlin, I think. Sorry.


Anthropositor
Posted 18 March 2008 at 09:53 pm

oldmancoyote said: "I can fully appreciate a recall of this nature. Unfortunately another recent recall comes to mind. Meat recalled due to inhumane slaughter technique. Huh? This meat was perfectly safe for consumption. The critters were dead, let them go to market. Fine the company more than the meat was worth. Instead, the decrease in supply helps drive consumer cost up. Totally unnecessary.

I quite agree, Coyote, that this meat could have been utilized outside the human food supply, and perhaps should have been, after serious measures were employed to eliminate the possible spread of prion disease. Practices like these put our entire cattle industry and meat supply in grave jeopardy, not to mention the meat eating public.. Ask the British, who learned about Mad Cow Disease the hard way.

But if we are talking about the same massive recall, and I presume we are, I emphatically do not agree that the meat was safe for consumption. Serious numbers of "downer" cattle were involved.

Spongiform encephalopathy is one reason a steer cannot remain standing, and should not be butchered for food. The practices of this major meat processor, in the name of minimizing financial losses (thereby increasing profits) was not just inhumane conditions, although that was the central focus of the undercover investigators. People who will violate those rules will also readily violate the rules that are in place to prevent nerve tissue and brains from being incorporated into ground meats, something that can happen quite easily in large scale meat processing which often employs cheap alien labor with virtually no real training. Frankly, the rest of your logic requires little additional comment from me.

Anonx2,
I am extremely fortunate that my stroke did not do more catastrophic and crippling damage. I am in a good position to realize how lucky I am, since I rehabilitated my father after a stroke which initially paralyzed one side of his body. It is quite possible that the experience I gained in doing that, helped me to develop preventive living habits which reduced the severity of my own stroke to some extent.

So if you think a stroke could befall you, start doing the prudent things you can do to prevent it or minimize its' effects. Don't just be fatalistic about it. Fatalism can be fatal.


SoxSweepAgain
Posted 18 March 2008 at 10:48 pm

We're really not the great, moral country we've pretended to be.

Period.


Anthropositor
Posted 18 March 2008 at 10:49 pm

Shocktopus,
Thanks. But look, we are mistake correcting creatures. There are no experts, just those who hide their imperfections a bit better than most of those around them, and those who work a little harder to fix their defects.

I have great curiosity about a great many things. Supposedly this is a good thing. But it also means that I am not as good at some things as I would be if I were able to stay more single-mindedly focused. Each skill we have carries its' own baggage. But I would not trade the broad scope of my curiosity or imagination to be a specialist of any sort.


edraven
Posted 19 March 2008 at 08:12 am

I just read this and wanted to add...In 1960 I was drafted, and after basic training was sent to the US Army Information School in Ft. Slocum, NY. One of the most important things taught to Information Officers was, "Maximum Disclosure - - Minimum Delay."

As soon as I left the school, and was in the field, it became evident that the school had it backwards.

Even the Army knows it is wrong to cover-up, but they don't have the courage for honesty.

Ed Graham


Kao_Valin
Posted 19 March 2008 at 09:29 am

Anthropositor said: "Jack Olson and Kao Valin,
In very recent news, not to get too comprehensive, let's see: We have 143,000,000 pounds of beef recalled because of improper, unlawful and dangerous production practices. Was a profit based conspiracy involved? Of course there was. The odd thing is that much of this meat has already been consumed. "

My comment had to do with conspiracies over accidents that had the full intention of being fixed. Letting people panic doesnt help anything. What I'm trying to say is a conspiracy is just a secret. The context is the real matter to be arguing over. Certainly you wont hear me say "halliburton is a good thing for the economy, and I like that they keep secrets".

The sheep article is about an accident, not a planned intent like Enron. That is a different type of conspiracy. That is like comparing a conspiracy to commit a suprise party with a conspiracy to commit murder. Secrets in and of themselves are not evil or wrong. It is the premeditated action of attempting to commit egregeous acts against your fellow man that are wrong.

If conspiracies were to go away, and full disclosure started happening. Then the argument of reparations comes in. Just how much is a 50 year old's life? 20? 8? Sometimes you just cant give back things that were taken away, and the victims dont always know how to move on. Only the victim can say when they move on, despite whatever the victimiser did. That is not to say that people should not be compensated at all, just that there is a tipping point where reparations becomes vengence on the tip of a greedy spear.


Bolens
Posted 19 March 2008 at 10:24 am

SoxSweepAgain said: "We're really not the great, moral country we've pretended to be.

Period."

We used to be. But truth has become a bad word.


Rushwan Dizaye
Posted 19 March 2008 at 10:25 am

The Soviet Union trained their troops with the real stuff. Casualities resulting from that training were expected, and considered acceptable.


Kao_Valin
Posted 19 March 2008 at 10:54 am

Bolens said: "We used to be. But truth has become a bad word."

I'm not sure any country as a whole was moral on all fronts. Also depends on what you consider morality. Morality doesnt always come about with truth. Truth is just a word, neither good nor bad. Context is the new truth.

Truth, the government funds education. Context, they fund it thru channels that pick it apart into smaller chunks that line the wrong people's pockets. Truth, no child left behind was made to help educate our youth. Context, it teaches them advancement is primary concern, over the secondary purpose of education (at least this is what I noticed happening in the school I helped out a few year back).

Real truth is in context. Literal truth is simply enough facts that are not logically lies. With that said, I dont see how any government really told the complete truth when it was speaking it. Wars are generally the best time to orchastrate lies in order to maintain morale and support for it. Since this country has generally been at war with something every generation, I doubt the USA has "good ol' days". It's the same spam and white bread sandwhich in a different wrapper. You just liked the old wrapper.


Wolfie
Posted 19 March 2008 at 11:58 am

The US wasn't the only NATO nation to be testing its weapons of mass destruction on its own Personel during the cold war. Porton Down was the British equivalent to Dugway. Most of the activities conducted there still remain secret, but the death of Leading Aircraftman Ronald Maddison in 1953 has always been contraversial. He was used as a test subject for Sarin; during a planned experiment the compound was dripped directly onto his skin. The resultant exposure proved understandably fatal shortly afterwards. The Ministry of Defense still denies any wrong doing in this case, despite the result of a 2004 inquest which found Maddison's death to be unlawful. So it's not just the US military who can deny the truth despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

A good quote for the conspiracy theorists out there comes from the Usual Suspects,

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn't exist."

Apologies if I didn't get it quite right.


et3rae
Posted 19 March 2008 at 12:42 pm

djs.specs said: "How incredibly unsurprising that the military is only just now making a half-assed admission of wrong-doing."

And how incredibly unsurprising that you can say that...Oh wait, the military is protecting your right to free speech. In other countries, I'm sure you could be jailed or killed for a comment such as that. Yeah, the army screwed up. And yeah, they tried to cover it up. Considering the time period, they were simply trying to get a step ahead of the enemy, and losing some sheep, while tragic for the farmers dependent on them, is better than the loss of human life. Our drills onboard the ship I was stationed on included CBR drills to make sure we knew how to put our gear on, fight the ship, and get through the battle on top. While the Army denied any wrong-doing, the military as a whole learned from it, I'm sure.


davidw987
Posted 19 March 2008 at 01:05 pm

Why would the spokesmen deny any possible link? Probably because the VX program was (I presume) classified. Any individual spokesman acknowledging the veracity of classified information would be subject to arrest and prosecution.

The incident, while certainly DI and news to me, is in the fairly distant past. Since the passage of the chemical weapons treaty, there has been considerable effort on the part of the Army to clean up the remains of chemical weapons, both in the US and overseas. Here is a link to a system developed for the ARmy to safely neutralize chemical weapons.
http://www.sandia.gov/news-center/news-releases/2005/def-nonprolif-sec/bio-EDS.html
It has been used for all sorts of unstable nasty weapons, including very volatile mustard gas weapons from WW1 and Sarin "bomblets". (I haven't been able to determine if the EDS system was ever used to dispose of VX.)

If you google "explossive destruction" "chemical weapons" and VX, you will find numerous articles about the remediation of chemical weapons.

David


TKDmate
Posted 19 March 2008 at 03:17 pm

"Army officials began drafting their official denial"

Disgusting. Why do we have such a desire to constantly build deadlier and more powerful weapons? What we have is already much too strong. The stronger the weapon, the more devastating the accidents become.


DamnAwesome
Posted 19 March 2008 at 03:40 pm

Casey Serin is a gay man.... not that there's anything wrong with that!!!


Silverhill
Posted 19 March 2008 at 05:47 pm

...and not that Mr. Serin has any particular connection to the toxin called Sarin, I presume.


oldmancoyote
Posted 19 March 2008 at 06:28 pm

Anthropositor, I understand your concernon the meat. However, the incident I was referring to was a much smaller batch (in the neighborhood of 80,000 lbs.) and in that particular incident the recall was not for safety reasons. FDA said it was strictly due to inhumane slaughter, not a processing issue. While they never actually stated it was heavily implied that they were bled out. A practice still used on the farm in many places. those folks are eating their own meat and don't have to employ humane slaughter. So if this is truly the case, I stick my original opinion. If it were a processing issue where possible contamination occurred, you are absolutely right, dump it.

I do appreciate your thoughtful input and its nice to have someone aboard who can be thought provoking. Ihope you stick around and give us all a piece of your mind once in while.


Anthropositor
Posted 19 March 2008 at 07:17 pm

Thanks Old Man,
I have enjoyed my sojourn here so far. I expect I will be around long enough at least to read the archives back to the beginning, now and then posting a transient thought on those occasions when I am lucky enough to have one. ...at which time, I will resist the impulse to say -- LAST!


SPQR8x2
Posted 19 March 2008 at 08:39 pm

82 a personal best
I hate sheep any way


Jeffrey93
Posted 20 March 2008 at 01:34 am

Jaded said: "When you're taking the casuality tolls of massive sheep death, how do you manage to stay awake?"

This was hilarious!!!

Makes you wonder what things they've done that we DON'T know about. Since we seem to only find out about the screw-ups and things that didn't go exactly as planned.


Dave Group
Posted 20 March 2008 at 03:03 am

helmett said: "Fixit Dave,

I am not war happy. No American civilians died (or have died) as a result of chem-bio weapons testing."

I believe there are a couple books, including Leonard Cole's CLOUDS OF SECRECY, which cite evidence refuting yout claim. As for Jack Olson's claim that the Kennedy assassination does not qualify as a conspiracy because of lack of confessions, leaks, etc., I suggest he dig into the story a little more. Besides, you can't compare an assassination and coverup by individuals skilled at that sort of thing with the Watergate affair, which was performed by a bunch of bungling wannabes (and _they_ would've gotten away with it were it not for a pair of persistent cub reporters and a mysterious informant with an ax to grind).

BTW, shouldn't the last paragraph read ". . . from the incident _thirty_ years earlier."?


supercalafragalistic
Posted 20 March 2008 at 04:39 am

I bet Miss Bo Peep was outraged. But seriously though, I am in awe of how many close calls there have been in society in the last few hundred years. I am marveled at how DI always manages to bring the best ones to the attention of its readership.


Anthropositor
Posted 20 March 2008 at 08:08 am

Super,
Without diminishing what is being done here, I do not think we should depend on this small group of muckraking writers to find and expose everything, particularly when so much that is right in front of us goes unseen, or at least unrecognized.

Physicians, including specialists like ophthalmologists and their suppliers, dentists, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, insurance companies, over-the-counter nostrum and supplement companies prey upon us rapaciously.

Collectively they have more lobbyists and take more of an economic bite out of our collective revenue apple than any element of our economy except the military-industrial complex, earmarking carpetbaggers, the telecommunications/computer industry, the Infernal Revenue Service and their independent accomplices, the U.S. Tax Court...

I just know I have left something out. Oh yes, CHURCHES and all other mongers of superstition.

...Sorry God, but if you would just kick some tail in your sales staff once in a while.... hope Jesus and the prophets are well.... uh, did my dad ever show up? If he does, maybe you could fix him or give him a little break? And hey Boss, if you helped me with the stroke, I really appreciate it.


baconbits
Posted 20 March 2008 at 10:47 am

Jaded said: "When you're taking the casuality tolls of massive sheep death, how do you manage to stay awake?"

Very funny indeed...
Extremely interesting article.
*off to go google black helicopters*


CaptianCanada
Posted 20 March 2008 at 02:54 pm

"....there has been considerable effort on the part of the Army to clean up the remains of chemical weapons, both in the US and overseas. Here is a link to a system developed for the ARmy to safely neutralize chemical weapons......"

You guy's are dreaming! You're putting them into tin cans and dumping them into the ocean...probably someone elses! They are "neutralizing" these because they are not stable anymore-they are not as "effective" as once before so they need to make room for some more. I don't understand why they were ever developed in the first place. "Accidents" like this don't just happen. You guy's need to get your priorities in order...spend some of that weopons research money (51% of your taxes) in allocating it to feeding, clothing, educating and nurturing your ever so growing population that is not being provided with these basic human rights. This is the real tragedy!


Inti
Posted 20 March 2008 at 03:32 pm

Once more the incompetence of the U. S. military makes its triunfal march into the infamy of history. What a nice example this recent artile is.

By the way, let's look at the most recent example. "Dick" Cheney was recently in Irak arguing that the invasion perpetrated in Iraq on March 20th 2003 has been a successful effort. At the same time the organization called Just Foreign Policy (http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/) has released a recent estimate of over 1 million deaths in Iraq caused directly by the infamous invasion. Do you remember the article in The Lancet? This numbers has been ratified by the British polling firm ORB

(http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=67):

"One in four (26%) Iraqi adults have had a family relative murdered in the last three years, while 23% of those living in Baghdad have had a family/relative kidnapped in the last three years"

All this thanks to the glorious U. S. army!

Sid?...do I hear you somewhere there?...Sid.....


Inti
Posted 20 March 2008 at 03:35 pm

sh0cktopus said: "Interesting, but not surprising. I just can't wait to see what worms come out of this can. I know Inti and sid are itching to claw each other's eyes out and pull hair over this one. Yay."

lol


Anthropositor
Posted 20 March 2008 at 05:35 pm

I guess everone is on holiday. This morning a censor robot sequestered my post #86 with this message:
March 20th, 2008 8:08 am [Due to excessive links or the presence of certain words that smell of spam, your comment has been placed in a temporary holding cell. If it's not spam, it'll show up right here real soon.]
No links, guys, and no spam. Maybe a little satire.
Anyway I hope you all have a good time and come back soon, before the post gets buried in oblivion. Hey! I just noticed; post 86 has been 86'ed. How odd is that?


uscg77
Posted 20 March 2008 at 05:37 pm

I recently I have been doing research for my own interest around the conventional understanding of several controversial issues from the JFK assination to the present economic situation. From this research I have concluded that entities at the highest level of our national government have engaged (successfully for many years) in keeping the general polulace deliberately misinformed about the truth of activities that would not be accepted by the populace if known.

The public has accepted on the basis of national security that information is on a need to know basis and they do not need to know. For anyone to postulate that conspiracies cannot exist just because some participants might talk about them and make them public is not demonstrated by history.

How long for instance did the english government keep secret Benny Goodman being shot down by friendly fire in WWII, clearly keeping such a secret was a conspiracy. It is time for our government to honestly respond to any inquiry made as a basic expectancy for our citizens. The comment made by one poster about the truth being relative to context is the kind of thinking that has created the present inteligence oligarchy that runs the acitivities of our country without the consent of the governed.


oldmancoyote
Posted 20 March 2008 at 07:17 pm

anthropositor,
It seems to me that maybe your activities of the 80's have returned to haunt you. A conspiracy has developed to silence you and keep you from spreading too much truth to the rest of us. If you notice a black helicopter in your neighborhood I would suggest you leave in a hurry.


OmegaMan
Posted 20 March 2008 at 07:55 pm

I wonder if Jimmy Stewart or Steve Allen were involved in that particular coverup? I believe that - Benny Goodman. AKA Benjamin David Goodman. Born: 30-May - 1909 Birthplace: Chicago, IL Died: 13-Jun - 1986 Location of death: New York City Cause of death: Heart Failure.
You meant to say: Glenn Miller, who died in a tragic "friendly fire" incident over the English Channel during WWII.


uscg77
Posted 20 March 2008 at 09:13 pm

You are right OmegaMan. I meant Glen Miller, sorry and I also correct my assassination spelling. These errors took away from my point. A clear example of a conspiracy exposed after fruition is the Stealth Airplane Technology a conspiracy of SkunkWorks Inc.

Transparency Now


sid
Posted 20 March 2008 at 09:24 pm

Inti said: "Once more the incompetence of the U. S. military makes its triunfal march into the infamy of history. What a nice example this recent artile is.

By the way, let's look at the most recent example. "Dick" Cheney was recently in Irak arguing that the invasion perpetrated in Iraq on March 20th 2003 has been a successful effort. At the same time the organization called Just Foreign Policy (http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/) has released a recent estimate of over 1 million deaths in Iraq caused directly by the infamous invasion. Do you remember the article in The Lancet? This numbers has been ratified by the British polling firm ORB

(http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=67):

"One in four (26%) Iraqi adults have had a family relative murdered in the last three years, while 23% of those living in Baghdad have had a family/relative kidnapped in the last three years"

All this thanks to the glorious U. S. army!

Sid?…do I hear you somewhere there?…Sid….."

You do, and I think I finally figured it out. This article was the key. Inti, you must have lost a loved one in Skull Valley, and you have hated the U.S., and especially the military, ever since. It explains your blind acceptance of all things anti-American, as you are simply one of the sheeple I've heard so much about. Part sheep, part human, and forever bleeting the same tired anti-American soundbites, as you blindly follow the flock. You likely love to vacation in Greece.;-)

BTW, I haven't heard from you since I asked some pretty basic questions. I'm still waiting for those answers. Or do sheeple have the same memory problems I've heard goldfish have?

Now watch out! We're gonna get scolded by the electric squid, or something like that.


sid
Posted 20 March 2008 at 10:14 pm

Inti said: "Do you remember the article in The Lancet? This numbers has been ratified by the British polling firm ORB

(http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=67):

Um, this link took me to an article that is a year old, says nothing about the questionable Lancet study, and actually says that, a year ago, almost half the people in Iraq felt their life was better in early '07 than under Saddam. Only about a quarter said it was better under Saddam. And a year ago, the violence was worse than it is now. How bad must it really have been under Saddam for folks to prefer what they have now? Maybe Inti can explain this. Oh, I forgot, the great Inti does not lower himself to addressing actual queries. All he can say is the U.S. is baaaad.


Anthropositor
Posted 20 March 2008 at 10:58 pm

oldmancoyote said: "anthropositor,

It seems to me that maybe your activities of the 80's have returned to haunt you. A conspiracy has developed to silence you and keep you from spreading too much truth to the rest of us. If you notice a black helicopter in your neighborhood I would suggest you leave in a hurry."

I don't really know what the black helicopter thing is all about. But I have been hunted by helicopter twice. Once by a Coast Guard helicopter I was happy to see, lifting me out of some turbulent water. Thanks to them my injuries were not severe. Just unpleasant.


sid
Posted 21 March 2008 at 11:34 am

Inti said: " Do you remember the article in The Lancet? This numbers has been ratified by the British polling firm ORB

(http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=67):

"

Still can't find anything on this website that does anything to support the Lancet "study," but I did find this piece that updates the one you provided, Inti:

(http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=90)

It does indicate that only 23% of the Iraqi people feel the invasion was "in the best interest of Iraq," while 46% feel that it was not. However, 51% seem to feel that life, today, is better than under Saddam, while 22% seem to feel it was better under the dictator. Also, the survey claims 48% feel the conflict will be justified IF Iraq becomes a fully democratic country, and 58% feel that Iraq WILL become a fully democratic country. Please review the article for more interesting information, if this is something that interests you. There is some stuff not very supportive of the multinational effort, and some stuff that does seem to support it.

There is at least one article that does mention Lancet, but only in reference to it as a previous estimate of deaths. This article, as well as others on the website, are actually about ORB's own polling, which suggests 1,000,000 deaths from the hostilities.

(http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=78)

I find it somewhat interesting that this poll also suggests 81% feel the availability of basic groceries to be "very/fairly good," but 54% consider them to be "expensive." I wonder if a similar poll conducted in the U.S., or any other country (including the mysterious Land of Inti), would yield similar results?

Of course, there is other stuff covered in this article, so please review if interested.


Jack Olson
Posted 21 March 2008 at 03:13 pm

Dave Group said: "I believe there are a couple books, including Leonard Cole's CLOUDS OF SECRECY, which cite evidence refuting yout claim. As for Jack Olson's claim that the Kennedy assassination does not qualify as a conspiracy because of lack of confessions, leaks, etc., I suggest he dig into the story a little more.

Dave Group, the longest history book I have ever read any of is Vincent Bugliosi's "Reclaiming History." It is 1,600 pages of fine-print type and it come with a DVD of additional notes, so it is exhaustive. The reason Bugliosi had to write at such length is that there are so many Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories and so many promoters of them. In the preface, he complained that there have been some 800 books written about conspiracy theories connected with the JFK assassination. Fortunately, it only takes a few facts to refute each theory especially since Bugliosi classifies them by type. For instance, the claim that there had to be more than one shooter because the bullet which struck Kennedy in the back could not also have struck Connally, who was sitting in front of him, since the path of their wounds didn't line up. This is a central claim in the movie "JFK", which displays a diagram of it. Bugliosi points out, though, that the front passenger in the Lincoln convertible they were riding in actually sits slightly to the right of the rear passenger so the two men's wounds lined up after all.

Then, what do the conspiracy theorists answer when presented with facts like that one? First, they call a fact a personal opinion, as when reporter Sam Donaldson confronted Oliver Stone with Stone's claim that telephones in the District of Columbia were shut down for an hour after the assassination. Donaldson was working as a reporter in D.C. that day and knows that the telephone lines weren't shut down, they were flooded with calls. Stone answered, "Well, that's your interpretation." Or, when a fact refutes their theory, they don't abandon the theory but simply modify it. One theory says that the assassin wasn't the loser Lee Harvey Oswald but an imposter. When some assassination buffs prevailed on the Oswald family to have his body exhumed, the body turned out to have the same scars Oswald had had in life and teeth idential to his Marine Corps dental records. The buffs' conclusion? Not that the body was the real Lee Harvey Oswald, but that the conspirators had falsified Oswald's records.

Why cling to theories for which there is little or no evidence? Because so many people prefer exciting theories to plain old facts. It's more fun to think that the federal government is covering up the crash landing of space aliens in Roswell, New Mexico, than to think that they were launching high-altitude balloons in a now-declassified project to try to detect Soviet nuclear tests. It's more fun to suspect that the oil companies are covering up a 90-mile-per-gallon carburetor than to conclude that the auto engineers have taken the piston engine close to its practical limit of efficiency. It's also a damn sight easier than explaining how that 90-mile-per-gallon carburetor works.

As I write this, a prominent American presidential candidate is in trouble because for twenty years he attended a church whose preacher claims that the U.S. government invented the HIV virus as a genocidal weapon against blacks. Not that the preacher has any evidence of this, of course. Nor can he explain why a genocidal weapon against black people has killed millions of white and Asian people. Nor does he try to explain why black people who practice chastity, avoid promiscuity and shun the abuse of illegal drugs (choices most preachers approve of) seem to be immune to a weapon aimed at their race. The candidate, for his part, explains that the conspiracy-theorist preacher is just like a crazy uncle one humors rather than try to argue with. That's the best thing to do with conspiracy theorists. Actually, it's about all you can do.


uscg77
Posted 21 March 2008 at 04:34 pm

Vincent Bugliosi's "Reclaiming History dismisses possibilities that do not fit into the case as a good prosecutor would. Such thinking is why a whole lot of people have been sent to prison who have been proven innocent with DNA evidence . An adversarial culture where someone has to be right or wrong, win or lose contributes to how our legal system works. As stated in other posts, people believe in some of these conspiracy theories because the government has lied to the public many times. Our system does not try to find the truth of a matter to seek justice, but shield to the maximum consequence of guilt for an individual.


GigsTaggart
Posted 21 March 2008 at 05:08 pm

The cost of the war will be longer term effects like a lower dollar and higher inflations as long as we continue to believe that the government can spend as much as they like by just borrowing it. Come to think of it - they two issues *are* related…"

They aren't even borrowing it anymore. They are just flat out printing new money. Every time the fed "lowers interest rates", that's an euphemism for "creating money out of thin air". Through a strange kind of doublespeak, the government has tricked people who have the most to lose from expansion of money supply into celebrating these "rate cuts".

On top of this normal method of monetary expansion, the fed has taken unprecedented moves to more directly expand the money supply... Accepting junk mortgage backed securities in exchange for freshly created money, etc.


RossBoss
Posted 21 March 2008 at 08:08 pm

Long time reader, first time poster.

This is a great site, lots of interesting stories / information. But it seems like Jack Olson is the only one here able to take any of this with a grain of salt.

Conspiracies exist, yes, but the existence of one thing does not necessitate the existence of another. In other words, the Watergate conspiracy doesn't mean that the JFK conspiracy has any merit. It seems like a lot of people think that because some conspiracies exist, and are found out, that this somehow validates all their ridiculous, disproved theories.

See! I told you the gov't is hiding things! It's only a matter of time until we find the aliens!

Use reason over emotion and sensationalism people. Don't spread rumours if there is no reliable information to back it up. You do more harm than good.


Anthropositor
Posted 22 March 2008 at 08:40 am

Jack Olson,
I am not going to quote you line by line from comment #100. Actually, I'm not going to quote you at all. To do so invites a flame war. But let us just examine the source of some of the suspicions that are in play here. As I have said before in other of my comments, one of the ways to defuse valid conspiracy theories, rendering them totally ineffective, is to bury them in other theories of questionable merit.

So I will resist getting into the JFK conspiracy again. But your post also touches on some suspicions of the Reverend Wright about the AIDS crisis being a conspiracy. While I do not agree with Obama's preacher's remarks, and will not be put in the position of defending them, I can readily understand the source of his paranoia.

In the early eighties, I was quite concerned about various elements of the official response to the crisis. It was not even called AIDS then. It was called GRID. Two things in particular bothered me a lot. The Reagan Administration was putting out the view that the crisis was quite self-limiting in these ways. First, that it was pretty much confined to gay men engaging in astronomically high numbers of high risk liaisons and intravenous drug users who shared needles, and that it was not of any particular risk to women. It was thought at the time, to be unlikely that women were even able to contract it with any frequency at all. As we now know, this did not turn out to be true at all.

Now look at this from the perspective of Obama's preacher, a man excellently positioned to be suspicious. He realized, not only that the administration did not have the slightest concern for the "gay community," he was also able to see that blacks made up a disproportionately large part of this homosexual community, and an even higher proportion of the intravenous drug abusing population. It takes only a dash of paranoia to put these facts together and conclude that whitey is out to get them. I can think of a whole variety of other things which lead to similar suspicions. For instance, the incredibly disproportionate sentencing LAWS with regard to how much prison time is attached to possession and use of crack, a cheap drug used much more by the poor and disenfranchised (blacks and latinos), and cocaine, used disproportionately by the powerful, affluent whites and celebrities.

Couple this ongoing present day policy with the situation with cannabis. In the early twentieth century, more than 90% of pot use was confined to blacks and hispanics. The argument is easy to support that these laws controlled these two large disenfranchised populations.

Now, let us talk about "freedom of the press." I talked to the editor of a major newspaper in California to get some advance encouragement for doing a story on the AIDS situation. One component of that story was that the rest of the population was very much at risk. We all now know that is correct.

But I was also concerned about the possibility of insect vectors for AIDS, particularly mosquitoes, and to a lesser extent, fleas. The editor encouraged me strongly to pursue this idea. I spent a lot of money interviewing "experts" in the field, including several physicians at the CDC in their Atlanta Headquarters, by phone. For those of you who are young, I should tell you that long distance phone calls were expensive. All told, my expenses in this story were many hundreds of dollars.

The Administration and the CDC apparently did not like what I was doing, particularly with regard to the insect vectors notion that I was trying to get answers on. And oddly enough, (talk about strange bedfellows), the gay community too was pretty upset with me. They did have a valid concern. They were, after all, a really convenient scapegoat group.

They had some concerns that perhaps AIDS victims might be isolated or otherwise imprisoned in quarantine camps, if the Reagan administration took to the idea that insect vectors could transmit AIDS. So I began to get some calls in the middle of the night, from a variety of different people, with subtly feminine male voices, threatening me with serious bodily harm or worse, if I didn't drop this element of the story. Frankly, it is a little hard to take it seriously when a gay guy calls you in the middle of the night, threatening you with harm. So I laughed until I cried myself back to sleep.

But I believe it was other more powerful forces that had the most effect. I soon got a phone call from the editor who had given me the verbal go ahead to work the story. He said the paper was no longer interested in the story. I said, you haven't even seen what I have. He hung up. He never spoke to me again. Freedom of the press indeed. I was free to pay all my own expenses on that one.

Oh yeah, I'm white. ...and the gay people I was fondest of were lesbians in a menage a t... oh never mind.


supercalafragalistic
Posted 22 March 2008 at 10:36 am

Bewildered said: "How many times do you have to be lied to by your government before you actually realise that they'll do whatever they want, whenever they want, with you paying their way. Wake up and smell the coffee people - you are the sheep."

I lived in Washington DC for a couple of years and if there's anything I learned--- it's just how much we do not know. Off to go google *black helicopters* also!! Thanks DI!


Anthropositor
Posted 22 March 2008 at 04:06 pm

Well I guess Allan and his associates are still on holiday. My post #86 shows on my computer as still being incarcerated. I am almost tempted to chop it in half, posting half of it to see if it takes. But who knows, maybe it has been up and everyone can see it, and I'm the only one to see the message at the top. Otherwise, I don't know how they keep the numbers straight.

I'm afraid I'm incredibly obtuse when it comes to computers. I had a rash of computer viruses and spyware a few weeks ago. Took me a week or so to get back functional again. And a few months ago my blog crashed for a while. I have no idea what happened. When I got everything going again, I noticed that the counter I had put on a few months after starting the blog had just disappeared. It only had gotten a few thousand hits, but at least I could tell how many lurkers there were out there. I figure a few hundred silent lurkers for everyone who qctually says anything. That's one of the reasons I was surprised at the number of comments on each of the stories here. I notice that even with the talent here, I have seen several interruptions in service here on this site.

There are bound to be some growing pains I guess. I guess I'll behave myself and not do anything that shows a lack of manners to the enforcement robot. Who knows? Maybe it is some sort of conspiracy.


morgheim
Posted 22 March 2008 at 05:43 pm

Does not suprise me at all. I can tell you from my own experence similar mistakes like this still happen.


oldmancoyote
Posted 22 March 2008 at 06:50 pm

I feel that a major fuel feeding conspiracy theorists is the fact that the gov't does hide things from the public. In the name of national security a lot of secrets must be kept( troop strength, locations, etc..). As soon as someone spills the beans about a secret that should be kept we hear "See, I told you they were keeping secrets from us." Well, yes they are. But they are also trying to keep those secrets from those who wish to do us harm. Do we really want to find out that Elvis assassinated JFK then years later faked his own death so he could teleport through a worm hole to his home planet somewhere in the crab nebula? A great corn-spiracy like that that might be fun, but how would we view the world having that knowlege?


oldmancoyote
Posted 22 March 2008 at 06:51 pm

By the way, have you noticed "They" now have us all marked in red?


Anonymousx2
Posted 23 March 2008 at 05:16 am

Anthropositor:

A few items:

1. In regard to your computer difficulties, I suggest that you don't even think about downloading Apple's Safari for an XP computer. It was slow, but at least it was loaded with a bunch of other crud that was even worse. Then, when I attempted to remove Safari, etc., my computer became an electronic corpse. I had to spend two days reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling everything. Yep, I lost some irreplaceable data, too. Perhaps others will have no difficulties with Safari on an XP, but such was not my experience.

2. Remember the old Redford movie called Three Days of the Condor?

3. About AIDS, consider reading The White Plague by Frank Herbert. I think that the copyright date is 1982, which I remember as being before AIDS was known.

4. What's the URL of your blog?

5. Want to read something strange about human eyes in a television screen? Let me know.


Anthropositor
Posted 23 March 2008 at 06:48 pm

Anonx2
I know nothing about Apple stuff, except I've heard more good comments than bad. But my computer is stripped to its' loincloth. I think I have already put my blog address in one of my comments on one of the stories here. It would not be appropriate to do it again, particularly since, as far as I can tell, post#86 on this thread is still in a holding tank with not the slightest violation causing it to be in the slammer.

I do my best to break no rules if I can help it. But I have, on rare occasions, bent, folded, spindled or crumpled a few here and there.
So, you could just Google me and you would probably find it or one of the forums in which have it in my profile, or one of the chess sites I use once in a while to teach chess, or probably find your way right back here.

Or you could type Eureka Ideas Unlimited with all lower case letters and without any spaces between the words, followed by a period followed by blogspot with another period and ending with com

In the early eighties AIDS was called GRID.

Not reading a lot of books these days. The eyes need some new lenses. I just said something about that in the comment section of a DI article from September 14, 2007, The Revenge of the Flyimg Quaker. I'm working my way back to the beginning as time allows, hoping to gain the occasional insight as to how to use this medium to better effect.

If you get to my place, you may find my archives eclectic and thought provoking, if not Damn Interesting.


Alan Bellows
Posted 23 March 2008 at 07:20 pm

Anthropositor said: "Well I guess Allan and his associates are still on holiday. My post #86 shows on my computer as still being incarcerated."

Sorry about that... I didn't receive the usual e-mail notice that is generated when our system detects possible spam. I'm not sure why the Damn Robot didn't like the smell of your comment, but it's now been liberated from its electronic limbo.


Terri D-C
Posted 24 March 2008 at 03:55 am

And everything is still showing up as quoted...

Really interesting article. Helped me escape from my deadline for a few minutes.

T


Inti
Posted 24 March 2008 at 07:22 am

Sid,

I really hope the other ciphers on Iraq are true and become better for those suffering people. However, it is difficult to reconcile such terrible carnage with the wellness of the people in the country. Little by little you put in evidence the failure of your logic. You seem to agree in the “necessity” of killing people for the sake of a better economy (disregarding the many years of economical blockade on Iraq, to debilitate the country in order to invade it). You seem to be blind to the many errors your government is doing with your country, you also fail to differentiate between government and military with your own nation. Time will perhaps tell me right, the fall of the U. S. economy, and its weakened international image as a world leader could only be the beginning of something much bigger. In any case, I really hope for us all that a democrat in the fashion of Barak Obama becomes the new U. S. president. Otherwise, people like you will keep doing harm to the rest of us all.


sid
Posted 24 March 2008 at 08:54 am

Inti said: "Sid,

I really hope the other ciphers on Iraq are true and become better for those suffering people. However, it is difficult to reconcile such terrible carnage with the wellness of the people in the country. Little by little you put in evidence the failure of your logic. You seem to agree in the “necessity” of killing people for the sake of a better economy (disregarding the many years of economical blockade on Iraq, to debilitate the country in order to invade it). You seem to be blind to the many errors your government is doing with your country, you also fail to differentiate between government and military with your own nation. Time will perhaps tell me right, the fall of the U. S. economy, and its weakened international image as a world leader could only be the beginning of something much bigger. In any case, I really hope for us all that a democrat in the fashion of Barak Obama becomes the new U. S. president. Otherwise, people like you will keep doing harm to the rest of us all."

Still ducking the "tough" questions, I see. Your choice. I've not agreed to the "necessity" of anything, though. I just pointed out what the site you provided has indicated through its polling. I didn't say anything about whether or not such polling results justify any actions taken in Iraq. If you can't understand that, or simply choose to ignore it, that's fine, and not too surprising.

As for the "economic blockade," I believe that was something imposed by the UN. The U.S. supported it, of course, but the decision to enact and enforce was made by that other world body. I think it had something to do with a dictator subjugating "his" people, torturing and killing them, invading neighboring countries and killing their people, and stuff like that. You may be OK with such things, but most were not.

Your support of Barak fits you well, though. He, like you, is a man who speaks at great length with strong emotion, but generally says little of substance.

Not sure what "harm" people "like" me have done to you, but you must carry a heavy burder as the ultimate arbiter of what is good for the world. It certainly explains your unique perspective.


Dave Group
Posted 24 March 2008 at 11:19 am

Whoa! Didn't realize I was poking a stick into a nest of snakes by expressing an opinion on the JFK assassination. Basically, I feel that each conspiracy theory has to be evaluated individually according to the reliable evidence, and most fail the test (e.g., aliens at Roswell, the Philadelphia Experiment, the Bermuda Triangle, alien abductions, 9/11 theories, pretty much everything featured on Coast to Coast). Unfortunately, there are some that can't be dismissed so lightly. For a good dose of reality, I recommend such authors as Joe Nickell and Michael Shirmer.


sh0cktopus
Posted 24 March 2008 at 01:37 pm

Better dead than red.


sh0cktopus
Posted 24 March 2008 at 01:38 pm

Just kidding, trying to close the quotes.


sh0cktopus
Posted 24 March 2008 at 01:39 pm

Aaaaaaaaahhhhh...... much better. :)


Anonymousx2
Posted 24 March 2008 at 07:54 pm

Dave Group said: "I recommend such authors as Joe Nickell and Michael Shirmer."

Don't forget Jay Gould and Carl Sagan, Skeptics Supreme.

Note that they, like Shermer, are skeptics, not cynics. There is a difference.


Bolens
Posted 25 March 2008 at 03:18 am

In spelling.


atonyt
Posted 25 March 2008 at 08:02 am

Jack Olson said:
As I write this, a prominent American presidential candidate is in trouble because for twenty years he attended a church whose preacher claims that the U.S. government invented the HIV virus as a genocidal weapon against blacks. Not that the preacher has any evidence of this, of course. Nor can he explain why a genocidal weapon against black people has killed millions of white and Asian people. Nor does he try to explain why black people who practice chastity, avoid promiscuity and shun the abuse of illegal drugs (choices most preachers approve of) seem to be immune to a weapon aimed at their race. The candidate, for his part, explains that the conspiracy-theorist preacher is just like a crazy uncle one humors rather than try to argue with. That's the best thing to do with conspiracy theorists. Actually, it's about all you can do."

I wish more people would realize what kind of candidate is running for office. I am not a huge fan of any of the candidates, but this guy really scares me. How can anyone listen to this church's preaching and think "I want this man as a mentor, and the godfather of my children". Is the American public dumb enough to believe him when he says, I didn't know he was saying these type of things in church for the past 20 years.

People are actually praising Obama's speech on race, (totally avoided the subject if you ask me) but no one is mentioning the fact that the church said it will not stop its type of hate preaching. Obama is still a member at the church and has stated he will keep Wright as mentor. The church is upset and stating the media is trying to attack or lynch their great pastor who is only trying to spread God's word. To me, these speeches bear a scary resemblance to Osama's speeches and how the West is trying to attack the Muslims.

Why doesn't anyone see how scary of a candidate this guy is. I certainly don't like Hilary and McCain isn't my top choice, but right now, I will take either one over Barack.

I am not trying to start a debate or anything, I just want to know if this guy scares anyone else?


Anthropositor
Posted 25 March 2008 at 08:44 am

Not trying to be gruff. Just a relative newcomer here, so no flames, just a little smoke coming from my ears.

When I was a boy, the phrase "Better dead than Red!" was not just a clever saying that some propaganda advertising writer thought up. It was a mindset, using the word mind very loosely. It was one of the key thoughtless slogans that allowed demagogues like McCarthy to gain such terrible power. We tend to think that McCarthy was some sort of singlehanded evil genius, a Lex Luther of the real world. He was not alone.

I am, to this day, not quite sure that McCarthy did not really believe his own bullshit. He certainly must have known that his own exaggerations and unfounded charges had no real merit. But he still may have believed deeply in what he was doing. He may have thought silently, "In the bold strokes, I am right. The end is so important that it justifies the means." All that we know about McCarthy's mind is, whatever thought that crossed it was making a very short trip. And Nixon was one of his MANY henchmen.

With the benefit of hindsight, we can all get comfortable with the thought that, well, we did ultimately take him down. That shows the power of democracy. But history proves that to be nonsensical. Nixon DID come to power. And his ilk, on both sides of the aisle, continue to do so. Why? Because we mouth empty thoughtless slogans. What is the mantra that has been embraced by every single political dunce running? CHANGE! Gotta have some of that change! Even Nader and Ron Paul use this word with great frequency.

What idiocy! The changes of the past six years have sent the country and the world into a tailspin. Changes have accelerated explosively. And we can't blame it all on the shrub. We think in simplified soundbites. Slogans.

The writers of the essays here work pretty hard to get past the sound bite level. Clearly they succeed pretty well. And how do we repay this effort? We show up to be entertained. We jabber. We have sometimes lengthy and accrimonious flame wars. We dabble and from habit, allow our minds to slip back out of gear. We wait to be spoonfed our next thought, and then, more often than not, we spit it back up on our bibs undigested.

Compared to the rest of the net, our comments too, collectively, may be above average. But that isn't saying much. Good grief! I must have pissed somebody off enough to come up with a creative idea. It seems that everywhere I go, I keep stepping in soft squishy steaming piles of spectatorship.


Inti
Posted 25 March 2008 at 11:54 am

Atonyt,

I agree in that religion must be eradicated from politics by all possible and reasonable means. Ron Paul might have been the man, but let's agree that in our deluded world an agnostic candidate does not have the slightest chance of winning a democratic election. Especially in countries like the U.S. in which a majority still praises their religious beliefs over other more reasonable perspectives of life. Overall , I do not know right now who might be better, but take for sure that anyone praising the stupidity of war is not the right man for the white house. I am not a U. S. citizen, but I do care much about who is going to be in charge. The politics of the U.S. affects the rest of the world, that is a fact, and I am concerned about people like McCain acquiring the power to continue the Bush legacy of destruction and stupidity.


Terri D-C
Posted 26 March 2008 at 02:47 am

Thanks shocktopus - would have tried that myself but wasn't sure how. :)


Watcher
Posted 26 March 2008 at 02:49 am

SoxSweepAgain said: "We're really not the great, moral country we've pretended to be."

Perhaps you are. What you have stood for in the eyes of the world for about 50 of the last 60 years was dignity of the individual. Many countries pay lip service to this, France based its republic on it, but nowhere did it seem to be both in philosophy and practice so much a part of the fabric of the society and we admired that so.

But you have slipped into complacency. Those amongst you with vested interests and hunger for power have not slipped in anything and have completely undermined the rest of you and what you stand for. They have always been there but you, as a people, have always managed to hold them in check. But they come back more and more sophisticated and now, it seems, you have abdicated your responsibilities and allowed yourselves to accept the easiest option or explanation, without fail. In the process you have lost most of your own liberties and rights and are satisfied to live with a mere veneer, a surface facsimile while others, who still bleed everyday to try and create liberty and dignity for their children, are dismayed but how easily you gave it away. Bush 2000 was one thing. Bush 2004 was unconscionable in the eyes of the world - not just in terms of what it meant for us, but even for you. Have you ever thought about all you have lost? And now we watch you in 2008 and are confused by the huge importance of non-issues in how you are choosing your leader. We are intrigued. Perhaps you feel that the Executive Office is a farce? That your President may well be the most powerful individual on the planet but there are far more powerful, permanently entrenched entities that he / she can never dream to overcome in four years? How else can you allow this to degenerate into a personal popularity contest? What is happening to your economy, your healthcare, your safety and security? You don't care?

Yet every American I have ever met has embodied the values that you lament. A sense of fairness, a sense of respect. So perhaps its not really lost, just temporarily misplaced. That's ok, it's happened in the past and you managed to redress the balance. What you have is worth fighting for. We hope you can find it again.


atonyt
Posted 26 March 2008 at 04:25 am

Init,

I am not sure if I agree with you on the Bush legacy of war. Let me explain. At the time of 2003 or so, I firmly believed in what was being displayed to the public as WMD contained in Iraq. I really trusted that Powell would not mislead the public, so I supported the war effort. Now in hindsight (everything is always clear in hindsight) we see that Iraq did not contain WMD.

Do I think the Iraqi people will be better off in the long run, Yes (I certainly hope so). Do I think it was wrong to invade on such a terrible lack of evidence, Yes. When Powell left, it made me believe he was mislead. But that is a different story. The problem is, this is all in the past. We did invade and disrupt the normal way of life. That part is clear, so lets not argue about that.

What I really do not like in Obama and Clinton is they say the war is wrong, it is a civil war and we have no place in the country. We should pull out immediately. I think if either one wins, the troops will probably be home by April 09 or so. To me, this would be more tragic than what is occurring now. Bascially, we came in with good intentions on helping out (I have to believe that) and protecting our selves from this threat. The threat is no longer there, but if we leave the country in such a quick manner, then what will our troops have died for? What has the economy suffered for? To go in, put a country in ruins, and say have a nice day?

I would hope that the public here would not take the attitude of "Sorry, we messed up your way of life, hope it works out for you, we are going home because this is too hard." I think the proper thing to do, the thing we should as a nation is, admit that the premise was wrong now that we have all the information and stick out what we have started. We can't just leave, we need to help them get on their feet, become stable, and help them protect themselves.

Here is a good example. The Basra campaign happening now is being slightly blamed on the possibility that the British pulled out of the area too early and the Iraqi police were not able to handle the situation on their own. Different factions are fighting for control of the city now and the Iraq army will have their first test. I am terribly afraid that if Clinton or Barack pull out our troops this same secanrio will occur on a national level and frankly the world will want the US to return and fix what is happening because we caused it.

So let's just stick it out and try to get it right. We owe that to the troops and families that have already lost so much. We also owe it to the Iraqi people that have had their world turned upside down. Its worse to come in, offer help, find out its hard and leave, versus, come in, offer help, find out its hard, and stick it out. Hopefully we will have a friend in the end versus an enemy.


Inti
Posted 26 March 2008 at 12:34 pm

Atonyt,

I completely agree with you on this one.

But you must stop believing the invasion was made for a good cause. Perhaps the soldiers thought about it, they thought wrong, if they ever thought about it at all.
The invasion was made for purely economical reasons. Many lost their lives, others lost their hopes, and others are still losing their taxes. But there must be a few that benefit from this terrible mess.

Pulling out may not be an option. Judging those who are responsible for the many crimes and injustice committed must be an option, but I certainly think that will never happen. There are too many utterly confused people (e.g. Sid) providing such a thick screen of inertia, that societies able to pronounce a word of judgment against their leaders are unwilling to do so.
It really concerns me the complex turmoil of hatred, religion, and greed; three components that together may drive us into a second dark age.


pappyl
Posted 26 March 2008 at 02:25 pm

Interesting read, not just the article.

What's the real point, though? The civil sector will never be "apprised" of what's going on with the "civil protection" sector. And when you think you know, well let's just spin it awhile and see what else comes up.

I'd like to know what"the government" is up to, but I'm not niave enough to think that will happen, or waste my time trying to find out "the truth". Even if I did, there's so much apathy and ignorance out there it'll spin my intended message into something else anyways.

Best protection from your government is to keep churning them from party to party. Let the dirty laundry float up. Fact is we can never really eliminate the scum, as they'll just move to the private industry for awhile.

It's enough to sicken even the most optimistic soul, really. Democracy, captialism, socialism, communism, dictatorship doesn't matter always the hidden agenda of the power hungry. We'll always have sheep or people dying unneccessarily.

I'm afraid we will never ever achieve a true useful, fair, representative, ideal government. We're all just too corrupt, hell we even lie to ourselves.

Really, what kind of a man does it take to create chemicals like these, anyways? How many lies do you tell yourself to twist this back into "the right thing to do". Maybe it's a truer definition of evil at work here - willingness to do harm with any dissallusioned justification. With characters like that, the Army Captains are angels in comparison, at least they have orders.
Take that up one level - willingness to do harm and profit by it - and we have our lowly politicians.

Sorry, just losing faith in our ability to mature as a civilized society.


Anthropositor
Posted 26 March 2008 at 07:47 pm

Watcher,
Lot's of meat in #126. Not much fat, and no nits worth picking.


atonyt
Posted 27 March 2008 at 06:07 am

Inti,

As far as the war being an economic motivation, I am really not on board with that. Several people believe we went in for the oil in the country. If that was the case, we would being taking the oil from Iraq now and not be paying for it. The fact is, gas is at its highest price it has ever been in the US, and Oil is trading at the highest amount ever. But we are not stealing the oil. In fact, recently some senator has inquired where money for the oil sold by Iraq is going. From the news reports here, they are claiming that the money from oil sales in Iraq isn't being spent anywhere, including its own people. I would like to see the money go to infrastructure projects and funding for its national army and reconstruction. I don't see what the problem is, but its likely politicians and beauracy.

As far as an individual profiting from the war (I think you suspect Bush), I would still have to disagree. Believe you me, the general public is not happy with him and Democrats love any dirt they can find. So if he in any way profited from the war, the word would get out somehow. I just don't see it.

I am not the most worldly person, nor do I have the IQ that most folks do on this website, but I do believe the premise for the war was the paranoia from 9/11 and perceiving a threat that didn't exists, because he wanted it to exists. Bush was trying to find evidence to prove his theory versus letting the evidence provide a theory.


Inti
Posted 27 March 2008 at 07:03 am

Atonyt,

I disagree with you on this last one. No offence, but your rationale above is naive, to say the least. I do not think Bush plays an important role on all these. He is just the simplest pawn in a complex and intricate network of economical interests and religious delusions. Just make a little research on the political relationships in the Middle East, and you will find that Iraq was the last country you will want to invade in order to reduce or eliminate Muslim religious fanaticism, a true threat to world peace, and to the lives of all people living in free and progressive countries. I will even venture to say that religious fanaticism and extremisms is the worst WMD ever to exist in human history.

But no, the U. S. government was interested in an easy target, the weakest of all countries in the Middle East in military terms, and one with the largest reserves of oil. While the majority of hijackers that crashed into the towers were from Saudi origin, and Saudi Arabia is one of the least democratic countries on Earth (they keep beheading people by the sword, and have one of the most retrograde societies), the U. S. supports and continue to do business with this country. Moreover, if you carefully analyze the history of U. S. lead wars in the Middle East, you will find that there has been no other country more supportive of Islamic fundamentalism that this one.

There is an excellent account by Sam Harris entitled “The End of Faith”, in which he presents historical evidence and well supported references to all the formerly discussed.

Truth is out there, we just need to look carefully, and you may realize that most of our history just simply does not make any sense at all.


atonyt
Posted 27 March 2008 at 07:33 am

Inti,

No argument there with religious fundamentalism being the worst enemy. Those people are crazy. And good points with Saudi Arabia. I think we do business with them because the leadership doesn't give problems to us. That would be my guess. You are right that my views are extremely limited. I don't read as often as I would like to.

But if you are saying that the war is for economic reasons and Bush or the US are not the ones profiting from it, then who is?


Inti
Posted 27 March 2008 at 08:55 am

Well, my point is that there are people in the U. S. profiting from the war, including Bush; for example, the many private mercenary services operating in Iraq. When I said that Bush does not play a role in the organization of war, is due to its lack of true leadership and insight. However, we all can bet he has not lost one dollar since 2001.


atonyt
Posted 28 March 2008 at 03:39 am

I have no doubt that someone is profiting from the war in Iraq in the US. I also have no doubt that others outside of the US are profiting as well. I just really have a hard time following the logic of this being the true intention of the war. I stick by my claims posted in 131 for following the plan of having a theory and trying to find evidence to prove the theory.

But regardless of why it started, we need to fix what is happening and then let them be. Let's get past what is already done and work on getting things straight. We can discuss all day long things of the past (I love history), but solving the present and future problems are the true enigmas.


Watcher
Posted 28 March 2008 at 11:29 am

Kind words, Anthropositior, (#130) and much appreciated by a newcomer.

Most of the comments in this thread bear out my conviction in the inherent qualities and values that your children are brought up with and carry within them as adults. I am privileged to be in all of your (virtual) company.


sid
Posted 28 March 2008 at 12:20 pm

Inti said: "Atonyt,

I agree in that religion must be eradicated from politics by all possible and reasonable means.

Where did he say that? He may very well feel that, but I'm having difficulties identifying where, in his post, he actually said what you feel.

Ron Paul might have been the man, but let's agree that in our deluded world an agnostic candidate does not have the slightest chance of winning a democratic election.

If you are trying to imply that Ron Paul is an agnostic, where do you get your information? He has published pieces defending Christianity, and stated he believes our Founding Fathers felt the nation they established was grounded in Christianity, but should be tolerant of different religious beliefs. Plus, to the best of my knowledge, Ron Paul identifies himself as a Baptist. If you have something indicating different, or you are referring to someone else as an agnostic, please feel free to elaborate.

Especially in countries like the U.S. in which a majority still praises their religious beliefs over other more reasonable perspectives of life.

Not really sure what this means. What are those other "more reasonable perspectives of life," and who determines reasonableness?

Overall , I do not know right now who might be better, but take for sure that anyone praising the stupidity of war is not the right man for the white house. I am not a U. S. citizen, but I do care much about who is going to be in charge. The politics of the U.S. affects the rest of the world, that is a fact, and I am concerned about people like McCain acquiring the power to continue the Bush legacy of destruction and stupidity."

Once again, some clarification, please. Who is "praising the stupidity of war"? McCain? The same McCain who has said:

"I detest war. It might not be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description. When nations seek to resolve their differences by force of arms, a million tragedies ensue. The lives of a nation’s finest patriots are sacrificed.

Innocent people suffer and die. Commerce is disrupted; economies are damaged; strategic interests shielded by years of patient statecraft are endangered as the exigencies of war and diplomacy conflict. Not the valor with which it is fought nor the nobility of the cause it serves, can glorify war. Whatever gains are secured, it is loss the veteran remembers most keenly."

I know you don't like dealing in specifics, especially when your anti-American/anti-Bush/anti-religion views are confronted, but perhaps you could indulge me just this once.


cyclosarin
Posted 31 March 2008 at 08:38 am

Damn interesting, I'd heard of this incident before but it's always good to hear a new perspective. I can't believe they would be so careless.

Judging by the damage a mistake like that could do I'd hate to see the worst case scenario for a terrorist attack with VX. It has already been synthesized and used in the past by Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese apocalyptic cult.


Silverhill
Posted 01 April 2008 at 04:33 pm

Fortunately, Aum Shinrikyo did not use VX, or there would have been many more deaths. They "merely" used Sarin---which was bad enough, to be sure!


cyclosarin
Posted 02 April 2008 at 06:36 am

Silverhill said: "Fortunately, Aum Shinrikyo did not use VX, or there would have been many more deaths. They "merely" used Sarin-which was bad enough, to be sure!"

That was in their most well known attack, on the Tokyo subway. There was another attack in a residential area that also used Sarin. They actually did manage to synthesize VX. They never used it in a full scale attack, instead attempting to use it as an assassination weapon... most notably in the murder of Tadahiro Hamaguchi, who was sprayed with VX from a syringe on his way to work.

VX is particularly deadly when absorbed through the skin. Had they used it in the subway it wouldn't have vaporised and spread as easily as the sarin did.


Anthropositor
Posted 02 April 2008 at 07:53 am

Cyclosarin and Silverhill,
Your remarks above are refreshingly lucid and well thought out. Perhaps though, there are subjects in which even that can pose some dangers. During my childhood, in World War II, there was the catchphrase "Loose lips sink ships!" We are in a public venue, available to friends and enemies alike.

I am for the free exchange of ideas. I am also a professional tactician and strategist, and teach these skills. I don't teach them until I have good indications that the students present will use the skills I teach responsibly. The same is true in brainstorming about terroristic acts and methods. This is not meant to be critical of you. Just an observation.

Somewhere else, perhaps on this thread, someone said something to the effect that no member of the public had died because of nuclear or chemical warfare. Even with secrecy in place, there is substantial evidence to the contrary. I said nothing. I would have been challenged to cite the instances, not all of which were accidents.


Silverhill
Posted 02 April 2008 at 05:35 pm

cyclosarin---thanks for the extra info; I hadn't researched it enough.
Anthropositor---thanks for the compliment, and for the cautions! (Although I don't publicly discuss the specifics of such Bad Things, there may well be those who didn't watch the news back then and who could be inspired by re-discussions of them....)


Erasure
Posted 11 April 2008 at 01:00 am

Nixon may have and probably did disband the Army Chemical Corp at that time but there is no way development in chemical weapons would have stopped. With the cold war still going strong and the red under the bed syndrome, research and development would have continued. The only difference is under a new unit with a new name. Any real changes after this whole debacle? No.

Erasure [spammy link removed]


Jen_I
Posted 21 April 2008 at 12:49 pm

On a random sidenote, I worked at Dugway.. Definetly one of the weirdest jobs I've ever had, it was for a contractor, and I worked in supply, this story happened before my time, but I no doubt believe it, peoples minds would be blown if they knew what happened out there.


kombinat
Posted 29 April 2008 at 10:42 pm

Anthropositor, I wish there were ten million of you.


st33med
Posted 03 May 2008 at 11:25 am

I am kinda late on this subject.

Anyways, I agree that there are tons of conspiracies that just become swept under the rug. But then there are also false conspiracies or stupid conspiracies. Like those that say we did not land on the moon, even though there is video, sound, and witnesses of a rocket being shot off into the air with several million dollars of equipment. Then there are conspiracy theories that further political agenda. For example, witch hunts were executed because the Pope of the time in Europe was afraid of woman gaining power and toppling his throne. He spawned rumors and theories of woman using medicine and plants to eat kids or produce evil 'magic'. Consequently, woman who were pregnant and used medicine were killed in the trifle. Some conspiracies are good, yet some are just dim-witted.

Oh, and, yes, there should be a million of Anthropositors to tell the world that any spy satellite would burn up in the atmosphere and would not harm people unless, by unlucky coincidence, they were hit by a surviving piece of metal.


Nano_Burger
Posted 08 May 2008 at 08:55 am

I'm kind of late on the subject as well.

I have 20 years (so far) in the Army Chemical Corps and have been to Dugway a few times although mostly in other capacities. I'd like to address a misconception in the original article.

"VX was a triumph among the biological warfare community."

The biological warfare community really didn't care about VX. VX is a chemical warfare agent, not a biological toxin. The term biological toxin is reserved for toxins of biological origin such as ricin, T2 mycotoxin (yellow rain), or BOTOX (the weapons grade variety). The US considers biological toxins as biological weapons even if produced by purely chemical means whereas the old Soviet Union considered toxins as chemical weapons no matter how they were produced.

"In 1974 the US Senate ratified the international Biological Weapons Convention which prohibited the use of toxin-based weapons such as VX."

The 1974 BWC did nothing to our doctrine considering VX. As noted, VX is a chemical weapon and not considered a biological weapon. Only the much later Chemical Weapons Convention which went into force in 1993 banned the use of VX for the signatories.

The doctrine when I first joined the Chemical Corps was no use of biological warfare agents and only retaliatory use of chemical warfare agents. Now we will not use biological or chemical weapons in any capacity. We certainly would retaliate, but as we were taught in school, "retaliation will not be limited in scope or kind." That is a diplomatic way of saying, "I hope you have SPF 5000 sun block around." In a way, the ban on chemical and biological weapons limits the types of responses when we are attacked by these weapons. The death and destruction of nuclear weapons are orders of magnitude higher than anything capable of chemical or biological weapons. Everyone seems to be in love with the acronym WMD that lumps chem, bio and nuclear into one category. If you spend some quality time with casualty prediction software, you will quickly see the exponential jump when using nuclear weapons. Plus you can do something about chem and bio weapons, protective masks, prophylaxis, safe rooms, decontamination etc. With nuclear, the only thing you can do put space between you and ground zero (well, you do other stuff, but nothing is even remotely as effective as not being around the detonation).

Anywho, I think the United States experience with these weapons has taught us one very important thing. Build your weapons with an expectation that you will eventually have to get rid of them in controlled manner. Nothing worse than trying to safely get rid of thousands of gallons of VX!


xtiml
Posted 30 May 2008 at 06:37 am

sadly we are just like the sheep. Is anyone aware of the treaty on testing chemical weapons the U.S. has signed and most other united nations countries? Well it is a treaty that bans testing on people other than your own countrymen! in other werds my brain dead friends, our government can test on us but not on canadians or mexicans, and they signed this shit and they do this shit, and they got plenty more in store for us in the coming future years. as an aside, our govt did undercover virus testing and radiation testing they still suffer from up in eastern washington and parts there, all these cattle mutilations are biopsies to chreck on results and effects of same tests. There aint no aliens except the people running this show are alien as inn alien to any sense of any decency as they are the most degenerate sacks a shit eating maggots ever walked the earth.


DontPanic
Posted 05 June 2008 at 02:34 am

Americans .... at least they can't do that anymore. I hope they can't do that anymore... i mean they could at least check their planes to make sure they work properly before they unleash deadly chemicals onto their own country.


Anthropositor
Posted 10 July 2008 at 10:53 pm

Thank you Kombinat #145.

I look forward to seeing what appears on the new currently empty blog with your name and the description "collaborating strategically towards new integration."


dugwayvet
Posted 16 July 2008 at 03:20 pm

I was the airfield commander at Michael Army Airfield on Dugway from 1988 to 1992. I have read the original report on the sheep kill incident. This incident, as reported here, is grossly inaccurate. The report is available to anyone who wishes to read it under the Freedom of Information Act. The chemical agent was released by an Air Force F-4 Phantom (not an Army aircraft) due to a malfunctioning valve. This aircraft, from Hill Air Force Base, was to participate in a test on Dugway but the test was cancelled when the valve prematurely opened. The altitude of the F-4 and the small amount of agent released made it impossible for the number of dead sheep. There was no statement released because any explanation would be met with skepticism (as seen here). Several autopsies (more than 50) were performed on the sheep. There were no chemical agents found in the sheep, however, there was evidence of toxins. These toxins are common to the Skull Valley area (hence, the name) and are found in the desert vegetation. When sheep are moved from one location to another, they WILL graze on any vegetation found enroute (as they did here). After these findings, the Army purchased the dead sheep from the owner and disposed of them. The incident was closed without comment. These are the facts. Believe what you wish.


Anthropositor
Posted 31 July 2008 at 03:22 am

Commander, to my mind your remarks are not credible or well supported. You say you read the original report twenty to twenty four years after the incident. You rely on this report absolutely. I'm not going to characterize that. Wouldn't be polite.

Instead, let me highlight some of the things that stood out for me in the story, and perhaps relate them to your extremely limited remarks.

Thousands of sheep die. Estimates range from 3,483 to 6400. That sets off no alarm bells in your mind?

But to go on. Now according to the story, veterinarians were called in to euthanize the few remaining surviving animals. That rather pisses me off. The government paying veterinarians premium bucks to do what a nickle .22 calibre slug could accomplish. But never mind... I'll come back to this point.

Then we do find a slight oddity; the use of the word acetylcholinesterase. In common parlance, one would refer to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, or the enzyme that neutralizes it as cholinesterase. Before my stroke I could have told you the exact chemicals resulting from this action, but I couldn't really say now with any certainty. If I was guessing, one of the resulting residues is probably acetic acid. But I digress.

I see nothing about the Peck family or Mr. Baranowski getting compensated for anything that happenned to them as a result of this incident. I'll bet they did not get a cent. Nice to hear that some of the sheep owners recieved some compensation, but I'll bet it was the absolute minimum the government could possibly get away with. (I'll admit that I have a little bias here, since I know with certainty that the government, on several occassions deprived me of my own resources even though I proved, using the IRS's own criteria that I had been improperly assessed for many years. The so-called IRS "appeals officer" Larry Staubaugh laughingly told me I could only get the last three years of these improper assessments back. If WE make a mistake, the government can go back on us for a decade. But if the government makes a long standing mistake for many years, we lose all they took, when we prove it except for the last three years, at the time of the discovery of the error. A logical error and an outrageous double standard.)

But getting back to the issue at hand. Was the Army consistant in this matter? I think not. And I think it is quite significant that Baranowski's medical records so conveniently disappeared. Do you think the Freedom Of Information Act might be able to come up with them?

Let me ask you to entertain a little logic, as an officer and a gentleman, and see if the Army's position is in the slightest degree credible.

They blamed the entire incident on the "relocation" of a waterhole. The sheep got confused and disoriented. So confused that 3,483 to 6,400 suddenly died of thirst. If that were the case, it strikes me that the animals not yet dead would recover quite nicely in fairly short order if they were wet down and allowed to drink a bucket of water. Yet the surviving sheep here were "euthanized." Why?

Let me put a finer point on this. I was once dizzyingly, deliriously thirsty. Close to finding out if there was a diety. Then, accross a ravine, I saw a wooden water tank. I scrambled desperately. I got to it. I climbed the rebar ladder hoping against hope that I would find access to water on top and that there was no padlock requiring me to climb back down to find a big rock to smash it with. I could tell there was water in there by kicking the wall of the tower on the way up, but I couldn't tell how full it was. If the tank was only half full, I couldn't jump in with any assurance I could get back out again. In which case, I could assuage my thirst and then drown.

I got to the top. There was a hinged door right there by the rungs I was climbing. No padlock! I heaved that sucker open. Right there, within six or eight inches from the top was dark scummy water right below the cobwebs and ancient corpses of many dead insects. I just swept my forarm accross it, sweeping the surface debris aside, immersed my face and drank. And drank. And drank. And barfed (over the side, not into the water) and drank some more. Best damn water I ever came accross.

My point is, I recovered my wits and my health very quickly. I was still lost, but it was no longer a critical emergency. Sheep are pretty delicate I guess.

I love my country, but I would be very pleased if equity were more readily available from its' various agencies. Basic honesty is really a good thing for government. It may actually be even more important than capitalism or socialism. I hold it to be subversive for government to as untrustworthy and arbitrary as I have seen them be. Patriotism should be inspired by the full spectrum of current behaviors of our various government appendages. So why is it that at every turn they lie? Two quick examples: There is a Taxpayer Advocates office. Sounds encouraging doesn't it? But it is an employee with an IRS I.D. number who you will make contact with if you try to avail yourself of their "services." And at every turn, when you appear in U.S. Tax Court, and in the voluminous exchanges of paperwork before you actually get to court, you are frequently and gratuitiously assured by the judges or their clerks, both in writing and over the phone, that the U.S. Tax Court is entirely independent of the IRS. Nonsense! And that fiction is not made more true by its' constant reiteration.

Your last remark, Commander, indicates to me that you have made your pronouncement of the "facts" of the matter, and that's that. Guess I'm stuck with believing what I will.


Lareth
Posted 09 September 2008 at 06:51 am

"When you're taking the casuality tolls of massive sheep death, how do you manage to stay awake?"

Nothing funnier than this, you deserve a medal.


golight
Posted 02 February 2009 at 08:54 pm

The battle cry of the British during their efforts to retake the Falkland islands.."Don't give up the sheep".


Mirage_GSM
Posted 14 April 2009 at 07:49 am

They blamed the entire incident on the "relocation" of a waterhole. The sheep got confused and disoriented. So confused that 3,483 to 6,400 suddenly died of thirst. If that were the case, it strikes me that the animals not yet dead would recover quite nicely in fairly short order if they were wet down and allowed to drink a bucket of water. Yet the surviving sheep here were "euthanized." Why?
If you read the article carefully, you will note that the story with the relocated waterhole had nothing to do with the sheep incident. That was regarding an incident six years later with about 50 dead horses. Of course it is a very dubious explanation for that incident as well...


Mirage_GSM
Posted 15 April 2009 at 04:02 am

Seems the Forum swallowed part of the code.
The first paragraph should be a quote from post #152.


bolivar
Posted 28 March 2011 at 07:42 pm

Well, the last comment was about 2 years ago and this topic is probably pretty much dead.
But, I'll throw this out anyway.
I was there at Dugway. I was in Bio Test, the guys in Chem Test ran the failed test. But I, along with most of the enlisted people at Dugway got to bury the sheep.
Several smaller wrong things have been stated. The sheep were not buried on Dugway. Of course, the land was/is owned by BLM, Bureau of Land Management and leased to LARGE ranchers for sheep grazing. In the mid-90's they dug all the remains up and took them somewhere for destruction.
The valve on the spray tank did not fail before the test, it was the cutoff mechanism that failed and this, of course, was at the end of the test.
The test failure was because setting up the test was extremely expensive. Thousands of test samplers were set out (very simple, just pieces of paper in a holder). Extensive photographic equipment, weather instumentation, etc, etc, etc was set up. Arming the F4 with 320 gallons of VX in two spray tanks. Several 'chase' planes and a photo plane were in the air. (I think the Air Force (right about not being Army) were from Elgin AFB, Fl not Hill). Even starting out that morning the weather was 'marginal'. High winds, snow were there in the morning. They were 'losing the light' when the test officier gave the go-ahead to run the test late in the afternoon. This was the mistake. It was run because of the pressure of calling off a test that took a huge amount of money/manpower to set up. Immediately after the test there were thunderstorms just to the north and south of the test area. Wind blew over a trailer and blew down a weather instrument tower just after the test. 50mph winds. I'm talking within the next 10 minutes or so. This caused the problem. The cutoff valve did malfunction and who knows how much VX was put high into the air at the end of he run. But the thunderstorm moving thru the test grid picked up a large amount of the agent cloud and blew it off Dugway. It got two large herds of sheep, one just at the end of Dugway, the next about 5 miles or so further in Skull Valley. But it also went about 10 miles further and sickened several sheep at the rancher's headquarters. And it also passed across or thru a pass in a very tall mountain range and also sicked a few sheep on the other side - about a total of 50 miles downrange. I knew the 'counters' at the holes where the sheep were dumped. About 3,500 sheep were buried. The Army paid for about 6,500.
The rancher put 10 healthy marked (big red smear of paint) sheep, brought in from outside, into a pen right where the first herd went down. Within just a few days (5 or so) about 6 of the sheep, eating same grass that the herd ate, showed the same symptoms that the other thousands showed. This mean the agent was there and was still viable. And, this was the same time we were picking up the dead sheep. With NO PROTECTIVE GEAR. We wore fatigues, caps, and regular boots. No rubber gear or breathing masks.
I have several health problems. I tried for over 5 years to get VA comphensation for my health problems. I was rejected each time. At the last rejection, the VA 'Judge' admitted, in writting, that I had been 'exposed' to VX. But I have no proof there is any long-term health danger to being exposed. So my claim was rejected again. To file an appeal to this, it would have to be done in person in Washington DC, and would require a lawyer. I don't have the money to continue with this, so it's the end of my claim.
The only reason people get Agent Orange benefits is because a medial school, Texas at Austin I think, took this up as a 'cause' and spent about 10 years reseaching and capturing info to submit to the VA about veterans health problems. There are now about 20 illnesses that are accepted as being caused by Agent Orange exposure. One of these I have. If I had been in Vietnam for 30 days, I would be receiving VA benefits now. Noone has ever took up anything about VX exposure, so me, and many other military and civilian R&D people that were exposed have no 'evidence' to quote for health problems.
There wasn't much 'coverup' when this happened. I was national news for a couple of weeks. No way to cover it up. Utah State University and Utah University were heavily involved in digging into this. Utah State has large vet school and were highly involved. But since they had no idea what VX was or what it did, there was little they could report.


Azronus
Posted 10 April 2011 at 02:32 am

1c3d0g said: "Damn, that was an interesting read. I already knew VX was highly poisonous if airborne and inhaled even in extremely small quantities, but I wasn’t aware that if the chemical came in contact with your skin you’d be dead in 10 minutes or less. How does it achieve this? Is it like some type of acid, where it burns through your skin and goes into your bloodstream?"

No, Many things are simply absorbed through the skin and into the blood stream, Muscle Rubs, Neosporin, and other creams are a prime example of this principal.


eye-doc
Posted 29 February 2012 at 02:24 pm

My father was one of the developers of VX, working as a contracted chemist. He was fully aware the gas had caused the sheeps death. He was so disgusted by the army's cover up that he quit working with them. It's so typical for the army and government to cover up everthing. Just glad my father had the integrity to walk rather than put up with the government games.


Jeremy M
Posted 09 August 2012 at 03:00 pm

What a sheepish way for the Army to act...


END OF COMMENTS
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