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ALERT! Whales In Danger from Military Manuevers in Pacific: Navy Comment Period to Close

by Geof Bard Monday, May. 08, 2006 at 5:09 PM

Time is running out for melon head whales who were vicitimized before when USN sonar tests caused them to beach themselves. In at least one recent case this has caused them to die. There is STILL TIME LEFT for you to take action with the NRDC...

ALERT! Whales In Dan...
internationalfundforwildlifephotockmgoracapecodtimes.jpg, image/jpeg, 350x324

TIME RUNNING OUT FOR PACIFIC WHALES
NAVY WAR EXERCISES THREATEN MARINE MAMMALS

BRIEF PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD TO EXPIRE SOON

Time Sensitive

Pacific Coast, May 2, 2006

Geof Bard Reports

...................................................

The whales were here first.

They rode the Pacific current long before the first woman stood erect on the continent of Europe.

We are the newcomers, mere carpet baggers on their earth. Yet the common bond of brotherhood/sisterhood runs through our veins: we are mammals.

SHORT ON TIME? GO TO THIS LINK AND SEND A QUICK COMMENT TO THE US NAVY NRDC or copy and paste this link onto your emails or website: http://www.nrdcaction.org/action/index.asp?step=2&item=52189

Sonar Comment Letter Direct link.


Whales got hair. Like humans.

No crusty reptiles. No slimy amphibians, smelly fish or crabby insects, these sports.

The whales are as much our brothers and sisters as the cute little kittens we adore, the rough and tumble labrador retrievers we take out in the park, those magnificent horses we love to ride, or those marvelous lions that roam our mountains.

But we are failing our mammalian kinfolk, as their herds are increasingly jeopardized by illegal fishing combines from Japan, other pirate capitalisms, and the military paraphernalia that is filling the earth, the skies, and the seas.

The Boys with Their Toys

Sonar sounds like fun- no pun intended. For us, it seems to be a high tech amusement. But for whales, it spells death.

Remember playing battleship with Dad?

4A Hit!

5B Hit!

6C You sink the sub!

Yah!

The stuff of good childhood memories. Sink the Sub, we called it, but, as Stephanie Miller makes apparent, other kids called it Battleship.

A harmless pastime, right?

A Game of Death

Not right. Real sonar is no game It is a deadly battle with high stakes. Picture Gene Hackett and Denzel Washington. Nazi sea wolfs and Russian sailors. Ping ping death from above. Where there is sonar, there are depth charges, torpedoes, and the long arm of the Grim Reaper.

Propaganda to the contrary, environmentalists and champions of wildlife do not make light of military priorities.

According to the Defense Department, Iran and China are poised to deploy, or already are deploying, ultra quiet deisel submarines that can possibly sneak past traditional defenses designed to detect noisier Cold War era nucleur subs. So, they claim, they need to polish up their anti-sub technology in the channels of the Hawaiin Islands, which are similar to those of the strategically important Straits of Hormuz.

The only problem is that the ping ping pinging of sonar off the rocky sea bottom is like the shrieking demons of hell, as far as whales are concerned. Disoriented, confused and frightened, they can't but flee the hellish cacophonies generated by these war toys.

And, as often as not, they end up pinioned in some barren cove, stranded away from the gentle currents they call home. There, lacking intervention by the tireless heroes of the deep ecology movement, animal rescuers, they would perish.

The Navy dismisses the clear and convincing evidence that these military exercises harm marine mammals with a cavalier denial of the obvious. “There is no evidence of sonar causing harm...” says Lt. William Marks. But then how does he account for the fully documented stranding of 150 melon heads off the island of Kauai in 2004? Last week NOAA released a report which linked this tragic event to Navy sonar testing, and there is no other credible explanation. \

According to Veterinarian Teri Rowles, “we can find no other cause for this event”. What part of that does the Navy not understand.

American Patriots Defend Her Wildlife

No one wants our ships to be at the mercy of Beijing directed submarines. No one wants the US Navy to be handicapped in defense of its ships. But that does not mean we can turn the oceans into a barren, lifeless poisoned lake where its rich wildlife becomes a relic of a living past. The destruction of the living ocean would represent not just a lost war but a lost planet.

A limited advantage in one specific skirmish could mean a lot to the seamen affected. There is no minimizing the distinct possibility that a well seeded tried and tested submarine detection technology is a valuable asset to the Navy. My father was a navigator and meterologist for the US Navy during the Korean War, and my ancestors have served in the Dutch navy for centuries. As the scion of a seafaring tribe, I would not disrespect my ancestral traditions by in any manner undercutting legitimate maritime concerns.

But all people of the sea, whose blood runs in my veins, hold the ancient great mammals in the highest reverence. Luietenant Mark's disingenous mumbling does not speak for sailors anymore than my words. But the melodious song of the whale speaks in accents and dialects which supercede the blitherings of even the most nautical Ahab. There is no marine soul who can speak against the ancient right of the whale to ride the waves, and any one who would call themselves any kind of sailor would have to concede that no sailor worth his salt would abide in the extinction of the most ancient seafaring tribe of them all, the cetaceans.

The National Resources Defense Council, a highly reputable organization with whom I trained during my law school days, has take a position of leadership on this issue. Readers would do well to google their way onto their website, find their action alerts, and get some commentary in to NOAA before the expiration of the narrow public comment window.

As for any sailor who thinks that “save the whale eco-freaks” are somehow at odds with their bona fide interests in training to meet the threat of Soviet submarines, I suggest they ponder long and hard whether they are men of the sea first, or nine to fivers. Because when it gets down to it, the excuse :I was only following orders” makes as little sense as a defense to ecocide or cetacide as it does to Nazi genocide.

We would have to ask ourselves what kind of admirals are running the show if if are so scared of Beijing's submarines that we can't train our defense forces without wiping out whole tribes of cetaceans.

I don't think that things are so bad that we need to be unduly frightened of submarines Made In China. Hawaii is still Hawaii, the sea is still the sea, and the channels of Hawaii are an ancient, sacred gathering place for the whale herds, a consecrated ground we should disturb no more than we would disturb Gettysburg or Harpers Ferry.

============================================================================================================

This report is substantially based on the research of TONY PERRY as reported in the LA Times, an excellent newspaper which is currently jeopardized by cutbacks implemented by its new corporate owners based in Chicago. This writer encourages IMC readers to support conscientious mainstream journalists in this time, when corporate mergers threaten editorial and journalistic independence.

GEOF BARD, while living in Florida, was a close follower of the dispute between the Makah Tribe and Skipper Paul Watson, regarding the issuance of a Federal whale hunt permit to the tribe. Geof started out leaning toward the whale protection side in his capacity of list serv administrator of A1AEarthFirst, which formed at the time of the WTO demonstrations and the birth of Indymedia. However, it soon became apparent that, although there were some ethically questionable tactics being employed by certain indigenous rights proponents, there was a serious lack of cultural sensitivity and humility on the part of the animal protectionists, as well as extremist tendencies on both sides of the issue, which were exploited by parties with no respect for either whales or Indians. After swimming with wild dolphins and tiger sharks in Atlantic, Geof moved back to the West Coast and prayed with Makah leadership, subequently learning more of the difficult balance between indigenouis rights and wildlife protection. He recommends the movie Whale Rider as a good introduction to the whole issue.

Please: don't just sit there! Get your comments in to the US Navy while the public comment period is still open.

More info:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002958095_whales28.html

http://swfsc.nmfs.noaa.gov/prd/CruiseInformation/docs/ObserverManualHICEAS.pdf



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