The dew was thick underfoot and the stars were thick overhead when Koko and I set out walking this morning. Venus added her cheerful glow to the scene, remaining bright even as the sky followed suit. Given the clear skies and puffy clouds on the eastern horizon, I thought for sure it would be a colorful sunrise, a golden dawn, but the sun had its own ideas and instead burrowed in deep and delivered up gray, leaving me to wonder what the rest of the day may hold.
I’ve been wondering about the recent reports of massive bird deaths, first in Beebe, Arkansas, where some 4,000 to 5,000 redwing blackbirds were found dead on Saturday morning, and then in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, where another 500 blackbirds and starlings died on Monday. Wildlife officials are trying to figure out what’s up, at least with the Arkansas deaths:
Preliminary autopsies on 17 of the up to 5,000 blackbirds that fell on this town indicate they died of blunt trauma to their organs, the state's top veterinarian told NBC News on Monday.
Their stomachs were empty, which rules out poison, Dr. George Badley said, and they died in midair, not on impact with the ground.
That evidence, and the fact that the red-winged blackbirds fly in close flocks, suggests they suffered some massive midair collision, he added. That lends weight to theories that they were startled by something.
While some have speculated it was violent weather —another potentially troubling consequence of the extreme weather associated with global climate change — an Arkansas National Weather Service forecaster said the rough weather was well east of Beebe before the birds started falling.
Others have raised the question of whether the die-offs — a massive fish kill occurred on the Arkansas River, 125 miles away, the day before, but is supposedly unrelated — are due to some sort of secret weapons testing. A similar query was raised following last year's fish and whale kills around Kauai and Niihau. As a piece about the recent die-offs posted on PrisonPlanet.com noted:
Given the history of governments across the world performing unwitting experiments on their populations, the number one suspect in such cases should always be government.
I’m not sure if the government/military should always be the number one suspect, but as history, and most recently the WikiLeaks disclosures, have confirmed, governments/military often do not act in the best interest of the people.
As Nigeria’s foremost newspaper, The Guardian, observed in naming WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange its “2010 Man of the Year:”
By his actions, therefore, Mr. Assange seems to have raised the bar for public accountability among nations, and probably within individual governments,' The Guardian's Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director, Mr. Eluem Emeka Izeze, wrote Tuesday.
'Officials now know that in an information age driven by technology, their opinions and decisions may sooner rather than later surface in the public space,' Izeze added.
He said Assange seemed also to have redefined the word 'secret', and opened up, for good, the murky world of bureaucracies, to the public for critical examination.
'These are momentous developments which are stripping governments of their exclusive preserves, and handing to citizens the function of determining the nature and scope of government activities,' The Guardian's Editor-in-Chief wrote.
In light of all that, there's certainly no need to wonder why the U.S. is hell bent on treating Assange as a terrorist who should be silenced, or why the military is detaining PFC Bradley Manning, who is accused of giving WikiLeaks numerous classified documents, in such deplorable isolated conditions that the Psychologists for Social Responsibility wrote a letter of protest to Defense Secretary Gates.
Those who hold power are always loathe to relinquish it — especially to the people.