Friday, March 27, 2009

Musings: On the Defense

Strands of pink floated in a magical lavender sky and the clouds draped themselves so as to give flat-topped Waialeale the appearance of jagged peaks when Koko and I went walking this morning.

The world brightened quickly with a blaze of orange in the east that reached out to set Makaleha rosily glowing. Palm fronds clattered and eucalyptus trees sighed as the wind gusted, carrying the smells of citrus blossoms, spider lilies, coffee, burnt toast.

That was the grand lead up to the decidedly less showy main event, when a pale sun pulled itself weakly up over the horizon and disappeared into a blanket of spackled gray.

Despite shutting down service, the Hawaii Superferry has not yet disappeared from discussion or scrutiny, with even formerly silent players going on the defense.

As Disappeared News noted, Young Brothers defended the cost and speed of its freight service, which had been maligned in media reports about the demise of the ferry, and said its company and others that use state harbors have been subjected to environmental reviews.

And Tim Dick, one of the founders of Hawaii Superferry, used his blog to defend the boat’s environmental record, dismiss the military conspiracy theory and sling a bit of mud on those who opposed the ferry.

It was interesting to read his take on things, but the comments — aside from Brad Parson’s —seemed a bit too polished, perfect and predictable to be fully legit. Words like hence aren’t typically seen in comment sections dominated by ferry supporters. And then there are the fawning sentiments:

Thanks, Tim, for bringing it all into focus once again. Great vision and care for the environment drove this project from day one.

Gee, if only that sort of vision and care had been driving the nation’s financial markets, we wouldn’t be in such a mess. Or on second thought, maybe that’s precisely what did run it aground. At any rate, one statistic in particular has been running through my mind since I heard it on Democracy Now! yesterday in an interview with journalist Daniel Brook: 47 percent of Americans report living paycheck to paycheck.

And as Brook pointed out, when you don’t have universal health care and good public transportation, all it takes is a car break down or a medical emergency to push those folks right over the edge — or into the clutches of super-high-interest lenders.

On a totally unrelated note, I liked this report on a new study that shows yes, crabs do feel and remember pain, and so try to avoid it. It’s always so satisfying to see another one of our misperceptions about animals as unfeeling, clueless critters laid to rest.

The military, meanwhile, is trying to lay to rest any speculation that it was to blame for the January and February deaths of humpback whale calves and fish around Kauai and Niihau. As The Garden Island reports today:

“I’d like to further clarify that all activities that took place on the range during this time were normal and within the scope of our EIS, to include both classified and unclassified operations,” said PMRF spokesman Tom Clements in an e-mail, responding to a report in The Garden Island that military activity could have caused large fish kills and the deaths of two baby whales.

A DARPA official also said the military did not cause the deaths.

“There were classified military operations in the area during that time frame. I cannot provide details of these operations, but I can tell you definitively that no rodenticide or chemicals were involved, nor were there any underwater sonar, acoustics or explosions,” said Jan R. Walker of DARPA external relations in a written statement provided by Clements. “In short, the tests did not involve any activities that could harm fish or marine mammals.”

Well, there you have it. Case closed. Except I'm not quite sure where the reporter got the part about DARPA also says the military did not cause the deaths. Unless there's something missing from this report, Tom Clements never actually does exonerate the military. Instead, he defends the activities as being "normal and within the scope of our EIS." And that doesn't mean non-lethal.


Anonymous said...

Iʻm sorry but the militaryʻs word doesnʻt cut it. Especially the yes man Clements. Thatʻs not how things are determined in this world.

The way it stands now, for myself (a member of the public), the onus ended up on DARPA and military...and itʻs still there.

Has the state forked over the $15,000 needed for the additional tests yet?

If not, what is their problem?

This is serious. Iʻd say start getting the lawyers lined up. That should open some DARPA doors and state too if they are complicit in a cover-up or shielding.

Anonymous said...

"Normal and within the scope of our EIS".....Which really holds no weight of accountability.

Please read: the EPA's letter addressed to Tom Clements in response to the Final EIS dated June 10th, 2008.

From the letter.....
Navy's response to EPA's suggestion of precaution using MFA sonar: "not mandated to alleviate all risk to marine mammals."

EPA's findings in regards to protecting sea life.......
"limited data", "sparse data", conclusions without basis", "exceedingly limited data"
"data poor environment","conclusions appear unsupported"

EPA's findings in regards to polluting waters drew Navy's response, "...mitigation measures are not necessary because the impacts are not significant".

The EPA's response to depleted uranium..."our comment regarding depleted uranium was not addressed".

...the Navy can do a lot of damage within the scope of the EIS.

Mauibrad said...


Also, per Lee Tepley's research, DARPA might be using words to the effect that there were no "explosions" as opposed to experimental jet propulsion under the water with a super cavitation submarine experiment. What's the difference whether one calls it an "explosion" or super cavitation jet propulsion?


Anonymous said...

This is really exciting, except:

No US supercavitation vessels or torpedos yet exist. General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman are still in phase one which is investigating the stable cavity generation, using water tunnels. Phase two will further develop the system itself and probably eliminate one of the companies now involved. Not until Phase three, a few years from now, will scale models even be designed; let alone built.
This doesn't rule out DARPA, which has many, many projects; but, you really have to want to believe in the supercavitation theory for it to "fly."

Anonymous said...

"What's the difference whether one calls it an "explosion" or super cavitation jet propulsion?"

Plausible deniability.

Anonymous said...

You're not paying attention.

Right now you have nothing.

Claiming you have something that doesn't yet exist is worse than nothing because it's a distraction that's easily disproved and everything else will likewise be disbelieved.

When you have nothing, you must be vague with your charges; like the very unprofessional comments by Dr. Berg. Of course, when there's a cause that must be won, there is no such thing as being unprofessional.

Anonymous said...

To Anon. March 28, 2009 10:13 PM:

There is more than ʻnothingʻ. There is actually some very indicting circumstantial evidence to start with. And, the fact that everything obvious has been ruled out...all that remains is once again the military.
Itʻs a pattern, they deny when something happens, until they are cornered.

At least Carl Berg uses his real name.

Anonymous said...

"circumstantial evidence"

"everything obvious has been ruled out"

That doesn't cut it with me. Way too much room for "reasonable doubt", which I do believe in.

If you can't connect A to B directly beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt, then you don't have a case...just a hypothesis.

Larry said...

Every good case starts with a hypothesis. Then you test the hypothesis. Sometimes it's not possible to learn more, sometimes it is, and that's how conclusions are reached.

The military's own statement added nothing to the test.

Anonymous said...

March 29, 2009 1:34 PM

oh brother

weʻre not any where near a court room yet.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if the measly $15,000 is available for the biologists yet?

Anonymous said...

Well, I think at least we know that Anon March 29, 2009 8:46 AM is not Dr. Berg; but, Anon may be the one responsible for the fish kill. Because, living in the proximity, as opposed to a couple hundred million other Americans, is pretty good as circumstantial evidence goes.