Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Implementing the Doctrine

Yesterday Amy Goodman interviewed retired air force colonel Sam Gardiner. Well worth a listen or a read. Here is a very interesting excerpt from that discussion;

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about significance of this, in terms of nuclear warfare in Russia? Do we have anything to fear along those lines?

COL. SAM GARDINER: Absolutely. Let me just say that if you were to rate how serious the strategic situations have been in the past few years, this would be above Iraq, this would be above Afghanistan, and this would be above Iran.

On little notice to Americans, the Russians learned at the end of the first Gulf War that they couldn’t—they didn’t think they could deal with the United States, given the value and the quality of American precision conventional weapons. The Russians put into their doctrine a statement, and have broadcast it very loudly, that if the United States were to use precision conventional weapons against Russian troops, the Russians would be forced to respond with tactical nuclear weapons. They continue to state this. They practice this in their exercise. They’ve even had exercises that very closely paralleled what went on in Ossetia, where there was an independence movement, they intervene conventionally to put down the independence movement, the United States and NATO responds with conventional air strikes, they then respond with tactical nuclear weapons.

It appears to me as if the Russians were preparing themselves to do that in this case. First of all, I think they believe the United States was going to intervene. At a news conference on Sunday, the deputy national security adviser said we have noted that the Russians have introduced two SS-21 medium-range ballistic missile launchers into South Ossetia. Now, let me say a little footnote about those. They’re both conventional and nuclear. They have a relatively small conventional warhead, however. So, the military significance, if they were to be conventional, was almost trivial compared to what the Russians could deliver with the aircraft that they were using to strike the Georgians.

I think this was a signal. I think this was an implementation on their part of their doctrine. It clearly appears as if they expected the United States to do what they had practiced in their exercises. In fact, this morning, the Russians had an air defense exercise in the southern part of Russia that borders Georgia in which they—it was practicing shooting down incursion aircraft that were incursion into Russia. They were prepared for the United States to intervene, and I think they were prepared—or at least they were wanting to show the United States that their doctrine of the use of tactical nuclear weapons, if the US attacks, was serious, and they needed to take—the United States needs to take Russia very seriously.

It's 3:00AM and You Are On Your Own....

3:00 has come and gone in Georgia. In a country whose entire way of life has become predicated on a delusional pattern and praxis of warsocialist supremacy - have the candidates' responses to this ill-considered and badly botched imbroglio impressed upon you how totally and completely the American experiment in warsocialism has failed? Not only has righteous force projection and national defense capability been usurped, it has also been hollowed out and rendered largely impotent. The Caucasus incident - what went into it and its ignominious aftermath - underscores the need for the U.S. to immediately cease and desist all further foreign adventurism, reinstitute the draft, and ensure representative U.S. armed services composition.

Putin's Options: Flyswatter or Blunderbuss?

Mike Whitney in Global Research;

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told news agencies in an interview how the hostilities began:

Russian peacekeepers "were killed by their own [Georgian] partners in the peacekeeping forces. There is a Russian battalion, an Ossetian battalion, and a Georgian battalion... and all of a sudden the Georgians, Georgian peacekeepers, begin shooting their Russian colleagues. This is of course a war crime. I do not rule out that the Hague and Strasbourg courts and institutions in other cities will be involved in investigating these crimes, and this inhuman drama that has been played out."

According to South Ossetia's president, Eduard Kokoyti, Georgian troops had been taking part in NATO exercises in the region since the beginning of August. Kokoyti claims that there is a connection between the NATO's activities and the current violence.

Clearly, no one was expecting Russia to react as quickly or as forcefully as they did. In a matter of hours Russian tanks and armored vehicles were streaming over the border while warplanes bombed targets throughout the south. The Bush-Saakashvili strategy unraveled in a matter of hours. The Georgia president is already calling for a cease-fire. He's had enough.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised to spend $400 million to rebuild parts of South Ossetia. Large shipments of food and medical supplies are already on the way.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday:

"The actions of Georgia have led to deaths - among them are Russian peacekeepers. The situation reached the point that Georgian peacekeepers have been shooting at Russian peacekeepers. Now women, children and old people are dying in South Ossetia - most of them are citizens of the Russian Federation. As the President of the Russian Federation, I am obligated to protect lives and the dignity of Russian citizens wherever they are. Those responsible for the deaths of our citizens will be punished."

Indeed, but how will Medvedev bring the responsible people to justice; with tanks and fighter pilots or is there another way?
PUTIN'S OPTIONS: Flyswatter or Blunderbuss?

Sometimes wars provide clarity. That's certainly true in this case. After this weekends fighting, everyone in the Russian political establishment knows that Washington is willing to sacrifice thousands of innocent civilians and plunge the entire region into chaos to achieve its geopolitical objectives. Bush could call the whole thing off right now; Putin and Medvedev know that. But that's not the game-plan. So, the two Russian leaders have to make some tough decisions that will end up costing lives. What other choice do they have?

Putin needs to carefully weigh his options. Then, on Monday, he should announce that Russia will sell all $50 billion of its Fannie Mae mortgage-backed bonds, all of it US dollar-backed assets, and will accept only rubles and euros in the future sale of Russian oil and natural gas. Just watch as the dollar crashes and the Dow Jones goes into a death-spiral. Why use a blunderbuss when a flyswatter will do just fine.

From Stupid to Moronic to Evil

"Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative." John Stuart Mill

Paul Craig Roberts brought the hardline and summed up the emerging backstory about the Georgian Incident well in advance of its conclusion.
The Endowment for Democracy purchased Georgia as a US colony. The affront to Russia was extreme, but at the time Russia was weak. Oligarchs with outside money had grabbed control over Russian resources, and Russia was in dire straits and could not resist American imperialism.

Putin corrected the situation for Russia.

Now using American weapons, Georgia, for reasons yet to be revealed has violated its own agreement with Russia and attacked South Ossetia, killing in the process Russian peacekeepers. Vladimir Vasilyev, chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee for Security told the press:

"The things that were happening in Kosovo, the things that were happening in Iraq – we are now following the same path. The further the situation unfolds, the more the world will understand that Georgia would never be able to do all this without America."

Yes, without America there would be no war in Ossetia and no war between Russia and its former constituent part.

Without America there would be no war in Afghanistan. No war in Iraq.

Without America there would not be 1.2 million dead Iraqis and 4 million displaced Iraqis. We have no idea of the toll on Afghan civilians, although women and children appear to be the prime targets of the US/NATO forces that are "bringing peace and freedom to Afghanistan."

Recently, US Secretary of State Condi Rice said that the US government could not prevent an Israeli attack on Iran. Israel is an independent country, said the American Secretary of State. What an extraordinary lie.

Israel cannot exist without American weapons and money. Israel cannot attack Iran without overflying Iraq, which the US air force can easily prevent. It is clear as day that the Bush Regime has given the green light to Israel to attack Iran so the Bush Regime can rush to "Israel's defense."

Meanwhile the "liberal" media is urging the US to get involved in a war between Russia and Georgia. The insanity will lead to the unloosening of nuclear weapons.
PCR wrote the above well in advance of the conclusion of this fiasco. Though most of it is a scathing condemnation of Bushco and the base that he exemplifies - it also contained a prescient hardline synopsis of what has gone down in the Caucasus. Here now is the real hardline, President Medvedev has instructed Russian military judicial and forensics professionals to document these war crimes against the people of South Ossetia. Russia intends to press charges for war crimes against the perpetrators. Should be interesting to see whether the Georgian sockpuppet gets perp-walked into the Hague and prosecuted for war crimes.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Russia Bids To Rid Georgia of Its Folly

Evidently, commenter Alex was correct yesterday with the following assessment;

Its dishonest lie that georgian president said. Georgian troops make genocide, Saakashvili must be inprisoned like Karadjic.

In tomorrow's Asia Times we get the following assessment;
One word explains why the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union have obliged themselves to sit on their hands, while Russia's defends its citizens, and national interests, in the Caucasus, and liberates Georgians from the folly of their unpopular president, Mikheil Saakashvili. That word is Kosovo.

For all Russians, not only those with relatives in Ossetia, the near-total destruction by Georgian guns of Tskhinvali is a war crime. The deaths of about 2,000 civilians in the Georgian attack, and the forced flight of about 35,000 survivors from the town - the last census of Tskhinvali's population reported 30,000 - has been described by Russian leaders, and is understood by Russian public opinion, as a form of genocide. Ninety percent of the town's population are Russian citizens.

To Russians, the Georgian attack of August 8 looks like the very same "ethnic cleansing", which the US and European powers have treated as a crime against humanity, when committed on the former territory of federal Yugoslavia.

But Russians view the international war that broke up Yugoslavia as a practice run for breaking up the Russian Caucasus, first by arming the Chechen secessionist Dzhokar Dudayev; then by financing anti-Russian terrorism in the Russian provinces of Chechnya and Ingushetia; and now by the Georgian military thrust against South Ossetia.

Since the US and the European Union have so recently compelled Serbia to accept the Albanian takeover of Serbia's Kosovo province, the overwhelming Russian view is that this will not be allowed to happen again. "Ossetia is not Kosovo" is a widespread refrain in Moscow today.

"If [former Yugoslav president] Slobodan Milosevic should be put on trial, the opinion here is - so too should Saakashvili," says a leading Moscow analyst.

But is it now a Russian war aim to drive Saakashvili from power? Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reportedly told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the weekend that Saakashvili "must go". Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, on a mediation mission on Monday between the Georgian and Russian capitals, will hear the same view in Moscow.

The Russian argument is that, since coming to power in 2003, Saakashvili has militarized his country with US, NATO and Israeli arms, military training and money, for no purpose except to threaten Russia, and the minority nationalities of the region, who seek the protection of Moscow - the Abkhazians and the Ossetians.

Saakashvili, the Russian argument runs, has initiated military escalation over the past year because his political base has cracked and his domestic support is dwindling. The Georgian political opposition at home, and in exile abroad, agrees. They charge the president and his family, including the powerful Timur Alasaniya, Saakashvili's uncle, of growing corruptly rich off the arms trade and of seizing the country's resource, port and trading concessions for themselves and their supporters. Alasaniya, brother to Saakashvili's mother, holds the official position of Georgian representative to a United Nations Commission on Disarmament in New York (no relation to Irakly Alasaniya, Georgia's ambassador to the United Nations).
There is so little finesse in these bloody shenanigans. It's almost as it the current administration has learned absolutely NOTHING from the operational blunders by which it's international adventurism has been plagued here-to-date. Now the old wrinkly white-haired dood is running his senile mouth too;
"Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin must understand the severe, long-term negative consequences that their government’s actions will have for Russia’s relationship with the U.S. and Europe," McCain said.

And, describing the Russian assaults that have gone beyond the disputed territory and into sovereign Georgia as "Moscow's path of violent aggression," the GOP nominee suggested that Putin's aim may be to overthrow the pro-U.S. government in Georgia.

"This should be unacceptable to all the democratic countries of the world, and should draw us together in universal condemnation of Russian aggression," McCain said.
Will incompetent busterism never cease???

It's Chess, Not Checkers - Dick!!!

In this morning's Guardian - Russia brushes aside ceasefire calls after Georgia withdraws and Putin in charge as flood of South Ossetian refugees grows. Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, who has taken charge of the crisis, eclipsing the president, Dmitry Medvedev, visited refugees in hospitals in Vladikavkaz, and said 22,000 had crossed into Russia.

Meanwhile, from an undisclosed location back at the ranch, President (oops, VP) Dick Cheney said that "Russian aggression must not go unanswered, and that its continuation would have serious consequences for its relations with the United States."

Cheney spoke Sunday afternoon with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, Cheney press secretary Lee Ann McBride said. "The vice president expressed the United States' solidarity with the Georgian people and their democratically elected government in the face of this threat to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity," McBride said.

Asked to explain Cheney's phrase "must not go unanswered," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, "It means it must not stand." White House officials refused to indicate what recourse the United States might have if the military onslaught continues.

When the USSR broke up, Russia withdrew, pay attention, 80 armored divisions from Europe. The US does not have 80 armored divisions ANYWHERE. I don't think v-prez Cheney has anything more substantial than heated rhetoric in his trick bag, but given the rapidly developing nature of these events - we won't have to wait very long to find out now, will we?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hot Electromagnetic Pulse Rhetoric

Of course it's purely coincidental that EMP apocalypse has been injected into the base during the past two weeks.

However, given our mission here, that's the type of coincidence worthy of sharing for your consideration.

The EMP Commission was established pursuant to title XIV of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (as enacted into law by Public Law 106-398; 114 Stat. 1654A-345). Duties of the EMP Commission include assessing:
  1. the nature and magnitude of potential high-altitude EMP threats to the United States from all potentially hostile states or non-state actors that have or could acquire nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles enabling them to perform a high-altitude EMP attack against the United States within the next 15 years;
  2. the vulnerability of United States military and especially civilian systems to an EMP attack, giving special attention to vulnerability of the civilian infrastructure as a matter of emergency preparedness;
  3. the capability of the United States to repair and recover from damage inflicted on United States military and civilian systems by an EMP attack; and
  4. the feasibility and cost of hardening select military and civilian systems against EMP attack.
The Commission is charged with identifying any steps it believes should be taken by the United States to better protect its military and civilian systems from EMP attack.

Multiple reports and briefings associated with this effort have been produced by the EMP Commission including an Executive Report (PDF, 578KB) and a Critical National Infrastructures Report (PDF, 7MB) describing findings and recommendations.

The EMP Commission was reestablished via the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 to continue its efforts to monitor, investigate, make recommendations, and report to Congress on the evolving threat to the United States from electromagnetic pulse attack resulting from the detonation of a nuclear weapon or weapons at high altitude.

The Crash Course

Here's a resource you may wish to bookmark. Click on the graphic to view.

Escalating Tribal Violence....,

In this morning's Guardian; Russian bombers and artillery yesterday widened their attack against Georgian forces with strikes against towns and military bases across the country in a dangerous escalation of the two-day-old war. Moscow appeared determined to dismantle Georgia's military capability in punishment for its rival's brutal attempt to regain control of the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia.

Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, last night insisted that its actions were 'legitimate' and called on Georgia to end its 'aggression' against the separatist province.

As the civilian casualties escalated on both sides, Georgia's military adventure seemed to be unravelling. President Mikheil Saakashvili demanded a ceasefire from Russia and implored the West to intervene to help him. Georgia's difficulties deepened further as separatists in a second pro-Russian breakaway Georgian republic - Abkhazia - joined the conflict, attacking Georgian forces in the contested upper Kodori Gorge.

Despite Saakashvili's call for a ceasefire - and the announcement that a combined EU, UN and US delegation was flying to Georgia to broker a cessation of hostilities - Russia insisted there would be no ceasefire until all Georgian troops had withdrawn from South Ossetia, which declared its independence from Georgia after a war in 1992.

'The first thing needed is to ... make the Georgians return to their positions and re-establish the status quo we had before,' Russia's Nato ambassador, Dmitry Rogozin, said in Brussels. He said that there could be 'no consultations' until that precondition had been met.

Rogozin said Russian troops had entered South Ossetia to protect Russian peacekeepers and civilians. He added - unconvincingly given the air raids - that Russia was not conducting any military operation against Georgia outside the conflict zone in South Ossetia.

The latest moves come amid concern over the civilian death toll on both sides, which appeared to have reached 2,000 yesterday. The first horrific images began emerging from the Georgian town of Gori, bombed yesterday by Russian jets, where up to 60 civilians died when bombs landed on two apartment blocks in a town that Georgia has been using as a military staging post for its assault on South Ossetia.

Wait, wait, wait!!!! I didn't mean it, I didn't mean it!

In Time online...,
Whether or not the effect was intended, Moscow now appears to be using Saakashvili's strategic overreach to teach a brutal lesson not only to the Georgians, but also to other neighbors seeking to align themselves with the West against Russia. Saakashvili is appealing for Western support, based on international recognition of South Ossetia as sovereign Georgian territory. "A full-scale aggression has been launched against Georgia," he said, calling for Western intervention. But given NATO's previous warnings, its commitments elsewhere and the reluctance of many of its member states to antagonize Russia, it remains unlikely that Georgia will get more than verbal support from its desired Western protectors. Saakashvili appears to have both underestimated the scale of the Russian backlash, and overestimated the extent of support he could count on from the U.S. and its allies. The Georgian leader may have expected Washington to step up to his defense, particularly given his country's centrality to the geopolitics of energy — Georgia is the only alternative to Russia as the route for a pipeline carrying oil westward from Azerbaijan. But Russia is not threatening to overrun Georgia. Moscow claims to be simply using its military to restore the secessionist boundary, which in the process would deal Saakashvili a humiliating defeat.

Although its outcome is yet to be decided, there's no win-win outcome to the offensive launched by Georgia with the goal of recovering South Ossetia. Either Saakashvili wins, or Moscow does. Unless the U.S. and its allies demonstrate an unlikely appetite for confrontation with an angry and resurgent Russia in its own backyard, the smart money would be on Moscow.
Pawns never seem to realize their expendable status until it's waaaaaay too late. Then, no amount of wait, wait, wait, I didn't mean it, I didn't mean it! type begging will save their proverbial bacon.

The Pawn Shop.....,

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday said it was time for Russia to rebuild links with former Cold War ally Cuba, news agencies reported.

The Kremlin is angry at U.S. plans for a missile defence system in Eastern Europe, and last month a news report suggested Russia might use Cuba, a thorn in America's side for half a century, as a refueling stop for nuclear-capable bombers.

The Russian Defence Ministry denied the report and said it had no plans to open any military bases abroad, but a top U.S. general was drawn to say such a move would cross a "red line".

Moscow was the Caribbean island's key oil, arms and grain supplier for 30 years, until subsidies propping up the economy of Fidel Castro's revolutionary government fell to a trickle and then dried up entirely after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"We need to reestablish positions on Cuba and in other countries," news agency Interfax quoted Putin as saying at the weekly presidium meeting of key government ministers.

Putin's remarks came after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin reported on a recent three-day visit to Cuba, where he discussed a raft of trade and investment issues and met with Raul Castro, Fidel's brother and now the island's leader.

"We agreed on a priority direction for cooperation, this being energy, the mining industry, agriculture, transport, health care and communications," news agency RIA quoted Sechin as saying.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

More Opening Play.....?

From europebusiness blogspot;
Operation Brimstone ended only one week ago. This was the joint US/UK/French naval war games in the Atlantic Ocean preparing for a naval blockade of Iran and the likely resulting war in the Persian Gulf area. The massive war games included a US Navy supercarrier battle group, an US Navy expeditionary carrier battle group, a Royal Navy carrier battle group, a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine plus a large number of US Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates playing the "enemy force".

The lead American ship in these war games, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) and its Carrier Strike Group Two (CCSG-2) are now headed towards Iran along with the USS Ronald Reagon (CVN76) and its Carrier Strike Group Seven (CCSG-7) coming from Japan.

They are joining two existing USN battle groups in the Gulf area: the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN72) with its Carrier Strike Group Nine (CCSG-9); and the USS Peleliu (LHA-5) with its expeditionary strike group.

Likely also under way towards the Persian Gulf is the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) and its expeditionary strike group, the UK Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal (R07) carrier battle group, assorted French naval assets including the nuclear hunter-killer submarine Amethyste and French Naval Rafale fighter jets on-board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. These ships took part in the just completed Operation Brimstone.

The build up of naval forces in the Gulf will be one of the largest multi-national naval armadas since the First and Second Gulf Wars. The intent is to create a US/EU naval blockade (which is an Act of War under international law) around Iran (with supporting air and land elements) to prevent the shipment of benzene and certain other refined oil products headed to Iranian ports. Iran has limited domestic oil refining capacity and imports 40% of its benzene. Cutting off benzene and other key products would cripple the Iranian economy. The neo-cons are counting on such a blockade launching a war with Iran.
Check out the right honorable Earl's update note to this blogpost; A strategic diversion has been created for Russia. The Republic of Georgia, with US backing, is actively preparing for war on South Ossetia. The South Ossetia capital has been shelled and a large Georgian tank force has been heading towards the border. Russia has stated that it will not sit by and allow the Georgians to attack South Ossetia. The Russians are great chess players and this game may not turn out so well for the neo-cons. UPDATE 8 August 2008 ~ War has broken out between Georgia and South Ossetia. At least 10 Russian troops have been killed and 30 wounded and 2 Russian fighter jets downed. American Marines, a thousand of them, have recently been in Georgia training the Georgian military forces. Several European nations stopped Bush and others from allowing Georgia into NATO. Russia is moving a large military force with armor towards the area. This could get bad, and remember it is just a strategic diversion....but one that could have horrific effects. Link to story "Russia sends forces into Georgia rebel conflict". FURTHER UPDATE ~ Russian military forces in active combat; now total of four Russian fighter jets reported downed. ADDITIONAL UPDATE ~ Georgia calls for US help; Russian Air Force bombs Georgian air bases. DEBKA, the Israeli strategy and military site, states that Israeli military officers are advising the Georgian armed forces in combat operations and that 1,000 Israelis are in-combat on the side of Georgia at this time.

Russia and Georgia Clash Over Separatist Region

NYTimes coverage this morning; Analysts said that either Georgia or Russia could be trying to seize an opportune moment — with world leaders focused on the start of the 2008 Olympics this week — to reclaim the territory, and to settle the dispute before a new American presidential administration comes to office.

Richard C. Holbrooke, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, said that Russia’s aims were clear. “They have two goals,” he said. “To do a creeping annexation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and, secondly, to overthrow Saakashvili, who is a tremendous thorn in their side.”[...]

There are over 2,000 American citizens in Georgia, Pentagon officials said. Among them are about 130 trainers — mostly American military personnel but with about 30 Defense Department civilians —assisting the Georgian military with preparations for deployments to Iraq.

The American military was taking no actions regarding the outbreak of violence, according to Pentagon and military officials. While there has been some contact with the Georgian authorities, the Defense Department had received no requests for assistance, the officials said.

Limits to Growth II

Click on image to hear the presentation.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Fascinating Prepared Variation

In today's DEBKAfile;
Georgian tanks and infantry, aided by Israeli military advisers, captured the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, early Friday, Aug. 8, bringing the Georgian-Russian conflict over the province to a military climax.

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin threatened a “military response.”

Former Soviet Georgia called up its military reserves after Russian warplanes bombed its new positions in the renegade province.

In Moscow’s first response to the fall of Tskhinvali, president Dimitry Medvedev ordered the Russian army to prepare for a national emergency after calling the UN Security Council into emergency session early Friday.

Reinforcements were rushed to the Russian “peacekeeping force” present in the region to support the separatists.

Georgian tanks entered the capital after heavy overnight heavy aerial strikes, in which dozens of people were killed.

Lado Gurgenidze, Georgia's prime minister, said on Friday that Georgia will continue its military operation in South Ossetia until a "durable peace" is reached. "As soon as a durable peace takes hold we need to move forward with dialogue and peaceful negotiations."
Is this the beginning?

"Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power."- (p. xiii)

"... But in the meantime, it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book.” (p. xiv)

"In that context, how America 'manages' Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. About 75 per cent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources." (p.31)

“Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization." (p.35) Zbigniew Brzezinski - The Grand Chessboard

America's Fastest-Dying Cities

The turmoil of the mortgage market granted a temporary reprieve from hearing about the woes of America's Rust Belt. That doesn't mean things are better. Despite a decade of national prosperity, the former manufacturing backbone of the U.S. is in rougher shape than ever, still searching for some way to replace its long-stilled smokestacks.

Where's it worst? Ohio, according to our analysis, which racked up four of the 10 cities on our list: Youngstown, Canton, Dayton and Cleveland. The runner-up is Michigan, with two cities--Detroit and Flint--making the ranking.

The Economy - Forbes.com

In pictures, America's fastest dying cities.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Chase and Payton Shot!!! WTF???

Months ago I posted about these senseless and brutal paramilitary police raids in the so-called War on Drugs. Now, an erroneous Maryland pot raid results in the tragic assassination of Berwin mayor's black labradors, Chase and Payton;
The mayor of a small town outside Washington says he's asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate a county police raid on his home during which his dogs were killed.

Cheye Calvo says it's too early to talk about seeking monetary damages.

Authorities raided Calvo's home after intercepting a package shipped to his wife that was filled with 32 pounds of marijuana last week. During the raid, law enforcement officers broke down Calvo's door and shot and killed the family's two dogs.
Sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Mario Ellis says deputies "apparently felt threatened" when they shot the dogs.

Calvo said officers entered about 7:30 p.m., first shooting 7-year-old Payton. They then pursued 4-year-old Chase, who ran away and was shot by police from behind, he said.

Calvo said he doesn't have any idea how the package ended up at his house. He called the raid "the most traumatic experience" of his life.

Calvo, who called his town "Mayberry inside the Capital Beltway," gets a small stipend as mayor and works at the SEED Foundation, a nonprofit that runs public boarding schools for at-risk students. His wife works as a state finance officer.

"These were two beautiful black Labradors who were well-known in the community. We walked them twice a day; little kids knew their names and would come up to them and pet them," he said.

Move Along Now, Nothing to See Over Here....,

POSNER: I'm certainly not sold on the theory of the lone mad scientist. I'm not even sold right now on the fact he was involved. I'll tell you why. All we are hearing is one side of the evidence. We're getting it leaked out, as it always is by the government, bit by bit about what happened. And as you said, it's absolutely at best a circumstantial case.

The big thing they're hanging their hat on right now is the fact that they have a new DNA type of evidence for bacteria that can isolate this form of anthrax back to a flask that was in the laboratory that he handled, as did at least ten other people and possibly dozens. They have them in New Jersey, supposedly, a time when mail was sent out with anthrax spores from places in Princeton. And they have him holding a P.O. Box at a postal office inside of Frederick, Maryland, where some of the envelopes were bought they think they can trace back to this.

It's a case where any good defense attorney, a Mark Geragos, an F. Lee Bailey in his heyday a Roy Black, they would relish this type of case. They could knock it out of the ballpark. I have to say one thing, we cannot allow—I really believe this, on a case this important on the anthrax investigation, for a rush to judgment in a matter in which the prime suspect is dead of an apparent suicide.

U.S. Attorney Defends Delays In Anthrax Investigation

It's an extremely tiny *universe* of people he's referring to....,

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

No Level I Love After All......,

So, as it turns out, the Nocera electrolysis breakthrough is 1 part breakthrough to 50 parts hype. The kinetics (meaning efficiency) of Nocera's oxygen-evolving electrode isn't really that good compared to what has been developed over the last 20-30 years of research. An anode with a thin film containing cobalt isn't new either. The *breakthrough* (if you can call it that) is the simplicity with which it is made, period. It remains to be seen whether this will spawn new avenues of fruitful electrochemical research. Which takes us squarely back to reality and to the increasingly pressing need for responsible folks to prepare themselves and their loved ones for the INEVITABILITY of the formal economy's declining ability to feed and house us.

With no level one deus ex machina in sight, it's time to roll up the old sleeves and take full advantage of the wealth of knowledge right here at our fingertips. Some years ago, my wife and I spent a wonderful couple of weeks at my father-in-law's former homestead on Bermuda. It was a masterpiece of environmental and economic efficiency - and a model for how we need to set about remaking routine aspects of our way of life. On Bermuda, his was not a re-engineered green exception, rather, it was the standard procedure for how folks lived. As for this remaking, nothing between it and us but initiative, air, and opportunity.

We're in luck in the opportunity dimension. Right here in our midst we have an invaluable knowledge resource in the person of RC who has 30 years of experience implementing the powered-down, highly economical and efficient modus operandi required to thrive in an energy, commodity, and resource constrained island setting. We're not talking survivalism and reactionary earth-marine type measures, rather, we're talking about the type of sustainable and doable measures implemented throughout the Carribean by folks who live well but vastly more efficiently and less wastefully than we do here.
In the meanwhile, for those not right in a downtown somewhere, I recommend a few small boat/marine type prop generators, a few solar panels, a small, but high quality invertor and a small marine gel battery bank combined with a super efficient, home made deep freeze/fridge and maybe a small gas generator for once a week use to run the washing machine.

Store all your water from runoff and reuse all the gray water from the sinks and showers for plants. We have these places running now and they are highly successful off the grid operations that I have been setting up since the mid seventies. Many of them start out with just the propellers and gradually add on until they leave the grid. Others are in remote areas and have to have all the components at the beginning. Others use a liquid propane gas input to run the refrigeration. Whatever we will be using in 2020 I bet no one has an idea right now. Meanwhile these setups have been in use, do work, work well, are proven and have been in place for more than thirty years.
For the homeowners among us, I believe that folks like RC can help us make incremental changes in how our houses are configured for power, lighting, water usage, gardening and overall efficiency suggestions rooted in first-hand practical experience. Doing some of the things that RC knows how to do will put folks on a path leading first to reduced costs, a smaller environmental footprint, and ultimately, if fully implemented and embraced, moving the homestead partially or even entirely off-grid - right there in the city where you live.

I need to figure out a way to permanently showcase solutions, and, to keep the valuable solutions dialogue top-of-blog so that it can serve as a useful reference and resource for folks who are serious about taking matters into their own hands.

Praying for Health?

In the Economist which speculates that religious diversity may be caused by disease. This funny little article skirts sooooo close to the truth, but then misses it by a country mile. Tell me if you can see the underlying biology of the matter, focus not on people as the unit of selection, rather, focus on what drives a composite organism to do what it do.
Mr Fincher is not arguing that disease-protection is religion’s main function. Biologists have different hypotheses for that. Not all follow Dr Dawkins in thinking it pathological. Some see it either as a way of promoting group solidarity in a hostile world, or as an accidental consequence of the predisposition to such solidarity. This solidarity-promotion is one of Mr Fincher’s starting points. The other is that bacteria, viruses and other parasites are powerful drivers of evolution. Many biologists think that sex, for example, is a response to parasitism. The continual mixing of genes that it promotes means that at least some offspring of any pair of parents are likely to be immune to a given disease.

Mr Fincher and his colleague Randy Thornhill wondered if disease might be driving important aspects of human social behaviour, too. Their hypothesis is that in places where disease is rampant, it behoves groups not to mix with one another more than is strictly necessary, in order to reduce the risk of contagion. They therefore predict that patterns of behaviour which promote group exclusivity will be stronger in disease-ridden areas. Since religious differences are certainly in that category, they specifically predict that the number of different religions in a place will vary with the disease load. Which is, as they report in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, the case.
Always and everywhere clarity is lost - and truth distorted beyond recognition - by the lens of foolish and hubristic anthropocentric solipsism....,

Monday, August 04, 2008


“There are periods in the life of humanity, which generally coincide with the beginning of the fall of cultures and civilizations, when the masses irretrievably lose their reason and begin to destroy everything that has been created by centuries and millenniums of culture. Such periods of mass madness, often coinciding with geological cataclysms, climatic changes, and similar phenomena of a planetary character, release a very great quantity of the matter of knowledge. This, in its turn, necessitates the work of collecting this matter of knowledge which would otherwise be lost. Thus the work of collecting scattered matter of knowledge frequently coincides with the beginning of the destruction and fall of cultures and civilizations.”

“This aspect of the question is clear. The crowd neither wants nor seeks knowledge, and the leaders of the crowd, in their own interests, try to strengthen its fear and dislike of everything new and unknown. The slavery in which mankind lives is based upon this fear. It is even difficult to imagine all the horror of this slavery. We do not understand what people are losing. But in order to understand the cause of this slavery it is enough to see how people live, what constitutes the aim of their existence, the object of their desires, passions, and aspirations, of what they think, of what they talk, what they serve and what they worship.”

G.I. Gurdjieff:
The Herald of Coming Good
The Struggle of the Magicians
Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson
Meetings with Remarkable Men
Life is Real Only Then, When "I am"
48 Exercises (handwritten)
Wartime Meetings
Gurdjieff 40's

Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson - 1931 Manuscript Copy
Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson - 1949 Prepared Text
Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson - 1950 Published Edition

P.D. Ouspensky:
A New Model of the Universe
Tertium Organum
The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution
In Search of the Miraculous
Talks with a Devil
Strange Life of Ivan Osokin
The Fourth Way
A Record of Some of the Meetings
A Further Record
The Symbolism of the Tarot
Letters from Russia 1919

Rodney Collin:
The Theory of Celestial Influence
The Theory of Eternal Life
The Theory of Conscious Harmony
Lessons in Religion for a Skeptical World
The Christian Mystery
The Herald of Harmony
The Mirror of Light
The Mysteries of the Seed

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Wind won’t solve energy crisis

No it won't - but in conjunction with novel storage and state of the art transmission infrastructure - it would certainly help.
The disadvantage of wind-generated electricity is poor reliability because the weather doesn’t always cooperate. The most demanding need for energy is in the afternoons and during air-conditioned summers, but wind works best at night and during the other seasons, though intermittently. Even when the wind is blowing, it takes a 13 mph wind to power a large turbine.

Kansas has 364 megawatts of wind energy. But most of the year the wind is not blowing nearly hard enough to make 364 megawatts.

Last year wind generators nationally produced only 30 percent as much energy in a year as they would if they ran at full tilt, every hour of the year, a measure called “capacity factor.” Unlike nuclear power plants such as Wolf Creek, which achieve capacity factors of 90 percent or more, the wind operator cannot decide when the wind generator will run.

Texas has more wind energy than any other state, and bigger problems as a result. Last year the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said that wind power could be counted on as being reliable only 8.7 percent of the time during periods of peak demand. The rest of the time electric utilities were forced to use backup power generation, usually high-priced natural gas.

During a summer heat spell two years ago in California, another state with a lot of wind energy, wind generators operated at only 5 percent of capacity or less, setting off a Level 1 emergency in which people were asked to conserve power by using less air conditioning. Blackouts were barely averted when utilities decided to use gas turbines to provide emergency power.

Another problem with wind farms is their location. Where the wind is best is often hundreds of miles from cities that most need the power, so high-cost transmission lines must be built to transmit the electricity.
Instead of fantasizing about homes outfitted with Nocera electrolysis systems, the effort should be directed toward deployment of industrial scale hydrox plants that can safely handle the hydrogen, compress it, liquify it, and burn it as a useful clean energy transport and storage medium during non-peak production periods from equally clean solar and wind based energy production sources.

BioTerror "Efforts" Increased U.S. Risk

So here's the fearful bioterror narrative;
“Across the spectrum of biothreats we have expanded our capacity significantly,” said Craig Vanderwagen, an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services who oversees the biodefense effort. Systems to detect an attack, investigate it and respond with drugs, vaccines and cleanup are all hugely improved, Dr. Vanderwagen said. “We can get pills in the mouth,” he said.

Supporters of the spending increase cite studies that project apocalyptic tolls from a large-scale biological attack. One 2003 study led by a Stanford scholar, for instance, found that just two pounds of anthrax spores dropped over an American city could kill more than 100,000 people, even if antibiotic distribution began quickly.
and here are the relevant bioterror facts;
Until the anthrax attacks of 2001, Bruce E. Ivins was one of just a few dozen American bioterrorism researchers working with the most lethal biological pathogens, almost all at high-security military laboratories.

Today, there are hundreds of such researchers in scores of laboratories at universities and other institutions around the United States, preparing for the next bioattack.

But the revelation that F.B.I. investigators believe that the anthrax attacks were carried out by Dr. Ivins, an Army biodefense scientist who committed suicide last week after he learned that he was about to be indicted for murder, has already re-ignited a debate: Has the unprecedented boom in biodefense research made the country less secure by multiplying the places and people with access to dangerous germs?
In today's NYTimes. And so it goes. Only those folks prepared to opportunistically and exploitatively jump on the homegrown, paranoid delusional bandwagon managed to profit from the fear that was instigated by Ivins (the Bush administration) with his here-to-now *unsolvable* involvement with this murderous elite hustle.

Level I After All?

'Major discovery' from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution - scientists mimic essence of plants' energy storage system.

Until now, solar power has been a daytime-only energy source, because storing extra solar energy for later use is prohibitively expensive and grossly inefficient. With today's announcement, MIT researchers have hit upon a simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solar energy.

Requiring nothing but abundant, non-toxic natural materials, this discovery could unlock the most potent, carbon-free energy source of all: the sun. "This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about for years," said MIT's Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue of Science. "Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon."

Inspired by the photosynthesis performed by plants, Nocera and Matthew Kanan, a postdoctoral fellow in Nocera's lab, have developed an unprecedented process that will allow the sun's energy to be used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases. Later, the oxygen and hydrogen may be recombined inside a fuel cell, creating carbon-free electricity to power your house or your electric car, day or night.

The key component in Nocera and Kanan's new process is a new catalyst that produces oxygen gas from water; another catalyst produces valuable hydrogen gas. The new catalyst consists of cobalt metal, phosphate and an electrode, placed in water. When electricity -- whether from a photovoltaic cell, a wind turbine or any other source -- runs through the electrode, the cobalt and phosphate form a thin film on the electrode, and oxygen gas is produced.

Combined with another catalyst, such as platinum, that can produce hydrogen gas from water, the system can duplicate the water splitting reaction that occurs during photosynthesis.

The new catalyst works at room temperature, in neutral pH water, and it's easy to set up, Nocera said. "That's why I know this is going to work. It's so easy to implement," he said.

Interestingly, this article first came to my attention late thursday courtesy my man BD. Homeboy must be harboring a flickering sentimental little urge to see the overshot species of talking monkeys make it through their Great Filter and out into the solar system after all....., click on the image of Nocera to see his little speech about the innovation on video.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Da LHC is Superduper Fly.....,

Particle physics meets hiphop in the Guardian - there may be hope for some of you humans after all....,

Pure New Age Silliness....,

Here comes another chunk of undigested op-ed granola, this time from the LATimes - Toward a Type 1 Civilization.
Our civilization is fast approaching a tipping point. Humans will need to make the transition from nonrenewable fossil fuels as the primary source of our energy to renewable energy sources that will allow us to flourish into the future. Failure to make that transformation will doom us to the endless political machinations and economic conflicts that have plagued civilization for the last half-millennium.

We need new technologies to be sure, but without evolved political and economic systems, we cannot become what we must. And what is that? A Type 1 civilization. Let me explain.

In a 1964 article on searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev suggested using radio telescopes to detect energy signals from other solar systems in which there might be civilizations of three levels of advancement: Type 1 can harness all of the energy of its home planet; Type 2 can harvest all of the power of its sun; and Type 3 can master the energy from its entire galaxy.

Based on our energy efficiency at the time, in 1973 the astronomer Carl Sagan estimated that Earth represented a Type 0.7 civilization on a Type 0 to Type 1 scale. (More current assessments put us at 0.72.) As the Kardashevian scale is logarithmic -- where any increase in power consumption requires a huge leap in power production -- we have a ways before 1.0.
Pure comedy gold..., a little later during the 1970's - the U.S. had a SINGULAR opportunity under the leadership of James Earl Carter to ATTEMPT this transition. Unfortunately for the species, that was the road not taken. Instead, *we* replaced Carter with old triple 6 - and stayed on the imperial path of ruination that has dominated human affairs for 6000 years.
Fossil fuels won't get us there. Renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal are a good start, and coupled to nuclear power could eventually get us to Type 1.

Yet the hurdles are not solely -- or even primarily -- technological ones. We have a proven track record of achieving remarkable scientific solutions to survival problems -- as long as there is the political will and economic opportunities that allow the solutions to flourish. In other words, we need a Type 1 polity and economy, along with the technology, in order to become a Type 1 civilization.
He's right as far as he goes, the problem is that he doesn't go nearly far enough. It's not merely a question of political will and economic opportunity that will bring about the end of this species in the 3rd terrestrial species die-off, rather, it's the total lack of psychological evolution that has maintained an objectively evil status quo baseline in the dominant systems of human governance. Unevolved creatures don't spontaneously generate or sustain evolved systems of governance and evolved social orders, no more than turnips generate blood. Is common sense THAT sorely lacking?
For thousands of years, we have existed in a zero-sum tribal world in which a gain for one tribe, state or nation meant a loss for another tribe, state or nation -- and our political and economic systems have been designed for use in that win-lose world. But we have the opportunity to live in a win-win world and become a Type 1 civilization by spreading liberal democracy and free trade, in which the scientific and technological benefits will flourish. I am optimistic because in the evolutionist's deep time and the historian's long view, the trend lines toward achieving Type 1 status tick inexorably upward.

That is change we can believe in.
This part he gets right, except for the ridiculously optimistic conclusion. We have existed in and have been utterly and completely conditioned by a zero-sum tribal world. We will as a species die-off because of that de-evolutionary psychosocial condition. The problem as stated by this new-age wishful thinker is merely political. I cut him off at the knees for his superficiality, others wouldn't have even given this silly and ill-informed screed the time of day, to wit;
In the past few centuries the elites have gained a new method of growth conquest. The lever of Science/technology has been used to further their power. Through the creation of industrialism, we now live in a manufactured environment. We civilized people have created machines and been conditioned by the machine world until we begin to act in a machine-like manner. Powerless, we are thoroughly dependent upon the machine for our food and shelter survival. Alienated and atomized, we move around trying to fit into a niche in order to obtain survival. The pressure to move to a job breaks nuclear families apart and certainly precludes the existence of extended families. We have become interchangeable ciphers in the industrial machine. We have been culturally conditioned from birth to have great regard for non-living manufactured items and have been alienated from living things. We have more regard for the dead wood of a church! than for a living forest.

Today, when we look at the numbers and look back at those millions of acres of exhausted and eroded soils, common sense tells us that this is the end. The Patriarchs of empire have committed us to a fundamental biological error. Any organism that wantonly kills that which feeds it will not endure very long. The culture of empire does not have a political problem; it has a biological problem. It lives in a bubble of self-created definitions and has a dysfunctional relationship with the life of the earth. One might say that if the humans can't keep the planet alive, they certainly can't live here.
From where I sit, that's what looks really real. Be hopeful all you want, hopeful but fully informed. Otherwise, from a simple information awareness perspective, your situation is indeed entirely hopeless.

Unidentified Flying Threats?

The folks must be growing increasingly restive about the Obama candidacy. The NYTimes had this crunchy little morsel in this past week's op-eds.
The United States is no less vulnerable than Britain and France to threats to security and air safety. The United States Air Force or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should reopen investigations of U.F.O. phenomena. It would not imply that the country has suddenly started believing in little green men. It would simply recognize the possibility that radar alone cannot always tell us what’s out there.

A healthy skepticism about extraterrestrial space travelers leads people to disregard U.F.O. sightings without a moment’s thought. But in the United States, this translates into overdependence on radar data and indifference to all kinds of unidentified aircraft — a weakness that could be exploited by terrorists or anyone seeking to engage in espionage against the United States.

The American government has not investigated U.F.O. sightings since 1969, when the Air Force ended Project Blue Book, an effort to scientifically analyze all sightings to see if any posed a threat to national security. Britain and France, in contrast, continue to investigate U.F.O. sightings, because of concerns that some sightings might be attributable to foreign military aircraft breaching their airspace, or to foreign space-based systems of interest to the intelligence community.
I love these articles. To me, they're like tchotchkys of the collective unconscious. I expect we'll be seeing lots more such bon mots in the weeks and months to come as the perfect storm afflicting the economy and the American body politic gathers strength. The American political theater will prove jarringly impotent in dealing with the encompassing reality corrections - so it's time once again to inject a little mystery and awe into the otherwise steady diet of bread and circuses....,

Some Saw Opportunity?

Yes, that's former general and Secretary of State Colin Powell holding up a vial of anthrax - part of the generalized misrepresentations alleging that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction.
In the lead-up to the invasion, the U.S. and UK emphasized the argument that Saddam Hussein was developing "weapons of mass destruction" and thus presented an imminent threat to his neighbors, to the U.S., and to the world community. The US stated "on November 8, 2002, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1441. All fifteen members of the Security Council agreed to give Iraq a final opportunity to comply with its obligations and disarm or face the serious consequences of failing to disarm. The resolution strengthened the mandate of the UN Monitoring and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), giving them authority to go anywhere, at any time and talk to anyone in order to verify Iraq’s disarmament." Throughout late 2001, 2002, and early 2003, the Bush Administration worked to build a case for invading Iraq, culminating in then Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 2003 address to the Security Council. Shortly after the invasion, the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and other intelligence agencies largely discredited evidence related to Iraqi weapons and, as well as links to Al Qaeda, and at this point the Bush and Blair Administrations began to shift to secondary rationales for the war, such as the Hussein government's human rights record and promoting democracy in Iraq.

Accusations of faulty evidence and alleged shifting rationales became the focal point for critics of the war, who charge that the Bush Administration purposely fabricated evidence to justify an invasion it long planned to launch.
Many opine that the U.S. was conscientious in its pursuit of the Iraqi WMD artifacts. Given that the Pentagon and foggy bottom probably still had the invoices and receipts for much of that material, their level of concern was warranted.

Who can say?

From where I sit, it's already just another one of history's mysteries and an anomalous link in the chain of elite rule and the narratives supporting the same. Always interesting to see how a face and a voice invested with such trust and gravitas as Powell's could be associated with something so rank, dank, and stank. The lesson, I suppose, is to always critically examine the facts and the statements and to scrupulously ignore the feelings that the spokesperson evokes. If it bolsters public confidence and is expedient to the narrative aims - TPTB have access to a stellar cast of characters that can be deployed against public confidence building objectives.....,

Friday, August 01, 2008

Some Saw Dark Side

Ivins, 62, committed suicide this week as federal prosecutors zeroed in on him as a suspect in the 2001 attacks. They were planning to indict him and seek the death penalty.

Ivins' brother Tom, who stressed that had not spoken to Bruce since 1985, was not shocked to hear that his brother was accused of making death threats, and he conceded the possibility that Bruce may have been the anthrax mailer.

"It makes sense, what the social worker said," Tom Ivins said. "He considered himself like a god."

Some who knew Ivins said the scrutiny of the investigation was too much for him to bear. But they also asserted his innocence.

"The relentless pressure of accusation and innuendo takes its toll in different ways," his attorney, Paul F. Kemp, said in a statement. "In Dr. Ivins' case, it led to his untimely death."

Ivins had worked for the past 18 years at the government's biodefense labs at Fort Detrick. For more than a decade, he worked to develop an anthrax vaccine that worked even when different strains of anthrax were mixed, which made vaccines ineffective.

Dr. W. Russell Byrne, a colleague who worked in the bacteriology division of the Fort Detrick research facility, said Ivins was "hounded" by FBI agents who raided his home twice, and he was hospitalized for depression earlier this month.

According to Byrne and local police, Ivins was removed from his workplace out of fears that he might harm himself or others.

"I think he was just psychologically exhausted by the whole process," Byrne said. Ivins could frequently be seen walking around his neighborhood for exercise. He volunteered with the American Red Cross of Frederick County, and he played keyboard and helped clean up after Masses at St. John's the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, where a dozen parishioners gathered Friday after morning Mass to pray for him.

The Rev. Richard Murphy called Ivins "a quiet man ... always very helpful and pleasant."

An avid juggler, Ivins gave juggling demonstrations around Frederick in the 1980s.

"One time, he demonstrated his juggling skills by lying on his back in the department and juggling with his hands," said Byrne, who described Ivins as "eccentric."

Whenever a colleague would leave the bacteriology division, Ivins would write a song or poem for that person and perform it, accompanying himself on keyboard, Byrne said.

Ivins had several letters to the editor published in The Frederick News-Post over the last decade. He denounced taxpayer funding for assisted suicide, pointed readers to a study that suggested a genetic component for homosexuality and said he had stopped listening to local radio station WFMD because he was offended by the language and racially charged commentary of its hosts.

He also commented on the growing political influence of conservative Christians, and he was willing to criticize his church.

Ivins had mild persona, but some saw dark side

Case Closed?

A top U.S. biodefense researcher apparently committed suicide just as the Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against him in the anthrax mailings that traumatized the nation in the weeks following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a published report.

The scientist, Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who worked for the past 18 years at the government's biodefense labs at Fort Detrick, Md., had been told about the impending prosecution, the Los Angeles Times reported for Friday editions. The laboratory has been at the center of the FBI's investigation of the anthrax attacks, which killed five people.

Ivins died Tuesday at Frederick Memorial Hospital in Maryland. The Times, quoting an unidentified colleague, said the scientist had taken a massive dose of a prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine.

Top U.S. biological weapons researcher commits suicide as FBI closes in...,