Navy war games killing whales?

This video says about itself:

Almost 200 Pilot Whales Beached in New Zealand! Is Navy Testing to Blame?

13 February 2015

Almost 200 pilot whales stranded themselves Friday on a New Zealand beach renowned as a deathtrap for the marine mammals. Is past nuclear testing to blame?

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Are submarine war games killing whales?

PETER FROST investigates many mysterious whale corpses turning up on Scottish and Irish beaches

LAST week I told the remarkable tale of an Arctic beluga whale which turned up at Tilbury on the Thames. It is still living there as I write this, seven days later. And it shows no signs of moving on at any time soon.

Should the animal manage to make its way from the Thames, it will need to avoid being hit by passing shipping both in the busy Thames itself and the Channel, which has some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

Getting back to its home in the Arctic will not be easy, but it did manage exactly the same thousands of miles journey in the other direction to get here.

While we were all smiling at the whale in the Thames, marine mammal scientists had something much more serious to investigate.

Why had 75 deep-water whales washed up on Scottish and Irish coasts during August and September? Most are Cuvier’s beaked whales, which are among the deepest-diving whales on the planet.

Nearly 50 badly decomposed beaked whales were washed up on Hebridean islands such as North and South Uist and Tiree. Twenty-two more ended up on beaches on the west coast of Ireland and one in Northern Ireland.

It seems highly unlikely that the whales died of any infectious disease. More and more evidence points to increased military activity in the east Atlantic as the cause of death.

Undersea war games use loud sonar to trace submarines. These may frighten whales to the surface too quickly.

Some will have dived to as much as two miles beneath the surface. Any too rapid rise to the surface can cause decompression sickness, or the bends, just as it can human divers.

There are concerns that the whales being washed up are just a small part of a huge number of whale deaths. The whales that reached land were very badly decomposed, often no more than skin and bones with not enough flesh for meaningful diagnosis.

Without blood or blood vessels there was no way to check for the characteristic bubbles in the blood that are the certain sign of decompression sickness.

Cuvier’s beaked whales are much less well-known than other whales. They can grow to five or six metres long and weigh up to two tons.

They live very secretively off the edge of the continental shelf and dive down to great depths, up to two miles, and can spend more than two hours at those great depths.

At the beginning of August pilots flying above remote Irish beaches were reporting large mystery mounds of dark rotting matter.

Irish researchers on the west coast of Donegal and Mayo investigated these reports and discovered those mystery mounds were in fact badly decomposed beaked whales that had been washed ashore. Then the same thing started to happen on remote Scottish beaches, including Hebridean islands such as the Uists and Tiree.

In just the few weeks since this August at least 50 were discovered on the Scottish coast and at least a score in Ireland. This was more than the entire total of beached whales in all of Britain over the last decade.

So why is it happening? Sadly most corpses have been washed up in an extremely decomposed state, often just bones, so it is difficult to carry out a detailed post-mortem. However the pattern of the stranding seems to suggest infectious disease was not a likely cause.

Whales have evolved in a quiet environment, using sound to forage for food, to communicate and for sometimes very sophisticated navigation.

Now oceans are really noisy places with underwater prospecting for oil, gas and valuable minerals as well as shipping noises. War games in particular use loud active sonar to locate submarines.

The whales are sensitive to mid-range sonar, which is used quite extensively by the military both to navigate and search out other craft.

Have there been war games in the east Atlantic recently? Almost certainly, but strangely neither Britain’s Royal Navy, the Nato fleet, the Russian navy, the Chinese navy, nor High Admiral of the US Fleet Donald Trump send this humble Morning Star columnist a full list of top secret military exercises regularly. I’ve asked, I’ve asked.

A spokeswoman for the British MoD stated: “The Royal Navy takes its responsibilities in safeguarding the environment very seriously and, when at all possible, operators take avoidance actions should animals be detected before or during sonar operations.

“Our precautionary practices are similar to those used in other marine industries and are regularly reviewed by statutory bodies to ensure they reflect the latest understanding of the marine environment and the effects of sound on it.

“To remain effective elements of UK defence, Royal Navy units need to operate flexibly in locations around the UK and the world.”

I guess the Whitehall wordsmiths would say that, wouldn’t they?

A similar incident has happened before, this time in the Canaries where a whale washed ashore about a week or two after a sonar exercise. The whale showed signs of decompression sickness.

The response of this stranding was for the Spanish government to ban sonar within 50 nautical miles of the coast. Result? No more beached whales.

Meanwhile, as more and more decomposing whales are found on our beaches, the Scottish and Westminster governments have ordered a full investigation, but I don’t think even a whale that can dive two miles down for two hours should hold its breath for the results.


Tawny owl couples singing, video

This video says about itself:

Tawny owl. Singing couple in the night forest. Strix aluco.

Two singing couples in the autumn forest. October, 2018. Belarus.

Nobel Peace Prize 2018, to Congo, Yazidi woman

This 5 October 2018 video is called Nobel Peace Prize 2018: Awardees Fight Against Sexual Violence In War.

YAZIDI rape and kidnap survivor Nadia Murad was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today, along with anti-rape campaigner and gynaecologist Denis Mukwege. The winners were announced in the Norwegian capital Oslo yesterday after the committee considered the 331 individuals and organisations that were nominated for the prestigious peace award: here.

Tanagers feeding in Panama, video

This video says about itself:

Blue-gray And Dusky-faced Tanagers Pop By Panama Feeders – Oct. 4, 2018

Tropical tanager species come in all colors. Check out the plumage differences between two Blue-gray Tanagers and a Dusky-faced Tanager in this clip from the Panama Fruit Feeder cam.

Watch LIVE 24/7 with highlights and viewing resources at

The Panama Fruit Feeder Cam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Canopy Family.

Eight-year-old girl discovers (pre-)Viking sword

This 4 October 2018 video says about itself:

Girl, 8, pulls a 1,500-year-old sword from a lake in Sweden.

It reminds me a bit of a Vietnamese legend; from Wikipedia:

According to the legend, in early 1428, Emperor Lê Lợi was boating on the lake when a Golden Turtle God (Kim Qui) surfaced and asked for his magic sword, Heaven’s Will. Lợi concluded that Kim Qui had come to reclaim the sword that its master, a local God, the Dragon King (Long Vương) had given Lợi some time earlier, during his revolt against Ming China. Later, Emperor Lợi gave the sword back to the turtle after he finished fighting off the Chinese. Emperor Lợi renamed the lake to commemorate this event, from its former name Luc Thuy meaning “Green Water”.

In medieval British Arthurian legends, King Arthur obtained his sword Excalibur from the water, given by the Lady of the Lake.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Girl (8) pulls 1500-years-old sword from lake

An 8-year-old girl has, in Sweden, recovered a 1500-year-old sword from a lake. While swimming on holiday in Jönköping, Saga Vanecek took the 85-centimeter weapon out of the mud.

“I felt something in the water and pulled it up. When I saw a handle, I told my father it looked like a sword”, Saga told the Swedish media. The find was extra special for the Swedish-American girl because she is a fan of the Vikings NFL [American football] team.

If it is really 1500 years old, then it is not a Viking sword, but rather a pre-Viking weapon; as the Viking Age is usually said to start in 793 AD.

Her father initially thought that Saga had “found an unusual stick”, but further research soon indicated that it was a special archaeological find. According to experts, the weapon is very well preserved. Thus the sheath of leather and wood is still around the blade.

According to the local museum, the discovery was possible because the water in the lake was exceptionally low this summer due to the drought. Furthermore, it is being investigated whether more finds can be made. A brooch from the Iron Age has already been found.

Archaeologists have no idea how the sword landed in the water. It may have been thrown into the lake as an offering or simply lost, but it is also possible that it has been washed away from a grave.

The brooch found near the sword, photo Jönköpings Läns Museum

Sleeping baby panda discovery in Chinese nature reserve

This 29 September 2018 video says about itself:

Why this sleeping wild baby panda in China is a really big deal

Rangers in the Dafengding Nature Reserve in southwest China’s Sichuan province recently came across a sleeping wild panda cub, the first time a cub has been discovered in the wild since the reserve was established 40 years ago.

British demonstration against Trump’s wars, spying, militarization of space

This 20 May 2017 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump in Saudi Arabia: More U.S. Weapons for Devastating Yemen War

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink and author of “Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection“, says President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia deepens a “toxic” tie between Washington and the House of Saud.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Peace campaigners to march on US air force comms base

PEACE campaigners will march on a major US air force communications centre at RAF Croughton on Saturday.

The Pentagon is embarked on a £200 million upgrade to the base on the Oxfordshire-Northamptonshire border to turn it into a “major international intelligence hub” housing the new Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre and 1,500 US military and intelligence staff.

It is also planned to be a ground station for the “space force” planned by US President Donald Trump to establish “American dominance in space.”

Oxford CND’s Nigel Day said the base would help co-ordinate lethal drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia and the Sahel region of north Africa, after Germany told the US that it could not use its Ramstein base in the country’s south-west for “death-dealing” activities.

“We don’t want this development. It drags us into Nato and US aggression abroad,” Mr Day told the Morning Star.

A minibus organised by the Oxfordshire Peace Campaign leaves St Giles, Oxford, at 10.45am and Oxford railway station at 11am. Tickets are priced £8 and pre-booking is essential on (01865) 248-357 or

The rally at Croughton will run from noon to 4pm.