Humans Ruin Everything: Animals of War
This is not a prank. (Unless it is.)
In January of 1942, a dentist had a really fresh idea. His name was Lytle Adams and his concept was this: attach bombs to bats and release them over japan. During the day, those bats would seek shelter indoors and their explosive charges would detonate on a timer.
Lytle Adams submitted his plan to the White House, and unlike my proposal to combine recess and sex ed in American high schools, Lytle Adams got his plan approved by the president. He even got hired to research the plan further and make it a tactical reality.
Perhaps you've already concluded Adams was vaguely insane, and perhaps you're not far off. As one article notes: "He postulated that these immeasurable numbers of fires, spreading their devastation over such vast areas within Japanese cities would result in the enemy's speedy surrender." As he mentioned in his initial proposal to FDR, "The use of such means might be very demoralizing, especially against a superstitious people."
Adams consulted a great many experts in a great many fields, and got a number of them to sign onto the plan. Among them was Earl P. Stevenson, who wrote a letter advising the Naval Research office on the feasability of the plan. He makes some rather surreal and interesting notes:
Conceivably bats could be released from either submarines or planes, and my purpose in addressing this letter to your Office is primarily in connection with the first of these alternatives. In such a use the bats would have to be shipped at temperatures below 50 degrees F., where they hibernate and can be, I am told, packed in cases like any other inanimate objects.
Early tests -- shockingly -- didn't go so well:
To load a bomb aboard a bat, technicians attached the case to the loose skin on the bat's chest by a surgical clip and a piece of string. Groups of 180 were released from a cardboard container that opened automatically in midair at about 1,000 feet, after which, says the CWS history, "bats were supposed to fly into hiding in dwelling and other structures, gnaw through the string, and leave the bombs behind." In May 1943, about 3,500 bats were collected at Carlsbad Caverns, flown to Muroc Lake, Calif., and placed in refrigerators to force them to hibernate. On May 21, 1943, five drops with bats outfitted with dummy bombs were made from a B-25 flying at 5,000 feet. The tests were not successful; most of the bats, not fully recovered from hibernation, did not fly and died on impact. The bat-bomber research team was transferred a few days later to an Army Air Forces auxiliary airfield at Carlsbad, N. M.
It got worse from there. For further reading, Air Force Magazine has a hilariously detailed article complete with priceless illustrations.
This is the main reason I warned the animal lovers about this article. The Russian military, faced with advancing German tanks, hit upon a remarkably cynical solution. They gathered up hundreds of dogs from city kennels and starved them for days at a time, then served them food under tanks. Dogs are notoriously sensitive to repetitive conditioning, so in a matter of weeks the dogs could be brought to the front line. From there it was simply a matter of attaching explosive charges and sending the dogs into the field. The "stick" you see on the dog's back in the photo above is the switch for the explosives wired into his vest. Once the dog went under the tank, it would trip the switch and....
As Damn Interesting notes:
Realization of that plan was a little less successful. The dogs had been trained to look under a Soviet tank for food, and would sometimes be loosed into a battle just to turn around and find a friendly tank to climb under. Sometimes the dogs would spook at the rumble of a running diesel engine and run away from the battle. Sometimes the dogs just decided they didn't want to go. Despite the problems, the Anti-tank dogs were successful at disabling a reported 300 Nazi tanks. It was enough of a problem to the Nazi advance that the Germans were compelled to attempt measures at stopping them. The top mounted machine gun proved ineffective due to the relatively small size of the attackers, the fact that there were low to the ground and hard to spot, and that dogs just don't want to die when they think they're close to food.
Germany responded with some rather clever propaganda, a classic example of "compartmentalized solutions":
The German army quickly learned of the Soviet Hundminen and so spread throughout the ranks information that all Russian dogs likely to be encountered were probably rabid and so should be shot on sight. As a result all dogs virtually disappeared from the Eastern Front in the ensuing few days, making the use of dog mines all the less feasible.
There is a legend -- not that any of this is particularly verifiable in the first place -- that an entire unit of anti-tank dogs "malfunctioned" in late 1942 and took out enough Soviet tanks to turn the tide of an entire battle front. This is claimed to be the End of the Line for canine suicide bombers.
LEAVE THE CATS ALONE, DAMMIT
I'm kinda partial to felines myself, so this section really bothers me. (Not that all the others didn't.) Cats have had a very uneven and uneasy ride these past 10,000 years. Having seen everything from Egyptian godhood to superstitious eradication during the Dark Ages, cats have learned the hard way that humans are not to be trusted. Fortunately, the incidence of cats being born with more toes than usual has been increasing for the past decade, so perhaps opposable thumbs are right around the corner.
Ever heard of "Operation Acoustic Kitty"? The CIA is undertaking a major public relations project right now, after Bush II's mandate that the agency increase their ranks by 50%. They should really consider using this project in their promotional material -- it would be much more effective at attracting the kind of detached sadism they need.
The basic plan was this: 1) Cats are everywhere, and nobody really pays them much attention. 2) Jose Delgado has proven the power of electronic brain implants to control the motor systems of animals. 3) We should implant microphones and radio transmitters into a cat and use it as a remote-control eavesdropping robot.
Of course, this also involves a large amount of messy and most unorthodox vetrinary surgery, not to mention the impossible task of training a cat to do anything. The first test run was a total failure -- the poor animal was hit by a taxi less than a minute into the experiment.
Their conclusions are declassified.
Marine Mammal Program
This is the one that bothers me the most, and it's not just because I'm curious about sex with dolphins. It's because the movie Battle Royale was actually based on a US Navy program --- dolphins with explosive charges surgically placed inside their necks in case they strayed away from what the officers wanted them to do.
16 of 22 dead dolphins off the Mediterranean coast of Languedoc-Roussillon, France had an identical mysterious wound - a neat, fist-sized hole on the underside of their necks
---from Tony Smith's page on Dolphins.
Unlike anti-tank dogs and Operation Acoustic Kitty, this is not a one-time project, but an ongoing program. You can even check out the official website. Their FAQ is full of gloss and outright bullshit, which must come as a shock to the reader.
For instance, consider the following gem:
Does the Navy train its dolphins for offensive warfare, including attacks on ships and human swimmers or divers? No. The Navy does not now train, nor has it ever trained, its marine mammals to harm or injure humans in any fashion or to carry weapons to destroy ships. A popular movie in 1973 ("The Day of the Dolphin") and a number of charges and claims by animal rights organizations have resulted in theories and sometimes actual beliefs that Navy dolphins are assigned attack missions. This is absolutely false.
And yet elsewhere on the site, they baldly state the following:
"Unit MK 6 uses dolphins and sea lions as sentries to protect harbor installations and ships against unauthorized human swimmers."
The Marine Mammal Program has been an outright success. In fact, Congress gave the Navy an exemption from the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1986, allowing them to freely "collect" dolphins for "research and defense purposes". With this green light, the Navy built up a collection of hundreds of captured dolphins for training, mostly from the Gulf of Mexico area.
Hilarious anaecdote: In 1992, the Navy requested over $500,000 to conduct a "feasability study" on releasing the dolphins they still had in captivity but no longer needed for their program. Their request was of course granted, and upon completion of the study, the Navy declared it would not be cost-effective since it would cost tens of thousands of dollars, and so they remained in their tanks.
As Frontline notes:
In an attempt to downsize its dolphin troops, the Navy offered to give its surplus trained dolphins to marine parks. However, interest in the free dolphins was low because many marine parks by this time had developed successful in-house breeding programs. The Navy only got only four requests, but pledged to care for the unclaimed dolphins until their deaths. Later in 1994, the Navy agreed to send three dolphins to Sugarloaf sanctuary, near Key West in Florida, a rehabilitation facility run by Ric O'Barry. O'Barry planned to reeducate the dolphins so they could be safely released into the wild, once the necessary federal permits were granted.
In 1996, O'Barry got rather sick of waiting around and released two of his charges -- Luther and Buck -- in the Gulf of Mexico. Shockingly, the Navy found it to be most cost-effective to mount a massive recovery effort to find the two escapees.
The dolphins were recaptured less than two weeks later and returned to the Navy. All three of these dolphins are now back with the Navy. One of them is still in Florida; the other two are back in San Diego in the Navy facility there.
From an interview with O'Barry:
Frontline: What's wrong with using a dolphin as an "Advanced Biological Weapon System" -- which is how they were classified in Navy terms? O'Barry: Well it's abusive. People say -- "we're only talking about a few dolphins here. There's millions of them out there." That's the argument. But what's wrong with abusing a few women? Hey, there's millions of them out there! It's the same kind of thinking, same kind of logic. Besides the ethical considerations, it's a faulty weapons system. It doesn't even work, okay? It doesn't work. The public is being ripped off. It didn't work in Vietnam. It didn't work in the Persian Gulf and it didn't work anywhere they tried it. They're not dependable the dolphins. Once a dolphin has been fed their full allotment of fish you no longer have control over the dolphin. They know that. I sometimes suspect that this whole program is a phoney program as a deterrent to the enemy. We know that the North Vietnamese were living in terror of these kamikaze dolphins as they were called. We used dolphins to take out North Vietnamese regulars coming down the Mekong Delta and they died there and we've used them in the Persian Gulf and these were basically disposable dolphins for a disposable society. And that's what's wrong with it.
As always, industrial atrocities lead to greater knowledge. Just like the Nazi concentration camps provided the basis for Gray's Anatomy, the Marine Mammal program has provided a wealth of information about Cetaceans. Check out their archive of publications.
To the Navy's credit, they are (today) meticulous about obeying every law on Marine Mammal handling to the letter. However, the Navy will never get into the specifics of what those laws are. You know why? Let's go back to O'Barry for the last word:
The pens in the Navy facility are 30 by 30. That is six feet by six feet more than is required by law. Okay. Minimum horizontal dimension. Minimum circumference, if you will, of a circle or one side of a square is not the same as ideal by any means. It's one of the things I find most troublesome about US law.
As far as BIPT research can determine, the original suicide bombers were all animals, all of whom had no choice in their fates. And I'm certainly not trying to say that's changed today, just noting that said animals were all non-human.
It's worth taking a break here to meditate on choice, on conditioning, and on slavery. Clearly horses and cows have never been asked how they feel about their role in the Great Human Drama. They were conditioned from birth to accept their place.
Are you any different? Is anyone? We reject our parents conditioning because we're independent humans, we're rebels and iconoclasts. Actually, a more accurate way to put it is this: we reject our parents conditioning because we're conditioned to. If you're looking for anything resembling "free will" in the hall of mirrors we call Western Civilization, you are chasing ghosts with butterfly nets. There is no fashion statement, no political belief, no radical stance, no lifestyle choice that wasn't computer-coded somewhere along Madison Avenue decades ago. No matter what you use to define yourself, it's been sold to you, and it's all Part of The Plan.
Not that I'm pointing fingers -- how about Brainsturbator Dot Com, eh? What is this bullshit? We're merely purveyors of "weird" information, cheap mental snack food for bored people at boring jobs, and we're following the blueprints laid out by Mae Brussel and Charles Fort, and we're probably six months away from being another merchandized and trademarked Part of The Plan. There's nothing special about what we're doing here, there's a million websites just like this one, all equally replaceable and interchangable.
Some Edward Abbey to close out this chipper little detour:
The industrial way of life leads to the industrial way of death. From Shiloh to Dachau, from Antietam to Stalingrad, from Hiroshima to Vietnam and Afghanistan, the great specialty of industry and technology has been the mass production of human corpses. The tragedy of modern war is not so much that the young men die but that they die fighting each other--instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.
(Also remember one of his greatest zingers: "Life is cruel? Compared to what?")
I read this book when I was a kid and I still have nightmares about it. (All my other recurring nightmares are apparently self-generated.)
The book is the most horrific book I've read in the literal sense. The unflinching accounts of animal experiments --- mutilation, torture, poisoning, in other words --- shocked me to imagine. I have to say, though, Doctor Rat is a novel, a book, and what really messed me up was finding out all the experiments were real. Even the most gruesome material in the book is common practice in labs (university, government and corporate) around the world.
"Heat oven to 250. Insert tray of kittens, paws taped down. Note plaintive cries and vaginal bleeding."
Doctor Rat is the sole ally of the human race, in the bloody aftermath of an animal rebellion on Earth. Humanity is of course the top of the food chain, unless you count the various alien species who consume over 30,000 humans annually in the United States alone. So although the animals don't really stand a chance of "defeating" the human race, you have to admit that if all animals on Earth started attacking us, a great many people we know would get brutally f*ed up before we could get things under control.
I should re-read the book, since the whole layer of "Doctor Rat" as informant and traitor was lost on me at age 12.
At what point does it become open war, though? Consider the case of Burlington, Vermont, on the shores of Lake Champlain. The Lake is over-run by pollutants introduced in other states. Is a factory dumping chemicals into our water supplies just business? Is it just business as the cancer rates spiral upwards and nobody will just come out and f*ing say it -- that we are poisoning ourselves?
But then...that's not really it, it it? Have you poisoned anyone today? Yeah, me neither. Is there any way to rationalize this into the background noise again? Is there any way to look at this that doesn't resemble long-term, mass-scale attempted murder? Or, should we accept industrial pollution as a declaration of war, against us and against future generations? We'll be exploring all this in our upcoming series on Earth First! and the Animal Liberation Front, but meanwhile, food for thought.
Further Reading for Curious Primates
"Dolphins of War" -- an investigative report into US and UK marine mammal programs.
Wikipedia entry on the Marine Mammal Program.
Operation Acoustic Kitty from Damn Interesting Dot Com.
Decent overview of animals at war.
Good pics and detailed history about the the role of animals in WWI, or "The Great War". (Nobody but the Rothschilds call it that anymore.)
Interesting fascist essay on the use of animals in war through history.
Outstanding essay on animals in war, I wish I'd read this before I wrote this damn post.
VERY DEPRESSING AND SHOCKING PETA SITE about the ongoing military testing on animals.