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Advanced Biological Weapons

Advanced Biological
Weapons Systems

The Plight of Animals in the Military
Slavery. Prison camps. Strip mines. Clearcuts. “Sport” hunting. Rape. Wars. The brutality humans are capable of can be truly overwhelming. US foreign policy is full of such examples.
The images of Iraqi newborns deformed by exposure to depleted uranium, Palestinians crushed by US-made tanks and immigrants dying along the US/Mexican border are never far from my mind when I see the star-spangled banner of red, white and blue. The recent and ongoing manipulation of other species by military powers is one more stark illustration of humanity’s ability to commit acts of unthinkable cruelty, cowardice and arrogance in the name of patriotism. During the most recent US war, in addition to the ranks of low-income youth and people of color, the military sent pigeons, chickens, dogs, dolphins, beluga whales and sea lions to participate in the imperial conquest of Iraq and its oil fields.
The chickens and pigeons were stuffed into cages that sat on top of military Humvees. Their function was to “test” the air for chemical weapons—never mind that the military has spent dumbfounding amounts of taxpayer money on state-of-the-art chemical detection equipment. Just how well did the gas detection program work? Without the help of any chemical weapons, 41 out of the 43 chickens deployed to the region died within a week of arrival—probably from the stress of the trip.

Dogs are some of the military's more accepted indentured servants. Certainly, their species is not new to military exploitation. During World War II, the US Army used "tankdogs" laden with explosives to blow up German tanks. According to officials, the 1,400 dogs who were recently sent to Iraq were only used to detect mines and to rescue dead and wounded personnel.

One of the more bizarre examples of animals used by the military was when the US launched Project X-Ray in World War II. The plan was to attack Japan with bats carrying tiny satchels bearing incendiary devices. However, it backfired when, on a practice run, the bats attacked the wrong target and set fire to a military airfield in New Mexico. The use of dolphins and other cetaceans for military purposes is more controversial. The Marine Mammal Program has always been shrouded in secrecy. In the decade after the program began in 1960, cetaceans became an obsessive curiosity for military experimenters from the US Navy and the Soviet Union. The Navy studied the underwater sonar capabilities of dolphins and beluga whales to learn how to design better radars. Throughout the decades since, military vivisectors have butchered thousands of dolphins during “invasive laboratory research.”
The Navy also trained dolphins, beluga whales, orcas and sea lions to retrieve lost objects underwater (including dropped nuclear warheads), deliver equipment to divers, guard boats and submarines and conduct underwater surveillance with cameras strapped to their mouths. A combination of rewards, incarceration, physical abuse and starvation was utilized by the Navy to teach these animals such tricks.
Many dolphin specialists and trainers balk at the notion of using dolphins to kill. The altruism of these animals and their cooperative nature toward humans and each other has been recorded for centuries.
Between 1965 and 1975, several dolphin trainers resigned after the Navy sent five dolphins to Vietnam, ostensibly to perform non-lethal activities. However, Dr. Michael Greenwood, a former military cetacean trainer and neurophysiologist, claims that during the Vietnam War, dolphins were taught to kill enemy swimmers by using hypodermic syringes to inject them with pressurized carbon dioxide. This would cause the humans to literally explode. It is speculated that the deaths of 40 Vietcong divers and two US servicemen were the result of this top-secret program. It is now well-documented that the Soviet Union’s dolphin program—which developed in parallel to the one in the US and ended in the 1990s due to lack of funds—included such “killer dolphins.” Greenwood also said that the Navy trained orcas to deliver explosives, including nuclear warheads, to enemy shores. The US government has denied these allegations.
Recently, up to 20 sea lions were deployed to the Persian Gulf during the Iraq war. According to the Navy, both dolphins and sea lions—who are deployed by land, sea or air—are taught to attach a restraining device to the legs of enemy swimmers. “The clamp is connected to a rope and signal buoy that humans with guns would then reel up, presumably pulling up a human on the other end,” an ABC News story reported. A BBC article left more room for the imagination when it reported that sea lions, who can swim as fast as 25 miles per hour, “can even pursue a suspect onto dry land.”
During the 1980s, former military dolphin trainers announced that Navy dolphins were capable of planting mines 100 times faster than humans. In 1985, Ken Woodal, a former US Navy SEAL, said that he had worked with three dolphins in Vietnam and that they were “quite effective in attaching light mines to enemy wharves and piers.” The Navy continues to deny allegations that any cetaceans have ever been used to plant mines or bombs.
In 1987, during the Iran-Iraq War, the US sent five dolphins to the Persian Gulf to protect Navy ships and locate mines in the harbor. At the time, it was reported that Iranian patrol boats machine-gunned every dolphin they saw, fearing the rumors that “American animals” were laying mines and spying with cameras.
Official government documents released in 1990 admitted that 13 dolphins had died in Navy custody between 1987 and 1990. More than half had suffered from starvation or stomach disorders. Testimony from a former military animal trainer, Rick Trout, exposed the military’s use of starvation and physical violence as a routine part of training animals. “My second day on the job, I saw a sea lion kicked in the head for refusing to eat,” he revealed. “I also saw a dolphin punched in the face.”
The military has forced these gentle mammals into acting as war machines by using electronic stimulation to manipulate the animals’ brains. During the 1990s, there were many stories of how the Navy was fitting dolphins with neck harnesses that pressed small electrodes into their skin. Supposedly, the harnesses transmitted electronic signals that allowed human monitors to track and control them. An explosive charge was planted on the underside of the dolphins’ necks that could be detonated if their captors lost control over them.
In February 1998, 22 dolphin carcasses washed up along the coast of France. Sixteen of the 22 were reported to have a fist-sized hole on the underside of the neck. In a London Observer article, accident investigator Leo Sheridan noted that the strange neck wounds were “consistent with a small detonation.”
In March, an Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphin named Tacoma “went AWOL” while being used by US Marines to locate mines in the Umm Qasr port of Iraq. Unfortunately, Tacoma had been fitted with an acoustic monitor on his fin and was located in less than three days. The military also ties the snouts of dolphins shut with a strip of velcro when the animals are let into the open sea. The military calls this an “anti-foraging device” and claims that its function is not to control the dolphins but rather to safeguard them from ingesting harmful objects. Unable to eat, runaway dolphins are likely to return to their captors.
Like Tacoma, who was captured from his home in the Gulf of Mexico, all of the marine mammals used by the military were either stolen from their natural habitats or born into captivity. When wild dolphins are captured for human use, they are chased down by motor boats until they are exhausted. The young are then stolen from their mothers and sent to chlorinated aquariums or military bases to live a life contrary to their instincts.
Naturally, it is important for us to oppose the military’s practice of using animals in war and apply public pressure to end this perversion and disgrace. However, we shouldn’t stop there. The military’s exploitation and disregard for living beings should come as no surprise. Ultimately, no human, animal, tree or rock will be safe from missiles or corporations until the US empire and war machine is dismantled.
After working as an editor at the EF! Journal for almost a year, Puck is running away to become a bandit.

Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS ) and dolphins

Navy's anti-sub frigates to fire shots
as warnings to dolphins

Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian, Tuesday August 21, 2001

Royal Navy anti-submarine frigates are to fire "warning shots" to encourage whales and dolphins to get out of the way before operating long range sonar systems.
The Ministry of Defence said yesterday that it was looking at ways to minimise the damage to marine mammals from a new sonar system to be deployed by Type 23 frigates. "We recognise underwater noise can cause damage to mammals," a spokesman said.
The low frequency active sonar, or LFAS, now undergoing tests off the Shetlands, is louder than existing systems and will enable the frigates to detect submarines at a greater range.
The system works by sending out a burst of high volume, low frequency sound from a device towed by surface ships. Research in the US suggests that the system can cause haemorrhaging in a whale's ear and may stop the mammals from singing. There is also evidence that the system has caused a number of whale beachings.
The MoD began looking at suggestions that naval submarine hunting sonar equipment was killing whales after several dead whales were found on Scotland's Western Isles last year.
Lewis Moonie, the junior defence minister, recently told Paul Keetch, the Liberal Democrat defence spokesman, that the government was committed to using both the new low frequency sonar as well as a new high frequency system designed to hunt mines at short ranges, "in an environmentally responsible manner".
He said exclusion zones would be operated around "known sensitive sites such as breeding grounds and sanctuaries". He added: "We will begin transmisions at low output to give marine life the opportunity to move way".
An initial study on the environmental impact of the proposed low frequency sonar has been carried out for the ministry by the Southampton Oceanography Centre. A second one will completed by 2006, when the system is due to enter service.
Mr Keetch said yesterday it was by no means clear that the new low frequency sonar would be any more dolphin friendly than its predecessor. "By its very nature sonar will disrupt the communication of aquatic mammals," he said.
He called on the government to publish the initial environmental impact assessment and arrange independent assessments of its findings.

Navy Sonar Blamed for Dead Whales

SoundNet,The Cetacean Freedom Network
Wednesday 18th April 2001
Maneuvers may have deafened animals, led to 16 beachings
Rachel X. Weissman, New York Times
Sunday, April 15, 2001
Last spring Kenneth Balcomb, a marine mammalogist, woke to find an unsettling situation outside his Abaco Island home in the Bahamas: a 16-foot Cuvier's beaked whale weighing some 2 tons stranded in knee-deep water.
With the help of several volunteers, Balcomb, who heads the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor, Wash., tried to push the animal out to sea. After the fifth attempt, the disoriented whale stopped turning toward shore and continued into the open ocean. But that was only the start.
Over 15 hours beginning on March 15, about 16 whales and a dolphin became stranded on the beach and in shallow waters around the northern Bahama islands.
Most were pushed back into the sea by Balcomb and volunteers, who had gone to the Bahamas to observe the whales as part of a program for the Boston-based Earthwatch Institute, a nonprofit organization that supports scientific field work. Still, the dolphin and six whales died. It was one of the largest strandings of beaked whales on record.
Five days later, the U.S. Marine Fisheries Service, at the request of the Bahamian government, sent biologists to perform necropsies. They found hemorrhaging around the brain and ear bones. On the one-year anniversary of the strandings in March, a task force from the agency and the U.S. Navy said that it was highly likely that the stranding was caused by sonar transmissions from Navy ships that were performing antisubmarine exercises nearby.
Now some biologists and environmental groups fear that such mass strandings will become more common if the Navy wins approval for a sonar program it wants for detecting submarines. Called the Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System, or Surtass, it would consist of four sonar-equipped ships able to sweep 80 percent of the world's oceans.
The Navy, which must have a permit from the marine fisheries service before it can proceed, discounts claims that what happened in the Bahamas could result from Surtass, because the sonar used during last year's strandings operated on a middle frequency and its Surtass program would use a low frequency.
Both systems, however, transmit sound waves that bounce off objects and send information back to the listener.
In the proposed system, transmissions could be as loud as 230 decibels, roughly the noise of a rocket taking off. The Navy proposes using observers and monitoring instruments to make sure no marine mammals are within a kilometer. Beyond that, the sound would have dissipated to at most 180 decibels, a level at which some scientists believe physiological damage occurs.
The sound would join a chorus of others that contribute to rampant noise pollution in the oceans. Contributors are the babble of engines from industrial vessels, air guns used in oil and gas exploration and sonar impulses used for a variety of purposes. Whales are more susceptible to interference from sound than are many other mammals because of their heavy reliance on it for primary activities like feeding, communication, navigation and nursing.
"Ocean noise pollution is akin to humans living in a world of increasing smog," said Dr. Lindy Weilgart, a bioacoustician who studies whales and sound at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. "The windows of opportunity in which whales can communicate with a specific group member or find prey are increasingly limited because of noise pollution," Weilgart said. "And most whales are endangered and having a hard time anyway."
The Navy's Surtass plan is opposed by advocacy groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council, which pressed the Navy to show how its project would affect the environment. Because of a dearth of data, the Navy began research on low-frequency sonar's effect on large whales, which communicate at that level. The marine fisheries service is using the data in reviewing the Navy's permit request and will accept public comments until May 18.
Dr. Christopher W. Clark, director of bioacoustics research at Cornell and one of the main investigators for the Navy's Surtass research, said that one phase of that program tried to find out the effects of exposure to sonar levels higher than 120 decibels, a level that certain whales have been observed to avoid.
About 200 miles off San Diego, where blue whales and fin whales feed, the Navy tested its sonar in the summer and early fall of 1997 and found that whales showed no reaction at 150 decibels. "That was encouraging and even surprising," Clark said. "We had all predicted that by 140 for sure you'd see a reaction." Because of bad weather, no higher levels were tested.
But Balcomb noted that the Navy was proposing using even higher levels around the whales, and he said the Navy had not studied enough species. "They used only low-frequency communicators because that's what they thought would be affected," he said. "My point on resonance is that its effects have nothing to do with hearing."
Weilgart said that the Navy should instead be looking at data on strandings that correlate with nearby military operations using sonar.
The Navy and regulators from the marine fisheries service who are reviewing the permit proposal say the two sonar systems, low- and midlevel frequency, are so different that it is entirely unfair to link the two.
The midlevel, non-Surtass sonar implicated in the Bahamas strandings can be heard over short distances by many marine mammals, particularly smaller ones . The low-frequency sonar proposed in Surtass, on the other hand, is audible over hundreds of miles to far fewer animals and is emitted at the same frequency used by large whales like the famous singing humpback.
But Balcomb, in whose back yard this all began, holds fast to his claim that what caused the hemorrhaging in the Bahamas whales was not sound's effect on the whales' hearing but on resonance effects in their air cavities. In a recent letter to the Navy, Balcomb used calculations by the Navy's own physicis ts to show that both low and middle frequencies can create resonance effects in whales' air cavities. He surmised that low-frequency sonar could cause the same injuries probably caused by the midlevel sonar during the Bahamas str andings.
Balcomb also said that the visible damage of last spring was only part of the picture. None of the 50 Cuvier's beaked whales that frequented the Bahamas year round have been seen since the strandings. He presumes that all have died.

US Navy's Misinformation To Congress
About LFA (Low Frequency Active) Sonar

(As of 6/7/2000)

Many of you have written to your Congressional Representatives expressing your concern about the Navy's use of LFAS. Many representatives then wrote to the Navy asking for more information about this topic. Captain S. C. Miller, III, Head of the Undersea Surveillance (N474) replied to the congressional inquiries with a tremendous amount of misinformation. Below, we have provided Captain Miller's statements to your elected representatives, and the facts.

Quotes from the Navy's Head of Undersea Surveillance Concerning LFAS:

Navy Statement 1- "The Navy is committed to operating this system in an environmentally responsible manner."

Fact - From 1980 to 1995 the Navy developed and tested LFAS without obeying any of the applicable environmental laws. (National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act.)

Fact - While the Navy was illegally developing and testing LFAS, they were also building a ship (TAGOS-23) estimated cost $60 million to deploy the sonar.

Fact - In 1995, the Navy agreed to comply with federal laws and prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prior to final deployment of the system only after pressure from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Navy Statement 2 - "Prior to preparing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) covering proposed system operation, the Navy sponsored an extensive Scientific Research Program (SRP) to specifically evaluate any potential effects."

Fact -This SRP tested LFAS on only 4 species of cetaceans (out of over 30) for about one month each in only 3 geographical areas.

Fact - This SRP tested LFAS at an acoustic intensity at least 5,000 times lower than the Navy's planned deployment levels.

Fact - After testing LFAS for only one month the impact on long term reproductive rates of whales, dolphins, fish and all marine life are not known.

Fact - The Marine Mammal Commission, (a federal agency created to help protect marine mammals), expressed grave concerns in their 1997 annual report to Congress about the effects of the sonar on whales and other marine life. Specifically their report states:

"If the LFA system were made available for worldwide use as proposed, all species and populations of marine mammals including those listed as endangered and threatened under the Endangered Species Act possibly could be affected."

The report continues to explain that the possible effects on marine mammals could include:
death from trauma hearing loss disruption of feeding, nursing, sensing and communication abandonment of traditional feeding and breeding habitants stress (making animals more vulnerable to disease and predation)changes in distribution and abundance of important marine mammal prey species subsequent decreases in marine mammal survival and productivity

Navy Statement 3 - "LFA Sonar has been thoroughly tested by not only Navy scientists, but independent marine biologists as well."

Fact - All the Navy's LFAS tests were conducted by scientists paid by the Navy.

Fact - There was no testing done by independent marine biologists.

Fact - Disturbing reports from an independent experienced research team were ignored by the Navy and National Marine Fisheries Service. (The Ocean Mammal Institute (OMI) sent an experienced research team to observe the LFAS test area in Hawaii in March 1998. The Navy consistently ignored OMI's report of an agitated, lone humpback whale calf observed in the LFAS test area on March 9, 1998.)

Navy Statement 4 - "The marine biologists conducting SRP Phase 1 with blue and fin whales off the coast of Southern California in September-October 1997 observed no decrease in whale vocalizations and saw no pronounced disruption of feeding behavior from whales exposed to received levels from 110 to 153 dB. The disruption of fin and blue whales appeared to be more influenced by the disruption of prey than the SRP sonar sound transmissions."

Fact - Figure 28 in the Quicklook for Phase 1 Testing written by the Navy's hired scientist, Dr. Christopher Clark indicates that blue whales decreased their vocalizations by about 50% and fin whales decreased by about 30% when the LFA sonar sound was on.

Navy Statement 5 - "There are no data or information that substantiate the a llegations that SRP Phase III testing off the Kona coast of Hawaii in March 1998 led to abandoned calves in the sonar test area."

Fact - During the testing period the OMI research team documented an abandon ed humpback whale calf displaying agitated behavior in the sonar test area. (This calf breached (jumped out of the water) a total of 230 times during a four-hour time frame. The calf also slapped its pectoral fin on the water 671 times during this same observation period)

Fact - In violation of the NMFS permit requirements, the LFAS testing was not stopped after the highly agitated behavior of an abandoned calf was reported. (After observing this highly agitated behavior of the calf noted above, the OMI research team immediately contacted the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in Honolulu. NMFS is the governmental body that granted the research permit to Dr. Christopher Clark and other scientists to conduct the LFAS tests for the Navy.
NMFS was contacted because the testing permit application prepared for NMFS by the scientists hired by the Navy clearly stated:
"Once transmissions have commenced they will be suspended if an animal is observed demonstrating acute stress or significant behavioral modifications. Examples of such stress or behavior modification include unusual, repeated or prolonged activity such as vocalizations, blowing, breaching, time on surface, as well as potential injurious activity such as charging the sound source vessel or other nearby animals."

Fact - Navy's scientists refer to this abandoned calf in their own research report. (Page 25 and 26 of the Hawaii Quicklook state, "This would be a highly unusual event under normal conditions . .")

Fact - The OMI research team and other individuals also observed an abandoned spinner dolphin calf in the LFAS test area during the testing period.

Fact - Several Honolulu newspapers had photographs of a third abandoned calf, a melon headed whale calf found in the sonar test area a few days after LFAS testing stopped. The calf was very dehydrated and was taken to a Sea Life Park in Honolulu.

Fact - Lone cetacean calves are extremely rare. (Finding three in the small LFAS test area in a 30-day period suggests that LFAS may disorient whales and /or disrupt the mother-calf bond. Common sense would tell us to look more closely at a situation when three lone calves appear in a small area in a 30-day time period.)

Navy Statement 6 - "There are no data or information that substantiate the a llegations that SRP Phase III testing off the Kona coast of Hawaii in March 1998 led to whales leaving the test area."

Fact - Testimony from whale-watch boat captains, an aerial survey done by OMI and data collected by the Navy's shore-based research team all indicate that whales left the LFAS test area during the testing.

Fact - OMI experienced personnel (who also conduct surveys for the Navy at times) conducted an aerial survey of whales around the Big Island during the LFAS test period and found no whales around and just north of Keohole Point. (This is the area which was defined by the Navy as the northern area where the LFAS test sound would have the highest impact reaching shore. OMI's aerial survey team did, however, see whales just south and north of this prime sonar impact area.)

Fact - Aerial surveys done around the Big Island in March, 1993 and March, 1995 when there was no LFAS testing showed that the largest concentration of whales was around and just north of Keohole Point. (The same area that was devoid of whales in 1998.)

Fact - One Kona whalewatch company suspended operations one month earlier than usual because they hadn't seen a whale for 5 days in late March, 1998.

Fact - The Navy's shore-based research team counted significantly fewer whales after March 18, 1998 than during that time period in previous years when the sonar was not being tested.

Navy Statement 7 - "There are no data or information that substantiate the allegations that SRP Phase III testing off the Kona coast of Hawaii in March 1998 led to an 80% reduction in humpback whale singing during tests."

Fact - Page 21 of the Hawaii Quicklook, a report on the Hawaii LFAS test results prepared by the Navy's hired scientists, Dr.'s Clark and Tyack, report that 10 out of 17 humpback whales tested stopped singing when exposed to LFAS. (This means 80% of the tested whales stopped singing.)

Navy Statement 8 - "There is no evidence whatsoever that there were any mass strandings near Navy test sites, nor even the remotest indication that SRP testing could be correlated with any strandings."

Fact - In 1991 Nature (the prestigious British science journal) published anarticle linking three strandings of beaked whales in the Canary Islands to visible U.S. Navy maneuvers in 1985, 1988 and 1989. These were the only times that whales stranded in the Canary Islands.

Fact - LFAS tests in 1997 and 1998 were not correlated with specific strandings. But these tests were conducted at levels of acoustic intensity 5,000 times lower than the actual sonar.

Fact - In 1998 Nature published a letter by Dr. Alexandros Frantzis in which he discussed a highly unusual stranding of Curvier beaked whales off the coast of Greece in 1996. Dr. Frantzis correlated the stranding with trials of LFAS from a NATO research vessel, "Alliance". According to the official NATO report on this stranding, these whales were exposed to 150-160 dB of LFAS.

Fact - By not mentioning this unusual, and highly relevant beaked whale stranding during NATO trails in 1996 in their Draft EIS the Navy may have violated the National Environmental Policy Act. (This Act says you cannot ignore relevant data in an EIS).

Fact - There is evidence that a stranding of beaked whales in the Caribbean in October 1999 may have been the result of LFAS. (People in the water, including a scientist conducting research, heard the loud sounds.)

Fact - July and early August 1998 a beaked and sperm whale stranded on Kauai while the Navy was engaged in maneuvers in Hawaii. (RIMPAC 1998)

Navy Statement 9 - "Some of the world's most qualified specialists in marine biology, and baleen whales in particular, oversaw the SRP experiments. These experts felt that these levels were sufficient to allow extrapolation of results to determine the potential for the onset of nonserious injury."

Fact - The tests done in Hawaii were at 5,000 times less acoustic intensity than the planned deployment levels stated in the DEIS.

Fact - The Hawaii Quicklook, authored by Dr.'s Clark and Tyack, on page 5 state, "these tests did not use the full source level of LFA."

Fact - This contradicts the Navy's own hired scientists. In the Executive Summary of the Hawaii Quicklook, Dr.'s Clark and Tyack say, " will be difficult to extrapolate from these results to predict responses at higher exposure levels." They are saying that it will be difficult to predict effects at levels higher than the test levels used in Hawaii.

Fact - The Navy is planning to test LFAS on beaked and sperm whales in the summer of 2000 in the Azores if they get the required permits. (Why retest if the previous testing was adequate?)

Dolphin site: Navy hacked us
By John Motavalli, Yahoo! Internet Life, May 14, 1998
Is the U.S. Navy trying to disrupt Web sites
that report unflattering things about them?
That's the allegation made by Merchant Technology Ltd., of Bath, England, a Web-hosting service that hosts a site for The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. According to Andy Fisher, marketing director at Merchant Technology Ltd., "WDCS has previously commented on US Navy activities, including the use of Low Frequency Sonar trials off Hawaii, ship collisions with endangered whales, and the use of dolphins by Soviet military personnel in the Black Sea region.
WDCS is about to publish a report on the export of military dolphins from the Black Sea to foreign facilities, this will be available on the main WDCS web site in the near future."
Fisher says that at 9:45 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time on April 28, "an attempt by persons unknown to breach secure areas of the web server was recorded in the server access log. The complete history of this person's movements around the directory structure was recorded, and several failed attempts to access private information alerted the site Webmaster. All instances of this nature are investigated by the relevant Webmaster as a matter of course and the end user could be identified as The domain in question was, the Department of Navy (US) Headquarters (Located within the Pentagon - Washington DC)."
Why would the Navy want to hack into a site like this? Chris Stroud, WDCS Director of Campaigns, doesn't know for sure. But he says, "Whilst one hears that such activities may still happen after the end of the Cold War, I think whoever it was within the US Navy facility would have better things to do rather than try and hack into our computers. If they were seeking reports on the Black Sea we shall be freely publishing these in the near future anyway." Fisher surmises that "presumably they thought it a soft target, or a 'back door.'"

Merchant Technology's Andy Fisher says that the Navy has not been forthcoming with an explanation to them. However, he adds, "a spokesperson for the Navy confirmed that a call was made from the Pentagon, to our site at the time in question, but they did not know who or why it had happened. I believe there is an internal investigation underway at the moment." Fisher also claims that they still have not contacted him with any additional information or explanation of the event.

But another Navy spokesperson -- a Naval officer claiming to be the "official Navy spokesperson" and the only person commenting on this alleged event, says that "The Navy has not received the official complaint" and is therefore unable to confirm that any hacking attempt was made. In both an e-mail to Double Scoop and a live phone conversation, the spokesperson would only clarify that " is a server -- not an end user. Until we receive the actual complaint there's really nothing we can do. All I have now is words from a newspaper...the only information is from the media...I do not yet have the actual complaint. We need to find the details of their complaint before we can proceed."

According to this "official" Navy spokesperson, "The Navy has servers of that nature, but I can't comment further until we've seen the complaint and an investigation has been launched. The Navy hasn't received a formal complaint yet." Sources said that Merchant Technology's complaint had gone first to the U.S. Embassy in London, had been forwarded to the U.S. Naval attache there, and was making its way through channels in the Pentagon. A statement from the Navy is expected soon. But our "official" spokesperson also claims that "Since the complaint went to the American embassy - unless otherwise directed by the embassy - we will provide our response back to them"
Interestingly, a BBC story on May 6, entitled "Dolphin charity hacked by the Pentagon" reports that "The group (WCDS) claims American navy was trying to get detail s of a report on how dolphins trained for military use in the former Soviet Union have been sold off since the end of the Cold War" and quotes Stroud as promising to "give them the report, but they just have to wait like everybody else." The story was similarly reported on May 8 by Kristi Essick for InfoWorld Electric.
According to Fisher, the report will be released September 5, 1998.
Philip Breeden, a press officer at the U.S. Embassy in London, was unavailab le for comment at press time.

Copyright C 1999 ZD Inc.
All rights reserved.

UK: Dolphin charity
'hacked by the Pentagon'

Wednesday, May 6, 1998

A British dolphin conservation group has accused the Pentagon over attempting to hack into its secret computer files. The group claims American navy was trying to get details of a report on how dolphins trained for military use in the former Soviet Union have been sold off since the end of the Cold War.
The old Soviet navy used highly-trained dolphins because their natural sensory systems made them ideal for military use.
But at the end of the Cold War they became expensive to keep and conservationists claim they were sold to willing buyers around the world, at least from the Sevastopol naval base in the Ukraine.
The information in the report by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, the WDCS, has been kept secret on a computer file pending the release of the report.
But a week ago the group noticed that someone somewhere was trying to hack into the file. The trail was easy to follow. The crude attempt to get information was made by the US military.
Computer experts say it was not simply a slip of the finger.
"The kind of information they have received gives more information about the internal workings of our computer systems.
"Effectively that will allow you to get into the further areas of the site, if you wanted to," says Matt Penton from Merchant Technologies.
The Americans have also used dolphins for military work. But according to the report, there was some concern that a gap was emerging. The Soviets apparently had better trained dolphins than the Americans.
The WDCS report details how the Soviet military trained dolphins were sold to several countries, including Argentina, Hungary and Yugoslavia.
The group says the Americans twice asked for a copy before publication and they criticise the method of trying to get the information.
"We are actually very concerned that someone like the US navy feels like they have come through the back door to try and break in here," says Chris Stroud from the WDCS.
"We are not going to try and pursue them through the courts but we are looking for some explanation. We have actually asked the US embassy for a rational explanation of this activity," he says.
"We will give them the report, but they just have to wait like everybody else."
The Americans on Tuesday admitted a call had been made from a computer in the Pentagon. But they have not yet established who was responsible and what their motives were.
But the report from the dolphin charity will suggest that some of these highly intelligent creatures ended up at dolphinariums to entertain the public.
Others, though, may have continued their military careers elsewhere and that would be useful information for the intelligence services.

Dolphins' sensory systems make them ideal for military use
Former Soviet military dolphins have been sold around the world, the report says
The charity says the hacker came from Pentagon
An American-trained dolphin in action in the Gulf in the 1980s
Crhris Stroud: "They will have to wait like everybody else"

Chris Stroud of the Whale and Dolphin and Conservation Society:
'We are looking for an explanation' (real audio)

U.S. Navy caught hacking
into British marine charity Web site

By Kristi Essick
InfoWorld Electric, May 8, 1998

The U.S. Navy has been caught attempting to break in to secure areas of a World Wide Web site sponsored by a U.K. marine-mammal preservation charity, according to officials at the organization.
The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) -- which operates an online shopping site aimed at generating money for the welfare of the animals at -- said it was alerted to the attempted break-in last week by its site-hosting company, Merchant Technology Ltd.
"We were working late one night, and a command line request came in wanting to access unauthorized areas of the site," said Andy Fisher, marketing manager for Merchant. "We were amazed to find out it was the Pentagon."
Merchant built and manages the secure electronic-commerce site for the conservation society and routinely keeps an eye on who visits. If users attempt to gain access to unauthorized areas, the company is alerted to the source of the incoming request.
At 9:45 p.m. GMT on April 28, Fisher said, workers at Merchant were shocked to see an incoming attempt to breach security by a user identified as .
Merchant got in touch with WDCS immediately, only to find out that the charity had been contacted by the Navy a few weeks earlier. The Navy was interested in obtaining a report the group is working on that details the efforts of Russian animal experts to train dolphins in the Black Sea for military tasks, such as finding and attaching probes to submarines, Fisher said.
A WDCS representative said that there is nothing secret about the Russian government's activities in this area but that the document does contain information about the export of the trained dolphins to foreign countries. The group declined to give the Navy a copy of the report only because it was not complete at the time. Once it is made final, the report will be published and the Navy can then examine it, the representative said.
The WCDS said that it is confused about why the Navy would attempt to breakin to its Web site.
"I think whoever it was within the U.S. Navy facility would have better things to do rather than try and hack into our computers," said Chris Stroud, the organization's director of campaigns, in a statement. "If they were seeking reports on the Black Sea, we shall be freely publishing these in the near future anyway."
The WCDS previously has commented unfavorably on Navy activities such as its low-frequency sonar trials off Hawaii and on ship collisions with endangered whales, the group said.
Merchant says it is "100 percent sure" the hacking attempt originated from the Navy. WDCS has notified the U.S. Embassy in London and the relevant U.K. authorities, the organization said.
"We hope that the U.S. authorities have some rational explanation for this incident," Stroud said.
"The Navy has not yet received a formal complaint on the issue," said a Navy official, who declined to be named. "Until the Navy receives a formal complaint with details, there's not much we can do to proceed further."
Merchant Technology Ltd., in Bath, England, can be reached at 44 (1225) 481 015. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, also in Bath, can be reached at 44 (1225) 334 511 or

Kristi Essick is a London correspondent
for the IDG News Service, an InfoWorld affiliate.