CIVIL DEFENSE PERSPECTIVES
January 1999 (vol. 15, #2) 1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716 c 1999 Physicians for Civil Defense
The question looming at the threshold of the Third Millennium is this: What shall be at the center of our civilization? Will it be Truth, and the knowledge of truth-that which keeps mankind free? Or will it be another Centre, perhaps headquartered at a building resembling the mysterious one in the NBC television series The Pretender, that defines what shall be accepted as the truth, thereby gaining the power to control the hearts, minds, property, and energy of humanity?
The Centre contains vast archives of data, stored on tiny disks like CD-ROMs, labeled ``for Centre use only.'' The Centre also has methods of extracting information from living repositories, even unwilling ones: methods such as the T-board.
Expanding centralized information assets has a high priority in the United States today. One data collection tool was described in the January 18-24 issue of The Week That Was from the Science and Environmental Policy Project (seewww.sepp.org ). This questionnaire was sent to hunters after five of the 11 Mexican wolves released in Arizona were shot and killed. The incentive for sending in answers: to ``preclude Special Agents from meeting with you in person.'' Hunters were not allowed to write in pencil or to type. They were told to write answers only once and to remember that ``each word of your answers will be evaluated.'' The form was a public relations failure:
``Do you know who shot the wolf? Write in detail about your hunting trip....How do you feel now that you have completed the form? Should we believe your answers to the questions? If your answer to the last question was yes, give us one reason why. What were your emotions while filling out this form? Did you feel afraid while completing the form?''
Much form-filling today is voluntary. You do not need to have a bar-coded card to buy groceries at Abco, but you will have to pay about 10% more if you don't. The data have many uses: to send you coupons for your favorite items; to determine whether you spend more money than you earn at the grocery store; or perhaps, eventually, to protect you against buying too many high-fat products.
Physicians do not need to file forms when they see patients: only if they want to receive third-party payment. And they have much reason to feel afraid each time they send in a form, for every code down to the fifth digit will be evaluated, on pain of four-digit penalties for errors. Great care must be taken in entering corrections properly in a medical record, even if it is not submitted with the form; the record might have to be sent in later to document medical necessity, or it might be the subject of a search warrant or a subpoena.
Infrastructure is now being built for putting all medical records into a central electronic data base. Patients will not have to have their information entered-unless they wish to receive medical care. The data have many uses: to send the patient coupons for incontinence pads or prostate pills; to determine whether Society is spending too much on his medical care in proportion to his worth; and perhaps even to help figure out who shot the wolf. In a fantastic, science-fiction future, the medical record could perhaps be linked to the grocery store record to assess compliance with prescribed diet or smoking cessation programs-for your own good, and Society's.
New incentives are contemplated by Congress, such as an ``antipiracy'' bill to create property rights in the medical data assembled into data bases, so that access can be restricted to authorized users who have paid the proper fee: no doubt well worth the $50 million in campaign and lobbying expenses.
The great resources of information need not be used to seek the Truth. Rather, the Centre's statisticians can torture the data in order to make it confess to the desired conclusions.
For example, the vast amount of data collected in ecologic studies, which refute the government assertion that the slightest whiff of radon in the basement is guilty of causing lung cancer, can be ignored in favor of the ``overall evidence,'' which still doesn't prove the thesis. [Bernard Cohen will present an update on his indoor radon studies at the DDP meeting in June.]
If vast collections of data show that global climate models, despite $10 billion of taxpayers' money, don't make reliable predictions, then three peer-reviewed scientists, T Wigley, RL Smith, and B Santer, state that ``these models' results cannot be compared directly with observations...because the observations are likely to be influenced by other, additional forcing factors'' (Science 282:1676-1679).
If more than 17,000 American scientists individually sign a statement to the effect that the catastrophic global warming hypothesis is disproved by the evidence, and that the Kyoto Treaty is harmful to children and other living things, then the Peers of a 35,000 member organization release a policy statement favoring the Treaty. (Never mind that few members of the American Geophysical Union have expertise in climate science, or even had the opportunity to read or comment on the statement.) If experts on the issue, such as Jorge Sarmiento of Princeton, and even the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, report that carbon dioxide has an atmospheric half-life of about 30 years, the AGU can simply assert that greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are ``predicted to persist in the atmosphere for times ranging to thousands of years.''
If there are four sets of temperature histories showing no warming trend in the past two decades (weather balloon temperature sensors, weather balloon barometers, satellites, and night marine air temperatures), then the Department of Commerce considers only one data set (from ocean buoys) that shows warming (World Climate Report 9/14/98).
If the only climate change in the past two decades is a warming in the coldest wintertime air masses over Siberia and North America, and a statistically significant decline in year-to-year variability, then Vice President Gore attributes every notable weather event to global warming (Patrick Michaels, Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 329, 12/31/98).
If the White Cliffs of Dover are white because pieces fall into the sea before vegetation can grow on them, reporters can just announce that a chunk fell off due to global warming─never mind that it has happened for centuries.
The Centre has big guns, fear and intimidation, ever more awesome information gathering and surveillance powers, and many powerful incentives for ``cooperation.'' But the Truth lives on, constantly threatens to set men free, and ultimately will destroy the pretenders. It is only a question of when.
From The Second Coming by WB Yeats (1865-1939):
Scientist Backs Down
James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, the man who put the phrase ``global warming'' on the map, wrote in the August 18, 1998, issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: ``The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change.''
As Anna Bray Duff writes: ``[Scientists] have learned much more over the past few decades about each piece of the climate puzzle. And it seems that the more they learn, the less they know for sure'' (Investor's Business Daily, 11/24/98).
Clinton/Gore Presses Forward
Having signed the Kyoto Treaty, with no intention of submitting it to the Senate for ratification any time soon, the Administration has a number of implementation tools that require no one's advice or consent. In addition to the $2 billion per year being spent on global warming (the Administration can funnel those research grants into the proper hands) a new allocation of $6.3 billion is proposed, including a set-aside for public ``education.'' Schools are inundated with global warming propaganda, so children can pressure their parents at home (Tom DeWeese, Insight 8/3/98). Executive order and administrative dictate can be applied through broad interpretations of the Clean Air Act, making Congress increasingly irrelevant.
Then there's the public-private partnership. The Administration can buy allies by dispensing tax credits to businesses that accept the Treaty provisions. It already has powerful allies in Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The Pew Charitable Trust, a private foundation, has pledged $50 million over the next ten years to promote global warming to the press and to the public, largely through the National Environmental Trust and the Pew Center for Global Climate Change. And the David and Lucile Packard Foundation donated $1.5 million to train 60 ``scientist-communicators'' to work the press.
These expenditures should be regarded as investments, that leverage billions of dollars in government spending later. In the meantime, by promoting fears in the general public, NGOs increase their membership base. They position themselves (rather than experienced industry professionals) to become the administrators of the multi-million dollar remediation projects that result from the legislation for which they lobby. For example, NGOs have received almost half the $700 million expended so far by the World Bank's Global Environmental Facility (GEF), by acting as ``executing agencies'' or ``collaborating organizations.'' The congressional leadership has already capitulated to the White House on the matter of quadrupling the GEF's funding (for implementing non-ratified treaties.)
``More welfare for Green lobbies'' is what one observer called the UN's Fourth World Conference on global warming (The International Reports: Early Warning 11/13/98).
The Peers want Clinton/Gore to push harder. The recommendations on expanded energy R&D by the Committee on Advisors on Science and Technology, chaired by John Holdren of Harvard University, would require ``a little political courage, which has not been forthcoming thus far from President Clinton,'' opined anonymous editorialists in the British journal Nature, who concluded: ``There is a role for government in supporting the scientific research needed to underpin a healthy, climate-neutral energy supply industry. It will then be largely up to that industry to implement the technologies that will cut carbon emissions, and it will only be tempted to do so when the right price and tax incentives exist. For now, when governments talk of research programmes to counteract global climate change, there is a danger that they are placing a fig-leaf over their own failure to put such incentives in place (Nature 396:1, 11/5/98).
While scientific controversies may be aired in the back pages, the front pages beg the questions and headline ``strategies for cutting carbon.''
But there are options, even if freedom is ended. Nature pictures nuclear fusion (as yet nonexistent); tree plantations to provide wood for fuel; and energy-efficient light bulbs.
Disarmament over Iraq
In December, 1998, the U.S. Air Force and Navy launched nearly 300 cruise missiles against Iraq, more than the 289 fired during the entire five-week Gulf War. Each one costs between $750,000 to $1.2 million. The numbers are limited. Before the strike, the Air Force had only 238 cruise missiles in its entire inventory, and the Navy had 2,000 Tomahawk missiles, of which about half are deployed in the Gulf region. Assessing the damage done to Iraq will take months, according to defense officials (AZ Daily Star 12/19/98). Iraq claimed that 77 cruise missiles were shot down, and that only a few of the targets were destroyed or severely damaged.
Fate of Smallpox Virus Stores Debated
Many countries have called on the United States and Russia to destroy the two known stockpiles of smallpox virus to prevent its accidental or intentional release.
There are small stores of smallpox vaccine on hand, but a Department of Defense researcher warned that it is still manufactured in the same way as 25 years ago and has side effects considered unacceptable today, although the vaccine would ``most likely work to protect people against infection.''
With current technology, a more effective vaccine could be developed, stated Dr. Peter Jahrling, senior research scientist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, but only if the virus itself is available to use for testing (Med Trib 1/7/99).
The smallpox virus is still considered one of the most likely agent for biological warfare attack. Whether there are unknown stockpiles waiting for deployment and use is a matter for speculation.