Fish & Bird kills: are we getting answers or being placated?

Hagmann P.I.
January 8, 2010
Fish & Bird kills: are we getting answers or being placated?

By Douglas J. Hagmann

Readers looking for reassuring evidence of the recent massive die-offs of fish and birds will find comfort in knowing that such events are historically not all that uncommon. Weather, pollution, parasites, and disease are reported as the major culprits behind such events, even as reported yesterday by Glenn Beck. That appears to be the “safe, middle-of-the-road” explanation. It might even be the correct explanation. But what if it’s not?

Also, why are we treated with absurd explanations by our government when the truth, if it is indeed the truth, would be more convincing?

The official government explanation for public consumption, as reported by the corporate media, is that the massive bird kill in Arkansas was the result of loud noises created by New Year’s celebratory fireworks. Spooked and disoriented by the loud noises created by the fireworks, some 5,000 red wing blackbirds were roused from their resting positions and flew into one another and other stationary objects, causing massive blunt force trauma to their internal organs, killing them and causing them to rain from the sky like something out of a Stephen King Novel.

In the event you remain unconvinced, veteran bird curator at the Smithsonian Greg Graves has gone on record, saying that the significance of the event has been exaggerated and the massive “die off is not such a big deal.” Sure enough, as about 163 such events are reported on an annual basis, although most seem to “fly under the radar” due to location and other factors (pun intended).

Regarding the blackbirds, Graves stated that “The blackbirds are considered a nuisance, especially in the south where large winter roosts occur.” In large numbers, they can be noisy, messy and destructive, much like those of us who are in the general “unanointed” population. (Okay, I added that last portion of the sentence for effect).

As to the estimated 100,000 fish found dead within days of the bird deaths just 125 miles away in the Arkansas River, and another 500 blackbirds found dead in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, those incidents could be completely unrelated, noted Mr. Graves. That sentiment was echoed by government officials as well.

Before dismissing the concerns of us regular folks by citing statistics and general causes, however, shouldn’t we be getting answers that are specific to the latest series of incidents? Or at least have someone asking direct and specific questions instead of relying on anecdotal evidence?

After all, we are supposedly at war, and our enemy has made it clear their intent to use biological and chemical weapons. If that is indeed a legitimate threat, doesn’t it make sense to know the truth before shrugging the events off to natural happenstance?

Possible national security implications

After receiving several e-mails about this matter, including one from a soldier with extensive biological and chemical experience currently serving in Iraq, I thought it was time to begin conducting my own investigation. After all, Janet Napolitano is currently busy assisting American troops with the reinforcement of the border (between Pakistan and Afghanistan, that is). Perhaps that is the reason that I could find no one in the media posing any direct questions to the Department of Homeland Security about biological or chemical concerns. As I already noted, others are simply relying on anecdotal evidence to support their conclusions that “there is nothing to see here.”

The first thing I learned, which at first blush supports the historical evidence, is that strange animal deaths en masse have been reported over the years for reasons that one would not ordinarily expect. There have been reports of “flying fish” and “raining frogs,” for example, that were legitimately traced to nearby tornado activity. Not everything is a conspiracy. Odd, yes, but neither nefarious nor completely inexplicable.

The second thing I learned is much more disconcerting. Uncomfortable with merely relying on statistics, I thought I would pose specific questions about the recent wildlife deaths to the very agency within our government that was created to protect us from threats within our homeland. What I found was troublesome and makes me believe they are not doing their job, at least not in this instance.

Shortly after 9:00 this morning, I called the Department of Homeland Security office in Washington, and the DHS Threat Fusion Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which covers Arkansas. I introduced myself and my purpose for calling, which was to verify that the Department of Homeland Security has an open investigation into the two incidents involving the bird and fish deaths in Arkansas, given what we know about the current bio-chemical threats to the U.S.

At both locations, I was greeted by pleasant individuals who promptly sent me into telephone transfer hell and finally to a male DHS agent at the latter location who declined to give his name to “the media.” It was that office and that person I needed to speak with, I was assured by DHS-HQ.

When asked if the Department of Homeland Security is investigating or assisting in the investigation of the two incidents, he stated that the DHS is aware of the incidents but not involved in any capacity. None.

The following is a verbatim transcript of my conversation with the DHS official after being told of the purpose of my contact and providing a proper introduction and after the official denied any DHS involvement in the matter.

Investigative oversight? I asked. “No,” came the reply.

“Well, isn’t it possible that the deaths could be, however remote, the result of the release of a chemical or biological agent?” I asked.

“It’s highly unlikely, very doubtful,” he replied.

“How do you know? Have you been in contact with anyone engaged in the necropsies of the birds or fish?” I asked.

“Uh, no,” he replied.

“Well. if you’re not involved in the investigation in any capacity, how do you know?” I pressed.

“We would know,” came his reply.

“Okay, my last question, sir. Would you know if the deaths could be from any action of the U.S. military, such as the Dugway sheep incident back in the late ‘60‚s? Or would you be informed of-

At that point, he interrupted me, saying: “This has nothing to do with the military and is not a matter under DHS review.”

Our conversation concluded at that point. Clearly, he was becoming agitated by my continuing questions. Before hanging up, I again asked him for his name for this article, but he declined citing the same reason.

Research of significant incidents

After combing through numerous news articles and contacting several wildlife agencies, I confirmed that over the last few years, there have been several significant incidents involving the strange or large number of deaths of wildlife in the U.S. and elsewhere. Some can be attributed to the “nature” of things. Others, well, perhaps not.

On 26 July 2002, for example, Paul Sperry reported that during the 18 months previous to that article, health officials in Washington, DC found 407 dead birds infected with the West Nile virus, including two that were picked up at the White House. The method of infection of West Nile into the bird population of the U.S., and specifically into the DC birds themselves, has never been satisfactorily explained.

On 21 December 2007, several dozen birds described as “a flock of Purple Martins” fell from the sky over New York City. Many were found scattered across Staten Island, either falling from the sky or landing, then fall over and begin to twitch and flap as they died. This incident is particularly significant by the very graphic nature of actual amateur video taken of one of the birds after it fell to the ground. Aside from the fact that the birds should have been long gone from that area, the video is clearly indicative of something other than anecdotal evidence that nothing is amiss.

I was surprised by the number of recent wildlife deaths and compiled a list of significant incidents at the end of this article. I also found it interesting similarities between previous unexplained incidents and those being reported now. For example, on 8 January 2007, Esperance, a town near Perth in Western Australia, was declared a natural disaster area after several hundred birds dropped dead out of the sky and onto people’s lawns over a wide area. At about the same time and halfway around the world, the streets in Austin, Texas were closed as officials cleaned up hundreds of dead birds that also inexplicably fell dead from the sky. To date, neither incident has been sufficiently explained. According to the Australian report, some birds were observed convulsing on the ground before they died.

Nothing out of the ordinary? Perhaps another look at the video from Staten Island might be in order.

The reports today appear similar in nature. It’s easy to dismiss the incidents as freaks of nature or insist, without evidence, that “there is nothing to see here,” as many are.

Although the entirety of the “massive kills” listed below could have innocuous explanations, I believe that we deserve to know the truth. We deserve better from our investigative agencies, making sure that they are on top of things while making sure that they are not merely the domestic authoritative arms for global restructuring.

Based on my research, I doubt that we will be told the whole truth behind each of these deaths unless, of course, someday, someone releases a report like the 1994 GAO accounting of the Dugway sheep kill incident. By then, though, will it matter? I sense that if we continue to accept the inane explanations, fail to ask questions, or continue on our path of blissful ignorance, it is us who might become the next statistic.

HAGMANN P.I. (Doug Hagmann)
Private Investigator for over 35 years. TV Host, Radio Host and Author.

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