Methane and Martial Law in the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf Oil Gusher: Danger of Tsunamis From Methane?

A new and less well known asymmetric threat has surfaced in the Gulf of Mexico oil gusher. Methane or CH4 gas is being released in vast quantities in the Gulf waters. Seismic data shows huge pools of methane gas at the location immediately below and around the damaged “Macondo” oil well. Methane is a colourless, odourless and highly flammable substance which forms a major component in natural gas. This is the same gas that blew the top off Deepwater Horizon and killed 11 people. The “flow team” of the US Geological Survey estimates that 2,900 cubic feet of natural gas, which primarily contains methane, is being released into the Gulf waters with every barrel of oil. The constant flow of over 50,000 barrels of crude oil places the total daily amount of natural gas at over 145 million cubic feet. So far, over 8 billion cubic feet may have been released, making it one of the most vigorous methane eruptions in modern human history. If the estimates of 100,000 barrels a day — that have emerged from a BP internal document — are true, then the estimates for methane gas release might have to be doubled.

2010-06-21-tsunami5.jpgTsunami: Low Probability High Impact Event


Older documents indicate that the subterranean geological formation below the “Macondo” well in the Gulf of Mexico may contain the presence of a huge methane deposit. It has been a well known fact that the methane in that oil deposit was problematic. As a result, there was a much higher risk of a blow out. Macondo shares its name with the cursed town in the novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by the Nobel-prize winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

By some geologists’ estimates, the methane could be a massive bubble trapped for thousands of years under the Gulf of Mexico sea floor. More than a year ago, geologists expressed alarm in regard to BP and Transocean putting their exploratory rig directly over this massive underground reservoir of methane. Warnings were raised before the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe that the area of seabed chosen might be unstable and inherently dangerous.

Methane and Poison Gas Bubble

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found high concentrations of gases in the Gulf of Mexico area. The escape of other poisonous gases associated with an underground methane bubble — such as hydrogen sulfide, benzene and methylene chloride — have also been found. Recently, the EPA measured hydrogen sulfide at more than 1,000 parts per billion (ppb) — well above the normal 5 to 10 ppb. Some benzene levels were measured near the Gulf of Mexico in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 ppb — up from the normal 0 to 4 ppb. Benzene gas is water soluble and is a carcinogen at levels of 1,000 ppb according to the EPA. Upon using a GPS and depth finder system, experts have discovered a large gas bubble, 15 to 20 miles wide and tens of feet high, under the ocean floor. These bubbles are common. Some even believe that the rapid release of similar bubbles may have caused the sinking of ships and planes in the Bermuda Triangle.

50,000 to 100,000 PSI

The intractable problem is that this methane, located deep in the bowels of the earth, is under tremendous pressure. Experts agree that the pressure that blows the oil into the Gulf waters is estimated to be between 30,000 and 70,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Some speculate that the pressure of the methane at the base of the well head, deep under the ocean floor, may be as high as 100,000 psi — far too much for current technology to contain. The shutoff valves and safety measures were only built for thousands of psi at best. There is no known device to cap a well with such an ultra high pressure.

Oxygen Depletion

The crude oil from the “Macondo” well, which is damaging the Gulf of Mexico, contains around 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits. Scientists warn that gases such as methane, hydrogen sulfide and benzene, along with oil, are now depleting the oxygen in the water and are beginning to suffocate marine life creating vast “dead zones”. As small microbes living in the sea feed on oil and natural gas, they consume large amounts of oxygen which they require in order to digest food, ie, convert it into energy. There is an environmental ripple effect: when oxygen levels decrease, the breakdown of oil can’t advance any further.

Fissures or Cracks

According to geologists, the first signs that the methane may burst its way through the bottom of the ocean would be manifest via fissures or cracks appearing on the ocean floor near the path of least resistance, ie, the damaged well head. Evidence of fissures opening up on the seabed have been captured by the robotic midget submarines working to repair and contain the ruptured well. Smaller, independent plumes have also appeared outside the nearby radius of the bore hole. When reviewing video tapes of the live BP feeds, one can see in the tapes of mid-June that there is oil spewing up from visible fissions. Geologists are pointing to new fissures and cracks that are appearing on the ocean floor.

Fault Areas

The stretching and compression of the earth’s crust causes minor cracking, called faults, and the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico has many such fault areas. Fault areas run along the Gulf of Mexico and well inland in Mexico, South and East Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the extreme western Florida Panhandle. The close coupling of new fissures and cracks with natural fault areas could prove to be lethal.

Bubble Eruption

A methane bubble this large — if able to escape from under the ocean floor through fissures, cracks and fault areas — is likely to cause a gas explosion. With the emerging evidence of fissures, the tacit fear now is this: the methane bubble may rupture the seabed and may then erupt with an explosion within the Gulf of Mexico waters. The bubble is likely to explode upwards propelled by more than 50,000 psi of pressure, bursting through the cracks and fissures of the sea floor, fracturing and rupturing miles of ocean bottom with a single extreme explosion.

Cascading Catastrophe Scenarios

1. Loss of Buoyancy

Huge methane gas bubbles under a ship can cause a sudden buoyancy loss. This causes a ship to tilt adversely or worse. Every ship, drilling rig and structure within a ten mile radius of the escaping methane bubble would have to deal with a rapid change in buoyancy, causing many oil structures in its vicinity to become unstable and ships to sink. The lives of all the workers, engineers, coast guard personnel and marine biologists — measuring and mitigating the oil plumes’ advance and assisting with the clean up — could be in some danger. Therefore, advanced safety measures should be put in place.

2. First Tsunami with Toxic Cloud

If the toxic gas bubble explodes, it might simultaneously set off a tsunami travelling at a high speed of hundreds of miles per hour. Florida might be most exposed to the fury of a tsunami wave. The entire Gulf coastline would be vulnerable, if the tsunami is manifest. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and southern region of Georgia might experience the effects of the tsunami according to some sources.

3. Second Tsunami via Vaporisation

After several billion barrels of oil and billions of cubic feet of gas have been released, the massive cavity beneath the ocean floor will begin to normalise, allowing freezing water to be forced naturally into the huge cavity where the oil and gas once were. The temperature in that cavity can be extremely hot at around 150 degrees celsius or more. The incoming water will be vaporised and turned into steam, creating an enormous force, which could actually lift the Gulf floor. According to computer models, a second massive tsunami wave might occur.


The danger of loss of buoyancy and cascading tsunamis in the Gulf of Mexico — caused by the release of the massive methane and poisonous gas bubble — has been a much lower probability in the early period of the crisis, which began on April 20th. However, as time goes by and the risk increases, this low probability high impact scenario ought not to be ignored, given that the safety and security of the personnel involved remains paramount. Could this be how nature eventually seals the hole created by the Gulf of Mexico oil gusher?

Gulf Coast Evacuation Scenario Summer/Fall 2010

June 13, 2010

Editor’s note: There is no definitive evidence the government plans mass evacuation at this point. In fact, the government refuses to admit gases in the Gulf exist or pose a health issue. All of this may change as the problem worsens.

SoCal Martial Law Alerts (SCMLA) has been in existence for a year and a half and this is our first MARTIAL LAW ALERT.

We have withheld putting out information on the Gulf oil spill for a variety of reasons, but there is now enough evidence for us to put together a fairly clear picture of what really happened, what may result and to warn people who live in the area.


Due to toxic gases from the fractured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, the possible off-gassing of the highly-toxic Corexit 9500 (the chemical dispersant used by BP in the oil spill clean-up), acid rain and various as-yet-unknown forms of environmental damage, we believe that the government will have no choice but to relocate millions of people away from the Gulf Coast. Those living in Florida are presently at the highest risk, but the danger also appears likely to spread to all Gulf Coast states east of Louisiana and possibly even to the entire Eastern half of the United States once hurricane season begins.

Greg Evensen, a retired Kansas Highway Patrolman, estimates that 30-40 million people would need to be evacuated away from the Gulf’s coastline (i.e. at least 200 miles inland). In order to accomplish this gargantuan feat, the federal government (through FEMA and other agencies) would most likely seek first to control and manage the transportation system and then operate relocation centers to manage evacuees. Toward this end, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has already declared the airspace over the oil spill site to be a no-fly zone until further notice. Various sources have indicated that local police, highway patrol, National Guard, US military and foreign troops may be involved in an operation to evacuate the Gulf Coast. In fact, the Governor of Louisiana has already requested evacuation assistance (i.e. National Guard) for his state from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Those living inland may also be at risk, since the movement of vast numbers of evacuees would cause a significant strain on local resources. In other words, inlanders should not expect life to continue “as normal,” since, under a martial law scenario, the government would have the power and the motivation to seize everyday necessities, such as: food, water, fuel, housing, etc. Some have also suggested that if a hurricane were to occur over the oil spill area itself, lightning might possibly ignite volatile organic compounds, not to mention the acid rain clouds that could form and be carried inland (i.e. acid rain could pollute the water table, destroy crops, kill wildlife and pose significant health risks to humans in the southern and eastern states.)

Lastly, Lindsay Williams, a former Alaskan pipeline chaplain with high-level oil industry connections, has suggested that BP, in conjunction with the federal government, might try to cap the well by using a nuclear explosion – the environmental consequences of which are currently unknown.


If you live, or if you know people who live on, or within 200 miles of the Gulf Coast area, we recommend that they immediately relocate to at least 200 miles inland (i.e. the farther away, the better). If people living within this 200-mile zone do not relocate voluntarily (i.e. on their own initiative), it appears likely that a forced evacuation through a martial-law scenario may occur within the coming weeks and (possibly) months.

Our country has been in a state of national emergency since September 11, 2001, which means that martial law (i.e. military rule) can be declared by the President at any time, for any reason – large, or small. If martial law is implemented, evacuees will lose their ability to determine when and where they will move and for how long, since the normal protections of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights will have been suspended. To put it bluntly, a scenario in which evacuees are forced to live in relocation centers for an unspecified length of time is not unlikely.

Methane Tracking Could Size Up Gulf Oil Slick

Sizing up the oil gusher from the Deepwater Horizon disaster has proven difficult so far, but one scientist suggests that measuring methane in the water could give a better idea of how much oil has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

Methane makes up about 40 percent of the leaking crude by mass, according to BP. Much of the gas (made up of one carbon and four hydrogen atoms) would dissolve into the water as it rises up from the oil well deep below the surface, and many U.S. research vessels already have the equipment to estimate the size of these rising methane plumes.

“Methane follows the water [currents], so if you can follow the water you’ve got a pretty good idea of where to look for the plumes of gas,” said David Valentine, a marine geochemist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Current estimates of the oil spill range from BP’s initial figure of 5,000 barrels per day to as high as 100,000 barrels per day, with many scientists leaning toward an estimate higher than 5,000 barrels. Tracking the oil slick size through methane could at least put a lower limit on the estimates, Valentine explained.

But the methane won’t linger in the waters forever, and so that puts some pressure on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and researchers to get started.

Why methane is better

Getting an accurate estimate of the amount of leaking oil based on the oil itself has been tricky. For one, there’s always great uncertainty about the mix of oil-water-gas at any given time.

In addition, “spot measurements of the flux at any given moment can’t be scaled up reliably, because the flow may not be constant,” Valentine writes in an opinion article published in the May 23 issue of the journal Nature. “Satellite photos and boat measurements help to assess the distribution and thickness of the surface slick, but these measures are also highly variable with time, place, weather conditions and dispersant application.”

However, methane, in addition to not being a mixture, dissolves uniformly in seawater.

How to get it done

The first research ship to reach the scene of the spreading oil slick has already found large amounts of methane. Some methane seeps out naturally beneath the Gulf of Mexico, but scientists can use measurements such as isotopic composition and oxidation rates in the water to filter out that background signal and identify on the methane from the spill. (Isotopes are atoms of the same element but with different numbers of neutrons, and can differ depending on their source.)

Two ships looking specifically for methane could do the job for less than a few million dollars, Valentine said.

“I don’t think finding plumes is going to be very difficult,” Valentine told LiveScience. “Finding all of them will be much trickier.”

Even measuring ethane or trace gases such as helium might work for the experiment, Valentine said. He envisions one ship starting its measurements right on top of the oil gusher site. The second might start far out and move toward the site to find the outermost spread of any methane plumes.

The scientific vessels would deploy submersible instruments deep down that could return data via wire to researchers at the surface. Getting estimates of methane-plume movement in the water could also help estimate the rate of the spill from the gushing oil well.

Still, scientists would also need to figure out just how much methane from the oil gusher ends up dissolving in the water, and how much might end up trapped within the oil slick on the surface or even escape into the air.

Race against time

A recent study with satellite-linked underwater probes in roughly the same region of the Gulf of Mexico showed that all except one ended up circulating within the region for three years. That gives scientists some hope that methane plumes will also remain within the area.

“The biggest concern is that some massive plume gets washed away quickly and becomes hard to track,” Valentine said.

Yet there’s still a strong urgency to act, Valentine pointed out. Gulf microbes that break down methane will gradually consume it within a year, but that time period could be shorter if microbes have crowded toward the unexpected methane bounty from the oil well.

Valentine has urged that the two-vessel expedition reach the area by June, so that the main methane plumes should still be around. Any delay beyond that point leaves more room for uncertainty about how long the methane stays concentrated.

For now, Valentine can only wait and see if the scientific community adopts his plan or not. But he already plans to get out to the oil spill site for other research – a topic which came up unexpectedly when a phone call interrupted the interview.

“I have to take this,” Valentine said. “It’s actually about getting out on the boat.”

Published in: on June 25, 2010 at 7:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Ybor Cops going too far

Cops Resort To Planet of the Apes Style Policing To Let The Scum Public Know Who Their Bosses Are 240610top2

Restaurants and bars are whacked with county health violations if they so much as operate a dysfunctional dishwasher, and yet cops are given free reign to swagger through businesses on horseback in some kind of bizarre display of letting the scum know who their bosses are.

Remember one of the early scenes in the classic movie Planet of the Apes? The apes on horseback ride roughshod over the scurrying humans, whipping them into submission, capturing them in huge nets, and reminding them that they are slaves.

Armed with torture devices known as “Tasers,” all that cops in Tampa Florida are missing is the whip, because apparently they believe that, as Gods and masters of the serfs and not public servants, they have the right to ride on horseback through private businesses in an effort scare the patrons of bars and restaurants into submission.

“Police officers on horseback have become a familiar sight in Tampa’s Ybor City, but recently someone snapped a video clip of one officer walking the beat not around a local business but right through it,” reports

“Eleven seconds into the video, you can hear a woman scream. Apparently, the owners of a tattoo parlor adjacent to the bar – are worried that with big crowds on weekends someone could get hurt.”

But the scream is the desired response – this is all about the thug cops, who have been trained that Americans are dangerous domestic terrorists, asserting their dominance over the gelded public in a public display of power similar to how a big fat magpie arrogantly struts across a garden to frighten away smaller birds.

This is psychological terrorism on an animalistic level, a way of brainwashing the dumbed-down public into cowering and screaming whenever a God police officer approaches.

The fact that this violates every health and safety code in the book, which is thrown at business owners for petty infractions on a routine basis, is another example of how society is now being divided into a two-tier caste system of masters and servants.

The majority of respondents to the story agreed.

“A “strong presence” huh?” asks one. “Why stop here? Why not brown shirts and swastikas? Jack booted thugs on every corner are a “strong presence” too and we aren’t far away”.

“Nothing says police oppression and disease, more than indoor trotting horses,” adds another.

Watch the clip below.

Published in: on June 25, 2010 at 7:08 am  Leave a Comment  

BP Tells the Louisiana Police who to harass

Mother Jones
June 23, 2010

Everyone knows by now that BP is still blocking press access to oil-spill sites even though they’re not supposed to anymore. I’ve been blathering about it for weeks, and it’s been all of three days since four contractors wouldn’t let me through the Pointe Aux Chenes marina outside Montegut, Louisiana. And though as of June 16 the federal government was saying helicopters could fly reporters as low as 1,500 feet around spill sites, on June 17 I was on a helicopter that was prohibited from flying below 3,000 feet (and whose pilot flipped silent birds at the “military guys” coming over the radio and hassling him about being in the area at all). But Louisiana state police pulling over a video camera-wielding private citizen because the head of BP security wanted to ask him some questions is a whole other level of alarming.

Last week, Drew Wheelan, the conservation coordinator for the American Birding Association, was filming himself across the street from the BP building/Deepwater Horizon response command in Houma, Louisiana. As he explained to me, he was standing in a field that did not belong to the oil company when a police officer approached him and asked him for ID and “strongly suggest[ed]” that he get lost since “BP doesn’t want people filming”:


Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 6:45 am  Leave a Comment  

AUDIO: In 2004 Obama Advocated Trading Border Security for Amnesty

Listen Here:

Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 6:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Now scientists read your mind better than you can

* Scan predicted 75 percent of behavior


* People were right about themselves just half the time

* Technique might enhance advertising, education efforts

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) – Brain scans may be able to predict what you will do better than you can yourself, and might offer a powerful tool for advertisers or health officials seeking to motivate consumers, researchers said on Tuesday.

They found a way to interpret “real time” brain images to show whether people who viewed messages about using sunscreen would actually use sunscreen during the following week.

The scans were more accurate than the volunteers were, Emily Falk and colleagues at the University of California Los Angeles reported in the Journal of Neuroscience.

“We are trying to figure out whether there is hidden wisdom that the brain contains,” Falk said in a telephone interview.

“Many people ‘decide’ to do things, but then don’t do them,” Matthew Lieberman, a professor of psychology who led the study, added in a statement.

But with functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI, Falk and colleagues were able to go beyond good intentions to predict actual behavior.

FMRI uses a magnetic field to measure blood flow in the brain. It can show which brain regions are more active compared to others, but requires careful interpretation.

Falk’s team recruited 20 young men and women for their experiment. While in the fMRI scanner they read and listened to messages about the safe use of sunscreen, mixed in with other messages so they would not guess what the experiment was about.

“On day one of the experiment, before the scanning session, each participant indicated their sunscreen use over the prior week, their intentions to use sunscreen in the next week and their attitudes toward sunscreen,” the researchers wrote.

After they saw the messages, the volunteers answered more questions about their intentions, and then got a goody bag that contained, among other things, sunscreen towelettes.”

“A week later we did a surprise follow up to find out whether they had used sunscreen,” Falk said in a telephone interview.

About half the volunteers had correctly predicted whether they would use sunscreen. The research team analyzed and re-analyzed the MRI scans to see if they could find any brain activity that would do better.

Activity in one area of the brain, a particular part of the medial prefrontal cortex, provided the best information.

“From this region of the brain, we can predict for about three-quarters of the people whether they will increase their use of sunscreen beyond what they say they will do,” Lieberman said.

“It is the one region of the prefrontal cortex that we know is disproportionately larger in humans than in other primates,” he added. “This region is associated with self-awareness, and seems to be critical for thinking about yourself and thinking about your preferences and values.”

Now, Falk said, the team is looking for other regions of the brain that might add to the accuracy of the technique.

While the findings can be important for advertisers seeking to hone a motivational message, they can be equally important for public health experts trying to persuade people to make healthier choices, Falk said.

The team is now preparing a report on experiments to predict whether people would quit smoking after seeing motivational messages.

(Editing by Sandra Maler)

Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 6:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Debate about addition of sodium fluoride to Mount Pleasant water continues

By Ryan Taljonick || June 23, 2010

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series about fluoride in the water of Mount Pleasant. The Mount Pleasant City Commission’s decision to temporarily reduce the amount of sodium fluoride added to the municipal water supply has not gone without controversy.Some of the commissioners themselves disagree with the decision. 

“I think when the people voted to put fluoride in the water, they wanted it in a proportion that will reduce tooth decay,” Vice Mayor Bruce Kilmer said. “I think we should take it back to a vote of the people and not (reduce fluoride levels) on our own.”However, Commissioner Kathleen Ling, head of the Fluoride Task Force that made the recommendation to the commission, emphasized the commission’s decision was within the boundaries of the 2005 fluoride ballot language. 

The 2005 ballot language regarding fluoride levels states, “the Commission by resolution shall have the authority, from time to time, to change the proportions thereof.” Ling said she assumes the amount of fluoride added to the water supply will be temporarily reduced from 0.7 parts per million, or milligrams per liter, to somewhere between 0.4 and 0.5 ppm. Mount Pleasant’s natural occurrence of fluoride in the water is 0.4 ppm.

 Water fluoridation has been a hotly contested issue for the city commission and Mount Pleasant voters for years, Ling said.

 The history

 In 1997, voters decided to continue adding sodium fluoride to the water supply.

 In 2003, a petition circulated requesting the city commission change the way the water plant operates. However, the commission refused to include the proposal on the 2003 ballot because the petitioned language, if voted in, would have violated state and federal regulations by preventing the addition of required compounds used to render water safe and clean.

 The petitioners took the City to Circuit Court, where the judge ruled the ballot language could be revised and placed on the ballot in 2004.

 Fluoride supporters felt the ballot language was not precise on the 2004 ballot, but the ballot passed, stating any substances added to municipal water must first be approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, which has not approved sodium fluoride for ingestion.

 “The people who supported fluoride felt the 2004 ballot proposal did not make it clear that people were banning fluoride,” Ling said.

 As a result, another petition was formed in 2005 forcing the fluoride issue back to the ballot, this time to put fluoride back in the water.

 The 2005 fluoride vote passed, requiring the total amount of fluoride in the municipal water to equal 1 ppm, which falls within the American Dental Association’s recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 ppm.

 However, in March 2006, just four months after the vote passed, the National Research Council released a report which said the Environmental Protection Agency needed to do a reassessment to determine what level of water fluoridation would protect all individuals exposed to the water. The NRC report detailed several adverse health effects that may be linked to the ingestion of fluoride, including dental and skeletal fluorosis, bone cancer and adverse neurological effects.

 The task force

 The commission voted to wait for the ongoing EPA study to be concluded before considering increased water fluoridation.

 Shortly after the release of the NRC’s findings, the ADA announced in November of 2006 fluoride should not be mixed with reconstituted baby formula and infants should not consume fluoridated water.

 As a result, Mayor Jim Holton requested the formation of a fluoride task force to investigate and research the effects of fluoride ingestion.

 “Year after year we get information pro and con for adding fluoride to our water system,” Holton said. “To help put this issue to bed, or attempt to, I asked Commissioner Ling if she could develop a committee to study the pro’s and con’s of fluoride and report back to the commission so we could become better educated on the subject.”

 Holton and Ling said the fluoride decision ultimately rests in the hands of the voters.

 “This is a temporary recommendation,” Ling said. “From the beginning the assumption of the task force has been that if we ultimately recommend to end fluoridation all together, that we would ask the city commission to put it on the ballot. Before a final decision is made, this will be voted on.”

 E-mail the author: Ryan Taljonick

 This post was written by:

Ryan Taljonick – who has written 52 posts on Central Michigan Life

Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 6:40 am  Leave a Comment  

NYC Cop Beats War Veteran Senseless

WNY Truthers
June 23, 2010

The video taken from security cameras shows the 45-year-old housing cop beating an Iraq war veteran with is baton.
It happened at an Upper West Side public housing development. The victim, 28-year-old Walter Harvin had just returned from Iraq and was at his mom’s apartment complex.

The video is high quality and crystal clear that Housing Officer David London led an unprovoke attack on the Iraqi war veteran. Even beating the ex-soldier after he’s cuffed.

The officer is charged with 2nd degree assault and filing false records. Prosecutors say London tried to cover-up the July 2007 assault by lying on official documents.Right now the Manhattan criminal jury is tackling the question on whether London committed an act of police brutality or used necessary force to subdue a suspect.

The Iraq veteran suffers from PTSD. If the officer is convicted, he faces 7 years in prison.


Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 6:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Fluoride In Water …. it’s Effects aren’t better teeth!

One crippled village, two theories

Vijay Pratap Singh

Posted: Jun 23, 2010 at 0312 hrs IST

Bahariya (Allahabad) Just 30 kms from Allahabad, in the village of Gaudiyan, residents are facing a very piquant problem. Of the 200-odd villagers, around 135 have bone deformities, making them physically handicap.

A majority of residents belongs to Fakir community who don’t own agriculture land and earn their livelihood by playing bands during wedding ceremonies. They belong to BPL category and only a handful of the 30-odd families have been issued NREGS job card and health cards.

“At the time of birth, the children are normal but after some years they develop bone defects, particularly in hands and legs,” said 35-year-old Mohd Nazim, who is also suffering from such deformities.

The reason behind this unique phenomenon, however, is debatable.

A private doctor, who also conducts social work in the area, termed it as a case of skeletal fluorosis. “Due to the excess fluoride content in drinking water, the calcium intake is not absorbed in the body, causing disabilities and deformities,” said Dr Amit Shukla, a neurophysician.

A team of government doctors, who visited the village on Tuesday, gave an altogether a different reason.

According to the medical team, the physical deformities have been caused by “acute malnutrition, poverty and absence of basic amenities like proper drinking water, medical facility and sanitation.”

“These do not appear to be caused by excess of fluoride in water,” said Dr Rajendra Kumar, Epidemic Control Officer (Allahabad district) who headed the four-member team of the doctors that visited the village.

On asked whether the team had conducted any test of the water of the village, Kuvmar said it was “not necessary”. “The problem is deficiency of vitamin D, calcium, iron and hyperthyroidsim, caused by acute malnutrition,” he added.

The only source of water in the village is a handpump, which too has been out of order for the last two months. The residents of the village, now, go to a nearby village to collect water.

“Out of the 30 families, only five have BPL cards and health cards. We don’t have lands to till. We don’t have job cards to get work under NREGA. In any case, most can’t work because of the physical disability,” said Mohd Jameel.

Sijara, a 35-year-old woman who is also afflicted, said the problem started around 30 years ago and gradually gripped the entire village. “Now, you hardly find a person without the deformities. People in the village die at a relatively young age,” added Sijara whose three sons also have physical deformities.

Blinded by tradition and fluoride in water

SEETHALAKSHMI S, TNN, Jun 20, 2010, 04.06am IST

PAVAGADA (TUMKUR DISTRICT): Ramya was a bubbly child and attended school till she was four. That was two years ago, when her vision began to deteriorate until she completely lost sight in both eyes.
The little girl began to withdraw and sit quietly the whole day in her home in Pavagada, 180 km from Bangalore. Playing, meeting friends — everything came to a standstill. She was diagnosed with Lamellar Congenital cataract — a condition wherein the eye lens are damaged.

Ditto with 13-year-old Syed Wasim who can only hear what the teacher says in the classroom. Retina degeneration set in and the boy lost his vision completely. There are children in this taluk with the same disorder, like Lakshmi who is active till 6pm. After that, she confines herself to her room and cuts herself from the world, doesn’t speak to anyone because she cannot see anything after dusk. The practice of marrying close relatives (consanguineous marriage) coupled with high fluoride content in water and Vitamin A deficiencies is ruining the lives of children of this taluk.

Worse, parents wait till the child is nine years old to get her examined by a doctor. “By then it is too late and the damage is done. It is crucial to treat any eye disorder early and during the first few years of life. If left untreated, it cannot be set right at a later stage,’’ says Dr K Vasudha, head, paediatric opthalmology, Narayana Netralaya, Bangalore.

Alarmed by the pattern in eye diseases among children in Pavagada taluk and the increasing cases of blindness, Narayana Netralaya, in collaboration with Narayana Hrudalaya and Shree Sharada Devi Eye hospital and Research Centre in Pavagada, has begun one of the largest studies on eye disorders involving 29,800 children. “When we noticed an unusual trend in the disorders, we realized it must be a local problem. We’re studying the root cause of the high incidence of child blindness. It could be multiple factors — fluoride content, consanguineous marriages, etc.’’ medical director of Narayana Netralaya Dr K Bhujang Shetty told STOI.

Neurotoxicity of sodium fluoride in rats.

Mullenix PJ, Denbesten PK, Schunior A, Kernan WJ.

Toxicology Department, Forsyth Research Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Fluoride (F) is known to affect mineralizing tissues, but effects upon the developing brain have not been previously considered. This study in Sprague-Dawley rats compares behavior, body weight, plasma and brain F levels after sodium fluoride (NaF) exposures during late gestation, at weaning or in adults. For prenatal exposures, dams received injections (SC) of 0.13 mg/kg NaF or saline on gestational days 14-18 or 17-19. Weanlings received drinking water containing 0, 75, 100, or 125 ppm F for 6 or 20 weeks, and 3 month-old adults received water containing 100 ppm F for 6 weeks. Behavior was tested in a computer pattern recognition system that classified acts in a novel environment and quantified act initiations, total times and time structures. Fluoride exposures caused sex- and dose-specific behavioral deficits with a common pattern. Males were most sensitive to prenatal day 17-19 exposure, whereas females were more sensitive to weanling and adult exposures. After fluoride ingestion, the severity of the effect on behavior increased directly with plasma F levels and F concentrations in specific brain regions. Such association is important considering that plasma levels in this rat model (0.059 to 0.640 ppm F) are similar to those reported in humans exposed to high levels of fluoride.

Second Thoughts on Fluoride

New research indicates that a cavity-fighting treatment could be risky if overused

By Dan Fagin   

Key Concepts

  • Researchers are intensifying their scrutiny of fluoride, which is added to most public water systems
  • in the U.S. Some recent studies suggest that overconsumption of fluoride can raise the risks of disorders
  • affecting teeth, bones, the brain and the thyroid gland.
  • A 2006 report by a committee of the National Research Council recommended that the federal government lower
  • its current limit for fluoride in drinking water because of health risks to both children and adults.
Long before the passionate debates over cigarettes, DDT, asbestos or the ozone hole, most Americans had heard
of only one environmental health controversy: fluoridation. Starting in the 1950s, hundreds of communities across
the U.S. became embroiled in heated battles over whether fluorides—ionic compounds containing the element
fluorine—should be added to their water systems. On one side was a broad coalition of scientists from government
and industry who argued that adding fluoride to drinking water would protect teeth against decay; on the other side
were activists who contended that the risks of fluoridation were inadequately studied and that the practice amounted
to compulsory medication and thus was a violation of civil liberties.

The advocates of fluoride eventually carried the day, in part by ridiculing opponents such as the right-wing
John Birch Society, which called fluoridation a communist plot to poison America. Today almost 60 percent of the
U.S. population drinks fluoridated water, including residents of 46 of the nation’s 50 largest cities. Outside the U.S.,
fluoridation has spread to Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and a few other countries. Critics of the practice
have generally been dismissed as gadflies or zealots by mainstream researchers and public health agencies in those
countries as well as the U.S. (In other nations, however, water fluoridation is rare and controversial.)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even lists water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest
health achievements of the 20th century, alongside vaccines and family planning.

Fluoride water ’causes cancer’

Boys at risk from bone tumours, shock research reveals
Fluoride in tap water can cause bone cancer in boys, a disturbing new study indicates, although there is no evidence of a link for girls.New American research suggests that boys exposed to fluoride between the ages of five and 10 will suffer an increased rate of osteosarcoma - bone cancer - bet-ween the ages of 10 and 19. In the UK, fluoride is added to tap water on the advice of bodies such as the British Dental Association. The Department of Health maintains that it is a cost-effective public health measure that helps prevent tooth decay in children.About 10 per cent of the population, six million people, receive fluoridated water, mainly in the Midlands and north-east, and the government plans to extend this, with Manchester expected to be next. About 170 million Americans live in areas with fluoridated water.The increased cancer risks, identified in a newly available study conducted at the Harvard School of Dental Health, were found at fluoride exposure levels common in both the US and Britain. It was the first examination of the link between exposure to the chemical at the critical period of a child's development and the age of onset of bone cancer.Although osteosarcoma is rare, accounting for only about 3 per cent of childhood cancers, it is especially dangerous. The mortality rate in the first five years is about 50 per cent, and nearly all survivors have limbs amputated, usually legs. The research has been made available by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a respected Washington-based research organisation. The group reports that it has assembled a 'strong body of peer-reviewed evidence' and has asked that fluoride in tap water be added to the US government's classified list of substances known or anticipated to cause cancer in humans.'This is a very specific cancer in a defined population of children,' said Richard Wiles, the group's co-founder. 'When you focus in and look for the incidence of tumours, you see the increase. 'We recognise the potential benefits of fluoride to dental health,' added Wiles, 'but I've spent 20 years in public health, trying to protect kids from toxic exposure. Even with DDT, you don't have the consistently strong data that the compound can cause cancer as you now have with fluoride.'Half of all fluoride ingested is stored in the body, accumulating in calcifying tissue such as teeth and bones and in the pineal gland in the brain, although more than 90 per cent is taken into the bones.MPs who have recently voted against fluoridation proposals in Parliament include Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, and Michael Howard, the Conservative leader.Anti-fluoride campaigners argue that the whole issue has become highly politically sensitive. If health scares about fluoride were to be recognised in the courts, the litigation, especially in the US, could be expected to run for decades. Consequently, scientists have been inhibited from publicising any adverse findings.The new evidence only emerged by a circuitous process. It was contained in a Harvard dissertation by Dr Elise Bassin at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. The dissertation, completed in April 2001, obviously had merit because Bassin was awarded her doctorate. However it has not been published. Environmental organisations were repeatedly denied access to it, and even bodies such as the US National Academy of Sciences could not get hold of a copy. Eventually two researchers from the Fluoride Action Network were allowed to read it in the rare books and special collections room at Harvard medical library. Bassin told The Observer her work was still going through the peer-review process, and she hopes that it will then be published. Dr Vyvyan Howard, senior lecturer in toxico-pathology at the University of Liverpool, has studied the new material. 'At these ages the bones of boys are developing rapidly,' he said, 'so if the bones are being put together abnormally because fluoride is altering the bone structure, they're more likely to get cancer. It's biologically plausible, and the epidemiological evidence seems pretty strong - it looks as if there's a definite effect.' There is at present no understanding as to why males should be affected rather than females.A Department of Health spokesman said that the latest evaluation of research in the UK had identified no ill effects of fluoride.
Published in: on June 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Will totalitarianism make a comeback? We asked Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Totalitarianism towered over the 20th century — a leader-focused, oppressive form of rule in which the individual was crushed. Now it seems to have receded as an ideal. But will it be back? We asked the expert, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Brzezinski is best known for having been the National Security Advisor in the Carter Administration, and for helping to dismantle the Ford Administration’s policy of detente towards the Soviet Union. But in the 1950s, he was one of the main scholars developing the theory of totalitarianism, and helping to spread the idea that both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union represented examples of this type of system. He’s currently Robert E. Osgood Professor of American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

So when we were wondering if totalitarianism was discredited for good, or if it might still stage a resurgence, we could think of no better person to ask than Brzezinski. Here’s what he said, via email.

Will totalitarianism make a comeback? We asked Zbigniew Brzezinski.You helped pioneer the idea of totalitarianism as a system of government. Do you think totalitarianism has been discredited as a form of government in the past couple of decades?

Totalitarianism has been discredited during the past several decades, but that does not mean that it cannot reoccur. However, the discerning aspect of totalitarianism is not simply that it is “totally” in control of society, but that it tries to change society according to a dogmatic blueprint, the latter usually being described as “ideology.” For the time being, there is no total ideology of change being advocated by any serious political grouping.

Does the rise of surveillance technology like ubiquitous video cameras and wiretapping make the rise of a new form of totalitarianism more likely? Could we see a new form of electronic totalitarianism for the 21st century?

If a new doctrine of total change arises, abetted and advocated by fanatics, then we might have another case of totalitarianism, one that will then benefit from the highly technological advanced forms of social control available to dictatorships.

On the other hand, do you think that the ability of people to share information anonymously online would make it impossible to suppress dissent as thoroughly as former totalitarian regimes such as the USSR once did?

It is more difficult to isolate societies from outside influences because of modern means of communication – but a truly fanatical regime, armed with the most advanced technology, could probably maintain such isolation for awhile. Nonetheless, the key issue is whether a new doctrine of total social change is likely to appear in the foreseeable future, and for that there is no categorical answer.

Send an email to Charlie Jane Anders, the author of this post, at

Published in: on June 23, 2010 at 8:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny?

Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny?

By THOMAS SOWELL Posted 06/21/2010 06:13 PM ET

When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s, leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics.

Such people were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler’s rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions.

“Useful idiots” was the term supposedly coined by V.I. Lenin to describe similarly unthinking supporters of his dictatorship in the Soviet Union.

Put differently, a democracy needs informed citizens if it is to thrive, or ultimately even survive.

In our times, American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes by the current administration in Washington, and few people seem to be concerned about it.

The president’s poll numbers are going down because increasing numbers of people disagree with particular policies of his, but the damage being done to the fundamental structure of this nation goes far beyond particular counterproductive policies.

Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere.

And yet that is precisely what is happening with a $20 billion fund to be provided by BP to compensate people harmed by their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Many among the public and in the media may think that the issue is simply whether BP’s oil spill has damaged many people, who ought to be compensated.

But our government is supposed to be “a government of laws and not of men.”

If our laws and our institutions determine that BP ought to pay $20 billion — or $50 billion or $100 billion — then so be it.

But the Constitution says that private property is not to be confiscated by the government without “due process of law.”

Technically, it has not been confiscated by Barack Obama, but that is a distinction without a difference.

With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats, private individuals and organizations can be forced into accepting the imposition of powers that were never granted to the government by the Constitution.

If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don’t believe in constitutional government.


And, without constitutional government, freedom cannot endure. There will always be a “crisis” — which, as the president’s chief of staff has said, cannot be allowed to “go to waste” as an opportunity to expand the government’s power.

That power will of course not be confined to BP or to the particular period of crisis that gave rise to the use of that power, much less to the particular issues.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt arbitrarily took the United States off the gold standard, he cited a law passed during the First World War to prevent trading with the country’s wartime enemies. But there was no war when FDR ended the gold standard’s restrictions on the printing of money.

At about the same time, during the worldwide Great Depression, the German Reichstag passed a law “for the relief of the German people.”

That law gave Hitler dictatorial powers that were used for things going far beyond the relief of the German people — indeed, powers that ultimately brought a rain of destruction down on the German people and on others.

If the agreement with BP was an isolated event, perhaps we might hope that it would not be a precedent. But there is nothing isolated about it.

The man appointed by President Obama to dispense BP’s money as the administration sees fit, to whomever it sees fit, is only the latest in a long line of presidentially appointed “czars” controlling different parts of the economy, without even having to be confirmed by the Senate, as Cabinet members are.

Those who cannot see beyond the immediate events to the issues of arbitrary power — vs. the rule of law and the preservation of freedom — are the “useful idiots” of our time. But useful to whom?

Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 3:31 pm  Leave a Comment