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Extra 136,500 sonobuoys US wants pose threat to whales

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RT | October 28, 2015

The US Navy continues to cover the oceans with tens of thousands of sonobuoys to monitor and detect submarine movement around the world. The DoD has allocated $178.5 million to buy an additional 136,000 sonobuoys.

About a meter-long, a typical sonobuoy device can be passive or active. The first type ‘listens’ to the noises produced by propellers of various kinds of vessels and pick out those made by a submarine. Active sonobuoys, sited in strategic points such as straits and harbors, can also sonar the water space around them to detect submarines.

The sonobuoys are usually positioned in designated areas from the air, typically by using SH-60F Seahawk helicopters.

“The United States Navy maintains a superior global Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability with the ability to detect, localize, identify, and track potential hostile submarines,” Global Security outlet said in 2011.

According to CNN, US sonobuoys are first and foremost aimed at tracking Russian submarines, over concerns they are “taking up positions near critical communication lines.”

Scientists say these sonar “intrusions” are proving deadly to marine wildlife, in particular whales. Sonar devices disrupt them and other sea mammals when nursing and feeding, which leads to injury or death of the animals who rely on sound to communicate and navigate, Elisa Allen, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told RT.

“Sonars can confuse and disorient them, terrify these animals,” Allen said. “Animals exposed to sonars have been known to rapidly change their depth in an attempt to escape the noise. This causes them to bleed from their ears and eyes,” she said, adding that whales and dolphins often beach themselves in their attempts to escape sonar.

The lucrative $178,565,050 contract has been granted to ERAPSCO, a defense contractor in Columbia City, Indiana. Five types of sonobuoys are set to be delivered by October 2017.

ERAPSCO, a joint venture between the Sparton corporation and Ultra Electronics, has been producing military grade sonobuoys capable of detecting and classifying manmade objects traveling underwater since 1987.

October 28, 2015 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

U.K. University Takes Moral High Ground in Ending Its $2 Million Investment in U.S. Drones

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | October 5, 2013

Officials at a top university in the United Kingdom have bowed to public pressure and withdrawn the school’s investment in U.S. drones.

The University of Edinburgh had a $2 million (£1.2 million) stake in Ultra Electronics, a British firm that manufactures navigation controls for Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles and ground control stations.

Investing in drone development was deemed not “socially responsible” by the university as well as students and campaign groups that lobbied Edinburgh to pull out of the business.

“The covert US drone program has killed hundreds of civilians and traumatized populations in Pakistan and Yemen,” Catherine Gilfedder of the human rights group Reprieve told The Guardian. “In divesting from Ultra Electronics, Edinburgh University has demonstrated its disapproval of companies profiting from such killings, and the importance of socially responsible investment.”

American drones have been used on covert missions in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries. The Bureau for Investigative Journalism says more than 430 strikes have occurred since 2002, killing at least 428 civilians, of whom 173 were children.

In Afghanistan, British drones have been more than three times as likely to lead to strikes as American drones, according to the Bureau’s analysis of drone data recently released by the British government.

October 5, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment