Doubts accident result of freak weather
An international task force investigating the effects of the devastating cyanide spill from a part-owned Australian gold mine in Romania will be urged to focus on the project's construction standards amid doubts the accident was caused by freak weather.
Sources in the European Commission in Brussels, which will co-ordinate the establishment of the task force, and Hungarian official sources, said questions had been raised about whether construction of the tailings dam met accepted international standards.
The dam burst, releasing a toxic sludge into rivers and creating Europe's worst river pollution disaster for decades. The sources said construction standards were likely to become the key issue in assessing the extent of liability of the project owners, who face damage and compensation claims of millions of dollars
Officials said evidence from people in the accident area raised serious doubts about whether weather conditions, which the project owners have blamed for causing the dam burst, were anywhere near as severe as this.
The Australian manager of the Baia Mare project, Mr Phil Evers, said after meeting the EU's Environment Commissioner, Ms Margot Wallstroem, at the mine site that weather conditions before the accident were "extremely unusual".
This, he said, had created a flood which had burst the tailings dam.
He said there had been heavier than normal snow falls in December and last month, followed by heavy rainfall and
"a very severe thawing event" which had created an extraordinarily large volume of water.
Mr Evers declined to comment on the construction standards of the dam.
The establishment of the task force was announced by Ms Wallstroem during her visit to the affected area.
The mine owners will also conduct their own scientific investigation of the accident, with an Australian expert team comprising an hydrologist, a biologist and a chemist due at the mine site at the weekend.
Describing the contamination of the East European river system as a catastrophe for the people living by the rivers, Ms Wallstroem said she wanted answers about "what happened, how bad is the damage and what can be done to rehabilitate the environment".
She also criticised the Australian half owner of the project, Esmeralda Exploration, for what she said was an attempt to play down the seriousness of the effects of the cyanide spill.
"They have to be prudent in what they are saying. This is a serious environmental accident. For the people who depend on this water, it is a catastrophe," Ms Wallstroem said.
Australia's Minister for the Environment, Senator Hill, said yesterday he would look at sending technical or scientific expertise to the mining disaster site but stressed that he felt Australia did not have any financial liability for the accident
Crop circles are not a modern phenomenon.
They are mentioned in academic texts of the late 17th Century, and almost 200 cases- some with eyewitness accounts- have been reported prior to 1970. Since then some eighty eyewitnesses from as far away as British Columbia have reported crop circles forming in under twenty seconds; cases are often accompanied by sightings of incandescent or brightly-coloured balls of light, shafts of light or structured flying craft.
Serious attention was given to the simple circles in 1980 in southern England. The designs appeared primarily as simple circles, circle with rings, and variations on the Celtic cross up into the mid-1980s. Then they developed straight lines and created pictograms, not unlike petroglyphs. After 1990 the designs developed exponentially in complexity, and today it is not unusual to come across designs mimicking computer fractals and elements that relate to fourth dimensional quantum physics. Their sizes have also increased, some occupying areas as large as 200,000 sq feet. To date there have been over 10,000 reported and documented crop circles throughout the world, with some 90% emerging from southern England. While many still go unreported each year, the emegence of the phenomenon in the world media and the internet has allowed more information to be lodged.
If you happen to buy the story that all crop circles were originated by two sexagenarians with planks of wood, string and a weegie board, you are not in the minority. Once in a while, governments like to control public interest in unexplained phenomena by generating a disinformation method called 'debunking', a technique invented during the Cold War for the sad purpose of controlling mass opinion in the face of unexplainable phenomena (this was the prime motive of the 1953 Robertson Panel, details of which are obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act). The method is very effective because the media provides little or no scientific or factual data with which the public can form an educated opinion on the subject. This absence of evidence is then replaced by ridiculing the subject through association with other 'fringe' topics; so-called experts are brought-in to explain away all the events as freak weather conditions or the work, general pranksters, even sexually excited animals!
According to TV documentaries, all crop circles up to 1992 were made by two simple, elderly men called Doug and Dave. It has since been discovered by researchers such as George Wingfield and Armen Victorian that the D&D story was tied to the British Ministry of Defense- in collusion with the CIA, among others. Evidence supplied by a high-ranking informant in the British Ministry of Defence suggested that the government had every intent to discredit the phenomenon by putting forward two hoaxers in an effort to quell growing public interest in crop circles. When confronted to provide evidence on certain claimed formations, Doug and Dave changed their story, even reversing previous claims; or they simply remained silent when asked to explain the list of features found in the genuine phenomenon. When they claimed making all the formations around the English county of Hampshire, for example, it was pointed out that half the known formations had actually occured in another county- "Er, no, we didn't do those either," they replied. In the end, not even Doug and Dave knew which ones they had made. And although they claim to have made hoaxes since 1978- at the time the published date of the first design- evidence witheld confirmed crop circles dating back into the 1930s. The public has never heard these retractions, nor been given the opportunity to compare the mess created by D&D with the mathematical symmetry of the real phenomenon.
In 1998, however, the surviving member of the deceptive duo did make an incredible admission to British newspapers that he'd been guided by an unknown force.
Since Doug and Dave's inauguration, many copycat hoaxers have appeared on the scene. Some do it to disprove or derail researchers, some for profit, some because they are sociopaths, some because they genuinely believe they can communicate back to the phenomenon (with very interesting results, I may add). Prior to 1989 the hoaxing problem was virtually unheard of. After 1990 designs of man-made origin vary by year- in 1992 and 1998 it was as high as 90%, in 1996 as low as 20%.
That people with a good amount of training can go into a field and eventually create a coherent pattern has never been the issue- recently, a group of known hoaxers called TEam Satan/the circlemakers was paid to go to conveniently out-of-the-way New Zealand to make an elaborate formation for The Discovery Channel. The deceptive tactics used to trick a viewing public into accepting the hoax theory are dealt with here.
The issue is that no man-made crop circle has satisfactorily replicated the features associated with the real phenomenon, and this has baffled scientists and researchers. Crop circles are created by a force seemingly at odds with modern science. Central to the hoax argument is that a physical object is required to flatten the crop to the ground, resulting in the breaking of the plant stems. In genuine formations the stems are not broken but bent (left), normally about an inch off the ground at the plant's first node. The plants appear to be subjected to a short and intense burst of heat which softens the stems to drop just above the ground at 90ª, where they reharden into their new and very permanent position without damaging the plants.
Plant biologists are baffled by this phenomenon and farmers, who know how the land ticks, are baffled by this. It is the singlemost method of identifying the real phenomenon. Research and laboratory tests suggest that microwave or ultrasound may be the only method capable of producing such an effect.
Crop circles are sometimes accompanied by trilling sounds, since captured on tape and analysed by NASA as artificial in origin, with a harmonic component in the infrasonic range.
The detection of electromagnetism also differentiates genuine formations from fakes. This naturally-occuring energy is known to exist at ancient sites such as stone circles, long barrows, tumuli, dolmens and menhirs, and in churches and cathedrals which were built upon these sites. Crop circles, sacred sites and other places of worship are also found upon intersecting points along the Earth's invisible energy grid, and the size and shape of a crop circle is typically determined by the area of these 'node' points on the Earth's surface. The frequencies of this