Personal, Seen & Heard

Mystery Meat

February 19, 2016

“Ooooh that smell,
Can’t you smell that smell,
Ooooh that smell,
The smell of death surrounds you.”
– Lynyrd Skynyrd, ‘That Smell’

§ § §

Allow me to draw your attention to the subject of ‘cattle mutilations’. (Didn’t see that coming, now, did you?!) Trust me – stay with me on this one.

Media stories of dead cattle appearing in fields seemingly overnight – their carcasses sliced open, many with their internal organs and body parts harvested – is a mystery that has been covered in local and national media since the 1960s. These gruesome bovine events are dotted all over the North American landscape, mostly in the west, but historically predominant in the American Midwest. Farmers and ranchers are left speechless, while townsfolk hypothesize and gossip, and media report and try their best not to laugh. Eventually, the cause celebre withers and life returns to normal. This scenario plays out time and again, as it did here in the U.S. state of Missouri according to this recent report: Police Not Ruling Out The Possibility Of Aliens

What’s going on here? Is there a rational explanation for these killings, or is the answer more… ‘otherworldly’?

I offer the following without editorial comment. This is a true story. Draw your own conclusions.

§ § §

One day I was sitting having a cup of coffee with a friend. In those days we both worked in broadcast television news, and that coffee conversation, like many others we’d had, revolved around local, regional and international news stories from the week before. We could often be found discussing the latest murder, kidnapping, robbery, catastrophe or political scandal that was grabbing our supper-hour headlines. This particular day, however, was different.

The night before our klatsch one of our reporters had filed a story originating in the lush farmland of British Columbia’s Thompson Okanagan region. Considered a bit of a ‘crank’ story, the two and a half minute piece was relegated to the post-weather report ghetto of our one-hour newscast; not deemed important enough for ‘real’ news, but interesting enough to elicit a humourous dialogue between the news anchors before throwing to commercial break.

cattle_mutilation_policeThe journalist in question was reporting on a farmer who had found a dozen or so of his cows dead in his field. They had apparently been quite skillfully butchered, and the grisly discovery created a local buzz of finger-pointing and unanswered questions.

What happened to the cattle?!

Scratched heads lead to various theories, and although none of the locals would commit to going on camera with such a claim, eventually ‘it was the work of aliens’ became a hot topic. It wasn’t the first time beings from outer space and flying saucers were considered the culprits in cattle mutilations, and it wouldn’t be the last.

I had heard about cattle mutilations before; this was nothing new. But it was rare for this to occur in Canada. Only a month before a similar story had come out of southern Alberta. A large ranch near the U.S. border had reported a ‘similar attack’ (that’s how the media had referred to it) on several heads of prime beef cattle.

I’d seen and read news stories in all the major American media over the years about this phenomenon, and the M.O. was always the same: Range animals – sometimes pigs or sheep, occasionally horses, even bison, but mostly cows – are found dead. Their sexual organs have been removed (female cows and sheep especially), and usually one or more (sometimes all) of the following are also missing: eyes, ears, lips, tongue, nostrils and anus. The events surrounding each catalogued ‘mutilation’ (or ‘bovine excision’ as it came to be known) are peculiar for sure. But beyond the similarities two items stand out, and tie each and every event together regardless of passage of time or geographical location:

  1. The incisions are almost always surgical in nature. Rarely are there any rips or tears present in the skin, nor is there evidence of a predatory attack, either pre- or post-mortem.
  2. The abnormal lack of blood at the scene, which you would expect to be present after so much cutting.

What’s a conspiracy factualist to do with such information?

Back to the caffeine.

el_paso_herald_headlineMy buddy mentioned that an older gentleman friend of his, Robert (not his real name), would be joining us that day, and he soon arrived – introductions all ’round. We began basic chit-chat, and I soon discovered that Robert had a fascinating, if not shadowy background. Both he and his wife were semi-retired (each had been in the military), but they had taken on part-time work to supplement their pensions – he as a security consultant, she as a law enforcement communications trainer. She was Canadian, but Robert had been born in America. His military service had included radar and communications work, and early in his career, he’d been stationed in northern Canada along NORAD’s DEW (Distant Early Warning) line. (His story about what he experienced on the afternoon of November 22, 1963, while sitting at a complex array of radar screens was startling. I’ll save that for another day).

We eventually returned to our original conversation about the reports of cattle mutilations. Without missing a beat (or a sip of coffee), Robert offered that he knew exactly what had happened.

“Must have been a leak,” he said. “Maybe an experiment. But more likely a leak. The only question is… was it accidental, or…” His voice trailed off.

Seeing the incredulous looks on our faces, he laughed. “Right,” he said, leaning forward. “Here’s what’s going on.” And he proceeded to explain his version of events that would ‘naturally’ – his word – lead to slicing up a cow. He didn’t provide verifiable examples (other than the one I note below), but his basic story was this…

It’s no secret the U.S. military in all its guises maintained stockpiles of high-end weaponry, everything from Nukes to Biological to Chemical (NBC) weapons. Even though international law argued that much had been destroyed, still more had been buried and supposedly sealed to never (hopefully) see the light of day. However, he said, certain military divisions, known primarily by their vaguely descriptive acronyms, continued to test certain ‘weaponized delivery systems’ in the form of rockets, aerosol dispersants and bombs, all in the name of ‘worst case scenario’ preparedness. Robert was aware, he said, because of his prior background, that things didn’t always go as planned.

Weaponized nerve agents, he continued, in their final deliverable form, were known in Pentagon-speak as ‘wet-eyes’. The American military maintains an entire vocabulary of innocuous terms to underscore the plausible deniability of the true intent and meaning of processes and weapons, and even for accidents that may occur. Phrases such as ‘Broken Arrow‘ and ‘Empty Quiver‘, for instance, relate to ‘lost nukes’ and ‘stolen nukes’ respectively. But the term ‘wet-eye’ is more nefarious, and in this case, makes perfect sense.

So-called ‘nerve agents’, or nerve gasses, such as VX and Sarin, are both tasteless and odourless. They are also the most lethal chemicals ever devised. In amounts that are barely discernible, they attack the central nervous system and shut it down, causing paralysis and death in moments. They were designed to do just that. It’s why they’re referred to as WMDs – weapons of mass destruction.

Why the ‘wet-eye’ designation…?

This is a reference to how the nerve gas attacks, how it enters the body. In a ‘gas’ or aerosol form, it does so through the mucous membranes of a human or an animal. The eye is an example of a mucous (or ‘wet’) membrane, as are the ears, lips, tongue, nostrils, anus, and in females, the sexual organs. Tear gas works in the same way, and it’s why it’s called ‘tear gas’.

Robert offered an example of what happens during the release of a nerve agent and its immediate after-effects.

dugway_proving_groundIn 1968, more than 6,000 head of sheep were discovered to have died overnight in an area spread out over several miles of grazing land in Utah. The incident occurred near the Dugway Proving Ground – a U.S. Army facility for the testing and storage of chemical and biological weapons and agents. After a lengthy investigation and autopsies on many of the animals, it was found that contact with VX nerve gas was the culprit and that the Army facility was responsible. Eventually, the Army compensated the farmers for their loss but admitted no wrong-doing. How the gas in this instance had been dispersed or escaped – accident or as part of a scheduled test – was never explained. They neither confirmed, denied, or even acknowledged chemical weaponry was in the vicinity.

In a case such as this, Robert said, the surgical removal of the eyes, etc. from a statistical sample of the affected sheep could reveal for investigators some pertinent data. For instance, it would show how they died, the level of toxicity in each animal, and, based on the location of the bodies, how the prevailing winds ‘moved’ the chemical agent from dispersal point to contact. [Roaming cattle would seem to be the perfect scenario for a ‘test’. – Ed.]

We sat sipping our coffees for a few minutes allowing the impact of this revelation to sink in. And then it hit me.

“But these events happen all over,” I said, “not just in Utah. What’s that all about…?”

Robert thought for a moment before answering.

“There are other places, other military and private facilities in use across America,” he said, “and Canada and England, too, I suspect. Porton Down in the U.K. would be a good example.”

There were certainly moral and ethical, even legal issues involved, I thought, but he never did go there.

“Prevailing winds are the unknown factor here,” he continued. He gave the example of blowing out a candle and watching the smoke trail away. The smoke will rise, but a slight gust of wind and the wispy trails change direction accordingly. Wind patterns aren’t consistent, he said, and they can be dependant on weather, time of day, and geography. Why is Chicago windier than Detroit, he asked rhetorically. Deserts and mountain ranges can both be windy places, but neither exhibits predictable or directional patterns. Weapons are tested in many different ways and in many different locales. A strong wind kicks up and who knows where a gas could travel to. He said he personally knew of several other nerve agent ‘incidents’ that had taken place over the years, and it was always interesting to see where they had occurred. He suggested there really was a pattern that connected the event to the locale.

My friend said, “Okay – so it’s not aliens then?” I truly appreciated that big laugh!

“Do either of you own a map of the U.S.?”, Robert asked. He could tell from our puzzled looks that we did not. “Buy one.” He then presented us with a task that, he said, would prove to us that these ‘cattle mutilations,’ while bizarre, and more than a little scary considering the obvious human implications, were completely explainable.

My buddy and I bought the map and proceeded to place a red dot in the general locale of each and every report of a cattle mutilation for which we could find a reference. There were dozens of events, but there was overlap – many occurred near the same locales, but at different times. In the end, our map had seven red dots representing cattle mutilation reports dating back fifteen years. We then gave Robert the map.

A few weeks later we reconvened for another round of fascinating, caffeine fuelled discussion. Robert sat down and tossed the folded map on the table. “I told you there would be a pattern,” he said, smiling.

§ § §

cattle_mutilations_newsAll these years later I still have that map. What it shows is a series of seven red dots spread out over six American western and midwest states. Adjacent to each red dot are nine wide, white lines painted on it with Liquid Paper as a label background. Each label contains the handwritten name of a U.S. Air Force base or Army base known for storage of biochem weapons, or of a military weapon facility. The pattern – the connection – was obvious. Whether by design (the result of a scheduled test of a weapon system) or by misadventure (the accidental release of gas) the existence and use of dangerous substances were both widespread and active, and cattle were being dissected.

But what about today? Didn’t President Richard Nixon end the U.S. biochem weapons program in 1969? Wasn’t the production and stockpiling of VX gas outlawed as part of a global agreement signed by 162 countries in 1993 banning biochem weapons? Yes, all true. However, poison gas was used by Saddam Hussein on the Kurds in Halabja in 1988; there was not one but two sarin gas attacks in Japan in 1994 and 1995; anthrax (also considered a biochem weapon) was delivered to a handful of U.S. politicians and reporters in 2001; and it is suspected that Syria uses nerve gas as a weapon even today.

The Dugway Proving Ground still exists. The U.S. Army still stores and tests various weaponized systems, and some of those are liquids and gasses designed for deployment in a combat theater. How they end up in farmers’ fields and on grazing ranch land is anyone’s guess.

But let’s bring this around full circle…

What about this recent unexplained cattle mutilation event in Missouri? Is some form of gas or aerosol involved? Was there a military test that went awry, did the prevailing winds shift unexpectedly? Are aliens to blame?

Not too far away from the event location in the ‘Show Me’ state where the dead cattle were found lies the U.S Army’s Fort Leonard Wood Garrison, home to the 23-acre CBRN School. CBRN stands for ‘Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear’. Their website describes the facility this way:

“Fort Leonard Wood and the Army CBRN School have world-class facilities in which to conduct training (in) the Chemical Defense Training Facility… where military students from across the globe train and become familiar with actual nerve agents in realistic scenarios (emphasis mine), and also conduct training with radiological isotopes and inert biological agents.”

While this scenario, first suggested to me many years ago, may offer a ‘reasonable’ explanation, I can’t say it gives me a warm, cozy feeling.

But that’s just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

A postscript…

While writing this, I kept returning to a nagging question? I realize that governments the world over (for the most part) have agreed to get rid of WMDs. But how do you decommission a WMD? What do you do with it? Where do you put a weapon of mass destruction so that it’s no threat to anyone ever again? In short, how do you kill something whose sole purpose in life is to kill you?

The U.S. Department of Defence reported only a few years ago that more than 120 tons of VX nerve gas were disposed of in the Atlantic Ocean. Thousands upon thousands of VX-weaponized rockets were loaded onto ships that were scheduled for scuttling and then sunk in very deep seas off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, and Florida.

Apparently, there are so many nerve gas weapons remaining in the world, especially in the former Soviet Union, that their destruction continues to this day.

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