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Underworld

Toxic Water: How Surface Mining is Poisoning Our Wells

Imagine your home’s water was rust-orange and smelled like rotten eggs. Every time you showered or washed your hands, you got rashes and dry skin.  

The water is so filthy that your bathtub, sink, and clothes are stained blood-orange.

At the same time, all your neighbors are getting diagnosed with cancer, inflammatory disease, and struggling with a variety of health complications.

For some residents in West Virginia, the heart of America’s coal industry, this nightmare is a reality.

The source of these issues is an extremely controversial and environmentally invasive coal harvesting technique called surface mining.

Surface Mining: A Toxic Mess

Surface mining uses massive amounts of explosives to decimate the tops of mountains. This allows miners to easily excavate coal that is buried deep below the surface.

Even though this mining technique is efficient, its environmental impact is disastrous. It leaves gaping holes in the terrain and obliterates animal habitats. But what is even more concerning is the miners take all the rock waste, called overburden, and dump it into nearby valleys.

“When you dump a lot of overburden into the valley, and start covering up streams, you have water sources that end up traveling through the [waste] material,” says Professor Michael McCawley, an environmental engineer who studies the impact of surface mining.

“It’s kind of like dumping geological trash,” he points out. “It ends up increasing the concentration of acidic ions and metals [in the water].”

This includes dangerous heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and cadmium.

Since overburden contains chemicals left over from explosives, it can also contaminate the waterways with toxic compounds that are not tested or regulated for public health safety. Scientists have no idea how these chemicals affect the human body when ingested via contaminated water.

Once contaminated with heavy metals and harmful explosive compounds, the water then travels to the private wells of local residents. Since municipal water does not exist in rural areas, this well water is their only option.

A Public Health Crisis

The polluted water from surface mining has taken a massive toll on the health of local residents. Some are facing less serious side effects like skin rashes, inflammation, eczema, and respiratory issues.

But what is most concerning is the startling prevalence of cancer in the area—suggesting just how dangerous these contaminants are.

Professor McCawley commented on the issue and said, “The big [problems] we have found are certainly cancer. Name a cancer and they’re seeing it here.”

One local even had his water tested. The analyst who evaluated the sample warned the water was so toxic that if he washed his clothes in it, they could catch fire under direct sunlight.

Toxic Water Is a Global Issue

While everyone’s water supply may not be as contaminated as these sites in West Virginia, toxic water is a global issue.

In fact, if you tested your drinking water, there is a high likelihood that it would contain unsafe levels of heavy metals. This includes arsenic, lead (from old deteriorating pipes), chromium, cadmium and gut-disrupting chlorine. All of which can wreak havoc on your health.

It is a difficult scenario because buying bottled water at the store is not a viable solution either. Bottled water is filled with plastic compounds that are carcinogenic and hormone disruptors.

The only effective way to protect yourself is to chelate (remove) the toxins from your body. While there are several substances out there that chelate toxins, the most popular compound is a natural mineral called zeolite. When ingested, zeolite travels deep into your cells where toxins accumulate. From here, it binds to the toxins like a magnet and then transports them out of the body, where they can no longer cause you harm.

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Underworld

Havana Syndrome again? CIA officers are mowed down by a mysterious disease

A CIA officer in Moscow experienced symptoms of the so-called “Havana syndrome” in 2017. This became known to The New York Times with reference to sources in diplomatic circles.

CIA officer Mark Polimepulos, who helped lead covert operations in Russia and Europe, complained about the manifestation of mysterious symptoms. According to the newspaper, in December 2017, he felt severe dizziness, which later developed into a prolonged migraine, forcing him to retire. At that time, Polymerpoulos was 48 years old.

It is noted that such a case was not the only one. Similar symptoms were experienced by the staff of the American ambassadors in Cuba and China in 2016-2018. However, the exact number of cases and the place where this happened is not named. It is alleged that the US diplomats have tried to influence in a similar way around the world.

At the same time, the US State Department was unable to establish an unambiguous reason that caused the “Havana syndrome.” Among other things, it was assumed that the diplomats may have been exposed to an unidentified sound effect.

In 2017, it was reported that, beginning in late 2016, American diplomatic officials and their relatives in Cuba began to complain of symptoms such as hearing loss, nausea, headaches and balance disorder. 

The Associated Press received audio footage of the attack and described the harassing sounds as “the high-pitched sound of crickets combined with fingernails scratching on a board.” Then the American government suggested that Russia or China could be the culprit.

Many victims are still undergoing rehabilitation. Specialists from the University of Pennsylvania performed magnetic resonance imaging and revealed visible changes in the structure of the brain in the diplomatic missions.

Differences were found in 23 men and 17 women who complained of health problems while on diplomatic duties in Havana. Scientists have yet to figure out what causes the unusual symptoms.

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Underworld

How Russia and the United States nearly started a nuclear war in 1995

The Norwegian meteorological rocket incident remains the only time in history that the Russian president has activated his nuclear briefcase.

On January 25, 1995, Doomsday could have come in the world: the Russian Federation was preparing to launch a nuclear strike on the United States. How did it come about that the states that left the confrontation of the Cold War in the past and had just normalized relations with each other found themselves on the verge of mutual destruction?

The beginning of the war?

The cause of the crisis was an ordinary Norwegian meteorological rocket. Its launch from the small island of Anneia at 7 am local time (10 am Moscow time) towards Spitsbergen caused a stir in Russia. 

Black Brant XII.

Black Brant XII. Legion Media / ZUMA Press

Equipped with scientific equipment to study the aurora borealis, the Black Brant XII was similar in size to the nuclear-powered American Trident D-5 ballistic missile, intended for launch from submarines. In addition, it flew along a trajectory along which, as the Russian Defense Ministry believed, American missiles would fly in the event of a nuclear war. 

In December 1994, Norway informed 28 states, including Russia, about the planned launch, but did not give a specific date, limiting itself to specifying the period: from January 15 to February 10 of the next year. Due to bureaucratic delays, this information did not reach the Russian Missile Warning System, which sounded the alarm.

Decisive minutes

An emergency meeting with the country’s top political and military leadership was convened in the Kremlin. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, Chief of the General Staff Mikhail Kolesnikov and President of the Russian Federation (as Supreme Commander-in-Chief) Boris Yeltsin had three strategic missile forces control terminals activated – the so-called nuclear suitcases.

Vladimir Sayapin / TASS

The military believed the lone missile could have been fired to create an electromagnetic pulse that knocked out Russian radars and communications systems. Following it, a massive blow could be expected.

For several tense minutes, as leaders watched it flight, it was decided whether Russia would launch a nuclear strike against the United States. 

“Little is known today about what Yeltsin said at the time, given that it could have been some of the most dangerous moments in the entire history of the nuclear era,” The Washington Post journalist, David Hoffman wrote three years after the incident : “They make it clear that the Cold War nuclear readiness system continues to operate, and how catastrophic its consequences could be, despite the fact that the feud between the great powers is already over.”   

The situation was discharged only when it became clear that the rocket had gone towards Spitsbergen (not far from which it fell into the ocean). The nuclear cases have been deactivated. Russian President Boris Yeltsin (center) and Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev (right).

Russian President Boris Yeltsin (center) and Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev (right). Igor Mikhalev / Sputnik

The incident with bringing Russia’s Strategic Nuclear Forces to combat readiness, soon became the property of the world community. When, four years later, the Norwegians were about to repeat their launch of Black Brant XII and reported this to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the US additionally warned all key Russian military departments about it through their channels. As a result, this time there were no unpleasant surprises. 

Source: rbth.com

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Underworld

Germany conducted exercises in case of nuclear war

Bundeswehr / Birthe Brechters

The Bundeswehr with partners in the North Atlantic Alliance ( NATO) trained in operations in a nuclear war.

The German army, together with Italian, Belgian and Dutch colleagues, conducted exercises in the event of a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons.

The location of the exercise “Steadfest Noon” was chosen airbase “Nörfenich”, where the tactical squadron of the Luftwaffe 31 “Boelcke” is located. Together with the Luftwaffe of the Bundeswehr, the air forces of other NATO countries, in particular, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, took part in the exercises.

According to a report by Bild, the exercise scenario involved training procedures for safely removing nuclear weapons from storage, delivering ammunition and installing them on aircraft. The training flights took place without nuclear weapons, and in parallel with the aviation exercises at the Büchel airbase, where the tactical squadron of the Luftwaffe 51 Immelman is located, the Resilient Guard air defense systems were trained to protect the airfield from air attacks.

The training sites for the Luftwaffe of the Bundeswehr were not chosen by chance, since the Nörfenich airbase is a reserve storage site for the B61, a hydrogen bomb that forms the basis of nuclear weapons of the US strategic nuclear forces. 

Some of this ammunition is stationed at NATO bases in Europe. The exact number of hydrogen bombs that are stored at European sites and which ones are not reported. In Europe, the B61 is carried by Panavia Tornado fighter-bombers (pictured) and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters.

Recall that the B61 thermonuclear bomb is the main weapon of the US strategic nuclear forces, although it entered service in 1968. Since 2012, a new guided version of the B61-12 has been under development, which will replace all B61 and B83 bombs that have been in service since 1983. It can be used both on strategic bombers and tactical aircraft. About two billion dollars were spent on the development of the 12th modification of the aerial bomb.

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