Feeds

Dolphin assassins menace Gulf of Mexico

Rogue cetacean death squad may be armed

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Heavily-armed, frightened, and confused. No, we don't mean the Bush Administration, but a group of killer dolphins trained by the US Navy and lately washed into the Gulf of Mexico by Hurricane Katrina, if The Guardian is to be believed.

According to an Observer report by Mark Townsend Houston, Navy dolphins trained to shoot suspected terrorist frogmen with narcotic dart guns mounted on their heads have gone over the top, and may be menacing divers, and perhaps nice dolphins like the ones recently found cowering near their former pens at the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi. No wonder they were so frightened.

The evidence for this report is the loose speculation of one Leo Sheridan - "a respected accident investigator who has worked for government and industry" - who, we are told, "had received intelligence from sources close to the US government's marine fisheries service confirming that dolphins had escaped."

"If divers or windsurfers are mistaken for a spy or suicide bomber, and if [the animals are] equipped with special harnesses carrying toxic darts, they could fire," Sheridan told the Observer. "The darts are designed to put the target to sleep so they can be interrogated later, but what happens if the victim is not found for hours?" he fretted.

Worrying to be sure. We find, however, that Sheridan has made sport of gullible reporters in the past. In 2003, he was confident that he and a team of divers he advised had located the site where English aviator Amy Johnson died, after her plane went into the sea off Kent in 1941. The Guardian carried that item too. Not surprisingly, there has been little news about Johnson's plane since the announcement.

He also appears to have been confident, back in 1998, that a group of US Navy killer dolphins had come to grief off the French Mediterranean coast when they got loose and their handlers detonated a "radio-controlled explosion of their signal collars, so that no one could find out their missions." (Find out their missions?)

Now, admittedly, the US Navy does use trained dolphins, by its own admission. They're useful for mine detection and for locating suspected enemy swimmers, rescuing friendly swimmers, and the like. But we find ourselves persuaded by the Navy's explanation that dolphins, being an alien species with an entirely different sensory and cognitive apparatus, are ill equipped to detect and process the subtle signals that humans use to distinguish between friend and foe, and are therefore unsuited to search-and-destroy missions.

But dolphin assassins would make great fodder for a B-movie suspense script.

Oops, sorry; that's been done. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
Google's whois results say it's a lousy smut searcher
Run whois google.com or whois microsoft.com. We dare you, you PIG◙◙◙◙ER
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.