Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams
Praise for Voice
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Naval officials said on Tuesday the sea lions would be used to locate and mark divers or swimmers that could pose a threat to U.S. warships off Bahrain, headquarters of the navy's Fifth Fleet.
The sea lions have been trained to carry a special clamp in their mouths which they can attach to a suspicious person, Commander John Wood, Special Operations Officer Naval Forces Central Command, told Reuters. The clamp is attached by a line to a flotation device which marks the swimmer for security personnel to apprehend him. Wood would not explain in detail how the clamp worked or what would stop a swimmer removing it.
"They (the sea lions) are very valuable in terms of capability and they are saving lives," he said. "They can operate wherever we ask them to and are not limited to Bahrain."
The United States is massing ships and troops in the Gulf region ahead of a possible war against Iraq.
Wood said the animals were trained to mark people but not to kill. The mammals can dive to 1,000 feet, swim at speeds up to 25 miles (40 km) per hour, as well as see and hear better under water than any human or mechanical device the military has. "The advantage is that they are working in their natural environment and anything going against them isn't," Wood said outside the sea lion enclosure where Zachary and Alex were barking and being fed.
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