REPORT FROM VIENNA
A Firsthand View of the Battle
for Earthquake Forecasting
by Nancy Spannaus
April 11—As Lyndon LaRouche and LaRouchePAC have been stressing over recent days, one of the major battle lines for humanity, in this period of heightened earthquake and volcanic activity, is the battle for the resources, and the political will, to carry out the necessary research for forecasting these disasters. In the LPAC Weekly Report April 6, LaRouche put it this way:
"We have an increasing better handle, very rapidly now, on the question of the ability to forecast. It's not perfect. It probably never will be, but we are much better equipped now, than we were, say, a few months ago. Much of the evidence was already there, but it was not put together, it was not being discussed, and the events were not occurring which would demonstrate the importance of this evidence, as in the Pacific Basin itself. And it's going on rapidly.
"So, the point is now, the issue is, is the human race going to make it? And the answer to the question is, are we capable of throwing this President out of office? Because if we're not capable of throwing this President out of office on good grounds for doing so, under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, if we're not capable of doing that, we are not fit to survive, because we're unwilling to do the things on which survival depends."
Obama, of course, is in the process of slashing the NASA budget, and other vital resources required for forecasting earthquakes—and Federal agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are toeing the line by claiming that forecasting is impossible. But the LaRouchePAC Basement Team is going on the offensive, to find those scientists who will join the fight for breakthroughs in forecasting, in a project called "Operation Kepler." Operation Kepler aims to utilize the largest possible array of instrumentation, what could be called the extended sensorium, to provide the basis for not only understanding the unseen causes of earthquakes, but to be able to foresee them in time to issue warnings that will save millions of human lives.
As part of Operation Kepler, two members of the LaRouche Youth Movement, who work in the LaRouche political party in Germany (the BüSo), travelled to Vienna, Austria on April 6, where they contacted and interviewed leading scientists in the field. One of those youth, Daniel Grasenack-Tente, was interviewed on EIR's Internet radio show, The LaRouche Show, April 9, where he gave the following report to interviewer Harley Schlanger.
The LaRouche Show: Forecasters Under Attack
Grasenack-Tente: As many people know who have been following what has been published on the LaRouchePAC website, and the Basement reports on the "Rim of Fire," especially in the context of the Richter Scale 9 earthquake in Japan, there is to be expected a real increase in seismic activity over the next years. The work of researchers who are looking into how we can come to predict, or forecast, or warn ourselves, against impending earthquakes, is enormously important. And there are teams of researchers across the world who have taken up this task, quite interdisciplinarily, and they were taking part at the European Geosciences General Assembly for 2011 in Vienna, the last two days of which we attended.
Now, in that context, I just have to say at the very beginning, that, given this threat, and given the nature of the kind of damage and destruction that these events cause, it was extremely notable that all of these presentations took place in the most remote parts of the conference building, in the basement, notably, and the rooms most far removed from the main activity and the big seminar rooms. There was no recording of these presentations, and we were not allowed to record them. But we did manage to interview and talk to all of the different teams.
Now, most specifically, there was a team centered around Michel Parrot from the University of Orléans, in France, which had been working with data gathered over six years from the Demeter satellite, and which had been looking at a whole range of changes in the ionosphere, plasma, electron content, that sort of thing.
Then you had an Italian delegation centered around Pier Francesco Biagi, from the University of Bari, who had hosted the very first session. And they've been doing experiments with man-made electromagnetic waves—basically setting up centers and receivers across Europe, at very different frequencies.
There was a Russian-American collaboration, between Sergei Pulinets (see interview) from the Fyodorov Institute in Moscow, and Dimitar Ouzounov, who's with NASA, and they've been looking at, especially, things that they're picking up with GPS signals; also looking at total electron content in the ionosphere.
And then there was a delegation from Japan, which is also looking into the ground-based reception and transmission of frequencies, especially the work done by Prof. Masashi Hayakawa, whom people have maybe heard about. And he was represented there by the successor to his chair at the University for Communications at Tokyo, Yosohida Hobara.
The general character of the thing is that these people are engaged in a pretty young field of science; it's a very young field of looking at the electromagnetic precursors, the things that go on before earthquakes. And the scientists are coming under total attack.
First of all, the seismologists really don't like the fact that people from other disciplines are encroaching upon their field of work. This is a typical high-priest reaction that you've had over the centuries. Unfortunately, "bread-fed scholars" [as Friedrich Schiller called them] have at some point or other dominated universities, and they really don't like the fact that someone else says they know something about their field, because it challenges their structure of thought. This is an old philosophical battle, which especially the LaRouche movement knows a lot about.
Because universal history is geared around the fight between the bread-fed scholar—someone who defends his system, defends the construct upon which his whole career, and his whole ego are based—and the philosophical mind, who, if no one from outside can destroy his system, from which he can gain new knowledge, he himself must overthrow his sytem, and thereby gain new insights and reconstruct it in a more perfect way.
Governments Are Refusing To Act
Schlanger: One thing that would be very interesting to know, is that, with this discussion going on in the context of the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake, the Chile earthquake, the Indonesia earthquake, the Japan earthquake, it would seem that there would be more of a sense of urgency than to shuffle these guys off into a corner, or into a basement, as you described it. Was there some outrage, or anger, from the people who were doing this work, that there's not more appreciation of what they're trying to do?
Grasenack-Tente: Well, that's where we come in. We have to, I think, give them an awareness for the political nature of the battle that they're involved in. Because they are actually very determined to do their work, and they know they're on to something, they know what they've been picking up. But they feel the pressure, and they don't really know how to defend themselves against it.
They're all very clear that much more needs to be done. But they're determined, so they're not frustrated. And that's why they're all very keen to be there, because that was the main way that they could network, get in contact with each other.
But the main thing that they're saying is, they can't do it—these are professors, these are people who teach classes—they don't have the means to set up the kind of instrumentation and stations, that would be needed to get a 24/7 overview of all of these different phenomena and measurements across the globe, on the ground, and different satellites in space for the geomagnetic field, for disturbances in the ionosphere—they can't do that from the university, and governments are blocking funding to this.
Schlanger: Were they aware of the actions of the Obama Administration, to cut back on these programs?
Grasenack-Tente: In terms of NASA, definitely. And whenever we even dropped the word USGS, they said, "Oh, yeah"—they don't want to hear anything about this; they're not interested at all. And that was their immediate, gut response, because I guess they've run into it a lot.
Especially the Japanese have been having problems getting any kind of state funding, because there seems to be a real, well, I would say a real skunk named Robert Geller, who, in his function at the University of Tokyo and the Earthquake Research Institute, has, as one of the participants told us, systematically been involved in shutting down any state grants. This section of the Tokyo University has the power to distribute funding into precursor research, and it's all going to strictly seismological research, and everything that the researchers we talked to come up with, is systematically attacked, and shot down. And one participant was able to tell us that this happened to one of his colleagues personally. That's definitely something where they see it, but they have a kind of idealism that comes from being a real scientist, that they don't expect a return, they don't expect recognition or gratification, but they know that it's important.
They're also very aware that if they get the funding, if the instrumentation is set up, and if it's centralized—if the data, all the different phenomena, the different ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum on the different parts of the atmosphere and ionosphere and from space are being measured—if all that's brought together, they're totally certain that we could definitely set up a real-time warning system. And so, they're committed. They're just saying there has to be much more cooperation, and they're doing it.
Schlanger: On that note, we have a question from your colleague Madeleine in Germany, who wanted you to elaborate on this battle over the method of forecasting, because one of the things that LaRouche has been talking about, is the need for an array of instrumentation. And it seems from the reports that I've seen from you, and from the work we're doing overall, that the people doing this research are clear on what you might call the Kepler model, which is that you have to incorporate an array of sensing devices and instrumentation, from which you can find anomalies, and then search through the anomalies for a hypothesis.
So, from your discussions, would you say that this is the method of approach that many of these people are taking?
Grasenack-Tente: Most definitely. Every single person that we interviewed—we did video interviews with seven of the presenters, and they all made that point. They made the point that there are a lot of things going on in the atmosphere and the ionosphere in space. From the Basement Team's work, we know this best of all, because we've been looking at all the things from solar and extrasolar sources. But they make that point very clearly all the time: We can't just rely on one phenomenon. We can't just rely on one or two parameters. We have to take as many as we can into account, before we can really be sure that we have something to do with the seismic phenomenon oncoming.
So, that's definitely the case, and that's very interesting, because, as you say, they're not looking for a correlation. They're not looking for some kind of Copernican, Ptolemaic model, with which then they can say, "Well now, I can explain to you how this works." No, they're actually looking into how we can make precise forecasts, with which life can be saved, and civilization can be prepared to deal with the kind of destruction, and prevent it, as much as possible. So I think that's definitely a fair comment.
The Broader Question
Schlanger: I'd like to see if the broader question of the relationship between the galactic cycles, the 62-million-year cycles [of biodiversity on Earth], and so on, and the 11-year cycle of solar activity, which seems to be extended to 13 years at this point, was discussed at the Vienna conference. With the reporting, I believe from Japan, and maybe even from Professor Biagi's operation of the X-level flares and coronal emissions from the Sun preceding both the New Zealand quake and the Japan quake, was there discussion of these kinds of questions at the conference? Is there a general awareness?
Grasenack-Tente: Well, there was Dr. Gerald Duma from the Geodynamics Institute in Austria—he's a Viennese local. He gave an extended presentation on the correlation between solar activity and seismic activity. He made the point that there's a three-year lag of average geomagnetic potential, the so-called KP value, a three-years' lag behind sunspot activity. But he also said that there's a one-to-one match between solar wind activity, and this seismic activity. And these are areas which the other participants pointed out—not that there's a causal relationship, and I think that's correct, but the correlation does tell us that we are going into more heightened activity.
But yes, in general, there was a lot of openness to this idea. Most of the participants hadn't looked into it themselves. I brought up with a number of them, that the seismograph on the Moon had registered a lot of events that obviously wouldn't be explainable from a strictly Earth-bound model of tectonics and so forth, and that was always picked up with intrigue. We handed to each of the professors that we talked to, Sky Shields' excellent article (EIR, March 19, 2010), which he wrote after Kesha Rogers won the Democratic nomination in the 22nd Congressional District in Texas last year, where he gave a very condensed presentation of the different cycles, and the different records that we have that really show us that there are longer-term cycles that make the Earth more sensitive, and life on Earth more sensitive to volatile activity from outside.
There was no discussion of that per se, but they were all very open to it. Basically, their line was, we have a lot of work to do ourselves. If somebody else were to look into that, we'd be very interested to see what they would come up with.
Schlanger: You mentioned one professor from Austria who was doing work on the correlation between solar and seismic activity. I believe we had a report from before this conference, that Professor Biagi had been talking about that, in terms of some work in Japan. Was there anything on that presented at the conference, from the Japanese group?
Grasenack-Tente: No, not this time. I don't know the specifics on that, but they're very clear that they had the signals in advance—that's for sure. And there was an article written up on Professor Hayakawa, as someone who actually did predict the earthquake.
Schlanger: Let me ask another question on forecasting. There are those who are saying that they expect something that's a little close to home for me, which is the West Coast of the United States, and of course there were these hearings in the Congress, sponsored by Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), where they revealed that there's almost no preparedness other than this "duck and cover and hold" routine, which is not exactly comforting. So, was there much of a sense of this, that the Rim of Fire is volatile for the next year or two, and there could be a major earthquake on the West Coast of the United States?
Grasenack-Tente: Well, sure. The very useful thing about having a solid correlation between solar activity, geomagnetic activity, and seismic activity—it's difficult to say that there's a causal relationship, but what it does show you is that there is an expectation of really powerful activity up and coming. And that was Mr. Dumas's main point: that he expects a seismic maximum going into 2017. There were some sort of discrepancies in what he expected, because of of the current unusually long solar cycle; that's why he put it at 2017. But generally, yes. All of the people that we talked to said that that is what they expect, based on that kind of viewpoint.
And also, really, the monetary aspect: financing for these aspects is a pittance. This is loose change that Zeus has in his pocket, which he's denying them. Professor Biagi, to even set up the few stations that he has, had to get a EU100,000 loan from the local private bank. They have only seven stations to measure very low frequency waves, radiowaves, in Europe, and he said you would need maybe 20 to 30 of these things, which would cost several hundred thousand euros to set up, and it's really not a big deal. You're talking about basic radio transmitters, receivers at certain frequencies, and then they could analyze the data.
Obviously, you'd need a bit of support on that end. Mr. Hobara, representing his and Hayakawa's work, said that to cover the whole surface of Japan with magnetometers, to measure fluctuations in the magnetic field, which is another side of their work—well, each one costs 4 million yen, which is only about [$40,000] per unit. I wouldn't really want to guess how much the party and the drinks and everything at this EGU conference cost, but probably a lot of money gets thrown away on things which have nothing to do with research.
Parrot also tells us that the Demeter satellite was initially only planned to run for two years, but that they pressured whoever was funding it, and said, "Look, if we are even going to be able to gather any significant amount of data, we need to be up there for a long enough time to have seismic events happen, so we can take measurements." And that's how it got extended fourfold, over what the original accountant, or the funding department, had originally projected, And they were very emphatic on the point that you need a lot of them to measure these different phenomena up there, 24/7. And you need a team on the ground that can do the analysis.
The Genocide Faction
Schlanger: This brings up the whole question of forecasting, and the denial of forecastability; you have the same problem in economics. And I'll throw out to you, one of the points Lyndon LaRouche made yesterday in a discussion, which is that this is precisely why we have to show that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is nothing but an ideological fraud, and get to real science, which is the Riemannian-Vernadsky approach. Maybe you would like to talk about that a bit, as it applies to earthquakes, but also to physical economics.
Grasenack-Tente: Yes. It's really good that you bring it up in those terms, because that really is the fundamental question of science. If you understand the process, if you actually know what the principle is that is generating it, then you are able to make statements about a future state, and that process. And that is exactly what is being denied here.
I think, even just a preliminary look into history shows that at any point that society, science, has ever said, there's no more progress, we can't know anything more on this, that's always been a failure. And that's always been a sign of a doomed society, whenever humanity has accepted that, and then it's really just a matter of time before there's a collapse into barbarism, occultism, mysticism. It's basically then that you're appealing to mystical forces.
And it was just funny that after the first interview that we did with the French and Polish researchers, we were immediately approached by a guy called Max Wyss, who approached us in the most hostile and arrogant manner, saying, why do you interview people who give the worst presentations? And when we were discussing the whole thing, we basically said, look, this is an important phenomenon, and it's very young, and it should be continued research. We basically indicated that we couldn't understand where his position came from. And he went into a whole thing about how this kind of research gives what seismologists do a bad name, yada, yada, yada.
But then, at the end, he said, earthquakes are fundamentally a random phenomenon, and the thing that you cannot account for is ... random influences. He got a very weird look on his face, and when we didn't respond to that, he stood up, and said, "Well, you just live in your fantasy world then, if you want to," and left.
For further discussion, please go to The LaRouche Show , or see www.larouchepub.com, where the show is archived, and to the Lyndon LaRouche PAC website, where groundbreaking videos on this topic are available.