ethel’s words

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There is one anomaly less desirable in Utah than a “rich Black man”, and that is a “rich Indian”. What other reason could there possibly be for the Mormon objection to the Skull Valley Gosiutes opportunity to lift themselves out of bleak, hopeless poverty by storing spent nuclear (nukular, that is) waste on their land?

(NOTE: The Merriam-Webster Third International confirms “Gosiute”, with “Goshute” second choice. [In my view “Goshute” is Utahese.])

There is no objection to the massive military pollution that brings FEDERAL BUCKS to The Church via members. There is no protest about production of disease at Dugway, though an escaped disease could wipe out populations of continents. Yet the locals squeal about radiation.

The Gosiute Reservation, it is cautioned, is “an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City”. So? Dugway is eighty miles and winds are variable. Nerve gas from Dugway killed five thousand sheep (note:monetary value) and (not mentioned) all the little creatures that manage to scratch life-sustenance from the barren dirt on which Whiteman corralled the Gosiutes. (I have always wondered if so-called jack-rabbits lived there--food for humans.)

That massive kill didn’t alarm the Mormons at all: The Church’s newspaper, The Deseret News, did not report it at the time although local persons who keep informed from outside sources knew about it. I knew about it. (The “go-along-with-Church-then” Salt Lake Tribune also decided not to report it--until a year later when their headline blared “Army Admits Nerve Gas Spill” or something close to that (depending on memory).)

Somewhere there may be hidden a copy of the documentary on “the sheep kill” by Tom Pettit, presented only once on TV, then not available to requests. (Most likely it has been destroyed, like some of the reportage on the Senate Hearings on “Failing Newspapers”, in the classic book-burning tradition.)

Dugway, no doubt, is still there. The most recent press attention I have seen was a report that nerve gas was being destroyed and there was “an insignificant leak”. What is Dugway doing with our money? In years past “they” claimed they were creating ONLY defenses against the bio-warfare that other nations (!) were producing. Yet, when an anthrax threat followed 9/11, Dugway had no defense prepared against it, even though they had messed around with anthrax for decades. With my own eyes I saw on the west desert their sign: “Warning--Anthrax--Stay Out” in the Sixties. I thought about that when a bunch of wild horses died and the U.S. Army said they drank bad water.

Does it All Hang Together?

As for Senator Hatch’s strong-arming to defeat the Gosiutes, I recall with cynical amusement a similar strong-arming by Mormons to preserve the newspaper monopolies in Utah and in Arizona (especially) and by extension, everywhere.

This saved the powerful press-manipulation of information that controls several populations. Though intended primarily to keep the believers believing, the still-extant monopolies also limit the information of would-be enlightened readers. Media control also includes electronic media--once held in violation of regulations but those violations were later legalized by un-announced Power after being challenged.

Mormon machinations include countless other examples. Mormons respond without thought (“the thinking has been done” the Church says), read and listen to or view only Church-approved sources of information, and willingly, nay, eagerly, join the “telephone tree” of the past or the current more efficient e-mail flood (that Senator Hatch urged his subjects to use to defeat the Gosiutes legal right to store nuclear waste.) And almost forgotten is the carefully-neglected fact that the Gosiutes are a Sovereign Nation.

Nobody with Power listened when dissenters tried to warn of pitfalls of using nuclear energy. Nobody with power gives a damn now about the weapons of death all over Utah. One of the most notable gun factories, spewing out tools of murder from time too long ago for memory, is in Utah. It contributes to Utah’s adoration of guns and killing.

Early in the beginning campaign against the Gosiutes, I attended a meeting at the State Capitol. It soon became apparent that this was to have been a secret meeting--not the first time I have stumbled into an illicit meeting! (Once with results!)

Clearly, it was intended, from the beginning, to avoid any scientific comparison to the various threats to the health and well-being of residents of the Rocky Mountain region. One must be truly naive to think that the several governments under which we live care about the health of ordinary humans. They rant hysterically about smoking, but ridicule predictions about Global Warming.

Any vision of justice and fairness in Utah dies alongside the Gosiutes’ battered hope.

There is something terrifying about callous Power.

Ethel C. Hale