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Tue, 03 Oct 2023
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Puppet Masters


Ag-gag in Action: National Geographic photographer arrested after aerial photos

Ag-gag laws are cropping up like Whac-a-Mole across the states in an attempt to protect large-scale farming and cattle operations from those pesky activists who find out about abuse and cruelty. Instead of addressing the systemic issue of transparency and animal/food safety, lobbying leads to more laws that inhibit the freedom to speak out about dismal conditions - clear 1st Amendment violations. Always in the name of "safety" and protecting trade secrets. It's one thing to keep people from committing theft, destruction of property, breaking and entering, intellectual property theft and privacy violations - which basic laws support. But it's wholly another to prosecute well-intentioned tourists or try peaceful protesters as terrorists.

The latest to get burned is prominent world photographer and freelancer for National Geographic, George Steinmetz. He often gets government clearance to roam the airways for his aerial photography and uses a motorized paraglider with parachute and what looks like a lawn chair.

Even though the ensuing brief arrest on June 28th, and $270 bail each stems from trespassing, the underlying cause (fear) and reason for phone call to the sheriff appear to stem from upholding the Farm Animal and Field Crop and Research Facilities Protection Act. It was one of the first state laws of its kind enacted in 1990 and criminalizes farm photography.

Comment: Read more about Ag Gag laws that are established to prosecute activists who document abuses in Factory Farms:

FBI Says Activists Who Investigate Factory Farms Can Be Prosecuted as Terrorists

Shocking: Reporting factory farm abuses to be considered "Act of Terrorism" if new laws pass

Utah Bill Would Make Videotaping a Factory Farm the Same as Assaulting a Police Officer

Business lobby moves to criminalize filming animal abuse on factory farms

Why You Can Be Branded a Terrorist for Fighting Animal Abuse

State of Iowa Makes Filming Animal Abuse a Crime

"Big Farma" still trying to hide their dirty secrets
Five states have introduced seven different "Ag-Gag bills" to silence people who try to expose CAFO practices.

Remember our exposé on the factory farms, and the legislation designed to keep the public in the dark about them? They're back! It's not just that these bills trample the First Amendment. It's that these bills are designed to keep the filthy, profoundly unsanitary conditions at factory farms - CAFOs, or Confined Animal Feeding Operations - from being exposed to the public. CAFOs are the antithesis of safe and nutritious food. If governments, both federal and state, were truly serious about food safety, they would address the miserable CAFO conditions.

CAFOs are responsible for foodborne illnesses such as salmonella and listeria; are notorious for their use of antibiotics for nontherapeutic uses, and for exacerbating the "superbug" problem in which organisms become increasingly resistant to antibiotics; and ruin rural economies. In addition, there is the inhumane treatment of the animals themselves.

Ag-Gag laws prevent consumers from being informed, and therefore consumers ability to fully choose what they eat.

Light Sabers

China naval fleet seen off northern Japan

A Chinese naval fleet was Sunday spotted sailing for the first time through an international strait between northern Japan and Russia's far east, the Japanese defence ministry said.

The two missile destroyers, two frigates and a supply ship passed through the Soya Strait from the Sea of Japan to the Sea of Okhotsk early Sunday, the ministry said.

The channel, also known as La Perouse, separates the Russian island of Sakhalin and the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The five ships took part in joint naval exercises with Russia from July 5-12 off Vladivostok.

Two other Chinese naval ships which also took part in the drills were seen moving into the East China Sea on Saturday.

The purpose of the Chinese fleet's passage through the Soya Strait is not known, Kyodo news agency quoted a ministry official as saying.

On Saturday a fleet of 16 Russian naval ships was seen moving through the Soya Strait into the Sea of Okhotsk, the ministry said.

Alarm Clock

EPA to allow the consumption of toxic fracking wastewater by wildlife and livestock

© Unknown
Millions of gallons of water laced with toxic chemicals from oil and gas drilling rigs are pumped for consumption by wildlife and livestock with the formal approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to public comments filed yesterday by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Contrary to its own regulations, EPA is issuing permits for surface application of drilling wastewater without even identifying the chemicals in fluids used for hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, let alone setting effluent limits for the contaminants contained within them.

The EPA has just posted proposed new water discharge permits for the nearly dozen oil fields on or abutting the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming as the EPA has Clean Water Act jurisdiction on tribal lands. Besides not even listing the array of toxic chemicals being discharged, the proposed permits have monitoring requirements so weak that water can be tested long after fracking events or maintenance flushing. In addition, the permits lack any provisions to protect the health of wildlife or livestock.

"Under the less than watchful eye of the EPA, fracking flowback is dumped into rivers, lakes and reservoirs," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, pointing out that in both the current and the new proposed permits the EPA ignores its own rules requiring that it list "the type and quantity of wastes, fluids or pollutants which are proposed to be or are being treated, stored, disposed of, injected, emitted or discharged."

Bad Guys

The majority of Syrians support Assad, so why are we trying to remove him?

© Syrian Arab News Agency
A picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) showing supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad take part in a pro-regime rally in Damascus
The proxy war being fought on Syrian Territory by "FSA rebels"

#Cantmossadtheassad part2

According to this report, the Al-Quaeda affiliated Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra is recruiting Syrian revolutionaries into its ranks at an alarming rate.

The populations of towns under FSA(Free Syrian Army) control originally welcomed the foreign fighters, as they were less corrupt than their Syrian counterparts who had systematically looted any infrastructure; whole factories with new machinery, exported piece by piece over the border to Turkey to be sold as scrap metal, allegedly to pay for more weapons and ammunition.

Syrian support for Assad stood at 55% yet this was not reported by any western media back in January with the exception of The Guardian UK which hid it within the Comment is free section.


An economic primer for spies

Listening in on BlackBerry communications by world leaders at a Group of 20 summit meeting, as the British did in April 2009, does not seem like a great way to build international trust and economic cooperation. Writing up the operation in PowerPoint and bragging about it in writing - such documents always leak - was pure Monty Python.

This week, disclosures suggest the American intelligence services may be up to broadly similar tricks - with reports that the United States has bugged the communications of European diplomats stationed in Washington. The Europeans are America's allies, but also its competitors in important markets around the world. The goal seems to involve capturing some kind of economic secrets.

Most such espionage is a complete waste of time - and a good way to undermine relationships between countries. To help spies - and everyone else listening in on our phone calls - prioritize their use of scarce resources and do something constructive with their time, we offer this brief primer on where the intelligence services should focus their attention in the economic realm.

Heart - Black

Iceland parliament declines Snowden's citizenship request

© Reuters
A bid by Edward Snowden for Icelandic citizenship failed when the country's parliament voted not to debate it before the summer recess, lawmakers said on Friday.

The vote leaves Snowden - believed to be staying in a transit area at a Moscow airport - with one option fewer as he seeks a country to shelter him from U.S. espionage charges.

Six members of parliament tabled a proposal late on Thursday to grant Snowden citizenship after they received a request from him via WikiLeaks, opposition parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir said.

But a majority of parliamentarians voted late on Thursday against allowing the proposal to be put on the agenda, a day before parliament went into summer recess. It does not reconvene until September.

"Snowden has formally requested citizenship. But nothing is now going to happen. We could not even vote on it," Jonsdottir told Reuters.

In a letter dated July 4, posted on Jonsdottir's blog, Snowden wrote that he had been left "de facto-stateless" by his government, which revoked his passport after he fled the country and leaked information about U.S. surveillance operations.

Take 2

The sideshow continues: Julian Assange: 'No stopping' release of additional NSA secrets

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said this morning in an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that there is no stopping the release of additional NSA secrets obtained by Edward Snowden, a former contract employee of the organization.

"There is no stopping the publishing process at this stage. Great care has been taken to make sure that Mr. Snowden can't be pressured by any state to stop the publication process. I mean, the United States, by canceling his passport, has left him for the moment marooned in Russia. Is that really a great outcome by the State Department? Is that really what it wanted to do?" Assange said, speaking from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

"I think that every citizen has the right to their citizenship," he continued. "To take someone's principal component of citizenship, their passport, away from them is a disgrace. Mr. Snowden has not been convicted of anything. There are no international warrants out for his arrest. To take a passport from a young man in a difficult situation like that is a disgrace."

Snowden is currently believed to be in the transit zone of a Moscow airport, after fleeing Hong Kong last week. He faces espionage charges in the United States for leaking information about government surveillance programs.

Magic Hat

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's "thick Russian accent" in court

Last Wednesday, alleged Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, appeared for the first time in court. Much like James Holmes who was accused of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting in July 2012, Tsarnaev appeared confused and distracted in court, and "acted weird". Such behavior is, of course, not necessarily unusual for someone who stands accused of mass murder. In Tsarnaev's case however, we have a problem that can't be explained away so easily.

Check out this video I put together of recent mainstream media reports and a short video of Tsarnaev himself.


Kremlin turns back to typewriters to avoid leaks

A Russian state service in charge of safeguarding Kremlin communications is looking to purchase an array of old-fashioned typewriters to prevent leaks from computer hardware, sources said Thursday.

The throwback to the paper-strewn days of Soviet bureaucracy has reportedly been prompted by the publication of secret documents by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and the revelations leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The Federal Guard Service, which is also in charge of protecting President Vladimir Putin, is looking to spend just over 486,000 rubles ($14,800) to buy a number of electric typewriters, according to the site of state procurement agency, zakupki.gov.ru.

"This purchase has been planned for more than a year now," a source at the service, known by its Russian acronym FSO, told AFP on Thursday.

The notice on the site was posted last week. A spokeswoman for the service declined comment.

Eye 2

The NSA whistleblower from EIGHT years ago: Interview with Russell Tice

Abby Martin talks to Russell Tice, former intelligence analyst and original NSA whistleblower, about how the recent NSA scandal is only scratches the surface of a massive surveillance apparatus, citing specific targets the he saw spying orders for including former senators Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Source: RT