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Mon, 06 Feb 2023
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Eye 1

Monsanto says rogue wheat in Oregon may be sabotage, when their track record shows clearly how they sabotage the well-being of all of us

Monsanto Co. (MON), the world's largest seed company, said experimental wheat engineered to survive Roundup weedkiller may have gotten into an Oregon field through an "accidental or purposeful" act.

Monsanto and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are investigating how genetically modified wheat that hasn't been approved for commercial planting was found growing on an Oregon farm eight years after nationwide field tests ended.

Monsanto's genetic analyses found the variety hasn't contaminated the types of seed planted on the Oregon farm or the wheat seed typically grown in Oregon and Washington state, Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley said today on a call with reporters. The unapproved wheat was found growing on less than 1 percent of the farmer's 125-acre (51-hectare) field, Fraley said.

"It seems likely to be a random, isolated occurrence more consistent with the accidental or purposeful mixing of a small amount of seed during the planting, harvesting or during the fallow cycle in an individual field," Fraley said on the call.

Asked whether the St. Louis-based company is suggesting the incident could be an act of sabotage, Fraley said, "That is certainly one of the options we are looking at."

Fraley said he doesn't mean to suggest the farmer who made the discovery is responsible.

Airplane

Open Skies Treaty at a Glance

Open skies treaty
© OSCE
A meeting at the Hofburg in Vienna, 14 July 2008, to mark the approaching 500th flight under the Open Skies Treaty
Signed March 24, 1992, the Open Skies Treaty permits each state-party to conduct short-notice, unarmed, reconnaissance flights over the others' entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities. Observation aircraft used to fly the missions must be equipped with sensors that enable the observing party to identify significant military equipment, such as artillery, fighter aircraft, and armored combat vehicles. Though satellites can provide the same, and even more detailed, information, not all of the 34 treaty states-parties1 have such capabilities. The treaty is also aimed at building confidence and familiarity among states-parties through their participation in the overflights.

President Dwight Eisenhower first proposed that the United States and the Soviet Union allow aerial reconnaissance flights over each other's territory in July 1955. Claiming the initiative would be used for extensive spying, Moscow rejected Eisenhower's proposal. President George H.W. Bush revived the idea in May 1989 and negotiations between NATO and the Warsaw Pact started in February 1990.

Airplane

Russian military inspectors to make 2 flights over US

Tupolev
© Vladimir Ivanov/RIA Novosti
Tupolev Tu-154
A group of Russian military observers will carry out two inspection missions over the United States under the Open Skies Treaty between May 19 and June 3, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The Russian inspectors, accompanied by U.S. officials, will be flying on board a Tupolev Tu-154 LK-1 plane from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and the Travis Air Force Base in California.

These will be the 14th and 15th observation missions carried out by Russian inspectors over territories of Open Skies Treaty member countries this year.

The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 member states to promote openness and the transparency of military forces and activities. Russia ratified the deal in May 2001.

Comment: Read also: Open Skies Treaty at a Glance


Heart - Black

Monsanto's GMO seeds contributing to farmer suicides every 30 minutes

monsanto evil seeds

Every person working for Monsanto has the blood of these farmers on their hands
In what has been called the single largest wave of recorded suicides in human history, Indian farmers are now killing themselves in record numbers. It has been extensively reported, even in mainstream news, but nothing has been done about the issue. The cause? Monsanto's cost-inflated and ineffective seeds have been driving farmers to suicide, and is considered to be one of the largest - if not the largest - cause of the quarter of a million farmer suicides over the past 16 years.

According to the most recent figures (provided by the New York University School of Law), 17,638 Indian farmers committed suicide in 2009 - about one death every 30 minutes. In 2008, the Daily Mail labeled the continual and disturbing suicide spree as 'The GM (genetically modified) Genocide'. Due to failing harvests and inflated prices that bankrupt the poor farmers, struggling Indian farmers began to kill themselves. Oftentimes, they would commit the act by drinking the very same insecticide that Monsanto supplied them with - a gruesome testament to the extent in which Monsanto has wrecked the lives of independent and traditional farmers.

Stormtrooper

'I watch him bleed out:' Drone operator who helped kill 1,626 targets reveals trauma of watching them die on a computer screen

A former drone operator who helped kill 1,626 targets says he's haunted by the carnage he witnessed from behind his computer screen. Brandon Bryant, 27, served as a drone operator from 2006 to 2011 at bases in Nevada, New Mexico and Iraq. It was a desk job of sorts, but unlike any other, it involved ordering unmanned aircraft to kill faraway targets while he watched.

In an interview with NBC News' foreign correspondent Richard Engel, Bryant recalled one operation where his team fired two missiles from a drone at three men in Afghanistan. 'The guy that was running forward, he's missing his right leg,' he said, recalling what he saw of the scene through the thermal images on his screen. 'And I watch this guy bleed out and, I mean, the blood is hot.'

He recalled watching the mens' bodies grow cold, as slowly the red color detecting the heat of their bodies grew smaller. 'I can see every little pixel if I just close my eyes,' he said.


Arrow Down

As Bradley Manning trial begins, press predictably misses the point

Bradley Manning
© Alex Wong/Getty Images
Bradley Manning

Well, the Bradley Manning trial has begun, and for the most part, the government couldn't have scripted the headlines any better.

In the now-defunct Starz series Boss, there's a reporter character named "Sam Miller" played by actor Troy Garity who complains about lazy reporters who just blindly eat whatever storylines are fed to them by people in power.

He called those sorts of stories Chumpbait. If the story is too easy, if you're doing a piece on a sensitive topic and factoids are not only reaching you freely, but publishing them is somehow not meeting much opposition from people up on high, then you're probably eating Chumpbait.

There's an obvious Chumpbait angle in the Bradley Manning story, and most of the mainstream press reports went with it. You can usually tell if you're running a Chumpbait piece if you find yourself writing the same article as 10,000 other hacks.

The CNN headline read as follows: "Hero or Traitor? Bradley Manning's Trial to Start Monday." NBC went with "Contrasting Portraits of Bradley Manning as Court-Martial Opens."

Time
magazine's Denver Nicks took this original approach in their "think" piece on Manning, "Bradley Manning and our Real Secrecy Problem":
Is he a traitor or a hero? This is the question surrounding Bradley Manning, the army private currently being court-martialed at Fort Meade for aiding the enemy by wrongfully causing defense information to published on the Internet.
The Nicks thesis turned out to be one chosen by a lot of editorialists at the Manning trial, who have decided that the "real story" in the Manning case is what this incident showed about our lax security procedures, our lax of good due diligence vetting the folks we put in charge of our vital information.

Binoculars

Government surveillance of American citizens goes far beyond what you are being told

Surveillance
© The End of the American Dream

Every single day, the U.S. government gathers and stores more than a billion phone calls, emails, text messages, photographs and Internet searches. Just about every form of electronic communication that you can possibly imagine is being harvested. In fact, it has been reported that NSA personnel gather 2.1 million gigabytes of data every hour.

This is being done even though it is a blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution. Sadly, most Americans do not even know what the Fourth Amendment actually says. For those that do not know, the Fourth Amendment says the following: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Unfortunately, our leaders have totally abandoned the Constitution.

They seem to believe that they have the right to look through our electronic communications any time they want and that we should not complain about it. As you will see below, workers at the NSA have even eavesdropped on very intimate conversations between soldiers serving in Iraq and their female loved ones back home. What kind of sick person would do such a thing?

Sadly, the truth is that we have allowed ourselves to become a "Big Brother society", and we are an utter disgrace to the millions of brave men and women who have died to defend our freedoms.

Eye 1

NSA taps in to internet giants' systems to mine user data, secret files reveal

prism program
© Unknown
A slide depicting the top-secret PRISM program
The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows them to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation - classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies - which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims "collection directly from the servers" of major US service providers.

Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program.

In a statement, Google said: "Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'back door' into our systems, but Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data."

Several senior tech executives insisted that they had no knowledge of PRISM or of any similar scheme. They said they would never have been involved in such a programme. "If they are doing this, they are doing it without our knowledge," one said.

The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012.

Bizarro Earth

Philadelphia is closing 23 schools while building a $400 million prison

Image
© William Thomas Cain / Getty Images / AFP
The Philadelphia School District's (PSD) state-run School Reform Commission voted in March to close 23 public schools, nearly 10 percent of the city's total, in a move they say is necessary to plug a $304 million budget deficit.

Last month that same Commission followed up with a "doomsday" education budget (more like austerity on steroids) that if left unchanged will result in 3,000 layoffs and the elimination of clubs, counselors, librarians, assistant principals, secretaries, athletics, art, music and more. The Philadelphia Inquirer added that "Class sizes would be larger, and schools would have no aides to help manage them or support staff to monitor lunchrooms and playgrounds." Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. called the cuts catastrophic and is requesting money from the state, but local media speculates that the GOP-controlled state legislature is unlikely to pitch in.

Considering that the House just passed a corporate tax break that if approved by the Senate will cost the state an estimated $600 million to $800 million a year, the local media is probably right.

No Money for Schools, But Plenty for Prisons!

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and his Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel are spending $400 million to build a brand new prison in Philadelphia, which the Associated Press referred to as "the second-most-expensive facility ever built by the commonwealth, exceeded only by the Pennsylvania Convention Center." It's actually two prisons called State Correctional Institutions Phoenix I and II.

Corbett and Wetzel say the new prison will replace the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, which was originally built to house Philadelphia prisoners, who currently make up 25 percent of Pennsylvania prisoners despite accounting for just one-with of the state's population.

Eye 1

NSA is collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily under top secret order issued in April and it lasts into July

Image

Double bind: Part of the order mandated that Verizon not tell its' customer's about the record transfer nor could they admit that the order existed
The National Security Agency is collecting telephone records for millions of Americans without informing the individuals involved, it was revealed late on Wednesday night.

A copy of a secret order to obtain phone records for all Verizon customers was obtained, showing that the NSA was monitoring all incoming and outgoing calls made on that network.

The backlash will not stop with the millions of Americans who are Verizon customers, as there is no way of knowing if other phone companies have had the same clandestine order placed upon them as well.

The Guardian obtained a copy of the order that forces the phone company to hand over records of phone calls starting in late April for all of its customers on a 'ongoing, daily basis' without giving specific parameters.

Because of the lack of distinction, it means that the phone records are not just being collected for suspected terrorists, but the company's entire consumer base.

The only restriction set forth in the order seems to be the duration of the exchange. It was approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on April 25 and it denoted that it would only hold water until July 19, so just shy of three months.

Verizon is believed to have nearly 150million customers across the U.S., all of whom could potentially be affected by the controversial court order.