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Drone Demonology: Flying Robots, Cop Mustaches & Resistance in the End Times

12 Jul

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by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

The first time I ever saw a drone I was sweating my ass off, hiking jugs of water through a cactus forest to drop in remote canyons for famished migrants making the deadly trek through the Sonoran desert. U.S. Customs and Border Protection surveillance drones patrol the skies along the border with Mexico on the daily. Like any good activist I gave the drone the bird and then quickly ducked beneath a cholla, which I don’t advise doing, as it is a cactus with a reputation.

Two 10,000-pound Predator-B border patrol drones.

Two 10,000-pound Predator-B border patrol drones. These are the fellas that patrol the borderlands, from Yuma, Ariz., to Brownsville, Tex.

Since his inauguration, noble peace prize winning president Barack Obama has increased the U.S. military’s use of drones and rewritten the rules of engagement in over a dozen countries around the world. Hundreds of civilians, including swaths of children and several dozen Al Qaeda operatives have been eviscerated by remote. Even four U.S. citizens have been assassinated by drones, violating due process and habeas corpus protections in the U.S. constitution. Reports put the ratio of civilians to “suspected terrorists” killed by drone strikes at about 50 to 1, meaning roughly 98% of the deaths are “collateral damage.”     Continue reading

Why ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance

2 Jul

by Moxie Marlinspike / Wired

Suddenly, it feels like 2000 again. Back then, surveillance programs like Carnivore, Echelon, and Total Information Awareness helped spark a surge in electronic privacy awareness. Now a decade later, the recent discovery of programs like PRISMBoundless Informant, and FISA orders are catalyzing renewed concern.

The programs of the past can be characterized as “proximate surveillance,” in which the government attempted to use technology to directly monitor communication themselves. The programs of this decade mark the transition to “oblique surveillance,” in which the government more often just goes to the places where information has been accumulating on its own, such as email providers, search engines, social networks, and telecoms.

Both then and now, privacy advocates have typically come into conflict with a persistent tension, in which many individuals don’t understand why they should be concerned about surveillance if they have nothing to hide. It’s even less clear in the world of “oblique” surveillance, given that apologists will always frame our use of information-gathering services like a mobile phone plan or Gmail as a choice. Continue reading

Paddlers Charge Silver River Protesting Expected Cattle Ranch

30 Jun
Paddlers charge the iconic Silver River, protesting Adena Springs Ranch

Paddlers charge the iconic Silver River, protesting Adena Springs Ranch. Photo: Matt Keene

By Matt Keene / Earth First! Newswire

Grassfed beef ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Take Adena Springs Ranch, a proposed cattle ranch being developed by billionaire Frank Stronach in Florida. The beef project is expected to span 10,000 acres and, according to their website, hold up to 15,000 cattle. Adena Springs Ranch plans to raise the cattle on a grassfed diet, calling their industrial farming practices “healthier” and “better for the environment.”

This past Saturday, individuals concerned with the proposed ranch gathered alongside the iconic Silver River, a river formed from the discharge of Silver Springs, one of the largest natural artesian wells in the world. Continue reading

Oil And Gas Companies Seen As Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks

26 Jun

Timothy Gardner / Reuters

U.S. oil and natural gas operations are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks that can harm the competitiveness of energy companies or lead to costly outages at pipelines, refineries or drilling platforms, a report said on Wednesday.

The energy business, including oil and gas producers, was hit by more targeted malware attacks from April to September last year than any other industry, said the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) report, citing data from a Houston-based security company, Alert Logic.
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FBI Chases Anti-GMO Activists While Ignoring Monsanto’s Transgressions

25 Jun
Hot on the trail of the bad guys — depending on your definition of “bad.”

Hot on the trail of the bad guys — depending on your definition of “bad.”

by John Upton / Grist.org

Some experimental GMO crops were torn out of a field in Oregon this month. That means it’s time for the federal government to freak the fuck out and do its best to clamp down again on eco-activism.

The sugar beet plants, which were genetically engineered by Syngenta to survive applications of the herbicide Roundup, were uprooted in the middle of the night from a couple of fields, presumably by anti-GMO activists. The destruction of the experimental crops occurred in the same state where a strain of Monsanto’s illegal herbicide-resistant wheat recently showed up in a farmer’s field, threatening America’s multibillion-dollar wheat export market.

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Experimental Geoengineering Could Create Food Scarcity

23 Jun

rabaulby Martin Lukacs / The Guardian

Two Harvard engineers are to spray sun-reflecting chemical particles into the atmosphere to artificially cool the planet, using a balloon flying 80,000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

The field experiment in solar geoengineering aims to ultimately create a technology to replicate the observed effects of volcanoes that spew sulphates into the stratosphere, using sulphate aerosols to bounce sunlight back to space and decrease the temperature of the Earth.

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Crops of Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets Sabotaged in Oregon

21 Jun

by Kimberly A.C. Wilson / Oregon Live

GMO_sugar_beetsFederal investigators are asking the public to help solve middle-of-the-night crimes that left ruined fields of genetically engineered sugar beets in rural Jackson County.

The crop destruction took place over the course of two separate nights in early June, when an unknown individual or group destroyed about 6,500 sugar beet plants genetically engineered to stand up to the herbicide Roundup on a pair of privately-owned plots of land leased and managed by Syngenta.

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