Anonymous Message To Monsanto; We fight for farmers!

Monsanto’s Evil Plan for the 99%

Bill Gates: Population Reduction Using Vaccinations

Top 10 Facts YOU Should Know About Monsanto

  1. No GMO Labeling Laws in the USA!
  2. Lack of Adequate FDA / USDA Safety Testing
  3. Monsanto Puts Small Farmers out of Business
    Farmer Suicides After GMO Crop Failures
  4. Monsanto Products Pollute the Developing World
    500,000 Agent Orange Babies
  5. Monsanto Blocking Government Regulations
  6. Monsanto Guilty of False Advertising & Scientific FRAUD
  7. Consumers Reject Bovine Growth Hormone rBGH in Milk
  8. GMO Crops Do NOT Increase Yields
  9. Monsanto Controls U.S. Soy Market
  10. Monsanto’s GMO Foods Cause NEW Food Allergies

Some GMO foods have been proven in laboratory tests to…
CAUSE: cancer, sterility, miscarriages, seizures and even death!

RoundUp Ready Seeds
Principal Subsidiaries: Calgene Inc. (leader in plant biotech); Asgrow Seed Co.; DEKALB Genetics Corp. (second-largest seed/corn company in the United States); DEKALB Swine Breeders Inc.; Nutrasweet Co. (aspartame); Monsanto Agricultural Co.; G. D. Searle & Co.

Top 10 Facts YOU Should Know About Monsanto

#1: No GMO Labeling Laws in the USA!

Foods containing GMOs don’t have to be labeled in the USA. Monsanto has fought hard to prevent labeling laws. This is alarming, since approximately 70% of processed foods in the US now contain GMO ingredients. The European Union, Japan, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and many other nations now require mandatory GMO labeling.

Diet Dr. Pepper Saccharine CAUSES Cancer in laboratory animals

#2: Lack of Adequate FDA / USDA Safety Testing

Sweet 'N Low Aspartame
In May 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle announced the FDA’s anti consumer right-to-know policy which stated that GMO foods need NOT be labeled nor safety-tested.

Meanwhile, prominent scientists such as Arpad Pusztai and Gilles-Eric Seralini have publicized alarming research revealing severe damage to animals (monkeys, lab rats) fed GMO foods including: sterilization, miscarriages, cancer, NEW allergies, seizures, and DEATH!!!

Monsanto GMO Corn Safety Testing on Children

#3: Monsanto Puts Small Farmers out of Business

Farmer's Markets
100s of American farmers have been sued. Century-old seed stocks were destroyed. 100,000s of Indian farmers commit suicide by drinking monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide after massive GMO crop failures bankrupted them. Monsanto uses the courts aggressively. It has sued hundreds of American farmers for patent infringement in connection with its GE seed. In a high profile case in Canada, which Monsanto won at the Supreme Court level,

Monsanto sued an independent farmer, Percy Schmeiser, for patent infringement for growing GMO genetically modified Roundup resistant canola in 1998. Percy Schmeiser is a Canadian farmer whose canola fields were contaminated with Monsanto’s Round-Up Ready Canola by pollen from a nearby GMO farm. Monsanto successfully argued in a lawsuit that Schmeiser violated their patent rights, and forced Schmeiser to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

Mr. Schmeiser maintained that this was accidental. He testified that in the previous year, 1997, he had suspected contamination by genetically modified Roundup resistant canola along the roadside in one of his fields and hence had sprayed along the field edge with Roundup, whereupon he found that about 60% of the canola survived. The farm hand performing the harvest saved only seed from this contaminated roadside swathe for replanting in the next year, 1998, and presumably this seed was genetically modified Roundup resistant seed.

The court found that Mr. Schmeiser and his farming company (damages were assessed only against the company as Mr. Schmeiser was found to be acting in his capacity as director), “knew or ought to have known” the nature of the seed which was planted in 1998, and that by planting, growing and harvesting it, there was infringement of Monsanto’s patent on canola cells genetically modified for Roundup resistance. This finding was upheld at the appellate court level.

Monsanto Lawsuits Against Farmers In the United States

This type of biotech bullying is happening all over North America. The non-profit Center for Food Safety listed 112 lawsuits by Monsanto against farmers for claims of seed patent violations. The Center for Food Safety’s analyst stated that many innocent farmers settle with Monsanto because they cannot afford a time consuming lawsuit. Monsanto is frequently described by farmers as “Gestapo” and “Mafia” both because of these lawsuits and because of the questionable means they use to collect evidence of patent infringement.

Monsanto Small Farmers

Indian Farmer Suicides After GMO BT Cotton Crop Failures

There have been 125,000+ small farmer suicides in the past decade, and about 4000+/year *REPORTED* in India. In 2006, 1,044 suicides were reported in Vidarbha alone – that’s one suicide every eight hours.

Some struggles facing Indian farmers are detailed in the article “Seeds of Suicide: India’s Desperate Farmers” on Frontline. The transition to using the latest pest-resistant seeds and the necessary herbicides has been difficult. Farmers have used genetically modified seeds promoted by Cargill and Monsanto hoping for greater yields. Resulting debts from such gambles with genetically modified seeds have led some farmers into the equivalent of indentured servitude. More than 125,000+ farmers have committed suicide, which some claim is mostly due to mounting debt caused by the poor yields, increased need for pesticides, and the higher cost of the Bt cotton seed sold by Monsanto.

Roundup Ready CanolaShankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional [ORGANIC REUSABLE] seeds to planting GM [GENETICALLY MODIFIED STERILE CARCINOGENIC NON-ORGANIC] seeds instead. Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds.

But when the harvests failed, Shankara was left with spiralling debts – and no income. So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000+ farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops…. ‘We are ruined now,’ said [another farmer’s] 38-year-old wife. ‘We bought 100 grams of BT Cotton. Our crop failed twice. My husband had become depressed. He went out to his field, lay down in the [GMO BT] cotton and swallowed insecticide [MONSANTO’s ROUNDUP]”.

A report released by the International Food Policy Research Institute in October 2008 provided evidence that the cause of farmer suicide in India was due to several causes and that the introduction of Bt cotton was not a major factor. It argues that the suicides predate the introduction of the cotton in 2002 and has been fairly consistent since 1997. Other studies also suggest the increase in farmer suicides is due to a combination of various socio-economic factors. These include debt, the difficulty of farming semi-arid regions, poor agricultural income, absence of alternative income opportunities, the downturn in the urban economy forcing non-farmers into farming, and the absence of suitable counseling services.

  1. Child Labour and Trans-National Seed Companies in Hybrid Cotton Seed Production in Andhra Pradesh from India Committee of the Netherlands
  2. Seeds of Suicide: India’s desperate farmers from the Public Broadcasting Service
  3. Farmer’s Suicides“. Z Magazine.
  4. Indian Farmer’s Final Solution“. countercurrents.org.
  5. Rough Cut Seeds of Suicide India’s desperate farmers“. PBS Frontline. July 26, 2005. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  6. P. Sainath (August 2004). “Seeds of Suicide II “. InfoChange News and Features.
  7. Guillaume P. Gruère, Purvi Mehta-Bhatt and Debdatta Sengupta (2008). “Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India: Reviewing the Evidence“. International Food Policy Research Institute.
  8. Sheridan, C. (2009). “Doubts surround link between Bt cotton failure and farmer suicide.”.
  9. Nagraj, K. (2008). “Farmers suicide in India: magnitudes, trends and spatial patterns“.
  10. Mishra, Srijit (2007). “Risks, Farmers’ Suicides and Agrarian Crisis in India: Is There A Way Out?“. Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR).

#4: Monsanto Products Pollute the Developing World

Monsanto is responsible for more than 50 United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund sites, attempts to clean up Monsanto Chemical’s formerly uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.

Monsanto’s deadly legacy includes the production of Agent Orange, DDT, PCBs, and dioxin. Now massive aerial spraying of Roundup in Colombia is being used by the US and the Colombian government as a counter-insurgency tactic, contaminating food crops and poisoning villagers.

agent orangethere are 500,000 Agent Orange Babies
One Half Million! NOT Including Veterans!

1961-1971: Agent Orange was by far the most widely used of the so-called “Rainbow Herbicides” employed in the Herbicidal Warfare program of the Vietnam War. Dow Chemical and Monsanto were the two largest producers of Agent Orange for the U.S. military. According to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 deaths and disabilities, and 500,000 children born with birth defects.

Monsanto Pirates1969: Monsanto produces Lasso herbicide, better known as Agent Orange, which was used as defoliant by the U.S. Government during the Vietnam War. “[Lasso’s] success turns around the struggling Agriculture Division,” Monsanto’s web page reads.

1987: Monsanto is one of the companies named in an $180 million settlement for Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Monsanto’s PCBs can be found polluting every corner of the Earth from the penguins in Antarctica, to the Arctic polar bears at the north pole, to you and your children. Dioxin offgasses from plastic food containers because our plastics are made from Rockefeller’s petroleum fossil fuel OIL! BPA is a sex hormone that migrates from plastic food containers (baby bottles, medical devices) into our food, and finally into our bodies.

1976: Monsanto produces Cycle-Safe, the world’s first plastic soft-drink bottle. The bottle, suspected of posing a **CANCER** risk, is banned the following year by the FDA.

Biomass like sugarcane or hemp are far superior replacements for industrial monsanto crops like soy (most “vegetable” oil), corn (HFCS), cotton (seed oil), canola (oil), alfalfa (fodder) – BUT biomass like hemp do NOT need herbicides* (Roundup), pesticides*, NOR the phosphate* fertilizers [***ALL*** made from petroleum fossil fuels] – and plastic bottles and food containers made from BIOMASS are not only **biodegradable**… they are so non-toxic (no BPA, PCBs, dioxin) and so nutrient rich that they’re natural fertilizers… plus EDIBLE!

#5: Monsanto Blocking Government Regulations

Monsanto also has strong ties to the core players in the U.S. administration of George W. Bush, including John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, Ann Veneman, Tommy Thompson, and Clarence Thomas, a former attorney for Monsanto who was appointed to the Supreme Court by George H. W. Bush.

A revolving door exists between Monsanto and U.S. regulatory and judicial bodies making key decisions. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a former Monsanto lawyer, was the one who wrote the majority opinion on a key Monsanto case. Michael Taylor once worked for the FDA, later represented Monsanto as a lawyer, then returned as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy when rBGH was granted approval.

Monsanto’s Monster Lobbying Budget

Monsanto spent $8,831,120 for lobbying in 2008. $1,492,000 was to outside lobbying firms with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists.

Former Monsanto lobbyist Michael R. Taylor was appointed as a senior adviser to the Food and Drug Administration (United States) Commissioner on food safety on July 7, 2009.

Monsanto’s Monster Political Contributions

Monsanto gave $186,250 to federal candidates in the 2008 election cycle through its political action committee (PAC) – 42% to Democrats, 58% to Republicans. For the 2010 election cycle they have given $72,000 – 51% to Democrats, 49% to Republicans.

Public Officials Formerly EMPLOYED by Monsanto

  • Justice Clarence Thomas worked as an attorney for Monsanto in the 1970s. Thomas wrote the majority opinion in the 2001 Supreme Court decision J. E. M. Ag Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. | J. E. M. AG SUPPLY, INC. V. PIONEER HI-BREDINTERNATIONAL, INC. which found that “newly developed plant breeds are patentable under the general utility patent laws of the United States.” This case benefitted all companies which profit from genetically modified crops (GMO), of which Monsanto is one of the largest.
  • Michael R. Taylor was an assistant to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner before he left to work for a law firm on gaining FDA approval of Monsanto’s artificial growth hormone in the 1980s. Taylor then became deputy commissioner of the FDA from 1991 to 1994. Taylor was later re-appointed to the FDA in August 2009 by President Barack Obama.
  • Dr. Michael A. Friedman was a deputy commissioner of the FDA before he was hired as a senior vice president of Monsanto.
  • Linda J. Fisher was an assistant administrator at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before she was a vice president at Monsanto from 1995-2000. In 2001, Fisher became the deputy administrator of the EPA.
  • Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (under President Ford AND Bush II) was chairman and chief executive officer of G. D. Searle & Co., which Monsanto purchased in 1985. Rumsfeld personally made at least $12 million USD from the transaction.

#6: Monsanto Guilty of False Advertising & Scientific FRAUD

Monsanto ROundup Herbicide KILLS ALL ORGANICS!France’s highest court ruled in 2009 that Monsanto had lied about the safety of its weed killer Roundup. The court confirmed an earlier judgment that Monsanto had falsely advertised its herbicide as “biodegradable”.

RoundUp herbicide KILLS anything that is ORGANIC. “RoundUp Ready” crops are GMOs that have a resistance to RoundUp – usually by mixing the food (corn) with BT (bacillus thuringiensis) bacteria. FYI RoundUp is made from Rockefeller’s fossil-fuel petroleum OIL. RoundUp foods are corn, soy, alfalfa, canola, and cottonseed oil… if it’s in a box or a can = you can bet it’s GMO.

Difference between regulatory registered
and commercialized formulations

In November 2009, a French environment group (MDRGF) accused Monsanto of using chemicals in Roundup formulations not disclosed to the country’s regulatory bodies, and demanded the removal of those products from the market.

False Advertising

In 1996, Monsanto was accused of false and misleading advertising of glyphosate products, prompting a law suit by the New York State attorney general. Monsanto had made claims that its spray-on glyphosate based herbicides, including Roundup, were safer than table salt and “practically non-toxic” to mammals, birds, and fish.

Environmental and consumer rights campaigners brought a case in France in 2001 for presenting Roundup as biodegradable and claiming that it left the soil clean after use; glyphosate, Roundup’s main ingredient, is classed by the European Union as “dangerous for the environment” and “toxic for aquatic organisms“. In January 2007, Monsanto was convicted of false advertising. The result was confirmed in 2009.

*Scientific FRAUD*

On two occasions, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has caught scientists deliberately falsifying test results at research laboratories hired by Monsanto to study glyphosate. In the first incident involving Industrial Biotest Laboratories, an EPA reviewer stated after finding “routine falsification of data” that it was “hard to believe the scientific integrity of the studies when they said they took specimens of the uterus from male rabbits”. In the second incident of falsifying test results in 1991, the owner of the lab (Craven Labs), and three employees were indicted on 20 felony counts, the owner was sentenced to 5 years in prison and fined $50,000, the lab was fined $15.5 million dollars and ordered to pay $3.7 million dollars in restitution. Craven laboratories performed studies for 262 pesticide companies including Monsanto.

Monsanto has stated that the studies have been repeated, and that Roundup’s EPA certification does not now use any studies from Craven Labs or IBT. Monsanto also said that the Craven Labs investigation was started by the EPA after a pesticide industry task force discovered irregularities.

#7: Consumers Reject Bovine Growth Hormone rBGH in Milk

In the wake of mass consumer pressure, major retailers such as Safeway, Publix, Wal-Mart, and Kroger banned store brand milk products containing Monsanto’s controversial genetically engineered hormone rBGH. Starbucks, under pressure from the OCA and our allies, has likewise banned rBGH milk.

NO rBSTA recent court ruling found that there **ARE** THREE differences
between ORGANIC and rbST/rBGH monsanto pus milk:

  1. HORMONES in rBGH milk can cause CANCER!
  2. 3%- 20% PUS content (cow white blood cells)
  3. rBGH milk has DEPLETED NUTRITIONAL VALUE!!!

As of May 2008, Monsanto is currently engaged in a campaign to prohibit dairies which do not inject their cows with artificial bovine growth hormone from advertising this fact on their milk carton labels.

When the Federal Trade Commission did not side with Monsanto on this issue, Monsanto started lobbying state lawmakers to implement a similar ban. Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolfe attempted to prohibit dairies from using labels stating that their milk does not contain artificial bovine growth hormone (rbST/rBGH), but public outcry led Governor Edward Rendell to step in and reverse his secretary’s position, stating: “The public has a right to complete information about how the milk they buy is produced.”

#8: GMO Crops Do Not Increase Yields

Do you know what a ***YIELD DRAG*** is? The last batch of GMO corn in South Africa came up 80% SEEDLESS. South African farmers suffered millions of dollars in lost income when 82,000 hectares of genetically-manipulated corn (maize) failed to produce hardly any seeds.

Terminator SeedsA major UN / World Bank sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists and endorsed by 58 countries concluded that GM crops have little to offer to the challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change. Better alternatives are available, and the report championed organic farming as the sustainable way forward for developing countries. One of the best options is organic Permaculture.

In 1999, a review of Roundup Ready soybean crops found that, compared to the top conventional varieties, they had a 6.7% lower yield. This so called “yield drag” follows the same pattern observed when other traits are introduced into soybeans by conventional breeding. Monsanto claims later patented varieties yield 7-11% higher than their poorly performing initial varieties, closer to those of conventional farming, although the company refrains from citing actual yields. Monsanto’s 2006 application to USDA states that RR2 (mon89788) yields 1.6 bu less than A3244, the conventional variety that the trait is inserted into.

This concentration of corporate power drives UP costs for farmers AND consumers. Retail prices for Roundup have increased from just $32 per gallon in December 2006, to $45 per gallon a year later, to $75 per gallon by June 2008 – a 134% price hike in less than 2 years. Because gene technologies can be patented, they also concentrate corporate power – by 2000 five pesticide companies, including Monsanto, controlled over 70% of all patents on agricultural biotechnology. And this concentration again drives up costs. According to Keith Mudd of the U.S.-based Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), “The lack of competition and innovation in the marketplace has reduced farmers’ choices and enabled Monsanto to raise prices unencumbered.”

GenuityAt a July 2008 meeting, Monsanto officials announced plans to raise the average price of some of the company’s GM maize (corn) varieties a whopping 35%, by $95-100 per bag, to top $300 per bag. Fred Stokes of OCM describes the implications for farmers: “A $100 price increase is a tremendous drain on rural America. Let’s say a farmer in Iowa who farms 1,000 acres plants one of these expensive corn varieties next year. The gross increased cost is more than $40,000. Yet there’s no scientific basis to justify this price hike. How can we let companies get away with this?” What holds good for maize, also holds good for other GM crops. The average price for soybean seed, the largest GM crop in the US, has risen by more than 50% in just 2 years from 2006 to 2008 – from $32.30 to $49.23 per planted acre.

Patenting also inhibits public sector research and further undermines the rights of farmers to save and exchange seeds. Monsanto devotes an annual budget of $10 million dollars to harassing, intimidating, suing – and in some cases bankrupting – American farmers over alleged improper use of its patented seeds.

Recent price hikes have taken place in the context of a global food crisis marked by rapid food price inflation, which has exacerbated extreme poverty and hunger, and increased social tensions. The World Bank attributes 75% of this global food price inflation to “biofuels”, and Monsanto has been at the very heart of the “biofuels” lobby, particularly the lobby for corn ethanol. Monsanto has been accused of both contributing to and benefiting from the food crisis, while simultaneously using it as a PR platform from which to promote GM crops as the solution to the crisis.

In 2008, the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations condemned corporate profiteering: “The essential purpose of food, which is to nourish people, has been subordinated to the economic aims of a handful of multinational corporations that monopolize all aspects of food production, from seeds to major distribution chains, and they have been the prime beneficiaries of the world crisis. A look at the figures for 2007, when the world food crisis began, shows that corporations such as Monsanto and Cargill, which control the cereals market, saw their profits increase by 45% and 60%, respectively.”

New York Times Superweed Map

Actual USDA Releases 2010 Crop Yield Reports

Corn: 457.6 million bushels, compared to 446.76 million in 2009; average yield of 143.0 bushels per acre, compared to 150.0 in August and 153.0 last year; harvested area of 3.2 million acres, compared to 2.92 million a year ago.

Soybeans: 228.900 million acres, compared to 230.550 million in 2009; average yield of 42.0 bushels per acre, compared to 42.0 in August and 43.5 last year; harvested area of 5.450 million acres, compared to 5.3 million a year ago.

#9: Monsanto Controls U.S. Soy Market

Roundup Ready SoybeansAlmost any food with oil in it is either Monsanto GMO soy, Monsanto GMO canola, or Monsanto GMO cottonseed oil. The bottle that says pure “vegetable oil” is usually 100% GMO soy. even the “olive oil” mayonnaise lists soy as the second ingredient after water. a safer GREENER plant to make these products out of is organic hemp oil, which would actually treat depression rather than causing cancer, sterility, and NEW allergies.

Soy protein is used in a variety of foods such as salad dressings, soups, imitation meats, beverage powders, cheeses, non-dairy creamer, frozen desserts, whipped topping, infant formulas, breads, breakfast cereals, pastas, and pet foods.

Soy protein is also used for emulsification and texturizing. Specific applications include adhesives, asphalts, resins, cleaning materials, cosmetics, inks, pleather, paints, paper coatings, pesticides / fungicides, plastics, polyesters, and textile fibers.

A 2001 literature review suggested that women with current or past breast cancer should be aware of the risks of potential tumor growth when taking soy products, based on the effect of phytoestrogens to promote breast cancer cell growth in animals.

In 1996, when Monsanto began selling Roundup Ready soybeans, only 2% of soybeans in the US contained their patented gene. By 2008, over 90% of soybeans in the US contained Monsanto’s GMO gene.

The United States (93%) and Argentina (98%) produce almost exclusively GM soybeans. In these countries, GM soybeans are approved without restrictions and are treated just like conventional soybeans. Producers and government officials in the US and Argentina do not see a reason to keep GM and conventionally bred cultivars separate – whether during harvest, shipment, storage or processing. Soybean imports from these countries generally contain a high amount of GM content – which is WHY GMO CONTAMINATED food shipments from the USA are generally rejected in (better educated) countries such as UK, Germany, France, Russia, China, and even African countries.

Over half of the world’s 2007 soybean crop (58.6%) was genetically modified (GMO), a higher percentage than for any other crop. Each year, EU Member States import approximately 40 million tons of soy material, primarily destined for use as cattle, swine, and chicken feed. Soybeans are also used to produce many food additives.

In 2007, 216 million tons of soybeans were produced worldwide. The world’s leading soybean producers are the United States (33%), Brazil (27%), Argentina (21%), and China (7%). India and Paraguay are also noteworthy soybean producers.

Worldwide soybean production: The first genetically modified soybeans were planted in the United States in 1996. More than a decade later, GM soybeans are planted in 9 countries covering more than 60 million hectares. These GM soybeans possess a gene that confers [MONSANTO RoundUp] herbicide resistance.

#10: Monsanto’s GMO Foods Cause NEW Food Allergies

In March 1999, UK researchers at the York Laboratory were alarmed to discover that reactions to soy had skyrocketed by 50% over the previous year. Genetically modified soy had recently entered the UK from US imports and the soy used in the study was largely GMO. Aspartame is also known to cause NEW allergies and hives by the “reported cases” at the FDA.

Some GMO foods have been proven in laboratory tests (on rats AND mammals including monkeys) to CAUSE: NEW allergies, cancer, sterility (consumers losing their ability to get pregnant and have babies), miscarriages, seizures, and even death!

Poisoned by Monsanto GMO Food

Top Social Media Websites Caught Censoring Controversial Content

Washington’s Blog
February 23, 2012

Facebook pays low-wage foreign workers to delete certain content based upon a censorship list. For example, Facebook deletes accounts created by Palestinian resistance groups.
Digg was caught censoring stories which were controversial or too critical of the government. See this and this.

Now, even social media site Reddit – which helped launch the anti-Sopa Internet blackout and publicize GoDaddy’s slimy Sopa support – is doing the same thing.

As just one example, posts from this website are being censored by Reddit. Specifically, a friend of this site who has submitted stories to Reddit has received the following messages of rejection from a Reddit moderator named davidreiss666:

from davidreiss666 via /r/worldnews/

WashingtonBlog is not something we consider a good source for r/Worldnews.

from davidreiss666 via /r/worldnews/

Please submit that story from an alternate domain. Thank you.

And another moderator named Maxion:

from Maxion via /r/worldnews/

I am sorry but this submission is not appropriate for this subreddit.

There are certainly also more open-minded moderators at Reddit. But a couple of censors can squash discussion on entire topics.

Why Are They Censoring?

Why are they censoring?

Well, censorship is rampant in America … and social media has grown so big that it has become a target as well.

In addition, as I pointed out last year [for ease of reading, we’ll skip indentation]:

Wired reported on Friday:

The Pentagon is looking to build a tool to sniff out social media propaganda campaigns and spit some counter-spin right back at it.

On Thursday, Defense Department extreme technology arm Darpa unveiled its Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program. It’s an attempt to get better at both detecting and conducting propaganda campaigns on social media. SMISC has two goals. First, the program needs to help the military better understand what’s going on in social media in real time — particularly in areas where troops are deployed. Second, Darpa wants SMISC to help the military play the social media propaganda game itself.

This is more than just checking the trending topics on Twitter. The Defense Department wants to deeply grok social media dynamics. So SMISC algorithms will be aimed at discovering and tracking the “formation, development and spread of ideas and concepts (memes)” on social media, according to Darpa’s announcement.

***

SMISC needs to be able to seek out “persuasion campaign structures and influence operations” developing across the social sphere. SMISC is supposed to quickly flag rumors and emerging themes on social media, figure out who’s behind it and what. Moreover, Darpa wants SMISC to be able to actually figure out whether this is a random product of the hivemind or a propaganda operation by an adversary nation or group.

Of course, SMISC won’t be content to just to hang back and monitor social media trends in strategic locations. It’s about building a better spin machine for Uncle Sam, too. Once SMISC’s latches on to an influence operation being launched, it’s supposed to help out in “countermessaging.”

***

SMISC is yet another example of how the military is becoming very interested in what’s going on in the social media sphere.

Indeed, as I wrote in February:

noted in 2009, in an article entitled “Does The Government Manipulate Social Media?”:

The U.S. government long ago announced its intention to “fight the net”.

As revealed by an official Pentagon report signed by Rumsfeld called “Information Operations Roadmap”:

The roadmap [contains an] acknowledgement that information put out as part of the military’s psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans.

“Information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and Psyops, is increasingly consumed by our domestic audience,” it reads.

“Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public,” it goes on.

***

“Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will ‘fight the net’ as it would an enemy weapons system”.

Indeed, the Pentagon publicly announced years ago that it was considering using “black propaganda” – in other words, knowing lies.

CENTCOM announced in 2008 that a team of employees would be“[engaging] bloggers who are posting inaccurate or untrue information, as well as bloggers who are posting incomplete information.”

The Air Force is now also engaging bloggers. Indeed, an Air Force spokesman said:

“We obviously have many more concerns regarding cyberspace than a typical Social Media user,” Capt. Faggard says. “I am concerned with how insurgents or potential enemies can use Social Media to their advantage. It’s our role to provide a clear and accurate, completely truthful and transparent picture for any audience.”

In other words, the government is targeting “social media”, including popular user-ranked news sites.

In addition, when you look at what the Israeli lobby has done with Megaphone software to automatically vote stories questioning Israel down and to send pro-Israel letters to politicians and media (see thisthis andthis), you can start to see how the U.S. military – an even larger and better-funded organization – could substantially influence voting on social news sites with very little effort.

Moreover,the military has outsourced many projects to private contractors. For example, in Iraq, much of the fighting has been outsourced to Blackwater. And governmental intelligence functions have largely been outsourced to private companies.

It is therefore not impossible that the government is hiring cheap labor to downvote stories on the social media sites which question the government, and to post pro-government comments.

(other governments and large companies “astroturf” online as well. See thisthis andthis.)

I pointed out the same month:

Government propagandists, their hired private contractors and useful idiots are creating “downvote bots” or scripts to bury stories which question the government.

***

One free, simple scripting program to create automatic downvotes of certain topics or news posters is called “Greasemonkey”, which is commonly used on large social news sites such as Reddit.

For example, there are some 2,480 hits … for the google searchsite:reddit.com greasemonkey downvote. This is some 2,480 times that Reddit users are publicly admitting to using greasemonkey (see also this).

Propaganda agents obviously aren’t going to publicly brag about what they are doing, and you can bet that their use of downvote bots is much greater. Moreover, they probably have more sophisticated software than Greasemonkey.

Today, Raw Story reports that the Air Force ordered software to manage army of fake virtual people:

Internet users would be well advised to ask another question entirely: Are my “friends” even real people?

In the continuing saga of data security firm HBGary, a new caveat has come to light: not only did they plot to help destroy secrets outlet WikiLeaks and discredit progressive bloggers, they also crafted detailed proposals for software that manages online “personas,” allowing a single human to assume the identities of as many fake people as they’d like.

The revelation was among those contained in the company’s emails, which were dumped onto bittorrent networks after hackers with cyber protest group “Anonymous” broke into their systems.

In another document unearthed by “Anonymous,” one of HBGary’s employees also mentioned gaming geolocation services to make it appear as though selected fake persons were at actual events.

“There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas,” it said.

Government involvement

Eerie as that may be, more perplexing, however, is a federal contract from the 6th Contracting Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, located south of Tampa, Florida, that solicits providers of “persona management software.”

While there are certainly legitimate applications for such software, such as managing multiple “official” social media accounts from a single input, the more nefarious potential is clear.

Unfortunately, the Air Force’s contract description doesn’t help dispel their suspicions either. As the text explains, the software would require licenses for 50 users with 10 personas each, for a total of 500. These personas would have to be “replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographacilly consistent.”

It continues, noting the need for secure virtual private networks thatrandomize the operator’s Internet protocol (IP) address, making it impossible to detect that it’s a single person orchestrating all these posts. Another entry calls for static IP address management for each persona, making it appear as though each fake person was consistently accessing from the same computer each time.

The contract also sought methods to anonymously establish virtual private servers with private hosting firms in specific geographic locations. This would allow that server’s “geosite” to be integrated with their social media profiles, effectively gaming geolocation services.

The Air Force added that the “place of performance” for the contract would be at MacDill Air Force Base, along with Kabul, Afghanistan and Baghdad. The contract was offered on June 22, 2010.

It was not clear exactly what the Air Force was doing with this software, or even if it had been procured.

Manufacturing consent

Though many questions remain about how the military would apply such technology, the reasonable fear should be perfectly clear. “Persona management software” can be used to manipulate public opinion on key information, such as news reports. An unlimited number of virtual “people” could be marshaled by only a few real individuals, empowering them to create the illusion of consensus.

***

That’s precisely what got DailyKos blogger Happy Rockefeller in a snit: the potential for military-run armies of fake people manipulating and, in some cases, even manufacturing the appearance of public opinion.

“I don’t know about you, but it matters to me what fellow progressives think,” the blogger wrote. “I consider all views. And if there appears to be a consensus that some reporter isn’t credible, for example, or some candidate for congress in another state can’t be trusted, I won’t base my entire judgment on it, but it carries some weight.

“That’s me. I believe there are many people though who will base their judgment on rumors and mob attacks. And for those people, a fake mob can be really effective.”

***

“Team Themis” [tasked by the Chamber of Commerce to come up with strategies for responding to progressive bloggers and others] also includeda proposal to use malware hacks against progressive organizations, and the submission of fake documents in an effort to discredit established groups.

HBGary was also behind a plot by Bank of America to destroy WikiLeaks’ technology platform, other emails revealed. The company was humiliated by members of “Anonymous” after CEO Aaron Barr bragged that he’d “infiltrated” the group.

And see thisthisthisthis.

Postscript: Gaming social media is only one propaganda technique employed by the government:

  • The New York Times discusses in a matter-of-fact way the use of mainstream writers by the CIA to spread messages
  • 4-part BBC documentary called the “Century of the Self” shows that an American – Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays – created the modern field of manipulation of public perceptions, and the U.S. government has extensively used his techniques
  • The Independent discusses allegations of American propaganda
  • And one of the premier writers on journalism says the U.S. has used widespread propaganda

Dow and Monsanto Join Forces to Poison America’s Heartland

By Richard Schiffman
Truthout

February 25, 2012

In a match that some would say was made in hell, the nation’s two leading producers of agrochemicals have joined forces in a partnership to reintroduce the use of the herbicide 2,4-D, one half of the infamous defoliant Agent Orange, which was used by American forces to clear jungle during the Vietnam War.

These two biotech giants have developed a weed management program that, if successful, would go a long way toward a predicted doubling of harmful herbicide use in America’s corn belt during the next decade.

The problem for corn farmers is that “superweeds” have been developing resistance to America’s best-selling herbicide Roundup, which is being sprayed on millions of acres in the Midwest and elsewhere.

Dow Agrosciences has developed a strain of corn that it says will solve the problem. The new genetically modified variety can tolerate 2,4-D, which will kill off the Roundup-resistant weeds, but leave the corn standing.

Farmers who opt into this system will be required to double-dose their fields with a deadly cocktail of Roundup plus 2,4-D, both of which are manufactured by Monsanto.

But this plan has alarmed environmentalists and also many farmers, who are reluctant to reintroduce a chemical whose toxicity has been well established.

The use of 2,4-D is banned in several European countries and provinces of Canada. The substance is a suspected carcinogen, which has been shown to double the incidence of birth defects in the children of pesticide applicators in a study conducted by University of Minnesota pathologist Vincent Garry.

Researchers say that the effect of 2,4-D on human health is still not fully understood. But it may be a risk factor for conditions like Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and certain leukemias, which were often found in Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that the chemical could have “endocrine disruption potential” and interfere with the human hormonal system.

It may prove toxic to honeybees, birds and fish, according to research conducted by the US Forest Service and others. In 2004, a coalition of groups spearheaded by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Pesticide Action Network, wrote a letter to the EPA taking it to task for underestimating the health and environmental impacts of 2,4-D.

Large-scale industrial farming has grown dependent on ever-increasing applications of agrochemicals. Some have compared this to a drug addict who requires larger and larger fixes to stay high.

Herbicide use has increased steadily over time as weeds develop resistance and need to be doused with more and deadlier chemicals to kill them. This, in turn. requires more aggressive genetic engineering of crops that can withstand the escalating chemical assault.

Many agricultural scientists warn that this growing addiction to agrochemicals is unsustainable in the long run. The fertility of the soil decreases as earthworms and vital microorganisms are killed off by pesticides and herbicides.

They also pollute the groundwater and compromise the health of farm animals that are fed with the chemical-infused grain.

These impacts are poised to grow. US Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures reveal that herbicide use rose by 383 million pounds from 1996 to 2008. Significantly, nearly half of this increase (46 percent) took place between 2007 and 2008 as a result of the hawking of new herbicide-resistant crops like the new corn hybrid developed by Dow.

Nobody knows what effect introducing this hybrid would have on the health of American consumers. Corn laced with high levels of 2,4-D could taint everything from breakfast cereals to the beef of cattle, which concentrate the toxin in their flesh.

Given that corn and high-fructose corn syrup are key elements in so many processed foods, some public health experts warn that all Americans will soon be guinea pigs in an ill-conceived mass experiment with one of the staples of our food supply.

America’s agriculture department, the USDA is considering deregulating Monsanto’s new genetically modified corn variety (the one which will be used in conjunction with the 2,4-D) and is accepting final public comments on the matter until the 27th of this month.

Until recently, herbicide-resistant crops were popular with farmers who benefited from higher yields and nearly effortless management of weeds. But now that the weed problem is coming back with a vengeance, some are reconsidering the wisdom of this chemical-intensive mode of farming.

Dow biotech corn costs nearly three times more than conventional seed. And the projected doubling of pesticide use in the years ahead will be expensive, as well as destructive to farmland and ecosystems.

There are viable alternatives to chemical-intensive farming, time-tested methods like crop rotation, use of cover crops, and other practices which allow farmers to compete naturally with weeds. The time has come for farmers to revive the knowledge of their ancestors in this regard.

Some agricultural scientists advocate developing a system of integrated weed management to replace the unsustainable use of chemicals. But the big agrochemical companies have no interest in supporting the sustainable agriculture that would put them out of business.

So long as there are billions of dollars to be made in selling herbicide and herbicide-resistant genetically modified seed, there won’t be much research money available to explore the natural alternatives to the destruction of our nation’s heartland.

The Kill Switch Comes to the PC

A feature common in phones will let Microsoft remotely disable malware

 

 

 

 

 

By

Janne Kytömäki, a Finnish software developer, was cruising Google’s (GOOG) Android Market for smartphone apps last year when he noticed something strange. Dozens of best-selling applications suddenly listed the same wrong publisher. It was as if Stephen King’s name had vanished from the covers of his books, replaced by an unknown author. Kytömäki realized the culprit was a piece of malware that was spreading quickly, and he posted his findings online.

Google responded swiftly. It flipped a little-known kill switch, reaching into more than 250,000 infected Android smartphones and forcibly removing the malicious code. “It was sort of unreal, watching something like that unfold,” says Kytömäki, who makes dice simulator apps. Kill switches are a standard part of most smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. Google, Apple (AAPL), and Amazon (AMZN) all have the ability to reach into devices to delete illicit content or edit code without users’ permission. It’s a powerful way to stop threats that spread quickly, but it’s also a privacy and security land mine.

With the rollout of the Windows 8 operating system expected later this year, millions of desktop and laptop PCs will get kill switches for the first time. Microsoft (MSFT) hasn’t spoken publicly about its reasons for including this capability in Windows 8 beyond a cryptic warning that it might be compelled to use it for legal or security reasons. The feature was publicized in a widely cited Computerworld article in December when Microsoft posted the terms of use for its new application store, a feature in Windows 8 that will allow users to download software from a Microsoft-controlled portal. Windows smartphones, like those of its competitors, have included kill switches for several years, though software deletion “is a last resort, and it’s uncommon,” says Todd Biggs, director of product management for Windows Phone Marketplace.

Microsoft declined to answer questions about the kill switch in Windows 8 other than to say it will only be able to remove or change applications downloaded through the new app store. Any software loaded from a flash drive, DVD, or directly from the Web will remain outside Microsoft’s control. Still, the kill switch is a tool that could help Microsoft prevent mass malware infections. “For most users, the ability to remotely remove apps is a good thing,” says Charlie Miller, a researcher with the security company Accuvant.

The history of kill switches on smartphones and e-readers suggests they’re double-edged swords for the companies that wield them. In 2009, Amazon reached into users’ Kindles to delete e-book copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm that had been sold by a publisher without the necessary rights. The ensuing backlash caused Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos to call the move “stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles.”

The reluctance of tech companies to set explicit policies for when they will and will not use kill switches contributes to the fear they’ll be abused. Civil rights and free speech advocates worry that tech companies could be pressured by governments to delete software or data for political reasons. “You have someone who has absolute control over my hard drive in ways I may have never anticipated or consented to,” says Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University’s law school in California. “If they use that power wisely, they actually make my life better. We don’t know if they use the power wisely. In fact, we may never know when they use their power at all.”

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s vice president of Android engineering, says the search company reserves the use of the kill switch for “really egregious, really obvious cases” of harmful content. Microsoft’s Biggs says the company has used the functionality in its smartphones only for “technical issues and content issues.” Apple declined to comment. Amazon did not respond to several messages.

Like many in his profession, Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder of the San Francisco startup Lookout, which makes security software for smartphones, expresses mixed emotions about the emergence of kill switches. “The remote removal tools are very much a response to the mistakes of the PC era,” he says. “Whether or not it’s an overcorrection, I think history will tell us. It can be done right, but we as an industry need to tread carefully. It’s easy to imagine several dystopian futures that can arise from this.”

One supporter is Janne Kytömäki, the Finn who discovered the Android malware outbreak. He says Google did the right thing by deleting the malware without users’ permission. “What was the alternative?” he says. “Leave those apps installed on 200,000 people’s mobiles? This is something that had to be done.”

The bottom line: Kill switches can improve computer security, but they worry privacy and free speech advocates.

Robertson is a reporter for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.