Biological weapons might be as far from the minds of typical Americans as they are remote in threat potential; yet, the Department of Homeland Security is planning a live simulation of a bio attack — in a small Oklahoma town on the Kansas border.
Unsurprisingly, the town’s residents are none too thrilled about the plan.
DHS announced last week it plans the biological weapons simulation for early in 2018 — and, again, during the summer — at the Chilocco Indian School, seven miles north of the town of Newkirk. FOX23 reports a legal notice appearing in local media stated “non-hazardous, non-toxic” chemicals and biological materials will be released on buildings in the area to determine how much protection structures would offer, should a real attack take place.
“I just got sick to my stomach,” Dennis Jordan, a resident of Newkirk, told KOCO. “I think if they want to test that stuff, let them go to Los Alamos, you know? I think it’s stupid.”
Titanium dioxide — described as a “white odorless powder that is chemically insoluble in water, nonreactive, nonflammable and nonhazardous” — will be released for the particle portion of the test.
However, for the biological weapons scenario, the government plans to release an organic insecticide sold under the name, DiPel, which specifically targets lepidopteran, or worm, species considered pests to agriculture.
As FOX23 notes of the biological simulation, “the government plans to release genetic, barcoded spores of an insecticide sold under the trade name of Dipel. Dipel is not considered hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency when handled appropriately, according to an assessment.”
Neither FOX23, nor KOCO provided any further information or links for said assessment. However, The Epoch Times linked to a draft evaluation ‘environmental assessment’ of DiPel and the other materials to be used in the test, posted on the DHS website — ostensively that noted by the other outlets and unnamed government officials — which also cites the EPA deeming the insecticide safe under certain circumstances.
“I have numerous questions regarding this proposed test,” asserted U.S. Rep. Ron Estes of Kansas, who acknowledged Thursday he is now “monitoring the situation closely.”
“While it’s important for our federal agencies to test their abilities in response to threats,” he added, “we need to be 100 percent certain this test is safe for the residents of south-central Kansas.”
Indeed, the government appears to stand by its assertion DiPel will not be toxic to the area, as residents nearby weren’t even informed by DHS or other officials the tests will be performed.
“You would think you would let your neighbors know,” Kyle Oestmenn, who lives less than a half mile from the now-deserted Chilocco Indian School, told KOCO. “Hopefully they stop by and let me know at least.”
Scant reports suggest the only information about the biological weapons test came from the aforementioned legal notice — leaving many to discover the news from friends and neighbors — if they have found out about the plans, at all. Entire cities have been left in the dark.
“This is the first time the city has been made aware of any testing to occur at Chilocco,” Arkansas City, just over seven miles from the abandoned school, posted to social media on Thursday, as cited by FOX23. “Inert means chemically inactive, which means by definition there should be no risk to the citizens. However, we are looking into the situation to gather more information for our citizens and their safety.”
Although the operation will follow strictures of the National Environmental Policy Act, there are several caveats pertaining to DiPel, which — although the substance’s general safety around humans, plants, and companion and other animals isn’t in question — must be duly noted.
First, the nature of DiPel as a lepidopteran pest control material means that, while nontoxic to most everything else, it affects worms — and, thus, caterpillars and larvae — particularly harshly.
Renowned entomologist and ecologist Lincoln Brower, who won the E. O. Wilson award in 2016 for his work, has more than six decades of expertise on monarch butterflies — including study of how certain genetic modifications to crops used in mass agriculture horrendously damage the storied pollinators.
In fact, earlier this month, Brower wrote extensively about the impact of Bt corn for Orion Magazine — modified through the introduction of certain bacterium to repel pests — on the monarch population.
Noting decades of failed introductions of alien species into the United States to combat pests safely, Brower discusses the utter folly that is Bt corn — and why the its use is cause for grave concern. After countless attempts at a biological solution to worm pest control, the world expert in monarch butterflies writes, manipulation of the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis turned the delicate ecosystems necessary to sustain pollinators on its head.
“The Bt bacterium secretes a protein that, when ingested by a sensitive insect, causes the larval gut to break down and a gooey, black death ensues,” Brower writes. “Industrial and academic scientists have selected numerous Bt strains that are toxic to the larvae of different groups of insects. The Bt kurstaki strain is lethal to the caterpillars of virtually all moths and butterflies and is produced in mass cultures that are harvested and sold as Dipel. Used in home gardens as a ‘natural’ toxic powder to kill tomato hornworms and cabbage caterpillars, Dipel is also sprayed to kill gypsy moth caterpillars in the eastern deciduous forests, spruce budworms in the northern boreal forests, and tussock moth caterpillars in the western Douglas fir forests. Extensive sprayings of Dipel and its derivatives, along with repeated releases of exotic parasitic insects, have severely reduced the populations of many benign and beneficial native insects, including several of the New England silk moths renowned for their elegance and bizarre caterpillars.”
In his next paragraph, however, Brower unwittingly proffers further evidence the designation of DiPel as ‘safe’ by the EPA amounts to an arbitrary, cursory evaluation of the product — without accounting for the extraneous but brutal damage to species, like the monarch, which aren’t specifically targeted.
“Many biologists heralded the new Bt corn technology because they believed it would mitigate the need to spray insecticidal chemicals. The corporations involved in marketing the seeds (for the most part the same ones that had developed the synthetic insecticides several decades earlier) sponsored a multimillion-dollar campaign touting them as an environmental panacea. The response was stunning: by the 1998 season, twenty-five percent of the total U.S. corn crop (of eighty million acres) was planted with Bt corn.”
Bt kurstaki — again, “lethal to the caterpillars of virtually all moths and butterflies,” according to Brower — is the type to be used for the biological materials portion of DHS’ terror attack scenario, which will take place in the heart of spring monarch migration territory in January or February, and again in June or July, next year.
DHS emphasizes the use of the particulate and biological agents will have no impact on civilians, animals, plants, or anything coming into contact with it; and, while this is factual, the omission of potential effects to sensitive species in the area — an abandoned building and tract — should not be ignored.
Severely critical of myopic government policies rooted in sloppy science, Brower writes,
“A major issue that emerges from the Bt corn debate is the way in which scientific information is obtained and used in the federal regulatory process — a question with consequences far greater than the decision to register or ban Bt corn. As the handling of the monarch saga has shown, the EPA’s October 2000 decision was based on scientific information that was largely controlled by the industry and failed to measure up to even minimum standards adhered to by the international scientific community. These standards require peer review of manuscripts by independent scientists chosen by the editorial boards of scholarly scientific journals. Peer review assures that experiments are reproducible, that the data are statistically valid, that the conclusions are logically derived from the data, and that they state clearly what is and what is not resolved. This independent evaluation of scientific evidence is a sine qua non for the integrity of science. By ignoring the standard of peer-reviewed science and by relying on information supplied by the same corporations that it means to regulate, the current U.S. federal regulatory system is severely flawed.”
Delving into the Bt corn debate is far from the purview of this article — but the dearth in information given to residents and officials by the Department of Homeland Security on the upcoming tests; the choice of an abandoned building centered in the monarchs’ spring migration routes; that the government is choosing to conduct these tests in a civilian setting, rather than in one of its own facilities; and the fact the United States suffers a relatively minuscule number of terrorist attacks to prepare for in the first place, make this biological weapons testing simulation a testament to the State’s lack of foresight and hush tendencies.
Then again, this simple simulation could indeed be just a preparedness test.
Images credit: Shutterstock, Google Maps
UK Queen’s Statues Torn Down Amid Anger Over Mass Graves for Indigenous Children
This year may have had one of the most muted Canada Day celebrations, but this didn’t stop Indigenous protesters from making their anger felt – especially in the wake of the discovery of over 1,000 children’s bodies near the residential schools run by the Canadian state and church authorities.
And with churches being likely targeted by arsonists for the crimes of Catholic clergy, protesters are now attacking the symbols of Anglo colonialism – namely, statues of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.
About 150,000 First Nations children were forcibly separated from their families and communities and forced to attend the religious schools which were established in the 19th century to assimilate Indigenous children into the Anglo settler-colonial culture of Canada.
Former students have testified to the horrific sexual, mental and physical abuse they suffered while enrolled at the schools. Myriad children died from preventable diseases, as well as in accidents and fires. Others disappeared when trying to escape. The Commission has denounced the schools for institutionalizing child neglect and for being organs of “cultural genocide.”
The discoveries have churned up deep-seated anguish and memories of the suffering visited upon First Nations peoples, with many lashing out at the symbols of colonialism.
At least seven churches, all but one of which were Catholic, have also come under apparent arson attacks throughout Canada in recent weeks.
In June, a statue of the late Pope John Paul II at a Catholic church in Edmonton was splattered with red paint and red handprints.
On Thursday, July 1, residents in Canada also held organized protests and pulled down the statues of the top figurehead of British colonialism: Queen Elizabeth II, as well as that of her great grandmother, Queen Victoria. Sky News reports that the toppling of the statues was accompanied by the chant, “No Pride in Genocide!”
In Ottawa, protestors gathered en masse at Parliament Hill chanting ”Cancel Canada Day” and ”shame on Canada,” urging an end to the national holiday over the deaths of Indigenous people.
Indigenous groups and Canadian politicians are demanding an apology from the Catholic Church – specifically Pope Francis. The event could take place by year’s end, according to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
However, it remains unlikely that the British crown will offer the same amends to Canada’s Indigenous nations who, like many across the globe, suffered greatly in British Colonialism’s worldwide search for riches and glory.
3 Reasons Why Introverts Are Undervalued in Today’s Society
It’s undeniable that our society favors assertive extroverted personalities with strong communication skills and underestimates the quiet ones. If you are an introvert, you have probably learned it the hard way.
It could be that you felt unseen in the classroom as a child or teen. Or you may have watched your less competent co-workers get a promotion thanks to their social skills.
It feels unfair, but if you think about our society, it makes perfect sense. The consumerist mindset that has become our second nature inevitably affects the way we treat other people. It seems that everything, including our personal qualities and worth as human beings, is translated into some kind of market value.
In other words, to make other people see your worth in personal or professional life, you need to be able to ‘sell yourself’. Yes, this expression alone tells it all.
You need to know how to make a good first impression, say the right things, and be assertive. If you can’t do it, you are perceived as incapable and uninteresting – whether we are talking about a job interview or an informal social gathering.
But it’s not the only reason why introverts are undervalued in our society. Here are a few more:
1. They are less efficient in teamwork
Communication and teamwork skills are required for all kinds of jobs. It seems that without being able to work in a team, it’s impossible to do your job even if your duties don’t involve interaction with clients.
Introverts are much more efficient when they work on their own and are given a certain extent of independence. They thrive in quiet environments with few distractions and interactions. This is when a quiet person gets the chance to unleash their creative self and make good use of their analytical skills.
Most office jobs don’t give employees this opportunity. Office meetings, group projects, phone calls and all the other attributes of a 9-to-5 job make it almost impossible for an introvert to be productive.
2. They don’t like to be in the spotlight
Sometimes it feels like we are living in a society of attention seekers. Today, you are expected to go public about the most personal matters, such as your relationship and family life.
People share their most intimate thoughts and feelings on social media, post updates about the most trivial events, such as what they had for dinner, and upload countless selfies.
Introverts are among those who still value privacy. They are less likely to showcase their lives online or share the details of their personal affairs with the whole world.
At the same time, the quiet ones don’t like to be in the spotlight at social events. An introvert will never interrupt you. They will listen to you and talk only when they have something important to say. This tendency to avoid attention can be mistaken for insecurity and even a lack of intelligence.
3. They prefer to be real than to be ‘nice’
If you want to make a good impression on others, you are expected to be nice. But what does it mean to be ‘nice’ anyway?
In an introvert’s mind, it equals saying things you don’t mean. Quiet personalities will never bombard you with compliments or say meaningless social pleasantries just to win your fondness. But if an introvert said something nice to you, then be sure that they truly meant it.
Small talk is another component of social relationships most introverts struggle with. To them, it embodies utterly dull, uncomfortable, and pointless conversations they can perfectly do without. For this reason, introverts are often mistakenly believed to hate people.
The truth is that they don’t – they just crave stimulating, meaningful conversations and choose their social circle more carefully than extroverts.
In my book, The Power of Misfits: How to Find Your Place in a World You Don’t Fit In, I write about the reasons why so many introverts feel inadequate and alienated from other people in today’s society. It all goes down to social expectations this personality type has to deal with from a very early age.
But the good news is that every introvert can overcome the negative effects of these expectations and find the right path in this loud, extroverted world.
The Esoteric Meaning Behind Neo’s Interrogation Scene in The Matrix
More than 20 years old now, The Matrix is recognized by fans across the world as being one of the most brilliant films in history, most notably for its deeper meaning and esoteric philosophy.
One scene that is particularly intriguing, considering the social climate of today, is Neo’s interrogation by the Agents of the Matrix.
Now, before we dig into the potential hidden meaning here, as I perceive it, and how Neo found himself in this uncomfortable position to begin with, let’s first establish some key points in relation to the overall story line that will help us to appreciate the implications behind this scene a little bit more.
What Does The Character Neo Represent in the Matrix?
Neo in ancient Greek (νέος) means new/young one. This is an important piece of the puzzle to help us understand what the directors of the film are trying to communicate to us. With that said, when we assess Neo’s character in the first film, we find that he is a solitary individual that keeps to himself and is struggling to find deeper meaning in this world by constantly searching the internet.
What Does The Character Morpheus Represent in the Matrix?
Morpheus in Greek mythology is a messenger of the gods. He appears to humans through dreams with the intention of delivering divine Knowledge and Truth. In the Greek mythos, he can appear in almost any form in people’s dreams, which could be because anyone, regardless of race, gender, or outward appearance, can be a messenger of enlightenment and Truth.
The First Matrix Film is About The Beginning of the Journey to Awakening
With the understanding of the deeper meaning behind what Neo and Morpheus’ characters represent in the film, we can now appreciate the intro scene of Neo sleeping (whilst searching for Morpheus) through a different lens of perception and awareness.
You see, Neo sleeping whilst searching online for Morpheus represents the early stages of the Truth seekers journey — “asleep” but still searching for deeper meaning in life — and hoping to find that meaning by seeking out a “messenger” of higher Knowledge and Truth.
Truth is Terrorism in the Empire of Lies
Through his incessant efforts, Neo begins to get closer and closer to finding the elusive Morpheus. This, however, also attracts the unwanted attention of the Agents in the Matrix, which represent the enforcers of the shadow government of this system. Their job is to ensure that no one exposes what the Matrix really is, and how it turns unsuspecting every day human beings into useful resources that it can use and exploit.
The Agents proceed to apprehend Neo and interrogate him, where they make it very clear that they’ve been spying on him and keeping meticulous records of his activities, both online and offline, for quite some time now. As we all know very well today, all around the world intelligence agencies are doing exactly that — tracking what we view online and keeping meticulous records on many of our movements.
The agents, however, do not see Neo as being a major threat to the Matrix system, as he is still in the early stages of his awakening and does not know enough to be a major threat. Instead, they offer him a deal where they will be willing to “wipe the slate clean” on his illegal activities online, if Neo will simply help them track down the man they call Morpheus, who they claim is “a known terrorist” that is “considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive”.
This represents that the single greatest threat to this manipulative system — which is overwhelmingly ruled by deception and exploitation — is any messenger of higher Knowledge and Truth that can potentially awaken those who are still “asleep” to what the proverbial Matrix really is. In fact, one could argue this sort of power struggle has been going on for thousands of years, and is possibly why Socrates was accused of “corrupting the youth” by the ruling class more than 2,000 years ago and subsequently sentenced to death; or why Fred Hampton was assassinated by government authorities in 1969; or, in more recent history, why civilians that were peacefully protesting against Wall Street and the bankers for their part in destroying the world economy in 2008, were targeted by the FBI and even labelled as potential “domestic terrorists“.
Simply put, Truth is terrorism in the empire of lies.
Neo, still being somewhat naïve and unbegun in his journey, rejects the Agent’s offer and demands he get a phone call because “I know my rights!”
To this, Agent Smith retorts, “tell me Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you’re unable to speak?”, which results in Neo’s mouth warping in the most eerie of ways.
This scene represents a lesson that all genuine Truth seekers eventually come to learn — this system is not concerned with human rights nor is it concerned with upholding authentic justice. Instead, it inculcates these beliefs and misperceptions into our minds from a very young age, because it serves to help legitimize its unnecessary existence in the eyes of the unsuspecting public and indoctrinate us as to why we think we need it. But in reality, our government guaranteed “rights” can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye.
In relation to current events, for example, many thousands of people worldwide have been arrested for violating curfew orders; In one Indian state, civilians were told they must take selfies every hour and send it to the authorities to prove that they are staying indoors; in South Africa, some have been fined for not wearing masks while driving their cars; In Boston in the United States, people have even been told that they will be fined if they walk “the wrong direction” down the street; Homeless people in France have reportedly been fined for not staying indoors; Some people have been arrested for attending funerals of loved ones because it violated lockdown orders; Others (including doctors and scientists) have had their right to freedom of speech censored online; In Australia, a pregnant woman was actually arrested in her home for facebook posts that encouraged protesting against the lockdown; According to the International Labor Organization, tens of millions are being pushed into unemployment; and travel all around the world has been severely restricted by these authorities who have taken it upon themselves to be the rulers of this planet by dictating what the rest of us can and cannot do. Whether you agree with these policies or not, these things cannot logically be called “rights” since they are so very easily violated and taken away from us.
There are many other examples that demonstrate how our government given “rights” are more of a comforting illusion than an actual reality, such as the CIA’s secretive Black Site torture programs, which have been done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies and authorities throughout the world. In these programs, people have been kidnapped — without any legal criminal charge or trial — and then taken to undisclosed secret locations where many of them are tortured for many months on end, in ways that are considered to be in violation of international law and basic human rights. The CIA, of course, simply claims they are suspected terrorists. In 2014, however, a Senate Intelligence Committee Report found that at least 26 of the people that were kidnapped and tortured were actually “wrongfully detained”.
Wake Up Neo — You Are the One
Fortunately, Neo manages to escape this unthinkable situation without any serious injury or harm. Soon after, he is contacted by Morpheus, where he is told that he was very lucky that the Agents underestimated his great potential and spared him, because if the Agents had known the great secret that Morpheus knows, then Neo would probably be dead.
Confused by the obvious strangeness of everything taking place, Neo asks Morpheus what the hell is going on, and what exactly is he talking about?? Without hesitation, Morpheus replies to him, “You are the one Neo — You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.”
This is perhaps the most important lesson the new Truth seeker must eventually come to learn — We are the ones we have been waiting for to change this corrupt world my friends; and we must stop looking for heroes and human leaders to absolve us of this very serious responsibility. Instead, we must all take on the role of Morpheus — which is to awaken as many Neo’s (new minds) as we possibly can, whilst also taking on the role that represents the journey of Neo, by challenging ourselves to become the best version of who we authentically are.
By doing this, we will help to awaken and unleash the unique creative forces of each individual’s problem solving imagination; and we will also find unity in our shared struggle against the injustices, and corruption, of this inhumane system which invariably exploits us all.
If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?
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