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The colorful waters of Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring: Now a drone dump?

Tonight the Watercooler is in solidarity with the 9 activists from London Palestine Action who were arrested after 2 days occupying the roof of Elbit Systems drone factory in protest of its production of weapons and parts used in the Israeli war machine.

The occupation of an Elbit Systems owned factory in Staffordshire ended Wednesday as police arrested the activists, who had managed to shut down production and maintain their occupation for over 24 hours. The protesters from London Palestine Action launched their action in the early hours of Tuesday morning, calling for the UK government to ‘stop arming Israel.’ Their actions are part of a wider campaign under the banner of BDS, which encourages states and individuals to boycott, divest and sanction Israel for its occupation of Palestinian land.

The factory built parts for unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. Parts developed in the factory are used in both Israeli military technology as well as the UK’s Watchkeeper drone programme.

Since 2010, the UK government have licensed the export of £42m (€53m/$70) worth of arms to Israel, £10 million within the last 12 months.

Speaking of drones, Ars Technica reports that a civilian drone may have crashed into Yellowstone National Park’s Grand Prismatic Hot Spring:

Officials at Yellowstone National Park told reporters on Wednesday that a tourist had crashed a small drone into the iconic Grand Prismatic Spring last Saturday. The incident marks the latest in a string of drone-related episodes in this region of Wyoming. A drone went down into Yellowstone Lake near the Grant Village Marina. Officials in nearby Grand Teton National Park have already issued one citation to a visitor for flying a drone within the park—it later got trapped in a tree and was then stolen, according to the Associated Press.

[…] Ars was able to finally reach park spokesman Al Nash, who said that the park received “eyewitness reports” of the drone crash on Saturday. ‘We have some information regarding the operator but this incident remains under investigation. We haven’t been able to locate the unit in the spring. Grand Prismatic Spring is big, deep and hot. We are considering a manned helicopter flight to see if we can spot it from the air.’

He also noted that the drone pilot could be issued ‘one or more citations.’ ‘Operation of unmanned aircraft is prohibited, and it’s also against the rules to put foreign objects in thermal features—those are two right off the bat,’ he added.

‘We have had ongoing issues for decades in Yellowstone with people treating our hot springs as if they were wishing wells,’ Nash continued. ‘The most common problem is people tossing coins. We have found a way to remove them. It depends on the given feature, typically we would use a tool from the boardwalk and one time we even had a boat that we put into these larger features. But foreign objects in our thermal features are not new, but this is certainly a very different wrinkle, and it presents a different challenge. I don’t know any of the details of this device. Ultimately if we can find this device it begs the question: does it do more harm leaving it there or would our efforts to remove it do more harm? Until we can locate it we can’t really answer that question, but we know it’s there.’

Thanks to Kade for this link.

Bonus: “Meet the CNN Anchor Who Called Fox News ‘Ignorant Fucksticks’ Over Climate Change” from Mother Jones.

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Photo by Shanmuga Varadan Asoka released under a Creative Commons license.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and Occupy.com.