Monday, December 13, 2010

The Leak Gets Larger

You can blow out a candle, but you can't blow out a fire. - Peter Gabriel

There is now a new voice in the world of leaked documents and transparent government. A new site dedicated to a free press,OpenLeaks, is preparing to debut. OpenLeaks, started by former WikiLeaks workers, is not so much a competitor as another alternative. Begun partially as a way to distance the WikiLeaks approach from its public face, Julian Assange, OpenLeaks is now another means to by which the public can get information.

WikiLeaks, as I noted in a previous post, is but a messenger. The real battle here is over transparency and open government. Efforts to kill WikiLeaks will have little real effect now that the idea has grown into a movement.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Techno D-Day

It was a techno D-Day, a techno D-Day, out on Omaha Beach.
Where the troops believe in the life of freedom.
This is all about free speech.
- Joe Strummer

In reaction to the arrest of Julian Assange, front man for Wikileaks, "hacktivists" began symbolic attacks upon Swedish government sites, Mastercard, Visa, Paypal and others today. In England (correction: Holland) a 16-year-old was arrested for hacking in connection with the actions.

Actions such as the arrest of the 16-year-old just demonstrates how those who are trying to stop Wikileaks simply don't get it. Wikileaks is not just a one man show run by Assange. He is merely the public face. Calls for Assange to be prosecuted on various charges such as espionage, etc. demonstrate a clear lack of understanding of the information age. Assange is only the messenger. He is but a soldier. This is about free speech and freedom of the press.

Efforts to stop Wikileaks have come from various corners over the past couple of weeks. What these attempts to silence them have done is to produce the exact opposite effect. Mirror sites have been proliferating and more hackers have rallied to the defense of Wikileaks. The free speech and free press advocates have been united in a common cause.

The world has changed. Everything is public now, whether anyone wants it to be or not. World governments must accept this reality, multinational corporations must accept this reality, every single individual must accept this reality.

A battle has begun. The battle is between the old way of doing things, with secrets and hidden information and the new way, where everything is dragged into the light. Even if Assange were to go to prison, nothing can stop what has begun. The beaches have been stormed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Good News & Bad News

First; the good news:

Over the past few days it has been reported by various news services that Dick Cheney has been indicted in Nigeria for crimes committed while CEO of Halliburton.

And now; the bad news:

Neither Cheney nor Bush have yet been indicted for the war crimes committed during their administration. Cheney will likely remain free as he is in an undisclosed location supervising Halliburton's reconstruction of the Death Star.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Assault on Free Speech

If you have been looking for the WikiLeaks documents today you likely received a message that the server is not responding. What has happened is that the U.S. State Department has put enormous pressure on various companies and now WikiLeaks domain name - is no longer functional.

For a country that is allegedly committed to free speech and a free press the U.S. government is acting completely contrary to that ideal. Threatening to charge Julian Assange, WikiLeaks public face, with espionage is only the tip of the iceberg. Amazon, formerly hosting WikiLeaks, has now kicked them off their servers.

Aside from the sheer stupidity of trying to remove information from the Internet (this genie is never going back in the bottle)the idea of official government censorship of the press is abhorrent. A democracy depends on citizen's knowledge and access to information.

The truth about WikiLeaks is that little of importance that was not already known or suspected was revealed. The hue and cry is more about the embarrassment this is causing for world leaders than any threat to security. Really, what have we learned? The Saudi's are two faced with other Arab nations? Silvio Berlusconi is a vain, corrupt egomaniac? Karzai's brother is a narcotics trafficker? Diplomats sometimes collect information? Gasp and swoon. Anyone unaware of these things hasn't been paying attention anyway.

WikiLeaks is now available at the domain Happy reading lovers of a free press.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gore Admits Error

Al Gore recently expressed that he was wrong to champion the use of corn as a fuel alternative. Speaking in Greece, Gore noted that his own promotion of the food as fuel was likely influenced by his political aspirations and farmers in his home state of Tennessee and the important caucus state, Iowa.

Gore is absolutely right. Turning food into fuel is little more than a financial boondoggle to corn producers. The fuel created is neither efficient nor cheap. Its real value is the subsidy to the producers. Its real costs is to the food budgets of the poor.

Alternative energy is a necessity, but converting food into fuel seems incomprehensible. Incomprehensible to everyone but a corn producer.

The subsidy for corn to ethanol is due to expire. Whether it is renewed or not will likely depend on the factors that have little or nothing to do with energy independence or security. Instead, it will depend on lobbyists. Who will win? In a battle between the profits of agribusiness and food for the poor, I'm afraid the decision has already been made. Please pass the fuel.

Pelicans in Siberia

According to Reuters News Service, a flock of African pink pelicans became confused during their migration and ended up in Siberia. The pelicans, native to Africa (as the name suggests) were apparently fooled by the warm weather in Siberia.

African birds ending up in Siberia is more than a curiosity. It is a sign of things to come. The birds were thrown off their normal migratory patterns by what is being described as abnormally warm temperatures. Abnormally warm for the past, but maybe not the future. Animals such as birds and insects operate largely out of instinct. When this instinct becomes confused or the signals that trigger migration change, behavior is altered in unpredictable ways.

Global warming is more than a abstract concept about the temperature of the earth. In an inter-related system, what affects one thing will affect others. The future is upon us and its going to the birds.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bush Admits War Crimes

George W. Bush, in his new memoir, Decision Points (he was "The Decider" after all), admitted that he authorized water-boarding. Admission of water-boarding, held to be torture by treaties the U.S. has signed, is grounds for prosecution as a war criminal. The ACLU has already called on Bush to be tried and will be joined by this writer and others interested in international law in the very near future.

Under international law, the country in which the war criminal lives is given first responsibility for the prosecution of such acts. Should the U.S. fail to act, then other countries are then tasked with prosecution. While it is unlikely that Bush will ever be prosecuted in the U.S., it is likely that he will soon find it difficult to travel outside the boundaries of the country without risk of arrest.

What an embarrassment this man has been to the nation. "W" doesn't just stand for wrong, it also stands for war criminal.

British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Costs

  • 11 workers killed in initial blast
  • Damage to Ocean Ecosystem
  • 35,000 to 60.000 Barrels of Oil Per Day. That's somewhere between 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons a day or 150 to 300 million gallons already spilled into the ocean as of July 27th by that estimate.
  • Gulf Fisheries Industry
  • Gulf Tourism (ongoing costs)
  • Long Term Health Effects to Humans and Wildlife (to be determined)

Worst Oil Spills

  • Kuwait 1991 - 520 million gallons: Gulf War I
  • Gulf of Mexico 2010 - 206 million gallons: BP Oil
  • Mexico, Bay of Campiche 1979 - 140 million gallons: Pemex Oil
  • Trinidad & Tobago 1979 - 90 million gallons: Greek Oil Tanker Atlantic Empress
  • Russia 1983 - 84 million gallons: Leaky Pipeline collapsed into Kolva River
  • Iran 1983 - 80 million gallons: Tanker collided with Oil Platform
  • South Africa 1983 -79 million gallons:Tanker Castillo de Bellver sank
  • France 1978 - 69 million Gallons: Amoco Cadiz ran aground and broke in half.
  • Angola Coastal Waters (700 miles at sea) 1991 - 51-81 million gallons: ABT Summer exploded at sea.
  • Italy 1991 - 45 million gallons: M/T Haven Oil Tanker exploded.
  • Source: Mother Nature Network. The 13 largest oil spills in history. by Laura Moss. Friday July 16, 2010.

Nuclear Accidents (Under Construction)

  • 1957 Windscale, UK
  • 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, US
  • 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, US
  • 1984 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1985 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1986 Plymouth, Masachusetts, US
  • 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR
  • 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, US
  • 1989 Griefwald, Germany
  • 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
  • 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, US
  • 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan
  • Source: Benjamin Sovacool

Mining Disasters (Under Construction)

  • China 1942 - 1549 deaths
  • France 1906 - 1100 deaths
  • Japan 1963 - 447 deaths
  • Wales 1913 - 438 deaths
  • South Africa 1960 - 437 deaths
  • Source: Epic Disasters Website
  • Note: Do not look at the dates herein and conclue that mining disasters are a things of the past. Every year thousands of miners die worldwide in largely unreported accidents.

OIL IS OVER! - Resources

  • Hibbert's Peak - "The" source that explains why Oil is Over.
  • Tragedy of the Commons -Garrett Hardin
  • The Land Ethic - Aldo Leopold
  • Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight - Thom Hartmann
  • Eco-Defense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching


  • The Dirt People - Ray Bawarchi (yes, that's me)
  • The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
  • Demian - Herman Hesse
  • Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk (as told to R. Neimur)
  • The Quiet Don - Mikhail Sholokov
  • Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  • Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • Delicious Laughter - Jallahudin Rumi
  • The Sybil - Par Lagerksvitz
  • The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
  • Spirits Rebellious - Khalil Gibran
  • The Quiet American - Graham Greene
  • Midaq Alley - Nagib Mafouz
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
  • We - Yevgeny Zamyatin


  • John Coltrane - St. John the Divine
  • Patti Smith
  • The Clash - the only band that matters
  • Billy Bragg
  • Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band
  • Art Blakey
  • Death - pre-punk visionaries from Detroit
  • PJ Harvey - Polly Jean, Polly Jean
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Michael Franti (Spearhead)
  • Public Enemy
  • Ray Charles - the Genius
  • Bob Dylan
  • Velvet Underground
  • Flaming Lips
  • John Doe & X
  • The Beatles

opiate of the masses

  • God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. - Voltaire
  • I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and inellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei
  • The ink of a scholar is worth far more than the blood of a martyr.- Mohammad
  • If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. - Sheldon Kopp
  • No one will be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Louisa Mae Alcott
  • When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.- Voltaire
  • If God were alive today, he'd be an athiest. - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The god I worship is not short of cash, Mister. - Bono
  • Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. My sins they only belong to me. - Patti Smith
  • God sure baked a lot of fruitcake baby, when Adam met the Eden lady. - Joe Strummer