Monday, March 7, 2011

Bidding on OUR Public Lands to Focus on Climate Change gets You 10 Years in the Klink, in this Rule of unLaw Country

In the best tradition of civil disobedience, non-violent protest, Tim DeChristopher went to a 2008 Bureau of Land Management (US taxpayers' agents) auction on large stretches of our land. He went in hoping to make a point -- all that land is not for sale to the lowest scum bidders -- oil and gas speculators expecting an acre for less than ten bucks.

He was let into the auction, asked if he wanted to be part of the auction, and he sat down with the cancerous looking old white men and sat there and got into the auctioning.

After he was into the bidding and outbidding, he had amassed bunch of parcels near Canyonlands and Arches in Utah "worth" $1.6 million. He is known as “Bidder No. 70”
DeChristopher, 29, is accused of winning bids on more than a dozen drilling parcels near Arches and Canyonlands national parks. He said he disrupted the auction to help thwart the global climate crisis.

However, the typical stacked deck of energy influencers and corrupt judges, this so-called rule of law, has gone against DeChristopher -- he had supporters who raised the money for that land, yet the jury was not allowed to know this. In fact, the BLM at the auction knew right from the get-go Tim was not a gas-oil creep bidder. They let him in, let him bid, and then after $1.6 million into his elegant protest, they pulled his plug.

Now he faces 10 years in jail for WHAT? How many times do we have to take these low blows in the civil society movement, the sustainability movement. Our laws are absurd, broken, that need fixing, and like civil rights leaders, breaking those back-of-the-bus laws is the only thing to do.

He was found guilty yesterday, March 4, 2011. His sentencing is in June. Here's his outside-the-courthouse talk --

Friday, March 4, 2011

F*&%@ Book is EVERY thing Against Our Needs, Security, and Personal Privacy

Again, another reason why throwing billions at a boy, Zuckerberg of F*&%@ Book, is absolutely counter to our constitutional rights to privacy. His sleazy lack of ethics and profiteering will put all F*&%@ Book users in the trunk of the security creeps and marketing criminals driving our culture closer to the brink if infantilism and irrelevance.

Is this too strong language about F*&%@ Book? Absolutely not.

Read what came out March 4, 2011

Breakout quote -- from Alternet today, March 4, 2011:

[As AlterNet writer Allan Badiner wrote this summer in an article called "How Facebook Betrayed Users and Undermined Online Privacy":

... users are creating a cumulative data repository of all the relationships in the entire world and the intimate details of everyone’s lives. The databases and algorithms employed at Facebook to store, crunch, and make inferences about you are far greater holders of data than any government agency.

Several times in the past, users have found their information divulged and have had to go back and re-set settings to have the same level of privacy as before. In 2007, targeted Facebook in a petition, urging members to express concern with vanishing privacy on the site.]

Facebook Will Share Users' Phone Number, Email and Address with Third Parties

In a move that was announced, and then quietly postponed, back in January, Facebook is again planning to allow third-party applications (folks who write games and applications that use the Facebook interface) to access users' most personal contact information--including addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. The social networking mega-site would ask users' explicit permission to do this, as it currently does when users want to tap into these often frivolous third-party apps--and the company is also "considering" an age cap that would prevent teenagers and children from allowing this information to be released.

From the original post at Facebook's in-house Developer blog in January:

We are now making a user’s address and mobile phone number accessible as part of the UserGraph object. Because this is sensitive information, we have created the new user_address and user_mobile_phone permissions. These permissions must be explicitly granted to your application by the user via our standard permissions dialogs.
But this announcement quickly drew ire from privacy advocates who were concerned that these third-parties might use the information for any number of reasons. And then the company suspended the application within a few days with plans to re-open it--which it is now doing. If you want to be preemptive and block the site from releasing this information, here is a how-to guide from

Those expressing concern with the new move included U.S. Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) of the house "privacy caucus" forcefully spoke up asking the company to reconsider. Markey received a long response from the company's Vice President of Global Public Policy, Marni Lavine, which he posted on his website here.

Levine assured the Congressmen that the company was working to make its permission-granting process clear, but just a few days ago the congressmen said they weren't fully reassured, and reiterated their demands:

“Mobile phone numbers and personal addresses, particularly those that can identify teenagers using Facebook, require special protection,” said Rep. Markey in a statement. “We must ensure that this sensitive information is safeguarded, with clear, distinct permissions so that users know precisely what’s in store when they opt to share this data with third parties. Moreover, simple, easily accessible tools are needed so users can rescind these permissions if they subsequently find they no longer want their information in the hands of third parties."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

So When Journalists Get the Information from Heroes about Wrong-doing, It's Aiding and Abetting the Enemy?

No number of stories out there on-in-underneath-on top of corporate media tells us the illegal treatment and confinement and torture of Brad Manning, accused of releasing some of the Wikileaks materials. The mainlined Press has not done its job. Corporate media is dead -- no soul, no guts, empty. Here's an update on Democracy Now:

Twenty-two new charges Bradley Manning faces today. Read Glenn Greenwald's work at for more insights into the legal aspects of the Wiki-leaks case, including the Swedish bizarre secret court to try Julian Assange, Wikileaks co-founder--

JUAN GONZALEZ: A British judge ruled this morning that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault. The decision comes after two days of hearings. Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden since December, when he was arrested and held for nine days in a London jail.

AMY GOODMAN: Today, the judge dismissed Assange’s defense claims that the Swedish allegations are not offenses under English law and ruled Sweden does have authority to issue an arrest warrant for Assange. The Swedish trial will be heard behind closed [doors]. Afterward, Assange could be extradited to the United States to face allegations he published classified documents. If convicted, he would face the death penalty.

To discuss these developments, we’re joined by Glenn Greenwald, constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger for

Glenn, it’s nice to have you here in the United States.

GLENN GREENWALD: Nice to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about this ruling.

GLENN GREENWALD: Sure. I don’t think it’s particularly surprising, in the sense that typically when contesting extradition, a defendant needs to be able to argue that there’s not just something unfair about the process, but something that’s so fundamentally flawed in the justice system of the country seeking extradition that it would offend the notions of basic justice and due process of the extraditing country. And when you’re talking about a country like Sweden, that is part of multiple conventions and treaties and other systems of justice with the British, it’s a very uphill battle to try and convince a British judge that Sweden would be so radically flawed. Additionally, this decision is going to be appealed multiple times to high British courts and ultimately to the European Human Rights Court, and so it’s going to be quite a long time before there’s any resolution with finality. He’s not going to be shipped off to Stockholm anytime soon.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Mark Stephens. He spoke to reporters in Britain just outside the courthouse in London. He is Julian Assange’s attorney.

MARK STEPHENS: We still remain very optimistic about our opportunities on appeal. The judge made a very important finding in relation to both the fact of the secret trial, which—in Sweden, which is an anathema to the open justice principle which we, in this country, and I think in most civilized countries of the world, hold very dear.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Mark Stephens, Assange’s attorney.

GLENN GREENWALD: That, I think, for me, is the key point. There is a lot of improprieties and oddities about how the Swedish authorities have handled this case, in particular that the first prosecutor who looked at it decided that there was nothing to warrant any further proceedings, then it was sort of taken away by a prosecutor who’s known to be somewhat zealous in this area, who then reversed that initial ruling. But these are the kinds of improprieties that are quite common, especially in a case that’s controversial and that involves difficult allegations of sexual assault, like this one does.

The thing that I think is really quite disturbing is this aspect of Swedish law that essentially says that almost all rape trials are presumptively secret—not just that the victim’s testimony is in secret, but that the entire proceeding is in secret—so that, essentially, it’s like a Star Chamber, where one day, out of the blue, Swedish authorities will emerge and could essentially say the defendant has been found guilty and sentenced to this amount of time in prison. And that really does offend basic notions of justice in the Western world. And that’s, I think, the most likely issue to be contested vigorously on appeal.

THEN, we have the attack against people like Glenn Greenwald -- for reporting on and supporting WikiLeaks --

GLENN GREENWALD: Sure. What essentially happened is that this group calling itself Anonymous announced several months ago that it would target any companies that terminated services with WikiLeaks in response to government pressure. And numerous large companies, such as MasterCard and Visa, Amazon, PayPal, did exactly that. And then Anonymous targeted those companies with denial of service attacks and other what turned out to be fairly minor disruptions to their internet commerce.

And in response, various internet security firms decided that they would try and investigate Anonymous in order to attract government attention, get government contracts, curry favor with law enforcement authorities. And one of them in particular, a firm called HB Gary, that does a lot of work for the government, started publicly boasting that they had infiltrated Anonymous, that they had uncovered the identities of some of the key individuals involved. And in retaliation, Anonymous then targeted HB Gary and hacked into its email system and published 50,000 or so emails from HB Gary online.

And among those emails were various proposals that HB Gary and other companies, serious players in this internet security industry, had been circulating on behalf of both Bank of America and the Chamber of Commerce to target critics of the Chamber of Commerce and supporters of WikiLeaks, both in the media and in political activism, with some very nefarious, threatening and probably illegal measures. And the key cog in this whole process is this large and very well-connected lobbyist and legal firm, Hunton & Williams, that represents both entities and was coordinating these proposals.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And they specifically mentioned you as a key supporter that needed to be dealt with?

GLENN GREENWALD: Right. Well, ironically, there have been so few people in the American media who have been willing to defend WikiLeaks, notwithstanding the fact that what they’re doing is core journalism and that the threats to prosecute and otherwise harm them would be as grave a threat to press freedoms in this country as anything we’ve seen in a long time. There have been so few members of the media who have been willing to stand up and support WikiLeaks that being one of the very few people who have been vocal—and that they did identify me, as well as several other people, as needing specific targeting. The phrase they used was forcing us to choose between, quote, "preservation of career over cause," meaning threatening our careers if we continue to speak out in favor of WikiLeaks.

AMY GOODMAN: Again, just to summarize, Julian Assange has not been charged with anything at this point. And what could happen—he has 10 days to appeal this—if he goes to Sweden, to do with the United States, why he might find himself, perhaps—could he?—imprisoned near Bradley Manning?

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, this is what is so interesting to me about the whole Assange extradition struggle. And you’re absolutely right, he has not even—not only has he not been convicted, obviously, and therefore should be presumed guilty by nobody, but he’s not even been charged. They just simply want him for interrogation at this point. I think it’s assumed that the Swedish authorities intend to prosecute.

But what is so interesting about this is that the reason he’s contesting the extradition so vehemently is because what he fears most is being turned over to American authorities. And interestingly, I’ve spoken with a lot of people who have been involved in WikiLeaks, both previously and currently, and all of them, to the person, no matter what their nationality is, the thing they fear most is ending up in the hands of the American authorities and in the American, quote-unquote, "justice system," which is really quite telling that that’s now the great fear that people around the world have, given that, as foreign nationals, they know that when things like national security is involved and threats of secrecy are involved, they end up in black holes, where they’re denied all justice. And so, that’s what’s driving Assange is the fear that he will end up in the hands of the American authorities.

And in reality, if you just look at the law, it actually should be more likely that Britain would be willing to extradite him rather than Sweden, because Britain actually has much broader laws criminalizing the disclosure of classified information, whereas in Sweden it’s probable that what he did would never be a crime, and therefore they wouldn’t extradite him. But being that Sweden is a small country, that it has shown in the past that it’s captive to American dictates when it comes to these sorts of things, I think the reality is, is that Sweden would have—would lack the ability to resist American demands, while the British public would probably demand that their government stand up to the United States. And so, the law just gets completely disregarded, because the law should be more favorable to him in Sweden.

AMY GOODMAN: And the grand jury that was convened in the United States, what has happened with that?

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, grand juries, of course, are in secret. So, what we know is that the Justice Department has said that they are vehemently pursuing the prospect of prosecution. We also know that the government has done things like—

AMY GOODMAN: For WikiLeaks.

GLENN GREENWALD: For WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. And what we also know is that the government has done things like subpoena the records of various individuals associated with Twitter—with WikiLeaks, including Twitter and other places, including of a sitting member of the Icelandic parliament that caused a diplomatic crisis, essentially, between Iceland and the United States. And so—and we know that they’re targeting WikiLeaks supporters at airports and taking their laptops and other things, the way they do, as you reported a couple weeks ago, with journalists, as well. So there’s obviously a very active criminal investigation and a clear intent on the part of the United States government to prosecute and—indict and prosecute WikiLeaks for pure journalism.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And the impact on WikiLeaks itself of this enormous campaign against it? There have been some reports of defections of some of the key supporters involved with WikiLeaks. Do you think it’s having a debilitating effect on its ability to continue to function as this whole new arm of openness in government?

GLENN GREENWALD: I mean, you know, there’s no question that, without being charged with anything, WikiLeaks has been—I don’t know if I’d say crippled, but severely disabled as a result of government pressure. I mean, we just talked about how the government successfully pressured virtually every large financial company to terminate its services with the organization, meaning that they can no longer raise funds or it’s very difficult for them to raise funds.

I know that even before the controversy started—this was one of the things that first really alerted me to how serious this issue was—when I first wrote about WikiLeaks a year ago or so and encouraged people to support it and to donate money to it, there were all kinds of people, American citizens, who said to me in various forums that they actually feared donating money to WikiLeaks because they thought they would end up on some kind of a list, that they might ultimately be accused of giving material support to terrorists. So here you have a climate in the United States that was created even before all of the real leaks, the controversial leaks, where people are afraid to associate and to donate to political causes in which they believe, because they believe that they could end up liable. And, of course, people who look at what has happened to Bradley Manning, the way he’s been held in solitary confinement, would be petrified of leaking to WikiLeaks, as well.

Read his stories, techies. If you are working on the next app, the next cool WWW thing, you should be putting money into the Manning and WikiLeaks funds --

More Stories by Glenn --

Swedish attorneys weigh in on Assange case
Swedes question rape accusations against Wikileaks founder
More on How Physicians Became Torture Doctors for CIA

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gasland Gives Energy Companies Gas of the Propaganda kind

Production year: 2010
Country: USA
Runtime: 107 mins
Director: Josh Fox

Gasland, on hydraulic fracting for natural gas using chemicals and massive amounts of water, pressure and heat, and resulting in faucets in homes catching on fire, a complete bastardization of what it means to use precaution when furthering any industrial or resource extraction cause. Here's the trailer.

And, apropos is the Oscars tonight, and the gas-energy-Haliburton lobby propagandists who have been on a campaign of bizarre proportions, trying to get the film taken off the Academy Award list for best documentary.

Here's more on these Cheney-inspired cretins:

The Guardian --

There is no such thing as bad publicity. But the PR adage seems to have been overlooked by America's energy lobby, whose attacks on a documentary on natural gas drilling have dramatically raised the film's pre-Oscar buzz.

The attacks – including a demand to strike the film, Gasland, from Oscar contention –have brought a fresh burst of public attention to the documentary as well as its subject, a controversial method of natural gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing.

In the countdown to the 27 February awards ceremony, Energy in Depth, an industry lobbying group set up by Halliburton, BP, Shell and other companies, has stepped up its attacks on Gasland.

The attention has been a bonanza for the film-maker, Josh Fox. Gasland – though it became a sensation online for scenes of flames shooting out of a kitchen tap – had only a very limited commercial release. He has noted Energy in Depth on his Facebook page and elsewhere to help publicise the film.

But the inadvertent consequences of their campaign does not appear to have given Energy in Depth much pause.

Last Thursday, the organisation – which has a whole section devoted to Gasland on its website – took a swipe at Fox and the actor, Mark Ruffalo, who is also up for an Oscar, for visiting Congress to support a bill for government regulation of hydraulic fracturing.

***********************read more at the Guardian****************

or, better, a blog,

DeSmogBlog has uncovered an industry memo revealing that ‘Energy In Depth’ is hardly comprised of the mom-and-pop “small, independent oil and natural gas producers” it claims to represent. In fact, the industry memo we found, entitled “Hydraulic Fracturing Under Attack,” shows that Energy In Depth “would not be possible without the early financial commitments” of major oil and gas interests including BP, Halliburton, Chevron, Shell, XTO Energy (now owned by ExxonMobil), and several other huge oil and gas companies that provided significant funding early on and presumably still fund the group's efforts.

According to the 2009 memo, Energy In Depth was orchestrated as a “major initiative to respond to…attacks” and to devise and circulate “coordinated messages” using “new communications tools that are becoming the pathway of choice in national political campaigns.”

Energy In Depth (EID) is featured in the news a lot these days, chiefly for attacking the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, but also for its extensive efforts to malign the excellent reporting done by ProPublica, the Associated Press and other outlets. EID seems to attack everyone who attempts to investigate the significant problems posed by hydraulic fracturing and other natural gas industry practices that have been shown to threaten public health and water quality across America.

Here is how Energy In Depth describes itself on its ‘Contact Us’ page:

"Energy In Depth is a project of America’s small, independent oil and natural gas producers...”

While EID prefers to project this ‘mom and pop shop’ image, the June 2009 memo authored by Barry Russell, president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), reveals the seed funding provided by many of the world's largest oil and gas companies for the creation of Energy In Depth.

The memo states:

The "Energy In Depth" project would not be possible without the early financial commitments of: El Paso Corporation, XTO Energy, Occidental Petroleum, BP, Anadarko, Marathon, EnCana, Chevron, Talisman, Shell, API, IPAA, Halliburton, Schlumberger and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.

However, none of these major oil and gas companies, or the industry’s largest trade association -- the American Petroleum Institute -- are acknowledged on the ‘About Us’ page of Energy In Depth’s website.

Instead, Energy In Depth portrays modest origins, suggesting that its “website and affiliated educational programs were created by" a coalition of state-based oil and gas associations, whose logos are featured on the ‘About Us’ page. This all seems designed to leave the impression that the EID was launched by small, “independent petroleum producers” rather than by the largest oil and gas companies on the planet.

Additionally, Enegy In Depth fails to acknowledge openly that its website URL was created by Dittus Communications, a Washington DC public relations firm best known for its work for major tobacco and nuclear industry interests. (Dittus is now part of Financial Dynamics, an international communications conglomerate.)

For a group that has accused Gasland director Josh Fox of creating an “alternate history,” and claims to want to “set the record straight” about the motives of anyone who dares to question the natural gas industry’s highly controversial hydrofracking practices, EID seems awfully disingenuous about its own ‘humble’ beginnings and ultimate interests.

The memo reveals the key role that the Independent Petroleum Association of America played in launching Energy In Depth:

For months, IPAA's government relations and communications teams have been working around-the-clock on a new industry-wide campaign – known as "Energy In Depth" ( – to combat new environmental regulations, especially with regard to hydraulic fracturing.

Two IPAA staffers, Lee Fuller and Jeff Eshelman, spearheaded the launch. Chris Tucker is also listed as staff on the current ‘Contact Us’ page. Tucker did double duty in 2009 handling communications for Energy In Depth and the Institute for Energy Research, using the same phone number for both. (IER has received over $300,000 from ExxonMobil and an untold amount from other oil and coal interests to confuse the public about climate change and to attack clean energy sources. For example, IER was busted last year by Danish journalists for financing an infamous anti-wind study.)

Why would Energy In Depth want to hide its high-profile sources of funding?

Perhaps because these same companies are responsible for some of the worst environmental disasters in history, including last year's BP/Halliburton/Anadarko blowout in the Gulf of Mexico; Shell’s multiple atrocities in Nigeria; Chevron’s court-affirmed destruction of the Amazon rainforest; El Paso Corp’s deadly pipeline explosion in Carlsbad, New Mexico; Occidental’s Piper Alpha explosion -- the deadliest oil rig disaster in history; to name just a few incidents among this group.

Perhaps Energy In Depth thinks it might lose credibility with the media and the public if it revealed such key support from these notoriously reckless companies.

Perhaps it should?


So, this is a real time blog, as the goofy Oscars are playing (Feb. 27, Sunday) and I am picking them up on my digital off the air antenna on my 12-inch never used TV; Oprah Winfrey just gave the best documentary award to Inside Job. Gasland was up for the award, however.

One of the directors of Inside Job started his acceptance speech by saying that of all the billions and billions of dollars ripped off by Wall Street pukes and financiers, not one banking rip-off guy or gal is serving time in jail, or has been indicted. Watch Inside Job and Gasland. Hurray for independent filmmakers getting through the methane burps of Fox and mainstream news outlets.

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