HACKITAT – A film about political hacking

This film will crash land in the middle of the conflict
currently taking place between those who want to keep
technology and the Internet free and those who want to
control it.

We want to make this documentary and release it under a
creative commons license so that everyone can see the film.
But for this to happen we need your help.


What compels some people to spend a lot of time and
energy on setting up servers, creating programs and even
committing crimes to help people in a dictatorship in
another country to communicate freely?

Who are the people building a nation on the Internet and
why are they doing it? How are the hackers in Bolivia
working to integrate indigenous languages into computer
software so that all people can access the technology?

Who are the hackers in the middle east that some call
terrorists and some call freedom activists. What drives
this activism and does anonymous in Bahrain share a
common ideology with anonymous in Brazil?

Around the world there is a network of hackerspaces that
explore, hack and create new ways of expressing
themselves with technology. Hackerspaces that by some
are seen as a threat to our digital society. What is it that
drives these people? What are their purpose and their
reasons for what they do? How do they live their lives?

These are some of the questions we will seek to answer
with this movie as we meet hackers and visit their


On the 28th of November 2009 Malmö’s hackerspace
Forskningsavdelningen was raided by masked police.
Armed with batons and pepper spray they stormed the
social center where the hackerspace housed and
confiscated computers and other technical equipment.

One of the people detained was a hacker named mackt.
With a background in the Pirate Bay, for him the raid was
yet another proof of society’s mistrust and lack of
understanding of hacker culture.

After the incident he wanted to do something about the
distorted image of hackers. He contacted the film
collective RåFILM in Malmö and the idea was born to make
a documentary that explains the political aspects of
hacker culture beyond the simplifications and preconceptions.

Read more on, and please donate to their
project if you can.

You can see their video at their web site or by clicking here

Hobet Mine Shutdown, a Photo Diary

I was invited to photograph the protest and shutdown of the Hobet Mine in Boone and Lincoln Counties in West Virginia last week. The organizers knew me from my participation in the Blair Mountain March last year. This is the biggest mountaintop removal mine in the US, I am told. I was not aware of the location selected until we got there.

This protest was to shut down a mine somewhere in West Virginia, the location of which was unannounced. There were two ways to participate, by coming to a training the day of the protest at the Kanawha State Forest and then meeting up with the rest of the protesters, those that had been at the base camp the previous few days, or by training at that base camp and then leaving in the morning to go to the State Forest to then meet up with the single day group.

I was with the group at the base camp. The morning at camp started with the few that were going to the State Park to give the trainings in non violent protest methods. They left a couple of hours before the rest of us left. We were to hit the mine site around the same time the newly trained protesters did.

Just before 10:00 am, we took of to go to the mine to meet the other protesters. We snaked out on a 6 mile long dirt road to the pavement. Where the road we were on comes out was a stop sign and a gas station. The convoy out was reported by a person at the gas station.

Click on an image for a larger version, all photos are covered by the Creative Commons copyright, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike




That was the start of what ended up being a three hour drive to the as yet undisclosed location. I took a few photos on the way.




I was in one of the last cars in the convoy, and so was one of the last to see that the other protesters were not there. I later realized, when the other never showed up, that they were a diversion to tie up both the Police and counter protesters at the State Forest, a couple of hours drive away. It worked very well, we were there uninterrupted for quite a while.




The first of the protesters I came upon was a group readying for a tree sitting. The road leading to them had been blocked by some of the protesters with a couple of obstacles found nearby to slow the response going farther up the hill.




As I went up the hill, I saw a stream substitute. GWB changed a word or two in the laws governing reclamation to allow soil, streams ground cover and god only knows what else be replaced with substitutes. This is an example of a stream substitute:


As I went farther into the mine site, the scope of the destruction became greater in scale.




The first piece of equipment the protesters occupied was a rock hauler. A giant stop sign was brought in and deployed, to enable the operators of these gigantic pieces of equipment to see them.




Once stopped, the protesters had a crew ready with banners and locking devices to board the rock hauler.




The banner drop was cause for jubilation.




While this was happening, a line of protesters were down the hill to slow any attempts to stop the protest from continuing. Once the equipment was secured, the line moved uphill to use the rock hauler as part of the blockade. By this time, a number of protesters had locked themselves to the rock hauler.





Another rock hauler is high above on a man made hill with ground cover substitute adding some greenery. Just up the road is more equipment and a lot of miners. They did not seem happy for the tree hugger (their term for the protesters) induced break.



On a distant denuded ridge, the destruction continued.




Once that rock hauler was secured the remaining protesters continued up hill. There was a lot more equipment there, and more angry miners.





Again, as I went farther into the mine, the vast scale of destruction became more staggering.




Even these gigantic rock haulers become dwarfed in this desolation.


And more “reclaimed” land…



While in the distance, a Bucyrus Erie dragline is hard at work, tearing open the Earth. Seen is the tip of the 300 foot long boom in the first two photos, the third is the pit the dragline is in.




That was as far as I went into the maw of the monster. The few protesters still ahead of me turned around and returned to equipment they had already passed. I followed. Shown is Dustin Steele and two others, locked to another piece of equipment. Dustin was later reported to have been brutalized by Law Enforcement.


Then it started to get crowded, both by employees of the mine and the Police.



Those of us not wishing to be arrested left when told to. The walk down was a study in the rape of the earth.













Eventually, I made it down to the location where the tree sitter had been preparing a climb.



Some of the miners were watching the Police deal with the tree sitter’s ground crew.


The tree sitter had done his banner drop while I was higher up in the mine.




When I got to the base of the tree, the ground crew of the tree sitter were cuffed and in the Police car.


The hills were alive with the sound of Police cars and the loud trucks and four wheelers of the Friends of Coal. They are the group that would counter protest while the protesters walked an eight mile gantlet of miners, families, four wheelers and pickup trucks intent on keeping us from making headway back up the now “closed” (seemingly to only our vehicles) public road. The drive back after the pickup was also contested by blockades and dangerous high speed maneuvers by those same counter protesters.









The ubiquitous helicopter following the march out.


Twenty of the protesters were arrested, charged with trespassing, and held on $25,000 bond, only able to be secured with property in West Virginia, cash or bail bond not acceptable. As I write this, about half are still in jail.

The protesters made it back to camp that night, tired, sore, scared, and ecstatic. And with a lot of experience of how intimidating it can be to be the enemies of both most of the locals and Law Enforcement, and how to get through that sort of challenge with heads held high. As high as the mountains they love.


All photos in this diary are mine. Some have since been used without attribution. More of my photos of this event are here:

A friend of mine, Flux Rostrum made this video of the protest:

I must admit (full disclosure) that the red Jeep Liberty in the video (with the FDL Occupy Supply sticker on the window) is mine and the woman being interviewed about being pepper sprayed by a counter protester is my girl friend. She drove my Jeep with four passengers, all media, to the site. All the stills used in the video from the mine site are those I took.

And Jordan Freeman, another friend, made this one of the walk and drive back:

Published earlier today on the European Tribune

The Main Street Movement – Struggle in the Heartland

Oklahoma public sector workers and activists speak out on the attacks on workers civil rights by corporations.

Please watch this great video on the VLTPVideoChannel by clicking here

Tell Reckitt Benckiser – #DumpALEC

An article that brings up MANY excellent points

1.  …Now WE THE PEOPLE are taking to the free market

The Free market is a summary term for an array of exchanges that take place in society. Each exchange is undertaken as a voluntary agreement between two people or between groups of people represented by agents.

and our actions will hopefully lead to a reductions in expectations from ALEC Corporate Profit Sector members on their use of our legislators…

2.  But if the companies didn’t want to publicly support ALEC’s preferred policies, why were they supporting ALEC in the first place?

3.  Most of us have never heard of Reckitt Benckiser, but this may be a time to re-introduce ourselves to this Profit Sector Member of the American Legislative Exchange council (ALEC).  We were introduced to them in this story published by CMD: Kids Eating Rat Poison Is an “Acceptable Risk” for ALEC

To read about these an other insights from MNDem999, please click here


14 Rules For Revolt — Or What I Learned from the Front Lines of the 1960s

In 2011, a new wave of global citizen activism, fed in part by Occupy Wall Street, helped reveal a link between the sixties and the present.

…The question we now face is not whether America is on the threshold of a new progressive era—it is—but rather whether we can use the legacy of the sixties and the new activism unleashed in 2011 by Occupy Wall Street to push ourselves off the threshold into a full embrace of progressive ideals. I am convinced that citizen activism is now the only way to do that. But as I learned in the sixties, activists are not revolutionaries, even though their objective might be a revolutionary transformation of society. Activists achieve incremental gains, not massive and immediate upheavals. If those gains are sufficiently widespread, transformations can occur even when the activists themselves are unaware of how their work combines with that of others to affect the overall sweep of history.

To read more of this in-depth analysis, please clickhere.

Occupy Our Homes Faces Off With US Marshals in Washington

Occupy Our Homes engaged in a dramatic faceoff this morning with US Marshals and local police in northeast Washington D.C., less than a mile from the US Capitol building. About thirty Occupiers arrived at the home of Dawn Butler around 8 am, in the 900 block of Maryland Ave NE, to block a looming eviction—and what followed left one Occupier and one US Marshal in the hospital.

Butler doesn’t own the home, but has rented it since 2006. Her landlord fell behind on her mortgage payments while sick with cancer, and the property was foreclosed on—but D.C. law says tenants have the first right of purchase on a home where the landlord loses the title. Butler claims she has repeatedly tried to buy the home but has been repeatedly ignored or thwarted by JP Morgan Chase and a local foreclosure firm.

To read about this fracas, and watch the embedded video, please click here