If you only follow the mainstream media, you might not be aware that over the last few months hundreds of thousands of emails have been released via Wikileaks, exposing all sorts of corruption and impropriety. After leaks about Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, the food-obsessed Podesta tweeted about Julian Assange’s diet.
The leak victims, who do not want things like what they said to Goldman Sachs for $675,000 exposed to the public, have accused the Wikileaks founder of being a pedophile and a Russian spy, as well as threatening him with murder.
WikiLeaks sent out some cryptic file hashtags, suggesting a big dump was imminent.
Now nobody knows what happened to Julian; he is missing and feared dead. Ecuador cut off his Internet access temporarily, probably because now that the Internet’s addressing system is controlled by a tax-exempt Silicon Valley company, they can remove entire countries from the Net anytime they choose.
It appears those contingency plans include Burning Man.
One of the files is called burning-man-paul-addis-message-2008.txt. It relates to Burning Man character the late Paul Addis, who burned The Man early on the night of a lunar eclipse and was charged with felony arson. There have long been Internet rumors, dismissed by some as conspiracy theories, that BMorg pressed hard for this to be prosecuted as a felony rather than a misdemeanor. You can read more about the case in our stories Monday is the New Saturday and Getting the Last Word: A Year After His Death, A Burner Speaks His Mind.
Here is the leak in full:
>Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2008 15:30:21 -0700 >Subject: [staff-announce] 2007 Arson Outcome > >By now most of you have probably heard the news that the perpetrator >of the arson at the 2007 Burning Man event has plead guilty to the >crime of second degree arson and has been sentenced to 12-48 months in >jail, and ordered to pay restitution of $25,000 in damages to the >Burning Man Organization. Often times the news media doesn't always >give the full backstory, so we're sending additional information to >our staff because we believe that all of you who were affected by the >arson have a right to know the full story. Plus, every one of us is a >representative of the Project, and we sometimes find ourselves being >asked questions within the community about the organization's position >on issues like this one. In fact, some members of the staff have >already asked a few questions about Burning Man's role in the arson, >so we're going to address them here. Please note that this email is >being sent to staff only, and staff policies prevent cutting and >pasting work emails to other online forums. But, feel free to >communicate the information contained in this email should others in >the community inquire about the Organization's take on the outcome. > >Q: What was the Burning Man Organization's role in the prosecution of >the defendant? > >A: The defendant was arrested by the Pershing County Sheriff's Office >and faced charges in Nevada for First Degree Arson, Destruction of >Property and Illegal Fireworks. The prosecutor had a choice to bring a >full-blown trial and seek the maximum penalties for all of these >charges, or to accept a plea-bargain for a reduced crime with a lesser >sentence. The prosecutor advised the Burning Man Organization that he >believed a plea-bargain would be the best choice for all parties >involved--the state, the defendant and the victim. In the interests >of justice and fairness, the Burning Man Organization agreed with the >prosecutor that a lesser charge and a lighter sentence would be better >for everyone, including the defendant. > > >Q: What would have happened if the defendant had demanded a trial >instead of plea-bargaining? > >A: The defendant could have been sentenced to nine years in jail for >first-degree arson. > > >Q: Could Burning Man have refused to press charges or refused to turn >over receipts to the prosecution? > >A: Part of putting on the Burning Man event means maintaining good >relations with Pershing County so that we can continue to have the >Burning Man event on BLM land within that county. Good relations >means cooperating with criminal prosecutions. Refusing to press >charges for a felony arson that threatened human life would not bode >well with the government and law enforcement agencies in Nevada that >support our event. Nor would it bode well with the participants and >staff who could have been seriously injured or killed by this crime. >Plus, if the Organization had not submitted receipts the prosecution >would have subpoenaed them anyway. Finally, there was enough evidence >against the defendant for the County to prosecute without Burning Man >pressing charges. > > >Q: How did the Organization compute the restitution costs? > >A: Once the prosecutor requested the information, the Accounting >Department compiled documentation of the following costs: lumber, >hardware, burlap, wax, fabric, neon, labor, fuel, meals, delivery >charges and heavy equipment use. Because some receipts were not >available, the Organization relied on the costs for the first build as >evidence of what the costs of the second build were. Of all the >receipts that were available the total came to a little over $30,000. >Based on the evidence submitted by the prosecution, as well as the >good points raised by the defendant's counsel, the Court felt that >$25,000 was a fair and reasonable amount. > > >Q: What about the cost of the artwork under the Pavilion that was >never exhibited due to the crime? > >A: The total cost of the art grants and the wages of the staff who >worked so hard to get the projects on playa came to an additional >$42,000 in documented costs. However, criminal restitution only >covers materials that were actually lost. To recover these additional >costs would require bringing a civil suit for destruction of property. > > >Q: Is the Burning Man Organization going to pursue a civil suit >against the defendant for the additional costs that were not recovered >in the criminal sentencing? > >A: No. The Organization feels that the defendant's plea bargain is a >fair and just outcome for all parties involved. > > >Q: So, how does the Organization feel about the sentence? > >A: An organization does not have feelings, of course - only the >individual people within it do. Like all of you, and the rest of the >community, the staff and the board were diversely affected by the >premature burn, and each of us has our own human response to the >outcome. Not one of us can speak for what everyone around here feels >now that this chapter of our history ends, but we can say that we're >uniformly glad to have this crime behind us, and we're looking forward >to burning the Man together in 2008. > > >Ray Allen >Executive Project Manager >Black Rock City, LLC >1900 Third Street >San Francisco, CA 94158-2502 >(415) 865-3800 x137 >firstname.lastname@example.org > >"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming >attractions."--Albert Einstein >_______________________________________________ >staff-announce mailing list >email@example.com
[Update 10/19/16 3:33pm]
ZeroHedge was confused about this leak.
Tune in to Ed’s show Friday 5pm PST to hear more about the WikiLeaks.
The Burning Man information in WikiLeaks may have been available for years, but AFAIK it has never been covered by alt- or official- or social- media before. This leak is brand new to our community. Is Assange a Burner?
The email is from anthropologist-attorney Ray Allen, who first attended Burning Man for Hellco and became the organization’s in-house legal counsel in 2004. He is giving secret “talking points” to their mailing list of employees and volunteer insiders. They specifically ask anyone reading it to not cut and paste anything from it online, but to use the information (conveniently presented in Q & A format) to answer any questions from Burners. Sorry BMorg, Wikileaks over-rode that.
There are some interesting comments in the leak, for those who have followed the details of this case.
- “an organization does not have feelings” – a rare glimpse behind the curtain, revelaing the true feelings of this organization. It is heartless and Satanic, a corporation of many faces and few masters. It will live forever without paying tax, and can never go to jail. You voluntarily assume the risk of serious injury or death with your money . And it always wants more of your money. It doesn’t care about your feelings, it doesn’t care about the Ten Principles, it just doesn’t care. About anything or anyone.
- “heavy equipment use” is ironic when they are the ones with the heavy equipment. So this is an internal charge.
- “meals”? “fuel”? This should be about the cost of the things that were damaged. This is shows that they were trying to pile on everything they could think of to make the costs higher.
- they say that the prosecution would have subpoena’d the receipts from them anyway. This is speculation, there is no guarantee that this was true. Even if it were, the prosecution may well have asked for receipts revelant to the crime like “timber” and “labor”, and not the “cost of the first build” expenses like “meals” and “fuel”. The choice to pile everything on seems quite clearly to be on the side of the org, not Pershing County.
- there was another $42,000 of potential damages that they couldn’t sue for because there was no actual damage. Umm, what?
- the email to staff gives wording to make it sound like BMorg were being gracious by not pursuing an additional civil suit. In fact, for them to be plaintiffs in a civil suit would be a different beast entirely. They would have to commit to the legal costs, in the hope that they would win, and that the defendant would then be able to pay. It is quite likely that a trial would have cost a lot more than the damages, particularly given what BMorg likes to spend on lawyers. In the criminal case, the prosecution would have to convince the jury that he did it (everybody knew he did it), and a judge whether the appropriate punishment was a felony or a misdemeanor. In the civil case, BMorg as plaintiff would have to justify every one of these costs. And the defendant would have had the right to subpoena information from them, too.
- They mention a few times the participants and staff that could have been killed or seriously injured by this crime. The perpetrator deliberately did it at a time of the event when few people were around, and the fire would be immediately seen and extinguished. Tuesday nights in 2007 were not like Tuesday nights in 2016. I was there, and in bed, because there was not very much even open in Black Rock City. Playing to fears of “the tragedy that could have been” is “war on terror”-style propaganda. In fact, nobody was harmed in any way by this Cacophonist prank, that got Burning Man media coverage all around the world – it would be easy to emphasize this, too. Meanwhile many participants are killed or seriously injured at Burning Man, every year.