“It Wasn’t Me, It Was The Neighbors” – Satya Yuga Defense Begins

So far, Satya Yuga Collective founder Derrick Ion has not been charged with any crime in relation to the so-called “Oakland Ghost Ship Fire” which killed 36 people at the beginning of December. Nobody else has been charged either, and so far there is no evidence of arson. The various authorities have not yet concluded their investigation.

$200 million of civil suits have been filed against 9 people by families of the victims.

re-blogged from The Daily Californian:

The family members of two victims who perished in the Oakland warehouse fire Dec. 2, including UC Berkeley alumnus Griffin Madden, filed civil lawsuits in Alameda County Superior Court on Friday against several people associated with the “Ghost Ship” warehouse.

One lawsuit was filed on behalf of 23-year-old Madden, as first reported by KTVU, and another was filed on behalf of Michela Gregory, a 20-year-old San Francisco State University student who died clutching her boyfriend, Alex Vega. These are the first known suits filed in connection with the Oakland fire, according to the East Bay Times.

The suit filed by Madden’s parents, Michael and Catherine Madden, alleges that the defendants were negligent with regards to the safety conditions of the “Ghost Ship” warehouse and are liable for Madden’s death. It also alleges that the defendants did not obtain permits to convert the warehouse into a residential or public event space.

Nine defendants are listed in the suit, including Chor Nar Siu Ng, the owner of the warehouse; her daughter Eva Ng; warehouse managers Derick Ion Almena and Micah Allison; and warehouse lessors Daniel Lopez and Omar Vega. Joel Shanahan, the performer at the warehouse the night of the fire, known most commonly by the stage name Golden Donna; Jon Hrabko, who organized and promoted the event; and Los Angeles record label 100% Silk were also listed as defendants in the suit.

The Maddens are being represented by Mary Alexander & Associates, a San Francisco law firm. In their suit, the Maddens demanded a trial by jury…Ng has hired attorney Keith Bremer from the firm Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara to represent her, while Almena is being represented by attorney Tony Serra…

“Said defendants had mandatory and nondelegable duties to inspect and maintain said property in a safe and usable condition, and to repair any dangerous or unsafe conditions,” the lawsuit states. “Each of them, were somehow negligent or otherwise responsible for the injuries and death of Griffin Madden and the damages alleged herein.” You can be easily recover from injuries with the use of the best inversion table for therapy there is.

The suit calls the warehouse a “death trap,” alleging that it was poorly constructed and lacked a safe and accessible exit, as well as adequate fire-safety measures…

[Source]

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Attack Is The Best Form Of Defense

A 2015 mug shot of Derrick Ion Almena. Source: LA Times

A 2015 booking photo of Derrick Ion Almena. Source: Glendale Police Department via LA Times

In a two-pronged attack, this week the defense team released to the media a report from an anonymous “expert” suggesting neighboring properties, government agencies, and P G & E could have been at fault for the blaze; and at the same time, Micah Allison (Mrs Ion) took to the stage at a city council meeting to say how sorry they were and they wish that something could have been done sooner and she needs a house.

They got a crack lawyer who has represented the cream of the crop of Bay Area ruffians: the Black Panthers, the Hell’s Angels, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and Shrimp Boy. Describing the defense team leader Tony Serra as a “firebrand attorney” is perhaps in poor taste, LA Times. He seems to be earning his money, as the defense have come up with what seems like an attempt to create reasonable doubt in the minds of a jury: the fire didn’t even begin on his property, and he wasn’t even there, so how can he be culpable in any way?

On Monday, Almena’s lawyers said they had conducted their own inquiry into the fire. “Our investigation shows that Derick Almena committed no conduct amounting to criminal negligence

[Source: LA Times]

Hey, if his defense attorneys say he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it…right?

YMMV on whose fault it was that the junk piled up around the idols and altars, that staircases were constructed from wooden pallets, that 20+ people were residential sublet tenants, or that it was not a licensed venue for occult trance rituals all-night dance parties with DJs and live fire performances.


Micah On The Mic

Micah Allison, the wife of Derrick Ion Almena, spoke publicly for the first time at a special meeting in Oakland on January 23.

She complained about unfair treatment from neighbors and the media, and that more had not been done earlier by the council – because now she and her husband have to carry a heavy weight on their shoulders.

She turned up at a special meeting of the City Council on Monday, where legislators were considering several proposals aimed at shoring up tenant protections and providing an emergency moratorium on evictions from unpermitted live/work spaces that spiked in the wake of the deadly blaze.

“The main thing I wanted to say is how sorry I am for what happened on Dec. 2,” Allison said, before thanking the activists and organizers at the meeting. “I wish that more had been done before because we carry a really heavy weight on our shoulders right now.”

But Allison spent the majority of her time at the podium decrying the treatment she said her family has received from the media and former neighbors, who she claimed thwarted a recent attempt to move back into an Oakland house where they had lived previously.

“It’s been pretty terrible what they’ve done to my family,” Allison said, speaking about media reports.

She continued, describing a former landlord who offered to let them stay in exchange for replacing windows and painting the older home.

“The neighbors, who were my friends during the entire time I lived in that house before, got wind that we were going to move back into the house because our landlord really loved us and wanted to help our family,” she said. “In a couple hours, or over a 24-hour period, they contacted the landlord and said that if they let us move back into the house that they would cause a lot of trouble for him over his house.”

The deal would have allowed the family some stability to enable them to “start changing this narrative that’s gone out about Satya Yuga, the Ghost Ship, my family, my husband, myself,” she said, referring to the art collective occupying the warehouse

Allison expressed frustration about trying to find a stable place to live while keeping her three children in their Fruitvale-area schools.

In order to keep my kids in school, I need a house,” she said

[Source: East Bay Times]

A house for the kids would have been a great idea, rather than a venue for underground raves all night DJ parties. 36 people including one minor might still be alive if that had occurred to them earlier. But is this really the City Council’s problem? They should be investigating this woman, not giving her a house. Her desire to “start changing this narrative” emerged the same day the defense team released their report. This act may have been more strategic than spontaneous.

Here is the anonymous expert report being used by the Defense team. It seems long on speculation and short on actual evidence.

A good report on the report from Matthias Gafni and Katrina Cameron at the San Jose Mercury News:

OAKLAND — The defense team for Derick Almena released a report Monday alleging that the deadly fire that killed 36 people last year started not in the now infamous Ghost Ship artists collective, but rather in an adjacent building.

In a 10-page report released Monday, prepared by an unnamed investigator hired by Almena’s defense team, also pointed the finger at PG&E for inadequate electrical inputs into the building. Almena’s attorneys argue the findings should relieve their client of any criminal liability. It is not the first time that Almena’s lawyers have sought to deflect blame from their client: last month they said government agencies were at fault.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has been investigating Almena, who was the master tenant at the Fruitvale warehouse, and others for possible criminal charges in the Dec. 2 blaze. The office declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation. But an expert who reviewed the evidence offered by Almena’s legal team, was not convinced.

The report, which cites various photos of the buildings on the 1300 block of 31st Avenue from street level and above, raises questions about how electricity was delivered to the warehouse and adjacent buildings. It has various conclusions, including that “there must have been enough heat PRIOR TO the entry into Ghost Ship section for fire to occur.”

“The defense team for Derick Ion Almena has received a reliable scientific report … indicating that the origin of the fire was at the building adjacent to the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse,” attorneys Jeffrey Krasnoff, Kyndra Miller and Tony Serra wrote in a statement. “Such should reasonably foreclose any criminal negligence charges against Mr. Almena. Recall that the ATF could not conclude where the fire originated. The reasonable doubt here is overwhelming.”

Dan Rapperport, a fire and explosion investigator and president of Rapperport Associates, reviewed the report and found the theory that the fire started next door a “stretch.”

They did not offer compelling evidence to me, as a fire investigator, that the origin of the fire started outside the Ghost Ship space,” he said in a phone interview. It is not surprising that the massive fire would create roof and other fire damage on adjacent buildings, he said.

However, Rapperport said, the report makes a valid point that PG&E’s conductors from outer power poles may have been undersized. The photos show “undersized wiring” leading into the building, meaning the PG&E capacity for electrical current from outside could have been below the inside capacity of the Ghost Ship wiring, he said. That could have led to overloaded wiring which could cause a short or ignite a fire, however that doesn’t mean PG&E is necessarily to blame, he added.

“There’s legacy wiring going into the place and if they’re using more power than PG&E ever anticipated, it’s up to the user to call PG&E to say I need more power,” Rapperport said.

Tamar Sarkissian, a PG&E spokeswoman, said records over the last decade-plus show no reports of “electric theft or any other anomaly from this location or the adjacent premises. We will await the findings of the official investigation.”

Sources have told this newspaper that the cause of the fire inside the warehouse art collective was overloaded electrical lines at the rear of the structure.

The Ghost Ship’s power sources — an ad hoc network of extension cords stretched through a maze of small dwelling units and studios — all fed from one line coming through a hole punched in the wall to a neighboring business, a person familiar with the wiring has said. The sources did not mention the fire started outside the warehouse.

Criminal defense attorney Dan Horowitz said Almena’s defense team are creating a jury defense to “humanize” their client.

Make him sad, sorry and pathetic. Have a cause that blames someone else ‘scientifically’. Then ignore the fact that the place was an illegal electrical nightmare and an accident waiting to happen,” he said. “Let’s say the fire came from the sky. A lightning bolt. Sprinklers, exit doors, clear pathways and the hellish death of dozens would have been avoided.”

A spokeswoman with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, some other tobacco procuts from https://www.superiorvapour.com/collections/mod and Firearms declined to comment Monday on specifics, saying the Oakland Fire Department final report has not been completed.

In a statement late Monday, Karen Boyd, Oakland’s communications director, said that the ATF and the Oakland Fire Department are “collaborating on a comprehensive investigation of the 31st Avenue warehouse fire. The investigation will yield a report that addresses the cause and origin of the fire. That report will be forwarded to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office as part of the ongoing criminal investigation. It’s premature to speculate about the origin of the fire until all investigations are complete.”

Almena’s defense team declined to name the author of their report, but said he was an expert “qualified by both education and experience.”

[Source: Mercury News]

The witness account of the wiring coming through the wall conflicts with the images in the report, taken from the outside of the building.


Show Me The Money

Almost a million dollars was raised in a crowdfunding appeal for the victims, and now almost 2 months after the fire $0 from that has been handed out to them. The charity that took the money, Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, is deeply in bed with the Burning Man Project, which may explain the redistribution inefficiency. Money donated via the Oakland A’s, Raiders, and Warriors was distributed in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

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From the Gray Area January 25 2017 press release:

“The first phase of allocations for the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts’ Fund —set up as an immediate response to the Ghostship tragedy—have been reviewed by a research committee and program managers and approved by the Gray Area Board of Directors. As of January 25, 2017, 136 intake forms have been qualified. Documentation will be requested, and funds will be dispersed immediately upon receipt of qualification documentation.

To fully allocate the second phase of funds, Gray Area still needs those who may qualify to submit the required intake form. The form has been available since December 7, 2016, via the foundation’s site at http://grayarea.org/initiative/fire-relief-fund/. The deadline to complete an intake form has been established as March 7, 2017 (90 days from the publishing date).

In other words, coming soon.

Intake forms: the new burner profile? The whole process rhymes with Burning Man, that’s for sure.

Josette Melchor, Executive Director and Founder of Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, has been on the advisory board for the Burning Man Project since January 2012. In 2010 they received an Honorarium grant for Syzygryd, an art project for “Interpretive Arson”. Gray Area Chairman Peter Hirshberg wrote about Burning Man re-inventing money and governance in the recent book From Bitcoin To Burning Man And Beyond (worth a read).

Melchor didn’t waste any time getting the money after the tragedy:

“Every penny that is donated here should go to the fire victims’ funeral expenses, medical expenses and health-related expenses,” said Josette Melchor, founder of Gray Area Foundation for The Arts. Melchor spoke for the group intent on helping victims the Monday after the fire.

That’s our priority first and foremost,” she said.

[Source: NBC Bay Area]

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She has a funny take on the meaning of “priority”. Hate to break it to you Josette, but people who need financial help for funerals need that in days after the death, not months. The same goes for people who have lost their home and all worldly possessions. I would imagine that was in the mind of any donor in the week or two  following the tragedy.
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Amazing how this organization was able to mobilize to rapidly that they were speaking to the press the Monday after the fire, and yet 2 months later still can’t figure out who the 36 victims were.
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NBC reports:

“Why is it taking so long?” asked Carmen Brito, a former resident of the Ghost Ship. “They know what we’re dealing with. They know we lost our home. They know we lost everything.”

Brito said she, as well as others who spoke with NBC Bay Area but declined to be identified, are in need of help. They say they received cash assistance hours after the fire from the Red Cross, which distributed money from a different fund led by the A’s, Warriors and Raiders.

But the Gray Area foundation has provided them no money.

“They kinda just didn’t seem to get it,” she said.

That surprised us. Because in December, Melchor, the Gray Area founder, said she was enlisting the Red Cross to help manage the fund.

“This is what they do. They’re good at it,” she said. “We’re not going to reinvent the wheel.”

But the Red Cross says Gray Area opted to manage the fund itself, on its own schedule.

“I would like to have seen an immediate handout,” Steele said.

NBC Bay Area has been asking Gray Area for information for weeks. On Thursday, the founder agreed to a follow-up interview. She confirmed that all the money is sitting idle in a bank account.

 “We haven’t spent a dime,” Melchor said.

Melchor said she has heard people’s concerns but assures them that Gray Area is beginning to approve applications.

“Eventually, they will be getting a check, in the next days to weeks,” she said. “So, to a certain point, I think they’ll begin to be thankful. And I think most people are thankful. They are just a few vocal people who are speaking out.”

As for why it’s taken close to two months, Melchor attributed the delays to getting records from the city and the coroner, which she says the Red Cross had immediate access to.

“There was just a huge hold up in us getting the information that we needed to serve the people that were affected,” she explained.

Our research found another hiccup: a call from the Attorney General’s Office.

Records we retrieved show the state sent Gray Area three different delinquency letters in 2016 for failing to file financial records. One notice, from August, warned of the state’s “intent to suspend or revoke” its registration as a charity.

Melchor told us Gray Area was unaware of the letters until late December – in the middle of fundraising – when the Attorney General’s Office called.

 “We cleared that up within 72 hours of the phone call with the Attorney General,” she said. “So, that is completely a non-issue.”

Not everyone agrees.

“That’s really a bad sign,” said Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, which scrutinizes and rates nonprofit organizations. Borochoff reviewed Gray Area’s filings as well as its online fundraiser.  

He asked: “If the group can’t even get it together to get their finances reported, their basic public disclosure documents provided to the state of California and the IRS, then how can they be expected to get it together to get this huge quick influx of funds to the needed victims?”

Borochoff questioned Gray Area’s decision to administer the fund.

“There are certainly groups in the Bay Area that are better equipped and have the experience to handle a disaster such as this warehouse fire,” he said.

Melchor said her group’s recent budget exceeds the balance of $901,000 relief fund, so it is capable of handling that much money. 

The victims and donors we talked to told us they just want Gray Area to distribute the money with the same urgency that the sympathetic public donated it.

“I don’t think anybody who gave money was like, ‘Yes I want this money to sit in a bank account of a foundation that’s dragging its feet.’” Brito said.

Steele agreed.

“I understand that it’s a difficult process. It’s a difficult process to weed out. But there’s got to be a way to make it happen faster,” Steele said.

Gray Area is still collecting donations. It has increased its fundraising goal several times and says it will continue to up its target

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Now that Gray Area got all the information they were waiting for, checks will be going out within days or weeks. How many checks are they writing? Surely 36 checks can be written in one hour. Two if you’re slow; not weeks.
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They’re still in the process of figuring out what they’re going to do with all the money. The good news is that they have formed a committee of “5 to 6” people. If the committee can’t even decide how many members it has, it’s probably not going to be super-hasty on all the other decisions. It seems that some of the Bay Area Burner spaces might end up with the cash, rather than the immediate victims:
they are in the process of determining whether to distribute the funds to just displaced residents and victims’ families, or to a larger swath of people impacted by the fire, including DIY spaces that need support making fire-safety improvements to their spaces.
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Hiding In The Shadows

 la-me-oakland-fire-20161203-photos
Another video has surfaced on YouTube purportedly showing these people indulging in bizarre, occult behavior. Derrick Almena is not visible, but (allegedly) his voice can be heard. He is one of the adults in the skull mask seeming to terrorize the child. YouTube comments identify the man whose face is shown as Michael Allison, Micah’s father.

Is it really them? Hard for me to say either way, but it would be an awful lot of trouble to go to just to troll somebody that is potentially under police and ATF investigation. The claims of drug and sex parties were also made in the Daily Mail. I couldn’t find Micah Allison on Etsy but they do sell voodoo dolls.

Image: Daily Mail

Michael Allison, Micah’s father. Image: Daily Mail

Occult Evidence In Satya Yuga Fire [Updates]

[Update 12/15/16 1:49pm]
[Update 12/14/16 4:04pm]
[Update 12/14/16]

It seems my earlier post Resident of Oakland Firetrap Blames Burning Man Crowd has stirred up a lot of controversy on Facebook today. Some suggested that these people were not even Burners; see below for my response on that. We had trolls threatening violence and all kinds of SJW outrage because I dared to post something from breitbart.com – who wrote the headline about Burning Man.

The people have spoken, Trump is the President. Get used to it. Fake news is a psyop, it’s not working any more. Only a fool would automatically believe anything on CNN, and automatically disbelieve anything on Breitbart or Infowars. Everyone else has the Internet, 90% realize the media is lying to them. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but we’re still there – Obama just sent even more troops. What, is Iraq threatening us? Or maybe it’s still full of oil. People on both the left and the right have outrageous opinions, that’s part of it. Fact check everything for yourself. Click the links here to go to original sources for all the information, and please do us the courtesy of reading our posts before you comment on them.

I have tried to provide the most comprehensive coverage on the Web of this terrible tragedy since I found out about it less than 8 hours after it happened. If anyone has done better, please let us know and we’ll link to it. We have brought you the facts from mainstream media outlets around the world and directly from eyewitnesses. Terry Gotham has shared his analysis and opinion, and so have I; we don’t have exactly the same opinions, but we are both bringing you the truth as best we can.

I have no idea what caused this fire, whose fault it was, if it was an accident or if it was something else. It seems like the place was not permitted for residents or all night music events.

One thing I do know a lot about is the occult, and I see many, many indicators of it here. We have eyewitnesses talking about “dark energy”, we have photographs of half-naked teenagers and children living in a temple to the god of destruction where they throw all-night dance parties. We have the builder of this temple talking about his family legacy of “Santaria and Palo Monte and killing” – and now 36 people are dead. Palo is “the world’s most powerful and feared form of black magic”, they are into grave robbing and using the remains of the dead in ceremonies.

Don’t take my word for it, read his posts and see for yourself. Much of the most relevant information has now been taken down from the Internet, but I managed to capture some of the black magick elements. I really think this needs to be fully investigated. I know the police are busy, I hope someone is looking into all aspects of this. I share the evidence I collected in case it might help.

Here’s the latest from the New York Times (today):

Investigators have not figured out how the fire erupted, but no evidence has suggested arson, they say. Scrutiny has centered on a possible electrical source. On Friday, officials ruled out an appliance that had seemed a likely culprit: a faulty refrigerator.

Jake Jacobitz, who did electrical work at the warehouse, told East Bay Times that all of the structure’s power came from a single line threaded through a wall. Electrical breakers blew out frequently, he said.

The authorities have warned we may never know for certain what caused the Dec. 2 blaze.

The owner: Chor Nar Siu Ng, the warehouse owner since 1988, has not been heard from.

Examining city records, The Times’s Julie Turkewitz learned that Ms. Ng owns a number of properties in Oakland and has been fined in the past for “nuisance or substandard or hazardous or injurious” conditions.

Several people who have stayed at the Ghost Ship said Ms. Ng had visited the warehouse, which was not permitted for residents. But it was unclear if she knew what was going on inside.

The master tenants: Derick Ion Almena and his wife, Micah Allison, who ran the Ghost Ship, have also avoided the public eye. Friends, associates and former tenants speaking in the news media have variously depicted the couple as misunderstood or manipulative.

In an anguished interview on “Today” last week, Mr. Almena was asked whether he should be held accountable. “Should I be held accountable?” he said. “I can barely stand here right now.”

[Source]

They also have analysis of how the layout of the “maze” was so deadly.

There is some discussion that this whole event was another crisis actor synthetic event. I don’t believe that to be the case, but I haven’t looked into it yet. I will, and if I find anything credible I will comment further. I have confirmation that people are really dead from channels other than the mainstream media (aka state-sponsored propaganda Fake News).

Here is video of an occult fire ritual going on inside the premises. The theme is Viva Muerta – “Living Dead”.

Below are screenshots I took on my phone as I was looking through the Facebook pages of Derick Ion, Micah Allison, and Satya Yuga collective. I wish I had saved more, I kept only the seriously creepy stuff. They are in no particular order.

This evidence needs to be considered.

They talk about the Phoenix, initiation into circles, his family legacy of Santaria and killing (black magick involving blood sacrifice), Shiva the God of Destruction, what people should write to the Child Protective Services agent about them, Burning Man, drugs…all kinds of stuff. If you have a bunch of Facebook friends who have a lot of this type of content on their wall, GFTO is my advice, FWIW.

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This kid is 17. Not sure if he is one of the minors who perished in the fire.

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“poisoning our community of witches”…”generations steeped in…Santaria and killing”

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2016-12-03-19-24-26 2016-12-03-19-24-20 2016-12-03-19-24-16 2016-12-03-19-24-11  2016-12-03-19-23-58 2016-12-03-19-21-34   2016-12-03-19-19-53 2016-12-03-19-19-33 2016-12-03-19-18-47 2016-12-03-19-18-33 2016-12-03-19-18-17 2016-12-03-19-18-10 2016-12-03-19-17-21 2016-12-03-19-15-56  2016-12-03-19-14-12 2016-12-03-19-14-46 2016-12-03-19-13-03 2016-12-03-19-12-37 2016-12-03-19-11-34 2016-12-03-19-11-28   2016-12-03-19-10-00 2016-12-03-19-08-44 2016-12-03-19-07-40

This is one of his Burning Man rants. He talks about a coven of vampires, crimson as the lords sons tortured blood, the devil, and so on:

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[Update 12/14/16 8:15am]

It seems Micah Allison’s Facebook page is still up. She shared a post in which Derick describes their vision for ghost ship as a “fucking vanguard chalice temple hideout bomb shelter of the soul” and “the true crossroads of culture and revolution”. He also talks about the “black pyramid of death” and says “I am Derick Ion the baby killer”. Note the comments linking the stairs and his brother’s burnt body.

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“I am Derick Ion the Baby Killer”

This Paradox Pollack video filmed at Satya Yuga was pulled from the Internet, but is now back. They appear to be using drugs in front of children, and there is talk of growing marijuana – which could explain the unusual electrical setup at the site. When he says “the gods”, he points to the Altar of Skulls behind him. He talks about “the old days of Burning Man” at 6:30:

Sparkuhl shared their story of a violent/criminal run-in with Derick Almena that was reported to the police, apparently not the only such complaint:

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

The “Gom Jabbar” is from Frank Herbert’s Dune Series:

The Gom Jabbar, also known as “the high handed enemy”, was a meta-cyanide poisoned needle that sat upon a thimble, and could thus be attached to a person’s fingertip.

All the noble houses kept a Gom Jabbar of some sort, and used it to dispose of rivals and enemies…The gom jabbar test would be to determine whether an individual’s awareness was stronger than their instincts. If their awareness of the gom jabbar’s presence was strong enough, it would override their instincts to withdraw from the test, which usually involved great physical pain.

The origins of the device itself are not clear. Indeed, the origins of its name are also debatable. The first word, “Gom”, could stem from the ancient acronym “GOM”, which stood for “God’s Own Medicine”, and was often used in the context of a drug (particularly opium) or biological chemical on ancient Earth. The second part “Jabbar” comes clearly from the ancient Arabic word jabbār, meaning to use coercion to force something.

[Source]

“Particularly opium”. The needle used by the high houses.

 


Some of the mainstream media outlets have been speaking to family and friends of the couple, who personally confirm the dark and twisted picture painted by all the skulls and rants.

KRON4 News:

“Honestly, I don’t think he is capable of feeling any kind of remorse or guilt,” said Allison’s father, Michael Allison of Portland, Oregon. “I’ve never seen him ever really care about anyone else.”

He described the couple as users of methamphetamine, heroin and crack and said their three young children were taken away from them by social service authorities for several months beginning last year. The youngsters were found hungry, infested with lice and ill-clothed, he said.

Michael Allison recalled Almena and Micah overcome with laughter once when they told of a fire-breather accidentally setting himself on fire at one of their many parties at the building, which was widely known as the Ghost Ship.

Almena “surrounds himself with people who are going to treat him like he’s some sort of guru,” said Danielle Boudreaux, who said she was a friend of the couple for eight years. “He enjoyed having minions around to do his tasks for him and help build this great — he thinks he’s building this artistic empire.”

[Source]

SF Chronicle:

“Derick is manipulative, mean, scary,” said Shelley Mack, who in 2014 and 2015 rented one of the trailers that contributed to the end-to-end clutter of artists’ studios and living spaces in the warehouse. “He ran a death trap with bad wiring, fire danger, too much stuff everywhere, and then he threatened everybody who spoke up on anything.

“It was a horror house there, and he’s the reason for it.”

Almena and Allison met through mutual friends, spent time in the Los Angeles area and traveled the world together. After Allison became pregnant with the couple’s first child in the early 2000s, they moved to Mendocino County, where Almena ran a thriving marijuana farm in the Willits area until he got into some kind of dispute and left.

A May post on Allison’s Facebook page presumably describes the vision for the Ghost Ship. Photo: Screen Shoot, Facebook

A May post on Allison’s Facebook page presumably describes the vision for the Ghost Ship. Photo: Screen Shot, Facebook

Derick got run out of Mendocino,” said an artist who has been a friend of Allison’s since the 1990s. “He has a way of pissing people off.” The artist briefly lived at the Ghost Ship, but had a falling-out with the couple over business issues more than a year ago. Like many who ran afoul of the Almena circle, he doesn’t want to be named for fear of being hounded on social media, or worse.

“Derick can be a decent person and build community,” the artist said. “But his response to everything after a while is to yell and scream. He’s incredibly insecure. He doesn’t know how to run a business. He’s always seducing people with his talk, then abuses them and keeps their money and kicks them out.

“He attracts people who are weak. He checks them out first, people who are kind and weak, then goes about exploiting their desires and weaknesses. He’s a manipulator … very seductive, silver-tongued.”

He worried that Allison was dominated by Almena. “She has a soft spot for dark dudes … and Derick has a dark, dirty vibe about him,” the artist said.

A 47-year-old Sonoma County artist, who asked not to be identified out of fear of retribution from the couple’s supporters, said she considered Almena and Allison to be part of an upper tier of the alternative arts community that controls access to resources such as a place to live, simply by accumulating enough cash to get a lease on a building like the Ghost Ship.

Like many in this small creative community, she knew the couple only peripherally, having once applied to live in a warehouse space they created in San Francisco years ago. She formed a low opinion of them as profiteers who ran what amounted to a cult.

“This cult likes to siphon resources and then play power trips in the community,” she said. “They’re no different than the establishment that they’re fighting. In fact, they’re a little more voracious.”

SFist:

a number of [his friends] paint a picture of an arguably cult-y, charismatic manipulator with a “dark” side that may have grown darker in recent years. 

Neither Almena nor Allison appear to have been making a living in the arts, with Almena formerly practicing photography and describing himself lately as a “realms creator,” with the Ghost Ship space his primary piece of work, apparently begun in 2013. Allison apparently “danced, taught archery and ‘created art through everything she touched,'” according to one friend speaking to the Chronicle, but it does not appear she necessarily made any art. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the couple’s primary source of income was the rent they collected from subtenants in the space, which reportedly would range from $500 to $1000 per month…

…friend Zippy Lomax, a fellow photographer who says she was a great admirer of Almena’s work and has known him for twenty years, wrote this blog post earlier this week advocating for compassion. “Regardless what his track-record has been… he is still a human being, however lost we may have believed him to be,” she writes. “As a community, I believe we abandoned him long ago. We chose to stand disapprovingly at the edges, to judge his conduct from the sidelines, without daring to face the deeper issues that seeded his unfavorable demeanor.”

She and another friend of Almena and Allison’s who commented on that post speak vaguely of these “deeper issues” without being specific. Striking an angrier tone, a woman named Ariana writes, “I did my best in trying to save [Derick and Micah] from themselves, which was entirely what it was. Micah only wanted the help if Derick wanted the help and he was in complete denial that there was a even problem.” And she suggests that she was retaliated against by her former friends after some attempt to intervene in their lives. “I was not only blamed, I was threatened,” she says, “My family was threatened and he made up stories that people genuinely considered possible, he has done wrong by so many people, that is blunt truth. D had his swords out against the world, it was him vs everyone, even those who wanted to help.”

allison-photo.jpg
A recent photo inside the Ghost Ship by Micah Allison, posted to Facebook.

…former tenant Shelly Mack [said] “He was always selling this bullshit spirituality. That’s his schtick.” Indeed the Ghost Ship space was decorated with an eclectic mix of objects from various spiritual traditions, including Balinese statues, Hindu swastikas, and painted skulls a la Dia de los Muertos. 

…what the hell did Almena mean when, this past summer, he posted to Facebook, “I am the thriller love child of Manson, Pol Pot and Hitler“? He was perhaps referring to past or recent drug use and mandatory drug testing by Child Protective Services when he wrote, “Addictions never admitted armed me as revolutionary… as long as i seek help and healing, have current registration, pay my insurance, piss in a cup twice weekly … i can proverbally (sic) get away with murder.”

It’s one of multiple “dark and erratic” updates he posted, according to Lomax, and maybe we can read between the lines here about what contributed to this growing darkness…Allison’s father, Almena’s father-in-law, spoke to the Associated Press on Monday and made mention of methamphetamine, crack, and heroin use by the couple. “Honestly, I don’t think he is capable of feeling any kind of remorse or guilt,” said Michael Allison of Portland, Oregon. “I’ve never seen him ever really care about anyone else.” Allison added, perhaps referring to Almena’s influence on his daughter, “[Almena] was able to cast a spell on someone in a weird way that I just do not understand”

…These character analyses are ultimately moot, however — no one is arguing that Almena set out to intentionally harm people, and that is the implication of much of this talk. Discussion of this being a “commune” or “cult” ring false too — these were just die-hard Burners with a clichéd fetish for Eastern religions and an adolescent attitude toward safety.


[Update 12/14/16 4:04pm]

The youngest victim so far was a choir boy who had toured the world and appeared on America’s Got Talent – and the son of a cop.

OAKLAND (KTVU) —  The youngest of the Ghost Ship Warehouse victims so far is being described as a 17 year old boy, the son of an Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy, who was also a gifted singer.

Draven McGill was junior at Ruth Asawa High School of the Arts or SOTA in San Francisco, where friends describe him as the kindest and gentlest person they knew.
Officials at Pacifica Boychoir Academy of Oakland recall McGill as a unique and special boy. He spent five years performing and touring with the prestigious choir and even appeared on the show “America’s Got Talent.”

Photos provided by the Academy show McGill as a young boy as well as more recent photos of the 17 year old while on tour with the group in Sydney Australia.

17-YO victim of Oakland warehouse fire was son of Alameda Co. deputy
On the SOTA campus, the mood was somber. “I literally had class with him on Friday. We were working on our tests together and I said, ‘You know, see you after class!’ And I wasn’t expecting that, you know, that would be the last time I saw him,” said classmate, Caden Nemoff.

Word of McGill’s death spread quickly Saturday night on social media, just one day after the deadly fire that broke out at a party inside a warehouse in Oakland. Authorities say they have pulled 36 bodies from the rubble so far.

“[Draven’s] someone who’s so caring and loving and there’s not a mean or hurtful thing that I can recall him saying…he was just so genuinely nice to everyone,” classmate Cole Sisser said.

“Thinking over it… it was precious time I spent with him and I’d sing next to him,” said Cristian Rivas.

Classmates say McGill mentioned the Ghost Ship party to one friend, explaining that he had received a text message “last minute” which revealed a location for the bash. The friend apparently didn’t feel right about the party for some reason but didn’t dissuade him and now he regrets it.

Grief counselors were on hand today at the tight knit school which serves only 650 students. “As we started to hear news about the possibility [of Draven’s death] over the weekend we actually started to prepare for that this morning, first thing,” said Bill Sanderson, Assistant Superintendent for the SF Unified School District.

Paradox Pollack, the other “artist” in the Precipice Prescience video filmed at Satya Yuga with Derick Ion/Almena, has videos of Burning Man operas from 96,97, and 98 on his YouTube channel. It shows that these people are very much connected to Burning Man, and have been for decades. Download them now before he pulls them too.

 

 

In the “Precipice Prescience” video, Derrick Ion and Paradox Pollock discussed “old Burning Man”. These 3 videos are old Burning Man, it is very much occult as I have been exposing in my Shadow History series. Part 5 has been recorded and is being edited this week.

Here is Paradox Pollack pitching the “everything is one” message.

He says he ran away from home when he was 14,  almost died in a fire, and got involved in an underground cult at a very early age. This gave him the ability to speak different languages and play different characters and assume their shapes, which led him into the circus. I’m not kidding, watch for yourself, that’s just the introduction.

screenshot-2016-12-14-16-18-43

There is no technology more primal than fire, the first technology. Fire is the only one of the four elements that is made by combining others (earth and air).

The UK’s Daily Mail stories says that mind control and “blood rituals” were being done in Satya Yuga.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4010390/Inside-cultish-mind-control-world-Oakland-inferno-warehouse-organizer-tenants-tell-personal-charisma-threats-violence-rituals.html

Details of the sinister and sometimes cult-like atmosphere around the ‘artist’ who ran the Oakland warehouse can be revealed.
Derick Ion Almena was in charge of the illegal enclave, described variously as a collective or a commune, where 36 died in Friday night’s devastating fire.
He is facing a criminal investigation into the lead-up to the fire, which happened in a warehouse filled with junk and where Almena was raising his three children with his wife, Micah Allison.
Now details can be disclosed of the power Almena exercised over those who lived in the space he illegally rented to them, to the extent that one described him as ‘a cult leader’.
Almena, who appeared on NBC’s Today Show on Tuesday in a testy exchange with Matt Lauer in which he ranted about being ‘sorry’ but offered no explanations for the conditions in the warehouse, was accused of using threats of violence to get his way, and being able to flip from charming to threatening in a heartbeat.

He even attempted to take a restraining order out against a tenant who complained about conditions in the warehouse.
The tenant, Shelley Mack, fell out with him in an angry dispute over the unsafe and unsanitary conditions in the ‘commune’.
In return he went to court, documents show that he went to court, alleging that she was illegally squatting at Ghost Ship and had falsely accused him of stealing a car, and also that she ‘repeatedly called CPS [child protective services] on fake accusations’.
Mack told DailyMail.com it was a lie to discredit her and described the strange atmosphere in the venue.
Describing him as a ‘cult leader’ she said Almena threatened her several times and one of his followers pulled a gun on her.
‘It was a cult if you believed what Derick had to say, but I didn’t,’ she said.
‘But there were people who did believe him though. If you didn’t follow him then they would threaten your life, pull guns on you, turn your electricity off.
‘They would block you from the bathroom, call the police and lie and make up reasons for you to get arrested
‘I had one friend in there who was a diabetic and Derick stole his medicine and his truck and kicked him out and called the police.
‘If you didn’t show that you were willing to do whatever he wanted you to do, you were on the out.
 ‘If you didn’t buy in to the way things were run they ostracized you, kicked you out and kept your money and your things.
The Ghost Ship building is littered with statues sinister-looking painted skulls and other religious symbols from Western and Eastern traditions – items collected by Almena and his wife Micah Allison during their travels
‘They would make it incredibly difficult, I had to call the police to get an escort out of there.
‘Derick would say this is a collective, we are building this spiritual, creative world, you had to buy in to that.’

Satya Yuga is a reference to Hindu theology, which sees it as the golden age at the start of time.
There is no evidence Almena was himself practicing the Hindu religion, but he appears to have picked from elements of it in his ‘art’ and his father-in-law had previously told DailyMail.com that he spent lengthy periods in Bali, the majority Hindu Indonesian island.
He wanted you to believe the whole Satya Yuga philosophy, spiritual, lyrical. He was into all this spiritual Yugi, Yogi bulls***,’ she said.
‘It wasn’t a religion but it was a belief. He’d give these big speeches, on and on and on. It was all poetic, a lot of it didn’t make any sense.
‘He would speak in lyrics a lot of the time, he would say we’re a family, we care about each other and we’re living off this vibe in this wonderful, beautiful artistic thing.’
Mack, who lived in the warehouse for four months, leaving in February 2015, said Almena considered himself a Yogi – a person dedicated to yoga practice and the tantra traditions of Hinduism.
Mack said Almena had a close circle of people around him who followed his commands.
‘He provided the appearance of a positive vibe, there was the words and the music and the art. He gave these people a place to stay and a space for their art and their creativity,‘ she said.
We had meetings, he would have his own long dialogue or he would send out three or four pages of texts, stuff that was so bizarre you couldn’t understand half of what he was saying, it was like somebody being on drugs and talking to you.’
Mack says Almena’s wife Micah Allison was always by his side.
Don’t forget his wife, she was there co-signing everything,’ she said.
Allison is self-described as the group’s ‘Mother Superior’ and in a May 2014 Facebook post, she described the Ghost Ship as ‘the true crossroads of culture and revolution in Oakland.’
She added: ‘Within the walls of the most beautiful temple living tribute tied bound nailed erected and held together with love and blood. It is the center of the universe.’
Mack said a man called Max Ohr – nicknamed ‘Warlord’ – was Almena’s right-hand man and would regularly do the leader’s bidding.
She added: ‘Derick would tell him [Max] what to do and he’d do it, he had a devout group around him that still believes in him and is still lying for him.’
It’s believed Ohr, who escaped the blaze on Friday, was running the door for the rave that night.
The violent side of the Almena’s group has also been exposed in court papers and by the testimony of other tenants who lived under Almena’s rule and visitors to the warehouse.

Philippe Lewis said that he rented the Ghost Ship for an event on January 3, 2015, but that Almena demanded extra money for the space.
When he refused to pay more, he says Almena became violent and stole his sound system ‘hiding it in the space.’
During the incident, it was claimed, Almena locked individuals into the converted warehouse and held them captive.
In a petition for a restraining order filed with the Alameda Superior Court, Lewis alleged that Almena threatened him.
‘I’m going to get my gun,’ he allegedly told Lewis, who had seen a box of new bullets while in the property.
He also claims he was attacked, sustained a dislocated shoulder and was kicked in the head by Almena’s henchmen – who assaulted Lewis on their leader’s orders.
He also says claims he saw evidence of a gun and bows and crossbow weapons on the property.
A friend of Lewis’, who asked not to be named, told DailyMail.com: ‘Philippe doesn’t want to have to deal with Almena any more than he has to, they are a violent group. He’s trying to protect his family right now.’
Another man who was at the party for the same dispute wrote in court documents that: ‘I was robbed of my iPhone & Philippe’s property at Derrick’s (sic) direction & beaten by his staff.’
Speaking to DailyMail.com, the man who asked not to be named, said: ‘I was at a party with a friend who had set up an event. I had never been there before.
‘There was an argument over money and Almena tried to beat my friend up and I videoed it on my phone. Almena ordered his people to attack me. They beat me up as well. I called the police but nothing was done.
‘It was very sinister and I spent a lot of time telling people not to go back there.

The man claims Almena made threats after the incident and that’s why he filed a restraining order, which ultimately wasn’t granted.
‘I showed up in court but it didn’t work out,’ he said.

Danielle Boudreaux, who has known Almena and his wife Allison for eight years, said Almena was charismatic and easily influenced those around him.
But she said she saw a ‘change’ in him due to drug use.
‘I knew Derick very well. The drugs made a big change in him. He was always this polar opposite person. One hand could be charming, making you feel you have great ideas, very able to persuade people in that way. There was always this dark vicious side underneath. That was never not present.
‘He was like a cult leader, he has that sort of charisma, draws people in.’
Almena promoted himself as a spiritual man and says on social media he’s a ‘student of the shadows’.
He purported to worship the Hindu gods Shiva and Kali.
In Hinduism our present time is Kali Yuga – ruled over by Kali, the demon who is the source of all evil.

Kali wears a garland of skulls and a skirt of dismembered arms, holds a sword in one hand and a severed head in the other.
The group’s Facebook page – presumably with Almena’s input – displays a drawing of Kali as its profile picture.
‘An unprecedented fusion of earth home bomb bunker helter skelter spelunker shelters and indonesian straw huts rolling into valleys and down alleys,’ is how Satya Yuga describes itself on the social media site.
In fact it was a warehouse near the railtracks, stuffed with junk and violating safety codes.
The Ghost Ship building is also littered with statues of Shiva and Kali and sinister looking painted skulls and other religious symbols from Western and Eastern traditions – items collected by Almena and his wife Micah Allison during their travels.
Shiva – the destroyer – is often depicted with four arms and a serpent around his neck.
The imagery raises questions over exactly what was happening in the building.
In a document seen by DailyMail.com in which Mack logged her grievances as a tenant at the time, she records a complaint about a fellow tenant called Lisa – a woman she says was close to Almena – saying she carried out ‘blood rituals’ in the warehouse.
She wrote: ‘Lisa is complaining about the TV but I’m not coming to you complaining when she is dripping blood in the sitting room after coming back from one of her rituals?’

Blood rituals and animal sacrifice can be used in Hinduism, which Hindus see as a way of honoring the Gods, but it is unclear if this was what ‘Lisa’ was doing. Mack declined to expand on her complaint.

Almena’s response to the fire has included language which suggested he saw himself as a father-figure.
‘They’re my children. They’re my friends, they’re my family, they’re my loves, they’re my future. What else do I have to say,’ he told San Francisco’s KGO-TV.

Investigators said they have told the fire and sheriff’s departments to treat the area as ‘a potential crime scene’. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said Monday her office has just started its probe and has not yet determined whether a crime even occurred.

Source: Daily Mail

 



[Update 12/15/16 1:49pm]

Performer Morgan Sorne has contacted me via Facebook objecting to the use of the word “occult” in relation to their “Viva Muerta” (“Living Dead”) performance:

Morgan Sorne:

…are you serious? Were you there? Those women are Butoh dancers. The theme of the night was to honor the dead. Just because it was named viva muerta doesn’t mean that it was in any way an occult ritual. The only reason I am entertaining this dialogue is because you stand to do some good with your reach and influence. Those people are artists. Derick’s rants were designed to instigate and scare people. You are buying into his joke by reacting as you have in making the post. You are out of your depth and need to do some deeper investigating. I would encourage you to do some reading on the subjects, and if you are truly a burner you are missing a huge point regarding the nature of what the burn represents for people. Do you truly understand what the occult is? I know Derick and his family. He has three beautiful children who are suffering because of the tragedy and those wounds are deepened by posts like the one you made here. If you want a reading list start with books like Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung, Flash of the Spirit by Robert Farris Thompson and Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. Watch Dance of Darkness on YouTube regarding the origins of Butoh in Japan. I don’t know what point you are trying to make with me but I am astounded that you would even try to counter with any argument as you were. Not. There. You are embarrassing yourself. The best thing you could do is to apologize to the public for the post and take it down.

He is talking about two women doing ritual fire dancing with multiple naked flames on their head, inside the junk-filled sprinkler-free premises that burned down killing 36 people. Watch the video, here it is again, you didn’t have to be there to see that this looks pretty dangerous – and quite spooky.

What is Butoh? The New York Times headline says “Dance of Darkness”:

BUTOH IS NOT FOR THE FRAIL. THE AVANT-garde dance form that today is Japan’s most startling cultural export does not aim to charm. Instead, it sets out to assault the senses. The hallmarks of this theater of protest include full body paint (white or dark or gold), near or complete nudity, shaved heads, grotesque costumes, clawed hands, rolled-up eyes and mouths opened in silent screams.

[Source: New York Times]

Nothing occult about the Dance of Darkness and clawed hands and grotesque masks in silent screams, is there? What other dance would one do, in a temple to Shiva the god of destruction?

We’ve discussed Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey mythology and its links to Esalen and the Stanford Research Institute.

Here is the preceding dialog with this DJ, some of which I already posted. They admitted that they did not organize the fire dance performance as part of their act – so how can they claim to know what meaning was in the ritual? They dodge the question about who did direct it (and fund it, assuming artists were getting paid for their art in this collective). Perhaps they are cognizant of the significant liability issues surrounding this disaster, the performance was more than a year ago so nobody is suggeting Morgan Sorne had any responsibility for it. But, occult is occult: you can’t convince me that doing the dance of darkness in front of a bunch of skulls and “alters” to the god of destruction is not an occult ritual. Sorry buddy.

Morgan
I am deeply hurt and offended by the way in which my performance from 2012 at a day of the dead showcase has been used in your post. This video has been abused and misused so many times since the tragic fire. I would appreciate it if you did not share it as a part of whatever agenda you have. To better inform you, the performance was an impromptu collaboration with the artists in that community. I wrote an opera called house of stone which was intended to be an experiential performance where audience and artists could collaborate with me. In no way was this an occult performance. A lot of people in this west coast community have used fire in their art. I personally don’t like it when people use sacred objects from other cultures (as many artists tend to do) as it wasn’t theirs to use in the first place, but I always have an open mind and heart even when the contribution is on the dark side. Without light there is no dark. Without dark there is no light. Artists explore all aspects of the human condition, light and dark with the intention of better understanding the self. Its often misinterpreted and misunderstood but the hope is that we can have an open mind to such dialogues. Your post doesn’t help that dialogue. It feeds a media frenzy. It feeds fear. I would encourage you to better research your source material.
Burners.Me
was your performance called “Viva Muerta”? Who provided the fire dancers?


Morgan

The event was called viva muerta – to honor day of the dead. There was a full line up of Bay Area bands and I was on tour passing through. Those were two belly dancers in the community who asked if they could join me on stage for a song and I always say yes when dancers ask me to join a performance

Tues 08:11

Burners.Me
So the Temple of Shiva provided their own dancers to Shiva.

Day of the dead is “Dia de los Muertos” , not “Viva Muerta”


[Update 12/15/16]

This is from the SF Chronicle, last week:

There is no easy way to untangle the story of Micah Allison from that of Derick Ion Almena — the wife and husband behind the Oakland warehouse art collective that burned down last week in the deadliest fire in the city’s history.

To their friends, that’s because the 17-year bond between “true soulmates” is impossible to break. To Allison’s father, Michael Allison, it’s because spending years under Almena’s dominating and unpredictable personality has corrupted the daughter he loved.

In posts on Facebook, Michael Allison said “my beautiful, sweet daughter” was “a good person at one time.” But he told The Chronicle this weekend that Almena isolated her from her family and friends with the manipulative arrogance that many say he displayed in running the Ghost Ship warehouse where 36 people died in a fire Dec. 2.

“I never liked Derick, and suspected drug use,” Michael Allison said. “But I didn’t know the extent of it. And I thought, like everyone did, that once the kids came along, they would step up and start being responsible.”

He added that he and his daughter, who is now 40, “had many long, hard talks about Derick. But she convinced me that things were looking up, and they would have a stable home and business, and the shenanigans would end.”

 

Neither Micah Allison nor Almena has been available for comment. Allison doted on her husband and their three children on social media, and Almena posted on Facebook before the fire that he had been drug-free for eight months. And in an August 2013 post lashing out at people he believed were attacking his “virtue,” Almena scoffed at the suggestion that he dominated Allison.

“I have been married to Micah since the moment eye (sic) saw her,” he wrote. “Never a woman in between. 14 years and 3 children that my aggressive violent angry abusive tender humbled honored thankful delicate hands did cradle from womb.”

Michael Allison said that when the couple told him of their plans for the art collective that became the Ghost Ship warehouse, he was optimistic for them.

But although friends and other artists in the alternative arts community described the Ghost Ship as a creative hodgepodge of antiques, Balinese statues and makeshift wood structures, Danielle Boudreaux, a former friend of the couple’s, said the warehouse looked that way only for parties and events.

Most of the time, garbage, broken glass, nails, rotting food, cat feces and leftover glow sticks littered the warehouse’s concrete floors, where the couple’s children would run around barefoot, Boudreaux said.

She said that when she first met the couple in 2010, Allison was the sweet woman her father remembers. It was at a memorial for a mutual friend, and even though the two women didn’t know each other, when Boudreaux broke down in tears, Allison embraced her.

But Allison was changing by the time she and Almena moved to the Oakland warehouse in late 2013, Boudreaux said. Allison told her Almena wouldn’t let her call her mother, she said. At a dinner party in front of their kids, Boudreaux said, she watched him berate her and call her “every name in the book.”

Boudreaux suspected the couple were using drugs, and she and Allison’s family persuaded Allison to check into a rehab program last year. Within a few weeks, she says, Almena got her to leave it.

The couple’s children went to school with Boudreaux’s, but were chronically absent and infested with lice, she said. Boudreaux alerted Allison’s parents, who called Child Protective Services. Authorities briefly took the children in 2015, but Almena and Allison got them back.

Friends of the couple said these allegations are far from the truth. Isa Shisha, an artist who frequently performed at the Ghost Ship, said Almena and Allison were “true soulmates,” and Allison was a “badass mama who fiercely protects her family.”

“They have the family most of us dream of having,” Shisha said.

On Facebook, Allison asked her friends to write the judge involved in their CPS case and help her family from being “condemned on base of speculation and slander.” Both Boudreaux and Michael Allison say Micah never forgave them.

“Right when she went to rehab, she wrote me this long letter thanking me for getting her out,” Boudreaux said. “Then he went down there and pulled her out, and a few days later, she wrote me the exact opposite letter, asking me how I could dare plot against her husband. She is so loyal to him, to her own detriment. She is beyond having any personality of her own.”

Boudreaux continued, “When she was very young, she had aspirations of being a dancer, but the whole time we were friends, she never did anything like that. Neither of them worked the entire time I (knew) them, except to build stages for parties. When they got the Ghost Ship, everything changed. It all became about his dream.”

Allison’s father said he’s “holding out hope for her still.” But he and his daughter, he concedes, don’t talk anymore.

“She hates me for telling the truth about her life, and about Derick,” he said.

“This darkness, I don’t see any light at the end of it.”

[Source: SF Chronicle]

“Dear White People, Standing Rock Is Not Burning Man”

screenshot-2016-11-30-23-03-20

It seems that the idea of “using The Ten Principles of Burning Man to make the world a better place” is not yet embraced by everyone else in the world.

screenshot-2016-12-01-01-35-18There has been a barrage of press this week about complaints that Burners are trying to turn the Dakota Pipeline protest at Standing Rock into Burning Man.

Some of the headlines:

The Independent (UK): Standing Rock: North Dakota access pipeline demonstrators say white people are ‘treating protest like Burning Man’

SF Chronicle: Standing Rock Activists Asking White People Not To Treat The Protest Like Burning Man

Daily Caller: White Hippes Descend on Standing Rock Protest, Treat It Like Burning Man

Papermag: White People Are Reportedly Treating the #NODAPL Protests Like Burning Man

Washington Times: Complaints Grow Over Whites Turning Dakota Access protest into hippie festival

Yes, the demonstrators have a new thing to protest about: Burners. The colonial subjects do not want to have a transformational experience from the colonists, they are quite happy with the culture that they already have – an ancient one sacred to them, principles that their people have risked their lives for centuries to defend.

GQ says:

screenshot-2016-11-30-23-06-56

Opponents of the nearly-completed Dakota Access Pipeline have been confronted with some harrowing stuff during their ongoing occupation of Standing Rock Indian Reservation: pepper spraystrip searchesrubber bulletswater cannons, and now, as the calendar rolls over into December, plunging temperatures and the prospect of snow. It’s a volatile, dangerous situation, and the continued integrity of the demonstration will depend heavily on the exercise of restraint, sound judgment, and common sense. Unfortunately, your college roommate who was way too into Dave Matthews Band is apparently out there doing his best to fuck everything up. From the Independent:

People demonstrating at North Dakota’s Access Pipeline protest have expressed frustration at white demonstrators who are reportedly turning up to “colonise” the camp.

Concerns have been raised by protestors on social media, who claim that people are arriving at the Standing Rock demonstration for the “cultural experience” and treating it like Burning Man festival.

Yes, apparently some Johnny-come-lately Caucasian protesters have been comparing the protests to Burning Man, using donations to buy fluoride-free water, and—the cardinal sin of white people everywhere—playing their guitars around campfires. My fellow white people: do not do this shit! Standing Rock is not the place for you to embark on a meaningful spiritual journey to find yourself. 

If they are so inclined, it’s great for people to show their support for the tribe’s efforts to protect its water supply and preserve their traditional tribal burial grounds. But while it sounds there are plenty of non-tribal protestors in attendance who are doing things correctly, others need to learn some dang manners. 

Nobody wants to hear your songs with your guitar or drum around the fire” is an evergreen reminder, to be honest, but it especially applies to anyone who treats Standing Rock like it’s a friend of a friend’s housewarming party that they can crash.

[Source]

This is particularly amusing because BMorg have been boasting about how they have teams on the scene, including [former] Social Alchemist/House Bard Bear Kittay. If “playing guitars around campfires” was a middle name, it would be his…

 

As a rule we don’t share personal Facebook posts here, but in this case Bear was happy for his take on Standing Rock to be published on Medium, who bring us Bear Kittay From The Bismarck Airport Leaving Standing Rock (on a private plane, perhaps?):

Photo by Bear Kittay. Note their Principle “No Children in Potentially Dangerous Situations”, something the Org really needs to consider

.

“Real, immediate dialogue. That is what we need. How can we create an environment where an indigenous person, gypsetter, and rust belter will be imbued with a sense of peership?

My experience of the microcosm of a cauldron that Standing Rock, in my brief visit there, has left me with much to ponder and digest. So many layers simultaneously coexisting.

Deep ancestral distrust, how can we begin to address the underlying fears and victimization?

On my journey to North Dakota I read “Quiet Thunder: The Wisdom of Crazy Horse” (thanks Michael Costuros) and was astounded to revisit, in chilling detail, the magnitude of the atrocities committed by the United States upon the Lakota Nation.

For all the focus we put on the inequities of the wider world, it struck me so deeply to look here into the history of our own land, and demystify the historical injustices, that were not from some far off historic time. For indeed, there is a through line that, very immediately connects the vile, systemic campaign against the Native Americans to the current moment of Standing Rock today.

I have tried to balance and remain agnostic from the many conspiracy theories that are in sprinkled around the Internet and spoken as if they are high truth. I believe this world is complex and that oversimplification can lead to the worst in human behavior.

So, can someone please give me an explanation as to why all of the major media companies are refusing to cover standing rock in earnest? It has all the telltale signs of conspiratorial activity, with huge corporate interests conspiring to suppress public outrage through misinformation and, even, fake news. If any of you that are reading this are deeply connected in the mainstream media, please use your influence to send field reporters.

Thank you to Seth BuntingElana Meta Jaroff and the many others who are on the front lines of this conflict vigilantly documenting and broadcasting the scene. Your work is making real impact, your courage is real.

This isn’t going to be one of those Facebook posts where I prescribe eloquent solutions or pruned emotional reflections — I’m sleep deprived, exasperated and very much in process.

If you’re reading this, I implore you to create conversation with those who may challenge you, trigger you, who you may easily judge, and subconsciously look down upon… get off of the Internet and receive the incredible gift of human connection outside of our affinity bubbles.

This is what the world needs. This is what our hearts need. This is but one facet in the many layers of Standing Rock as a metaphor for the front lines of our nation and indeed our world, in transition.

In love, and to the ongoing ceremony and prayer in our Greater Circle. Aho

And PS — it’s COLD AS HELL out there. Please consider the comfort of your warm home when making a donation to support the Water Protectors: http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/

[Source]

I wondered if this “camp ocetisakowin” had anything to do with the Dakota Pipeline, or if it was some plug-n-play that BMorg had set up so they could fly execs in via their new airline. At first glance it looked like an anagram of “white ocean“…Turns out it’s the traditional name of the Sioux People and one of the largest camps up there. Among other things they’re seeking:

The sacred fire must be kept burning until it is guaranteed the water is protected for future generations.  One of our greatest needs for the winter will be wood.  It warms our lodges, cooks our food, heats the stones for our sweats. 

Tipis, winter liners, and poles

Yurts or other winter worthy structures

[Source]

Ask for yurts and help to keep the sacred fire burning and don’t be surprised if Burners show up! Perhaps they should’ve asked for ShiftPods…they could blast the pipeline away with that stadium-grade Funktion1 system.

Actually, the Daily Mail features “Burning Man-style” aerial photos…I see multiple Shift Pods. Where’s the DJ booth?

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daily-mail-standing-rock-3 daily-mail-standing-rock-2 daily-mail-standing-rock-1

[Source]

To be fair to Bear, the Standing Rock protestors were complaining about people treating it like Burning Man before he showed up:

Burbank Airport is a popular hub for General Aviation

Burbank Airport in Los Angeles is a popular hub for General Aviation, but an unusual departure location for an SF resident on a commercial flight

Tracing this story to its roots, it seems like the complaints about Burners started two weeks earlier, on November 14.

GQ quotes The Independent who plagiarize quote without attribution Counter Current News who quote Alicia Smith on Facebook.

Standing Rock has reportedly been overrun with white demonstrators trying to soak up the ‘cultural experience’

Demonstrators at North Dakota’s Pipeline protest have spoken out about the amount of white people who have turned up to “colonise” the camp.

The concerns have been raised by protestors in a series of tweets and Facebook posts. According to them, people have turned up to the Standing Rock demonstration to soak up the “cultural experience”, and are treating the camp like it is “Burning Man” festival or “The Rainbow Gathering”.

“They are coming in, taking food, clothing… and occupying space without any desire to participate in camp maintenance and without respect of tribal protocols,” said protestor Alicia Smith on Facebook. “I even witnessed several wandering in and out of camps comparing it to festivals. Waiting with big smiles expectantly for us to give them a necklace or an ‘indian’ name while our camp leader was speaking.”

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If you read our post Making Sense of the Non-Census (or did the Creepy Census) you will have encountered the term “2 Spirit”. I wondered what that was, now I know: someone who travels to sacred Indian land to scream at the Elders.

Burners Without Borders has been involved since at least October 28.

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There seems to be a battle going on of “which nerds should be the ones to collect donations to [*cough*] pass on to the protestors”. BWB director Chris Breedlove asked “where does this money go?” on Bear’s Facebook post asking for donations to ThriveAction.org , which redirects to thrivemarket.com, which says that the distribution really gets done by UpToUs.Net – which is a “coming soon” 1-page web site four months after raising $41,104 of their $75,000 goal for a “caravan to the DNC” . They have partnered with All It Takes, created by Divergent actress Shailene Woodley and her mom to send poor kids to training camps. It’s about 100% of their annual budget. Where does the money go? It’s complicated…

While I share Breedlove’s concerns and his intentions sound noble, it turns out Burners Without Borders are promoting their own preferred charity, in partnership with Patricia Arquette.
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Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing Burners Without Borders is supposed to be doing? The Burning Man Project has $7.5 million cash (at least, it did at the end of 2015). Why can’t they spare $80k for this project, if it’s so worthy? Why can’t they redistribute $1 from each of our tickets for this? Why are they promoting Patricia Arquette, who a couple of months ago was hating on Burning Man?

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Why does Burning Man with many millions have to wait for Patricia Arquette to raise tens of thousands before they can help the Sioux tribe in North Dakota? The tribe’s potty requirements presumably tick the Ten Principle boxes of “Immediacy”, “Civic Responsibility”, and (dare I say it) “Radical Self Expression”…meanwhile the existing portapotties are freezing up.

Perhaps They want to ameliorate the concerns Hollywood quasi-celebrities have about Burning Man’s environmental values by partnering with them on a composting toilets project. Whether such projects get funded enough and completed in time is not as important as the “optics”. Someone semi-famous who went to Burning Man once is making something happen, somewhere, somehow, coming soon. Woo-hoo! We’re saving the world with Larry’s Ten Principles, and OPM!

So far this “fund by Becca Dakini” has raised $30k of their $85k goal. I guess if there’s one thing Burning Man is good at, it’s managing dumps in remote locations…

porta-potty-blowdown

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In this case it’s not just Burners Without Borders and Burning Man raising money for toilets. It’s also people (and networks) from Do Lab, Symbiosis, Lucidity, their brand consultants, and “others” from the “global festival community”. Colonize turns out to be an apt word, since their “focus is on village building”:

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Protector’s Alliance is a unified platform and partnership effort of aligned organizations, skilled workers, producers and individuals from the global festival community. We are working to support front line environmental crisis and social justice conflicts. We gather accurate information about the needs of an action, manage a database and resource bank of our community’s assets, deploy and distribute resources effectively with a focus on “village building”. We support on the front lines with effective aid, skills, labor, infrastructure and tools, through an agile approach to fulfilling the emergent needs of actions. We are committed to working as allies, building pathways for inter-cultural cooperation, with cultural sensitivity training and education for our partners and affiliates to ensure appropriateness of our conduct towards nurturing respectful relationships and empowering peoples of place. Individuals and Organizations that are part of this alliance include the communities and networks of Burners Without Borders, Burning Man, Do LaB Inc, UPLIFT, Lucidity Festivals, Keyframe-Entertainment, ReInhabiting the Village, Take Root Productions and others
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Deploy and distribute resources effectively? Who’s counting that? Are they planning to build their villages on tribal land? And who are these unnamed “others” collecting all the databases? What happens to the data? Is it shared with the “Burning Nerds” or “Burning Man Earth” teams?
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Composting toilets might not be “fulfilling the emergent needs of actions” if the protest gets shut down next week like the Governor has ordered:

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On Tuesday, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department indicated that it would block delivery of food, medicine and other supplies to protesters who defy orders to leave the Oceti Sakowin camp. Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Monday ordered mandatory evacuation of the camp because of a predicted strong winter storm. 

 

The first blow to the camp’s security was an announcement last week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would shut an area to the public that includes the main camp. The corps said its decision was based on growing violence between police and protesters and the onset of cold weather.  

 [Source]
 .
Burner General Wesley Clark‘s son is leading 2000 unarmed Veterans up there to make a human shield. Frozen or not, shit’s about to get real. The Veterans group have raised nearly a million bucks on their GoFundMe. Like the Haiti earthquake, Standing Rock seems like a goldmine for all the helpers. How much of the money leaves the hands of the white folks non-indigenous groups and flows into the hands of the tribes is an open question. I didn’t notice any Indians amongst all these various fundraising entities.
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A search for “Standing Rock” on GoFundMe turns up thousands of fundraisers.
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All of these are still open, which begs the question “which will close first, the protests or the fundraisers?” Back in the day, people used to pay their own costs to protest for things they believe in.
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Another BWB-backed group called Red Lightning are setting up a real Burner-style camp there. You can send donations directly to them:
red-lightning-camp-layout
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Reality Sandwich, a site founded by Daniel Pinchbeck, today published a lengthy feature by Tamra Lucid “From Burning Man to Standing Rock”

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But now, 300 indigenous nations are there in Cannonball, North Dakota, protecting the water. Among them the Yaqui, Bianca’s tribe.

But Bianca has another tribe, too — she’s a Burner. Burners have been getting a bad reputation at Standing Rock because of some who treat it like just another festival. Burners who freeload, you know, tourists, or colonists. People who play guitar at campfire when they shouldn’t. People who explain when they should be listening. But they aren’t the only Burners at Standing Rock.

…I witnessed festival families showing up at Standing Rock.  Fortunately, many burners came in service to the indigenous, while unfortunately others came to “have an experience” to showcase on social media.  The later is what became most evident and publicized and provides our community with an opportunity to grow and become culturally aware of how we show up in the world.  It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for those of us who have not grown up with tribal people to interact, and to garner a more real understanding of what it means to interact with tribal people. Go and sit quietly in the different councils (preferably giving the primary seats to the Natives), go and engage with the gathered nations by asking one simple question, “How can I be in service to you today?”  

 

If you’re unsure of how to do this or nervous you will step on toes, connect with https://www.protectorsalliance.org

[Source]

In fact there are more than 500 tribes there from around the world. My people are there too, although our way of protest is a little different from kumbaya, kombucha, and fluoride-free water…here’s Kereama Te Ua from my hometown of Wellington at Standing Rock doing a haka, the Maori war dance..

You may have seen this sort of thing before in sporting events with the New Zealand national team, or in the movie Invictus with Morgan Freeman. I can guarantee that you haven’t seen a haka like this, though. This is the real deal, he’s not messing around. It’s significant that he doesn’t rise from his knee. If he does, it’s to fight. These people are not to be trifled with, they ate the brains of their enemies on the battlefield to take their power.
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It remains to be seen whether these more traditional forms of protest will be more effective than thousands of GoFundMes for unemployed/trust-fund Burners looking for a transformational experience and promising that “100% of the money” goes to the Indians. We wish everyone involved a peaceful and successful protest. It’s a global village now. Mess with the tribes and you mess with all the tribes.
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[Update 5/12/16 7:27am]

Chris Breedlove from Burners Without Borders has commented on this story on our Facebook page. Predictably, instead of addressing any of the issues we raised, he tried to spin it and place the blame here.
BMorg can do no wrong! It is only Burners.Me that does wrong. BMorg good! Burners.Me bad!
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Who’s The Best Burning Man Talker?

In 2011, BMOrg announced their change to a non-profit on a mission to save the world. Since then, we sure have seen a lot of panel discussions and jetsetting from Larry & Co. I guess what they’re doing must be working, since they claim 160,000 people wanted to go to Burning Man this year. The well-crafted pop culture campaign mixing print media, references in The Simpsons and other mainstream shows, celebrity endorsements from P.Diddy and politicians and Generals, has all combined to make it harder than it’s ever been before for Burners to go to Black Rock City. We’re hearing reports that many camps have been absolutely decimated this year by the Hellish ticket situation, even if they were on the list. And it can only get worse, not better.

Not to worry, we’re told: “just be After-Burners now“. A bit too old, a bit too jaded, don’t really care if you can’t afford a ticket any more, just look back fondly on your time there – and make way for the starry-eyed virgins and cashed-up yuppies to arrive. The borg wants new minds to mold.

Clearly, there’s no need for any more promotion. So, junkets. Panel discussions. Is it promoting regionals? Is it asking for donations?

The mission of The Burning Man Project (from Guidestar):

Burning Man Project provides the infrastructural tools, educational programs, art programs and other frameworks that allow people around the world to apply the 10 principles of Burning Man in many communities and fields of human endeavor.

And, buried within their new web site (to find it I clicked Menu, The Culture, Philosophical Center, About Us – a faster way would be Menu, The Network, About Us):

Mission

The mission of the Burning Man organization is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event into the larger world. This culture forms an integrated pattern of values, experience, and behavior: a coherent and widely applicable way of life.

Vision

The Burning Man organization will bring experiences to people in grand, awe-inspiring and joyful ways that lift the human spirit, address social problems and inspire a sense of culture, community and personal engagement.

So, is that working? Are We The Burners, through this our community vehicle, bringing experiences to people, and inspiring awe? Are the ambassadors representing us and our values, or speaking for themselves?

See for yourself and please let us know in the comments.

Who gave the best talk? Who best represents Burner values to the world? We report, you decide…

Harley Dubois at The Feast, 2014

Crimson Rose, 2009

Crimson Rose, Panel Discussion, 2014

Will Roger, 2014

http://guides.library.unr.edu/burningman/BurningMan/WillRoger

Bear Kittay TEDxTokyo (and Robot), 2014

Bear Kittay TEDxBlack Rock City – 2014?

Bear Kittay TEDxOaxacaca, 2013

Bear Kittay TEDxStockholm, 2015

Larry Harvey, TEDxBlack Rock City, 2011

Larry Harvey, Charlie Rose 2014

Larry Harvey, Le Web London 2013

Larry Harvey, John Perry Barlow, Le Web London 2013

Marian Goodell, TEDxBay Area 2014

Marian Goodell, TEDxTokyo, 2014

Chip Conley and Marian Goodell at the Commonwealth Club, 2014:

Larry Harvey, Marian Goodell, Jenn Sander, Kelly Anders in Paris, 2013:

Danger Ranger, San Mateo 2014

Burner Julia Wolfe, age 9

What do you think, Burners? Should we donate so there can be even more promotion of Burning Man, so it gets even harder to get tickets?

Who is representing Burner values to the world the best?

Dear Burning Man…

A guest post from our reader Sandstorm. The email he’s responding to is shared at the end of this post.



Like many members of the Burning Man community I’ve spent the past 2+ months feeling justifiably concerned about the topic of Commodification Camps (aka Turnkey Camps aka Plug And Play Camps) and their place in and impact upon Burning Man and the Burner community. Like many other Burners I’ve voiced my concerns about this subject on websites such as Facebook (FB) and Burning Man’s ePlaya bulletin board, as well as in the comments sections of some of the relevant recent entries on the official Burning Man Blog. I’ve also used my artistic skills to address what I call the Commodification Camp Controversy (CCC). I’ve recently created a handful of light-hearted satirical images that speak to this subject and I’ve posted them in the unofficial Burning Man group on FB. I’ve included one of those images here.

BIG JIM JTS

2 days ago I and countless other Burners received a fundraising email from the Burning Man Project (BMP). I was not pleased when I read that email and that’s because until now Burning Man’s official response to the CCC has been at best lacking and at worst inept. After reading that email I carefully drafted and then sent a reply email to the BMP. I then posted the contents of that email in the unofficial Burning Man group on FB and also on ePlaya. I did so because I wanted to share with other Burners how I was trying to constructively address the CCC. I was honestly surprised by the amount of positive response that I received to those posts.

At some point on Thursday evening the owner of burners.me reached out to me on FB via PM and asked me if I’d be willing to post on his site my above mentioned email to the BMP and some of the CCC related images that I’ve recently posted on FB. I asked him to let me think about the matter before I said yes or no to him and I did so for a variety of reasons.

Although I’m a 6 time burner I believe and know that I’m a nobody in the Burner community. I’m sure as hell not a spokesperson for this community. I’m also neither an attention seeker nor am I someone who seeks to or enjoys to stir up discord about sensitive topics. Given those facts and given the amount of debate surrounding both the CCC and burners.me I was initially reluctant to share on this site the reply email that I recently sent to the BMP. That said, I know that I wrote that email with integrity and honesty and thus I’m comfortable with sharing it here.

My reply email to the BMP seems to have resonated with many of the people who’ve read it. By posting that email on this site there’s a chance that my email will reach a wider audience and perhaps inspire other burners to find their own ways of peacefully and creatively confronting the CCC. I refuse to remain silent about that topic and that’s because I love Burning Man so much. The event and the community have changed my life in so many positive ways and even if this post ends up having no impact on Larry Harvey & Co. I at least know that at a time of crisis in the Burner community I spoke up for the values that are meant to be embodied by Burning Man.

It’s important for me to state here that I do not have a broad spectrum dislike for BMORG. I can only imagine how many wonderful people work in that organization. In this situation my dislike is directed solely at a specific group of people within the Burning Man power structure. I am displeased with those who run or help to run the event in ways that clearly run counter to the stated ethos of the event and the actual ethos of the people who physically and/or creatively build and run Black Rock City.

I want to send out my sincere thanks and respect to the countless people who make Burning Man a reality through their labor, passion, time, money and principles. The truth is that YOU are Burning Man, YOU are Black Rock City.

I want to thank the owner of burners.me for the opportunity to write this post. I also need to thank the Burners who took the time to read and respond to this post before I published it on this site. Dusty hugs,

Sandstorm


From the unofficial Facebook Burning Man group:

“I thought that I’d share this with the group. (Note: If you’re a member of the tl;dr crew then just move along because these are not the droids you are looking for.)

So, yesterday I received an email from the Burning Man Project asking for a monetary donation. After I got some feedback from some fellow burners I sent the below email to the Burning Man Project.

“Steve,

I hope that this finds you well. I’ve taken some time to thoughtfully respond to your fundraising email regarding my potentially donating to the Burning Man Project. As a point of reference, I’ve known about Burning Man since late 1996 and it’s been a huge part of my life over the past 7 plus years. I’ve been burning since ’07 and I’ve been to Black Rock City 6 times in total. Since I’ve started burning the only 2 burns that I’ve missed were in ’09 and ’14, the former by choice and the latter due to my being unable to make the trip.

During each of my burns I’ve volunteered my time to groups such as The Lamplighters, Arctica, Center Camp Cafe, The Temple Guardians and a variety of theme camps and art projects. During that time I’ve made numerous monetary donations to groups such as Black Rock Arts Foundations and Black Rock Solar as well as to individual art projects and the 2013 Temple build. During my time as a burner I’ve repeatedly sold to other people Burning Man tickets that I did not need or could not use and when I did so I sold those tickets at below face value. On 4 occasions I’ve gifted Burning Man tickets to other people. In 2013 I helped half a dozen people I didn’t know acquire the Burning Man tickets they needed and I did so free of charge. I did that because Burning Man meant so much to me and I wanted to use my time and contacts to help other people make it HOME to Black Rock City.

At this point in time I have no desire to contribute a single cent to BMORG or any of it’s affiliated agencies. That is due to the fact the since the end of this year’s burn BMORG has hid from the Burner community as many of it’s members have eloquently and repeatedly voiced their concerns about the commodification of Burning Man via BMORG’s enabling of commodification camps such as Caravansicle, which was apparently run and funded in part by Jim Tananbaum, who currently serves on the Burning Man Board of Directors (BOD). There is ample and credible evidence on the Internet that indicates that various members of BMORG, the Burning Man founders and the Burning Man BOD have been engaged in behavior that runs contrary to Burning Man’s 10 Principles and to BMORG’s mission statement. Huge swaths of the Burner community are deeply concerned by the fact that there seem to be forces within the Burning Man power structure that are willing to commodify the event in the name of personal and organizational profit. In light of this controversy BMORG has maintained a level of radio silence that makes many Burners believe that BMORG is simply buying time to get its story straight about the Commodification Camp Controversy, buying time to let BMORG’s lawyers talk with the lawyers for various Commodification Camps and Burning Man BOD members. From this side of this situation BMORG seems both corrupt and inept beyond all belief. This situation makes the 2012 Ticket Lottery Fiasco seem like a small clerical error on the part of BMORG.

Before the Commodifcation Camp Controversy rose up I was identifying next year as one which I’d spend my summer working on the Temple project. I was planning on realizing a personal on-playa dream of mine, which is a mobile, deep playa pop-up bar. I was also planning on volunteering with the Resto team. While all those ideas are still meaningful to me Burning Man itself is no longer as meaningful to me as it was just 2 1/2 months ago when I watched large chunks of the burn via the official live video feed of the event. My lessened passion for the event is mostly due to my sense that elements within BMORG itself are willing to corrupt the event in the pursuit of profit and power and that BMORG is willing to ignore the concerns of the very community that builds Black Rock City and provides its creative content.

I took the time to write this email because I want you to know that the actions and inactions of various people within BMORG, the Burning Man founders and the Burning Man BOD have made me feel that the Burning Man Project is undeserving of my money. I sincerely wish that wasn’t the case. To be honest, it’s galling to receive a fund raising request from Burning Man at a time when BMORG is continuing to ignore the concerns of the Burner community. Like many other burners, I’m not buying BMORG’s company line that they are listening to the Burner community and (that BMORG) will get back to them as soon as possible. Whether or not my perception of that situation is accurate I have been given no indications that BMORG values the event and the community as much as the community values the event.

The Commodificaton Camp Controversy is not about poor burners versus rich burners; it’s about the fact that certain members of the Burning Man power structure have misused their positions in such a way that they have introduced class warfare into both the event and countless Burners psychological relationships with (both) the event and those who are meant to protect it. Shame on them for doing so. The event and community deserve better than that. Dusty hugs,

David / Sandstorm”


Here’s the email that was sent out by BMOrg:

From: Burning Man Project <steven.young@burningmanproject.org>

Date: Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Subject: Now You Can Gift Burning Man to the World

Remember your first day at Burning Man? Remember how it felt to bring someone to Black Rock City for the first time? While not everyone can be on the playa every year,Burning Man’s year-round programs make the Burning Man experience accessible to all, year-round and across the globe.Burning Man strives to help people live more creative and connected lives year round and around the globe. Our programs in the arts, in civic engagement, and our investment in the leadership of a global network of regional events have inspired millions to embrace a shared value system that promotes thriving artistic endeavors, increased civic involvement, emerging social enterprise and stronger communities.Everything we do is driven by community participation, communal effort and gifting. While the annual event in Black Rock City is paid for by ticket sales, the work we do through our year-round programs depends on your generosity.Your support provides vital resources needed to keep our core programs running, such as our Regional Network which nurtures 240 members in 125 regions across 31 countries. Additionally, our Art Grants Programs provide close to $100,000 in grants for the creation and public exhibition of art in communities around the world and helps artists raise additional funds through fiscal sponsorships. Your generosity also supports our Civic Engagement Programs which provide leadership and funding of community based initiatives through micro grants and volunteer organizing.Together we can turn our growing potential into programs and experiences that will help transform people’s lives throughout the world. We need your support to make it happen. Together we can build a more creative and connected world.

Burning Man Project is a 501(c)(3) organization; all donations to Burning Man Project are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

 

catalyst for creative culture in the world