Arabian Street Artists hacking Homeland “Homeland is racist”

Homeland-is-racist

At the beginning of June 2015, we received a phone call from a friend who has been active in the Graffiti and Street art scene in Germany for the past 30 years and has researched graffiti in the Middle East extensively. He had been contacted by “Homeland’s” set production company who were looking for “Arabian street artists” to lend graffiti authenticity to a film set of a Syrian refugee camp on the Lebanese/Syrian border for their new season. Given the series’ reputation we were not easily convinced, until we considered what a moment of intervention could relay about our own and many others’ political discontent with the series. It was our moment to make our point by subverting the message using the show itself.

Read the whole text here.

The Arabian Street Artists //
Heba Amin
Caram Kapp
Stone

#blacklivesmatter
#blacklivesmatter
al watan bateekh (Homeland is watermelon: Watermelon is a word often used to indicate that something is a sham or not to be taken seriously).
al watan bateekh (Homeland is watermelon: Watermelon is a word often used to indicate that something is a sham or not to be taken seriously).
al watan mesh mosalsal (Homeland is NOT a series)
al watan mesh mosalsal (Homeland is NOT a series)
Advertisements

The Mystery of the Creepiest Television Hack

by CHRIS KNITTEL

Right up until 9:14 PM on November 22nd, 1987, what appeared on Chicago’s television sets was somewhat normal: entertainment, news, game shows.

That night, as usual, Dan Roan, a popular local sportscaster on Channel 9’s Nine O’Clock News, was narrating highlights of the Bears’ victory over the Detroit Lions. And then, suddenly and without warning, the signal flickered up and out into darkness.

In the control room of WGN-TV, the technicians on duty stared blankly at their screens. It was from their studio, located at Bradley Place in the north of the city, that the network broadcasted its microwave transmission to an antenna at the top of the 100-story John Hancock tower, seven miles away, and then out to tens of thousands of viewers. Time seemed to slow to a trickle as they watched that signal get hijacked.

A squat, suited figure sputtered into being, and bounced around maniacally. Wearing a ghoulish rubbery mask with sunglasses and a frozen grin, the mysterious intruder looked like a cross between Richard Nixon and the Joker. Static hissed through the signal; behind him, a slab of corrugated metal spun hypnotically. This was not part of the regularly scheduled broadcast.

Finally someone switched the uplink frequencies, and the studio zapped back to the screen. There was Roan, at his desk in the studio, smiling at the camera, dumbfounded.

“Well, if you’re wondering what’s happened,” he said, chuckling nervously, “so am I.”

Within hours, federal officials would be called in to investigate one of the strangest crimes in TV history—a rare broadcast signal intrusion, with no clear motive, method, or culprits. It may as well have come from another dimension.

To many clued-in TV viewers that night, the face of Max Headroom would have been unmistakable. “The world’s first computer-generated TV host,” as he might have proudly boasted, was a sharp-tongued character inaugurated in 1985 as the veejay for a British music television show. His sarcastic wit and stuttering delivery—along with an ad campaign for New Coke, a late-night talk show on Cinemax, and a few TV specials—had made him a cult personality even before he finally earned his own hour-long TV show in the US.

Max Headroom, which featured the exploits of a TV journalist living in a dystopian future, with a digital alter ego in the form of the title character, debuted on March 31, 1987. In Chicago, it aired on the ABC affiliate Channel 7, and would last for 11 episodes and into a brief second season that fall, before it was canceled, beaten in the ratings by Miami Vice.

Read full story

Taken from motherboard.vice.com

Hacker Goes on Massive WoW Killing Spree; World Survives

By KIM ZETTER

It was a case of death imitating art. Or at least virtual game world imitating cartoon. In a scene reminiscent of a famous South Park episode, a hacker went on a massive killing spree in World of Warcraft over the weekend, taking advantage of a vulnerability to off hordes of characters in the popular online game before game administrators stepped in to stop him. His massacre was captured on video (see above).

The bloodbath is similar to a popular 2006 episode of the animated series South Park called “Make Love, Not Warcraft,” in which the cartoon’s four lead characters faced off against a player in the massive multi-player game who went on a character-killing rampage.

Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind World of Warcraft acknowledged that a hacker had used an exploit to conduct his massacre over the weekend and said it had administered a fix to keep it from happening again.

“Earlier today, certain realms were affected by an in-game exploit, resulting in the deaths of player characters and non-player characters in some of the major cities,” wrote one of Blizzard’s moderators  on a player forum. “This exploit has already been hotfixed, so it should not be repeatable. It’s safe to continue playing and adventuring in major cities and elsewhere in Azeroth.”

World of Warcraft players didn’t really lose anything in the massacre. WoW characters can get their lives back. WoW players, on the other hand, have already lost theirs.

Taken from wired.com/

Pirate Bay – Low Orbit Server Stations (LOSS)

With the development of GPS controlled drones, far-reaching cheap radio equipment and tiny new computers like the Raspberry Pi, we’re going to experiment with sending out some small drones that will float some kilometers up in the air. This way our machines will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war.

We’re just starting so we haven’t figured everything out yet. But we can’t limit ourselves to hosting things just on land anymore. These Low Orbit Server Stations (LOSS) are just the first attempt. With modern radio transmitters we can get over 100Mbps per node up to 50km away. For the proxy system we’re building, that’s more than enough.

But when time comes we will host in all parts of the galaxy, being true to our slogan of being the galaxy’s most resilient system. And all of the parts we’ll use to build thatsystem on will be downloadable.

Taken from thepiratebay.se/

Twelve theses on WikiLeaks

by Geert LovinkPatrice Riemens

Thesis 0

“What do I think of WikiLeaks? I think it would be a good idea!” (after Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quip on “Western Civilization”)

Thesis 1

ture of all eras, however never before has a non-state or non- corporate affiliated group done anything on the scale of what WikiLeaks has managed to do, first with the “collateral murder” video, then the “Afghan War Logs”, and now “Cablegate”. It looks like we have now reached the moment that the quantitative leap is morphing into a qualitative one. When WikiLeaks hit the mainstream early in 2010, this was not yet the case. In a sense, the “colossal” WikiLeaks disclosures can be explained as the consequence of the dramatic spread of IT use, together with the dramatic drop in its costs, including for the storage of millions of documents. Another contributing factor is the fact that safekeeping state and corporate secrets – never mind private ones – has become difficult in an age of instant reproducibility and dissemination. WikiLeaks becomes symbolic for a transformation in the “information society” at large, holding up a mirror of things to come. So while one can look at WikiLeaks as a (political) project and criticize it for its modus operandi, it can also be seen as the “pilot” phase in an evolution towards a far more generalized culture of anarchic exposure, beyond the traditional politics of openness and transparency.

 

Read the whole article 

In Conversation with Julian Assange – Part1

by Hans Ulrich Obrist

Hans Ulrich Obrist: How did it all begin?

Julian Assange: I grew up in Australia in the 1970s. My parents were in the theatre, so I lived everywhere—in over fifty different towns, attending thirty-seven different schools. Many of these towns were in rural environments, so I lived like Tom Sawyer—riding horses, exploring caves, fishing, diving, and riding my motorcycle. I lived a classical boyhood in this regard. But there were other events, such as in Adelaide, where my mother was involved in helping to smuggle information out of Maralinga, the British atomic bomb test site in the outback. She and I and a courier were detained one night by the Australian Federal Police, who told her that it could be said that she was an unfit mother to be keeping such company at 2:00 a.m., and that she had better stay out of politics if she didn’t want to hear such things.

I was very curious as a child, always asking why, and always wanting to overcome barriers to knowing, which meant that by the time I was around fifteen I was breaking encryption systems that were used to stop people sharing software, and then, later on, breaking systems that were used to hide information in government computers. Australia was a very provincial place before the internet, and it was a great delight to be able to get out, intellectually, into the wider world, to tunnel through it and understand it. For someone who was young and relatively removed from the rest of the world, to be able to enter the depths of the Pentagon’s Eighth Command at the age of seventeen was a liberating experience. But our group, which centered on the underground magazine I founded, was raided by the Federal Police. It was a big operation. But I thought that I needed to share this wealth that I had discovered about the world with people, to give knowledge to people, and so following that I set up the first part of the internet industry in Australia. I spent a number of years bringing the internet to the people through my free speech ISP and then began to look for something with a new intellectual challenge.

HUO: So something was missing.

JA: Something was missing. This led me to using cryptography to protect human rights, in novel ways, and eventually as a result of what I was doing in mathematics and in physics and political activism, things seemed to come together and show that there was a limit to what I was doing—and what the rest of the world was doing. There was not enough information available in our common intellectual record to explain how the world really works. These were more the feelings and process, but they suggested a bigger question, with a stronger philosophical answer for explaining what is missing. We are missing one of the pillars of history. There are three types of history. Type one is knowledge. Its creation is subsidized, and its maintenance is subsidized by an industry or lobby: things like how to build a pump that pumps water, how to create steel and build other forms of alloys, how to cook, how to remove poisons from food, etc. But because this knowledge is part of everyday industrial processes, there is an economy that keeps such information around and makes use of it. So the work of preserving it is already done.

HUO: It’s kind of implicit.

JA: There is a system that maintains it. And there’s another type of information in our intellectual record. (This is a term I interchange freely with “historical record.” When I say “historical record,” I don’t mean what happened a hundred years ago, but all that we know, including what happened last week.) This second type of information no longer has an economy behind it. It has already found its way into the historical record through a state of affairs which no longer exists. So it’s just sitting there. It can be slowly rotting away, slowly vanishing. Books go out of print, and the number of copies available decreases. But it is a slow process, because no one is actively trying to destroy this type of information.

And then there is the type-three information that is the focus of my attention now. This is the information that people are actively working to prevent from entering into the record. Type-three information is suppressed before publication or after publication. If type-three information is spread around, there are active attempts to take it out of circulation. Because these first two pillars of our intellectual record either have an economy behind them, or there are no active attempts to destroy them, they do not call to me as loudly. But, this third pillar of information has been denied to all of us throughout the history of the world. So, if you understand that civilized life is built around understanding the world, understanding each other, understanding human institutions and so forth, then our understanding has a great hole in it, which is type-three history. And we want a just and civilized world—and by civilized I don’t mean industrialized, but one where people don’t do dumb things, where they engage in more intelligent behavior.

HUO: Do you mean a more complex behavior?

JA: Right, more complex and layered behavior. There are many analogies for what I mean by that, but I’ll just give a simple one, which is the water ritual. If you sit down with a friend, and there’s a pitcher of water on the table, and there are two glasses, then you pour the other person’s water before your own. This is a very simple ritual. But, this is better than the obvious step, which is to pour your own water before the other person’s. If we can see a few steps ahead, the water ritual is a more intelligent way to distribute water at a table. That’s what I mean by civilization—we gradually build up all these processes and understandings so we don’t need to make bad moves with each other or the natural world. So with regard to all this suppressed information, we’ve never had a proper understanding of it because it has never entered our intellectual record, and if we can find out about how complex human institutions actually behave, then we have a chance to build civilized behavior on top of it. This is why I say that all existing political theories are bankrupt, because you cannot build a meaningful theory without knowledge of the world that you’re building the theory about. Until we have an understanding of how the world actually works, no political theory can actually be complete enough to demand a course of action.

HUO: So that clearly maps out how you came to where you are today. Since many people now refer to you as one of their heroes, I was wondering who inspired you at the beginning.

JA: There have been heroic acts that I have appreciated, or some systems of thought, but I think it’s better to say that there are some people I had an intellectual rapport with, such as Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr. That comes when you’re doing mathematics. The mathematics of Heisenberg and Bohr is a branch of natural philosophy. They developed a system or epistemology for understanding quantum mechanics, but encoded within this intellectual tradition are methods to think clearly about cause and effect. When reading mathematics you must take your mind through each intellectual step. In this case, the steps of Heisenberg or Bohr. Because good proofs are very creative, it takes the full energies of your mind to reach through one step to another. Your whole mind must be engaged in a particular state of thought, and you realize that this mental arrangement is the same as the author’s at the moment of writing, so the feeling of mental similarity and rapport becomes strong. Quantum mechanics and its modern evolution left me with a theory of change and how to properly understand how one thing causes another. My interest was then in reversing this thought process and adapting it to another realm. We have an end state that we want, and I looked at all the changes that are needed to get to this end state from where we are now. I developed this analogy to explain how information flows around the world to cause particular actions. If the desired end state is a world that is more just, then the question is: What type of actions produce a world that is more just? And what sort of information flows lead to those actions? And then, where do these information flows originate? Once you understand this, you can see it is not just starting somewhere and ending elsewhere, but rather that cause and effect is a loop; here we are today, and we want to create an end state as a result of action. We act and by doing so bring the world into a new state of affairs, which we can consider our new starting point, and so this process of observe, think, act continues.

HUO: Science, mathematics, quantum theory—all of these come together in your work. If one reads about your beginnings before WikiLeaks, one finds that you were not only instrumental in bringing the internet to Australia, but that you were also one of the pioneering, early hackers. You co-authored this book called Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier. I’m curious about your hacker background, and this book as well, since it seems to be a sort of fundament on which a lot of things were based afterwards.

JA: In my late teenage years, up until the age of twenty, I was a computer hacker and a student in Melbourne. And I had an underground magazine called International Subversive. We were part of an international community of underground computer hackers. This was before the internet connected continents, but we had other ways of making international connections. So each country had its own internet, of a sort, but the world as a whole was intellectually balkanized into distinct systems and networks.

HUO: Like The WELL in the States.

JA: Right, that kind of thing, or ARPANET, which connected universities in the States. And something called x.25, run by the telecommunications companies, that banks and major companies used to link systems together. We, the underground community, sometimes bumped into each other deep inside these computer networks. Or we would meet at underground watering holes like QSD in France or ALTOS in Germany. But it was a very small community, with perhaps only twenty people at the elite level that could move across the globe freely and with regularity. The community was small and involved and active just before the internet, but then crossed into the embryonic internet, which was still not available to people outside of university research departments, US military contractors, and the pentagon. It was a delightful international playground of scientists, hackers, and power. For someone who wanted to learn about the world, for someone who was developing their own philosophy of power, it was a very interesting time. Eventually our phones were tapped and there were multiple, simultaneous raids that resulted in close to six years of legal proceedings. The book covers my case, but I deliberately minimized my role so we could pull in the whole community, in the United States, in Europe, in England, and in Australia.

HUO:   it also created a kind of connection between all these different local scenes? At that time, you were also known as an ethical hacker.

JA: Right, though I actually think most computer hackers back then were ethical, since that was the standard of the best people involved. Remember, this was an intellectual frontier, and it had very young people in it. It needed young people for the degree of mental adaptation necessary. Because it was an intellectual frontier, we had a range of people who were very bright, though not necessarily formally educated.

HUO: Was there a connection to America, to the beginnings of The WELL, to people like Stewart Brand, Bruce Sterling, or Kevin Kelly?

JA: There was almost no connection. The WELL had influenced some parts of the computer hacking community in the United States, but we were deep underground, so most of our connections didn’t rise above the light and we were proud of that discipline. Those who knew did not speak. Those who spoke did not know. The result was a distorted US-centric perception of the underground. In the United States, in particular, you had quite marginal computer hackers engaging in conferences but the people engaged in the really serious business, because of the risks involved, were almost completely invisible until they were arrested. The entry points into it were the bulletin boards—these were the central places, places like P-80 in the United States, and Pacific Island in Australia, which had public cover for a private side. But then, once reaching a certain level, people only used completely underground bulletin boards. There were on x.25 networks places like ALTOS in Hamburg where we would go to talk. ALTOS was one of the first, if not the first, multi-party chat system, but in order to get into it, you had to have x.25 credentials. While some bank workers and telecommunications workers would have access to these, teenagers would only have them if they were decent computer hackers, or if their fathers worked for the telecommunications company.

HUO: In a previous issue of e-flux journal I discussed a lot of the history of anarchists and piracy with Hakim Bey, who mentioned that as an anarchist he has never fetishized democracy, saying that “democracy, to be interesting for an anarchist, has to be direct democracy.”When you worked as a hacker, were you inspired by anarchistic ideas?

JA: I wasn’t personally. The anarchists’ tradition revolving around figures like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Peter Kropotkin was not something on my horizon. My personal political inspirations were people like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, anti-Stalinists in The God That Failed, and US radical traditions all the way up to the Black Panthers.

HUO: Liberation movements.

JA: Yes, the various liberation movements—in their emotional tone and force of will, not in intellectual content. That tradition really spread into some other things I did later, like the Cypherpunks, in 1993 and ‘94. 1994 was probably the peak of the Cypherpunk micro movement. Cypherpunk is a wordplay on Cyberpunk, the latter was always viewed as nonsense by real computer hackers—we were the living Cyberpunks while others were just talking about it, making artistic pastiche on our reality. We viewed the better books as a nice showing of the flag to the general public, but like most causes that are elitist and small, we had contempt for bowdlerized popularizations. The Cypherpunks were a combination of people from California, Europe, and Australia. We saw that we could change the nature of the relationship between the individual and the state using cryptography. I wouldn’t say that we came from a libertarian political tradition as much as from a libertarian temperament, with particular individuals who were capable of thinking in abstractions, but wanting to make them real. We had many who were comfortable with higher mathematics, cryptography, engineering or physics who were interested in politics and felt that the relationship between the individual and the state should be changed and that the abuse of power by states needed to be checked, in some manner, by individuals.

HUO: Is this the fundament of WikiLeaks?

JA: Yes and no. There are many different intellectual strands that ended up in WikiLeaks that are unrelated to ideas swirling around the Cypherpunk community. But the use of mathematics and programming to create a check on the power of government, this was really the common value in the Cypherpunk movement.

HUO: And you were one of the protagonists?

JA: I was. There wasn’t really a founding member or a founding philosophy but there were some initial principles, people like John Young, Eric Huges, and Timothy C. May from California. We were a discussion group like the Vienna school of logical positivism. From our interactions certain ideas and values took form. The fascination for us was simple. It was not just the intellectual challenge of making and breaking these cryptographic codes and connecting people together in novel ways. Rather, our will came from a quite extraordinary notion of power, which was that with some clever mathematics you can, very simply—and this seems complex in abstraction but simple in terms of what computers are capable of—enable any individual to say no to the most powerful state. So if you and I agree on a particular encryption code, and it is mathematically strong, then the forces of every superpower brought to bear on that code still cannot crack it. So a state can desire to do something to an individual, yet it is simply not possible for the state to do it—and in this sense, mathematics and individuals are stronger than superpowers.

Read the whole interview

Taken from e-flux.com/

Dutch Arrest Teen for Pro-WikiLeaks Attack on Visa and MasterCard Websites

Dutch police announced Thursday they have arrested a 16-year-old boy for allegedly participating in the online attacks against Visa and MasterCard as part of a vigilante campaign to support WikiLeaks.

The secret-spilling site has raised the ire of the U.S. government and others around the world for its ongoing release of secret diplomatic cables allegedly provided to the site by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. Though only a small portion of the 250,000 cables WikiLeaks possesses have been released so far, the cables include revelations about how countries in the Middle East urged attacks on Iran, what the U.S. diplomatic corps thinks of world leaders such as Russian President Vladmir Putin, and the details of behind-the-scenes negotiations on repatriating Gitmo prisoners, among other topics.

The U.S. State Department calls the publication “illegal,” and the Justice Department is investigating ways to indict the organization’s outspoken leader, Julian Assange. However, no news organization has ever been successfully prosecuted for publishing classified information, and no charges have yet been filed against Assange for the leaks.

According to a press release issued by the National Office, the boy confessed to participating in attackson the U.S.-based payments processing firms that angered WikiLeaks supporters by cutting off the ability to donate to the group using their cards. In response, a loosely organized group that goes by the name Anonymous organized a denial of service attack on a Swiss bank that cut off funds to the group’s founder Julian Assange, along with attacks on Visa.com, MasterCard.com and PayPal.com.

The attacks were the online equivalents of sit-ins, and while they successfully kept people from visiting the sites at certain times yesterday, they did not affect the payment-processing networks of the company. However, the attacks did impede certain transactions with credit cards that require users to use an additional online password form, known as Verified by Visa and Secure MasterCard.

The investigation from the Dutch High Tech Crime Team was commissioned by the National Prosecutor in the Netherlands. The announcement did not mention what crime the youth was being charged with, nor did it indicate whether the police thought the boy was deeply involved with organizing the group or was just one of thousands who volunteered their computers to attack the websites.

Online speech and corporate attempts to control it have sparked firefights before, but the naked control of commercial service providers over WikiLeaks’ cash flow and internet presence has sparked an unprecedented reaction that may not be easily brought to heel.

Anonymous, which started out with a digital-age teenage-prankster ethic, is not a traditional organization, but more of a banner under which individuals can call on others to join a cause or attack, which usually begins on the notorious /b/ message board, the “anything goes” section of the popular 4Chan message boards.

Anonymous has a history of such attacks, including a recent campaign against the record industry for attacking file sharing sites, mass-infiltrating an online game for kids to protest its stupidity, and an earlier long-running campaign against the Church of Scientology.

The Scientology attacks were investigated by the FBI, and two Anonymous member were prosecuted for clogging Scientology’s websites.

Few who are part of Anonymous are actual “hackers,” and instead join in the attacks by running specialized software provided by more technically adept members. Instruction for which sites to target and when are passed around dedicated online chat channels and websites, creating a sort of online insurgency.

Anonymous’ DDoS tool has an unusual twist, according to denial of service protection expert Barrett Lyon, incorporating features that allow members to connect to the botnet voluntarily, rather than mobilizing hijacked zombie machines. It is called LOIC, which stands for “Low Orbit Ion Cannon,” and evolved from an open source website load-testing utility.

A new feature called Hivemind was added, which connects LOIC to the anonops server for instructions, and allows members to add their machines to an attack at will.

However the software does not mask a user’s IP address, and has generated complaints from its users that it sucks up all their available bandwidth when it’s in attack mode.

Despite the high level of organization, Lyon said the attacks themselves are not particularly sophisticated. “It is mediocre, at best,” he said. “There is a lot they are doing wrong, and yet they are still succeeding.”

Taken from wired.com/

Wikileaks, reveals that Shell…

…controls all the ministries in Nigeria that have any connection with the activities of the multinational in the country.

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 ABUJA 001907
NOFORN
SIPDIS
DEPT PASS USAID/AFR/SD FOR CURTIS, ATWOOD AND SCHLAGENHAUF
DEPT PASS TO USTDA-PAUL MARIN, EXIM-JRICHTER
DEPT PASS TO OPIC FOR BARBARA GIBIAN AND STEVEN SMITH
DEPT PASS USTR FOR AGAMA
JOHANNESBURG FOR NAGY
USDOE FOR GEORGE PERSON
TREASURY FOR TONY IERONIMO, ADAM BARCAN, SOLOMAN AND RITTERHOFF
EO 12958 DECL: 02/04/2029
TAGS EPET, ENRG, EINV, ECON, ETRD, PGOV, NI
SUBJECT: (C) SHELL MD DISCUSSES THE STATUS OF THE PROPOSED PETROLEUM
INDUSTRY BILL
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Dundas McCullough for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
Ref: Abuja 1836

——-

SUMMARY

——-

1. (C) Shell EVP for Shell Companies in Africa met with the Ambassador on October 13 to discuss the status of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill. She said the GON wanted the National Assembly to pass the bill by November 17 and that the international oil companies would have to move quickly if the House passed the bill in the coming weeks. She said there was “total alignment” among the IOCs and with the Nigerian oil companies. She said it would be helpful if the Embassy would continue to deliver low-level messages of concern and call on the Speaker of the House to see where he stood on the bill. She expected the situation in the Niger Delta to be “quiet” until the end of the year but would get “out-of-hand” when the election cycle starts up at the end of the year. Shell’s views of the PIB track closely with ExxonMobil’s views as reported in reftel. END SUMMARY.

————————-

CURRENT STATUS OF THE PIB

————————-

2. (C) Shell EVP for Shell Companies in Africa Ann Pickard met with the Ambassador at the Embassy on October 13. The DCM and Economic Counselor joined the Ambassador, and XXXXXXXXXXXX accompanied Pickard. The Ambassador asked Pickard for her views about the status of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). Pickard said the GON wanted the National Assembly to pass the bill by November 17 in order for the GON to be able to announce it at the upcoming CWC Gulf of Guinea Conference in London November 17-19. She said that if the House passes the PIB in the coming weeks, “we need to move quickly” to obtain any necessary changes before it becomes law. Fortunately, she added, “We are working with the House and the House appears to want to work with us.” She continued that if the Senate passes the PIB, “We aren’t worried.” Unfortunately, she explained, “We think the Senate will pass a bad bill” but it won’t really matter. She added that she would be at the Nigerian House and Senate later that day and would let the Embassy know if there were any unexpected developments.

3. (C) The Ambassador asked if Shell had had engagements with the GON outside the National Assembly, such as with the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Pickard said, “We are meeting with them at all levels.” She noted that an IMF team headed by Charles McPherson was in Abuja to look at the PIB and that Shell would be meeting with them as well. In contrast, she said, “We are worried about the World Bank’s political agenda and it is not clear what their agenda is.” She said the World Bank was working on how to make the IJVs “bankable” so that they would be able to go to international and domestic banks for financing.

——————————

GAS FLARING AND CLIMATE CHANGE

——————————

4. (C) Pickard said the PIB requires an end to gas flaring by 2010. She said the industry won’t be able to do that due to the lack of QShe said the industry won’t be able to do that due to the lack of investment and security. Shell is ahead of the other IOCs and could be ready by 2011. Shell would have to spend $4 billion to do this, but the GON would also have to fund its part and that is a risk. Shell would shut in oil production in fields where it is uneconomic to end gas flaring, and it would let others have the gas for free where it is economic to do so.

5. (C) Pickard continued that NNPC General Managing Director Dr. Mohammed Barkindo was interested in doing something on climate change in preparation for the climate change summit in Copenhagen December 6-18. Barkindo was spread pretty thin so Shell will ask him how they can help him prepare for the summit. She added that Shell had recently told the oil producing countries that coal will squeeze out oil as a result of the CO2 footprint issue if the oil producing

ABUJA 00001907 002 OF 004

countries and IOCs do not do more to address the issue.

——————

POTENTIAL BENEFITS

——————

6. (C) Pickard summarized the PIB’s potential benefits. The creation of fully integrated and independently functioning international joint ventures (IJVs) would solve the oil and gas industry’s longstanding funding problems if the proposed IJVs are done right. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) was previously forced to reduce its ownership of some existing joint ventures to 49 percent to make them profitable enough to obtain financing. The proposed division of responsibilities between the NNPC and the Directorate of Petroleum Resources also would be good. The IOCs currently do not know if the NNPC is their partner or regulator.

—————————-

COHESION WITHIN THE INDUSTRY

—————————-

7. (C) The Ambassador asked if the industry was united in its approach to the PIB. Pickard replied that there was “total alignment with the international oil companies at every level.” She acknowledged that Shell had more exposure to the loss of acreage than any other company. “We could lose 80 percent of our acreage,” she said. The problem comes from the fact that the PIB will redefine how a company can hold on to its exploration and production blocks, limiting what can be kept to two kilometers around each well. “Everyone offshore loses a lot,” she continued. “We will have to bring satellites on fast or we will lose the blocks.” However, the problem with that is that the companies have to be able to pass things through to the blocks quickly and it takes years to get a rig in due to delays in the Nigerian approval process. (NOTE: Pickard told Econoff in Lagos that Shell “sent away” three platforms in late September. END NOTE.)

————————————-

ALIGNMENT WITH NIGERIAN OIL COMPANIES

————————————-

8. (C) The Ambassador asked about the IOCs’ alignment with the Nigerian oil companies. Pickard replied that “the Nigerian companies are with us” because they will be taxed at the same rate in the current version of the PIB. The IOCs are starting to see what the Nigerian companies want to do.

————–

THE USG’S ROLE

————–

9. (C) The Ambassador asked what the Embassy could do to help with the Joint House Committee on Petroleum Upstream and Downstream and Justice that is working on the PIB. Pickard said she hoped the current level of dialogue between the GON and the IOCs continues. Unfortunately, “We have not been able to meet with President Yar’Adua for nine months,” she said. “They have him protected.” She said it would be helpful if the Embassy would continue to deliver low-level messages of concern. In particular, she thought it would be helpful for the Embassy to call on Speaker of the House Dimeji Bankoke to see where he stood on the bill. Beyond that, she would like to keep the Embassy in reserve and use it as a “silver bullet” if the PIB passes the House. The Ambassador noted that the U.S., U.K., Dutch and Qthe House. The Ambassador noted that the U.S., U.K., Dutch and French Embassies had already made a joint call on NNPC General Managing Director Dr. Mohammed Barkindo.

—————————————-

CHINA’S INTEREST IN NIGERIA’S OIL BLOCKS

—————————————-

10. (C) Pickard mentioned China’s recently reported interest in Nigeria’s oil blocks. She said Shell had received a copy of the letter that Special Advisor to the President on Petroleum Matters Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah had sent to the Chinese which said that their offer for oil exploration blocks was not good enough. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Odein Ajumogobia had denied that the letter

ABUJA 00001907 003 OF 004

had been sent, but later conceded that the GON was only “benchmarking” to see what the IOCs should pay for shallow-water licenses. Pickard said Shell had good sources to show that their data had been sent to both China and Russia. She said the GON had forgotten that Shell had seconded people to all the relevant ministries and that Shell consequently had access to everything that was being done in those ministries.

——————————————— —

CHANGING RESPONSIBILITIES WITHIN THE GON’S TEAM

——————————————— —

11. (C) Pickard observed that there might be changes with how the GON management of the petroleum sector is organized. Minister of Petroleum Resources Rilwanu Lukman may be given the responsibility for implementing the PIB, while Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ajumogobia may get the Directorate of Petroleum Resources and ongoing business. The problem with these changes is that the GON could still get “unempowered people” who are not able to address the issues. The question is whether Ajumogobia would be able to step up. (NOTE: Press reports on October 17 reported that Lukman will be given overall responsibility for the formulation of policy, and oversee the implementation of the PIB, the Integrated Joint Venture negotiation and rollout, the fiscal terms transition and implementation, the new organization implementation, and stakeholder management. We will also supervise the NNPC and its subsidiaries, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the African Petroleum Producers Association, and the University of Petroleum. Ajumogobia will be in charge of the Gas Master Plan Transition Implementation, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, the alternative fuels, and the Petroleum Equalization Fund. He will also oversee the Directorate of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Training Institute and the Pricing Regulatory Agency. END NOTE.)

————————–

SHELL’S CURRENT PRODUCTION

————————–

12. (C) The Ambassador asked about the level of Shell’s current operations. Pickard said Shell was producing 663,000 barrels per day as of October 13, including the Bonga field. Approximately 80,000 barrels per day had been brought back from the Forcados field on the previous day. Some 900,000 barrels per day of capacity was still shut in. Of that, Shell could bring back 600,000 barrels per day, while the remaining 300,000 barrels per day is “too unreachable.”

————————–

AMNESTY IN THE NIGER DELTA

————————–

13. (C) The Ambassador asked Pickard what she thought about the future of the GON’s amnesty offer to militants in the Niger Delta. She responded that Shell expected the situation in the Niger Delta to be “quiet” until the end of the year. It will then get “out-of-hand” when the election cycle starts up in December, January and February. She expressed particular concern about Bayelsa State, home to Shell’s 500,000 barrel-per-day capacity Bonny field. Pickard also noted that Q500,000 barrel-per-day capacity Bonny field. Pickard also noted that Shell saw Israeli security experts in Bayelsa, but not in the Delta, and that there had been “a big drop in kidnapping” as a result.

————-

Looking Ahead

————-

14. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX

——-

COMMENT

ABUJA 00001907 004 OF 004

——-

15. (C) Shell’s views of the PIB and the alignment among the IOCs and with the Nigerian oil companies track closely with the views of ExxonMobil, as reported in reftel. The main difference is that Shell tends to minimize the different tax concerns and financial vulnerabilities of the individual IOCs. Shell is much more vulnerable than the other IOCs because its operations are concentrated in less favorable JV concessions that are located in the violence-prone Niger Delta. ExxonMobil and Chevron’s operations are concentrated in more favorable production sharing contracts (PSC) in the relatively violence-free offshore areas. In the event that the PIB retains negative terms or violence returns to the Delta, Shell can be expected to hurt the most and cry the loudest.

16. (U) Embassy Abuja coordinated this telegram with ConGen Lagos.

SANDERS

Awakening Patapoe

freeteam.nl/patapoe

Awakening it’s a program on radio patapoe.It’s talkactive. It means we talk for more than three hours, mainly about politics,squatting,activism,ecology,tolerance,human and animal rights,punk,spirituality,freedom,love,cultural life in Amsterdam.First we start with the agenda for the squatting scene in Amsterdam( not only),then we have some main subject,sometimes guests.The last ha we do as polish part in this language.The music what we are playing that mainly punk,but this is just as background(package) and in the breaks when we are preparing our self,equipment,material,etc.Patapoe is a pirate, underground,squatters radio.

Urban Intervention Re-Imagines CCTV in Lisbon

Scott Burnham

If there are two things I love, it’s serendipity and clever urban interventions. As I was working on my Urban Guide for Alternate Use today the two came together when Collective CC in Lisbon sent me some images of their latest intervention, Senioritas.

As most who live in or visit Lisbon and most southern European cities will know from experience, there exists an eagle-eyed population of women who spend their days keeping watch over the street outside their window, one phone call away from reporting any wayward activity to the police – in effect, functioning as an alternate version of CCTV in these neighbourhoods. So within Collective CC’s intervention – in addition to the clever re-contextualization of the role these women serve – is another great visual joke. The signs that Collective CC has secretively placed beneath these women’s windows is a perfect copy of the omnipresent Securitas security/CCTV company visual identity.