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JournalistI am Caty Enders, a journalist with the Guardian. I just launched a new series, This Land Is Your Land, covering the government giveaway of public lands. AMA.

Jun 12th 2017 by Caty_Enders • 29 Questions • 8798 Points

My short bio: I was a freelance writer for outlets like Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Skeptic, and Huffington Post when I was invited to assist a faction of Anonymous that was assisting with the Tunisian revolution. Shortly afterwards Anonymous hackers stole 70,000 e-mails from an "intelligence contracting" firm that had put us under surveillance, thus exposing the Team Themis conspiracy whereby Palantir, HBGary Federal, and other firms with "black propaganda" capabilities had proposed hacking, disinformation, and intimidation of activist groups like Code Pink as well as Wikileaks and even its supporters, including Glenn Greenwald. Although one CEO had to resign, a Congressional investigation was quickly derailed and no one suffered any consequences (despite having planned DOS attacks, the exact thing for which Anonymous participants had been pursued for via heavily armed FBI raids after they took down MasterCard and Paypal websites for a few seconds in protest of their refusal to process donations to Wikileaks).

Thereafter I repurposed my online "think-tank," Project PM, to continue researching these firms and others like them, compiling our research on a wiki called Echelon2.org (since moved). The FBI eventually raided my home and my mom's house, with the search warrant listing our website and group as subjects of interest. Thereafter they threatened to indict my mother if I failed to cooperate; instead, I threatened to "ruin" the life of the lead agent, using the same tactics that HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr had planned to use against activists with the DOJ's blessing. Separately, I vowed to defend myself against any further raids. The two statements were conflated by the DOJ and used to indict me for threatening a federal agent, which actually requires one to make a violent, non-conditional threat, whereas I'd made one non-violent threat and one conditional threat.

Later, I was charged with 11 counts of aggravated identity theft for having copied and pasted a link from one chat room to another that I believed contained more e-mails, but which in fact included credit cards. I faced 22 years for that link alone, in addition to other charges. The DOJ later had to drop those and other charges, and I plead guilty to one count of internet threats, one of interference with a search warrant, and one of accessory after the fact (I called Stratfor, a company that had been hacked, and offered to help redact any e-mails that could put someone in danger). I was also ordered to pay over $800,000 in restitution to Stratfor.

There are several documentaries covering much of this, including Hacker Wars, We Are Legion, and Alex Winter's 18-minute film Relatively Free, as well as some pretty good articles at WhoWhatWhy and The Nation describing the other plots we uncovered and documented.

While imprisoned, I continued writing, doing a column called The Barrett Brown Review of Arts & Letters & Prison that was later picked up by The Intercept, and for which I won the National Magazine Award for commentary/columns in 2016.

I was released November of last year, and am now preparing a new project, called the Pursuance System, by which to build up a cohesive yet agile network of opposition to criminalize institutions while also helping activists and non-profits to cooperate more efficiently. You can read more about it here.

My Proof: Picture from last week sent to mods here. Here's a live video from my Facebook. Can resubmit that picture as well if needed.

EDIT 5:34 CST I'm going to run down to the store, but will be back in fifteen or twenty minutes to answer more questions.

EDIT Am back, and will continue to answer questions sporadically through the evening.

EDIT 9:00 PM EST I'm going to play some Team Fortress 2 for a bit and relax and whatnot but I'll be back to answer more questions later tonight, and will get to more tomorrow as well.

EDIT 1:53 am EST Well, my Facebook account has suddenly been disabled without explanation, in case anyone's wondering why the link above no longer works.

Q:

Are public land giveaways determined by Congress or are their things that state/local governments can do to chip away at these protections?

A:

What does Ticketmaster do with all the pain they harvest from the souls they rip off at the box office?


Q:

Huge fan of your writing, Barrett. Your book 'Keep Rootin' for Putin' was ahead of the curve in calling out the bullshit of mainstream pundits. One of the points you make is that internet can be used as a force for good in order to fact-check all the nonsense they spout; all of their contradictory bullshit is now a matter of permant, public record.

How do you think the media landscape has changed since that book came out? with the rise of Breitbart and the like, and the sometimes-justified concerns over "fake news", it doesn't really seem like the media have gotten any more reliable over the past years.

Anyway, what the US government has done to you is a travesty and I wish you the best.

Also, go on Chapo

A:

Hey! Thanks for the question. It depends on how public land is designated in the first place. If the land is national (e.g. National Forests, National Parks, BLM land), it’s under federal/Congressional purview. State and local governments can and do lobby Congress, however, for changes in the protections for land within their borders. For example, Utah state government has pushed pretty hard for the reversal of Bears Ears National Monument. We also just published a story on county governments advocating for the removal of National Monument protections so that uranium mining can be expanded around the Grand Canyon. There’s also a lot of public land under state control, of course, though our series is largely looking at national public land. State land is more vulnerable to being sold off, as we saw with Elliott State Forest in Oregon this spring. About 70% of national public land transferred to the states in the form of land grants has been sold off and privatized. But chipping away at public land protections doesn’t seem hugely popular in Western constituencies. When legislation/resolutions come up at the state level to support land transfer, they generally get hammered down by local opposition. Does that answer your question?


Q:

So funny story- there's this machine we kept in the back, right, called the Hate Engine. We have these siphons right underneath the desk that suck up all the complaints to add to the Hate Engine, and the Engine converts that hate into more money, which is why they keep adding service fees. More fees = more money = more hate = more more money.

Seriously though, nobody paid me to be a fan of Ticketmaster's practices. This whole ticket monopoly situation is kind of fucked right now. Best lesson I learned at the job was to always buy from the venue directly when I can.

A:

Unfortunately, the mainstream press didn't really have the gravity or the integrity of action to prevent other, even worse outlets from popping up. Had the New York Times not continued to employ Thomas Friedman even after it became clear that he was less than worthless in terms of explaining world politics, they would have more room to make their own case. Same thing with the Washington Post and Charles Krauthammer, who, as I showed in an old Vanity Fair online piece, was wrong about every U.S. military engagement since Kosovo. Those aren't the only problems with these respectable national outlets, of course, but they're very telling regarding the cowardice of editors and publishers who continued to promote incompetent commentators simply because they've made some vague name for themselves.

And of course WaPo's failed attempt to identify some website that could sort out "fake news" is indicative of the chief fact of our press culture - that much of how it operates is haphazard at best, and that falsehoods can creep in to any outlets, regardless of pedigree, if its operators lose track of basic principles such as hiring competent people and firing incompetent ones. Personal relationships, inertia, ambition, and that sort of things are the chief problems facing our political press, rather than corporate interference or anything else of that sort.

EDIT:

Here's an incomplete case against Friedman; a more comprehensive argument as to why he represents a crisis of ethics within the legacy press may be seen in my free book, Keep Rootin' for Putin (the title of which is taken from an actual Friedman column from 2000). column


Q:

It's appalling every time Elliot state forest is brought up and used as an example of some sort of wrongdoing by the governing body.

The forest was acquired by the state specifically to sell timber rights leases for school funding. When that forest became unprofitable and unmanageable, Oregon's constitution required it's sale. Now the state (with it's $1.8 billion dollar deficit) has to pull money out of somewhere so that this economic drain out in the middle of nowhere can stay relatively unused and unmanaged.

Everything about the Elliott state forest has blown way out of proportion by Oregon's politicians and Oregon's media outlets. It is one of the poorest examples of the fight for/against public lands.

A:

Best lesson I learned at the job was to always buy from the venue directly when I can.

One time I had decided to attend a comedy show st the last minute. Bought tickets at the venue, a couple of hours before the show started. Still had Ticketmaster fees.


Q:

firing competent ones.

Should be firing incompetent ones I suspect

A:

Hey! Elliott actually seems pretty representative of what happens when public land is transferred to the states. Historically, 70% of national land transferred to the states in the form of lands grants has been sold off. These historical land grants were meant to generate revenue for the states—agreed. But states often don't have the budget to manage public land and keep it public. And it seems like the state's management choices played into the lack of viability as a mixed-use area. After all, local groups advocated for limiting timber cutting, which resulted in a loss of revenue for the state. This piece from Willamette Week touches on that. (Edited to include a link!)


Q:

Makes sense, not all venues work the same way. Can't really speak for the ones I didn't work at.

A:

Oops, my mistake. Fixed.


Q:

Not sure if this is quite relevant, but what kind of enforcement do lumber companies have in making National Forest land "private"? I'm a big fan of my local NF, El Dorado National Forest, but when just wandering around or exploring it's almost impossible to really explore and enjoy the isolation due to "No trespassing, property of (lumber company)" signs that seem to surround both sides of every road that keep anyone from really going anywhere off the road. On top of that, they put up locked gates, metal barriers or just simply tear up the forest with bulldozers to make trenches to keep people out. Is this legal?

A:

My mom goes to a ticketmaster kiosk at Walmart. Never checked it out for myself. There still fees through the kiosk?


Q:

In one of your recent D Magazine articles you noted "But most of all, I realized that journalism will not be enough to save this country." - can you elaborate on that Barrett? and also what does this mean about the future of your journalism? Thanks!

A:

Hm, interesting. It sounds like they might have an inholding in the forest. Sometimes small sections of private land can cut off huge quantities of public land and prevent access. If it's mixed use land—even if a timber or oil or gas company has leased it—the public should still have access. They shouldn't be allowed to deliberately obstruct public right of way. If you want to send me more info, we can look into it: [first name].[last name]@theguardian.com. Many thanks!


Q:

I'd imagine so, yeah. When we sold for other venues we had to charge the full TM fee set.

A:

Journalism is still necessary, but in a nation like the U.S. where the bulk of the citizenry is either fascist or unwilling to do their part to oversee the vast machinery of state that we support through our taxes and which inflicts vast harm at home and abroad, we're going to need a class of people who make up for the failures of the rest of the country. You can get a sense of what I mean by this by looking through the pursuance presentation; this is a framework that is intended to expand into a new and viable force by which to challenge systems from without.

Something along those lines, drawing upon the new ability of humans to collaborate in ways never before possible, is going to happen at some point anyway. We think this is the time to try it.


Q:

Is this situation unique to the US? Wondering what other people in other countries would think about this situation -- like would people in the UK think this is bonkers?

A:

Also, check the websites of your local free Alt-Newsweeklies and magazines (the free ones that have local stories and culture, like The Village Voice) they almost all have deals with all of the local venues (it's how they survive) and you can get fee-free tickets!


Q:

Hey Barrett, mod of /r/WikiLeaks here.

Any thoughts on the work WikiLeaks has done, past or present?

How do you see leaks, whistleblowing, and hacks shaping the future of governments and companies?

Do you still plan on leaving the US in the near future?

Thanks for doing this AMA.

A:

US public land is pretty darn unique in its breadth and accessibility. The whole National/State dynamic creates issues that are largely American. But rolling back protections on public land isn't unique at all. You'll find it all over the third world. If you visit Zimbabwe, for example, you'll find aggressive mining around National Parks leaving toxic methane clouds that you can drive through for hours. What I keep hearing from from big game hunters that are fighting land transfer in the US is that America's public lands are like nothing else on earth—they've traveled the globe to hunt and now they're fighting like hell back at home because nothing compares to what we have here. Ours to lose sort of thing.


Q:

He was checking out the Village Voice, seeing who was playing where

Pulled his head up out the paper, pushing out a single tear

Five words like a beacon of light in the mist

Ministry Live At The Ritz

A:

I was an early supporter of Wikileaks, and continue to support the leaking of files from any state or other institution that engages in criminal activity on a large scale.

I have no doubt that leaking, as well as hacking by various ideologically-motivated groups, will become more common in the coming years.

Yes, I will not remain in the United States after my term of probation is up. Most likely I will move to Berlin or Iceland, at which point I'll revoke my citizenship.


Q:

Will you only be covering these kinds of misdeeds as committed by Republicans, or will you be taking an objective look at figures like Democrat Harry Reid, who has been working hard to keep an archaic law on the books allowing the mining industry to take mineral resources out of federal lands without paying a dime in federal royalties, ever?

A:

What "insider tips" do you have to get good tickets? Can I bribe a Ticketmaster employee for good seats?? :-)


Q:

Welcome back! 1. Where is my pizza recipe? 2. How is the bobcat?

A:

Thanks—you're totally right to point out that mismanagement of national lands happens on both sides of the aisle. We haven't covered Reid and the General Mining Law. This is going to sound like a lame answer, but I mean it sincerely: I appreciate you bringing it up, and I'll be looking into it. EDIT: TBC, I'll be looking into the Reid/General Mining Law story. We're definitely covering land mismanagement on both sides of the aisle.


Q:

It doesn't really work that way anymore, unfortunately, at least according to my experience. A lot of it's the usual "get in early and get lucky".

With casino tickets specifically, though, there is the VIP angle to consider. Good casinos reward their players really well, and for us in particular we had presales a day before public sales just for our players. Also, depending on circumstances we'd sometimes get tickets back from our VIP folks for sale if they just weren't doing the numbers they expected, which would lead to some last minute openings- usually in the primo seats too, just because the VIPs get the good stuff to keep them coming back.

A:

The FBI took it. Sorry.


Q:

That sounds like you just implied you are just hitting on Republicans.

A:

The best deal I ever got on a ticket was actually not long ago. A few months actually, for an event happening next week. Ticketmaster ran an "official exchange" program (stubhub essentially) for the event since all the wristbands are registered to names and a lot of people got screwed over by other sites since they were relying on the original purchaser to send them the ticket once they got it.

Anyways, someone fucked up... Hard. The seller accidentally fat fingered​ the price and typed 55.55$ instead of 555.50$ (facevalue was 800$). The seller was supposed to have a 24hr period that he could change the pricing, but I bought the ticket before that could happen. I was so shocked by my luck I even called Ticketmaster to make sure it wasn't fake and was told that I was good to go and all tickets are garunteed.

Fast forward to the next day. I receive a call from Ticketmaster and they asked me to give the ticket back. I honestly was a bit pissed at this point because I and already been told that I was good to go and they'd handle the situation. I asked the guy why they suddenly changed their minds and he explained everything I said in the first paragraph. My response was that it seemed like they owed that man a ticket but mine was already garunteed and I didn't see how this was my problem since in multiple places on their website it said it was garunteed and that all purchases were final. I know this because I read everything I could about it the previous night. After telling him this he said he'd talk to his manager and figure it out.

Gotta call 4 hours later saying I could keep the ticket and that they'd be giving that guy a ticket back as well... I felt like an asshole but fuck Ticketmaster even more


Q:

What are your thoughts on the Bilderberg Meetings?

A:

Hey, thanks for pointing that out. Edited for clarity. I hit on tall/dark/handsome Republicans and Dems equally (kidding).


Q:

Hey man, you did nothing wrong there. More power to you.

A:

It's very indicative that they don't receive adequate coverage. The problem is that many journalists and editors have only heard of Bilderberg in the context of what they assume to be wacky conspiracy theories. Although some of the theories about the extent of Bilderberg's importance are clearly wrong, that doesn't change the fact that this is a meeting of influential figures from around the world which is closed to the public, and is thus of legitimate interest. But, again, many journalists are fools and/or cowards.


Q:

Have you been visiting these places as part of your reporting? Places you would recommend to make sure to check out now... in case!

A:

Interesting! I also worked at a box office at a casino that used Ticketmaster, but we absolutely had control over some of the good seats to an extent. Couldn't be super obvious about it and wouldn't do it on super popular shows. But we held tickets for so many different things - media, community (tribe), artist, giveaways, VIP, business council, etc. with so many good seats on hold, if the community seats weren't selling well it was super easy to just swap out the community holds and get someone tickets in the first 5 rows. We also had the ability to go in and snag tickets before the presale/on sale although that was a huge no no and fire-worthy so people didn't do it very often. I'm also curious if your VIPs were crabs about it haha! I remember so many people feeling so entitled to tix in the first 10 rows, who were not anywhere near our highest level of play. Fun to read your answers though! Thanks for doing this!


Q:

How does your Pursuance system check for and detect agent provocateurs or hostile parties intent on spying or corrupting a work group? Are there any plans to include vetting or granting status within a group – which would imply hierarchies, which might work against the equal collaboration roles.

What security (E2E encryption, TLS, PFS, etc) is planned, or is the system designed more for openness, broadcasting and social aspects?

Not casting shade: balancing security, authenticity and collaboration is a difficult task. :)

A:

Man, there are so many places I feel like I need to visit asap. I've spent a good bit of time at Cedar Mesa in Utah, which is within the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument. (Bears Ears is among the most loudly contested national monuments, and Interior Secretary Zinke is currently reviewing it and 26 others at Trump's request). It's like no other place on earth. Hiking through feels like a combination of stepping back in time and visiting mars. The archaeological sites there are insane.


Q:

Yeah no problem!

We had a bunch of those holds too, definitely. It wasn't at all uncommon to get a handful of holds back here or there, but just as often we would use up all the holds and sell out.

A:

Each pursuance has a variety of security options by which to minimize the problem of hostile parties, aside from the conventional encryption tools; chief of all, one can set their pursuance to be opaque to those who aren't members. The structure itself of the average pursuance, which grows on the margins, is far more difficult to effectively infiltrate than the IRC chat rooms that Anon used, which anyone can just drop into for the most part (and did).

Granting status is actually a big part of the system. Everyone is equal when they join the system in the sense that they all have equal rights to create pursuances and apply to join others; at the same time, everyone who creates a pursuance has the right to define how it functions, which will often includes divisions of labor and even hierarchies. Anyone who dislikes that sort of thing can create a pursuance, give full rights to other participants, and attract others who prefer that method. And pursuances of very different organizing principles can still collaborate with each other to the extent that each one agrees to do so.

More info on the exact technical aspects, including what security is involved, will be put out before the minimum viable product is released.


Q:

Utah has a lot of spots that make me feel like that. It's like a whole different plant. Probably filmed some old Star Trek worlds there.

Also, I live in BLM land / forest service land in Colorado. As do many people I know. And I don't think anyone I know has talked about this at all. Granted, it's a small fun mountain town so no one will really talk politics with me.

Hopefully, I can use this to actually interest some people. I mean, at least get them to vote

A:

How could you recognize professional ticket scalpers? Did they ever try to bribe you?


Q:

A friend wants to know if you are single. She has a thing for nerdy ex-cons. Are you single?

A:

Cool! Yeah, it's a largely underreported area. I didn't know until recently about PILT (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) that counties who have public land within their borders receive. In some places, that can make up several million dollars for a county's annual budget.


Q:

A lot of times we didn't really care- once the ticket's been sold we have no way to police what you do with it (and honestly probably shouldn't, there's very little fundamental difference between giving a ticket to a friend and selling it on the internet beyond the exchange of money).

Back when we were able to do outside sales for other venues we'd get a guy coming in every once in awhile around 10am PST, right when shows went on sale. Dude's name was Dave, he scalped and knew TM back to front (he showed me where to find the macro commands and whatnot). Nice guy, we knew what he was doing but as far as our "jurisdiction" went he was a guest buying tickets. We didn't really have the ability to deny him tickets or anything like that.

There's significantly less power to combat scalping at the cashier's end than people seem to think there is. We're not paid to guess what you're going to do with your tickets, we're here to sell you tickets.

A:

Yes, I'm single.


Q:

There has been a lot of rhetoric from Congress and elsewhere that public lands are being over-regulated and mismanaged from "bureaucrats from DC," but day-to-day land mgmt operations, including permitting and planning really comes from actions, decisions and monitoring at field offices out West, from people that live in local communities - have you spoken to local federal agency staff in the West about their perspectives or thoughts or how this is affecting them?

A:

Why don't you care about people abusing the system


Q:
  1. That's good to know, but I didn't ask whether you were planning to lead investigations. I asked why you were focusing your tool-building on tools for organizing humans into roles, rather than tools for better intelligence analysis or fact finding.
  2. What tools do you intend to provide in the pursuance kit, aside from pre-existing comms tools bundled for fast deployment?
  3. The roles-based organization of pursuances sounds like something that could benefit from smart contracts. Are you implementing anything like smart contracts to enforce roles and task completion? If not, why?
  4. How do you expect to prevent a slow degradation of competence and quality as the network extends outward from yourself, without specific task and analysis oriented tools, or are there some in development that you've neglected to mention at this time?
A:

Hey! It's a really good point—land management agencies employ people on the ground, and the managers, biologists, rangers, agents, what have you live in the communities where they work. We'd definitely like to publish more stories from people actually working for these federal agencies. One piece along these lines is on my story list, but I think those voices should be in more stories—not just the higher ups who work in the major branches. Thanks for question!


Q:

Me specifically? It's not my job.

The venue? We didn't really have a way to easily police it without seriously diminishing the guest experience with some form of check at entry, which would slow down an already glacial process at times. Add to that that it's not a huge venue that gets sold out immediately and there's no real reason to focus on that over other improvements elsewhere.

A:
  1. We're also incorporating tools for analysis, including Transparency Toolkit, but that's not our chief focus, which is getting people to use these tools in the first place in a coordinated way.

  2. We don't have a final list yet, which will be available when we're closer to launching.

  3. We are indeed.

  4. The structure itself minimizes the problem of less competent people joining over time, as each pursuance is something of a "filter." This is explained a bit more in some of the other documentation that will be up this month.


Q:

What can I do to have the government give me free public land? I then want to turn around and sell it to somebody else for a profit. Ideally, I'd like my land to be mineral rich or oceanfront. You know what? Just let them know I'll take all of it. I'm not even greedy, I'll settle for half.

Please and thank you.

Also, what's your favorite piece of baseball equipment?

A:

ive been doing that for almost 3 years! my theater is going dark for 3 months now and i am jobless try as i might.

which ticketmaster did you use? we had an old school version TMWin99


Q:

Which blockchains are you looking at using?

EDIT: Just wanted to add that I'm a huge fan of your work. You are hilarious. And relevant. Such a great combination.

A:

Cleats, for sure. Who doesn't want to be The Flash?


Q:

Yeah, we used the old-school DOS-ass TMWin99. When I was training people I always said it's like using a program written in Swahili or something- you can learn a phrase or two and learn your way around to do some basic stuff, but beyond that it's really tough to figure out unless you've been doing it forever. It's a lot of rote memorization and repetition, which takes new guys a while to figure out.

A:

That's being determined by our more technical core people; I know very little about blockchains other than what I've read in magazines.


Q:

Out of curiosity, and it may have little to do with the issue, but is that anything like the eminent domain issues were currently facing in the small town where I live?

A:

next??: reclas cff0923/x1/rd/s4-7


Q:

Is there someone I could contact about that? I'd love to write an article about you and your project in the crypto world. It's a great use-case for blockchain.

A:

Hey! I'd love to hear more about the eminent domain issues where you live. If it's about federal mismanagement of land, we might cover it in this series. If it's a national story but not right for this series, I'll pass it along to another editor. Thanks for your time! [first name].[last name]@theguardian.com


Q:

But I wanted the aisle. You have the aisle right?

A:

Yes, PM me later.


Q:
  • How would you get the two sides to start communicating? I know people like to play the blame game, but it's the fault of who's in charge of both parties

  • Media is here to sway people's opinions reporting on things without facts. When did the media take such a bad turn?

A:

Sigh... (types in a string of code to release print flag and start all over!)


Q:

are you going to revive project PM?

A:

Such a good question. I think this is actually really a good issue for bipartisan communication—people on both sides of the aisle want to protect public lands for mixed use. Both sides need to listen to the needs of people with different political persuasions who actually want the same thing: to protect public lands for us and our kids. We ran this really good piece from Elliott Woods looking at ranchers' response to land transfer. I think he got at some really important points around how ranchers have felt marginalized and diminished.

If the media is going to do a good job, outlets need to spend more time reporting in the communities they're trying to cover. It's hard with budget cuts across the industry—but the only way to do it right is to invest in on-the-ground reporting. We're trying to do that with this series.


Q:

That's why you use the shopping cart in SELL and hold onto that shit until you're SURE they've made up their damn minds.

A:

Not as such, but we'll be running a "pursuance," as entities under the pursuance system are known, that will continue much of the same work of documenting the intelligence sector, private and public.


Q:

Seems sort of futile to me, aren't Republicans against Federally owned anything?

A:

when i was first training i wrote a python code that printed and responded to TM commands so i could practice. building it also was super fun and probably helped me learn it faster. wish i still had the code.


Q:

excellent, and will you build "top down" (or at least, like before, bring in many individuals who might be interested to...pursue it) or will you build it organically?

A:

Yeah, I agree with the points made below. Public lands are extremely popular with voters on both sides. Actually Interior Secretary Zinke is also against federal land transfer to the states, along with a good number of other Republican politicians. But there are definitely land management decisions that stick in the throats of people who have to live with them. We want to do a good job of covering those too, since federal land management is far from perfect. Unfortunately, Congress this spring to killed the BLM "Planning 2.0" initiative, which was designed to give locals more input into how public lands are used.


Q:

Yeah, coding's never been my strong suit. Glad you figured out a way to pick it up quickly though, that shit gets complex.

A:

I haven't decided on the exact form it will take or who will be in charge of day-to-day operations. I'll be involved to consult and give some direction where needed, but I don't plan on overseeing it myself at this point.


Q:

What's the problem in giving land back to the states to take care of? Seems like it's a 6 to one, half a dozen to the other scenario??

A:

Used to work with Ticketmaster too, but at a venue. I actually sort of enjoyed TMWin99. Autypes ftw.


Q:

Thank you immensely for your work, your courage, and your humor. I am genuinely grateful for the tireless, dogged journalism you've conducted over the years.

What do you think will be the fate of Trump? Your colleague at the Intercept, Jeremy Scahill, often asks if it'll be "Impeachment? Resignation? Or a Heart-attack?"

What do you think will happen to this newest alleged whistleblower, Reality Leigh Winner? Do you think Trump will try to make an example of her?

In the past, you've been labeled an anarchist--as cited in the criminal case against you. Do you label yourself similarly? Does this effect your work?

Again, thank you for all you do. '

EDIT: Spelling.

A:

Hey! Thanks for your question. The objection from sportsmen's groups has been that national land transferred to the states historically has been sold of %70 of the time. States also typically limit access more than the federal government does. That Field and Stream graphic is an interesting read.


Q:

Only ever learned WCPRTDOS, honestly. I still keep in touch with everyone I worked with so if you know any good ones I'll send them their way to mess with.

A:

It's increasingly likely that Trump will fail to finish his term, but that will depend on lots of factors that we can't really get a sense of.

I do think that Winner will be prosecuted rather severely, unless there's something else to this story.

I've been an anarchist since about the age of 13, when I read the work of Alexander Berkman and then Emma Goldman, though I've had varying degrees of sympathy for other political inclinations over the years.


Q:

Have you noticed this issue faces similar challenges to climate changes issues overall? Just seems incredibly complicated... are there core components that have resonated in your stories (or for organizations working on these issues) for convincing people to care?

A:

Why did they switch to Ticketmaster?

Did Ticketmaster convince them to through a sales pitch or did they just go out and select the most famous and biggest broker without looking at all the competitors of Ticketmaster?

Why did they no longer sell in house? What reason did they give?


Q:

What books about COIN and political repression (past and present) and about useful countermeasures and "security culture" would you recommend, if any ?

A:

Hey, thanks for the question! It seems like public lands are infinitely more bipartisan than climate change. Constituents on both sides of the aisle think that public lands are a good thing—so the prospect of land transfer seems to unite user groups that don’t normally agree, like ranchers, hunters, conservationists, cyclists, etc.. Unlike climate change, which seems to be divisive, keeping public land public seems like a universal—apart from a small number of industry-funded politicians who are pressing very hard. The idea of losing physical access to public land seems to resonate with most Americans.


Q:

We still sold in house, we just used an in-house ticketing system that worked in tandem with the room reservation system before (I think it was called Showgate) and switched to all Ticketmaster in tandem with a major remodel about two years back. The difference in show quality was noticeable- we were getting good shows before, but we jumped from D-listers on average to B-listers. No Taylor Swift or Metallica or whatever, but still a lot bigger draws that pulled in a lot more sales. I'm willing to bet a lot of them got on board because their agents or record labels or whatever work exclusively through Ticketmaster. Like it or not, they opened doors.

A:

The Burglary and The Devil's Chessboard. Most of all, read anything by Peter Dale Scott, the former diplomat and Berkley professor who carefully documented a great deal of the amorphous security culture from the early '60s to recent years, mostly in regards to JFK and Southeast Asian drug running by CIA affiliates.


Q:

Who's been leading the cause to taking over federal lands... certain folks who have joined the trump admin but have been working at this for a while?

A:

Might as well get the obvious out of the way - what's your best and worst customer experience stories?


Q:

Despite the general dearth of public discourse, your recent appearances are stirring some useful debate. Will you continue to interact in accessible ways?

A:

Hey, thanks for your question. The push to transfer federal lands has been stirring for some time, and we put together a list of current leaders heading the small political contingent. But if you look back at the history of the Sagebrush rebellion, a lot of the same names keep cropping up. For example, the Mountain States Legal Foundation (a 501C3 that supports land transfer advocates and rolling back public land protections) was founded with money from Coors back in the late seventies, when we saw the last push to transfer federal land to the states. Utah continues to be the most aggressive about it, and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch was a major advocate back in the seventies.


Q:

Best is kinda hard, just because I'm usually pretty happy when a customer is just a normal dude. One that comes to mind is this blind guy that called us every once in awhile to have us read the show schedule to him. He usually called when it was slow so I didn't really mind taking the time to talk, and he was extremely friendly and liked to share stories about shows he'd seen. Normally people who share stories get dull, but I loved talking to him.

Worst is a lot easier- this one guy came up a year or so before we remodeled, when the seat plan was a bunch of tables and booths. The booths seated 4, but there was one at the perfect spot that seated 8. It was the owner's booth, as in The Owner Of The Casino Sits Here So Do Not Fucking Sell This To Anyone.

This guy comes up one day dressed like he was late to his job as an extra for Tom Cruise's character in Tropic Thunder (only with hair) and asks for the owner's booth for a show. I told him no, I'm sorry, we can't sell that booth, and he drops a $100 bill on the countertop like he just unlocked the keys to the kingdom. I told him no again, then he started getting all kinds of huffy with me, trying to bargain and stuff. Eventually he goes "look, just get me your manager", so I turn around to my manager (who's standing right behind me talking to his boss and heard the whole thing) and ask if he can help. The guy tries the same shit again with my manager like five times and eventually, while I'm standing right there, points at me and goes "Come on, I'm trying to show him what it's like to have money."

Obviously not a guest that flung shit at me or threatened me or anything, but that one's really stuck with me. Casinos get a lot of entitled guests, it comes with the VIP rewards program, but that was fucking insulting.

A:

Absolutely. I almost always agree to interviews if a large enough audience can be reached.


Q:

What is your favorite game?

A:

"One that comes to mind is this blind guy that called us" -> ".. liked to share stories about shows he'd seen."

i feel terrible but was he always blind or..?


Q:

Why do you still wear Oxford button down shirts and those silly assed Roper cowboy boots? Aren't you concerned that folks will mistake you for a deranged Texas oilman?

A:

LIFE


Q:

No idea. Weird language on my end, my bad. We've gotten blind people coming in before, they just take the cheap seats way in the back since the sound's good through the whole place.

A:

That's my disguise.


Q:

Finally we know what Ender's Game is.

A:

So what did your boss end up doing to show him what it's like to have money?

Did he take him out back and kneecap him like the good old days of the Casinos?

Did he take him to the high rollers room and let him see thousands of dollars being poured into a single tug on the Helllooooo machines?

Did he show him the vault then kick him out?

I'm burning with questions as to how this ended.


Q:

Do you think they'll ever catch AVunit?

A:

A new variant on the joke I've heard my entire life. Well done, sir!


Q:

Nah, see, that's the old school. These days that kneecapping stuff is, yknow, a crime. Instead we just chucked pennies at him and called him names.

Really though we just kinda kept refusing until he got pissed and asked for the casino manager. Gladly gave him the number so that guy could tell him no too.

A:

They'll never catch the midnight rider.


Q:

What other people/organizations do you feel are doing the most to fight against the transfer of federal land? Is there anyone or any organizations that you feel could do the greatest amount of good with our support?

A:

Tropic Thunder is still one of the greatest movies of the past few decades


Q:

What was your favorite book you read while in Prison? Favorite book of all time?

A:

Hey, thanks for this! On my way out, but this is a question that I answered more fully in a few other responses. In brief: Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership have made a huge impact this spring


Q:

Black Dynamite tho

A:

It's hard to really narrow them down to a particular favorite, but I very much enjoyed the series of George Orwell's notes, articles, and letters, which someone sent me a volume of and which I eventually obtained in full.


Q:

My rule is always accept free money. Never be bribed. I would have pocketed his hundred and asked him if he would like a different seat.

A:

Hey there Barrett, I wish you the best. Are you allowed to use a computer now? Or have you always been? I remember reading something on Frontburner that said you are not allowed to.


Q:

I would absolutely have considered it were it not for the two bosses standing beside me and the cameras covering every square inch of floor space.

A:

The BOP had claimed that I couldn't use computers during my home confinement period, but now I'm on probation under DOJ, which allows me to use a computer so long as it's monitored, which it's going to be anyway.


Q:

Point taken. That must have been frustrating.

A:

Have you ever admitted publicly that #OpCartel was a huge scam built atop a foundation of lies?

Glad you're out of prison.


Q:

I was too busy being extremely pissed at that guy for being an incredible asshole, honestly.

A:

No, because that's not true. OpCartel came out of the Anon Veracruz faction, and although there was a great deal of confusion about it in the press - such as the idea that I had started it, or that I had the documents, or that I was in direct negotiations with the Zetas, when in fact these other guys were in charge of it at all times - I have no reason to believe that their basic claims were untrue. I supported the original operation and thereafter tried to use the momentum to match Mexican journalists with U.S. press who could publish info on cartel infiltration with relative safety. Very little came of that.


Q:

liked to share stories about shows he'd seen heard.

A:

What do you think of the DNC Leaks?


Q:

There we go.

A:

I'm in favor of any leaks that reveal corruption within institutions.


Q:

blind guy

shows he’s seen

( ಡ ﹏ ಡ)

A:

Hey Barrett, 2 questions.

1) I always thought it was ballsy of you to plead guilty while staring down the possibility of 100+ years in prison. Were you aware at the time that your sentence was likely going to be much shorter?

2) Is Leiderman as awesome as his "chicken-shit assholes" rant belies?


Q:

i cri everytim

A:
  1. What actually happened was, I faced over 100 years worth of charges but refused to agree to the original plea bargain they proposed, which would have me plead guilty to one count of identity theft and whatnot and maybe do three or four years. I would not plea to anything involving fraud or deception, and I would not help them set a precedent whereby people could be prosecuted for linking to public information.

    Then my lawyers filed a motion to dismiss those charges, noting that they were misusing the statutes, that I clearly had no intent of committing fraud, etc, and they had to drop their own charges or else face possibility of being sued under a little-known provision whereby defendants of obviously fallacious charges can seek compensation, etc. That being done, I was willing to plea to whatever other nonsense they needed to save face, as the alternative was to go to trial in a system where the FBI can and does lie without consequences, and with a Dallas jury.

  2. Yep.


Q:

I'm sure it was that guy personally pocketing your after tax dollars and laughing maniacally.

A:

Six years ago, you told me I was not allowed to join Anonymous.

"You're not Anonymous, sweetheart."

You then asked /u/kiltrout why I "prank called" you, when you were the one who gave him your cellphone number, asking me to call you.

After you went to prison, and I was free to join Anonymous, I carried your torch - inspired by your instrumental role in Arab Spring (you deserve all the credit, afterall) - and I used the Anonymous brand to promote similar Brazilian and Venezuelan Springs in your name. I also assumed control of Project PM.

My question is: What future libertine activities do you have planned to promulgate the corporate American agenda abroad, and do you plan to continue using Anonymous, for which you are the official spokesman, as your vehicle?


Q:

That was basically my job description for the casino, yeah. Also the toilet clogging in your room was my fault, I spent the service fee money on six gallons of chili the night before.

A:

As you yourself have quoted, I did not tell you that you weren't allowed to join Anonymous. I told you that you're not Anonymous. I said that because you were not involved in Anonymous, and even opposed Anonymous, as you've yourself confirmed here, and as was clear then, as well as from the posts on your Twitter. Like your friend Kilgoar, who's run fake articles under my name at his site, you enjoy engaging in falsehoods against people who have done nothing to deserve it, which is certainly your right.

EDIT

And now you and Kilgoar have admitted to making up much of this:


Q:

oh, even if it's true, you really shouldn't say things like that on the internet. That just encourages even more people to be assholes acting entitled to something.

A:

Do you think Anonymous still has any political/social relevance in 2017, and if not what would it take (if anything) for it to become relevant again?

EDIT: I see someone asked a similar question, I'll clarify a bit: I sit firmly on the "no it does not" side of the first part, more curious what you, as someone who was around that scene in its brightest hours, think could bring it back to its former glory.


Q:

I said it in the other response to this, it doesn't really change what I offer (I'm always out to find people the best seats possible), just the level of customer service I provide. For assholes, it's pretty much just "polite and to the point" to get it over with faster.

A:

I don't, frankly. That could change, but as I told someone else, what's needed now is something that can expand and serve as a serious counter against the powerful without burning out in a flash of chaos and disagreement. The pursuance system will be a mechanism for conducting civic affairs in such a way that everyone has the same clearly-defined rights to operate, to invent, to rise according to their talents and dedication; although Anonymous was allegedly something along those lines, the reality is that some people controlled the mediums, such as IRC servers, where much of the important work was conducted. That's just one of several fatal flaws Anonymous had - the conflict between its stated nature and its actual nature, and a lack of a mechanism for settling disagreements.


Q:

paid less in service fees buying it in person ($2.50 per as of the time I left)

BO wasn't service-fee-free? I've always figured box office was always the baseline "inconvenient" option to justify "convenience fees" for all the rest. Where I am it is-- no fees on buying at the venue.

A:

Did you trip the soap? Trip report?


Q:

The $2.50 "facilities fee" was a very recent change. A month ago you'd have been right on the money. Dunno the thought process behind it.

A:

You mean, did I drop the soap?


Q:

What about for a really popular show? My fear with going in person is that if you aren't at the front of the line at the box office when tickets go on sale that you'll end up with nothing. For a show that's likely to be a quick sell out is there any advantage to going to the box office or are you better off on the website?

A:

Do you still think the Kosovo War was a good thing? If so why?


Q:

You're usually better off on the website. It's generally the fastest, even if you pay more.

A:

Within the context of states engaging in warfare, I don't particularly oppose the Kosovo War, and didn't then, at least on principle, as the West has indeed adopted the concept, which I agree with, that it has a right and an interest in using force against those who perpetrate crimes against humanity. Obviously the U.S. has committed similar crimes, just with more window dressing, but I'm not opposed to its machinery being used against other, even more oppressive states with authoritarian tendencies - again, in principle.


Q:

Did you primarily do business in sports or theater sales where you were located? Always wondered what these jobs entailed, to be honest.

A:

Why was there a stuffed leopard on your wall in We Are Legion?


Q:

Our venue did music and comedians mostly. Before we renovated a few years back we'd have amateur MMA live, which was interesting, but also tricky to handle since the theater wasn't designed for that sort of setup (since all the seats are on one side and whatnot).

The stage was actually enormous, which gives a lot of room for some of the real showmen that have come through (Alice Cooper, Empire of the Sun, and KISS come to mind) to work with cool set designs.

A:

My dad is a prolific hunter and I've had it since I was a kid.


Q:

That's pretty cool...sounds like a neat venue for specialty events. Amateur MMA? That must have taken some logistics to get right as you alluded to...wonder how the turnout was.

A:

What's the reason behind the timing of this ama? There doesn't seem to be anything topical in your life to inspire this ama. The only topical events that tie into your ama are 1) The intercept (whom you're promoting) is being accused of revealing a source. 2) James Comey, former director of the FBI (which you're decrying) is about to testify.

The questions in this ama seem staged and this whole thing stinks.


Q:

The turnout was alright for awhile, although they stopped working with us after the renovation. Dunno if they found a better place or what, but I don't mind. Those shows went on for hours and someone had to stick around till the last fight started so I was usually getting out after midnight.

A:

For one thing, I just got allowed back on the internet for the first time in nearly five years last week, when my BOP supervision period ended, and I'm quite plainly promoting the upcoming pursuance system, which was recently announced and which I've talked about in a dozen comments, in addition to my original text above. I know the fact that I do actually have two important factors on the timing of this won't convince you that I don't, because I remember the internet quite well.


Q:

What was the average "convenience fee" for tickets there?

A:

In person it was free, $3 extra per over the phone. Recently they added a $2.50 fee on top of that to everything, no clue why. Still dirt cheap in person.


Q:

How do companies feel about scalpers?

A:

I really don't know anything from the legal side of things, but from a sales side we can't really do much about it beyond saying "hey don't scalp around us". Once you bought a ticket from us, we were hands-off: what you do with it after that is up to you. When people asked me I would always always always recommend against buying from them since I only ever saw it when it went south and someone got scammed, but that's as much influence as we had on it. We're not just gonna not sell to someone, no matter what we think they might do with the tickets.


Q:

Have you ever done the water driving range at the GSR?

A:

I haven't, golf was never really my thing. Went to the arcade as a kid and tried a bunch of the restaurants during my time there, though.


Q:

What was the busiest day of the week at work?

What was the slowest hour of the week?

What was the busiest hour of the day at work?

What was the slowest hour of the day?

A:

It varied a lot- show days were almost universally busy, whereas any day that wasn't within a few days of a show was slow as hell.

I had days where I didn't speak to another person all day long, and then I had show nights where I sold nonstop for hours straight and on-sales where we didn't stop selling until we closed.


Q:

Was the turnover at the box office as bad as it was everywhere else at the GSR? Also, how did you feel about the horrible management?

A:

Turnover at the box office isn't as bad as something like the front desk, which was nonstop and dealt with complaints and was high-visibility. As far as management, I liked my direct superiors a lot, but more than a couple steps up the chain I didn't really hear from anyone. That could be a whole lot worse, but it wasn't great either.


Q:

How often are you on Reddit and what are your favorite subreddits?

A:

Allllll the time, dude. This is a throwaway so I don't wanna be specific, but a lot of gaming subs.


Q:

Hey there fellow Reno area guy. What happened to the prop airplane from Hello Hollywood, Hello?

A:

It's still there, dude. Saw it a few days ago when we ate backstage for my little going away party.


Q:

Haha have any other acts used the plane in your tenure there?

A:

I think David Copperfield vanished it once, but that was before my time. These days it just sits backstage with some other old sets and stuff.


Q:

So how did GSR feel after Amy Schumer spent the first 15 minutes of her act talking shit about the venue?

For background: she was originally booked for their Grand Theater, which is one of the best venues in town. Then they decided to do renovations on the theater and they moved her to a convention room with ziptied dining chairs and a temporary stage.

A:

I can't speak for anyone but myself of course but man, I think she can go fuck herself. Heard from one of my bosses at the time that she was being an asshole to the people working at wardrobe and all that too.

I'm sure she's probably nice to some people but that was a pretty dickish thing to say.


Q:

Why?

A:

College.


Q:

What is/was your college major?

A:

Graphic design. Left this job for one in my field.


Q:

Before tickets go on sale to the public, what percentage of tickets are already sold off?

A:

It varies wildly depending on the show, location, venue, all sorts of stuff like that. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that super popular acts sell out instantly.

From the angle of this specific venue, the casino and presales are what take the lion's share. Casino gets a couple hundred tickets at various price levels to offer their players based on their play rate (and I've seen players with an average daily wager rate from the single digits to the thousands), sometimes five or six hundred if it's a big show. Beyond that, our presales were pretty open so a lot of times the a good chunk of the front half would go before the on sale. At a guess, that means about thirty percent of a theater seating about 2500-2700.


Q:

When does the buffet have crab legs? I forget.

A:

Fridays iirc


Q:

Hey man, thanks for doing this. I'm a little late to the party but hoping you see this.. have a couple of questions.

1) What's to prevent people from using Ticketmaster as a "showroom" of sorts then converting to the venue's website and purchasing from there to avoid the Ticketmaster fees? Does Ticketmaster own the inventory or do they have exclusivity via the contract, etc. Could you shed some light here?

2) What's Ticketmasters opinion of the secondary market (stubhub, seatgeek, etc.)?

2a) Does Ticketmaster price to discourage resale? Or are they in collusion with the secondary market to maximize value to each channel?

3) Do you have an opinion of Nathan Hubbard? Think he probably predates you but he seems to understand the pain consumers go through when acquiring tickets (although he didn't really do too much about it).

4) Final request - give me your insider's-opinion on how we fix this market for the consumer.

A:

Hey! I can't really comment on too much of this since I worked for a venue, not for Ticketmaster themselves, but I'll answer what I can.

1) Back when we were using our own in-house system we recommended doing this. Their online map looked better than ours in some cases so we'd tell them to look at the map on Ticketmaster and then come to our site and buy them cheaper. Since we went to 100% Ticketmaster sales there's no difference except fees. As far as I was aware we still owned the inventory the whole time, they just worked as a third party for us early on and later became our distribution mechanism. Our contracts and promotions were (again as far as I was aware) between us and the talent, unless they had an outside promoter like JMAX or Another Planet or something.

2) No clue. My own personal opinion is that the whole system is pretty fucked, but I wouldn't know the first thing to do to fix it.

2a) No clue, I never really got insight into why prices were set to what they were.

3) Never heard of him before now, to be honest.

4) See 2, I'd much rather leave that issue to people with more passion and expertise in the subject than myself.


Q:

So I read that the whole idea of Ticketmaster is to throw extra fees on and take the pressure off of the artist or venue. For example. Better for your favorite singer to charge $50 a ticket with Ticketmaster throwing on $20 in fees as compared to $65 for the ticket and $5 for the fees. Their whole model is to take the ire of the fans off of the artist/venue. That is why they don't have competition. Have you heard this, do you know if it is true?

A:

I have heard that, yeah, but it wasn't really true for our venue (max fee total outside of online was $5.50) so I don't really know how accurate it is, sorry.


Q:

What hours of the day did you work?

How many hours did you work per week?

A:

Swing/night shift for three years, then morning for the last year. Given that my new job is normal business hours, I'm glad I had time to adapt.

I was part time, but for awhile we were really understaffed, so I did more hours including a lot of overtime pretty frequently.


Q:

How often do you get to Lake Tahoe and the Ski Slopes nearby?

A:

Not at all, honestly. I'm not a very outdoorsy person. Tons of people come through the casinos for that stuff, though.