Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Personal announcement: there is good news, and there is bad news (and one idea)

Dear friends,

Today, as people often say, I have some good news and some not so good news.

The good news is that a number of kind people have reach out to me in different ways to help me assure the survivability of this blog.  The idea is to make the blog available in sufficient number of duplicates located in different places of the planet to prevent the "Axis of Kindness" from shutting it down.  This is what we have done so far.  The following two locations are available as "reserves" to be used in case of an "accidental" deletion of this blog here:


Right now, these locations are not used or updated and I will keep them "frozen" until and unless an emergency happens.

The following two sides have a partial backup of the pasts posts of this blog:


I am in contact with several folks who are trying to work out a way to backup the full blog in one location and then provide automatic "mirroring" of what is posted here.  That would be the ultimate solution, but it takes a little more time to setup.

Stay tuned, and I will keep you posted when this option is available, hopefully in more than one location.

The other good news is that the number of visitors to this blog is steadily rising and on Sunday it reached just a hair short of 20'000 (19,936 exactly) - not bad at all for a week-end day!  Also, I am getting daily reports about posts of this blog being published elsewhere, from Brazil, to India, to New Zealand, to Russia to the USA.  In other words, our joint efforts (at least 60% of the credit for the quality of this blog goes to you all, I could never hack this alone!) are paying off and we are kicking the presstitutes right were they deserve it.  So please continue commenting, posting links, reporting events, translating, proof-reading my horrible writing, discussing topics at length and everything else you have been doing.  We make a difference, however small.

Now the bad news.

Guys, I cannot accept money orders or checks.  While I do not distrust any specific person amongst you, I am trying to keep my "thin anonymity" up as long as possible.  Once my read identity comes up (which I know will happen sooner or later), it will be a major distraction and a pain in the a** for me to deal with.  I want to keep focusing on issues and topics, not personalities.  If I start accepting money orders or checks even this very "thin" anonymity of mine will go down the tubes real fast.  So all I can only suggest is this:
  • PayPal (flattr basically does not work for me)
  • Snailmail to either Europe or the USA (see exact addresses on the left)
I will spare you the frustrating discussions with my bank, and I will immediately concede that PayPal is a massive pain in the rear end to deal with.  I tried to find some alternative to PayPal which would allow folks to send me donations without going through the hassle of opening up an account, but they all have their own drawbacks.

If you really hate PayPal to the point of never wanting to use it I fully understand.  Then use snail mail and send me cash or gift cards or anything else you feel comfortable sending.

Somewhere down the road, if the donations keep on coming, I might consider opening up a non-profit, but at this point in time this makes no sense at all.

Sorry for the frustrating bad news.

One more thing:

I think that it might be extremely useful to create a group of "correspondents" of this blog.  Here is what I mean by that:

The fact is that I am the proverbial "armchair strategist", with all the flaws which derive from that situation.  This weakness is partially mitigated by the fact that I used to be a *professionally trained* armchair strategist: this is the guy who in peace time sits at the top floor of a sombre looking building and who in war time sits very deep inside a bunker.  He rarely wears a uniform, even more rarely combat fatigues, but he is always surrounded by lots of electronics and communication gear and each morning he gets a big pile of paper and secure emails which he plows through and then works with big databases to assess the data which just came in to evaluate it.  The closest he ever gets to a firing tank or artillery piece is on his computer screen, usually during command-staff exercises.  You know the type, right?  In Russian they are called "staff rats/bitch" (shtabnaia krysa/suka, штабная крыса/сука).  Not a very popular type with the frontline folks.  The polite word of us is simply "analyst".

One of the things which such an analyst has is the possibility to contact somebody in the area he is trying to evaluate to ask a question, get a detail, ask for a translation, etc.  In my case, however, my needs are even more basic:

I need local folks to go through the local Internet resources (not the big national news, those I parse myself) to seek out interesting stuff and then simply send me the links.  Though a commentary or evaluation of these links could be helpful, the links alone would be helpful enough.  Here are the languages which I can read more or less decently: very easily: French, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, and English, of course.  With some difficulties Portuguese, and Dutch.  Slowly and preferably with the help of a machine translator,  can also understand a text written in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Afrikaans, Slovak and Macedonian.

Also, there are four languages which I don't know at all and with which I would really need a person willing to translate or even just summarize interesting articles in the local Internet (in order of priority): Arabic, Chinese, Farsi and Hebrew.

Should that work, my goal would be to completely bypass the AngloZionist media and to offer the readers of this blog information from the small news sources which are little known but which are trying hard to become more visible.  Sure, we all know about RussiaToday, PressTV or TeleSur, but who knows what kind of interesting stuff is published on the local Internet in Omsk, Isfahan or Cochabamba?

Tlaxcala does a great job of translating "alternative" information in many languages and IPS tried to being local information sources.  But for the former does not use local correspondents or specialize in English-language information while the latter has, shall we say, a "not always adequate political agenda" with some pretty darn big blind spots.

So here is my idea: if some of you are interested in becoming "Saker correspondents" we could have your just scan the local press in your area (it don't need to be in Timbuktu - the local press in France or Romania might be very interesting too) and send me the links.  I could then either publish the full article if it is worth it, or just post a few links so those interested can read it for themselves, or simply read the stuff myself to help me understand a region or a current event.  If there will be Arabic, Chinese, Farsi or Hebrew speakers willing to be "Saker correspondents" then they would work somewhat differently: they could email me and say, "the local website has a reader's forum where one guy just posted his impression after a 3 day trip to the town of X and he is describing something interesting.  Do you want a summary or full translation?"  Depending on the place, situation and source I would have to decide whether this is worth the correspondent's effort.

Alternatively, you could bypass me completely and contact each other directly and jointly decide to try to get the local information sources to the English-speaking world, either through my blog or through any other outlet you like (God knows there are many very good ones today).  Then my role would be just to help put you in touch with each other and then you could work without intermediaries.

Just think about it.  All I know is that there are regular readers here from all over the planet, with lots of languages and excellent expertise and education.  Not to flatter you all, but there is *a lot* of brainpower available which we could put together if you guys are interested.

If not, no problem.  I regularly have goofy ideas and I don't expect a standing ovation every time a share them with others :-)

Again, sorry for the stupid situation with donations, but I tried my best within the time that I have and the laws, regulations and practices I have to comply with.  I can't afford doing something even remotely not 100% legal and 100% ethical.

Kind regards and many thanks,

The Saker

PS: there is a strong possibility that the international situation will take a sharp turn for the worse and there is a not trivial possibility that some kind of conflict or war may start in several locations on the planet (the Ukraine, DPRK, South China Sea, Venezuela, Iran, etc.).  So whatever we decide, let's try to stay in touch and try to make sense of what is going on together, okay?  The Saker