Friday, January 28, 2011

Like Badgers and Birds: A Compilation to Support Wikileaks

Whatever your political persuasions, and whatever you think of the particular content that Wikileaks has unveiled, I think we can all agree that a movement toward transparency in the dealings of governments and corporations is necessary.  Orwell's doublespeak is here, loopholes are the lingua franca, and diplomacy has become the art of placation and duplicity.

C.J. Boyd, a bassist/multi-instrumentalist that I had the pleasure of gigging with several months ago, decided to put together a benefit compilation for Wikileaks in the wake of Julian Assange's pursuit (and subsequent arrest), when corporations like Amazon and Mastercard were making it quite clear which side of the debate over corporate and governmental secrecy they were on.  The compilation was released digitally December 19, 2010.

From the notes for Like Badgers And Birds:

Besides helping raise funds, I have organized this compilation with the hope that--through music--we can draw attention to the vital role that Wikileaks and other whistleblowers play in keeping us informed and our governments accountable. If you think this is a worthy cause, please give more than your money. Please stay informed, help educate those around you, and pursue actions in accordance with this understanding.  

The purpose of this compilation is to spread the word of Wikileaks' plight, and help gather support so that this irreplaceable organization can make it through this extremely difficult time. The music offered here has been donated by the artists in support of Wikileaks. All of the proceeds from this album will be donated to Wikileaks.

Independent musicians, labels, and listeners come together to support Wikileaks in its struggle against corporate America's unofficial sanctions. The Pentagon has bombarded this organization with denial of service attacks. Meanwhile, PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, Amazon, and other corporations have all succumbed to pressured from the US Government to deny service to this organization that has broken no US law. Therefore, Wikileaks needs more support now than ever. 

One of the unique things about Like Badgers And Birds is that it is not a static compilation.  Every week, songs are added, songs are subtracted, the order is altered -- producing a living document that eloquently maps the unease of the time (I almost said "zeitgeist").  Secrecy has always been a favorite tool of tyrants.  Star chambers, secret prisons, new definitions of torture, new definitions of terror -- these are ways to quell due process, to stifle open debate.  

I think we all know that true privacy has been gone for a long time.  From employers, parents, and law enforcement spying on individual's social networks, to identity thieves, to corporate buying and selling of private debts, to bots scouring the internet for flagged words and phrases, to closed-circuit security cameras everywhere you look; our former concerns about nosy neighbors and invasive advertisers seem silly and small by comparison.  The question has become, how many ways is your privacy not being violated?

Wikileaks is the test case -- and by no means will it be the final test -- of our resolve to hold institutions to the same standards that we expect of fellow citizens.  Certainly there is a place for secrecy in governments, in banks, and in businesses.  However, unlike privacy, secrecy is not a right.  It is a privilege only due to those institutions that do not abuse it.  It is ironic that some among us are quick to surrender a right but loathe to retract a privilege.

Stargrazer offered an instrumental track to Like Badgers And Birds, written especially for the compilation, called "Ecliptical Ovoidance."  This week, Stargrazer's track is featured, and ITAV is honored by the opportunity to support this effort to further accountability among principalities and powers who would usurp our rights and place us in servitude to their privileges.

You can download/listen to the entire compilation, which is a musical testament to artistic revolution, and a moving statement of solidarity beneath the flag of Truth,  at the link below:

Every Sunday, C.J. reconfigures the compilation, rendering it a fresh sensory experience and maintaining the organic artistic outlook that informs this particular creative outpouring.

By purchasing Like Badgers And Birds, you are not only obtaining a unique body of music that captures some of the spirit of humanity's struggle to be human -- to be humane -- you are directly supporting Wikileaks' ability to continue to make the hidden, criminal elements entrenched in our institutions extremely uncomfortable.  And in time, to afford changes on the global stage that favor civility, transparency, and honor over furtiveness, mendacity, and rancor.

In an ideal world, we would be able to place our trust in financial institutions, corporations, and governing bodies.  The laughable nature of that previous sentence, currently, is the reason why activist organizations like Wikileaks are necessary to the survival and advancement of the world community.  While perhaps total transparency is a similarly naive ideal, the time is long past to expose abuses of power and privilege that have directly fed into a world model of poverty and warfare.

For as we were told so many times when our civil liberties and assurances of privacy were being rapidly eroded in a post-9/11 world, "those with nothing to hide, have nothing to fear."


  1. Thank you. One of the most amazing things about the US is the fact that we have the absolute right to discuss, uncover and make public that which concerns us (and that which doesn't concern us). Exercising that right is the only way to protect it. The world over, we know that people are intimidated and killed for speaking up, speaking out, speaking the truth. Thank you for working to preserve that voice, giving space to that voice in the US.

  2. I know that I value my right to speak out! I try to keep it musical here, but the war for integrity is in my blood. My father was a military man, and he explained to me many times that there are two kinds of lies: lies of CO-mission and lies of O-mission (lies you tell on purpose and lies where you just leave out important information/details). His spirit of integrity is still something I strive for every day.