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6/15/13

Neymar today

Two minutes into the Confederations Cup, Brazil 1, Japan 0. Neymar.




Order of importance, Guatemala politics edition

Which is more important?
  • Narco gang attacks police station en masse and murders eight police officers.
  • Your country plays an international friendly football match against Argentina.

No, not according to your moral compass dear reader, but according to Alejandro Sinibaldi, 2015 Presidential candidate for the Guatemala's Patriotic Party. See Mike for the rest of the story over at Central American Politics.

6/14/13

And tonight's winning entry in the Friday-night-bury-that-news-while-the market-players-are-at-happy-hour NR stakes is...

...Tasman Metals (TSM.v) for this dog's breakfast of a retraction. And there was plenty of competition this week, too. Congrats and kudos, Mr Saxon.

Ah, remember the good old days when rare earths were about to change the world? It was about two or three years ago if memory serves, just a few short months after the time that lithium was going to change the world and long after the time that thorium was going to change the world. But don't worry, because now graphite is going to change the world. What could possibly go wrong?

The Friday OT: Eric Clapton & JJ Cale; After Midnight

It's gonna be peaches and cream.



Chart of the day is...

...the gold/copper ratio:



Presumably good that this looks as though it's bottomed and is moving back up. Though it may just mean that gold's losing value at a slwoer rate than the factory metal.

6/13/13

A musical interlude

Why this song occurs right now is beyond my ken.

A Flash update...

...has just been sent to subscribers, Thursday morning around 11:20am EDT. The truth will set you free, baby.

A little reminder to people reading this on RSS

As from July 1st, Google Reader is no more. You should check into alterantive RSS services before this month is up (eg Feedly), but when it comes to IKN, perhaps getting the daily digest e-mail, that arrives in your inbox every morning and has all the previous day's posts, is a winning solution. Sign up for it here (thousands of people have already).

David Baines leaves The Vancouver Sun

Sad to hear this news, as the most excellent Baines is the undisputed daddy of scumbag fighters amongst Canadian journalists. Mining dot com has more on the story here. Hopefully Baines will quickly find a new outlet for his important work uncovering the rotten dealings of Canadian mining companies. h/t MM

Chart of the day is...

...the US Dollar index (DXY) versus the gold bullion ETF (GLD) over the last ten trading days:


Cos y'see, what's supposed to happen according to the general theory (that's infallible, right goldbugz?) is that when the US Dollar drops, gold goes up in dollar price terms. But as you can see the last two weeks have seen the two lines have both dropped, tripping merrily together into the happy world of negative.

Now that's not the dollar's fault, cos the dollar is big big big and gold (despite all those incessant claims from its fanboys and fangirls of its world monetary domination) is in fact a little little little thing next to the greenback. So the question is, what's making gold act like the dollar?

6/12/13

Atico Mining (ATY.v) update

One of the nicer things about blogging is the way the conversation can be relayed, baton style, between different people and different viewpoints. After our post dated June 4th on Atico Mining (ATY.v) this particular baton was picked up and moved forward by Vancouver Venture. The blogger over there, PSDave, is a smart and wordly wise voice on the ways in which the TSX(V) exchange works and brought his perspective on the issue later that same day. His post linked here is well worth a read.

And since then?


The moral of this story is simple: Do not get in the way of the controlling money. Especially when the controlling money is run by the two-faced self-serving cunts at Casey Research. You would have thought by now that the Ganozas had worked that out, but it looks like they needed a second special lesson. dyodd, dude.

Mine: A confidence crisis

A lot of people are putting the new PWC report "Mine: A confidence crisis" in front of your humble scribe's ugly fizzog this morning, so rather than suffer alone the link to the paper gets a showing here on the blerg too.

Have a read, a sober and sobering look at the state of the mining sector from a beancounter point of view. Here's the cover blurb that goes with the free download:
The mining industry faces a confidence crisis. Confidence over whether costs can be controlled, return on capital will improve and commodity prices will not collapse, among others. Over the past decade, the mining industry has outperformed the broader equity markets, but this trend has recently changed. While 2012 saw mining stocks fall slightly, they fell nearly 20% in the first four months of 2013.
Regaining confidence depends on how the mining industry responds to its rising costs, increasingly volatile commodity prices and other challenges such as resource nationalism. Despite this drop in confidence, it’s not all bad news. Production volumes and dividend yields are up and while prices have fallen, they have not crashed. China continues to be the industry’s most important customer. While Chinese growth rates are slowing down, they are coming from a bigger base, so future demand for commodities still looks healthy.
Miners are trying to rebuild the market’s confidence - capital expenditures have been scaled back, hurdle rates are being increased and non-core assets are being disposed of. Across the board, there is a shift from maximising value by increasing production volumes, to a renewed focus on maximising returns from existing operations through managing productivity and improving efficiencies.

The full report here

Separated at birth: Sebastian Piñera and Christopher Waltz

Flicking through channels late-ish last night, your humble scribe caught the last 30 minutes of Inglorious Basterds and it suddenly clicked:

Lupaka (LPK.to) and an owl

Lupaka

An owl

How do you say "Where's your sense of humour?" in German, anyway?

Spanish lesson for followers of junior mining

This is the two year price chart of junior exploreco Oronova (ONV.v).



Translation time: "Oro no va" is Spanish for "Gold doesn't work". Just thought I'd mention it.

6/11/13

A query for Lupaka Gold (LPK.to)

No, it's not about the pump that you've paid for in Germany that started yesterday and caused the big pop in the share price. After all, promo'ing of this bullshit variety may be immoral but it's certainly not illegal and I am also in favour of redistributing some of the wealth of Germany to other parts of the globe (in this case, mainly Toronto, Vancouver and Lima). No, my questions cover another subject:

  • Why haven't you published the metallurgy results you received for the Crucero project a few weeks ago? 
  • Are they really as bad as the rumours make out? 
  • Isn't this type of thing supposed to be material, meaning that you can't just sit on this development and must disseminate to shareholders? 
  • Is it true that the results basically render uneconomic all of the gold ounces you've already found at Crucero?
Any information received would be greatly appreciated.


The South America World Cup Qualifiers: Round 14



Gosh, nearly forgot that this afternoon is round 14 and I haven't posted this yet. Ok, so here we go and after last week's semi-fail (the big bet lost thanks to a crappy Argentina and a good Colombia defence, but the small bet won thanks to a decent Peru performance) our cash piggybank is down to a mere $100.55 and we're showing less than a dollar profit for all this hard work.

But hey, only money right? So here we go with the round 14 match-ups, with betting odds from Ladborkes dot com as always. Afterwards the thoughts and then the bets:

Colombia 4/11         Draw 7/2               Peru 8/1
        Ecuador 6/4           Draw 9/4            Argentina 9/5
Venezuela 13/8            Draw  9/4           Uruguay 13/8
Chile 1/4                    Draw 9/2           Bolivia 11/1

Gosh these are either super-tough or unbettable.

You could I suppose bet the ranch on Chile beating Bolivia because even 1/4 looks reasonable value, but weird things happen in this world and I wouldn't like to feel responsible for anyone's house getting foreclosed due to a bad bet call. Yup they're way likely to win, but if Bolivia (as is likely) go to Santiago with 10 in defence and Chile can't find a way through or a final touch or three fail them...

The hottest contest is the improving Venezuela versus the underperforming Uruguay, because both are gunning for the important 5th spot and a chance to go to the finals via the play-off (with the 5th in the Asia group, if memory serves). Neither will want one point, both want three. Uruguay is the incognito here because if they hit form the team is simply world class, but up to now they've been misfiring. Venezuela is a good team these days, long gone is the epithet of South American whipping boy team and after beating Colombia in their last home match they'll like their chances here.

Argentina goes to the altitude of Quito Ecuador without Lionel Messi in the starting line-up and traditionally Argentina doesn't perform well up the Andean mountains, either. Ecuador lost a couple of players due to yellow cards and injury during their 1-0 loss to Peru last time, but nobody vitally vital and they're a different kettle of fish at home.

Colombia versus Peru has the makings of the surprise result. For sure Colombia has to be favourite, but they've lost their two first choice central defenders for this match (yellow cards vs Argentina last time). Peru played well against Ecuador, no ifs and no buts. They go to Colombia as outsiders for the match but the odds on offer above are value-laden.

So to the bets:
  • $20 on Ecuador to beat Argentina at 6/4, total potential return $50. I think the altitude (big plus for Ecuador, negative for Argentina), the lack of Messi and the comfort of knowing that they're already virtual certainties to get to the finals will do for Argentina. 
  • $10 on a Colombia/Peru draw, at 7/2, total potential return $45.
And let's see how we get on.

UPDATE: I suck at this. Colombia ran rings round Peru, with two goals in the first half and easy containment of the clearly inferior team in the second. Meanwhile, Ecuador could only draw with Argentina which means both my bets went down the drain. This leaves the treasury position at a very thin looking $70.55 to take to the next two fixtures in September.

La Escondida (BHP et al) copper production going well in 2013

The production recovery at the world's single biggest copper mine continues, with the Cochilco stats for April 2013 just released.


It's still not producing at the same levels as the 2005 and 2006 peak period, but La Escondida has come out of its relative slump well.

Chart of the day is...

...Peru's IGBVL "general" index from the Lima stock market.


Are we levelling out at 16k here? I think so. By the way, the thing is about 50% mining stocks.

A Flash update...

...has just been sent to subscribers this Tuesday morning, pre-bell. Buying a stock.

6/10/13

Mining PRs and the Ottotrans™, part 73



Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to part seventy-three of our occasional series that makes sense of the barely literate quagmire we know and love as the junior mining company news release. When it comes to these things, your humble scribe's personal preference has always sided with those Ottotrans™ that take the long NRs and consdense them into the fewest words possible. That's what we have today, our example being the NR this evening out of Robbie Mac's pride and joy McEwen Mining (MUX) (MUX.to) because...

You are about to witness how 1,448 words can be condensed into just five. 


This is what they wrote

McEwen Mining Inc.: Lower Metal Prices and Higher Cost of Capital Drives Decision to Reduce Forecast Production Growth from 290,000 to 225,000 Gold Equivalent Oz in 2016

Capital Requirements Now Significantly Reduced; Los Azules Sale Deferred

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jun 10, 2013) -McEwen Mining Inc. (MUX)(MUX.TO) announces a reduction to its forecasted production growth from 290,000 to 225,000 gold equivalent oz in 2016. Consequently, our capital requirements have been significantly reduced to a point that our cash reserves and cash flow from operations could be sufficient to fund the majority of our revised production growth.
How we have changed our production growth:
El Gallo 1 is being expanded for an estimated capex of $5 million with an expectation of producing 75,000 oz gold in 2016; we expect Gold Bar to be permitted in late 2014/early 2015, built in 2015 and up and running in 2016 at a rate of 50,000 oz gold per year; and our 49% owned San José contributing 100,000 oz gold equivalent for total Company production of 225,000 oz gold equivalent in 2016.
We have begun to re-evaluate El Gallo 2 as a heap leach operation rather than a conventional milling situation. Preliminary column testing results on ore recovery are encouraging and if further test work and bulk sampling are conclusive, then El Gallo 2 will be developed as a heap leach operation. The resultant capital cost reduction for El Gallo 2 would be considerable, from an estimated $180 million for a milling process, to $20-$30 million for a heap leach. The impact on IRR is dramatic because we would use less than 20% of the original capital to generate 60% of former forecasted production.
If the El Gallo 2 heap leach process works, then its projected production could add an additional 60,000 gold equivalent oz, and thus increase total Company production to 285,000 in 2016. This revised total production number would be very close to our original forecast of 290,000 oz in 2015. The metallurgical testing of El Gallo 2 ore should be completed by the 4th Quarter of this year and should coincide with the expected receipt of our permits to mine from the Mexican government.
As a result of our lower capital requirements, the rationale for selling Los Azules has effectively been eliminated. As a result, Los Azules has been removed from the sale process, which began in January. Los Azules is a significant copper deposit that we believe will command a better price in the future.
"Lower gold and silver prices have reduced our cash flow and the projected IRRs on our development projects and increased the cost of capital. As a consequence, we had to re-assess our development plans and look at alternatives to avoid excessive dilution at current market prices. Fortunately, we have developed alternatives that our cash reserves and cash flow from operations would allow us to develop and fund largely from internal sources with limited use of very expensive outside capital. Another very positive aspect of this alternative course is the potential for a significant increase in the IRR of El Gallo 2. Clearly, adversity is the mother of invention,"said Rob McEwen, Chairman & Chief Owner.
About McEwen Mining (www.mcewenmining.com)
The goal of McEwen Mining is to qualify for inclusion in the S&P 500 by creating a profitable, mid-tier gold producer focused in the Americas. McEwen Mining's principal assets consist of the San José Mine in Santa Cruz, Argentina (49% interest); the El Gallo Complex in Sinaloa, Mexico; the Gold Bar Project in Nevada, US and the Los Azules Project in San Juan, Argentina.
McEwen Mining has 297 million shares issued and outstanding. Rob McEwen, Chairman, President and Chief Owner, owns 25% of the shares of the Company (assuming all outstanding Exchangeable Shares are exchanged for an equivalent amount of Common Shares). As of April 30, 2013, McEwen Mining had cash and liquid assets of approximately US$50 million and is debt free.
TECHNICAL INFORMATION AND RISKS
There are significant risks and uncertainty associated with commencing production or changing production plans without a feasibility, pre-feasibility or scoping study. The proposed expansion to El Gallo Phase 1 and the changes to the existing El Gallo 2 production plans have not and may not be explored, developed or analyzed in sufficient detail to complete an independent feasibility or pre-feasibility study and may ultimately be determined to lack one or more geological, engineering, legal, operating, economic, social, environmental, and other relevant factors reasonably required to serve as the basis for a final decision to complete the development of all or part of these projects.
This news release has been reviewed and approved by William Faust, PE, McEwen Mining's Chief Operating Officer, who is a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. For additional information about El Gallo Phase 2 see the technical report titled "El Gallo Complex Phase II project, NI 43-101 Technical Report Feasibility Study, Mocorito Municipality, Sinaloa, Mexico" with an effective date of September 10, 2012, prepared by M3 Engineering along with a team of associates (the "Phase II Report"). The authors of the Phase 2 Report, Stan Timler - M3 Engineering, Mike Hester - Independent Mining Consultants (Reserves), Dawn Garcia - SRK Consulting (Environmental), Richard Kehmeier and Brian Hartman - Pincock Allen & Holt (El Gallo Deposit Resource), John Read - McEwen Mining consultant (Palmarito Insitu, Historic Waste Dumps and Historic tailings Resource), are each qualified persons and all of whom but John Read are independent of McEwen Mining, each as defined by NI 43-101.
CAUTIONARY NOTE TO US INVESTORS
McEwen Mining prepares its resource estimates in accordance with standards of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum referred to in Canadian National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101). These standards are different from the standards generally permitted in reports filed with the SEC. Under NI 43-101, McEwen Mining reports measured, indicated and inferred resources, measurements which are generally not permitted in filings made with the SEC. The estimation of measured resources and indicated resources involve greater uncertainty as to their existence and economic feasibility than the estimation of proven and probable reserves. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that any part of measured or indicated resources will ever be converted into economically mineable reserves. The estimation of inferred resources involves far greater uncertainty as to their existence and economic viability than the estimation of other categories of resources.
CAUTION CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This news release contains certain forward-looking statements and information, including "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements and information expressed, as at the date of this news release, McEwen Mining Inc.'s (the "Company") estimates, forecasts, projections, expectations or beliefs as to future events and results. Forward-looking statements and information are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by management, are inherently subject to significant business, technical, economic and competitive uncertainties, risks and contingencies, and there can be no assurance that such statements and information will prove to be accurate. Therefore, actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements and information. Risks and uncertainties that could cause results or future events to differ materially from current expectations expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements and information include, but are not limited to, factors associated with fluctuations in the market price of precious metals, mining industry risks, political, economic, social, technical and security risks associated with foreign operations, risks associated with the construction of mining operations and commencement of production and the projected costs thereof, risks related to litigation, the state of the capital markets, environmental risks and hazards, uncertainty as to calculation of mineral resources and reserves, projected permitting timelines and other risks. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements or information included herein, which speak only as of the date hereof. The Company undertakes no obligation to reissue or update forward-looking statements or information as a result of new information or events after the date hereof except as may be required by law. See McEwen Mining's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012 and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, under the caption "Risk Factors", for additional information on risks, uncertainties and other factors relating to the forward-looking statements and information regarding the Company. All forward-looking statements and information made in this news release are qualified by this cautionary statement.
Contact:
McEwen Mining Inc.
Jenya Meshcheryakova
Investor Relations
(647) 258-0395 ext 410 or Toll Free: (866) 441-0690
(647) 258-0408
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mcewenrob
Twitter: www.twitter.com/mcewenmining
Store: www.mcewenmining.com/store
Mailing Address
181 Bay Street Suite 4750
Toronto, ON M5J 2T3
PO box 792
info@mcewenmining.com
www.mcewenmining.com



And this is what it means:

We can't sell Los Azules


z

Kinross (K.to) (KGC) spikes Fruta del Norte

Oh man.


Here's the NR, here's the top bit

Kinross Gold Corporation (NYSE: KGC) announced that the Company will not proceed with further development of the Fruta del Norte (FDN) project in Ecuador. The Company also informed the Government of Ecuador of this decision, and requested its cooperation in ensuring an orderly transition that respects the interests of both parties.

After more than two years of negotiations on exploitation and investment protection agreements for the project, the Government of Ecuador and Kinross have been unable to agree on certain key economic and legal terms which balance the interests of all stakeholders. Therefore, despite pending legislative amendments to the mining and tax law regime in Ecuador, Kinross has concluded that it is not in the interests of the Company and its shareholders to invest further in developing FDN.

"We have said that we will exert strict capital discipline across our Company, that we will allocate our capital only to projects which meet our investment criteria, and that we will only enter into agreements that are in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders," said CEO J. Paul Rollinson. "After a great deal of effort to arrive at a mutually agreeable outcome, it is unfortunate that the parties were unable to reach an agreement on FDN which would have met those criteria. That said, we respect the Government of Ecuador's sovereign authority and its right to determine how its resources are developed," he added.


Holy wow, what a total clustafark. And let's be clear; if you can't develop FDN, one of the highest grading big deposits out there, you can't develop anything in Ecuador. And a $720m writeoff, too.

Lumina Copper (LCC.v): Technical Analysis versus Political Risk Analysis edition

A special delivery for Iwnattos after his post this morning, with screenshot taken from here and red ink duly added:


Charting, eh...





A "special dollar" for mining in Argentina

A new and potentially positive development for mining companies in Argentina is that according to several reports (here's one) the country's Mining Minister, Jorge Mayoral, met with provincial governors who belong to the OFEMI pro-mining group of regions and told them that the national government would give the industry a "special dollar" rate soon, which would be a  Argentine Peso/U.S. Dollar forex that would "blend" the official rate of exchange with the unofficial "blue dollar". 

At present, if mining companies (like any other officially declared company) wants to exchange their dollars for Pesos they need to do it at the official rate (currently around 5.30 to the USD), whereas the unofficial "blue dollar" sells for 8.57 at present. If Miners can get a preferential rate for their greenbacks soon, it will greatly ease the inflation problems they've been hitting and make costs more competitive.

This initiative is by no means official policy yet, but the sources are good and if it comes to pass may spark some renewal interest in the beaten-to-death Argentina mining sector.

Rafael Nadal announces the death of Nelson Mandela

Fresh from his French Open triumph, Rafael Nadal this morning scoops the world with this tweet. And hey, it may disappear soon so here's the screenshot:

Is there no end to the man's talents?

(Tweet translation: "Today we have lost one of the most important and relevant people in our world. Rest in peace Nelson Mandela").

UPDATE: It gets better, as apparently Chile's Minister of Culture started false rumours of Mandela's death.

UPDATE 2: Sure enough, that Rafa tweet has been pulled. I kinda thought at the time that a screenshot wasn't a bad idea...



Breaking: Conga suspended

News from Cajamarca Peru is that all work at the Conga project owned by Yanacocha S.A., the JV between Newmont (NEM) and Buenaventura (BVN) has been stopped and "hundreds of workers laid off".  Specifically, work has stopped on the 'Perol' water reservoir, the pre-constuction project that Yanacocha wanted in place to help convince locals that the mega mine project was good for the region. We're about to get a press conference from the Peru Mining Ministry, so update to come on this post.

UPDATE: Peru's Mining and Energy Minister, Jorge Merino, refutes the stories about hundreds of layoffs and says that Conga is going ahead as planned with the reported layoffs being part of personnel rotation at the project, which kind of reminds your humble scribe of the way a certain Norwegian Blue parrot wasn't dead. It was just restin'.

Esperanza Resources' (EPZ.v) change of tone

Here's how we reported on Esperanza Resources (EPZ.v) at its community consultation meeting (part of the permitting process for its environmental permit) at the Esperanza/Cerro Jumil project in February 2013 as part of IKN199
As for the company their lawyer and main representative at the meeting, one Hugo Rosales, was reported as taking a somewhat aggressive tone and saying things like, “This is not (foreigners coming to The Americas and exchanging) glass beads for gold, this is jobs and right now it (the regional government) could bring an industrial project to set up a carmaking plant and hear it was also ecological murder....If the governor doesn’t want the mine we’ll leave and if the EIA isn’t approved we’ll leave....the mining company has other projects in other viable States (in Mexico). This project is the most advanced (but) if this project doesn’t happen the investment will go to another State where there are acceptable conditions, where there’s a governor that says “yes, i want to create jobs”.
Greg Smith, President and CEO, commented, "We believe the reasons given by SEMARNAT for withholding approval at this time are reasonable and relate to deficiencies in the submitted MIA rather than issues with the project itself. Further, we are confident these deficiencies can be adequately resolved in a revised MIA. While disappointed with this initial result, we are pleased with the detailed assessment and consideration by SEMARNAT of the MIA and toward comments made by other government agencies and the public as a normal part of SEMARNAT's review. This notification provides substantial clarity regarding permitting considerations for various aspects of the Esperanza gold project. The Company will focus on ensuring these considerations are sufficiently addressed to secure the approval of the revised MIA."
"Large portion of humble for table 17, please"

Quote of the day is Jean Paul Luksic on copper: "I'm a little worried"

If Antofagasta's (ANTO.L) big cheese doesn't have a clue about copper prices these days, what chance do the rest of us have? Here be the link, here be the translated quote:
"Let's never forget that copper is cyclical. Today we're in a tremendously complex world: Europe zero growth, Japan zero growth, the USA still without its growth consolidated and China with all its own problems. I'm a little worried, becuase it's very difficult to know what's happening with copper in the world. The fundamentals of copper, which are supply and demand, have been very good for years but we're now entering a cycle of this year, next and then the year after in which we'll have a production surplus, we're going to accumulate stock. There's a change, and watch out if China stops doing the things it's been doing."


The top story at Kitco right now kindly informs your humble scribe that...

...Nouriel Roubini doesn't understand gold:



Phew James, thank the Lord for that. Y'know, for a moment back there I thought we were in trouble.

Chart of the day is...

...copper in June so far:


Copper's trading down about 3% so far this month.

6/9/13

The IKN Weekly, out now



IKN214 has just been sent to subscribers, with its main features this week on IMPACT Silver, Bellhaven, Rio Alto Mining and B2Gold. 

The Panama Canal and the proposed Nicaragua Canal: One difference, one similarity

The similarity. Both built by Chinese workforce.

The difference: This time the Chinese workforce will get paid.


Here's the LAHT story, here's how it starts:
MANAGUA – Nicaragua is moving closer to granting a Chinese company a 100-year concession to build and operate a canal linking the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Construction of the waterway would take 10 years and cost $40 billion.
Bills opening the way for the project were submitted last Friday to a legislative committee, which began looking at the proposal’s viability before debate in the full Congress.
The bills would give China’s HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Limited, which is based in Hong Kong, a 50-year concession that would be renewable for another 50 years.
President Daniel Ortega has asked Congress to fast-track debate on the continues here

Edward Snowden

Holy crap, folks. Stop whatever you're doing and read this now.