The Devil Has Been Wikileaked

December 1, 2010

In the latest news from the wikileak, it turns out that the Devil itself has now been wikileaked for telling the US Embassy’s “Econoffs“, exactly what I have said publicly in my blog many times (like, for example, here) that Venezuela does not have the scientific capabilities to do a nuclear program. In fact. I am blunter in my blog than I show up in the wikileak, in the blog I say:

“I can not take Chavez’ nuclear program very seriously, beyond the exhibitionist aspects of it”


“To do anything in the nuclear field, you need people and very simply, Venezuela does not have them. It would take years for Venezuela to put together a group of nuclear scientists to perform a small project whether peaceful or not. Unfortunately, educating high level people like that has not been and is not a priority right now and there is no local talent available to even begin doing it locally. The Venezuelan science establishment is getting old and in nuclear physics in particular, the people I know of are mostly retired or in the process of retiring and there are few people coming up below them.”


“The only thing that would change my mind on this was to learn that the country was importing huge numbers of experts from other countries for such a project.”

or in another more recent post:

“Not one nano watt of nuclear power will be in place in Venezuela in ten years, unless someone discovers simple  cold fusion with tap water and an ipod charger. Please, don’t make it more complicated than that, the revolution could not handle it.”

About the main revelation from the wikileaked cable is that I have a Ph.D. in Physics, something that many readers may not know…

Another giant step by wikileaks into revealing public information…

(Thanks Larry Nieves for noting this to me)

42 Responses to “The Devil Has Been Wikileaked”

  1. […] Who should I quote? Myself? It is in bad taste, but here it is: […]

  2. moctavio Says:

    Not my style 🙂

  3. PaulaH Says:

    tienes un PhD, pero no dice de donde…!
    eso es importante!! 😉

    saludos desde BAHSTON!


  4. bjohns15 Says:

    As someone who has read your blog for some time now, and linked to you to write my own pieces, it is surreal how small this world is getting.

    Congrats and condolences, as the others have said.

    P.s. The English nature of your blog surely must insulate you to an extent, no?

  5. Halfempty Says:

    Hush, the orchids are innocent.

    Sssssshush, no more.

  6. As I said, I dont like to talk talk about my personal life. First of all, while I do have a Ph.D. in Physics, I left Physics in 1992. Second, I write a newsletter about the Venezuelan economy, which is sent for free to 5,000 people all over the world. I have been doing since about the same date. Because of this letter and as part of my job I meet with many investors, diplomats, politicians from all over, mostly to talk about Venezuelan bonds these days. I also get invited to many diplomatic and private company events. I charge nothing for any of this, it is part of my job and dont want to say much more ( I also do many radio interviews for free too). However, I would say that I regularly meet with people, diplomats and investors from all major countries in Europe, Asia, including China and Russia, the US, Australia and many more. Being opinionated on many issues (as if you had not noticed), when people discover my scientific past, my orchids and yes, even my blog (I dont go around saying I write this bog either, although many people know it) I answer questions and give opinions of they are asked.

    When I was a scientist I had collaborations with the US, Denmark, The Netherlands, Brazil, China, Cuba and France, now that you mention it, when the collaboration involved funding it usually involved going through the Embassies, it is part of every day scientific life.

    As to wikileaks, so far much ado about nothing. I like the concept of wikileaks, anything that limits Government and makes them be more careful, it’s ok in my book. However, I dont like the shotgun approach of these documents and so far, not impressed at much. Yes, it is normal that all countries spy on all countries including the UN, to believe otherwise is being very naive.

  7. Kolya Says:

    Space238 is wrong. There was absolutely nothing wrong in Miguel expressing his frank opinion to an US functionary.

    With respect to Assange and the leaked cables, well, my opinion of Assange as a person is low. As to the damaged done to the image of the US, I actually see very little of it. If anything, the US Department of State comes out of it looking pretty good. My impression is most of the cable writers were competent people trying to convey information to Washington honestly and accurately. Much of the information is mundane, but MOST work product anywhere is mundane. Also remember that none of those documents were classified as Top Secret. On other hand, Wikileaks is indeed responsible for needlessly putting people at risk (not US diplomats, but many of the people they got information from.)

    I agree with what a blog in The Economist wrote today about Assange (although some readers here will scoff at the inclusion of Venezuela among the technically capable):

    “Mr Assange, in his obsession with revealing secrets, has compiled a list of countries with generous whistleblower-protection laws. WikiLeaks’ multiple servers aren’t there to back each other up; they’re there to gather legal protections. Every server is subject to the laws of the state where it’s plugged in, so WikiLeaks routes every submission in a clever pattern to move it through each of these locations. … It’s telling that Mr Assange hasn’t placed his servers in some technically capable autocracy with a desire to thumb its nose at the world, say Iran or Venezuela. He needs liberal democracies. Their laws guarantee the safety of his information. … My gripe against Mr Assange is that he takes advantage of the protections of liberal democracies, but refuses to submit himself to them. If he wants to use the libel protections guaranteed by New York State, then he should live in New York, and commit himself to all of the safety and consequences of America’s constitution. If he wants to use Sweden’s whistleblower laws, then he should return to Sweden and let its justice system take its course. This is what distinguishes Mr Assange from Daniel Ellsberg. Mr Ellsberg did not flee America after releasing the Pentagon Papers; he stayed here and stood trial. Regardless of what you think about Mr Ellsberg’s motives, he followed the basic tenets of civil disobedience: break a law, then publicly accept the consequences. Mr Assange just protects himself. Julian Assange has created a legal structure that allows him to answer only to his own conscience. This is an extraordinarily clever hack of the world’s legal systems. But it makes his pretense at moral authority a little hard to take seriously.”

  8. space238 Says:

    Miguel a diferencia de muchos de los comentarios en esta nota. Yo creo que este cable es, en mi humilde opinion, un golpe a la presuncion de independencia de un blog del calibre de devilsexcrement.

    Al ver tu nombre en el cable y despues to comentario de que todo lo que tu habaste con el funcionario de la embajada ya lo habias dicho en el blog. Por que no decirle al de la embajada al que le hiciste el comentario, lean mi blog ahi esta todo?

    Uno se pregunta y son preguntas muy validas, recibiste algun tipo de compensasion por tus servicios? Te ha pasado algun gobierno extranjero informacion que tu has publicado en tu blog?

    Que opinarias tu de otro cientifico que se reuna con funcionarios de la embajada irani y hubiese hecho los mismos comentarios de su conocimientos de la cuestion nuclear en vzla.? Mi sospecha es que si se hacen publicas esas conversaciones, la independencia del cientifico seria muy cuestionada, o me equivoco?

    Yo no creo que estos cables sean irrelevantes como afirmas tu, es normal que la secretaria de estado mande a espiar al secretario general de la ONU? Irrelevantes los cables? Tan irrelevantes que ya hoy ya no este en el aire?

    Como decia una antiguo comerical venezolano de los noventa “Algo oscuro se avecina”

  9. Bruno Mota Says:

    Impressive stuff. A few years back you were in Phys Rev B so often one could almost say you were a regular columnist ;^)

  10. PB Says:

    Sounds like you’re the only one in Ven who would have a chance of helping in a new nuclear age … how ironic. lol

    Good on you Mo.

  11. moctavio Says:

    Ph.D. In Physics, area of solid state Physics, thesis on Superconductivity, have published about 80 papers.

  12. Bruno Mota Says:

    What area of physics was your PhD on? Can you give us some arXiv links?

    “I agree with keeping the physics PhD thing private. I find I get more customers that way. I now say I’m -cough, gasp, choke- an engineer! ”

    Whaaat!! Engineer!! I find that personally offensive!

  13. Lim Says:

    To earn a doctorate in one of the basic sciences all you need to do is work very hard for about 5 years on a low budget in a foreign land. Little or no alcohol drinking (you can’t do the homework or pass the exams if you do), and a very restricted social life. Spending Christmas eve in some dark lab is not uncommon. It is not about being intelligent: it is all about hard work. You learn to be honest (if you fudge an experimental result your colleagues skin you alive), and you learn to be logical. That is part of what earning a science doctodate does for you, and no doubt Miguel learned all his lessons well, given the quality of his blog.

    You then return to Venezuela, naively proud of your humble achievements and of the wonderful people you met. You come back with all kinds of ideas for pushing forward the development of our country.

    Then, on your return, you meet the local scientists, the ones who didn’t choose to earn a doctorate. The proto-chavistas who even back in the 1980s regarded Physics as a social science, and who labled those who studied abroad a band of scum. If you also studied your undergraduate career in the Empire, forget about getting a job in a university.

    Not to worry, Chavista colleagues. Not many of us will be competing for academic positions in the new revolutionary nuclear establishment. It will be a social activity after all.

  14. Oislander Says:

    Doesn’t surprise me that you have an earned doctorate. For the past year I have looked in daily for a thoughtful assessment of Venezuelan events: a tremendous blog. You deserve a phD in journalism as well.

  15. loroferoz Says:

    I for one did not know about the nature of your PhD. What was the specific area of work, if I might not be overly curious?

    However, given the current climate, I would not be surprised if you are mentioned angrily by some or other hateful stooge like Mario Silva or Alberto Nolia. Hope they don’t however. Maybe they will accuse you of being apatrida and all for speaking to the gringos, or for imagining that the Revolution that failed at so many, relatively simple things ought to fail once more at something that requires an intellectual depth and attention span way greater than their Homer Simpson-like ones.

  16. jau Says:

    Well Miguel, congrats on your humbleness, if I were a PhD in bloody physics, I would wear a pin (in the style of herbalife “lose weight, ask my how?”) on my shirt everyday saying “Want to fix the planet? ask me how… signed by the owner of a PhD in bloody Physics.


  17. Antoniosito Says:

    A_Antonio Says:

    “I want to work as an USA embassy personal, looks a very easy job.”

    But I want to work as a Chavista Minister so that can steal millions (BsF or $ or Euros). Easier and pays better, come hell or high water.

    They could not give a pump, snorkel or a shit about the people in the floods.

    PS: Get a better translator

  18. A_Antonio Says:

    Rain over already-wet?.

    Well, everybody knows that in internet this blog is the cream of the cappuccino, looks the awards.

    In Spain, only “El Pais” newspaper is making big noise from the new leaks from Wikileaks, most because the received in exclusive, first time.

    Others media or newspapers, only comments some of the leaks. But really nobody revealing nothing new, nothing everybody think about.

    Most analyzers says that USA embassy personal looks like they works only commenting and recollecting info from national newspaper, internet and political Spanish gossips.

    I want to work as an USA embassy personal, looks a very easy job.

    It is like entertainment expert gossips in political diplomatic arena.

  19. moctavio Says:

    A lil, but 15-20% at most

  20. Robert Says:

    MO I’d like to know if your readership goes up. Can you tell the count on new visitors from before and after wikileaks or increase in volume?

  21. JRAY5568 Says:

    just be a little be more careful.

  22. odef007 Says:

    Thank you Mo for this venue

    As many others on here I worry for many in Ve. Your assumption that many participants are unaware of your credentials is dead on. I for one … adding a few letters at the end of ones name always “ weight’s “ the opinion.

    As far as Wiki is concerned, I consider there is a fine line between Freedom of information and invasion of Privacy. I believe Wiki-leaks has crossed the line. All people have a need and I right, no matter their position, to private thought and opinion that is shared only with those one chooses to. Has or will Leaks put people at risk? Yes, I believe they will. I, admittedly have been on the site. I don’t think that anything very devastating will come out of there. Nothing that most people who follow world news could not “ conclude “ themselves taking the time to do so.
    I only hope that moles have been put out of harms way.

    This venue has always been a great place to share opinions, views etc. I would think that any personal view shared on here by any participant would be taken for it’s face value only. … Start encrypting your emails folks ….

  23. moctavio Says:

    I dont like to say much about me, that is why I never have explicitly mentionef the PhD, others have or knew about it, but it was never stated as explicitly

  24. firepigette Says:

    For the life of me I know not why people are congratulating you for something that is neutral at least, dangerous worst.( referring to the wikileak deal)

    However I will congratulate you on the phd in physics.THAT is an accomplishment.I don’t know why I thought you worked in the area of finance.

  25. Juan Cristobal Says:

    Congrats and sorry Miguel, for the acknowledgment, as Kepler said.

    I guess it’s better to be called “popular” than “populist”, right?

  26. island canuck Says:

    Can you just imagine the ego busting power of a Chavez with a nuclear weapon?

    Can you just imagine the danger in these people running a nuclear plant.
    I shudder to think.

  27. Kepler Says:

    Congrats and sorry at the same time, Miguel.

    Hugo the Small must be pissed off now. What will he do? He will probably try to find ways of beating his chest more loudly claiming he does mean it with nuclear stuff to see if he can gain more attention like that and take attention away from the theft, the mismanagement.

    Perhaps he will ask Iranians to have very open tours all the time around La Esmeralda, in Amazonas.

  28. mick Says:

    You know, the real silver lining, there will be almost 4 thousand government documents and not 1 will mention assassination or coup in the works.

    He has made more than enough enemies in his own country for the US to even bother.

  29. Mercedes Says:

    I thought everybody knew you had a PhD in Physics. Where in the world would that be a problem and not an accomplishment?

  30. Robert Says:

    Congratulations and condolences at the same time. I’m afraid Torres is dead right.

  31. torres Says:

    chavez stopped reading and decided you were dangerous at “Popular blogger”.

  32. Antonio Says:

    I agree with keeping the physics PhD thing private. I find I get more customers that way. I now say I’m -cough, gasp, choke- an engineer! If I get wikileaked I’ll have to close down the business.

  33. jeffry house Says:

    Aha! Miguel provides public information to a US Economics Officer, and everybody expects repression!

    Maybe so, but unless the information is secret, and so labelled, there is nothing whatever wrong with a cocktail party conversation to reassure the Americans that they don’t need to bomb Venezuela.

    I.F. Stone used to provide the same sort of information to Soviet press attaches in the US, but only the most asquerosos of the far right say he did anything wrong.

  34. […] the anti-Chavista (and anti-Wikileakista) author of the always readable Venezuelan blog, “The Devil’s Excrement” finds himself “outed” in one cable and gives the impression that — being […]

  35. Vitor Says:

    Well, that was actually cool!

  36. HalfEmpty Says:

    “Not one nano watt of nuclear power will be in place in Venezuela in ten years, unless someone discovers simple cold fusion with tap water and an ipod charger.

    I knew that would come back haunt you. 🙂

  37. CarlosElio Says:

    Like the others who have commented, I see risk in talking with Econoffs and having a record of those conversations wikileaked.

    This is a government that needs “villains” to keep the embers of their revolution alive. In their wasteland of social judgment the chavismo needs to find even a blade of grass to incite the dumb masses against the evil enemy, and in this case they found the Devil himself talking with Econoffs.

    The mob mentality that so conveniently spares them from being accountable for Pudreval, or the dilapidated electrical grid, or the inability to manage natural disasters, or any other of the disasters that they have spawned, is the same mentality that renders their aspirations to go nuclear a childish joke. True, they cannot build a reactor, but they can crucify Christ and the Devil many times over.

  38. cpbauman Says:

    mosca, sr. octavio

  39. Raúl Says:

    nice… following you now…

  40. NicaCat Says:

    Wow! It’s hard to say if this is a good thing, or not. Well, probably notl Please be careful, my friend!

  41. Kolya Says:

    You should see it as a badge of honor, Miguel. Congratulations.

  42. metodex Says:

    ay dioj mio! el diablo!

    No but seriously. I dont know what to say now.
    “Congratulations” or “those bastards!!”

    But still, im glad your opinion, wich seems to be most people’s is being heard.
    Be careful out there anyways Miguelito.

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