The FBI has quietly declared October to be "Harass Anarchists, Muslims and other Enemies of the State" month. Well, the FBI hasn't exactly been quiet. The FBI is behind a recent article on CBS: FBI's Anti-Terror 'October Plan'. No doubt the great chest pounding behind the article is intended to have a psychological impact on activists, making them fearful of FBI harassment during the weeks before the November elections. There is nothing the FBI would like more than to keep its Dictator-in-Chief in power and this latest move is intended to assist that goal by silencing those most likely to make a little noise. If what the FBI states in the article is true, and we have no reason to doubt it, the FBI will be overtly conducting surveillance of "terrorist sympathizers" (read, those opposed to Bush as in, "You're either with me or you're with the terrorists") to the extent of parking in front of your house, visiting your neighbors, visiting your family members, following you around town and perhaps, even, visiting your employer. This, of course, will make you nervous and this is exactly what the FBI wants, so I am here to suggest a new strategy for dealing with this situation.s
The first and most important thing to do is to talk with your family. Explain to your family, if they do not already know, that you are an activist and that the FBI is planning on harassing activists during the month of October by visiting their families. Explain that you are not engaged in any illegal activities and that if the FBI should come to visit it is for the purpose of intimidation and information gathering only. Any information gathered by the FBI will not be used to "prevent terrorism" but will be used to terrorize and harass you and other activists. Make it clear to your family that they are under absolutely no obligation to talk with the FBI or to communicate in any way with the FBI. With that said, demand that they do not, under any circumstances, allow the FBI into their homes, answer any questions for the FBI or provide any information whatsoever to the FBI.
The FBI is likely to try to get a foot into the door. They will attempt to find some pretext to enter the homes of your relatives. Let your relatives know that they should not, under any circumstances, permit the FBI to enter their homes. Once in side they are likely to snoop around, gather information and search for reasons to obtain a warrant (even if they must file a false report and lie about what they have seen in the home). For these reasons the FBI should never be permitted to enter your relatives' homes.
Explain to your family that since you have committed no crimes, nothing they say could assist the FBI in clearing you of anything. Make it clear that the FBI, despite whatever they may say, are not interested in clearing you. Their only purpose is to gather information for the purpose of harassment. Since you have committed no crimes, any statement by the FBI that "you are in trouble" or "that your family can help clear your name" is a lie. It should be met with a door slamming, not further conversation. Make it clear, as well, that they should provide absolutely no information about anyone else.
Suggest to family members that they clear their homes of anything that the FBI may view from the font door or from any windows and use as a pretext for obtaining a search warrant. Encourage your family members not to discuss personal information about you, where you work or what you are doing on the telephone and not to send any emails including such information.
The next step is to deal with your friends. Advise friends that you can trust of your concerns and ask them to follow the same protocol as your family (see above). Ask both your family and your friends to inform you if and when the FBI come to visit. Stress to your friends that you are in need of no "help" that assisting the FBI could attain. The best way they can help you is to not communicate with the FBI.
After you deal with your friends, consider your employer. More likely than not you will have some misgivings about informing your employer, so I suggest taking some preemptive steps at work. You should sanitize your office. The first step is to delete any old emails that contain information about your personal life or political activities that you would not wish the FBI to obtain. Since your employer owns your work email, they could turn it over to the FBI without a warrant if they chose to do so. Go into your Internet browser and delete your web-browsing history. Remove any and all cached Internet content from your machine. If you have a tool to wipe all unused space on your hard-disk, use it. Delete any saved messages on your work telephone or home telephone that you do not wish the FBI to access. Go through your desk drawers and shred any information that the FBI may use to harass you. Stop accessing your personal email from work. Accessing your personal email from work, even through a web-based application, can give your employer access to your passwords and email. If you have already done this at work, they may already have collected this information. To be safe, upon returning home, change your passwords and remember never to access your personal email from work again.
If you are using Windows, your passwords may be cached on your work machine. Change them all and when the system asks if you would like to cache the password for future use, choose the "no" option.
If you have programmed the speed dial to your work telephone with personal numbers, reprogram it to forget those numbers or to replace those numbers with random numbers. Your personal connections could be revealed by using your speed dial. There exist cheap tools to decode into digits the series of tones used when a number is dialed.
The next step is to plant disinformation with anyone that you do not trust. I cannot fabricate this information for you. You must do it yourself. It must be believable. For each person that you have contact with whom you do not trust, make up a small piece of disinformation (i.e. a lie) that is believable and that you believe they might share with the FBI. Keep track of these "lies". Assign one unique lie to each person you do not trust. On a one to one basis, find a way of communicating the unique lie directly with each untrusted person. Make sure no third party knows the lie - only the untrusted person. When and if the FBI visits everyone you know, these untrusted persons will share their unique disinformation with the FBI. If this information ever surfaces in the form of harassment, you will be able to identify the source as the untrusted person with whom you entrusted the unique lie.
There is another edge to the disinformation sword. If this practice becomes well known, untrusted people will fear sharing information with the FBI under the fear that they possess unique disinformation that will reveal their identities. This will make such people fear snitching.
If you believe that the FBI will obtain a warrant for your home, you should act to sanitize your home BEFORE you have clear evidence that they intend to. Any action you take after obtaining knowledge that you are the subject of an investigation which removes evidence will be viewed as obstructing justice. So long as you remove it before you have any reason to believe you are the subject of an investigation, you are just being a good housekeeper.
Often, after such sweeps, the FBI attempts to justify its criminal behavior by bringing its victims before a Grand Jury. At a Grand Jury you do not have the right to remain silent. I encourage you to look deep within yourself and decide whether ethics and morality are more important than law. Most ethical and moral people will take the position that ethics and morality are primary and law is valid only in so far as it conforms to ethics and morality.
One final piece of advice is to continue your political activities. The primary goal of the FBI is to hinder you. Do not let them succeed.