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Security culture or Paranoia Culture?

Recently I read a post from someone offering a mailing list of teens they could not send bulletins to anymore, and they were reminded of the security culture. I have some questions about this.
There are several ways to bring about change. Some involve lighters or spraypaint, and some involve cardboard and posterpaint. There are different levals of security necessary for each, and for all the grey areas in between.

Pollyanne, your ranting typist today, is slow, clumsy and overall not very slick. She's also pretty unsure of the ethics of most people who attempt to bring about change with property destruction considering that someone owns the property. Would she personally go on a crusade to find them to turn them in? No. Would she get whiplash from turning away so quickly to avoid seeing such things? Yes.

A long time ago I read a post on here about how they were sure someone was a cop because they were asking so many questions about how treesitting pods were constructed. I would think a cop would attempt to survail and know that they would not just be told who did it and how, perhaps this person who was new to camp was just genuinely curious how such a neat thing was made? If I were at such a camp I would say something like "Little fairies, elves and knomes did it, or so I hear, and its a good thing because if it were a person they could go to prison for a looong time.." instead of accusing the person of being a cop. Newcomers are inquisitive. This does not mean they are taking notes for the dark side, and we don't have to be rude to them to leave them with nothing to write if they are.

If a black van parked in front of my house for a month, I probably wouldn't notice. They could read all my emails, listen in on all my phone calls and living room convesations and surveil me for years before they would find me sneakily returning a movie at 5:08 to my neighborhood video store avoiding an after-5 late fee and bust me for that. I'm not saying that I think the government should be able to do that, but if they want to choose someone, they'd be awful disappointed in me, except last week when I jokingly asked my friend if the pound of herb arrived at her house after I ordered her loose leaf green tea for her birthday. I'd laugh if they busted down my friends door and found nothing but green tea and overdue library books. They'd prolly plant something else to make themselves look less silly, but thats a different rant altogether.

I understand not everyone is like me. There are more ninja-like, more dedicated people who have decided that more clandastine measures pushing for change are more effective. These people need security, at least in what they are doing, but I do not.

I recon that list of teens does not need to be top secret either. They are not planning to bomb a recruiting center, they are using their voices, which I think are more powerful than bombs, to educate other teens about what a life in the military could really account to. Why shouldn't a list like that be public? Why can't we use social networking sites to build a easy to access network of agreeable people for perfectly legal actions? When lists reach hundreds or even thousands its safe to hide in the swarm; maybe even a few ninjas could hide on the list to easily find out when the next rally will be.

I suggested a long time ago that we get a list of cell phone numbers and give people text messaged alerts of protests to raise attendance. It would be easy to write a list of people who want to know a week before, the day before, the day of.. etc based on their lifestyle. Even if the dark side of the force got ahold of it what would they have? A list of a few thousand people that like to go to anti-war (or whatever?) rallies? I don't understand why that is so hurtful to our causes. If they really want to know who we are, I've read posts of them taking pics and even following people home. I, for one, wouldn't be afraid to have my name on such a list.

Its Pollyanne.. um... Smith. LOL.

Seriously though, why don't we have myspace pages like Portland Anti War to help organize our peeps?

rednam 15.Feb.2009 23:58


I think you are asking some generally good questions. You do have a couple assumptions you are making though.

1st assumption: If you are not doing something 'illegal', you have nothing to worry about. History shows that this is not at all true. The idea is mostly wishful thinking. Pointing this out is not to say how you should conduct yourself, just that the idea of whether you are doing something 'legal' or 'illegal' is not all that much related to whether you get targeted. The primary reason for someone to be targeted for government repression is whether they are effective, or if they are seen as a weak link to attack someone who is effective.

2nd assumption: If someone is serious about security culture, they are likely, or more likely to be doing something 'illegal'. Not true. Some people simply want to protect their privacy from government intrusion. Some people are involved in movements that have historically been targeted for repression and though everything they do is 'legal' they still understand they face some risk. There are other reasons too.

Being on any list.... 17.Feb.2009 20:41

Exile portlander_in_exile@yahoo.com

is something to be concerned about.

It starts with a list. That's how it begins. You may being doing nothing "illegal" at all. Just something that gives them concern. Then they can watch, listen, and read. All it takes is one miss-step, and off you go. Then they see who you've been around. Do you see where this is going?

Any type of unconstitutional surveillance is dangerous. Any at all. Security, verses freedom, is a fine balance. I think that anytime that the authorities are concerned about you watching them, then it's time to start asking a lot of uncomfortable questions.