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He's Making A List, He's Checking It Twice...
December 22, 2007 2:46 PM   Subscribe

Ho[over]! Ho[over]!Ho[over]!
According to a document that was one of many declassified [PDF] by The State Department yesterday, “Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had a plan to suspend the rules against illegal detention and arrest up to 12,000 Americans he suspected of being disloyal....The plan called for the FBI to apprehend all potentially dangerous individuals whose names were on a list Hoover had been compiling for years. ‘The index now contains approximately twelve thousand individuals, of which approximately ninety-seven percent are citizens of the United States,’ Hoover wrote in the now-declassified document. ‘In order to make effective these apprehensions, the proclamation suspends the writ of habeas corpus.’” [habeas corpus previously -- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.]
posted by ericb (58 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice title.
posted by delmoi at 2:51 PM on December 22, 2007


Everything old is new again, I suppose.
posted by puke & cry at 2:58 PM on December 22, 2007


All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again. And again. And
posted by rtha at 3:16 PM on December 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again. And again. And

Yup, but J. Edgar was denied his attempt at hoovering by Truman - the same guy who fired MacArthur.

Harry gave 'em hell.
posted by three blind mice at 3:18 PM on December 22, 2007


So he was going to Hoover up America's enemies?

I'm sorry... I'm terribly jetlagged.

kill me now

posted by Kattullus at 3:30 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry, Katullus, but I believe three blind mice beat you to the punch on the "hoovering" joke/reference! ; )
posted by ericb at 3:37 PM on December 22, 2007


I'm sorry... I'm terribly jetlagged.

Have some Hákarl, followed by a shot of Brennivín!
posted by ericb at 3:40 PM on December 22, 2007


This is a bit shocking, but let's not gild the lily here. This was a plan on the books to be enacted in the case of a national emergency like an invasion or insurrection. I don't think he ever suggested that Truman actually do it.
posted by empath at 3:47 PM on December 22, 2007


Harry gave 'em hell.

That's why I despair these days--I have no confidence that anyone along the chain of command has enough backbone, perspective, and ethics to stop something like this now (including much of the judiciary).

It's interesting that we only find out about this now, after declassification--sort of brings the hubris of the current administration--that they do such things so boldly--into clear light.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:48 PM on December 22, 2007


You mean the country was threatened by a well organized and powerful nation with nuclear weapons and spies and they didn't cancel the Constitution?

Jeez, how quaint.
posted by Skygazer at 3:52 PM on December 22, 2007 [11 favorites]


Yeah, just imagine the shit they plan behind closed doors.
posted by puke & cry at 3:53 PM on December 22, 2007


I thought I had lost my ability to be shocked by our government. But this is truly, truly, fucked up.
posted by localhuman at 3:57 PM on December 22, 2007


The thing that has consistently puzzled me is how absolutely nobody brings up the possible political use of intercepts with the current admin. A substantial part of Hoover's power was because he had the goods on lots of people due to his misuse of government resources. How can Democrat's, most of whom are going along with the surveillance society push, be confident that their communications, both personal and political, are not being intercepted by the current admin? Having politicized so many departments and forced the good people out who is watching to make sure the watchers are not gathering blackmail information?
posted by srboisvert at 4:02 PM on December 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


What a perfect time to release these documents, just when all USians had turned off their mental ability to care for stuff as the holiday weekend commenced, and just when the media is prone to not give it any attention. Really, I admire how perfect the timing is,

After looking through some of the pdfs, I think there's a lot of stuff in there that needs to be made more public. There's a lot of info. Anyone here willing to help sort through it and find the most egregious things?

This stuff has to get attention.
posted by localhuman at 4:06 PM on December 22, 2007


Letter From the Director of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (Hoover) to the President’s Special Consultant (Souers)

Washington, July 7, 1950

My Dear Admiral:

For some months representatives of the FBI and of the Department
of Justice have been formulating a plan of action for an emergency situation
wherein it would be necessary to apprehend and detain persons
who are potentially dangerous to the internal security of the country.
I thought you would be interested in a brief outline of the plan.

Action to Be Taken By the Department of Justice

The plan envisions four types of emergency situations: (1) attack
upon the United States; (2) threatened invasion; (3) attack upon United
States troops in legally occupied territory; and (4) rebellion.

The plan contains a prepared document which should be referred
to the President immediately upon the existence of one of the emergency
situations for the President’s signature. Briefly, this proclamation
recites the existence of the emergency situation and that in order
to immediately protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage
the Attorney General is instructed to apprehend all individuals
potentially dangerous to the internal security. In order to make effective
these apprehensions, the proclamation suspends the Writ of
Habeas Corpus for apprehensions made pursuant to it.

The plan also contains a prepared joint resolution to be passed by
Congress and an Executive Order for the President which too will validate
the previous Presidential proclamation.

The next step in the plan is a prepared order from the Attorney
General to the Director of the FBI to apprehend dangerous individuals,
conduct necessary searches and seize contraband as defined in the
plan. Together with the order to the Director of the FBI the Attorney
General will forward a master warrant attached to a list of names of
individuals which names have previously been furnished from time to
time to the Attorney General by the FBI as being individuals who are
potentially dangerous to the internal security.

It should be pointed out that the plan does not distinguish between
aliens and citizens and both are included in its purview. If for some reason
the full plan is not put into operation it has so been drawn that the
section applicable only to alien enemies may be put into effect.

Action to Be Taken By the FBI

For a long period of time the FBI has been accumulating the names,
identities and activities of individuals found to be potentially dangerous
to the internal security through investigation. These names have
been compiled in an index which index has been kept up to date. The
names in this index are the ones that have been furnished to the Department
of Justice and will be attached to the master warrant referred
to above. This master warrant will, therefore, serve as legal authority
for the FBI to cause the apprehension and detention of the individuals
maintained in this index. The index now contains approximately twelve
thousand individuals, of which approximately ninety-seven per cent
are citizens of the United States. Immediately upon receipt of instructions
and the master warrant from the Attorney General the various
FBI Field Divisions will be instructed by expeditious means to cause
the apprehension of the individuals within their various territories.
Each FBI Field Division maintains an index of the individuals within
its territory, which index is so arranged that it may be used for ready
apprehension purposes. Upon apprehension the individuals will be
delivered to the nearest jail for temporary detention and action by the
Attorney General.

Detention and Subsequent Procedures

The permanent detention of these individuals will take place in
regularly established Federal detention facilities. These facilities have
been confidentially surveyed and the facilities have been found to be
adequate in all areas except in the territory covered by the FBI’s New
York, Los Angeles and San Francisco Offices. In these three areas
arrangements have been perfected with the National Military Establishment
for the temporary and permanent detention in Military facilities
of the individuals apprehended.

The plan calls for a statement of charges to be served on each detainee
and a hearing be afforded the individual within a specified period.
The Hearing Board will consist of three members to be appointed
by the Attorney General composed of one Judge of the United States
or State Court and two citizens. The hearing procedure will give the
detainee an opportunity to know why he is being detained and permit
him to introduce material in the nature of evidence in his own behalf.
The hearing procedure will not be bound by the rules of evidence. The
Hearing Board may make one of three recommendations, that is; that
the individual be detained, paroled or released. This action by the
Board is subject to review by the Attorney General and the Attorney
General’s decision on the matter will be final except for appeal to the
President.

The details of this plan as set forth in this communication have
also been furnished on this date to Mr. James S. Lay, Jr., Executive Secretary,
National Security Council.

With expressions of my highest esteem and best regards,

Sincerely yours,

J. Edgar Hoover

posted by Skygazer at 4:07 PM on December 22, 2007


holy crap.

these pdfs remind me of kafka's the castle.
posted by localhuman at 4:09 PM on December 22, 2007


srboisvert writes "How can Democrat's, most of whom are going along with the surveillance society push, be confident that their communications, both personal and political, are not being intercepted by the current admin?"

"Ah, Senator Democrat, we have this tape of you on the phone to an establishment called 'Randy Roger's Rent-boys'. Uhum, so you will be voting to reauthorize the Patriot Act, then? Ah, very good Senator, hope to see you and your lovely wife at the White House Christmas party then. Good day."
posted by orthogonality at 4:09 PM on December 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Black ops is what it's called and seeing how even the most fervent Democrat gets weak in the knees when going up against this admin. I imagine it must be a group of enforcers with out equal.
posted by Skygazer at 4:14 PM on December 22, 2007


For kicks, you could buy his car, fix it up and pretend you're suspending Habeus Corpus.
posted by willpie at 4:30 PM on December 22, 2007


All the people who saw him in a dress.
posted by telstar at 4:36 PM on December 22, 2007


I hate these anti-American fucks.
posted by DU at 4:37 PM on December 22, 2007


I hate these anti-American fucks.

Funny, that's what Hoover said too.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:40 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


You got a blacklist
I wanna be on it.

posted by R. Mutt at 4:41 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah Hoover. I'm not going to going to desecrate his grave, though this clearly warrants it. No, I'm just going to point out that he lived with his mother until he was 43.
posted by mullingitover at 5:29 PM on December 22, 2007


You mean the country was threatened by a well organized and powerful nation with nuclear weapons and spies and they didn't cancel the Constitution?

Jeez, how quaint.
posted by Skygazer at 3:52 PM


Oh, we've been much worse when it comes to war-mongering:

"Restraint? Why are you so concerned with saving their lives? The whole idea is to kill the bastards. At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian left alive, we win." --Thomas Power, commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command from 1957 to 1964, speaking to a Senate defense committee during the Cuban Missile Crisis,
posted by vacapinta at 5:34 PM on December 22, 2007


Are the names listed anywhere?
posted by haikuku at 5:46 PM on December 22, 2007


I guess this stuff remained classified for so long because it's the same damn thing that Stalin and Beria were doing.
posted by chips ahoy at 6:15 PM on December 22, 2007


Yeah, just imagine the shit they plan behind closed doors.

Rex 84? Or were you referring to the contract given to KBR to build detention camps last year?
posted by ryoshu at 8:42 PM on December 22, 2007


You got a blacklist
I wanna be on it.


It's over-rated.
posted by porpoise at 10:06 PM on December 22, 2007


It's quite striking to me, the number of times in my country where democracy was almost subverted The abortive fascist coup George Bush's grandfather helped finance, Operation Northwoods where the Joint Chiefs wanted to fake a terrorist attack by Cuba so they could get support for invading it, Reagan's October Surprise, the multitude of known & suspected abuses of the current administration, the list keeps growing. Quo vadis vadis? We need to seriously look at new ways of reinforcing the system of checks & balances, it really wasn't built to withstand this type of exploitation.
posted by scalefree at 10:18 PM on December 22, 2007


This is a bit shocking, but let's not gild the lily here. This was a plan on the books to be enacted in the case of a national emergency like an invasion or insurrection. I don't think he ever suggested that Truman actually do it.

Fortunately, national emergencies can be generated when necessary.

Operation Northwoods
posted by craniac at 10:21 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


[reaches for tinfoil]
posted by craniac at 10:22 PM on December 22, 2007


What strikes me is the unrestrained willingness to suspend Habeas Corpus at the drop of the hat. It's almost as if many in our country don't believe that having rules protecting citizens from the government is a good thing.

People can't even get outraged about torture. Maybe we are a nation of masochists who secretly enjoy being disciplined and think everyone else should be part of the fetish.
posted by UseyurBrain at 7:18 AM on December 23, 2007


empath writes "This is a bit shocking, but let's not gild the lily here. This was a plan on the books to be enacted in the case of a national emergency like an invasion or insurrection."

From today's New York Times article on Hoover's plan: "Truman did declare such an emergency in December 1950, after China entered the Korean War."

So the legal standard, a "national emergency" was met; what prevented Hoover's plan form being carried out was only Truman's unwillingness to do it. Not trying to gild the lily here, but basically all that stood between us wand tyrannical Soviet-style mass detention of dissidents was that one man, President Truman, did the right thing.

Now the next time some fool explains to you that elections don't matter, or that people concerned with civil liberties are alarmist tin-foil hatters who are "gilding the lily", or that Republicans and Democrats are all the same and that it's "cool" not to concern yourself with politics or "newsfilter", I hope you'll mention Hoover's plan for indefinite detention, and how Harry Truman kept American from tyranny when he asserted that "In a free country, we punish men for the crimes they commit, but never for the opinions they have."
posted by orthogonality at 8:16 AM on December 23, 2007 [5 favorites]


Is the actual list somewhere in this 867 page document? Or available elsewhere?

It would be interesting to find that Hoover wanted to lock up grandma and throw away the key.
posted by Flunkie at 9:19 AM on December 23, 2007


Is the actual list somewhere in this 867 page document? Or available elsewhere?

I haven't found "the list" yet online. I have read elsewhere this morning on some blogs that some are seeking to research whether a list exists or not. Wasn't Hoover notorious for his files, amassing inciminating info on his "enemies," etc.? After his tenure and death were those files saved? Are they housed at the National Archives, FBI Archives, etc.?
posted by ericb at 9:44 AM on December 23, 2007


Hoover and his lists:
"Hoover, influenced by his work at the Library of Congress, decided to create a massive card index of people with left-wing political views. Over the next few years 450,000 names were indexed and detailed biographical notes were written up on the 60,000 that Hoover considered the most dangerous. Hoover then advised Palmer to have these people rounded up and deported.

On 7th November, 1919, the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution, over 10,000 suspected communists and anarchists were arrested in twenty-three different cities. However, the vast majority of these people were American citizens and had to be eventually released. However, Hoover now had the names of hundreds of lawyers who were willing to represent radicals in court. These were now added to his growing list of names in his indexed database.

Hoover decided he needed a high profile case to help his campaign against subversives. He selected Emma Goldman, as he had been particularly upset by her views on birth control, free love and religion. Goldman had also been imprisoned for two years for opposing America's involvement in the First World War. This was a subject that Hoover felt very strongly about, even though it was never willing to discuss how he had managed to avoid being drafted.

Hoover knew it would be a difficult task having Goldman deported. She had been living in the United States for thirty-four years and both her father and husband were both citizens of the United States. In court Hoover argued that Goldman's speeches had inspired Leon Czolgosz to assassinate President William McKinley. Hoover won his case and Goldman, along with 247 other people, were deported to Russia.

Hoover's persecution of people with left-wing views had the desired effect and membership of the Communist Party, estimated to have been 80,000 before the raids, fell to less that 6,000. In 1921 Hoover was rewarded by being promoted to the post of assistant director of the Bureau of Investigation. The function of the FBI at that time was the investigation of violations of federal law and assisting the police and other criminal investigation agencies in the United States."*
posted by ericb at 9:49 AM on December 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


The Lists.
“Even though [Hoover] was dead, his bureaucratic wars continued as though he were still alive. The most immediate battle was over the notorious store of damaging information that Hoover had collected over decades.

The legendary secret files were uppermost in the minds of Clyde Tolson, the upper echelon of the Bureau and the many private and public citizens who had been the subject of Hoover's probing investigations into their secrets, weaknesses and morality.

Minutes after hearing about Hoover's death, Clyde Tolson was on the phone to Helen Gandy discussing the disposition of Hoover's very sensitive files. A bit later, Attorney General Richard Kleindienst called Assistant to the Director John Mohr and told him to secure Hoover's private office. Mohr did what he was told and changed the lock on the door.

Mohr did not burden Kleindienst with the knowledge that none of Hoover's files were kept in his office. The controversial files were kept in Miss Gandy's office. She and others were organizing those files so that some would be destroyed and others culled out for special purposes.

There was a document called the ‘D list’ which, in case of Hoover's death or other cataclysmic events, specified the destruction of certain files, films and audio tapes. Shortly after Hoover's death, the ‘D List’ was circulated to a few key FBI officials.

The next morning, L. Patrick Gray III came to visit John Mohr. He wanted to know immediately where the secret files were kept. Mohr denied that there were any secret files and Gray became very upset. Within a few hours, Gray would be appointed acting director of the FBI by President Nixon.

The announcement of Gray, an outsider with no experience in law enforcement, was a huge shock to the employees and management of the FBI. Gray had been a submarine commander and Nixon's military adviser. He had also held several posts within Nixon's administration.

When Gray met Miss Gandy that day, he noticed that she was packing up things that she was removing from her file cabinets and drawers. Gray said that she explained that she was disposing of Hoover's personal correspondence, per his wishes, and packing up Hoover's personal papers on investments.

What he did not realize was that he was permitting her to continue the destruction of Hoover's most secret files. Miss Gandy also kept a special index to these files on index cards. Many of the most controversial files were deliberately mislabeled. The file on Richard Nixon appeared under Obscene Matters.

The next day on May 4, Miss Gandy handed over some twelve boxes to Mark Felt, Deputy Associate Director, to keep in his office. Over the coming week, another thirty-two file drawers were transferred by Miss Gandy into cardboard boxes which were taken to Hoover's home.

All in all, there were 167 folders. Three of them concerned Bureau officials and disappeared. The remaining 164 files represented some 17, 750 pages of material, spanning fifty years. Just over half of these folders had derogatory material, much of which was of a sexual, moral or ethical nature.

Curt Gentry in J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and His Secrets describes the nature of the files: ‘....their contents included blackmail material on the patriarch of an American political dynasty, his sons, their wives, and other women; allegations of two homosexual arrests which Hoover leaked to help defeat a witty, urbane Democratic presidential candidate; the surveillance reports on one of America's best-known first ladies and her alleged lovers, both male and female, white and black; the child molestation documentation the director used to control and manipulate one of the Red-baiting protégés; a list of the Bureau's spies in the White House during the eight administrations when Hoover was FBI director; the forbidden fruit of hundreds of illegal wiretaps and bugs, containing, for example, evidence that an attorney general (and later Supreme Court justice) had received payoffs from the Chicago syndicate; as well as celebrity files, with all the unsavory gossip Hoover could amass on some of the biggest names in show business.’”
posted by ericb at 9:55 AM on December 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, surprisingly little comment here. This is the kind of thread that should be shouted from the rooftops, IMO.
posted by JHarris at 9:58 AM on December 23, 2007


This looks like an interesting read: J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets by Curt Gentry.
"Since his death in 1972, there has been an increasing fascination with Hoover and the immense power he wielded as director of the FBI....Gentry, who coauthored Helter Skelter, has based his account of Hoover on more than 300 interviews and on access to previously classified FBI documents. Beginning with a behind-the-scenes description of Hoover's death and the search for his 'secret files' that is novelistic in technique, Gentry paints a portrait of Hoover as the 'indispensable man,' with many provocative revelations about his political dealings. This is a chilling look at the darker side of American politics, especially concerning Hoover's enemies list and his relentless investigation of Martin Luther King Jr.'s personal life. The book's lively readability is balanced by lengthy footnotes and by an extensive list of source notes and interviews, and it will be in demand in both academic and public libraries."
posted by ericb at 10:02 AM on December 23, 2007


No one's mentioned the 800 currently-unoccupied interment camps in the USA, with existing contracts to KBR and Blackwater to service them?

The US government is fully prepared to deal with a deeply unhappy citizenry. If you've got a beef with how the country is being run, you'll no longer be welcome as a citizen. Off to the gulag with you!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:08 AM on December 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


From craniac's Operation Northwoods link:
"In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.

Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.

The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro.

America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: 'We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,' and, 'casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.'

....The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy's defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years."
posted by ericb at 10:08 AM on December 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


No one's mentioned the 800 currently-unoccupied interment camps in the USA, with existing contracts to KBR and Blackwater to service them?

ryoshu made reference to them above.
posted by ericb at 10:10 AM on December 23, 2007


New York Times: Halliburton Subsidiary Gets Contract to Add Temporary Immigration Detention Centers
"The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract worth up to $385 million for building temporary immigration detention centers to Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary that has been criticized for overcharging the Pentagon for its work in Iraq.

KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space, company executives said. KBR, which announced the contract last month, had a similar contract with immigration agencies from 2000 to last year.

The contract with the Corps of Engineers runs one year, with four optional one-year extensions. Officials of the corps said that they had solicited bids and that KBR was the lone responder."
posted by ericb at 10:12 AM on December 23, 2007


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2033324.stm
Einstein hounded and nearly arrested by FBI
posted by Postroad at 10:24 AM on December 23, 2007


Damn -- Hoover was one nasty dude. From Postroad's link;
"The Einstein File begins with a request by J Edgar Hoover in 1950: "'Please furnish a report as to the nature of any derogatory information contained in any file your bureau may have on the following person.'

That person was Albert Einstein, and the request intensified a secret campaign to discredit him.

Hoover was worried about Einstein's liberal intellectualism and his dabbling in politics, something that has been forgotten today. It has been overtaken by Einstein's absent-minded professor image.

...The files reveal that for five years J Edgar Hoover tried, and failed, to link Einstein to a Soviet espionage ring."
posted by ericb at 10:28 AM on December 23, 2007


We're just locked in this constant cycle of holding actions against totalitarianism, always in the name of security. There's been so many times the train has nearly come off the tracks. Somebody has to find a way to break the cycle or we're screwed. True security is bottom-up, distributed & participatory, not top-down, centralized & exclusionary. We need a new kind of system that can realize & implement this.

FBI Prepares Vast Database Of Biometrics.
posted by scalefree at 10:34 AM on December 23, 2007


Yeah, I'm pretty much waiting to be rounded up and put in a camp.
posted by streetdreams at 11:13 AM on December 23, 2007


This thread goes into the evidence file, to be used in arguments with people who think this stuff sounds too nutty to believe. These links are rhetorical dynamite.
posted by JHarris at 11:41 AM on December 23, 2007


ericb writes "The next day on May 4, Miss Gandy handed over some twelve boxes to Mark Felt,"

She gave the boxes to Deepthroat????
posted by orthogonality at 2:02 PM on December 23, 2007


ericb writes "allegations of two homosexual arrests which Hoover leaked to help defeat a witty, urbane Democratic presidential candidate"

NYTimes headline, July 15, 1965, OBITUARY: "Adlai Ewing Stevenson: An Urbane, Witty, Articulate Politician and Diplomat"

Curt Gentry is subtly unsubtle. Ok, I got the allusions to Joe Sr. and Eleanor, but which Supreme Court Justice? If by AG Gentry means USAG, only Robert Jackson or Tom Clark fit the bill.
posted by orthogonality at 2:22 PM on December 23, 2007


Oh, or Frank Murphy.
posted by orthogonality at 2:28 PM on December 23, 2007


or for new programs that require additional detention space, company executives said. KBR, which announced the contract last month, had a similar contract with immigration agencies from 2000 to last year.

The contract with the Corps of Engineers runs one year, with four optional one-year extensions. Officials of the corps said that they had solicited bids and that KBR was the lone responder."


I saw a picture that was supposedly shot in one of those camps somtime in the last few weeks. The picture showed stacks of plastic coffins. I'm trying to find the pic again and verify the source.
posted by ryoshu at 2:42 PM on December 23, 2007


these coffins (bottom of page).

Given the fear of a flu pandemic a few years back, it's not surprising they have a shedload of coffins. Nor, for that matter, concentration camps for the ill.

Assuming, of course, that it's all as innocent as that.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:50 PM on December 23, 2007


He was one evil motherfucker - in a dress.
posted by caddis at 9:55 PM on December 23, 2007


True security is bottom-up, distributed & participatory, not top-down, centralized & exclusionary.

I think I get what you're driving at, but I can't help but think of the "rat out your parents and everybody on your block" kind of participatory security that the 20th century has seen in various places.
posted by pax digita at 6:23 AM on December 25, 2007


Doesn't Britain have a rat-your-neighbours program?

They've certainly got the Orwellian cameras thing down pat.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:38 AM on December 25, 2007


I think I get what you're driving at, but I can't help but think of the "rat out your parents and everybody on your block" kind of participatory security that the 20th century has seen in various places.

Not the kind of participation I had in mind. What you're describing is more of an Astroturf approach, appearing to be bottom-up but keeping decision-making & authority restricted to a centralized elite. Legitimate authority has to be, in the words of Monty Python, "derived from a mandate of the masses". That mandate has to be revocable.

We have to adjust to living in an age of transparency & learn how to make it work for us rather than against us. Like you point out it can go either way, depending on the design of the system we put in place to protect us. Unfortunately there's a lot of momentum going in the wrong direction right now, driven by a combination of fear, lack of imagination & unwillingness to try something new.
posted by scalefree at 12:44 PM on December 27, 2007


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