Blog Archives

A Salute to Juan Cole…

In Cole’s blog, Informed Comment, he put out a revealing list this morning on our responses to “terrorists” based on race and ethnicity. I reprint it here:

Juan Cole

Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others

1. White terrorists are called “gunmen.” What does that even mean? A person with a gun? Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US? Other terrorists are called, like, “terrorists.”

2. White terrorists are “troubled loners.” Other terrorists are always suspected of being part of a global plot, even when they are obviously troubled loners.

3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland Security will get you sidelined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion.

4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.

5. White terrorists are part of a “fringe.” Other terrorists are apparently mainstream.

6. White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies.

7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations.

8. Nobody thinks white terrorists are typical of white people. But other terrorists are considered paragons of their societies.

9. White terrorists are alcoholics, addicts or mentally ill. Other terrorists are apparently clean-living and perfectly sane.

10. There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defense, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists.

There. Doesn’t that make everything clearer?

Any idea who is reading your cyber posts?

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees work on the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) operational watch floor where they monitor, track, and investigate cyber incidents.

The Department of Homeland Security is watching YOU (and me, too).

If you are a blogger, or play on the Social Network, the DHS is monitoring the appearance of key words to trigger investigations of terrorist or other anti government postings.

How does it work? To start with there are hundreds of words which draw DHS attention… words which I guarantee you have used at some time or another.

RT.com gives this description of how it could happen to you:

So, you’ve just come back from a beach holiday in Mexico and posted about it on your blog. Or maybe you’ve tweeted about skiing lessons? Updated your status, saying you’re stuck home with food poisoning?

All those things will tweak the DHS antennae, according to a manual published by the agency. The Analyst’s Desktop Binder, used by agency employees at their National Operations Center to identify “media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities,” includes hundreds of words that set off Big Brother’s silent alarms.

Department chiefs were forced to release the manual following a House hearing over documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. It revealed how analysts monitor social networks and media organizations for comments that “reflect adversely” on the government.

And what are the words, pray tell. Here they are in a graphic format so they don’t call attention to themselves as text:

List of words used by the National Operations Center to monitor social media (taken from the DHS Analyst’s Desktop Binder)

Any words you use in there? That’s what I thought.

Big Brother is Reading You!