On the Watch List

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Thanks to barthjg for pitching this show

When I tried to use the curb-side check in [at the airport], I was denied a boarding pass because I was on the Terrorist Watch list. I was instructed to go inside and talk to a clerk….

I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a very polite clerk for American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked asked a question and offered a frightening comment: ‘Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that.’ I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. ‘That’ll do it,’ the man said.

Walter Murphy, Another Enemy of the People, Balkanization, April 8, 2007.

Not only is Walter Murphy a retired Marine Colonel, he’s also a Professor Emeritus at Princeton and one of the country’s leading constitutional scholars. During the lecture in question, he parsed James Madison’s definition of tyranny, methodically connecting each piece to one of many Bush-era infringements.

His story isn’t new, but it’s a sober, chilling indictment of an invisible, increasingly distressing bureaucracy. Upright American citizens of all stripes have been finding themselves on the list for years now. Diplomats. Grandmothers. We probably shouldn’t be more upset when a decorated veteran and distinguished academic is the Administration’s target, as opposed to some central casting peace protester, but one of the sad facts of our current climate is that it takes someone of his stature to get our attention on matters like these.

Tonight, we’ll be digging through what little we do know about the Watch List. How many people are on it, and who, and why? Have you been branded? Have you fought to win back your patriotic reputation?

Have the critics of the President become the enemies of the state?

Walter F. Murphy

Professor of Jurisprudence, Emeritus, Princeton University

Author, Courts, Judges, and Politics

Karen DeYoung

Staff Writer, Washington Post

Author, Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell

Carol D. Leonnig

Staff Writer, Washington Post

Extra Credit Reading

Karen DeYoung, Terror Database Has Quadrupled In Four Years, The Washington Post, March 25, 2007: “Ballooning from fewer than 100,000 files in 2003 to about 435,000, the growing database threatens to overwhelm the people who manage it. ‘The single biggest worry that I have is long-term quality control,’ said Russ Travers, in charge of TIDE at the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean.”

Mark Graber, Another Enemy of the People?, Balkinization, April 8, 2007: “While he holds some opinions, most notably on welfare, similar to opinions held on the political left, he is a sharp critic of ROE V. WADE, and supported the Alito nomination. Apparently these credentials and others noted below are no longer sufficient to prevent one from becoming an enemy of the people.”

Ryan Singel, Questioning the ‘Professor On Watchlist for Free Speech’ Story, Threat Level, April 9, 2007: “Threat Level is here to tell you that’s it’s 99.9 percent sure the good professor isn’t on any government watchlist for giving a speech. I have no idea why the counterperson would say that individuals are put on the list for joining anti-war protests, but that’s just not true.”

Stuart Buck, Walter Murphy, The Buck Stops Here, April 9, 2007: “Several common names — ‘T. Kennedy,’ ‘J. Adams,’ ‘David Nelson’ — have been selected for extra screening, possibly because someone with terrorist ties has a habit of picking a non-descript alias. Perhaps that’s the real explanation as to Mr. Murphy as well.”

J.D. Abolins, Prof. Walter Murphy’s “No Fly” Incident Not Likely to Have Been Punishment for Speech, Entering the Networked World, April 10, 2007: “If the airport security had said these things, they probably were trying to be ‘helpful’ by guessing the reason for a hit on his name. Ironically, such guessing is not helpful. It assume a direct cause and effect. The checkers would not normally have access to information on how a specific name may end up on the list.”

Matthew, Walter Murphy and the No-Fly List, TriggerFinger, April 9, 2007: “So, what actual penalty was this person subjected to? He was searched more closely than the average joe, but so are lots of other people. He wasn’t barred from his travel, he wasn’t hurt, and he doesn’t even allege something seriously invasive (such as a strip search). So, in other words, he was delayed a little bit.”

King, Separating theorem, SCSU Scholars, April 9, 2007: “Don’t you think the list is created as much by software programmed with errors more than someone sitting in a dark basement under the White House saying, ‘oh, that guy’?”

James Moore, Branded, The Huffington Post, January 4, 2006: “Of course, there’s always the chance that the No Fly Watch List is one of many enemies lists maintained by the Bush White House. If that’s the case, I am happy to be on that list. I am in good company with people who expect more out of their president and their government.”

Orin Kerr, Why Is “Walter Murphy” on the No-Fly List?, The Volokh Conspiracy, April 9, 2006: “If being a harsh critic were enough to end up on the No-Fly list, wouldn’t we have heard about it sooner? Professor Murphy’s primary evidence that he was singled out for his speech is that when he mentioned it as a possible reason to an American Airlines clerk, the clerk responded “that’ll do it.” I wonder, though, would the airline clerk know?”

Daniel J. Solove, Criticize Bush, Get Extra Airline Screening?, Concurring Opinions, April 9, 2006: “I still find Orin’s response to miss the larger issue. The airline screening lists are clandestine and inscrutable. There is no way we could obtain systematic evidence of any bias or improper conduct in placing people on the list. So Orin’s demand for such evidence seems to be a bit unfair when the government has denied us the possibility of learning more about what gets a person placed on an airline screening list.”

Related Content

  • Sutter

    Several folks have asked in these pages, “exactly what is it that you can’t do now that you used to be able to do?” I reject this question (I care about what others are and are not able to do, not just what I am and am not able to do). Putting that objection aside, though, this seems to be a possible answer to the questin as phrased. If this account is right and the TSA employee was correct — and I am not assuming either to be so — the answer is that one cannot participate in a peace march or criticize the president in any prominent forum. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the democracy?

  • RobertPeel

    It would be great to have an agregate of other’s on the Watch List. Remember Ted Kennedy got stopped in Baltimore!

  • tbrucia

    We’ve come a long way since 9-11…. Ten days after that soul-shaking event my wife and I (on a trip to Spain) arrived hours ahead of our Houston flight — and were waved through security in short order. BUT — a gentleman on ‘the ramp’, seated behind a table, gave us a long, suspicious look, called me aside, and asked, ‘Are you carrying more than $10,000 with you?’. I cheerfully and truthfully answered that we were not. He didn’t seem totally convinced, but let us pass. The flight over the Atlantic was uneventful. When we changed planes in The Netherlands were surprised that on the second leg of our flight, we were served a meal — with stainless steel fork, spoon and knife… And in Europe it all seemed like a bad dream.

    When I saw “V for Vendetta’ last week, it hit me in the gut. My thought: We have come a long way since 9-11. My guts said, “The road ahead is not decorated for ‘Merry Christmas!”

  • silvio.rabioso

    Great show idea!

    Guest suggestion: Chris Dunn, from the New York Civil Liberties Union, one of the legal organizations responsible for the FOIA requests that broughthe NYPD’s surveillance in preparation for the 2004 RNC to light.

  • silvio.rabioso
  • enhabit

    hey king george! put me on the watch list too!

  • joshua hendrickson

    Have the critics of the President become the enemies of the state?

    When haven’t they been? From Prez Adams’s Sedition Act through to today–and without even looking at how governments in other countries and throughout history have behaved–it is plain that protection of power from dissent has always been a priority of power. No state encourages dissent–even when dissent is supposedly protected by freedom of speech–and it would be foolish to expect any authoritarian entity to do so. Authority always considers dissent to be dangerous, and it isn’t surprising to see the administration identify nay-sayers with actual physical danger; it just goes along with building the atmosphere of fear without which authority cannot justify itself to the masses. The methods of punishing dissent under discussion, while not brand-spanking new, are certainly emblematic of our contemporary situation. To equate those who question authority with those who actually commit mass murder aboard international flights is a perfect tactic: it gets the sheeple to believe that those crazy lefties are all just terrorists in their hearts. With any luck, this very posting may get my bearded lefty self on a watchlist.

  • Bobo

    Does anyone know if there’s a way to check whether or not you’re on the list before boarding a flight? At the very least, they should have a website or something. Come on… for the convenience of the people!

    I do have a very real and sneaking suspicion that I might be on one of those lists, but I want to find out before I check my bags. I mean, can they have a separate check-in counter for ‘listies’? It would speed up the process for everyone else, and also allow ‘listies’ to know what’s coming before they are grabbed by TSA officials. Really, it would just be polite all around. Let us know where we stand!

  • zeke

    The flip comments of the agent reflect the way a surveillance society mutates into lethal absurdity. At some point it loses whatever legitimate or illegitimate original intention it may have had, and comes to exist solely to propagate itself. Thus I don’t think it would be a cliché to use the metaphor of a cancer.

    Tony Judt writes about the evolution of surveillance in Communist Europe. ‘The Communists did not merely force their rule upon a reluctant citizenry; they encouraged people to collude in their own repression, by collaborating with the security agencies and reporting the activities and opinions of their colleagues, neighbors, acquaintances, friends and relations…The consequence was that while the whole society fell under suspicion–who might not have worked for the police or the regime at some moment, even if only inadvertently?–by the same token it became hard to distinguish venal and even mercenary collaboration from simple cowardice or even the desire to protect one’s family….It turned out that, in addition to its 85,000 full-time employees the Stasi had approximately 60,000 ‘unofficial collaborators,’ 110,000 regular informers and upwards of half a million ‘part time informers,’ many of whom had no means of knowing that they even fell into such a category. ”

    When the files of the Stasi were open to inspection, people were stunned to learn that there were files on 6 million people–one in three of the population. Also stunning was to discover the nature of much of the information.

    In her report on post-Communist Europe, The Haunted Land, Tina Rosenberg quotes an investigator. “The biggest surprise was the banality of the files. A lot of it was information you could get from the phone book. A lot of information about family, personal problems. They knew so much, but they just couldn’t work with it in the end. There was so much bureaucracy. Most of the information never left the office.”

    Or, to return to another biological metaphor: “[T]he nuggets of gold were buried in 62,500 tons of shit, and the Stasi collapsed under its weight.”

  • enhabit

    man the depth of the paranoia here is revolting..literally! has it come to this? critisism = incitement? harrasment by illegal search and seizure, just for speaking one’s mind?

  • silvio.rabioso

    Bobo: there is no easy way to check, but since 1966, you have had to right to request information from government agencies. Here is a guide to that process:


    Good luck!

  • I think if we all had some confidence that legitimate security concerns were at stake, some of the post 9/11 procedures would not only feel but be less nefarious. But in a country where habeus corpus, procedure-less warrantless wiretapping, and a culture of political payback are the norm no reasonably informed citizen can be expected to cut authorities a break. And why should they? The onus for respecting the powers they were granted rests with those in power, and there is more than enough evidence that such care has been replaced with a cavalier attitude—rights are very narrowly drawn and the fine points of liberty and privacy are for academics to debate, not leaders to exercise. The whole security process shoudnt be transparent, but like your credit record you should be able to appeal decisions and KNOW what you did that got you on a list. Small inconveniences like travel (if you were a BOX, Supreme Court rulings uphold travel in the name of free flow of commerce) interruptions might be only that. But I think it depends which side of the interrogation you sit on. Not knowing why you can get on a plane, being delayed, questioned by low paid civil servants…the tendrils of a national security state reach into your life at that point.

  • joshua hendrickson

    Such anti-dissent tools as these are extremely dangerous to have lying around in our nation, chiefly because there is no reason to expect that the next administration will be willing to put them back in the box.

    I fully expect that if, say, Barack Obama becomes our next president, even a fairly liberal Democrat like him will be more than happy to continue the watchlist, the cordoning-off of dissenting voices at speeches/rallies into “free speech zones”, and other weapons against the voice of dissent. It’s not that I think Obama is a particularly underhanded or corrupt politician–it’s just that ANY seeker of power is inherently authoritarian by nature, and unlikely to refuse authoritarian tactics when those are made available to him.

    Authoritarian means of government are the biggest, baddest dinosaurs left on the planet (only the totalitarian ones are worse, and the difference between the two is just a few pounds of flesh and sharper teeth); the real struggle of the coming century, aside from the one against ecological disaster, is to rid ourselves of our sheeplike love of authority, whether in government or religion or interpersonal affairs.

    Mind you, I am not a mere libertarian or anarchist: I am in favor of the state pooling resources in the interests of equitable distribution of wealth and means; that’s what I think the state is for. I don’t think the state, or some imaginary divinity, should be creating laws to administrate our behavior. Those old ways of ordering society have outlived their usefulness, if they can be said to have ever been useful at all for anything except stratifying classes of human beings into the powerful and the powerless.

  • joshua hendrickson

    re: my comments about Barack Obama above:

    I don’t mean to pick on him in particular. If he gets the nomination I will certainly vote for him in 2008, and I suspect he would be a better than average president. And yet….

    Neither Obama nor any of the other Dems in the running are openly questioning the Global War on Terror. The GWOT is a hobgoblin accepted by all seekers of power, precisely because it promises a greater hold on power to the one who holds the reins. I don’t believe that any of the Dems (much less the Reps) have any sincere questions about the GWOT’s legitimacy. If they did, they probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as they have in the first place.

    So yes, I’ll vote for Obama or Clinton or Edwards … but I’ll not stop questioning them, or dissenting from their continuing worship of GWOT.

  • Bobo

    Can we add Hanah Arendt’s ‘Origins of Totalitarianism’ to the extra-credit reading list?

    The real danger here is not necessarily that dissenters are being punished through an unregulated system of ‘justice’. The danger is that such a system exists. In a secret system of ‘justice’, one can never know what they will be punished for. There is no way for anyone to obey the law, because we don’t know what the law is. We are all becoming participants in Kafka’s Trial. All that we can hope to do to ward off government attention is to hire an advocate and devote our entire lives to being ‘good citizens’. Obviously The Trial is an extreme example, but the principal is the same. When Justice becomes arbitrary, everyone becomes a defendant.

    What scares me more than the silencing of dissent is the random duplication of names. If people are being selected because they have the same name as someone on the list, it means that even if they agree with the government, they are still suspect. This is not reflective of an authoritarian movement (as the simple act of silencing dissent would indicate), rather it shows a move towards totalitarianism. We should not use the metaphor of ‘Big Brother’, rather we should use the metaphor of ‘The Trial’. After decades in power, Big Brother still had to exert control over the people. In The Trial there was no ministry of propaganda, no clever sayings (‘War is Peace’), no reconditioning. None of it was needed because everyone was a willing participant. This is what I see in the new justice system which the Bush administration is establishing.

    But how can one fight totalitarian trends? If your name is on the list because of your political views, there’s nothing you can do about it. If your name is on the list by mistake, there’s nothing you can do about it. If you’re an actual terrorist, there’s nothing you can do about it. We participate because we have no choice. We want to fly, and they can decide whether or not that happens. So we bow our heads and move through the check-points, and those who are on the list are just as guilty as those who walk by without asking questions. We are all criminals, we just haven’t been caught yet.

  • joshua hendrickson

    I just remembered: on a previous ROS post, I declared that I didn’t have a problem with the delays and security-searches at our airports since 9/11. I still don’t–so long as such searches are performed on all passengers and crew equally. Such intrusions seem to me to be reasonable in the interest of greater security in a high-risk area. But watch lists, no fly lists, racial or cultural profiling? All of these have nothing to do with actual physical security and everything to do with intimidation in the interests of strengthening authority.

    I’ll put it this way, as bluntly as I can:

    If a fundamentalist fanatic with a suicidal bent tries to board an airplane while carrying a gun, a bomb, a knife, a box-cutter or anything else that could be seriously construed as a weapon, I say search them and stop them. But if a fundamentalist fanatic with a suicidal bent tries to board an airplane whilst carrying on their person nothing more deadly than a copy of their imaginary god’s speeches, I say let them on and I hope they enjoy their flight.

  • joshua hendrickson

    In a secret system of ‘justice’, one can never know what they will be punished for. There is no way for anyone to obey the law, because we don’t know what the law is. We are all becoming participants in Kafka’s Trial. All that we can hope to do to ward off government attention is to hire an advocate and devote our entire lives to being ‘good citizens’. Obviously The Trial is an extreme example, but the principal is the same. When Justice becomes arbitrary, everyone becomes a defendant.


    Bobo, I agree with all but your penultimate sentence. I don’t consider THE TRIAL to be an “extreme” example any more than I consider 1984 or WE (the great Russian dystopia by Zamyatin that influenced Orwell) to be extreme. They are all more than satires: they describe with great precision the mentalities of the modern state. Modern bureaucracy is LITERALLY meaningless; modern (and historical) authority is LITERALLY interested solely in exercising power for the sake of power.

    Your point about “willing participants” is well-made and I certainly agree with it. But don’t forget about how the vast majority of Oceania’s inhabitants were fully willing participants in Big Brother’s society. The presence of dissidents–all led by the nose by the inner party themselves–was and is necessary to provide the emotional outlet in their (and our) society.

    We are all criminals, we only haven’t been caught yet?

    Sounds dangerously close to the concept of original sin to me… but there are many meanings to be gleaned from it, so I believe it has great value. Well said!

  • tlewis

    I would like to see a law passed by Congress that specified that any manipulation of national security policy for purely political purposes would be a crime.

  • Lumière

    Karen DeYoung just ruined the premise of this show !!

    Sutter, I ask you:


  • PaulK

    I’ve got a great terrorist lead for all you look-over-shoulder folks: Billionaires for Bush!

    Actually Billionaires for Bush is a bunch of street performers who stay in exaggerated character, wear exaggerated clothing and carry exaggerated props as they meet and greet the public. The domestic spooks have already spent a tremendous amount of money chasing a troupe of clowns.

  • Lumière

    It’s Kafkaesque b/c we don’t know if Murphy was on any list !

    An entire hour about nothing !

  • Elizabeth Kushigian

    I was detained twice, once in 2004, once in 2005, upon reentering the country from Costa Rica. My passport was flagged, and each time when it was scanned at immigration I was immediately put in a room filled largely with foreigners, and where I was not allowed to use my cell phone. People there were isolated, scared. No one in charge could or would answer questions except to say “Sit down and wait until your name is called.” Once my name was called I was led to collect my luggage and stood by while it was carefully searched. The second time I was subjected to detailed questions about my source of income, about my father’s business and ethnicity, about what charities he contributed to. I missed my connecting flight.

    I contacted both my representative and Senator Edward Kennedy. My rep was unable to get them to take me off their list. Senator Kennedy finally got my name removed, and I am so grateful to him for that.

    I was told only that someone with my name was “a very bad person.” I do not think there are any other Elizabeth Kushigian’s in this country except my ex-sister-in-law, and while I may not like her, she’s no terrorist.

    I could have gotten on that list in any number of ways: from belonging to the ACLU to protest activities. All I know is that it’s pretty scary getting put in a room, cut off from the outside world, without knowledge of why or how long you’ll be there or where you’ll end up. It gave me a lot of empathy for the immigrants who have been rounded up since 9/11. And it has made me really think twice about what activities I participate in, what websites I visit, what I say on the phone…I live now as a watched person, and I do not feel safe in my own country.

    I admire your guest for staying and fighting. I’m well on my way to becoming an ex-pat!

  • Robert Cunningham

    I have been on a no fly list, and have found it very difficult if not impossible to get off of it. It is not a small intrusion into my life or the lives of any American who values the principle that one is innocent until proven guilty. On the no fly list, one is guilty until one’s proves one’s innocence. And that is impossible without an understanding of the accusation and the accuser. Neither understanding is accessible to normal citizens. The “watch lists” are no more noble or banal than those Chris Lydon mentioned from the movie “Lives of Others”. They are just vast compilations of errors, truths, venues for acting out vendettas against perceived enemies anonymously, and very UnAmerican. For what it’s worth, I was in the Carter Administration, and for a “need to know” period while in the Carter White House, held very high security clearances. Perhaps my Carter affiliation as put me on someone’s list, or an error has done it, or anti-war marches from the Vietnam era included my picture, or….? And that’s the enormous problem: None of us should be on any watch list for being human, involved, and active in search of humane policies.

  • Sagebrush

    When David Nelson (son of Ozzie and Harriet) found out his name was on the watch list, he was pretty much told that his repeated searches and interogations at airports were just a piece of bad luck. For all I know, Mr. Nelson continues to be stopped and searched whenever he flies. If the same applies to Professor Murphy, and he continues to be impeded in his movement, it’s not just bad luck. It’s another instance of Bush Administration incompetence and waste. Even if nothing can be done about it in court, the question remains, how often are screeners diverted from their real duties to play this charade?

    If, on the other hand, Murphy and others have been added to the watch list because they disagree publicly with the Bushist party line, we’re talking about harrassment.

    In either case, the solution is to establish a second list of individuals who, though they may share a name with one of the people on the watch list, are NOT themselves on the watch list. Those who are victims of that “piece of bad luck” would have an out, and those who are victims of harrassment would have a legal handle to demand redress. Their inability to get on the “OK List” could be challenged in court, even if it has to be a FISA-like court.

  • Lumière

    This show was hoot !

    Show concept: Someone said something to someone in line.

    Karen DeYoung told us that the people checking your bags are clueless.

    The logical extension of this story is that we need watchers watching the watchers – what a waste of a life for those people, good luck!

    If the gov wants to put a chip under my skin voluntarily so they can know where I am – I will be the first to sign up.

    Here’s why:

    A detective in the neighboring town wanted to arrest me for a crime committed at a time I wasn’t in that town, at a place I have never been.

    If I had that chip, I would never have been contacted by the idiot detective.

    Btw, I didn’t have to meet that detective because, fortunately, I have the best attorney in the world and he told the detective to go screw himself.


  • tbrucia

    Bobo mentioned that, ‘We are all becoming participants in Kafka’s Trial.’ In some ways I think contemporary America resembles the world painted in Kafka’s ‘The Castle’, too… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Castle_%28novel%29

  • tbrucia

    Perhaps an enterprising alien smuggler could set up a ‘private airline’ (or bus system) offering fast, reliable transportation ‘for a price’ to folks on watch lists… If illegals can travel freely about the US, the infrastructure for transportation of watch listed folks already exists…. With the internet, it shouldn’t be that hard for those seeking transport to find those offering it… And with private aviation aircraft scattered around the nation, and our free enterprise culture, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if such an ‘Underground Airline’ (excuse the pun) is already operating…

  • hurley

    My thanks as well to barthjg for the suggestion. Good show. Most memorable line, “I’ve killed more communists than you’ve ever seen.” Also Chris’ witty rejoinder to the spoilsport in the backround, ” Arrest that child, immediately!”. Again, I couldn’t help but notice the airy way the elephant in the room — impeachment — was avoided.

  • jonnygoldstein

    You’ve got to book Bruce Schneier to talk about the state of security in the USA. Bruce is so lucid on this, and punctures our illusions of security provided by our very expensive pseudo security, what he calls “Security Theater.”

  • Lumière

    hurley Says: I couldn’t help but notice the airy way the elephant in the room — impeachment — was avoided.

    Arrest isn’t enough, you want to impeach the child too?

  • katemcshane

    I liked this show. It was a straightforward and sane illustration of what is going on and what is coming.

    Like Hurley, I also enjoyed Chris’s comments about the kid in the background.

    Joshua Hendrickson — I loved what you wrote, all of it, but especially about authority. I agree with you completely.

    Elizabeth Kushigian — I’m sorry you had to go through this. Your comment was the one that really made my heart pound. It made me wish I could afford to leave the country. All the best.

  • silvio.rabioso

    Why all the hating on anarchists?

  • Lumière

    Fear & loathing of anarchists?

    The debt bomb – GL to those that think leaving the country will save you – when the US economy goes down, the US will take the rest of the world with it.

  • silvio.rabioso

    That’s what Rome said.

  • silvio.rabioso

    But my point about anarchists is that anarchism is a political philosophy, as neoliberalism, republicanism, federalism, socialism etc. are all political philosophies. When Walter Murphy state: “I am not an anarchist,” he made it sound like it was permissible to spy upon peaceful anarchists groups, and that the only injustice was that Murphy was treated *as if he was* an anarchist. As Murphy–a US Constitutional scholar–well knows, anarchists have the same rights to assemble and exchange ideas as, say, Americans for Tax Reform.

  • Lumière

    silvio.rabioso Says: As Murphy–a US Constitutional scholar–well knows, anarchists have the same rights to assemble and exchange ideas as, say, Americans for Tax Reform.

    I am in total agreement with your premise.

    Murphy also said Walter + Murphy is uncommon

    Murphy implied his bags went missing because he was on the list – my conclusion: he suffers from apophenia Is it possible the lumpen bag checker was messing with Murphy’s mind?

    He is a conservative – he doesn’t like government intervention, but spying under the present circumstances is Ok, but then he doesn’t like the secrecy such that he gets caught up in it.

    The obvious problem is to know whether an anarchist will be peaceful, in their rejection of government. If anyone is against spying, please put up a program that will prevent the ‘intelligence’ services from getting caught with their pants down again. (file ‘intelligence’ services under: Dark Star, Grateful Dead, jumbo shrimp)

    This was a show about nothing – saved by the fact the producers found a balance of opinions that made it worthwhile.

  • silvio.rabioso

    “Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean they’re not after you”

    –Thomas Paine

  • tbrucia

    Anarchism is an excellent example of ‘blowback’: the terrorism practiced by anarchists in the period 1880-1915 PERMANENTLY discredited that movement. Twenty-first terrorists might remember this historical example. It perfectly illustrates how short-term tactics can lead to strategic defeat.

  • enhabit

    awesome tbrucia!

    the term anarchist is frequently applied to many free thinkers to discredit them..and it usually works…

    the stereotypical image of the “anarchist” throwing the bomb at the grand stand..of course buster keaton catches it (hysterical movie)..but the audience recognised what the bomber was..ignatz, the “anarchist” mouse from krazy kat (fantastic animation) always throwing bricks…this is the creation of iconography and it gets into the cultural memory, even if the transmitters have been forgotten, and bounces around like an armour piercing round.

    my middle eastern friends are struggling with no less..it just lurks in shadows and under the breath.

  • vulkun

    An entire show about one person, put through a minor inconvenience that ended in a chuckle. I’m quite sure professor Murphy’s lecture was much more worrisome, a listing of unimaginable (and I’m using that word literally), illegal, unconstitutionl, behavior, with an exercising of the powers of a monarch, frequently successfu attempts to use the power and tools, but not the laws of government to seize permanant power, and systematically funnels the country’s treasure into debt, or into the pockets of a tiny oligarchy of

  • vulkun


  • vulkun