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Commentary :: DNC
Mask Up For the DNC
25 Jun 2004
The dangers of government agents photographing protesters at the anti-DNC protest is probably over-hyped by the brownshirts spamming the newswires, however for some of you it may be wise to wear a mask.

Mask Up For the DNC

Enemy of the State

The dangers of government agents photographing protesters at the anti-DNC protest is probably over-hyped by the brownshirts spamming the newswires, however for some of you it may be wise to wear a mask.  This advice goes out not only to anarchists, but to the full range of political ideologies in attendance.  If you are an outspoken person, thought by some as a leader or if you have a job that could be threatened by doctored photos or by someone putting protest pictures up on the web, it would be wise to take precautions.  Bandana's are available in many clothing stores, Army-Navy stores and crafts stores (in fact, craft stores are the best places to get solid black or solid red bandanas at low prices).  If you cannot afford to buy a bandana, find some rags and make one.

Use common sense.  Do not assume that someone interviewing you is a member of the press.  Ask for press credentials if you wish to participate in an interview.  Keep in mind that the press is not our friend.  They distort the news and present it in a light that favors the position of their corporate owners.  It might be a better strategy to be unfriendly to the corporate press and view them as opponents.  After all, they did all they could to get us into this war.  If they want footage, give them footage of angry Americans opposed to the lies of the press and media.

If someone interviews you, consider using a fake name.  If they ask where you live or work, either refuse to answer or tell an outrageous lie.

For those of you who don't believe you have any reason to mask up, my personal message is that I did not believe I had a reason to either until it was too late.  We do not live in the America we have been brought up to believe we live in.  You should think of yourself as a dissident in some banana republic.  They wear masks for good reasons and so should you.

As for those who decide to publish photos of protests on the Internet, I urge you to blur the faces of protesters or to paste a graphic (such as a black rectangle) over the faces of protesters.  This technique is used in Latin America and in Europe as well.  It is time that we adapted to this reality here as well.  I would go so far as to state that given the evidence of online smearing we have seen over the last year, we should demand that the faces of real protesters be obscured in online photos (of course, expose the undercover cops and agent provocateurs as usual).

If someone asks you about other protesters, question the reason for their request and think about how you would feel if your own personal information were shared with others.

We need to graduate from being naive Americans to real resisters of fascism.  Rise to the occasion.

On Biometrics:

It is not enough to obscure your nose and mouth alone.  Wear sunglasses (wide if possible) as well.

If you are wanted by law enforcement or under surveillance, your gate (the way you walk) is one of the features they are looking for.  You can change your gate slightly by placing a pad in one of your shoes or wearing shoes which are very different from your normal shoes.  It will not change it completely, but in combination with other changes to your "visual signature" it will help.

If you are on the MBTA and you suspect that you are being followed, get off at the next train station and walk a great distance, up or down, the platform before getting on the next train.  This will confuse whoever is following you.  Should they get off at the next station to try to hook up with you when the train passes again, they will not know what car you are on.

Within train stations that have vertical poles for support, you can "hide" by standing at one end of the station or the other and moving forward or backward as necessary to use the alignment of the poles to block the view of anyone near the middle or the other end of the station on the same platform.

Consider bringing a shirt of another color with you and carry it in your backpack or pocket book.  If something happens during the protest and the police are pursuing you, it may help to change the color of your shirt.


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Re: Mask Up For the DNC
25 Jun 2004
Any of you who have warrants for arrest from any state I would suggest strongly that your take care of them as soon as possible by reporting by phone or in person to what ever jurisdiction has issued the warrant.

you may consider this a fictional excerise. (wink)
most survielance techniques by govt are seldom by single operatives. if you feel only one person is following you be very suspicious , especially if you are female. two well used surveilance techniques are the 3 x 5 . three persons tail the target or targets and drop off the trail to allow the other agents to continue. in the3 man the coodinator is the 3 man in the revolving tail. in the 5 man tail there is one external tail that is not a principle in the tail the ext. or 5th tail is the coordinator. the 4th is a liason with any other agencies needed. the 3 are dedicatted to respond to # 5 orders of when and where to move in or out mingling seamlessly.

this doesnt usually happen in protests but in the planning process. In protests use of hoods can qualify as reasonable suspicion for an officer to stop you and ask your name which in another post I had indicated that the united states supreme court has confirmed that states like massachusetts have police with the rite to ask your name and you do have to answer or be subject to arrest.

for the dnc it would be possible that the state department of correction would contribute a large portion of their full size bus fleet for the use of dnc police. so be prepared your mass us of hood will not inundate the polices ability to apprehend you all and detain you in the track and field area of UMASS boston. I am just speculating about this and i have no first hand knowledge to support it.

I would like to also mention a post i saw her relating ZERO tolerance for any sexual assualt by protestors. this event that may occur with bring many of you together, in this thread apparently in masks. Be advised any incidental groping of another person while in a crowd is cowardice and illegal. the one admirable strength you all have is your collective cause. don't let some independant baser instinct get the better of you and reachout for a handfull. I will guarentee you that if some other real man sees it and sees distress in the womans eyes you will have your lights pounded out within an inch of you life. (i not advocating it just saying it is highly likely.) If as a result of this groping you are arrested most who are incarcerated have a code that makes you a whippping boy in the jail. I have also seen juries let women go who have be sexually assaulted and immediatley use dire force to repel the attack.

if I were still an officer on a protest /crowd control post and witness such an act. I would relate it to free officer and without words exchanged that officer would know to do what was necessary but may not be right. the victim may be allowed to do as she wishes in retribution right then and there. I am not at liberty to say what would happen to the sexual abuser.

enough said,
bob gorman.
Re: Mask Up For the DNC
25 Jun 2004
Obscuring your face as much as possible is a good idea, but masking up is not. Not unless you're in a black bloc, which i doubt would be an effective tactic during the DNC. you're more likely to be targeted if you're wearing all black and/or a bandanna over your face than if you have street/business clothes with a hat and large glasses. seriously folks, use common sense, and ditch the "I AM A PROTESTER CANT YOU TELL?" gear.
Comments missing point.
26 Jun 2004
There is a trade-off in whatever decision you make. That trade-off cannot be measured in generalizations as each individual is different and has different vulnerabilities.

If you want to participate in the anti-DNC activities and it is important that you NOT be photographed - wear a mask.

Some of us, due to our area of work in technology, always find (whether we like it or not) that somewhere down the line the US Government is funding our work (the military in particular). Anyone who opposes Bush and/or the Regime who works in some capacity for the US Government (even if through a private contractor) SHOULD TAKE PRECAUTIONS against active surveillance. I can tell you first hand that the DoD is spying on military contractors.

Some on the left have the naive view that real dissidents do not work for military contractors. The fact is, many have no choice. Some of the most advanced scientific and engineering work has only one source of funding: the DoD. Many people take jobs and don't even know who they are REALLY working for until it is too late.

If you may be vulnerable to this, mask up.
Re: Mask Up For the DNC
26 Jun 2004
The mask argument is never ending. There are two schools involved in protesting. Those like myself, who feel that the state is a threat, and will violate our rights given the chance (the one's that mask up). And those that do not, and feel that if they are violated our Bill of Rights will protect us.

For those that want to mask up, here is some more information.

1. Consider the color of your mask, and how it will blend in with others around you. Black, Red, and Navy Blue are your best bets at coming close to the same color as other individuals.

2. Masks don't do much if you have a custom tattoo, bright blue back pack, or whatever. Cover your tattoos with long sleeves.

3. Watch the crowd. Erm is right in a lot of ways. If you are in a small contingent of Black Bloc, you will be counted, looked at, memorized, and followed. If your not covered up well, you ARE exposing yourself more to the state.

4. Bring a video camera (most universities have access to digital video cameras for students). Keep it, and film the event yourself. Make your own evidence, and catch theh cops on film.
Re: Mask Up For the DNC
26 Jun 2004
As a dissident who has covered his face 80% of the time on the streets in the past 4-5 years, i wholeheartedly agree with the mask as a tactic and as a mode of personal security.

However, i'm not sure DNC is the place for our usual 'radical' tactics or 'precautionary' measures. I know there are a number or radicals, anarchists, and marxists who will cover their face no matter what as they are direct targets of the state -- either because of warrants, organizer's positions, or past events. With that said, i think a mature and wise thing to do for the radical elements of the movement would be to....march, open faced, non confrontational, legal, no shields masks weapons anything, approach onlookers in plain clothes and open faced and hand them literature (pamphlets, booklets, flyers). I think this may be the mature face that the radical elements need, be they socialist, anarchist, marxist, whatever. This tactic has been utilized at big demonstrations in europe (primarily france, spain, italy, greece) as an honest, approachable face for radical politics. While decentralized actions, attacks, and smaller mobile black blocs will certainly manifest themselves *(with support, if i may add) perhaps this approach for the legal Socialist Party march on Monday the 26th could be a viable option.

What do people think?
Re: Mask Up For the DNC
26 Jun 2004
I agree with Jrot. I don't much like the fact that the police have pictures of me, but I know that they do from various actions, demos, etc. (not to mention arrests). And chances are they have them of many of us. Given that fact, wearing a mask is not much of a means of security (unless you have an outstanding warrant or something, though if they're looking, they may well catch you anyway).

What it WILL do is both draw MORE police attention to you and keep passers-by and potential allies from empathizing with you. The face is very expressive, and a lot of people make their connection with someone by looking at their face, especially at their eyes. This is one of the reasons that cops often wear mirrored sunglasses--it makes them appear intimidating rather than like another human someone could reason with. It's not a tactic we need to emulate.
We have to remember
26 Jun 2004
that any post put up from now
until the conventions that
discourages people from going
or one which might cause people
to engage in subject matter that
is both irrelevant and
bothersome, is most likely
posted by a 'brown shirt' or a pig.
Re: Mask Up For the DNC
27 Jun 2004
Just in case people are feeling an inflated sense of security by masking up, here's a heads-up.
Masks don't mean shit. Over the past few years, cops have taken literally thousands of surveillence phots of demonstrations. They have expert analysists who study these photos. They have technology where they can trace facial features, bones structure, eye color. They can pin point your height, weight, posture, shoe size. Before anyone gets to crazy, just know that you are not invincible. If you're going to play hard, play smart.
Re: Mask Up For the DNC
29 Jul 2004
I took part in the Veterans Against Kerry protest today at the DNC in Boston. In my humble opinion, if you have something to say, you should have the courage to say it with your face showing. If you lack the conviction to show your face behind your words, you are not worth listening to, and your opinion will get the respect it deserves, none. Seems like all those lunatics in the middle east who lop off heads wear masks, and who here has any respect for them?