Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


The Nation-State: Violent and Exclusive

I usually call my collections of links ‘small bits,’ rather than roundups, because I make no effort to round up all of what’s interesting about a subject. But today’s subject, especially the first items, I can not call small.

  • I start with the most horrific, Rebecca MacKinnon’s “Chinese activist bludgoned to death in front of journalist:”

    Here his how the chilling account by the Guardian’s Benjamin Joffe-Walt begins:

    The last time I saw Lu Banglie, he was lying in a ditch on the side of the street – placid, numb and lifeless – the spit, snot and urine of about 20 men mixing with his blood, and running all over his body.

    That Guardian account is not pleasant reading should not be seen as an excuse for not reading it. China is seeking entry into the club of modern civilized nations. (It seems, since she wrote the first post, that Mr. Lu in fact survived.)

  • Hossein Derakhshan talks about how…

    I was born in Tehran and it’s enough for the US to treat me like a potential terrorist.

    That’s mainly why I missed ConvergeSouth, the recent conference on blogging. What would you do if you were in our situation?

    Hoder, I’m not in your situation. I’m in the situation of watching my government act like fools, and treat you like a suspected terrorist. At least in that, I can stand with you: Every time I go to the airport, I’m treated like a suspected terrorist. I speak out as best I know how, and try to learn to do better. My feelings are captured well by a quote that’s been on my personal homepage for slightly over four years:

    The freedom which we enjoy in our democratic government extends also to our ordinary life. We throw open our city to the world, and never by alien acts exclude foreigners from any opportunity of learning or observing although the eyes of an enemy may occasionally profit by our liberality. We live exactly as we please and yet are just as ready to encounter every legitimate danger…

    It’s from Pericles funeral oration, 2400 years ago.

    I think we gain a lot from having folks like Hossein in our country, and it makes me deeply sad that we treat him based on his accident of birth in Tehran, rather than as a Canadian, the passport he now carries.

One comment on "The Nation-State: Violent and Exclusive"

  • Steve Schear says:

    There has been much written about the dislike of showing IDs at U.S. airports, at least for domestic travel. I think few would argue that some measures are necessary to prevent people with violent intentions from boarding flights equipped to carry out their plans. The rub comes from using IDs as part of this process.
    A well-known military maxim is that you must primarily plan to counter the ABILITY of your adversary and not reply mainly on intelligence about their INTENTIONS. ID systems fail because terrorists are not repeat offenders and identifying them and divining intentions is fraught with error. As was nicely covered in , there may be no way for ID-based screening systems to be effective against smart terrorists.
    Most of the public assumes that without showing acceptable ID you cannot travel on domestic U.S. passenger carrier. But this not true. Every day passengers arrive at the airport only to realize that they have left their ID at home. Are they turned away? Rarely. Instead the passengers are noted as ‘selectee’ and required to undergo the more rigorous inspections usually reserved for randomly selected or suspicious passengers. I’ve tested this myself and confirmed with a friend that works as a ticketing and gate agent with Southwest Airlines.
    As an experiment, I extend an offer to any who wishes to travel without proper or any ID and willing to try this method to provide the use of one of my credit card accounts to enable them to purchase their airline tickets (or for any purpose for that matter). I will accept prepayment of the requested amount in 1mdc funds only, [url][/url], plus a fee of $10.00, and return a one-time use credit card number and all required information to complete the transaction. All transaction correspondence to be conducted using email: or Skype: chimichangga

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