Public vs. private: decision time for the fringe

The Anti-Defamation League has an article online titled “The Quiet Retooling of the Militia Movement”. It includes a section about how the far right is learning to fine-tune the protection of their own privacy and publicity—basically, learning the lessons of public speech through the classroom of Internet:

The more recent resurgence of activity has attracted little attention, in part because militia activists generally keep a much lower profile then they did in the 1990s, when militia-related Web sites and public meetings were more common. Militia activists still use the Internet, but tend to prefer the lower-profile arenas of online discussion forums and mailing lists over Web sites. […]

This lack of trust – because of fear of federal informants as well as fear of nongovernmental “watchdog” groups – governs many modern-day militia interactions.

After the Champaign County Unorganized Militia in Ohio was publicly identified in early 2004 as an active “patriot” group, one member of the group who frequented a Maine militia discussion board posted that “I would understand if you rather me not come to the board. Just ask. I don’t know if I’m being watched or not. It’s up to you guys.” […]

(Among the groups mentioned in the article is “The CREST”, which has 922 members in a members-only Yahoo! group.) The question, “How public any of us should be?” has never been more important, regardless of our politics, religion, or habits. It’s not just a matter of keeping your credit card number to yourself, or even of “never writing anything in e-mail that you wouldn’t want on the front page of the New York Times” (as the now-old saw has it). Your very fundamental perception of life and culture can be both discovered and used against you, via the digital world.

(Link via David Neiwert’s Orcinus)






2 responses to “Public vs. private: decision time for the fringe”

  1. Quicksilverdime Avatar

    Just a note to relieve anyones fears about joining our Yahoo group. The group is open to CREST members and non-CREST members alike. People do not sign up for the C.R.E.S.T. by joining our Yahoo group. All official recruiting is handled on the local level not over the internet. Please see our charter for more.
    We now have 1,230 members in our Yahoo group in just over 10 months. 400 plus more than the ADL reported and 2004 isn’t over yet. Lot’s of good conversation going on in our group. Constitutional activist, Rick Stanley, founder of the MDPM is in our group as well as Norm Olson, the Founder of the famous Michigan Militia Wolverines. A few other notable people post there also. Doesn’t mean anyone is a member of the C.R.E.S.T. just because they post in our group. We aren’t doing or planning to do anything wrong so nothing to worry about anyway.
    We are basically a last resort, second amendment defense force. After we reach a certain number in our membership (on the local level) we may occassionaly unite for the support of one of our members who is having his/her rights violated by the courts. In other words, we won’t allow law enforcement personnel to imprison our members for the “crime” of exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights. The right to bear arms, for example.
    Such defense will not include the use of firearms or other lethal weapons. Obstructing INJUSTICE should be common practice among all patriots.
    The C.R.E.S.T. is a respectable organization on the side of true law and order. We are NOT a militia nor do we train as a militia. At best we could be called minutemen and women.
    We are civilians who can be activated into a United States militia in the event of a national emergency. Every able bodied male between the ages of 17 and 45 is a member of their own state militia.
    Please join our CREST Yahoo group to learn more.
    Yours in Liberty,
    Constitutional Rights Emnforcement & Support Team
    Please NOTE: Anyone posting racists messages of any kind on our board will be banned from our group. I have never tolerated racism or hate speech and have even banned people from our group who were anti-jewish and posting anti-jewish messages. The mention of the C.R.E.S.T. on the ADL website has nothing to do with Anti-semitism. They just consider us a militia. I believe the information that was given to them about us was from an informant (plant) who has it in for me for some unknown reason. He/she took my sentences out of context and made them appear that we are something that we are not. Anyway, it was good publicity and hopefully it will lead to recruiting more members.

  2. Pete Avatar

    Christian and I appreciate “Quicksilverdime”‘s willingness to represent CREST thoughtfully and publically. We hope this will be a starter to encourage even more people with a wide range of views to let us know how they’re using digital/online means to make a real-world difference.