THE CITIZEN for Social Responsibility 

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    Founded   April  2000



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SPRING 2007  · DECEMBER 2006 · JULY-AUG 2006 · APRIL--MAY 2006 · FEBRUARY 2006
In the Shadows · The Brute · The War on Terror · Black Beaches · War · Images from Lebanon · The Neocons · Iran and Lebanon · Regime of Injustice · Where's Osama? · GATS · Lamont v Lieberman · Words of Hope · Open Letter to Bush

Click above, for articles in this issue.            


In the Shadows 


Yesterday I did what many thousands of Americans do quite often; I returned a movie rental.  What I experienced though, hopefully is not what many of you have experienced; I was followed, I was watched.  As I entered my local supermarket to return a movie rental, everything seemed normal, until I turned to leave the kiosk, a ‘rent a cop’ and his female companion, made it obvious they were watching me, glaring, sarcastically smiling as I walked away and continued on my daily routine.

We all have our daily, even weekly routines: we may buy our coffee, or newspaper, every day at the same shop, perhaps even at the same time of day or night.  We tend to shop for our groceries, on the same day each week.  We even do our banking like clockwork each Friday, Saturday or Monday.  And as we live our lives of routine, under the watchful ‘eyes’ of more and more cameras in shopping malls, parking lots, bank lobbies-- our lives become less private, less random, more predictable, and more transparently clear to those who may be watching us. 

Several years ago, I first became aware that I was being followed, my picture taken by strangers, while I shopped, not once or twice, but several times.  Now my son complains to me that he too is followed as he commutes to and from school. No, these are not ordinary patrols on the subways or streets of the city.  The oversize shirts covering radio and service revolver, can’t seem to cover the identity of the personages who shadow people on every day activities, as they cross streets, or enter school buildings. 

My phone no longer produces a clear connection; there are clicks, echoes and distortions.  My mail stream has been reduced.  People I know complain about their mail to me being returned.  Ordinary bills like bank statements, credit card billings, insurance policies are either delayed or never arrive.  As the months turn to years, it becomes obvious to me that these incidents can no longer be attributable to random occurrences. Is this not a kind of warfare, an economic sabotage, indeed psychological terrorism?

I wonder what the concern is all about?  Are the activities my son, a college student, engages in, which are tied to his concerns for the betterment of humanity; whose concerns are for the environment; whose concerns are for completing his education—are such concerns the nefarious makings of a threat to public security? Is membership in the Student Sierra coalition or in The Students for Bhopal Campaign, cause for being watched and followed?


Am I perhaps perceived as a threat for my leadership of this website and its organization, and hence my family, by extension, threats as well?  Are my contacts being identified in order to target them too? Or is this a ‘game’ of elaborate intimidation, so that I cease my activities related to this website? But intimidation would not explain why my food shopping habits seem to be of interest to those who seem to shadow my movements.  Why the avid concern over my nutrition?

Here is my answer: I don’t feel intimidated, I am not scared even if my death is being contemplated and planned.  I fully accept the fact that I no longer have the comfort of privacy, that was lost years ago and it matters little to me, but I wish to make this abundantly clear, I refuse to be intimidated or frightened by ‘men’ who bask and cower in anonymity as they plot to alter and destroy the lives of others. What sort of human being does that? 

American society is being transformed into just a shadow of its previous grandeur. How ironic, that as President Bush accuses other nations of being evil, that same darkness is flourishing as well, here in the 'land of Liberty.'


by Victor Saraiva, Editor



Victor Saraiva is senior editor, he can be reached by email


Posted  September 06, 2006

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