1997-05-05 - Terrorists or Freedom Fighters or Rebels?

Header Data

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Message Hash: 093c78e82953d06baa7179ea3d8c685578769b388a4486e4c28ef5bf3adf126f
Message ID: <v03007804af93f2a537ec@[]>
Reply To: <v03007801af91e1128b39@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-05 20:29:11 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 04:29:11 +0800

Raw message

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 04:29:11 +0800
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Subject: Terrorists or Freedom Fighters or Rebels?
In-Reply-To: <v03007801af91e1128b39@[]>
Message-ID: <v03007804af93f2a537ec@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 10:42 AM -0800 5/5/97, Ernest Hua wrote:

>> weeks. Had the World Trade Center bombs succeeded (in bringing down
>> one of the towers), this would have done it. When freedom fighters
>> ultimately succeed in, say, killing 5000 Londoners in a Sarin or
>> Ricin attack in the Tube, expect dramatic moves in all Western
>> nations to sharply curtail civil liberties.
>I think we violently agree here, except for one-sided terminologies
>like "freedom fighters" or "terrorists".

I've been trying consciously to use "freedom fighter" in nearly all cases
where the Administration would use "terrorist." It causes people to
sometimes do a double take, and think more closely about the underlying

In fact, many of the world's so-called "terrorists" are in fact fighting
for some form of liberation from colonialists, corporations who bought up
land from corrupt dictators, and so on. We could argue whether the IRA is a
"freedom fighting" group, given that Protestants are in a majority in
Northern Ireland, but then we'd have to also consider the British policies
which encourgaged migration of Protestants to Ireland, etc.

(Are American Indians who fight for basic rights, and for enforcement of
treaties, terrorists or freedom fighters? Or something else? Or do labels

And what about the "freedom fighters" in the jungles of Burma (Myanmar)
Phil Zimmermann likes to cite as critical users of PGP? By the standards of
the official government of Burma, these folks are terrorists. (They blow up
bridges, derail trains, etc.)

I usually cite these rebels as obvious examples of terrorists using strong
crypto. And by the fact that Phil Z. advertises the use of PGP by these
terrorists, I submit that SAFE could be invoked so as to halt international
exports of PGP by using the clause which says:

" The Secretary shall authorize the export or reexport of software with
encryption capabilities for nonmilitary end-uses ...unless there is
substantial evidence that such software will be...diverted to a military
end-use or an end-use supporting international terrorism...[or]...modified
for military or terrorist end-use..."

Slam dunk! "PGP being used by terrorists in Burma...license for export denied."

(And there's no way to bring in such sophistry as "legitimate governments."
The government of Burma is not substantially less legitimate than are
hundreds of other governments.)

"Terrorism" is just another mode of warfare.

(If the argument is that terrorism involves attacks on civilians, what were
the firebombings of Dresden (300,000 German civilians killed) and Tokyo
(200,000 killed), not to mention Hiroshima. And so on. Most arguments
purporting to prove that various "terrorist" groups are not legitimate
freedom fighters will turn up such inconsistencies.)

The State of Israel got a big boost from terrorism, with the Stern Gang
bombing British barracks, bridges, etc. Begin was even a member.

And so it goes.

--Tim May, referred to as an "info-terrorist" by one government guy

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."