A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but canít afford an air force.
-William Blum
Lord Galen
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Real Life Nineteen Eighty Four
August 3, 2010

Dear Galen

This is urgent. Since some family members are working for security firms and U.S. government agencies (most of us live in Latinamerica), and said organizations checked on their backgrounds, I and my father have been harassed and threatened with imprisonment. But do you know why? Because honestly, candidly discussing sexuality and political dissent on Internet forums[note] is fucking "illegal" now (that's what they said)! Gee. Is it me, or is there absolutely NOTHING wrong with looking for information on sensitive topics while navigating cyberspace, because:

a) It's not readily available.
b) You can't discuss them in polite company?

This reminds me of the ending in George Orwell's magnum opus, when the Party incarcerates and tortures Winston for simply enjoying some good old fucking with Julia.

I'm not sure what steps I should take- I don't want to quit enjoying one of my favorite aspects of my private life (access to information and alternative media), but I don't want to face a legal system increasingly addicted to the drug of authoritarianism.

Thank you if you read this letter.

[user name removed by Galen]

[ NOTE: For the first time ever, I've decided to let one of my loyal Snipers answer a Dear Galen letter instead of answering it myself. Sniper BakeMaCS is, I feel, more qualified than myself to give advice in this area. And so, I called upon him to respond and he did. ]

Dear [name removed],

Having a family member who served in the U.S Military and later the Air National Guard, I can tell you that security clearance is a big thing in government security. This family member had to be careful down to what they said in their email, and when I got internet access to my house, you better believe they were worried about it!

However, you are quite right that it is quite odd (see: WHAT THE FUCK?) that you would be threatened with litigation/imprisonment from the United States (I'm assuming that's who you're referring to).

Let me tell you this. When I was 15, I hacked into a college's computer network. No charges were filed, but their was major concern from the family member I mentioned about their security clearance being at stake. But you know what they never brought up? A fear of jail time. This person had been in the Armed Forces for over 30 years at the time, and knew about security detail in the back of their head.

In short, it's pretty fucked up that you're being threatened with prison time. Unless it's a serious crime like revealing classified information to the public, you shouldn't be in any danger. HOWEVER, things may have changed since that incident involving me hacking into the college. Last I checked though, you should be fine.

With even more hate,

P.S. I know, they sound mean. That's the U.S Government for you. :)

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