They already know who we are.
During my trip, as I was getting to know some of the most socially conscious people I have ever met, it occurred to me that publishing their names was probably not the best idea. As the trip went on, though, it became abundantly clear that it did not matter whether I printed them or not.
People have had their computers hacked into, websites infiltrated, communications intercepted and information seized. This is apart from all those already identified through arrests, protest participation and video coverage.
This movement is peaceful, nonviolent and LEGAL. There is technically no reason for protestors to be afraid of showing their faces. Sadly, this is not the reality. Law enforcement keeps track of participants, period. People get beaten, pepper sprayed and tear gas cannoned to the head.
Those who are trying to hide do so out of self-preservation. And with good reason. After the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, and the coming H.R. 3166: Enemy Expatriation Act, government sanctions on perceived threats are becoming much more severe.
The NDAA authorizes indefinite detention, with no contact to the outside world, no right to trial and no avenue towards release other than through the system that put you there. H.R. 3166 threatens to strip you of your citizenship in the United States and deny you all the rights thereof.
I did not want to unfairly endanger anyone for exercising their rights. Sanctions against those speaking out seemed far to severe and unconstitutional. If I printed names I could not ethically justify contributing to these sanctions.
As my trip progressed I began to see things differently.
The people I met and interacted with were all aware of what being part of the Occupy movement means. The challenges they face. The repercussions of arrest. The fact that they become targets for law enforcement.
Those who have already been arrested have confirmed this, guards and officers have admitted it. Reporters and activists have been visited by agents from the FBI and other departments regarding their involvement. Communications via secure servers have been intercepted and used to identify participants.
In hearing all this, from so many different sources, I began to realize how little it mattered what I chose. The government already knows who is participating, they watch the live streams too.
Still, it should not matter. Protesters are not doing anything illegal, Oakland Black Bloc actions aside. It is a constitutional right to participate in these actions. There should be no need to conceal your identity, but in reality, certain threats to civil liberties do stem directly from political participation, which just goes to show you which direction this country is heading.
All said, I decided that what is most important is that I share the information I gathered on this trip, the names are irrelevant. I am sure the government already knows who they are, but publicly declaring themselves is up to them, they know what they face.
Until then all I can say is that I am exercising my duty, as a journalist, to share the information the public wishes to know, the information corporate media is blatantly ignoring.
My name is Frank Thomas Cardenas. I publish this website and I believe in my constitutional right to do so.
– Serious Note