Interrorism: Interrogating Internal ("Enemy Within") Terrorism in the Age of the Intelligence Agency

--Steve Mann, DECONsortium founder


Whether terrorism is the work of a lone miscreant, a foreign government, or an "inside-job" by our own government (or some mixture of these, such as a "blowback" response from injustices we inflict on others), it is the aftermath of war's equation or inequality that often has the widest felt impact. Virilio refers to "images" as giving us a new era of war. In this sense, TeleVision is a weapon of mass destruction/distraction/distrust, as we are assaulted by a blitzkrieg of graphic repetition that reaches into the innermost spaces of every home.

To quote the cartoon character 'Pogo', "WE HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS US."

Our governments often create various scenarios we must prepare against. For example, we're told "what if there were to be a release of smallpox?" "We must prepare.".

But If the enemy is within -- within our own hearts, and within our collective selves (i.e. our governments), we must equally consider questions like: "What if terrorists infiltrated positions of high authority or power?"; "What if terrorists began to write laws that pave the way for later advancement of their nefarious goals?"; and "How can we defend our nation against terrorists operating from within our own government or military?".

These are the questions addressed by sousveillance (inverse surveillance), and lifelong personal experience capture, archival, and sharing, such as practiced by my own CyborgLog ('glog) project, by Microsoft's "MyLifeBits" project, and by Darpa's LifeLog project.

And finally, if the enemy is within our own hearts, we must also call into question our self-destructive urge to build "Engines of Totalitarianism" -- our self-destructive desire to have our governments build, for us, mass detention camps -- and our desire to consume ourselves with our own Narcissism as we stare nakedly into the abyss of the decontamination pool that stares back at us. Instead, perhaps we should consider invention as a means of cultural and artistic social commentary.

"When you look long into an abyss...the abyss also looks into you."
--Friedrich Neitzche


This paper describes what was learned through DECONference, an annual inverse conference aimed at decontextualizing and decontaminating deconstructionism with a specific inquiry into the possible transition from postcyborgism to postpostcyborgism (deconism).

In particular, post-cyborgism refers to an end to existimology --- an end to the epistimology of free-will and the metaphyics of choice that was the original motivation behind our technological clothing. Our clothing, jewellery, shoes, and personal space --- architecture-of-one, as I call it --- or the wearable computer, and related technologies of self-architeced choice, when stripped away, leave us technologically naked in the post-cyborg era.

DECONference 2000 (DECON1) set forth the principles by way of initial patent filings as means for social commentary on the possible use of anthrax hysteria in controlling the population. DECONference 2001 (DECON2) opened with separate entrances for men and women, into an anthrax-ready mailroom design exhibited July 2001 at Gallery TPW in Toronto. DECONference 2002 (DECON3) brought together approximately a hundred artists, philosophers, and leading thinkers of our time, to be stripped, scrubbed, and protected by white Tyvek jumpsuits, on order to deconstruct the notion of cyborg-identity. DECONference 2003 (DECON4) took place in cyberspace, as a collective brainwave experience, where participants were stripped of their mental defences, by way of brainwave probes into the visual cortex.

DECONference 2004 (DECON5) will take place in Montreal, in September, in a portable "tent city" or similar emergency deployment carried on an large 18 wheeler. DECONference 2005 (DECON6) will be held on a flotilla, in international waters, for DECONationalism.

Original CAD drawing of our portable DECONference attendee registration facility, as drawn by Incident Commander Aimone.

"Raped" by art: All Jammers are Spammers to a non-consentual audience

I recently received some Spam from a group called "Culture Jammers Network", calling for me to visit their web site to donate money to a "Culture Jamming" network to fight consumerism and advertising. But I could not fully visit their website because, instead of buying all the software that would be necessary to fully visit their website, I had put together an old computer system from items salvaged from the dumpsters, and from curbside trash. Then instead of buying software, I had built on top of much of the GNU Linux FreeSource. Because I was not willing to support consumerism and software sweatshops, my computer system does not run Macintosh, Microsoft, Macromedia (MacMicMac), Flashism, etc.. Thus because I was not willing to support consumerism and advertising, I was not able to properly respond to their Spam.

Thus one begins to wonder if there even is a distinction between Granolafied Gaptivism and Culture Spamming/Jamming that calls for us to use the software of the large multinationals in order to participate in supporting the selling of a colour glossy magazine, or the purchase of advertising space for inverse ads, because all ads are inverse ads. All advertising is aimed at "hacking" our human capacity to ignore ads. Thus all advertising is, to some degree, culture jamming.

Although detournment (a la Situationist Internationale) may re-situate the tools of an oppressive monoculture regime in a disturbing and disorienting fashion, to call into question the values of that regime, the "regime" itself sooner or later re-re-situates those same tools. I call this detournment2 (detournement squared, i.e. detournement of the detournement). For example, Some of the great reality-hacking of French artist Magritte has been incorporated into much of our modern advertising "culture".

As this low-intensity peacefare is waged between culture and counter culture, it becomes more and more difficult to tell the difference between culture, counter culture, counter counter culture, counter counter counter culture, etc..

Antonin Artaud coined the phrase "Virtual Reality" in the 1930s to describe theatre ("la realite virtuell" translated in "The Theater and Its Double", 1958).

Thus Virtual Reality was once a form of "high culture" that has now been co-opted by the advertising giants.

Ironic, indeed, that the epitome of simulacra is theatre. But now all the world's a stage. And there's no longer a difference between theatre and shadow.

Thus, at least in some sense, satire is no longer possible because the classical Greek Theatre's Proscenium has been smashed to pieces, in the sense that we can no longer distinguish between the audience and the players.

Piracy of the very concept of "a work of art"

Composer Karlheinz Stockhausen described the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York City as "the greatest work of art ever":
What happened there is - they all have to rearrange their brains now - is the greatest work of art ever.

That characters can bring about in one act what we in music cannot dream of, that people practice madly for 10 year, completely, fanatically, for a concert and then die. That is the greatest work of art for the whole cosmos.

I could not do that. Against that, we composers, are nothing.

The New York Times, September 19, 2001

Such a comment produced outrage, as well as scholarly reasoned counter-arguments, such as the fact that the "audience" (victims of the terrorist attacks) did not consent (to being attacked), and counter-counter-arguments, such as the fact that a nonconsentual audience is the nature of much in the way of Situationist art, as well as almost all modern advertising and spam.

Maybe Stockhausen really meant to ask "Is terrorism a work of art or a work of spam?", i.e. "Is terrorism culture jamming or culture spamming?".

So how can we best refute an assertion that mass-murder is performance art?

Perhaps it is the combination of a nonconsentual audience with the extremity of the "performance" that pushes the analogy to its limits.

And what about the legality or illegality? And by who's laws? If he says it's art, does he mean illegal art? And what about the authorities who often refer to much milder forms of illegal art as "cyberterrorism" or "piracy". In today's world "piracy" no longer means merely mass-murder on the high seas. The word has also been pirated by the Software industry to refer to acts of duplication.

Stockhausen's comment is somewhat the reverse of what covernments and gorporations are doing --- equating peaceful protest and civil unrest to terrorism (or at least sometimes responding to peaceful protest and civil unrest in a similar manner to the way in which terrorism is addressed, or at least with similar antiterrorist task forces).

Extreme analogies like saying someone who copies a floppy disk is a "pirate" (i.e. that they're a gruesome mass murderer, or that they are equivalent to a gruesome mass murderer), serve to de-sensitize us. As we become insensitive in one direction, we may become insensitive in the other direction, e.g. opening us up to the danger that a mass murderer may be referred to as merely a "hacker" or "artist".

To say that "Stockhausen's comment is 'piracy' of the word 'art' i.e. misappropriation of the word 'art'" might therefore be a recursion on dilution by extreme analogies.

Jammers or Spammers? Let the goodcrimes roll!

Piracy of the airwaves with a WMD (Weapon of Mass Disruption)

To the extent that advertising is also said to be "rape" and duplication of Software is often said to be "gruesome mass murder" ("piracy"), it's clear that we've become insensitive to the real crimes of actual rape, and actual gruesome mass murder. The media sensationalization of the anthrax attacks has often been referred to as "Anthrax Theatre":.
Performances of the award-winning "Anthrax Theatre" continue across the nation. Innovative variations on the original script are being demonstrated to test audiences, including stripping 200 Mervyn's shoppers naked, and forcing them to rinse themselves with laundry bleach. ... forced about 1,500 people into quarantine for several hours. ... people had to disrobe and were rinsed with a bleach solution.

It is clear that television has become the WMD (Weapon of Mass Disruption) that attacks all of us with a sense of hysteria and panic.

Individual "works of terrorism" versus group "terrexhibitions"

A mere individual who inflicts random acts of kindness, or of unkindness, upon others, is not a terrorist. A terrorist is an agent of the state (or agent of a state), or some other large organization. A mere individual does not possess the backing for large-scale terrorism -- serious terrorism being supported instead by large covernments or gorporations.

To be a "kindness modulator" (a person who has the power to choose whether to inflict mass-good or mass-evil), requires the ability to wield power over others. And that requires the state, or state capitalism (covernments or gorporations).

But we still have individual acts of torture, or at least small-scale acts of kidnapping and torture. Torture for thrills. Torture for thrill-seekers.

Psychologist Frank Farley defines a "Type T" personality --- those who seek thrills, an example he gives is that of a sniper terrorizing the nation. Some of his other examples included those who hire a company to kidnap them. Kidnapping services are becoming quite popular in New York City, where people pay money to be kidnapped and tortured. A little less risky than being a sniper or flying an airplane into a building, perhaps?

Cravings for Anthrax: A Detention Spa for the "Type T" personaliTy

A spa-goer describes the pleasure in being stripped naked and then taken to a tiled cell to be hosed down:
After being stripped and taken to a tiled cell which would not have been out of place in a South American military junta's interrogation suite, I was drizzled with honey, rubbed with grated carrot, wrapped in foil, baked, hosed down, scraped with rock salt, squirted with lemon juice, garnished with parsley and sent out into the 'dream chamber' where white-robed women grazed from a buffet of chilled cucumber. Shell-shocked and shiny-faced, I handed over my credit card and left, minus 125 and the outer layer of my epidermis, and with the rather uneasy feeling that I'd been had.

Professor Etzioni advocates the construction of a detention camp in the form of a beach resort:

we just want to ask people who have the symptoms to join us at the most luxurious beach resort we can find, around which we are going to throw a ten-foot wall, reinforced by guards with nonviolent means of stopping people who want to leave.
--Communitarian Dialogue: Public Health After 9/11

Matt Harris, ASUA senator, volunteered to be stripped down and hosed with cold water in an orange tent, as part of an emergency preparedness drill. Here is what he had to say about the experience:

How often do you get to be decontaminated?
as if to suggest, perhaps, that this is an opportunity not to be missed.

Another article added:

As students waited more than 40 minutes for the fire department to arrive to decontaminate them,...

When the team arrived, Harris was told that he would have to strip down and be hosed with cold water in a small orange tent. There were several people watching.

"Now I'm getting interested now that they are here...."

Even after being forced to sit on the grass for a few hours and suffer through a cold shower at the end of the drill, Harris said he had a lot of fun and would do it again.

"It was fun, though. How often do you get to be decontaminated?"

The article, and related articles, go on to describe how volunteers enjoyed acting out the roles of unruly protesters, and having the opportunity to yell at police, without getting in trouble (because they were just actors in a kind of theatrical enactment of a disaster drill). And, indeed, some people enjoyed being arrested or detained, stripped, and hosed down with cold water before being interrogated.

Such role playing, by volunteer actors, raises the question as to how much of a real protest is role playing, and how much of it is effectual resistance, as compared to a pathological desire to be stripped and share in the bonding experience of a cold communal shower.

Decontamination as rape

Many have described decontamination as a form of rape:
Before she knew it, she was being removed from her home, taken to a soccer field and told to strip down to her underwear as strangers watched.

"It was the most humiliating thing I've ever had to go through," she said.
By the time Hazmat teams arrived and set up, it was about 9 p.m. Crew members donned masks and green splash suits, squirting water through special nozzles that kept the pressure low as the people passed through the line. Though plastic tarps were held up on each side, Huizar and the others who were decontaminated, most of them women, said they had to strip down in an area that was within the view of a crowd of at least 100 emergency personnel, TV crews and other spectators.

"It felt like we were raped," said Huizar, 42, reenacting how she was told to lift up her arms and turn in circles as she walked down the line.

Firefighters and local ag officials say the possible consequences outweighed privacy issues at that point. ... One of the main reasons the state agency is concerned is that some people did not seek immediate treatment "because they didn't want to be stripped down

Others have attempted to take legal action against those who have decontaminated them, although the laws are constantly being rewritten to make decontaminators unliable for their actions. The so-called "Good Samaritan Act" may make it acceptable to chase a woman and rip off her clothes if you think she might have spilled some white powder.

Chavez didn't know things had become dangerous until two men in hazard suits like in "E.T." kicked off her door. "I was verbally and physically threatened by a police officer in a hazmat suit," she said in an interview with City Pulse. Since Chavez refused to go through the decontamination procedure, she was saved for last. "He said I would be arrested and dragged down the hall, and my cloth would be ripped off." Chavez sat at her desk until it was her turn. "I had no choice." ... Judy Ward shows the plastic bag in which she had to undress in order to get decontaminated at MSU's Linton Hall on Oct. 12, 2001.

City Pulse spoke with four women who experienced what they described as a very dehumanizing experience. They felt threatened by the forceful orders of an all-male emergency team that they take their clothes off. Some of the women felt that at some point they were on parade, with at least six suited men standing around them. ... reminded every time she smells bleach or she sees firemen of being "assaulted in the place where you work, and where you go five days a week." She said even one year later she felt angry and violated, and that no one has been held accountable. ... "I think there should be clear rules that protect people's privacy, so that it doesn't become an unreasonable search procedure, which I think this instance clearly was," ... in an emergency situation, when dealing with an immediate crime, one might stretch people's civil rights. "But I doubt there are as many emergencies as people think there are. The police like to claim that everything is an emergency and therefore don't need to go to a judge for appropriate search rights." Silverman said the ACLU hasn't given up the idea of taking legal action. However, with six or seven different jurisdictions involved, the case would probably take a lot of time, energy, and money.


Systemized mass-rape (state-rape)

The recent anthrax attacks have given us plenty of experience with mass decontamination. French philosopher Michel Foucault once said that authority loves the plague (as an opportunity to increase its stronghold on power, to quiet civil unrest, and the like). Had Foucault been around in our times, he might have said that covernment (and gorporations) love anthrax; anthrax hoaxes being an opportunity to test emergency preparedness.

Here's a blitzkrieg of more quotes from covernment and gorporate websites, etc.:

The control of contaminated persons who refuse to cooperate with fire department or health services personnel is a serious issue, and the potential for such situations is not only possible but probable.

provide for the apprehension and examination of any individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease in a communicable stage

They bring a law enforcement agency group with them and they have no problem if somebody needs to be restrained with handcuffs or flex cuffs ... I think it is a benefit. You have better containment, and better control. Colonel Hammes says his Marines are trained to handle uncooperative people. ... first, we try to just talk to them. If they're really hysterical, there's some simple techniques from this program called Marine Martial Arts, that teaches various martial arts skills; there are common techniques that police also use to provide pain compliance-- no permanent damage, just enough to get your attention, and allows us to control you. If you still won't, then we can control in flex cuffs, and then we'll flex cuff decontaminate you.

The academic community seems to also be in favour of population control, mandatory medication, and the like:

No reasonable person wishes to sacrifice any of these principles, but it may be necessary to do so in a real incident if lives are to be saved. --Richard A. Falkenrath, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, December 2000

As part of the exercise, CBIRF members faced many unannounced obstacles including victims who spoke no English, were deaf or extremely uncooperative either screaming to be left alone or not be touched.

Detention camps for those suspected of ill health

Here are some further quotes pertaining to detention camps, and the like:
Establishing a system of community-based outpatient centers is the most efficient way to provide rapid treatment to a large population. ... Alternative Care Facilities (ACF) ... for mass prophylaxis will open to provide care, information, and medication to the victims and their families during a chemical and/or a biological terrorist incident. People will be reluctant to go to an alternative health care facility ... ... Establish perimeters around existing medical facilities and alternative care facilities to control influx and exit of patients so as to protect patients, personnel, and supplies. Hospitals will use their own internal security forces while local, State and military personnel will be used for ACFs.

Provide internal security within all medical facilities to ensure no disruption of services by hysterical individuals. Ensure appropriate crowd control.

Tracking of victims will be maintained to ensure adequate patient care and to assess possible long-term sequelae for clinical and scientific purposes.

On the topic of "assess possible long-term sequelae for clinical and scientific purposes", one wonders whether or not this means that the detention camps might be used to conduct medical experiments. If a detainee is a valuable subject for an important research publication, perhaps there would be less incentive in allowing the detainee to leave.

And now we find talk of urban detention camps:

(November 2002) - The attacks of 9/11 were a definite wakeup call for the roughly 150 hospitals in Indiana. ... build extra capacity, such as providing off-site areas to take care of the overflow of patients who require hospitalization."

Each of 10 regions in Indiana has been asked to make available 500 additional beds. "Schools, old hotels, nursing homes, psychiatric facilities and rehabilitation hospitals are being considered, ... "The major area that we are investigating is expanding our decontamination facility with more showers in order to accommodate a greater number of patients," says Keith Kahre, emergency medical services and security coordinator at St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville. The 500-bed hospital will likely enlarge its decontamination facility in the emergency-room department. ... St. Mary's is also studying how its air quality is impacted by quarantined patients potentially contaminated with such maladies as smallpox. ... The second scenario is a chemical event involving loads of people exposed to a chemical agent. "We need to have decontamination facilities large enough to handle that."

After 9/11, St. Mary's formed a task force to better prepare for disaster. A nearby facility with three vacant floors has been designated as an alternate care site. "We want to make that facility safe in air quality as well, in the event patients need to be quarantined for a communicable disease," .... At Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville, officials have closely evaluated security at the 234-bed facility, including how people enter. For a lockdown situation, "we need to be able to secure the premises," states Fred Horlander, vice president of hospital support service. ... At Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne, personal protective equipment has been upgraded to include air-purifying respirators and gloves that are more impervious to chemicals. The 540-bed hospital has also expanded its capability for decontamination from two shower areas to 10. Moreover, "we've been involved in protocols for off-site triage," says Sue Grace, director of safety. The hospital has also drafted a policy to administer mass prophylaxis, such as a vaccine or antibiotic that would need to be distributed throughout the community within a short time period.

Parkview Hospital has identified the city's Coliseum and university facilities for potential patient overflow. ... "Security for crowd control is also important. We have specific areas where we would put families without impeding the existing treatment protocols."

One wonders, even, to what extent the Department of Justice is involved:

... Janet Reno Attorney General U.S. Department of Justice ... Require mandatory medical examination of exposed persons... Require exposed persons to accept mandatory vaccinations... Seize and destroy contaminated property... participate in the modification of existing laws and regulations designed to protect health and ensure safety in case of a public health emergency or hazardous biological, chemical, or radiological event...

Concentration camps in the United States:

Perhaps the camps are coming close to home:
Meanwhile, while our regular army is starved for funds, American Special Forces are receiving massive amounts of funding and being trained to go up against the American people. Although the training against U.S. civilian targets has been going on since the mid 1990 s, this activity stepped up dramatically during 1999 with the exercises in Kingsville, Texas (burning out a police station); Anniston, Alabama (military takeover of a civilian airport, with power cut to 200 homes in the area); Hebron, Maryland (house-to-house weapons confiscation); and Operation Urban Warrior in California (military units from several nations rounding up Americans and putting them into concentration camps). Actual footage of this activity is shown in Alex Jones documentary Police State 2000.

Internment camps for citizens?

most average American's don't have a taste for crusades of global conquest... Unless... there's a sudden terrifying threat. ... imaginary catastrophic device that had been so entirely concocted out of thin air, so heavily promoted in the media and ultimately steered to what will almost certainly be the dramatic conclusion of a self fulfilling media stoked prophecy - to be fabricated first in our imaginations then ignited in the real world - It is the dirty bomb. ... Internment Camps For Citizens

Ashcroft's announced desire for camps for U.S. citizens he deems to be "enemy combatants"...

FEMA is moving ahead with plans to create temporary cities that could handle millions of Americans

plan to leaglly detain millions of American citizens ... the quarantine of citizens that have been exposed to a communicable disease. ... mass relocation of large populations for quarantine safety. ... FEMA allows the White House to suspend constitutional government upon declaration of a national emergency. It allows creation of a nonelected national government. The FEMA laws were made available by the president when he declared that we are in a national state of emergency indefinitely on 9/14. ... Ex Order # 11004: The US government has the right to seize all housing and finance authorities in order to establish "Relocation Designated Areas" and to force abandonment of areas classified as "unsafe". To enforce this further the Center for Disease Control (CDC) led a process to develop a "Model State Emergency Health Powers Act" that was completed and became active on October 31,2001. ... in the event of a contaminated population, the CDC will be able to force masses of people suspected of exposure to broadly-defined "infectious diseases" and biological weapons into concentration camp-like holding facilities for drugging, vaccination, and quarantine, without any viable legal recourse. ... The first step in moving people to detainment centers by way of quarantine of communicable diseases is to actually have a bio-warfare threat and then attack. Thus the Anthrax attacks have opened the American psyche to the possibility of this previously unthinkable occurrance.
(See also,, cached in

The end of the Cold war and the creation of Rex 84 Bravo has allowed for many military bases to be closed down and turned into prisons. Operation Cable Splicer and Garden Plot are the two sub programs which can be implemented to move citizens to the camps. ... Seattle/Tacoma - SeaTac Airport: fully operational federal transfer center

Patients will be decontaminated prior to transport. ... designated Points of Departure (POD) for mass casualty victims, such as Boeing Field or Seatac International Airport that will be exercised in the event of a mass casualty incident.

Once they realize America is doomed and collapsing, they will herd millions of people into concentration camp facilities to protect the uninfected.... "Do we believe the World Health Organization, which was managed by a former SS officer during the vaccination program, is believable when they claim smallpox is eradicated?"

much larger in terms of numbers initially that would cause us to move more quickly into trying to set up special quarters for isolation of patients to make sure that we have enough in the way of space.

forcibly quarantined... quarantine centers... preferably dedicated facilities... Department of Defense to run "dedicated smallpox treatment centers"... cancellation all public gatherings

Entire blocks were cordoned off with barbed wire and guarded by police -- essentially creating health prison camps.

America's leaders are in fact considering such drastic steps if an outbreak were to erupt. Just two weeks before Sept. 11, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a blueprint for fighting an outbreak: They call it the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response project.


Futher quotes suggest the continued construction of crematoria:
allow officials to detain people involuntarily if... If the state can show "clear and convincing evidence" to a judge that exposed or infected people are a significant threat to public health, officials would be authorized to isolate and involuntarily compel medical treatment for them. ... Cremation is viewed as essential

victims must be collected in the hot zone. ... If victims are allowed to wander about, the clean side of the decontamination area will become contaminated thereby negating any benefit. The first step of decontamination is containment. Once contained, the victims should disrobe, and physically remove any observable contamination from the skin. Clothing must be accumulated deposited on the downhill, downstream, and downwind portion of the hot zone to prevent "off-gassing". Off-gassing is the continued exposure of victims from vapors contained upon their clothing. Simply disrobing victims is 85-90% effective at removing a vapor exposure. Victims may typically be left in their undergarments.

Ban on stinky bus passengers

The alleged need for "delousing" of "verminous persons" has often been used to advance an agenda of xenophobia against immigrants, homeless, gypsies, etc., and perhaps such practices are coming back into fashion:
Oregon town to ban stinky bus passengers... The Associated Press ... - You better hit the showers before you board the bus... The regulations ban anyone who "emanates a grossly repulsive odor that is unavoidable by other Bend Extended Area Transit customers" from being in the bus station or on a bus. "It's an effort to keep the riding experience as pleasant and safe as possible,"

The Deconomics of Drug deals

Let's look at the Deconomics of Drug Deals. If we "follow the money", perhaps we get a sense of who benefits from the "war on (some) bioterrorism".
economic boom for the pharmaceutical companies - which they also control. ... they create the problem before they offer a solution to the problem ... non-lethal warfare. Where you don't kill populations like in a bomb or a gunshot but you make them sick. You then make them dependent on pharmaceuticals which are actually a military-pharmaceutical complex run by the same players - the global elite - and then ultimately these populations become enslaved to the pharmaceuticals ... killing people slowly, and in the process they are making vast fortunes off of humanity's suffering.

Deconfiscation: Rounding up suspects -- those suspected of exposure to powder

Suddenly suspicious behaviour is a crime. Or even an innocent bystander is rounded up for suspicion of having been exposed to some table salt, icing sugar, or talcum powder.
Everyone who walked through the east-west corridor... was rounded up... Those who might have been exposed to the powder were bused to the college's athletic center. There they were stripped of their clothes, books, backpacks and cellphones, all of which were confiscated.

Decontamination of dissenters

Here is another interesting quote:
Although you might never consider it, but bio-terrorism is something many state leaders think about a great deal. ... The unit also keeps an eye on anti-government groups

Undressed by force

When people refuse to undress for the authorities, there is force:
told they must undress, go to the bathhouse,... they were ordered to remove their clothes. The men undressed in one barrack, the women in the other. ... did not want to undress and they were undressed by force

a new special forces Tactical Assault Group (TAG) trained to battle terrorists in civilian areas. ... ... "Their training means they will be able to conduct high-risk searches with detection equipment and dogs, disarm and dispose of a device, decontaminate victims

Clothes, jewelry, all personal possessions and even false teeth are confiscated; ...uniform clothing is issued, your name is replaced by a number, ... highly organized and efficient system for processing large numbers of people

Further examples of decon as violation of civil rights

Here are some futher quotes that focus on civil rights:
Health scare voids Americans' rights? ... Someone sent them an anonymous letter claiming to contain anthrax. ... Someone there apparently thought this was an opportune time to suspend the Constitution and declare martial law. The building was immediately surrounded by armed police, who swooped in to quarantine the people inside. Those inside were made virtual prisoners and not allowed to leave. If this had happened in Nazi Germany or Bosnia, we would all be thankful it could never happen here. Then, at least a dozen members of one of the city's hazardous materials response teams entered the building in white decontamination suits and forced the people inside to remove all their clothes and placed them in plastic bags. Then they were marched outside to a portable, enclosed outdoor shower in the parking lot and scrubbed down for up to 10 minutes each. ... These clinic employees were stripped not only of their clothes but also of their civil rights, by a government that had gotten too big, too powerful. This is a wake-up call for all Americans. If it could happen in Indianapolis, it could happen anywhere. Accused of no crime, they were humiliated, degraded, dehumanized and treated worse than common criminals. For a 24-hour period, they became non-persons. They apparently had no protection under the law, and it could all happen again with the next prank letter. ... It is a shame the "authorities" who were responsible for this drill cannot be prosecuted criminally for their actions, run through the county jail system and receive the same shabby treatment they had levied on their victims.

Courts have long held that local officials may cordon off an area or establish a quarantine or erect checkpoints for persons and/or vehicles leaving an area. Both the need to prevent escape of suspected criminals or carriers of contagion and the individual's diminished right of privacy when on foot or on a vehicle support these rulings.

power hungry official puts all suspected carriers of the disease in quarantine with political enemies of the state. The concentration camps are more deadly than the disease

Hoaxes as the golden opportunity for shower drills

Many see hoaxes as a golden opportunity ("the positive side to this") for having shower drills:
Haz-mat workers carried in bottles of Clorox bleach just before noon and geared up in white suits and green-and-yellow rubber boots before they entered the third and fourth floors of the building to hose workers down. ... If this turned out to be a hoax, it was a great drill. Today we learned that, yes, we know what we're doing. That was the positive side to this."

Firefighters cum peoplefighters:

Firefighters cum peoplefighters may be the new force for handling civil unrest:
since the events on 11 September 2001, Central Government had made the Fire Service directly responsible for mass decontamination. ... for showers and decontamination facilities for use in any civil disturbance.

A craving for rape?

Others who might have participated in terror-theatre so they could have the thrill of being herded away and being forced to strip, describe disappointment at the fact that they didn't get their clothes ripped off:
Where's the virile firefighter who's supposed to cut off my clothes? ... There are many good reasons to volunteer as a "victim/actor" at a mock chemical weapons attack. There are the free doughnuts. There are the virile and omnipotent firefighters who cut your clothing off and carry you to safety and more doughnuts. There is the knowledge that your efforts are helping to prepare emergency personnel in the event that such a heinous thing should ever occur. ... Eventually a firefighter came over with a hose and commenced to wet us down, as though we were fans at an outdoor rock concert... explained that he was decontaminating us. If this had been an actual gas attack, they would have cut our clothes off, turned the hoses up high and really blasted us, and then they would have scrubbed us and put us into some sort of special suit and rushed us to the emergency room. ... "If they want to practice, why don't they do it? Come and get real, people!" ... Forty-five minutes later, we were herded into a fire department van and driven to a nearby hospital. No clothes cutting, no ambulance ride.

Jordan Crandall's depiction of the military's desire "to both violate and shield ... erotic charge of combat... analyze/violate/protect" is perhaps best captured in defense against bioterror (irrespective of whether the bioterror be real, imagined, or merely an "inside job").

Military computer vision systems are now turned back toward us where the hidden cameras in the public baths transform our world from Baywatch to Bathwatch. Hidden underwater cameras in municipal swimming baths, such as the network of underwater cameras at North Toronto Community Center are connected to a sophisticated network of Internet connected computers. From Baywatch (the many watching the few) to Poolwatch (the few watching the many), we become the specimens (or shall I say, specimen and speciwomen) of an experiment, perpetrated from afar, without our knowledge or consent. Is it a swim meet, or a swim meat? Perhaps by now television cameras have outnumbered television receivers. Even in places where we're not fully clothed.

To save you if you drown in the bath.
Or slip and fall in the showers. Or toilets.

Toilets Against Terrorism! Project SafeBath. Saves Water. Saves Lives.
Function:       noun
Etymology:      Latin, from specere to look at, look -- more at SPY
Date:   1610

Lifeguard Rescyou. To surf and protect from afar.

The enemy within: Patently Obvious

Japanese Shinto required a ritual scrub down before anyone could enter a holy place. So, likewise, when we held DECONference 2002, we required all attendees to be decontrabanded and decontaminated as they entered the ground floor of the building. As part of their (de)conference registration materials, their bodies were scanned and they were then each given a white paper jumpsuit having no pockets in which to conceal contraband, before being led to the "upper room":

Much has been written about DECONference 2002.

See for example, some of the press coverage in and some of the reviews such as: " Mann describes with hilarious deadpan irony a number of devices he has actually patented." -- Department of Philosophy Professor Ronald de Sousa (after having been stripped, scrubbed, and placed in a white Tyvek jumpsuit having no pockets in which to conceal contraband).

However, very little has been said about the earlier events.

DECONference 2002 built upon the work of DECONference 2001, which itself was based upon a patent filed in 2000. This takes us to the patent office as a venue for social commentary.

There is a seriousness about patents, the patent office, and intellectual property in general, that's itself ripe for social commentary, notwithstanding its use as a medium for same.

Here we find an April 1, 2000 patent application for an anthrax-ready mailroom.

It was this patent that formed the basis for the anthrax-ready mailroom that opened at Gallery TPW in July 2001, with the exhibit title "Prior Art: Art of Record...":

The terminology "Prior Art" comes from patent law, as does the terminology "Art of Record". Thus this work exists at the nexus of art (inquiry, social commentary, philosophical discourse), science (fundamental questions about "how" and "why", that underly the technology) and technology itself (as exemplified by the patents).

Very Nervous Shower

Foucault once said that authority loves the plague. Had he been alive today, he might have written, instead, that "covernment loves anthrax".

In response to Foucault's writings on Bentham's Panopticon, I decided to explore a modern "panopticon" through the writing of a patent for an anthrax-ready mailroom facility, or the like, having a central guard tower, to which citizens might be evacuated, herded, and around which citizens might be required to strip completely and be washed down, all under the guise of bioterror.

At the time it seemed way-out. Now it seems merely dead-serious.

Here is the abstract page (as retrieved from the patent office):

Here is the drawing page (as retrieved from the patent office):

This work also included the invention, design and construction of a Panoptic Interactive Video Installation built in the form of a six-person shower:

Six video cameras in the shower column connected to six computer graphics rendering engines that have NTSC video capture capability allow for an automated mass casualty decontamination facility that can also be remotely monitored by an Incident Commander in a distant city or country:

Screen-grab from computer-vision system of the six-person Panoptic Interactive Video Shower. Blue triangles indicate the flow of liquid (decon solution).

Much like Rokeby's Very Nervous System, the shower responds to people coming into its field of view, where it can interactively scan their bodies and decontaminate them.

Other work in Prior Art includes:











One cannot really (de)conclude this work, because it is ongoing work, and there are many unanswered questions. For example, DECONference 2004 will provide culture jammers with plenty of "victims" upon which they may foist their Adobe (TM) Photoshop (TM) Product User Testimonials.

Additionally, there will, hopefully, be plenty of opportunities for attendees to get arrested and stripped and thrown into a tiled cell to be hosed down, for violation of copyright laws or dilution of trademarks, or any other similar act of "Civil Terrorism". Why pay money to get kidnapped when you can be stripped and herded into a tiled cell and get hosed down at the Police Station Spa, or "Polispa" as a modern variant of the Greek city-state characterized by a sense of community and communal washdown?

If there is anything that we can learn from all of this, perhaps it's simply that cravings for rape or showers or pepper spray, and throwing rocks at the police are examples of a cultural Weak Force. In a world where some people are having trouble distinguishing between culture jamming and terrorism, or between terrorism and culture jamming, how are we supposed to know the difference between Jam and Spam, or between Art and Commerce? Culture Jamming/Spamming, whether by Adlusters, or by knocking over buildings with airplanes, is a losing game, except for those who make some money off it by selling colour glossy magazines depicting their "art" (or by selling weapons of mass defence). The polispa, whether on a nice warm tropical island like Cuba, or in a cold tiled cell in Canada, is not the place to go to commune with members of the cultural Strong Force.

Perhaps what we need is a new existimological framework that leads us along the path from Data Structures, to Informatics, to Knowledge Media Design, and into and past the Wisdomain. Our goal is not to dissiminate data, or even to create new knowledge (i.e. to build or fill libraries or magazine stands), but, rather, maybe we should give more thought to inventing new fields of research. Let us ask not which new data, or knowledge, to create, but instead, let us ask which areas of research to study.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the arts is the abundance of Alpha Omega types who find themselves either part of a crowd throwing rocks at the police, or standing alone at the podium reading poetry to a quiet and attentive audience. The Alpha Omega type is the type that cannot function unless being either first or last in our social hierarchy. Such people will tell you "my way or the highway" (i.e. follow me or throw rocks at the patrolman on the Information Superhighway). With an ability only to be leaders or lemmings, artists are often Alpha-Omega and thus cannot fall within the middle peak of a cultural or social movement. The social hierarchy, being like the Bell Curve, has very little at its two extremes (the "tails" of the distribution). Thus the Alpha-Omega type lives at the edges where nothing matters. In other fields like engineering and medicine, people learn to be alpha-beta-gamma-omega types, i.e. to move along the scholarly epistimilogical framework to whatever level is most effective, often in the thick of the social/cultural distribution's Bell Curve.

In this way, art is ineffectual when divorced from the traditions of invention (engineering) and science. It is therefore essential for us to move toward the nexus of art, science, and invention (art, science, and technology), if we seek to attain a grip on the cultural Strong Force. Perhaps, therefore, the greatest work of art is not knocking over buildings, throwing rocks at the police, or making fun of McDonalds. Perhaps, just maybe, the greatest work of art is inventing something. Not to say that all inventions are equally good works of art, for we must be able to evaluate an invention as a greater or lesser work of art, and thus require a way to exhibit our inventions. Let us consider, therefore, that the Patent Office might be at least as good a place in which to build and exhibit a work of art as any Museum of Modern Art. It is new inventions that will likely become lasting examples of the Strong Force. Inventions like the Internet (for dissemination of independent views of the world), and the Camera Phone (for acquisition of independent views of the world), in my opinion, are much greater works of art than a flying pig that does little more than promote and testimonialize (or at least use) Macromedia (TM) Flash (TM) and Adobe (TM) Photoshop (TM). Similarly, Linux is, in my opinion, a far better work of art than all of the subvertisments created in Photoshop (TM), Microsoft (TM), Macintosh (TM), and Macromedia (TM) put together. Linux is yet another example of the cultural Strong Force that's doing a lot more to change the world than any number of rocks thrown at covernment and gorporate officials.

If the enemy is within our own hearts and souls, we need to do more than stare blankly and admiringly at the reflection of our own naked bodies in the decontamination pools set up to respond to spilled icing sugar or tablesalt. What we really need to do is infect ourselves and our collective selves (our covernments and gorporations) with new inventions that are useful to ourselves and each other, and to choose to invent that which also contains a seed of good. If we label the Axes of Evil, we merely identify ourselves as the Origin of Evil (i.e. the place where our X-axis, Y-axis, etc., meet). So let us instead label the Axes of Good, by inventing new existimological wisdomain knowledge, notwithstanding Postmodernist Poppycodswalloflapdoodle that says there is no such thing as Good and Evil.