13 December 2005

Security risk in posting Milinkevich Interview?

I received an email from a close family member who was very concerned (an understatement) about my posting the Milinkevich interview on my blog. I respect this person’s opinion so I thought about the e-mail a great deal. I agree that security is an issue not to be taken lightly, especially for an American living outside of the Bush USA. In fact, now that things are so screwed up, security is an issue even living in the USA. Not sure if I would feel that my family is very secure getting on that plane in Miami with a Federal Air Marshal’s .357 SIG P266 blazing away. Yes, the Marshal was decisive, made a tough call, and validated the training dollars spent on him, but the fact remains: metal bullets were airborne.

The author of the email recommended that I keep my political views to myself.
I try not to have many political views. The media/political spin placed on any set of facts creates such a foggy situation that when conversations go there my brain glazes over and starts thinking about when my driver’s license expires or who won the game last night. To me the Belarus issue is not political it’s a more fundamental human rights issue. Milinkevich confirmed this in our conversation. People are being robbed of their freedom and dignity. When considering security risks related to the posting of the interview on my blog, I think back to why I invested valuable time doing the interview in the first place. It comes down to the way I was raised. Like it or not when someone takes basic freedoms away from others for personal gain it really gets me going. Why? Maybe it started with the fact that my father fought in Vietnam. I was aware of this. He came home in one piece. He also managed to bring war stuff back, some of which he shared with us. Among them were unit colors (flag), a Vietnamese bamboo fishing trap, even the punji stake that went in one side of his calf and out the other. To this day, when I visit him, I pause in his basement for a look at the things from war. In Ukie School and Plast I dreamed of liberating Ukraine, literally with my toy guns and NFL sleeping bag. My American friends had G.I. Joe action figures that were US Army or Marines. My G.I. Joe was a Ukrainian Partisan, with kung-fu grip, singing “Oy Vydno Selo”. When I think back I recall being part of family visits to friends houses on Sundays. The Tatos were yelling at the Redskins on the football field, the Mamas were talking in the kitchen, and my pre-pubescent friends and I were upstairs, with maps, pencils, and model tanks, planning the invasion to liberate Ukraine. As far as the adults were concerned, this was not abnormal. “Very nice dear, would you like a cookie and some milk?”
Somehow we found out, at school maybe, that the American Government didn’t operate quite that way. At least not when Billy Kilmer was quarterback.
When the possibility of meeting Milinkevich came up I jumped on it. I'm making it a mission to be open to unusual opportunities (part of my ongoing mid-life crisis). How can I turn my back on the chance to do my tiny bit, like meeting the guy and getting the word out to my stunning blog traffic of 1.5 readers per day? Not exactly a blip on a radar screen, but something nonetheless.

Do I care about the safety and security of my family?
Of course I do. I also care about the values my children grow up with. It may sound cheesy, but I want them to understand that not all people have the human freedoms that they enjoy. I want them concerned when someone’s freedom of expression or choice is being stepped on. I’m not talking about making them little Jarheads or raising armies to invade countries, I’m talking about peaceful, intelligent awareness and support in their own spheres of influence. Also, let’s be real about the risks here. I live in Ukraine not Belarus. The Ukies have enough problems of their own to notice what Petro's writing about the Belarus regime. The chain of events would have to be pretty complex: someone in the Belarusian Government Regime, who happens to understand English, miraculously comes across my Blog (which even Google can’t find to save it’s life) and appeals to the Ukrainian Government for the removal of Petro via some trumped up violation of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (assuming everyone decides to make Petro the priority for the day). So we pack up and leave while explaining to the kids why we are leaving. These events they will remember. I then take advantage of the current affairs appeal of the story (i.e. Belarus Elections, a Modern Day Dictator, and the Security Implications of Blogging) and market it to a major New York book publisher, cashing royalty checks at Fiji Savings Bank on the beach for the rest of my days.

Am I taking any measures to reduce risk?
1. I’ve changed the email address on the blog to an anonymous Gmail account and removed any appearance of my last name from the whole blog.
2. I’ve started to second guess my desire to go to Minsk to be an official observer of the 2006 Belarus Presidential Election in July.
I do appreciate the concern and wonder if anyone else out there would care to comment? Finally, I’ll rehash an Edmund Burke quote that was tossed about during the Orange Revolution. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing".

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