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Animal Protection > Activist Index > Security, Protection, and Self Defense

Security Practices and Security Culture
Mail Security

It should come as no surprise to activists as it's a tactic they've done thousands of times to hundreds of politically active groups. The information gleaned from letter opening's and seizure's can obviously give the police more targets for surveillance and harassment. This should be a big reminder to us that if people involved in any type of underground work and want to send a Supporters Group or any similar group mail, that your security should be of the utmost concern.

Do not include any information which could gives clues about anyone's identity; Names, return addresses, gender. Send your reports on plain every day paper (don't use your favorite note pad) and common envelopes. Either do all writing using all block capital letters with a common pen, use a stencil, use a public typewriter or a public computer. Wear gloves always so that your fingerprints are not on the paper, envelope, or stamp (be careful of fiber traces). Do not lick the envelope or stamp -- wet it with a sponge. Other suggestions include using self stick stamps and tape to seal envelopes.

The following is a secure method that can be revised to fit your needs.

Go to a college/university/school/photo-copy/library shop and type up a press release on a typewriter or computer (make sure you do not save a copy anywhere on your disk or on the computer it self) and print a copy. Make sure to watch for people reading over your shoulder, try to work when it isn't to busy. You will also want to make a sheet with the mailing address's of where you are sending letters to.

Alternately methods include: Cut and paste letters from a magazine or newspaper just make sure you destroy what ever you cut up. Use a common, stencil ruler or paper stencils available from a stationary store.

Go to your local public photo copier, bring two extra pieces of paper with you or find two pieces of paper from their recycling bin, garbage, etc. Place one piece down on the tray where your copies come out. Make as many copies as you need to send out and make sure you DO NOT touch them. Place your other piece of paper down on top, making sure not to touch any of the papers in between. Keep your original separate (as it probably has your fingerprints on it) so you can burn it as soon as possible.

Buy a packet of 10 (more if you need them) envelopes wrapped in cellophane at any corner store and also buy a packet of pre-packaged (preferably self stick ones) stamps. Burn the receipts when you get home.

Take your copies home where you can put on gloves and remove the outer pages. Now before you get too far, make sure the area your work area is clean. Now days the threat of DNA is very real. If you have long hair tie it back, if you have short hair wear a hat. You DO NOT want a hair (yours, anyone else's, even companion animals inside an envelope or under a stamp) or any other traceable fiber's from your sweater, gloves, etc. Seal the envelopes and attach stamps using a clean new sponge, DO NOT lick them. Address them using a common bic pen and use all straight line/block capitals. Or cut the address's out of the copy you made and paste on using a common glue.

Place all of you letters inside another larger manila type envelope. Take your gloves off destroy any extra envelope's and stamps. Now go to a mail box as far as possible from your home, preferably another city or town and dump the contents of the large envelope into the mail box. Destroy the larger envelope.

Some of the above may seem a fair bit extreme, but if it saves you from going to prison it's worth any extra time and money.

[From "Mail Security: Some Important Tips" by the Animal Liberation Front http://www.animalliberation.net/security/secureletter.html]

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