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Subject: WARGAMES that trigger Big Brother's attention rss

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Etien
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This forum is not meant to be a too serious of a blog, but it can turn into one. I prefer it doesn't.

Is the government, under the guise of the Patriot Act, watching wargamers? Yes and No. It is commonly known and confirmed that Uncle Sam has computer programs that automatically track usage of "key words" that may be indicative of some sort of terroristic intentions, foreign or domestic; words such as, CHINA, MEXICO, militia, cartel, virus, or even "sick". There are hundreds of words, and the so-called "lists" are not even complete. No worries unless the federal computers detect patterns and cross-references with arrest records and targeted names, and the like. Then they may take a closer look.

For just a few of the numerous articles discussing the subject, see:
http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1299908
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150281/REVEALED-Hun...
http://www.sovereignman.com/expat/uncle-sam-admits-monitorin...
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/jul/02/...
http://www.zdnet.com/article/top-374-keywords-the-u-s-govern...

Txt messages, international calls, email messages, Facebook, Twitter, etc., it has been claimed, have all been monitored by Big Brother's roaming eyes. For the record, I am a patriot, a combat veteran, do not have a criminal record, don't do drugs (I don't even smoke), and hold advanced degrees, one of which is in political science/government. I AM NOT TAKING SIDES on any debate about the good and evils of the Patriot Act--there are definitely both.
-----------------------------------------
That being said, here's my story. I am curious if anyone has experienced anything similar.

I have purchased numerous wargames through the BGG Marketplace using PayPal as my medium of financial transaction. My routine is to list the names of the games I am buying in the optional message box as a reminder to me and the seller which games are being purchased. On a few occasions my transaction has been temporarily placed on hold. I will typically get the message that "your payment to [blank] is PENDING," . . . followed by the general statement:

["To comply with government regulations, PayPal is required to review certain transactions. The payment you sent is currently being reviewed and we will complete this process within 72 hours. This review only involves this transaction and does not affect the use of your PayPal account. For more information, see Government regulations and policies. Sincerely, PayPal"] Of course, when you seek more information by clicking on the "government regulations and policies" hyperlink, it always reads "Sorry -- your last transaction cannot be completed." Hmm.

At first, I thought this was just a random check for "buyer's security" or so I thought. Yet after 3 government reviews of "certain transactions" (i.e. wargames) in 3 months, I decided to see if there was a common thread amongst the games I purchased that triggered the government's concern:

The games were:
Drive on Damascus (November 2014)
Cuba: The Splendid Little War (December 2014)
Santiago de Cuba (January 2015)

Sorry, the following were not on the government hit list:
Ticket to Ride
Castles of Burgundy
Quebec 1759
Anything by Martine Wallace, Reiner Knizia, or Stefan Feld

In conclusion, in the future I will be more careful when paying someone over the Internet for a game that can be associated with Syria, a communists state, an area of drug activity, a revolution, an uprising, involves the use of militia units, and possibly war in general.
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Greg S
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I would think the key words "Damascus" and "Cuba" triggered the review.

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Pete Belli
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Interesting development.

Many of the contributors to this Forum probably know that story from the 1970s (?) of the extended Diplomacy session and the "Attack On Liverpool Agreed" telegram. This message definitely caught the attention of the intelligence community.

Haven't heard the tale? Look it up on the internet... if you dare.
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Lance Runolfsson
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Your tax dollars at work.
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Such capabilities!

"See something, say something."

"Watch what you say."

Stalin would be so envious.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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You're not the first to experience this: I would like to buy Cuban Nuclear Wessels
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James
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smic wrote:


In conclusion, in the future I will be more careful when paying someone over the Internet for a game that can be associated with Syria, a communists state, an area of drug activity, a revolution, an uprising, involves the use of militia units, and possibly war in general.


I hope you're not being serious..
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oystein eker
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USA has forgotten:


Benjamin Franklin:

Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.

And it is sad that fear makes an industry.
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Brian Train
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Huh.
Reviewing my list of Paypal sales, I see that this has happened to me too several times, but I thought it always had to do with the status of the buyer.
But thanks to your note, I see the common thread now, at least in the instances where I kept emails about suspended/review payments: the buyer was buying a copy of my DTP games Shining Path: The Struggle for Peru and/or Tupamaro and/or Kandahar.

Make your list of words long enough, and one of those will appear on it I guess.

Given the nature of the games that I design and sell, I guess I should be surprised it doesn't happen more often.

Like the OP, I also hasten to supply my bona fides: I am a patriot (but a Canadian one, hope that's OK); a veteran (Cold War only, though); no criminal record; no drugs, no smoking, no drinking (OK, a beer on a hot day); and two BA degrees - one in Political Science from the University of Victoria and one in Applied Ballistics and Crisis Management from the Canadian Forces School of Infantry.
I have done consulting work for the Naval Postgraduate School, and so hold a current DD2345, DUNS and NCAGE codes, and registrations as a foreign vendor in the CCR and SAM - my ORCAs are in order!

Brian
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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eker wrote:
USA has forgotten:


Benjamin Franklin:

Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.

And it is sad that fear makes an industry.

Some remember, some forget, just like they do in other places. Fear has been making industries since the dawn of civilization.
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Etien
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moujamou wrote:
smic wrote:


In conclusion, in the future I will be more careful when paying someone over the Internet for a game that can be associated with Syria, a communists state, an area of drug activity, a revolution, an uprising, involves the use of militia units, and possibly war in general.


I hope you're not being serious..


See first page, first line.
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James
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Ha. Yeah I read the whole thing.. You can never tell with Yanks
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sapa inca wrote:
Such capabilities!

"See something, say something."

"Watch what you say."

Stalin would be so envious.


You forgot the natural conclusion deriving from those two statements....

"See something, say something."

"Watch what you say."

"Therefore, watch what you see."
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Alecc
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I'd like to remind everyone that PayPal is a bank, and is therefore subject to all the standard financial regulations. Would you be surprised to get guff from a brick and mortar bank while they reviewed your wire transfer titled, Drug Money for Pyongyang, Dice! ??

Edit: This is the same set of laws causing all sorts of problems for the newly legal cannabis industry in Colorado and Washington. Due to federal laws prohibiting banks from working with anything related to the substance, most of the businesses are cash only, and cannot make deposits at financial institutions.
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Robert Stuart
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ltmurnau wrote:
Huh.
Reviewing my list of Paypal sales, I see that this has happened to me too several times, but I thought it always had to do with the status of the buyer.
But thanks to your note, I see the common thread now, at least in the instances where I kept emails about suspended/review payments: the buyer was buying a copy of my DTP games Shining Path: The Struggle for Peru and/or Tupamaro and/or Kandahar.

Make your list of words long enough, and one of those will appear on it I guess.

Given the nature of the games that I design and sell, I guess I should be surprised it doesn't happen more often.

Like the OP, I also hasten to supply my bona fides: I am a patriot (but a Canadian one, hope that's OK); a veteran (Cold War only, though); no criminal record; no drugs, no smoking, no drinking (OK, a beer on a hot day); and two BA degrees - one in Political Science from the University of Victoria and one in Applied Ballistics and Crisis Management from the Canadian Forces School of Infantry.
I have done consulting work for the Naval Postgraduate School, and so hold a current DD2345, DUNS and NCAGE codes, and registrations as a foreign vendor in the CCR and SAM - my ORCAs are in order!

Brian


It's the Political Science degree from the University of Victoria -- that's what's setting off the alarm bells.

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Magister Ludi
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There were some issues in the 70's with the S & T game South Africa , with some concern over the cover and contents...

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/120077/item/2230130#item2...
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Roger Hobden
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ltmurnau wrote:

Like the OP, I also hasten to supply my bona fides: I am a patriot (but a Canadian one, hope that's OK); a veteran (Cold War only, though); no criminal record; no drugs, no smoking, no drinking (OK, a beer on a hot day); and two BA degrees - one in Political Science from the University of Victoria and one in Applied Ballistics and Crisis Management from the Canadian Forces School of Infantry.


Travelling yearly to the USA to attend scientific conferences, I am always amazed to encounter american attendees or presenters who truly believe that "Canada is a Socialist country".

shake
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What's old is new again.

Monsterpocalypse players may recall the delay in the release of the game's second strategy guide. Apparently, a shipping container from China with manuals called "I Chomp NY," with text describing the destruction of the Statue of Liberty, the "Imperial State Building" and the "Crystalline Building," drew the attention of some federal types.
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Brian Train
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bob_santafe wrote:


It's the Political Science degree from the University of Victoria -- that's what's setting off the alarm bells.


I think I will have to agree with you - no one with that degree seems ever to have amounted to anything, so all our accomplishments must be clandestine and known only to the American intelligence community.

Brian
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Runs with scissors
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Don't forget in 1990 when the secret service raided Steve Jackson Games and seized computers and equipment. We actually studied this case in school.

http://www.sjgames.com/SS/
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Not intended to start much rabble rabble, but similar instances happened in 1930s germany...
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Mallet wrote:
ltmurnau wrote:

Like the OP, I also hasten to supply my bona fides: I am a patriot (but a Canadian one, hope that's OK); a veteran (Cold War only, though); no criminal record; no drugs, no smoking, no drinking (OK, a beer on a hot day); and two BA degrees - one in Political Science from the University of Victoria and one in Applied Ballistics and Crisis Management from the Canadian Forces School of Infantry.


Travelling yearly to the USA to attend scientific conferences, I am always amazed to encounter american attendees or presenters who truly believe that "Canada is a Socialist country".

shake

Or the ones who think Obama is a Socialist...
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Here's a copy of an email from Paypal with my reply after trying to buy some Infinity minis on Bartertown-the transaction did eventually go through:


We are still reviewing your account and appreciate your patience during this time. Once the review is complete, you’ll receive an email with an updated account status. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Sharlujar
PayPal Compliance Department
PayPal, an eBay Company

© 2014 PayPal Inc. All rights reserved. PayPal is located at 2211 N. First St., San Jose, CA 95131



Original Message Follows: ------------------------
&####; &####; &####;#. Purpose of payment 6C9628328K5177321 attempted on February ##, ####
in the amount of \$###.##, including a complete and detailed explanation of
the goods or services you intended to purchase (specifically we need to
know what Aleph means in the memo).

Aleph is a line of miniatures produced by Corvus Belli. &####;Here is a link:


http://www.infinitythegame.com/infinity/en/category/aleph/

&####;
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You know, I had the exact same thing happen to me when I sold a copy of Target: Iran to a chap from Belgium at the back end of the Christmas holidays. I had to wait about three days, IIRC, for the payment to clear through PayPal.

Like others I figured it was just something to do with the buyer, but now you have me wondering ...
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