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US planning to recruit one in 24 Americans as citizen spies

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  • Islamic News and Information Network
    Assalamu alaikum, US planning to recruit one in 24 Americans as citizen spies By Ritt Goldstein July 15 2002
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 15, 2002

      US planning to recruit one in 24 Americans as citizen spies

      By Ritt Goldstein

      July 15 2002


      The Bush Administration aims to recruit millions of United States citizens
      as domestic informants in a program likely to alarm civil liberties

      The Terrorism Information and Prevention System, or TIPS, means the US
      will have a higher percentage of citizen informants than the former East
      Germany through the infamous Stasi secret police. The program would use a
      minimum of 4 per cent of Americans to report "suspicious activity".

      Civil liberties groups have already warned that, with the passage earlier
      this year of the Patriot Act, there is potential for abusive, large-scale
      investigations of US citizens.

      As with the Patriot Act, TIPS is being pursued as part of the so-called
      war against terrorism. It is a Department of Justice project.

      Highlighting the scope of the surveillance network, TIPS volunteers are
      being recruited primarily from among those whose work provides access to
      homes, businesses or transport systems. Letter carriers, utility
      employees, truck drivers and train conductors are among those named as
      targeted recruits.

      A pilot program, described on the government Web site
      www.citizencorps.gov, is scheduled to start next month in 10 cities, with
      1 million informants participating in the first stage. Assuming the
      program is initiated in the 10 largest US cities, that will be 1 million
      informants for a total population of almost 24 million, or one in 24

      Historically, informant systems have been the tools of non-democratic
      states. According to a 1992 report by Harvard University's Project on
      Justice, the accuracy of informant reports is problematic, with some
      informants having embellished the truth, and others suspected of having
      fabricated their reports.

      Present Justice Department procedures mean that informant reports will
      enter databases for future reference and/or action. The information will
      then be broadly available within the department, related agencies and
      local police forces. The targeted individual will remain unaware of the
      existence of the report and of its contents.

      The Patriot Act already provides for a person's home to be searched
      without that person being informed that a search was ever performed, or of
      any surveillance devices that were implanted.

      At state and local levels the TIPS program will be co-ordinated by the
      Federal Emergency Management Agency, which

      was given sweeping new powers, including internment, as part of the Reagan
      Administration's national security initiatives. Many key figures of the
      Reagan era are part of the Bush Administration.

      The creation of a US "shadow government", operating in secret, was another
      Reagan national security initiative.

      Ritt Goldstein is an investigative journalist and a former leader in the
      movement for US law enforcement accountability. He has lived in Sweden
      since 1997, seeking political asylum there, saying he was the victim of
      life-threatening assaults in retaliation for his accountability efforts.
      His application has been supported by the European Parliament, five of
      Sweden's seven big political parties, clergy, and Amnesty and other rights

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