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Thread: Police State In A Land Of Superlatives

  1. #1

    Police State In A Land Of Superlatives

    Here's another long post but I think it's well worth a read. The article was taken from here...

    By Doreen Miller. Columnist (United States)

    ( America, humility has never been thy forte! We are the arrogant masters of the game of one-upmanship in a nation known for its excesses where bigger is better and having more is a measure of personal status. We are a land of super-sized fries, giant soft-drinks, king- sized burgers and overall superfluous portions, and we have the mega-sized waistlines to prove it!

    We drive the biggest, most wasteful, gas-guzzling vehicles on the planet. The world's most gluttonous consumers of natural resources, we spew forth the most pollution of any nation. We live in homes that are virtual palaces compared to the living quarters of most of the population in the rest of the world.

    We own gargantuan-sized TV's purchased in city-sized shopping malls. We have many of the world's tallest skyscrapers and are home to mammoth, predatory corporations. We brag of having the largest military equipped with the world's most extensive arsenal of high-tech weapons of mass destruction bar none.

    Today, we are standing on the threshold of the addition of yet another superlative to our long, dubious list of boasts: soon we are to be the largest police state that has ever existed. Our government, under the pretext of homeland security, is in the process of creating a division of secret informants whose scope promises to far surpass the level of spying achieved by the Stasi, secret police, in former Communist East Germany.

    Brainchild of the Department of Justice, the Terrorism Information and Prevention System, otherwise known as Operation TIPS, falls under the Citizen Corps division of the USA Freedom Corps established earlier this year by executive order. According to the Citizen Corps website (, Operation TIPS will be "a nationwide program giving millions of American truckers, letter carriers, train conductors, ship captains, utility employees, and others a formal way to report suspicious terrorist activity."

    The pilot stage, set to begin this August, will be set up in 10 cities across the nation and will involve 1 million workers whose jobs place them in the unique position to go where regular law enforcement officials routinely cannot enter without permission or a warrant - namely, into the homes of unsuspecting U.S. residents.

    Based upon their training on what to observe and listen for with regards to suspicious and potentially terrorist-related activities, these volunteers, using a toll-free hotline number, are expected to report back to the appropriate law enforcement authorities anything they may have seen or overheard. This information will then be entered into a database available to the Justice Department, related agencies and local police forces for future reference or action without the targeted individuals ever having been made aware of either the existence or the contents of such a report.

    While Operation TIPS is said to be an expansion and extension of Neighborhood Watch, a popular crime prevention program in place in many communities throughout the nation, it ventures far beyond the spirit of any well-intended vigilance against crime by cutting right into the very sphere and heart of privacy expressed in the commonly accepted phrase, "My home is my castle."

    The next cable TV or dishwasher repair person who enters your home could now very possibly be a government spy. Who is to say that your kid's science project - replete with wires, switches, metal tubes and batteries - laid out on the dining room table will not be mistaken for the makings of some sort of terrorist bomb? Or that a copy of "The International Socialist Review, a Journal of Revolutionary Marxism," on one's coffee table will not raise a suspicious eyebrow and unfounded fears of potentially subversive, unpatriotic behavior?

    Our government officials have twisted the Miranda Rights which advise you upon arrest that "anything you say, can and shall be used against you in a court of law" to include anything "suspicious" you may say, do, listen to, or read in the privacy of your own home can and will be used against you!

    Several civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Rutherford Institute, are very much alarmed by the prospect of Operation TIPS serving to further undermine our Constitutional rights currently under attack by the USA Patriot Act. In an interview conducted by Bill Berkowitz, ACLU President Nadine Strossen warns of "potential ethnic and religious scapegoating," destructive "fear-mongering," and "the erosion of basic civil liberties in the name of unproven security measures."

    The "unproven security measures" she is speaking about perhaps refer back to the track record of the Neighborhood Watch program on which Operation TIPS is based. The results of most research concerning the effectiveness of Neighborhood Watch in reducing crime rates have been mixed at best. Although some studies show some level of success, specifically in terms of burglary and property crimes, more extensive studies conducted in Chicago came up inconclusive, with some areas showing decreases, some increases, and some showing no change. Extensive research done in Minneapolis in the late 80's also found no significant differences in crime rates.

    There is also the strong possibility that by "unproven security measures" Strossen is alluding to the problems inherent in relying on informants for one's information. Cited in a July 15 article by Ritt Goldstein, a 1992 report by Harvard University's Project on Justice calls into serious question the accepted practice of using informants: "The accuracy of informant reports is problematic, with some informants having embellished the truth, and others suspected of having fabricated their reports."

    Representative Dennis Kucinich's quote in The Progressive should be regarded not merely as a statement of observation but as the warning it is: "It appears we are being transformed from an information society to an informant society." A discerning look back into history reveals that such informant systems have been the tool of choice among non-democratic states in controlling and eliminating "undesirables" within the populace.

    At least one branch of our government service agencies refuses to be part and parcel to this invasion of our homes and privacy. According to a Bloomberg release in the local Metro paper, "Officials of the U.S. Postal Service have refused to have mail carriers participate in a government program.... proposed by President Bush as part of a terrorism prevention program." Even the Washington Post has voiced its reservations about this highly questionable spy program, "It is easy to imagine how such a program might produce little or no useful information but would flood law enforcement with endless suspicions that would divert authorities from more promising investigative avenues."

    While vigilance is generally a commendable practice, especially if carried out by caring neighbors who know and speak to one another and are attuned to the daily routines within their own neighborhood, Operation TIPS runs the danger of turning trusted family members, friends, neighbors, hired workers, and public employees into cynical spies seeking to augment their own egos by being declared the next U.S. hero for doing their part to turn in "suspicious," unpatriotic, anti-American "terrorists." After all, who among us would not like to be a real, honest-to-goodness, American hometown hero? No doubt, there are millions of our fellow citizens out there just itching at the chance to be an official spy for Uncle Sam.

    More and more, under the pretense of "security measures" as dictated by the ever-expanding reach of the Office of Homeland Security, the USA is becoming a mirror image of the dreadful, freedomless society so eloquently described in George Orwell's 1984.

    It is all the more imperative that we remain vigilant and outspoken against any and all measures our government is undertaking to intrude into the private lives of its citizens, lest we, too, like 1984's Winston Smith, find ourselves one day furtively writing in a forbidden journal: "You had to live - did live, from the habit that became instinct - in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

    [Doreen Miller lived, studied, worked and traveled abroad for several years, and is currently a Senior Lecturer and educator of international students. She dedicates part of her time to serving the elderly and Alzheimer patients. Mother, musician and poet, she pursues an avid interest in Buddhist and Eastern philosophy. She advocates human rights, social justice, fair trade, and environmental protection. Doreen lives in the United States.]

    Doreen Miller encourages your comments:

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2001
    Wait a secound, isn't this against the constitution? Wow our freedoms are being ripped right underneith our noses. I think you may be right in your last post about "brainwashing america". More of the public needs to hear about this because untill now I have never heard of Operation Tips. This is rediculous and insane and I for one do not think is right. It's an outright invasion of privacy. Now should I be suspicious when I recieve packages for UPS? This is a damn shame. Just my 2 cents.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2002
    Disclaimer: This is a rant and nothing more. These are merely my opinions on the situation, that does not make them right.

    [Begin Rant]
    You know, I act strange in my own home as it is. The blinds are nearly always drawn shut, I've got maps, diagrams, printouts, and everything strewn about like a bomb were detonated, or is soon to be detonated within the confines of my living room and studio space. Would much of this be considered conspicuous and worthy of reporting me? I'm sure it would when not taken in complete context. What are they going to do when they find a college student, like myself and they run them through the wringer? Do they think that this kind of thing is going to be tolerated for a long time? I've not violated the law, and as such, I don't like my privacy being invaded. What we are essentially being told is that we are all guilty until otherwise proven innocent. I don't like feeling like the Gestapo has been reincarnated. Just my opinion though.

    To push the question even further, how will physics and chemistry students be viewed?

    I think that they are going to make one bad move and this will be fought tooth and nail. But they are going to have to step on toes before anyone really steps to the plate and combats it. I've already written my congressmen voicing my irritation with this. My long distance courrier also provides me free calls to my congressmen, 1 monthly for three minutes I believe, to voice my concerns. It's being used as well. I may not have money, but I can damn well help make sure he won't get re-elected for avoiding the voices of the people he is to represent. He should be able to stand and state that the people he represents are not, on average, backing this program. Again, just my opinion being voiced to him, but every little bit helps.
    [END RANT]
    \"I believe that you can reach the point where there is no longer any difference between developing the habit of pretending to believe and developing the habit of believing.\"

  4. #4
    Senior Member The Old Man's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    Hmmm. Considered carefully, i see nobody snooping in your living room. "Informants" have to have a proven track-record before a judge can issue a valid search warrant on their sayso. "Anonymous Tips" aren't worth the bad breath they ride on and do not rise to the level of probable cause for a search warrant to issue. i have not been to this "" site to see what's there, but if the (members?) are recruited by government then they are each and every one an agent of the police and are bound by the restrictions of the Bill of Rights just as the city/state/federal police officers who wear the star or shield. I do not know who Doreen Miller is, but if the above article by her enumerates all her credentials and training she isn't worth too much of my quality reading time. At least, not in my book. But then hey, what do i know? :confused

  5. #5
    Old Fart
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Like chefer, I am ranting and expressing PERSONAL opinions here...

    I love my country....the US is undoubtably one of the best places to live on this planet, bar none. Yeah, we have our shortcomings but all in all, we've got it pretty good. The problem is that we no longer have a government that is 'by the people, for the people'. Our elected officials are bought and paid for by PACs, corporations and special interest groups. Given the current course, we may one day no longer be 'the land of the free and the home of the brave' but rather 'the land of the FEE and the home of the blindly obedient'.

    Rant done, thanks for the good post CK!
    It isn't paranoia when you KNOW they're out to get you...

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2002
    Take this from someone who has lived on both sides of an almost police state and been imprisoned without trail for what they believe in

    Protect all your freedoms dont let goverment erode them one by one
    You have a voice use it
    Never miss a good opportunity to shut up.....

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2002
    to quote a song ive long since forgoten the title of

    "parinoia parinoia, everyones coming to get me"

    this action by the government sounds a lot like way back when they wanted neighbors to report any activities that might be in promotion of communism, the idea isn't new, the implementation is however. I find this wholly unsettling and yet not surprising, I dare not think about what the govt actions they dont tell us about...
    what is love but contempt for hate?

  8. #8
    Senior Member The Old Man's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    OK, although i do have to agree with TitanMike and his obviously valid exhortation (check out his flag and figure his experiences...) to guard our freedoms, i went to see what this had to say. Here is an excerpt from the "TIPS" FAQ:
    The initiative's design is based on existing programs, such as Highway Watch and Coast Watch, that allow truckers and ship captains to report dangerous conditions along their routes. In response to significant demand among industry groups, Operation TIPS would make these programs available nationwide by providing specific industry groups a single phone number for reporting potentially terrorist-related activities occurring in public areas. Specifically, industry groups have looked to the Justice Department to offer a r eliable and cost-effective system that their workers could use to report information to state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies about unusual activities they might observe in the normal course of their daily routines. Similarly, law enforcement agencies have sought a system for receiving terrorist tips that would avoid overburdening the 911system.
    Also browsed some of the other subjects there without being able to get all heated up (which, developing a political rant, is pretty easy for me, btw...) or being able to see any D.C. Gestapos hiding in the fine print. These programs are to be administered by your local mayor and Sheriff (you vote for them in or out, depending on their performance), and the programs i see mentioned are tweaks of what we already have in place.
    I just gotta remember, some folks make a lot of $$ beating the drums and stirring up $#1t, and if i don't go to the trouble to sort it all out, some of those dudes/dudettes may lead us down the primrose path of hysteria.
    I've been to most of the world's continents although i've not had to live under their country's laws as one of their subjects. I can totally sympathize with folks who live under totalitarian brutality wondering if they will survive their version of the SS from day to day. I have been to places that before i ever got there i had a series of exit plans memorized, and i felt pity for the poor people who had to live there. Here in the U.S. we have two big things going for us; we vote the leaders in-or-out every two years (off-year or general elections) and we (bottom line, brothers...) have the Bill of Rights with the Second Ammendment. If you are a history student you have already perused the endless discussion and reasoning behind the Second Ammendment. Recently, the present Administration made a public announcement through the Justice Department that they interpreted the Second Ammendment to mean that the individual citizens of the U.S. were in the minds of the Framers when the 2nd Ammendment was codified. That position, as opposed to some previous administrations, tells me that our present administration feels comfortable with an armed citizenry. Show me another nation where the government feels comfortable with an armed citizenry. In fact, show me any government anywhere in history that, when planning on becoming oppressive, did not first disarm the peasants.
    I might very well be fanatically suspicious of government, like some of you are, .... But certainly not at this exact moment in time and space.
    But then, on the other hand, you can't be too careful.
    Then, on the other hand, what do i know?

  9. #9
    In keeping with the custom of this thread, i will go on a (short) rant...
    [Rant]Im not american, but that this sort of reckless disregard for civil liberties can take place anywhere is abhorrent.[/Rant]

    That feels better

    But seriously, i forget where i first heard this but that is not important. In the original article CK posted, it said:
    these volunteers, using a toll-free hotline number, are expected to report back to the appropriate law enforcement authorities anything they may have seen or overheard
    This is unfortunately not the case: The real truth is far more laughable. it seems that the government has contracted out the job of receiving the confidential tips to the FOX tv show, americas most wanted. See an article here:
    Darwin\'s rollin\' over in his coffin, The fittest are surviving much lest often,
    Now everything seems to be reversing, And it\'s worsening!
    --nofx, American Errorist

  10. #10
    Senior Member The Old Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Thumbs down

    Originally posted here by a)sna
    In keeping with the custom of this thread, i will go on a (short) rant...
    [Rant]Im not american, but that this sort of reckless disregard for civil liberties can take place anywhere is abhorrent.[/Rant]

    That feels better

    But seriously, i forget where i first heard this but that is not important. In the original article CK posted, it said:

    This is unfortunately not the case: The real truth is far more laughable. it seems that the government has contracted out the job of receiving the confidential tips to the FOX tv show, americas most wanted. See an article here:
    OK, a)sna, i can see why you'd get all heated up .... IF... what you had been fed was the truth, problem is, Bubba, you were fed the proverbial BS by the link you gave.
    For those AO'ers who didn't go to a)sna'a link, it was a Salon offering, Dave Lindorff article with a cute little graphic showing John Walsh ("America's Most Wanted") and John Ashcroft (Don't have to explain that one, right??) as crime-fighting partners. Author Lindorf related that he had joined the Citizens group, waited a month to have them contact him then finally called them to see who he should notify of security problems and they told him to call a number which turned out to be "America's Most Wanted". Of course he then made a big deal of the obvious Federal stupidity and ineptness. I have to wonder what his motives were in writing this article, what his real agenda was, whether he is just as careless in all his reporting as he was in this one.
    After reading a)sna's posting, i clicked on his link to read the Salon article. Then i went directly to the site, to see exactly what the information was. I spent about 15 minutes registering and downloading the instructions, which *obviously* Dave Lindorff the Salon author did not *bother* to do, and guess what, AO'ers? He not only displayed his incompetence as an investigative reporter, he has mislead everyone who read his biased trash article. Was the link to "America's Most Wanted" even there? Yes, it is the "Amber Plan", listed only for immediate notification of kidnapped and missing kids. Otherwise, there were several other numbers and websites listed for all other things that affect National Security. Following is a small bit that i copied for your information in case you don't want to go find out for yourselves.
    Furthermore, may i *humbly* suggest, our AO community members check out their offerings a bit more carefully before posting inacurate information of a serious nature. Or, perhaps, just post the inaccurate political drivel in the humor section somewhere. Some of our AO'ers probably don't have the time to hunt down the bottom line on information that is offered as reliable when in fact it is not only worthless but is misleading!
    And that's MY Rant for the day!

    (taken from website)

    Terrorist Tipline

    The National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) was selected by Attorney General John Ashcroft immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11 to serve as the single on-line portal for the public to report information regarding terrorist activity to the FBI. To date this pag e has received more than 200,000 tips from the public.</p>
    <p align="center">

    Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)

    ATF has four nationwide hotline programs: 800-ATF-GUNS, 888 ATF-BOMB, 888 ATF-FIRE, and 888 STF-TIPS, each of which was created in the mid or late 1990s. These toll-free numbers give members of the public the means to report any suspected criminal misuse of firearms, bombing activity, arsons, and general criminal activity. According to ATF, in 2001, hundreds of significant investigative leads were received on the hotlines and were referred to the ATF field offices for follow-up investigation.</p>

    The U.S. Customs Service provides the 1-800-BeAlert Hotline to allow the general public to report violations of federal law enforced by the U.S. Customs Service, such as the smuggling of drugs, jewelry, etc.</p>


    p>AMBER Alert

    The AMBER Plan, created in 1996 as a powerful legacy to 9 year-old Amber Hagerman who wa s kidnapped and murdered in Texas, is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies and broadcasters to activate urgent bulletins in the most serious child-abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe return of the child. The AMBER Alert system was responsible for the recent rescue of two teenage girls who were abducted in California. Truckers and motorists were engaged in looking for the girls after they were alerted to the description of the suspect's vehicle. An anonymous tip from a motorist ultimately led to the safe return of the girls.</p>

    (End quote, website)

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