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US Planning to Recruit One in 24 Americans as Citizen Spies

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

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".
Published on Monday, July 15, 2002 in the Sydney Morning Herald

US Planning to Recruit One in 24 Americans as Citizen Spies

by Ritt Goldstein


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

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 people.

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 groups.

Copyright 2002. The Sydney Morning Herald

homepage: homepage: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0714-06.htm

From the Operation TIPS website 14.Jul.2002 16:41

Portlander

from  http://www.citizencorps.gov/tips.html

Operation TIPS - the Terrorism Information and Prevention System - 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. Operation TIPS, a project of the U.S. Department of Justice, will begin as a pilot program in 10 cities that will be selected.

Operation TIPS, involving 1 million workers in the pilot stage, will be a national reporting system that allows these workers, whose routines make them well-positioned to recognize unusual events, to report suspicious activity. Every participant in this new program will be given an Operation TIPS information sticker to be affixed to the cab of their vehicle or placed in some other public location so that the toll-free reporting number is readily available.

Everywhere in America, a concerned worker can call a toll-free number and be connected directly to a hotline routing calls to the proper law enforcement agency or other responder organizations when appropriate.


I Have A Tip 15.Jul.2002 11:28

Patriotic Informant

Help, please!!! I'd like to report that terrorists have seized control of the U.S. government in a political coup. They're now terrorizing the world and innocent citizens by destroying any freedoms, and trampling our inalienable human rights. Finding them should be as easy as A[shcroft], B[ush], C[heney].


''Applications from cities will be accepted'' 15.Jul.2002 20:01

outing the regime

The following excerpts from a regime propaganda document issued in January show why community organization and involvement is vital to the defeat of the stalinist Operation TIPS citizen spy program.

Operation TIPS is based on APPLICATIONS FROM CITIES!!!

"Applications from cities will be accepted in Fall 2002 for inclusion as one of the pilot programs."

So the way to defeat Operation TIPS is to demand that local officials make no such applications, or if they already have, that they withdraw them immediately. Where initiative and referendum is available, this would be a logical way to raise public consciousness and insha'Allah deal the regime a major defeat.

Note: the following excerpts mention "Fall 2002" as the target date to begin operation. The target date has now been moved up to August 2002.

---

The USA Freedom Corps Council will be created by executive order. The President will chair the Council. The Council will include the following as members:

Vice President;
Attorney General;
Secretary of State;
Secretary of Commerce;
Secretary of Health and Human Services;
Secretary of Education;
Secretary of Veterans Affairs;
Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency;
Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service;
Director of the Peace Corps;
Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development;
Director, USA Freedom Corps Office; and
Director, Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

...

Create Operation TIPS: Terrorist Information and Prevention System

As part of the Citizen Corps, Operation TIPS -- the Terrorist Information and Prevention System -- will be a nationwide mechanism for reporting suspicious terrorist activity -- enlisting millions of American transportation workers, truckers, letter carriers, train conductors, ship captains and utility employees. Operation TIPS, a project of the U.S. Department of Justice, will start first as a pilot program in ten cities in America, affecting more than 1 million workers. Applications from cities will be accepted in Fall 2002 for inclusion as one of the pilot programs.

Operation TIPS will establish a national reporting system that would allow these workers, who have routines and are well positioned to recognize unusual events, to report suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities. Every participant in this new program will be given a Citizen Corps: Operation TIPS information sticker that could be affixed to the cab of the vehicle or placed in some other public location so that the toll free reporting number would be readily available to report any suspicious activity.

Everywhere in America a concerned worker will be able to call the 1-800 Hotline that can route calls immediately to law enforcement or a responder organization when appropriate. Importantly, this number will not supplant the existing 911 emergency system. Instead, it will take the stress off already burdened local systems needed for emergencies. The U.S. Department of Justice will provide $2 million in Fiscal Year 2003 to establish the hotline and assist with training and $6 million for the pilot programs and outreach materials.

Operation TIPS builds on the success of programs such as Highway Watch, which is a crime prevention partnership among the American Trucking Association and six states, and security training at the Global Maritime and Transportation School, which includes enhancing the ability of mariners aboard American vessels in island waterways and the Great Lakes to track and record potential threats.

 http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/01/freedom-corps-policy-book-all.html