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The Obama DOJ’s warrantless demands for e-mails

The Obama DOJ’s warrantless demands for e-mails

Salon
April 15, 2010


I want your emails.

A very significant case involving core privacy protections is now being litigated, where the Obama Justice Department is seeking to obtain from Yahoo “all emails” sent and received by multiple Yahoo email accounts, despite the fact that DOJ has never sought, let alone obtained, a search warrant, and despite there being no notice of any kind to the email account holders:

    In a brief filed Tuesday afternoon, the coalition says a search warrant signed by a judge is necessary before the FBI or other police agencies can read the contents of Yahoo Mail messages — a position that puts those companies directly at odds with the Obama administration.

As part of a case conducted largely under seal and thus hidden from public view, the DOJ demanded these emails from Yahoo without any effort to demonstrate probable cause to believe the email user was involved in the commission of any crime, but instead merely based on the vague claim that there is “reasonable grounds to believe” the emails “are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.” If the DOJ position were accepted, Americans would have substantially less privacy protections in their email communications.

Federal law is crystal clear that a search warrant is required for the Government to obtain any emails that have been stored less than 180 days — one that requires a showing of probable cause and that the documents sought to be described with particularlity. In contrast to the nation’s largest telecoms’ eager cooperation with Bush’s illegal surveillance programs, Yahoo — to its credit — refused to turn over any such emails to the Government without a search warrant. As a result, the DOJ is now seeking a federal court Order compelling the company to comply with its demands, and a coalition of privacy groups and technology companies — led by EFF and including Google — have now filed a brief supporting Yahoo’s position. Both Yahoo and that coalition insist that federal law as well as the Fourth Amendment’s search and seizure protection bar the Obama DOJ from acquiring these emails without a search warrant.

Read Full Article Here

Obama Supports DNA Sampling Upon Arrest

Obama will bypass Congress to detain suspects indefinitely

Obama Supports Renewing The PATRIOT ACT

Joe Biden’s pro-RIAA, pro-FBI tech voting record

Obama Votes YES on FISA Spy-Bill, McCain Skips

Obama Supports Giving Telecoms Amnesty for Illegal Wiretaps

Obama Implements ‘Precrime’ ‘Prolonged Detention’ for Detainees

 



Study: Youths sexually abused in juvenile prisons

Study: Youths sexually abused in juvenile prisons

USA Today
January 7, 2010

More than 12% of youths in juvenile prisons are sexually abused while in custody there, according to a Justice Department study out Thursday, and the vast majority of cases involve female staff and boys under their supervision.

In the worst facilities surveyed — in Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina and Texas — more than 30% of youths reported they had been sexually victimized. The study, the first of its kind, shows a rate of sexual assault more than seven times higher than that indicated by a 2008 Justice Department report that collected sexual abuse claims to juvenile facility administrators. It is also higher than a similar study of adult prisons because of the “very high rate of staff sexual misconduct,” said Allen Beck, who directed the survey for the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The survey of 9,198 youths ages 13 to 21 — all in custody by order of a juvenile court — included methods to eliminate interviews considered unreliable. The survey covered 195 facilities, at least one in each state. Approximately 26,550 juveniles — 91% of them boys — are held in more than 500 such facilities around the country.

The survey showed that 10.3% of youths reported the sexual contact was with staff, compared with 2.6% who reported sexual victimization by other youths. In nearly half the incidents with staff, youths reported having sexual contact as a result of force.

The study sets a wider definition of sexual contact than rape, Beck said. Nonetheless, “these are all things that in the outside world would be considered violent or, by definition in law, they are illegal,” he said.

Sexual victimization of youths in custody “is one of those hidden closets of the system,” said Bart Lubow, director of the juvenile justice and strategy group for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which advocates for children. The rates at the worst facilities are “so high they’re stunning,” he said. “I am, on the other hand, never surprised as people peel the layers of the youth corrections onion and expose more and more things that make you cry.”

Linda McFarlane of Just Detention International, an advocacy group focused on eliminating sexual abuse in prison, called the highest rates of abuse “shocking beyond belief.”

“The incredibly high rates of staff misconduct is shocking and disturbing,” McFarlane said. “We just need to do a better job with training and recruitment and hiring and supervision.”

The survey showed that gay youths reported higher levels of sexual abuse from other juveniles, and so did youths who had been abused before coming to the facility.

That makes the survey valuable for juvenile facilities other than the type covered in the survey, she said. “While we can’t say we know what’s happening in, say, the smaller group-home settings … we can look at the information in this report and use it to protect those (particularly vulnerable) kids.”

In Maryland, where 36% of youths surveyed at Backbone Mountain Youth Center said they had been victimized, the state Department of Juvenile Services said in a statement Thursday there will be an independent investigation by the state human resources and health agencies.

At Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility in Indiana, which also had among the highest rates of abuse in the study, four female guards were suspended a month ago after a report of sexual abuse, said Edwin Buss, state corrections commissioner.

Indiana officials say their own surveys show a much lower rate of sexual victimization.

“We’re not denying that this happens,” said Amanda Copeland, executive director of research and technology for the state Corrections Department. “We would be foolish to say that it never happens. We’re just questioning the extent to which it’s being reported” by the Justice Department. But the survey “gives us something to work with. Whether we agree with the percentages or the ratings or not, we recognize that we have issues and we need to address them, and we’re taking steps to do so.”

 



Second Man Detained on Flight 253

EXCLUSIVE: FBI Silent On Plane Bomber’s Accomplice
Feds won’t even admit existence of Indian man arrested after discovery of possible second bomb

Prison Planet.com
December 30, 2009

Flight 253 eyewitness Kurt Haskell has astoundingly revealed how the FBI are deliberately hiding the existence of a second man who was arrested following the Christmas Day plane bombing incident after bomb-sniffing dogs detected a possible second explosive device in his luggage.

Appearing on The Alex Jones Show yesterday, Haskell related how after being allowed to disembark from the plane by officials, passengers were detained in customs with their carry-on luggage for six hours while they waited to be interrogated by the FBI.

Bomb sniffing dogs then detected a possible explosive device in the luggage of an Indian man around 30 years old before the man was arrested and led away to an interrogation room.

The probability that there was a bomb in the man’s luggage was all but confirmed when the FBI moved the passengers to another location. “You’re being moved,” the FBI told them, “it is not safe here. I’m sure you all saw what happened and can read between the lines and why you’re being moved.”

The identity of the second man has not been discussed by authorities or the media and Haskell’s description of his own interview with the FBI suggests that the feds are deliberately trying to bury the notion that the bomber had one or more accomplices.

The FBI was not pleased with Haskell when they conducted a follow-up interview yesterday in Michigan. They showed him close-up photographs of various people, including Mutallab, the accused bomber. “They kind of tried to trick me,” Haskell explained. The agents tried to pass off two photos of Mutallab as different people. Kurt asked the agents if they were attempting to impeach his story and smear him.

The Indian man was not included in the photographs. Neither was another Indian man who Haskell told the media had helped the bomber board the plane despite the fact that he had no passport. The sharp dressed Indian lied about the bomber’s circumstances, claiming he was a Sudanese refugee.

Haskell asked them why he was not shown a full body shot of the suspect. Haskell was eight rows back from the suspect. The FBI agents did not answer and were displeased with the question. He also asked the FBI agents if it would be more appropriate to bring the surveillance video from the Amsterdam airport instead of still photos. “I don’t think they liked that comment from me,” Haskell added. The FBI said they did not have the videotape. They also made a point to tell Haskell they were asking the questions and not him.

The agents showed Haskell a photograph of the man flagged by the bomb-sniffing dog and taken into custody in customs. “Isn’t this the man who had the bomb in his carry-on bag that you arrested in customs who you refuse to admit exists?” Haskell asked the agents. “They really didn’t like that comment from me and had no comment back to me but I said it sure looks like the man you refuse to admit exists.”

There has also been no official explanation as to the identity of another mysterious man seen calmly filming the entire flight, including the botched bombing attempt, with a video camera.

Haskell described the FBI’s handling of the aftermath of the incident as “a complete embarrassment, a total disorganizational mess that actually put us in more jeopardy than we were already in.”

Passengers were told to remain seated in the aircraft for 20 minutes after landing despite the fact security did not know at that point if there was an explosive on the plane or if the fire started by the suspect Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab while on descent to the airport had spread under the floor in the cabin or to the fuel tanks in the wings.

Watch Haskell’s interview on The Alex Jones Show below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM2yiohmPEI

 

Officials Admit Second Man Detained As More Witnesses Emerge
But FBI STILL Denies a Second Suspect Was Arrested

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
December 30, 2009

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have admitted that a second man possibly carrying explosives was detained after last week’s aborted plane bombing attack, contradicting initial statements by the FBI that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was the only person arrested or charged in relation to Friday’s foiled attack.

As we reported yesterday, attorney and Flight 253 eyewitness Kurt Haskell said that he saw a well-dressed Indian man aid the accused bomber to board the plane despite the fact that he had no passport and was on a terror watch list. After the incident, while the passengers were being detained, Haskell witnessed an Indian man being handcuffed and led away after a bomb-sniffing dog had flagged up his luggage. The FBI then removed the other passengers from the area, strongly indicating that explosive materials had been found in the man’s bag.

Officials have now been forced to acknowledge that a second man was detained despite initial FBI denials after two more witnesses came forward to validate Haskell’s account.

“Daniel Huisinga of Fairview, Tenn., who was returning from an internship in Kenya for the holidays, says he also saw a man being taken away in handcuffs at the airport after a dog search. A third person, Roey Rosenblith, told The Huffington Post on Sunday that he saw a man in a suit being placed into handcuffs and escorted out, as well,” reports Michigan Live.

“Huisinga talked about seeing a man taken away at the airport during an interview Monday on MSNBC. He mentions it at about the 1:25 mark of the video below. The reporter appears to confuse Huisinga’s account with a man who was detained on a separate flight Sunday and deemed not to be a threat.”

Huisinga later told Michigan Live that the Indian man who was later detained by the FBI after dogs had detected something suspicious in his baggage was “wearing a nice suit,” raising questions as to whether this was the same man who helped Abdulmutallab board the plane. Huisinga was located about 20 feet from where the man was handcuffed.

Huisinga shared Haskell’s view that the passengers were moved because more explosives had been discovered, adding that agents told the passengers that they could not use their cell phones or computers. “We were kind of left to draw our own conclusions,” he said.

“It is unknown why the person was detained or whether the person will face any charges,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Ron Smith told MLive.com.

The FBI is still denying that a second person was detained in relation to the incident, raising suspicions as to whether the well-dressed Indian man is being protected by the authorities and for what reason.

“There’s a lot of stories out there, whether any of them are accurate or not, or they’re a little bit accurate and blown out of proportion,” FBI spokesman Bill Carter said. “But I’m not aware of anyone charged or arrested other than Abdulmutallab.”

MLive.com writers attempted to contact the U.S. Department of Justice for clarification, but their calls have not been returned.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHyCSRyBzA0

Bombshell Eyewitness Revelations: Confirmed FBI Cover-Up Of Flight 253 Attack

Mystery Man Videotaped Entire Incident on Flight 253

Terrorist Was Escorted on Flight 253 by Wealthy-Looking Indian Man

EPIC FAIL: Terrorist Allowed on Plane Without a Passport AND He Was on a Terrorist Database!

 



Obama Protecting Bush’s “Testicle Crusher” Attorney

Obama Protecting Bush’s “Testicle Crusher” Attorney

San Francisco Chronicle
December 8, 2009

The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush administration attorney John Yoo of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect, saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues.

Such lawsuits ask courts to second-guess presidential decisions and pose “the risk of deterring full and frank advice regarding the military’s detention and treatment of those determined to be enemies during an armed conflict,” Justice Department lawyers said Thursday in arguments to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Other sanctions are available for government lawyers who commit misconduct, the department said. It noted that its Office of Professional Responsibility has been investigating Yoo’s advice to former President George W. Bush since 2004 and has the power to recommend professional discipline or even criminal prosecution.

The office has not made its conclusions public. However, The Chronicle and other media reported in May that the office will recommend that Yoo be referred to the bar association for possible discipline, but that he not be prosecuted.

Yoo, a UC Berkeley law professor, worked for the Justice Department from 2001 to 2003. He was the author of a 2002 memo that said rough treatment of captives amounts to torture only if it causes the same level of pain as “organ failure, impairment of bodily function or even death.” The memo also said the president may have the power to authorize torture of enemy combatants.

Read Full Article Here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt1-eWU2Ii0

 



Obama will bypass Congress to detain suspects indefinitely

Obama will bypass Congress to detain suspects indefinitely

John Byrne
Raw Story
September 24, 2009

President Barack Obama has quietly decided to bypass Congress and allow the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects without charges.

The move, which was controversial when the idea was first floated in The Washington Post in May, has sparked serious concern among civil liberties advocates. Such a decision allows the president to unilaterally hold “combatants” without habeas corpus — a legal term literally meaning “you shall have the body” — which forces prosecutors to charge a suspect with a crime to justify the suspect’s detention.

Obama’s decision was buried on page A 23 of The New York Times’ New York edition on Thursday. It didn’t appear on that page in the national edition. (Meanwhile, the front page was graced with the story, “Richest Russian’s Newest Toy: An N.B.A. Team.”)

Rather than seek approval from Congress to hold some 50 Guantanamo detainees indefinitely, the administration has decided that it has the authority to hold the prisoners under broad-ranging legislation passed in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001. Former President George W. Bush frequently invoked this legislation as the justification for controversial legal actions — including the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.

“The administration will continue to hold the detainees without bringing them to trial based on the power it says it has under the Congressional resolution passed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, authorizing the president to use force against forces of Al Qaeda and the Taliban,” the Times‘ Peter Baker writes. “In concluding that it does not need specific permission from Congress to hold detainees without charges, the Obama administration is adopting one of the arguments advanced by the Bush administration in years of debates about detention policies.”

Constitutional scholar and Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald discussed the policy in a column in May. He warned that the ability for a president to “preventively” detain suspects could mushroom into broader, potentially abusive activity.

“It does not merely allow the U.S. Government to imprison people alleged to have committed Terrorist acts yet who are unable to be convicted in a civilian court proceeding,” Greenwald wrote. “That class is merely a subset, perhaps a small subset, of who the Government can detain. Far more significant, ‘preventive detention’ allows indefinite imprisonment not based on proven crimes or past violations of law, but of those deemed generally ‘dangerous’ by the Government for various reasons (such as, as Obama put it yesterday, they ‘expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden’ or ‘otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans’). That’s what ‘preventive’ means: imprisoning people because the Government claims they are likely to engage in violent acts in the future because they are alleged to be ‘combatants.’”

“Once known, the details of the proposal could — and likely will — make this even more extreme by extending the ‘preventive detention’ power beyond a handful of Guantanamo detainees to anyone, anywhere in the world, alleged to be a ‘combatant,’” Greenwald continues. “After all, once you accept the rationale on which this proposal is based — namely, that the U.S. Government must, in order to keep us safe, preventively detain “dangerous” people even when they can’t prove they violated any laws — there’s no coherent reason whatsoever to limit that power to people already at Guantanamo, as opposed to indefinitely imprisoning with no trials all allegedly ‘dangerous’ combatants, whether located in Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Western countries and even the U.S.”

The Obama Administration appears to have embraced “preventive detention” in part because of problems with how Guantanamo prisoners’ cases — and incarceration — were handled under President Bush. Military prosecutors have said that numerous cases could not be brought successfully in civilian courts because evidence was obtained in ways that wouldn’t be admissible on US soil. The Bush Administration originally sought to try numerous detainees in military tribunals, but the Supreme Court ruled that at least some have the rights to challenge their detention in US courts.

Baker notes that Obama’s decision to hold suspects without charges doesn’t propose as broad an executive authority claimed by President Bush.

“Obama’s advisers are not embracing the more disputed Bush contention that the president has inherent power under the Constitution to detain terrorism suspects indefinitely regardless of Congress,” Baker writes.

In a statement to Baker, the Justice Department said, “The administration would rely on authority already provided by Congress [and] is not currently seeking additional authorization.”

“The position conveyed by the Justice Department in the meeting last week broke no new ground and was entirely consistent with information previously provided by the Justice Department to the Senate Armed Services Committee,” the statement added.

Roughly 50 detainees of the more than 200 still held at the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are thought to be affected by the decision.

Marine who established prison camps: U.S. lost moral high ground

Obama Supports Renewing The PATRIOT ACT

Obama orders to leave torture, indefinite detention intact

 



Florida Candidate For Mayor Wants Youth Spy Force

Florida Candidate For Mayor Wants 1,000-Strong Youth Spy Force
Falconer proposes swarms of citizen informers casing neighborhoods looking for suspicious behavior

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
August 26, 2009

A frontrunner to become Mayor of Orange County Florida proposes to combat crime in the area by creating a 1,000 person strong spy force who would cruise around neighborhoods on bikes reporting suspicious behavior to uniformed supervisors, a creepy program with dark undertones of the Hitler Youth program of 1930’s Nazi Germany.

Matthew Falconer, who professes to be a Libertarian, has been handing out a business card to potential voters outlining his platform.

On the back of the card, Falconer outlines his intention to, “Improve public safety by putting 1,000 additional observers on patrol in your neighborhood.”

Falconer’s website provides more detail as to what exactly this new program will entail.

My solution is to innovate. I call for the implementation of my “COPs” program (Citizen Observers). This program will put 1000 young people on bicycles with radios patrolling our neighborhoods keeping our citizens safe. My mission is to prevent crime and move away from the responsive method of public safety in Orange County. The observers will ride through specific areas, seek out criminal behavior, and report events to a uniformed supervisor. They will also talk with residents to find out who is committing the crimes in the area and attempt to gather information to solve existing crimes.

Falconer’s website states that the “public safety personnel” will receive just $10 dollars an hour, meaning the cost of the entire program will amount to no more than $2.5 million dollars a year.

Falconer’s intention to “move away from the responsive method to public safety” and instead have poorly trained amateur teenage spies watching their neighbors and actively seeking out suspicious behavior with seemingly little accountability whatsoever sets a dangerous precedent. Even if the program has genuine intentions behind it, the potential for members of the 1,000 strong spy force to abuse their power to settle scores with neighbors they don’t like is clearly a possibility, which is exactly what has happened historically when citizens are afforded the power to inform on each other.

Falconer’s proposal is clearly anti-American and unconstitutional. Though some may argue that vigilantes are a good thing in an age of growing corruption and police brutality, the fact is that vigilantes are traditionally responsive to crime and act as watchmen, they do not spy on the innocent and actively seek out potential criminal behavior, as Falconer’s program outlines.

Fears about the creation of an East German-style Stasi outfit that would keep an eye on Americans were raised in July of last year when President Barack Obama, during a speech on the campaign trail, promised a “national civilian security force” that would be just as powerful as the U.S. military.

As we have documented, informant programs that encourage Americans to spy on each other are already in operation across the country in a number of different guises.

The legacy of training Americans to spy on each other in the name of “safety” has its origins in Operation TIPS, which was supposedly nixed by Congress, a DOJ, FBI, DHS and FEMA coordinated program that would have recruited one in twenty-four Americans as domestic informants, a higher percentage than was used by the Stasi in Communist East Germany.

Government funding was cut after an outcry but private funding continues and the same program was introduced under a number of sub-divisions including AmeriCorps, SecureCorps and the Highway Watch program.

Similar programs being run bother privately and under government auspices are increasingly beginning to mirror the citizen denunciation campaigns that became prominent in Nazi Germany.

One common misconception about Nazi Germany was that the police state was solely a creation of the authorities and that the citizens were merely victims. On the contrary, Gestapo files show that 80% of all Gestapo investigations were started in response to information provided from denunciations by “ordinary” Germans.

“There were relatively few secret police, and most were just processing the information coming in. I had found a shocking fact. It wasn’t the secret police who were doing this wide-scale surveillance and hiding on every street corner. It was the ordinary German people who were informing on their neighbors,” wrote Robert Gellately of Florida State University.

You Tube user Austin White makes his feelings about Falconer’s proposal clear in the clip below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K8YRPl3RPM

Homeland Security Trains Boy Scouts To Take On ‘Disgruntled Iraq War Veterans’

Obama Calls For National Civilian Stasi

TSA may hand cash rewards to tipsters about crimes or security violations

 



Nazi-Style Campaign Urges Americans to Report Each Other

Nazi-Style Campaign Urges Americans to Report Each Other
WeTip program offers cash rewards for anonymous tips about guns, child abuse and suspicious behavior

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
August 6, 2009

A privately-run informant program operating nationwide encourages Americans to anonymously turn each other in to the authorities for cash rewards in a chilling echo of the Nazi “denunciations” of 1930’s Germany, where neighbors would grass their neighbors up to the local Gestapo officer over petty issues.

The WeTip organization takes anonymous tips online or via toll free phone lines and carries the creepy slogan “For A Safer America!”.

The group forwards tips given by the public to law enforcement authorities across the country, with no jurisdictional borders.

An Orwellian poster being plastered up across American towns and cities as part of a campaign run by the organization reads, “ILLEGAL ACTIVITY IS NOT TOLERATED” and advises citizens to “turn them in” and receive a reward of up to $1000. Things to “turn them in” for include drug dealing and theft, but more vague examples such as “threats and intimidation” as well as “weapons” and “gang activity” are listed, as is “child abuse”.

Is the presence of a “weapon” in and of itself evidence of a crime in a country where citizens have the legal right to own firearms? Will your neighbor be turning you in if he sees you loading your car with a rifle on your way to the shooting range? What about “child abuse”? Will your friendly local spy be informing the authorities when he sees you disciplining your child?

What else constitutes suspicious activity? According to law enforcement and Homeland Security guidelines, suspicious behavior includes owning guns, being politically active, and having bumper stickers on your car.

The WeTip organization also offers a training institute for schools, businesses and government employees, presumably providing skills courses on how to become an expert domestic spy, just like in Communist East Germany.

WeTip also claims in its promotional material that it has been endorsed by both Bush presidents, as well as Bill Clinton and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Deliciously ironic therefore it is that Arnie starred in the 1987 movie The Running Man, a futuristic portrayal of a wacky dictatorship where citizens are reminded by huge TV screens placed on street corners that they can “earn a double bonus for reporting on a family member!”

As America sinks into a military police state, it begins to parallel more and more aspects of Nazi Germany, especially in the context of citizens being turned against each other, which in turn creates a climate of fear and the constraining sense that one is always being watched.

One common misconception about Nazi Germany was that the police state was solely a creation of the authorities and that the citizens were merely victims. On the contrary, Gestapo files show that 80% of all Gestapo investigations were started in response to information provided by denunciations by “ordinary” Germans.

“There were relatively few secret police, and most were just processing the information coming in. I had found a shocking fact. It wasn’t the secret police who were doing this wide-scale surveillance and hiding on every street corner. It was the ordinary German people who were informing on their neighbors,” wrote Robert Gellately of Florida State University.

Gellately discovered that the people who informed on their neighbors were motivated primarily by banal factors – “greed, jealousy, and petty differences,” and not by a genuine concern about crime or insecurity.

Gellately “found cases of partners in business turning in associates to gain full ownership; jealous boyfriends informing on rival suitors; neighbors betraying entire families who chronically left shared bathrooms unclean or who occupied desirable apartments.”

“And then there were those who informed because for the first time in their lives someone in authority would listen to them and value what they said.”

Gellately emphasizes the fact that the Germans who sicked the authorities on their neighbors knew very well what the consequences for the victims would be – families torn apart, torture and internment in concentration camps, and ultimately in many cases death – but they still did it with few qualms because the rewards of financial bounties and mere convenience were deemed more important to them.

As we have covered before, the WeTip program is by no means the only initiative that is training Americans to become amateur domestic spies.

One of the largest cable TV companies in the United States, Bright House, is training its employees to look for suspicious behavior and report it to police under the guise of a neighborhood watch initiative called Operation Bright Eyes.

The legacy of training Americans to spy on each other in the name of “safety” has its origins in Operation TIPS, which was supposedly nixed by Congress, a DOJ, FBI, DHS and FEMA coordinated program that would have recruited one in twenty-four Americans as domestic informants, a higher percentage than was used by the Stasi in Communist East Germany.

Government funding was cut after an outcry but private funding continues and the same program was introduced under a number of sub-divisions including AmeriCorps, SecureCorps and the Highway Watch program.

In July last year we reported on how hundreds of police, firefighters, paramedics and utility workers have been trained and recently dispatched as “Terrorism Liaison Officers” in Colorado, Arizona and California to watch for “suspicious activity” which is later fed into a secret government database.

Also last year, a New York Times feature article heartily celebrated the fact that an increasing number of Americans are becoming informants and turning in their neighbors and family members to the authorities in return for cash rewards. In a piece about a new program run by Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers, citing gas prices, foreclosure rates and runaway food price inflation, The Times lauds the fact that citizens are reporting on each other, ensuring “a substantial increase in Crime Stopper-related arrests and recovered property, as callers turn in neighbors, grandchildren or former boyfriends in exchange for a little cash.”

As the Recession Ready America blog points out in relation to the WeTip program and its offer of $1,000 for turning people in, in an environment of recession and unemployment, the temptation to inform on people for minor indiscretions would be too tempting for many to resist, creating a gargantuan backlog of petty offenses reported by people with no criminal detective skills whatsoever, leading to harassment of innocent people and ensuring that more real crimes go unsolved.

We invite our readers to use the WeTip “Submit a Tip” form to remind the crypto-Nazis behind this program that this is America, not Germany in the 1930’s. Building strong communities is all about establishing strong bonds and friendships with your neighbors, not grassing them up to the authorities for a quick buck.