human being on Mon, 15 Jul 2002 07:02:54 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> TIPs designed for Domestic Spygaming

  [this seemed a possibility, in a worst-case scenario, with
  the design of the US Patriot Act, which i earlier wrote of
  with regard to the site; citizencorps, and the TIPs project.]

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 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 

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, 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 

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.

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