Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Newest American Fashion Fad -- The Snitch Jacket -- How US Intelligence Continues To Use The Patriot Act To Turn Us Into A Nation Of Snitches

Spy agencies like the FBI, NSA, DHS and CIA now enjoy having a nation of Americans snitching on one another, since such deplorable activities make it easier for these propagators of Nazism to divide and conquer us as a nation. And under the Patriot Act it seems that in the new millennium their use of the "snitch jacket" is now becoming fashionable in the American dictatorship.

Under this guise of protecting Americans from an invisible and homegrown terrorist threat, eventually no one in this country will trust another. Even families will end up being pitted against one another under the pressure of having such Nazi organizations as the ones mentioned here, using coercive tactics in which to force one to capitulate to the loss of their freedom.

We have seen this throughout history in the many countries whose oppressive governments sought to destroy the free thought of their citizens. However, we never expected to witness such an abuse of both civil and human rights in the United States of America.

How naive we have all been.

Urging Americans to snitch on each other

By Marjorie Cohn

July 18, 2002

"'Watch out for well-meaning men of zeal!' These words penned 74 years ago by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis are no less relevant today.

Brandeis was dissenting from a ruling that exempted wiretapping from the protections of the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court later reversed its decision and held that the government must follow the Fourth Amendment when it electronically seizes our conversations.

But under the guise of the 'war on terror,' the zealous men in Washington have launched a major new assault on our constitutional rights. The most recent manifestation of this dangerous zeal is the new TIPS program.

Under the Terrorism Information and Prevention System, the Department of Justice seeks to recruit millions of Americans to spy on each other. Beginning in August, volunteers, including letter carriers, utility employees, truck drivers and train conductors, will be asked to report "suspicious activity" to the government.

Initiated in the nation's 10 largest cities, the Justice Department hopes to recruit 1 million informants for a total population of almost 24 million. Informant reports will then enter databases from which the government can create dossiers on its citizens.

TIPS follows a consistent and steady pattern by Attorney General John Ashcroft and the FBI to intimidate Americans and emasculate their civil liberties. Since the horrific attacks on Sept. 11, Ashcroft has rammed the USA PATRIOT Act through a timid Congress, afraid to be accused of being unpatriotic in this time of xenophobic flag-waiving.

The USA PATRIOT Act significantly lowers the standards for surveillance of telephone and computer communications. It authorizes the government to spy on us more easily through its aptly named Carnivore surveillance, which intercepts all communications flowing through an Internet service provider's network, not just those who are targeted.

The FBI is developing another new Internet spying software called 'Magic Lantern,' which will surreptitiously enter an individual's computer, record every key stroke and transmit that data back to the G-men and G-women, in violation of the federal wiretapping statute and the Fourth Amendment.

Ashcroft has inaugurated a new program of COINTELPRO-style surveillance activities, which were banned by Congress in the 1970s after civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. were targeted.

Ashcroft has also urged federal agencies to resist Freedom of Information Act requests. The FOIA, enacted in the wake of the Watergate scandal, is one of our most significant democratic reforms. It permits citizens to hold the government accountable by allowing them to request, receive and publicize public records.

And Ashcroft has ordered his agents to eavesdrop on conversations between attorneys and their clients, defying the oldest and one of the most important privileges in our society.

Operation TIPS not only helps the government spy on us more effectively. It will encourage neighbors to snitch on neighbors and won't distinguish between real and fabricated tips. Anyone with a grudge or vendetta against another can provide false information to the government, which will then enter the national database.

Even The Washington Post, in a recent editorial, was alarmed by the prospect of TIPS: "Americans should not be subjecting themselves to law enforcement scrutiny merely by having cable lines installed, mail delivered or meters read."

The government seeks to use private citizens to circumvent the dictates of the Fourth Amendment. As the Post editorial says, "Police cannot routinely enter people's houses without either permission or a warrant. They should not be using utility workers to conduct surveillance they could not lawfully conduct themselves."

It is essential that people feel safe and secure in these perilous times. But we must be vigilant to safeguard the liberties and freedoms that under gird a democracy. If we uncritically succumb to the government's frightening surveillance campaign, we will find ourselves on the brink of a totalitarian dictatorship.

Cohn, an associate professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, is on the executive committee of the National Lawyers Guild.

*Is it any wonder with the refreshing clarity of thought that Ms. Cohn expresses in the above article, why the FBI has waged its own COINTELPRO attacks on the National Lawyers Guild? (NLG)

An article on how the villainous FBI has attacked the National Lawyers Guild in the past. Through such Orwellian tactics, the FBI has terrified the legal profession which now refuses to challenge its dictates, and in doing so has let the American people down, by failing to support and defend the United States Constitution. It is only a rare breed of attorney who takes on the FBI in the modern day, and then with the understanding that they too can be subjected to its despicable COINTELPRO tactics. In particular I cite attorney J. Tony Serra's prosecution of the FBI on behalf of the late eco-activist Judi Bari. Even though Serra faced tremendous opposition to supporting the efforts of the late EarthFirst! activist, he never waned in his protection of Judi or her rights as American citizen.

Read about the FBI's attack on the National Lawyers Guild here:

Some biographical information on J. Tony Serra:
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