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#779081 - 07/19/02 09:38 AM And The Beat Goes On
Anonymous
Unregistered


From the Federal Emergency Management Agency website:
________________
Operation TIPS, administered by the U.S. Department of Justice and developed in partnership with several other federal agencies, is one of the five component programs of the Citizen Corps. Operation TIPS will be a national system for reporting suspicious, and potentially terrorist-related activity. The program will involve the millions of American workers who, in the daily course of their work, are in a unique position to see potentially unusual or suspicious activity in public places.

The Department of Justice is discussing participation with several industry groups whose workers are ideally suited to help in the anti-terrorism effort because their routines allow them to recognize unusual events and have expressed a desire for a mechanism to report these events to authorities.

These workers will use their common sense and knowledge of their work environment to identify suspicious or unusual activity. This program offers a way for these workers to report what they see in public areas and along transportation routes.

All it will take to volunteer is a telephone or access to the Internet as tips can be reported on the toll-free hotline or online. Information received will be entered into the national database and referred electronically to a point of contact in each state as appropriate. This is not a national 911 center, and callers are expected to dial 911 for emergency local response.

Industries that are interested in participating in this program will be given printed guidance material, flyers and brochures, about the program and how to contact the Operation TIPS reporting center. This information can be distributed to workers or posted in common work areas. Operation TIPS is scheduled to be launched in late summer or early fall 2002. The goal of the program is to establish a reliable and comprehensive national system for reporting suspicious, and potentially terrorist-related, activity. By establishing one central reporting center, information from several different industries can be maintained in a single database. Operation TIPS will be phased in across the country to enable the system to build its capacity to receive an increasing volume of tips.

___________________

For those who do not understand the implications of this, here is a description from the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, describing the details of how this works.

______________________

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 coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

_________________

And so now, the guy who walks into our house to deliver bottled water, or the UPS delivery man, or the electric meter reader, or many others we give access to our homes and property, can turn us in as a possible terrorist because he saw something he thought was "suspicious". The FBI will open a file on us and then, under the powers of the Patriot's Act and Attorney Generalissimo and Il Duce directives, will then have the right to investigate us.

Based on this "trained" informant's tip, they then can read our email, follow our use of the Internet and read our bulletin board posts and chat room conversations, search our homes without notifying us, get our library records, our bookstore records, our credit card records and anything else they may want to look at, wire our homes for surveillance, tap our phones -- and we need not even be told this is happening.

All of this will go into our "file", be recorded in a data base which can then be accessed by any other law enforcement or regulatory agency who wants to access it.

Just something else to add to our "How Il Duce Is Protecting My Freedom" file.

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#779082 - 07/19/02 11:13 AM Re: And The Beat Goes On
DT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 1478
Loc: Illinois
Neighborhood Watch on steroids. One shouldn't need to formalize good citizenship but inside the Beltway (and up most of the East Coast) the belief continues that the government's gotta be involved or it ain't doing anything. They've never realized that sometimes you do the most good by getting out of the way and keeping your mouth shut. Compared to the excesses granted under anti-drug laws, however, this may be minor, unless abused by the more-government-is-better crowd.
_________________________
Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell...

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#779083 - 07/19/02 12:14 PM Re: And The Beat Goes On
jodi Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 6959
Loc: The Evergreen State (WA)
 Quote:
Originally posted by DT:
Neighborhood Watch on steroids. [/b]
:D \:D Jodi

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#779084 - 07/19/02 01:26 PM Re: And The Beat Goes On
Anonymous
Unregistered


 Quote:
Originally posted by DT:
Compared to the excesses granted under anti-drug laws, however, this may be minor, unless abused by the more-government-is-better crowd.[/b]
Ah yes...the War on Drugs. Another war against an enemy that is illusive and unseen. And how successful it has been! Since declared by Reagan it has been fought with both parties controlling the White House and in the Congress. Its attacks on American freedoms have stayed with us, and been enhanced by Administration after Administration after Administration.

No one suggests we cut the restrictions back. They are now part of how we must live in this society and have set the base line of government infringement on our rights at a new level. And it all sounded so right when Reagan first started it.

Does anyone really believe we will ever rid the American culture of what is now being imposed upon us? Especially when we have already been told it will take years to wage this war and there is no clear definition of success? Just as we were told with the war on drugs!

"But, George," you say, "this is different. We were attacked! We need to have these programs to keep us safe in our homes!"

Yep. And we have lost far more to new government programs to "defend American freedom" than Al Quaeda could have ever taken from us because of that type of thinking.

I don't care what political label you give them -- Democrat or Republican, Libertarian or Independent -- the people putting these types of programs and policies in place, attacking our freedom in a manner which will be embedded in our institutions for a long time to come if not forever, are the "more-government-is-better crowd."

Unfortunately, these are also the "less freedom is better" crowd" -- just as they were under Reagan when the War on Drugs was declared. And so many of the policy makers today are veterans from the Reagan and Bush Administrations and were part of the beginning of the War on Drugs and establishing its excesses.

They may campaign saying they want less government and support freedom. But their actions speak for themselves.

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#779085 - 07/19/02 01:31 PM Re: And The Beat Goes On
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
George,

Certainly the War on Drugs has not been a success. But can you give me an example or two as how it has cut into American freedoms?

This is not a dig, I'm just curious.

Thanks,
Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#779086 - 07/19/02 01:49 PM Re: And The Beat Goes On
DT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 1478
Loc: Illinois
Well, George, there you go again. President Reagan did not start the War on Drugs. It started back in the early 1900's. Nixon may have been the first to actually declare a war on drugs and every president since has expanded it. Carter publicly supported possession of small amounts of marijuana but worked behind the scenes to halt any weakening of the laws. Reagan went after the South and Central American drug cartels. Clinton actually pursued the death penalty for some cases of marijuana growth. So, Reagan was just one of a long string of Presidents unsuccessfully fighting this war, not the instigator.

I'll allow you to get into the non-knock searches and the insane forteiture laws in response to Derick's question.
_________________________
Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell...

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#779087 - 07/20/02 12:10 AM Re: And The Beat Goes On
Steve Miller Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 3290
Loc: Yorba Linda, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
George,

Certainly the War on Drugs has not been a success. But can you give me an example or two as how it has cut into American freedoms?

This is not a dig, I'm just curious.

Thanks,
Derick[/b]
That one's easy. RICO statutes.

A complete reversal of "innocent until proven guilty." Seizure of property prior to any sort of a trial, often forfeiture of property completely unrelated to the charge. Sometimes there is not even so much as a charge.

It will never happen to you so why should you worry about it? Not so fast....

One recent case involved the seizure of (but not making the payments on) a rental house. The landlord was not involved in selling drugs but the tenants appeared to be, so the house was seized.

Scary stuff and the model for some of the "War on Terrorism" strategies I have been hearing.
_________________________
Defender of the Landfill Piano

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#779088 - 07/20/02 12:48 AM Re: And The Beat Goes On
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
The asset forfeiture laws have resulted in some of the worse abuses of all those stemming from the "war on drugs". There have been people who have only tangentially been linked to criminal activity (Steve pointed out one example) that have been relieved of their property with no recourse to recover it. The incentive here is for police departments to seize assets (because said assets are then funneled into financing their operations) and never charge the affected individual with a crime. This way, since there is no trial, there is no way for the individual to prove that the assets should not have been seized or, in other words, prove their innocence. Clear violations of the 5th Amendment (seizure of property without compensation) and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This is just one small facet of the assault on our rights brought on by the "war on drugs". There are many other examples. The Patriot Act and some of these other war on terrorism acts contain within them the seeds of similar abuses and assaults on our rights.

George is correct in this. The trouble is, by his way of thinking, unless you are prepared to say that the Bush Administration must be thrown out on its ear and replaced (presumably by a Democrat administration) then you just don't care enough about it. I wonder just how scrupulously our rights would be observed by them. I have grave misgivings about many of the proposals being bandied about by both sides. Trouble is, which is the one you fear the least. Not the most pleasant of choices.
_________________________
Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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#779089 - 07/20/02 01:34 AM Re: And The Beat Goes On
Anonymous
Unregistered


 Quote:
Originally posted by JBryan:
The trouble is, by his way of thinking, unless you are prepared to say that the Bush Administration must be thrown out on its ear and replaced (presumably by a Democrat administration) then you just don't care enough about it. [/b]
Not true, JBryan.

I, obviously, have a lot of issues with Il Duce's regime and would like to see it replaced -- in fact I do not consider it as constitutionally elected, even though it has the power.

On the issue of our individual freedoms as Americans, though, the answer is not in selecting the right political party. Clinton was the first to want to enhance surveillance of all of us on the Internet. Clinton's Justice Department expanded the reduction of our freedoms in the War on Drugs.

In the current situtations, both parties have moved to restrict our freedoms. The Patriot's Act passed overwhelmingly in both Houses.

And, it needs to be pointed out, that there are a few brave members on both sides of the aisle who are beginning to raise the important questions. But they can do nothing because the leaders of both parties in the Congress will not allow them to.

To me, the only solution is for the American people to make it very clear they will not allow such a diminution of our freedoms -- but either party, but any government, by any President.

My focus, however, is on the primary actor in this infringement, the one making the proposals, changing the regulations, developing the programs -- which is Il Duce's regime. The Congress may have been involved in passing the Patriot's Act, but he is the one who focused and proposed it. He could have developed any number of legislative proposals, but this is the one he chose.

He is the one who has an Attorney General who is promulgated new rules and regulations for surveillance. He is the one who has promulgated different judicial practices. He is the one is developing programs like TIPS. He is the one who is maniuplating the fear of the American people to get them to accept all of this. And so, he is the one who must be hit and hit hard to stop what he is doing.

The Congress does not have the guts to do it. They hold their hearings and the Democrats wag their heads over what is happening, but they do nothing about it out of political cowardice. The Republicans support him because they are in the same party, not because it is good for the American people.

Thus, it must be the people -- individuals, groups, the Churches, the press, the opinion makers, the right and the left. Because, unless we the people, make it clear that this is unacceptable, it will continue until we will have no means of stopping it at all.

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#779090 - 07/20/02 09:25 AM Re: And The Beat Goes On
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14048
Loc: Louisiana
But is not RICO the one government tool most responsible for the disruption of American organized crime?
_________________________
www.coffee-room.com

Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#779091 - 07/20/02 10:42 AM Re: And The Beat Goes On
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
Jolly,

I'm not sure how RICO got mixed up in this. The no-knock warrant laws and asset forfeiture laws that have become a part of the war on drugs have nothing to do with RICO which was passed in 1962 and can be summarized as follows:

In many jurisdictions to be convicted of RICO activity the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following items:

1. That the defendant was a person employed by or associated with the enterprise charged;
2. that the enterprise was an ongoing organization, formal or informal, that functioned as a continuing unit;
3. that the defendant participated in the conduct of the affairs of the enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity. A pattern is defined as acts that are related to each other, and pose a threat of continued criminal activity. At minimum, the AUSA must show two acts committed within 10 years of each other; and
4. that the enterprise was engaged in interstate commerce or that its activities affected interstate commerce.

Some actual cases:

1. The pattern requirement was met in defendant police officer's accepting bribes, because the defendant committed himself to series of criminal acts. United States v. O'Connor (1990, CA7 Ill)

2. Judge in RICO suit was not required to recuse himself where, although he had had social and business relationships with victims of defendants, relationship had ended several years prior to trial. United States v. Lovaglia (1992, CA2 NY)

3. One of purposes of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute is to address concern over infiltration of legitimate businesses by organized crime. United States v. Rone (1979, CA9 Cal)

PUNISHMENT:
One may be found guilty of a felony, imprisoned up to 20 years, and fined up to $250,000 or twice the gross amount gained from illegal activities, whichever is greater.

Frequently, the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) will secure a Federal Indictment from a Federal Grand Jury and charge a defendant not only with RICO crimes, but also with mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit the aforementioned crimes. One should also be aware that since 1987 parole has been abolished in the Federal System. Expungement (removal of conviction from public records) is also not available[/b]

Certainly, asset forfeiture could occur pursuant to RICO but the asset forfeiture laws as written provide for asset forfeiture where no crimwe has been charged. At least RICO requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a person was somehow engaged in or influenced by a criminal organization. It was originally intended to reach the heads of criminal organizations who, always acting through second parties, never committed actual crimes themselves beyond conspiracy which is very difficult to prove.

George,

I might be persuaded that you have no political bias if it did not seem so much like you were on a one man crusade against the Bush Administration. You seem to reserve all of your venom for it and attack it in every way and from every angle possible. You seem quite restrained in your criticism of Congress which you seem to assert is utterly powerless and of no real concern at all.

I am not pleased with all of what Bush has proposed or allowed to be implemented. I don't see a Democrat administration as being any less frightening. You say we as a people should stand up to tyranny and I agree with that. Standing up in protest to the actions of government is one way to get the attention of politicians but your focus on the Executive and rhetoric only enhances the view that yours is a politically motivated crusade.

You have stated that you believe that this Administration was not elected Constitutionally and you would like to see it replaced (with what I don't know) so how can I take seriously your assertion that you have no political axe to grind here. Can any reasonable person conclude that you would be just as relentless against a Democrat in power? Or would your attention then focus to the Republican Congress.

I don't doubt your conviction to your principles and I know you to be truly concerned about the state of our freedoms today. I am not accusing you of acting totally out of political cynicism. However, I have to wonder whether your affinity toward Democrats (this much seems fairly obvious) has colored your perceptions to the point that you believe that all power and influence and all assaults against our freedom originate from the Bush Administration.

I will tell you a little about myself. I have always been a registered Independent. I have never been a member of any political party. In the past, I have tended to support Republicans more than Democrats simply because they frighten me less in terms of loss of freedom. Not because they love liberty any more than Democrats but they, up to the present anyway, have been far less organized in their attempts to deprive us of our freedooms.

At the time the Republicans gained control of the House, the Democrats had become so thoroughly entenched and the rules had become so tilted as to create a virtual one party system. I am convinced that the change in leadership was a good thing if only for that reason. I am equally convinced that at some point in the future andn opposite shift will be in our interest.

I was very critical of the Clinton Administration for its efforts to infiltrate government influence in all aspects of our lives as well as for some real assaults on our freedom. I am not pleased with Bush in the way he has supinely allowed much of the abuse of the past Administration to continue.

In your criticism of the actions taken by the Bush Administration you have only been picking around the edges at things that may only theoretically be the source of abuse now or some time in the future. I would be even more concerned about this new "Department of Homeland Security". This new department has a far greater potential for harassment and becoming a Soviet-style internal security apparatus than anything you have mentioned so far.

Yes, I have not been pleased with Bush in his very UNconservative tendency to stand by watching and even aid in the creation of ever more government.
_________________________
Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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#779092 - 07/20/02 12:01 PM Re: And The Beat Goes On
Anonymous
Unregistered


 Quote:
Originally posted by JBryan:

George,

I might be persuaded that you have no political bias if it did not seem so much like you were on a one man crusade against the Bush Administration. You seem to reserve all of your venom for it and attack it in every way and from every angle possible. You seem quite restrained in your criticism of Congress which you seem to assert is utterly powerless and of no real concern at all.
[/b]
I have never said I have no political bias. But having a political bias does not make one partisan. Focusing on Il Duce Regime's policies does not make me a supporter of his partisan opposition.

You will note, I have never attacked another board member for his/her political views. I may disagree with them and argue against them. But, no matter how wrong I think they are, at least they have political views and will express them.

I attack the politicians. I attack those I believe are causing harm to this country. I attack those with the greatest power. We can argue constitutional theory all we want, but the reality is that day to day power in this country rests in the Executive Branch -- right now in Il Duce's regime.

To me, any American who does not have a political bias, and express it, is a poor, unpatriotic, citizen. We live in a country wherein the power is derived from the people. deFacto President Cheney may seek to define those who dare criticize Il Duce's policies as unpatriotic. To me, it is those who see what is wrong or recognize things are being taken in the wrong direction and who fail to stand up and say so who are unpatriotic.

And the most unpatriotic Americans are those who do not involve themselves at all in the political debate of their country. They can get as emeotional as they want on July 4th or when they see the flag. But they are bad, unpatriotic Americans, if they do not involve themselves. This country can only survive if the people are involved. And right now, too many are not.

If the people are going to take a hands off position vis-a-vis their government, if they are not going to inform themselves, if they are going to standback and let things happen, if they are going to whine that it is all too esoteric or complain they find it all boring, if they only take their obligation to express themselves seriously at major electins, the people get what they deserve.

Right now, I believe we are getting what we deserve.

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