A BuzzFlash Reader Commentary
July 19, 2002
Neighborhood Spies And Nightmares
by Lois Erwin
Think of the worst person you know of in your neighborhood, and then imagine this person being given permission and encouragement by our president and attorney general to spy on you and your other neighbors. Whatever observations this person makes about you or anybody who comes to visit you, or about your neighbors or anybody who comes to visit them, will go into a government file. A government file that you will NEVER be told about, but a file that will circulate AS TRUTH throughout the government "intelligence" community.
This neighborhood snitch can, if he/she wants to, make up things about you and your neighbors. Doesn't matter. Once it enters your file inside the government intelligence community, it will become Truth for them, and for you. You will have NO opportunity to refute the charges, clarify matters or even know such charges have been made against you. The East German Stasi knew how to run such a program. Hey, it worked for them; it will work for John Ashcroft and George W. Bush. Their critics will "disappear."
Whatever scurrilous thing your neighbor wants to input goes in the file. Even, to put the best interpretation on it, if your neighbor misinterprets something innocent and turns it into something nefarious, it goes into your file.
The local, state and federal police and government officials are then free to act upon that information. They can already -- since the installation of the Patriot Act -- enter your home without a warrant, without your knowledge, without any opportunity on your part to object, rifle through your belongings, cruise through your computer, and then leave. You will never be told the government invaded your home, warrantless, and snooped around. Does that give you the creepy-crawlies?
Well, folks, it's all true. The government can enter your home nowadays without a warrant and without your knowledge. Your neighbor will be able to turn you in for things you have never done -- just because your neighbor is a sick person, just because your neighbor hates you or hates humanity, or just because your neighbor is a rabid right-winger who loves and believes Rush Limbaugh and/or Ann Coulter and feels it his duty to cleanse the world of people who don't agree with him/them.
Remember, we're NOT talking about your nice neighbors here; we're talking about your worst neighbor signing up to be the government snitch. The crazy neighbor. The guy who loves guns and hates gays. The guy who spouts Christianity and thinks people of any other religion should convert or be killed. That's the neighbor who will sign up for the new government TIP program.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Be aware those are the government's descriptions of the programs. It is up to you to seek out other sources to find interpretations of those programs. It seems benign when you read the Ashcroft version; it won't seem so benign when you read what is REALLY going to happen.
good place to start is the Boston Globe editorial "Ashcroft vs. Americans"
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