You are being watched

I have a bad feeling about this. The news is some seven months old, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it.

President Bush has created an organization called the Citizen Corps an organization who’s aim is “public education, training, and volunteer opportunities to support community and family safety”. Among other things, they will provide support to over-taxed police departments, training for citizens in disaster preparedness, and coordinate medical volunteers in aiding during large-scale emergencies. This is all fine, good, and noble.

The fifth arm of this little cabal, however, is called Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System), a:

a nationwide program providing millions of workers who, by the nature of their jobs, are well-positioned to recognize unusual events, with training, materials, and a formalized way to report suspicious activity to the nearest FBI field office.

As planned, an eventual 1 in 24 Americans will effectively be spies. This gives me shuddering reminders of 1984, and Fahrenheit 451 in it’s “subversive”-squashing overtones…not to mention McCarthyism and the Red Scare.

I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to have to be paranoid. Is my friend really my friend, or is he checking up on me? Will I start to question the patriotism of my peers? I don’t want to live in an environment of distrust and suspicion. This sort of thing makes me nervous and sad.

(via alt text)

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