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Operation TIPS
July 17, 2002 12:34 PM   Subscribe

Operation TIPS is 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. Here's a Boston Globe editorial on the program.
posted by Ty Webb (33 comments total)

 
and here's metafilter's take from yesterday
posted by astirling at 12:41 PM on July 17, 2002


Since then, there have been other editorials in the Washington Times and the Brattleboro Reformer: "Trained FBI agents had (information about) radical Islamic fundamentalists trying to learn how to fly airplanes and they couldn't handle that, but suddenly they're going to be able to handle thousands of unsubstantiated tips from the person reading your electric meter? ... This doesn't make us more secure. I think this turns us into a nation of paranoids," says Patrick Leahy.
posted by muckster at 12:44 PM on July 17, 2002


The Boston Globe editorial really hit home for me. This is a situation that must be dealt with quickly. If it gets off the ground, serious damage to civil liberties is going to be done.
posted by spidre at 12:47 PM on July 17, 2002


/me reports Ty Webb for his suspicious double-posting.
posted by ODiV at 12:47 PM on July 17, 2002


too late, ODiV, the guy reading my gas meter already did that.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:51 PM on July 17, 2002


I'm sure multiple reports count for something. Maybe you'll get a gold star!
posted by ODiV at 12:52 PM on July 17, 2002


ooof, i used to work for the post office, and the idea of the government actually listening to tips from the nutbags I used to work with is right scary.......
posted by zoopraxiscope at 12:55 PM on July 17, 2002


Don't you mean a yellow star? Oops, I call Godwin's on myself.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:55 PM on July 17, 2002


And now it's 1984
knock knock on your front door
It's the government's secret police!
They've come for your uncool neice!

California uber alles!

---The Dead Kennedys, California Uber Alles

Fortunately for all of us, Ashcroft is communicating directly with Jesus, who I'm sure will tell him this is a Bad Idea.

That's Jesus the Christ, not Haysoos the underpaid and overworked gardener. Though Haysoos could probably tell him it's a bad idea, too.

I'm gonna report my neighbors because they have way too many guns in their house. Oh, wait, that's OK and patriotic to boot. Well, then I'll report them because their dog keeps looking at me funny when I go out to get the mail. And it IS an Afghan hound.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:59 PM on July 17, 2002


Can we all make reports against a certain President? He commands a large heavily armed army and is overtly Fascist. Doesn't that qualify?
posted by substrate at 1:01 PM on July 17, 2002


"All *those* people are the spawn of Satan. They should
be put in camps and executed."

"Throw another bag of calico cats in the river tonight."

"Rub spaghetti in that guy's hair."

-- other things Jesus tells John Ashcroft to do.
posted by kablam at 1:14 PM on July 17, 2002


oh substrate. you certainly seem oppressed.
posted by Satapher at 1:15 PM on July 17, 2002


This is a case of so-scary-it-needs-to-be-double-posted. I really hope we all come to our senses and nip this shit in the bud stat.
posted by donkeyschlong at 1:20 PM on July 17, 2002


I shudder to think what some idiots would make of my library...but I'm fairly sure it would land me on a list somewhere. Thank goodness it's in a room where the cable guy never needs to go.
posted by dejah420 at 1:23 PM on July 17, 2002


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.

So, is the government encouraging "workers" to violate their fiduciary duties of confidentiality to their employers by reporting workplace activities?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:23 PM on July 17, 2002


"A national system for
concerned workers to report
suspicious activity."


this is america, right? ever feel like you are trapped in some alternate universe? i'm waiting for Evil Spock to pop up as the new Minister of Defense.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:30 PM on July 17, 2002


Since I'm white and middle class, I doubt I'll ever be reported. I feel sorry for foreigners with overly suspicious, paranoid neighbors. Kind of like the people in the movie Brazil.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:34 PM on July 17, 2002


If you have done nothing bad or are not planning to then there should be nothing to worry about. Might prevent some pervs from messing about. God sees all. And we can help Him
posted by Postroad at 1:35 PM on July 17, 2002


th3ph17: I fixed your haiku

national system
for concerned workers t'report
suspicious actions

hrm... we still need a season. And I don't really like the contraction.

national system
concerned workers reporting
suspicions in fall

That's better.
posted by ODiV at 1:41 PM on July 17, 2002


carefully jotting down names......

Hmm? What? What am I doing? Oh, nothing.......doo doo doo.....
posted by briank at 1:44 PM on July 17, 2002


I for one am looking forward to collecting my TIPSrewards (tm) points. With 2000 points you get a shiny new pair of jack boots, which is great since I just wore a hole in mine last week.
posted by ewagoner at 2:10 PM on July 17, 2002


I can't believe how poorly conceived TIPS is. I can just picture disgruntled postal workers having a field day with this.

If you have done nothing bad or are not planning to then there should be nothing to worry about. Might prevent some pervs from messing about. God sees all. And we can help Him

Postroad, I think you just officially declared your senility.
posted by artifex at 2:12 PM on July 17, 2002


Someone should notify Snitch Report that Ashcroft's Merry Men have stolen their idea.
posted by astruc at 2:28 PM on July 17, 2002


Well, we don't have to worry about disgruntled Postal workers joining TIPS at least. They've announced they want no part of it.
posted by Orb at 2:50 PM on July 17, 2002


I shudder to think what some idiots would make of my library...but I'm fairly sure it would land me on a list somewhere. Thank goodness it's in a room where the cable guy never needs to go.
i realize you are just being a little flippant, and i'm NOT picking on you, dejah420, but - no. no. no. f*ck the cable guy. you are entitled to your library. this is a free country. unless you loudly and forcefully defend your right to your library you may eventually be imprisoned for possessing it. put the books on the front porch and post the titles on a 20 foot banner. i don't know who the f*ck bush, cheney and asscroft think they are, but unless we TELL THEM WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY ARE ALLOWED TO DO, they will go ahead and be and do whatever they can get away with. i was frightened watching the planes crash into the towers - i am terrified watching our leaders react to it. terrified and enraged. again i say, f*ck the cable guy! to be grateful that the cable guy can't see your library is to be a passive sheep standing by as your rights are steamrollered. the patriot act, the homeland security boondoggle (.pdf), the citizen corps, the volunteers in police service, the life sentence for using another's computer login - these things MUST BE REVERSED AND THEY MUST BE REVERSED NOW!
so much for quonsar's intent to be a thoughtful, reflective poster. the situation calls for some slash and burn...
posted by quonsar at 2:50 PM on July 17, 2002


My favorite quote from the article Orb linked to:

Attorney General John Ashcroft's spokeswoman said that the program, still in the development stage, would set up people to spy upon one another in their homes and communities.

Fark!
posted by donkeyschlong at 2:57 PM on July 17, 2002


Some food for thought about civilians as informers, about a large number of informers... From the book "Republic of Fear, The Politics of Modern Iraq" by Kanan Makiya (originally published under the name Samir al-Khalil, a pseudonym):

"Nothing fragments group solidarity and self-confidence like the gnawing suspicion of having an informer in your midst. Therefore, to the extent that the public polices itself - a function of the number of informers - it inevitably disintegrates as an entity in its own right, separated from those who rule over it. Informer networks invade privacy and choke off all willingness to act in public or reflect upon politics, replacing these urges with a now deeply instilled caution. In so doing they destroy the reality of the public domain, relegating what little remains to a dark and shadowy existence. In such a world the more well-known violence of state institutions - executions, "disappearances", murders, reprisals, torture - take on a new societal meaning. Nothing is as it seems, and nothing can be taken for granted. (Page 63 - edition 1989.)"

"The Ba'thist [the party in power in Iraq - IB] postulate that society depends for its very existence on having an unbreachable basic moral norm entails as a necessary consequence that all deviance is immediately and directly an act of treason. The new Arab order must be a seamless moral web. This is the fundamental source of the party's coherence, and its license to violence. (Page 206.)"

"Once political identity is accepted as belief in an absolute moral imperative, and once morality itself is seen as a striving for perfection towards an unrealizable ideal, then no aspect of conduct is in principle outside the purview of the political organization of the state. Moreover, there is no way to avoid the implication that such all-embracing interference is justified. Justice as the problem of arbitrating between claims on society (rights) never arises, and is not expected to rise. (Page 208.)"
posted by igor.boog at 3:52 PM on July 17, 2002


I know about this guy who writes bad songs, steamrolls his religion onto his staff, and performs bizarre rites, such as getting himself anointed with Wesson oil on the receipt of good news... oh wait, that's the Attorney General.
posted by clevershark at 5:20 PM on July 17, 2002


patriotic keyhole spying and giant space pyramids ??? let's face it - the new world order needs a better brand.
posted by priyanga at 5:32 PM on July 17, 2002


Postroad, I think you just officially declared your senility.

I think Postroad was making a deadpan joke.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:29 PM on July 17, 2002


I am moving out of this country; I suddenly feel a loss of hope.
posted by Kodel at 10:57 PM on July 17, 2002


Maybe I'm getting my wires crossed here but didn't we ('the west') win the Cold War with our freedom of movement, ideas & ownership? And now we have the possibility of networks of domestic informers. Spies if you like.

Why that's Calvanism Communism! [Actually, Stalinism would be a more accurate term.]

Kodel: I'd recommend The Netherlands, Sweden & New Zealand with the possibility of Australia. I'd like to recommend the UK but I get the feeling that we're not too far behind you in the population monitoring stakes. Maybe our lack of right-wing religious wingnuts may yet save the century..?

Then again, the US got thru the McCarthy era so there is always hope...
posted by i_cola at 3:53 AM on July 18, 2002


No cooperation with the US Stasi - Petition
posted by sheauga at 5:07 AM on July 18, 2002


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