Your friendly community spies

By Berit Kjos - July 16, 2002

Public outcry crushed the TIPS program but not the government's quest for community surveillance and  information control.


Homeland Security


"Reinforce the philosophy that citizens are the eyes and ears of the community." [1] Community Based Policing

"The recent brainstorm by the Justice Department to enlist couriers, meter readers, cable installers and telephone repairment to snoop on people's private lives for anything 'suspicious' dredged a cold and until now forgotten feeling from the pit of my stomach."[2] Michele Kayal, former news editor in Czechoslovakia.

"...the TIPS program will be coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was given sweeping new powers, including internment...."[9] Ritt Goldstein, US planning to recruit one in 24 Americans as citizen spies.

Could your local letter carrier be a spy for the U.S. Department of Justice? Starting in August, might he snoop in your mail or report "suspicious activities" behind your back?

Maybe. Though the U.S. Postal Service opted out of this intrusive program on July 17, it reconsider its wise decision the next day.

And don't rule out the utility workers, teamsters or meter readers who serve your home and community. If they are numbered among the one million neighborhood spies hired by our government as part of a pilot project, they may well be keeping an eye on your family and activities. What's more, their subjective observations could wind up in the massive national and international networks of databanks tracking human resources around the world.

Hard to believe?  Then visit the Bush administration's Citizen Corps website. It introduces a government operation called TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System) that will be launched in August. There, we learn that -

"...the Terrorism Information and Prevention System - will be a nationwide program giving millions of American truckers, letter carriers, train conductors, ship captains, utility employees, and others a formal way to report suspicious terrorist activity. Operation TIPS, a project of the U.S. Department of Justice, will begin as a pilot program in 10 cities that will be selected.

"Operation TIPS, involving 1 million workers in the pilot stage, will be a national reporting system that allows these workers, whose routines make them well-positioned to recognize unusual events, to report suspicious activity....  Everywhere in America, a concerned worker can call a toll-free number and be connected directly to a hotline...."[3] Read the note.

Perhaps our government assumes that people are too afraid of terrorism -- or too oblivious to the recent history of totalitarian oppression -- to see the threats behind this program. But ignorance is never bliss to those who have faced the tyranny of Nazism, the cruelties of Soviet socialism or the betrayal of civilian spies who masquerade as trusted neighbors.

The last of those practices is being revived in China as well as in America. In an article titled "China's Neighborly Snoops Reinvent Themselves," Eric Eckholm wrote,

“The old ‘neighborhood committees’ that watched over every household are among the more obnoxious memories of the early decades of Communist rule. Staffed… by one’s nosiest neighbors, the committees were empowered to scrutinize every visitor, report every antisocial activity and even monitor pregnancies…. 

      "With the decline of Marxist fervor… the committees waned…. Now, with experiments in Shenyang and 19 other cities, the government is trying to reinvent this venerable institution."[4]

I barely remember the last year of World War II. Hitler's forces had occupied Norway, and my father faced torture and probable death in a Nazi concentration camp for his part in the Norwegian resistance movement. My grandparents' homes had been confiscated by Nazi officials and their sympathizers who had succumbed to the politically correct dogma and heady promises of power and prosperity.

Neighbors were afraid to trust each other. A chilling message on a plaque in the "Nazi Propaganda" section of the Holocaust Museum (Washington DC) explains why:

"The Gestapo gathered much of its information from private citizens. Even children were taught to report on their parents. The Gestapo's main sources, however, were Nazi party officials who constantly monitored the activities of all citizens [and] used such information to track political opponents."

Could this be happening in America? Strange as it seems, it could. And with today's sophisticated information and surveillance technology, no one would be free from the prying eyes of an intrusive government and its willing servants. Consider these reasons:

1. The blueprint for social control and loss of freedom was drawn decades ago. In 1934, former NEA Executive Secretary Willard Givens warned that "...all of us, including the 'owners', must be subjected to a large degree of social control... the major function of the school is the social orientation of the individual. It must seek to give him understanding of the transition to a new social order." [see Chronology] The leader of the powerful National Education Association would have been pleased with our "progress."

Two years earlier, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World had shed some light on the change process. The masses would have to be so addicted to pleasure and so dulled by trivial pursuits that few would resist the envisioned transformation.[5] Like the proverbial frog, the masses would barely notice the rising heat.

2. School children are trained to tattle on each other. While the 9-11 crisis conveniently prepared the adult masses to accept oppressive controls, the promotion of community spies had already begun to change the minds of our children. Bolstered by the school shootings of recent years, our government put increasing pressure on students, as well as staff, to report all activities that fit a new list of politically incorrect behaviors and attitudes.

To the dismay of agencies that sought more control, many children resisted telling on their friends. "It's the same story over and over," said June Arnette, associate director of the National Schools Safety Center (NSSC), "They don't want to be a snitch."[6]

Even so, the NSSC's guidelines call for tattling on friends and relatives as well as strangers. Its "40 promising strategies" includes social tactics that match UN strategies for conforming "the mental health of the population"[7] to global standards. For example, tactic No. 6 prompts educators to "Encourage students to report any suspicious individuals on school grounds. Provide students and staff with a toll-free, anonymous hotline."[8]

3. The neighborhood spies extends a pattern already tested in schools. When students use those anonymous "hot-lines" to report on classmates, they are not asked to prove their suspicions nor back accusations with witnesses. While most of the student informers probably tell the truth, others could feed slanderous reports into the government's life-long file on someone who happens to offend them. [See Zero Tolerance For Non-Compliance] The victim would never see the message or be able to set the record straight.

"Lifelong learning" is key to the international education system that links American education to the UNESCO blueprint. All people - from cradle to grave - become part of a system intent on producing "responsible" global citizens for the global community. Promoting solidarity by reporting non-compliance is part of that responsibility.

In his article, "US planning to recruit one in 24 Americans as citizen spies," investigative journalist Ritt Goldstein includes this warning:    

"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."[9]

4. "Mental Health" and "hate crimes" policies promote such reporting. At the 1997 White House conference on Hate Crimes, former President Clinton announced that "The Justice Department will make its own hate crimes training curriculum available. A lot of hate crimes still go unreported.... If a crime is unreported, that gives people an excuse to ignore it." Then he announced a Justice Department website which invites children to tell "trusted adults" about "hateful" or exclusive expressions they might hear at home -- such as a negative comment about unbiblical lifestyles.[10]

The UN plan for "Healthy Cities and Communities" makes this kind of "prevention" a personal duty. "I challenge our young people to realize their important role in this seamless system," said former DHHS Secretary Donna Shalala at the 1996 National Children’s Mental Health Initiative. "Many times, you as friends are the strongest link in the chain of contact. You know best when your brother, your sister or your friend is facing problems..."[11]

Her call for young spies goes far beyond the need to stop violence, and each dramatic social crisis justifies more government control. We shouldn’t be surprised. "Brother will betray brother..." warned Jesus, "and children will rise up against parents.... And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake." Mark 13:12-13

5. All must be included in the global network of data banks. On July 16, 1996, President Clinton signed Executive Order #13011, creating a massive new bureaucracy with authority to manage "Federal Information Technology." It links the data gathered by the health, education, and labor departments to the data accessible to the FBI, CIA, EPA, other federal agencies and international data systems.

Standing alone, this executive order might raise little alarm. But examined in the light of UN documents and stated government intentions, it looks ominous. The UN has called for a sophisticated international computerized information system that would (1) disseminate its politically correct data and pseudo-scientific risk assessments into every community, (2) build consensus based on its visions, goals, values, and choices, then (3) monitor individual and collective compliance everywhere--including our homes.

That data tracking system was mandated in the Beijing Platform for Action, the official UN document signed by the nations at the close of the 1995 UN Conference for Women. "Develop gender-sensitive databases, information and monitoring systems," it states. It calls for the "consistent flow of information" among "national, subregional/regional [FEMA?] and international institutions" - all under the watchful guidance of the United Nations Social and Economic Council. [12]

So when President Clinton established an agency to oversee the implementation of the Beijing Platform, he endorsed a system that would snoop into homes, schools and workplaces. When in place, it would monitor all citizens and organizations (including churches) for compliance with feminist views on gender and a woman's place in the family and society. [See Mine is the Power]

6.  Global surveillance networks lessen government accountability.  The EU wants communications companies to record all phone calls, e-mails, faxes and net use -- an easy challenge with today's technology.[13]  Echelon may be the most extensive global network. It allows the USA, Australia, England and Canada to bypass their own constitutional bans on domestic spying by spying for each other, then sharing the information. In other words, Canada can't spy on its own citizens, but the USA can legally spy for Canada -- making a mockery of law."


7. "Community Policing" programs have been preparing people to accept neighborhood spies.  The website for the San Mateo (CA) program explains the new policy: "...continued communication must be maintained with the community. Keep them informed; this provides for a sense of accomplishment and opens up the citizenry to bring forward other problems. Reinforce the philosophy that citizens are the eyes and ears of the community."[14]

To win support for its Neighborhood Watch, Community Policing Officers are told to "make periodic press releases identifying significant accomplishments or citizens who have made a difference in the community in conjunction with this program."[15] As spin artists in socialist countries discovered long ago, public celebrations serve their purpose well. Cooperative citizens must be honored and star participants celebrated.

But not by our Lord. He has a different pathway to peace and justice. Truth and love -- not gossip or guesswork -- set the standard. And secret reports from a single witness are banned from His courtroom. Ponder His instructions:

You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness." Exodus 23:1

“One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established."
Deuteronomy 19:15

“And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you."
Deuteronomy 19:18-19

"By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established."
2 Corinthians 13:1

"For the commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' 'You shall not covet,' and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”
Romans 13:9

While Jesus has fulfilled the old Levitical laws by giving His own life, the Old Testament's moral laws still stand. Affirmed by the New Testament, they call us to follow the way of Biblical love and justice, not today's distorted socialist interpretation of justice that justifies slander and bends God's truth.


But following God in a nation trained to love pleasure and safety more than truth and integrity will be costly. History shows the high price of uncompromising faithfulness to the Lord we love. Through the centuries, man's natural aversion for His humble path has stirred rage, slander and outright persecution. But never before has the offended world been given such an opportunity to gratify their grudges without facing the consequences.


Yet, we need not fear.  "In the world you will have tribulation," said Jesus to His followers, "but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33

See also No Place to Hide | A Terrorist? Me? | Community Oriented Policing

Who is Reading Your E-Mail? | A National Information System


1. Community Based Policing @

2.  Michele Kayal, former news editor of the Prague Post, faced accusations based on neighborhood snoops while living in Czechoslovakia in the early nineties. New York Times, July 26, 2002.

3.The Citizen Corps website had been changd by August 12. The two paragraphs quoted above came from: But this page has been rewritten. Compare the earlier statement with this new information at the same url: "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." 

4.Eric Eckholm, "China's Neighborly Snoops Reinvent Themselves," The New York Times International, April 11, 2000.

5.Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death (New York: Viking Penguin, Inc., 1985), vii-viii.

6.  Violence highlights dilemma of `snitches', San Jose Mercury News, 11 March 2001.

7. On its website, Nations for Mental Health, an international  networking arm of the World Health Organization, states: "Governments will be assisted to formulate, implement, monitor and evaluate mental health policies.... Mental health policies should enable all individuals whose mental health is disturbed or whose psychological balance may be compromised... to promote the optimal development of the mental health of the population." This information has been available at which is now closed to public access. See  The UN Plan for Your Mental Health.


9. Ritt Goldstein, US planning to recruit one in 24 Americans as citizen spies," July 15, 2002 at

10. Clinton's War on Hate Bans Christian Values

11.Donna Shalala: This link is now obsolete, but you can find a longer section of her talk at The UN Plan for Your Mental Health.

12. The Beijing Platform for Action, #258, #288 and #314.

13. "EU condemned over planned 'snoop laws'" at

14. Community Based Policing @

15. Community Policing Officers at

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