The Stasi Is Coming! The Stasi Is Coming!

For those of you who need a history lesson, the Stasi was the secret police force of the East German government, active from 1950-1989 at the height of the Cold War. Their primary objective? Spying on the East German people. At the apex of their power, they had one informant for every 66 residents. If you add in the part-time snoops, the number becomes shocking--one for every 6.5 residents.

The Stasi infiltrated every aspect of society. There was at least one informant in every apartment building. Schools and offices were packed to the gills with spies. Telephone lines were tapped and all mail was inspected. The Stasi even recruited clergy of all denominations and peppered their confessionals and offices with listening devices. They compiled records on six million East Germans, roughly 1/3 of the population. Torture was considered an acceptable way of obtaining information.

The beginnings of a modern-day Stasi can be seen at the new government website, CitizenCorps. Operation TIPS is particularly alarming. Its stated goal is "[G]iving millions of American truckers, letter carriers, train conductors, ship captains, utility employees, and others a formal way to report suspicious terrorist activity."

It is obvious to us why the government wishes to recruit those who hold such jobs. Not for some mental talent inherent in such workers, but for their mobility. They can go from home to home and state to state unobtrusively while gathering information. My congratulations to President Dick Cheney and his assistant Shrub Bush for concocting such a well-made plan.

So why is this plan so gosh darn scary? Because in among all these "terrorists" are millions of peace loving, upright Americans who have to undergo the surveillance of government agents in their own home. Reports would go into a national database to be called up at will, for any or no reason whatsoever.

The validity of these reports must be questioned. We have all heard experts testify that the value of eyewitness reports is little to none. Even if something is going on, can we trust government informants to get anything right? There is also the possibility that such "tipsters" could embellish the truth, or even make up false reports. Can anyone see where this is going?

According to the Operation TIPS web page, the initial phase will employ one million spies divided among 10 cities. Considering the size of some of the government's agencies today, it is easy to realize just how many people will be employed before Americans wake up to and protest against the abuses that they will suffer under this agency, a subsidy of the Department of "Justice."

So what can you do to counter this attack on our liberties? Well, one thing's for sure; don't bother writing your Congressman. Better yet, don't accept any sort of service from a man whose truck bears the sticker (and yes, it will have a sticker) of this new agency. Dissuade your postal worker friends from signing up for this program. Get the word out to all your coworkers. America may yet redeem itself. Unfortunately, this has yet to be seen.

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Amanda Bowen's picture
Columns on STR: 10

Amanda Bowen is an unaverage high school student who hopes one day to pursue a life of study.