We’re supposed to have a government of the people, for the people and by the people.

In fact, Americans are largely supposed to govern themselves in the system devised by our brilliant founders.

That is no longer the case because the U.S. government in Washington doesn’t trust its citizens.

This sad truth has become crystal clear in the wake of the terror attacks of Sept. 11. Instead of enlisting Americans to fight this evil as past governments have in times of war, this administration, with at least the tacit approval of Congress, has used the attacks as an excuse to clamp down on the civil liberties of Americans and to keep closer tabs on law-abiding citizens. At the same time, the government has demonstrated, time and time again, its own startling inability to use its vast resources to prevent massive attacks on the people and even to recognize and identify from where the threats emanate.

The latest example of the government’s alarming plans to target the entire population for more scrutiny is the Terrorism Information and Prevention System, or TIPS. Interestingly, the program came to light not through the reporting of any U.S. press outlets, but through a report in the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia and linked by WorldNetDaily.

Under plans outlined on the government’s Citizen Corps website, a pilot program launching next month will enlist some 1 million domestic informants in 10 cities to spy on the people. That could mean, if the plan is carried out nationwide, there will be a government snoop for every 24 Americans.

What that means, the Sydney Morning Herald points out, is that the U.S. would have a higher percentage of citizen informants than the former East Germany through the dreaded Stasi secret police. At least 4 percent of Americans would participate in TIPS, under the government’s plan.

The TIPS snoops will be recruited by the Department of Justice from among citizens whose work provides access to homes, businesses and transport systems – such as letter carriers, utility employees, truck drivers and train conductors.

The informants’ reports will enter databases for future reference and possible action within the Justice Department, related agencies and local police forces. Of course, the targets of such spying will have no knowledge of the dossiers being maintained on them.

All this, of course, also comes in the context of other ominous legislation such as the Patriot Act, which permits a person’s home to be searched without his or her knowledge. Bugs can be planted, papers can be seized – all prima facie violations of the Fourth Amendment.

Is this America?

What’s going on here?

The government hardly has a sterling track record with its paid employees. What makes it think it will get good information from a network of voluntary informants? What’s to prevent these people from acting out on grudges with neighbors? How can the information, to be widely shared within government circles and agencies, be verified and ascertained to be legitimate?

These are just some of the questions raised by this dangerous trend toward government non-accountability.

Government plans demonstrate we are clearly moving to an us-against-them mentality. These plans are not designed to protect the citizens of the United States, they are designed to protect government from the people.

Besides making all of us more fearful of our own government, this plan will have the added effect of making us all suspicious of those around us – our mailman, our meter reader, even the friendly train conductor. That’s what happened in East Germany and in other totalitarian countries that instituted such draconian plans.

No matter how friendly a face the government attempts to put on this program, it is not going to fly in the USA. Let the word go out now to one and all who might be tempted to participate in such a program – we don’t like domestic spies in the United States. We don’t like rats. We don’t like snitches. We don’t like snoops. We don’t like them and we don’t need them – not here. Not in America. Not now. Not ever.

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