“You can thank the Department of Justice’s Weed and Seed Program (for the Chosen Few conspiracy). I have been a victim of this organization and I know others who have also been targeted.
During the Bush Administration it was run by “faith based community groups”. Now they have changed their wording to just “community groups”. But what it amounted to was illegal surveillance and harassment by “respectable” community members — what amounted to vigilante justice.
They tried to run people out of town that they didn’t like. Atheists were targeted by this group in many cities. Here is the link: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ccdo/ws/welcome.html”
An interesting comment from a fellow blogger, Susan Sayler, turned my attention to a wider question. I had not heard of the “Weed and Seed” program (can’t know everything). I am disappointed but not surprised at the tendency of a government agency to seek greater and greater granularity in their quest for greater intrusion into the affairs of citizens in the name of law and order.
This appears to be an evolutionary product of the Total Information Awareness (TIA) Program developed by Adm John Poindexter and lobbied by Gen Wesley Clark (www.Acxiom) at least as early as 2002. There appear to have been concerns about personal privacy in a database of most of the population of the US that might contain items as diverse as dental x-rays, medical records, credit reports, school records. This vast database might also contain records of attendance at political rallies, statements by friends, ex-wives, tax returns, driving records, arrests, ad nauseum. Apparently, no item of information would be so insignificant that it would be excluded.
There are numerous intelligence programs that change names as often as busted massage parlors to avoid public scrutiny (eg., Carnivore). Most are classified and have avoided the notice of all (but perhaps Wikileaks).
In the case of the Weed and Seed program I see an effort by a government agency to recruit a combination of Neighborhood Watch, religious groups, meter readers, mail delivery organizations, local police, and nosy neighbors with an agenda to form a phalanx of informants to inform on anyone with closed window shades, unusual visitors, unorthodox views, or foreign appearance. These data would be useful as part of a database for mining and associating far flung items where “Total Information Awareness” is the product.
Have we come to the point where our “freedom” depends on not popping up in a database that feeds a “do not fly” list or possibly on a “detain during civil disturbance list.” Has it been so long ago that the Japanese were detained in Manzanar? Have we not learned that even “culturally evolved” peoples are susceptible to the mass hysteria of National Socialism?