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Judging TIPS by its Enemies By: Michael Tremoglie
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, August 15, 2002


A recent topic of Chris Matthews’ nightly program was the president’s Terrorist Information and Prevention System (TIPS), which has been described by its opponents as a program to enlist American citizens as auxiliary spies, or ask them to engage in counterintelligence. Matthews predictably condemned the proposal. He spouted the usual canards comparing the program to a secret police, the KGB, and so forth. Of course, what would you expect from a guy who became apoplectic when then-candidate George W. Bush mentioned that Jesus Christ was his favorite philosopher? Matthews practically compared Bush to the Ayatollah Khomeini, implying he would establish a theocracy.

The most interesting aspect of Matthews’ hysterical response to TIPS - which, beyond all the paranoia, is essentially just a national town watch program - is that he echoes the opinions of totalitarian acolytes such as Ron Daniels, Michael Ratner, Gloria LaRiva and organizations such as the ACLU. They have mischaracterized the TIPS program as citizens spying on one another rather than citizens reporting suspicious behavior. They portray TIPS as if it involved warrantless searches of property and midnight arrests of people.

The World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) described TIPS almost the exact same way as Matthews did. Does Matthews comb the WSWS for material? Democrats.com, the website for "progressive" Democrats, condemned the TIPS plan. Of course, this is the same website that stated, unequivocally, Flight 93 was shot down by order of President Bush.

Mischaracterizing Bush’s anti-terrorism policies has become a cottage industry for fanatical groups. The ACLU mischaracterized a letter sent by the Justice Department, to Arab-Americans, asking them to voluntarily report for questioning as a "round up." They have mischaracterized TIPS as "cold-war era discrimination."

How credible are these critics?

Not very when one considers that the ACLU insisted traitors such as Algier Hiss and Julius Rosenberg were victims of “cold-war era discrimination.” It was, after all, the ACLU that wanted to dissolve law enforcement’s ability to conduct surveillance. A Yale law professor, Frank Donner, who was a staunch communist, directed its political surveillance project. Donner advocated eliminating all intelligence gathering by the government.

The founder of the ACLU advocated a proletarian dictatorship. ACLU directors have routinely appeared on TV calling for imprisonment of law enforcement personnel- even before they have been indicted.

The ACLU is not an organization with a track record of objectivity or an equal concern for civil rights of all citizens.

Like the ACLU, TIPS critics such as Ron Daniels and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights are related to communist organizations or believe in communism. Like the ACLU, they are not credible about the subject of preventing terrorism.

Daniels once said that he does not know of a black terrorist organization. Somehow, Daniels did not notice the nefarious activities of the Black Liberation Army, Black Hebrew Israelites, and Hunafi Muslims. Incidentally, it was because of the ACLU that the infiltration of the Hunafi Muslims was terminated during the 1970’s. The result of this was that the Hunafi’s committed a murder during an invasion of Washington D.C.’s B’nai B’rith headquarters. A Senate committee determined that if the informant would have been active law enforcement might have prevented the murder.

Hussein Ibish is the communications director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee and yet another self-anointed sentinel of our civil liberties. In June of 2000 Ibish wrote an essay condemning the report of the National Commission on Terrorism.

Ibish wrote: "Our civil liberties and core principles of American democracy are in peril. If the recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorism are implemented, you can kiss goodbye some of your constitutional protection....The commission, appointed by Congress, released its report earlier this month. It calls for the federal government to place more wiretaps on Americans...encourage the CIA to employ known criminals and terrorists and institute a vast surveillance system for tracking foreign students....it concentrates on international terrorist attacks conducted inside the United States and exaggerates the risk of such attacks....The commission and its supporters claim that these measures are nothing new and are only slight modifications of existing policies. In truth, these radical steps would significantly damage civil liberties in the United States."

How comforting it is to know that Hussein Ibish is concerned about our civil liberties. How more comforting it would be if he were believable? Unfortunately, all Ibish did in his essay for the Progressive Media Project (just like the Democrats' Progressive Caucus) was attempt to discredit terrorist prevention policies. Notice how Ibish claimed that it concentrates on international terrorist attacks conducted inside the United States and exaggerates the risk of such attacks. I guess the commission knew more about it than he did.

Then again maybe not. Could Ibish have known about the plot? Who knows. One thing is certain - Ibish, the ACLU, and Daniels’ Center for Constitutional Rights have an axe to grind - and it isn't about protecting Americans.

What is amazing to me is that despite the largest loss of life, civilian or military, in the history of the United States by an act of war, despite the fact that more such terrorist acts will be conducted, we still have these fanatical members of the media and the intelligentsia, who believe we are more in danger of becoming a totalitarian state then we are becoming a fatality from terrorism.

The left wing opponents of TIPS are either paranoid about government or they are concerned that the government will expose their own treason. The average citizen neither wants an intrusive government nor a negligent one. These citizens need to voice their opinion. They need to express their beliefs so the politicians listen before three thousand more are killed.

Eleven months ago a few hundred cops, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines died trying to rescue their fellow citizens. The same people who totalitarians claim are attempting to eliminate American civil liberties were those who sacrificed their lives for Americans.

The approximately three thousand people killed by terrorists experienced the ultimate denial of civil liberties. Neither Ron Daniels nor Michael Ratner nor any member of the ACLU was among the rescuers.


Michael P. Tremoglie is the author of the new novel A Sense of Duty, and an ex-Philadelphia cop. E-mail him at elfegobaca@comcast.net.


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