Monday, 27 February 2012

Paying Cash for that Latte? It May Land You on FBI's Terrorist List

Written by 

Internet CafeDid you pay cash for that latte this morning at the Starbuck's drive-through? Well, that smiling lady who handed you your frothy espresso and your change may have been taking down your license plate as you drove off —  before jumping on the phone to report your "suspicious activity" to the FBI.

Really? Yes, crazy as it sounds, in our post-9/11 snitch/spy/surveillance society, if you "always pay cash," you may be marked as a potential terrorist. That's according to an FBI flyer that appears to be aimed at proprietors and employees of Internet cafés. The single-page flyer (see below), entitled "Communities Against Terrorism: Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Internet Café," asks: "What Should I Consider Suspicious?" The flyer then answers that people should be viewed with suspicion if they:

"Are overly concerned about privacy, attempts [sic] to shield the screen from view of others."

That's the first of six bullet points that are considered "indicators of potential terrorist activities."

The next bullet point indicator targets people who "always pay cash or use credit card(s) in different name(s)."

Internet Cafe flyerSo, if you are security conscious about your computer screen because you are concerned about preventing identity theft, or if you simply don't want busybodies and snoops minding your private business, you may wind up on an FBI terrorist suspect list. Ditto if you carry on your daily transactions with cash, whether it's because you're trying to avoid paying banking fees associated with plastic cards, are trying to avoid credit card debt, or because you value your privacy.

Paying with cash is a suspicion marker that appears on many of the 25 flyers that are part of the "Communities Against Terrorism" series sponsored by the FBI and the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), and various regional and state agencies. At least they appear to be officially sponsored by the FBI and BJA. However, although the flyers have been treated as authentic in many media stories, The New American has not yet been able to locate them on an official FBI, BJA, or other governmental website, nor have we received unequivocal confirmation from official spokespersons that they are authentic.

The entire series of 25 flyers or bulletins are available here on the website. In addition to the flyer on Internet cafés, there are separate flyers aimed at supposedly suspicious activity concerning electronics stores, home improvement stores, farm supply stores, boat/dive shops, financial institutions, beauty/drug suppliers, hobby shops, rental cars, hotels/motels, storage facilities, shopping malls, and tattoo shops.

Considering that the flyers have received substantial mention in media and Internet circles, we were surprised that our initial inquiries with federal agencies met with "never heard of it" responses from the public affairs officers at the DOJ, BJA, FBI, and the Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC), which is the Los Angeles-based federal-state-local "fusion center" that is listed on the FBI/BJA Internet café flyer. However, we did receive a confirmation of sorts on a call back from FBI public affairs spokesperson Cathy Wright in Washington, D.C. Although she wouldn't vouch for the authenticity of any of the 25 flyers posted on the website, she did confirm that an Internet café flyer was produced by the FBI several years ago. The one that has been appearing in various places on the Internet says in small print at the bottom of the page: "This project was supported by Grant Number 2007-MU-BX-K002, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice."

That document and other similar ones, said Wright, "were not intended for general public distribution," but were intended, rather, for law enforcement. However, this reporter pointed out that the text clearly is aimed at the public, not law enforcement. Many of the flyers state, for instance, under the heading "What Should I Do?":

"If something seems wrong, notify law enforcement authorities. Do not jeopardize your safety or the safety of others."

Obviously, if the target audience of the flyers were law enforcement agencies, they wouldn't be instructing the recipients to "notify law enforcement authorities."

The flyer goes on to state: "Preventing terrorism is a community effort. By learning what to look for, you can make a positive contribution in the fight against terrorism. The partnership between the community and law enforcement is essential to the success of anti-terrorism efforts."

These and other statements indicate the flyers obviously are meant for public distribution. Could Wright provide any information as to whether the FBI distributed these flyers to Internet cafés? And, if so, how was this done and how widespread was this effort? Wright would not go off script; she repeated her earlier assertion that the flyers were not intended for general distribution but for law enforcement, and should be seen in light of the FBI's broader overall effort to create awareness about terrorism.

Although Wright would not categorically affirm or deny the authenticity of the specific collection of 25 flyers posted on, she did confirm that she was not aware that the FBI had contested or challenged any of the flyers as being fabrications or falsified documents. This comports with our own failed Internet searches to locate any official statements denying or contesting the authenticity of the flyers. This, in absence of an official statement one way or the other, indicates that the documents, most likely, are authentic.

As such, the FBI/BJA flyers constitute more evidence — as if more were needed — that the Obama administration is continuing along the same destructive path trod by the Clinton and Bush administrations before it in terms of recruiting Americans into the un-American snitch/spy/surveillance networks the federal government is constructing, ostensibly to protect us against the threat of terrorism.

The FBI/BJA flyers are evidence that the communist-style citizen-spy program known as Operation TIPS proposed by the Bush administration has continued in spirit, if not in name, even though it was officially dropped due to the controversy and public opposition it generated. In an article entitled "Trading Freedom for Security," in May 2003, we wrote:

Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information & Prevention System): This Bush-Ashcroft plan envisioned a national neighborhood spy system "for reporting suspicious and potentially terrorist-related activity." The TIPS goal was to enlist "millions of American workers," such as postal employees, truck drivers, utility workers, delivery drivers, and others. Widespread public opposition to this chilling mimicry of Nazi and Communist police-state practices caused the administration formally to drop this program. However, postal employees and other federal workers say that their management has still encouraged them to carry out the spirit of the program.

The citizen-spy army envisioned by Operation TIPS was an adjunct to the massive data mining program known as Total Information Awareness (TIA) launched by the Bush administration under the guidance of Admiral John Poindexter. This Orwellian program even featured the infamous Illuminati symbol of the all-seeing eye as its logo. (See "Watching Your Every Move.")

The FBI/BJA flyers continue in the tradition of other alarming government reports that have surfaced over the past several years, providing evidence of a determined effort by certain federal authorities to deprive Americans of their liberties by designating common and constitutionally-protected activities as being associated with terrorism and terrorists. In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security libeled millions of American military veterans and political/social conservatives with the release of its report, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."

Similarly, the 2009 report, "The Modern Militia Movement" aimed at demonizing and criminalizing conservatives as dangerous individuals who should be viewed as nascent terrorists by law enforcement.

Related articles:

Sheriff Uses Air Force Drone to Track Suspects

New DHS Domestic Terrorism Report Targets Millions of Americans

Profiling and Criminalizing Political Dissent

Do You Fit the Terrorist Profile?

Watching Your Every Move

Trading Freedom for Security

TSA: Airports Are Only the Beginning

Report: Homeland Security Compiling TSA Enemies List

Congressional Report: TSA Useless Despite $60 Billion

Please review our Comment Policy before posting a comment

Affiliates and Friends

Social Media