by Simon Black: Google
One of the
most terrifying aspects of George Orwell’s seminal work 1984
was his description of how society had turned into one giant police
agency. People were encouraged to rat each other out, groomed since
childhood to be unpaid government spies:
adored the Party and everything connected with it… All their
ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State,
against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was
almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own
of Homeland Security’s “If you see something, say something…”
is not too far off from this paradigm – encouraging citizens
to rat each other out to the police for the mere suspicion of potential
Janet Napolitano even made a special appearance at last Sunday’s
Super Bowl to get the message out about ‘public vigilance,’
and ensure that the entire city of Indianapolis was blanketed with
advertisements from her Big Brother campaign.
the governments newest unpaid spy: YOU
The IRS has
been encouraging this type of behavior for years, rewarding citizens
with a share of collections for anyone who snitches on potential
tax cheats. Last year the agency upped its reward payout for tax
informants, topping out at a full 30%.
A few months
ago, the Mayor of Newark, NJ announced
a similar program designed to reward citizens for snitching on gun
owners. According to the mayor, “We don’t even have to
have a conviction,” for an informant to get paid a cool $1,000
cash. Rat out your neighbor, get paid. Simple.
(As an aside,
police in neighboring East Orange, NJ have rolled out a new pre-crime
surveillance system. In the words
of Police Chief William Robinson, “The police are observing
you. The police are recording you. And the police are responding.”
Big Brother is clearly watching.)
In the financial
system, there are droves of civilian agencies that have been coerced
into becoming government spies. As we discussed a few weeks ago,
everyone from bankers to brokers to gold dealers are obliged to
submit ‘suspicious activity reports’ to the federal government.
They even have minimum quotas.
more, these so-called “SARs” must remain top-secret. It’s
a crime for your banker to inform you that you were the subject
of a suspicious activity report.
the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the federal agency
which oversees the legions of unpaid government spies, added a few
more businesses to the list.
Now non-bank mortgage lenders and originators must ‘assist
law enforcement’ by submitting suspicious activity reports.