July 01, 2004

Thousands of truckers, bus drivers and rest-stop workers are being enlisted to spot terrorists. It sounds like Operation TIPS is back. Can I have a Junior Homeland Security Fun Kit?
  • Listen, you terrorist mother fucka'. Don't you know it's too hot out for a jacket?
  • "I'll be honest. They know they're not welcome at truck stops. There's still a lot of animosity toward Islamics." Eddie Dean of Fort Smith, Ark., also has little doubt about his ability to identify Muslims: "You can tell where they're from. You can hear their accents. They're not real clean people." Score more PR points for Arkansas!
  • "They're not real clean people." That's funny. Muslims take personal hygiene very seriously. Mebbe they should hold a "Turban Recognition" course.
  • Do Muslim's wear turbans as religious gear? I thought that was more of a Hindu thing. I just thought many Arab muslims wore headgear as an environmental necessity of being nomadic desert dwellers.
  • I wonder if they're also on the lookout for these guys.
  • Man, I pity the people who have to filter the calls coming in. There's gonna be a whole lot of noise ('white noise', perhaps? - pun intended) for intel of limited value. Then again, the best leads can come from random encounters and people in the gutter. You can't sit at a desk in quantico or langley and expect to catch terrorists. I also wonder what war crimes Beatty committed. Ex-FBI, ex-CIA, ex-Delta commander, now giving 'tutorials' on using truckers as random intel sources. He should be out overthrowing governments, or at the very least have a cushy private-industry job. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how long this op will last? (sidenote: I've always associated turbans with Sikhs, since it's universal among males - I believe - whereas only certain muslim sub-sets wear turbans as a show of faith. Not sure on the Hindu take.)
  • Sikhs (the men) are the only religion to wear turbans as part of their religious observance.
  • It's been hard to watch my government and country careen out of control in the years since 9/11. There have been alot of lousy days. But the very lowest point of all for me was the night I first heard about Operation TIPS. I was just stunned. I couldn't believe we were going to embrace a method of social control that was so loathsome and so common among the world's most horrible regimes (including Hussein's Iraq!). As the article notes, forces from the right and left managed to kill Operation TIPS. But it doesn't stay dead. It keeps coming back in things like Matrix, CAPPS II, and now Highway Watch. And I'm ashamed to admit this but each time it does, I'm a little less outraged than the time before. And I suspect that's probably their plan, to roll out one spy program after another until no one wants to fight them anymore. Or until they achieve "total awareness" incrementally despite public opposition. Either way, I no longer have any doubts that they will eventually create the police state they so desperately desire. It makes me sad in a way that nothing else does.
  • The FBI's complaint about John Ashcroft and the Patriot Act was that they were looking for needles in haystacks and Ashcroft was adding more hay. It's easy to see now why these feds were so concerned.
  • Divide and rule -- old policy that still seems to work, alas.