Airport-style announcements encouraging Americans to “report suspicious activity” in the name of spotting terrorists are now being played in thousands of hotels across America as the Department of Homeland Security’s domestic snitch program expands.
As a result of the DHS’ partnership with media provider LodgeNet Interactive, “TV systems in more than 5,500 hotels began showing public service announcements that encourage anyone observing suspicious activity to immediately report it to the proper authorities. The videos are being shown on a free promotional and information channel that is part of LodgeNet TV systems and appears when the guest room TV is turned on.”
A DHS Hotel & Lodging Advisory flyer filmed inside a hotel in Orlando Florida lists, “visitor attitudes overtly concerned with privacy” as a sign of terrorism, as well as “denial of access to a room,” or guests who take photos and video footage.
Exactly what constitutes “suspicious activity” was also outlined in a previous Homeland Security PSA entitled ‘No Reservations – Suspicious Behavior in Hotels’, which encourages hotel employees and guests to be on the lookout for terrorists.
Banal activities such as paying for a room with cash, even if the individual presents ID, or being “nervous,” were characterized as a suspicious behavior indicative of terrorism by the DHS as part of the federal agency’s ‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign. The clips shows a hotel manager calling the police after a guest says he doesn’t use credit cards.
This is merely one example of a huge network of citizen snoops being recruited to spy on the American people, despite the fact that you are more likely to be killed by intestinal illnesses, allergic reactions to peanuts, bee stings, drowning in the bath, or accident-causing deer than by terrorists.
As we have documented, every historical example of such informant programs illustrates that they never lead to a more secure society, but instead breed suspicion, distrust, fear and resentment amongst the population. The only “benefit” that such programs have ever achieved is allowing the state to more easily identify and persecute political dissidents while discouraging the wider population from engaging in any criticism against the government.
Over the past few years, we have highlighted innumerable other examples of how the DHS and other federal agencies are turning the citizens against each other and in the process distracting them from a far bigger threat – corruption and malfeasance within government itself.
– Rental car companies and other retailers are now asking customers a laundry list of questions to ascertain whether they could be terrorists in response to a joint FBI and DHS bulletin which characterized activity such as paying with cash or being “overly concerned about privacy” as a potential indication of terrorism.
– Large cable television companies in the United States are training their employees to look for suspicious behaviorand report it to police under the guise of neighborhood watch initiatives that have their origins in a 2002 program named Operation TIPS. The program was supposedly nixed by Congress yet continues in a myriad of other forms under the auspices of the DHS, including programs that train garbage men to spot terrorists during their rounds.
– In July 2008, we reported on how hundreds of police, firefighters, paramedics and utility workers were trained and dispatched as “Terrorism Liaison Officers” in Colorado, Arizona and California to watch for “suspicious activity” which is later fed into a secret government database.
– An FBI advisory aimed at Internet Cafe owners as part of the Communities Against Terrorism (CAT) program instructs businesses to report people who regularly use cash to pay for their coffee as potential terrorists.
– Under the same program, the FBI also defines bulk buying of food as a sign of potential terrorism and encourages retailers to report such behavior to the authorities.
– DHS promotional videos for the ‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign have portrayed routine behavior as suspicious, including opposing surveillance, using a video camera, talking to police officers, wearing hoodies, driving vans, writing on a piece of paper, and using a cell phone recording application.
– During last year’s Super Bowl, the DHS trained thousands of fast food sellers and other vendors to spot terrorists under the “First Observer” program.
– As part of the ‘See Something, Say Something’ program, Walmart stores across the country play an Orwellian video message featuring Janet Napolitano which encourages shoppers to spy on their fellow citizens.