A new FBI initiative based on Britain’s “anti-terror” mass surveillance program instructs high schools across America to inform on students who express “anti-government” and “anarchist” political beliefs.
“High school students are ideal targets for recruitment by violent extremists seeking support for their radical ideologies, foreign fighter networks, or conducting acts of targeted violence within our borders. High schools must remain vigilant in educating their students about catalysts that drive violent extremism and the potential consequences of embracing extremist belief,” states an unclassified document released in January by the FBI’s Office of Partner Engagement, the agency’s primary liaison for the law enforcement community.
The document claims public school educators “are in a unique position to affect change, impart affirmative messaging, or facilitate intervention activities,” including informing on students. It calls for “observing and assessing concerning behaviors and communications” of students “embracing extremist ideologies.”
In addition to “designated foreign terrorist organizations,” the FBI program targets “domestic violent extremism movements,” including anti-government groups.
According to the FBI “some adults embrace domestic violent extremist ideologies [and] their beliefs can permeate family norms, oftentimes influencing their children. This dynamic fosters biases leading to hatred and intolerance, and drives the need for action.”
Conflating Sovereign Citizens and Constitutionalists
The FBI and federal and local law enforcement groups categorize many libertarian, constitutionalist and other groups and individuals as “sovereign citizens.”
According to an FBI counterterrorism analysis, sovereign citizens “may refer to themselves as ‘constitutionalists’ or ‘freemen,’ which is not necessarily a connection to a specific group, but, rather, an indication that they are free from government control.”
The FBI considers the Redemption Theory (the abandonment of the gold standard in favor of fiat currency), emancipation “from the responsibilities of being a U.S. citizen, including paying taxes,” and “conspiracy theories,” including the formation of global government and a police state, as indicators of extremist or sovereign citizen ideology.
A National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) report produced by the Office of University Programs, Science and Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security in 2014 lists sovereign citizens as the primary domestic terror threat in the United States, followed by Islamic jihadists, “militia/patriot” and “extreme anti-tax” groups.
The document attempts to persuade law enforcement that sovereign citizens are a direct threat to them. “Such changing perceptions about what is a serious terrorist threat is an important finding because identifying and prioritizing a threat is akin to hitting a moving target and evolves as new intelligence, data, and events develop,” the START report argues.
The FBI high school informer network initiative is part of a larger effort “identifying and prioritizing” supposed threats.
The FBI initiative—the latest manifestation of the “see something, say something” surveillance matrix—further engenders a government informant culture that shares a parallel with East Germany’s “Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter” or informal collaborator culture.
This Stasi network served as a primary instrument of repression in communist East Germany. The government forged partnerships with business, state institutions and social organizations. It is estimated that the Stasi had an informal collaborator or informant network exceeding 624,000 people (in 1989, at the height of Stasi power, the population of East Germany was 16.5 million).
Former intelligence professionals are well aware the United States is on its way to becoming a totalitarian high-tech surveillance state that will soon rival the East German variant.
In January 2015 a delegation of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence—which included ex-officers from the NSA, CIA and British MI5—visited the Stasi museum in Berlin.
“As the former intelligence officers-turned-whistleblowers walked among the well-preserved offices and conference rooms of a former totalitarian state’s internal spy apparatus,” writes Elizabeth Murray, who served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council, “the sense of deja vu and irony of what the United States of America has become was clearly not lost on any of them.”