Friday, March 29, 2013

FEMA's guide to reporting suspicious activity openly encourages Americans to spy on each other.

Suspicious Activity Defined: (Where everyone in the US could be a terrorist, does this sound familiar? Regimes like Nazi Germany or the USSR encouraged the public to spy on its citizens.)

The Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative defines suspicious activity as “observed behavior reasonably indicative of pre-operational planning related to terrorism or other criminal activity.” IACP’s primary research found that most individuals rely on a combination of factors when determining if an activity, behavior, or object is suspicious and merits reporting to the authorities. These factors are:

• Concern about the potential for harm to the community. (How could a person holding a camera  harm the community?)
• Belief that the information may be useful to law enforcement. (A person's beliefs are enough to label someone suspicious?)
• Personal observation of activities. (CITIZENS SPYING on one another)
• Personal instinct. (If a cop or citizen has a feeling you're suspicious, that's good enough?)
• The agreement of others nearby that something isn’t right. (Paranoia 101, if your spouse or friends have a feeling, you're a suspicious person, that's good enough.)

-Suspicious activities in and of themselves may not always be criminal, but when combined with other activities may be precursors to a larger criminal or terrorist plot. This can include asking questions beyond mere curiosity about a building’s operations, security, or infrastructure such that a reasonable person would consider the activity suspicious. Suspicious objects may include bags, suitcases, packages, cars, and other objects that are left unattended or seem out of place in the surroundings. (The list is purposefully vague and meant to imply anyone, anywhere could be suspicious)

-Suspicious activity, behaviors, or objects may occur or be observed in areas around critical infrastructure. This includes transportation systems, power and electrical plants, hospitals, banking institutions, and other facilities that are considered essential for the functioning of society and economy. Increasingly, terrorists around the world are focusing on “soft targets” – locations with less political significance but typically with large amounts of people. These may include hotels, tourist attractions, and outdoor markets. Suspicious activity can occur anywhere – in residential neighborhood, rural areas, or larger metropolitan areas. (Could this include taking pictures of buildings, trains etc.? Don't believe it, then checkout Photography Is Not A Crime)

-Share the DHS “If You See Something, Say Something” video with community members for an overview of suspicious behaviors. (Let's have a community meeting & encourage paranoia, sorry I  mean spying on our fellow Americans)

- Caution people to keep a safe distance from, and never approach, a person that appears to be engaged in suspicious activity. If safe to do so, the observer should consider the entire situation and take note of additional observations before calling authorities. Terrorism planning involves the intent to commit a criminal act and it is the responsibility of law enforcement officials to determine if a report of suspicious activity builds enough cause for investigation. Individuals should not hesitate to report suspicious activity. (Call the police & report what you feel is suspicious, don't worry trust your feelings. Want to get rid of your annoying neighbor? Just report their activity as suspicious & they'll be put on a terrorist watch list)

-Consider any large dams, military bases, or bridges in your community. Your local emergency management office can tell you more about critical infrastructure concerns. By including information about local concerns into messaging, agencies can help residents better understand these issues and larger terrorist threats. Consider reaching out specifically to residents near local critical infrastructure to encourage them to partner in awareness efforts. (Taking pictures of bridges, dams etc. could label you as a terrorist)

-Encourage business owners and managers to train employees. Front line employees such as maids, clerks, receptionists, and parking attendants often have the most interaction with the public and are among the first to be aware of suspicious activity. It is important to familiarize them with the types of industry-specific suspicious activities, behaviors, or objects that they may encounter. (Encourage employees  to spy on citizens & treat them with suspicion? Where does this end? Do we throw away the Constitution?)

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