Do You Like to Watch?
Do you like to watch things?
Do you think that being nosy is a positive personality trait?
Did you tattle on your siblings and friends to authority figures when you were a child?
Do you like to spy on your neighbors with a high-powered telescope when their curtains are drawn and load moaning noises can be heard from their bedroom at night?
If so, the Los Angeles Police Department has just the thing for you!
It’s called iWatch. It’s a LAPD program to recruit people to report on any “suspicious activity” involving potential acts of terrorism.
iWatch is like a neighborhood crime watch program only applied to the vast metropolis that is the city of Los Angeles. The LAPD website explains:
iWATCH, iREPORT, i KEEP US SAFE (iWATCH) is a community awareness program created to educate the public about behaviors and activities that may have a connection to terrorism.
This program is a community program to help your neighborhood stay safe from terrorist activities. It is a partnership between your community and the Los Angeles Police Department. We can and must work together to prevent terrorist attacks.
To learn about the iWATCH program and about the behaviors and activities that you should report, view the videos and review the list of examples. You can also read and download a brochure that explains the program.
Remember that the iWATCH program is about behaviors and activities, not individuals.
I like that last sentence. It’s an obvious disclaimer to forestall charges that the US government is (gasp) profiling Muslims.
While the LAPD euphemistically describes iWatch as a “community awareness program,” it sounds more like an example of domestic surveillance and spying.
Because America’s War on Terrorism in general is a lie. This terror war is not about “fighting terrorism” whether that be in terms of US domestic or foreign policy.
In terms of domestic policy, the War against Terror is a pretext for expanding the powers of the American regime to spy on, harass, and even imprison those people who are deemed threats to the US political establishment–all under the guise of anti-terrorism.
An example is the case of the RNC8, protestors who were charged under the Patriot Act with planning to incite a riot during the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis.
Analysis of the case, however, raises troubling issues that get swept under the rug by mainstream America or its free press. The use of terrorism to demonize political dissent or entire categories of people is something that has become largely normalized by the USA.
And in terms of the iWatch program, what’s interesting are the promotional video ads like the following:
As one blogger has noted, the video ad features a very multicultural and racially diverse mix of people exhorting citizens to spy on their neighbors … sorry … report potential terrorist activity. As such, it is symbolic of the new kinder, gentler face of the American regime and its terror war under Barack Obama:
It is much more PC and cosmopolitan to use such language and to have such a diverse and friendly slate of mostly youngish Americans reaching out to the people to scare them about terrorism and enlist them as busybodies for the national security state, but this is just warmed over Bush propaganda, given a makeover to appear less partisan and more accessible. I’m beginning to miss the days when building the anti-terror totalitarian state appeared to be the concern of a narrower demographic, and when the voices warning about the bogeymen pronounced it like this: terrists. Now we have college-educated and worldly folk of the iPod generation, and even a guy who looks like he could be Muslim, warning us all to be on the lookout for a killer under the bed. If Obama had the will and desire and opportunity, he could prove to be a more pernicious warmonger than the divisive and confrontational Bush ever dreamed to be.
While the LAPD has a list of activities that it considers suspicious, I think the following list is better (and funnier):
All in all, this iWatch program could be coming to a town or neighborhood near you, although I think they should change its name. Something catchy that best expresses what the program is all about: iSnitch.