Spys ‘R’ Us

Joel Bleifuss

The New Jersey-based Community Anti-Terrorism Training Initiative, or CAT Eyes, is looking for a few million good spies to join “a modern civil defense network.”CAT Eyes’ objective, according to www.cateyesprogram.com, is to establish a “National Neighborhood Watch” by recruiting and training “a team of volunteers dedicated to be the eyes and ears of the ‘good’ side to observe and report possible ‘evil’ activities.” Graduates of the program are known as Community Anti-terrorism Trained Individuals—CAT Eyes, get it?Police departments on the East Coast and in parts of the Midwest have already adopted the CAT Eyes program, whose motto is, “Watching America with Pride, not Prejudice.”“I envision 100 million Americans looking for indicators of terrorism and promptly reporting it to a central database where it would get analyzed,” said CAT Eyes co-founder Mike Licata, a high school teacher and retired Air Force officer, in an interview with the Boston Globe.Were CAT Eyes to reach its goal of 100 million neighborhood informers—about one in three Americans—it would exceed the record of informants per capita set by Stasi, the East German secret police, which managed to recruit 2 million neighborhood informers—about one in eight East Germans.

Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.

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