FBI Plan to Spy on High School Students


Peter Van Buren has exposed another authoritarian assault by the Administration on our freedom of expression. This time the victims are not adult whistleblowers who have been sent to prison more than all previous presidencies combined, but our children. Peter has found that they are now trying to enlist teachers in identifying speech by their students as ‘early stages of terrorism’ and report them to authorities. Hello fascism.  b. traven

by Peter Van Buren

The FBI is instructing high schools across the country to report students who criticize government policies as potential future terrorists, warning that such “extremists” are in the same category as ISIS.

The FBI’s Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools guidelines try to avoid the appearance of specific discrimination against Muslim students by targeting every American teenager who is politically outspoken, as if that somehow makes all this better. The FBI’s goal is to enlist every teacher and every student as informants. The concept is not dissimilar to attempts by the FBI to require tech companies such as Apple to become extensions of the FBI’s power. FYI, the FBI also now has full access to data collected on Americans by the NSA.

You really do need to scan through the FBI’s materials, which are aimed directly at our children; my words cannot describe the chilling 1984-tone purposely adopted.

As author Sarah Lazare points out, the FBI’s justification for such mass teenage surveillance is based on McCarthy-era theories of radicalization, in which authorities monitor thoughts and behaviors that they claim without any proof lead to acts of subversion, even if the people being watched have not committed any wrongdoing. This model is now (again, welcome back to the 1950s) official federal policy.

The FBI guidelines claim “High school students are ideal targets for recruitment by violent extremists seeking support for their radical ideologies, foreign fighter networks, or conducting acts of violence within our borders… youth possess inherent risk factors.” In light of this, the FBI instructs teachers to “incorporate a two-hour block of violent extremism awareness training” into the core curriculum for all youth in grades 9 through 12.

Here are the danger signs the FBI directs teachers keep a sharp eye out for:

— “Talking about traveling to places that sound suspicious”;

— “Using code words or unusual language”;

— “Using several different cell phones and private messaging apps”;

— “Studying or taking pictures of potential targets (like a government building);”

— “Some immigrant families may not be sufficiently present in a youth’s life due to work constraints to foster critical thinking”;

— “Encryption is often used to facilitate extremism discussions.”

And just to make sure the connection with McCarthyism and the red baiting days of the 1950s is clear enough, the FBI materials warn “Anarchist extremists believe that society should have no government, laws, or police, and they are loosely organized, with no central leadership. Violent anarchist extremists usually target symbols of capitalism they believe to be the cause of all problems in society — such as large corporations, government organizations, and police agencies.”

So, sorry, Bernie Sanders supporters.


See more from Peter Van Buren.

4 thoughts on “FBI Plan to Spy on High School Students

  1. “Our” faithful public servants, ever vigilant! Makes me feel so, so secure! “Critical [i.e. independent] thinking” is an important skill for young people to inculcate so they can see through the recruitment ruses of international terrorist organizations. Got it. Then, how come instruction in this skill is so sadly lacking in the curriculum of the public educational system? I don’t suppose it’s because this skill can be turned against the ruses of official government agencies? Like when they’re trying to sell to the public a justification for the latest unleashing of the US military against some supposed threat to our security, collateral damage be damned? Shucks, I must be turning into a cynical old man!

    • It seems I am always commenting on the need for a larger structural analysis of our country, or any global situation. Without this kind of perspective it is impossible to really understand what we are dealing with or be able to mount a counter response. Of course young people are not taught critical thinking in our schools or any of our social institutions. But we were those young people, too, at one point. So we need to begin by looking fearlessly at our belief systems and our fears. And this is best done within a collective environment where not only questioning and exploration can occur, but also support as we face the challenge to the very beliefs that have formed the basis of our identity and comfort in life. One perspective is that those white, working class men that form the basis of Trumps ‘popular’ support are frightened people as they see their beliefs and expectations for their survival crumble. And they are angry and here we have to blatant Trump encouraging anger and violence at presumed enemies. It is within this context that the FBi is able to pursue their witch hunts for alleged terrorists. It is within this framework of the enemy within that people can be cajoled into spying on neighbors and school children. It is within this context that young people are conditioned to accept police in their schools, illegal searches of lockers and back packs. And it within this context of conditioning young people to accept such spying and invasion as normal and acceptable. How many remember the air raid drills where we had to duck under desks in fear of the Nazi invasion. Later on it was the fear of Russians coming. I always felt that if all those glass windows crashed in on us those miserable little desks would be meaningless. But such were the tactics of developing mass social manipulation of the young. Of course all this nonsense was accompanied by the propaganda mill of Hollywood with their infinite numbers of nationalistic war movies where individualistic While Male Americans stood up against authority and slew the foreign enemy with great bravado. Hollywood has always been the hand maiden of the ruling elite and the FBI did their part to ensure any films that questioned the current mantra were kept under wraps. Remember Charlie Chaplan being hauled before HUAC? Remember HUAC! Then remember COINTELPRO? It never was put to bed; only its name changed. Remember John Pointdexter, under Nixon with his TIPS program (Total Information Program). That too went underground for a very few years only to surface as the Dept of Homeland Security as an even bigger, badder surveillance agency under the Patriot Act I & II. Sounds like Sister Act I & II but I would rather watch Whoopie Goldberg any day.

      So the FBI setting up institutionalized spying on a nationwide basis of our young people is really a major structural problem and it requires a strong response from the public. It took several years for the public to react and rebel against those insane and repressive Common Core programs and testing, and the NCLB by having their kids refuse to take those tests. It is killing Common Core as a total failure. In my school district when the fascistic school supt brought in the police and their dogs, the community fought back and demanded they be pulled out and the town budget not be used for such purposes..It is a national problem but it demands local response. Remember the old mantra: Think globally, Act locally!

      • It is the Ruling Class’s smashing success in squashing working class consciousness in this society that has predisposed angry male WASPs (though surely there are some Catholics, etc., on board) to scapegoat underpaid foreign laborers for having “stolen our jobs.” But it takes two to tango. These folks seem to overlook the fact that it was American corporate moguls who made this decision to “outsource” overseas as much work as they can get away with. US labor unions were already weakened (damn near obliterated) from decades of assault, first intensified under Nixon and accelerated by Reagan, and not able–in some cases not willing, due to pathetic leadership–to mount an effective counter-campaign. Yes, this society is in need of profound, fundamental questioning of the status quo. But I’m afraid things will have to decay a whole lot further to stir such a movement into action of significant scope. The Mississippi Delta is once again under water as global climate chaos is just warming up on the pitcher’s mound (yes, the dreaded sports analogy!) and “once in a century” weather events happen almost weekly. Will the electorate throw out of elected office all the climate change deniers come November? I wish!!

  2. Should have been a fortune teller! Saw this years ago, but was told I was paranoid, unbalanced or not living in reality. Hmm.

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