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Snitch Culture: How Citizens are Turned into the Eyes and Ears of the State Paperback – October 30, 2000

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Feral House; 1st edition edition (October 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0922915636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0922915637
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Trent Reinsmith on April 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Snitches get stitches." A simple message, but in a world where you word is sometimes all you have, it's pretty serious. The world that holds rats, stool pigeons, Judas's and informants in contempt has slowly collapsed in upon itself and is now almost non-existent. A world where people are encouraged to turn in family, friends, co-workers and neighbors has taken its place. Jim Redden takes a look at this world, a world that rewards the weakest of all human traits, a world that is right outside your door; maybe even in your own home. That's right, the Big Brother that is watching may be your brother! "Tying an unpopular activity to a popular cause is good propaganda and one of the most effective tools for recruiting new informants and justifying more surveillance programs." Read that again and then ask yourself how the government accomplishes this goal. Give up? Think about the Wars in the US; the War on Drugs, the War on Crime, the War on Terrorism, the general public buys it with a little spin from government and the press. It all tastes so sweet until you look a little deeper and realize that everyone is a casualty of these wars. Friendly fire anyone? Welcome to the world that Jim Redden is living and working in, welcome to the world that we are all living in. In his look at this world, Redden questions the role of the snitch, their fallibility and why their word, which should be suspect at best, is taken as gospel so often. The answer will come as no surprise; money and jail sentences. Redden shows how the D.A.R.E program and other government policies encourage children and family members to turn on each other for the good of the nation.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
If you were to be told that, at any give moment, any number of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies could break down your front door, arrest and imprison you, seize your property, and even take the lives of you and your loved ones... all because of a tip-off from an unreliable rogue informant who could have picked your name randomly out of a phone book for all anyone knew... how would you feel?
That is the key question Jim Redden poses in his alarming study of the growing "Snitch Culture" that has pervaded the American justice system since the founding of our nation. "Snitch Culture...How Citizens are Turned into the Eyes and Ears of the State" is an in-depth look at the way various government agencies, including the FBI, CIA, District Attorney, and local police departments routinely employ the services of third-party informants to identify and prosecute those suspected of wrongdoing. The only problem is, most of these informants are they themselves criminals, volunteering information in exchange for reduced prison sentences or, sometimes, financial rewards. The fear of jail time or the lure of riches is often enough to entice the informant to find someone, anyone, to accuse of committing an illegal act - even a complete stranger. These ulterior motives harbored by the ever-increasing population of government-sponsored snitches are enough to challenge the way we dispense criminal justice in the United States.
But it doesn't end there. Oftentimes, private corporations and politically-oriented non-profit organizations (such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center) also employ a large number of informants to serve their internal interests.
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Format: Paperback
Snitch Culture is a page turner. Maybe the best book I've read this year. Brilliantly researched and well documented, Jim Redden digs deep into the way law enforcement works, and uncovers new insights into the way our society is changing right under our noses. Frightening and thought provoking, Snitch Culture is a must read for anyone interested in issues of corruption, privacy, and criminal justice.
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Format: Paperback
In this book Jim Redden brings to light the long and shameful history of surveillance in the US, mostly fueled by "snitches." The problem is that snitches are more motivated by monetary payoffs and promised reductions in their own sentences, rather than some sense of justice. Many informants turn out to be liars who are taking the authorities for a ride, but that doesn't stop those in power from giving their lies complete credence. This book has numerous horror stories of innocent people being seized, injured, and sometimes killed by the authorities based on flimsy and unproven tips from informants. The most terrifying aspect of this book is that this is not confined to suspicions of criminal activity, but political activity as well. Before you preemptively dismiss this book as liberal whining, there is plenty of evidence of government surveillance of political groups that both the left and right disagree with, through the use of paid informants who most often have a score to settle. The government also gets around the Bill of Rights by subcontracting with private groups who spy on their opponents out of political paranoia (a shocking example of this is the Anti-Defamation League).
These are truly disturbing revelations that Redden admirably brings to light. Unfortunately this book has a severe flaw, in that Redden cannot draw the line between those types of informing that are constructive and non-constructive for society. We should be shocked at political surveillance of people who are exercising their First Amendment rights, but when it comes to criminals the issue is far murkier than Redden implies.
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