Thursday, September 9, 2010

Is It Safe?

The short answer: no.

The United States Court of Appeals has ruled that a U.S. citizen may not sue for damages if he has been falsely imprisoned and tortured by the CIA or one of its' private contractors. Allowing a suit, says the court, may reveal secret and top secret information.

Couple this with the statement by the Department of Justice that self-proclaimed 'Constitutionalists,' Ron Paul followers, and Tea Party advocates are "potential terrorists." Obama has asserted and won the power to arrest and detain indefinitely anyone he deems to be a 'suspected terrorist.' He has also asserted and won the power to deny and abridge habeas corpus in suspected terrorist cases.

I am an admirer of Ron Paul. I have written favorably about the Constitution and Ron Paul. According to the DOJ, I could be a potential terrorist. The Executive branch could cull through my writings, collect evidence via secret 'National Security Letters' (that I would not be allowed to discuss with a lawyer), and determine I fit the profile of a potential terrorist (the law does not require them to present any evidence to any neutral third party, so reading my drivel is not really necessary, nor is giving reasons for labeling me a 'potential terrorist,' though even the old Soviet Union liked to have confessions and the patina of evidence to justify its' oppressions) and have me arrested and put in jail. As a 'terror suspect,' I would not have the right to see the evidence against me or challenge my detention in any court. The Executive could do with me as he/she wished, including having me tortured with 'enhanced interrogation techniques.' This could go on for days, weeks, months, or years. If, or when, it is found I was incarcerated and tortured based on the evidence of lies or, worse, political persecution, I could be released at a whim, but I would have no right to sue my persecutors for the injustice they committed because the act of arbitrary imprisonment could, itself, be considered a state secret.

They hold all the cards. I have an empty hand. They can do with me as they wish. They can do with YOU as they wish.

This is not paranoia. This is real in every way except magnitude. So far, these rules have only been used against brown people. Muslims. That they have not been used more widely should not be looked upon as proof that it never will be. On the contrary, it is a near certainty that uninhibited power will be exercised in an unlimited way.

It is not safe to speak one's mind. It is not safe to write. It is not safe to associate.

It is not safe.


  1. Last weekend I made the mistake of crossing the border into the U.S. in order to go camping in NY state. My US customs representative peppered me with ridiculous questions for what seemed like many minutes before telling me to get out of my car and walk over to their detention center. I was unhappy to see my car being driven to a secondary inspection station and then subsequently thoroughly taken apart by another customs guy while I was first made to wait, and then peppered with the same stupid questions. I was detained in a room with a 50s and obviously gay couple (terrified) and a Hispanic mother and daughter. Together with me, a 43-year-old Caucasian male, I couldn't help but think that together we must really represent a great threat to the United States...
    After 90 minutes I was admonished to be honest in the future and was let go. I wonder what the point of the search was because I had a cooler with lunch in it and I later discovered that it had not even been opened. It took many hours afterwards me to get the bad taste out of my mouth...

    Much later, I am at my campsite and griping about my treatment at the border to my other Canadian friends who were treated the exact same way at their border crossing. One guy I think said it best. "The US is frightened." And he's right. You guys are now so afraid of various threats from all corners that you are reduced to seeing bogeymen where there are none. You may be catching bad guys on occasion, but with them you are also taking perfectly decent, honourable, and extremely handsome people such as myself into your nets. And you know what? It's going to be a LONG time now before I drive across the border again, and of course I am going to tell everybody I know about my experience. Over time, this should have an cumulative effect. Continue to close your borders up, erect your fences, and conduct those embargoes and boycotts, and I don't see how you can ever regain your former prosperity.

    And keep in mind that as I write this I am still a USA fanboy. I love the USA and the people, I've visited practically all of the mainland states, and I get a kick out of your ugly bank notes. Now imagine how someone who doesn't love the States as much as I do must feel. I guess I'd be a little frightened too.

    And am I the only person who is creeped out by the name: Department of Homeland Security? For some reason, in my mind, that sounds sinister...

  2. The only real hope I see is for people to keep talking across borders, exchanging ideas on how to free all people from tyrants who'd keep us penned and controlled as livestock to milk and fleece.

  3. Seventy-five percent of all Canadians are amassed within 100 miles of the US border. Obviously they are preparing to attack. Mr. Obama, BUILD THAT WALL, EH?

  4. The border guards have the same problem at the movie studio where I used to work: trust their own judgement, or follow instructions that disallow it? Risk letting in a celebrity or powerful executive based on instinct, or follow the rules and annoy them? It's too bad Congress over-reacted to the discovery they hadn't banned death. The report that men were learning to fly planes but not land them, would never have been overlooked again (at least for decades) and we would have been safer without any of these subsequent inconvenient assaults on our liberty.

  5. And the real threat is at the other border opposite Canada. And they pick on cool Canucks and Grannys. What a bunch of A-holes...

  6. Well, Stephan, I can only guess what you said/did to deserve the punishment for 'contempt of cop.' I once heard an audio recording of a rather tightly wired Canadian daring to show his irritation with being required to answer not only why he was coming to the U.S. (shopping), what mall he was intending to go to (couldn't remember the name), and which stores he intended to visit (this last one elicited a smart answer). He and his wife were pulled from the car for more interrogation. When the wife started getting frantic, the husband tried to calm her, but a guard grabbed his arm. When he pulled away to be with his wife, he was charged with assault. The recording cut off as he was appologizing profusely, tearfully, as he was being taken to jail.

    Sooooo....what did you say that po'd the guards?
    Surely you provoked them. If they asked why you were going camping in NY, you didn't say something like "to pee on an American tree," did you? Shame, shame.

  7. Actually I was the model of Canadian courtesy. I've crossed the border a bunch of times, often for business when I really need to get across the border and can't afford to be turned back. I know to keep my expression blank and my emotions friendly to neutral. I reserve my smart comments for when I come back to Canada and comment on web sites about my experiences.

    My "guard" was a very masculine looking woman with a mullet that Billy Ray Cyrus would have been proud of. I pretty sure I could see the outline of her penis through her pants. I think now it might have been a mistake to try to be friendly and charming with her.

    And not only did I not pee on any American trees while I was in that state park, my chain saw ran out of gas early on so I could only cut a few of them down for firewood.