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Old 05-30-2008, 04:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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US Customs- An "international void" devoid of Rights- Search and Seizure of Computers

I have been reading up on some Customs policies, and am quite disturbed. US Customs has a policy that allows Customs agents to seize and search anyone's computer's contents (anyone entering the US, [anchorlink="Article1"]1st[/anchorlink] and [anchorlink="Article2"]2nd article[/anchorlink]). It was explained to me that all Customs checkpoints are somehow classified as "international voids devoid of the laws of the land." How is this possible?

I want to know how did the US government and the people of the USA can allow such searches and seizures, which go against the 4th, 9th, and 10th Amendments. To deny Customs agents access to your personal data is to be denied access to the country, or just have your day ruined in any not-so fun manner. To be denied entry to the US, esp. if one is a citizen of the USA, I find to be cruel and unusual (5th Amendment). I say it is cruel and unusual because I have never heard of anyone being exiled from the USA.

What makes this form of search and seizure worse is that other countries are doing this as well. British Customs searches for pornography, and soon, American and Canadian boarder patrol could become "Copyright Police" to stop people with illegal content ([anchorlink="Article3"]3rd[/anchorlink] and [anchorlink="Article4"]4th article[/anchorlink]).
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Now this has me outraged. I have legitimate reasons to have security measures on my computer. Cyberspace is not safe and there is little any government can do to protect the public, but make the public knowledgeable about how to stop it. I encrypt my hard drives to secure my data. I use encrypted password managers, and memorize nothing less than a 25 digit password (it isn't that hard with a mnemonic device). I even make it a pain for my friends to borrow my music! I use OGG Vorbis lossless WavPack images.

Everyone one of you should have the similar measures implemented. If you can make yourself a more difficult target to identity/data theft by using secure password manager and encrypted data programs, then you are much less likely of a target. I am not raising a stink about this because I have so much to hide. I don't download and I don't pirate. Of course I know how. You can probably guess that looking at my post in the Open Source/Freeware Thread thread. I know my rights in the USA. I know I am not subject to unjustified and unwanted searches and seizures by anyone unless they have got a well written piece of paper that says otherwise.
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Someone like me is suspect to doing illegal things because I know and implement many security measures. This is so backwards from the Rights we have. For them to suspect me is like being suspect of a crime because one does not willingly give up one's 4th Amendment right. It seems we are just giving away our Rights with this mentality that, "I've got nothing to hide, and I don't want to be bothered." Yes it is a hassle, but we have these Rights, and goddamnit we are supposed to use them!

Now the [anchorlink="Article1"]1st article[/anchorlink] I have linked describes having hidden data partitions that are indistinguishable from random data. You can bet I have them. When I return to the US in a couple of months, you can guarantee I have my system still encrypted. I want to be as big of a dick, while respectful as possible, with these Customs agents so that they know I do not accept this search and seizure, and that I do not have to disclose information of a hidden partition. Otherwords, I want to say, "I neither confirm nor deny the existence of hidden drives on my system," but in not so clear of words (a phrase I can repeat over an over).
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Unfortunately, I have two lines of inquiry. One, how did we let this happen? Two, what can I legally do/say at the moment of inspection to hinder this? Thoughts, advice, or other welcome.

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  1. Quote:
    [anchor]Article1[/anchor] View: Taking your laptop into the US? Be sure to hide all your data first // Source: Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk)
    Abstract: "Last month a US court ruled that border agents can search your laptop, or any other electronic device, when you're entering the country. They can take your computer and download its entire contents, or keep it for several days."   click to show 
  2. Quote:
    [anchor]Article2[/anchor] View: Can US Customs Search & Seize Your Laptop Computer Without Cause? YES They Can! // Source: Associatedcontent (http://www.associatedcontent.com)
    Abstract: "Ninth Circuit Court Decides that US Customs and Border Patrol Agents Can Search & Seize Electronic Equipment Without Cause"   click to show 
  3. Quote:
    [anchor]Article3[/anchor] View: Copyright deal could toughen rules governing info on iPods, computers // Source: Canada (http://www.canada.com)
    Abstract: "The federal government is secretly negotiating an agreement to revamp international copyright laws which could make the information on Canadian iPods, laptop computers or other personal electronic devices illegal and greatly increase the difficulty of travelling with such devices."   click to show 
  4. Quote:
    [anchor]Article4[/anchor] View: Border Security to Become Copyright Police? // Source: Popsci (http://www.popsci.com)
    Abstract: "A proposed trade agreement could authorize border agents to search the contents of laptops and iPods for copyrighted material"   click to show 

Last edited by Hain; 06-03-2008 at 02:49 AM.. Reason: because I really like Tears for Fears
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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well, is a customs checkpoint inside or outside the space of the country?
is a border inside or outside?
the source of this is the status of a border zone.
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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rb, that's correct, the customs area is NOT the United States of America.

In fact the Welcome to the United States signs are after you've completed immigration and customs. You are not allowed to talk on the phone, you are not allowed to be yelling at customs officials. This isn't just the United States, this is also Iceland, Czech Republic, Germany, UK, India, Philippines, Singapore, and Spain (countries I've happened to enter.)

My thinking is really more about something being on a CD, USB stick, memory card, microdot, bar code, 3d code, coded photo, and other various coding systems that allow information to be passed simply and easily with little chance of detection.

If I was to take my laptop with TFP in the cache, and I am searched I'd be stopped for trafficking pornography in Singapore without a doubt.

Again, I only take my computer when it suits my needs. Ignorance of the laws doesn't mean that I'm absolved of them.

Besides, I'm a TRAVELLER, there's plenty of resources to get my things done without the need to lug a 10lb bag that has sensitive data for me to be concerned about losing and ruining my vacation.
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I wonder how they will determine which files are copyright infringing content and which ones are not? This seems like quite a lot to ask of a border guard. Will they just confiscate your computer, memory stick, etc..until you show up with receipts to prove you purchased the content?
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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actually for DVDs and CDS they just confiscate them even if you have a reciept showing you bought them from a major store. There are warnings from the state department from known areas warning people to not purchase things that will be confiscated, such as pirated movies, DVDs, Ivory products, drugs, alcohol, furs, etc.
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Old 05-30-2008, 08:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
actually for DVDs and CDS they just confiscate them even if you have a reciept showing you bought them from a major store.
So even if you have legit purchases, they can or will be confiscated? I am speechless. If they take something that I legally bought, I would have no problem to pirate it. Stuff like Rosetta Stone, while a waste of money, I took with me when I moved to Germany. That program was outrageously priced and I am not any better for having bought it. But if that gets taken away from me. Or this laptop, has over $10,000 worth of engineering software provided by my university- all student versions of course, but what are they going to say about that?


I have added a <a href="#article4">4th article</a>, one from PopSci about this Copyright security. It is much shorter than the 3rd article.

I just cannot fathom how anyone allowed any of these laws to be passed.

Last edited by Hain; 05-30-2008 at 08:24 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-01-2008, 05:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Guilty until proven innocent, it used to be innocent until proven guilty.

Where have your rights gone ? The freedoms your forefathers fought for do they mean nothing now ?
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Old 06-01-2008, 06:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Interesting. Now, I'm not an expert, but I am taking Applied Authority for a federal LEO position currently, and as I understand it, the purpose of the border checks is to ensure that a) no contraband is smuggled into the country, and b) all merchandise is properly declared, and c) all persons apply for admission (or prove admissibility) into the U.S..

This topic (in general, not the specific) has been debated by the courts since international trade was conducted via wooden ships with a lot of sails, and for all the arguments, the practice of searching vessels, cargo, and other containers for the aforementioned reason is still perfectly legal and perfectly in line with what our founding fathers had envisioned in the Constitution. (Well except for the admissibility part, that didn't happen until later. Even so, the courts say it's in agreement with the Constitution.)

If you think about it, electronic devices could be considered a "vessel", and anyone could bring software (aka, merchandise) in on an electronic device and easily sidestep the entire merchandising process. What does this mean to us? That as long as this is enforced, our economy (as well as many other economies), which is based on a significant amount of international trade, will remain on good footing. If anyone could bring anything into any country, the whole system "could" collapse, and bring even more hard times to not only the U.S., but smaller countries that have limited, but necessary, export operations.

I'd also like to point out that the 4th amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Is it unreasonable for any entity to protect it's interests at its' borders?
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Old 06-01-2008, 08:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l3ond
Guilty until proven innocent, it used to be innocent until proven guilty.

Where have your rights gone ? The freedoms your forefathers fought for do they mean nothing now ?
where are the rights gone? you aren't in the country yet...

if you were to assume innocent until proven guilty then you must be for open and porous borders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hain
So even if you have legit purchases, they can or will be confiscated? I am speechless. If they take something that I legally bought, I would have no problem to pirate it. Stuff like Rosetta Stone, while a waste of money, I took with me when I moved to Germany. That program was outrageously priced and I am not any better for having bought it. But if that gets taken away from me. Or this laptop, has over $10,000 worth of engineering software provided by my university- all student versions of course, but what are they going to say about that?


I have added a <a href="#article4">4th article</a>, one from PopSci about this Copyright security. It is much shorter than the 3rd article.

I just cannot fathom how anyone allowed any of these laws to be passed.
I am stating that CAN confiscate them. This isn't like the entry onto a plane were all liquids over a particular size are considered contraband.

Note: in Singapore you cannot bring in chewing gum, even cigarette cessation program gum. They look for chewing gum as part of their contraband search in customs. This is in the early 90s and the ban on chewing gum is still in effect today.
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Last edited by Cynthetiq; 06-01-2008 at 08:35 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-01-2008, 11:55 AM   #10 (permalink)
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So how do the laws work in this "void" - if you popped a customs official, how can you be charged with the crime on the one hand and yet not be given the protection of the law in another instance?
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Old 06-01-2008, 11:59 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highthief
So how do the laws work in this "void" - if you popped a customs official, how can you be charged with the crime on the one hand and yet not be given the protection of the law in another instance?
ask any illegal alien that has been arrested. they still are given due process and the same protections of the US Constitution.

after the process, they can and be deported.

based on what people are stating in this thread, then drugs, meat, vegetables shouldn't be inspected nor confiscated upon entry.

some of you really should try some international travel...

Immigration officers do not have to allow you entry into any country. they can deny you entry for many reasons, including but not limited to assualting an immigration or customs officer.
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Old 06-01-2008, 07:16 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
Note: in Singapore you cannot bring in chewing gum, even cigarette cessation program gum. They look for chewing gum as part of their contraband search in customs. This is in the early 90s and the ban on chewing gum is still in effect today.

Actually, that's not true anymore...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3512498.stm
Quote:
Singapore is preparing to partially lift its famous ban on chewing gum - in order to comply with a free trade agreement with the United States.

But only gum aimed at helping smokers to quit will be allowed when the new rules come into effect on Thursday.

The government will allow the sale of Nicorette, a nicotine gum, because the agreement with the US says "therapeutic" brands should be allowed.

Singapore banned chewing gum in 1992 because of a litter problem.

The pristine city-state, did not like gum sticking to its pavements, but the rules have been relaxed as part of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which came into effect at the start of this year.

Regardless, this is the law of a different country. Can anyone show evidence that Customs checkpoints are not within the US? I believe they are. Generally a US Customs checkpoint (say on the Detroit or Port Huron side in Michigan from Canada) is certainly on US soil. Is the Customs checkpoint at JFK somehow not on US soil? It is inside of the airport, surrounded by US soil. I don't understand exactly...

As for the data contents of your laptop, where are the limiting factors? Are there any? For US citizens, on US soil, you should be protected from unlawful search and seizure, regardless of "special" laws for Border agents. If there is SUSPICION of unlawful activity, then perhaps you are now a legal target for search. Random searches are bullshit, and are a big stumbling block for the TSA. We'll see how long all this really lasts once the current administration is pushed out. It's gonna be ugly for another 8-10 years, but things are either going to get "fixed" and be better, or things are going to get very, very bad!
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Old 06-01-2008, 10:45 PM   #13 (permalink)
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xepherys, you've expressed exactly what I feel.



I have been trying to formulate a reasons why searching for contraband at Customs is OK but not computers. And I can't have it either way- at least not with any convincing arguments. The only thing I believe is that physical contraband poses a clear physical harm, if I restrict contraband to drugs, alcohol, weapons, Ivory and fur products (profiteering from animal cruelty), foreign plants and animals (can disrupt foreign ecosystems), ...

It is not convincing, like I said. So either contraband shouldn't be searched for, or I need a more convincing argument. Something other than, "It isn't real, man!" and, "It makes me mad!"



I want my personal information to remain exactly that- personal. Having to decrypt my stuff or give Customs my passwords defeats that purpose.
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Old 06-02-2008, 05:52 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xepherys
Actually, that's not true anymore...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3512498.stm



Regardless, this is the law of a different country. Can anyone show evidence that Customs checkpoints are not within the US? I believe they are. Generally a US Customs checkpoint (say on the Detroit or Port Huron side in Michigan from Canada) is certainly on US soil. Is the Customs checkpoint at JFK somehow not on US soil? It is inside of the airport, surrounded by US soil. I don't understand exactly...

As for the data contents of your laptop, where are the limiting factors? Are there any? For US citizens, on US soil, you should be protected from unlawful search and seizure, regardless of "special" laws for Border agents. If there is SUSPICION of unlawful activity, then perhaps you are now a legal target for search. Random searches are bullshit, and are a big stumbling block for the TSA. We'll see how long all this really lasts once the current administration is pushed out. It's gonna be ugly for another 8-10 years, but things are either going to get "fixed" and be better, or things are going to get very, very bad!
I can only believe it is like embassies. They are considered foreign soil, but they obviously are on the soil of the hosted country. Thus if you were in Germany but in an American Embassy, you'd be considered to be on American soil.

TSA is not the same as Customs Agents, they may report to the same Homeland Security, but they aren't the same group of people. TSA is for departure and Customs is for entry.

TSA does not check your bags when you arrive at your destination.
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Old 06-02-2008, 05:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Then who do Customs agents work and report to?
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:01 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Hain
Then who do Customs agents work and report to?
http://www.cbp.gov/

Dept of Homeland Security

But note that it does not call the group

US Customs, Border Security, and TSA

another example of foriegn soil within US soil is the United Nations Building. It is on the island of Manhattan, in New York City, in New York State, in the United States of America, but it is considered foreign soil and the NYPD, NY State Troopers, and FBI have no jurisdiction on that small parcel of land.

Here is what the customs officials specifically state for travellers inbound to the US.

Quote:
Trademarked and Copyrighted Articles
CBP enforces laws relating to the protection of trademarks and copyrights. Articles that infringe a federally registered trademark or copyright or copyright protected by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works are subject to detention and/or seizure. Infringing articles may consist of articles that use a protected right without the authorization of the trademark or copyright owner or articles that copy or simulate a protected right.

Articles bearing marks that are counterfeit or inappropriately using a federally registered trademark are subject to seizure and forfeiture.The importation of articles intended for sale or public distribution bearing counterfeit marks may subject an individual to a civil fine if the registered trademark has also been recorded with CBP. Articles bearing marks that are confusingly similar to a CBP recorded registered trademark , and restricted gray market articles (goods bearing genuine marks not intended for U.S. importation for which CBP granted gray market protection) are subject to detention and seizure.

However, travelers arriving in the United States may be permitted an exemption and allowed to import one article of each type, which must accompany the person, bearing a counterfeit, confusingly similar or restricted gray market trademark, provided that the article is for personal use and is not for sale.

This exemption may be granted not more than once every 30 days. The arriving passenger may retain one article of each type accompanying the person. For example, an arriving person who has three purses, whether each bears a different infringing trademark, or whether all three bear the same infringing trademark, is permitted only one purse. If the article imported under the personal exemption provision is sold within one year after the date of importation, the article or its value is subject to forfeiture.

In regard to copyright infringement, articles that are determined by CBP to be clearly piratical of a protected copyright, i.e., unauthorized articles that are substantially similar to a material protected by a copyright, are subject to seizure. A personal use exemption for articles, similar to that described above also applies to copyrighted articles for the personal, non-commercial use of the importer and are not for sale or distribution.

You may bring back genuine trademarked and copyrighted articles (subject to duties). Products subject to copyright protection most commonly imported include software on CD-ROMs, sound recordings, toys, stuffed animals, clothing with cartoon characters, videotapes, DVDs, music CDs, and books. Products subject to trademark protection most commonly imported include handbags and accessories, and clothing.
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Last edited by Cynthetiq; 06-02-2008 at 06:10 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:20 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I figured Customs and TSA were independent (I had not actually considered TSA to be in this at all). It still says U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Department of Homeland Security runs the US CBP.

To me, this still means that they are US Government employees and should be subject to US laws- giving those wishing to enter the USA the same protections granted in the Bill of Rights. CBP agents are paid by the US Government. If CBP is not giving these entities these rights, then aren't these agents being paid to deny these these entities' rights?

A weak argument at best, since we can't define where US soil begins. Regardless, they are agents of the United States government and everything the USA stand for.


This next statement might be something I would read on "Things not in the US Constitution.com" but I swore there was a written law that states the US Government cannot take away these rights from people.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:31 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I would imagine that this delves into the structures that were created pre US Constitution.

Note that US laws and the US Constitution didn't materialize out of thin air but are rooted in international and maritime law.
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:31 AM   #19 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=Cynthetiq]ask any illegal alien that has been arrested. they still are given due process and the same protections of the US Constitution.

[\QUOTE]

Really?

What about the guy Nicholas Corbett blew away?

Besides, how would you know that they were given the "protections of the US constitution" if they were, say, shipped to Guantanamo or another shining pearl on our global gulag? "For purposes of national security we could neither confirm nor deny that they were present in any US operated facility, nor could we confirm or deny that they have been renditioned to a third party."


The Bush cabal has decided that in the current state of exception, the constitution allows them to do whatever they want. Considering what has happened to US citizens like Jose Padilla and perfectly "legal" aliens like Mahir Arar ("intercepted" on his way home to Canada and shipped off to Syria to be tortured), i'd have to say that they aren't just blowing smoke. They will indeed do whatever they want.

Supreme court? Those are the guys & gals who said that keeping to some bureaucratic timetable was more important than counting the votes, so hey, let's give it to Monkey Boy. Besides, who wants to wait 4-5 years in the hold of a prison ship or in a tin shed on an airbase in Poland waiting for people like Scalia and Thomas to decide that geez, maybe they did go too far this time?

Keep in mind that with passports (which are gov. property and always revocable) and the no-fly list and other restrictions and protocols on travel, governments control who travels. Maybe it's not spelled out in US constitution, but travel is a pretty basic human right. It's listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights & the Intl. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. However, these days, for all intents and purposes, you have to have their permission to travel. The no-fly list is fairly loose now, but it's pretty easy to see how this could become much more restrictive and/or expanded to other modes of travel.

So, no, things are not hunky dory.
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:41 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guyy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
ask any illegal alien that has been arrested. they still are given due process and the same protections of the US Constitution.
Really?

What about the guy Nicholas Corbett blew away?

Besides, how would you know that they were given the "protections of the US constitution" if they were, say, shipped to Guantanamo or another shining pearl on our global gulag? "For purposes of national security we could neither confirm nor deny that they were present in any US operated facility, nor could we confirm or deny that they have been renditioned to a third party."


The Bush cabal has decided that in the current state of exception, the constitution allows them to do whatever they want. Considering what has happened to US citizens like Jose Padilla and perfectly "legal" aliens like Mahir Arar ("intercepted" on his way home to Canada and shipped off to Syria to be tortured), i'd have to say that they aren't just blowing smoke. They will indeed do whatever they want.

Supreme court? Those are the guys & gals who said that keeping to some bureaucratic timetable was more important than counting the votes, so hey, let's give it to Monkey Boy. Besides, who wants to wait 4-5 years in the hold of a prison ship or in a tin shed on an airbase in Poland waiting for people like Scalia and Thomas to decide that geez, maybe they did go too far this time?

Keep in mind that with passports (which are gov. property and always revocable) and the no-fly list and other restrictions and protocols on travel, governments control who travels. Maybe it's not spelled out in US constitution, but travel is a pretty basic human right. It's listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights & the Intl. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. However, these days, for all intents and purposes, you have to have their permission to travel. The no-fly list is fairly loose now, but it's pretty easy to see how this could become much more restrictive and/or expanded to other modes of travel.

So, no, things are not hunky dory.
sorry let me qualify that... Illegal Aliens on US Soil...

If you're dragging Guantanamo Bay into the conversation, then it's only right that it's not as simple as you are stating.

Quote:
View: Does Constitution apply to enemy combatant on U.S. soil?
Source: CNN
posted with the TFP thread generator

Does Constitution apply to enemy combatant on U.S. soil?
Does Constitution apply to enemy combatant on U.S. soil?
Story Highlights
Ali al-Marri, sleeper al Qaeda agent suspect, in brig six years in U.S.

No issue if he were in Gitmo, where the U.S. says Constitution doesn't apply

U.S.: Bush's wartime powers mean military can hold any citizen without charge

Does U.S. resident al-Marri belong in civilian court system or military's?
WASHINGTON (AP) -- If his cell were at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the prisoner would be just one of hundreds of suspected terrorists detained offshore, where the U.S. says the Constitution does not apply.

But Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri is a U.S. resident being held in a South Carolina military brig; he is the only enemy combatant held on U.S. soil. That makes his case very different.

Al-Marri's capture six years ago might be the Bush administration's biggest domestic counterterrorism success story. Authorities say he was an al Qaeda sleeper agent living in middle America, researching poisonous gases and plotting a cyberattack.

To justify holding him, the government claimed a broad interpretation of the president's wartime powers, one that goes beyond warrantless wiretapping or monitoring banking transactions. Government lawyers told federal judges that the president can send the military into any U.S. neighborhood, capture a resident and hold him in prison without charge, indefinitely.

There is little middle ground between the two sides in al-Marri's case, which is before a federal appeals court in Virginia. The government says the president needs this power to keep the nation safe. Al-Marri's lawyers say that as long as the president can detain anyone he wants, nobody is safe.

A Qatari national, al-Marri came to the U.S. with his wife and five children on September 10, 2001. He arrived on a student visa seeking a master's degree in computer science from Bradley University, a small private school in Peoria, Illinois.

The government says he had other plans.

According to court documents citing multiple intelligence sources, al-Marri spent months in al Qaeda training camps during the late 1990s and was schooled in the science of poisons.

The summer before al-Marri left for the United States, he allegedly met with Osama bin Laden and September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The two al Qaeda leaders decided that al-Marri would make a perfect sleeper agent and rushed him into the U.S., the government says.

A computer specialist, al-Marri was ordered to wreak havoc on the U.S. banking system and serve as a liaison for other al Qaeda operatives entering this country, according to a court document filed by Jeffrey Rapp, a senior member of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

According to Rapp, al-Marri received up to $13,000 for his trip, plus money to buy a laptop, courtesy of Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, who is suspected of helping finance the September 11 attacks.

A week after the attacks, Congress unanimously passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force. It gave President Bush the power to "use all necessary and appropriate force" against anyone involved in planning, aiding or carrying out the attacks.

The FBI interviewed al-Marri that October and arrested him in December as part of the September 11 investigation. He rarely had been attending classes and was failing in school, the government said.

When investigators looked through his computer files, they said, they found information on industrial chemical suppliers, sermons by bin Laden, how-to guides for making hydrogen cyanide and information about chemicals labeled "immediately dangerous to life or health," according to Rapp's court filing. Phone calls and e-mails linked al-Marri to senior al Qaeda leaders.

In early 2003, he was indicted on charges of credit card fraud and lying to the FBI. Like anyone else in the United States, he had constitutional rights. He could question government witnesses, refuse to testify and retain a lawyer.

On June 23, 2003, Bush declared al-Marri an enemy combatant, which stripped him of those rights. Bush wrote that al-Marri possessed intelligence vital to protect national security. In his jail cell in Peoria, Illinois, however, he could refuse to speak with investigators.

A military jail allowed more options. Free from the constraints of civilian law, the military could interrogate al-Marri without a lawyer, detain him without charge and hold him indefinitely. Courts have agreed the president has wide latitude to imprison people captured overseas or caught fighting against the U.S. That is what the prison at Guantanamo Bay is for.

But al-Marri was not in Guantanamo Bay.

"The president is not a king and cannot lock people up forever in the United States based on his say-so," said Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer who represents al-Marri and other detainees. "Today, it's Mr. al-Marri. Tomorrow, it could be you, a member of your family, someone you know. Once you allow the president to lock people up for years or even life without trial, there's no going back."

Glenn Sulmasy, a national security fellow at Harvard University, said the issue comes down to whether the nation is at war. Soldiers would not need warrants to launch a strike against invading troops. So would they need a warrant to raid an al Qaeda safe house in a U.S. suburb?

Sulmasy says no. That is how Congress wrote the bill, and "if they feel concerned about civil liberties, they can tighten up the language," he said.

That would require the politically risky move of pushing legislation to make it harder for the president to detain suspected terrorists inside the U.S.

Al-Marri is not the first prisoner who did not fit neatly into the definition of enemy combatant.

Two U.S. citizens, Yaser Esam Hamdi and Jose Padilla, were held at the same brig as al-Marri. But there are differences. Hamdi was captured on an Afghanistan battlefield. Padilla, too, fought alongside the Taliban before his capture in the United States.

By comparison, al-Marri had not been on the battlefield. He was lawfully living in the U.S. That raises new questions.

Did Congress really intend to give the president the authority to lock up suspected terrorists overseas but not those living here?

If another September 11-like plot was discovered, could the military imprison the would-be hijackers before they stepped onto the planes?

Is a foreign battlefield really necessary in a conflict that turned downtown Manhattan into ground zero?

Also, if enemy combatants can be detained in the U.S., how long can they be held without charge? Without lawyers? Without access to the outside world? Forever?

These questions play to two of the biggest fears that have dominated public policy debate since September 11: the fear of another terrorist attack and the fear the government will use that threat to crack down on civil liberties.

"If he is taken to a civilian court in the United States and it's been proved he is guilty and it's been proved there's evidence to show that he's guilty, you know, he deserves what he gets," his brother, Mohammed al-Marri, said Friday from his home in Saudi Arabia. "But he's just been taken there with no court, no nothing. That's shame on the United States."

Courts have gone back and forth on al-Marri's case as it worked its way through the system. The last decision, a 2-1 ruling by a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel, found that the president had crossed the line and al-Marri must be returned to the civilian court system. Anything else would "alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic," the judges said.

The full appeals court is reviewing that decision and a ruling is expected soon. During arguments last year, government lawyers said the courts should give great deference to the president when the nation is at war.

"What you assert is the power of the military to seize a person in the United States, including an American citizen, on suspicion of being an enemy combatant?" Judge William B. Traxler asked.

"Yes, your honor," Justice Department lawyer Gregory Garre replied.

The court seemed torn.

One judge questioned why there was such anxiety over the policy. After all, there have been no mass roundups of citizens and no indications the White House is coming for innocent Americans next.

Another judge said the question is not whether the president was generous in his use of power; it is whether the power is constitutional.

Whatever the decision, the case seems destined for the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the first military trials are set to begin soon against detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Al-Marri may get one, too. Or he may get put back into the civilian court system. For now, he waits.
But see these borders and customs with searches and siezures existed pre-9/11... so there's some sort of connection to how the laws are interpreted.

You are free to travel, you aren't free to ENTER into a country. There is a very large difference. People have been turned away by immigration officers from many countries that deny people entry. But they are not barred from travel.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:19 AM   #21 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hain
To be denied entry to the US, esp. if one is a citizen of the USA, I find to be cruel and unusual (5th Amendment).
Feel free to marry an Arab, and I'll initiate you into that club real fast. He (and then I) learned very early on to expect ZERO rights when crossing a US border. Or any border, really. Doesn't matter which passport I'm carrying... customs agents at any border have the right to do almost anything they want. It's not fair, but there is no use in protesting. We go along with making as little fuss as possible, no matter what they do to us.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:34 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
sorry let me qualify that... Illegal Aliens on US Soil...

If you're dragging Guantanamo Bay into the conversation, then it's only right that it's not as simple as you are stating.


Right?

One of the current justifications for what goes on the southern border is that so-called "terrorists" might sneak into the US via Mexico. That's one reason why Guantanamo and so-called "national security" issues are very much relevant to the discussion. Another is that the borders have been militarised, and constitutionally speaking, that gives the president more than the usual executive control. According to the Bush cabal's interpretation of the constitution, in the current state of exception, they, as agents of the Commander in Chief, have "broad discretion" to do whatever the hell they want. See section V of their 2002 memo on torture.


Quote:
But see these borders and customs with searches and siezures existed pre-9/11... so there's some sort of connection to how the laws are interpreted.
That is not in question.

Quote:
You are free to travel, you aren't free to ENTER into a country. There is a very large difference. People have been turned away by immigration officers from many countries that deny people entry. But they are not barred from travel.
Tell that to someone on the no-fly list. Yes, you can theoretically canoe to London or Tokyo so in a certain, perverse sense of the word, you are still "free to travel". More generally, though, what good does it do us to be "free" to travel if we can't go anywhere?

You must have a passport to travel, but they don't have to issue you a passport. Furthermore, the one you have can be revoked if you do something they don't like. (Bobby Fischer had his taken away for playing chess in Yugoslavia and being an all-around jerk.) So, no, you aren't exactly free to travel. Remember it wasn't so long ago that a passport was not always necessary, not even for overseas trips.

Last edited by guyy; 06-02-2008 at 11:39 AM..
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:38 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guyy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
sorry let me qualify that... Illegal Aliens on US Soil...

If you're dragging Guantanamo Bay into the conversation, then it's only right that it's not as simple as you are stating.
Right?

One of the current justifications for what goes on the southern border is that wooooooo! TERRRORISTS wooooooo! might sneak into the US via Mexico. That's one reason why Guantanamo and so-called "national security" issues are very much relevant to the discussion. Another is that the borders have been militarised. According to the Bush cabal's interpretation of the constitution, in the current state of exception, they, as agents of the Commander in Chief, have "broad discretion" to do whatever the hell they want. See section V of their 2002 memo on torture.

Tell that to someone on the no-fly list. Yes, you can theoretically canoe to London or Tokyo so in a certain, perverse sense of the word, you are still "free to travel". More generally, though, what good does it do us to be "free" to travel if we can't go anywhere?

You must have a passport to travel, but they don't have to issue you a passport. Furthermore, the one you have can be revoked if you do something they don't like. (Bobby Fischer had his taken away for playing chess in Yugoslavia and being an all-around jerk.) So, no, you aren't exactly free to travel. Remember it wasn't so long ago that a passport was not always necessary, not even for overseas trips.
and Ironically Mr. Fischer lived in Japan for some time, and wound up in Iceland.... I guess he teleported there????

you must have a passport to enter other countries... nothing to do with TRAVEL.

and again, NO FLY doesn't mean you cannot drive, cannot hop on a bus, take a train. So far as I can tell your OMFG YOU CAN'T TRAVEL!!! is just chicken little screaming... besides the point most US people haven't left 50 miles of where they were born.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:45 AM   #24 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
and Ironically Mr. Fischer lived in Japan for some time, and wound up in Iceland.... I guess he teleported there????
Funny that Iceland gave him citizenship, just for playing that big match with Spassky here ages ago. Big chess fans and all that.

All roads lead to Iceland, you know.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:55 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Those must be pretty wet roads, what with Iceland being an island and all....
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:02 PM   #26 (permalink)
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he could have driven ...



there are many modes of getting to Iceland without any checks for passport because of Schengen and EU reciprocity, much like being able to get from state to state without need for identification as you drive.
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:35 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I had never heard of Al-Marri, and I think it is an out-right scandal. If they have so much evidence against him- put him on trial! It was intelligence that caught him, not searching his laptop at customs.


As an after thought: if this guy was such a computer expert, studying and all, why wouldn't he have taken rudimentary precautions to prevent evidence found on him? It doesn't specify he used anything to keep secrets, and that a search found all this incriminating evidence on him...
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:46 PM   #28 (permalink)
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View: Iceland deports Hells Angels
Source: Icenews
posted with the TFP thread generator

Iceland deports Hells Angels
By Chris Bolwig on Nov 6, 2007 in Iceland, Society

Police at Keflavik International Airport in Iceland denied entry to eight members of the motorcycle club known as the Hells Angels on Friday. The bikers were detained in the airport overnight and escorted by police out of the country the following day.

A local news report said that two of the Hells Angels members were traveling with their wives. Police would have allowed the two women entry into Iceland, however the women declined and left with their husbands.

Local police considered the Hells Angels members to be a threat to national security due to their history of crime and violence. Some of the members have committed crimes relating to trading illegal substances, violent behaviour and blackmail.

The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police said no member of the group asked for legal assistance while detained.

According to a lawyer working for Opus, Oddgeir Einarsson, someone contacted his firm on Friday about the case. He says that he was restricted from meeting the detainees, however.

It was presumed that the Hells Angels were visiting Iceland in order to participate in the Icelandic motorcycle club Fafnir’s celebration of its 11th anniversary. Police have already raided Fafnir headquarters last Thursday where they confiscated illegal weapons and drugs.

The raid led Minister of Justice Björn Bjarnason to request that Iceland tighten the security at its borders, particularly at Keflavik Airport. The newspaper claims that security officials were prepared to arrest and deport any member of Hells Angels trying to enter the country regardless of whether they had a criminal record or not.
Any soveriegn nation gets to decide who comes and goes on to their lands.

We decided we didn't want Bobby Fischer, and they did. We like to have Hell's Angels, and they don't.
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:05 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Just throwing my 2cents worth into the fray, but as most of you know I work on cargo ships that enter the USA on a daily basis to unload various goods. When US Customs comes on board my CANADIAN registered, crewed, flagged ship, they still have the ability (might is right, remember) to search and seize computer equipment, DVD/VHS movies, CD's, or anthing else shiny that catches their eye.
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:20 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lucifer
Just throwing my 2cents worth into the fray, but as most of you know I work on cargo ships that enter the USA on a daily basis to unload various goods. When US Customs comes on board my CANADIAN registered, crewed, flagged ship, they still have the ability (might is right, remember) to search and seize computer equipment, DVD/VHS movies, CD's, or anthing else shiny that catches their eye.
But.... we all already know what a dirtbag you are, Lucifer....

The thing is that there is a very serious smuggling problem with container ships (exclusive of bulk carriers like yours Luci). That's a global problem, not a US-only one. It's how a large percentage of drugs are moved globally as well as many other bulk items.

That said, I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to deal with US Customs on a daily basis like you do. The blue water guys only have to deal with them every few months or weeks (depending on schedules), but ships like yours must lose thousands in costs every season.
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Old 06-13-2008, 06:06 AM   #31 (permalink)
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One for the Home Team

Some news that caught my eye: two groups are fighting to have the ruling (that Customs and border agents can search electronic medium without probably cause) reversed.


Quote:
View: Groups ask court to review laptop searches // Source: Infoworld (http://www.infoworld.com)
Abstract: "EFF and ACTE file brief asking court to rehear and reverse decision that allows border agents to routinely search files on laptops and mobile devices...

... laptops or other electronic devices searched and seized at U.S. borders ... In some cases, travelers have not gotten their electronic devices back from customs officials..."   click to show 
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Old 06-25-2008, 12:57 AM   #32 (permalink)
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//fingers crossed//

Quote:
View: [ANCHOR]Groups to warn panel about economic effect of seizing laptops[/ANCHOR] (link)
Source: Nextgov (http://www.nextgov.com)
Abstract: "The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives filed amicus briefs earlier this month asking the court to reverse the decision.

CBP’s practice places undue burdens on travelers and could have a harmful impact on the economy, said Susan Gurley, executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, who plans to testify at the hearing."
Quote:
Groups to warn panel about economic effect of seizing laptops
06/24/08
by Gautham Nagesh
from Nextgov, http://www.nextgov.com



U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s practice of seizing laptop computers and other electronic devices from American travelers returning to the United States without notifying them of what will happen to the data could negatively affect the U.S. economy, according to travel and privacy analysts who are scheduled to testify before a Senate panel on Wednesday.

The hearing before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee comes two months after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that CBP officials do not need reasonable suspicion to search laptops, BlackBerrys, cell phones and other personal electronic storage devices at U.S. borders. The seizures can include downloading personal information and data from the devices. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives filed amicus briefs earlier this month asking the court to reverse the decision.

CBP’s practice places undue burdens on travelers and could have a harmful impact on the economy, said Susan Gurley, executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, who plans to testify at the hearing. “Our argument is that essentially in today’s world you carry your office with you on electronic devices such as a cell phone, laptop or BlackBerry,” Gurley said. “In the old days, if you were physically sitting in your office, you need a warrant to search it. Now basically one does not need a warrant.”

Peter Swire, a professor at Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University who served for two years as chief counselor for privacy under President Bill Clinton, also is concerned about the privacy implications of the ruling. “Opening my suitcase at the border is not the same as opening my laptop and making a permanent record of everything in it,” he said.

Swire said he plans to tell the subcommittee how laptop border searches are similar to the failed encryption policies of the 1990s. “The government policy violates good security practices,” he said. “It asks for password and encryption keys, which people are trained to never reveal. It violates privacy, chills free speech and compromises business secrets.”

The travel association has informally studied the potential economic impact on business travelers. Gurley said lawyers carrying confidential client materials on their laptops or small business owners worried about the integrity of their business plans must make alternate arrangements such as purchasing another computer for travel and adjusting the way they transfer information.

“There is anxiety over not knowing what the rules are,” she said. “Companies are implementing costly measures. If the rules were posted, we would know how long it takes to get the information returned.”

The association is calling for CBP to conduct privacy impact assessments to reveal the number of laptops and other devices it has seized and to disclose how long the agency takes to return them to their owners if it finds no criminal activity. The association also is concerned about what happens to data that CBP downloads or copies.

“If the information will be copied, we want to know that there are safeguards in place so they are sure of the integrity of the data,” Gurley said. “That way individuals know they will get their information back and that it is still private, not potentially shared with hundreds, even if it is inadvertent.”

But travelers should not have an expectation of privacy when crossing the border, said Nathan Sales, a professor of law at George Mason University who also is scheduled to testify. He said that all information and possessions carried by individuals across the border such as documents or photo albums are fair game for search without reasonable suspicion and that the law doesn’t provide an expectation of privacy just because information is stored digitally.

“We ought to have a law that is technologically neutral,” Sales said. “The amount of privacy shouldn’t depend on the format, digital or analog.” He noted that the 11 challenges to the legality of the laptop searches were made by convicted child pornographers.

Sales agreed that the Homeland Security Department should consider adopting policies concerning the information of ordinary travelers, calling the suggestion “eminently reasonable.” He said one such policy should be destroying the information because DHS would have a difficult time justifying why it needs to keep it.

Asked last week to respond to the foundation’s and association’s amicus filings, CBP issued a statement saying that its officers “have the responsibility to check items such as laptops and other personal electronic devices to ensure that any item brought into the country complies with applicable law and is not a threat to the American public. Laptop computers and other personal electronic devices may be detained for violations of law including child pornography, intellectual property offenses, ties to terrorism, or other violations of law. CBP officers are dedicated to protecting the civil rights of all travelers. It is not CBP’s intent to subject legitimate business travelers to undue scrutiny, but to ensure the safety of the American public.”

CBP did not respond to requests for comment for this article.
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