Photo From www.rushfm.co.nz Bank Accounts Now Seized Without Any Accusation of a Crime
For more than thirty years law enforcement agencies in the US have, without a warrant searched and seized money from American citizens who were never accused of any crime. Even though the days when the US was a nation of subsistence farmers is long gone and without money, (or access to it through credit) even a Rockefeller would be on the street panhandling, the justice system in the US has determined that while people have constitutional rights their money doesn’t.
When money is seized from a citizen because in the opinion of one particular law enforcement agent he or she should not be carrying that much around, the person can technically appeal to get it back. But the government also sets up an intentionally arduous process for this to happen, that is normally not accessible to a citizen, which forces him or her to have to hire an attorney to get their cash back.
While this helps to make lawyers rich, (who hardly complain) the government well knows that the costs and difficulties of a citizen trying to get his or her money back will prevent the vast majority of them from doing so. That means free money effectively stolen from innocent citizens.
After 9/11 these “interdictions” went on steroids and has metastasized to police departments all over the country. It is all organized by the mafia capos in Washington and the thefts are given the Orwellian name of “Equitable Sharing”.
The Washington Post found “There have been 61,998 cash seizures made on highways and elsewhere since 9/11 without search warrants or indictments through the Equitable Sharing Program, totaling more than $2.5 billion. State and local authorities kept more than $1.7 billion of that while Justice, Homeland Security and other federal agencies received $800 million. Half of the seizures were below $8,800.”
The Post goes on to say, “Only a sixth of the seizures were legally challenged, in part because of the costs of legal action against the government………. Hundreds of state and local departments and drug task forces appear to rely on seized cash, despite a federal ban on the money to pay salaries or otherwise support budgets. The Post found that 298 departments and 210 task forces have seized the equivalent of 20 percent or more of their annual budgets since 2008.”
When the process began the excuse for it was to prevent drug trafficking. And cops on the take as well as bureaucrats whose jobs depend on it, will always tell you how well this program has done its job. Of course since the “War on Drugs” began in the late ’60s, these same self serving groups have always told the public how well they are doing fighting “The War on Drugs”.
And while the markets and types of drug use and traffic has changed markedly over more than two generations, net- net nothing has changed. Illegal drug use goes on in the US as it always has.
Before 9/11 there were not all that many seizures of cash that citizens carried. So most people did not know that this was going on. And of course the flunkies of the Democratic and Republican parties behind what was then a multi million dollar business, were not about to bring it up as an election issue.
After 9/11 Americans have had most of their constitutional rights, effectively revoked, the most important of which was the right to liberty, not to be detained or arrested without due process. The National Defense Appropriations Act, (NDAA) signed each year and supported by Obama gave him the power, (or through an appointed bureaucrat, military or law enforcement agent) to effectively make a US citizen disappear indefinitely without council, without trial and without anyone even his or her family knowing anything about him.
This would happen if someone is suspected of not just being a terrorist but aiding or supporting a terrorist organization. Washington has a long list of “terrorist” organizations that Americans have never even heard of from the PKK in Turkey to ETA in the Basque region in Spain.
Contributing to a charity to help Kurds or Basques where some of the money might filter down to armed separatists groups would ostensibly quality you as aiding and abetting terrorism. Would not a journalist writing a piece that would be in support of the separatist’s goals of the PKK or ETA be de facto supporting these terrorists?
There are no guidelines. The Government as Big Brother can make any decision it wants. And the Supreme Court has refused to hear any challenge to these powers. The US controlled propaganda media has pretty much refused to even cover any of this. Here Reuters, (British) does, but effectively lies by only defining “terrorists” under the act as the Taliban and Al Qaeda or “associated forces”, whatever that means.
Reuters neglects to mention that there are in fact 63 foreign “terrorist” organizations according to the US Government in 2014 and the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA means every one of them.
Very few Americans seem to care. They are in an election season as we speak and nowhere do we here that that is an issue. Homosexual and Lesbian marriage, a woman president, minimum pay, Obamacare, perhaps abortion, yes but not the most fundamental issue of a citizen’s right to liberty.
So it should have come as little surprise that the revelations of Edward Snowden about the extent of the surveillance state Americans are subject to, has also been received with a collective yawn. While by 3- 1 Americans don’t want to give up privacy and freedom for security they also want to see Snowden criminally prosecuted.
And while the three to one number may sound nice, no one is going to make this an election issue among Democrats or Republicans. Yawn.
So this latest nail in the coffin of American liberties will go by pretty much unnoticed.
No matter the excuses, the government’s right to arbitrarily confiscate a citizens cash, acts as a disincentive to making cash transactions. And the real reason for the arbitrary confiscation of cash was never about illegal drugs whose industry has continued on unabated, but about the US government wanting to know about every cent their citizens spend, and that was long before “terrorism” was an issue.
Cash is an anonymous transaction and everything that the government cannot track, as with checks or credit card purchases is suspect, as well as the people who make such transactions.
Now the US government is upping the anty. It is demanding the right to confiscate people’s bank savings in the same way it has been confiscating cash. The excuse de jour today is of course “terrorism”. Here in the New York Times article you will see the faces of the “terrorists” whose bank accounts have been ransacked.
The argument is that people who move money for illegal activities, typically do it in amounts under $10,000 to avoid having to have the transaction reported. So if you have frequent movements of monies from or to your bank account in the thousands but under $10,000, you are suspect and your account is open to confiscation.
Of course this is true of many, many Mom and Pop type businesses. And just as with confiscating cash, the reality as to why this is being done is utterly different than the excuse given for the law and governmental behavior.
In this case what this program actually achieves, is to act as a form of financial terror to people who want to start small businesses. Even if it does not hit them, the thought that if they should be successful in a tough market environment and grow large enough that thousands of dollars of cash flow goes in and out of their account regularly, that they could be ruined at any time by the government’s arbitrary confiscation of their money, has to chill them to the bone.
Poor people obviously won’t be effected by such laws and abuses because they don’t have a lot of money to move, and the rich will barely be effected because they can hire council and after reclaiming their money act to punish those, (if only through civil suit) who confiscated it.
Only small people trying to get a leg up in life will be effected, and once their bank accounts are emptied by the government they won’t even typically have enough assets left to keep their businesses afloat much less to defend themselves by hiring an attorney. As with indefinite detention of citizens under the NDAA, they are guilty without ever being charged with anything at all. And there is de facto no redress.
Orwell has come to the United States long ago and the vice tightens and tightens because its citizens do not care.