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Weaponized Citizenship: Travel Controls and What You Can Do About It Tags: Big Brother Police State Preparedness

By Nick Giambruno

ActivistPost

It’s an extremely potent weapon, yet most are not even aware of its existence.

That is, unless they have been unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of it.

The weapon I’m referring to is travel controls, also known as people controls. It’s the power any government has to limit the ability of its citizens to travel. They do this by restricting the issuance of travel documents like passports.

Any government can use this weapon can at a moment’s notice. It just needs to find a convenient pretext.

 

Many countries in the past have notoriously turned to people controls. For example, the Soviet Union would routinely revoke the citizenship of its perceived internal enemies.

Recently, look at how the Dominican Republic stripped tens of thousands of people of their citizenship with no due process. Or how the Syrian government previously refused to renew the passports of Syrians abroad whom it suspected of being associated with the opposition. Or how the US government revoked Edward Snowden’s passport with the stroke of a pen. These are but a few of countless examples.

The point here is not to pick good guys and bad guys. The point is that there are many instances throughout history and modern times that prove that you don’t own your own passport or citizenship… the government does. And they use them as a weapon.

If you hold political views that your government doesn’t like, don’t be surprised if they restrict your travel options.

Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse. Over the last couple of years, there have been several attempts to pass a bill that would make it easier for the US government to cancel the passport of anyone accused of owing $50,000 or more in taxes. I suspect that sooner or later Congress will pass this bill.

Fortunately, there is a way to protect yourself from these repressive measures. More on that in a bit, but first let’s look at the most common forms of travel controls.

Different Shapes and Colors

Desperate governments always seek to control money with capital controls and people with travel controls.

Here are the three most common forms of the latter:

1. Soft Travel Controls

These include arbitrary fees and burdensome bureaucratic procedures. These measures amount to unofficial travel controls.

It’s similar to how FATCA works with money. FATCA doesn’t make it illegal to move capital outside of the US. But it achieves the same effect by imposing onerous regulations that can make it impractical.

In the same sense, the government could achieve de facto people controls through deliberately excessive rules and regulations.

2. Migration Controls

Migration controls are official restrictions on the movement of a country’s citizens.

Sometimes governments will put restrictions on certain citizens from leaving the country. This is especially true during times of crisis and for those who have accumulated some savings.

Many people feel that they can simply wait till things get bad and then exit. But it’s likely the politicians will have slammed the door shut by then.

For example, after Castro came to power in Cuba, the government used to make its citizens apply for an exit visa to leave the island. They did not grant it easily.

3. Revoking Citizenship and Passport

This is the most severe form of people and travel controls.

Preventing people from leaving has always been the hallmark of an authoritarian regime. Unfortunately the practice is growing in so-called liberal democracies for ever more trivial offenses.

In the US, for example, the government can cancel your passport if they accuse you of a felony.

Many people think felonies only consist of major crimes like robbery and murder.

But that isn’t true.

The ever-expanding mountain of laws and regulations has criminalized even the most mundane activities. A felony is not as hard to commit as you might think. Many victimless “crimes” are felonies.

A study has found that the average American inadvertently commits three felonies a day.

So, if the US government really wants to cancel your US passport, it can find some technicality to do so… for anyone.

Second Passports – An Antidote to Travel Controls

Here’s what my colleague and the always insightful Jeff Thomas has to say about travel controls:

As a country approaches an economic collapse, a crystal ball is not necessary to predict that, among the actions of the government, will be increased currency controls, travel controls, tariffs, and a host of other last-ditch efforts to keep the sheep penned in – to assure their presence for a final shearing.

What remains for the reader to determine, if he is a resident of one of the nations that is presently in decline, is whether he: a) believes that, in the future, his ability to travel internationally may be either restricted or prohibited; and b) whether he should take steps to assure his liberty for the future. If so, it might be wise to do so before he actually has lost his ability to travel.

If you have only one passport, you’re vulnerable to travel controls.

This might be the best insurance against economic collapse (Ad)

I think it’s absolutely essential to obtain the political diversification benefits of having a second passport. You’ll protect yourself against travel controls. You’ll give yourself peace of mind knowing that you will always have options.

Among other things, having a second passport allows you to invest, bank, travel, reside, and do business in places that you could not before.

More options mean more freedom and opportunity.

I believe obtaining a second passport makes sense no matter what happens.

Unfortunately, getting one isn’t easy. There are no solutions that are at the same time cheap, easy, fast, and legitimate. Worse, there’s a lot of misinformation and bad advice out there that could cause you big problems. It’s essential to have a trusted resource to guide you through the process. That’s where International Man comes in.

You need to know the best countries to obtain a second passport in and exactly how to do it. We cover that in great actionable detail in our Going Global publication. Normally, this book retails for $99. But we believe this book is so important, especially right now, that we’ve arranged a way for US residents to get a free copy. Click here to secure your copy.

 

United States Just Passed up Old Soviet Union Gulags For Largest Prison System Tags: American gulag Brainwash Denial Orwellian world police state

United States Just Passed up Old Soviet Union Gulags For Largest Prison System

August 21, 2015

For decades, the Soviet Gulags under Joseph Stalin had been considered some of the worst prisons in all of history. But now things have changed.

The United States has far exceeded the horrific tolls of the gulags. In the Soviet example, there were more than 18 million victims during the gulags’ use over four decades.

Around a million people died in the gulags over the years.

Now, as of 2009, the United States tolls soar higher than 7 million in prison, on probation or in some way caught up in the American prison system.

On the surface that might sound like a lot less than the gulag total above. But when you factor in all who have been put through the US prison system, we find a total that is higher than 19 million. That’s more than the 18 million locked up in the gulag system over those forty years.

 

Just like the Soviet Gulag System, the American Prison-For-Profit industry sells itself with the pitch that it is about “rehabilitation.” The government even has the audacity to call the prison system the “U.S. Department of Corrections.”

In the former Soviet Union, they called this vospitaniye and perevospitaniye, meaning essentially: “re-education.”

Oddly, however, in the Soviet gulags, prisoners were forced to learn the arts – playing in orchestras and the like. In the United States Gulags, prisoners are forced to make uniforms for McDonald’s and Applebees, or to harvest produce for Whole Foods.

 

The private prison companies, well-known for profiting off of incarceration and crime, is now saying that the state’s they have contracted with aren’t keeping up their end of the bargain. The private prisons rely on a certain number of inmates for free and virtually-free slave labor.

That labor is used for a variety of trades, including making uniforms for popular restaurants like McDonalds and Applebee’s. But if the private prisons don’t have enough inmates locked up then production goes down correlative with the decrease in free labor (i.e. slavery).

It comes as a surprise to many Americans, but slavery was never actually abolished in the United States. That’s not a metaphor, it’s a matter of careful reading of the 13th amendment to the Constitution. That amendment – often lauded for abolishing slavery – actually makes an exception for prisons. Slavery is still completely legal as “punishment for a crime.”

USA Today explains the following:

Ratified at the end of the Civil War, the amendment abolished slavery, with one critical exception: Slavery and involuntary servitude actually remain lawful “as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” In other words, according to this so-called punishment clause, if you get pulled over with the wrong controlled substance in your trunk, there’s nothing in the 13th Amendment to ensure you can’t be considered a slave of the state.

The punishment clause was taken directly from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and reflected the belief of the time that hard work was essential to prisoners’ moral rehabilitation. But the language was also ambiguous enough to be grossly abused. Soon, the clause was being used to reinstitute slavery under another guise.

Consider that there are more African Americans behind bars today than there were enslaved at any given time in American history and it becomes clear how corporations got their “work around” to keep slavery 100% legal. This is nothing new. This is the way it has been since slavery was supposedly abolished.

Now, the private prison industries say the government isn’t keeping up their end contracts for this slave labor.

Those government agencies signed contracts guaranteeing a minimum occupancy or quota of prisoner-slaves

California guarantees that prisons will be filled to 70% capacity at all times. Arizona promises almost 100% occupancy.

With crime dropping, the private prison industry is losing money and they are none too pleased.

In order to avoid these lawsuits, judges will have to dish out extra-long maximum sentences – not because the defendant deserves it, but because the state wants to keep these contracts in good standing with the private prison industry.

If you oppose slavery, then help us SPREAD THE WORD about this legal-loophole that has been keeping slavery in full effect since the 13th amendment was written.

(Article by M. David; h/t to Addicting Info for some of the Gulag data)

 

How Governments Use Spyware to Attack Free Speech Tags: Orwellian World Police State Preparedness Science and Technology Surveillance Society

Amnesty.org

Security expert and hacker Morgan Marquis-Boire spends his days researching the shady underworld of government surveillance. Here he explains how governments are using malicious computer code to spy on journalists and human rights activists across the world.

What is spyware and how is it different to malware?

Broadly, malware is malicious code that does something harmful or undesirable on a user’s system that runs without their consent. Most people will be familiar with the concept of viruses, trojans, crimeware and even ransomware, which encrypts your data and tries to ‘ransom’ it back to you. Over the last few years there has been a rise in awareness of malware used for surveillance, or spyware. This is software installed on a victim’s computer by state actors, spies and police, rather than cyber criminals. It gives them access to the victim’s online communications and, as so much of our lives is now online, this is where most state surveillance now occurs.

How much can they see?

It depends on what you do on the device that has been compromised. For example, as mobile phones have become less about making phone calls and more about general online communication, we’ve seen a corresponding market for so-called ‘lawful intercept’ mobile spyware. If you have this type of software surreptitiously installed on your phone it allows people to track your location via GPS, access your contacts list, spy on your SMS messaging, record your phone calls, see what you’re talking about on Facebook chat and more.

Spyware on your phone allows people to track your location via GPS, access your contacts list, spy on your SMS messaging and record your calls.
Morgan Marquis-Boire

Who is being targeted?

A group of Moroccan journalists and activists known as Mamfakinch were targeted with malware that appears to have been deployed by the Moroccan authorities. They were sent a “bait” document” in the form of a communication pretending to be a news “scoop”. When analysed, I found the document contained malicious code that secretly installed spyware on their devices, so the government could see what Mamfakinch were going to be writing and who their sources were.

I also discovered that Ahmed Mansoor, a prominent human rights defender in the United Arab Emirates, has been tracked using commercial spyware. He’s constantly subjected to physical and electronic surveillance, and has been beaten and physically assaulted. He has also received numerous death threats because of his peaceful activism.

During the Arab Spring, the government of Bahrain used spyware sold to them by a UK firm to monitor a group called Bahrain Watch, which tracks arms sales. And in the US, a satellite television station ESAT which reports on Ethiopia was targeted by spyware created by another European company.

Who are the companies selling spyware?

 

There are smaller players that have become notorious for their sales to repressive regimes. A British-German company Gamma International distributed the spyware used to monitor the activists in Bahrain. Then there’s Hacking Team, an Italian company involved in the attack on Mamfakinch and who have previously sold spyware to a variety of repressive governments, including Sudan, Ethiopia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia. A recent leak showed that they were contemplating selling to Libya as recently as May this year. And then there are the bigger multinational companies, such as Lockheed-Martin, BAE Systems and Raytheon, who also make this type of technology. This map shows many more of the players operating in the shady surveillance industry.

What can activists and journalists do about it?

The use of protective technologies like encryption, anonymization and privacy tools is pretty low among human rights activists. A lot of people have a good idea of the sensitive information – documents, communications, research – they might want to protect. So the next step is to educate yourself and start thinking sanely about security. There are a number of resources online, such as EFF’s comprehensive surveillance self-defence kit. For a quick and simple guide, you can also read this blog post by a colleague from Citizen Lab.

I tend to shy away from broadly advocating individual tools as if they’re a panacea, because nothing is a universal surveillance cure-all. People also need to realise they’re not only making that decision for themselves, but for other people they’re communicating with who may be in a more dangerous situation.

MORE>>

 

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