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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fattening INTERPOL

Plagues are interesting things.

At once, they are horrible and destructive, and they can wipe out entire societies. Take the Swine Flu as an example. While it hasn’t proven as virulent yet, as the public was initially led to believe, the potential was there to kill off large segments of the population. But the world has seen pandemics, where the dead were measured by percentages instead of hard figures, because the scope was so huge.

But a government out-of-control can seem to mirror this model. As an example, look at the recent amendment to Executive Order 12425, which removes safeguards placed upon INTERPOL by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.

It has been suggested the new amendment will allow “witch-hunts” within our own country, carried out by international police who will be answerable to no one but themselves. In essence, according to this interpretation, American citizens, American troops and even former leadership from previous administrations could be arrested and taken out of the country for trial by various kangaroo courts on the word of banana republics and terrorist states.

And no one in the United States would have the authority now to stop them.

In fact, INTERPOL, which had a fair amount of diplomatic courtesies extended to it during Reagan’s administration, now has been given what basically amounts to full diplomatic immunity and the ability to gain greater access to documents and carry out aspects of their operations without national oversight, within U.S. borders.

However, this type of activity would – on its’ face - suggest that the organization would have a large dedicated police force, which it does not. INTERPOL officers are actually “seconded.” What this means, is that officers within each member country are designated as a kind of liason to the organization, providing coordination, planning and direction for national law enforcement groups within each country to make arrests, etc.

But although some might argue the point, I consider this kind of broadening of any international police powers, to be a disease. The result of these expanded authority, is that a country subjected to this kind of police force, eventually is a country no longer – it is a compound. And within the compound, anything is possible because the rules are employed and changed at a whim by those who live in the towers and walk the perimeter. In this case, the power-brokers are a massive world group and an administraton which can replace the "seconded" folks with their own "choices." Thus, INTERPOL in America could become an immediate extension of our President.

Those in support of the amendment may like to say that it is impossible for INTERPOL to grab up citizens at will, etc., but they neglect to look at history. Sometimes expanded power structures may be benign within one environment, but actually become malignant as times or administrations change.

INTERPOL has a speckled history, peppered with NAZIs – and actually at one point, served as an arm of the NAZI party in Berlin. The resources of the organization were used to assist the Gestapo in the targeting of Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals. But the SS weren’t the only corrupt officials in its’ history. And while the organization maintains a massive database and extends its’ fingers into a wide variety of criminal enterprises, it is comprised of representatives from 181 member countries and oversight is cloudy and complex, at best.

Old reporters adhere to the great rule, “follow the money.” But in these modern times, as data streams run faster and databases become larger and more interconnected, I believe we face some very real scenarios which allow for the misuse of personal information on a grand scale. Subsequently, “follow the data stream,” seems more appropriate.

And if those criticizing people for fear-mongering, wish to argue the point, they first have to explain clearly what benefit a change like this amendment provides – and I have seen no such explanation. Following that question, the supporters of the amendment must also provide the assurance that these massive data-mining efforts, which result from this kind of power being given, will not someday be used in a nefarious way by either the organization in question or its’ follow-on groups.

That kind of assurance is impossible to provide, of course. But one can say that immunity has been provided, and by extension, improved ability to expand and reach into areas previously inaccessible. This authority has been given to a body, which is not a national entity.

And so, this activity allows international government groups to worm their way through the population, feeding off the material their authority provides and expanding their reach and power exponentially. Most of the time, this means improved security by cracking down on organized crime and terrorism, but the true end results cannot be known.

What is known is that the regular people here in the U.S., see it and feel it as a kind of weakening of their Constitutional rights and a deferment of our sovereignty. And it may be exactly that – if not today, then perhaps in time.

It is a kind of administrative, political and digital plague.

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