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Bill Would Give US President Power to Revoke Passports Without Due Process

Sputnik – 30.07.2015

In an effort to prevent potential terrorists from moving within the United States, the House of Representatives passed a bill which allows the US government to revoke the passport of anyone it deems a threat. The move has drawn heavy criticism from liberty advocates who say the bill violates the Constitution.

“The Benedict Arnold traitors who have turned against America and joined the ranks of the terrorist army ISIS should lose all rights afforded to our citizens,” said Republican Representative Ted Poe of Texas in a statement.

“These people are not returning to America to open coffee shops, they are coming back to kill. We must stop them from coming back at all.”

To that end, Poe sponsored a bill known as the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) Passport Revocation Act. After only 15 minutes of debate, the bill was approved by the House of Representatives last Tuesday, and is currently being considered by the Senate.

Under the act, “the Secretary of State may refuse to issue a passport to any individual whom the Secretary has determined has aided, assisted, abetted, or otherwise helped an organization the Secretary has designated as a foreign terrorist organization.”

It also allows the Secretary to “revoke a passport previously issued to any individual” based on the same criteria.

In essence, the bill is a stricter version of laws already on the books. While current US law allows passports to be revoked for any number of national security reasons, those decisions can always be appealed by the individual.

The new bill approved by the House does away with that appeals process.

“The bill provides no ability for someone wrongly denied a passport to challenge the Secretary of State’s findings that they helped a terrorist,” said Norm Singleton, vice president for policy at the Campaign for Liberty, according to the New American.

“So much for due process and reigning in executive power.”

Other critics have expressed surprise that the bill’s passing received such little attention in the mainstream media.

“The US Secretary of State can revoke my passport without meeting any burden of proof that I am actually a terrorist or even that I have ever supported terrorism. He can keep his evidence against me totally secret and will never be required to justify his actions against me,” writes Daniel McAdams for the Ron Paul Institute.

“And this is considered ‘uncontroversial’ in the United States?”

Others have noted how unnecessary the legislation seems, given the technologies already used to track individuals’ movement.

“Given that this technology exists, there is no need for the US government to add powers that could end up stripping passports from citizens unnecessarily,” Patrick Weil wrote for Reuters. “To do otherwise would be to ignore serious constitutional problems.”

“Available technology allows the government to deny or forbid the possibility of dangerous persons crossing borders while easily enforcing the basic right – for us all – to bear a form of internationally recognized identification when abroad,” he added.

July 30, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Social Media as Material Support for Terrorism

By Sue Udry | Dissent News Wire | February 27, 2015

ISIS is winning the Internet! Conventional wisdom has it that the terrorist group is brilliant at using social media to spread its message and recruit adherents. That troubles lawmakers and national security officials. Social media is a “free form of communication that you can use to plot and plan. A new way to propagandize and reach individuals… in their home,” John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security told a cybersecurity conference last Monday, Feb. 23.

At a House terrorism subcommittee hearing last month, members wrestled with the problem of countering ISIS propaganda on social media without infringing on First Amendment rights. Representative Ted Poe (R-Texas), who chairs the committee, asked why the Department of Justice couldn’t use material support laws (which prohibit giving assistance to terrorist groups) to go after Twitter and other social-media sites that allow terrorist groups to use their services.

No one could give Poe a firm answer at the hearing, but Carlin waded into the fray on Monday while answering questions at the cybersecurity conference. He indicated that the Department of Justice could use material-support laws to go after those who spread ISIS propaganda on social media. “We have and will charge under our criminal-justice system,” he said.

While Carlin seemed ready to prosecute individuals under the theory that some sort of technical expertise is involved in retweeting and liking, Representative Poe wants the Department of Justice to go after Twitter itself. He took to the floor on Feb. 24 to speak on the issue:

Mr. Speaker, during World War II, we never would have allowed America’s foreign enemies to take out ads in The New York Times recruiting Americans to join the Nazis and go abroad and fight and kill Americans. Today is no different. Social-media companies need to do more. Private companies not only have a public responsibility, but a legal obligation to be proactive.

Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that it is unlawful to provide a designated foreign terrorist organization–like ISIS–with “material support or resources,” including “any property, tangible or intangible, or services.” That is about as comprehensive as you can get. You don’t need to be a law-school professor to understand this law actually applies to Twitter.

It is mind-boggling to think that those who behead and burn others alive are able to use our own companies against us to further their cause. This is nutty. But that is exactly what is occurring. As a result, there are more than 15,000 foreign fighters, many of whom have been radicalized online, now fighting in Iraq and Syria. That is more than there were in the 14 years of war in Afghanistan.

Designated foreign terrorist organizations should not be allowed to use private American companies to reach billions of people with their violent hate propaganda and recruitment. It is time to put a stop to this. It is time for Twitter to take down terrorists’ accounts.

And that is just the way it is.

March 2, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment