Define “Terrorist”: The Case For a Second Passport

--Imagine: You make it to the airport, for once, without having to rush.

You’re feeling good. It’s been a long time since you’ve had the chance to “get away from it all.”

You wait in line to check in for your flight. You step up to the counter. Your face drops as you’re told you won’t be able to board.

“What? Why not?” you ask.

“Sorry. Could you please step aside?”

Suddenly, a small throng of security guards surround you. As everyone stares at you like you’re Bin Laden’s second cousin, the guards whisk you away for questioning.

Later, after your flight’s long gone, you learn that you’re banned from flying.

“What? Wait. For how long?” you ask.


--2007, with that said, was a bad year to be Robert Johnson.

In that year, 60 Minutes pulled together 12 men named Robert Johnson. All of them reported being harassed while traveling. Sometimes they were just interrogated. Other times, they were strip-searched. Every time, though, they could expect, without knowing why, to be treated like a criminal.

One of the Johnsons admitted that, after a while, he’d come to dread airports so much he’d often enter them in a “panic, sweating.” Which, of course, likely made him look even more suspicious and precipitated more questioning.  

Come to find out, they were all placed on America’s no-fly list after a Robert Johnson tried to blow up a Hindu temple in Toronto. For that reason, the system was mistakenly flagging every single Robert Johnson that came through.


It gets worse…

Since the no-fly list was created, tens of thousands of innocent people have been labeled as terrorists and barred from flying altogether.

Some by error and others for more dubious reasons. Many, for example, have been placed on the list, it’s been discovered, solely for their political views.

Even worse, as something called the Expatriate Terrorist Act (S. 247) becomes reality, anyone, at the State’s discretion, could soon be labeled a “terrorist” and not only end up on the no-fly list — but also have their American citizenship revoked.

“Americans could lose their citizenship in a secret State Department proceeding,” Mark Nestmann says in today’s featured article below. “There would be no need for a trial, conviction, or independent review.”

More on that in a moment.

First, here’s a quick question for you:

--What would you do if, because of your political views or otherwise, you were blacklisted from travel? Or, worse, had your citizenship revoked?

Better question: What could you do?

Well, there is one thing. But it takes some forward thinking.

That’s why, today, we’re going to show you four reasons why it’s prudent to consider owning a second passport.

Read on…

--These days, most couldn’t imagine being free to travel without a passport. Proving your identity — and now, getting felt up — is just part of the journey.

Before World War I, though, Americans didn’t need a passport to exit and enter the country.

It wasn’t until The Great War that they were required in the U.S. for fear of letting in spies. (Such is how the State uses war to justify stampeding personal liberties.)

Today, a full century later, if you don’t have a passport, you’re locked into your home country.

And at a time when revoking it for any arbitrary reason is not out of the question in the U.S. (for tax debt, as one example), it could be time to start considering your options.

“It is not inconceivable,” Doug Casey writes on his International Man blog, “that the U.S. government would make it more difficult for Ron Paul supporters and libertarians to travel internationally one day in the future. Heck, they have already taken the first step and labeled them potential domestic terrorists.

“The bottom line is that if you hold political views that the establishment of your home government does not like, don’t be surprised when they decide to restrict your travel options. In this case, having the political diversification that comes from having a second passport is even more important.”

With that, here are four reasons you should consider international diversification.

#1 Doug Casey of International Man: More Internationalization Options

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

“More options means more freedom and opportunity.

“Obtaining a second passport can literally open the door to a world of internationalization options for your assets and income that are off limits to citizens of certain countries. This is especially true for Americans, who are often treated as if they have the plague when they attempt to open foreign financial accounts and are increasingly being forced to close the ones they already have.

“Due to the ever-growing pile of regulations, foreign banks and brokerages are making the logical business decision that the costs of compliance outweigh any benefits of having Americans as clients. Opening a foreign financial account as an American citizen ranges from being impossible to very difficult in most circumstances.

“When you consider the totality of it, these vast regulations amount to a soft form of capital controls, which will likely turn into overt capital controls at some point in the future.

“Also, the enormous benefits of a second passport will last for generations. You will be able to pass on your multiple citizenships to your future children and grandchildren.”

#2 Redmond W. of The Dollar Vigilante: Stop the Extortion

“One of the biggest economic benefits of a second passport,” says Redmond, “depending on your own situation, residency and original citizenship is that you could end up avoiding a lot of money in extortion (taxes) being stolen from you. 

“As one example, if a Canadian leaves Canada and has a residency or passport in a country without extortion (taxation) — like Paraguay — they could find themselves in a situation where they go from losing 40% of their income every year to theft to 0%. 

“Or, if an American were to get a Paraguayan passport and renounce their U.S. passport they also could find themselves never being extorted for the rest of their life.  Finding out how to legally avoid armed robbery each year is a tricky thing though and we recommend speaking to a tax specialist where you live for more.”

Also, we’ll add, Section 911(b)(2)(D)(i) of the tax code allows qualified U.S. citizens who work abroad to exclude $101,300 from their foreign-earned income. (See here for more details.)

#3 Andrew Henderson from Nomad Capitalist: Escape Civil or Political Turmoil

“With a second passport, you will have more options. One of the greatest examples of this is in Nazi Germany when Jews had their passports stamped with large “J”s to make them easily identifiable by officials. Game over. Some Jews were able to get second passports through offshore connections, but most were left with few options.

“Recently, citizens of Arab Spring countries attempted to escape the chaos around them, but were turned away from most safe havens because of where they were coming from.

“When things heat up at home, many other countries won’t want to help you. As with anything else, it is better to be prepared than to seek preparation once it’s too late.”

--And for our fourth and last reason, we’ve invited Mark Nestmann to the show.

Below, he’ll rap about the Expatriate Terrorist Act (S. 247) and why, soon, the U.S. could use passport revocation as a weapon against political enemies.

Of course, the U.S. government gets to decide how they define “enemy.” And as you know, they tend to paint with a broad brush.

So beware. And read on…

You, An Accidental Terrorist? Thank Ted Cruz

By Mark Nestmann

It’s bad enough that the US government has the authority to revoke your passport if you have a “seriously delinquent tax debt.” That little gem was buried in the 2015 Highway Funding Bill, which President Obama signed in December.

But now, Senator and presidential candidate Rafael “Ted” Cruz (R-Texas) wants to go further. He’s introduced a bill that would revoke the citizenship of any American found providing “material assistance” to a “foreign terrorist organization.”

Revoking citizenship is a time-honored way of dealing with political enemies. In ancient Rome, you could lose your citizenship for theft, murder, or treason. Once you lost your citizenship, you couldn’t get it back. Roman citizens couldn’t be sentenced to death, but once you lost that status, the state could kill you at will.

More recently, Nazi Germany stripped millions of its citizens of their nationality. The Citizenship Law of 1935 held that only inpiduals with a German bloodline qualified for German citizenship. Everyone else, including millions of Jews, Roma, and anyone with dark skin, became mere subjects of the state. The law provided a legal basis for the imprisonment and murder of hundreds of thousands of stateless former German citizens and later, millions of (mainly) Polish and Russian Jews.

Today, the UK is the undisputed champion of this strategy. Since 2006, an amendment to the British Nationality Act allows the home secretary to revoke British citizenship whenever “deprivation is conducive to the public good.” This process allows all deliberations to occur secretly. The UK has stripped dozens of people of their citizenship, including at least five native-born citizens. At least two have already been killed in drone strikes, and a third was secretly deported to the US.

Canada has also amended their nationality laws to ease the revocation of citizenship, and Australia is on the verge of doing so. Now, with Senator Cruz’s Expatriate Terrorist Act (S. 247), the US could join them. Americans could lose their citizenship in a secret State Department proceeding. There would be no need for a trial, conviction, or independent review.

In theory, you can appeal the decision, but don’t count on getting your citizenship back by going to court. Once the State Department claims you’re involved in terrorist activities, it’s pretty much “game over.” Proof of this came last year, after a consular official denied the husband of a US citizen a visa due to his alleged terrorist activities. The official provided no support for the decision. The wife filed a court appeal that eventually came before the Supreme Court. It ruled in a 5–4 decision last June that the government has the absolute power to deny visas for any reason. No judicial review is available to those affected by the decisions, erroneous or otherwise, of consular officers.

You might be wondering what “material assistance” to a terrorist group is. The Cruz proposal doesn’t define it, but another law, the Terrorist Material Support statute, forbids providing “material support” to anyone engaged in an offense identified as a federal crime of terrorism. Assuming “material assistance” is the same as “material support,” the Supreme Court has applied a clear, albeit terrifyingly broad definition.

In 2010, the court ruled that you could “materially support” terrorism simply by providing advice on how to “peacefully resolve disputes” to a person or group designated “terrorist.”

You read that correctly. Non-violent actions that have nothing to do with terrorism constitute material support.

If the Cruz proposal becomes law, I have little doubt that there will be a flood of citizenship revocations. Many will no doubt be related to actual terrorist acts, of course. But any American involved in organizations such as Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) that operate in countries where terrorism is prevalent could also lose their citizenship. American missionaries or anyone else providing any kind of medical or other service to inpiduals or groups deemed “terrorists” or “terrorist organizations” could likewise be affected.

From the government’s standpoint, of course, this strategy is very useful. Once you lose your citizenship, you also lose your ability to travel internationally, as well as any diplomatic protections your country extends to its citizens. You must apply for a visa to reenter your own country, which will now be denied due to your alleged “terrorist activities.” And if you don’t already have another citizenship, you become stateless — a person without a country.

Stripping citizenship from you also makes it easier from a legal standpoint for your (former) government to assassinate you. After all, it’s now acting against an “enemy alien.” That avoids inconvenient due process requirements such as a trial or criminal conviction… much less “innocent until proven guilty.” This is the strategy the UK has used increasingly frequently since it enacted amendments to its Citizenship Law in 2006. There’s no reason to think the US will be any different.

Let’s face it: from the government’s perspective, being able to revoke the citizenship of “enemies of the state” and subsequently murder them is a pretty handy power to possess.

The global trend is clear. Governments are using passport revocation and the loss of nationality as a weapon against their political enemies.
And with the Cruz bill, the US is about to join this club. Given this reality, it only makes sense to obtain a second nationality and passport, “just in case.”


Mark Nestmann
for The Daily Reckoning

P.S. This article was originally posted at Mark’s website, right here.

The post Define “Terrorist”: The Case For a Second Passport appeared first on Laissez Faire.