2015/06/02

"Piracy" not just "robbery at sea"

A flaw in most discussions of "piracy" is the lack of a coherent and historically accurate definition of what the term meant to the Framers when they wrote the Piracy Clause. The United States Supreme Court decision in the 1820 case of United States v. Smith, 18 US 153, did us a great disservice when it confined it to "robbery at sea", following the comment by Framer James Wilson in one of his lectures. "Piracy" as originally understood included more than robbery and more than "at sea". 

As a legal term, as distinct from a lay term, the term is best understood as "a warlike act by a nonstate actor against assets of a country other than his own". If it were against assets of his own country it would be treason or an ordinary felony. Thus it includes actions for political purposes as well as for gain, and on land as well as at sea or on other waters. 


Thus, all the acts now classified as "terrorism" would be species of "piracy" in constitutional terms, and the Piracy Clause in the U.S. Constitution is the only authority for prosecuting them if they are foreign nationals. The Treason Clause is the only authority for prosecuting them if they are U.S. nationals.

An important distinction must be understood. "Terrorism" (irhab or hirabah in Arabic) is not a crime (felony). It is also not war (bellum). It is guerra, "war against all mankind, or an "offense against the law of nations"). Neither the standards for due process for felony, nor for bellum (armed conflict) against a legitimus hostis apply. The only due process needed to try a a latrunculus (latro) before a military tribunal is to establish the fact that the accused is a latro. Once that is established, no further argument is needed. The sentence is death, which may be carried out immediately.

Originally the standard of due process for piracy (latrunculum) was a military tribunal on the spot, followed by immediate execution. Because it is a crime of "universal jurisdiction", there is no issue of double jeopardy, and the same offenses can be tried by any number of nations under their national laws against piracy. The standard penalty has always been death, to be deferred only long enough to obtain intelligence on other pirating operations and offenders.


See http://www.nationalreview.com/article/213587/distinctions-war-mackubin-thomas-owens


This distinction was first made by the Romans and subsequently incorporated into international law by way of medieval European jurisprudence. As the eminent military historian, Sir Michael Howard, wrote in right after 9/11, the Romans distinguished between bellum, war against legitimus hostis, a legitimate enemy, and guerra, war against latrunculi – pirates, robbers, brigands, and outlaws – ”the common enemies of mankind.” The former, bellum, became the standard for interstate conflict. It is here for instance that the Geneva Conventions were meant to apply. They do not apply to the latter, Guerra – indeed, punishment for latrunculi traditionally has been summary execution. While not employing the term, many legal experts agree that al Qaeda fighters are latrunculi – hardly distinguishable by their actions from pirates and the like. Who knows what some silly judge might rule in the future, but at least so far, no terrorist organization has been deemed a combatant under the laws of armed conflict. 

2015/06/01

SSN: Number of the Beast?


And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. καὶ ἵνα μή τις δύνηται ἀγοράσαι ἢ πωλῆσαι εἰ μὴ ὁ ἔχων τὸ χάραγμα, τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ θηρίου ἢ τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ.Apocalypse (Revelation) of John, 13:17, King James translation.
Is the social security number or its equivalent in the United States and other countries (here called "SSN" for short) the "number of the beast" foretold by John? Many believe that it is. (See links at end.) It is certainly taking on all the attributes of what seems to have been foretold. Today it is being made increasingly difficult to borrow money, get a job, receive government benefits, vote, or open a bank account, without it. Some think John meant only that believers would be forced to use Roman currency, with the visage of the emperor stamped on it, rather than currency issued by Hebrews or other nationalities. But historically it was never mandated that people use Roman coins for all transactions, only for the payment of taxes. Never before in history have we approached such comprehensive intrusion into ordinary business, "that no man might buy or sell". The United States is increasingly making it difficult even for foreign nationals to do business without an SSN in their own countries if the transactions might involve the U.S. banking system.

Until sometime in the 1980s every social security card had printed on it the words:
"For social security purposes -  not for identification".
We can ask what is the significance of removal of that warning.

Most people find nothing wrong with having to present their SSN to conduct business. After all, they think, we all have one so what is wrong with having to present it, other than the fact that identity thieves can use it to steal one's money. The ease with which that can be done should be a warning clue to everyone, because it means that the government can steal your money with it as well, or make it difficult to live without its permission. The government can cancel a person's SSN at any time, and refuse to issue a replacement, making one a kind of stateless nonperson, almost an outlaw in the sense of that word in medieval times, as one anyone could kill with impunity. We may not have gotten that far yet, but we are getting close. Many argue that yielding to the demands that one present a SSN makes one a kind of slave to a godlike (or godless) state, and one that is becoming increasingly abusive of our rights.
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. — Benjamin  Franklin for the Pennsylvania Assembly in its Reply to the Governor (11 Nov. 1755).
Most people dismiss such concerns as conspiracy theory nonsense. The government can be trusted not to do something like that. And even if it did, it wouldn't do it to everyone, and what could we do about it anyway. Just be a meek little worker or welfare recipient and don't ask too many questions. In other words, submit to your slavery.

We must repeal §326 of the Patriot Act

The provisions of the USA Patriot Act that expired, as this is written, do not include §326, which has the effect of making every financial institution that operates in the U.S., or even beyond, enforcers of rules to provide an SSN. §326 of the Patriot Act does not do this explicitly. It only requires financial institutions "know" who their customers are, and require of them some kind of numerical identification. It does not say that has to be an SSN, but then the regulations state that the SSN shall be deemed in compliance with the Act, and that makes all the institutions demand it.

As important as it is to end excessive surveillance, §326 of the Patriot Act is far more important than the expired provisions. In a way, those provisions almost seem to be a distraction, drawing our attention from a far greater threat to our liberties.

The USA Freedom Act needs to be amended to repeal §326, then passed with some further amendments. That may be our last chance to avoid a slavery from which we will never emerge, something we are doing to ourselves which, if done to us by a foreign country, would be grounds for going to war against them. If we continue to do such things to ourselves, the terrorists will nave won.

You might send copies of this article to every member of Congress.

Concerned:
From government:
No property right in social security benefits
  • Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603 (1960), held  that there is no contractual right to receive Social Security payments. Payments due under Social Security are not “property” rights and are not protected by the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. — Wikipedia article.
  • Is there a Right to Social Security?, Michael Tanner, Cato Institute. — U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "contributions" are only taxes, that workers have no legally binding contractual rights to their Social Security benefits, and that those benefits can be cut or even eliminated at any time.
As there is no property right in the benefits associated with the social security number, there would seem not to be any associated with the number itself, at least not when the federal government uses it. One could argue for a property right created by other, private, uses of the number, but since the federal government can delete it at any time, any right could only be to some benefit "once designated by SSN xxx-xx-xxxx as of mm/dd/yyyy". If a private party contracted to provide a benefit and attempted to avoid the obligations of the contract on the grounds the number has been deleted, it would likely be denied judgment, if only on the grounds of "unjust enrichment", quantum meruit.

A number, like a name, is only a label applied to something by someone. No one "owns" it. In particular, one doesn't own one's own name. Anybody can call you anything he wants, and you can call yourself anything you want, or nothing at all. There is no constitutional authority to require anyone to present anything one is not required to have, and there is no constitutional authority to require anyone to have a name, or number, or any other kind of label.

Give Social Security Number, Go To Jail

It is a federal felony to "misstate a social security number" for any purpose, but even if you give the correct number, if an incorrect number is found in anything associated with you, then the burden of proof is on you that it was not you who misstated it. That allows the government to induce a computer clerk to alter the SSN on one's bank account, then prosecute him. Anyone can be destroyed that way.

Money laundering, structuring, cash, and anonymity
Nullification of money control

Perhaps the most effective way to resist oppressive government is to "go dark" — Subsisting without compromising with the controlled money system, but be prepared to have them come for you anyway.

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