passports

EDITORIAL, International Real Estate
As Passport Wars Heat Up, Time to Consider Countermeasures
By Anthony Wile - October 31, 2015

Have you noticed the passport wars are heating up? I have.

For instance, numerous outlets have now reported on Britain's "Harsh New Anti-Terror Laws." While the laws deal with a number of anti-terror activities, including shutting down mosques and punishing media outlets that disseminate "terrorist" rhetoric, a notable element involves the suspension of passports.

Among other things, as Reuters recently reported, "The new law would … give parents worried that their 16- and 17-year-old children might travel to join Islamic State the power to apply to have their passports removed, while anyone with a conviction for terrorist offences or extremist activity would be banned from working with children."

Britain is not alone in using the passport system as a method of attacking those who for one reason or another are deemed "enemies of the state" – or potential enemies. The US is doing its best as well.

In the summer of 2015, the US House of Representatives passed a bill allowing for the revocation of US passport privileges without due process should the federal government deem it necessary. Here, from Reason:

On Tuesday, without much notice, and after a whopping 15-minute debate, the U.S. House of Representatives passed via voice vote the Foreign Terrorist Organization Passport Revocation Act of 2015. Its intent: "To authorize the revocation or denial of passports and passport cards to individuals affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, and for other purposes." Some of the bill's sparse details:

The Secretary of State may refuse to issue a passport [or revoke a previously issued one] 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.

As far as I can tell, the bill has not yet been acted on by the Senate, but give it time. These days, it seems to me, even the most draconian and anti-freedom legislation is only one crisis away from being fully enacted.

One English-speaking country that already routinely confiscates or suspends passport Is Australia. When I researched this, I was surprised to find the initial act empowering this sort of thing was passed back in 2005. Recently, however, the powers have been broadened and the authority to remove passports now includes ASIO.

According to The Guardian, "Foreign minister can suspend passports for 14 days on advice from ASIO … ASIO can request 'emergency cancellation' of visas for up to 28 days with lower threshold of evidence."

ASIO is the "Australian Security Intelligence Organisation," which is, according to official language, "responsible for the protection of the country and its citizens from espionage, sabotage, acts of foreign interference, politically motivated violence, attacks on the Australian defence system and terrorism."

My view is it's safe to assume that given the appropriate provocation, most if not all Western countries would suspend passports – and no doubt other countries as well. But in the West, and especially among English-speaking countries, passport confiscation seems to be increasingly routine as precedents are set and laws are implemented.

It is hard to remember that this modern quasi-comprehensive passport system is basically less than 100 years old. In the 1800s, it was often considered unusual and sometimes even insulting to have to identify oneself with officially issued documents when traveling privately. All that changed before World War II with the introduction of Interpol and the passport system.

These days, along with a passport comes the duty to uphold and obey the laws of your country. But sometimes that is hard to do. The United States in particular is making it more difficult for a passport-holding citizen to live abroad.

This is in large part due to FATCA, a terrible law in my opinion, that demands US citizens provide a comprehensive account of their assets no matter where they live.

FATCA basically demands that banks worldwide actively cooperate with the US government in withholding US citizen income – to send it to the IRS – if that citizen is a bank customer.

As a result, many banks abroad simply refuse to do business with US citizens. And without a bank account, many citizens either cannot stay in the country or cannot apply for residency.

FATCA is often presented as a set of fiscal regulations but you can certainly bet that US officials don't mind the increasing difficulties it puts in the way of citizens that want to emigrate. Since there are surveys showing that millions of US citizens would leave if they could – either for a period of time or entirely – FATCA has emerged as a significant weapon in the US government's fight to retain citizens.

As a result – and I am not at all surprised – outright renunciation of US citizenships is climbing. This last quarter, according to the government, some 1,426 renounced – the third record high in three years. Nearly 14,000 Americans have renounced their citizenship since FATCA was introduced.

In a recent article, the editor of Sovereign Man, Simon Black, discussed this rising trend. "What is it about the United States that drives so many citizens to leave?" he asked before providing two main reasons.

The first … consists of people who just can't take it anymore. Constant warfare, intimidation, and the steady erosion of freedom have pushed them to their breaking points. They look around and think, "This is NOT the country that I grew up in." And they renounce their citizenship in protest of a government they no longer want to be associated with.

But that's a small percentage of former citizens. For the vast majority of people who renounce their US citizenship, it ultimately comes down to a single issue: taxes.

Some who leave for tax reasons are the very wealthy, Black points out. Some are those who have an obligation to the US that they didn't know about via family connections or in other ways. Rather than pay an enormous tax bill, they negotiate and renounce.

The third category is the newest and consists of "Americans living overseas who have been hit by a barrage of offshore compliance laws."

According to the US State Department there are 7.6 million Americans living overseas. Altogether they would comprise the 14th most populous state in the union, just behind Washington and ahead of Massachusetts. They receive almost zero benefit from the US government. They don't drive on US federal highways, and they aren't 'protected' by Homeland Security. Yet they still have to pay for it.

Of course, the trouble with renouncing is that in this world today most find it convenient to have a second passport. Black covered this topic in his Case Study #3, "Why you need a second passport."

At The Daily Bell, we mentioned Black's reporting recently in an article entitled, "Simon Black Says You Need a Second Passport Now."

Black's case study is interesting in part because he discusses Edward Snowden and how his situation was affected by passport issues. He's basically trapped in Russia right now because he only has a US passport and that's been revoked. …

If Mr. Snowden had been able to procure a second passport prior to stepping into the limelight, he would likely not be in this predicament, as he could have been traveling on his other passport. This is one of the hidden virtues of having a second passport. You might never 'need' one. But should such a need ever arise, it can really be a life saver.

Simon Black ends his article by mentioning the "best" second passport today may be a Brazilian passport because of the "melting pot" nature of the country and Brazil's firm non-extradition policy.

If Snowden had become a Brazilian (which anyone can do – via 2-4 years of residency, or marriage, or having a child, hell even adopting a rain forest in some cases), he could be happily living out his days on the beach in Fortaleza, rather than being stuck in Russia.

Whether or not you agree with this analysis, the "bottom line" is that a second passport (and maybe even a third and a fourth) is useful to have.

One might have second thoughts about passports from English-speaking (Five Eyes) countries because, as I've tried to point out in this editorial, laws continue to be passed in these countries that give the governments arbitrary authority to confiscate. No use having a passport that is revocable at the government's whim.

Generally speaking, in this day and age people should consider how to marshal their resources for maximum flexibility and freedom. I call this approach "lifestyle insurance."

As I've mentioned previously, I'll soon be introducing a variety of resources for Daily Bell readers interested in increasing their options abroad. Most importantly, I'll introduce locales I consider ideal for securing a second home. Stay tuned.

Posted in EDITORIAL, International Real Estate
  • chris

    Nice to see you back…your words were missed.

  • Centurian

    Had Snowden tired to travel on another passport, outside of the Kremlin’s protection, he would be dead by now or living in Guantanamo. That may not apply to people simply trying to avoid the US, but he is a marked man. I may not agree with our Gubmint on this, but I recognize that they have the capability to make bad things happen to people they don’t like. Of course that presumes that Snowden isn’t part of a Gubment ruse to help them further limit our liberty. Another plausible theory.

  • Samarami

    “…It is hard to remember that this modern quasi-comprehensive
    passport system is basically less than 100 years old…”

    Indeed. And for hopeful anarchists to maintain their comprehension that borders are but fictitious lines in the sand. That “nations” and “countries” are illusive superstitions — they do not exist except in the minds of those afflicted with nationalistic religious beliefs. And, of course, to recognize that the psychopathic bullies who have been so successful in capitalizing upon those beliefs by enacting and broadening and sustaining these gigantic, bogus “passport” and “visa” systems are nothing but that — psychopathic bullies.

    “…laws continue to be passed in these countries that give the
    governments arbitrary authority to confiscate…”……’…in this day
    and age people should consider how to marshal their
    resources for maximum flexibility and freedom. I call this
    approach “lifestyle insurance.”…’

    Excellent.

    Please keep in mind: “governments” are mindless abstractions. They do not exist. It is individuals — people — who claim “arbitrary authority”.

    I’ll agree with Ol’ Grey Ghost: 1) It’s nice to have Mr. Wile back aboard. 2) The land mass they’re prone to call “Texas” ain’t a bad spot to homeschool the kids. And while you’re at it, expose ’em to a good curriculum in this:

    http://www.mensenrechten.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/the-most-dangerous-superstition-larken-rose-20111.pdf

    Sam

    • Note: the link

      mensenrechten (dot) org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/the-most-dangerous-superstition-larken-rose-20111.pdf

      is a pdf dowload, not a website.

      • Samarami

        It’s actually a pdf file, posted in the public domain, at the bottom of which Larken Rose makes this statement:

        A Note About the Copyright

        A “copyright” is usually an implied threat
        (“Don’t copy this, or else!”).
        While I hope that anyone who likes
        this book will buy additional copies from me,
        if someone does copy this book without
        my permission, that would not
        make me feel justified in using force
        against that person, or, my own or via
        “government.” I copyrighted the book
        primarily so that no one else could copyright
        it and thereby use the violence of the state to
        prevent me from distributing it.

        You can purchase the book here (and at other book-sellers):

        http://www.larkenrose.com/store/books.html

        If I were homeschooling (15 of my 25 grandkids and some of my great-grandkids are currently in homeschool programs) I would no doubt buy several copies — one for each of the homeschooled kids, some for family and friends, some to give to folks in local homeschool associations.

        Sam

    • Thanks.

    • Gil G

      By such reasoning private property lines are superstitions.

  • Praetor

    ‘Prison planet’, at some point nobody is going anywhere, and where you are is where your going to be, and you are not going anywhere else, without the brown/blue shirt world security agents (WSA) knowing, probing and interrogating every aspect of your body and life, and why you are traveling to such and such a place, and it had better be to make money for the one state, if your traveling to vacation forget it. With the millions of refugees moving through Europe, that is not going to be allowed anymore, those days are going to end. No more mass movements of humans around the world, but of course, if your business is making money for the one state, you can travel, it will be defined and scheduled to the clock and you had better be back in your home territory at the time prescribed or else. If there be war, famine, decease any kind of disaster. The average person is not going to become a refugee from trouble, your just going to be stuck. The only people traveling around those who are wealthy and those creating wealth, there is no other reason to be traveling around, all other travel is banned. Welcome to prison planet called earth. Secede yourselves from the system and have no need to travel, wait for the collapse. What better form of control is there than a prison, at least that is what they think. I guess you can always have hope things will get better, and it will, after the chaos has run it course, and a generation of sic-o’s have left the planet!!!

    • Yes, people should make plans as they can. It is probably not going to get any better-.

  • robertsgt40

    The bulk of terrorism I see today is bring dished out by governments.

  • Statism Is A Cult

    “FATCA has emerged as a significant weapon in the US government’s fight to retain citizens.”

    The U.S. is a big 3,794,101 square mile plantation of typical antebellum slaves working for their masters. No master want’s his slave to run away (retain), now does he? This huge exodus of Americans must serve as proof that the U.S. government is the one who hates Americans for their freedoms, not Al Qaeda or Muslims.

  • Randy

    There is no place to run to, nowhere to hide. When the governments collapse under the weight of their own lies, incompetence and inability to deliver what was promised, all of them will be on equal footing. Which is non-existence. There will not be any way for planes, trains, automobiles or boats to go anywhere, even if there was some place to go to that is better than where you are right now!! Name for me even just one place that you can run to and be safe, PLEASE!!
    We live in a world wide fiat paper currency/electronic bookkeeping entry financial system (do you get that part, WORLD WIDE?? It means EVERYWHERE!!), and it is about to fall apart. When it does, there will be no electricity because the power companies will not be able to pay their fuel bills because not enough rate payers will be able to pay their power bills. Without electricity, there will be no banks, without banks, no payments will get processed and people will just stop working if they can’t be paid so they can buy food, water, fuel and the other necessities of life. If there aren’t enough rate payers sending in their dough, how will the utility workers get paid enough to risk their life going up a pole or tower? Electric utility work is every bit as dangerous a job as being a race car driver or an astronaut, and several men die each month on the job all across America. Who will step into that job and work for free? Not me!! Watch some of the videos on Youtube about electrical line workers and what they have to contend with.
    So of what use is a passport when all of that happens? Who will even be on duty anywhere, coming or going, that will even care if you have a passport, visa or anything else or not? You can have a dozen passports and even MORE of them, but if you can’t go anywhere, except by on foot, of what good are they?

    Randy

    • Frank Clarke

      And if you have to stand and fight where you are, the 2nd amendment takes on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

      • Randy

        No, it doesn’t, Frank. That is the EXACT same meaning that the FF had intended way back when. It’s what they had in mind all along. They meant that we were to stand our ground and do so by any means needed or available against ALL enemies, both foreign and domestic. No asking someone to please take their glasses off before you punch them in the nose, you just do it when needed.

        And do you know what the really sad part about all of this is? It’s the fact that we wouldn’t have such a great need to defend ourselves from a tyrannical and out of control government and massive bureaucracy, if the FF had just done one simple thing differently. Do you want to know what it is? Well let me tell you now. If the FF had NOT made the disastrous mistake of using a popularity contest to select our leadership, and had put in a strict set of term limits (5 years for any government job, no more than 20 total) and laid out ground rules like having to pass a battery of tests to PROVE that you were mentally qualified for the job BEFORE you were ever allowed to have Lady Luck select your name from a drum, then we would not be in the mess we are right now. And a penalty of 20 years MINIMUM in prison for malfeasance while in public office too!
        Allowing these popularity contests to happen in the first place, and then allowing them to become thoroughly corrupted, is why we have all of these problems in society today. Politics can NEVER be counted on to solve the problems that previous politics has caused.
        Voting is one of the biggest scams ever invented, right up there next to fractional reserve bankstering.

        Randy

    • Marc de Piolenc

      Passports are for moving NOW, not after a catastrophe. Governments may be the same after a general collapse (assuming one happens) but countries will be very unequal. Those heavily dependent on a giant state, on smooth infrastructure and on a broad logistics chain for food and other essentials will be in trouble. Here in the Philippines, where nothing ever works and people are used to dealing with it, little will change and life will go on as usual. I’m here now, not waiting for a loud bang before moving.

      • Randy

        You’re living in some kind of La-La Land there, Marc! How does anyone know when “now” is so they can bug out right when they need to? And even IF you have the timing sense of a trapeze artist, where is it going to be measurably better when the world wide fiat paper currency/electronic bookkeeping entry system crashes through the floor? If you think that being in the Philippines is a good place to be just because “nothing ever works and people are used to dealing with it”, you are in for a VERY rude awakening soon. You are exaggerating quite a lot, because while there may be lots of reliability issues with services there, most of the time the systems do function, right?. But when the main players in the game of international finance go out of the game due to the inevitable hyperinflation that is coming our way, and it hits us straight in the teeth, then you’re REALLY going to see pandemonium all over the place. There will be a LOT of things changing there, you just don’t want to admit it. Just you wait until the government goons with the guns are feeling hungry, and use those guns to take your food away!! Last I heard, guns are completely banned where you live, isn’t that right??
        Just how can any government be the same after a general collapse occurs? If the minions cannot be paid, why will they bother to come in to their office and shuffle papers across their desk? They will all be out looking for something to eat and feed their family with too. You just don’t see the magnitude of the situation and where it will lead to. There’s no assuming at all that a government collapse might occur, they happen all of the time, just some are worse than others is the only difference. Archaeologists are the ones who study the remains of civilizations that have collapsed for one reason or another, or didn’t you know that? The North and South poles are about the only places on Earth that haven’t been explored by archaeologists and some ruins found, yet.

        Randy

  • Marc de Piolenc

    There is no “due process” with passports. They are an administrative document that can be issued and revoked whenever some bureaucrat feels like it. I happen to have no trouble with taking one away from a kid whose aspiration is to become a head-chopper or a truck bomber, but of course they can do it for anybody else, for any other reason at all. The only solution in the short term is a second passport from a less restrictive state. In the long term, travel has to follow communications and become borderless. It’s not impossible.

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