Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Obama Exempts INTERPOL from Search and Seizure Restrictions

"Borrowed" from The Patriot Room:

The concept of granting immunity to foreign nationals in our country goes back at least as early as 1790 when we passed "An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States," wherein immunity was granted to foreign diplomats. (This Act was revised in 1798 by the (in)famous "Sedition Act.")

The immunities were not as broad as one would think, and that lack of a broad immunity has been tagged as a reason, among many, why the League of Nations failed. In 1945, at the same time as the United Nations was formed, we passed the United States International Organizations Immunities Act. This Act gave foreign diplomats many of the same rights as citizens and permanent residents - to enter into contracts, own real property, etc. Additional rights were given, and in particular was this:

Section 2(c) Property and assets of international organizations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, unless such immunity be expressly waived, and from confiscation. The archives of international organizations shall be inviolable.

This section of the Act is the legal force behind all those "diplomatic pouches" we see in movies that cannot be inspected.

Before we get our knickers in a bunch, there is logic to this immunity. While we like our Constitution and laws, other countries like their Constitution and laws. It doesn't matter if the concept of personal freedom is more expansive here. If we expect immunity in their country, we have to extend it to them here. So we're somewhat stuck - we need to dwell in reciprocity.

The issue has been litigated plenty, with DeLuca v. the United Nations, (41 F.3d 1502 (1994)) being one of the most important of recent vintage. Our courts have consistently upheld the concept of immunity for international organizations - even though to do so leaves an aggrieved American plaintiff with no legal recourse to correct their injury.

Along comes INTERPOL: The International Criminal Police Organization. INTERPOL "facilitates cross-border police co-operation, and supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime."

In 1983, President Reagan signed Executive Order 12425:

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and statutes of the United States, including Section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (59 Stat. 669, 22 U.S.C. 288), it is hereby ordered that the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), in which the United States participates pursuant to 22 U.S.C. 263a, is hereby designated as a public international organization entitled to enjoy the privileges, exemptions and immunities conferred by the International Organizations Immunities Act; except those provided by Section 2(c), the portions of Section 2(d) and Section 3 relating to customs duties and federal internal-revenue importation taxes, Section 4, Section 5, and Section 6 of that Act. This designation is not intended to abridge in any respect the privileges, exemptions or immunities which such organization may have acquired or may acquire by international agreement or by Congressional action.

Through EO 12425, President Reagan extended to INTERPOL recognition as an "International Organization." In short, the privileges and immunities afforded foreign diplomats was extended to INTERPOL. Two sets of important privileges and immunities were withheld: Section 2(c) (presented in full text above), and the remaining sections cited (all of which deal with differing taxes).

And then comes December 17, 2009, and President Obama. The exemptions in EO 12425 were removed:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. 288), and in order to extend the appropriate privileges, exemptions, and immunities to the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), it is hereby ordered that Executive Order 12425 of June 16, 1983, as amended, is further amended by deleting from the first sentence the words "except those provided by Section 2(c), Section 3, Section 4, Section 5, and Section 6 of that Act" and the semicolon that immediately precedes them.

What does this mean? It means that we have an international police force authorized to act within the United States that is no longer subject to 4th Amendment Search and Seizure. The "property and assets of [INTERPOL], wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, unless such immunity be expressly waived, and from confiscation."

INTERPOL, an international criminal police organization, is now poised to reside above the United States Constitution - in a place of sanctity beyond our FBI, CIA, DIA, and all other criminal investigatory domestic organizations.

President Obama has just placed our Constitutional rights under international law.


WoFat December 23, 2009 at 9:05 AM  

All Executive Orders are not made public. Leads on to wonder what Obama the Magnificent is hiding in his desk. We can see why INTERPOL gets special treatment. It's politically correct.

Anonymous,  January 3, 2010 at 8:05 AM  

Sounds like we are headed for big trouble.

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