Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson

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Good news: government spying to be limited to 15 years

Dateline: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

In the late eighteenth century, the Jacobin Club was the most violent and most radical political movement leading to the French Revolution.

In 1793, the Jacobins briefly took power over the government and began a vicious campaign of terror. Led by Maximilien de Robespierre, the group hunted down all of the political enemies and engaged in a bloodthirsty conquest.

While the Zealots of Rome are often cited as the earliest examples of terrorists, the Jacobins hold title to the first use of the word “terrorism” in English. It was also an early modern example of the term applying to rogue states, rather than individuals.

The Jacobins ruled revolutionary France and relied heavily on violence, including mass executions by guillotine, to intimidate enemies of their regime and force obedience among the people.

The regime spied on citizens and kept tabs on all those who could be viewed as enemies of their terrorist state. There were few escape hatches.

Living in the modern western world, you’ve probably become accustomed to a few things.

Just as with the Jacobins and those loyal to – and unloyal to – their regime, there are two classes of people: those who are spying on people, and those who are being spied on.

The group doing the spying is, of course, a rather small group of political elites who have long even abandoned the common political notion that what they are doing is “good for you”.

The Orwellian tactics used to convince US persons and the world that a little spying – as long as it was “only on terrorists” – was good for the world, have gone out the window.

Today, the US government spies on practically every email, phone call, and even every piece of snail mail that comes through their borders.

They spy on other governments, such as the Germans, all the way up to the leader of the country. The German government has been up in arms over a mind boggling NSA spying scandal, even while they themselves aren’t exactly clean, having been spying on Turkey for 38 years.

However, beyond endless surveillance and invasion of your personal privacy in today’s western world is the lack of freedom of movement you enjoy.

As if it’s not bad enough that westerners – especially US persons – are being downright discouraged from leaving their home countries (and especially from taking any money with them), governments in the west are now embarking on a plan to restrict your freedom of movement.

Here at Nomad Capitalist, we talk about protecting your money, then protecting your freedom. Having an offshore bank account, for instance, is a legal way to keep some money out of an easy wealth grab by your local government, and you don’t have to actually move anywhere to use such a strategy.

However, the unabated economic malaise in the west is making governments more and more desperate to keep people within its borders. They can’t afford to let a single member of their valuable tax base off the farm.

That means that, in addition to the offshore strategies we talk about, you need to have an escape plan for eventually leaving.

Everything from walls around the southern border with Mexico to new restrictions on your ability to take international flights (because of MH 370, of course)

Every time you cross a border, your information is recorded so your government can keep tabs on you. The Land of the Free, of course, is the worst offender, adding nearly 10,000 people every year to a list of those prohibited from entering or leaving the United States.

It also keeps a list of US persons who – for a number of reasons, many related to simply tax disputes – are forbidden to leave the United States.

And if you dare go to an emerging country they don’t like – say, somewhere in the Middle East – you may well be thrown in a holding cell. I was thrown in back room for screening for traveling to Italy by myself several years ago.

The United States government already forces all airlines flying in and out of its airspace to submit passenger manifests containing all departing passengers, so that they can accurately harass, detain, and intimidate people going to places they don’t like.

They also use the data to screen for unemployment cheats and identity suspected “terrorists” (ie: someone visiting Jordan to check out the historical sites).

Now, the Canadian government is thinking of doing the same thing.

But here’s the good news: rather than store the data of your every personal movement for 75 years, Canada is backing down. Now, they’ll only store your data for 15 years.

Thank God someone is seeing the light. Now, excuse me while I look for a sarcasm button.

The United States apparently is not afraid of the heat from privacy advocates – or it just doesn’t care – saying it will keep information on your every border crossing for anywhere from 15 to 75 years or even longer.

Yes, the US government will still be tracking that border run you made to grab a Tim Horton’s donut long after you’re dead.

As if there weren’t enough ways for western governments to track your every move while falsely claiming to be “bastions of freedom”, the government is always dreaming up new ways to restrict your freedom.

Of course, agencies like the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security – something that sounds like it would fit right in during the French Revolution – have done nothing to make anyone safer. Unlike the private market approach that was bounced after 9/11, the TSA is totally unaccountable for any acts of terror committed on their watch.

In fact, if they screw up, they get MORE power. Do you really think any of the unemployable goons wand-ing your tucchus at LAX care about air safety, or just a paycheck and the accumulation of more power?

The same goes for this new immigration directive. According to Canadian officials, the new spying techniques have alerted them to – wait for it – twenty illegal immigrants that left Canada.

Well, whoopee. Let’s invade the privacy of every member of the traveling public so we can see to it that fewer than two dozen people who spent a little too much time being tourists get out of the country.

As always, however, the western media propagandists are right in line with the new government spying measures. Canadian mouthpiece CTV says:

The entry-exit initiative is a key element of the highly touted perimeter security deal intended to help ease the passage of travellers and cargo across the Canada-U.S. border while bolstering continental security.

I don’t know how the government keeping a record of your every coming and going for fifteen years makes things easier, but as long as the good sheep buy it, I guess that’s all that matters.

This latest measure of government and spying is just the latest in a string of anti-freedom of movement measures being used by bankrupt governments.

Just as the Jacobins used government-sponsored terrorism in France to force obedience to the state, the United States and other western governments are using increasing measures to label as “terrorists” anyone who disagrees with them.

Starting this week, it will cost a staggering $2,350 to renounce your US citizenship, a move clearly designed to make it financially impossible for middle-class US expats to expatriate.

This will force them to continue to pay tithe to a government whose borders they don’t even live within. The US government has the power to keep you in the pen even once you leave town.

Meanwhile, every alphabet soup agency in the US is coming out with endless new regulations making overseas travel harder than ever. If you do manage to get out of the country, law enforcement is also stepping up actions against travelers going to countries as innocuous as Colombia, where the height of the drug war has long subsided and travelers are more likely to be entrepreneurs than messengers for drug lords.

I hope you are already working on moving your assets out of your home country. No matter where you live, you can’t trust the government whose passport you carry to protect your assets or to not even outright dip into your account and help themselves.

However, I am increasingly worried about governments restricting your freedom of movement. This is why it is a bad idea to live in a country you are a citizen of, as you may one day find yourself caged in with no escape route.

The Jacobins, as with any number of other terrorist governments, blocked off the exits and made sure “subversives” couldn’t get out. Certainly subversives couldn’t get out with their money.

If you believe that trillions of dollars in debt is crippling the economy, that you shouldn’t be taxed to infinity to pay for government largesse, and that an endless list of government thugs are depriving you of your freedoms, you are already viewed at the enemy.

We’ve seen what happens when a political group ruffles the feathers of the IRS. That is just the tip of the iceberg as government power to target those who oppose it expands along with the list of “enemies of the state”.

That means that your government can effectively bankrupt you at whim, in addition to whatever other Orwellian measures they choose to apply when the time comes.

If the government can charge thousands of dollars just to get rid of a citizenship you never asked for – a fee that has been raised from $0 to $450 to $2,350 in just four years – what is to say they couldn’t go Soviet Union on you and say you can’t leave at all?

Or to shut down international travel altogether?

If you don’t have both a financial AND personal escape hatch built, you may find yourself in the midst of the next bloody revolution after it’s too late.

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