Tonight’s story begins in 1983, with Ronald Reagan signing Executive Order 12425, making Interpol, the international cooperative between national police forces, a recognized international organization under the International Organization Immunities Act, with a couple of limitations: representatives of Interpol were to be treated as foreign diplomats, but were subject to taxes, import duties, and customs duties, and were refused diplomatic privacy — the files and papers of Interpol here in the US were subject to FBI inspection, inspection by other law enforcement agencies, and Freedom of Information requests.
Here is the original Executive Order, signed by Ronald Reagan in 1983:
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.
The limits were in Sections 2(c), 3, 4, and 5 of the International Organizations Immunties Act (IOIA). You can read the text of the act here.
On December 17, 2009, President Barack Obama modified Executive Order 12425 to remove those limits. Here is the new Executive Order:
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.
I have been warning since the 90s, after watching President Clinton’s moves at Kyoto and his testing of the waters using NATO to interfere in Yugoslavia’s internal affairs, that the next Democrat to be elected President would cede US sovereignty on several fronts, including environmental oversight, elections, and world courts. We’ve already seen President Obama’s aims regarding internationalizing carbon taxes. Now we’re seeing a genuine incursion into US sovereignty regarding law enforcement and international law.
In a word, this action gives Interpol authority over the US Constitution. They are already free, via diplomatic status, to conduct investigations here in the US. Now their activities can be carried out behind an impenetrable veil of secrecy. Neither the courts, nor the FBI, nor the military, nor private citizens can force access to their work. Section 2(c) of the IOIA reads as follows:
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 actually does more than give Inspector Clouseau the right to keep his papers secret while flatfooting around the United States. There is no uniformed police force called “Interpol.” It’s actually a cooperative venture of law enforcement officials of each of the signatory nations, of which we are one. The US connection to Interpol exists within the Justice Department. As of December 17, the President has created a Black Hole in the middle of the Justice Department. Any activity carried out under auspices of Interpol by Justice Department personnel can be hidden behind that same, impenetrable wall of secrecy. By calling any action of theirs “international,” they create a wall of secrecy that no citizen, no law enforcement agency, no court can penetrate.
If you think they won’t finagle things to make them “international,” just recall what’s been done to make any commerce “interstate,” so it can be regulated by the federal government under the auspices of the Commerce clause.
Diplomatic immunity makes sense for diplomats. If diplomats were subject to the laws of the nations to which they were sent, they would be at risk from any hostile government that wanted to pass a law targeting them. Diplomats are not in the countries where they’re stationed because they want to be citizens; they’re there representing their own nations. Therefore, nations have agreed to treat diplomatic missions as though they were the territory of the nation being represented, and granted the representatives immunity from their laws.
Interpol is a different story. It’s an investigative body, investigating international crimes. It needs cooperation from member nations, and it needs access, but it does not need immunity. Quite the contrary; it is the limits on police powers that protect US citizens from tyranny. Police within the US have unusual access, but are not immune from laws, and are properly subject to scrutiny. International investigators should be treated the same. With full diplomatic immunity, US investigators operating under the auspices of Interpol can do whatever they like, and nobody has any recourse.
I’ll state this as plainly as I can: what consent I have granted to the United States government to operate in my behalf, as a citizen of the United States, I remove in its entirety as soon as the United States government cedes sovereignty in any manner to any international organization, agency, board, or group. I am not a citizen of the world; I am a citizen of the United States. No international organization has any right to threaten my life, liberty, or property, and any actions I take against individuals representing international organizations are to be considered acts of self-defense, not lawless acts against a properly constituted government. I grant not the slightest authority to any international organization over my liberties.
Andy McCarthy, the former US Attorney who prosecuted the Blind Sheik, explains the act clearly on NRO, and asks the appropriate question: why does Interpol need immunity from American law? Steve Schippert and Clyde Middleton examine the action very throughly at ThreatsWatch; read it all. Schippert also discusses the matter at some length on his radio program, which is available as streaming audio, in which attorney Melissa Clothier asks another question that badly needs an answer: What, exactly, did President Obama need that prompted this unacceptable action? Teresa Monroe-Hamilton adds some ugly facts about the history of Interpol at NoisyRoom.net.
Read all of it, then start the email circuit and get this out to your friends. This needs a very bright searchlight trained on it, and a very loud loudspeaker shouting the question “With what authority do you give away our sovereignty?” This is too far, and we must not permit it to stand.
Toldja. We are so screwed…