Obama Grants INTERPOL Diplomatic Immunity
WASHINGTON: Diplomatic Immunity is that cloak and dagger privilege granted to a certain few foreign government officials, the gift to do as they please within a foreign country. The purpose of the immunity is to protect the channels of diplomatic communication between nations, allowing diplomats to perform their duties with freedom and security.
Some of the protections diplomats enjoy?
- Diplomats may not be arrested or detained by authorities.
- Their residences are not subject to search warrants.
- A diplomat may not be subpoenaed as a witness in a legal proceeding.
- And a diplomat may not be prosecuted, making them immune from both criminal and civil law suits.
A diplomat’s home country may waive immunity and allow its diplomat to be prosecuted, but this rarely happens.
Because diplomatic immunity offers such broad protection, it would only make sense to limit the privilege to those foreign officials who are the pipelines of communication between the United States and their home country. But common sense does not appear to be a factor within the Obama brain trust.
On Dec. 17th, President Obama issued an Executive Order amending another executive order issued by President Regan in 1983. Regan’s executive order 12425 recognized INTERPOL (the International Criminal Police Organization) as an international organization and granted it some immunities traditionally given to diplomats with some important exceptions. These exceptions made INTERPOL property and assets subject to search and seizures, taxes, and duties. And in addition, INTERPOL was required to register any foreign agents coming into the United States as resident aliens.
Here is the text of Regan’s executive order with the exceptions highlighted:
Executive Order 12425 of June 16, 1983
International Criminal Police Organizations
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 White House,
June 16, 1983.
The Obama executive order deletes the language that provides for these important exceptions. With his executive order, President Obama has elevated INTERPOL to diplomatic status.
So how do these newly acquired privileges affect INTERPOL and the American people? Let’s start with Section 2(c), searches and seizures. Under American law, INTERPOL property and assets wherever located and by whomsoever held are now immune from search and seizure, and its archives are inviolable. Prior to Obama’s executive order, INTERPOL archives were subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Today that is no longer the case. Documents that come under the control of INTERPOL are now inviolable. No longer are these documents within the reach of the United States Congress, Courts, law enforcement or the public.
Section2(d) and Section 3 make INTERPOL exempt to any kind of import tax or duty levied on baggage or effects brought into the United States by INTERPOL. But this is a forgone conclusion, because how can the U.S. impose a tax when it is incapable of searching any container that is brought into the country by INTERPOL?
Section 4 exempts INTERPOL from property taxes, meaning it can buy, build and occupy any property without the burden of a property tax.
Anytime you or I travel outside the country, we are required to present a passport in order to return. Not so for INTERPOL officers and employees. Under Section 5 INTERPOL is granted immunity from registration of foreign agents. So like diplomats, agents of INTERPOL may enter and exit the country at will.
The jewel of Section 5 though, is immunity from law suits. It states that “officers and employees…shall be immune from suit and legal process relating to acts performed by them in their official capacity”. If an agent of INTERPOL violates an American citizen’s constitutional right in the course of an investigation, there is no redress available to the citizen. Or if an INTERPOL agent is driving under the influence of alcohol and happens to plow into and kill an American citizen, a wrongful death suit is not available, a manslaughter conviction is not available. The plaintiff’s only hope is that the home country will waive immunity to law suits, but don’t count on it.
Forth Amendment constraints, the Freedom of Information Act, Constitutional protections, and federal law are devices that protect Americans from an over zealous police force. President Obama’s actions in removing President Reagan’s limitations on INTERPOL establish, on American soil (the U.S. headquarters is located in the Justice Department in Washington D.C.) a police force that is neither subject to the U.S. Constitution nor American law. What is the endgame here? Why would the administration enable a foreign organization the ability to act as a shadow police force? Could it be that the Obama administration sought to create a vault for government files that are beyond the reach of Congress, U.S. law enforcement, the media and the public? Is it even conceivable that benign motives provoked this order? Regardless, you are now in possession of the facts, do with them what you may.