From: Paul Wolf
Subject: Republican Majority Leader Rejects Operation TIPS
Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2002 22:42:34 -0400
Organization: Posted via Supernews, http://www.supernews.com
From Ritt Goldstein, firstname.lastname@example.org via "Ross"
Republican Majority Leader Armey Rejects White House Plans for Operation
TIPS, National ID
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 18, 2002
WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Richard Armey today insisted that the
controversial Operation TIPS program and a national ID card not be included
in the legislation establishing a new cabinet-level Homeland Security
"Majority Leader Armey has taken a courageous step in insisting that we
protect our privacy in the fight against terror," said Rachel King, an ACLU
Legislative Counsel. "There is no place in America for either an internal
passport or for utility workers and cable technicians to become
government-sanctioned peeping toms."
As Chairman of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, Majority
Leader Armey (R-TX) today included language in his markup of the
legislation currently pending to create the Homeland Security Department
that would prohibit the implementation of the now notorious Operation TIPS
program and would forbid the creation of any national ID card, including
de facto national IDs such as a nationally standardized driver's license.
According to the White House, Operation TIPS (Terrorist Information and
Prevention System) is scheduled to be introduced as a pilot project in
August 2002 and would recruit one million volunteers in 10 cities across
the country who would be encouraged to report suspicious, ostensibly
terrorism-related activity. The program will target volunteers who because
of their work as, for example, utility technicians or cable installers are
"well-positioned to recognize unusual events," the White House says.
Since Monday, TIPS has attracted fiery critiques from all points on the
political spectrum. In addition to the ACLU, the Cato Institute and the
conservative Rutherford Institute have both come out against the proposal.
Without explanation yesterday, the U.S. Postal Service said it would not
allow letter carriers to be involved with the program.
Rep. Armey's prohibition on a national ID cuts directly to one of the key
proposals in the White House's Homeland Security plan, released earlier
this week. The plan identifies the standardization of driver's licenses
nation-wide, a step which the apolitical National Research Council said
amounts to a "nation-wide identity system" and which opponents say would be
the creation of an internal passport, as an essential component of homeland
security. National IDs are strongly opposed by groups as politically
diverse as the ACLU and Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum.
In addition to measures against Operation TIPS and national IDs, the ACLU
also applauded the Majority Leader's inclusion of language in the bill
that would establish the first-ever "Privacy Officer" in a cabinet-level
department. This position would work as a close advisor to the Secretary
and would be responsible for ensuring that any "technology research and new
regulations from the Department respect the civil liberties our citizens
A Summary of the Chairman's Mark can be found on-line at the Select
I can't resist making a comment. If you want to know why the US Postal
Service wouldn't want to be involved in this, take a look at
Domestic CIA and FBI Mail Opening
from the Church Committee Reports of 1975. As postal officials well know,
from the 1878 Supreme Court decision in Ex Parte Jackson, 96 U.S. 727,733:
Letters and sealed packages of this kind in the mail are as fully guarded
from examination and inspection, except as to their outward form and
weight, as if they were retained by the parties forwarding them in their
own domiciles. The constitutional guaranty of the right of the people to
be secure in their papers against unreasonable searches and seizures
extends to their papers, thus closed against inspection, wherever they
may be. Whilst in the mail, they can only be opened and examinedunder
like warrant, issued upon similar oath or affirmation, particularly
describing the thing to be seized, as is required when papers are
subjected to search in one's own household. No law of Congress can place
in the hands of officials connected with the postal service any authority
to invade the secrecy of letters and such sealed packages in the mail;
and all regulations adopted as to mail matter of this kind must be in
subordination to the great principle embodied in the fourth amendment of
From: John Wilmerding
US Citizen Seeks Asylum From US Police
Ritt Goldstein is living 'underground' in Sweden because he has received
threats against his life from US police.
In 1995, this justice of the peace and self-made millionaire launched a
movement in Connecticut against police brutality and misconduct, which
included a civilian review board with the power to make changes. The
police responded with a campaign against him -- his home and office were
ransacked, his car tampered with. He has been pepper sprayed, MACED and
shot at. "Civilian review is an idea that will immediately inspire
violent reaction from the police," said Connecticut State Police
Association spokesman Dave McCluskey.
Following six months of this treatment, with his health in decline and
friends urging him to flee, Ritt sought political asylum in Sweden in
July 1997. With ample evidence supporting his claims about his
treatment in the US, he awaited, what he thought, would be an automatic
offer of permanent asylum in Sweden.
In a move that stunned Amnesty International and other human rights
groups, Sweden's Immigration Board did not challenge the facts of
Ritt's claim but said that there is no need for asylum because the US
is an "internationally recognized democracy with a just legal system."
Sweden's Alien Appeals Board upheld this decision which led to an
order for his immediate deportation to the US. Ritt immediately went
into hiding in Sweden as his case slowly grinds its way toward the
European Court of Justice in Strasbourg. He has been described as
"the man who fled the US in search of freedom."
While Ritt's case receives little attention in the US, it has set off
a wide debate in Europe. His supporters suspect that the Swedish
immigration service simply does not want to embarrass the US by
granting him asylum.
You can understand why because there's a lot more at stake than Ritt's
safety. If the world's most powerful nation can be called to task for
human rights violations, then the behavior of every nation is able to
be questioned: Germany's treatment of the Turks, the French of the
Algerians, the Spanish of the Basques, and so on. Or what if the UN's
war crimes tribunal went after some NATO pilots and commanders for
bombing civilians. Until now, the court has only charged Arabs,
Balkins, Cambodians, and Latinos. What if it started prosecuting
agents of Washington. President Clinton's apology for US support of
brutal dictators, such as in Guatemala, brings such possibilities to
mind, especially since such support continues even now.
In addition, if Ritt loses his asylum claim, US citizens will be ever
more unwilling to work against police violence, at a time when Amnesty
International says it occurs with "impunity" within the US.
1. Write the two following persons re Ritt's case (see sample letter
Mr. Goran Persson, Prime Minister
Mr. Goran Hakansson, General Director
2. Forward a copy of your letter to Mr. Goldstein at
email@example.com so that he can use it as evidence of his
support within the US.
Dear (Prime Minister Persson/General Director Hakansson):
I am writing you regarding the case of Ritt Goldstein, a US citizen,
in order to express my concern about Sweden's decision to refuse him
protection. Of particular concern, is the finding by Amnesty
International's Swedish section that the handling of Mr. Goldstein's
case, "goes against Swedish legislation."
As detailed in Vi magazine (3 August 2000) and other publications, Mr.
Goldstein led a US movement for police reform which led to a campaign
of threats against his life by the police. It is because of these
threats that Mr. Goldstein sought protection in your country. One of
your own leading bishops, Claes-Gertil Ytterberg, as well as Caritas
Sweden, and others, have called for Mr. Goldstein's protection in a
19 July 1998 debate piece in "Dagens Nyheter." Nonetheless, on 30
January 1998, Utlanningsnamnden upheld the earlier SIV decision (24
September 1997) which refused Mr. Goldstein Swedish protection, and
sought his removal from Sweden.
I am aware that Utlanningsnamnden rejected his asylum because it found
that Mr. Goldstein's attackers were, "individual police", that the
attacks, "were not authorized by police authorities", and that "the
United States is a recognized democracy with a just legal system".
I am shocked by this decision because there has been ample
documentation of various miscarriages of justice within the US.
Sadly, Amnesty International has noted that within the US "brutality
following challenges to police authority has been widely documented"
and human rights violations by US police occurs with "impunity".
The Utlanningsnamnden decision not only puts Mr. Goldstein at risk,
but it also makes it harder for others to speak out against human
rights abuses. For this reason, I am not surprised that this
decision prompted outcry within Sweden and focused attention about
Mr. Goldstein's case in the media within the European Union. Nor
am I am surprised that human rights groups such as Amnesty
International and France Libertes support his claim for asylum. Is
not an endangered American worth the same protection as your country
would afford any other person?
It truly appears to me that a unilateral review of Mr. Goldstein's
case is in order. I urge you to pursue this review.
(name, city and state)