Five Minutes Five Issues: Phone Searches, War Guidelines, Michael Brown, Guilty Pleas, Assassination Secrets
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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.
Starting in five four three two one.
Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.
Searches of United States citizen’s phones at US borders increased much in the final years of the Obama administration and continue in high numbers in the new Trump administration. A Monday report from NBC provides numbers from the Department of Homeland Security showing there was a fivefold increase in the searches “from fewer than 5,000 in 2015 to nearly 25,000 in 2016” and that 5,000 searches occurred in February of this year.
Maybe you think you can exercise your right, guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, not to have your phone searched. Good luck with that. The NBC report relates this story of a US citizen who, after his phone had been searched at the border when he had returned from a previous trip to Canada, refused to allow another search of his phone when he was again at the US/Canada border:
"One of the officers calls out to me and says, 'Hey, give me your phone,'" recalled [Akram] Shibly. "And I said, 'No, because I already went through this.'"Issue two.
The officer asked a second time.
Within seconds, [Shibly] was surrounded: one man held his legs, another squeezed his throat from behind. A third reached into his pocket, pulling out his phone.
Guidelines for ordering US military attacks, including targeted killings, in the Global War on Terror may soon be loosened.
Citing unnamed senior government officials, Greg Jaffe and Karen DeYoung wrote Monday in the Washington Post that the Trump administration “is close to finishing a review that would make it easier for the Pentagon to launch counterterrorism strikes anywhere in the world.”
In particular, the Post writers note that potential changes include the nixing of the requirement of presidential approval of attacks, thus leaving the decision to military leaders, and the scrapping of “the ‘near-certainty’ standard of no civilian deaths for strikes outside war zones.” They also write that “a standard that potential terror targets outside war zones pose a continuing and imminent threat to Americans” could be eliminated.
Be suspicious of reports of the bad character and violent actions of people who have been killed by police. Sometimes, certain information is selectively made public to make such individuals seem violent and of bad character while other information indicating that the truth is otherwise is withheld. Such may be the case with the widely reported allegation that Michael Brown, who in August of 2014 was shot dead by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, had stolen cigarillos from a store. The allegation was somewhat backed up with video from the store. What people did not see was video from earlier that may show Brown offering to trade with store employees a bag containing something — maybe marijuana — for cigarillos and, instead of walking out with the cigarillos, leaving them at the store to pick up later. The new documentary Stranger Fruit includes some of the additional video.
According to the United States Sentencing Commission’s 2016 Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics, in the years 2012 to 2016 only 2.7 to 3.1 percent of individuals charged in federal criminal cases had a trial. The remaining 97 percent just pled guilty. Are all the individuals in the 97 percent guilty? Certainty not. If the system is stacked against you, pleading guilty to a crime you did not commit can seem like the best option.
Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob Hornberger wrote this week that thousands of pages of government records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are scheduled to be released in October. But, Hornberger notes that some important documents are not included and that President Trump has the power to selectively keep secret, based on a “national security” justification, information scheduled to be released in October.
That’s a wrap.
Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.
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