It’s actually better that I post this response here on my blog rather than as a comment on Peter Fleckenstein’s blog. For anyone interested, though, originally I had posted a response that will be fundamentally similar to this entry on Fleckenstein’s blog, I generated a comment, followed by a ban. I went around the ban and commented again, he responded and, in his response denied having banned me. I replied to that and explained, most importantly, that none of his replies to my comments even tried to address my point in my comments. And I explained how I got around the ban, that resulted in him deleting all of my comments (I had commented to 4 of his entries) and banning me better that time. I still got around the ban, I expect to see my comment deleted again.
Also I’ve sent a message to Disqus which says in their FAQ that people who write comments retain ownership of their comments. This, to me, suggests either a flaw in their implimentation or in their philosophy. If they don’t really believe that I own my comments then there is nothing wrong with them allowing Peter Fleckenstein to not only remove my comments from his site – which I believe he has every right to do, even though he was only doing so because I was sort of demonstrating his inability to understand laws – but to delete my comments from the universe without my permission. They no longer exist anywhere that I can access them. However if that truly is what they believe and according to them my comments belong to me then they should impliment some type of archive in my profile on their page where I have access to the comments despite the fact that the comments are no longer displayed on Fleckenstein’s blog. Or I would be satisfied with them just emailing the comments to me. We’ll see how or if that ever resolves itself. In the meantime I’ll just post a better version of my comment to that blog entry here.
Now to the meat and potatoes of this post. In Fleckenstein’s entry on the Obama Impeachment he quotes a little from the United States Constitution, The United States Code, and he reproduces essentially in its entirety a December 16th, 2009 Executive Order.
Lucky for me all of those things are public domain so I will reproduce those quotes here:
He quotes the United States Constitution Article VI clauses 2 and 3 (he calls them sections, I chuckled):
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwith-standing.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
From the heading I gathered that his intention was to highlight the part of this where it says that the president shall be bound by oath of affirmation to support this constitution. From the presence of a few portions of the United States Code I’m guessing he also wanted to highlight the part in this about the Constitution, the laws of the United States, and Treaties made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land.
Actually from his use of the word “supremacy” later on you sort of get the impression he was hoping that that word supreme there would resonate.
Here’s a link to the text of the United States Constitution, a good thing to have:
He next quotes 18 USC § 2381. Treason:
“Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”
This really is not in any way relevant to anything that follows in his post. We aren’t at war with Interpol, and the December 16th executive order does not amount to Obama levying war against the United States, or adhering to the United State’s enemies. The United States is a member of Interpol.
Also some good links:
This is a link to essentially the entire United States Code:
This is a link to this specific Title and section:
Next he quotes 18 USC § 1918 – Disloyalty and asserting the right to strike against the Government:
“Whoever violates the provision of section 7311 of title 5 that an individual may not accept or hold a position in the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia if he—(1) advocates the overthrow of our constitutional form of government;(2) is a member of an organization that he knows advocates the overthrow of our constitutional form of government;(3) participates in a strike, or asserts the right to strike, against the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia; or(4) is a member of an organization of employees of the Government of the United States or of individuals employed by the government of the District of Columbia that he knows asserts the right to strike against the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia;shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year and a day, or both.”
This references 5 USC 7311 which Fleckenstein does not quote but I will:
An individual may not accept or hold a position in the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia if he—(1) advocates the overthrow of our constitutional form of government;(2) is a member of an organization that he knows advocates the overthrow of our constitutional form of government;(3) participates in a strike, or asserts the right to strike, against the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia; or(4) is a member of an organization of employees of the Government of the United States or of individuals employed by the government of the District of Columbia that he knows asserts the right to strike against the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia.
Somehow he’s got the sedition laws mixed in there as though they support his point. However recognizing Interpol as an international organization as the International Organizations Immunities Act applies to International Organizations hardly qualifies as advocating the overthrow of our constitutional form of government.
Next he quotes the constitution again:
Article II section 4:
“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Obviously setting the stage for his conclusion, namely that Obama should be impeached.
Last but certainly not least is the main attraction. He quotes Obama’s Executive Order 13524 Amending Executive Order 12425:
“EXECUTIVE ORDER- – - – - – -AMENDING EXECUTIVE ORDER 12425 DESIGNATING INTERPOLAS A PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION ENTITLED TOENJOY CERTAIN PRIVILEGES, EXEMPTIONS, AND IMMUNITIESBy 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.BARACK OBAMATHE WHITE HOUSE,December 16, 2009.”
By the way I know I can embed my links in hyperlinks, I like to keep them completely transparent. If I just directly post the URL the fact that I’m linking you to a source is much more obvious.
He did not quote the executive order that Obama’s December 16th executive order is amending, I will do so now:
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.
This Executive Order was also previously amended by Bill Clinton on September 15, 1995:
“Executive Order 12971 of September 15, 1995
Amendment to Executive Order No. 12425
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to extend the appropriate privileges, exemptions, and immunities upon the International Criminal Police Organization (‘‘INTERPOL’’) it is hereby ordered that Executive Order No. 12425 be amended by deleting, in the first sentence, the words ‘‘the portions of Section 2(d) and’’ and the words ‘‘relating to customs duties and federal internal-revenue importation taxes’’.
The White House,September 15, 1995.”
So as we can see all Obama’s executive order does is remove all of the exceptions that Reagan’s executive order placed on the application of the International Organizations Immunities Act with regards to Interpol, except for the exception that Clinton had already removed in his amendment.
You might also find this link to an earlier Executive Order which gives several International Organizations the exact same privileges under the International Organizations Immunities Act:
And for anyone who’s curious, here is a link to the International Organizations Immunities Act:
The link also contains, in an editorial note at the end, a list of other International Organizations which enjoy these privileges along with the number of the Executive Order which granted them recognition. I wonder if Peter Fleckenstein can produce similar cries for impeachment for each instance of an international organization having an executive order issued granting it the privileges and protections of the International Organizations Immunities Act. According to Fleckenstein’s logic if we recognize any international organization as being entitled to the privileges set forth in the International Organizations Immunities Act without exceptions then we are giving them supremacy over our constitution. In which case at this point so many International Organizations now have supremacy over our constitution why is he only complaining about Interpol?
So this is, in his words, Obama’s crime:
“He has placed international law above our Constitution.”
Aside from the claim being unfounded it’s also ridiculous and extremely hypocritical. If some german dude came over here and committed murder in our country and fled back to Germany we would want that person extradited back here so we could try him under our laws for his crime. That’s sort of what Interpol is all about. Now it’s reasonable that if we want that kind of consideration from other nations we have to give that kind of consideration to other nations. So if one our citizens goes to another country and commits a serious crime and flees back to the United States why should we think it unreasonable for that country to want our citizen to be extradited back into their custody to stand trial under their laws for that crime?
Interpol’s full name is the International Criminal Police Organization, their jurisdiction applies only to international criminals. The current Secretary General of Interpol is a United States citizen, Ronald Noble, he has been the Secretary General of Interpol since 2000. Before he was Secretary General of Interpol he worked for the United States Treasury. Interpol was established in 1923 as the International Criminal Police Commission, it received its current designation in 1956. Interpol also has its own constitution. Here is a link to it:
Article 3 of Interpol’s constitution says:
“It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”
Here is a link to some background regarding Article 3 of Interpol’s constitution:
Essentially the objection of many people to this Executive Order is that Obama is allowing Interpol now to curtail some of our rights. Here are some blogs trying to make this point:
I believe that the premise here is that Interpol now enjoys a privilege that no police agency in the United States has previously enjoyed. The assertion that because the United States Department of Justice is the National Central Bureau for Interpol in the United States the United States Department of Justice is now exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests is unfounded. The Freedom of Information Act applies to all federal agencies, therefore since the United States Department of Justice is a federal agency the Freedom of Information Act applies to it. To say that Interpol has now been exempted from the Freedom of Information Act misunderstands the actual scope of the Freedom of Information Act. Interpol has never fallen under the jurisdiction of the Freedom of Information Act. The Freedom of Information Act only applies to federal agencies, Interpol is not a federal agency of the United States of America. The United States Department of Justice is not Interpol. They are distinct entities with distinct sets of records. The United States Department of Justice is just set up to be able to forward Interpol related requests through Interpol channels. It also has offices for Interpol agents within the United States, and probably maintains a local Interpol archive most likely related to those requests originating in the US being sent to Interpol offices in any of the other 187 member nations requesting extradition of criminals located in those countries who are wanted in the United States for crimes committed in the United States.
The above link provides the definitions of the relevant terms within the freedom of information act (it’s 5 USC 551), and the link below is the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC 552:
Thus to object to the Executive Order on the grounds that it makes Interpol suddenly exempt to the Freedom of Information Act, which Interpol has, since it’s inception in 1923 always been exempt from, is to object for no real reason at all.
EDIT: I just found and should add that Interpol has its own information request and response rules which are similar to freedom of information act requests rules:
EDIT#2: I came across these essentially identical blogs that also try to make a similar claim:
The problem is that as I already explained Interpol has always been exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests, and Interpol has its own system for responding to information requests, so it’s another example of objecting to something that hasn’t actually happened. If Interpol is maintaining records on US citizens those citizens may request those records from Interpol directly via the process set forth in the link I posted about it. Also the scenario of using Interpol to protect documents from legal subpoena doesn’t make any sense either. Interpol may have been excepted from search and seizure but organizations like the World Health Organization weren’t. So the United States already had tons of international organizations in its borders protected from search and seizure to chose from if any member of any federal government branch wanted to or even could conceivably hide documents by giving them to an organization receiving protection from search and seizure under the International Organizations Immunities Act why not just pick one of the many already available instead of add a new one for that purpose? Some people are just being over paranoid and under informed.
EDIT#3: Here’s another one:
Again the claim I already explained is false that Interpol is suddenly exempted from Freedom of Information Act requests. There is also a claim that Interpol has been placed beyond the reach of our top law enforcement, except that Interpol agents are only immune from suit for actions performed during the course of their duty, and only if Interpol the organization doesn’t waive the protection.
However there is section 8 of the International Organizations Immunities Act:
(a) Notification to and acceptance by Secretary of State of personnel
No person shall be entitled to the benefits of this subchapter, unless he
(1) shall have been duly notified to and accepted by the Secretary of State as a representative, officer, or employee; or
(2) shall have been designated by the Secretary of State, prior to formal notification and acceptance, as a prospective representative, officer, or employee; or
(3) is a member of the family or suite, or servant, of one of the foregoing accepted or designated representatives, officers, or employees.
(b) Deportation of undesirables
Should the Secretary of State determine that the continued presence in the United States of any person entitled to the benefits of this subchapter is not desirable, he shall so inform the foreign government or international organization concerned, as the case may be, and after such person shall have had a reasonable length of time, to be determined by the Secretary of State, to depart from the United States, he shall cease to be entitled to such benefits.
(c) Extent of diplomatic status
No person shall, by reason of the provisions of this subchapter, be considered as receiving diplomatic status or as receiving any of the privileges incident thereto other than such as are specifically set forth herein.
Effectively making it so that if Interpol agents from outside of the US abuse their protections and privileges they can be deported, or at the very least stripped of their protection under the International Organizations Immunities Act.
EDIT#4: I had a section number, and thus some facts relevant to my last edit wrong, though overall the error didn’t change my point, so I corrected the section number and removed some of the text based on the wrong section number.