Thursday, January 10, 2013

File this under "One Nation Under Arrest"

File these next few examples under: One Nation Under Arrest.

How much danger does the federal government pose to the average American--I'm talking about someone like YOU? 

Let's suppose you were a small-business owner, and for twelve years both U.S. Customs and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had been inspecting the shipments of seafood you were importing to sell to U.S. restaurant distributors.  Suppose that for the entirety of those twelve years you had always packaged your shipments using plastic bags rather than cardboard boxes.  Suppose that there is no U.S. law requiring you to use anything other than plastic.

It would never occur to you that you might be charged with a federal crime and sentenced to over 8 years in federal prison because a third federal agency, the National Marine Fishery Service, decided that you had violated another nation’s obscure–and invalid–regulation requiring cardboard rather than plastic.

This is exactly what happened to Abner (Abbie) Schoenwetter. He had NO criminal record whatsoever. No one alleged that he was smuggling drugs or weapons. He was not cheating on his taxes. No one alleged that he used or even threatened violence.

What federal prosecutors did allege was that using plastic instead of cardboard violated a Honduran regulation.  

Because these unreasonable prosecutors were armed with a vague, overly broad, and otherwise unjust federal criminal law (the American Lacey Act), none of this mattered to them.  Essentially, the Lacey Act makes it a federal crime to violate any fish or wildlife regulation of any nation on earth.  (What are the chances that Congress reviewed every nation’s fish and wildlife regulations to ensure they are consistent with the Constitution and U.S. policy?)

Abbie Schoenwetter’s business, health, and family life (he has a wife and three kids) were wiped out because unreasonable federal prosecutors – one of whom is now the head of the criminal division in the Alabama U.S. attorney’s office – used an unjust law to target Abbie and a Honduran fisherman from whom Abbie purchased his seafood.

Abbie spent six and one half years in confinement and is now under the supervision of a parole officer for three years.

But he is not alone....

President Obama doesn’t think Arizona has any business enforcing federal immigration law, yet his administration wants the federal government to make sure U.S. companies abide by obscure regulations adopted by foreign countries. 

On Aug. 24, 2011, armed thugs from the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department raided Gibson Guitar's Nashville and Memphis, Tenn. factories, seizing $260,000 worth of wood along with computer files, emails and other documents. 

What was Gibson's crime? Gibson imports Indian rosewood and ebony fingerboards to craft musical instruments used by the biggest names in the music industry. The Federal Government alleged that Gibson was importing woods 10 mm thick instead of wood that is 6 mm thick. had the 

The Federal Government forced Gibson Guitar Corp to pay $350,000 to settle charges that the company bought wood from Madagascar that was one-sixth of an inch too think. Talk about a bad tune.
The issue hit the spotlight last week as the Department of Justice forced Gibson Guitar Corp. to pay $350,000 to settle charges that the company bought wood from Madagascar that was one-sixth of an inch too thick. Talk about a bad tune.

My last example is that of 3-time Indianapolis 500 champion Bobby Unser who the National Forest Service deemed to be a criminal because he accidentally wandered into a national wildlife area. This occurred when he and a snowmobiling companion were caught two days and nights in the Rocky Mountains in a blinding blizzard and almost died. 

Ask yourself: Are we still the land of the free? 

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