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Alice In Dunderland

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. -- the fourth US President James Madison (b 1751 - d 1836)

The policy of having internal passports, much like that of Hitler's Germany and the old USSR, and the requirement to get permission from the Government to travel within the boundaries of your own country, is slowly coming true here in the US.

Today, law enforcement officials can require you to produce a government issued identity card, for any reason, or no reason at all. If you refuse, you can be arrested. Today, you are required to produce your identity papers at the airport. Refuse, and you can be arrested. And therein lies today's chilling story.

As you may know, many of the laws passed by fearful lawmakers post September 11th are patently un-constitutional. One of the most egregious is one that makes many security laws secret. You are required to follow these laws but you aren't allowed to know what they are. Violate one of these laws, or at least be charged with violating one of these laws and you can disappear into a secret system whereby you can be imprisoned, without charge or legal representation, forever.

But there are a brave few who are challenging these laws. One of them goes by the name of John Gilmore. Mr. Gilmore, the fifth employee hired at Sun, has led an interesting life. But what's important here is he wants a public debate about what is happening to this country. Namely, while the military is fighting in foreign lands to bring them freedom and democracy, our own country is headed in the opposite direction.

Mr. Gilmore wanted to board a flight to Washington, D.C. so that he could petition his Representative to get redress. At the airport, he was asked for identification by the airline agent. At that point he asked the agent

...if the ID requirement was an airline rule or a government rule. She didn't seem to know. Gilmore argued that if nobody could show him the law, he wasn't showing them an ID.

They reached a strange agreement for an argument about personal privacy: In lieu of showing ID, Gilmore would consent to an extra-close search, putting up with a pat-down in order to keep his personal identity to himself. He was wanted, patted down and sent along.

As Gilmore headed up the boarding ramp a security guard yanked him from line. According to court papers, a security agent named Reggie Wauls informed Gilmore he would not be flying that day.

It seems to me that if security is the reason for stopping Mr. Gilmore, and if he was willing and passed an extensive search of his person, then he should be allowed to board since he would not be a security threat.

Indeed, if security is such an issue, how is it that people board buses, trains, boats, and automobiles all the time without having to show government issued identification. What is it about aircraft that we require it?

Regardless of the reasons for asking, the scary thing is the law Mr. Gilmore supposedly violated is secret. So secret not even his lawyers are allowed to see it. Why? How is someone supposed to defend himself in court if you can't even view, much less challenge the very law he is charged with violating?

What kind of country do we live in? Right now. Today.

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government purposes are beneficent...The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning, but without understanding. -- US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis



Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Alice In Dunderland:

» John Gilmore Wants to See the Law from Myopic Zeal
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the story of Millionaire John Gilmore, who won't show his ID: John Gilmore's splendid isolation began July 4, 2002, when, with defiance aforethought, he strolled to the Southwest Airlines counter at Oakland Airport an... [Read More]


Well, Amtrak requires identification before they'll sell you a ticket too. Maybe they're afraid hijackers will crash a train into the White House (even though there are no tracks anywhere near it).

There is nothing wrong with an ID card, we've had that for ages here.
The problem you guys have is the hidden and secret laws. We don't have these (and I am not envious).