by Garret Ean
July 8, 2011
In the south-central region of the United States, the Independence Day celebration was bookended with the arrests of two activists on constitutionally questionable charges.
On July 3, former law enforcement officer Brad Jardis was arrested while trying to cross a US border checkpoint from Nogales, Mexico. He was asked some unnecessary questions by the border agent there and was threatened for his silence. The fifth amendment of the US constitution enumerates a right against self-incrimination, which Brad was exercising when he was put in handcuffs and taken to a holding cell by agents. He was released into the US after a period of time with no charges, and denied the right to know with whom he had been dealing at the border. The failure to identify on the part of the “public servants” working at the border echoes of secret police.
Brad called in to Free Talk Live the evening of July 4th, and later blogged about the experience at Free Keene. In the radio segment, Brad describes what it is like for a law enforcer turned liberty activist experiencing the inside of a cell for the first time.
On July 6, Russell Kanning was arrested in Waco, Texas for chalking “Free Bradley Manning” and “Free Naz” on a federal courthouse. Kat Kanning reports that she was detained at the scene for approximately an hour for doing nothing more than taking pictures. She had her camera seized and the photographs deleted.* The US Marshal’s deletion of “evidence” approach is at the opposing tyrannical pole compared to Manchester PD‘s approach, which is to steal all cameras, then claim to be the sole safeguards of the evidence.
Readers of Free Concord are familiar with Bradley Manning, but the story of Nazry Mustakim from Waco is a recent development that began on March 31, 2011. Naz moved with his family to the United States when he was 13. In 2005, he was suffering from drug addiction and was arrested. He completed a six month rehabilitation process, converted to Christianity, and became clean. Naz overcame his addiction, and life seemed to go on. In the summer of 2009 he met his future wife, and was married the following year. All of this time, the slow wheels of bureaucracy were creeping towards him to criminalize him for being in the country that he had come to consider home.
Despite Naz being able to renew his green card following his arrest, by formally pleading guilty in 2007 (two years after the incident), Naz had set into effect the machinery of his own deportation. The felony “possession” conviction put him into the “removal” process, though it wasn’t until March 2011 that the state finally revoked his green card and took him into custody. His wife has set up a web site in his support, and is facing legal bills in the tens of thousands to save Naz from deportation. This story is all the sadder in that Naz has no home to return to in Singapore, as his conversion to Christianity severed ties with his family’s Islamic older generation.
Based on Singapore’s horrendous human rights violations, I would editorializingly assert that sending anyone to such a nation without their consent should be a criminal offense. Singapore is among a handful of nations that executes individuals convicted of nonviolent, victimless offenses. Read more about Naz’s story and find ways to support here:
Getting back to Russell, he remains in custody on the federal charge of “willfully damaging US Property of an amount not exceeding $1000”. It’s not surprising that the feds deal in larger imaginary amounts of money over chalking damage, where Manchester police charges priced “chalk damage” at under $100.
You can write to Russell here: Jack Harwell Detention Center
3101 Marlin Hwy
Waco, TX 76705 Released! 7/12/2011
While on the topic of inefficient, inhumane government policy, it is worth noting the food crisis that is currently occurring in Georgia. There has been an exodus of undocumented immigrants from Georgia following the April passage of an Arizona-style immigration law. The bill is expected to begin being implemented next month. If the purpose of such a law was to drive immigrants from the state, then the statute can be deemed a success by nativist supporters, but the actions do not come without consequences. Many of Georgia’s fields were worked by undocumented immigrants, and in their absence the state has tried to get convicts to work the fields, many of whom find the work to be too difficult and refuse. Food is beginning to rot on the vine because labor cannot be found to harvest it. Politico.com has the story:
Bryan Tolar, president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council, said farms have already lost $300 million and could lose up to $1 billion if it does not get access to a reliable workforce.
“People come out and they have an idea of what they’re going to be doing,” Tolar said. “As soon as they start doing it and find out that its more difficult and more work required than they’d anticipated, they leave.”
…Georgia’s crops, Tolar said, are “already rotting in the field and falling off the vine. We’ve got blackberries that are mature. And when they’re not picked, they drop. When they drop, they’re done.”
Georgia’s HB87 reflects shades of the fugitive slave laws, as it levels a $1,000 fine on individuals who “transport and protect” undocumented immigrants.
7/13/2011: Kat was able to restore the photos and they are visible here: