In my post published earlier this week, Recent TSA Molestation Video Proves Americans Have Become Authority Worshipping Slaves, I noted the following:
Yeah, it’s disgusting, inappropriate and anathema to a free people, but that’s the point. We aren’t a free people. We’ve become a bunch of authority-worshiping subjects toiling on a plantation dominated by multi-national companies who write our laws and manipulate our thoughts through corporate media. The worst part is we don’t do anything about it. We elect Trump and then puff our chests out yelling stupid slogans like MAGA, as molestations from the TSA get worse. Well done everyone.
I was pleased that the above paragraph connected with many people, but for those of you who think I was being hyperbolic, take a look at the following excerpts from a piece recently published at The Washington Post, Since 2007, the DEA Has Taken $3.2 Billion in Cash from People Not Charged with a Crime:
The Drug Enforcement Administration takes billions of dollars in cash from people who are never charged with criminal activity, according to a report issued today by the Justice Department’s Inspector General.
Since 2007, the report found, the DEA has seized more than $4 billion in cash from people suspected of involvement with the drug trade. But 81 percent of those seizures, totaling $3.2 billion, were conducted administratively, meaning no civil or criminal charges were brought against the owners of the cash and no judicial review of the seizures ever occurred.
Remember, the terrorists hate us for our freedom.
That total does not include the dollar value of other seized assets, like cars, homes, electronics and clothing.
These seizures are all legal under the controversial practice of civil asset forfeiture, which allows authorities to take cash, contraband and property from people suspected of crime. But the practice does not require authorities to obtain a criminal conviction, and it allows departments to keep seized cash and property for themselves unless individuals successfully challenge the forfeiture in court. Critics across the political spectrum say this creates a perverse profit motive, incentivizing police to seize goods not for the purpose of fighting crime, but for padding department budgets.
In the absence of this information, the report examined 100 DEA cash seizures that occurred “without a court-issued warrant and without the presence of narcotics, the latter of which would provide strong evidence of related criminal behavior.”
Fewer than half of those seizures were related to a new or ongoing criminal investigation, or led to an arrest or prosecution, the Inspector General found.
“When seizure and administrative forfeitures do not ultimately advance an investigation or prosecution,” the report concludes, “law enforcement creates the appearance, and risks the reality, that it is more interested in seizing and forfeiting cash than advancing an investigation or prosecution.”
The scope of asset forfeiture is staggering. Since 2007 the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Fund, which collects proceeds from seized cash and other property, has ballooned to $28 billion. In 2014 alone authorities seized $5 billion in cash and property from people — greater than the value of all documented losses to burglary that year.
Some of the encounters were based on tips from confidential sources working in the travel industry, a number of whom have received large sums of money in exchange for their cooperation. In one case, officers targeted an individual for questioning on a tip from a travel industry informant that the individual had paid for a plane ticket with a pre-paid debit card and cash.
Nope, no conflict of interest there. USA! USA!
Forfeiture cases are also legally complex and difficult for individuals to win. Forfeiture cases are brought against the property, rather than the individual, leading to Kafkaesque case titles like United States v. $8,850 in U.S. Currency and United States of America v. One Men’s Rolex Pearl Master Watch.
While criminal proceedings assume the defendant’s innocence, forfeiture proceedings start from the presumption of guilt. That means that individuals who fight forfeiture must prove their innocence in court.
Meanwhile, guess who’s a big fan of civil forfeiture? Yep, you guessed it, Mr. MAGA himself, Donald Trump.
Recall what we learned in the post, Trump’s Policies Are Authoritarian, Not Populist:
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday there was “no reason” to curb law enforcement agencies that seize cash, vehicles and other assets of people suspected of crimes, a practice that some lawmakers and activists have criticized for denying legal rights.
The issue of civil asset forfeiture, created to disrupt the activities of organized crime groups, arose when sheriffs from around the United States told Trump at a White House meeting that they were under pressure to ease the practice.
“I’d like to look into that,” Trump said. “There’s no reason for that.”