Sunday, June 16, 2013

The End of the Innocence: INTERPOL Complicity in Political Persecution

In my most recent two decades of law practice, I have dealt primarily with high net worth individuals who are living in unstable places in the Middle East, Far East, Latin America, and former Soviet states.  And as I have so often written in Immigration Insider, while the opportunity to secure U.S. residency through an EB-5 investor visa is a great option for many, there are a certain percentage of very high net worth clients for whom the U.S., with its regimen of global taxation on all income generated worldwide, for whom a green card makes very little sense.  These are the folks form whom we explore options like a St. Kitt's passport investment and other alternative jurisdictions.

After not hearing the word "INTERPOL" (which stands for The International Criminal Police Organization) for a VERY long time (probably since my days as a U.S. consular officer in Africa), it is now part of my daily lexicon, initially the result of the late Hugo Chavez' bombardment of international arrest warrants against any and all affluent and/or powerful Venezuelans bold enough to defy his dictatorial agenda.  A few trumped up allegations ramrodded through a Chavez-owned court and presto:  an obliging Interpol, without so much as an iota of due diligence, issues a so-called "Red Notice", a de facto international arrest warrant which triggers visa denials, detentions, and the end of travel freedom...irrespective of whether the flagged person is a bona fide criminal or a local politician running against a Chavista mayor in a pivotal election.

The problem is that INTERPOL is, well, very political, very profitable, and made up of many member countries whose respect for the rule of law is, ahem, somewhat lacking.  Back when it was established as the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) in 1923, it was a pretty good idea.  Bad guys on the lam could be caught via the telegraphic issuance of international communiques.  But fast forward almost a century and its 190 countries provide it with a budget of around €60 million  (that's Euros) through annual contributions.  These member states include some real beacons of liberty:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Equatorial Guinea (where I was a consular officer and lived to tell)
  • Cuba
  • Kyrgistan
  • Russia
  • Nigeria
  • Syria and of course, my personal favorite,
  • Venezuela
That's just a slice of INTERPOL's finest and believe me, there are dozens of the most corrupt, dictator-driven, scandalous countries in the INTERPOL roster.  Which explains why in the past year I've had a half dozen clients surprised to hear that they were, suddenly and inexplicably, "wanted by INTERPOL". 

As I continue my journey down the rabbit hole I fell into last week on US soil, I am swiftly coming to the conclusion that what I've called "ACLU Paranoia" for the past 3 decades may simply be what happens when you take the Red Pill and, like Neo in the Matrix, snap out of the fiction into a world where freedom is hardly assured, and where the government is not necessarily "here to help"

Check this out:

Great Article on How Some Governments Use Interpol to Pursue Political Agendas

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