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NSA & Writs of Assistance

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James Otis (1725-1783)

President Obama is supposed to be a Constitutional Lawyer. It is sad he clearly has no respect for the Constitution whatsoever. John Adams, Second President, listened to the 4 hour speech of the defense lawyer James Otis (1725-1783) who argued against the king’s Writs of Assistance in February 1761 that allowed the government to arbitrarily search whatever they suspected for any reason. History repeats for there are few people in Washington today that even understand what is at stake with the actions of the NSA and how they are so devastating to the economy and free markets as they scare the hell out of capital globally. Even a marriage will not last if either party also distrusts the other. This is what the NSA has done. It has shown that it trusts no one. It is now not just seizing every phone call globally it can get its hands on, it has now been revealed it is storing the locate of every cell phone when used.

The NSA trusts no one. Like a marriage based on mistrust, they are changing the behavior patterns of the entire world. Many countries are taking steps to place all servers for the internet in their own country and cutting off access to information. The NSA even grabs all flows through the Swift system following every piece of money that flows around the world. None of this excessive surveillance has proven to stop any terrorist plot and when you seize so much, it is impossible to sift through that much data on any timely basis. Proof of that was the Boston Bombing where these two kids were using their cell phones.

Here are a few excerpts from that famous speech of James Otis that so moved John Adams and inspired the birth of the American Revolution.

I will to my dying day oppose, with all the powers and faculties God has given me, all such instruments of slavery on the one hand and villainy on the other as this Writ of Assistance is. It appears to me the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty and the fundamental principles of law, that ever was found in an English law-book…  

The writ prayed for in this petition, being general, is illegal. It is a power that places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer. I say I admit that special Writs of Assistance, to search special places, may be granted to certain persons on oath. But I deny that the writ now prayed for can be granted…

In the first place, the writ is universal, being directed “to all and singular justices, sheriffs, constables, and all other officers and subjects”; so that, in short, it is directed to every subject in the King’s dominions. Everyone with this writ may be a tyrant; if this commission be legal, a tyrant in a legal manner, also, may control, imprison, or murder any one within the realm.   In the next place, it is perpetual; there is no return. A man is accountable to no person for his doings. Every man may reign secure in his petty tyranny, and spread terror and desolation around him, until the trump of the Archangel shall excite different emotions in his soul. In the third place, a person with this writ, in the daytime, may enter all houses, shops, etc., at will, and command all to assist him. Fourthly, by this writ not only deputies, etc., but even their menial servants, are allowed to lord it over us…  

One of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one’s house. A man’s house is his castle; and whilst he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ, if it should be declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege. Custom-house officers may enter our houses when they please; we are commanded to permit their entry. Their menial servants may enter, may break locks, bars, and everything in their way; and whether they break through malice or revenge, no man, no court can inquire. Bare suspicion without oath is sufficient.