Black Helicopters (was RE: More Green Party)

From: James Rogers (
Date: Mon Jul 03 2000 - 15:07:09 MDT

On Sun, 02 Jul 2000, you wrote:
> They said they had the right to come onto my land without a search warrant
> because they had probable cause to think that illegal activities were going
> on here due to the Vitex trees, which, as I said, they mistook for marijuana
> plants. The way I viewed it at the time was that I wouldn't get far by suing
> them--others had tried it and failed to get anywhere. I hadn't suffered any
> real damages--in fact, they helped me out by cutting back a root that was
> blocking a gate. I don't know, though. It's still something that bothers
> me. I remember once seeing a man being taken into the federal courthouse in
> handcuffs and thinking, "Oh, there's a criminal, a bad guy," and then
> suddenly realizing that odds were he wasn't a bad guy at all, that he'd
> probably done something I wouldn't consider a crime at all. That, in fact,
> the bad guys were the ones wearing the guns and driving the car.

I have had some experiences with these goons (different agencies though)
and know others who have as well. The experience is very unsettling for
most people because it doesn't mesh well with their perceptions of
reality. The sad part is that it happens more often than people realize,
and a significant fraction of the people it happens to are innocent. I
have a few comments about what to do in these situations:

1) Know and understand the limits of their authority. Most of these
agencies have very little authority beyond that which you give them. They
will try to trick, cajole, harass, and threaten you into giving them the
permission they need. 95% of the time, they can do what they do because
people roll over and let them.

2) Just say no. Never give them permission to do *anything*. If they
ask for permission, it means that they do not have the authority to do
what they are asking. Giving them permission is asking for trouble. If
they have a search warrant, restrict their activities to the letter of the
search warrant.

3) Volunteer as little information as possible. Keep your communication
extremely brief, or even better, just act confused (e.g. as though you
don't even speak the language). Answering "I don't understand" to every
question (regardless of what it is) has been very effective for people I
know when dealing with thuggish three-letter agencies. They get
frustrated and leave, especially if they are "fishing". If they want to
talk, have them talk to your lawyer.

4) Guns won't help you most of the time; these guys have a well deserved
reputation for being a bit trigger happy, and they always bringing
overwhelming force. While the courts have upheld your right to shoot
these guys in many cases, being legally justified is a small consolation
when you are dead.

5) Have a good lawyer. These guys will often attempt to pull some very
marginal stuff, and frequently trample on the 4th Amendment. Make sure
they know you have a pack of attack lawyers looking to tear them a new
asshole, and it is always helpful to look like you have the money to back
it up. When lawyers show up and call their offices, they usually leave
you alone real quick. This always puts a damper on their ardor. While it
is difficult to sue these guys for anything useful, you can blackmail them
into leaving you alone.

6) Require that the county Sheriff be present when they conduct their
business. In fact, call the Sheriff as soon as you see them ("guys in
black carrying guns outside my house"). This will help keep you from
"accidentally" getting killed and they will behave much nicer too. In
many jurisdictions it is illegal for federal agents to affect any kind
business without clearing it with the Sheriff first, and in many cases
someone from the Sheriff's office is supposed to be present. If they
overlook this requirement (and they frequently do), the Sheriff can
force them to leave the county and/or imprison them. Sheriffs have
enormous power and among them is the ability to protect you from federal
goons. Most will do this part of their job, particularly if their
authority has been stepped on.

Damn, that was a good bit longer than I anticipated. Anyway, these are
some general guidelines about what to do if (when?) goons land on your
doorstep. At the very least, this will help keep them at bay and help keep
you safe for the most part. It will also minimize the amount of stuff
they can get their sticky hands on (they have an infamous tendency to take
things and never return them whether you've commited a crime or not).

-James Rogers

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