United Socialist Soviet Republics of America

Everyone knows that only subhumans live outside the USA, and all who correspond with them are filthy traitors. So it should come as no surprise that the benevolent dictatorship of Chairman Bush II. has instituted a wise rule that allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection to open all international mail, anytime, for any or no reason, without accountability.

Quoth section 344 of trade act 107 H.R. 3009 which Congress passed in 2002:

(1) In general.–For purposes of ensuring compliance with the Customs laws of the United States and other laws enforced by the Customs Service, including the provisions of law described in paragraph (2), a Customs officer may, subject to the provisions of this section, stop and search at the border, without a search warrant, mail of domestic origin transmitted for export by the United States Postal Service and foreign mail transiting the United States that is being imported or exported by the United States Postal Service.

Sadly, the fair land of America is teeming with vile terrorists hell-bent on destroying Disneyland and McDonald’s, and who are not afraid to disguise as 81-year old retired history professors:

Grant Goodman, an 81-year-old retired history professor, drew attention to the policy after a letter he received from a colleague in the Philippines was opened and resealed by Customs and Border Protection, and only then sent on to him.

He said he was shocked and amazed that the letter – which he received last month from another retired history professor with whom he has corresponded for 50 years – had been screened.

“It was a big surprise,” Goodman, who taught at the University of Kansas, told Reuters. “The public should know that this is being done. Nobody whom I know had any idea that this was going on. And as far as I know, it’s never been announced. It’s never been revealed that this is being done.”

But it is all for the greater good of the people! Custom officials know only too well that letters from the Philippines quite frequently contain terrorist squads and weapons of mass destruction:

“Customs and Border Protection is charged with making sure that terrorists and terrorists’ weapons don’t enter the country,” said Suzanne Trevino, a spokeswoman for the customs agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

And enlightenment is on the march! As the CNN Quick Poll shows, already over 40% of all respondents support these wise measures. If you have nothing to hide, why would you object to having your mail opened?

By the way, my last personal experience with having private letters opened and read by officials was writing to our relatives in communist East Germany. It’s good to know that the USA follow in the footsteps of Lenin and Stalin!

I have nothing to hide either. That’s why I expose myself to children.

Excuse me, but don’t most countries custom officials have the right to open international mail and packages to check for illegal materials or stuff that you just need to pay tax on?
Do customs normally provide you with a search warrant before checking your luggage for drugs?

Packages must be declared and may be opened by customs officials to check that the declaration is correct. (Not that I’m in favor of this bullshit… it’s chest-beating of the power-hungry nation state, nothing else, and it feeds nationalistic paranoia.)

But private letters, certainly not. If there is in fact a law elsewhere that allows opening letters I’ve never heard that it was exercised.

Does it really say that customs can open mail of domestic origin? So they can spy on letters sent by Americans to people abroad?

I see the distinction. And nowhere can my Googlefu show me whether my or other countries customs laws make that same distintion, so I am now outraged, too. Wait, I’m not an American, so I’m safe… as long as I don’t write to any Americans.

I just thought customs could open anything they found suspicious. So if a fat letter is suspected of actually containing dope or somesuch (pick something illegal, that can’t be found by snifferdogs without opening the letter), they’d need a warrant, but not if it was a parcel?

Well, they have to make sure that we aren’t planning on smuggling terrorists, or terrorist weapons, out of the country. That’s a job best reserved for the experts. (Oliver North, et al.)

Bah! Only those with something to hide should fear Our Great Leader and his policies! The stench of treason lies heavy in this thread!

What about email? If the intent is to gather information from snail-mail, email shouldn’t be far behind. Or posting on a message board.


Your email is already so public and insecure, and is stored in an unencrypted fashion on so many servers in between you and your destination, that you have to assume everything you email is publically viewable. Unless, of course, you use something like OpenPGP to encrypt mails.

And if you do that, you must be a terrorist!

Yeah well, let them burn 500 years of processing power on trying to find out!

There is a reasonable expectation of privacy in postal correspondence. It doesn’t matter what the President or Congress say, to search personal property without a reasonably articulable suspiscion as to the property in question is an unreasonable search.

Unreasonable search and seizure are prohibited by the United States Constitution.

Since when did that stop anyone?

Whoever runs against Bush needs to simply make their platform the constitution. That would be a great campaign.

Bush ignoring the Constitution and running for a third term obviously implied I’m guessing.

Yep. Read it…it says exports and imports. So any mail is fair game.

This is a scary precedent, but it doesn’t surprise me in the least. The American public wanted fascism, and now they are getting it. Let’s hope he keeps the trains running on time (since Mussolini failed to do so).

Hah, no, I’d forgotten about the US two term limit. But I guess your bit would be pretty funny as well. I should revise my statement to “Whoever runs against Bush’s successor”. Cause… it’ll probably be more of the same bad.

The stench should have been from the Japanese schoolgirl panties that I ordered on eBay!

But since I’m hearing about this now, I pulled my bid.

You might still be able to find Japanese-American products, Duality, if you look hard enough. Don’t have to import those.

Ach! No more Cherman WW2 memorabilia from meine relatives in the Fatherland!