Do you remember a day when you felt comfortable exercising your rights of free speech and freedom of religion? The following might be proof positive that those rights are slipping away here in the great ole USA. While the FEDs refuse to control the southern border, here’s a story of how the border patrol treated two old white guys that spent their lives farming or ranching in the mid west. Maybe I tell this story so my Hispanic and Middle Eastern friends might know that they are not the only ones detained at the border? Mac is 73 this year, the other DIYer in this nightmare story is 63.
Some of us know Mac from the bio-fuels forums, I had the honor of visiting Mac at his Western Montana home eight or more years ago.. he lives on 10 beautiful cultivated acres fed by an artisan well. The row crops are all fed from the well with no need to pump a drop of water. Mac has solar PV, passive solar, the house is designed from the ground up to be efficient. His hands on experience with SVO, and transesterified bio fuels puts him at the top of the heap in operating hours and experience.
Mac’s word is as good as gold, a man you can trust with your wallet any day. But Mac has a dark side maybe.. At least half the country might think so.. you see Mac believes in God, and he does like Ron Paul.
So without further delay, here’s a story of two old duffers who refuse to lay down their tools, they enjoy learning, and decided to meet with some of our like minded Canadian Cousins to discuss the construction details of a wood gasifier design that runs near white hot with low emissions. I can assure you, Mac is no drug runner, he’s way too busy turning wrenches and learning how to squeeze that last BTU out of veggie oil, or a piece of wood to cause anyone trouble, but it’s obvious he’s on someones shit list. The question is who’s list? Here’s his story…
American Citizens Forcibly Detained At US-Canada Border Crossing: No Reason Given (September 2010)
To Whom It May Concern:
This report is given relating the experiences of two American citizens being detained at a US-Canada border crossing, both on the way into Canada on 09/03/10 and in returning to the US on 09/06/10. In any previous border crossing, neither American had ever been subjected to any delay or detention whatsoever, the latest being in 2007 by one of the two Americans. The following report will be given in first person narrative.
Never having been to Canada as far east as the Manitoba Province, we computer mapped the “best” route from SW Montana to Brandon, Manitoba. The route took us east on I-90 to Steele, ND, then north on Hwy. 3. We arrived at the border crossing near Dunseith, ND about 9:30 AM. All cars were being passed through with a cursory inspection conversation with the drivers by the Canadian Border Agents. We pulled up and were starting the same process.
One agent took our passports in to run through their computer reader. We were asked if we had any fruits or vegetables, any guns, alcohol or tobacco, to which we replied “no”. We wondered what could possibly be taking so long as with other travelers it was in and out. After nearly 20 minutes and agent returned without our passports and told us we would have to pull over to the side for further search, obviously being triggered by some list when our passports were scanned. The agent would not confirm this nor say if it was triggered from the US or Canadian side. Later when we asked the purpose of this extra search, they said it was “strictly random”.
They asked where we were going and what we would be doing when we got there, how long we planed to stay. We explained to the agent that we were heading to Brandon, Manitoba for a training seminar on wood gasifiers, giving the name of the person we were going to see. They asked where he lived to which we replied all we knew was Brandon, we were supposed to call upon arrival in the town. We even showed two agents our wood gasifier book.
We were told to wait over to the side at a bench. We were asked if we had any “valuables” in the car before they began their search. What we should have done was retrieve our computers, cameras and any other thing that contained personal information from the vehicle prior to their search, claiming these items were “valuables”. By not protesting and claiming our rights at this point we might have by default given them permission. Two agents completed a thorough search taking most bagged items out of the car, then returned inside. After another 20 minutes of waiting outside, with being quite chilly in a blowing wind, we asked if we could come inside to wait. The first time we were told we needed to wait outside. This time we were allowed to come into the reception area where others were coming inside in a regular stream, primarily truck drivers for their load approvals. It was obvious that there was a reception area inside with chairs that were for the public. Once again, it was weird that they did not want us to come into the reception area initially.
The agents again went to search our vehicle, coming back with our computers, saying they needed to search the contents. This was getting more bizarre by the moment. They said they were in the process of making phone calls with “higher-ups” (obviously instructing them to invade our computers). We questioned this, being told by one agent they had to make sure we did not have child pornography on our computers…weird! When the next agent came through alone, we again asked him this question, to which he responded in case we were drug or gun runners, they had to look for customer lists on our computers. By this time it was beginning to feel like we were in the twilight zone, about an hour and a half into this ordeal. We asked if we were being “singled out” for some reason, to which they undoubtedly withheld the truth in saying, “No, this is just a random check”. There was nothing random about our inspection. Many more vehicles traveled through without a single one of them being subjected to our detainment and searches. Maybe they have a special definition for the term random, but we know better. It was an ordered detainment and search.
We asked the agents why we were being detained since we obviously had no contraband, were not child porn perverts and not running guns or drugs. They absolutely would not answer our question, only saying they could not let us go through until they received a return call from higher up. Finally, after 3 hours one agent came out and said they still had not received an authorization call to release us to continue into Canada, but they were going to go ahead and let us go on our way. We could not even have tired of waiting and turned around to return to the US as they kept our computers until they finally released us. That is a pretty effective method to “unofficially” detain a person by holding valuable personal property in a locked, obvious observation mirrored wall room.
Knowing the customs agents were fishing for information with their questions, we returned the favor by asking them questions. We told them we had seen on Internet news services that the US and Canadian govts. had secret watch lists on people in various groups like the Constitution Party, Ron Paul supporters, etc., we wondered what they had heard about these? The agents were mystified. The lady agent returned to the one-way mirror room for more phone calls. A short time later she returned with pad and pen asking what were the names of those organizations and writing them down. She then questioned us about the “Constitution Party” and Ron Paul, if either of us were members of those organizations. She then asked if we knew anyone who did belong to them. She then returned to her back room for more phone calls.
As strange and evasive a behavior as this was by the Canadian Border Agents, it was nothing compared to what we would experience a few days later upon returning to the US in the treatment we received by US CBP agents, which is the reason for compiling this report. The above info has been given simply to set the stage for the far more egregious invasion of privacy and suspension of US Constitutional Rights we would receive at the hands of US CBP.
When at our wood gasifier training class, we asked about the shortest route home since the computer map had shown the trip to be about 1060 miles, but we went nearly 1200 miles in getting there. Our trainer, Greg said it would be much shorter to take a different route back, which he mapped out and printed for us. This would prove to be yet another cause of us coming under suspicion at the border crossing into the US, because we would be told by CBP it is not normal to come back a different route than we went in, so they had to check us out. Our route took us through the border checkpoint nearest to Melita, Manitoba and Westhope, ND, which would take us across the NW corner of ND back into Montana, which did cut off 100 + miles from the trip.
We arrived at the US CBP (Customs & Border Patrol) checkpoint about 10:15 AM local time and would not be released from detainment until 2:45 PM, four and one half hours later without being given any explanation whatsoever as to why we were detained. Following will be the detailed summary of the events of that four and one half hour detainment.
We pulled up to the checkpoint where we handed over our passports and advised the CBP inspection officer of our travel details and what we had purchased. We were asked if we had any fruits or vegetables, guns, tobacco or liquor in the car. We had only purchased a small quantity of food at a grocery store. The officer told us what was illegal to bring back which reminded us of one onion in our cooler which we told him about and turned over to him. While he was doing the overview inspection of our car, we could see the other agent was running our passports through the computer scanner machine. The inspecting agent was through with his car inspection when the other agent called him inside after scanning our passports. The inspecting agent returned, directing us to pull over to the side and come into the reception area as they needed to do a complete inspection of our vehicle. We were asked if we had any “valuables” in the car before they began their search. Again, as at the crossing into Canada, we should have retrieved our computers, cameras and any other thing that contained personal information from the vehicle prior to their search. Though probably a mute point which would have been unquestionably ignored by the inspectors, we should have adamantly clamed these items were “valuables” to which they referred.
Once inside the building, we were immediately instructed to empty all our pockets contents onto the counter. The officers said they could not take any chances that we might go berserk and pull weapons. Being country folks, we each carried Leatherman type multi-tools, which of course have a pocket knife blade and were confiscated for the duration of the detainment. They called both of these “weapons” along with a 2” Leatherman one of us carried in his pocket. Every single item in our pockets was inspected, including contents of pocket notebooks and billfolds. All credit cards, business cards, membership cards, etc. were looked at. The officer picked up the pocket US Constitution and asked what is this? We advised it was to assure our Constitutional rights were observed if a situation arose. He asked, “So do you have a lot of problems with that?” No doubt, this was a fishing question on his part. We responded, “No, never before now.” It was readily apparent in this “no-man’s land” between the border checkstations that Constitutional rights were set aside and we were considered guilty until proven innocent.
Amazingly, he commented that those rights do not apply between the Canadian and US checkpoint stations, that the US CBP can detain and search American citizens to any degree with no explanation as to why. This description of authority of CBP was later restated by the supervising officer, Stuart Coleman, when we repeatedly asked why we were detained. He would only say he did not have to tell us why and was under orders from above not to reveal the cause of our detainment. Those higher-ups above Officer Coleman evidently went way above his next two levels of supervisors. Only after we specifically requesting and reminding the CBP officers, did Coleman later give us the names just prior to releasing us. Ok, back to chronological order of events.
When emptying our pocket contents on the counter when we first went inside, we noted another car had pulled into the checkpoint inspection. The driver came in to be told by one of the two CBP officers he would have to wait outside until they finished with us, evidently because they did not want anyone else in the reception room where we were being detained, “unofficially” at that point in the early going of the detainment. One officer continuously monitored us while the other went into the back room to make phone calls. The officer “guarding” us accompanied either when we needed to go outside to the restroom or 25 feet away from the building for a smoke by one of us. We noticed the people in the car awaiting inspection were looking pretty fatigued and disgruntled after about an hour when going out for a restroom or smoke break.
While outside, we happened to look back up the road toward Canada seeing a line of cars and trucks. Curious, we asked the “guard” officer why none of these vehicles were being allowed through to which he said they only had the two of them on duty and could not handle any other people coming through while dealing with us. He then went and told the waiting drivers the checkpoint was closed. We then really wondered, wow, what in the world kind of threat were we being viewed as, that they would close the border crossing checkpoint and keep it closed for four and one half hours because of us? We watched incredulously as a considerable stream of vehicles turned around, being forced to go to border crossings 60 miles either to the east or west.
After about an hour, supervisor Stuart Coleman showed up to manage the detainment investigation initiated by CBP Inspection Officers Ross Reimche and Todd Adducci. To their credit, the duty officers had made every effort to be somewhat cordial and treat us like American citizens. When Supervisor Coleman arrived it was somewhat different, being quite apparent he was very formal and all business in coming there to supervise our investigation. He went in the back room and hardly came out during the course of the detainment. He had Officer Reimche search our vehicle a third time.
Officer Reimche advised us they had a policy to allow detainees to make a phone call if held over two hours. After that time had elapsed we questioned him about the call. He went to the back room to ask Supervisor Coleman who refused to allow us to make a call, only replying that the investigation was ongoing. We were told that we would be questioned by investigators, to which we said fine, we would be happy to answer direct questions. During the entire duration of the detainment, we were never questioned on anything for which we were being held. We asked Supervisor Coleman we were under arrest and if this was a criminal or civil matter, to which he replied neither, that it was just an investigation.
This further confused our understanding of why we were being held. Evidently, pending interrogation, they were going to keep us in separate rooms to prevent corroboration of stories between us and said we would already be in handcuffs if we were under arrest. We commented there was no need to separate us because we are telling the truth with nothing to hide. They decided to keep Officer Reimche continuously guarding us to monitor any conversation. He was very friendly in attempting to be the “good cop” in engaging us in conversation that would encourage us to volunteer information. Having nothing to hide, we were very forthright with him. Later on, we heard his comment to someone that we had been very straightforward in talking with him.
After the first couple of hours, we saw a black Suburban type vehicle pull in. Turns out it was two CBP enforcement officers who had been called in from a station 60 miles away. They came in with a stern mannerism, not speaking one word to us, only speaking to the three inspection officers on site. We figured these were the guys called in to interrogate us, considering we had been told we would be questioned, but that never happened. They started a stream of additional car searches, each time bringing in another item to the backroom, from computers to cameras to notebooks We were told that would not be allowed.. We could see out the window each time they returned to the car, which seemed to be about six times.
The CBP enforcement officers brought in my fellow American’s camera to take to the back room. He saw them taking his digital camera into the back room and asked “where are you going with my camera and why?” We were told that they were going to be looking at the contents. He said “I want to be present when you look at my private stuff”. He immediately told the guarding officer that he would like to be in the room with the officers when they looked at his camera. The guard officer went and asked Supervisor Coleman, who told him no. I, being a tad incensed, asked the officer to have Coleman come out and answer my companion’s question to his face. My companion told Coleman that as a free born, Sovereign American under common law jurisdiction and he had a right to be present when his private property was being invaded, especially when no reason was given as to why. Coleman simply said they could do what they want, refusing to answer what the reason was.
Not long after the two enforcement CBP officers arrived, an evidently plain clothes officer arrived in a white Suburban type vehicle that may have been a Cadillac Escalade, from the gold tailgate emblem, but this was not confirmed. We asked who he was and were told he was an “off duty” border patrol officer. This seemed strange that with 5 CBP officers already holding and investigating us, they would need a sixth regular duty officer to come in while off duty to assist those five officers.
He went into the back with the other four officers sequestered in that room. Officer Adducci came out and asked for my driver’s license. I asked why and he said it had different information than the passport, but would not answer what different information, only replying they also needed to make sure the license matched up with the passport, which both had my identical homely photos. No doubt, this was another non-answer in trying to think of something to justify asking for the driver’s license in addition to the passport.
At one point we were getting pretty fed up with our treatment and wanted to talk to whoever is “in charge”. Coleman came out, admitted that he was in charge of this facility and, again, would not answer any of our questions as to why we were being detained … indicating that it was out of his hands … up to the unknown person on the other end of the phone calls.
We could see the eventual five CBP officers through the window into the back room, reviewing a stack of what apparently were fax pages they received from somewhere on us. After about an hour, the plain clothes officer, Officer Dan Dahlstrom, departed without any comment whatsoever to us.
During the last half hour or so, the two enforcement officers, Officer Lakefield and Officer Gangey, stayed out front in the reception area with us and the one officer who had been guarding us the entire time. They were pretty mum, so we engaged them in conversation. Apparently after seeing we were just a couple of plain old country-boy Americans, they started talking with us about hunting and generally shooting the bull. They did not bother asking us a single question pertinent to the investigation. We were getting pretty frustrated and asked if they were going to “question” us so we could finally get down the road. We were informed that no one at this facility was going to question us but the person on the other end of the phone conversation “had questions”. One of us said “put him on the phone … I will answer his questions”. The response was “we cannot do that”.
Finally, after well over four hours, Supervisor Coleman and Officer Adducci came out of the back room. Coleman said we were now free to go, to which we responded, “not quite yet, we need some answers as to why we have been detained.” Coleman smugly said he was not allowed to tell us why we had been detained and did not have to tell us why. We understood that someone high up had forbade him from revealing any facts to us. Early on, we asked about the obvious fax sheets being read behind the window and were advised that no, we could not see them and that they would be shredded for our “privacy protection” at the end of the investigation. We advised Supervisor Coleman that we were going to do everything possible to get to the bottom of this, including a Freedom of Information Act request. My fellow American advised Coleman that we wanted those records maintained in a file there to be available as we now conduct our investigation of them through FOIA and members of Congress. It was apparent that none of these agents had any fear of consequences of their actions. It was as if, in their minds, they were “untouchably above Constitutional law”.
My fellow American laid his pocket recorder on the counter while Coleman was refusing to tell us why we were detained and the remainder of the above conversation. This way they would have no doubt the conversation was being recorded as Coleman asked if it was a recorder and my fellow American said it sure is! On more than one occasion the agents were informed that we were “Free Born Soverign Americans under common law jurisdiction”. When one of us told Coleman this and asked if he understood what we were saying, with an expressionless, unphased persona, he acknowledged that he did understand what we were saying (and obviously did not care by his expression).
We could not count the number of phone calls during our detainment. Of course, we have no idea of how high up the phone calls were going. After we asked, supervisor Coleman only gave us a sheet of paper with his next two level bosses: 1) Brent Beeter, Port Director – Portal phone: 701-926-4221 2) Thomas Jorgensen, Area Port Director – Dunseith phone: 701-263-4460 and Coleman’s info: 3) Stuart Coleman, Port Director – Westhope phone: 701-245-6194
On 09/09/10, we queried a thirty year law enforcement veteran and were told that the probability of two extensive border searches we encountered on the same trip, out and back, being completely random is beyond reason.
We do not know if the detainment was intended as intimidation or it really takes four and one half hours in the modern computer age of instant communication to determine that they had no need to hold us, finally sending us on our way. We really have no personal dispute with all the officers involved. They conducted themselves in a professional manner in our personal treatment, with no personal abuse inflicted beyond insulting our intelligence with never telling us the truth in their egregious trampling of our Constitutional rights in their handling of our investigation. Their evasiveness in avoiding our oft repeated question of why we were being held was obvious proof that they were not the source of our detainment and only following orders from somewhere above them. It is pretty conclusive that the source also went on up above Coleman’s superiors, Beeter and Jorgensen.
We can only hope that through the FOIA and help of Congressmen, we can discover who issued the order to detain us and why? Maybe our efforts to expose the source of such tyranny toward free born, Sovereign Constitutional Americans, will help other Americans to avoid such unconstitutional disregard of rights. We will keep asking the question until we get an answer, “How can we be detained under investigation and never be told why or by whom?”
Evidently, this was a taste of “friendly” martial law. I call it friendly as the officers involved remained friendly and never threatening, while denying our rights, even disregarding their self-professed rule of allowing a phone call after two hours detainment, which they failed to do. As despicable as racial profiling is, that was not even involved with two old, 63 and 73 year old Caucasian males. Therefore, the rumors about govt. patriot “hit” lists of people to watch certainly gained a high degree of credibility. As much as we were engaged by the officers in “fishing-for-info” conversation, we were likewise engaged in the same process with them.
Neither of us have ever experienced being so violated as all our personal property was ransacked, even after proving we had no illegal contraband, not to mention the helpless feeling of being held against your will without being told why. It is a stretch to compare the mental trauma, but our experience equated in our minds, to a small percentage of the feeling of a lady being raped, with what we experienced at the Canadian customs checkpoint on 09/02/10 and gang-raped at the US customs checkpoint of 09/06/10.
Enough actions and words were expressed to remove any doubt from our minds that we must be on some kind of irritant list much higher up from these officers who chose to errantly honor their duty to their bosses far beyond and forgetting their oath of office to defend the US Constitution and rights guaranteed thereunder to American citizens. These six officers repeatedly exhibited a blatant disregard for the Constitutional Oath of Office in their fear of maintaining their jobs if they did not follow orders. It is a sad day in realizing that this is probably the case with the majority of law enforcement officers in disregarding their Constitutional Oath of Office if it puts them in fear of losing their jobs.
We do not look to these eight officers involved, six on site and two via phone at a distance as being accountable for our unconstitutional detainment. That blame obviously lies above them. We do not even have any ill feelings against any of the eight. We are highly disappointed in how they sorely dishonored their names in the sight of God, us and their own consciousness in their wanton disregard for their Constitutional Oath of Office in our detainment, even breaking their own stated rules in the process. We bless them that they and us may all receive the full measure of God’s law of consequences in the final resolution of this matter. Being old enough to be the dad or granddad of these CBP officers in some cases, we can only imagine the embarrassment their actions would cause to their parents and grandparents who are good, Constitutional Americans being from North Dakota, were those good folks aware of this.
This is the day this narrative report of events is being written. After finally leaving Westhope CBP checkpoint the afternoon of 09/06/10, we drove all night arriving home about 7:00 AM on 09/07/10. We recuperated that night, meeting with a computer expert the next day, 09/08/10. He holds a PhD in electronics and is pretty much a computer genius. He took my computer, saying he had analytical programs and equipment to determine everything that had been done on my computer by the US CBP agents.
Interestingly, he found that the downloads file on the computer had been wiped clean. Obviously, nobody’s computer download file would be empty, unless brand new, unused. He has done considerable investigative work of this nature, saying there would be only one reason to wipe the downloads file clean. That would be to cover their tracks for something they would have downloaded. If they did, he said they were good because he was not able to locate what it was in his first three hours of investigation. Coleman was specifically asked if anything from our computers had been downloaded or copied. He stated “no”. “We are only authorized to look … not copy”. The truthfulness of his statement could come under some serious scrutiny from our follow-up investigation of him in regard to the computers.
Our computer investigative expert did find this: C:\Documents and Settings\JPF\Recent\Removable Disk (E).lnk 179 bytes. He said this is where they inserted a disc to copy all the over two dozen files of personal information they copied from the computer. If we, as “formerly free” Americans, think we have any legal privacy rights, this ought to be an eye opener as to how those rights are long gone, evidently under guise of the patriot act.
I do thank God for this experience to now know where we Americans stand in our “former” Constitutional rights. I have never even been accused of a crime, much less tried nor convicted, beyond a traffic ticket, yet some unknown watch list has me and who knows how many other loyal Americans targeted. We abhor any type of hate and “anti” type groups. In fact, since we feel the American way of life is now in danger of economic and or political collapse, we are concerned enough to try to help people learn to be more self-reliant to be ready to help in the event of catastrophe. The CBP agents surely learned this upon review of my computer files. We will have no part in any demise of any system, but will be there to give service to help in recovery.
We honorably adhere to our personal oath to defend alland aggress none! Our hope is that someday all will have the ideal of the Golden Rule finally sink into our noggins’ and simply live it. This is why we have no ill will toward the eight CBP officers involved in our unconstitutional detainment. There is no doubt that some day in their future God will manifest these many event details in such a manner that they will be far more disappointed in themselves than we are in their choice of allegiance to their jobs rather than their Constitutional Oath. Though they dishonored their Oath, they are not the perpetrators of this unconstitutional tyranny. The latter are the ones that should be ferreted out and called to justice if we are to have any hope in preserving the principles this nation was founded upon.
We had two choices after this experience. We could cower in intimidation or be courageous in publicly telling our story as far and wide as possible in service to our fellow Americans. There was no doubt, our choice is courage due to our personal oath of “defend all and aggress none”!
During this sequence of events the thought occurred to us that this is a small glimpse of what it must have been like in Nazi Germany when you were stopped at a “check point” and asked, “your papers please”. Wake up America … you might be next!
Our request in behalf of the civil rights of all Americans is that any Congressional member or media personality who truly honors their Pledge of Allegiance and or Oath of Office will assist us in discovering why we were targeted in this unconstitutional denial of rights and unexplained detainment.
If Mac says this is what happened, I’d bet my last nickel it did.