Militarization of Police

A Bit More on Eric Holder

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National Review relays two troubling stories on Obama AG nominee Eric Holder's role in the Elian Gonzalez case.

Here's the first:

In the period before armed agents seized the child, the Justice Department had been leaking its intention to avoid any sort of armed intervention. It would all be done quietly, they suggested. When top Department officials were asked about it, they said nothing to change that impression. About two weeks before the raid, Tim Russert asked Holder, "You wouldn't send a SWAT team in the dark of night to kidnap the child, in effect?" Holder answered, "No, we don't expect anything like that to happen." Then the Department did precisely that. The day after the seizure, Holder appeared again with Russert, who asked, "Why such a dramatic change in position?" "I'm not sure I'd call it a dramatic change," Holder answered. "We waited 'til five in the morning, just before dawn."

It's one thing to not want to tip your hand about what you're planning. It's something else to be retroactively smug about sending armed agents into a private home to pry a kid out his nonviolent relatives' arms at gunpoint.

Then there's this:

Eric Holder, the deputy attorney general, appeared on Fox News a few hours after the raid that morning. Judge Andrew Napolitano accused the Justice Department of taking the child at gunpoint. Mr. Holder denied the charge. What he didn't realize was that he was appearing on a split screen, the other half showing the Alan Diaz photo. "Not taken at gunpoint?" an incredulous Napolitano shot back. "Have you seen the photograph?"

He probably hadn't. That would explain why he thought he could get away with lying about how Gonzalez was seized.

Hat tip for both stories to Rob Port.

NEXT: Drug Policy Reform Organizations Weigh in on Holder

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  1. Oh my God, government won’t get any better under Obama! Well, I guess we just have to keep publishing reason. Darn!

  2. Yo, fuck Holder.

  3. Suck on this news, Libertards! Universal healthcare, here we come!

  4. To be fair to Holder. Are there any politicians and/or beauracrats who aren’t full of shit?

  5. Who the fuck would name their kid Radley, by the way?

  6. Damn straight. When my two mommies named me Eddie, stars shot across the sky in celebration of my birth.

  7. I have four squirrels in my ass RIGHT NOW.

  8. The Gonzalez thing was one of the low points of the Clinton Administration. I understand that legally he had to go back to his dad. That was the law. But there was no reason to send a swat team. Just go up to the door knock on it and ask for the kid. Did they honestly think that someone in the house was going to shoot a federal agent? I remember getting into a huge agrument with a very liberal friend of mine, who was also a cop. She didn’t think it was any big deal to call in a SWAT team. They had to protect the officers. This was from a died and wool liberal cop. Made me so mad I could have stangled her.

  9. He probably hadn’t. That would explain why he thought he could get away with lying about how Gonzalez was seized

    We’re all lucky that picture managed to get taken, because otherwise we might not know how Gonzalez was seized. And Holder would have been just fine with that. Sounds like a great pick for AG. I’m sure it’ll bring lots of transparency.

  10. Ahem. (clears throat) John,usually you want to have a COURT ORDER to enforce said law. Not a SWAT team kidnapping the kid at dawn.

  11. Check out Volokh’s post on NRO’s story about Holder. They defend him (rightly I think). Look, as long as the guy is not a crook, how can you gripe over the fact that the Democrats are going to shift the policy focus. Everyone better just buckle up for a good 4 years of liberalism.

  12. Lefiti,

    FOUR squirrels? Thats amazing!!! What are you? Some kind of ass stuffing carni?

  13. I’m missing my four pet squirrels. Can someone help me find my lost critters?

  14. OK, what’s it going to take to make sure the links work?

    http://www.geo.arizona.edu/~andyf/elian.jpg

    And while I tend to agree with John, I should say that the Cubans who were caring for Elian are kind of militant, and wanted a confrontation. That’s not to say a SWAT team was necessary, but these people only care about the rule of law when they make the laws, which is partially why Castro even exists.

  15. Bush had made me almost nostalgic for the Clinton days, so it’s good to be reminded of what a bunch of colossal shitbags he and his homies were. I fear the day when Obama makes me miss Bush…

  16. As somebody who thinks returning the kid to his daddy was the right thing, and that the aggressors were those physically stopping that from happening, I don’t give a shit.

    None of this looks the slightest bit bad unless you’re already assuming that his relatives had the right to keep him from his father.

    Did they honestly think that someone in the house was going to shoot a federal agent? No, that somebody – everybody, actually – would physically resist the nice, polite police, and a physical struggle would ensue, with who knows who ended up getting hurd.

    Dragging the kid out of some screaming woman’s arms, fighting your way through a human chain – as if any of the Magic Dolphin People would have found those procedures more acceptable.

    The relatives had made it perfectly clear that they were going to physically resist if they could. That there was force involved in returning that kid to his surviving family was THEIR choice. The feds used the techniques that kept the violence and rowdiness and injury to a minimum.

  17. Also, props to Holder and everyone else for not letting the cat out of the bag beforehand.

    Who knows what those nutjobs would have done if they’d been tipped off.

  18. One more reason for me to already get worked up about an administration that hasn’t truly come to power yet. Great.

    In another note, someone not too long ago emailed me a way to have certain posts by certain people not show up when viewing. If anyone knows this, please email me. I need a Blocker of Lefiti. (real Lefiti: Sorry bro, you’ve been hijacked, get a new handle).

  19. What are you? Some kind of ass stuffing carni?

    I get ass-stuffing grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Suck on that, libertards!

    Oops, down to three squirrels.

  20. “Did they honestly think that someone in the house was going to shoot a federal agent? No, that somebody – everybody, actually – would physically resist the nice, polite police, and a physical struggle would ensue, with who knows who ended up getting hurd.”

    Yes Joe. So lets bring in a bunch of people with automatic weapons into the scenerio. That is a great idea. Nothing ever goes wrong then. So what if they did resist? If they resisted, you just escalate the force enough to do what you had to do. But you give them the option of giving up peacefully by waking up to the door and knocking and showing them your court order.

    This is even worse than a no knock drug raid. There at least the cops have the excuse of trying to stop the destruction of evidence. What exactly where the people in the house going to do? Flush the kid down the toilet.

    Everyone rips on me for agrueing with Joe too much. Fine. Could someone else please give him the beatdown he so richly deserves for advocating no knock SWAT raids to enforce a non-criminal court order against people with no criminal records or history of violence?

  21. I guess if the Gonzalez had owned dogs, the SWAT team should have shot them to Joe, eh? If it all about the safety of the child. Having large numbers of hyped up cops with loaded autmatic weapons converging on a house sounds really safe to me. SWAT raids are wrong unles of course Democratic administrations are doing them against people they don’t like, then they are just A OK.

  22. Yes Joe. So lets bring in a bunch of people with automatic weapons into the scenerio.

    That was the choice the familiy made. You don’t get to kidnap children from their parents, even if you don’t like their politics. If you try to do that, the government is going to stop you. It’s up to you whether it happens the easy way or the hard way.

  23. No can do John. Joe is a warrior and I’m a sunshine patriot. I got to much respect for the way he throws his views around regardless of the fact that I disagree with him most of the time.

  24. The aggressor is responsible for the outbreak of violence, not the person who responds to that aggressor.

    Libertarianism 101.

    You don’t get to kidnip children. It’s an act of aggression that should and must be met by force.

    The level of force necessary to stop this aggression was determined by the relatives.

  25. joe,

    As somebody who thinks returning the kid to his daddy was the right thing, and that the aggressors were those physically stopping that from happening, I don’t give a shit.

    So, in this instance you don’t favor “people power?”

  26. Also, props to Holder and everyone else for not letting the cat out of the bag beforehand.

    Who knows what those nutjobs would have done if they’d been tipped off.

    Exactly. Same goes for pot smokers and small-time drug dealers. And gamblers. I mean, they’re already breaking the law, right? They’re capable of anything. The government should use massive, overwhelming force whenever possible. Because you never know what could happen.

  27. joe,

    I think the use of force was excessive. Of course, for the Clinton administration, it wasn’t that bad, because they didn’t burn the house down or anything.

  28. As somebody who thinks returning the kid to his daddy was the right thing, and that the aggressors were those physically stopping that from happening,

    To joe, “fighting a deportation order in court” = “physically stopping that from happening.”

    From the wiki:

    On April 19, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled that Eli?n must stay in the U.S. until the Miami Gonz?lezes could appeal for an asylum hearing in May.

    On April 20, Reno made the decision to remove Eli?n Gonz?lez from the house and instructed law enforcement officials to determine the best time to obtain the boy. After being informed of the decision, Marisleysis said to a Justice Department community relations officer, “You think we just have cameras in the house? If people try to come in, they could be hurt.”

    In the pre-dawn hours of April 22, pursuant to an order issued by a federal magistrate, eight SWAT-equipped agents of the Border Patrol’s BORTAC unit as part of an operation in which more than 130 INS personnel took part approached the house; they knocked, and identified themselves. When no one responded from within, they entered the house. Pepper-spray and mace were employed against those outside the house who attempted to interfere. Nonetheless, a stool, rocks, and bottles were thrown at the agents. . . . Once they found the locked door to the room, agents kicked it down . . .

    A proud moment in law enforcement – Over a hundred armed agents, pepper spray, tear gas, automatic weapons, etc.

    Not sure what happened to the federal court order that Elian stay in the country until the May hearing. It certainly doesn’t appear that the legal process had been exhausted, though.

  29. Joe,

    It is not that they shouldn’t have gotten the kid. It is that using a SWAT team was dangerous, unproductive and downright evil. They could have gotten someone killed. The government should not use SWAT teams unless there is a real reason to do it. There was no reason to do it here. I guess if you didn’t pay a parking ticket and they came out to your house to serve you with process they could use a SWAT team. Hey, it was your choice not to pay.

    You are just being stupid. In every other context, you object to SWAT raids. Now all of the sudden you are mister law and order talking about how “they have to accept the consequences” of resisting the government. Are you really that much of a fanatic that you can’t see how this is no different than the no-knock SWAT raids like the one in Maryland or the one in Atlanta where they killed that woman? What if someone would have panicked and accidentally shot someone in the house? You really believe that the people in that house deserved to die because they didn’t want to give the kid back? That is sick. Just because you liked Clinton doesn’t make everything he did wrong. This was wrong and you know it. You are just such a fanatic you won’t admit it.

  30. You don’t get to kidnip children. It’s an act of aggression that should and must be met by force.

    Is it just me, or does this seem to be saying that people who kick down doors to seize crying children from their relatives must be met by force?

  31. Personally, Radley, I’m kinda disappointed grenades weren’t used on the house. Oh, wait! My name isn’t joe and I don’t shill Janet Reno and her Gestapo tactics. My bad.

  32. You don’t get to kidnap children from their parents, even if you don’t like their politics

    Hold on. It was his mother who took him, right? So let’s not use loaded terms like kidnapping.

    You can have a debate over which part of his family (his father or his mother’s relatives) had a right to claim him. But raiding a house with a child with an MP5-toting SWAT team is fucking unacceptable. It’s unacceptable in regards to drug warrants and it’s unacceptable here.

    What if the kid got shot? You kill the kid in order to save him? Absolutely ridiculous, escalating to that level of violence.

  33. Seward,

    Do I favor allowing a mob to take kids from their parents? No, of course not. I’ve never indicated anything of the kind.

    Radley,

    Exactly. Same goes for pot smokers and small-time drug dealers. And gamblers.

    No, it doesn’t. Pot smokers, small-time drug dealers, and gamblers are highly unlikely to physically fight the police. As opposed to political fanatics who think God is telling them to, and are already in the act of kidnapping a child and holding him from returning to his daddy. Are you kidding me? False equivalence.

  34. joe,

    So, who kidnapped Elian? His mother? The relatives in Florida? In latter case, they were given custody of Elian by the state if I am not mistaken. In the former, his mother was fleeing the state that progressives love to love.

  35. Well, between joe and Lefiti, at least the latter is somewhat entertaining.

  36. I mean, they’re already breaking the law, right? They’re capable of anything.

    Cops are out there risking their lives everyday. Thank goodness Radley Balko is here to defend their right to use whatever force they deem necessary against the dangerous pot-smokers and gamblers. Cops ought to use excessive force whenever possible.

  37. Oh, and I pray to Jeebus that the Napolitano clip gets plenty of play during Holder’s approval.

  38. joe,

    Do I favor allowing a mob to take kids from their parents?

    When did a mob take this kid from his parents? If anything, one parent took Elian from the other parent.

  39. Is someone faking being joe now? Because he’s clearly not even trying.

  40. That wasn’t really joe, was it? He’s a douche, but not that big of a douche, right? Or has a return to power pulled out the true level of douchiness? I feel dirty know thinking that he made a pretty good funny in the prostitute thread and you guys were being mean…
    -K

  41. RC,

    The family had made their intentions to ignore the deportation order quite clear, and hadn’t been shy about their willingness to fight the police to do so.

    Pro Libertate | November 20, 2008, 2:59pm | #

    joe,

    I think the use of force was excessive. Using such overwhelming force that no fight ever happened was the point. I’m glad they didn’t go in with just enough force to prevail in case the relatives starting swinging at them. Now, did they go above and beyond that? I suppose a case can be made that they did, but it’s a tought point to criticize them for. “Overwhelming but not TOO overwhelming” is a tough mark to hit.

  42. joe doesn’t have a problem with something the Clinton administration did? I must retire to my fainting couch. The disbelief has overwhelmed me.

  43. R.C. Dean,

    Thanks for filling in some of the details I had forgotten about.

  44. Nevermind, I take back. It was joe. He is a douche.

  45. Legate Damar,

    I think so. That’s the only reason I jumped in on the joe beatdown.

  46. Wait, who took that photo? Hella camera placement.

  47. R.C. Dean,

    So, the question is, why not simply wait until May?

  48. Seward, stop hiding behind technicalities.

    One parent dies, the other parent is the rightful custodian, however many semantic games you want to play.

    You think an uncle who picks up little Jimmy from school after the mother dies, and refuses to take him home, is going to get it any differently from the police? BTW, thank you ever so much for not being able to stop yourself from yammering about this REALLY being a fight between progressives and conservatives about Cuba.

  49. joe, you have been asked twice now: what justifies your use of the term “kidnapping”?

  50. Legate Damar | November 20, 2008, 3:05pm | #

    Is someone faking being joe now? Because he’s clearly not even trying.
    Karl | November 20, 2008, 3:05pm | #

    That wasn’t really joe, was it? He’s a douche, but not that big of a douche, right?

    You people really have no idea how far out on the fring you are, do you?

    Yeah, I’m the weirdo. No reasonable person would support the raid. Right.

  51. nevermind, I always get ignored unless I act reasonable, provide arguments, and try to contribute. Gawrsh.

    Well, I appreciate H&R. So much so, I think I’ll subscribe to the magazine. Quite the leap, I know.

  52. joe goes to Mexico for a while, and comes back all sassy. Rawr!

  53. Oh, by the way, John-There is a phrase called “Dyed in the wool” meaning permanently that way, but there is no phrase called “Died and wool” That I am aware of. Just FYI.

  54. SugarFree | November 20, 2008, 3:06pm | #

    joe doesn’t have a problem with something the Clinton administration did? I must retire to my fainting couch. The disbelief has overwhelmed me.

    I spent the 90s complaining about the things the Clinton administration did.

    But this wasn’t one of them.

  55. What? Joe was in Mexico? Smuggling illegals?

  56. joe,

    It’s at moments like this that I think “partisan blinders” to myself. I agree with the above comment–you wouldn’t argue that shock-and-awe police tactics were okay in most other contexts, but this one is okay because you have a political axe to grind. Tsk, tsk.

  57. TAO,

    And I’ve answered.

  58. I’d like to know what legal theory joe is operating under that says that Elian’s father should have had standing to meddle in American legal affairs.

    Elian Gonzales was brought ashore and released to his extended family by INS. Where the father (a Cuban citizen) comes into this, I have no idea.

  59. Pro Libertate,

    Shock and awe police tactics aren’t appropriate in most other contexts.

    I can consider the context of events beyond partisan and ideological narratives, and wish others could, too.

  60. No reasonable person would support the raid.

    That’s right, no reasonable person would. Glad to see you coming around.
    -K

  61. I can’t believe y’all are still letting joe troll you.

  62. The Angry Optimist | November 20, 2008, 3:15pm | #

    I’d like to know what legal theory joe is operating under that says that Elian’s father should have had standing to meddle in American legal affairs.

    What are you, kidding? You don’t think people from other countries have access to our civil courts?

    Dude, read a book.

  63. What court order were those agents operating under, joe? Federal magistrates don’t have standing to transfer custody.

    Reno ran roughshod over civil liberties and the law and you’re here defending her. Disgusting.

  64. joe started early today. Awesome. Is it beer or whiskey, joe? Or both? Boilermakers FTW!

  65. Reno ran roughshod over civil liberties and the law and you’re here defending her.

    I haven’t written a word about Reno.

    Or Cuba either for that matter.

    Funny how dissenting from other people’s obsessions with partisan fights makes ME the partisan.

  66. joe,

    Seward, stop hiding behind technicalities.

    I’m not hiding behind anything. The facts are as I descried them. I will note that you are apparently not arguing that they are not as I describe them.

    BTW, thank you ever so much for not being able to stop yourself from yammering about this REALLY being a fight between progressives and conservatives about Cuba.

    Of course it was. Which is why at the time I stated that if Elian were from Haiti very few would care about his fate. This would have simply not been a public controversy if the child were not from Cuba.

  67. Epi,

    Perhaps Joe is on a “souvenir” from his trip to Mexico.

  68. You don’t think people from other countries have access to our civil courts?

    I did not say that, joe. However, Juan Miguel never field a suit, to my knowledge.

    I haven’t written a word about Reno.

    Who the hell do you think ordered the raid?

  69. “I spent the 90s complaining about the things the Clinton administration did.”

    Really? Why don’t you enlighten us with some of the things you complained about.

    The real test of whether someone beleives in freedom is how they treat the other. How do they treat people they disagree with or otherwise find loathsome for some reason. Joe for whatever reason hates the people in that house, so he sees no problem with kicking in the door, using tear gas and pointing loaded weapons at unarmed people.

    Joe you have really shown your true colors today. You actually said above that it was wrong to use SWAT teams on drug dealers but it is okay to use them on the Gonzalez family. That is just twisted. Really twisted. I am glad you are not in a position of authority and don’t work in law enforcement.

    For the record, SWAT teams should not as a rule be used on anyone except hostage takers.

  70. joe,

    You think an uncle who picks up little Jimmy from school after the mother dies, and refuses to take him home, is going to get it any differently from the police?

    Oh, and the answer would be that it would presumably depend on the context.

    To clue you in – I haven’t stated that I either agreed or disagreed with the Clinton administration decision.

  71. Perhaps Joe is on a “souvenir” from his trip to Mexico.

    Don’t eat the worm!

  72. Epi was right: Christmas has come early. 130 federal agents swarm on a family and take a boy by gunpoint and joe (the good little liberal he is) shrugs his shoulders because the people doing the gun-pointing had “Ds” next to their names.

  73. NYU Law Libertarian: I just looked at the Volokh post, and they are not defending Holder. They are saying his nomination should not be rejected by the Senate, because the reasons for doing so would be ideological. And with that I do agree. (The fact that liberals do stuff like that does not make it right.)

  74. joe, are you okay with SWAT raids against anti-war protestors, on the grounds that they might be planning a riot? You know, it’s the governement’s job to enforce the law and all.

  75. Under immigration laws the father was going to win custody of the kid. I know Cuba sucks and it is sending him back to a prison state, but the law is the law and it doesn’t make exceptions for Cuba. It probably should but it doesn’t. That said, you don’t use a SWAT team on a house full of unarmed people to get a five year old over a civil custody matter. I really wonder about anyone who would think that is a good idea.

  76. Dragging the kid out of some screaming woman’s arms, fighting your way through a human chain – as if any of the Magic Dolphin People would have found those procedures more acceptable.

    Joe, this is absurd.

    If people are prepared to use passive physical resistance – forming human chains, tying themselves to redwood trees, having a woman hold on to a child in a custody dispute – and the police have to “wade through” that, that’s really just too fucking bad for the police.

    The idea that massive force is justified by any sort of resistance, even symbolic resistance or protest, is grotesque.

    Next time a bunch of liberals chain themselves to the gate of a nuclear power plant, maybe the police should chainsaw their limbs off. Just to show ’em who’s boss. We wouldn’t want the police to be inconvenienced by people who are looking for a confrontation, after all.

    The type of person who orders a SWAT raid as the first option, to avoid having to deal with an unpleasant scene that provides a group of citizens with the opportunity for symbolic protest and resistance, is the type of person who orders police to spray pepper spray in the eyes of protestors lying in the street, or the tasing of people who try to film police arrests. I’m really surprised to see you standing up for that, and I guess you must really just hate anyone who would defy a Democrat administration’s political will, even if it’s only for a few weeks.

  77. I honestly didn’t know anyone supported that raid. I must be really out on the fringe, I guess.

  78. The Senate should not reject Holder. They should just embarass the hell out of him with all the stupid shit he has done and make Obama look bad for nominating him.

  79. TAO,

    And I’ve answered.

    By not answering. You do not have any sense of justice, joe. Elian’s mother wanted him to be in the United States, but you call it “kidnapping”.

  80. Jesus H Christ…

    The whole Elian thing was politicised from the git go.

    And his American relatives were crazier than shit house rats. Don’t any of you remember that cousin, what’s her name out in the street doing her best Evita imitation? And Uncle whatshis name…they had no intention of giving up the kid to his father, not because he was a bad father, how would they know, but because they were staunchly against Castro…to the point of being idiots. The crazy uncle implied that he had more than cameras in the house, publicly to the press..

    Not that I approve of the tactics, but don’t start the whole poltical thing again. Crazy relatives in Miami and the mother that risked her son’ life to be with her boyfriend or returning a child to it’s surviving parent. No one would have said boo if Cuban politics hadn’t played into it.

  81. And FWIW, this doesn’t have anything to do with partisanship. The Gonzales raid was a disgusting display, handled ham-handedly and without any sense of justice by Reno’s office.

    We’re not attacking you because it’s a partisan issue (it’s not); we’re attacking you because you’ve shown yourself to be a flaming hypocrite and a hack.

  82. Epi was right: Christmas has come early. 130 federal agents swarm on a family and take a boy by gunpoint and joe (the good little liberal he is) shrugs his shoulders because the people doing the gun-pointing had “Ds” next to their names.

    Are you actually surprised?

  83. “Shock and awe police tactics aren’t appropriate in most other contexts.”

    So shock and awe police tactics are appropriate when seizeing a small child from a group of unarmed cuban exiles? Why? Because they are anti-communist? Is that it?

    If this was a hippie commune with a bunch of people holding a kid that belonged to a father from a mormon fundamentalist sect, would you still favor sending in a SWAT team to get him back and turn him over to the fundies?

  84. joe, where did you visit in Mexico?
    Hope you and the family enjoyed yourselves and didn’t get internally searched on your way back into the country.

  85. I’d like to know what legal theory joe is operating under that says that Elian’s father should have had standing to meddle in American legal affairs.

    …he was the next of kin of a minor child Cuban citizen who brought to the US without the knowledge of one of his parents? It was handled criminally by the government, but that doesn’t change the fact that if a parent in the US had tried something similar, that is, to take their kid and leave the country without even telling the other parent, it would be custodial interference, at least. Not kidnapping, but still, it’s a difference of degree rather than type. And I certainly don’t think that such a thing should be allowed to happen without the other parent having a chance to fight it.

  86. the mother that risked her son’ life to be with her boyfriend

    That is news to me. Why take her son with her, then? If she had the shallow and selfish motivations and personality you seem to be implying, she would have just left him.

  87. “Crazy relatives in Miami and the mother that risked her son’ life to be with her boyfriend or returning a child to it’s surviving parent. No one would have said boo if Cuban politics hadn’t played into it.”

    yeah, she just risked her son’s life to be with her boy friend. Getting herself and her son out of one of the poorest most oppressive police state’s on earth had nothing to do with it.

    As far as the relatives being crazy, let a Castro take over this country and make you have to risk your life to get over the border to Canada and let’s see how reasonable you are about sending small children back to the arms of dear Fidel. Not that the law allowed the kid to stay, but it is easy for you to sit here fat dumb and happy in the US and call people crazy.

  88. Are you actually surprised?

    A little bit…I guess more at the speed of the turnaround than the turnaround itself.

    Shem – I appreciate your Solomon-esque approach, but should American courts wade into Cuban custody law? AFAIK, Elian’s arrival to shore gave him a whole different set of legal protections.

  89. joe,

    I don’t think so. The Gonzalez situation wasn’t that cut and dried in favor of Dad, and, as I recall, there was some due process corner cutting by the government.

    Like most presidents, Clinton made mistakes (or had them made on his behalf)–Waco, even without paranoia, Elian Gonzalez, the CDA, Clipper Chip, the DOJ action against Microsoft, etc., etc.

  90. I don’t like the SWAT raids any more than the next guy, but I won’t argue against using SWAT in this case. The relatives had made it abundantly clear that they would ignore any orders to send the boy back to his father, and that they would resist with force if need be. Under those circumstances, how do you propose to get the boy back to his father?

    In my view, a father’s right to raise his son doesn’t get trumped just because he happens to live under a communist dictator. Once the mother was dead, giving custody to the father should have been a no-brainer.

    Of course, the relevant i’s should still be dotted and t’s crossed before sending in the ol’ gunpoint crew, and none of this excuses Holder’s lying.

  91. Whatever happened to Elian once he went back to Cuba?

  92. Seward,

    I’m not hiding behind anything. Yes, you are. You are pretending that becasue the family merely held the kid against his wishes and those of his father, rather than locking him in a basement and writing a ranson note, that they hadn’t kidnapped him.

    Of course it was. Not for me, it wasn’t. It was about a kid who’s mother died being kept from his father, who he loved, and who loved him.

  93. Let’s take a step back from the D/R recriminations and from the [admittedly enjoyable] joe bashing for a moment and ask a basic and fundamental question:

    When enforcing a legal order, should the police be entitled to use whatever level of force they think is needed, or should that only be the case after a good-faith effort is made to enforce the order at a baseline level involving minimal force?

    I think that, unfortunately, the police have been given free reign to design their operations at whatever force level they desire, even at the moment of first interaction with a suspect or the subject of a warrant. Much of the rest of what we talk about is mere detail – was this raid justified, was that raid justified – when really we should be looking at fundamentals.

    Personally, I think that when executing a search or arrest warrant against a subject with no record of convictions for serious violence, the police should be required to have their first interaction with that subject be at a level involving minimal force. They should be required to knock on the door, wait for an answer, present the warrant for review, request that the subject comply voluntarily, etc., before taking any more violent action.

    Would that be more dangerous for the police? Maybe. I honestly don’t care.

  94. No, really. Who took that photo ’cause that’s like some “Combat Camera” shit.

  95. Joe for whatever reason hates the people in that house

    Yeah, I’ve got a problem with kidnappers. Sue me.

    For the record, SWAT teams should not as a rule be used on anyone except hostage takers.

    This was an equivalent situation – people who were holding someone, refusing to let him go, and likely to use force to keep him in their custody.

  96. The Angry Optimist | November 20, 2008, 3:23pm | #

    Epi was right: Christmas has come early. 130 federal agents swarm on a family and take a boy by gunpoint and joe (the good little liberal he is) shrugs his shoulders because the people doing the gun-pointing had “Ds” next to their names.

    I’ve made actual argument that had nothing to do with party.

    That you can’t see beyond party doesn’t mean I’m as feeble-minded as you.

  97. You are pretending that becasue the family merely held the kid against his wishes and those of his father

    Or, alternatively, they were caring for the child in accordance with the wishes of his mother.

    Of course, this speaks to the problem of letting administrative agencies (like INS…now ICE) determine what are de facto custody issues under the guise of “immigration law”.

    You do realize that supporting the forcible return of Elian Gonzales means you support the forcible return of all illegal immigrants? Because that was the exact logic INS used in its administrative decision.

  98. Meanwhile, a federal judge widely regarded as an administration lapdog has ordered the release of five detainees “forthwith”.

    It seems pretty clear that the Bush administration did not help matters here. Nearly seven years ago, the President publicly claimed the Algerians were planning a bomb attack on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo. Last month, however, the Justice Department suddenly informed the Court that it was no longer relying on that information. We’ve seen this sort of thing happen too many times over the last seven years, and the effect can only be to reduce the confidence of the court and the public that the government is in command of the relevant facts and can be trusted to make thoughtful decisions.

    Andy McCarthy is one smart cookie.

  99. Legally, this case was really cut and dried. Under choice of law provisions, Cuban law applied since it was a marraige between two cuban citizens, a cuban citizen child and the surviving parent was Cuban. The fact that the kid washed up on US shores didn’t mean US law applied, it just meant he had a right to be heard in US courts. But the US courts had to apply Cuban law. Cuban law said the kid goes to the dad. End of story. The state of Florida played a lot of games with this case, but ultimately the feds were right in trying to send him back.

    That said, only a nut would show up to do so with a SWAT team. Fluffy gets it about right above. The reason why Holder and company wanted a SWAT team was they wanted it to be quick with no embarassing photos. If they had done it sanely, the family would have been able to protest and drag it out and there would have been embarasisng pictures on the news. Basically, Reno and Holder put people’s lives at risk and used tear gas and pointed loaded weapons at un armed civilians to prevent bad publicity. Disgraceful.

  100. The relatives had made it abundantly clear that they would ignore any orders to send the boy back to his father, and that they would resist with force if need be.

    If that’s true, then they would have resisted the SWAT team with force, and they didn’t.

    Why wasn’t the house fortified? Where were their weapons? Where were the booby traps? Why wasn’t anyone awake keeping watch?

    For guys prepared to use force, they seem to have been really unprepared to use force.

    “Prepared to stand in the way and get arrested so that everyone will see that we resisted” is not the same as “prepared to use force”.

  101. What gets me is the degree to which the pro-raid people seem to be getting off on terrorizing a bunch of anti-communist anti-Castro cuban exiles.

    IMO, they are more motivated by a sadistic enjoyment of punishing people that hate Castro than it is by any reasonable legal necessity.

    They just enjoy using police power to fuck with those that they disagree with politically. That’s all there is to it.

    No doubt, the Cuban exiles will be “first agains the wall when the revolution comes”.

    Oh wait, they already were, that’s why they aren’t in Cuba anymore.

  102. I mean, let’s follow along here:

    1. INS determines that only the father can speak for the boy.
    2. The Courts say that Elian has the right to pursue an asylum request.
    3. Then the courts say he’s too young to do it on his own, the relatives have no standing and only his father can sue for asylum.

    This whole thing was stacked in favor of returning Elian in the very beginning, based entirely on the INS’s internal administrative decision.

  103. Hazel Meade | November 20, 2008, 3:25pm | #

    joe, are you okay with SWAT raids against anti-war protestors, on the grounds that they might be planning a riot?

    Of course not. Nor would I have been ok with a SWAT raid on these loonies if all they had done was indicate that they were going to protest in the streets.

    But they were holding the kid, saying they weren’t going to give him up, and indicating that they were going to use force to resist efforts to return him to his daddy. They were in the midst of a kidnapping. The feds had to rescue him, and using overwhelming force to keep the predicted attack from happening was the right thing to do.

    You’d have been happier if some heads got cracked because the family started brawling with Officer Happy?

  104. Lazaro Rafael Munero, look up the name.

    As for a mother endangering her child…yes, that never happens.

    Again, the crazy uncle, L?zaro Gonz?lez, said, before the raid… “You think we just have cameras in the house? If people try to come in, they could be hurt.”

    So, disobeying court orders and refusing to budge despite an entire night of negotiations and implying that they were armed…

  105. joe,

    I think kidnapping is a bit misleading. His mother took him out of Cuba. Those people knew just what kind of awful place they were keeping him from, and they were honoring the mother’s wishes. I’m not 100% on board with keeping a kid from his dad, either, but let’s not pretend it was black and white. And the force used was ridiculous and showed–again!–how bad the administration was on civil liberties and overly aggressive use of law enforcement.

    By the way, Holder should be confirmed. I don’t like him much, but I don’t see an obvious reason not to confirm him. He’s a poor choice in my mind for audacious change, but I expected no less.

  106. I’ve made actual argument that had nothing to do with party.

    That you can’t see beyond party doesn’t mean I’m as feeble-minded as you.

    It’s not just Christmas, it’s my birthday too.

    Yeah, I’ve got a problem with kidnappers. Sue me.

    joe, this term is inaccurate and loaded. It has been addressed previously by RC. So if this is your basis for being OK with the raid, then your floor just fell out.

  107. “When enforcing a legal order, should the police be entitled to use whatever level of force they think is needed, or should that only be the case after a good-faith effort is made to enforce the order at a baseline level involving minimal force?”

    In a civil matter, there should always be a good faith effort to enforce the order with a baseline level of force. Don’t forget this was a custody dispute. There was nothing criminal about it. No one kidnapped the kid. All they ever did was go to court and try to keep him here. They never defied a court order or did anything illegal. I can’t see how you can ever justify using force to enforce a civil court order?

    This kind of thing happens every day in this country. One parent loses custody in court and won’t voluntarily give the kid up and the sheriff has to come out to enforce the order. No one calls the SWAT team. The police just knock on the door and say “give up the kid”. If they don’t or they assault the cop, then people get arrested. But they don’t come and kick down the door and point guns at people.

  108. Fluffy,

    If people are prepared to use passive physical resistance – forming human chains, tying themselves to redwood trees, having a woman hold on to a child in a custody dispute – and the police have to “wade through” that, that’s really just too fucking bad for the police.

    I’m not talking about passive resistance. I’m not talking about them holding hands. I’m talking about their becoming violent. Hell yeah I think they would have fought the police. How many heads would you have liked to see cracked instead of the cops looking all scary and the rescue going off smoothly?

  109. joe,

    You are pretending that becasue the family merely held the kid against his wishes and those of his father, rather than locking him in a basement and writing a ranson note, that they hadn’t kidnapped him.

    Pretending? What, I cannot have an honest disagreement on the matter?

    If this was kidnapping, it was the oddest form of “kidnapping” I have ever seen. Given the facts as they were it is extremely difficult for me to conclude that this was a kidnapping.

    Not for me, it wasn’t.

    So what?

  110. TAO,

    You do not have any sense of justice, joe. Elian’s mother was fucking dead, so his father gets to decide where he lives, period, full stop.

  111. That raises an excellent point. How often are SWAT teams used in domestic matters like this? When the parent or relative isn’t shooting out the window or anything like that?

  112. Hazel Meade,

    If this was a hippie commune with a bunch of people holding a kid that belonged to a father from a mormon fundamentalist sect, would you still favor sending in a SWAT team to get him back and turn him over to the fundies? Are these hippies threatening violence agains the police?

  113. Nor would I have been ok with a SWAT raid on these loonies if all they had done was indicate that they were going to protest in the streets.

    Can I quote your above statement
    Dragging the kid out of some screaming woman’s arms, fighting your way through a human chain – as if any of the Magic Dolphin People would have found those procedures more acceptable.

    So you mean to say that a human chain isn’t exactly the same stuff that typical anti-war protestors do?

    I think you yourself realize these people weren’t about to pull out guns. They were going to use non-violent civil-disobedience.

  114. Actually, John, it never ended up being a custody dispute (not really). INS determined it to be an immigration issue, ergo, only Juan Miguel was allowed to speak for Elian.

    The whole thing was total legal nonsense.

  115. J sub D,

    I was on a cruise, and we stopped at a cheezy tourist trap island.

  116. This was an equivalent situation – people who were holding someone, refusing to let him go, and likely to use force to keep him in their custody.

    The INS had placed Elian in those peoples’ care to begin with.

    And an appeal on his deportation order was still possible. Reno wanted the kid removed from the custody of his relatives to make sure that appeal would not take place.

    Reno realized that possession of the kid was critical to the Clinton administration’s legal strategy for returning him to Cuba, in the face of his right to asylum.

  117. “Whatever happened to Elian once he went back to Cuba?”

    He was pursued by robot Walt Disney and then shot by Castro in the head.

  118. Elian’s mother was fucking dead, so his father gets to decide where he lives, period, full stop.

    Wrong, champ. If the INS had decided that the relatives had standing and that this was a custody issue, this would be a whole different ball game.

  119. Are these hippies threatening violence agains the police?

    No, they rae threatening to form a human chain, and chain themselves to trees and doors. As hippies are wont to do.

  120. Yeah, I’m the weirdo. No reasonable person would support the raid. Right..

    Not using automatic fucking weapons by a bunch of itchy fingered storm troopers with gas masks, helmets, and all that shit simply to enforce a superior custody claim. Fuck no.

  121. joe, if this was a kidnapping, where are the Federal kidnapping charges against his relatives?

  122. “I’m not talking about passive resistance. I’m not talking about them holding hands. I’m talking about their becoming violent. Hell yeah I think they would have fought the police. How many heads would you have liked to see cracked instead of the cops looking all scary and the rescue going off smoothly?”

    Joe you don’t know any of that. You just have convinced yourself they would have because you don’t like them and will defend anything the Clinton Administration did. It was a civl order. They should have shown up and knocked on the door and said, give up the kid. If they resisted, then met force with force. They were not worried about resistence. They were worried about the family making a scene and ugly pictures and films of the kid being dragged out his family’s arms screaming would end up on the news. The people in that house were not suicidal. They were not going to get into a shootout with the police and you know it. They were a family not a cult. But they were going to make it painful and politically embarassing for the government to take the kid. So Reno’s response was to call out the SWAT and risk people’s lives and gas Americans. Great.

  123. Fluffy is 100% right about this. Elian still had months to make appeals, and Reno realized that he would win if the relatives still had Elian. So they took him by gunpoint.

  124. John,

    If you are correct, then the irony is that the photo may have cost Gore the Florida EVs (that, and well, a number of other factors) in 2000.

    Pro Libertate,

    You stop “pretending.” 🙂

  125. yeah, she just risked her son’s life to be with her boy friend. Getting herself and her son out of one of the poorest most oppressive police state’s on earth had nothing to do with it.

    As far as the relatives being crazy, let a Castro take over this country and make you have to risk your life to get over the border to Canada and let’s see how reasonable you are about sending small children back to the arms of dear Fidel.

    This is what this argument is about, for the other side: Fidel and Cuba and how terrible those progressives are.

    Screw you people. Good job letting that boy return to his daddy where he belonged. Losing his mother was tough enough. Shove all of your political baggage up your asses, this is about a family, not your Cold War politics.

  126. See, it’s threads like this that make me think that deep in joe’s oh-so-reasonable self lies the soul of a troll.
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  127. Was the suggestion of physical resistance corroborated by someone not in the government? Don’t know the answer–just curious.

  128. It’s not just Christmas, it’s my birthday too.

    Ha!

    “The creature thus be born!
    The creature thus be formed!
    And ye of years……..will chime!”

  129. Joe,

    I have said on severel occasions on this thread that legally, the government had to send him back to Cuba. My objection is not sending him back to Cuba, although I am sad to see that happen, but using a SWAT team to do so. I understand that INS had to enforce the law and the law was to send him back to Cuba. Had they not used a SWAT team to do so, i wouldn’t have a problem. So, no this is not about Cuba. It is about the jackboot tactics of the federal government.

  130. Pro Libertate | November 20, 2008, 3:36pm | #

    joe,

    I don’t think so. The Gonzalez situation wasn’t that cut and dried in favor of Dad

    Why not? Mommy dies, Daddy is still Daddy.

    If it was Uncle Ramon from Havana, who came to get him, there would have been a legitimate dispute, but it was his father.

    This case resembles nothing so much as the Schiavo case. It’s the father’s call, it’s the husband’s call, and the aunties and grandparents take a back seat.

  131. BTW, BORTAC does not equal SWAT.

  132. How many heads would you have liked to see cracked instead of the cops looking all scary and the rescue going off smoothly?

    What I would want to see is officers approach the house with a court order to take custody of the child and with their guns in their holsters.

    If someone attacks one of these officers, then the police should proceed with stronger measures. [And no, people on the sidewalk yelling doesn’t count.]

    Raids of this kind elevate the supposed “safety” of officers over the obligation of the police to treat all citizens with courtesy and respect. I also steadfastly believe that the subtext of raids like this kind are a desire to “show who’s boss” and deliberately subordinate and frighten defiant citizens who demonstrate any resistance at all to an overbearing government.

    So I guess my answer to “how many heads do you want to see cracked” is At Least One. Because before at least one head is cracked I don’t see the justification for proceeding in this manner and see plenty of direct and indirect downside.

  133. BORTAC: defusing the hot spots

    BORTAC is the Border Patrol’s specially trained tactical unit. This defines it, but it doesn’t describe what this select team is about nor does it capture the drama and excitement of their work. BORTAC is summoned for high-risk and difficult missions-they quell riots, restore order in natural disasters, track terrorists, and intercept human smugglers and drug traffickers. ”

    Nothing SWAT about that. No not at all.

  134. “This case resembles nothing so much as the Schiavo case.”

    If the SWAT team had shown up at the hospital to pull the plug, you might have a point.

  135. Losing his mother was tough enough. Shove all of your political baggage up your asses, this is about a family, not your Cold War politics.

    Spare me your crocodile tears, joe.

    Why not? Mommy dies, Daddy is still Daddy.

    For one, it depends on how the law is applied. INS released him into the custody of his relatives, and the doubled-back and said he had to be deported.

    Now ask yourself: why would INS release someone that they administratively decided had to be deported? Uhh…hmmm…

  136. Pro Libertate,

    In terms of the “knew what hell they were keeping him from” argument, there is one appropriate standard that overrides the rights of the surviving parent – actual abuse, manifested as harm.

    If we get into allowing politics to influence that, where does it stop? Do Massachusetts courts decide it’s abusive to make a kid grow up in Wasilla? A court in suburban Houston saying the father shouldn’t let his kid live in some shady neighborhood near downtown?

    Road to hell.

  137. John,

    If anything, the use of BORTAC is even more egregious than using the local PD’s SWAT unit. I really don’t see what in their “mission statement” you posted applies to the Gonzales case, which makes me even more suspicious of Reno and Holder’s motives.

  138. At the time, I thought that, ultimately, Elian should be reunited with his father. But favoring an end is different from favoring the means. And I think due process got short-circuited a bit, too, on top of the overkill.

  139. Adding to my comment, I know that joe is a big fan of community policing. Wouldn’t the cops from that area, who are known in the emigre community have been a better choice than a special anti-terrorist Fed unit from who-knows-where?

  140. AO,

    The father was going to win in court. The kid really had no real fear for his life if he was returned to Cuba. My country sucks is not grounds for asylum. As a Cuban who washed up on US soil, he was entitled to LRP status, but he was a minor. So this became a custody dispute. The fact is living in a horrible country does not take away his father’s rights to him. Yeah, it was a shitty result, but crazy abusive or immoral natural parents get their kids back every day. Living in Cuba is not grounds to lose custody of your kid.

  141. TAO,

    Or, alternatively, they were caring for the child in accordance with the wishes of his mother. The mother was dead, Elian had a surviving parent. Cut and dried.

    You do realize that supporting the forcible return of Elian Gonzales means you support the forcible return of all illegal immigrants? Because that was the exact logic INS used in its administrative decision. I support returning him for my own reasons, which I’ve described. That an immigration judge wrote something means nothing to me, and indicates nothing about what I think about immigration law.

  142. joe, this seems strangely…personal for you. You sure you’re OK?

  143. Sorry John David. I thought you were saying these guys were somehow better than a SWAT team. You are right they are worse. They are the people we use to go after MS 13 members and Russian Mafia. Yeah, really good idea to turn them lose on a bunch of Cuban’s who lost a court case.

  144. I support returning him for my own reasons, which I’ve described…That an immigration judge wrote something means nothing to me

    Translation: The ends justify the means.

  145. Art-P.O.G.

    The photograph was taken by Alan Diaz, an AP photog who snuck in during the confusion of the raid. He’s probably lucky he wasn’t shot and his camera destroyed.

  146. Bramblyspam has it right.

    The situation could have been avoided. It wasn’t.

  147. Under those circumstances, how do you propose to get the boy back to his father?

    Step 1, wait until after the court makes a decision.

    At that point, whether step 2 involves SWAT (it shouldnt) comes into play. Until then, it is clearly an overreaction.

    Nothing!!! should have happened until after the May hearing.

  148. TAO,

    I really don’t think one can seperate the Cold War politics – or any other kind of politics – angle from the issue.

    This from the wikipedia article on Elian:

    Morrison’s TV report also showed a 19th-century building in C?rdenas which was previously used as a fire station and which was renovated and inaugurated on July 14, 2001, as a museum, called Museo de la Batalla de Ideas (“Museum of the Battle of Ideas”), which includes an Eli?n exhibition room with a life-size bronze statue of Eli?n raising a clenched fist. Ironically, the former Gonz?lez home in Miami has similarly been turned into a museum, with the boy’s bedroom left unaltered.[22] Juan Miguel is also a member of the National Assembly and has attended events for the Communist Party of Cuba with Eli?n, who has been called up to the stage to meet Fidel Castro. Castro also attended a filmed birthday party of Eli?n with his schoolmates. On the video of the birthday party, a female clown told Eli?n to blow out the birthday candles with Fidel to his right and surrounded by Eli?n’s schoolmates.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli%C3%A1n_Gonz%C3%A1lez#Ramifications

  149. Seward,

    Given the facts as they were it is extremely difficult for me to conclude that this was a kidnapping.

    OJ Simpson was just convicted of kidnapping. When you hold someone somewhere illegally by force of threat of force, it’s kidnapping.

    So what? So don’t tell me what I think. Don’t tell me what this case was about for me. I’ll tell you what I think.

  150. joe,

    Yeah, I’ve got a problem with kidnappers. Sue me.

    In what court were they found guilty and sentenced for kidnapping?

  151. Joe,

    The reason the case became as tangled as it did was because it wasn’t simply a custody issue.

    Cubans who make it to the shores of the US had a presumptive right of asylum.

    The INS had placed Elian in the custody of his uncle, who filed a request for asylum on his behalf.

    The custody dispute conflicted with the asylum dispute. It was a novel situation that no one had anticipated before.

    Under those circumstances it’s unreasonable and unfair for you to describe the Miami relatives as kidnappers. It was an ambiguous legal situation.

  152. Before you get all high and mighty about the evil of the family, right or wrong in the legal sense, I’d do the same if someone wanted to drag my nieces back to a pit like Cuba. Even if I acknowledged the rights of the parent.

  153. “When you hold someone somewhere illegally by force of threat of force, it’s kidnapping.”

    Losing a court decision and appealing it is not holding someone illegally by threat of force and you know it. Why are you so racist against Cubans? Really, you seem to have a real chip on your shoulder against them.

  154. joe, this seems strangely…personal for you. You sure you’re OK?

    Don’t buy it. joe’s just using this “kidnapping/family issue” stuff to try to emotionally bludgeon us all into accepting his (clearly wrong) position.

  155. Hazel,

    You can quote whatever you want, in whole or in part. I’ve made it clear enough that I’m talking about actual violence, as documented in this comment:

    capelza | November 20, 2008, 3:44pm | #

    Lazaro Rafael Munero, look up the name.

    As for a mother endangering her child…yes, that never happens.

    Again, the crazy uncle, L?zaro Gonz?lez, said, before the raid… “You think we just have cameras in the house? If people try to come in, they could be hurt.”

    So, disobeying court orders and refusing to budge despite an entire night of negotiations and implying that they were armed…

    I don’t think there’s any good-faith confusion here. My argument is about the family and supporters threatening violence, as they did, and it is that threat that makes the use of such overwhelming force as to avoid a riot and the cracking of heads appropriate.

    If you wish to put a counterargument up against this position, have at it. If you’re going to keep talking about hippies and passive resistance, don’t bother.

  156. When you hold someone somewhere illegally by force of threat of force, it’s kidnapping.

    joe, both robc and I have now asked you to support the use of “kidnapping”. Preferably by pointing to his relatives ever being charged with it. Since you can’t, you are dishonestly using a loaded term for emotional effect, which is clearly what you are feeling anyway.

  157. Translation: The ends justify the means.

    I made an actual argument, TAO. Nice cliche, though!

  158. “Also, props to Holder and everyone else for not letting the cat out of the bag beforehand.”

    Yeah, good thing the kid wasn’t a terrorist and the NYT knew anything about it. It would have been front page 1st thing.

  159. Normally vacations relax people, not make them testy. Joe, was there a dysentery outbreak on the ship or something? You don’t want to be on a cruise ship when dysentery breaks out, or so I hear.

  160. “My argument is about the family and supporters threatening violence, as they did, and it is that threat that makes the use of such overwhelming force as to avoid a riot and the cracking of heads appropriate.”

    Give it up Joe. No one is buying it. If this had been a state government doing it against people you liked, you would be having a stroke. If this had been a Republican Administration deporting a kid to Mexico, you would be having a stroke. The only reason you are defending the indefensible is because it was Cubans and a Democrat who did it. Why do you make things so hard on yourself? Just admit the obvious and move on. Just because the Clinton Administration fucked this up and acted like thugs is not the end of the world.

  161. When you hold someone somewhere illegally by force of threat of force, it’s kidnapping.

    By the way, I would just want to point out that generally the threat of force has to be against the person held.

    No one asserts that any of his relatives threatened Elian with violence. Told him they’d hurt him if he tried to leave, or told anyone else they’d hurt him if the police intervened.

    If the police come to my house to deport my wife, and I tell them that if they try to come in I’ll shoot them, I’m committing a crime but the crime isn’t kidnapping. I’m keeping the cops out, not my wife in.

  162. joe,

    When you hold someone somewhere illegally by force of threat of force, it’s kidnapping.

    Since there had been no final say by the courts (as R.C. Dean has demonstrated) on the matter how could he be held illegally?

    So don’t tell me what I think.

    I didn’t. You told me what I think though, see your “pretending” remark.

    Don’t tell me what this case was about for me.

    I didn’t. I did tell you what the case would not have been of any importance if not for the fact that the kid came from Cuba. See the difference? If he had been from Haiti he would not have been the subject of controversy, and neither you nor I would have known about him. If you can explain why my claim is wrong then please do so.

  163. I made an actual argument, TAO. Nice cliche, though!

    Just because it is a cliche does not mean that it is not true in the case of your argument.

  164. You should stop trying to talk about the law, TAO. You’re going to hurt yourself.

    Wrong, champ. If the INS had decided that the relatives had standing and that this was a custody issue it would have been exactly the same ballgame – they wouldn’t have had a shred of a leg to stand on.

    The INS decided the relatived didn’t have standing because THE RELATIVES DON’T HAVE STANDING. Two sets of aunts get to fight it out when both of a kids’ parents die. When one dies, the other gets custody, period, full stop.

  165. joe,

    I made an actual argument, TAO. Nice cliche, though!

    You have said in past threads that the ends justify the means. It may be a cliche, but you have agreed with it. And it is never true.

  166. It boggles my mind that there are ‘libertarians’ on this board saying that a court should decide whether or not to override the stated wishes of a child’s non-abusive parent.

    Fluffy, I think the ‘guns in holsters’ would have been a good approach. I still would’ve done it damn quietly at the crack of dawn, though.

  167. Episiarch | November 20, 2008, 3:50pm | #

    joe, if this was a kidnapping, where are the Federal kidnapping charges against his relatives?

    I’m not going to criticize the feds for showing mercy to the loonie-tunes. They really did only want the best for the kid, and no purpose would have been served by prosecuting them.

  168. wrong, joe. If the relatives had been found to have had standing, then the asylum issue would have been allowed to proceed.

    when the INS made an administrative decision about immigration, it also de facto decided the custody issue.

  169. I appreciate your Solomon-esque approach, but should American courts wade into Cuban custody law? AFAIK, Elian’s arrival to shore gave him a whole different set of legal protections.

    I’m just saying, when a father takes his children and flees to someplace like Saudi Arabia against the wishes of the mother, people in this country are rightly outraged, many of them even believing that the children should be returned to the US, in accordance with the original custody decisions. This isn’t any different than that just because the person in question fled to the US instead of away from it. Nor should it have made a difference if the mother had survived; she still had no right to just leave without getting the permission of the father first.

    Now ask yourself: why would INS release someone that they administratively decided had to be deported? Uhh…hmmm…

    Because at the time they had yet to determine first the facts of the case, and then whether the father supported his son remaining in the US, which meant that they needed a place to keep him until it could be decided what was to be done. Using family temporarily for that purpose is pretty common, and doesn’t imply anything about the decision that is likely to be made.

  170. It boggles my mind that there are ‘libertarians’ on this board saying that a court should decide whether or not to override the stated wishes of a child’s non-abusive parent.

    Given that this case had many legal ambiguities (please see Fluffy’s delineation of those), your fallacy of “No True Libertarian” rings hollow.

  171. Hey guys…I heard joe was back from vacation. Have any of you seen him yet?

  172. Gee, I go away from H&R for a month or so, and surprise! joe’s the main instigator for a 150+ comment thread, where he slides around definitions and goes through all kinds of strange contortions to say that the dems are right and pure in the world, regardless of how f-d up they really are. Some things never change, it appears.

    Y’all just don’t understand, when the dems do it, any manner of force is appropriate, nay, required, to make sure that all of you little people go along for your own good. Did I get it right joe?

    Normally vacations relax people, not make them testy

    I suspect it is that he didn’t get cavity searched, as the one comment mentioned, on the way back that’s the issue.

  173. When you hold someone somewhere illegally by force of threat of force, it’s kidnapping.

    Yes, Elian crying and reaching out for his Miami relatives as he was hustled from the house clearly showed he was there under duress, not, you know, hanging out with his uncle and cousin or anything.

    Or would you like to argue that every Thanksgiving is the result of Stockholm Syndrome?

    How much longer are the uncle and cousin in Federal prison for kidnapping? 15 more years? 20?

  174. “THE RELATIVES DON’T HAVE STANDING. Two sets of aunts get to fight it out when both of a kids’ parents die. When one dies, the other gets custody, period, full stop.”

    Not necessarily. IF the biological parent is unfit, the other relatives can sue for custody and win if it is in the best interests of the child. That is the standard. The default position is for the kids to go to their parents, but that is not always the case.

    As fluffy points out above, this was a very novel case. I think the feds would have won but I am not sure. Indeed, neither were they, which is why the grabbed him and deported him before the May hearing. They were worried they were going to lose. It wasn’t “full stop”. If it had been, they wouldn’t have called out the SWAT team.

  175. John,

    Joe you don’t know any of that.

    Let me quote the sainted Dolphin People once again:

    L?zaro Gonz?lez, said, before the raid… “You think we just have cameras in the house? If people try to come in, they could be hurt.”

    You’re the one letting your partisan obsession with Clinton blind you here. What the holy hell do you think he was saying there?

  176. I understand everything now. joe’s wife jumped ship during the cruise, took the kid, and ran to her relatives.

  177. joe,

    I’m not going to criticize the feds for showing mercy to the loonie-tunes. They really did only want the best for the kid, and no purpose would have been served by prosecuting them.

    These people are so nuts that we need to use military tactics to avoid them harming us, but they are nice people with good intentions so we wont prosecute for kidnapping. What the Fuck!!!

    Thats the most insane bullshit ever.

  178. Nor should it have made a difference if the mother had survived; she still had no right to just leave without getting the permission of the father first.

    That’s a big “maybe”. If the mother had survived, then she would have had standing in the courts to sue for asylum.

  179. If the relatives had been found to have had standing, then the asylum issue would have been allowed to proceed.

    Which is not the foregone conclusion you seem to think it is. They needed a place to put the kid. The relatives were willing. It was as simple as that.

  180. I’m not going to criticize the feds for showing mercy to the loonie-tunes.

    Yeah. they were INSANE for not wanting to send the kid back to Cuba. Insane.

    After all, he would have gotten such good health care and education there.

  181. robc,

    That’s the most insane bullshit ever.

    QFMFT

  182. “I’m not going to criticize the feds for showing mercy to the loonie-tunes. They really did only want the best for the kid, and no purpose would have been served by prosecuting them.”

    Why do you use such vicous language Joe? All they wanted was to keep their nephew from having to grow up in a horrible police state. Would you want your kid or nephew to grow up in Cuba? Do you really think that only the insane would not want their kids to grow up in Cuba. Oh I know they should be with their father. So, if your wife left you, you would have no problem with her taking your kids to Cuba as opposed to saw Western Europe?

  183. Shem,

    Nor should it have made a difference if the mother had survived; she still had no right to just leave without getting the permission of the father first.

    Um, do you really think he would have been sent back if his mother had lived? Really? Or, do you think he should have been sent back in that case?

  184. John,

    Losing a court decision and appealing it is not holding someone illegally by threat of force and you know it.

    If they’d turned the kid over as directed while they filed their appeal, that would have been fine. Unfortunately, they chose to physically keep him in their custody, and refuse to release him.
    .
    Why are you so racist against Cubans?

    Nice race card. I can now throw this in your face until the end of time on Obama threads. Ha ha.

    BTW, chief, in case you didn’t notice, Elian and his father are Cubans.

  185. TAO,

    If the mother had survived it would have been a far less controversial case I think.

  186. Which is not the foregone conclusion you seem to think it is.

    I understand it is not a foregone conclusion that asylum would have been granted. My overall point is that the DoJ pre-emptively decided he *should* be returned to Cuba, and raided the house in furtherance of that goal.

  187. I am not sure that the INS finding that the relatives did not have standing was actually relevant.

    The INS had released Elian to the relatives and given them custody. They tried to revoke that later, but at the moment the asylum request was first made, the relatives should have been presumed to have standing by the INS’ own action. A later change in the INS’ view about custody should not have impacted the merit of the initial claim – otherwise the INS was essentially being allowed to quash an asylum claim retroactively. Maybe this is why they left the May asylum appeal open, and just seized the kid instead – so that they could have the fait accompli of having the kid on a plane to Cuba trump the merit of the appeal.

  188. If the mother had survived, the dad was screwed. No way would a court sent the kid back.

    Yes Joe, they are Cubans. You just hate exile non comunist Cubans. The ones who know their place and stay with Fidel are okay. Glad we got that straight.

  189. Now, having resorted to the race card, John is reduced to whimpering “Why can’t you just be nice and admit that I’m right?” LoL.

  190. If they’d turned the kid over as directed while they filed their appeal, that would have been fine. Unfortunately, they chose to physically keep him in their custody, and refuse to release him.

    Yeah, because we all know the Cuban government would have just handed him back if they won the appeal.

    Are you deliberately stupid, or is this one of those “Democrat genes” showing up?

  191. “I am not sure that the INS finding that the relatives did not have standing was actually relevant.”

    I think it is, because someone has to file for the kid. That would be his parents. Since his father wasn’t going to do that and the relatives didn’t have standing, then there is no one to do it. I still think this is a straight custody case. Clearly, since the kid was a Cuban he could stay in the US. But since he was a minor, he could only stay with someone who had custody of him and that would be the father.

  192. joe,

    Since the issue has come up, what exactly do you think of the current regime in Cuba?

  193. A later change in the INS’ view about custody should not have impacted the merit of the initial claim – otherwise the INS was essentially being allowed to quash an asylum claim retroactively.

    But that is what happened. The INS gave custody to him, the asylum action was filed, the INS decided that custody was inappropriate and seized the child.

    The DoJ knew that the asylum claim would have had much more impact if Elian had been present in court.

  194. You’re making an ends-based argument, however you parse it. The force used was excessive and unprecedented for that type of case. The court system was not allowed to precede as it normally would. The kid was needlessly traumatized by having a gun pointed at him. The kid!

    Like I said, Dad should’ve been reunited with his son, but not like that. The Gonzalez raid looked a little too much like the precipitous actions taken at Waco. What if the shock and awe had ended up with a body count here, too? Would that’ve been okay? The objection to the over use of force is, in part, an objection to setting up situations that are dangerous to innocent people. Even the family, who had legal rights that were not yet resolved by the courts (and thus, were not kidnappers), didn’t do anything to deserve being shot.

    Means matter. Our entire legal and political system rejects the idea that the ends are more important. Well, it did, anyhow.

  195. I wonder how the families’ libel lawsuit against joe for accusing them of being felons would go? Any lawyers want to comment?

  196. “Now, having resorted to the race card, John is reduced to whimpering “Why can’t you just be nice and admit that I’m right?” LoL.”

    No Joe. I am just fucking with you because you are an idiot. Worse, you are really a totalitarian fuck who will defend virtually anythting as long as it is your party doing it. As I said above, it is a very good thing you don’t have any real authority. If you did, it would look a lot like a mixture of the French Revolution and the South Park episode where Cartman became the town cop.

  197. Pro Libertate,

    As Friedman points out early on in Capitalism and Freedom, means are a type of “ends.” That is inappropriate means cannot justify appropriate ends because the means are an “ends” in and of themselves.

  198. These people are so nuts that we need to use military tactics to avoid them harming us, but they are nice people with good intentions so we wont prosecute for kidnapping.

    They used the “military tactics” to scare the hell out of the family so there wouldn’t be a riot, not because they were going in expecting to take on the SLA.

    Yeah. they were INSANE for not wanting to send the kid back to Cuba. Insane.

    After all, he would have gotten such good health care and education there. But remember everybody, it’s I who’s letting my politics dictate my opinion on the case. LoL.

    John,

    Do you really think that only the insane would not want their kids to grow up in Cuba. No, but I think these particular people who didn’t want their nephew to live in Cuba were loonie-toons, based on their actual words and behavior. Jesus sent dolphins, you know. Loonie-toons.

    You are letting your politics interfere here, not me. You’re arguing that the Magical Dolphin People can’t be crazy, because something something something about Fidel Castro. Crazy people can dislike Castro too, you know.

  199. You are letting your politics interfere here, not me.

    Oh yeah, that’s it, because John is the one who was slinging about emotionally-loaded terms like “kidnapping” when it was clear that was an entirely inaccurate label.

  200. Ruby Ridge, the massacre at Waco, Elian Gonzalez being sent back to a Communist dictatorship after his mother died to bring him to freedom…

    Ahhh, those golden years of civil rights under Clinton.

    Seward,

    Hey! Another Friedmanophile! Just finished the brilliant Free to Choose. I’ll have to pick that up next.

  201. Joe maybe they were cazy. But that doesn’t justify using a SWAT team on them. That is the whole point; just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be treated properly.

  202. They’re like cattle, the more you feed them the more crap they produce.

  203. Sorry about your brain, John. Maybe it will come back after you unwind with a couple of drinks.

    Seward,

    I think the Castro regime sucks. It is a testimony to the lunacy on the right that you could think it necessary to ask this question.

    Hazel,

    Yeah, because we all know the Cuban government would have just handed him back if they won the appeal. They could have filed for an injunction requiring the father to stay in the country during the appeal, and if granted, he would have been compelled to do so by exactly the same legal system that got Elian out of that house in the first place.

  204. John | November 20, 2008, 4:37pm | #

    Joe maybe they were cazy. But that doesn’t justify using a SWAT team on them.

    What, do I need to copy the quote a fourth time?

    They threatened violence upon the police, if they tried to take the kid out of the house.

    The Angry Optimist | November 20, 2008, 4:35pm | #

    You are letting your politics interfere here, not me.

    Oh yeah, that’s it, because John is the one who was slinging about emotionally-loaded terms like “kidnapping” when it was clear that was an entirely inaccurate label.

    We’re supposed to take your legal expertise about what is and is not clearly an inaccurate term? Uh, pass, thanks.

  205. TallDave,

    Friedman is definately a contrarian. Like his analysis of how public housing actually increases the housing shortage for the impoverished and also increases the concentration of “troubled” children in individual schools. As he notes, it would be far better to simply hand out cash grants and allow the recepients to live where they want to.

  206. joe,

    Excessive force is bad. Avoidance of due process is bad. Political grandstanding is bad.

    Honestly, don’t you see that the current administration is using your very reasoning to justify another great Cuba-related moment: the prison at Guantanamo?

    What you are succeeding at doing here is to remind me and everyone else of how awful the Clinton administration was on law enforcement and many civil liberties. People were forgetting that, too, with all of the badness we experienced under Bush.

    By the way, whether you like Cuba or not (I already knew that you were on record as “not”), it’s not an unfair question of a leftist. Just like rightwingers have to deal with the religious right, so you have to deal with the Che-wearing Cuba apologists on the left.

  207. But I WILL repost your comment the next time you start wailing about taxation equaling theft.

  208. Honestly, don’t you see that the current administration is using your very reasoning to justify another great Cuba-related moment: the prison at Guantanamo?

    No, he doesn’t see, he cant’ see, because his worldview would break down and life would have no further meaning for him if a dem did something bad.

  209. Pro Libertate | November 20, 2008, 4:40pm | #

    joe,

    Excessive force is bad.

    The force wasn’t excessive. They came in and acted as scary as they needed to to make sure the family didn’t follow through on their threats.

    BTW, I was unaware that the Bush administration was using parental rights to justify Gitmo.

  210. They used the “military tactics” to scare the hell out of the family so there wouldn’t be a riot, not because they were going in expecting to take on the SLA.

    But you’re against using military tactics to scare the hell out of anti-globalization protestors so there won’t be riots.

    You know, the fact that you think it’s okay to use gestapo tactics to “scare the hell out of” (i.e. terrorize) someone seems to be oddly dependent on what that person’s political views happen to be.

  211. We’re supposed to take your legal expertise about what is and is not clearly an inaccurate term?

    ad hominem. The use of the term was wrong and you know it. Addressing my supposedly “impugned expertise” is a dodge.

  212. We’re supposed to take your legal expertise about what is and is not clearly an inaccurate term?

    Considering the way you are throwing around “kidnapping”, this is highly ironic. I’d suggest you apologize to TAO, but I know that is physically and constitutionally impossible for you.

  213. I post actual arguments, and people like OtherMatt conclude they must wrong because something something something about Democrats.

    Therefore, I’m the partisan.

    I love the logic. My arguments must be wrong, because I’m so partisan, and you can see what a partisan I am, because I make such wrong arguments.

    Yawn.

    Goin’ home.

  214. They came in and acted as scary as they needed to to make sure the family didn’t follow through on their threats.

    By pointing guns at children.

  215. joe,

    I think the Castro regime sucks. It is a testimony to the lunacy on the right that you could think it necessary to ask this question.

    Given how many progressives I have met who defend that regime it is in no way a question which conjures images of lunacy. Remember earlier when you were accusing me of trying to tell you what you think? I didn’t do that of course. I showed you the courtesy of asking you your opinion here and now you make your lunacy statement.

  216. I’d suggest you apologize to TAO, but I know that is physically and constitutionally impossible for you.

    joe’s the gift that keeps on giving, Episiarch, you should know that by now!

    watching joe flail about in his justifications for swarming a house with automatic weapons is an absolute joy.

  217. Alternately, your use of the term kidnapping is wrong. Because it’s so clearly wrong, it’s wrong for you to use it. Apologize for using it.

    The fact that you won’t apologize for using the term you know (I know?) to be wrong shows how very, very bad you are.

    Yawn. When you can’t outargue me, just say it doesn’t matter because I’m a Democrat. Oh, btw, that meand I’M wearing partisan blinders.

  218. Seward – see, you dared to ask joe a question…you should have been able to read his mind!

  219. Seward,

    I’ve long thought that, as long as we’re going to have public assistance, it should all come in the form of hands-off cash payment (along the lines of Friedman’s negative income tax).

  220. Pro Libertate,

    It isn’t unfair at all. A deep current of Cuba love runs through the American left.

  221. Good thing that whole Men With Gun Coming To Your House is such a completely false libertarian trope.

  222. joe slings about the use of kidnapping in a clearly wrong manner.

    Multiple people comment on it, and all he does to refute that is to sling an ad hominem at me…and this is proof that I am wrong.

    Welcome to bizarrojoeworld, ladies and gents.

  223. Citizen Nothing,

    Well, that would be far less paternalistic certainly and I suspect that on average recepients would do a far better job of getting housing arrangments than the current system.

  224. Alternately, your use of the term kidnapping is wrong. Because it’s so clearly wrong, it’s wrong for you to use it. Apologize for using it.

    robc, Fluffy, NutraSweet, myself, and others repeatedly asked you to address the use of “kidnapping”, yet you studiously ignored our requests. Try again. Have another boilermaker. We’ll wait.

  225. In joe’s world, terrorizing people into obedience is okay. It’s for their own good really. Otherwise their resistance to the state might get them hurt.

  226. robc- I don’t know what would have happened had the mother lived, but I certainly think that, had it happened, the father still should have had the right to contest the mother’s decision to remove their son to the US if he was so inclined. She didn’t have the right to just take the kid.

    Now, it wouldn’t have gone anywhere, but I’m talking about “ought,” not “would.”

  227. In blog conversations arguments after a while about word usage, definition, etc. are pretty pointless. It seems to me that there are some pretty good reasons not to call this kidnapping. I think those reasons are fairly defensible and those who disagree with that will just have to live with it I guess.

  228. What about that great Cuban health care system?

  229. Another thread where “joe” plays the role of “run up the Web site hits guy” a little too perfectly.
    Is that you, Nick?

  230. Shem, while I’m sympathetic to the idea that the father should have a say in where his child lives, I do think that it is proper to say “What is better for the child?”

    Now, joe has said that only “actual abuse” should be requisite for determining whether a father has voided his rights to the child. But courts remove children from “unsafe” homes all the time, where the child is not abused per se but is living in a general environment of neglect.

  231. Actually, I think most of this thread is just us having a ball by ripping apart joe’s ridiculously weak arguments. Casual entertainment.

  232. As he notes, it would be far better to simply hand out cash grants and allow the recepients to live where they want to.

    Exactly! Which is pretty much what we would do with school vouchers.

    Instead, we get a system that’s basically a combination union-controlled incompetent-teacher-employment scam, leftist indoctrination machine, and daycare/teen-dating service.

  233. Perhaps I’m too young to participate in this argument since I missed all but a few years of the USSR and I didn’t give a rat’s ass at the time all this was going on, but this to me is just a clear example of what police not ought to do.

    Joe, I don’t see how you can argue at all that the father’s right to the child somehow makes this excessive display of force okay. If you look at the picture, you might just notice you know, a nice police officer with an MP5 pointing at gun at Elian. Now, I myself personally have never had a gun pointed at me. Much less a safety-off, ready to go full scale automatic in the midst of a chaotic raid. I can imagine, however, especially if I were six, that it would be traumatic and damaging. There is no possible way you can construe this to be the best possible means to settle this, and it CERTAINLY isn’t what is best for the child. Yes, the father has a right to the child. Does this mean that this right must be immediately satisfied at the expense of the child’s well being? No.

    You could, perhaps argue that this would prevent an even more traumatic scene in which several of Elian’s family get shot or whatever. But then you’re just arguing that excessive force by the police is justified to make situations go smoother. But then the argument has nothing to do with this situation, because you can apply that logic to any paramilitary police raid.

    The point is that there was a better way to go about this, and the government sure as hell didn’t try. And that’s wrong.

  234. I post actual arguments, and people like OtherMatt conclude they must wrong because something something something about Democrats.

    To play joe…

    I don’t believe I said “joe is wrong” joe, to play your game. I said you couldn’t recognize a situation where a dem would do something wrong or your head would suddenly pop out of your ass and see sunlight, or words to that effect.

    So you get the point and I’ll spare you a 45 post diatribe denying I said what you correctly surmised that I was trying to get across.

    It’s good to see your fuckwittery survives, joe, gives me a sense of stability in the world.

  235. The Elian affair broke my heart, but some good did come of it. I learned that:

    A. The Clinton administration really was the police state from hell.
    B. The Democratic black caucus is the biggist bunch of Castro dick-suckers anywhere.
    C. The Methodists are communists.

  236. I hope joe’s paid up on all of his taxes, because the Feds might come a’raidin. “Down! Down! I’m fucking shooting the dog!”

  237. There is one good reason to hate Elian’s Miami relatives.

    If it hadn’t been for this fiasco, Bush wouldn’t have won Florida in 2000.

  238. pretty soon we will fondly recall the bush presidency.

  239. it doesn’t matter, i got a feeling you won’t be able to tell the difference between cuba and america as of jan.20

  240. Holy shit, a 200+ comment thread that doesn’t involve abortion, Ron Paul, IllegalImmigration, or TEH GAY.

  241. joe,

    I asked a serious question above, but it got lost in the noise. I really am curious about this, though. You are a fan of community policing. Why not use a unit made up of locals, people known and presumably trusted by the emigre community, to handle this situation, instead of bringing in a federal anti-terrorist squad to supplement the INS?

  242. Oh, come on, absolutely nothing but whining about me since I left.

    Sniff sniff joe’s mean. Sniff sniff. Grow a pair, ladies.

  243. it doesn’t matter, i got a feeling you won’t be able to tell the difference between cuba and america as of jan.20!

    I didn’t think it was possible to be so ignorant of what life is like in Cuba. Jim, you’re making the impossible possible!

  244. Hazel, I want to answer something you argued upthread.

    I would be against staging a SWAT raid against a group of Florida Cubams because they talked trash about fighting the police, just as I would be against a SWAR raid against some hippies because THEY talked trash about starting a riot. The police shouldn’t stage a confrontation like that. That would be the police starting it, and there’s no need for that. It would be wrong.

    But that’s not what happened here. The feds didn’t raid that house because they had talked trash about fighting the police. They went in there to get Elian and take him to his daddy, as they should have done, and as they supposed to do.

    Because the family had threatened the police, because of how they’d been behaving, the police had every reason in the world to think they might be attacked when they carried out that order. Because of that, they had to decide how to carry out the raid in a manner that protected themselves and prevented the family from attacking them.

    So no, there’s no hypocrisy here. I’m against the police sending in a SWAT team because people talked trash about the police, no matter who they are.

  245. John-David,

    I don’t know. Maybe that would have been a better way to diffuse the situation. It probably wouldn’t have worked, but it couldn’t hurt.

  246. bubiyuqn

    They weren’t pointing guns at the child. The picture is taken from a bad angle so the perspective is lost, but if you look you can see that the cop’s arm is out to the side, and he’s pointing the gun away from Elian and the guy holding him. That’s a canard that gets thrown around a lot – they never pointed a gun at him.

  247. joe, I’m not sure if liberals know the rules of safe gun handling, so I’ll clue you in: one of them is “never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy”.

    Quick quiz: what happens if the officer shoots the guy holding Elian in his arms?

  248. Do I have to do everything for you people?

    Florida General Statutes, 787.01 Kidnapping; kidnapping of child under age 13, aggravating circumstances.–

    (1)(a) The term “kidnapping” means forcibly, secretly, or by threat confining, abducting, or imprisoning another person against her or his will and without lawful authority, with intent to:

    1. Hold for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage.

    2. Commit or facilitate commission of any felony.

    3. Inflict bodily harm upon or to terrorize the victim or another person.

    4. Interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.

    (b) Confinement of a child under the age of 13 is against her or his will within the meaning of this subsection if such confinement is without the consent of her or his parent or legal guardian.

    Oh joe, it’s so obvious the word kidnapping is wrong. Everyone realizes it’s so obviously wrong. Only one of those mean, partisan Democrats could possibly say the word “kidnapping” applies to holding a child under 13 against the will of his father for the purpose of interfering with a government function. A nasty, partisan Democrat, or one of those Castro-loving, Cuban-hating RACISTS!!

    Seriously, WTF is wrong with you people?

  249. Close enough for police work. I’m sure the panicked look on Elian’s face had nothing to do with that gun that is not quite being pointed at him.

    Surgery with a machete. Good object lesson for a young Cuban, I suppose.

    Leaving this argument aside, I do have a question, and I ask this without snarkiness. Just how bad would a country’s conditions have to be to justify not sending a kid back under similar circumstances? In this case, I don’t think it would be okay to keep the kid permanently, as bad as Cuba is, but what if it meant a likely death sentence? There must be a line somewhere. Hell, we draw a line much sooner in purely U.S. custody matters.

  250. cunnivore,

    That’s probably why they didn’t ever point a gun at him. Duh.

  251. joe,

    The case was still going through the courts, so you’re dead wrong in your interpretation.

  252. I’m sure the panicked look on Elian’s face had nothing to do with that gun that is not quite being pointed at him.

    I’m sure the responsibility for the raid having to go off that way lies with the people who threatened the police, and made it a necessity for them to go in armed.

    Not a word about that, though. They’re the sainted Dolphin People. Why, oh way, did the police decide they needed to go in with guns drawn, just because the family was saying they were armed and would fight back?

  253. (b) Confinement of a child under the age of 13 is against her or his will within the meaning of this subsection if such confinement is without the consent of her or his parent or legal guardian.

    Prosecute INS for aiding and abetting kidnapping, then. Didn’t they hand the kid over to the relatives?

  254. I remember when joe was skeptical of executive branch abuses of power. I’m going to miss those days.

  255. SSSSCCCCCCCRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEECCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHH!

  256. So, all of sudden, “they were pointing a gun at him” goes from being the most important thing in the world to “it doesn’t really matter if they were pointing a gun at him.”

    Funny how the “kidnapping” thing got dropped, too.

    You know what’s stayed absolutely consistent throughout the thread? These arguments:

    “They did the right thing getting the kid and bringing him to his father.”

    “They did it that way because they were threatened by the family and supporters.”

    and

    “No matter what joe writes, it’s wrong.”

  257. Didn’t they hand the kid over to the relatives?

    And then ordered him turned over. At that point, they ceased to be his legal guardians, and at that point, they became the ones confining him to interfere with legal authority.

    Give it up. Checkmate. Kidnapping.

  258. Oh, we’re back to people who can’t defend their arguments or rebut mine saying I must be wrong anyway, because something something something about political parties.

    Whatever.

  259. Oh, please. Too much force was used! Accept that fact and move on. And again, who said they threatened force? Oh, right, the people who used force on them. Maybe it’s true, but, then again, maybe it isn’t. And I’ve seen far more restraint used when the people involved were actually armed. I thought you opposed military tactics in law enforcement situations?

    The fact that these tactics aren’t used in domestic cases of this nature further shows that this was a politically motivated misuse of force.

    I just told you that it wasn’t kidnapping. Not even close. I’m a Florida lawyer, too, so I daresay I can interpret Florida law better than you can. Note that Florida didn’t prosecute the family, nor did it send its cops in on a raid of this nature. You’re also assuming that the child was held against his will. The evidence is that he wasn’t.

  260. Pro Libertate | November 20, 2008, 6:59pm | #

    joe,

    The case was still going through the courts, so you’re dead wrong in your interpretation.

    Elian and his father lived in Maryland, under court order, until the loony-toons’ appeals were exhausted.

  261. Accept that fact and move on.

    Please please please forget all of those arguments and say I’m right. I’m right, and you’re wrong! Me! I’m right! Why can’t you just accept that? I’m right, why isn’t that good enough for you?!?

    I don’t think you’re right. You’ve offered nothing to rebut my arguments.

    And again, who said they threatened force? The press, the reporters he said it to?

    I just told you that it wasn’t kidnapping. Not even close. I’m a Florida lawyer, too, so I daresay I can interpret Florida law better than you can. I daresay it’s right there in black and white.

    I thought you opposed military tactics in law enforcement situations? I oppose their promiscuous use. I oppose the police using them without legitimate, solid reasons to think they could very well be attacked when they go through the door. I think they had legitimate reasons in this case.

    The fact that these tactics aren’t used in domestic cases of this nature further shows that this was a politically motivated misuse of force. Most domestic cases don’t involve people barricading their home, calling out a mob to surround it, and saying the police are going to get hurt if they come in.

    You’re also assuming that the child was held against his will. Actually, I’m not. Quoting again, “(b) Confinement of a child under the age of 13 is against her or his will within the meaning of this subsection if such confinement is without the consent of her or his parent or legal guardian.”

    Did you know that section was in there, councilor?

  262. I must leave now, but if you’re going to keep calling something that wasn’t kidnapping kidnapping, there’s not much point in trying to reason with you.

    The point about the consent being assumed requires that the custody issue be settled. You’re engaging in a tautology.

    Don’t start being insulting, joe. I understand this a whole lot better than you do, and you’re only making yourself look foolish beating a dead horse.

  263. Exhibit A:
    I would be against staging a SWAT raid against a group of Florida Cubams because they talked trash about fighting the police

    Exhibit B:
    The feds didn’t raid that house because they had talked trash about fighting the police.

    Exhibit C:
    Because the family had threatened the police, because of how they’d been behaving, the police had every reason in the world to think they might be attacked when they carried out that order.

    Anyone else noticing the glaring internal contradictions here?

    Exactly what, joe, do you think is the difference between “talking trash” and “behaving threateningly”?
    Under what circumstances do you think the police have “every reason … to think they might be attacked” that applies to Elian Gonzalas’ family but not your average group of “direct action” activist hippies?

    Seriously, personally I think the cops have more to fear from a bunch of Eugene anarchists – they might actually be wielding molotov cocktails – than a bunch of trash talking Cuban exiles in Florida.

    Obviously, you think Cuban exiles are scarier than Oregon anarchist hippies, but that just illustrates that it’s completely subjective joe.

  264. The point about the consent being assumed requires that the custody issue be settled.

    No, it does not. A parent can most certainly be charged with kidnapping in the middle of custody case, when the issue has not been settled.

    Hazel,

    There is no inconsistency. You’re talking about raiding a house BECAUSE the hippies or whomever talked trash about the police.

    I’m talking about raiding the house on some other official business.

    I don’t think the police should raid houses because the people inside talked about fighting the police. I’m against that.

    But when the police have to raid a house on official business, they absolutely should consider if the people have threatened them, if there’s a mob around, etc.

    Do you get it this time? One case is about raiding a house BECAUSE they threatened the police, the other is about HOW TO raid a house when they have to for some other reason.

  265. John-David,

    I don’t know. Maybe that would have been a better way to diffuse the situation. It probably wouldn’t have worked, but it couldn’t hurt.

    Thanks, joe. While I rarely agree with you on political viewpoints, I appreciate your consistency, and agree with you both in this particular situation, and your view on community policing in general.

  266. Federales aren’t exactly the community-policing types anyway. If they were, they’d be working for some local police force.

  267. Right, joe, which is why I originally asked if it would not have been better to have the local police take care of it. Bringing in the federales smacks of hubris, instead of taking care of the situation in the most appropriate manner.

  268. There’s also the turf-war element. It was a federal case, and INS case, so that would have meant the feds – gasp – asking for help from the locals.

    I also have to wonder how eager the local (probably elected) sheriff would have been to be helping out the Castro-loving, Clinton-commanded blah blah blah.

  269. joe | November 20, 2008, 4:44pm | #

    Yawn.

    Goin’ home.

    … I guess he has a computer at home too – a shame …

  270. In this case, it most certainly does matter who has legal custody. If they had taken Elian from his father, it’d be a different story. But that’s not how this transpired. No one is going to apply a liability presumption when the basis for that presumption is in question. If it had been kidnapping, the police would hardly have sat around twiddling their thumbs, waiting for federal action.

    One complication is that Cuba had its own motives in this battle. and the father’s true wishes aren’t known. He spoke, sure, but did he say what he believed or what he was told to say? I can see a father wanting his son back regardless of the situation at home, but I could also see him wanting to have a chance for a better live in the U.S.

    The facts you’re asserting in support of your position are all questionable. The custody issue was up in the air and should’ve been settled by the local courts. The threats you keep referring to are hardly established facts, just claims. The “mob” might be called protesters if you agreed with their cause. And so on. The federal officials involved changed their minds multiple times, demonstrating the difference between arbitrary authority of bureaucrats and the due process of the state courts.

    As I’ve said, I agreed with the result. But I abhorred the process. Or lack thereof.

  271. That’s my parting shot, by the way, now that I’m home. Off to the family.

    Whom I’m kidnapping ?

  272. Besides, it takes many hours of research to come up with Sulu Friday postings.

  273. One complication is that Cuba had its own motives in this battle. and the father’s true wishes aren’t known. He spoke, sure, but did he say what he believed or what he was told to say?

    Agreed. Too bad you diluted that brilliance with the following posts ;-P

  274. Look, there are priorities in this life.

    Sulu Friday > joe

    That’s an easy one.

  275. There is no inconsistency. You’re talking about raiding a house BECAUSE the hippies or whomever talked trash about the police.

    I’m talking about raiding the house on some other official business.

    So, then, you ARE in favor of no-knock drug raids. Or did I get that wrong?

    Cause drugs are illegal, and prsumably going after drug dealers counts as “official business”.
    For which there’s plenty of reason to believe that violence might be involved.

    At least if you think there’s was the potential for violence in the Elian Gonzalas case, you’d have to be nuts not to thing there’s a potential for violence in a drug raid. So surely, if you favor the use of SWAT teams in this case, you would HAVE to be in favor of using SWAT teams in that case. Just to be consistent.

  276. Joe’s first post on this subject

    “Did they honestly think that someone in the house was going to shoot a federal agent? ”

    No, that somebody – everybody, actually – would physically resist the nice, polite police, and a physical struggle would ensue, with who knows who ended up getting hurd.

    Basically, joe, you’ve changed your position from arguing that they would use ‘physical resistance’, to that they would shoot the police.

    You know why you changed your position? Because you know you’re wrong. Because you know you’re argument is insupportable unless you concoct some bullshit argument to claim they were going to shoot at the cops. A claim you didn’t initially have the balls to make because you knew it was false.

    Stop covering your ass and admit you are wrong.

  277. after staring at the picture and the others in the series, it seems pretty clear that the had the gun pointed at the kid close enough for it to be an issue.

    but beyond that, the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t see how sending in a SWAT team is the safest, most effective method. raids like this put people in danger. there was no evidence to suggest that the level of force used by the police was appropriate for the situation. Yes, the police were vaguely threatened, but I’m pretty sure that there’s some sort of expectation in general that police could run into violent resistance. And yet we don’t always say “sure, run in there with an MP5 and kick down doors!” putting these weapons in the hands of the police to use in situations like these puts relatively innocent people at risk. are they kidnappers? yes, I would agree with you. does that mean they deserve a death sentence issued by officer borg because he got startled and accidentally shot his load? no.

    when citizens actually do commit crimes, such as assault on officers, we have a court of law to bring about justice. risking the psychological trauma or death of ‘innocent’ people because someone said something vaguely threatening is not worth the extra protection of excessive police force.

  278. Wow, working on my next Sulu Friday posting does put everything into perspective. Isn’t this Elian kid an adult now? He’s probably a Cuban baseball player or something and will be back here really soon.

    joe,

    Takei’s on a British celebrity reality show. Good. That should help me stretch out Sulu Friday for another quarter. See tomorrow’s post today: Sulu Friday: Takei Names His Penis.

  279. I see joe is still on the kidnapping canard, even though custody was one of the legal issues at bar when Reno snatched the child.

    Ridiculous.

  280. LES, i don’t think you have any idea what is headed our way. castro and obama are both leftists, and both had lots of support at the begining. we will soon nationalize the banking system and the auto industry. the government is into all facets of our lives now, just where they want to be, and just where i don’t want them. it will not take long, it didn’t in cuba and it won’t here.

  281. Are you kidding me Balko?

    I hope you’re never a father trying to get his kid back.

    Fuck you.

  282. Obama’s internal security force would properly FALL Under Holder. What a great choice. Especially if he can wear one of Obama’s spiffy blue shirts. Just think of what he can do to enforce Ayers policy goals of eliminating 25 million “uneducatable” people.

    Good choice for Obama. All hail the politburo.

  283. This thread rules. I feel like Sarah Palin in that picture with the moose.

    All of the impotent, frustrated rage turning into sputtering “Just admit you’re wrong!” Then the glimmering, ephemeral hope of “but it’s not kidnapping, you slandered them, you horrible man!” followed by the posting of the Florida statute…

    Best thread ever. I’m bronzing it.

    Waaah, you know you’re wrong, just say you’re wrong! Say it! Say it!

    Impressive.

  284. You’re right, Hazel. Being the naturally forgiving, easy-going sort I am, I’d forgotten just how dangerous and deluded those loonies actually were, until I was reminded.

    Which leaves me even more convinced than ever that this was the right thing to do.

    They basically used the kid as a human shield – they issue threats and behave in a way the police would have to use force to reunite him with his daddy, and then assume that the police aren’t going to call their bluff. It’s basically a variation of hostage-taking, and I’m glad they nipped that shit in the bud before every pissed-off noncustodial parent in America decided that threatening the police was an easy for them to ignore the courts, too.

  285. “…was an easy for them to ignore the courts…”

    No way.

    Way.

    No way.

    Yeah, “way.”

  286. Hazel,

    More about my balls, please.

  287. Last post!

  288. Or maybe it was done that way because of the army of lunatic Cubans camped outside the home were ready to kill anything short of a SWAT team.

    You conservatives and your stupid short memories.

  289. bubyuqin,

    Yes, the police were vaguely threatened, but I’m pretty sure that there’s some sort of expectation in general that police could run into violent resistance. And yet we don’t always say “sure, run in there with an MP5 and kick down doors!” putting these weapons in the hands of the police to use in situations like these puts relatively innocent people at risk. I’d say the facts of this case – the threats, the mob, the erratic actions of the family, make it an unusual one.

    are they kidnappers? yes, I would agree with you. does that mean they deserve a death sentence issued by officer borg because he got startled and accidentally shot his load? no.

    That’s probably why the officers laid their fingers alongside the trigger guards, as can be clearly seen in the photo.

  290. Damn you, I said “last post”! Jesus!

    With the Holder nomination, there’s been a revival of talk about the Gonzalez case. Over at Transterrestrial Musings, I ran across a link to Larry Tribe’s piece in 2000 about the Gonzalez case. Tribe focuses on different issues, but he makes some good points, I think.

  291. Oops. I thought you mean YOUR last post.

  292. Joe,

    Since you’re going to insist on standing on the letter of the law, the definition of kidnapping you’re promulgating applies if leftist protestors block the entrance to any building containing a child under the age of 13.

    And when I demand their machine-gunning in the street, I expect your full support.

  293. And by the way, joe, in this specific case the element of mens rea would be missing, because the people in question were disputing the issue of legal guardianship.

    You can’t violate subsection (b) if you have a reasonable belief that you are the child’s legal guardian.

  294. And when I demand their machine-gunning in the street, I expect your full support.

    Why would you expect that? When did I stick to the letter of the law? When did I say they should be machine gunned in the street? In fact, I said precisely the opposite, that it would serve no purpose to prosecute them for kidnapping.

    My point is merely to enjoy the satisfy *thwack* of landing an irrefutable bitch-slap on the pack who thought they’d found a defensible redoubt in proclaiming what a terrible, unprincipled liar I am for my stubborn refusal to acknowledge that the word “kidnapping” is so obviously and unquestionably inappoprirate.

  295. Stupid joke name again.

  296. But it was inappropriate. You can’t skirt mens rea that easily for a felony. If you can’t get a presumption, then you’re left with proving intent to kidnap or unlawfully detain.

    You realize, of course, that you’re defaming people. That’s actionable, too ?

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