Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Canada puts pressure on Eritrea – National Post – More from Stewart Bell

Canada puts pressure on Eritrea – National Post – More from Stewart Bell

Prologue – December 2011 – The U.S. Supports U.N. Sanction Against Eritrea

Eritrea has put Toronto on the international map. As you know, Eritrea and the United States are the two countries in the world that practice citizenship-based taxation. Of course, the U.S. takes the position that it is wrong for Eritrea to use citizenship-based taxation. For an example of U.S. hypocrisy at it’s finest, see this video of Susan Rice at the United Nations. (Susan Rice apparently once worked in Toronto for McKinsey. It would be interesting to know whether she filed her FBARs). It is becoming increasing clear that citizenship-based taxation, in its application, may be in violation of international law.
Even the CBC “As It Happens” did a segment on this issue.

The Wednesday Edition – CBC “As it happens” Eritrea – Is the U.S. behaving like Eritrea? Yes:
U.S. Citizen Abroad
Ditto for the rest of the world:

Studio interview: UN report on Eritrea CCTV News – CNTV English:
U.S. Citizen Abroad
Is the U.S. really no different from Eritrea? Here are two interesting perspectives:

Resolved: Does citizenship-based taxation make the the U.S. like Eritrea? Yes: No:
U.S. Citizen Abroad
But now, some excerpts from the National Post article:
 “The answer is clear: Close the Eritrean consulate in Toronto. That is the sponsor of extortion, fraudulent fundraisers and violator of Canadian laws and international obligations,” said Ghezae Hagos, a Winnipeg-based Eritrean activist.
Funny this sounds so much like the United States:
Is a “fraudulent fundraiser” like the “FBAR Fundraiser“.
Is a “violator of Canadian laws” like the U.S. requirement that the Canadian banks ignore Canadian privacy laws?
Here’s more:
It (Eritrea) has no formal economy and is dependent on the taxation of the diaspora for financing.
We know many homelanders don’t pay tax, so why not get it from U.S. citizens abroad?
In relation to those who refused to pay the tax:
Those who refused to pay sometimes found their family members in Eritrea were being subjected to threats and harassment as a result, it said.
Finally, a clear difference between the U.S. and Eritrea!
For those who are U.S. citizens living abroad: are your relatives at home being subjected to threats? I have not heard of this. For this reason, we can safely conclude that the U.S. is different from Eritrea. But, let’s not give them any ideas.
Here is the article. Enjoy.

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23 Responses

  1. Petros
    The US is using the border guards to enforce taxation.  This means that I don’t feel safe to visit my family in the United States–because I have publicly stated on this blog that I refuse to file FBARs.  Will the US arrest a notorious terrorist freedom fight, who is not in FBAR compliance, in order to make example of him for others?  Will the IRS and their border thugs crucify him to show others how to behave?  Am I willing to take that chance?  Perhaps not.
  2. Roger Conklin
    *@Petros, Caution is the better part of valor. It may not be here yet, but rest asured that as employees of the same Federal Government the day will come when border guards come in contact persons entering the US from Canada who are suspected of being US ciitizens and therefore an unfulfilled US tax obligation, they will be turned over to the IRS for interrogation and the meeting out of punishment. How can it be otherwise?
  3. Mark Twain
    I saw an article last night, where the Eritrean government was reported to the Swedish police for its intimidation, in the Swedish equivalent of Eurojust.  This initiated an investigation and raised it into the media and riksdag.
       This got me to thinking that FATCA could also be reported to each European’s country for intimidation.  Now, a single person will have difficulty finding something to report.  However, it is a crime to report the financials of a corporation and also a violation of SEC laws (or their equivalents on whatever exchange).  The FATCA rulebook says that a local crime is no excuse.  This is the extortion.
        The same applies to folks with a local spouse.  It is a crime to be forced to report financials of another person.
         I don’t have confidence that Sweden would defend me for being forced to report my own financials, although it probably would also be a crime.
        So, it seems that any European resident could and should file a crime to their country’s Eurojust representative.referenced article:
  4. Roger Conklin
    *@Mark Twain, it seem hard to understand why governments are getting upset with Eretria but are totally silent when the US engages in the same exact same activity.  The US may not be physically violent towards its subjects abroad but the mental anguish resulting from the US’s diaspora tax policy is equally disabilitating.
  5. Mark Twain
    But it is definitely a crime to divulge corporate financials anywhere other than the released quarterly reports.  If any readers have signature authority, they should march into Eurojust or Internationella Åklagarkammaren.
    And also likely a crime to report someone else’s financials (this might be questionable in Norway and Sweden where the tax authorities publish personal income and banked assets on-demand, which are then published by the gossip papers).
      I am still brainstorming for something to justify my own police report.
  6. Shadow Raider
    Another difference is that Eritrea does not allow renunciation of citizenship.
    The case of Eritrea serves as an argument to show to the US that citizenship-based taxation is a practice of oppressive governments. But let’s not get carried away, the US is not like Eritrea. It would be like saying that the US is like Myanmar because they are the only countries that don’t officially use the metric system (by the way, Myanmar also used citizenship-based taxation before the recent democratic reforms there).
  7. Petros
    @Shadow Raider, if the United States threatens me with 383% fines of my financial wealth if I don’t join a “voluntary” program where little minnows like MVH (Just Me) were fined 20% (now 27.5%) of his wealth, then I don’t see how that is even slightly less evil than Eritrea.  That I also feel unwilling to visit the United States to see my family because I won’t submit to this pressure, then I feel that the harassment side is not that much different.  The only difference between Eritrea and the United States, is that Eritrea is a dirt poor insignificant country, and the United States thinks it can make the rules for everyone.  It is not a difference in quality only scope.  The comparison here, for what it is worth, is only about the manner in which the two countries treat their expats. 
  8. Petros
    @ Shadow Raider, the US allows renunciation but violates the rights of its renouncers with draconian taxes if their wealth is above a certain threshold.  That is only slightly better than not allowing renunciation at all.
  9. Joe Smith
    But let’s not get carried away, the US is not like Eritrea. 
    Tell that to: Maher Arar 
    and the first few Canadians and their families who get grabbed at the border for not filing returns or FBARS…
  10. Mark Twain
    Excuse me, a financial manager who is extorted to reveal the financial details of his corporation is OBLIGATED to report that extortion to the international police.
  11. Petros
    @Shadow Raider (good point Joe Smith), I’ll just mention I did once speak about this with a US attorney versed in federal matters: my sister.  She said sort of nonchalantly that if one day I want to visit my father’s death bed or grave, I could negotiate with Feds to pay, she said, about 50K and they would let me come into the US no problem.  I tried to stress to her that I wasn’t going to file FBAR, but until that point, I’d never had any tax liability.  The impression I got from her talking about this and about an SBA loan, is that you don’t f–k with the Feds.  Everyone in the US is pretty intimidated by them.
    My Canadian attorney, on the other hand, said that I cannot be extradited over tax matters from Canada. The same applies to FBAR. So as long as I stay here in Canada, I should be fine.
  12. Roger Conklin
    *@Petros, although Canada would not honor and extradition request from the IRS that you, as a Canadian citizen, be turned over to US authorities because you have not submitted FBAR reports, you must be careful to not board a flight that for weather, mechanical or other reasons might find it necessary to make an emergency landing in the US.
    I am reminded of what happened back in the 1960s, before there was any security at US airports, when passengers had carried arms undetected on board domestic US flights and ordered the captain to take them to Cuba. Some of those flights had Cubans on board who had fled Cuba for their lives and were justifiably fearful that when the flight landed in Havana they would be arrested, lined up against a wall and shot. In those early days after Castro’s successful takeover of the government “enemies of the revolution” were being executed right and left.
    While on their was to Havana such persons destroyed every piece of personal identification and pretended to be Mexicans, Peruvians or anything but Cubans when they were subjected to interrogation by Cuban authorities when the plane landed at Jose Marti airport in Havana.
    Trying to disguise who you are would likely be impossible today. Back then you were rarely asked for any kind of personal identification to board a domestic flight in the US or anywhere else in the Western world. 
    We had just moved to Brazil back then and for the first time in our lives were surprised to find that you had to have an official picture ID, and you and your hand luggage were subjected to a hand search before you could board a domestic flight in Brazil.  Brazil was possibly the first Western country to institute those kinds of primitive security measures because that’s where terrorists taking over flights began.
    I recall one terrorist that, in spite of these measure, somehow managed to smuggle a gun on board. He ordered the captiain to divert the plane to Europe, but allowed him to land in Sao Paulo to take on additional fuel.  He also allowed the other passengers to disembark through the rear door of the 727. While the plane was being refuled the police managed to enter the cabin undetected, I think it was through the windshield.
    The newspapers the next day reported that the terrorist had committed suicide by shooting himself 8 times in the back.

  13. renounceuscitizenship
    Do you remember the movie White Nights? Russian ballet dancer who defected to the West ends up on a plane that accidentally has to land in Russia.

  14. Shadow Raider
    @Joe Smith, Thanks for mentioning Maher Arar, it reminds me of the cases of Khalid El-Masri and Nada Prouty.
    @Petros, I am aware of the injustices committed by the US, and how it behaves just like its enemies sometimes. Other innocent people have suffered much more from actions of the US government than anyone in this blog. I can’t fix the world, but I’m still hopeful that in this case, with the help of others, I may be able to convince Congress to end citizenship-based taxation. It’s very hard but it’s not impossible, and I’m not going to give up without trying. If my plan is successful, or at least if the US government restores its reason and stops being obsessed with “tax evaders”, “ex-patriots” and “offshore” stuff, will you reconsider visiting the US? If not, is there anything that would erase your fear of entering the country? Do you think you could be overreacting, or am I being naive?
  15. renounceuscitizenship
    Yes, this type of stuff goes on all around the world. Have a look at this story from British Columbia, Canada and the RCMP. Look specifically at the section on “findings”
    There can be no doubt that the police officer’s killing of Mr. Bush was an act of self defense.
  16. Petros
    @Shadow Raider, I appreciate your efforts, and those of Roger, Just Me and others who are trying to change the system as Americans.
    I have argued that all of us expats need a general FBAR amnesty in the form of complete presidential pardon–much like what Jimmy Carter offered to Viet Nam draft dodgers.  This is within the power of the POTUS to do.  The other constitutional steps necessary to change this would be far to difficult, in my view, to change, without a constitutional convention, an complete removal of the IRS, the 16th Amendment and the FBAR requirement for expats. FATCA needs to be repealed.
  17. Don Pomodoro
    I dream of the day that EU countries will tell the US to get lost.  Still waiting…
  18. Em
    @ Petros
    “I have argued that all of us expats need a general FBAR amnesty in the form of complete presidential pardon–much like what Jimmy Carter offered to Viet Nam draft dodgers.”
    Okay that would work for former and even present US citizens, homelanders and outlanders alike, but as a Canadian I would want an apology and I would even accept monetary compensation for the mental distress caused by their US “personhood” trap and the existence of FWATs which were obviously designed for maximum pain.
  19. Petros
    @Em, at this point an apology would help.  Perhaps I might think of going to another SBL conference or even a Hawaiian vacation, in about ten years.  I mentioned in my Jan 8, 2012 post what I think needs to be done in addition to the presidential pardon:
    (1) Fire the incompetents: Timothy Geithner, Secretary of Treasury and  Douglas Shulman, Commissioner of the IRS.  Someone has to take the fall.  The Tax Advocate Service has already sanctioned the FBAR policy of these two men.
    (2) Return the FBAR fines that you have exacted from innocent Americans living abroad and pay their lawyer fees and their accountant fees that they had to pay to protect themselves
    from you.
    (3) Repeal FATCA, FBAR, extra-territorial taxation, and the exit taxes for those wishing to expatriate.
    (4) Offer citizenship back to those who have relinquished their citizenship to escape your tyranny and return the $450 that you have charged them for renouncing.
    But honestly, it’s a case of too little too late.  Since I wrote that post, instead of receiving a presidential pardon, I received a bill from the IRS for $3,294.68 for my 2009 taxes.  I still don’t know what they will do to my 2010 and 2011 tax years.  That surprise is likely coming as a birthday present.
  20. Em
    @ Petros
    Sorry I missed your January post. I whole heartedly agree with it and it angers me that the FATCA train is still on the tracks pulling a long, heavy string of cargo containers containing the most toxic tax code ever written and tons of the incomprehensible forms which go with it. At the end of the train, in a battered, crowded caboose are the usually ignored, oftentimes reviled, stressed out victims who dearly wish the train could be derailed somehow but they are too busy finding ways to leap off it via relinquishments or renouncements or paying time and money to try to comply so they can maintain their misery but keep their Made in America label. And sadly there are many victims who are in that caboose but won’t even know it until the FATCA engine switches to full throttle. (Can you tell I did a little train watching yesterday?)
  21. @em What is a “FWAT”?   “..would even accept monetary compensation for the mental distress caused by their US “personhood” trap and the existence of FWATs which were obviously designed for maximum pain..”
    Let’s not forget the problems with banking in the US and the denial of the economic freedom to have a brokerage account in the US.
    Amazing that the US can condemn Eritrea and do much the same thing. 
  22. Oh and expat anti-double-tax activists are racist?   The US still has its racism back at home:
  23. Em
    @ JDT
    FWATs are IBS slang for all those forms we find out about by accident or have yet to find out about. Maybe it should be written FWATs?! Haven’t you ever exclaimed, “They want a form for what?” I know I have. At least that’s how I interpreted it. I think it’s one of Just Me’s terms, like LCUs (Life Credit Units). What happened to that IBS glossary someone was putting together here awhile back?

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