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A Lawsuit

Jon stode the steps to the Kremlin. In the back of his mind he felt his knees tremble as he ascended the marble steps, almost an urging for him to back away. What was he doing, entering such a seat of power to challenge their rule with no real plan to speak of? Something emboldened him. Perhaps it was the brazen face he'd shown to Nicholas Trano during their interview. Or perhaps it was the spirit walk he'd taken the night before, while his plane was still coasting toward its destination, and the...things...that had happened there. No matter.

He still wasn't sure what had struck a chord with him that had pushed him to represent the Minutemen. Perhaps it was just the challenge of seeing if he could do it. On the other hand, it rubbed him the wrong way for anyone to be pushed around by a greater power. People should be dealt with on equal terms. If all were not equal under the law, then what good was the law?

He walked into the central rotunda and after a few questions was quickly directed to the clerk of the Supreme Court of the CCD. It still retained the same chambers of the old court of Russia many years ago, and like then, the chambers were improminent, as if court was an afterthought. Courts should never be an afterthought, Jon said to himself. The law should apply to everyone.

Jon found the clerk and smiled to her. “May I help you?” she asked with a thick accent that spoke of northern regions, possibly Siberia. It was interesting she'd addressed Jon in English, though, it was certainly making an effort on her part.

Jon didn't let his appreciation show. He dropped a stack of paper on her desk. “I have heard the Supreme Court is in session,” he said. The woman nodded, gathering the papers he'd unceremoniously dumped upon her. “I am filing an injunction against the CCD on behalf of the Minutemen for the actions taken to limit transfers of funds due to their designation as a terrorist organization. The Supreme Court is in session, you've said?” The woman nodded again, clearly confused and perhaps a bit intimidated. Jon noticed this and used it to his benefit: “Please file those. I will present my case before them in five minutes. Please notify them.”

No kidding, five minutes later Jon was facing three Justices of the Supreme Court of the CCD. He could tell they weren't amused.

The one on the right spoke, a gray-headed man with very white teeth: “You think you can just barge in here and get a hearing granted?” he asked. “Who do you think you are?”

Of course, Jon had just done that exact same thing. “The Supreme Court is the primary court in matters of national security and international relations,” he responded. “Both of these criteria are met by the actions taken by the CCD against my client. This establishes this court's jurisdiction. As to my abrupt demand for a hearing, quod est necessarium est licitum. That which is necessary is legal. Time is running out for my client, and it is upon the shoulders of the court to hear me out and rule accordingly.”

“Very, who are you?”

Jon smiled. “I am the plantiff ad litem for the Minutemen organization seeking an injunction against the designation of the use of “terrorist group” as a means to classify the organization, its members, in all avenues of daily life under domain controlled by the CCD, including but not exclusive to travel, surveillance and financial transactions.”

The woman sitting in the center cocked an eyebrow. “ Are you even recognized to practice law here ? Plantiff ad litem? What court appointed you representative of the organization?”

Jon smiled. “Why, you did. Or will, right now. It is not lawful or right to take actions against any person or group without affording or allowing that person or group an opportunity to contest the status, excluding wartime relations, of course – of which these do not apply here. Therefore the court cannot infer a legal status such as terrorist group upon any individual or group unless that individual or group has been afforded appropriate legal representation. I am the person chosen for said legal representation.”

He felt so smug. While careful not to get to heady of the feeling, he still relished it : “Ergo, the court is in a position where it may either appoint me as plaintiff ad litem to the party and recognize my right to bring this suit against the CCD or it can deny representation and thus legally negate the CCD's declaration of my client's status.” not that it would mean anything other than really, really bad PR if they would choose to do so.

The female judge in the center sighed. “Very well. The Court recognizes you as plaintiff ad litem in the matter of...Minutemen v. Dominion...” It was clear she was not used to listing the CCD as a defendant. “It would please the Court for the Plaintiff to state its argument.”

This had gone better than Jon had planned. He had hoped to at least create an attraction, but at the moment he was dealing serious blows. Court reporters were taking notice.

“So you see, your honor, the Court really has no choice here but to grant relief to my client,” Jon stated. “We've established that there is no precedent in CCD law for declaring any individual or group of individuals a terrorist organization and pursuing sanctions, be it financial, military or otherwise, without evidence of action of engagement in convention. We haven't even found individuals who engaged in acts of violence or terrorism on their own who claimed to be members of the Minutemen, which would be something else entirely in the eyes of the law anyway.

“The recent claim – the Minutemen were behind the nuclear disaster in Toledo – absolutely zero evidence showing this might be the case. Zero. Not a hair recovered from the site. Not even an explanation for a possible motivation to commit that act. It's credo absurdum.”

The justices seemed uncomfortable. Some semblance of an attorney had showed up to represent the Dominion, and occasionally he made an objection to a statement, but this ticket puncher was clearly out of his league. The attorney took his stand as scowls from the bench compelled him to say something in reply.

“It is the opinion of the Dominion that this matter be dismissed. The Minutemen are considered to be a terrorist organization. Mater semper certa est – The Mother makes it Certain – therefore it is so. This is the legal doctrine upon which the court must rule.”

Because the Mother makes it certain, is that the way this was to play out? Very well. Jon took his stand again.

“If this is the case, that because of decree by executive power that this designation stands, this court must allow the plaintiff to produce the origin of this ruling for questioning. The plaintiff is – I assume – allowed to summon witnesses on his behalf?”

The justices nodded.

“Very well. If the truth is the truth because Mother says so, I require a witness from the Dominion for questioning. If the CCD cannot produce said witness, their legal argument is to be held invalid, for if one cannot question an accusation in a court of law, the law is to be held invalid.

“Let the mother speak. I call upon the court to produce the Ascendancy or a suitable plenipotentiary as witness to the Plaintiff, to testify to these allegations against my client. Produce them or it will be known that the Supreme Court of the CDD does not follow its own law, and full relief must be granted to my client.”

Now it was bound to get interesting. Jon sat down and folded his hands together, waiting for a response.
The day passed without any response or confirmation there would be a response. Very well, he could continue the battle in the court of public opinion. He motioned the court to grant relief to his client by reason the Court had failed to produce a witness. That wasn't granted. He wasn't expecting it to be.

"in that case I request a continuance, and am motioning for the court to meet again tomorrow morning to hear my motion to grant full relief in the absence of the defendant to produce a witness."

The gavel slammed down. Honestly Jon thought he could hear a sigh of relief that he had decided to shut up for the day.

But of course he was not done. He'd just started.

Continued in A Debate

Edited by Jon Little Bird, Aug 26 2013, 01:43 AM.
Jon Little Bird may be an impatient claimant, but there was a lot of administrative work behind-the-scenes to legally produce his little show. Such as his ignorance in approaching the Supreme Court with the matter of a illegality of Custody action. The CCD was the grandchild of Russia, after all, and the trifurcate court system persisted today which was utilized by the former Federation.

The Supreme Court made the mistake of hearing Jon's action at the beginning, but such trivial mistakes were quickly collected by the Academic Consultative Council and redirected to the proper forum. That is, in this case, transferring the case to the Custody Court which is responsible for cases concerning the conformity of the Custody itself, disputes between federal bodies, and practices matters of "Custody review" - the legal Custody being the written document pertaining to CCD Law, division of power, and infrastructure and which is often referenced incorrectly as a CCD Constitution as opposed to the custody which the Ascendancy has been entitled to protect.

The legality of laws such as that being presented by Jon required a full plenary session of all seventeen judges, which in and of itself requires a massive effort to coordinate, thus delaying the lawsuit additional days. That the matter was reconvened within a week was a testament to the massive efficiency in which the CCD operates. Equivalent cases could take years to filter through the sieve of American, Canadian, or Mexican courts.

In that regard, the Council of Judges, the seventeen judges which heard cases in the Custody Court, rarely dissented from one another. Yet another testament to their efficiency: together, they were a testudo formation of CCD law, a strong, iron shield as fearsomely protective of the Custody as their roman counterparts were of an individual legionnaire; and they were just as effective.

Another highly effective individual was the Custody was Anatoly Kant, the Prosecutor General for the Central Dominance and highest member of the Legal Advocacy Office for the entire Custody. Kant was a power-child for the CCD's formulation of a written Custody rather than a constitution: which stated the main problem of constitutionalism as an instrument for the practical implementation of the Rule of Law sourced a disconnect with the implementation with a Higher Law, stated as follows: “The constitution of a state is eventually based on the morals of its citizens, which, in its turn, is based on the goodness of this constitution.” This statement was the key passage which directed the office of the Ascendancy to dissolve the ASU's constitution and replace it with the written Custody upon formation of the CCD. Undoubtedly, it was a rapid change in the space of five years, but a logical progression from the Russian Federation's Presidential constitution to the ASU's ascendant constitution to the CCD's final Custody.

Kant represented the CCD in matters relating to Rule of State, Custody of Law, and legality of citizen rights as defined by the written Custody drafted by the Ascendancy's office in 2025 and amended as needed in the twenty years since.

Kant was a man of hard-planes, firm resolution, and infallible will. His silvery hair spoke to his age, while he demeanor spoke to little chance at intimidating him. Appointed by the office of the Ascendancy, he was in the midst of his five-year term in office, therefore was well-groomed to the role in which he played in this lawsuit. He tolerated little and for a man in his mid-fifties, much of his intolerance was directed at the immaturity of youth although he upheld Custody tenants most passionately. He was a hammer in the Custody. A figure which was impossible to undermine. The skeletons in his closets were rotting in full view and nobody cared about them because the man chiseled his way through anti-Custody cases. He cared not a whim for a young upstart who passed the American Bar after a year of education--the Custody equivalent ranked curriculum vitae over a frame on the wall anyway - a direct example of contrasting cultures. And Anatoly Kant's CV was impressive to the point of capturing the Ascendancy's attention when the position last became opened, not to mention being well-rewarded for it.

His briefs were filed before the Council of Judges, individual copies sent to all seventeen offices. The case appeared on the docket, and Mister Kant and his team filed into the grand courtroom with little fanfare. The media had appropriately been discouraged from coverage today with the official anticipation that there was little to report anyway. Besides, a hot young Bollywood star couple famous for their on-again, off-again relationships were at this very minute announcing their engagement to a thick crowd of paparazzi and every main-steam news media outlet - from daily talk shows to live streaming events - not half a mile away from the Kremlin at a Five-star Hyatt pool deck.

The court would give each side twenty-minutes to present their case, although Anatoly was familiar with the events about to unfold here. It was common for lawyers to hardly get a word in edgewise, because once the time began, they were frequently interrupted by judges' questions. In the United States' Supreme Court, it wasn't uncommon to field a hundred or more questions from Justices over the course of a thirty-minute speech, interruptions which rendered talking time quite short.

With a few minutes before call, Kant received confirmation from one of his aides that Chief Inspector Drayson was here and ready to be called as witness.
Continued from A Debate

Jon walked into the court of the Custody attired in a simple, yet neat suit of light brown color with subtle reddish stripes that played nicely upon his Native skin tone. The tie he had chosen was bronze worked with slivers of silver, which matched quite well with the thin-framed silver glasses he was adorned with.

It was about five minutes before the call to session, yet Jon sought for his seat, and took it. A simple oak desk before an imposing upraised semicircle composed of aged, darkened and polished bronze plating, such that it shone. It was there that the seventeen - Great Spirit Seventeen! -justices of the court of the Custody would sit and hear his case.

Jon took his lone place at the seat of the Claimant, and watched as his opponents files in to take their places. The gray-headed man leading the charge to occupy the Seat of the Defense- yes, that was none other than Anatoly Kant, prosecutor general of the CCD.

Plainly, the CCD was taking this trial seriously, and did not intend to lose.

That in itself was a victory. If the CCD could be made to recognize a lawsuit against it's own laws and actions by a non-citizen suing on behalf of other non-citizens, the door was opened for any group who had been adversely affected by actions of the Dominance.

The response had come late at night to the university dormitory he was currently occupying, full discovery of evidence made. Chief inspector Drayson to be made a witness. His debate had surely made some difference to the motion of this trial. Bureaucrats were the ultimate in the art of getting even, as they made sure to deliver said evidence at the wee hours of the night, thus disturbing Jon's sleep.

The court clerk arose, a pretty woman with long auburn hair kept back with a simple brass clasp. "The Court is now in session in the matter of Minutemen v. Dominance. All rise for the Council of Judges."

Jon stood as was the proper decorum. Seventeen men and women in black robes strode to their prominent positions around that semicircle.

Soon, it would be time to deliver arguments. Against Seventeen? Very well. He had to just find the one whose opinion directed the rest.

But Jon was not a man to engage in the belief of chance. He opened his mind to the Great Spirit, and In his enhanced feeling of his surroundings focused his mind upon Mr. Kant, and knew the man was going to subtly sabotage his own defense.

Edited by Jon Little Bird, Aug 26 2013, 01:50 AM.
Anatoly waited patiently behind the podium. Not so much as a flicker of doubt crossed his severe expression. Such was his discipline to maintain his focus on the task at hand when he might have been reminding himself to make sure his driver picked him up on time this afternoon. He had a tee-time with Justice Saeed at two-thirty.

A green light flipped on and the Prosecutor General opened his argument.

He made fast work of outlining the CCD's stance on the case. Kant laid out the details that led to the seizure of Minutemen assets and the implications this had for similar cases throughout the Custody. However, the notion of precedence which was so widespread in the United States never took wing in the Custody; the evolution of their system as explained by Armando Napoli at MSU, who was being offered a prestigious consulting position in Anatoly's office for his recent work, proclaimed that the CCD atmosphere was founded on the roots of Russian culture. In that, precedence held no weight in the former Federation's courts.

Then he tapped a series of commands into the podium's inlaid touch screen. The stagnant seal of the written Custody, the document of the CCD's law entrusted to the Ascendancy's protection, dissolved, and an amendment appeared on similar screens positioned before all the Judges. An equal representation appeared before the Claimant's screen as well.

"In the following amendment, I direct the Council's attention to Section III, title vi." Anatoly then read aloud the following, drafted, signed and confirmed into Custody Law three nights ago:

"Custody Investigative Teams shall collect information as needed about the methods and tactics utilized in confirmation of suspected terrorist activity with the purpose of enhancing the Custody's ability to identify possible terrorist cells. The application of criminal law may be applied to potential terrorists, and allow for officials to collect information on individuals or organizations suspected of terrorist alignments. Such tactics include collection of personal history records, financial records, searches, and seizures. As a result, any information collected may be used as evidence to issue arrest warrants and detain key individuals within CCD borders, with the purpose of preventing attacks as necessary."

He redirected his attention to the Council of Judges once more. The senior Judges were impassive, but Kant had no worry about the defense of the Custody. That law in and of itself voided this case, however the Judges accepted the hearing, therefore they would observe their own docket. This was turning out to be a waste of the court's time and money, but Kant didn't pull the strings here. He was merely an advocate.

"I call as testimony to the implementation of the preceding law, Chief Inspector Drayson Mcullough of the Custody Domestic Protection Service."

Drayson left his seat in the audience and proceeded to a second podium positioned to the side of the room nearest Kant. Video projected his image onto everyone's screens for equal viewing. "Chief Inspector. Would you summarize the cases your office has overseen while collecting information on Minutemen activity in the matter of their terrorist classification and subsequent seizure of assets?"
He received word of his summons to court while seated at his office, perusing reports from the various police stations around Moscow. Perhaps his favorite part of his job was that there was no one dictating to him how to do it. Less time spent dealing with office politics, or politics in general, and more time working. It was glorious.

So being summoned to a politically charged lawsuit between a declared terrorist organization and the CCD's Custody Court was met with a not-so-sarcastic bit of foul language muttered into his tea cup. He'd have to get one of his nicer suits dry cleaned.

He arrived at the court early, as to be expected, and passed through security without much hassle. Even someone such as himself had to turn in his sidearm and the spare clips he insisted on carrying around, even when off-duty. Not that he ever really considered himself not on the job.

Unlike many, he didn't seem to be quite as weighed down by the seriousness of the situation at hand. Before court was called to order, he made small talk in the hallway outside the court till moments before the doors were sealed, his loud, booming laugh easily heard within. He wasn't being arrogant or cocky, he was simply unmoved by the whole situation. Did he believe all Minutemen were vile terrorists? No, of course not. But he did understand that they were a breeding ground for them, and there had been more then one terrorist organization that had started out as the 'good guys.'

The declaration might have been seen as somewhat preemptive (or entirely unfounded) to some, but it gave CCD law enforcement the tools it needed to combat the exchange of funds and training that made like-minded organizations in the CCD dangerous.

He found his seat, and waited patiently for the time when he was called to the stand. He stood smoothly and adjusted his tie before walking to the podium in question.

"The decision to compile a case file on the Minutemen began as a result of ongoing surveillance and investigation of other known terrorist groups. During CDPS operations around the CCD, and those of our cousin organization's work outside CCD borders in Africa and South America, we have repeatedly observed known members of the Minutemen, either current or former, dealing with organizations such as the Moldovan Republican Army of the People or the People's Freedom Party of Botswana."

He was simply recapping information provided to the Judges, the prosecution and the defense. Really, he wasn't even sure why he was there, other then to be a wall the lawyers could bounce their questions off of. Anything they had to ask was covered within the exhaustively extensive report. He had read the damn thing twice, and had downed more then a few pots of coffee in the process.

"Initially, the Minutemen were not an organization of interest to our investigations. However, thanks to the level of inter-departmental communication the CCD observes between foreign and domestic investigative branches, a pattern was quickly noticed. We haven't the same level of rivalry as is seen between the American equivalents, the CIA, FBI, and Homeland Security, as well as the dozens of State and city level departments."

He offered an apologetic smile to Little Bird; he had nothing against the United State's law enforcement system, he was simply aware that there were inefficiencies in the system. They did their best, but politics and awkward legislation's made it difficult to coordinate their efforts, without one group trying to jockey lordship over the other.

"There are four cases highlighted in the report as 'high profile', however information of 25 other members are contained within."
It had been his decision to contain all 29 cases of interest in the report. Naturally, classified information was kept out (regarding matters of surveillance, names of investigating officers, etc).

"Jason Kenzig is a known and particularly outspoken member of the Minutemen. He has traveled to Botswana three times in the past five years, and the report contains photos of Mr Kenzig meeting with known members of the Botswana People's Freedom Party, a recognized terrorist organization which has claimed responsibility for, among other things, the deaths of two CCD business executives who had come to Botswana to arrange the purchase of the financially beleaguered state-owned power plants."
While Botswana was not within CCD jurisdiction, the BPFP's manifesto was a promise to the people of Botswana to resist all CCD interests on their soil, whether the people wanted them to or not.

"Anne Waltz was a former member of the Minutemen. She was arrested five years ago after travelling to Ireland from the US. CDPS officers caught her along with three other known members of the Real Irish Republican Army in a loft apartment in Dublin, along with a stash of illegal firearms and explosives components. Circumstantial evidence indicates that she arrived in Dublin carrying in excess of $200,000 USD, which was believed to have originated from Minutemen coffers. However, as I said, it was deemed circumstantial and little more then 'smoking gun' evidence, unneeded to secure her sentencing. She left behind a husband, also a member of the Minutemen, and son in the United States, who had put out a missing persons report exactly 24 hours after her departure from the continental United States."
Also included in the report was that in exchange for her cooperation in persecuting other members of the RIPA, the CDPS had agreed to pay for her son, but not her husband, to travel to Ireland every two years for a visit. Her knowledge of the terrorist organization had led to the arrests of at least three suspected cells in Ireland.

"Derrick Schwartz, a regional treasurer for the Minutemen in Florida, immigrated to the US from Kuwait eleven years ago. He legally changed his name from Ahmad al-Hamoud. He is a 'person of interest' in ongoing CDPS investigations into the bombing of an oil pipe in northern Kuwait that lead to serious environmental damages and the loss of nearly two million liters of oil and millions of dollars in lost profit, as well as clean up costs."

"And finally, Hengry Corman, coordinator of public displays and protests for the Minutemen in Michigan, has traveled to Moldova twice in the past ten years. Photos and surveillance from ongoing CDPS investigations into the Moldovan Republican Army of the People's activities. MRAP was deemed a terrorist organization in recent years after an ever increasing degree of violent activity. Illegal protests of the CCD's ongoing modernization of hydro-power dams in the Ukraine lead to the forced evacuation of the Moldovan towns of Lencauti and Verejeni, which have been partially flooded since 2040 while the dam is rebuilt. They are also linked to destruction of public property, bombings, and assassination-style attacks on CCD police officers and minor officials. He is believed to have provided technical expertise and promises of financial and political support for the MRAP. It is hoped that the seizure of Minutemen assets within CCD borders will prevent the delivery of that promised financial aid."
It was also pointed out within the report that during or shortly after each of Mr Corman's visits MRAP demonstrations were noted to be particularly aggressive, leading to the firebombing of a district police office and arson of emergency services vehicles.

There were plenty of groups throughout recent history that had started out with good intentions. At it's founding, the Muslim Brotherhood had been originally founded to peacefully demonstrate against British rule in Egypt, doing so predominately through education and charitable works. But hardly a decade later it had become openly aligned with the Nazi party, aiding their war in Africa, and in the post war era carried out assassination and arson attacks throughout Egypt. Their love for violence rose and dropped over the past century, each time ending with the organization being outlawed and the senior members being arrested or chased out of the country, allowing more moderate heads to take the lead.
Jon sat in silence, hands paitiently clasped together on his desk, as Anatoly Kant made his argument before the Court. He preferred to watch his opponent with his own eyes rather than rely on the touch screen monitor before him.

Kant certainly seemed confident - perhaps a little too confident, and a little distracted as well, like he was thinking of what to have for dinner. It was a sign the mind medicine Jon had employed was working. So far, the Prosecutor General hadn't made any unexpected arguments or thrown anything at Jon that deviated in the slightest from the briefs he had already filed.

The case was there to declare the Minutemen a terrorist group. It was also Smoke and mirrors, built on circumstance and suspicion. Of course the hardly had the right to gather intelligence. It was the end result, the conclusion made on the intelligence gathered, that was in dispute. If Jon could convince the Court the Determination had been made in error, lacking sufficient evidence or otherwise, he would win.

As Chief Inspector Drayson took the stand, Jon turned his attention to the man and studied him further. Clearly British by his accent, he was a likable enough character, Jon decided, disciplined and dedicated to doing a job right, also mindful of the beliefs or feelings of others. Jon had caught the look sent his way while the Chief Inspector was describing his views that the Intelligence agencies of the CCD were superior to those of the United States due to their culture of sharing information. Of course the man's statement hadn't offended Jon. Drayson was right, first of all, and Jon had no particular vested emotional interest in how U.S. government agencies were run. But the thought of how Jon might have taken Drayson's statement and a quick look as if to say no insult intended was a nice gesture.

Jon noted the time, and saw the Prosecutor General still had a number of minutes remaining to present his case. Oddly enough, not one of the Judges had yet had any questions. There would be at least some, and the questions would be the most difficult for Kant to grapple with. He would find himself giving answers that seemed to support his argument when he spoke them but really would undermine his argument and expose the flaws in his case. Or during the remainder of his arguments he would find himself bringing up ways to attack his own argument. There could be other ways.

A seed had been planted in the Prosecutor General's mind that he must somehow vocalize before the Court why they should not rule in the favor of the CCD, but the method of doing so had to come from Kant. The medicine had to be subtle to work in this setting, or it would have created pandemonium in Kant's mind he would be unable to control and possibly shut down the whole hearing. Jon had never used it in a courtroom before, that he knew of in any event. Also Jon worried there could be damage done to the mind from heavy manipulation. He still wasn't exactly certain how it worked, and he didn't wish to physically harm the man.

Jon continued to watch, and recalled what he had thought the previous day during his debate with Professor Napoli: You won by getting your opponent to make your argument for you, and punishing him for it. The next few minutes should be interesting.
Kant thanked the Chief Inspector and a court official led the man back to his seat. Jon could call his own witnesses, including Drayson, if he considered it necessary. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General had an argument to complete.

The green light transitioned to yellow on his podium, and Kant was aware of the diminished time to the final five minutes. It would blink at one minute remaining, then shift to red at the end of time. Some Councils allowed the speaker to finish his thoughts at that point, whereas others cut them off mid-sentence. Under the current Chief Councilman, the superior judge leading the hearing, Kant was mindful of his time. It was a sign of formality and respect of the institution that he pace himself without needing to be cut off.

"CDPS among other agencies are fully within their jurisdiction to continually monitor the activities of groups active around the world considered potentially terrorist to identify potential targets for designation. When reviewing potential targets, CCD investigative teams look not only at the actual terrorist attacks that the group has carried out, but also at whether the group has engaged in planning and preparations for possible future acts of terrorism or retains the capability and intent to carry out such acts. As the Inspector outlined in official Administrative Record, ample evidence exists to warrant designation against the Minutemen organization. Coincidentally, or not, action against them is confirmed by recent Custody Law to classify their group as Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Although they are not registered as a legal party in the United States, you will see that they have filed for such acknowledgement, and are expected to nominate their own candidates in the upcoming US election season. The demographics statistics you which appear on the screen before you outlines the profile of the typical Minutemen member. They skew to the far right politically, but are otherwise fairly mainstream. Average supporters are in the thirty to forty-nine years age bracket with at least some university training, are employed full time, and are overwhelmingly of non-Hispanic Caucasian ethnicity."
Anatoly seemed to monitor the screen a few moments, considering the details laid out before him. He scoffed slightly. A far deviation from his usual formal character before the Council. "The Minutemen appear to be little more than a poorly constructed union than a highly functioning organization," but Kant shrugged and continued his case.

"The matter at hand is to determine the legal justification of the FTO status of the MInutemen. For this court to revoke status, it must at this time, find that the circumstances that were the basis for the designation or redesignation have changed in such a manner as to warrant revocation, or that the national security of the CCD warrants a revocation. As defined by Custody Law, legal criteria for designation is defined by engagement in terroristic activity or 'retaining the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism which threatens CCD national security, defense, foreign relations or economic interests." He blinked for a moment, his mouth twisted with blase consideration. "A broad definition, yes, but befitting the Minutemen clearly."

Kant's side-remarks earned him a studious look from the Chief Councilman, a wizened man who shifted forward in his seat slightly to interrupt.

"The court is not in session today to decide the appropriation of a law's scope but whether said law is interpreted as per the intent of the Custody itself." The man sat back, fixing Kant with a hard look, who seemed to take the bereavement well. He nodded and continued.

"Yes, of course, Chief Councilman. The legal ramifications of FTO designation are clearly defined by the Custody, and regard support, instruments, admission across the border, deportation standards, and redirection of funds within CCD jurisdiction. These ramifications have no weight outside CCD controlled lands, but heavily pressures other nations supportive of anti-terrorism campaigns to take the same precautions. While it stigmatizes and isolates individuals internationally, the heightened awareness provides the public an incentive to monitor and track suspicious activity in their area."

The light turned red and Kant returned to his seat, noting a few deeper frowns than usual across the Council. The Assistant Prosecutor General was watching him with wide-eyes and a hard-stare as well. Kant shared a confused glance in return, and a few moments later, his throat went dry, but it was too late.
Jon kept his face impassive, a simple, neutral, observant yet continual presence watching as the Prosecutor General wound down his statements before the Custody Court. Of course Jon was not neutral, and internally he gained no little satisfaction from watching his opponent give binding testimony that he hadn't intended to give. This mind medicine was truly powerful, indeed.

“”...While it stigmatizes and isolates individuals internationally...” Kant was saying at the moment. Jon cocked an eyebrow in mild surprise as he witnessed an exchange of bewildered glances between Kant and his assistant. It would be odd for Jon to not take notice at an opponent in the courtroom making the opposing team's argument. Inside, Jon was thinking he could hardly have done better had he fed Kant the words to speak himself. Was that something possible to do? That might be something worth exploring another time.

Jon watched Anatoly Kant sit at his table and reach for a glass of water, sharing hushed words with his assistant. Clearly the man was shaken, however it didn't seem he had been damaged beyond perhaps his pride and his reputation.

The pretty court clerk motioned to Jon that it was his turn to stand and deliver his argument. Jon put down his pen and carefully removed his thin-rimmed spectacles, putting them in his pocket. The easy part had been done. Now came the real work. Jon had only 20 minutes to state his case and he was going to have to be very, very careful here. He realized the Council would probably view him as an interloper, a foreign entity coming into their court to challenge their laws, and the ham-fisted way he'd gone about it, necessary though it was to get this hearing in such short time as he did, was likely to be viewed as a sign of disrespect. At the least it was unlikely to have endeared him to the individual Judges.

Jon stood and took his place at the podium before the seventeen men and women arranged in a semicircle before him. Seventeen pairs of eyes watching him with or two with what appeared to be anger or outright hostility. No, he hadn't made any friends among the bench.

The clerk announced Jon to the Court: “Representing the claimant ad litem, Jon Little Bird, to deliver arguments on behalf of the Minutemen...”
Jon let the words wash over him. This would be his greatest challenge in a courtroom to date. He took a deep breath, centering himself through his third eye where the ever present force of the Great Spirit lingered, begging to be seized. Perhaps – no, now wasn't the time for that. Although it would heighten his senses it might be too much to allow him to maintain focus on his case.

The light on the podium flashed on to green, and he began.

He began with a subtle acknowledgment of his imposition on the Custody Court. “First of all, I would like to thank the Council for it's time and appreciate the wisdom it shows in determining the legal necessity of allowing my client to demonstrate it is neither in the interests of the Custody nor the intent of the law in question to classify the Minutemen as an F--”

He was cut off by a curt tone from the bench, on the right hand side, a smallish man of Lebanese or perhaps Syrian descent with graying hair and daggers in his eyes for Jon: “Get on with it, Mr. Little Bird. Don't waste our time with supplications.”
That had been Judge Saeed, if Jon remembered right. The man's tone implied some sort of personal offense; clearly he was one of the more hostile Judges. Fortunately Saeed was not known to have particularly strong influence among the body when they would sit to form their opinion. Jon gave a simple nod of acknowledgment to Saeed, who settled back in his chair and glanced at his watch. Was the man afraid he was going to run late to an important engagement?

Best to, as Judge Saeed had commanded, get on with it. Precious seconds were trickling through his hands. “The application of the law as outlined in Amendment I, section III, Title vi of the written Custody identifying and designating the Minutemen as a foreign terrorist organization is improper in that it defines a FTO as a group engaged in terroristic activity or possesses the ability and intent to conduct acts of violent aggression against the Dominance. The Minutemen as an organization are neither engaged in terroristic activity nor has the Dominance demonstrated a sufficient reason to believe in their 'ability and intent' to do so.”

Another judge spoke up from the left side of the bench, Illeana Borsch, Jon believed: “The testimony delivered by Chief Inspector Drayson seems to say differently. Are you refuting his testimony?”

Jon bobbed his head toward her and held up a hand to give pause. “I will address the specifics the Chief Inspector's findings of alleged actions observed of individual members of the Minutemen shortly. At large, however, actions taken by the Dominance as a result of this investigation are based upon an association fallacy. While there are a number of people who associate with groups classifying themselves as Minutemen and ascribing to a shared set of beliefs – defense of American constitutional rights against potential threats foreign and domestic, strong national defense and belief in strong ties to community and faith -- there is no such thing as a singular organization called the Minutemen in which it would be appropriate under Custody law to label as a FTO.

He was interrupted again, this time from Judge Saeed again: “You are arguing that the Minutemen don't exist as a group, then? In this case, why are we here?”

Jon gave Judge Saeed a patient smile. “We are here because, as a result of the FTO designation by the Dominance, many individuals with any association with a Minuteman group have had assets seized, been detained unnecessarily, and otherwise been harassed and inconvenienced, especially when conducting business or charity work abroad in foreign nations not under the CCD umbrella but under pressure to assist the CCD in its effort to root out potential threats to its security. The Dominace does not dispute the harsh stigmatization many individuals have endured as a result of the FTO designation. Nor does the Dominance dispute the nature of the Minutemen as a group lacking central authority or organization, even insomuch as a single leader or titular head of the party, but as more of a grass roots political force founded from the bottom up.”

Another question, from Judge...Jon drew a blank at the name. He was about seventy years in age, with thick jowls and a very shiny head devoid of any hair. The man probably waxed his dome daily to achieve that shine. “And you claim an … organic... group cannot become associated with terrorist activity?”

Jon shook his head. He would have to be careful not to let individual Judges put words into his mouth. “What I am saying is that the Minutemen of, for example, Alabama, have no real weight of influence on the actions of the Minutemen of New York. Both groups may classify themselves as Minutemen, and might associate or meet from time to time while engaging in shared political or protected free speech action, but one does not have any real and legally binding influence over the other.”

Jon tapped a button on the touchscreen of his podium. A map sprung up of the United States adorned with little dots and small notations of individual Minutemen organizations and their locations. This display sprung up in front of each of the Judges and on the respondent's desk. Eight hundred and thirty-seven, at last count, in all fifty states. There was even a new Minuteman chapter formed just a few weeks ago in Purgatory, Utah, of all places, apparently completely unassociated with any other group.

“Eight hundred and thirty-seven 'chapters,'” Jon said. “Each fully independent and associated only by common name and shared principles. Furthermore the individual groups do not have any legal means under U.S. Law to police themselves or force punitive action upon members for unlawful actions they might have taken of their own accord.”

“They can kick out the offenders,”
the chief Councilman noted. “Stop associating with them, can they not?”

Jon recognized the statement with a tiny smile. “Indeed any single body can refuse to allow a member to participate in meetings or other actions; however, as the Minutemen are not as a group recognized as a political party or formal singular organization – though they are seeking that designation – they currently lack the right under U.S. Law to trademark the name and sue to protect its misuse, so at this time anyone claiming to be a Minuteman or forming his or her own Minutemen group would be able to do so under the First Amendment.”

He paused, thankful for not getting interrupted again: “Currently there is no 'head' to the organizations in question that directs the actions of individual Minutemen, or has the power to prevent or constrain individuals from acting as they please. There are always a few 'bad apples' associated with any group. The Dominance is claiming that because a few members associated with the Minutemen might allegedly be involved with known terrorist groups, therefore all Minutemen are. To declare a blanket FTO status to all individuals associated with Minutemen groups, based solely on the alleged actions of a few, would be akin to claiming all Republicans were perverted because one elected member of Congress was caught in an uncompromising situation with a twelve-year-old.”

That earned a bang of the gavel. “You are reminded to observe decorum, Mr. Little Bird,”
the Chief Councilman said. “Please refrain from lewd imagery in your arguments.”

Jon nodded. “Of course, your Honor,” he replied. He wasn't about to lose momentum on the argument, though: “My point still remains valid: the designation of the Minutemen as an FTO is logically false and legally improper. Let it show for the record that there is not one Minutemen group that espouses as a part of its stated mission any intent to act with violence or even espouse any acts of terrorist intent.”

Jon pushed a button on the screen built into his prompter. He wasn't exactly up to date with current electronics, but he was able to start the scrolling video of the creeds of various Minutemen groups, or constitutions if one was willing to call them that. This display leeched precious minutes from his time to argue before the Council, but was important. The creeds scrolled by; Minutemen of Kentucky, Minutemen of the Dakotas, and so on. The most recurring theme was an intent to consolidate political power and elect representatives who would protect constitutional rights and implement a strong national defense, and who would reject any offer to cede the U.S. To the CCD.

Jon's video display was cut off by Judge Saeed again. Seriously, was that man in a rush to get out of here? What of importance was waiting him to be through with this hearing? “You've made your point, Mr. Little Bird,” he said. “What I am wondering is why the Court should disregard the testimony given today by the Chief Inspector of how the Dominance came to determine the Minutemen were an FTO?”

Jon nodded to the man. “Thank you, and I will get to that. While I have no doubt in Mr. Drayson's capabilities --” he turned to where Chief Inspector Drayson remained seated and nodded to him in respect – “I do contend with some of the conclusions drawn by said investigations. There is no need for the Court to examine the alleged actions of individuals to determine that relief should be granted to my client, for reasons I have already outlined; however, I will additionally address the investigations and demonstrate how their relations to my client and use of such investigations as proof of intent and capability to engage in terrorist activity is false, and that further, in some cases, said 'evidence' is so circumstantial it should be dismissed.”

Who to start with...Hm...How about Jason Kenzig. Clearly as big a self-unaware dirtbag as Jon had ever known. By day, the owner of a car dealership, by night a Christian minister and closet Klansman like his forefathers, still convinced skin color meant something in this day and age. Kenzig was clearly convinced it was the duty of the White Man to bring colored men to God and that the “greater race” had the duty to protect and guide the “lesser races.” It was funny how Jon found himself defending the man's actions. Well, Kenzig had the fortune of getting accepted into a local Minutemen chapter in exchange for both being silent about his “greater race” theories and his skill at getting donors to line up for his charitable actions.

Yes, that was a good place to start: “Jason Kenzig is accused by the Dominance of meeting with members of the Botswana People's Freedom Party, and by that claim all Minutemen are terrorists--”

Coming from the left side of the bench, a woman with steel-gray hair that was kept in a long braid; Solema Matamosi, if Jon remembered right: “The BPFP have claimed responsibility for several attacks against CCD members. This makes them terrorists, and by association Mr. Kenzig.”

Jon ducked his head. “I am not here to defend the actions of the BPFP. But where the Dominance has surveillance of Mr. Kenzig meeting with members of the BPFP, I would remind you all that video catches up with mainstream so quickly it is hard to determine what happened first.”

Jon tapped a button on his podium and brought up new video. This time it was of Jason Kenzig working alongside Botswananans, helping them plant new fields of crops that would yield a hearty bounty, delivering stores of grain and wheat to impoverished tribes, and preaching to amassed villagers of the Word of God and giving impassioned witness to its salvation.

Jon allowed the video to loop, and with a push of a button on his podium muted the sound. “I am certain that the Council has noticed that some of the same people identified as members of the BPFP are also prevalent in this video of Mr. Kenzig's missionary work. The fact remains that members of the BPFP include real leaders in the remote villages of Botswana, that it is the personal belief of Mr. Kerzig that he should assist in the alleviation of these peoples' suffering. Considering the political power held by the BPFP in Botswana, there is no way Mr. Kenzig could have avoided meeting with members of the BPFP. Unless it is the opinion of the Court that the CCD has the right to determine whether individuals of foreign sovereign nations can conduct charity work in other foreign sovereign nations not under CCD law – and the FTO designation of the Minutemen does indeed attempt to impose such a de facto claim – this testimony must be disregarded in respect to Mr. Kenzig.”

There were only ten precious minutes remaining for Jon to finish his argument. Fortunately he hadn't been interrupted again, perhaps a sign he was making progress on legitimizing his presence and the validity of his suit before the Court. “As for Anne Walsh, the Minutemen disavow any actions she might be charged of, having been committed after her break from the chapter she belonged to. CDPS has acknowledged their inability to tie Minutemen funds to her actions after leaving the organization, and I would present further evidence that she left the association precisely because the group she belonged to was not radical enough for her motives:”

Jon flipped another key on his podium, which brought up a display of an electronic message sent by Anne Walsh, which admonished the inaction and peaceful tactics espoused by the particular Minuteman chapter she was a member of. Perhaps most telling was her urging that “real action” be taken and frustration that her desire for revolutionary liberation of her homeland from the CCD was not met with equal fervor and call to action.

He gestured the display and turned to the Council: “As you can see, Anne Walsh was radicalized beyond the inclinations of her fellow Minutemen and willingly chose to break with the group. Her actions leading to her arrest have nothing to do with the Minutemen whatsoever.”

“And how exactly was Anne Walsh able to lay her hands on more than $200,000 to bring with her to Dublin after her departure from the United States?”
Judge...Great Spirit, Jon could not recall the name of Judge Shiny-Head. He was just going to have to refer to the man in his own thoughts as such.

Jon nodded to Judge Shiny-Head. “Testimony by Chief Inspector Drayson notes that the evidence is, indeed, circumstantial that she ever had the money to begin with. But I will provide more than circumstantial evidence to the Court that, if she indeed had the money claimed by CDPS to possess, in short, she stole it.”

It was all in his briefs, of course, but Jon still went to the touchscreen in his podium and brought up a series of documents to display. Investments – many laden heavily with Minutemen funds and church trusts. Anne Walsh had been a smooth operator, convincing practically anyone she encountered to trust her with their investments. The investment group she had headed had been flush with cash – or so it seemed, until her sudden expatriation. She was currently under indictment for running a Ponzi Scheme in violation of the regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Judge Matamosi piped up with another question: “The team of the CDPS was quite certain the money had come directly from the Minutemen. How would you refute their claim that this...movement of money...was not deliberate?”

Jon nodded to her. “Occam's razor, ma'am. In which two possibilities are equally likely, the most straightforward of the two is most likely to be true. We have on the one hand an individual who, clearly wanting to pursue revolutionary action that departed from the opinions of her peers, bilked money from them and split with it – and, on the other hand, the belief in an elaborate scheme where Anne Walsh pretended to have a falling out with the Minutemen, and in an elaborate and concerted effort, facilitated in part by multiple collaborators, laundered money out of the United States, willingly accepting the legal ramifications for doing so. The latter is simply absurd.”

Matamosi nodded in thought, plainly the explanation was sufficient for her.

“Any alleged actions committed by Ms. Walsh are irrelevant to the status of the Minutemen as an FTO,” Jon said.

The light on Jon's podium flashed yellow. He didn't have much time left.

Time to address a third issue, hopefully one that wouldn't take much time. “Testimony from Chief Inspector Drayson also noted that one of the cases used to determine the Minutemen as an FTO was the case of Derrick Schwartz. It baffles me that such a case would be included in any determination of the Minutemen as an FTO. I do not have any information on the alleged actions of Mr. Schwartz before he became a U.S. Citizen, and I do not need to. Quite simply, the CDPS is attempting to associate alleged actions of Derrick Schwartz allegedly committed prior to his immigration to the U.S. and his association with the Minutemen, as actions associated with the Minutemen; however, how could they be since the alleged activity happened before his immigration? If it pleases the Court, it should dismiss any and all relations of alleged terroristic action on behalf of Mr. Schwartz, and any testimony delivered, as relates to this case as immaterial and irrelevant.”

That statement drew a nod from...Judge Saeed, of all people. The judge engaged in silent cross-talk with another of the judges. Yes, the man was not noted to be particularly influential, but if Jon had managed to win him over, being initially the most hostile of judges on the Council, things were boding well for Jon.

Jon pressed on, mindful of what little time he had left. He had so much more to say and no time left to deliver it! Certainly there was no time left to call Chief Inspector Drayson to the stand, a major blunder on Jon's part as he would be unable to cross-examine the major witness for the CCD. Apparently his last argument had stuck, thankfully, allowing him to move on to address the last major case as outlined by Drayson. He took a breath and spoke again:

“The Chief inspector Drayson noted finally the investigation into Henry Corman.” Here Jon would have thought he would have an edge. He had met with Corman while organizing the use of the Potawatomi Indian Reservation as a place of refuge for the Daytona victims. But unfortunately his case was very thin here. Although it was pretty clear to Jon that Corman was behind the push to get Jon to file this suit to begin with – and the cash to finance it, which could see Jon living comfortably in Moscow for quite some time after his stay at the University for participation in debating ran its course – Jon had very little to defend against the CDPS argument Henry Corman was involved with staging riots in Moldova. Well, he could use what he had at hand.

“CDPS has documented trips to Moldova undertaken by Henry Corman. That is all they have, if the Court is pleased to revisit the testimony,” Jon said. “Henry Corman is a man who enjoys fine wines. He considers himself a high-dollar connoisseur. The man operates his own winery and is frequently traveling to learn more about the best grapes, the best processes, and the finest wines. Moldova is well known for its production of fine wines among various local vintners, but often they are rarely advertised and need to be sought out for one to learn their various secrets and trades.”

That earned a question from another of the judges, Judge Jacob Kohl, if Jon remembered right: “How do you explain the renewed fervor of demonstrations and acts of violence against the CCD in the wake of Mr. Corman's visits, then?”

Jon shrugged. He had no explanation for it. “Coincidence, possibly. A Full Moon and the tidings that might bring. One might note his visits did correspond with the lunar calendar in that respect. What I can say is no evidence links Mr. Corman's visits with acts of terrorism in Moldova beyond that of mere coincidence of his visits.”

The light was blinking red. Less than a minute left. Time only to summarize.

Jon took a breath. It was enough to finish upon. “It is clearly not the interpretation of the law at hand to designate a FTO status upon a loosely tied patchwork political organization with no stated intentions of engaging in terrorist activity. The alleged actions of a few do not reflect on the group as a whole. Additionally the evidence gathered on a few individuals fails to meet the legal burden of evidence of conspiracy or collusion among the Minutemen. The Respondent acknowledges real harm has been done to my client as result of the FTO designation. I pray the Court will grant relief to my Client in removing the designation upon those called the Minutemen as a FTO by reason that the designation as such is not, and was never appropriate.”

The light went red. Jon took his seat as the Chief Councilman adjourned the session. The gavel banged down. Judge Saeed seemed quite pleased as he hurried out of the chambers.

The arguments were done. This had been the hardest court battle he had faced to date, even with having subtly convinced his opponent to argue against the state's case through his use of mind medicine. There was no telling how the court would rule, although he had a good feeling a significant number of justices - including the right ones, those whose opinions gained traction among deliberation -- had been swayed.

Now Jon just had to wait for the opinion to be released.

Edited by Jon Little Bird, Aug 24 2013, 03:29 AM.
Throughout the duration of Jon's oration, the Prosecutor General sat with a stiff back and grim expression. He was baffled by his own behavior and he replayed specific moments over and over in his mind. Had nerves gotten the best of him? Was the stress of the job finally grinding his mind to dementia? His doctor warned him of his health, were these the symptoms of strokes? Yes, he must have had a stroke. A CT brain scan would be in order. He prayed he was having a stroke. Any other explanation was likely to get him-- he took a breath --well, it was a good thing he had life insurance.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judges filed from the bench. The council would reconvene for opening discussions next week. After which, personal opinions would be written and distributed among all seventeen. Responses would then be processed and redistributed. A high profile case like this should come to a reasonable conclusion in six to eight months. After all, the Court was not a team reaching for consensus, they were seventeen individual judges, each with their own clerks, opinions, and publications. They were not here to decide the status of the Minutemen as an organization, they were only here to interpret the jurisdiction of Custody law.

Once the court was dismissed, Kant hurried from the room with his Assistant and law clerks in tow. That night, he was found swinging from a noose in his home library, apparently having committed suicide. The act was taken as quite a shock; none were aware he suffered from depression.

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