Monday, October 1, 2012

Having an overseas escape route

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Copyright © Frederic Guimont
Ordinarily I try to stick to a "moderate" line on Overseas Exile, but it's impossible in researching this topic to avoid one subject which comes up repeatedly: where to go if there's a global economic collapse. Or a global police state. Or a global nuclear war. Or some other global catastrophe. I certainly don't want to sound alarmist or come off like many of the conspiracy theorists out there,¹ but I would be amiss in not addressing this topic because it's so damned popular.

There are many who talk about moving abroad to find a "safety route". The Web site Escape From America regularly publishes articles about the coming economic collapse and how to prepare yourself. They point out obvious things like learning to grow your own food, buying land, and going "off the grid" — a popular phrase which might anything from "being self-sufficient" to "leaving no electronic trace by which governments can track you." Reading through such Web sites is, I must confess, entering a strange and fascinating world.

I won't name names as I'd rather not deal with legal action, but some of these Web sites are little more than scams. First, they get you scared, then they offer salvation: buy gold coins from us! Buy land from us! Buy radiation detectors from us! That last, of course, was the variant we saw back in the 70s (and still sometimes see today), where people were warned of the impending global nuclear war, or the imminent onset of the brutal police state that would trample your rights in the name of "security". Of course, the latter, many say, is already here. Alex Jones' Infowars Web site, for example, has an article about the TSA Gestapo (and hitting your favorite search engine will overwhelm you with information about this).

Gordon Barlow's Web site about life in the Cayman Islands has a bit of a gentler take on this, in his articles "Looking for bolt-holes", part one and part two (for those not familiar with the writings in this area, trust me, Barlow's writing is indeed gentler than many you will read). He and his wife of 45 years have been living in the Cayman islands for decades and while being over 70, they're still eyeing places in Central and South America that they think would be "safe" if they need an escape route.

If you start reading through this material, keep in mind that people who write on these topics are often quite rational. While some have no problem with Obama's ordering of the assassination of  Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen, it's still astonishing that we're at the point where it's mainstream news that the President of the United States can order the assassination of US citizens . The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 allows those accused of "belligerent acts" against the US to be held indefinitely without trial and H.R. 5949: FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012 extends the US government's right to continue spying on US citizens without a warrant. And don't forget the bi-partisan amendment to allow the US to direct propaganda against US citizens.

There are many people who support these laws, stating that desperate times require desperate measures. Others are aghast at these laws, claiming that if we allow our basic freedoms to be stripped, the terrorists have already won. Each side often claims that the other side is the irrational one, but I claim that neither is: merely having a different set of core values is not irrational in the slightest.

Many people are now pointing to these and other issues to justify wanting an "escape route" from their home country (I've noticed that these writings are usually from the perspective of escaping the US). Regardless of why you want to move to another country, I'll keep supplying tips and tricks, uncovering loopholes, or ways to buy citizenship abroad.

Interestingly, I've noticed that those who talk about leaving the US for political (or "conspiracy") reasons usually are still in the US.  Dr. Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels, a researcher at the University of Kent at Brussels did a survey of US expatriates (PDF) (disclaimer: I participated in this survey) and found that less than 5% of them left for political reasons. Though there are exceptions, I find it interesting that those warning we should flee the sinking ship seem rather unlikely to flee.


1. Note that conspiracy "theorists" aren't always complete nutters. There was a time when claiming that the CIA overthrew the democratically elected government in Iran in the 1950s was a whacked-out conspiracy theory, but today the CIA openly admits their role in the coup.
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