The Moderate Voice
June 25, 2008
In March, the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity for telecoms that assisted the NSA in illegal wiretapping. Most of us have wondered what happened to change the minds of 94 Democrats. What happened between June 20 and March 14 to change 94 Democratic hearts and minds?
The answer might well be simple: money. Could it be that simple?
MAPLight.org has published a breakdown of contributions received from Telco PACS by the 94 Dems who experienced the change of heart. [Maplight.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Berkeley, California. Its search engine at MAPLight.org illuminates the connection between Money And Politics (MAP) via an unprecedented database of campaign contributions and legislative outcomes.’]
Another good breakdown of corporate America’s contributions to the destruction of the 4th Amendment can be found at Blue Tidal Wave:
4th Ammendment Hit Squad
On Wednesday July 9, 2008 our U.S. Constitution, specifically the 4th amendment was officially torched by the U.S. government. The Democratic leadership in control of the 110th Congress lighted the definitive match to burn up every citizen’s civil liberties while a giddy unpopular President George Bush and his highly voter despised rubber stamp Republican caucus held the gas can in bravado glee. Full article…
AT&T Whistleblower: Spy Bill Creates ‘Infrastructure for a Police State’
By Ryan Singel
Mark Klein, the retired AT&T engineer who stepped forward with the technical documents at the heart of the anti-wiretapping case against AT&T, is furious at the Senate’s vote on Wednesday night to hold a vote on a bill intended to put an end to that lawsuit and more than 30 others.
[Wednesday]’s vote by Congress effectively gives retroactive immunity to the telecom companies and endorses an all-powerful president. It’s a Congressional coup against the Constitution.
The Democratic leadership is touting the deal as a “compromise,” but in fact they have endorsed the infamous Nuremberg defense: “Just following orders.” The judge can only check their paperwork. This cynical deal is a Democratic exercise in deceit and cowardice.
Klein saw a network monitoring room being built in AT&T’s internet switching center that only NSA-approved techs had access to. He squirreled away documents and then presented them to the press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation after news of the government’s warrantless wiretapping program broke.
Wired.com independently acquired a copy of the documents (.pdf) — which were under court seal — and published the wiring documents in May 2006 so that they could be evaluated…
Congress has made the FISA law a dead letter–such a law is useless if the president can break it with impunity. Thus the Democrats have surreptitiously repudiated the main reform of the post-Watergate era and adopted Nixon’s line: “When the president does it that means that it is not illegal.” This is the judicial logic of a dictatorship.
The surveillance system now approved by Congress provides the physical apparatus for the government to collect and store a huge database on virtually the entire population, available for data mining whenever the government wants to target its political opponents at any given moment—all in the hands of an unrestrained executive power. It is the infrastructure for a police state.
The main reason I oppose this latest version (of the FISA bill) is that it still clearly violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution by allowing the federal government to engage in the bulk collection of American citizens’ communications without a search warrant. That US citizens can have their private communication intercepted by the government without a search warrant is anti-American, deeply disturbing, and completely unacceptable.
In addition to gutting the fourth amendment, this measure will deprive Americans who have had their rights violated by telecommunication companies involved in the Administration’s illegal wiretapping program the right to seek redress in the courts for the wrongs committed against them. Worse, this measure provides for retroactive immunity, whereby individuals or organizations that broke the law as it existed are granted immunity for prior illegal actions once the law has been changed. Ex post facto laws have long been considered anathema in free societies under rule of law. Our Founding Fathers recognized this, including in Article I section 9 of the Constitution that No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. How is this FISA bill not a variation of ex post facto? That alone should give pause to supporters of this measure.
Gore Vidal: ‘The US is not a republic anymore’ Press TV, 6.28.08
“…Congress has never been more cowardly, nor more corrupt.”