Monday, March 03, 2008

Congress to Grant "Retroactive Blanket Immunity" to Telecoms

A worthless scrap of paper? Bipartisan effort to nullify the constitution's protections from warrantless searches.

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It seems that House Democrats are close to caving and giving "blanket retroactive immunity" to big telecommunications companies who broke privacy laws in turning your phone data over to the Bush administration.

The Constitution says that the executive branch needs a warrant (from the judicial branch), which describes what they are looking for, in order to search you or your effects. A special type of court was set up (FISA) just to churn out warrants for the executive branch. They could even collect the data first and then ask for the warrant the next day! Even that was not enough for the Republocrat statists who want complete monitoring over the lives of their serfs.

The Bush administration (though the next Democratic administration will do the same thing) was not even content with that minimal amount of judicial oversight. They pressed the telecoms to release even more data to them on broad fishing expeditions. At least one company refused to comply, citing legal concerns. The others quickly turned the private records of their "valued customers" over to their "partners in government". Now those companies face lawsuits. President Bush has insisted the companies who sold you out be given blanket retroactive community for any and all crimes they might have committed in that process.

The government and their partners in the global corporate media constantly hit the fear button to try to scare us into setting aside the constitution. My fear is not being killed by Muslim terrorists so much as living under a police state in which their are no longer any meaningful protections for our civil liberties. We march toward fascism with the full approval of citizen-sheep who are obsessing over distant threats while ignoring near ones. We are not "safe" if we turn over our freedoms to the government, because in the last 60 years more people have been killed and oppressed by their own government than they have in wars with other governments.

4 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

It seems the only lasting effect of the Constitution's provisions about unreasonable searches and seizures is that radical judges have seized upon it to make abortion the law of the land. It is a perverse and unreasoning society that can claim that widespread government tracking of millions of non-suspects phone calls without a warrant is not a violation of the constitution but protecting the innocent unborn from the abortionist's knife somehow IS a violation of these same provisions. I see no reasonable way that any honest person can claim that this is what the Founders intended when they penned those amendments.

12:03 PM, March 03, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You gotta be kidding!!! The FBI is responsible for domestic wiretapping and has not requested the capability to do so. The wire taps the President wants are for calls by suspected terrorists in foreign countries to their cohorts who may be in the USA. You are not giving up a damn thing!!!!
If the government wants to tap normal US phone calls they have to get a FISA warrant.
As to the immunity issue, after 9/11 the phone companies helped the government and now want to be protected from fishing expeditions by people and trial lawyers in hopes of collecting millions.

From CNN:
After The New York Times reported, and CNN confirmed, a claim that Bush gave the National Security Agency license to eavesdrop on Americans communicating with people OVERSEAS, the president said that his actions were permissible, but that leaking the revelation to the media was illegal.

During an unusual live, on-camera version of his weekly radio address, Bush said such authorization is "fully consistent" with his "constitutional responsibilities and authorities."

Bush added: "Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk."

He acknowledged during the address that he allowed the NSA "to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations."

The highly classified program was crucial to national security and designed "to detect and prevent terrorist attacks," he added. (Transcript)

The NSA eavesdrops on billions of communications worldwide. Although the NSA is barred from domestic spying, it can get warrants issued with the permission of a special court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court.

The court is set up specifically to issue warrants allowing wiretapping on DOMESTIC soil.
End of CNN

7:38 PM, March 03, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

There are two things going on here which should not be confused. One is the eavesdropping, which I did not address in this piece. The other is the phone records, and the administration has vacuumed up millions of them from U.S. citizen suspects and non-suspects alike.

8:18 PM, March 03, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the some of the most important enablers: the party loyalists who are always willing to ignore "their guy" when he does unconstitutional, unethical, or questionable activities.

8:47 AM, March 04, 2008  

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