is illegal, immoral,
The ACLU is suing the NSA for violating the Constitution by illegally spying on
This spying without probable cause sends a chilling message to all of us that
our conversations are
not our own. This
spying program violates Americans' rights to free speech and privacy under the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution. The president has
exceeded the limits of
executive authority under separation of powers principles. Join our call for a special counsel and urge your friends
to do the same.
The House has approved a bill that
would give the major phone companies
immunity from lawsuits for
participating in the President’s
warrantless phone surveillance
program at the outbreak of the Iraq
war. Its been criticized as putting
the president above the law, and
giving the phone companies unfair
immunity from dozens of pending
lawsuits from people who feel their
privacy was violated.
"A revolution is under way. It started in 2006, is
gathering momentum now. It will continue into 2010 and
beyond. The challenge in 2006 was to elect a Democratic
Congress. The challenge this year is to elect a
Democratic President. If we succeed, the target for 2010
will be the Democratic Leadership in Congress. If
Pelosi/Reid/Hoyer will not do their jobs, we must find
others who will. Perhaps some backbenchers with backbone
will come forward. Perhaps we will find new people like
Rep. Donna Edwards. We need a real Congressional
Majority. One that is willing to act on behalf of the
House Democrats Afraid of? Where is
George W. Bush has an approval rating of 29%. Only
17% of the country thinks we are headed in the right
direction. The Democratic candidate for President is
beating his opponent 2 to 1 in fundraising. We just
won three Congressional seats long held by
Republicans, one by a former Speaker.
And yet the
Congressional Democratic Leadership caves in to Bush
on every issue: War Funding, FISA, TELCOM immunity.
What is going on?
If you kick a dog every time it tries to get up,
it will just lie there even when you stop kicking
it. The Democratic Congress spent six years in the
wilderness, cowed into submission by a belligerent
administration. They only put up token opposition
when the Republicans in charge gave away many of our
basic rights. Allowing the Government to listen in
on us, giving up even the right to challenge in
Court an illegal abductions.
What can you do if your Guard Dog won't get off
its ass and do its job of protecting you? Get a new
dog. Or kick the one you have until it gets up.
The Congress we elected in 2006 is a disappointment to
us. We have come to expect little of the Bush/Cheny/McCain
Republicans. But Peolosi/Reid/Hoyer should know better.
We gave them power thinking they will stand up for us.
Instead they think their jobs depend on kowtowing to
Bush and AT&T. Such a shame. It looks like we will have
to turn on them next, in the same way we had to turn on
Sen. Clinton for supporting the Iraq war....
There are a few inspiring voices. Sen.
Feingold is always there to remind us
not every one in Washington is
spineless. There is Rep. Boyda, from
Kansas of all places, who can stand up
against the FISA compromise. Rep. Wexler
is becoming a strong voice in this
issue. These are the future leaders of
the Democratic Party. (What happened to
Sen. Dodd?) The appeasers in the House
Leadership now will be remembered. They
may think their seats are secure, but
remember that Hillary Clinton once had
the lock on the Presidential nomination.
We will remember who stood with us, to
protect us from a runaway
administration, and who caved.
The Immunity Deal
Post, United States - Jun 20, 2008
It appears as if this is still the case,
which is what makes the immunity deal reportedly reached in
Congress look to some people like a surrender. ...
In a proposal that
makes a mockery of the rule of law, telecom companies that broke the law by
supplying mountains of personal information to the government without a
warrant will be let off the hook.1
Senators Feingold and Dodd had to say about Senator Bond’s proposal, which
is very similar to what we expect in the coming days:
… under the
Bond proposal, the result of the FISA Court’s evaluation would be
predetermined... the FISA court would be required to grant immunity.2
There’s a deeply
disturbing premise behind this dangerous FISA legislation: The president
simply had to claim his request was legal for
immunity to be granted to telecom companies that illegally handed over
No matter how
illegal, offensive or intrusive a company’s invasion of your privacy has
been, it won’t make a difference, because if the president gave the
company a note claiming their behavior was legal, they’re completely off the
Congress needs to
reject this sham for what it is and insist on real accountability for
telecommunications companies that broke the law.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the ACLU’s petition asking it to hear
ACLU v. NSA, our case against the Bush administration’s warrantless
wiretapping program. The ACLU filed this case two years ago to put an end to
government spying on innocent Americans through National Security Agency
From the start, the government’s argument has been that the case should be
dismissed under the state secrets privilege, but that did not convince the
district court in Michigan, which ruled that the NSA’s program is
unconstitutional and should be stopped. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals,
however, asserted that our plaintiffs could not prove their communications had
been tapped and dismissed the case.
"Although we are deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s refusal to review
this case, it is worth noting that today’s action says nothing about the case’s
merits and does not suggest in any way an endorsement of the lower court’s
decision," said Steven R. Shapiro, Legal Director of the ACLU. "The court’s
unwillingness to act makes it even more important that Congress insist on
legislative safeguards that will protect civil liberties without jeopardizing
>> Read more about unchecked government surveillance.
Following the Money, and the Rules
If America is going to continue to be America,
monitoring the flow of money to and from suspected terrorists needs to be done
under a clear and coherent set of rules.
More Rumblings About Net Privacy
By DAN MITCHELL
An online news outlet has published details about secret rooms where government
spies are said to be gaining access to private e-mail messages.
From the Daily Kos....
On May 30th, a federal judge ordered that
John Ashcroft and Robert Mueller must reveal whether they were
aware of any secret government monitoring of communications between
the plaintiffs and their lawyers.
"Plaintiffs' effort to learn whether their conversations with
their attorneys were monitored by the government is not a mere
fishing expedition based on unfounded speculation," the
magistrate, Judge Steven M. Gold, wrote in an 11-page decision.
The order rejected the government's request that he reconsider a
similar order that he made orally on March 7. He noted
that "the government's electronic surveillance of individuals
suspected of links to terrorism has received widespread
publicity and has even been acknowledged by the president of the
United States." And he cited findings by the inspector general
that on more than 40 occasions, staff members of the
Metropolitan Detention Center secretly video-recorded visits
between lawyers and Muslim immigrants swept up and detained
there after the Sept. 11 attacks, and later deported after being
cleared of links to terrorism.
Stephen E. Handler, a Justice
Department lawyer, had argued that confirming or denying such
monitoring in one case and not another could "tend to reveal
But Judge Gold rejected the government's main argument for
silence. "Any claim that sensitive secrets would be revealed by
the government's disclosure of whether conversations between
plaintiffs and their counsel in this case were monitored is hard
to fathom," he wrote.
Bill Goodman, legal director of the Center for Constitutional
Rights, called Gold's decision "the first crack in the granite wall
that this government has been interposing on the N.S.A. wiretapping
program." If Gold's decision was the first crack, then a decision
issued by Judge Anna Diggs Taylor the next day can only be described
as shattering that wall (well, for now at least).
Judge Taylor is presiding over the case of
NSA. The suit was filed on behalf of attorneys, journalists,
scholars, and others who have a "well-founded belief that their
communications are being intercepted by the NSA." On March 9, 2006,
the plaintiffs had filed a motion for partial summary judgment (PDF).
When a party files a motion for summary judgment, she's asking the
court to rule on the case as a matter of law: given all the
undisputed facts thus far, is the government action illegal? This is
similar to the case made several times on this site: there is a law,
FISA. The government admitted it is not following the law. Thus, its
actions are unlawful. No trial needed, case closed.
The government never responded to this motion, choosing instead
to raise at the last moment the state secrets privilege. As I
earlier, the state secrets privilege, once a rarity in our
justice system, is now frequently used by this administration to
terminate the most critical litigation of our time.
And so, the government filed its state secrets brief, confident
I'm sure that the affidavits from various high-level officials
warning of great damage to national security would turn any judge
into a quivering pool of judicial jello, and the case would be
Not so fast.
U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor apparently doesn't like the
government's games. Instead of ruling immediately on the state
secrets privilege (and possibly killing the case), she has ordered a
hearing on the plaintiff's motion first. (You can read the order
here in PDF form). Only after she hears both sides argue
the legality of the program will she proceed to the state secrets
privilege. Translation? For the first time, a court will hold a
hearing on the legality of the program.
Oral arguments on the legality of the program will be held on
June 12, 2006. Oral arguments on the government's motions (including
the state secrets privilege) will be held on July 10, 2006.
To some, it looks like just a shuffling of dates. But do not
underestimate the importance of this scheduling. It allows for a
unprecedented hearing on the domestic spying program. On the
record, in a court of the law, the government will have to explain
why the program--which operates outside of the FISA law--is lawful
WIRETAPPING WOULDN'T HAVE PREVENTED 9/11 Larry Beinhart,
History shows that it secrecy and incompetence helped hijackers get on those
Frustrated with the White House's stonewalling of Congress, Senator Arlen
Specter (R-PA), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told President Bush that he
plans to submit legislation that would cut funding of the surveillance program
unless the White House gives Congress key facts about the program. But
this legislation may go nowhere without pressure from people like you.
That's why I am asking you to call
your senators right nowand tell them to support the amendment
to cut the funding of the illegal NSA spying program.
President Bush has refused to
answer even basic questions about the NSA program, such as how many American
citizens have had their telephone calls or e-mails monitored. Senator Specter's
amendment to cut off funding is needed if we are going to get the facts. This
latest amendment to cut funding is distinct from Specter's bill, S.2453, which
we strongly oppose because it would effectively authorize the NSA spying
program. This key difference is one example of how, with your help, attitudes
are beginning to change.
This is how our government is
supposed to work. Right now, Congress is hearing our message: The Bush
Administration must come clean with the facts. Speak out now so they hear us
loud and clear.
Help us check the abuse of executive power and the complicity of Congress in
warrant-less surveillance on Americans:
Watch Our New Movie! "The Spies Have It": Share the movie with friends and ask them to get
Read the latest on illegal government spying and the fight to restore the rule
Many experts on intelligence
and national security law have concluded that the president overstepped
his authority, and that the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
specifically prohibits such domestic surveillance without a warrant.
Judge Harold A. Baker, a sitting federal judge in Illinois who served on
the intelligence court until last year, said the president was bound by the
law "like everyone else." If a law like the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act is duly enacted by Congress and considered constitutional,
Judge Baker said, "the president ignores it at the president's peril."
Bush wiretaps illegal Beverly Citizen, United
States - 7 hours ago
Even Republicans admit Bushbroke the law.
Hold Bush responsible for actions
Contra Costa Times, CA - Mar 29, 2006 ... Whether the NSA's domestic wiretapping program is a good idea
can be debated. The fact that PresidentBush clearly
broke the law in implementing it isn't.
Lies and Wiretaps - New York Times
of legal, constitutional and moral justifications for warrantless spying
Americans, we've received only the political
familiar mix of political spin,
historical misinformation, contemptuous dismissals of civil
cynical attempts to paint dissent as anti-American and pro-terrorist,
and a couple
of big, dangerous lies.
Americans Support Impeaching Bush for Wiretapping
"The American people are not buying Bush's outrageous claim that he has
the power to wiretap American citizens without a warrant,"
"It’s ironic that the
President is heralding the progress of the Iraqi Constitution when he
continues to undermine the Constitution here at home. President Bush's
decision to spy on Americans without judicial oversight was plainly illegal.
Statesman Journal, OR - 7 hours ago
... The rights of US citizens are eroding under Bush
and his party. ... After 4 years of illegal wiretapping all over the world
to spy on thousands of suspected ...