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Breaking: FISA, Compromised


Breaking: FISA, Compromised
The Media Consortium
House Democrats want to let Uncle Sam spy on YOU. Read more »


Wiretapping is illegal, immoral,
and un-American...

The ACLU is suing the NSA for violating the Constitution by illegally spying on innocent Americans. 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.

ACLU: Anthony D. Romero

   See the
Patriot Act Page        


Time is running out.

FISA Bill's Real Target: What Remains of Our Open Society


FISA Bill's Real Target: What Remains of Our Open Society
By Chris Hedges, LA Times
The new FISA law uses terrorism as a pretext to permit wholesale spying and would seriously cripple our free press. Read more »


House Democrats Capitulate To White House... Again.
About - News & Issues, NY - 11 hours ago
A total of 105 Democrats joined 188 Republicans to pass (70%) the 114-page FISA Reauthorization
Saturday, June 21, 2008

House Approves Telecom Immunity 

by John McNeill

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.  

Tell your senators you demand accountability, not immunity!

"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 people".

What Are House Democrats Afraid of? Where is Obama?


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?

To compromise from a position of strength is capitulation

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.   Daily Kos homepage

Gulf Times
The Immunity Deal
Washington 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. ...
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      Wiretapping is Illegal

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A sham spying “compromise” similar to the one we warned you about last week could be rammed through both the Senate and House this week. It’s moving that fast.

Will you write today and let your elected officials know Americans want them to stand up for our privacy?

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

Here’s what 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

Tell your members of Congress to reject a sham immunity "compromise."

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 personal information.

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 hook.

Congress needs to reject this sham for what it is and insist on real accountability for telecommunications companies that broke the law.

Tell your members of Congress you demand accountability, not immunity!

House Passes New Surveillance Bill, Sans Telecom Immunity  

House Passes New Surveillance Bill, Sans Telecom Immunity

This is all very encouraging and a welcome example of congressional Democrats


Through Error, F.B.I. Gained Unauthorized Access to E-Mail

Supreme Court Refuses to Review Warrant-less Wiretapping Case

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 surveillance.

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 national security."

>> Read more about unchecked government surveillance.
Wiretapping at Its Worst  

Wiretapping at Its Worst 
A revolving door between the telecommunications industry and federal government ensures that Americans are no longer secure from government intrusion into their personal affairs and private lives.
We have seen the enemy, and he is "us."  It is time to stop these criminals.


Congress cannot contradict the Constitution. 
It is the supreme law of the land..  or used to be...

The warrant-less wiretapping of citizens and residents of the United States is flatly illegal. It is a violation of criminal laws and an impeachable offense. 

>>Follow the progress of this push for answers on the ACLU’s new web page, Subpoena Watch. 

Justice Department Quashes Wiretapping Inquiries  
 By Onnesha Roychoudhuri, In These Times.
 Posted November 23, 2006.   
Department of Justice's response to inquiries sent by Maine, Connecticut, Vermont and New Jersey about possible illegal wiretapping has been to sue.

NSA eavesdropping program ruled unconstitutional

``We all want our government to monitor suspected terrorists, but there is no reason for it to break the law to do so," Feingold said. ``Today's federal court decision is an important step toward checking the president's power grab."

Judge orders immediate halt to program

DETROIT, Michigan (AP) -- A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government's warrant-less wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, which involves secretly taping conversations between people in the U.S. and people in other countries.

The government argued that the program is well within the president's authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.

The ACLU said the state-secrets argument was irrelevant because the Bush administration already had publicly revealed enough information about the program for Taylor to rule.


Big Brother  What happens when the technology of espionage outstrips the law’s ability to protect ordinary citizens from it?

Bush defies congress, court, constitution, and country   Freedom!      Freedom & Liberty Quotes     Liberty
Thomas Jefferson on Dissent     Wiretapping is Illegal

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....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 classified information."

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 ACLU v. 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 explained 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 dismissed forever.

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 and constitutional.  


History shows that it secrecy and incompetence helped hijackers get on those planes.
Wiretapping, torture, secret prisons, preemptive aggression, and situational ethics...
Should we stay this course, or is it time for new direction?

ACLU Launches Nationwide “Don’t Spy” Campaign

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 now and 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. 

Call your senators and tell them to demand that the White House come clean about NSA spying.

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 "The Spies Have It": Share the movie with friends and ask them to get involved.

Learn More
Read the latest on illegal government spying and the fight to restore the rule of law.

Political Crimes, Rendition, Torture, and worse...

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 Bush broke 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 President Bush clearly broke the law in implementing it isn't.

Bush building straw men on wiretap issue
The Courier News, IL - 1 hour ago
... that the president authorized an illegal program

Bush Broke the Law
It marks a new level of confrontation of President Bush's illegal program to wiretap and spy on ... The President of the United States has broken the law. ...

Bush [broke] the law'
AlterNet, CA - Mar 13, 2006
... almost EVERY SINGLE legal scholar agrees with Feingold that the legal issue here is already resolved: the President
 broke the law

Majority of Americans Disapprove of Illegal Wiretaps...

against illegal spying

Dare Call It Treason   George W. Bush may destroy our freedoms.  ... will illegal wiretaps undo the Bush presidency?

Conservative Scholars Argue Bush’s Wiretapping Is ... Is An Impeachable Offense ...

The Impeachment of George W. Bush

 Lies and Wiretaps - New York Times
 Instead of legal, constitutional and moral justifications for warrantless spying on
 Americans, we've received only the political
familiar mix of political spin, clumsy
  historical misinformation, contemptuous dismissals of civil liberties concerns, 
 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,"

Congressional Research Service Says Bush Act Illegal Now we have another legal opinion that indicates that the Bush administration—and specifically George W. Bush himself—has violated a long list of federal laws,
Spy Agency Data Led F.B.I. to Dead Ends
A steady stream of personal information sent by the N.S.A. to the F.B.I. often led to innocent Americans, officials say.
The NSA, with full knowledge of the White House, crossed the line from routine surveillance of foreigners and suspected terrorists into illegal activity
The Free Press: Speaking Truth to Power "Are you ready to be bugged and tortured by George W. Bush?"
  January 19, 2006


The warrantless wiretapping of citizens and residents of the United States is flatly illegal. It is a violation of criminal laws and an impeachable offense. 

 American Civil Liberties Union

"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.

 USA Today    Surveillance without a warrant not legal

 Salem 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 ...

Spy debate casts doubt on Bush  DesMoines, IA - 8 hours ago

 Some members finally realize the time has come to enforce the laws on President Bush.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, a Republican, plans hearings on the wiretappings.

 The Rule of Law, It is Time for Impeachment

 the President of the United States took it upon himself to bypass Congress and secretly authorize the wiretapping of US citizens. By doing so he clearly violated the law.

 An Impeachable Offense? AlterNet

 The law states that any person who violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is guilty of a felony.

 US eavesdropping program

 So far, the only case the administration has made is that it thinks it can scorn the law.

US Homeland Security Orwell's book depicts a society dominated by a totalitarian government in which citizens' liberties are suppressed on the basis of an endless war. The same thing is happening in America.
Above the law? There has never been nor could there ever be any greater danger to the United States than a government that considers itself above the law.
The Coronation of King George   OpEdNews - Dec 17, 2005 President Bush named himself King of the United States.
Spy court judge quits in protest  MSNBC - 14 hours ago A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest  Spy Court Judge Quits In Protest .. The Moderate Voice  amid spying debate - WPost Reuters AlertNet  Report: Judge Quits Spy Court CBS News
Is Bush Out of Control?   The President of the United States is out of control. How long can the ship of state continue to sail with a madman at the helm?



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