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Would the White House be Able to Eavesdrop on Obama Under the FISA Bill Barack Supports? You Bet.
By Elliot D. Cohen, BuzzFlash
Senate Democrats and Republicans alike are now poised to pass H.R. 6304, known as the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a bill touted by both House and Senate leaders to be a compromise proposal to prior Senate Bill 2248. Unfortunately, H.R. 6304 may give the Bush administration, in its last months, the ammunition it needs to hijack the 2008 presidential election.
By Ari Melber, The Nation
Protesters are storming Barack Obama's website. But they all support Obama.
A grassroots group of activists has been organizing on MyBo, Obama's official social networking portal, to protest the Senator's recent decision to back controversial legislation granting the President more spying powers. The effort hit a big milestone on Tuesday afternoon: It is now the largest self-organized group on Obama's website, topping networks that were launched over a year ago. The spying protest, "Senator Obama - Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity – Get FISA Right," launched last week. (See Obama Network Organizes and Revolts Over Spying, The Nation.)
For the last nine months, when retroactive immunity has surfaced, we have been able to delay its passage.
We were able to stop it in December because I had an army behind me.
Two months later, it stalled again -- this time in the House.
And last week, we managed to delay action one last time.
But when the Senate returns from the July 4th recess, we will vote on FISA legislation that includes retroactive immunity for telecom companies that may have illegally helped the Bush administration spy without warrant.
It's a bad bill and we need action to stop retroactive immunity from becoming law.
I've introduced an amendment with Senator Feingold to strip immunity from the bill.
This amendment has the support of Majority Leader Reid and Senator Obama, but it needs 51 votes to pass.
Will you sign on as a citizen co-sponsor of our amendment?
Sign on now!
Together, we can prevent this assault on our Constitution.
Here are three different ways to preserve some tattered remnant of the Fourth Amendment while generally discarding it: READ MORE.
By Ari Melber, The Nation
Barack Obama tapped his sizeable grassroots network on Saturday, coordinating over 4,000 "Unite for Change" meetups across the country through the campaign's social networking portal, MyBo. At the same time, however, other supporters worked furiously over the weekend to organize a new MyBo campaign to protest and pressure Obama. Many activists are outraged by the Senator's recent announcement that he will back a controversial bill to grant the Executive more spying powers and immunize telephone companies accused of illegal surveillance. Both efforts demonstrate how Obama's national network, which broke fundraising records and turned the first term Senator into an unlikely presidential nominee, can respond to top-down edicts and spring into action for self-organized protests.
Only 15 Senators stood up for the 4th Amendment today. Obama took his now customary course of NOT voting at all, neither Yes nor No. Here's the roll call.
Listen to Rev and Call Hoyer. Then Call Rev and Tell Him to Run for Congress in Hoyer's district!
Received by Email from a comment on a site on another site ...
* Can you help us non-techie geeks understand the following:
* 1. Why did AbuG and Andy Card go to the hospital bed to try and pressure Ashcroft to sign off on something that he refused? What could that something be?
* 2. Why did Comey refuse to certify the spying program? What do you think troubled him?
* 3. Why did Joe Nacchio and Qwest believe what the NSA requested of them was illegal? What could that have been? Why did the government then retaliate against Nacchio and Qwest?
* 4. Why is the government using "state secrets" as the only defense against all the lawsuits?
* 5. The EFF lawsuit, with a sworn affidavit by an AT&T technician, charges that NSA had a "backbone tap." What could such a tap be and what are the implications?
By Mike Lillis, The Washington Independent
Supporters of the spying bill received twice the contributions as those against it.
When scores of House Democrats joined Republicans last week to reauthorize a controversial White House spying program, many critics attributed that support to election-year jitters. But as liberal voters continue to bash Democrats on the issue, some campaign finance reformers charge that political contributions from the telecom industry, which benefited handsomely under the bill, probably also swayed votes.
In an analysis released Tuesday, Maplight.org, a nonprofit campaign finance watchdog group, found that lawmakers voting Friday in support of the wiretap deal averaged roughly twice the donations from the nation's leading telecoms - Verizon, Sprint and AT&T - over the last three years as those voting against it.
Dodd, Feingold, Wyden, Boxer to Filibuster Telecom Immunity - Now What's Obama's Excuse? And the Other 95 Senators?
Surely they're not all as cowardly and stupid as Steny Hoyer, fearing being criticized for backing majority opinion and standing up for the Fourth Amendment. Surely they're not all owned by the telecoms. Surely they're not all being blackmailed by Karl Rove. Surely they're not all dumbly obeying Obama or Reid.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Dodd and Feingold to Filibuster Telecom Immunity - Now What's Obama's Excuse? And the Other 97 Senators?
From Dodd and Feingold:
“This is a deeply flawed bill, which does nothing more than offer retroactive immunity by another name. We strongly urge our colleagues to reject this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation and oppose any efforts to consider this bill in its current form. We will oppose efforts to end debate on this bill as long as it provides retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that may have participated in the President’s warrantless wiretapping program, and as long as it fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans.
“If the Senate does proceed to this legislation, our immediate response will be to offer an amendment that strips the retroactive immunity provision out of the bill. We hope our colleagues will join us in supporting Americans’ civil liberties by opposing retroactive immunity and rejecting this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation.”
Feingold Says House Should Not Impeach for an Impeachable Offense Because the House Doesn't Want to Do It
“One of the Greatest Intrusions, Potentially, on the Rights of Americans Protected Under the 4th Amendment”–Sen. Feingold Blasts Telecom Spy Bill
AMY GOODMAN: It’s being described as the most significant revision of the nation’s surveillance law in three decades. The Senate is preparing to vote on rewriting the nation’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and giving immunity to phone companies involved in President Bush’s secret domestic spy program. On Friday, the Democratic-controlled House approved the measure by a vote of 293-129. The legislation gives the government new powers to eavesdrop on both domestic and international communications. The American Civil Liberties Union has warned it would allow for the mass, untargeted and unwarranted surveillance of all communications coming into and out of the United States.
While Democratic leaders in Congress, as well as Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, have hailed the bill as a “compromise,” Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin describes it as a “capitulation.” Senator Feingold has been the leading congressional voice against the Bush administration’s warrantless spy program since it was exposed nearly three years ago. Today, the Wisconsin senator joins us from Washington, D.C.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Senator Feingold.
SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD: Good morning, Amy.
MoveOn.org has stood up on its hind legs and threatened to bite the hand that usually beats it mercilessly expecting to be licked:
On Friday, House Democrats caved to the Bush administration and passed a bill giving a get-out-of-jail-free card to phone companies that helped Bush illegally spy on innocent Americans.
This Monday, the fight moves to the Senate. Senator Russ Feingold says the "deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation." Barack Obama announced his partial support for the bill, but said, "It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses."
Last year, after phone calls from MoveOn members and others, Obama went so far as to vow to "support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies." We need him to honor that promise.
Can you call Senator Obama today and tell him you're counting on him to keep his word? Ask him to block any compromise that includes immunity for phone companies that helped Bush break the law.
Obama's presidential campaign: (866) 675-2008
Dennis Kucinich Arguing Against Changes to FISA, Introduced by the Man Who Has Removed Impeachment from Our Constitution
By Bill Wolfe, NJ.com
This is not the change we were promised
Today the House voted to approve a FISA bill that would provide retroactive immunity for criminal domestic spying violations by Telecom companies and expand Bush domestic spying powers. Here is a link to the vote tally - NJ Republicans Ferguson, Freylinghuysen, Garrett, Saxton and Smith were joined by lone NJ Democrat Sires to vote yes in support of the bad bill - Democrats Andrews, Holt, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne, and Rothman stood up for the Constitution and opposed the bill.
Legislation Threatens Constitutional System of Checks and Balances
Today, Congressman Wexler (D-FL) issued the following statement regarding H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008:
"I am strongly opposed to H.R. 6304. There is simply no way to get around three simple facts about this bill. One, it creates a path for surveillance requests to avoid court review, and it is naïve to assume that if court review is optional, that courts would ever be a meaningful part of the process. Two, with minimal protections for over-broad searches outside the US, we are virtually guaranteed that Americans citizens in the US – with no connection to terrorism whatsoever – will be included in the surveillance. And three, the judicial review of lawsuits telephone and Internet companies is written to create no possibility of a legitimate review and ensure that the immunity sought by the President is a predetermined outcome.
Let's flood Congress with 100,000 petitions for Wiretapping: Impeachment not Immunity
House "Majority" Leader Steny Hoyer doesn't understand the meaning of NO.
In December 2005, when the New York Times reported George Bush was spying on millions of Americans without a warrant - after a year's delay in publication that allowed Bush to steal a second term - the American people demanded that it stop.
But even after voters put Democrats in charge of Congress to end Bush's abuses, Steny Hoyer spat on all of us and pushed the Orwellian "Protect America Act" through Congress in August 2007 to increase Bush's wiretapping powers.
That was the last straw for many progressives, and we have fought Hoyer furiously every time he has floated a "compromise" with Bush that provides any form of immunity for the telcos and the Busheviks who spied on us.
On March 14, we won a huge victory when the House voted 213-197 for a bill to strengthen FISA without providing immunity. Thanks to our lobbying efforts - including over 58,000 petitions! - just six Bush Democrats voted for immunity - Dan Boren (OK02), Chris Carney (PA10), Jim Cooper (TN05), Tim Holden (PA17), Nick Lampson (TX22), and Heath Shuler (NC11).
Even Steny Hoyer voted against immunity. But Hoyer kept conspiring with Bush to sneak immunity through Congress when no one was watching. And on Friday, Hoyer quietly announced a new bill to provide retroactive immunity for past warrantless wiretapping and allow new wiretapping for six more years.
So it's time for us to tell Congress once again that we will not tolerate warrantless wiretapping by George Bush or any other President, and we demand full accountability for George Bush through impeachment. Our last wiretapping petition sent over 58,000 emails to Congress - let's see if we can double that number to over 100,000 with a new petition:
By David Swanson
A question for Republicans: Do you want to hand a President Barack Obama the right and power to spy on any American citizens he chooses, including his political opponents, without any court-ordered warrant, in blatant violation of the law and the Fourth Amendment?
A question for Democrats: Do you want to hand a President John McCain, who has already openly said he will use it, the right and power to spy on any American citizens he chooses, including his political opponents, without any court-ordered warrant, in blatant violation of the law and the Fourth Amendment?
By Ryan Singel, Wired
If elected president, Senator John McCain would reserve the right to run his own warrantless wiretapping program against Americans, based on the theory that the president's wartime powers trump federal criminal statutes and court oversight, according to a statement released by his campaign Monday.
McCain's new tack towards the Bush administration's theory of executive power comes some 10 days after a McCain surrogate stated, incorrectly it seems, that the senator wanted hearings into telecom companies' cooperation with President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, before he'd support giving those companies retroactive legal immunity.
As first reported by Threat Level, Chuck Fish, a full-time lawyer for the McCain campaign, also said McCain wanted stricter rules on how the nation's telecoms work with U.S. spy agencies, and expected those companies to apologize for any lawbreaking before winning amnesty.
By Robert Barnes, Washington Post
What does "exclusive" mean?
The answer was at the heart of a highly sensitive memo by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel in 2001, when Bush administration officials were keen to institute warrantless domestic surveillance after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
A 1978 law appeared at first glance to be an impediment to using new procedures for such surveillance. It stated that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provided the "exclusive means by which electronic surveillance . . . and the interception of domestic wire, oral and electronic communications may be conducted."
But the administration did not want to follow FISA, because the law requires court approval. The administration has said that law could be a cumbersome obstacle in real-time efforts to intercept intelligence.
Govt. May Have Massive Surveillance Program For Use In ‘National Emergency,’ 8 Million ‘Potential Suspects’
Go HERE to read about it AND get on the list :-)
By David Swanson
David Murfee Faulk was a translator in the Navy, working in Arabic and Iraqi dialect. In April 2004 he began working for the National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Gordon outside Augusta, Georgia. (He now writes, under the name Murfee Faulk, for the Metro Spirit newspaper in Augusta, but he has never written about what he did for the NSA.)
Faulk says that in May 2004 he found an extremely large text file containing grid coordinates for alleged chemical weapons sites in Iraq. Faulk showed it to his supervisor, who was surprised. But he was not surprised that the file existed, only that it had not been deleted. The supervisor said he had believed all such files had been deleted, and that there had been a great many of them. In fact, according to this supervisor, U.S. Special Forces had gone to the locations and found nothing.
New DHS Office Would Share Detailed Surveillance Capabilities of Military Intel Satellites With Local Law Enforcement
By JUSTIN ROOD, ABC News
The Department of Homeland Security wants to set up a new program to illegally spy on Americans, two senior Democratic lawmakers charged Thursday in a letter urging colleagues to deny funds for the program.
In a letter to three colleagues obtained by ABC News, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, Miss., and Rep. Jane Harman, Calif., voiced objections to a new office DHS wants to create that would share the detailed surveillance capabilities of military intelligence satellites and other monitoring technology with state and local law enforcement.
By Caroline Fredrickson, Director ACLU Washington Legislative Office
Late Friday night, the ACLU caught wind of a dangerous backroom deal brewing. The “deal” would rush a House vote that would push through a dangerous sellout on government spying powers, possibly in the next few days.
We need you to immediately contact your member of Congress. Let your representative know you’re watching and expect him or her to stand firm. That means no immunity for lawbreaking phone and internet companies, and no spying on Americans without a warrant.
Let your member of Congress know you’re watching!
Back in February, the House stood up to President Bush’s fear-mongering tactics by letting the so-called “Protect America Act” expire. This ill-named bill eviscerated the protections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and violated the constitutional rights of Americans.
Telecom Whistleblower Discovers Circuit that Allows Access to All Systems on Wireless Carrier -- Phone Calls, Text Messages, Emails and More
Babak Pasdar is a computer security expert who was hired in 2003 to help
restructure the tech infrastructure at a major wireless telecommunications
company. What he found shocked him. The company had set up a system that
gave a third party, presumably a governmental entity, access to every
communication coming through that company¹s infrastructure. This means every
email, internet use, document transmission, video, text message, as well as
the ability to listen to and record any phone call.
By Dave Lindorff
During my six-year sojourn in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, one of the things I came away with was a sense of how generally un-nationalistic and non-patriotic the Chinese people were.
Caught up in the struggle first to simply survive and then, in the mid-90s, to try and grab onto the moving train that was China’s new Great Leap into Capitalism, average mainland Chinese, whether out in the remote farmlands of western Anhui Province or in the rundown house lining the hutongs of Shanghai or Beijing, had no time for patriotic displays or nationalistic concerns.
When Chinese Communist Party leaders in Beijing would beat the drum of nationalism over Taiwanese independence efforts in the 1990s, it evoked mostly yawns among average Chinese people, and in fact, to Beijing’s embarrassment, a popular computer game featured a war-game in which Taiwan defeated the People’s Liberation Army.