Thursday, June 19, 2008

Action Alert! 4th Amendment About To Be Shredded!

The House of Representatives is fully participating in shredding the 4th Amendment, and maybe even as soon as tomorrow.

Glenzilla reports:

CQ reports (sub. req.) that "a final deal has been reached" on
FISA and telecom amnesty and "the House is likely to take up the legislation Friday." I've now just read a copy of the final "compromise" bill. It's even
worse than expected. When you read it, it's actually hard to believe that the Congress is about to make this into our law. Then again, this is the same
Congress that abolished habeas corpus with the Military Commissions Act, and
legalized George Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program with the "Protect
America Act," so it shouldn't be hard to believe at all. Seeing the
words in print, though, adds a new dimension to appreciating just how corrupt and repugnant this is:

The provision granting amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, Title VIII, has the exact Orwellian title it should have: "Protection of Persons Assisting the Government." Section 802(a) provides:

[A] civil action may not lie or be maintained in a Federal or State court against any person for providing assistance to an element of the intelligence community, and shall be properly dismissed, if the Attorney General certifies to the district court of the United States in which such action is pending that . . . (4) the assistance alleged to have been provided . . . was --

(A) in connection with intelligence activity involving communications that was (i) authorized by the President during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on January 17, 2007 and (ii) designed to prevent or detect a terrorist attack, or activities in preparation of a terrorist attack, against the United States" and

(B) the subject of a written request or directive . . . indicating that the activity was (i) authorized by the President; and (ii) determined to be lawful.

So all the Attorney General has to do is recite those magic words -- the President requested this eavesdropping and did it in order to save us from the Terrorists -- and the minute he utters those words, the courts are required to dismiss the lawsuits against the telecoms, no matter how illegal their behavior was. [emphasis original]
Call and email your reps!

UPDATE: Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher reports there is chatter that this FISA bill is going to be tied to the Iraq Funding as a supplemental. Disgusting and craven if true.

She also has this statement from Russ Feingold:

The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation. The House
and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees
immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the President's
illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans
at home. Allowing courts to review the question of immunity is meaningless when
the same legislation essentially requires the court to grant immunity. And under
this bill, the government can still sweep up and keep the international
communications of innocent Americans in the U.S. with no connection to suspected
terrorists, with very few safeguards to protect against abuse of this power.
Instead of cutting bad deals on both FISA and funding for the war in Iraq,
Democrats should be standing up to the flawed and dangerous policies of this

Also, Digby weighs in and tells us about

And since Obama is the de facto head of the Democratic Party, I call on him (I'm not the only one) to make a public statement before this legislation hits the floor AND to not only vote against it when it comes to the joint conference part of the process, but to LEAD the fight against it. He can redeem himself from not voting against it last February. Plus he knows better. He is a Contitutional Lawyer fer crtin' out loud!

The call to his campaign is toll free: (866) 675-2008 [Dial 6, then 0, on the menu]

Via mcjoan:
Call Steny Hoyer and tell him this is a bad deal: Phone (202) 225-4131 , Fax (202) 225-4300
Call Nancy Pelosi and urge her to pull the bill from the House schedule: Phone (202) 225-4965, Fax (202) 225-8259

Dammit; I don't want to have to write another "And Liberty Cried" post again....

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