NYT Article: Police Surveillance of Cyclists as Political Dissidents

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Elisa Francesca Roselli, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    "Bob" <[email protected]> writes:

    > This sounds an awfully lot like we *agree*, Tom, at least in part.
    > How's that for a scary thought? <g>


    Actually it's not scary at all. I often do find myself in
    agreement with you, and I enjoy considering your insights
    and opinions, even when they diverge with, or oppose my own.
    There's nothing like a civil interchange of thought to
    attain new realizations or revelations.

    Too bad the WTO people and their ilk aren't so open-minded ;-)

    >> > Those statements (and actions)
    >> > are simple minded throwbacks to the philosophy of the mid-60s radical
    >> > Left when everything was viewed through the lens of "The Movement".

    >>
    >> When I ride my bike partly because it lessens my impact on
    >> others' quality of life, I guess /that's/ a political statement
    >> on my part. But it's such a gentle and nonprovocative one.
    >> OTOH, I guess it undermines the missions & goals of those
    >> paranoia-driven corporate multinationalists, so they'd better
    >> sic their goons & bully-boys on me.

    >
    > Would you ride if it made absolutely no difference in anyone else's
    > quality of life?


    I don't believe that's possible. My (or anybone's) bicycling
    innately does affect people's quality of life. For one thing,
    bicyclists are consumers -- we have to buy tires, tubes, patch
    kits, chains, brake pads, etc. As consumers we have a ripple
    effect on ... oh, gawd! Where's J.K. Galbraith when ya need him?

    And a lot of that bike stuff comes from sweatshops in distant
    lands, maybe with child labour to boot. Even if it's American/
    Union Made, there's no telling where the imported ingredients or
    raw resources or tooling or machinery came from, or under what
    conditions or environmental impacts they were produced -- which
    suits the corporate multinational folks just fine.

    That's why I say "/lessens/ my impact on others' quality of
    life", rather than entirely removes it. Owning & maintaining
    a bicycle is not as entirely innocent as some would have it.

    So even riding a bicycle has some impact on some people's
    quality of life. But at least there's less danger than from
    driving a car, of killing or maiming someone. And less
    poisoning of the air, less noise pollution, and especially in
    urban areas -- less interference with other people's mobility.

    > If so, there's no political statement involved. If
    > not, why not? I thought you *liked* riding!


    Politics is starting to make my brain hurt (again.)


    cheers, & it would be nice if Shell did something good for Nigeria,
    Tom

    --
    -- Nothing is safe from me.
    Above address is just a spam midden.
    I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca
     


  2. Sorni

    Sorni Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Sorni wrote:
    >
    >>> Again, I think you're missing the issue here. The only
    >>> reason this might be reviewed by ANY sort of court is
    >>> because the fact of warrantless wiretaps was leaked
    >>> by someone within the administration.

    >>
    >> Oh, really? That would be huge news if true; got proof? I'm
    >> betting it was either /congressional/ (Rocke-related?) or FISA
    >> itself. (See below.) Time will tell.

    >
    > You could be right about that, but this will not
    > be huge news compared to the real story,
    > which is the illegal wiretapping itself.


    A) It's not illegal if indeed one end of the conversation involved a foreign
    (real or good-faith-suspected) intelligence agent or bad guy; and B) AFAIK
    not one case of "abuse" has been shown so far.

    Can't help notice how quickly and completely you backed off that "someone
    within the admin leaked it" claim, BTW. Reckless charges abound, don't
    they?

    >>> They got
    >>> caught. Otherwise, there would continue to be zero
    >>> oversight or checks and balances of these wiretaps
    >>> and data-mining operations.

    >>
    >> Reports to the Intelligence Committee every 45 days (on average)
    >> don't count?

    >
    > Not if you're prohibited from speaking with anyone about it.


    The members of the Select IC were certainly free to speak up if they were
    alarmed/concerned/outraged -- at least within their closed circle -- and no
    one expressed any reservations (save one letter supposedly drafted and stuck
    in a drawer) according to at least two members I've heard interviewed.

    >>> Given the lack of any oversight of these wiretaps, I guess we are
    >>> simply asked to take their word for it, eh? Because the
    >>> administration is so trustworthy? If they are playing by FISA rules
    >>> as they claim, then why the need to bypass completely the FISA
    >>> court, as if it didn't exist?

    >>
    >> Something's fishy about FISA since Bush took office. They had
    >> hardly any denials (5 in like 18000?) before; then nearly 200 in a
    >> few years.

    >
    > Really? Hadn't heard that--citation please. Maybe there were 40 times
    > as many denials because there were 40 times as many requests
    > for warrants. No wait. I have the answer for you. I'm sure it was
    > 'activist judges.' When in doubt go with 'activist judges.'
    >
    >> And the
    >> judge who resigned is a highly partisan Clinton appointee.

    >
    > Oh, Clinton! The guy who actually went to court to argue that he
    > had the same power that Bush unilaterally decided he had.
    > That was your big argument last week wasn't it--Clinton did this
    > too.


    Totally separate issue. The point is that this one judge IS a democrat;
    why'd he wait till NOW to bitch/grandstand?

    >> Let the (leak)
    >> inquiry begin!
    >>
    >> Bill "Hardball ignores Victoria Tensing because Botox Boy doesn't
    >> like what she says" S.

    >
    > Wow. Turn off the TV and read the papers. Wall Street Journal
    > if you think the Times and Post are controlled by evil liberal
    > media interests.


    They don't want to hear what Ms. Tensing has to say, either. (Recall: she
    wrote the freaking STATUTE at issue in the Plame non-case, and said there
    was no violation. Didn't get reported much.)

    (I only referenced Whiffle Ball because it sounds like that's where you're
    getting all your talking points :)

    I did read THIS editorial:
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...3632.story?coll=chi-newsopinioncommentary-hed

    Bill S.
     
  3. The Wogster wrote:

    > If someone is a criminal extremist and so deemed by the police, then
    > what crime were they charged with? Unless someone is arrested and
    > charged with a crime, then calling them a criminal is blowing smoke.


    Blowing smoke, in the form of files kept by the police department.

    > The United States must be the only country in the world, where the
    > government and the people don't trust one another, and it still calls
    > itself a democracy.


    There are lots of these countries. Putin's Russia and the new Iraq,
    to name a few. Even Egypt calls itself a democracy now. The
    USA, with all its faults, has a much more vigorous and legitimate
    form of democracy than what is practiced in those countries,
    but this could erode or be taken away if we don't stand up
    for it.

    > It should really call itself a paranocracy, in that
    > the government is paranoid of the people, and the people are paranoid of
    > the government.


    Americans are generally very trusting of their government.
    It would be more accurate to call it a BlindTrustocracy.

    Robert
     
  4. Sorni wrote:

    > A) It's not illegal if indeed one end of the conversation involved a foreign
    > (real or good-faith-suspected) intelligence agent or bad guy; and


    You are talking about FISA. The administration felt the need to
    bypass that law.

    "Bush administration officials believe it is not possible, in
    a large-scale eavesdropping effort, to provide the kind of
    evidence the court requires to approve a warrant. Sources
    knowledgeable about the program said there is no way
    to secure a FISA warrant when the goal is to listen in
    on a vast array of communications in the hopes of
    finding something that sounds suspicious. Attorney
    General Alberto R. Gonzales said the White House
    had tried but failed to find a way."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/21/AR2005122102326_2.html

    If you think it is ok to 'listen in on a vast array of
    communications in the hopes of finding something
    that sounds suspicious,' then where will you
    draw the line? Some guys are going to come by
    and look through your house while you're gone.
    That's ok, too, right? You don't have anything to
    hide do you? War on Terror, all that.

    > B) AFAIK
    > not one case of "abuse" has been shown so far.


    Who is going to report the abuse when there is no
    oversight of the program?
    Now that it has been disclosed every lawyer for every
    terrorism suspect is demanding to know if these warrantless
    wiretaps were used to obtain evidence or used to obtain
    warrants for further surveillance. Every one of those cases
    will be in jeopardy.

    > Can't help notice how quickly and completely you backed off that "someone
    > within the admin leaked it" claim, BTW. Reckless charges abound, don't > they?


    What 'reckless charges?' As if blowing the whistle on
    illegal un-American activity were a bad thing. We should
    track that person down and give em a medal.

    Anyway, the NYT cites 'officials' and 'former Bush
    administration officials' as source for most of this, as
    in this current article:

    "... Initially, it was focused on communications into and
    out of Afghanistan, including international calls between
    Afghanistan and the United States. But the program
    quickly expanded.

    Several senior government officials say that when the
    special operation first began, there were few controls
    on it. Some N.S.A. officials wanted nothing to do with
    it, apparently fearful of participating in an illegal operation,
    according to a former senior Bush administration official."

    www.nytimes.com/2006/01/01/politics...&en=51dcd73cfc5cb1a6&ei=5094&partner=homepage

    > The members of the Select IC were certainly free to speak up if they were
    > alarmed/concerned/outraged -- at least within their closed circle


    Wrong.

    > -- and no
    > one expressed any reservations (save one letter supposedly drafted and stuck
    > in a drawer) according to at least two members I've heard interviewed.


    Ridiculous. They spoke out as soon as they were
    freed to do so by the leak.

    > Totally separate issue. The point is that this one judge IS a democrat;
    > why'd he wait till NOW to bitch/grandstand?


    Whoa. He 'waited till NOW' because he found out
    about it now.

    "As it launched the dramatic change in domestic
    surveillance policy, the administration chose to
    secretly brief only the presiding FISA court judges
    about it. Officials first advised U.S. District Judge
    Royce C. Lamberth, the head of FISA in the fall of
    2001, and then Kollar-Kotelly, who replaced him in
    that position in May 2002. U.S. District Judge George
    Kazen of the Southern District of Texas said in an
    interview yesterday that his information about the
    program has been largely limited to press accounts
    over the past several days."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/21/AR2005122102326_2.html

    > I did read THIS editorial:
    > http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...3632.story?coll=chi-newsopinioncommentary-hed


    And you buy those arguments?

    R
     
  5. Sorni

    Sorni Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Sorni wrote:
    >
    >> A) It's not illegal if indeed one end of the conversation involved a
    >> foreign (real or good-faith-suspected) intelligence agent or bad
    >> guy; and

    >
    > You are talking about FISA. The administration felt the need to
    > bypass that law.


    Just like every single administration since its inception.

    > "Bush administration officials believe it is not possible, in
    > a large-scale eavesdropping effort, to provide the kind of
    > evidence the court requires to approve a warrant. Sources
    > knowledgeable about the program said there is no way
    > to secure a FISA warrant when the goal is to listen in
    > on a vast array of communications in the hopes of
    > finding something that sounds suspicious. Attorney
    > General Alberto R. Gonzales said the White House
    > had tried but failed to find a way."
    >
    > http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/21/AR2005122102326_2.html
    >
    > If you think it is ok to 'listen in on a vast array of
    > communications in the hopes of finding something
    > that sounds suspicious,' then where will you
    > draw the line? Some guys are going to come by
    > and look through your house while you're gone.
    > That's ok, too, right? You don't have anything to
    > hide do you? War on Terror, all that.


    If I call or am called by an AQ member, then I deserve to be scrutinized.

    >> B) AFAIK
    >> not one case of "abuse" has been shown so far.

    >
    > Who is going to report the abuse when there is no
    > oversight of the program?


    Even more reason to report something...if it existed. (Hint: If by
    accident they heard about your cock-fighting club, they'd chalk it up to a
    disgusting pasttime and get on with their business.)

    > Now that it has been disclosed every lawyer for every
    > terrorism suspect is demanding to know if these warrantless
    > wiretaps were used to obtain evidence or used to obtain
    > warrants for further surveillance. Every one of those cases
    > will be in jeopardy.
    >
    >> Can't help notice how quickly and completely you backed off that
    >> "someone within the admin leaked it" claim, BTW. Reckless charges
    >> abound, don't > they?

    >
    > What 'reckless charges?' As if blowing the whistle on
    > illegal un-American activity were a bad thing. We should
    > track that person down and give em a medal.


    MORE reckless charges! Nice!

    > Anyway, the NYT cites 'officials' and 'former Bush
    > administration officials' as source for most of this, as
    > in this current article:
    >
    > "... Initially, it was focused on communications into and
    > out of Afghanistan, including international calls between
    > Afghanistan and the United States. But the program
    > quickly expanded.
    >
    > Several senior government officials say that when the
    > special operation first began, there were few controls
    > on it. Some N.S.A. officials wanted nothing to do with
    > it, apparently fearful of participating in an illegal operation,
    > according to a former senior Bush administration official."
    >
    > www.nytimes.com/2006/01/01/politics...&en=51dcd73cfc5cb1a6&ei=5094&partner=homepage
    >
    >> The members of the Select IC were certainly free to speak up if they
    >> were alarmed/concerned/outraged -- at least within their closed
    >> circle

    >
    > Wrong.


    Not wrong. I heard interviews of at least two members who said no on raised
    so much as an eyebrow when told (repeatedly) of this, and their JOB was to
    oversee and discuss super-secret issues.

    >> -- and no
    >> one expressed any reservations (save one letter supposedly drafted
    >> and stuck in a drawer) according to at least two members I've heard
    >> interviewed.

    >
    > Ridiculous. They spoke out as soon as they were
    > freed to do so by the leak.


    Wrong. They could have told the administration if they had misgivings or
    doubts. There were at least 15 briefings (closer to 20 I think; not sure).

    >> Totally separate issue. The point is that this one judge IS a
    >> democrat;
    >> why'd he wait till NOW to bitch/grandstand?

    >
    > Whoa. He 'waited till NOW' because he found out
    > about it now.


    I'm skeptical about that. We'll see.

    > "As it launched the dramatic change in domestic
    > surveillance policy, the administration chose to
    > secretly brief only the presiding FISA court judges
    > about it. Officials first advised U.S. District Judge
    > Royce C. Lamberth, the head of FISA in the fall of
    > 2001, and then Kollar-Kotelly, who replaced him in
    > that position in May 2002. U.S. District Judge George
    > Kazen of the Southern District of Texas said in an
    > interview yesterday that his information about the
    > program has been largely limited to press accounts
    > over the past several days."
    >
    > http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/21/AR2005122102326_2.html
    >
    >> I did read THIS editorial:
    >> http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...3632.story?coll=chi-newsopinioncommentary-hed

    >
    > And you buy those arguments?


    Let's see, the author, John Schmidt, "served under President Clinton from
    1994 to 1997 as the associate attorney general of the United States." I buy
    HIS arguments a helluva lot more than YOURS.

    Good night now; happy new year...

    BS (nah, really)
     
  6. Bob

    Bob Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Sorni wrote:
    >
    > > > Again, I think you're missing the issue here. The only
    > > > reason this might be reviewed by ANY sort of court is
    > > > because the fact of warrantless wiretaps was leaked
    > > > by someone within the administration.

    > >
    > > Oh, really? That would be huge news if true; got proof? I'm betting it was
    > > either /congressional/ (Rocke-related?) or FISA itself. (See below.) Time
    > > will tell.

    >
    > You could be right about that, but this will not
    > be huge news compared to the real story,
    > which is the illegal wiretapping itself.


    Robert-
    You keep referring to "illegal" wiretaps as if the illegality of the
    wiretaps has already been established. That is simply not accurate.
    Let's be clear on what we are discussing here. The current debate is
    about whether or not the Executive has the authority to intercept
    *international* electronic communications. This President says that
    when one or more of the parties to those communications has been
    previously identified as a member of a group inimical to US national
    security he has that authority, calling it espionage. Many disagree
    with him, saying that since those communications are either originated
    by, routed through, or intended for persons in the US then any
    intercepts must receive prior approval from a court in the form of a
    search warrant.
    The issue is not as black and white as you make it appear. Consider
    this- if you replaced the phrase, "as a member of a group inimical to
    US national security", in the above sentence with the phrase, "as an
    agent of a foreign government inimical to US national security", I
    doubt we'd even be having this conversation. That would clearly be
    espionage. Maybe the information gathered in such a warrantless
    intercept would not be admissible in a US court against a US citizen
    but it could certainly be used to formulate strategies to protect the
    US from attack by those that would do us harm.

    Regards,
    Bob Hunt
     
  7. Bob

    Bob Guest

    Tom Keats wrote:
    > In article <[email protected]>,
    > "Bob" <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    > > This sounds an awfully lot like we *agree*, Tom, at least in part.
    > > How's that for a scary thought? <g>

    >
    > Actually it's not scary at all. I often do find myself in
    > agreement with you, and I enjoy considering your insights
    > and opinions, even when they diverge with, or oppose my own.
    > There's nothing like a civil interchange of thought to
    > attain new realizations or revelations.
    >
    > Too bad the WTO people and their ilk aren't so open-minded ;-)


    Would that everyone were as open-minded as us. ;-)

    Regards,
    Bob
     
  8. Sorni

    Sorni Guest

    Bob wrote:
    > [email protected] wrote:
    >> Sorni wrote:
    >>
    >>>> Again, I think you're missing the issue here. The only
    >>>> reason this might be reviewed by ANY sort of court is
    >>>> because the fact of warrantless wiretaps was leaked
    >>>> by someone within the administration.
    >>>
    >>> Oh, really? That would be huge news if true; got proof? I'm
    >>> betting it was either /congressional/ (Rocke-related?) or FISA
    >>> itself. (See below.) Time will tell.

    >>
    >> You could be right about that, but this will not
    >> be huge news compared to the real story,
    >> which is the illegal wiretapping itself.

    >
    > Robert-
    > You keep referring to "illegal" wiretaps as if the illegality of the
    > wiretaps has already been established. That is simply not accurate.
    > Let's be clear on what we are discussing here. The current debate is
    > about whether or not the Executive has the authority to intercept
    > *international* electronic communications. This President says that
    > when one or more of the parties to those communications has been
    > previously identified as a member of a group inimical to US national
    > security he has that authority, calling it espionage. Many disagree
    > with him, saying that since those communications are either originated
    > by, routed through, or intended for persons in the US then any
    > intercepts must receive prior approval from a court in the form of a
    > search warrant.
    > The issue is not as black and white as you make it appear. Consider
    > this- if you replaced the phrase, "as a member of a group inimical to
    > US national security", in the above sentence with the phrase, "as an
    > agent of a foreign government inimical to US national security", I
    > doubt we'd even be having this conversation. That would clearly be
    > espionage. Maybe the information gathered in such a warrantless
    > intercept would not be admissible in a US court against a US citizen
    > but it could certainly be used to formulate strategies to protect the
    > US from attack by those that would do us harm.


    I liked my "Robert, your mother wears Army boots" approach, but that's
    another way to go.

    :-D

    BS
     
  9. As I see the 'debate' here is still plodding along, I thought some
    might like to read the following...

    Shock, awe and Hobbes have backfired on America's neocons

    Guardian
    28 December 2005

    ....darker dreams surfaced in America's military universities. The
    theorists of the "revolution in military affairs" predicted that
    technology would lead to easy and perpetual US dominance of the world.

    ....Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance - a key strategic document
    published in 1996 - aimed to understand how to destroy the "will to
    resist before, during and after battle". For Harlan Ullman of the
    National Defence University, its main author, the perfect example was
    the atom bomb at Hiroshima. But with or without such a weapon, one
    could create an illusion of unending strength and ruthlessness. Or one
    could deprive an enemy of the ability to communicate, observe and
    interact - a macro version of the sensory deprivation used on
    individuals - so as to create a "feeling of impotence". And one must
    always inflict brutal reprisals against those who resist. An
    alternative was the "decay and default" model, whereby a nation's will
    to resist collapsed through the "imposition of social breakdown".

    All of this came to be applied in Iraq in 2003... It has been usual to
    explain the chaos and looting in Baghdad, the destruction of
    infrastructure, ministries, museums and the national library and
    archives, as caused by a failure of Rumsfeld's planning. But the
    evidence is this was at least in part a mask for the destruction of the
    collective memory and modern state of a key Arab nation, and the
    manufacture of disorder to create a hunger for the occupier's
    supervision...American imperial strategists invested deeply in the
    belief that through spreading terror they could take power...

    The problem for the US today is that Leviathan has shot his
    wad...People can't be terrorised into identification with America. The
    US has proved able to destroy massively - but not create, or even
    control. Afghanistan and Iraq lie in ruins, yet the occupiers cower
    behind concrete mountains.

    The spin machine is on full tilt to represent Iraq as a success.
    Peters, in New Glory: Expanding America's Supremacy, asserts: "Our
    country is a force for good without precedent"; and Barnett, in
    Blueprint, says: "The US military is a force for global good that ...
    has no equal." Both offer ambitious plans for how the US is going to
    remake the third world in its image. There is a violent hysteria to the
    boasts. The narcissism of a decade earlier has given way to an
    extrovert rage at those who have resisted America's will since 2001.
    Both urge utter ruthlessness in crushing resistance. In November 2004,
    Peters told Fox News that in Falluja "the best outcome, frankly, is if
    they're all killed".

    But he directs his real fury at France and Germany: "A haggard Circe,
    Europe dulled our senses and fooled us into believing in her
    attractions. But the dugs are dry in Germany and France. They deluded
    us into prolonging the affair long after our attentions should have
    turned to ... India, South Africa, Brazil."

    ....only America can cure its post 9/11 mixture of paranoia and
    megalomania...The US needs to discover, like a child that does not know
    its limits, that there is a world outside its body and desires, beyond
    even the reach of its toys, that suffers too.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1674184,00.html
     
  10. Also interesting is a US made propaganda film from 1946 entitled
    'Despotism'. This

    'Illustrates the thesis that all communities can be ranged on a scale
    running from democracy to despotism. The two chief characteristics of
    despotism -- restricted respect and concentrated power -- are defined
    and illustrated. Two of the conditions which have historically promoted
    the growth of despotism are explained and exemplified. These are a
    slanted economic distribution and a strict control of the agencies of
    communication.'

    Going by the standards of the USA itself in the 1940' it does seem that
    America today can be though of as being controlled by Despotism...

    http://www.archive.org/details/Despotis1946
     
  11. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    "Sorni" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > [email protected] wrote:
    >
    > Something's fishy about FISA since Bush took office. They had hardly any
    > denials (5 in like 18000?) before; then nearly 200 in a few years. And
    > the judge who resigned is a highly partisan Clinton appointee. Let the
    > (leak) inquiry begin!
    >

    I agree something's fishy, but suspect its something else. I suspect Bush
    decided to do certain things outside this court's review because they were
    significant expansions of power beyond the existing law which FISA might not
    approve. So, he contends they don't have jurisdiction and avoids raising the
    issue.

    Time will tell which (or both!) of our theories is correct.

    Here's an interesting question: if the privacy violations were indeed
    illegal, would it be illegal to leak word of their existence (both legally,
    and practically)? If they are indeed illegal, might we be in whistleblower
    territory?

    So much off-topic stuff of interest.
     
  12. Bob wrote:

    > Robert-
    > You keep referring to "illegal" wiretaps as if the illegality of the
    > wiretaps has already been established. That is simply not accurate.
    > Let's be clear on what we are discussing here. The current debate is
    > about whether or not the Executive has the authority to intercept
    > *international* electronic communications. This President says that
    > when one or more of the parties to those communications has been
    > previously identified as a member of a group inimical to US national
    > security he has that authority, calling it espionage. Many disagree
    > with him, saying that since those communications are either originated
    > by, routed through, or intended for persons in the US then any
    > intercepts must receive prior approval from a court in the form of a
    > search warrant.


    May I humbly suggest that what the President says, and
    what is actually the case may be two very different things.
    Some may notice that the story has changed quite a bit
    since 2003, when the Pres. assured us that all wiretaps
    still require warrants, more than a year after he ok'd warrantless
    wiretaps. His new contention that it is a limited program
    targeting only known al Qaeda members does not match
    what has been leaked to the Post and Times.

    "Bush administration officials believe it is not possible, in
    a large-scale eavesdropping effort, to provide the kind of
    evidence the court requires to approve a warrant. Sources
    knowledgeable about the program said there is no way
    to secure a FISA warrant when the goal is to listen in
    on a vast array of communications in the hopes of
    finding something that sounds suspicious. Attorney
    General Alberto R. Gonzales said the White House
    had tried but failed to find a way."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/21/AR2005122102326.html

    It seems the govt. was engaged in the type of eavesdropping
    for which no warrants could be forthcoming. This contradicts
    the claim that excessive bureaucratic hurdles were the reason
    for bypassing the FISA court. So if the govt. knows it can't get
    a warrant but does it anyway, what would you call that?
    Seems pretty clear-cut to me.

    I'm genuinely surprised at you Bob. You are always
    such a rock when it comes to the law. Here you seem
    willing to play fast and loose with it like some crazy-eyed
    lawyer in the White House.

    It comes down to this--the 'legal' leg that the administration
    will have to stand on is its contention that Congress authorized
    the President to do pretty much whatever the fark he wants to
    do to prosecute the un-ending, un-endable War on Terror.
    Do you trust the executive branch to make up its own laws
    and act as check and balance against itself? That's not a
    society I want to live in. If I wanted to live in a place like
    that, I'd move to Turkmenistan.

    > The issue is not as black and white as you make it appear. Consider
    > this- if you replaced the phrase, "as a member of a group inimical to
    > US national security", in the above sentence with the phrase, "as an
    > agent of a foreign government inimical to US national security", I
    > doubt we'd even be having this conversation. That would clearly be
    > espionage. Maybe the information gathered in such a warrantless
    > intercept would not be admissible in a US court against a US citizen
    > but it could certainly be used to formulate strategies to protect the
    > US from attack by those that would do us harm.


    It could also be used against political/ideological opponents for
    reasons having nothing to do with national security. Who's to say
    it hasn't already? Just trust 'em, right? Because they have
    earned such a high level of credibility.

    Nobody contests the right of the NSA to spy
    on al Qaeda, warrant or no warrant. The point is you need
    some sort of effective checks and balances when
    granting that power.

    Robert
     
  13. Bob

    Bob Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Bob wrote:
    >
    > > Robert-
    > > You keep referring to "illegal" wiretaps as if the illegality of the
    > > wiretaps has already been established. That is simply not accurate.
    > > Let's be clear on what we are discussing here. The current debate is
    > > about whether or not the Executive has the authority to intercept
    > > *international* electronic communications. This President says that
    > > when one or more of the parties to those communications has been
    > > previously identified as a member of a group inimical to US national
    > > security he has that authority, calling it espionage. Many disagree
    > > with him, saying that since those communications are either originated
    > > by, routed through, or intended for persons in the US then any
    > > intercepts must receive prior approval from a court in the form of a
    > > search warrant.

    >
    > May I humbly suggest that what the President says, and
    > what is actually the case may be two very different things.
    > Some may notice that the story has changed quite a bit
    > since 2003, when the Pres. assured us that all wiretaps
    > still require warrants, more than a year after he ok'd warrantless
    > wiretaps. His new contention that it is a limited program
    > targeting only known al Qaeda members does not match
    > what has been leaked to the Post and Times.
    >
    > "Bush administration officials believe it is not possible, in
    > a large-scale eavesdropping effort, to provide the kind of
    > evidence the court requires to approve a warrant. Sources
    > knowledgeable about the program said there is no way
    > to secure a FISA warrant when the goal is to listen in
    > on a vast array of communications in the hopes of
    > finding something that sounds suspicious. Attorney
    > General Alberto R. Gonzales said the White House
    > had tried but failed to find a way."
    >
    > http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/21/AR2005122102326.html
    >
    > It seems the govt. was engaged in the type of eavesdropping
    > for which no warrants could be forthcoming. This contradicts
    > the claim that excessive bureaucratic hurdles were the reason
    > for bypassing the FISA court. So if the govt. knows it can't get
    > a warrant but does it anyway, what would you call that?
    > Seems pretty clear-cut to me.


    Things are seldom clearcut when the law confronts new technology which
    is what has happened here.

    > I'm genuinely surprised at you Bob. You are always
    > such a rock when it comes to the law. Here you seem
    > willing to play fast and loose with it like some crazy-eyed
    > lawyer in the White House.


    I'm surprised that you are surprised since my point is that there is a
    genuine disagreement among legal scholars on whether the intercepts are
    legal or illegal. I wouldn't describe my acknowledgment that the law is
    as yet unsettled as playing fast and loose.

    > It comes down to this--the 'legal' leg that the administration
    > will have to stand on is its contention that Congress authorized
    > the President to do pretty much whatever the fark he wants to
    > do to prosecute the un-ending, un-endable War on Terror.
    > Do you trust the executive branch to make up its own laws
    > and act as check and balance against itself? That's not a
    > society I want to live in. If I wanted to live in a place like
    > that, I'd move to Turkmenistan.


    Before you move to Turkmenistan or wherever consider that the debate is
    still going on and that both sides have *more* than one argument to
    make. *One* of the Administration's legal arguments might be that the
    intercepts are a reasonable and predictable use of the power Congress
    authorized under the Patriot Act. Another argument could be made that
    since the intercepts are international in nature and target individuals
    and groups believed to pose a threat to US security they are simply an
    extension of the long-recognized power of the Executive to conduct
    espionage.

    > > The issue is not as black and white as you make it appear. Consider
    > > this- if you replaced the phrase, "as a member of a group inimical to
    > > US national security", in the above sentence with the phrase, "as an
    > > agent of a foreign government inimical to US national security", I
    > > doubt we'd even be having this conversation. That would clearly be
    > > espionage. Maybe the information gathered in such a warrantless
    > > intercept would not be admissible in a US court against a US citizen
    > > but it could certainly be used to formulate strategies to protect the
    > > US from attack by those that would do us harm.

    >
    > It could also be used against political/ideological opponents for
    > reasons having nothing to do with national security. Who's to say
    > it hasn't already? Just trust 'em, right? Because they have
    > earned such a high level of credibility.


    Of course there is a possibility that power could be misused. That's
    true of any power held by anyone. For instance, the power of judges to
    issue search warrants can also be misused but we don't refuse them that
    power. Instead, we set up rules for them to follow and then monitor
    their adherence to those rules. That's what should happen here IMO.
    What we should *not* do is refuse or grant powers to a President (or
    any government office) based on our opinion of the person holding that
    office because once granted, powers tend to remain with the office. The
    person in that office today will be replaced sometime in the future and
    who can say their replacement won't exercise those powers differently?


    > Nobody contests the right of the NSA to spy
    > on al Qaeda, warrant or no warrant.


    If that were true we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    >The point is you need
    > some sort of effective checks and balances when
    > granting that power.


    Agreed.

    Regards,
    Bob Hunt
     
  14. Bob wrote in part:

    > Things are seldom clearcut when the law confronts new technology which
    > is what has happened here.


    Fine. Then why not take their case to the court which
    already exists to decide just these sorts of issues? Why
    not go to congress? Why not stick something in the
    Patriot Act. The administration is not empowered to make
    up its own laws or ignore existing law as it sees fit.
    Although, I suppose they will have to argue that they
    are.

    > I'm surprised that you are surprised since my point is that there is a
    > genuine disagreement among legal scholars on whether the intercepts are
    > legal or illegal. I wouldn't describe my acknowledgment that the law is
    > as yet unsettled as playing fast and loose.


    I think you are missing the point. There is disagreement on
    whether the intercepts, as they are described in official statements,
    are legal or illegal--the administration is not allowed to decide
    unilaterally one way or the other, nor are they allowed to keep
    the program secret from the other branches, make claims
    about its nature and say 'trust us.'
    There is nothing unsettled about that. Whether the judicial
    branch might rule in favor of the wiretaps is immaterial, because
    it did not get a chance to consider them for four years. Most
    of the FISA judges heard about the program for the first
    time in the NYT.

    R
     
  15. Neil Brooks

    Neil Brooks Guest

    [email protected] wrote:

    >Bob wrote in part:
    >
    >> Things are seldom clearcut when the law confronts new technology which
    >> is what has happened here.

    >
    >Fine. Then why not take their case to the court which
    >already exists to decide just these sorts of issues? Why
    >not go to congress? Why not stick something in the
    >Patriot Act. The administration is not empowered to make
    >up its own laws or ignore existing law as it sees fit.
    >Although, I suppose they will have to argue that they
    >are.


    r15757,

    I don't know where you're going with this, but it's this simple: The
    FISA court--which allows you to shoot first and ask questions (up to
    72hrs) later was too slow and cumbersome and needed to be circumvented
    in the interests of ... of ... of ....

    Look, the current administration has already assured you that the only
    time they circumvented the process was to wiretap *known* Al Qaeda
    agents talking with people in the United States--a
    domestic-to-international scenario (all that talk about partnering
    with the phone companies to dump and mine massive amounts of data that
    may or may not have been domestic-to-domestic aside).

    Are you telling me that their word isn't good enough for you? What do
    you think FISA's court would have done, anyway? Make them prove out
    their case for 'probable cause,' and then--if all went well--allow the
    tap?

    You know they weren't going to do that. In fact, I can cite you
    *five* examples where they *denied* the right to wiretap (maybe after
    the wiretapping was done. Maybe) [1]

    For shame. You must be French, mais non?

    [/sarcasm]

    [1] ok, it was out of about 20,000 requests, but ... still ... five is
    a *lot*

    [snip]
    --
    Live simply so that others may simply live
     
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