Telecom Immunity Part Deux

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Cascarino's Pizzeria, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. Cascarino's Pizzeria

    Apr 29, 2001
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris Dodd continues to take a principled stand against the spying telecoms & Bush administration. I believe John Edwards is supporting his fight. The question remains if the Dem. leadership wants to actually put up a fight to protect the rule of law (paging Harry Reid)
     
  2. Mountainia

    Mountainia Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Section 207, Row 7
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Whatever you may think about this particular case, the logic of this is astounding.

    Those pushing for this law are tacitly admitting that some Telecommunications personnel have broken the law, otherwise this law would do nothing.

    However, if there were laws broken, we should be seeing some indictments (and I have not heard of this happening.)

    The only reading I can give this to make any sense out of it is this: the Bush administration knows that some Telecom execs broke the law at the urging of Bush admin officials. The Bush administration has no intention to turn around and prosecute them, but are afraid a subsequent administration might do so. The problem with this scenario is that it is basically a criminal conspiracy.

    Anybody else with an explanation that doesn't cast such a bad light on Bush?
     
  3. Barbara

    Barbara BigSoccer Supporter

    Apr 29, 2000
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How can there be another way to look at it? If laws hadn't been broken, we wouldn't be talking about this. It's completely bizarro world.
     
  4. Deep Wilcox

    Deep Wilcox BigSoccer Supporter

    Jun 5, 2007
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Those 'small gummint' conservatives are so cute. All we need is a little law granting retro-active immunity for telephone companies, what's the big deal? It is just the 'free market' at work. This story is just mind boggling.
     
  5. Mountainia

    Mountainia Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Section 207, Row 7
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Of course, there isn't another way. The problem here is that the only check Congress has on the President when all other avenues fail (which they already have) is impeachment. And neither the Republicans nor the Democrats want to do this.

    Most people don't remember (or ever knew) this, but the same thing happened in 1973 with Nixon. It became absolutely clear by April of that year that Nixon had been involved in obstruction of justice and other impeachable acts. But a strange thing happened; Congress backed off. The idea that they really had to begin impeachment raised issues of overturning the vote of American's just the year before, and other balance of power (between Democrats and Republicans) issues, that it was easier to hope it all went away.

    It was the tapes that finally forced the issue. I'm afraid the lesson Bush learned was to not tape (or destroy them.)
     
  6. eneste

    eneste Member

    Mar 24, 2000
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I think this is the most interesting topic that is not getting the press that it deserves. It's not just the Republican, lots of Democrats want to quietly pass immunity for telecom companies and hope that no one notices. Jay Rockefeller has worked with Cheney on it and is especially pushing it hard. Democratic aides have been threating Dodd in political rags.

    As I understand it, if telecom immunity is passed then we'll have no way to find out the extent of illegal spying that was pushed by President and what the companies that agreed to break the law actually did (and not all agreed to such as Qwest, those who did like AT&T profited from it). To make it even weirder, if it was allowed to go to federal court, telecom companies already have immunity from prosecution if they can show written government authorization. Rockefeller's argument is that the companies wouldn't be able to defend themselves because of the State Secrets Act but under the current FISA law telecom companies are allowed to present classified information in secret to the court. It's bizarre.

    It will be interesting to see how it plays out and if Mountainia is right. The longer it drags on the more people that are going to find out about this craziness and push their Representatives. How is this not a criminal cover-up with government and certain companies working in tandem to cover each other's butts?
     
  7. eneste

    eneste Member

    Mar 24, 2000
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Also, the last time that Congress considered retroactive immunity for corporations was back in 1965 when six banks merged and broke anti-trust laws. The Democratic Attorney General at the time called it "outrageous" and "a private relief bill for the banks concerned". It's really an extraordinary story, hopefully Dodd and Feingold will filibuster on Monday otherwise it might be over.

    Here is a good overview of how it currently stands.
     
  8. Cascarino's Pizzeria

    Apr 29, 2001
    New Jersey, USA
    It's almost as if the media is bored with Constitutional overreaches, just a generation after what appears now in comparison to the lawless Bush Admin. to be "just a break-in" at the Watergate. It's truly astounding.

    And a Daily Kos commenter essentially nailed it in a few paragraphs:

    The real object of the immunity issue is to set a precedent for the executive. It isn't just a matter of the executive being protected from prosecution for a failure to follow the law, but from being held accountable at all.

    Privatization--i.e. having government functions performed by private corporations--has been primarily driven by a desire to evade public supervision of the agents of government. So, in a sense, the corporations have been unwittingly complicit in an effort to undermine Constitutional government.

    Now, the architects of this subterfuge may well argue that the people were never intended to rule and cite as evidence that there was no precedent until the passage of the civil rights laws and judicial interpretations in the latter half of the 20th Century. Which is correct. But that merely demonstrates that the principles underlying the Constitution still haven't been fully realized.
     
  9. Cascarino's Pizzeria

    Apr 29, 2001
    New Jersey, USA
    And (surprise) telecoms weren't just assisting the guv'mint out of a "patriotic duty."


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A telephone company cut off an FBI international wiretap after the agency failed to pay its bill on time, according to a U.S. government audit released on Thursday. [...]

    [The DOJ Inspector General] cited the case in which a wiretap under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs electronic spying in terrorism and intelligence cases, was disrupted due to an overdue bill.

    "Late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the FBI, resulting in lost evidence, including an instance where delivery of intercept information required by a ... FISA order was halted due to untimely payment," the audit said.
     
  10. Barbara

    Barbara BigSoccer Supporter

    Apr 29, 2000
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I thought that happened a couple of weeks ago.
     
  11. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
    Staff Member

    Bayern München
    Germany
    Jul 23, 2004
    Karo Viertel
    Club:
    FC Sankt Pauli
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    The whole 'wiretapping' fiasco is a farce in the first place.

    The very phrase is a lie.
     
  12. Cascarino's Pizzeria

    Apr 29, 2001
    New Jersey, USA
    It was put on hold before Christmas. They're voting again today I believe. Start calling, faxing, emailing.
     
  13. Claymore

    Claymore Member

    Jul 9, 2000
    Montgomery Vlg, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Retroactive immunity for the telcos is nothing more than BushCo trying to cover its ass. If a case ever makes it to court, the telcos will point the finger at the DOJ, who in turn will say they were acting on instructions from the WH; nevermind impeachment, this would open Bush and/or Cheney to actual criminal prosecution.

    Specter tried to throw in a revision that would make the Feds the defendant in any trial, but that would just allow the Feds to say "national security, bitches" and walk away.
     
  14. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Excuse me but it was the "large government", that is both the president and both houses of congress that put the telecoms in this predicament in the first place.
     
  15. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 16, 1999
    Big City Blinking
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How? By passing FISA in the first place back in 1978?
     
  16. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
    Staff Member

    Bayern München
    Germany
    Jul 23, 2004
    Karo Viertel
    Club:
    FC Sankt Pauli
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    My (rough) understanding is as follows

    1. For decades the 'spooks' have been trawling though electronic comms outside the US
    2. In reality that trawling has always included stuff originating within the US, and quite possible stuff 100% within the US
    3. In more recent times, the whitehouse wanted to refocus the use sophisticated trawling onto domestic electronic comms - the so called "wiretapping" - which is nothing of the sort
    4. Thus a black area gained unwanted attention - but it was always going on - just much more than before.

    ?
     
  17. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Nope. By passing the PATRIOT Act.
     
  18. Claymore

    Claymore Member

    Jul 9, 2000
    Montgomery Vlg, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Oh. I guess that means we can't change it then.

    Was the Patriot Act a bad idea? Yes, but I don't think those who passed it had any idea of the extent to which Bush would abuse it. I seem to recall the WH categorically denying that any violation of the FISA court provisions had occured.
     
  19. Wingtips1

    Wingtips1 Member+

    May 3, 2004
    02116
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    bush will just pardon them when leaving office. so either way, they end up immune.
     
  20. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Just responding to another poster's rant. That's all. And remember that from their POV, violations didn't happen because they had a warped AG giving them advice on what was in bounds.

    I know I'm in the minority but I actually empathize with both the telecoms and those who's rights may have been violated. It was a shit situation created by an overreaching government in a time of great fear. Shame on both the president who overstepped and the congress that gave him the power to.
     
  21. Deep Wilcox

    Deep Wilcox BigSoccer Supporter

    Jun 5, 2007
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It went on for 5 years. It is probably still going on. That aint "in a time of great fear". It is the warrantless investigation of communications of Americans inside the US. No one gave * that "power", that is why he wants immunity for his cohorts so badly.
     
  22. Cascarino's Pizzeria

    Apr 29, 2001
    New Jersey, USA
    It was done out of trust of the Executive branch and with most dingbats in Congress not reading it all the way thru. Why you would trust them now is beyond me.
     
  23. Cascarino's Pizzeria

    Apr 29, 2001
    New Jersey, USA
    As Glenn Greenwald points out, Dems at least want a 30 day extension to review everything. Bush in his typical 3-year-old tantrum way, has said he'd veto an extension. I guess this "super-vital legislation to protect all 'Mericans from imminent attack" ain't that vital after all?

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/index.html
     
  24. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
    Staff Member

    Bayern München
    Germany
    Jul 23, 2004
    Karo Viertel
    Club:
    FC Sankt Pauli
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    rediculous.
     
  25. Deep Wilcox

    Deep Wilcox BigSoccer Supporter

    Jun 5, 2007
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I read an article that said W was "Chucking the toys out of his pram over this". Made me laugh.
     

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