EFF Sues the NSA and Bush Over Illegal Wiretaps

 Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Politics, Society  Comments Off on EFF Sues the NSA and Bush Over Illegal Wiretaps
Sep 192008

CNet News is reporting that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed suit against the NSA, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzales on behalf of AT&T customers in order to try to halt what EFF calls “massive illegal” warrant-less surveillance of Americans.

“For years, the NSA has been engaged in a massive and massively illegal fishing expedition through AT&T’s domestic networks and databases of customer records,” senior staff attorney Kevin Bankston said in a statement. “Our goal in this new case against the government, as in our case against AT&T, is to dismantle this dragnet surveillance program as soon as possible.”

The EFF as tried suing before, but lost at the Federal Appeals Court level, and the SCOTUS refused to intervene. The Appeals Court dismissed the original case on narrow procedural grounds, and never ruled on the legality of the case or the surveillance. I guess EFF is hoping to try to finally get a hearing on legality of the surveillance.

Two Inauspicious Anniversaries Today

 Congress, Politics, Presidency  Comments Off on Two Inauspicious Anniversaries Today
Jan 112008

Orange really isn’t my color, but I did find one orange and white stripped shirt in my closet to wear today. So why would it be important to wear orange today? January 11 six years ago was the first day prisoners arrived at Guantanamo Bay, beginning what will go down in history as one of America’s darkest times. To help call for an end to the use of places like Guantanamo, the American Civil Liberties Union has asked everyone to wear orange today (you know, like prison jump suit orange) to acknowledge the existence of such places.

Fortunately, legislation has been introduced in Congress that would close the detention facility and restore due process rights to those being held at Guantanamo. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced S. 1469, the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility Closure Act of 2007. The bill requires the president to close the facility within 120 days of enactment – during which time detainees would be charged and sent to either the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, KS, or transferred to another country that will not torture or abuse them.

I would ask you to take a few minutes and write a letter to your Congressional Representatives and encourage to sign on in support of S. 1469.

It was January 10 last year that King George announced his plans for the troop surge in Iraq. Republican candidates, turncoat Joe Lieberman, and all the Fox News pundits are proclaiming the surge a success because violence is down somewhat in Iraq. Certainly it is true that violence is down, but it does not make the surge a success.

As I reviewed George’s speech (he so doesn’t represent me that I refuse to refer to him as President…he does not deserve to be included in the ranks of the men that have that moniker), I realized the purpose of the surge was to reduce violence so that the Iraqi government could make progress on the many political issues facing the country. It was to provide an atmosphere in which the Iraqi government would agree on issues including oil revenue sharing, de-Baathification, federalism, and more. There has been absolutely no progress within the Iraqi government on these issues during the past year.

I’m glad violence is down, but we are no closer to being able to reduce troop levels (and expenditures) than we were a year ago, and the current situation is unsustainable.