From the September 2006 Idaho Observer:
A government of, by and for its criminal self
Bill to "legalize" unlawful wiretapping now in committee
S. 2453 even has unconstitutional ex post facto provisions to "immunize" wiretappers who were wiretapping prior to such activities becoming "legal" through an act of Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), whose initial public reaction to the wiretapping controversy was shock and dismay, has worked closely with Vice-president Cheney to develop a bill that would authorize the government to monitor the communications of private citizens without warrants. The bill, S. 2453, also contains unconstitutional ex post facto provisions "immunizing" the president and his functionaries from prosecution for wiretapping activities conducted prior to them being made "legal" by an act of Congress.
A federal court recently found the president’s warrantless domestic wiretapping program to be "unlawful" and "unconstitutional." During the proceedings it was revealed that the Bush administration had arranged for surveillance programs before 9/11, proving that domestic spying was not initiated as an appropriate national security response to the alleged terror attacks as the White House has claimed since Dec., 2005.
The U.S. National Security Agency, court transcripts reveal, asked AT&T to help it set up a domestic call-monitoring program seven months before Sept. 11, 2001, according to lawyers representing customers of Verizon Communications and BellSouth Corp. in a breach of privacy lawsuit. The suit, which charged the three communications companies with cooperating with the NSA to eavesdrop on customers, added AT&T as a defendant after the plaintiff’s attorneys learned that the program was set up well ahead of the terrorist attacks. "The Bush administration asserted this became necessary after 9/11," attorney Carl Mayer told Bloomberg News. "This undermines that assertion."
S. 2453, would give the Administration new authority to obtain blanket "warrants" for its domestic wiretapping program — as well as for any other wiretapping programs it desires. Once it obtains this blanket permission, the president would apparently be exempt from the Fourth Amendment’s requirement to show a reason for each wiretap and obtain a warrant.
The legislation does not directly address the fact that the wiretapping program was just declared unconstitutional in a U.S. District Court., but is a blatant attempt to pass a law circumventing a court ruling.
S. 2453 would also:
• Send all court cases involving warrantless surveillance—including cases currently pending in federal courts—to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, which is completely off-limits to lawyers without the highest security clearances.
• Allow these cases to be dismissed for "any reason" with no chance for appeal.
• Remove other protections, enabling the White House to freely conduct data-mining of private information.
Aside from the complete violation of citizens’ right to be secure in their persons, paper and effects, wiretapping has not been proven useful in protecting our nation against terrorists. A New York Times article from January, 2006, quoted FBI sources as saying that the information generated from warrantless wiretapping led to "thousands...of dead ends" per month and diverted resources from more important counterterrorism investigations.
The bill is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee and will likely be "fast tracked" to a floor vote. Contact your senator to vote "no" on S. 2453 because a federal court has already ruled that warrantless wiretapping is "unconstitutional" and in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Service Act and the FBI is on record as stating the program, while being of no investigational value, diverts agents from applying resources to legitimate counterterrorism investigations.
Contact senators/reps electronically through the websites below
or call the switchboard for the Senate and House at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your senator or rep’s office.
Air force to test non-lethal weapons on civilly
The Associated Press reported Sept. 12, 2006, that Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne announced, "[n]on-lethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield."
Secretary Wynne justified the testing of experimental crowd control devices on unsuspecting American mobs by publicly stating the following line of logic: "If we’re not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."
According to the AP, Secretary Wynne explained that the Air Force has been financing non-lethal weapons research, but will not likely spend any more money on development "...until injury problems are reviewed by medical experts and resolved."
That means unwitting American test subjects will be "hit" with the weapons and then monitored (for an indeterminate amount of time) to determine the extent of injuries sustained.
Non-lethal weapons are generally understood to be the emission of short, intense microwaves intended to weaken or incapacitate specific targets. Other microwave frequencies may be broadcast over a target area, making mob members so uncomfortable that crowds are encouraged to disperse.
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