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Obama/Congress Traitors to Privacy, Assembly, Due Process

According to Naomi Wolf, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund filed a request for documentation records about government surveillance of the Occupy Movement. According to Wolf the long-awaited documentation “shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council.” In other words, according to Wolf, the cops and DHS were working for and with banks to “target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.”

The majority of members of the Occupy movement see themselves as peaceful organizers. But to the FBI the very entity is to be regarded as a “terrorist threat.” So much for the constitutional right of assembly in this country. So much for an out-to-lunch Attorney General Eric Holder NOT upholding our right to peaceful assembly.

As if this disclosure isn’t nauseating enough, the Senate waited until there were only four days remaining of their calendar year to rush through approval of a five-year extension of the warrantless surveillance FISA law that caused such heartbreak the first time around for liberals when Obama did his 180-degree flip-flop and voted for authorization.

Patrick Martin of wsws writes:

The 2008 version of the FISA Amendments Act was rushed through Congress to retroactively legalize the spying conducted by the NSA, using the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as a pretext. While requiring the NSA to “target” foreigners, this was not a limitation in practice, since the law has been interpreted by both the NSA and the FISA court to authorize eavesdropping on any communication that may in any way be linked to a foreign target.

snip

In 2007, a liberal Senate Democrat from Illinois condemned the Bush administration’s policy of massive Internet and telecommunications surveillance and opposed any effort to authorize it through legislation. By June of 2008, however, Barack Obama had won the Democratic presidential nomination and was the presumptive heir to the role of commander-in-chief. He voted for the 2008 version of the FISA Amendments Act when it came before the Senate, and his administration has used these powers to the utmost.

The Washington Post estimated in a 2010 report that the NSA stores 1.7 billion communications—e-mail, telephone calls and other messages—every single day. An NSA whistleblower has charged that the agency’s database has accumulated more than 20 trillion interchanges between Americans.

The truth is that the greatest threat to the lives and liberties of the American people is the government of the United States and its military-intelligence apparatus, the largest machinery of state repression on the planet.

The military itself is increasingly involved in domestic operations directed against the American population, through new structures like the Northern Command, the first-ever headquarters for military action on the North American mainland, and the use of surveillance drones, thousands of which are being deployed within the borders of the United States.

The Senate vote re-authorizing five more years of the FISA Amendments Act and secretive domestic spying was an impressive 73 to 23. So much for Congress being a watchdog over a sustained illegitimate over-reach into our privacy by the tentacled branches of executive power.

This from Glenn Greenwald:

Critically, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 did much more than shield lawbreaking telecoms from all forms of legal accountability. Jointly written by Dick Cheney and then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller, it also legalized vast new, sweeping and almost certainly unconstitutional forms of warrantless government eavesdropping.

snip

The Democratic Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, took the lead in attacking Wyden, Merkley, Udall and Paul with the most foul Cheneyite accusations, and demanded renewal of the FISA law without any reforms. …

In other words, Obama successfully relied on Senate Republicans (the ones his supporters depict as the Root of All Evil) along with a dozen of the most militaristic Democrats to ensure that he can continue to eavesdrop on Americans without any warrants, transparency or real oversight. That’s the standard coalition that has spent the last four years extending Bush/Cheney theories, eroding core liberties and entrenching endless militarism: Obama + the GOP caucus + Feinstein-type Democrats. As Michelle Richardson, the ACLU’s legislative counsel, put it to the Huffington Post: “I bet [Bush] is laughing his ass off.”

snip

….Obama himself, who, in explaining his 2008 vote, said things like this:

“I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn’t have drafted the legislation like this, and it does not resolve all of the concerns that we have about President Bush’s abuse of executive power. . . .

“I do so [vote for the FISA bill] with the firm intention – once I’m sworn in as president – to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.”

Needless to say, none of that ever happened.

snip

Yesterday, Feinstein stood up on the Senate floor and began by heaping praise on her GOP comrade, Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, for leading his caucus to join her in renewing the FISA act without any reforms. She then unleashed a vile attack on her Democratic colleagues – Wyden, Merkley, and Udall, along with Paul – in which she repeatedly accused them of trying to make the nation vulnerable to a Terrorist attack.

snip

That is exactly the foul message which Dianne Feinstein, doing the bidding of the Obama White House, spewed at her liberal Senate colleagues (and a tiny handful of Republicans) for the crime of wanting to bring some marginal transparency and oversight to the warrantless eavesdropping powers with which Obama vested himself when voting in 2008 for that FISA law. …

snip

Fast forward to 2012 and all of that, literally, has changed. Now it’s a Democratic President demanding reform-free renewal of his warrantless eavesdropping powers. He joins with the Republican Party to codify them. A beloved Democratic Senator from a solidly blue state leads the fear-mongering campaign and Terrorist-enabling slurs against anyone who opposes it. And it now all happens with virtually no media attention or controversy because the two parties collaborate so harmoniously to make it happen. And thus does a core guarantee of the founding – the search warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment – blissfully disappear into nothingness.

J. Clifford, Irregular Times, writes:

Members of Congress are not primarily tasked with defending the physical territory of the United States, or ensuring the physical security of its people. Their first, most necessary job is to defend the Constitution, the document that provides us with our freedoms.

Among the most essential of the freedoms established by the Constitution of the United States of America is the Fourth Amendment, a part of the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment establishes a right to security – but not the kind of security that’s been delivered under the authoritarian title of The Homeland. The only security that the Fourth Amendment provides is protection from excessive government searches and seizures: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The FISA Amendments Act establishes a gigantic, pervasive system of unreasonable search and seizure that violates the specific requirements of the Fourth Amendment. A vote in favor of keeping in place the FISA Amendments Act, one of the worst holdovers from the era of George W. Bush, is a violation of the Oath Of Office.

That makes any member of the Senate who voted yesterday to preserve the FISA Amendments Act for five more years a traitor who deserves to be removed from office at the next electoral opportunity.

The following is a full roll call of the 73 U.S. senators who voted in favor of prolonging the FISA Amendments Act: Here are two toll-free numbers to the Congressional switchboard. 1-866-338-1015, 1-877-210-5351. If you find one or two of your senators on this list, I recommend giving them an angry call about their vote and thinking twice about ever voting for them.

Senator Lamar Alexander

Senator Kelly Ayotte

Senator John Barrasso

Senator Michael Bennet

Senator Richard Blumenthal

Senator Roy Blunt

Senator John Boozman

Senator Scott Brown

Senator Richard Burr

Senator Benjamin Cardin

Senator Thomas Carper

Senator Robert Casey

Senator Saxby Chambliss

Senator Daniel Coats

Senator Thomas Coburn

Senator Thad Cochran

Senator Kent Conrad

Senator Susan Collins

Senator Bob Corker

Senator John Cornyn

Senator Mike Crapo

Senator Michael Enzi

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Senator Lindsey Graham

Senator Charles Grassley

Senator Kay Hagan

Senator Orrin Hatch

Senator Dean Heller

Senator John Hoeven

Senator Kay Hutchison

Senator James Inhofe

Senator Johnny Isakson

Senator Mike Johanns

Senator Tim Johnson

Senator Ron Johnson

Senator John Kerry

Senator Amy Klobuchar

Senator Herb Kohl

Senator Jon Kyl

Senator Mary Landrieu

Senator Carl Levin

Senator Joseph Lieberman

Senator Richard Lugar

Senator Joe Manchin

Senator John McCain

Senator Claire McCaskill

Senator Mitch McConnell

Senator Barbara Mikulski

Senator Jerry Moran

Senator Bill Nelson

Senator Ben Nelson

Senator Robert Portman

Senator Mark Pryor

Senator Jack Reed

Senator Harry Reid

Senator James Risch

Senator Pat Roberts

Senator John Rockefeller

Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Charles Schumer

Senator Jeff Sessions

Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Senator Richard Shelby

Senator Olympia Snowe

Senator Debbie Stabenow

Senator John Thune

Senator Pat Toomey

Senator David Vitter

Senator Mark Warner

Senator Jim Webb

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Senator Roger Wicker

-------

Glenn Greenwald, once again mourning more Obama betrayal:

Here we find yet again a defining attribute of the Obama legacy: the transformation of what was until recently a symbol of right-wing radicalism – warrantless eavesdropping – into meekly accepted bipartisan consensus. But it’s not just the policies that are so transformed but the mentality and rhetoric that accompanies them: anyone who stands in the way of the US Government’s demands for unaccountable, secret power is helping the Terrorists. “The administration has decided the program should be classified”, decreed Feinstein, and that is that.

Make the phone calls. Please! THAT should NOT be THAT!!!!

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Comments

Submitted by hipparchia on

Amidst the paper trail, there was even the threat of assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire. By whom and where you may ask? Sorry. Redacted!

nope.

that particular paper trail was about some rightwing gun nuts in the general public threatening some occupiers who were planning a protest. see here: http://correntewire.com/comment/214521#comment-214521

you can read the original documents for yourself here: http://www.justiceonline.org/commentary/fbi-files-ows.html#documents

The Occupy movement is a peaceful organization. But to the FBI it is a “terrorist threat.”

well, some of the occupiers were posting on the internet about shooting police officers, and we have occupy oakland as another example, so while most occupiers wanted to be peaceful, that's not true of all of them.

an index of all the ows foia documents is here: http://www.justiceonline.org/commentary/index-of-document-productions.html

the fbi "sniper" file hasn't yet been added to the index, so possibly there are other foia releases that haven't yet been added either. updates are here: http://www.justiceonline.org/our-work/ows-foia.html

yes, the obama administration has been, and continues to be, terrible when it comes to dissenters, and the president and all his minions rightly deserved to be called to account for that. keep up the good work on that!

Submitted by lambert on

It's an easy mistake to make, and I see the same mistake scrolling by on twitter.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by libbyliberal on

hipparchia, thanks for updating me. I did not run down Naomi's mention of snipers elsewhere and apparently misread and mis-paraphrased from the following statement in her article in my rush to publish. I jumped to focusing on FISA more than the OWS crackdown, was using that just as a lead in though it was so provocative and deserving of its own deeper blog. lesson learned -- once again! sigh. I will edit the above. thank you SO much:

"; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61)."

I think trying to write this comment I also goofed up and sent it on to you privately instead more than once. ooops on that, too.

best, libby

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. (Japanese proverb)

Submitted by hipparchia on

it's not your fault libby, and YOU didn't misread anything.

i can't tell whether the various pundits who are passing this story around have misread the foia documents or whether they're deliberately fear-mongering by playing fast and loose with the data.

whatever their motivation is, they're fairly safe in whatever they want to write, because who of us, their readers, has the time to troll through a few thousand pages, piecing together all the evidence?

Submitted by libbyliberal on

hipparchia, you so rock. You are willing to go industrial strength with your digging.

i am a fast turnaround muckraker who surfs the latest revelations, you have the soul, savvy and stamina of a REAL journalist -- a citizen journalist who puts the rest of us, especially those so-called professional ones to shame! Keep on for all our sakes fighting "truthiness". I learn by your example.

glad you and corrente are around!

best, libby

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. (Japanese proverb)