“US lawmakers pass surveillance bill
Posted: 21 June 2008 0258 hrs from Channel News Service
WASHINGTON : In a late-term triumph for US President George W. Bush, the US House of Representatives on Friday approved spy-powers legislation that has drawn heavy fire on civil liberties grounds.
Lawmakers voted 293-129 for a bill that may shield telecommunications firms facing massive lawsuits over their work with Bush’s secret, six-year, warrantless wiretapping program, begun after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The measure now goes to the Senate, where Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid has opposed granting retroactive immunity to companies that cooperated with a program thought to have skirted established surveillance laws.
During often bitter House floor debate, many Democrats broke with the measure, the fruit of months of talks among Senate and House leaders of both parties that ultimately gave in to key White House demands.
“It’s Christmas morning at the White House thanks to this vote,” said Caroline Fredrickson, a top official with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which has fiercely opposed the legislation.
“It’s vital that our intelligence community has the ability to learn who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning,” Bush said the two-minute statement.
Critics charge the secret program was illegal because it ran afoul of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)’s requirement of a court order to spy on US citizens inside the United States.
The White House says Bush, who brought the program under FISA oversight in January 2007, made proper use of wartime presidential powers under the US Constitution and that the often-updated law was ill-suited to deal with modern telecommunications and the nature of the terrorist threat.
If passed, the new measure could short-circuit about 40 court challenges targeting major US telecommunications firms that cooperated with the program, which the US public learned about in a December 2005 New York Times article.”
- AFP /ls
That sums it up pretty well. Bush wins again, what is it with the Congress? How can a guy who should be up on war crimes get away with this?
I suspect it is because of the basic good nature of the American people. They continually exhibit a willingness to put up with things from their government that would drive people in most countries into a frenzy of protests. Dictators all over the world gawk in admiration at the American propaganda machine; it is truly a marvel to behold.
Americans have had it pretty easy. They have armed police to keep the poor at bay, a huge military to keep the world at its beck and call, and relatively light taxes to pay for it all. Granted the infrastructure is collapsing, the government provides almost no services outside of this immense protection racket for the people, and leaves almost everything else up to the initiative of so called private enterprise. This Mafia on a grand scale has a pr machine par excellence called Hollywood, that grinds out image after image promoting the American way of imaginary existence, and when that is insufficient there is Prozac for the masses of the working class and crack and heroin for the unemployed underclass’s to keep them sufficiently numb, or at least incapacitated to react fast enough to get away when the goons come down to crack their skulls. Who has taken the lesson of a continuous war economy to heart as described in 1984, the famous George Orwell novel? Not the Russians, not the Chinese, not the British or the French or the Germans, nope, it is the good old USA that has taken up that torch, we called it the War on Drugs in the warm up phase, now it is the “War On Terror” in its fullness of perfection. This is a war to end all wars because it is an endless war. Nuff said.