Saturday, December 17, 2005

Why the Bush defense for spying on citizens is not acceptable...

President Bush today admitted that he authorized spying on American citizens without judicial review. The president asserted that this extra legal spying was "a vital tool" in the war on terror. Also, the story notes:
He said it is used only to intercept the international communications of people inside the United States who have been determined to have "a clear link" to al-Qaida or related terrorist organizations.
And this contention of the presidents that a clear link existed as a prerequisite for the spying is where the rub comes in.

There are many many examples where this administration has been flat wrong in it's assertions about who and how various entities are connected with terrorism. Let us consider several high profile cases, and how the proven errors by this administration reflect on the contention of the president that the spying he authorized was only of people determined to have a clear link to terrorism.

The first story is that of Portland Oregon attorney Brandon Mayfield:
A federal judge ... cleared Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield of ties to the Madrid train bombings after the FBI made the stunning admission that it erred when analyzing a copy of fingerprints.

Portland's FBI Special Agent in Charge, Robert Jordan, said the error, based on a "substandard" copy of the prints, will prompt the agency to review its guidelines for making identifications and ask an international panel of experts to analyze what went wrong.

He also apologized to Mayfield, a former Army officer and Muslim convert who was mistakenly arrested earlier this month as a material witness in the March 11 terrorist attack that killed 191 and wounded some 2,000
This case is noteworthy due to the fact that a court order was obtained to conduct the initial secret searches of Mr. Mayfields office. We therefore see that even with judicial oversight, the administration can make the wrong call. Now we are to trust them to make the right call on who is involved with terrorism, without even the figleaf of judicial oversight? Not acceptable.

Another high profile case in which the administration could not prove it's case is that of Professor Sami Al-Arian:
A former college professor was found not guilty Tuesday of key charges linking him to a Palestinian terrorist group that allegedly operated an underground cell in Florida, ending a lengthy trial that balanced allegations of terrorist-related acts against assertions of abused constitutional rights...

The indictment did not allege a connection to al Qaeda or to any attacks on U.S. soil, but it was issued -- amid considerable fanfare by the Bush administration -- within 18 months of the Sept. 11 attacks and as the United States prepared for war with Iraq.

If the administration could not make it's case before a jury in this very high profile case, are we now to trust that they should be allowed to determine who is connected with terrorists, with not one iota of judicial review? Again... this is simply not acceptable.

Next, let us consider three of many cases of mistaken "rendition" of detainees from America to foreign nations for enhanced interrogation: This tactic in the war on terror has not one particle of judicial review.
Maher Arar: A Syrian-born Canadian citizen with a family and a residence in Canada was apprehended by U.S. authorities when he wastransferring planes in New York. He was apprehended because he was on a terrorist watchlist. Mr Arar was then handed over to Syria, who repeatedly tortured him for information for ten months.

Kahlid el-Masri: A Lebanese-born German national was on vacation when he was detained by Macedonia border guards and taken away in handcuffs. He was accused of terrorism. He was injected, placed on an airplane and woke up in Kabul, Afghanistan where he was tortured by "Men with American accents", for four months and then released.

Mamdouh Habib: An Egyptian-born Australian, Mr. Habib was travelling in Karachi, Pakistan when he was arrested by Pakistani police. He was questioned by Pakistani authorities then handed over to Egypt. There he was beaten, tortured, injected with drugs. From Egypt he spent time in U.S. interrogation in Afghanistan and finally Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was released in January 2005.
These men were all eventually found to have no connection with terrorist organizations, yet their freedom and basic human rights were taken from them by this administration. Yet now this president asks us to accept that he has the ability to determine which American citizens have a link with terrorists? Again... this is not acceptable.

Finally let us consider the biggest case to date in which this administration asserted that there was a connection with terrorists when there really was none. This case affects each American citizen to this day. On March 18, 2003, president Bush certified to congress that he had determined to attack Iraq, based in part thusly:
acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
By certifying that Iraq was in any way involved with the attacks of September 11, the president officially codified a lie. One that has contributed to the expenditure of well over $200 billion, over 2,100 dead American military members, and by the presidents admission around 30,000 dead Iraqi citizens.

With this record before us, we are now to believe that this administration should be trusted to determine which American citizens are connected with terrorist organizations? Once again... this assertion of unfettered presidential power when considered against the past inaccuracies of this administration regarding who or what is or is not connected with terrorism is simply, not acceptable.

Good stuff Ken. One thing I'd like to point out is that if there is a "Clear Link" to terrorist organizations, then a warrant from a judge would be easily had for surveilance. Wake one up if you have to! If they are about to strike you can always detain someone and charge them or release them after the legal holding time expires. President Bush's arguement just doesn't hold up.

One wonders why Bush thinks the Patriot Act is even needed if they intend to skirt the Constitution with NSA agents anyway. If they have broken laws here, then this would be your best shot at an impeachment. It's also the best chance to see normally conservative leaning Libertarians start to vote for some Democrats.
When you talk about Domestic Issues there is practically no difference between McCain and Rodham-Clinton.

McCain is a liberal “Republican” and while Rodham-Clinton is a liberal since she needs to be seen as less liberal she will hold back on promoting many liberal policies to retain hold of the center.

In this respect, McCain might even be more liberal because he will purposely promote liberal policies to get supporters while Rodham-Clinton will hold back fearing she would lose support.

But the real difference between the two is in foriegn policy. Rodham-Clinton was part of the well it may have been ill-advised the nonetheless successful attacks on Serbia.

McCain on the otherhand, is noted for being a fighter pliot in Nam who when captured betrayed fellow prisoners to increase his own comfort.

I believe that Rodham-Clinton knows how to fight. She was probably one of those woman whose first response when offended by a male was a kick to the groin. I for one wouldn’t want to be anywhere near her when she is on the warpath.

Extreme times call for extreme measures. If it becomes a choice between McCain and Rodham-Clinton then I will be among the first to open up a local chapter of Republicans for Rodham. With the the slogan being “if you were bin Laden, who would you want to be up your ass”?
It's not eavesdropping, it is Freedom Listening...
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