NSA domestic spying: Worse than Watergate
Monday May 15th 2006, 10:37 am

Big Shrubya is listeningI’ve been wondering for some time now precisely what the catalyst would be for average Americans to finally demand the ouster of King George. We just might be there.

Shortly after 11 September 2001, according to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Congress authorised the President to conduct ‘spying on terrorists.’ Shrubya interpreted that to mean he could wiretap any international calls or emails to the USA from abroad. King George ordered big telcos in the US to turn over call records to the secretive National Security Agency (NSA), without search warrants and without demonstrating probable cause that the callers had any involvement with terrorism.

The exposure of warrantless invasion of privacy of tens of millions of innocent Americans could well be the tipping point for impeachment of Bush and Cheney… but public reaction is a bit delayed.

The New York Times reported back in December 2005 on NSA’s domestic spying program. Civil libertarians and peace activists have reacted, but there wasn’t sufficient detail made public to really scare the pants off of the average American.

King George has asserted that in time of war, he has the right to ignore the Constitution if he feels that consultation with the courts and Congress could compromise defense operations. His Royal Highness’ actions are not being scrutinised by Congress nor the courts as no warrants are sought for the wiretaps. So much for Articles I & III.

USA Today’s exposure that AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon, the three largest telcos in the US, complied with the warrantless wiretaps has driven the point home to millions of their customers across the USA (and quite a number of Americans living abroad, like myself) that they are being treated like terrorism suspects by Shrubya’s NSA. The telcos have divulged calling records and emails without the knowledge nor consent of users, even though the callers on both ends may be US citizens, despite one being overseas.

King George’s terabyte-level private call database makes Nixon’s Watergate reel-to-reel shenanigans look like schoolboy antics. Nixon resigned over much less than what Bush stands accused of. Nixon faced certain impeachment and conviction before Congress- as does His Highness if the political will can be found. Resignation didn’t absolve Nixon of liability for prosecution in Congress, but Gerald Ford’s pardon sure did. Should Congress get off their collective duffs and impeach Bush and Cheney, some boilerplates must be found to prevent them from being pardoned before they do some serious jail time.

Quite a number of people in the US and Australia work with the famous faulty notion that “…if I’m not doing anything ‘wrong’, I shouldn’t worry…” about government invasions of privacy on false pretenses like non-existent welfare fraud or protection from terrorism. Citizens of western democracies have a much, much greater statistical chance of being struck by lightning or being killed in an automobile accident than being killed by a terrorist act.

Erring on the side of caution in violating civil liberties is all well and good until law enforcement makes an irreversible error or the government decides to persecute people for their political beliefs and associations. Remember, if you’re arrested in Australia on a terrorism related offence, all you can tell one member of your family is “I’m safe,” when absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. Australia is in desperate need of a Bill of Rights.

Saint Patrick of Leahy (image: Associated Press)King George must be stopped before he installs the NSA’s General Hayden as head of the CIA. Republican Arlen Specter and Democrat Patrick Leahy are proposing bipartisan investigations and limits on NSA domestic spying and Presidential power.

Go to it, fellas.


3 Comments so far
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Always knew those wafer-thin fridge magnets were a tad suss…

Comment by cfsmtb 05.15.06 @ 5:10 pm

I wonder how the NSA would handle it if Americans started making frivolous phone calls as a protest of their illegal spying efforts? Let’s see, if just half of the country’s 295 million people made 5 extra phone calls a day, that would be an extra 487 million entries in their database everyday. A small effort for quite a bold statement, perhaps.

Comment by libertyforall 05.16.06 @ 12:39 am

cileo, didn’t you know the fridge magnets not only are bulletproof but will frighten off vampires to boot? True!

LFA, if what Shrubya was saying was true (ha!), only international calls are being monitored. Americans would have to ring up a pal in Burkina Faso a couple times a day… I can just see AT&T honchos gleefully rubbing their hands together whilst waiting on their phone bills to roll out.

However, I think I have a perfectly valid objection to my calls and emails to the US being monitored. Neither I, nor my family in the USA, are suspects in any terrorist activities. I don’t think the NSA needs to know what colour socks I’d like Mom to send for my birthday.

Comment by weez 05.16.06 @ 7:28 am

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