Saturday, December 17, 2005

BBC NEWS | Americas | Bush admits he authorised spying

Unfuckingbelievable. Impeach him -- this, in my opinion, is treasonous behavior against the Constitution that I doubt this Texas tin-pot dictator has bothered to read.


1. "In his weekly address, he confirmed a report which appeared in the New York Times on Friday - and attacked it.

Because of the newspaper report, "our enemies have learned information they should not have", he said."

Why not deny it then? This is more bullying of the press. They are there to protect our liberties, among other things.

2. "Mr Bush harshly criticised the leak that had made the programme public a day before his speech.

"Revealing classified information is illegal. It alerts our enemies," he said."

Unless it's authorized by the White House.

I see absolutely no reason why FISC notification (24-hour, on-call series of judges, say, if that's not already the case) needed to be waved, or how that helped our security.

Bush claims that Congressional leaders were "notified." Of course, if that's true, and if you take what Bush said at face value, they had no recourse to stop it if to do so would have been treasonous and illegal, since "recourse" means, "making it public."

Fucking asshole.

20 Thoughts:

Blogger Doug said...

NYT on executive privilige ueber alles.

Listen, by the way, to the radio address on the BBC page.

This is pure Goebbels. He's declared war on the New York Times, and all independent media.

This is absolutely disgusting beyond belief.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Why Bush actually confessed to a crime this morning:

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

Youngstown v. Sawyer 343 US 579 (1952).

Saturday, December 17, 2005 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Lets get something extra clear here - right off the bat.

Getting a permission slip from your lawyers (Gonzalez, Yoo) to commit a crime doesn't mean Bush "acted lawfully in every step taken", no matter what Condi thinks.

None of the jabbering shills on the TeeVee seem to realize that.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

George Bush: "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier - just so long I'm the dictator." December 18, 2000

Seemed like a joke at the time.

Still laughing?

Saturday, December 17, 2005 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Word, Paul. I'll read FISA; thanks for digging that up!

I would say Youngstown is about as dead as Congressional war powers at this point. Descriptive statement only.

This is all horrible, and I have purposely not watched any TV news (not that I do, anyway) in order not to have to projectile vomit uncontrollably, a la Linda Blair, at the careerist philistines that pass for "journalists" on the idiot box as they bleat on about how this is all OK. (I'm sure there are dissenters. Well, I'm not sure, but I fucking hope so.)

Money talks and bullshit walks. We just need to give time and money (interchangable, really) toward defeating any neocon, Dem, Ind, or GOP, in 2006.

Fuck it -- if the "latte-sipping" class has so much disposable income, which we do, and our system is pay-to-play, which it is, and we think ourselves better-informed, which we are...well, get out the goddam wallet and give money!

(I know y'all do, but we have to step it up and actively recruit others to do so. I think activating the like-minded will go much further than converting the unconvertable, our entertaining discussions with Thornblog notwithstanding.)

Saturday, December 17, 2005 1:54:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

These people are fascists. Bush’s actions are clearly unconstitutional. Despite what the wingnuts say, the Supreme Court decides what is constitutional and what is not. The President has no authority to do what he is doing, and he is in direct contravention of established law. In fact, the law is he has violated is as old as our country.

It is very important that we find out who these people are who have been spied on. I suspect we will discover that many major Democrats are among them, possibly even elected officials. The ACLU should start a law suit against the president ASAP. Bush is liable for civil penalties for intentional invasion of privacy, intrusion and possibly other charges. I can’t imagine any situation where he could avoid paying; his violations are so clearly illegal. The fact that he has admitted to doing so certainly doesn’t help his defense.

I hope that this revelation will help some people who have been sitting on the fence to realize that America is something worth saving. However, I have known for some time that Bush’s key supporters, the 35%, do not believe in representative government. I have no illusions that knowledge of Bush’s totalitarian methods will change their minds. The 35% WANT totalitarianism. They beg for it. For them, freedom is a dirty word, synonymous with “diversity, equal rights, individual responsibility and accountability.” There are plenty of people born to be sheep. Some of them even graze on cyberpols.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 5:05:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

If you read the code, and then the president's comments, it becomes clear that the argument Bush will use to justify his crimes is based on Gonzales' 'ol favorite, the "enemy combatant."

The President said,

"In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations,"

The key here is “international communications,” and “people with known links to al Qaeda.” The Bush will claim that the prohibitions of Section 1802 (a)(1)(B) against snooping on “a United States person” doesn’t included “enemy combatants.” After all, Padilla was held without out charges for years under the same justification, and throwing someone in jail is surely a greater invasion of their rights than invading their privacy.

Of course, we know that Kerry, Reid, Dean and others are probably being spied on as well. The problem is that it might take a long time to discover this. The Administration will stonewall any Senate hearing by claiming that the identities of the victims are secret, and that revealing them would harm national security. After all, we have been down this path many times before. What we need more than anything else now is for some Republicans who still love their country to step forward and courageously demand the truth. However, given the lack of sack we have seen from the right, don’t hold your breath.


Saturday, December 17, 2005 5:40:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

I agree with Doug, we can have a good government if we are willing to pay for it. I am going to devote some serious cash to the cause once I get my law degree. I can't think of anything I would rather buy than good government.

What about this idea. You start a tax free non-profit trust fund devoted to funding grass-roots progressive candidates who meet a well defined critera of morality and support for sound public policy. After the fund has several billions in the bank and a high performing investment team, it can start to give grants to good candidates. The grants will always be less than the income the trust generates, so the fund will continue to grow. It will also continue to collect donations.

I thought of a similar structure to fund television or print media.


Saturday, December 17, 2005 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

McCain on "This Week." Paraphrasing of course.

Q: The President said that the orders to wiretap were made "consistent with the laws and Constitution of the United States," do you agree with that statement.

McCain: I take the President at his word. The rules have changes since 9/11. I assume he had a good reason to not follow the normal proceedure by getting a court order.

Q: Do you agree with Spectors call for hearings?

McCain: Well, we have to make sure that sensitive information isn't released during this process, maybe it would be better to start a process that allows the President to explain how and why he conducted these opporations, with the input of the intelligence community.

So, McCain supports illegal wiretapping. He's really moderate!

Sunday, December 18, 2005 9:10:00 AM  
Blogger pawlr said...

The scariest thing about Bush's morning address yesterday is his claim that the REVELATIONS of the spying embolden our enemies. In other words, its the press's fault. They worked the same angle with Abu Ghraib and the secret prisons/extraditions.

This is a new notch up in the level of divisive "with us or against us" rhetoric. What's next? Any criticism whatsoever, and exposure of embarrassing truths about the administration, is already seen as "aiding and abetting our enemies". The press is already cowed into holding stories until after elections, worried about "throwing the election" to Kerry, but avoiding the truth that holding the story itself is throwing the election to Bush.

Does Bush seriously think that "our enemies" don't assume that they're being spied on to begin with? Bush is trying to face down the uproar with bravado, but logic is the first casualty.

This way, madness lies.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 9:49:00 AM  
Blogger pawlr said...

I guess the 4th estate should just always ask for permission before publishing anything critical of the administration, since it seems like its always a bad time

Sunday, December 18, 2005 9:54:00 AM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

Remember that Sen. Cornyn-hole was on the short list for SCOTUS.

I agree. When I hear that reporting the president's crimes is "unpatriotic" or that it "endangers national security" I look behind my back. There is no legal ambiguity here, the president broke the law. There is nothing in the Constitution or in the laws that allows the President to make it up as he goes along. The laws still apply to the President.

Since these folk are strict constructionists, it's even more hypocritical that they should hide behind an attenuated constitutional argument that Art. II Sec. 2 gives the President dictatorial powers. What words would you point to in the Constitution that grant the president 1.) the power to hold anyone he wishes 2.) subject them to torture or extrajudicial execution 3.)intrude without warrant into the homes or communications of any political or military enemy of the President?

“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”

The President's legal team point to these words for all of the dictatorial powers they wish to exercise. The say that this section gives the president “implied powers” as Commander in Chief. Just for the record, “implied” interpretations of the Constitution are exactly what they call “judicial activism” when done by impartial jurists. No reasonable legal scholars agree with the President. Does that bother him? No, of course not, he is no more troubled than Stalin was. No man, no problem.

For all we know, this guy has been spying on us. In my case I am pretty sure that I have been on watch-lists, I have traveled to a number of unusual places, worked for Kerry, and now I am learning the law. Surely that is dangerous and unpatriotic. Anyone who calls himself an American must be outraged by these revelations. I have absolutely no respect for anyone who puts their party before our country and its people.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The door is wide open for totalitarian crackdown. Sure, some will find this "paranoid" -- but how, exactly, could we, the people, find out whether or not these new sweeping powers are being abused if any revelation of any aspect of their use by anyone is already being constructed as tantamount to treason?

It's a small step from "aiding and abetting the enemy" to "you are thus an enemy combatant" and you get disappeared.

I'm not saying this step will be taken. I'm saying it could -- easily -- by Bush or any successor of any party.

Not good. Not at all.

Demo's right on the escape from freedom that always lies dormant in a certain percentage of the population. This is truly Hitlerian stuff.

6,000 people died this year (so far) from terror, worldwide (according to an NPR report I heard). How big a deal is that, compared to, say, AIDS or malaria?

Now, on the other hand, the potential for actual, real, non-bullshit nuclear terror is real. Yet, despite all their "it's a new world" rhetoric, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative (Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar), 50% of the former USSR's weapons-grade material is STILL not locked down and accounted for. The Bush plan is to get that done in 13 years.

So, nuclear terror is the first prioirity?

Ditto what the 9/11 commission's final stab at sanity -- and the abysmal performance that bipartisan panel found in the past four years in both the President and the GOP-led Congress -- and you start to wonder whether they really care about national security at all or are more concerned with permanent one-party rule, theocons running domestic "policy" and neocons running amok both here and abroad.

If that's paranoia, give me an actual argument why it isn't. Every regime in history that's cracked down has posited an internal and an external enemy. Certainly in the last 200 years, terror (or, "terror," depending on the situation) has been a critical motivating point to silence dissent. Think Czarist Russia, for one, among the more obvious examples.

We've got a suspension of due process that's applicable in theory to anyone. We've got open attacks on the fourth estate. We've got a climate of fear roiled endlessly by the admin. We've got ourselves an extremely bad situation civil-liberties-wise, let alone everything else.

This is the issue, along with fiscal sanity, that will have to motivate the GOP to clean house. I really do think they're the only ones with any real power to reform the party.

However, anecdotally at least, the sane ones tend to be senior citizens.

It's a serious problem.

Demo, I think DFA is close to what you're talking about -- but you should e-mail them with your idea. They encourage that. Thanks for the legal translations! Fucked up, all around.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Demotiki said...


You are correct to say that we are at serious risk of losing our liberties forever. I say this because Bush had a very simple way to get legitimate wiretaps through legal channels. He could even have started wiretaps without court approval so long as he went to the "rubber-stamp" spy court within 72 hours. The fact that he went outside of the legal channels indicates that he thought that at least some of the people he wanted to spy on would be rejected by the court. This leads me to believe that he has been spying on political enemies, peace activists and members of the press. The last catagory is most interesting to me because it would explain how Bush & Co. found it so easy to stay ahead of the curve in the public relations game and to quickly defuse scandals. Knowing what was coming to press by spying on corespondents would be very helpful politically. The fourth estate might not be all to blame for their dismal failure.


Sunday, December 18, 2005 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Plus he had ample inside help, a la Dame Miller.

Look, if "everything's changed," then the obvious thing to do that both protects civil liberties and speeds wiretaps is to essentially reduce the judicial oversight as much as possible with a 24-hour streamlined operation with on-call judges?

Anyway, if a few hours is what it takes, then that's what it takes.

These fucking idiots don't realize that the point of terror is to terrorize -- changing your entire government because of one nasty attack is simply cowardice. Or worse. In that hoary rightwing phrase, it actually does let the terrorists win, because that's the only way they can win: force the superpower to crack down at home and abroad and strengthen your little group's power with fresh recruits.

A child could see this. They are not dumb, actually; the more parsimonious explanation is that the Bushies (and Blairites) are simply using terror to consolidate power and overturn two republics.

Which, ironically, goes some way toward proving Bin Laden correct, at least in a surface-PR way, about the decadence of the West.

I mean, do we have to care when Bin Laden says we're a bunch of pussies because we left Lebanon? That gives BL major power. A mere schoolyard taunt can change a superpower's policy?


Sunday, December 18, 2005 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger pawlr said...

The actual events of 9/11 are more of a pretext than a cause. Consider:

- The Straussians belief that the constitution and ideals of the republic are essentially "noble lies" whose purpose is to keep the public duped while the true elite run the country for their personal benefit.

- The PNAC stated position in 9/2000 that "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor" would be necessary to effect the military transformations required in the Middle East

The extremist lunatics broke out of the think tank, took hold of the reins of power, and got their wish - a new Pearl Harbor. They've already succeeded in creating a permanent wartime atmosphere in the U.S. I fully expect them to make the most of it.

The War has become the pretext for all crimes of the State - bypassing the law, trashing the Constitution, torture, extradition, secret lists of activists.

When extremists take power, the mantle of authority and the fear they create in the people for enemies of the state make them seem so much more 'moderate', more 'necessary'. As they incrementally dismantle citizen protections, they all the while sell it as a necessary evil, spinning ever more elaborate scenarios whereby their crimes protect the people. Which works because voters do not want to believe that their leaders motives are suspect. After all, its draining and difficult for the people to sustain suspicion on a daily basis. Can the president really be all that bad? After all, this is America!

With these extremists in power, moderates in opposition will usually fail because they have a disincentive for taking a stand. Because they are in opposition, if they call the extremists out for what they are, it is actually they that appear extreme by contrast, especially with a media that values 'balance' over objectivity.

So it takes a long time and a systemic pattern of recognized abuses for the opposition to wake up and call a spade a spade. Usually it is a watershed moment like the spy scandal that challenges their core values, that wakes them up. Perhaps this is why even a scumbag like Bob Barr is saying enough is enough.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 1:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Exactly right, Paul.

The only thing that separates the neocons from other totalitarians is that they almost certainly didn't light the Reichstag up themselves. They may have let it burn, knowingly, as FDR may very well have done in 1941 at Pearl Harbor.

What is incontrovertible is that they jumped on 9/11 as soon as Bush was done reading My Pet Goat and used it in the most cynical fashion.

Bob Barr's on board? Great -- I'll take him. I'll take just about any help we can get.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 2:19:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Check out Condi's interview with Russert. Tim gives her a pretty decent grilling.

This "gap" she keeps blathering about is the germ of a talking point we will see expanded upon in the days to come.

Of course, there's nothing about the FISA statute which precludes the NSA from domestic spying, WITH A COURT ORDER that can be obtained from FISA judges within hours as long as probable cause exists.

This "gap" is just a red herring used to justify the POTUS's crimes.

Specter's questions are key, and whether they will be answered: Who, what, where, when, and for what reasons? I doubt we'll ever get answers to these questions but we need to keep asking them.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 4:21:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Sorry, link broken, here's the functioning link to C&L.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 4:22:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

We need names, all of them. There can be no logical objection to either judiciary or intelligence being privy to Bush's spy project. Spector & Co. should go directly to the NSA with a subpeana insteadt of waiting for the administration to provide what they obviously will not provide.

There are plenty of surprises to come, just wait.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 8:55:00 PM  

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