Quote of the Day:
HEDRICK SMITH: A more fundamental question confronts all of us. The 4th Amendment protects us against unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. So does the strategy of (terrorist) prevention collide with the Constitution? When the government is doing this kind of data mining, has it moved from individualized suspicion, getting an individual warrant, to generalized suspicion, to check everybody to find out who are the bad guys?
PETER SWIRE (White House Privacy Counsel, 1999-01): Yeah. Check everybody. Everybody's a suspect. Everybody's phone records, everybody's email is subject to government scrutiny. And if you're good, we won't bother you, and if you look a little strange, then you might get on a watch list.
HEDRICK SMITH: Isn't that a huge change in Anglo-Saxon law? I mean, Anglo-Saxon law is based on "Get a warrant." The 4th Amendment is based on individual suspicion.
PETER SWIRE: Right. General warrants was part of the reason for the American Revolution. It was that the king's agent could go in and search a house everywhere, search a whole neighborhood with one warrant. And the Boston people said, "We don't like that. We'll have a tea party. We'll fight you." We said no.
-- from FRONTLINE
Subject: Dangerous votes pending
Two dangerous votes are pending this week. You know about the "FISA Amendments Act." We've been hammering on it for weeks now, and you've been hammering Congress. The other dangerous pending vote is a resolution that's a virtual declaration of war on Iran.
House Concurrent Resolution 362 urges the President to blockade Iran, stopping all sea traffic in and out of the country. It has 220 co-sponsors. The Senate version is Senate Resolution 580. It has 32 co-sponsors.
In the space of a week we're facing the virtual repeal of the 4th Amendment and a major step toward a major new war.
* If you think your gasoline prices are high now and the economy is in trouble, just imagine what will happen if a U.S. blockade removes Iranian oil from the world market.
* Just imagine how the rest of the world will react to that.
* Imagine how many Muslims will be radicalized by this action.
* Imagine how many new recruits there will be for terrorist cells.
* And imagine what will happen to the last shreds of your rights in the face of an escalated terrorist threat.
Is all of this what Americans thought they were asking for when they went to the polls in 2006 to repudiate the Bush administration? Meanwhile . . .
The non-elected branch of government, the U.S. courts, has handed down a ruling in favor of the 4th Amendment protections that Congress seems intent on repealing. Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the Northern District of California has just issued a key ruling in Al Haramain v. Bush, one of the cases challenging the NSA's warrantless spying program. There are a lot of details to this decision, but what you need to know is this . . .
Those challenging the government and the telecoms over the warrantless spying program have a case, and would be allowed to present their evidence in court, in spite of the state secrets privilege, IF ONLY Congress would allow them to do so by NOT passing the "FISA Amendments Act."
We are deep in the grip of a reckless Congress and lawless White House, with only the courts as our only option to get it right. It's up to us, as individuals, to make sure that the politicians understand that they do NOT have the consent of the governed in these matters.
Please send Congress a message asking them to prevent an attack on Iran. Use your personal comments to tell them you also oppose House Concurrent Resolution 362 and Senate Resolution 580. You can do so here.
Please also send another message asking your Senators to support a filibuster of the "FISA Amendments Act." Use your personal comments to mention Judge Walker's ruling and that you want the cases against the telecoms to be able to move forward. You can send that message here, using our old campaign against the "Protect America Act."
When you've done that, please also call your Senators. Ask them to support a filibuster and to vote against the "FISA Amendments Act."
Congress must know that they do NOT have your consent on either of these issues.
Please also make a contribution to further our work. You can do so here.
Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army.