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The Courts and Congress Will Not Halt the Surveillance Programs of Hereditary Kings

by Kenneth J. Theisen Thursday, Sep. 14, 2006 at 2:34 PM

The Bush administration is pushing legislation to legalize its vast spy operations on the American people. Can we expect Congress to protect our rights? Do not count on it!

On September 7, the Bush regime suffered a defeat in its attempt to get a bill authorizing the NSA warrantless wiretapping program through Congress. The Senate Judiciary Committee delayed action on the bill when Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin offered four amendments to the bill. Feingold also made a lengthy speech opposing the bill. In it he stated, “The president has basically said: I’ll agree to let a court decide if I’m breaking the law if you pass a law first that says I’m not breaking the law.” But this minor roadblock will not deter the regime from continuing its spy program.

What is being debated is the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program which monitors phone calls and e-mails. The Bush regime secretly instituted the program after 9/11 and bypassed the courts by not obtaining warrants for the spy program. The media revealed this illegal program in December 2005. Initially the Bush regime attacked the press for exposing the program and instituted a “leak investigation” into who revealed it to the media. The regime also maintained that they were doing nothing illegal and that the president could do this under his “inherent powers” and in his role as commander-in-chief. (It was unclear as to whether god also told Bush that is was okay to spy on people.)

But a major controversy was created by the revelation of the program. On August 17, 2006 a federal court in Detroit ruled that the program was unconstitutional and that it violated privacy and free speech rights, the separation of powers doctrine, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) passed to govern domestic surveillance. The judge also addressed the “inherent powers” argument of the administration by saying, “There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all ‘inherent powers’ must derive from that constitution.”

Bush immediately attacked the decision and stated, “Those who herald this decision simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live. I strongly disagree with that decision, strongly disagree.” But the regime also decided to enter into negotiations with congress.

Congressional leaders invited Bush to “work” with them to legalize what he was doing. In essences they said, “we do not mind your spying, we just want you to do it the right way.” Senator Arlen Spector, the chair of the Judiciary Committee played the lead role in this political game.

Until yesterday it appeared Bush would get his legislation. The bill would not really stop the Bush regime from spying but it did propose a few steps. The administration would have to submit the program to the FISA court for a one-time constitutional review. It provided for seven day emergency warrants and it required the Attorney General to inform the congressional intelligence activities every six months of its activities under the law. But Feingold has stopped the bill at least temporarily. After Spector was forced to delay the vote on the bill, he admitted that the White House would continue its domestic wiretapping program unchecked by the courts.

This observation sums it up. It is clear that the Bush regime will not be deterred by laws. It instituted the NSA spy program and deliberately evaded the courts. Even after a court ruled the program unconstitutional it continued it. Yes, the administration had agreed to “work with” congress but only as long as it gets what it wants. The Bush regime will not be stopped by courts telling the world that it acts unconstitutionally and it will not be stopped by a compliant congress which merely wishes to legalize the regime’s crimes. Only a mass political movement with millions in the streets will halt the regime. That is why October 5th is so critical to all that abhor what this administration had done and fear what it will do unless driven from power. Listening in on our phone calls and reading our e-mail is only the beginning.

The author of this article, Kenneth J, Theisen, is an organizer with THE WORLD CAN’T WAIT! DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME! For more information as to how to oust the Bush regime, see worldcantwait.org.

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