Sunday, December 10, 2006

Terrorists in the least likely places

Harken back to yesteryear when the Bush regime was defending itself against charges that it had engaged in warrantless seizures of telephone communications in open violation of the FISA law and the Constitution.

The defense, boiled down to its essentials, was, “Yeah we did it. What are you going to do about it?” Of course, at the time, King George was speaking not so much to the American people, as to Congress, both houses of which were controlled by Republicans. And so it was that he could correctly predict that the answer was, “not a damn thing.”

In speaking to the American people, he used his favorite rhetorical tactic which is to say that his program was a necessary component of the war on terror. In particular, he used the following formulation: “If terrorists are talking to someone in America, we want to know about it.”

This formulation was well suited to King George, because, like him, it is simple. It overlooked the fact that the FISA law was specifically designed for the task of enabling the government to listen in on terrorists, and that therefore, the formulation really did nothing to explain why he should be allowed to break the FISA law with impunity.

More importantly, it overlooked the fact that the government was listening in on hundreds of thousands of conversations, and presumably not all of them involved terrorists. I argued here that the program of domestic spying was actually a program of domestic spying for political purposes.

Some may say the evidence I cited was weak, though it was more than the evidence that sent American troops into Iraq. Still, I have a heavy burden to bear if I am to convince an impartial world that the United States of America engages in spying for political purposes. What got me thinking about it today, was the latest news from across the pond.

According to The Guardian,
The American secret service was bugging Princess Diana's telephone conversations without the approval of the British security services on the night she died, according to the most comprehensive report on her death, to be published this week.
Who woulda thunk the Duchess of York was a terrorist?

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

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