Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thanks to Glenn Greenwald, once again on warrantless wiretapping, on telecom immunity and Constitutional protections against unreasonable (unreviewed by an independent judge) search and seizure. And specifically in his June 26th blog for disillusioning many of us about our hero, Keith Olbermann, who has, up till now. done such terrific work nailing Bush and Cheney for their ruthless and reckless lawlessness.

And now if Olbermann's defense of Obama's position on the FISA bill is an accurate indication, our hero has fallen, putting him into the category of a nondescript hack, like too many others.

But once again, we find that Greenwald's blind spot is the Lobby, and the dual loyalty that has risen to such a level that we'd rather pay $4,5, 6 and perhaps much more for a gallon of gas rather than adopt policies that AIPAC considers bad for Israel.

Does Greenwald ask why Obama (and Olbermann) choose to support a policy that we believe they know is bad? Isn't it clear that the reason the Democrats choose to support the FISA law is because if they don't support the war on terror, which means the war against the Muslim world, they will lose the support of AIPAC? Even if bowing to AIPAC means destroying the economy and ripping the Constitution to shreds?

One estimate that I've heard is that half the current price of oil is due to the war in Iraq and the threats to expand the war to Iran, Syria and Lebanon. It used to be that bowing to AIPAC's wishes simply meant that Palestinians and other Arabs near Israel would suffer. Now the policies that they advocate amount to national and international suicide which apparently is less evil than opposing AIPAC. But I guess there's a certain amount of justice involved. We're only doing to ourselves what we've done to the Palestinians for 60 years and more.

Keith Olbermann: Then and now
by Glenn Greenwald

Thursday June 26, 2008

On January 31 of this year, Keith Olbermann donned his most serious face and most indignant voice tone to rail against George Bush for supporting telecom immunity and revisions to FISA. In a 10-minute "Special Comment," the MSNBC star condemned Bush for wanting to "retroactively immunize corporate criminals," and said that telecom immunity is "an ex post facto law, which would clear the phone giants from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive and blatant collaboration with [Bush's] illegal and unjustified spying on Americans under this flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists who are stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass email."

Olbermann added that telecom amnesty was a "shameless, breathless, literally textbook example of Fascism -- the merged efforts of government and corporations that answer to no government." Noting the numerous telecom lobbyists connected to the Bush administration, Olbermann said:

This is no longer just a farce in which protecting telecoms is dressed up as protecting us from terrorists conference cells. Now it begins to look like the bureaucrats of the Third Reich, trying to protect the Krupp family, the industrial giants, re-writing the laws of Germany for their benefit.
Olbermann closed by scoffing at the idea that telecom amnesty or revisions to FISA were necessary to help National Security:
There is not a choice of protecting the telecoms from prosecution or protecting the people from terrorism, Sir. This is a choice of protecting the telecoms from prosecution or pretending to protect the people from terrorists. Sorry, Mr. Bush, the eavesdropping provisions of FISA have obviously had no impact on counter-terrorism, and there is no current or perceived terrorist threat the thwarting of which could hinge on an email or phone call that is going through Room 641 of AT&T in San Francisco.
Strong and righteous words indeed. But that was five whole months ago, when George Bush was urging enactment of a law with retroactive immunity and a lessening of FISA protections. Now that Barack Obama supports a law that does the same thing -- and now that Obama justifies that support by claiming that immunity and revising FISA are necessary to keep us Safe from the Terrorists -- everything has changed.
Last night, Olbermann invited Newsweek's Jonathan Alter onto his show to discuss Obama's support for the FISA and telecom amnesty bill (video of the segment is here). There wasn't a syllable uttered about "immunizing corporate criminals" or "textbook examples of Fascism" or the Third Reich. There wasn't a word of rational criticism of the bill either. Instead, the two media stars jointly hailed Obama's bravery and strength -- as evidenced by his "standing up to the left" in order to support this important centrist FISA compromise:

OLBERMANN: Asked by "Rolling Stone" publisher, Jann Wenner, about how Democrats have cowered in the wake of past Republican attacks, Senator Obama responding, quote, "Yeah, I don't do cowering." That's evident today in at least three issues . . .
Senator Obama also refusing to cower even to the left on the subject of warrantless wiretapping. He's planning to vote for the FISA compromise legislation, putting him at odds with members of his own party . . . But first, it's time to bring in our own Jonathan Alter, also, of course, senior editor of "Newsweek" magazine.

Good evening, Jon.


OLBERMANN: "Yeah, I don't do cowering." This is not just the man, but the campaign?

ALTER: Yes. This is part of the message that is consistent across the last couple weeks and it comes down to one word -- strength. The United States is not going to elect a president that perceives to be as weak. You look weak if you're flip-flopping. You look weak if you're not taking actions that seem to be securing the United States against terrorists. And you look weak if you don't fight back against your political adversaries.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Glenn Greenwald: NYT Plays Up Bogus Fears on FISA and Telecom Amnesty

One interesting tidbit is that Glenn Greenwald isn't even publicly aware that the war on terror is totally bogus since the US, Israel and other states like the UK plan and execute virtually all the significant terror, especially the high profile events like 9/11. Has anyone else besides Greenwald exposed the NYT for their complicity? --Ronald

Glenn Greewald
NYT circulates fear-mongering claims on FISA debate
Tuesday June 10, 2008

The New York Times' Eric Lichtblau has a long, prominent article today on the pending debate over FISA and telecom amnesty -- headlined: "Return to Old Spy Rules Is Seen as Deadline Nears" -- that features (and endorses) virtually every blatant falsehood that has distorted these spying issues from the beginning, and which is built on every shoddy journalistic practice that has made clear debate over these issues almost impossible. The article strongly suggests that a so-called "compromise" is imminent, a "compromise" which will deliver to the President virtually everything he seeks in the way of new warrantless eavesdropping powers and telecom amnesty.

One paragraph after the next in Lichtblau's article features shrill warnings, mostly from unnamed "officials," about all the scary things that will happen if Congressional Democrats do not quickly pass a new FISA bill that is similar to the Rockefeller/Cheney Senate bill and that is agreeable to the President. If a "compromise" isn't reached, reports the article, then we'll all have to live under the so-called "old" FISA law -- meaning the law used by the U.S. to defend itself from 1978 until August, 2007 and then again from February, 2008 until the present. Moreover, the one-year surveillance orders obtained last August under the now-expired Protect America Act are set to expire in August, 2008. We learn from Lichtblau's article that this would be so very dangerous because:

* expiration of the one-year PAA orders in August would create "a situation that some officials predict could leave worrisome gaps in intelligence";

* if no deal is reached, then "'We'll start losing intelligence capabilities,' Senator Christopher S. Bond of Missouri said";

* "government and Congressional officials said in interviews that they saw [reversion to FISA] as a dangerous step backward" because "government lawyers, analysts and linguists would once again have to prepare individual warrants, potentially thousands of them, for surveillance of terrorism targets overseas."

* Scarier still: "Telecommunications companies would also have to spend considerable time shutting down existing wiretaps, and then start them up again if ordered under new warrants, officials said."

* Without any explanation as to why, Lichtblau grants anonymity to an administration official to oh-so-bravely-and-valuably spout the administration line: "A senior intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the administration was concerned that reverting to the older standards and requiring individual warrants for each wiretap would create a severe gap in overseas intelligence by raising the bar for foreign surveillance collection."

* "Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey has described the idea of reverting to the older standards of foreign surveillance as 'unthinkable.'"

* As always, pitifully frightened Congressional Democrats feed these claims: "'Until August, were O.K.,' said one senior Democratic Congressional aide involved in the negotiations. "After August, we're not O.K."

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