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Your Call May be Monitored . . .

RadicalmoiWhat else could you call this post? What else would you title a protest against the newly passed right to spy on its citizens that Bush's cronies and the chickenshit Dems in the Senate just handed the Imperial arm of the government?  What else could you title a post about the sudden dismissal of more than 40 pending lawsuits against the telecom companies for aiding and abetting said then-illegal spying by our own government? Nothing like breaking the law first, then rewriting it to retroactively cover your ass, which is exactly what this is.

Not only may your call be monitored, but your Internet transactions as well, though these are more difficult to trace. And if you think the Government won't actually misuse this new power, then you need to take a look at why the original law requiring search warrants for wiretapping was put in place in the late 1970s. As Julian Sanchez points out in his recent Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times,

The original FISA law was passed in 1978 after a thorough congressional investigation headed by Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) revealed that for decades, intelligence analysts -- and the presidents they served -- had spied on the letters and phone conversations of union chiefs, civil rights leaders, journalists, antiwar activists, lobbyists, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices -- even Eleanor Roosevelt and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The Church Committee reports painstakingly documented how the information obtained was often "collected and disseminated in order to serve the purely political interests of an intelligence agency or the administration, and to influence social policy and political action."

I don't know about you, but I would consider myself, if not an activist, at least anti-war and pro-civil rights. If blogging counts as activism, then yeah, I guess I am one. The revision of FISA leaves the likes of me, ordinary, innocent if sometimes rabble rousing citizens vulnerable to the abuses of an overly nosy government. Prior to FISA, the FBI and other intelligence agencies, including the New York City Police Department were spying on an ex-president's wife and duly appointed Supreme Court justices, as well as civil rights activists. They've gone right back to it under this regime. Now they can do it legally.

Worried yet? You should be.

Why did Obama vote in support of this? (Sen. Clinton voted against it.) More importantly, if he's elected, will he urge Congress to revisit it and reinstate the already workable guidelines previously in place to protect citizens' right to privacy? McCain sure won't.


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