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Welcome to dragnet surveillance
#1
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2011/0...n_muslims/

Welcome to dragnet surveillance
For Muslims in America it's a fact of life. Who's next on the FBI's list?
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#2
Published on Friday, December 30, 2011 by The San Francisco Chronicle

Wiretap Suits OKd Against US, Not Telecoms

by Bob Egelko

The nation's telecommunications companies can't be sued for cooperating with the Bush administration's secret surveillance program, but their customers can sue the government for allegedly intercepting their phone calls and e-mails without a warrant, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

[Image: kleinsecretroomsmall.jpg]

The "secret room" in AT&T's Folsom Street office in San Francisco is believed to be one of several internet wiretapping facilities at AT&T offices around the country feeding data to the NSA. (Photo: Mark Klein) In a pair of decisions, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a 2008 law immunizing AT&T and other companies for their roles in wiretapping calls to alleged foreign terrorists, but revived a suit that accused the government of illegally intercepting millions of messages from U.S. residents.

That lawsuit was partly based on testimony in 2003 by former AT&T technician Mark Klein about equipment in the company's office on Folsom Street in San Francisco that allowed Internet traffic to be routed to the government.

'Dragnet' surveillance


The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy-rights organization representing AT&T customers, claimed the company had similar installations in other cities and used them for "dragnet" surveillance of everyday e-mails and phone calls, which the National Security Agency purportedly screened electronically for connections to terrorism.

"We look forward to proving the program is an unconstitutional and illegal violation of the rights of millions of ordinary Americans," said Cindy Cohn, the foundation's legal director.
Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd declined comment.

President George W. Bush acknowledged in 2005 that his administration had eavesdropped on calls to suspected foreign terrorists without the warrants required by federal law, but his Justice Department denied the existence of a dragnet surveillance program.

Dozens of suits challenging the surveillance were transferred to San Francisco. In one case, then-Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled in March 2010 that federal agents had illegally wiretapped an Islamic organization, which was accidentally sent a copy of the surveillance documents. The Obama administration, which inherited the case, is appealing the ruling.

Obama backed law


Walker also allowed suits against telecommunications companies that allegedly took part in illegal surveillance, but Bush then signed a law, supported by then-Sen. Barack Obama, that immunized companies cooperating in presidentially approved antiterrorism intelligence-gathering.

The appeals court upheld that law in a 3-0 ruling, rejecting arguments that Congress had interfered improperly in ongoing lawsuits and had delegated excessive power to Bush's attorney general, who certified the companies' eligibility for immunity in a confidential filing.
The Obama administration defended the law and also sought to dismiss the customers' suit against the government, arguing that it was based on speculation about wiretapping and involved political and national-security issues that were exempt from judicial review. The appeals court disagreed.

"Although the claims arise from political conduct and in a context that has been highly politicized, they present straightforward claims of statutory and constitutional rights" of customers who allege their messages were intercepted, said Judge Margaret McKeown in the 3-0 ruling.

© 2011 The San Francisco Chronicle
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
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#3
Wow, a small victory......but for how long? It will be taken up to the Supremes, who are of the opinion that corporations are persons and fascism is the latest in fashion.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#4
Truth is with all the false flag fear-mongering and Barney Fife color code alerts done by CIA during the Bush administration the threat to Americans is about the same as it ever was. True there was a heightened threat after the US illegally invaded the Middle East, but the truth is the level of threat that exists now was about the same as existed under the Bush reich. It's a manufactured war designed to get the Big Brother NSA apparatus in place over the American people. And now we have the completely unnecessary NDAA following suit as intended to remove the threat of Constitutional restriction from the neo-fascist American military government. It's a sad day in America when a good smashing of the Captiol building by hijacking terrorists probably would have been beneficial to democracy...
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