Monday, December 19, 2005

Bending the Law to Protect the President

So, now the W, Rove and Co has trotted out their Attorney General to give us the legal wrangle as to why they feel they are above the Constitution. If you ask me, it looks as if they are playing a standard legal trick: If your client broke the law, find any and all case precedent that suggests -however remotely - that an exception can be made for you client. It still doesn't change the fact that the W, Rove and Co are violating our Constitutional Rights. And that, my friends, is against the law - no matter how you bend it to atone for your sins. Here's what the General said verbatim:
Now, in terms of legal authorities, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act provides -- requires a court order before engaging in this kind of surveillance that I've just discussed and the President announced on Saturday, unless there is somehow -- there is -- unless otherwise authorized by statute or by Congress. That's what the law requires. Our position is, is that the authorization to use force, which was passed by the Congress in the days following September 11th, constitutes that other authorization, that other statute by Congress, to engage in this kind of signals intelligence.

Now, that -- one might argue, now, wait a minute, there's nothing in the authorization to use force that specifically mentions electronic surveillance. Let me take you back to a case that the Supreme Court reviewed this past -- in 2004, the Hamdi decision. As you remember, in that case, Mr. Hamdi was a U.S. citizen who was contesting his detention by the United States government. What he said was that there is a statute, he said, that specifically prohibits the detention of American citizens without permission, an act by Congress -- and he's right, 18 USC 4001a requires that the United States government cannot detain an American citizen except by an act of Congress.

We took the position -- the United States government took the position that Congress had authorized that detention in the authorization to use force, even though the authorization to use force never mentions the word "detention." And the Supreme Court, a plurality written by Justice O'Connor agreed. She said, it was clear and unmistakable that the Congress had authorized the detention of an American citizen captured on the battlefield as an enemy combatant for the remainder -- the duration of the hostilities. So even though the authorization to use force did not mention the word, "detention," she felt that detention of enemy soldiers captured on the battlefield was a fundamental incident of waging war, and therefore, had been authorized by Congress when they used the words, "authorize the President to use all necessary and appropriate force."

For the same reason, we believe signals intelligence is even more a fundamental incident of war, and we believe has been authorized by the Congress. And even though signals intelligence is not mentioned in the authorization to use force, we believe that the Court would apply the same reasoning to recognize the authorization by Congress to engage in this kind of electronic surveillance.

Coincidentially, it looks as if they W is trying to use some kind of Jedi Mind Trick to make us think he's in the right. The trouble is, he believes he is right. Have a look:

Now, having suggested this idea, I then, obviously, went to the question, is it legal to do so? I am -- I swore to uphold the laws. Do I have the legal authority to do this? And the answer is, absolutely. As I mentioned in my remarks, the legal authority is derived from the Constitution, as well as the authorization of force by the United States Congress.

2 comments:

Kvatch said...

Damn, "using a Jedi Mind Trick," that's up there with Bill Maher's "abandoning N.O. to rising water and snakes," comment. I can hear it now:

Bush: "You don't need to my authorization..."
Public: "We don't need to see his authorization..."

On a totally seperate topic. After scanning your posts for today, I have to ask: Do you ever sleep?

K.

Anonymous said...


Start a war, make yourself king

George F. Will, 20Dec05:
''John Yoo -- now a professor of law at Berkeley but then a deputy assistant attorney general -- argued 14 days after Sept. 11, 2001, in a memorandum on ''the president's constitutional authority to conduct military operations against terrorists and nations supporting them,'' that the president's constitutional power to take ''military actions'' is ''plenary.'' The Oxford English Dictionary defines ''plenary'' as ''complete, entire, perfect, not deficient in any element or respect.''

By the definition cited, intercepting a US citizen's phone, fax, or email is a 'military action' against them. That is, the US government declared war on its own citizens. Government of, by, and for the people is now goverment of, by and for the government.

Bush's 'government' seems to have lost its way. It has wandered off into a police state dictatorship complete with secret! secret police, secret prisons, secret laws, torture, and rule by fiat. The usurper is in power. Lick the boot. We live by permission of the king.