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September 20, 2007


immunity appears to be a done deal.
is there any hope of stopping it?

I'm trying to find that out now, drational.


Initial read is it's not a done deal.

"assuming bmaz' arguments are correct." Man, that is not very close to the scientific model; heh heh. The reputation in the foreign business market is not something I had even thought about, but is a good point. There are all kinds of reasons that the telcos want immunity; it would make their lives easier on every front. Wouldn't we all like immunity for the hard choices and questionable decisions we have made in our lives? Thing is, there are consequences for actions; or at least there should be. My point has never been that the telcos can't or won't suffer for their actions; they will, but they are not going to go belly up and leave America with nothing but tomato cans and a string to communicate on. Yet, that is essentially how the Administration is pitching the immunity push. The Bush Administration is using the telcos as a stalking horse to conceal their own criminal actions and again prevent avenues to exposing their conduct and holding them accountable.

"Wainstein also said that a telecom company's overseas assets could be threatened if its collaboration in U.S. espionage efforts were confirmed in a court case."

SWIFT comes to mind. That is something I hadn't thought about much though.

Marcy, How can congress grant immunity to the telecoms retroactively? The U.S. Constitution specifically states that "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." I always thought "ex post facto" was Latin for "after the fact." What gives?

JClarkATL - You would think; but alas, not so. The provision is almost always discussed in a criminal law context, as opposed to civil. Irrespective of that, the real force of it is to prohibit retroactively criminalizing or imposing punishment on conduct that was legal at the time. Pretty much, in simplistic terms, the provision has not been held to prohibit decriminalizing or sanctioning previously prohibited conduct.

JClarkATL - it means you can't retroactively make something illegal after the fact and convict someone of an act that wasn't a crime when they did it. You can still make something legal after the fact. It's understandable why the first is bad enough that it should be absolutely prohibited. The second can be bad (as in this case), but it also has some appropriate uses.

emptywheel - Re: "publicity about the exposure of other countries to US government snoops is going to make it a lot harder for US telecoms to do business in other countries."

Not only harder for US-based telcos to do business abroad, but the negative impact (at least from the domestic industry and intel perspective) could be the complete breakdown in a carefully constructed global regime that gave US companies control over the domain registry records of 95% of the world's Internet and more than half the cellphone traffic. See, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/5/26/11367/6684

If this becomes common knowledge abroad, it could lead to a withdrawal of foreign users from this system. The damage may already have been done. Think about that from the perspective, not as a stockholder, but as an intelligence officer. No more easy pickings from the .com, .net, .biz, .uk, registries. The end of the world as we've know it.

Bushco REALLY screwed the pooch with this. From a mil/intel perspective, this is just another example of how the present Administration has damaged national security. One way or another, they have to go before 01/20/09.


Most excellent point wrt vulnerability of telcos' foreign assets! Twasn't one that had occurred to me.

And while it would have a significant impact on the involved telcos, I suspect that it would have a devastating impact on the NSA.

You can't be collecting foreign Comint all that easily anymore if the pipes and switches your tame telco owned get nationalized.

And since the NSA's raison d'être is foreign intelligence, one might be more than a tad bit nervous about your tame telcos' exposure to the sovereignty of other countries who ain't all that thrilled to be vulnerable to your snooping.

Mark Levey - Boy, do you have that right. This quote is from a comment I left in the thread above on the Saudi/OPEC vacillation on pegging oil price in dollars, but applies equally well to what you are saying:

"Did they not foresee this? The Condi moments of "Who could have predicted this would happen?" are increasing in their frequency. The wheels are completely off of the government of the United States. Impeachment is not just the right thing to do at this point, it is literally necessary for survival of any semblance of a healthy nation. It may already be too late."

You know, in the 90s, the Republicans/Conservatives waxed insane over the mostly harmless yuppy motto "If it feels good, do it". With the yuppys, it was only about a little conspicuous consumption and casual sex. But the cretins who violently bellowed against that have taken the attitude lock, stock, and laser guide barrels and applied it to the handling of our economy, security/privacy and foreign policy. We are at the precipice, the void awaits if Bush/Cheney et. al. are not reeled in quickly.

bmaz -

If Leahy and Conyers can't be sufficiently hardnosed about regime change, perhaps the professionals in the clandestine services (with the assent of the Joint Chiefs) will have to be.

I was for a longest time harboring illusions that the system would be self-preserving, and would take the open procedural route to removal (a la, Nixon and Agnew). If not that, there would be (had to be, I told myself) a deal behind closed doors leading to the removal in place of Cheney and Vice President Bush, along with their closest aides.

While there has been some progress made toward the latter option (Rummy, Libby, Rove, Gonzo), I really am beginning to think that swift removal at the top is a necessary step to keeping the country afloat. We can't waste any more remaining resources in trying to salvage the Boy King's reputation in Iraq. We're visibly weaker every month that goes by. It's enormously destructive to the country's morale for Congress to remain neutered, particularly since the Dems will have to pick up the pieces and run the country soon.

The worst possible thing would be the "fall forward" strategy into Iran being pushed by the neocons -- at best, it was always no more than a deception campaign. Continuing the present strategy of increasing tension can only get us locked into a real war that ends in our own extinction as a world power.

I still have hope key Senators and Generals have been talking to each other, and are following some sort of plan that includes an endgame. If not, that wounded thing in the White House can destroy all that's left in less than fifteen months. Events are overtaking us on several fronts simultaneously -- if it's not war with Iran, it will be martial law in Pakistan, a downward cascade of the currency and the markets, and other unmanagable crises, all at once.

Now is the time for us to take risks and change that course.

Throw the Captain and First Mate in the lifeboat, and make

From Isikoff: Wainstein said that giving telecoms companies retroactive liability was a matter of "general fairness."

Evidently, expecting actual adults to be held responsible for their actions is now an outdated, 'analog' notion. Silly me; I'd failed to notice the meaning of 'Fairness 2.0: my butt's covered, and I don't give a rat's ass about yours. You are powerless'.

I'm sure the lobbyists mantra goes something along these lines: "Our newly updated "Fairness 2.0" release comes with all the butt-covering tools you'll need to experience your own ominscience -- and the best part is that NO ONE ELSE will ever know."
**** Beta tested and ready to launch.

Personal responsibility is so... analog.
Toss that outdated concept out in the garbage heap with your old C:\

For optimal user experience, "Fairness 2.0" should be implemented as follows:

Step 1: Install new disc; it will overwrite 'Personal Responsibility 1.5' with 'Fairness 2.0'.
Step 2: Reboot.
Step 3: Drag remaining 'Personal Responsibility 1.5' files to Trash.
Step 4: Double-click Trash to permanently delete all remaining 'Personal Responsibility 1.5' files.
Step 5: Create 'Fairness 2.0' alias.
Step 6. Drag 'Fairness 2.0' alias to dock for quick, easy activation.
Step 7: Click 'Fairness 2.0' to activate -- you are now legally immune from any actions you may initiate, participate in, or attempt.

Got Privacy?


Workmen: arrive on stage

Man: Hey you guys, you here to build the new Empire?

Workmen: Hell no. We're here to bury it.


Maybe, after this kerfuffle, we'll be lucky and all the criminal capitalists will do like Murdoch and migrate to where the action is, Europe & China and leave us the Hell alone, so we can have our little Progressive utopia...something similar to Canada.

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