Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Brazil!



The Regime's efforts to scare the country and its representatives in Congress assembled into caving to demands for telecom immunity are falling flat. This is not to say that the propaganda effort is diminishing in any way. In fact, universally throughout the mainstream news media, the issue is formulated precisely as Bob Orr did on the CBS Evening News last night (via C & L):

BOB ORR: At issue is whether or not telecommunications companies like Verizon and AT&T should be protected from lawsuits when they help the government tap conversations of suspected foreign terrorists - when those calls and emails are routed through the U.S.


When, as C & L, and most of the Lefty Blogosphere points out, that's not the issue at all.

Via C & L again:

Actually, the issue is whether retroactive immunity will be granted to telecoms so they can’t be sued by Americans, for illegally participating in wiretapping American citizens in America.


That's about as simple and straightforward a statement of the Issue as it is possible to get, and yet, to date, not one mainstream news outlet has been able to say it that way.

It's so bad that the other day, as reported by Glenn Greenwald, John King, experienced political reporter at CNN, had Adm. Mike McConnell, Director of Intelligence, on to discuss the issue and stated:

KING: To most Americans out there, and to a guy like me who's spent most of his time, in the past several months, out covering a presidential campaign, this is highly detailed stuff that's pretty hard to follow.


No. It's not. It never has been "hard to follow." This question at issue is whether or not the Congress will provide immunity to large corporations that broke the law and spied on Americans without warrants or court supervision of any kind for several years.

The Senate has voted to provide that immunity. The House has voted not to.

The resolution is to be found in conference committee. Nearly every observer assumes that the conference committee will provide partial or full retroactive immunity to the telecoms, and that by doing so, the governmental interests who conspired or colluded to induce the telecoms to perform these illegal acts of domestic surveillance will be shielded from investigation or culpability.

The issue has NEVER, EVER been about whether telecoms should be immunized from suits over spying on calls from or to suspected terrorists. Immunity for following lawful government orders is already provided. The problem is that the orders (or "requests") were not lawful and following them was not lawful; further, so far as anyone can suss out, the surveillance was never limited (and so far as we know, is not now limited) to "terrorists." Essentially all domestic and foreign communication is potential fodder for warrantless surveillance, making moot the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.

But nowhere in the mainstream media -- with the odd exception, such as when a "critic" is allowed to speak, briefly, on the topic, or when Keith Olbermann focuses on it -- is the issue accurately described, even though the fearmongering of the White House, the intelligence agency heads, and Republicans in Congress has been almost entirely repudiated.

Propaganda is universal.

Stalin is smiling.

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