Federal investigations, American innocence

U.S. Attorney General Albert Gonzales has just called for another Justice Department investigation. This time they want to know what government official leaked the story that President Bush has been conducting illegal surveillance upon U.S. citizens without the proper warrants.
Does this recall the investigation prompted by the revelation that our CIA has been using secret prisons in Europe to detain people illegally? They’re against European law and against American law. But Gonzales wanted to know the same thing: who told.
Soviet era prisonKiejkuty- a Soviet era prison in Poland, revealed to be one of the “black sites,” the secret network of CIA prisons for keeping ghost detainees from domestic scrutiny.

Remember the indignant reaction in 2004 to the suggestion that America was operating “gulags?”

Illegal activity on the part of the president. Illegal activity on the part of the CIA. Where is the investigation into the members of this government who failed to leak these stories?

Not only are there laws which protect whistleblowers, there are laws which punish people who keep mum about wrong-doings which they’ve witnessed. Is Alberto Gonzales interested in any of those laws?

Perhaps Gonzales authored another position paper advising Bush administration officials that they needn’t worry themselves with notions of personal responsibility in this the shiny age of Neocon omnipotence.

Need for warrants
President Bush claims that he ordered this domestic spying to protect our nation against terrorists. Since the warrants he would have needed are practically rubber stamped anyway, why would he need to act without having obtained them, in accordance to the law?

A leader elected in a democracy is not supposed to be able to declare all by himself who is an enemy of the state, just as a police commissioner is not supposed to be able to pick on whatever neighboor’s household he wishes. That’s what judicial review is for. “Got a warrant?” We all know our right. It’s in the Constitution. We put it there.

Freedom of Information Act requests have shown that Bush’s surveillance extends beyond looking for Taliban suicidal hijacker suspects. Perhaps Bush feared that the judicial oversight which comes with having to apply for a warrant might preclude those other categories. That’s what the oversight is for, to prevent a dictator from usurping a democracy.

Because someone is a particular religion is not a probable cause which would justify spying on them. No, George, because someone is protesting for peace, this is not a cause to spy on them.

A judicial review board trying to uphold the constitution will not issue a warrant because someone is blowing the whistle on a major energy company, or because they are making a competitive bid against Halliburton, or trying to organize a union against Wal-mart, or trying to expose the Bush family financial ties, or challenging Tom Delay’s redistricting. Those are not illegal activities and thus do not justify law-enforcement attention.

And what are you trying to learn from eavesdropping? What they are up to? What they are up to is generally known, that’s how you became worried about them in the first place.

Instead, are you looking for a vice, or a family secret, or some vulnerability which you can exploit, either through blackmail, coercion, brute force, or by sudden secret unconstitutional detention, to stop their activities which you say are a threat to your America?

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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