portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting global

government | human & civil rights

Today—U.S. Senate Votes Whether to Shoot Down 1st and 4th Amendments

If this Act is passed, it will be Free Speech in America only "if you—Dare!"
Today the U.S. Senate Votes on THE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008, HR 6304.

H.R. 6304 EH may be found at:
thomas.loc.gov/

As most Americans know, Telecoms got caught helping U.S. Spy Agencies—illegally wiretap millions of U.S. private phone calls, faxes and emails. The Bush Government will not reveal the extent of its spying program. U.S. Government wants to give Telecoms that assisted the Government Spy on Americans, retroactive immunity from lawsuits and other liabilities that might result.
Will U.S. Government's millions of stored illegal-Wiretaps be made available to U.S. and International Criminal & Civil Courts after THE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008 is passed?

Before the U.S. Senate passes THE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008, the Senate should disclose to America what will happen to the Government's millions of illegally seized Electronic Communications that belong to U.S. Citizens?

Why hasn't Congress disclosed to U.S. Citizens whether the Bush Administration's years of illegal wiretaps are admissible into U.S. criminal and civil courts? It is problematic after HR 6304 is passed, police agencies and private government contractors will want to use illegally collected NSA/FBI and other illegal government wiretap surveillance to go back years to arrest Americans and or civilly forfeit their homes, businesses and inheritances using only a "preponderance of civil evidence" under Title 18 of the United States Code; or under the Patriot Act.

There are over 200 U.S. criminal laws, violations and U.S. Government cooperating agreements with other countries that can make property subject to civil asset forfeiture. No one need be charged with a crime for government to civilly forfeit an owner's home or business.
U.S. Senators are seen on Television reading sections from HR 6304 they allege will protect lawful persons in the U.S. from being spied on and targeted by government wiretaps.

Not mentioned by Senators, is THE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008 includes a low level of probable cause that permits Government to wiretap U.S. phone calls, faxes and emails.

For example: HR 6304 (2) Probable Cause section under (C)(Order) undermines protections for persons in the U.S. exercising 1st Amendment rights. The Act's use of the word "May" in "May Be Considered" a foreign power, agent of a foreign power... "appears legally to protect no one from government wiretapping and spying.
This is from the Probable Cause section in HR 6304: "No United States person may be considered a foreign power, agent of a foreign power, or officer or employee of a foreign power solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States."

Unbelievably The House inserted the weak word "may" and failed to insert, e.g., "SHALL NOT" which legally would have been more binding on Government and police not to violate the 1st and 4th Amendments rights of U.S. Citizens. Consequently it will be harder for persons in the U.S. to defend against government wiretap evidence.

After HR 6304 is passed, any person in the U.S. who exercises his or her 1st Amendment Rights under the vague provisions of HR 6304, "MAY BE CONSIDERED" by U.S. Government an agent of a foreign power. This is the result of The House of Representatives leaving out protective words, like "Shall Not Be Considered" an agent of a foreign agent.

If this Act is passed, it will be Free Speech in America only "if you—Dare!

Dan Scott