Bush’s Meglomania. L’Etat C’est Moi. I Need To Eavesdrop On Internal Phone Calls Without A Warrant To Protect You. Guess Who Is On The List.

December 28, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
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Just Like The Patriot Act Lets Him Monitor All The Web Sites Visited Or Library Books Checked Out Or Books Purchased Through Amazon Etc. Without A Warrant Bush Still Needs To Use Extra Legal Means To Curtail The Freedoms Of Americans. Why?

Bush now thinks because he obtained authority from Congress to chase down Al Queda and remove Saddam Hussein he has the right to eavesdrop on Americans without first obtaining a warrant by a very efficient legal system for the prompt issuance of a warrant involving national security. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says of course the right to eavesdrop on Americans was implied when Congress authorized the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gonzales also found ways for the President to authorize torture of prisoners. This of course allows the enemy to do likewise with American military prisoners.

One Wonders Which Americans Were Subject To Eavesdropping.

Was it, or will it be John Kerry, members of Congress The Democratic National Committee, Michael Moore and anyone else the Administration perceives to be a threat? Just how far does Bush think his authority extends. Does it include, detention, unlawful entry onto a subject’s premises and for what reasons? The Patriot Act already has been argued by this Administration to authorize detentions and suspension of habeas corpus.

What were the parameters of the eavesdropping without warrants orders and who was authorized to conduct the surveillance, just the National Security Administration or others and who received the information?

National Security Is The Reason Every Dictator Has Justified Surveillance, Torture, Killing Or Imprisonment Its Own Citizens From Stalin To Hitler To Saddam Hussein.

Bush’s logic has been the basis for every dictatorship in history. In order to protect the country from attack we must have a police state subject to no rules but the whims of the incumbent administration or ruler. We already have a court that can issue a warrant within minutes or less when adequate grounds for a wiretap is presented that makes surveillance necessary to protect national security. Therefore the Executive Branch has usurped the Judicial role in authorizing suveillance in the interest of national security

Only a megalomaniac would authorize eavesdropping on Americans without a warrant. If Attorney General Gonzales believes there is such an authority in a Congressional act he should be removed. Gonzales was White House counsel when he advised on the grounds for torture:
“Gonzales authored a controversial memo in January of 2002 that explored whether Article III of the Geneva Convention (protection from torture) even applied to Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters captured in Afghanistan and held in concentration facilities around the world, including Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The memo made several arguments both for and against providing Article III protection to Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. He concluded that Article III was outdated and ill-suited for dealing with captured Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. He described as “quaint” the provisions that require providing captured Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters “commissary privileges, scrip, athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments”. He also argued that existing military regulations and instructions from the President were more than adequate to ensure that the principles of the Geneva Convention would be applied. He also argued that undefined language in the Geneva Convention, such as “outrages upon personal dignity” and “inhuman treatment”, could make officials and military leaders subject to the War Crimes Act of 1996 if mistreatment was discovered.
A secret 2002 Justice Department memorandum cleared by Gonzales argued that laws prohibiting torture do “not apply to the president’s detention and interrogation of enemy combatants”, and that the pain caused by interrogation must include “injury such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions — in order to constitute torture”. (click here)

Gonzales is now Attorney General with a duty to uphold the laws of the United States and protect the Constitutional rights of its citizens. Therefore he has a Constitutional duty to appoint a Special Prosecutor to determine if a crime has been committed in the authorization of wiretapping without a warrant. Further a failure to carry out the mandate of his office subjects him to dismissal from office or at least an investigation into his own failure to act. This eavesdropping without a warrant program has been authorized “three dozen times since 9/11/01 according to a senior intelligence official.” (click here). This means Gonzales was also Bush’s White House Counsel when the warrantless surveillance of Americans began.

Senator Arlen Spector, Chairman of The Senate Judiciary Committee promised hearings on the matter in early 2006.

As for Bush if it is found that he illegally authorized illegal wiretaps, but believed on a good faith basis he was acting in the interests of national security then he should be censured. If the wiretaps went beyond national security interests it would be grounds for impeachment

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Movie Review: Syriana: A Film By Stephan Gaghan. A Political Thriller. Rated B+.

December 6, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
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It Is Meant to Challenge And Confront Popular Conceptions About The U.S. Role In The Mid East.

This film is a political thriller written and directed by Steven Gahan who also wrote Traffic. The film is made in the Robert Altman/Quentin Tarentino style of multiple but ultimately related story lines with multiple characters. However it parts company with these directors because it is made almost in a semi documentary style. Perhaps it could be called a docu-drama if it was not a work of fiction based loosely on a non-fiction book by a former CIA agent, Robert Baer. This is also a film where the story is paramount and not just a star vehicle for George Clooney, Matt Damon, Christopher Plummer or Amanda Peet.

George Clooney is a CIA agent who becomes politically expendable by the agency when it becomes public that he was trying to kill the first son, played by Alexander Siddig, of an Emir of an oil rich country so his second more pliable son (friendly to the U.S. and Connex-Killen Oil Co.) could become Emir.

Clooney realizes he has been unwittingly been an instrument of big business and in the case of the film big oil (Connex-Killen) during his CIA career in the Mid-East and seeks to rectify his actions in relation to the Emir’s first son.

This fact is almost unbelievable and the audience’s suspended disbelief is tested. How an CIA field expert could not know the ultimate goals of his job after many years as a field agent in the Mid-East is not reasonable to ask the audience to accept. However while this weakens the story it does not seriously prevent the story from going forward. Perhaps if the Clooney character was more fully developed this weakness could have been overcome. However this is a common problem of all ensemble works, not enough time to develop characters and how they relate to the plot.

Other story lines include Matt Damon who is an economic advisor to the eldest of the two sons of the aging Emir who wishes to retire.

Chris Cooper, Christopher Plummer and Jeffrey Wright are an oilman and his lawyers seeking to maintain the company’s hegemony over its oil and gas interests in the Persian Gulf and in Tajikistan in the face of Chinese competition and their manipulation of Justice Department scrutiny of their business deals with foreigners.

Another story line is about two Pakistani oil workers who are laid off when Connex-Killen loses a liquid natural gas concession owned by the Emirate to the Chinese and ultimately are turned into suicide bombers by Iranian terrorists using a missile accidentally sold them by Clooney in a prior operation gone sour.

This movie is complex and must be followed closely. Its main thesis is that big oil controls what happens in the Middle East and has the U.S. Government is at its disposal to further its economic control of the regions main resources, oil and gas. It is an exceedingly dark view of American policy in the Middle East, who controls it and for whose benefit. After the revelations of Iraq War I and II and the recent run up in oil prices you will leave the theatre asking yourself exactly why are we in Iraq? However the film may be a little over the top as many political thrillers are.

It is still worth seeing for the questions it raises and also it is an engrossing view of the complexities of the Middle East and the politics surrounding it.

However the movie may be obscure at times so it is best to read some of the more astute reviews of the film before you go. Technically the film is well made and the acting is excellent. It was a pleasure to see something beyond the usual thin gruel produced by Hollywood.

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