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Commentary :: Human Rights
U.S. Senate Spy Bill—Locked and Loaded to Shoot Down 1st and 4th Amendments
28 Jun 2008
More frequently U.S. Senators can been seen on Television reading sections of HR 6304 which they claim will protect lawful persons in the U.S. from being targeted by government wiretaps. Not mentioned by the Senators, is that THE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008 has a low level of “probable cause” that will permit Government to wiretap U.S. phone calls, faxes and emails.
Your House of Representatives on June 20th 2008 sent to the U.S. Senate, THE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008, HR 6304.

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

As most of us know, several Telecoms have gotten caught helping U.S. Spy Agencies—illegally wiretap millions of our personal phone calls, faxes and emails.

Will those Illegal Government-Wiretaps Be Made Available To International Criminal & Civil Courts after HR 6304 is Passed?

Before the U.S. Senate passes THE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008, shouldn’t the Senate first disclose to U.S. Citizens what may happen to the Government’s millions of illegally seized Electronic Communications that belong to U.S. Citizens?

Still, Congress hasn’t clarified 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, that 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, business assets 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.

Perhaps breaking the trust of Americans, the U.S. Senate is pushing forward THE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008. If enacted, HR 6304 shall provide Telecoms blind-immunity for most any crime a Telecom might have committed under President Bush while helping Government—illegally spy on U.S. Citizens’ private electronic communications.

More frequently U.S. Senators are seen on Television reading sections of HR 6304 they claim will protect lawful persons in the U.S. from being targeted by government wiretaps. Not mentioned by the Senators, is THE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008 includes a low level of “probable cause” that will permit Government to wiretap U.S. phone calls, faxes and emails.

See the following example found in the HR 6304 “(2) Probable Cause” section under (C)(Order) That HR 6304 paragraph is shown below: see how the Act’s “Probable Cause wording undermines the protection 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.”

The House inserted the very 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.

Contamination by Lawful Association: THE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008 should concern U.S. activists, any person in the U.S. who networks, especially with groups and causes overseas. For example, the Stop the War Campaign, labor and environmental organizations transcend countries. Some of those countries oppose U.S. policies such as the U.S. War in Iraq. After HR 6304 is passed, any person in the U.S. that 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. The House of Representatives left out protective words, like “Shall Not Be Considered.”

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