Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Datamining not just for terrorists

By Libby

Whether you believe Gonzales lied to Congress or not, one thing is clear. Bush lied about the NSA secret surveillance program. The administration now admits it was much bigger than they initially admitted and included a much broader range of surveillance.
The Bush administration's chief intelligence official said yesterday that President Bush authorized a series of secret surveillance activities under a single executive order in late 2001. The disclosure makes clear that a controversial National Security Agency program was part of a much broader operation than the president previously described.

The disclosure by Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, appears to be the first time that the administration has publicly acknowledged that Bush's order included undisclosed activities beyond the warrantless surveillance of e-mails and phone calls that Bush confirmed in December 2005.

They would like to think they were just compiling data on "terrorists" but Prof. Juravich would beg to differ. The link may be subscription only, so here's the major exerpts.
Last week, Juravich, director of the Labor Relations Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, was denied access to Canada at the country's border when a customs agent realized Juravich had been arrested in 1981.

The ban stunned Juravich, who has visited Canada over 50 times in the past two years to work and spend time with his partner, Teresa Healy of Ottawa. He has a Canadian musician's work permit and was in the country just two weeks ago.

"I was mystified when the border agent asked me about an arrest from 1981," said Juravich.

Juravich said he was arrested during the Sterling Radiator strike of 1981 in Westfield. He described the protest as a non-violent gathering of 200 people. Most of the people at the strike were arrested that day, Juravich said, and on the following day the charges were dropped.

"I don't have a police record, but now I have to prove it," Juravich said. "Whatever happened to 'innocent until proven guilty?"

"What kind of a message does this send to activists of all ages that ... the kind of dissent essential to the democratic process will be punished harshly a quarter century (later)?" Juravich asked.

Juravich was on his way to Canada July 25 to see Healy and pick up a professor's work permit when he was barred from entering the country. Juravich will be on sabbatical this year and lined up a job as a visiting professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, teaching a course in labor culture and another in sociology.

"The basic principle here is with this kind of exchange of information in the 9/11 context - we need to realize that this information doesn't just sit around," Juravich said. "It gets used and in my case it was used in an entirely inappropriate fashion."

Which makes this news all the more disturbing. Under the heading, WTF?
WASHINGTON, July 31 — Under pressure from President Bush, Democratic leaders in Congress are scrambling to pass legislation this week to expand the government’s electronic wiretapping powers.

Democratic leaders have expressed a new willingness to work with the White House to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to make it easier for the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on some purely foreign telephone calls and e-mail. Such a step now requires court approval.

The White House has told Democratic lawmakers that it will accept a narrow bill now but will come back later for broader changes, including legal immunity for telecommunications companies involved in the wiretapping program.

Did I say WTF? What I meant was WTF? When are the Democrats going to start acting like the majority party and stand up to the second most unpopular president in the history of our nation? We restored them to power to stop this trampling of our civil rights, not to cover it up and retroactively legalize it.

[cross-posted to The Reaction]

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