A wrap up of this week in Bushworld.

B*sh approved and allowed the NSA to spy on his own citizens without cause and without court orders. What a shocker. There was another world leader who did the same thing some time ago. Around 1939.
The NYTimes broke this story today and confirmed that worse still, White House asked it not to publish the article, "arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny."
Wow. Spying on its own citizens and suppressing the media, all in one day. I'm impressed!
B*sh of course won't confirm or deny this (his words) "can't discuss specifics because it would compromise our ability to protect the people". Excuse my French but that's

bollocks


A 1978 law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, makes it illegal to spy on U.S. citizens in the United States without court approval. It's Americans spying on Americans. Why does that sound so familiar. Oh yes. Tom Ridge in his July 2002 speech about Operation TIPS :
"The last thing we want is Americans spying on Americans, that's just not what the TIPS program is all about."
You know Americans used to claim reds and commies were "bad" because they taught their children to spy on their parents and inform on them and their friends? That was the STASI - the East German Secret Police under Soviet occupation.
And Hitler was "bad" for (among other reasons) the Gestapo and the SS.

So what is Operation TIPS? Anyone remember that? Terrorism Information and Prevention System? Where B*sh encouraged friends, relatives and neighbors to spy on us and report what they see? Basically a 21st century U.S STASI. Upset about that comparison? Well look at it. TIPS circumvents the unreasonable search and seizure provisions of the already denuded Fourth Amendment. It nullifies protection of the Exclusionary Rule. It is a control gimmick deftly lifted from the lexicon of Nazi Germany. And it's all courtesy of that lovely Patriot Act which B*sh so cleverly managed to get signed into law with almost no opposition.

Sadly, the relevant part of the CitizenCorps site has been deleted (used to be at http://www.citizencorps.gov/tips.html) so people might be able to forget that this program exists. On November 13th, the Homeland Security act specifically outlawed it with these words:

Any and all activities of the Federal Government to
implement the proposed component program of the Citizen Corps
known as Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention
System) are hereby prohibited.

Original transcript
Fortunately the memory hole keeps up on these sorts of things - the things our Washington overlords would sooner have us forget : Tips deleted. So given that it was outlawed by the house of representatives, does this not create yet another impeachable offence?

Anyone who has a problem with these comparisons and issues needs to download and read "In Their Own Terms" (available here as a PDF file) - an encyclopedic dictionary of terms relating to official information as used in the past and present by the intelligence community, the military, the White House and federal agencies.

And finally.....
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, demanding increased protection of civil liberties, defied B*sh today and blocked legislation to renew the USA Patriot Act, a centerpiece of his war on terrorism. On a Senate vote of 52-47, mostly Republican backers of the measure fell eight short of the needed 60 to end debate and move to passage of the legislation.
In other words, his own party won't even swallow his bullshit anymore.

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