Why did Bush do it?
Did they listen to her calls? An American
of Muslim faith in Afghanistan with the
Corps of Engineers
Bush's eavesdrop on America plan will be challenged in court and people will have to testify about it. My bet is that we won't see the names of reporters, but of 10 year olds teling grandma about their A on the math test. I think when you combine this with NEST teams searching mosques, this was the modern day Manzanar. Instead of building camps, we just spied on Muslims calling each other. We didn't have to ship them to the high desert of Califormia when we could monitor their electronic communications. If they were plotting, they would be caught.
But of course, they weren't. Someone should tell Michelle Malkin, neither were the Japanese.
They didn't need to spy on their political enemies, our 24/7 news media does that just fine. Why take the risk when the National Enquirer would do it for you? Gossip is tomorrow's news. Why risk dirty tricks when you had a large, active industry trading in gossip
The only reason to do this is not to silence political enemies, after all people attacked Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan without prompting, but to conduct widespread electronic monitoring of Muslim communities in the United States, especially those Muslims with technical or medical training. So if your name is Hassan and you're an MIT graduate student, you can bet the NSA was listening to your calls.
They don't need reporters calls, nor is the risk worth the gain. But in a moment of fear-inspired panic, a plan to quietly spy on Muslims could have taken root. If they detect a serious plot, then yeah, people would defend it like they defended interning Japanese. If someone was listening to Christiane Amanpour, it was more likely due to her relatives in Iran than her job.
The problem is that this was a dry hole.
How do you think NEST got their marching orders? From odd phone calls? Nope, it was the heart of the illegal monitoring.
It probably got it's genesis from the failure at DOJ to arrest terrorists immediately after 9/11 and the heat the informal FBI program to question Muslims got in the media. This would be an invisible way to keep tabs on a suspect population without the political or legal heat.
The problem was that this was illegal. Not only illegal, but unamerican. As Muslims served with distinction in the military overseas, they and their families calls were being monitored by the NSA to see if they were secretly terrorists.
The problem with this is that besides the fact it swept up Americans of all faiths, was that it made no sense. The AQ attacks had been by recent immigrants or visitors, not Americans with roots in the US. The people they later rounded up were either disaffected or still had strong ties to their parents home countries. And they were a minority.
Fox News and the right wing noise machine had taken care of domestic opponents. Even to smear them, they didn't need much more than oppo. No need for federal resources to be used.
But to monitor the Muslims in the US? Especially those politically active or with technical or medical expertise? No court would ever grant that kind of surveillance. But Bush was frightened shitless that they would miss something, so they wanted to make sure that there were no cells hiding in the US.
Onlyh pure wingnuts wanted to round up Muslims or expel them. The best thing to do was to leave them in place, but monitor their calls and e-mails quetly. Then check their gathering places for nuclear material. Insane, yes, but Bush lives in a world of fear.
People seeing this as some kind of prelude to dictatorship or power grab miss the core of Bush and his actions: fear. They feared the consequences of failure, another attack. But they also didn't trust the American people, it's courts or laws. So they did it the most efficient way possible, violating rights and common sense.
They justify it based on fear. Pure, unalloyed fear.
Too bad we are lead by cowards.
Note: Many of the replies bother me.
Because people are missing the point.
If Bush was using this information as a form of political blackmail, it doesn't seem to be working very well. Cindy Sheehan still dogs him, Michael Moore is still active.
The NSA is a military organization. This started within NSA and they are not going to work for Karl Rove.
What amazes me is that people think that the real violation comes with bugging journalists and politicians. Uh, you can get gossip about them in other ways.
People are diminishing the fact that hundreds of thousands of Muslims may have been monitored, as if that's a minor crime. It is not. It is no less a crime than the interment of the Japanese. But 100 times worse.
Why? Because the land theft of Japanese-American property was done openly.
What the NSA may have done is something far worse. They secretly placed a net around law abiding Muslim Americans and monitored them without notice. They may have created an electric Manzanar on the word of the president and the creation of the NSA.
They then sent NEST teams, highly trained, secret teams, to electronically search mosques and other place of Muslim congress. With no warrant or even cause.
This goes far beyond tracking Vegans or anti-war protestors. These people had done NOTHING to attract government attention, yet had some of the most powerful tools of the state unleashed on them.
If you think monitoring Christiane Amanpour's phone calls is more important, you're wrong.
posted by Steve @ 12:54:00 AM