Big Brother -- errm, Congress -- gathered together for a clandestine meeting to discuss and debate a vile, diabolical surveillance bill which would, if passed by Herr Bush, reform the Leviathan's own anti-terrorism/pro-surveillance laws. This closed session, which is the first one since 1983, was requested by the governing body's own GOP minority.
Here's an excerpt of the CNN's coverage of the affair:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House of Representatives met in secret session Thursday night to debate revisions to federal surveillance laws, closing off the chamber for the first time since 1983 at the request of its Republican minority.
President Bush says the proposal would 'undermine America's security.'
Rep. Roy Blunt, the House minority whip, asked for the closed session to use classified information to argue against a Democratic-backed overhaul of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
'I did have some information that I thought would help the debate, that rose to the secret level that all of the members otherwise would not hear,' said Blunt, R-Missouri.
Several Democrats raised concerns about the closed-door meeting but eventually agreed to the request. However, Rep. Dennis Kucinich said he would not stay for it.
'We ought to be proceeding with the utmost caution in going in this direction,' said Kucinich, of Ohio, a former Democratic presidential candidate.
The nearly hour-long session took place late Thursday after a security sweep of the chamber. The House plans to hold an open debate on the Democratic bill at 10 a.m. Friday.
Here's what the next two key paragaphs in the piece say:
President Bush and his GOP allies have spent weeks pressuring the House to grant retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies that took part in the administration's warrantless surveillance program after the September 11 attacks.
The Senate already has voted to protect the phone companies from lawsuits filed by privacy advocates, who argue that the surveillance program was illegal.
Isn't this latest stunt on the surveillance bill just a way for Congress to sell the country down the river and drop the latest salvo on our civil liberties as well as our human liberty at the same time? How are we really being "protected" in the name of fighting the War on Terror if this surveillance bill will be used to intrude upon Americans' privacy while ignoring the terrorists who really attacked us on 9/11?
The insulting part of this insanity is that the phone companies that willingly signed up for Bush's wiretapping program have been granted legal immunity from any civil liability for going along with the administration's imperalistic, nation-building, and hawkish orgies.
This, coupled with the Bush administration's corporatocratic indulgences (which are all part of corporatism - the fusion of government and private enterprise as one governing, ruling body), is indicative of why so many leftists and populists express a strong yet incessant hatred for and contempt for capitalism. As Kevin Carson, a self-described "free market anti-capitalist" libertarian, noted in recent years, these actions are elements of corporatism (a.k.a. state capitalism, crony capitalism, and economic fascism) -- elements that most Americans identify with our current corrupted system of capitalism. As he recently put it, "If this is the free market, then I'm against it."
As for the surveillance bill, if this is devised to "protect our freedoms," then their concept of freedom is atrociously and ridiculously skewed. The administration, in recent years, imposed upon the populace its "enemy combatant" doctrine, which states that the military can be employed to kidnap any American by taking him into custody, implement torture techniques on him, and incarcerate him for the remainder of his life without due process and any allowance of a trial by jury as stipulated and mandated by the Bill of Rights. If an American is subjected to be placed in military confinement (which is really imprisonment) in the name of the War on Terrorism, he will not be allowed any access to a civilian attorney and will be tried before a military tribunal, with the prospect of him being found guilty before the tribunal's panel of judges.
Not only can Americans be apprehended and imprisoned for the rest of their lives, this also applies to foreigners, even though the doctrine is touted only to affect foreigners who are believed to have committed terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. This is definitely how the label is being used for these purposes. This is "protecting our freedoms"?
Not only that, habeas corpus has been eviscerated thanks to the passage of the Military Commissions Act. The law, of course, purports to deny habeas corpus protections to foreigners who are illegally detained without due process and even a trial by jury, especially when the individual arrested for committing the government-recognized sinful act of berating the state for its policies (even if that criticism is unpopular in the eyes of the state). However, the law can also be employed on American citizens who hold unpopular, alleged anti-American views. What makes those who support the law think that this will only apply to foreigners, whether they're legal or illegal? Do we really believe that the law is only limited to that scope? Of course not. There's nothing in the provisions of the MCA that limits it only to aliens.
This surveillance meeting makes it possible for the omnipotent state, as deified as it is, to promote its anti-freedom/pro-socialist, social-engineering agenda on us while shredding what's left of our human liberty here in America.