Palo Alto area (Surplus)



In the past few days there have been some actions of the country that may, or may not be Legal or Desirable. This is a set of links to the discussions of them.

A) Domestic Wiretapping -- The NYT has reported that after Sept 11 the NSA (not a subgroup within the CIS) has started to 'wiretap' communications between US citizens (or to and from US locations) and Foreigners without getting authorization from the courts.
  1. Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in U.S. After 9/11, Officials Say -- Source Document
  2. This is against the law. the law forbids warrantless surveillance of US citizens, and it provides procedures to be followed in emergencies (Washington Monthly)
  3. see: Gilmor comment
  4. FISA information: (This year about 1,758 wiretap requests were made, 1,754of which were approved) [Table] -- The orders started out at 200/year in 1979, increased to 600/year in 1984, (increased 80/year), were relatively constant till 1994, and then incrased t0 1758 in 2004 (increased 128/year) -- It is estimated that the "Bush" wiretaping increased this by 500+.
  5. Bush Defends Anti-Terror Tactics in Press Session Bush Press conf. 12/17/2005
  6. Media Matters:

B) White Phosphorus used by American Marines in the siege of Fallujah. -- There are reports that white phosphorus was used and some suggest that it may have been illegally used.
  1. Has the Coalition Used Chemical Weapons in Iraq? -- states that the use of W.P. is legal
  2. Incendiary Politics by Clinton W. Taylor -- points out that incendiary devices were used in San Francisco, recently by the left and that they are not writing about this use.

C) Prisoner interrogation -- What level of interrogation should be used, and is legal for various levels of people who the Government has seized and what is the meaning of the McCain amendment?
  1. The McCain Amendment -- The Good , The (Potentially) Bad , The Ugly , What Would the Law Be, Anyway? (Balkinizan)
    1. CIA "Immunity"
    2. Admission of Evidence Obtained by Torture?
    3. Limitations on Detainees' Access to Judicial Review
    4. McCain Torture Policy Undercut By Levin-Graham Amendment
    5. McCain and Graham/Levin/Kyl Amendments

a) What is torture vs.. "Cruel and Inhuman" treatment.

b) What was the law on treating Government "prisoners", and how does this law differ for the various subsets of these subjects, (US Citizens/US located people/Foreigners) (People imprisoned {in US Controlled land/outside the US}) {Criminals/Prisoners of War/Enemy combatants) (US Military personnel/CIA employees/Contractors/Foreign agencies)

c) What are the "Escape Clauses": redaction to other places, Belief that one was following legal orders, use of info even if illegally obtained?


Note: These discussions are included in a more general set of questions, e.g.

1) State of War: Is the action authorized under normal US law, Undeclared WAR military actions, Authorized State of War?

2) Authorized vs Not Prohibited: is the activity specifically authorized, not prohibited, or prohibited, and if in the neither specifically authorized or prohibited, should it be "taken" or not, or should the "Spirit of the law" be considered?

3) Overriding legality: Is the action acceptable (or not) based on Generally agreed upon principals, upon the US law and approved treaties, upon US law specifically, upon general congressional authorizations based on the "state of war", upon the general Commander in Chief authorization, e.g. the President and his agencies are authorized to do anything in support of their War Powers responsibility.

d) Senate Rejects Extension of Patriot Act (Sunset Clauses) but this does not effect our War on Terror re: Al-Qaida, Hamas, see top of Page 2

  1. Gilmore



A congressional bill setting standards for redistricting all states objectively at the same time: H.R. 2642 and 4094 -- Already more than 60 U.S. House Members have signed onto such bills introduced this year by Congressman John Tanner and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.




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