Thursday, December 22, 2005

Impeach, Convict, Remove



Restore Democracy


Impeach Bush &Cheney

President Bush has publicly admitted to authorizing the warrantless surveillance of American citizens in violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) He said he had re-authorized the warrantless surveillance more than 30 times. The 1978 Act makes it a felony with a five year maximum and a $10,000.00 fine for each violation of the statute.

FISA creates a secret federal court to rule on warrant applications under FISA. Since 1978, over 19000 warrant applications have been made to the court. Up to 2002, no warrant applications had been refused. Since 2002 and under the Bush administration some 4 applications have been questioned by the court, while one was denied. That denial was appelled to a special appellate court, the first such appeal in the FISA court's history. The appellate court reversed the district court's denial of the warrant.

The FISA act provides that it is the exclusive procedure for the authorization of foreign intelligence surveillance involving American citizens on American territory.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Bush is claiming that as commander in chief of the military, as conferred by Article II of the Constitution, and under the September, 2001 Congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against those who committed the 9-11 attacks and their supporters, he has the inherent right to authorize warrantless searches without applying for FISA warrants through the FISA court. Initially he claimed that the government had to act very swiftly to surveil potential terrorists and this need for speed obviated the requirement to get warrants from the FISA court.

When confronted by the provision in the FISA statute which allowed the government to begin surveillance immediately without a warrant so long as they applied for a warrant within 72 hours, General Michael Hayden then claimed that doing the paperwork for the FISA warrant was "inconvenient".

Bush is claiming the right to ignore any statutes which he decides interfer with his ability to
conduct the war on terror. He successfully claimed, in the Padilla case, that he had the right to detain an American citizen as an "enemy combatant" without charging him with a crime or according him the right to counsel, the right to trial by jury, the right to bail, or any of the other rights according to American citizens in our Bill of Rights. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit agreed that Bush had that power. Padilla has since sought review by the U.S. Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court has not yet indicated whether it will review the lower court's decision.

The Bush administration has made no effort at all to ask the Congress to amend the FISA Act to make it more "convenient" for conducting surveillance. They have chosen to simply ignore FISA and the warrant requirement.

Bush's theory that he has the right to surveil without warrants and detain American citizens without according him normal constitutional rights, suggests that Bush is claiming that he has
the right to ignore any Constitutional provisions or criminal laws which he considers inconvenient. This is contrary to the fundamental structural underpinning of the American government of checks and balances in which the Congress is given the power to create the laws and the president has the authority to carry out those laws; both to be subject to review by the judicial branch.

Bush has sought to avoid judicial review of questionable policies by locating imprisonment of detainees from Afghanistan and elsewhere in Cuba and in secret prisons in eastern Europe, Asia, and Diego Garcia island, among other places. He has employed extreme interrogation methods in those secret prisons, as well as sending detainees to countries who employ torture for interrogations. Bush and Cheney adamently opposed Senator John McCain's bill prohibiting the use of torture against any detainee.

In Bush's State of the Union speech in 2003, he suggested that his administration had arranged for terrorists to "disappear", a practice formerly associated only with Latin American dictatorships. This president and his administration believe that they have the right to violate U.S. laws with impunity.

Since coming to office, President Bush has consistently attempted to avoid congressional and judicial oversight. He claims the right to an imperial presidency under color of his "commander in chief" role. No U.S. Supreme Court decision has ever held that the president has the authority to ignore U.S. statutes or constitutional provisions. He took an oath to execute the laws faithfully, not to assassinate them.

The Constitution provides that the president, vice president and all government officers can be impeached for commiting treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors.

Bush has admitted to violating the FISA criminal statute on 30 or more occasions, which amounts to 30 or more felonies. Oversight of the warrantless surveillance took place in the vice president's office. Both Bush and Cheney must be impeached and removed.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I urge you and your readers to take a few minutes to examine:

http://www.usalone.com/cgi-bin/transparency.cgi?paper=1&qnum=pet45

It's a list of the 25 most recent comments made by real Americans participating in an online poll/letter-writing campaign concerning the impeachment charges recently filed against Vice President Cheney, which are now being evaluated by the House Judiciary Committee. Comments can be sent to elected representatives and local newspapers at your option. The participation page is at:

http://www.usalone.com/cheney_impeachment.php

Since this campaign began, three members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors, in part due to hearing from their constituents. Make your voice heard!

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