Sunday, January 27, 2008

Telcom immunity

This is an easy story to tell and it is really easy to choose a side. In short: the Bush Administration asked some telecommunications companies to spy on their customers illegally. The ones that did it profited from it and now they want to be immune to the lawsuits filed against them by their spied-on customers. Glenn Greenwald probably said it best:
Telecom immunity entails virtually every corrupt, defining aspect of how our political system works: Telecoms have poured money into the coffers of key Senators, who then dutifully became their key advocates. Telecoms have sent a bipartisan cast of lobbyists (former government officials, of course, with incomparable access), to pressure key Senators, who swing their doors open wide for those lobbyists. And immunity is the most extremely illustration of what Sen. Obama calls "Lewis Libby Justice," as Congress passes a law with no purpose other than to protect retroactively the most well-connected private parties from the consequences of their lawbreaking.
If you feel that large corporations should be immune to criminal and civil prosecution because they donate enough money to Harry Reid and Jay Rockefeller's campaigns, then by all means don't get involved. If you feel otherwise, I suggest you call them and ask them why they are trying so hard to push though immunity. Even if you support fewer checks on wiretapping for some reason, this is a highly corrupt way of going about it. If the Telcoms were doing nothing wrong, why do they need Congress-granted immunity? If the law needed to be changed, then that should have been done prior to the spying.

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