It was OK for phone companies to spy on Americans

June 19, 2008 | By | 1 Reply More

The “bipartisan” telecom immunity bill is about to be made law.  It contains a specific provision granting amnesty to the telecoms which has been titled “”Protection of Persons Assisting the Government.”  How bad is this new law?  That depends on how badly you prefer that Courts be open and accessible to citizens.  You see, the proposed law provides for secret dismissals of lawsuits.

Glenn Greenwald has written a scathing review of the bill at Salon:

Perhaps the most repellent part of this bill (though that’s obviously a close competition) is 802(c) of the telecom amnesty section. That says that the Attorney General can declare that the documents he submits to the court in order to get these lawsuits dismissed are secret, and once he declares that, then: (a) the plaintiffs and their lawyers won’t ever see the documents and (b) the court is barred from referencing them in any way when it dismisses the lawsuit. All the court can do is issue an order saying that the lawsuits are dismissed, but it is barred from saying why they’re being dismissed or what the basis is for the dismissal.

So basically, one day in the near future, we’re all going to learn that one of our federal courts dismissed all of the lawsuits against the telecoms. But we’re never going to be able to know why the lawsuits were dismissed or what documents were given by the Government to force the court to dismiss the lawsuits. Not only won’t we, the public, know that, neither will the plaintiffs’ lawyers. Nobody will know except the Judge and the Government because it will all be shrouded in compelled secrecy, and the Judge will be barred by this law from describing or even referencing the grounds for dismissal in any way. Freedom is on the march.

Unbelievable . . .  Not Greenwald who is an astute and highly credible media critic.  I’m reacting to the proposed law.

I highly recommend visiting Salon for a review of Greenwald’s entire article.


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Category: Communication, Corruption, Law, law and order, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Ebonmuse says:

    What's most repugnant is that many Democrats are supporting this horrible bill almost as strongly as the Republicans are. Clearly, there are some issues on which corruption is bipartisan. We have a lot of work left to do before we have a truly progressive government and not just one that's the lesser of two evils.

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