Report: Bush-Enacted NSA Program Monitors Phone Conversations, E-Mails
The New York Times is reporting the National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals without court-approved warrants. Under a Bush administration directive enacted in 2002, the agency has monitored the international phone calls and e-mails of hundreds, and possibly thousands of people inside the country. The National Security Agencys mission is to spy on communications abroad. Although officials said the program had helped thwart at least two potential attacks, most people monitored by the N.S.A. have never been charged with a crime.
The Times says it delayed publishing details of the program after a request from the Bush administration at least one year ago. At the request of the White House, the Times also says it has omitted information administration officials said could be useful to terrorists. The disclosure comes two days after NBC News revealed the Pentagon has kept detailed records on the events and meetings of anti-war groups across the country.
Turkish Novelist On Trial For Discussing Armenian Genocide
In Turkey, a popular novelist is on trial today for making comments about the veracity of the Armenian genocide. Orhan Pamuk stands trial for insulting Turkishness after he gave a magazine interview in which he referred to the genocide committed by the Ottoman government during the First World War. In the interview, Pamuk said QUOTE: "One million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares talk about it." Pamuk is one several Turkish citizens who have been issued with similar charges. If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison.
Ralphs Supermarket Chain Indicted on Labor Violations
In California, the Ralphs supermarket chain was indicted Thursday on charges it hired workers under false names and violated other labor laws during a workers strike in 2003. The indictment alleges Ralphs engaged in a QUOTE: "company-wide course of criminal conduct involving the hiring of locked-out employees under false names, Social Security numbers and documentation." The grocery chain locked out its workers in October 2003 after the Southern California grocery workers union voted to strike against Safeways Vons and Pavilions chains. Ralphs had been negotiating alongside Safeway. A Ralphs spokesperson acknowledged the company committed the violations, but said the actions were taken by individual managers and did not the result from company policy.
- High Turnout For Parliamentary Elections in Iraq
- Bush Administration Drops Opposition to Senate Torture Ban
- WTO Talks At Standstill in Hong Kong
- Barghouti Leads Major Split in Ruling Palestinian Party Fatah
- Lebanese, Palestinians File Suit Against Ex-Israeli Officials in US
- Turkish Novelist On Trial For Discussing Armenian Genocide
- Transport Workers Announce Selective Strike As Talks Halt
The House debates a bill that would rewrite the nation's immigration laws. The legislation makes it a felony to be an undocumented worker to be in the United States without authorization and requires all employers to verify the legal status of their workers. We speak with the general counsel of the immigration worker program at the AFL-CIO and a member of the Border Network for Human Rights. [includes rush transcript]
In the clean-up efforts following the devastation of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, many undocumented workers and homeless people were recruited to the area to work under large companies contracted by the federal government. We speak with Newsday reporter Tina Susman, who has investigated the case of a group of homeless men, and Bill Chandler, about subcontractors and workers' complaints. [includes rush transcript]
Three months after fighting for their lives in the days after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, many survivors are now fighting to keep their homes in the city of New Orleans. We speak with attorney Ishmael Muhammad and a N.O. resident being evicted about the rising costs of rent and the legal challenges facing evacuees.
Do you think those in power care about what dissenters such as yourself say?
They only care about it if it can take some form of political force. In other words, I think the Bush administration is beginning to care about the rising tide of criticism and the more general recognition of its dishonesty and incompetence. Observations that three or four years ago would have been considered leftist or extreme are beginning to show up in the presidents approval ratings.
Do we have any reasons to be optimistic about our country?
I think so. I have reasons in the many young people I encounter as the editor of Harper's. More young people today are anxious to get into the political melee than, say, in the middle of the '80s.
What is most just and important to America's future? Health coverage for 1.6 million children or tax breaks for 289,000 of the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans?
Congress will meet this month to vote on a budget bill that will greatly hurt the poor and children, and on tax bills that will greatly benefit the wealthiest Americans. The Senate budget bill would cut $39 billion.
The House budget bill would cut $50 billion primarily from programs for low-income children and families including Medicaid, foster care, child support, childcare, food stamps, and student loans. The richest 1 percent of U.S. taxpayers will reap the majority of the tax breaks from the capital gains and dividend tax cuts included in the House tax bill.
But the Patriot Act's critics got a boost from a New York Times report saying Bush authorized the National Security Agency to monitor the international phone calls and international e-mails of hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of people inside the United States. Previously, the NSA typically limited its domestic surveillance to foreign embassies and missions and obtained court orders for such investigations.
"I don't want to hear again from the attorney general or anyone on this floor that this government has shown it can be trusted to use the power we give it with restraint and care," said Feingold, the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001.
"It is time to have some checks and balances in this country," shouted Sen. Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. "We are more American for doing that."
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