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Angry Customers Boycott AT&T After Congress Grants Telecom Immunity
04 set 2008
As United States Citizens, we have the right to be confident in our government and corporations to honor the Constitution and abide by the law. With the recent passage of HR 6304, welcome to 1984’s Big Brother State!
I am not sure people really understand just what took place in Congress this summer with regard to the NSA illegal wiretapping program. Simply put, AT&T, Verizon, and the other telecom companies that, according to articles in the USA Today and the Washington Post, participated in an ongoing illegal spy network, will now receive retroactive immunity back to 2001 for breaking the law at the Bush Administrationâs request. HR 6304 is a treasonous and outright assault on our Fourth Amendment right to privacy; yet our Congress voted for this legislation with almost 70 percent of the members having never been briefed on the Presidentâs illegal data-mining program to begin with.

United States citizens found out about the seditious actions of the Bush Administration and the Telecoms in a December 2005 article by The New York Times. Surprisingly, it seems, many people missed that article until the administration started spouting off about acquiring immunity for the lawbreaking Telecoms. The administration says they needed the aggressive program to combat terrorism. And, while the Bush Administration and AT&T, specifically, claim they did nothing illegal, one has to wonder why it was that close to a dozen âformer and current government officialsâ? were concerned âabout the operation's legality and oversight,â? according to the NY Times article.

âSeeking Congressional approval was also viewed as politically risky because the proposal would be certain to face intense opposition on civil liberties groundsâ¦â? states the article. You would think that people who swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic would have realized the illegality of their actions! With the blessings of President Bush, senior administration lawyers, and others, they chose to blatantly attack a fundamental right of being an American; our right to privacy.

USA Today reported in May 2006 that President Bush did authorize the NSAâs warrantless wiretapping program and that AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth were âworking under contractâ? soon after the âterrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,â? according to their source. However, in a Washington Post and a Los Angeles Times article about the insider trading conviction of Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, we find out that Qwest (one of the only large telecoms to deny the government spy request) was approached about the program in February of 2001, over six months BEFORE the September 11, 2001 tragedy. If, as these articles state, the much-needed illegal program to combat terrorism started PRIOR TO the attacks, why werenât these attacks prevented, and, since they werenât, why was the unlawful program continued?

Outraged at the fact that my family has been a loyal AT&T customer for decades, we decided to take a stand: we are canceling our service. Having had many elongated conversations with the courteous people in Customer Service at AT&T, it has come to our attention just how many people in this huge company, have no idea or understanding of what their employer has done. In talking with many of my own family and friends, it is clear that very few people, in fact, comprehend the egregiousness of the past several years of abuses by the NSA and the telecoms.

While conversing with AT&T about our desire to be released from our contracts, we were told they had no intentions of releasing us from our contracts, because they did nothing wrong, they did not release any of our information and they had read the âstoriesâ? on the internet, too. Internet rumor, is it? Then why, I asked, did Congress have to pass HR 6304, giving the telecoms retroactive immunity for the program, if the telecoms did nothing wrong! And you know, the AT&T representative said something that I could actually agree with⦠âCongress passes laws all the time that are questionable!â?

Okay. So if as you say, AT&T did nothing wrong, address the following, please:

1) Why did Judge Anna Diggs Taylorâs ruling find the program illegal and specifically state that the secret program was acknowledged by the Bush Administration, âundisputedly inaugurated by the National Security Agencyâ? and âwithout benefit of warrant or other judicial approval?â?

2) Why didnât Judge Vaughn Walker dismiss the Tash Hepting v AT&T case altogether? Why did Judge Walker, in the same case affirm âAT&T and the government have for all practical purposes already disclosed that AT&T assists the government in monitoring communication content.â?

3) Why does the Hepting v AT&T ruling state, in official court documents, that âConsidering the ubiquity of AT&T telecommunications services, it is unclear whether this program could even exist without AT&Tâs acquiescence and cooperationâ? and âAT&Tâs history of cooperating with the government on such matters is well known.â?

4) Where are the official certifications required to prove that what you did was legal? After all, you could have saved time in court and the cost of your lawyers by just producing these certifications.

5) Judge Walker, citing the Keith Decision, said the Supreme Court made it perfectly clear that the âFourth Amendment does not permit warrantless wiretaps to track domestic threats to national security.â?

Now, AT&T, you were saying something about an Internet rumor? While the Congress voted to give AT&T retroactive immunity for their âallegedâ? illegal actions, I do not. It is time to fess up and take responsibility for your actions in this assault on our Right to Privacy.

The government has, through the words of Donald Kerr, the Principle Deputy Director of National Intelligence, told us that we must change our definition of âprivacy.â? That we should now define privacy as âgovernment and businesses properly safeguarding people's private communications and financial information.â? Did everyone get that? Our government has now âprivatizedâ? privacy. And you thought this was the United States of America!

The âgovernmentâ? may have dismissed AT&Tâs treasonous actions, but you forget, we are the government and we will not forgive or forget what has happened! We are the ones who hold AT&T, and every telecom that acted illegally accountable for their actions. In addition, we hold all the Congressmen and women that voted for the immunity of the Telecoms accountable. And, just as I will not support a candidate for President that cannot follow the Constitution, neither will I conduct business with a company that has the means to circumvent it. Your actions are deplorable!

Since the American people have been left with no other choice, in light of the immunity granted to AT&T and the other participating telecoms by HR 6304, the American people must now take the kind of action that only large corporations truly understand. We must affect their profit margin â their bottom line! Donât continue to use the services of companies that continue to this day to violate core American principles and the U.S. Constitution. Boycott these companies now.

Hereâs how we dumped AT&T and why we did it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iieyi4D9nCs

AT&T Talking Points:
http://www.takebackwashington.com/spyprogram/

Endnotes:

USA Today, May 11, 2006, NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-05-10-nsa_x.htm

Washington Post, Nov 1, 2007, Roadblock for Telecom Immunity
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/31/AR200710

New York Times, Dec 16, 2005, Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/16program.html?_r=1&oref=slog

Washington Post, Oct 13, 2007, Former CEO Says U.S. Punished Phone Firm, Qwest Feared NSA Plan Was Illegal, Filing Says
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/12/AR200710

Los Angeles Times, Oct 13, 2007, Pre-9/11 wiretap bid is alleged
http://articles.latimes.com/2007/oct/13/nation/na-qwest13

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor Ruling in the NSA Secret Program
http://epic.org/privacy/terrorism/fisa/acluvnsaop081706.pdf

Tash Hepting v AT&T Corp, Case No C-06-672 VRW, Judge Vaughn Walker, presiding
http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/att/308_order_on_mtns_to_dismiss.pdf

Boston Globe, Nov 11, 2007, Intel official: Expect less privacy
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2007/11/11/definit/

Washington, Youâre Fired
www.washingtonyourefired.com
Mira també:
http://www.takebackwashington.com

This work is in the public domain
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