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Friday, April 24, 2009

AIPAC, NSA Spying and the Corruption of Congress -- Tom Burghardt

It's getting really hard to avoid the stench!
Portion below; whole thing here: http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=53642&s2=24
Harman however, isn't the only Democrat accused by critics of currying favor with corporate grifters. As I reported last June, top Democratic Party representatives raked-in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the telecom industry in return for their support of the odious FISA Amendments Act passed last July by Congress.

In addition to handing the telecommunications industry retroactive immunity and thus, protection from prosecution for aiding and abetting NSA's warrantless wiretapping programs, the law greatly expanding the agency's driftnet spying.

The whistleblowing website MAPLight revealed that the 94 Democrats who changed their positions on telecom immunity "received on average $8,359 in contributions from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint from January, 2005, to March, 2008. As I wrote at the time:
Despite congressional bromides about "national security" and "keeping America safe," what it all comes down too is cold, hard cash. Considering that legislation passed last week by the House will effectively quash some 40 lawsuits pending against telecom giants--with potential savings for these corporate grifters running into the billions--it doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude its a rigged game. ("'Fighting Democrats' Rake-in Big Telecom Bucks," Antifascist Calling, June 25, 2008)
Among the largest recipients of telecom largesse were James Clyburn, (SC-6), $29,500; Steny Hoyer (MD-5), $29,000; Rahm Emanuel (IL-5), $28,000; Nancy Pelosi (CA-8), $24,500. Harman clocked-in with some $7,000 from the industry.

On Sunday Emanuel, now White House chief of staff told ABC News that "those who devised policy" ... "should not be prosecuted," handing senior Bush administration officials a get-out-of-jail free card for their role in ordering American torture policies.

Harman was quick to denounce the CQ report. According to Stein, the California Democrat said in a prepared statement: "These claims are an outrageous and recycled canard, and have no basis in fact. I never engaged in any such activity. Those who are peddling these false accusations should be ashamed of themselves."

CQ's sources however, told the Washington insider publication that "Justice Department attorneys in the intelligence and public corruption units who read the transcripts decided that Harman had committed a 'completed crime,' a legal term meaning that there was evidence that she had attempted to complete it, three former officials said."

When Porter J. Goss, the former CIA Director and no slouch when it came to corruption in his own agency (paging Dusty Foggo!), signed off on DoJ's FISA warrant after a review of the transcript, he notified then House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi "of the FBI's impending national security investigation of a member of Congress--to wit, Harman."

"But that's when," CQ reports, "Attorney General Gonzales intervened."

Top officials interviewed by Stein said Gonzales "needed Jane" to carry water for the administration's warrantless wiretapping program. Gonzales picked the right person for the job. "And thanks to grateful Bush administration officials, the investigation of Harman was effectively dead," Stein reports.

Despite evidence that Harman was enmeshed in a "pay for play" scheme to secure the top post at the Intelligence Committee, a highly-politicized--and criminal--Justice Department did nothing.

One official involved in the AIPAC investigation told CQ: "It's the deepest kind of corruption. It's a story about the corruption of government--not legal corruption necessarily, but ethical corruption."

While top Democrats such as Harman, Pelosi and Hoyer assert that the Obama regime should be looking "forward" and not "backwards," and do everything in their power to sabotage criminal investigations of lawbreaking by officials in the former administration, and actively engage in an on-going cover-up of everything from warrantless wiretapping and torture, to the waging of preemptive wars of aggression and conquest, why is Harman now screaming for an investigation of the leaking of private conversations obtained by a legal warrant?

This is nothing but the boldest, most shamefaced hypocrisy writ large. Some liberal commentators have suggested that breaking the Harman story is an attempt by elements within the national security establishment to "change the story" following last week's release of previously classified Office of Legal Counsel memos. Those documents revealed the Bush regime's monstrous authorization of--and justification--for torture; Stein however, denies this. As the World Socialist Web Site reports,
The reality, however, is that the revelations demonstrate the intimate and indispensable collaboration and complicity of the Democrats in all of the criminal actions of the Bush administration, from launching a war of aggression based upon lies against Iraq, to the systematic use of torture, to the unconstitutional and illegal spying on American citizens.

Harman personally played a prominent role in all of these crimes. She promoted the lies about "weapons of mass destruction" and supposed ties between Baghdad and Al Qaeda before the war. She, along with Pelosi, was among the four members of Congress to be fully briefed on the CIA's torture--including waterboarding--of detainees in "black sites" scattered around the world. Neither she nor anyone else made the slightest protest over these criminal actions, while they kept them secret from the American people. (Bill Van Auken, "Democratic defender of NSA spying was wiretapped in Israeli spy probe," World Socialist Web Site, April 22, 2009)
What's that old adage about the justice of roosting chickens...

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