Letter to Earl Blumenauer Re: Indemnification Agreements

Dear Congressman Blumenauer:

I must say, I was both surprised and heartened to see you intrepidly and doggedly pursuing the existence and nature of indemnification agreements from the United States government insulating and immunizing private companies such as Halliburton/KBR from damage liability they would otherwise accrue for heinous, illegal and/or unconscionable acts committed in their participation in national security and the war on terror. Excellent work sir!

However, now that you are up to speed on the insidious use and abuse of such provisions, maybe you would like to continue your fine work – and give honor to your oath of office to defend the Constitution – and ask the same questions, and demand answers thereto, regarding indemnification agreements given to telcos by the Bush Administration in conjunction with the telcos’ participation in the illegal and unconstitutional warrantless wiretapping program instituted by the Bush/Cheney Administration. And we know the program was illegal and unconstitutional because a United States Federal Judge directly and specifically declared it to be just that.

So, what you need to know is that the same type of craven indemnification agreements you have pluckily exposed for Halliburton/KBR were almost certainly given to the telcos participating in the President’s Wiretapping Program, and you owe it to your constituents and the citizens of this country to look into it and get answers just as you have done here.

Now I know this may be a lot to grasp and there is much for you to learn in order to successfully pursue this matter, but by great and fortuitous luck, I have already laid out everything you will need to get going. In fact, I did it nearly three years ago, and here is a taste:

For the foregoing reasons, the telcos are already protected by the immunity of existing statutory safe harbor provisions for legal conduct requested by the Administration and will have indemnity for other acts demanded by the Administration. I respectfully submit that the telcos are already sufficiently protected from the Spectre (some pun intended) of massive financial peril of the existing civil lawsuits; and that the only real reason for the desperate push for immunity is panic among Administration officials that their craven illegality will be exposed and they will be held to account. We now know for a fact, that which we have always suspected, thanks to Mike McConnell, namely that the entire belligerent push for FISA reform is all about immunity, and not about what George Bush would call “protectun Amarikuh”.

The minor issues with FISA that need tweaking could have been easily accomplished and, indeed, Congress offered long ago to work with them to do just that; but, of course, were belligerently spurned because, as Dick Cheney famously bellowed, “We believe… that we have all the legal authority we need”. This furious push has been about immunity, from the start, to prevent discovery of the Administration’s blatant and unconscionable criminal activity. The House of Representatives, and the cave-in Administration cover-up specialists in the Senate as well, should take a long, hard look at what is really going on here and steadfastly refuse the Administration’s self serving craven grab for the cover of telco immunity.

But, alas, Congress, which you were a member of, went along like a bunch of blind lemmings with the Bush/Cheney Administration’s demand for immunity for telcos that, along with the dishonest assertion of state secrets, has completely eviscerated citizens’ ability to know and understand what illegal and unconstitutional actions the US government is taking in their name, not to mention ability to seek proper redress for the crimes and acts.

So, now that you are all hardwired in on indemnification abuse, and on a roll of success, how about you go ahead and pursue this part of it? Come on Earl, it is your duty after all. Thank you in advance for your attention and cooperation in resolving this important matter.

Sincerely,

bmaz

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
  1. BoxTurtle says:

    Let us know when you receve your form letter in response. Perhaps they’ll take the time to have a secretary actually sign it, rather then use the stamp.

    Boxturtle (If he actually gets anything from your letter,it will be a tally mark under “against agreements”)

  2. bobschacht says:

    bmaz,
    Thanks for your fine rant. I especially admire your use of “cave-in” and “craven” in the same sentence!

    But why won’t you tell us what you really think?

    Yours truly,
    Bob in AZ

    • ThingsComeUndone says:

      Protecting Blackwater no statue on warcrimes protecting cellphone companies not if a single call was used to arrest someone without a trial and they were tortured, killed died in custody any warcrime.
      In other words if the spy on American’s program resulted in any arrests and some of those arrests were done with the high standards for law that the entire Bush administration had….well Earl better not go visit Europe:)

  3. strangelyenough says:

    Wishful thinking: “If someone is writing to tell I’m not doing my job, maybe there is something wrong.”

    Likely reality: “Hey, do I come to your work and tell you how to [insert vulgar reference here]?”

  4. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Acting to defend Blackwater would that open him up to a covering up warcrimes charge at the Hague?

          • bmaz says:

            The sheer level of Democratic insanity and stupidity is rather stunning isn’t it? The even worse part is they are the less crazy and supposedly more intelligent of the two parties.

            • freepatriot says:

              the insanity and stupidity don’t bother me as much as the plain fucking COWARDICE

              I ain’t used to allies who cower in a corner

              Give Me President Alan Grayson or give me death …

              • fatster says:

                And here’s one for you. Rock like there’s no tomorrow, ’cause tomorrows do seem to be getting in shorter supply.

    • freepatriot says:

      okay, somebody’s gotta splain this to me:

      The authors paint a bleak picture of the consequences resulting from a shortage of petroleum. As the transportation of goods depends on crude oil, international trade could be subject to colossal tax hikes. “Shortages in the supply of vital goods could arise” as a result, for example in food supplies.

      how does an oil shortage lead to tax hikes ???

      how does an oil shortage relate to to taxes in the first place

      and the German Mlitary could have read the same stuff in the diaries at DKOS, about four years back …

  5. fatster says:

    They’ve known about this for how many years now? And they’ve done what to get us off oil? So, as this “new” crisis is upon us, they’ll raise taxes and raise taxes and raise taxes, using oil as an excuse. The biggest heist of all is now shaping up, I rekkin.

  6. fatster says:

    bmaz, Blumenauer does do some good stuff. Look at this:

    Hexavalent chromium issues: Army Secretary says KBR contract still classified

    “On Tuesday, Sec. of the Army John McHugh  said he would not release the contract’s specifics that holds taxpayers — and not KBR — responsible for any harm to a soldier or civilian as it worked restoring Iraqi oil flows in 2003.

    “But in a two-page response to U. S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s demand for details, McHugh reveals how unusual the Army’s arrangement with the former Halliburton subsidiary was.”

    LINK.

    Now, how in the world did Halliburton get a contract that removes any responsibility for, oh, electrocuting soldiers due to fault electrical wiring in showers or making soldiers very ill by providing filthy water for them to drink, and so forth? And who in the world let them place the responsibility for such things oh We the Citizens?
    Grrrrrrrr.