Rage Against The Machine

Friday, February 15, 2008

U.S. Senate passes spy bill, phone immunity

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. phone companies that took part in President Bush's warrantless domestic spying program would receive retroactive immunity from lawsuits under a bill passed overwhelmingly Tuesday by the Democratic-led Senate.

But it was unclear if the Democratic-led House would also approve the measure to shield firms from potentially billions of dollars in civil damages.

About 40 civil lawsuits have been filed accusing AT&T Inc , Verizon Communications Inc and Sprint Nextel Corp of violating Americans' privacy rights in helping the government's warrantless domestic spying program started shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

Passed by the Senate on a largely party-line vote of 68-29, the bill backed mostly by Republicans would replace a temporary spy law set to expire this week that expanded the power of U.S. authorities to track enemy targets without a court order.

In addition, the Senate bill would bolster the protection of privacy rights of law-abiding Americans swept up in the hunt for suspected terrorists.

Bush and Congress agreed last month to a 15-day extension of the expiring surveillance law -- to this coming Saturday -- to provide more time to resolve differences.

House Democrats, who have opposed immunity, plan to bring up for a vote as early as Wednesday another proposed extension, this one for 21 days, a top aide said.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said: "We do not need yet another extension, yet another delay. We need to focus on getting our work done."

Bush urged the House to set aside "narrow partisan concerns" and pass the Senate measure so he can sign it into law.

"This good bill ... provides a long-term foundation for our intelligence community to monitor the communications of foreign terrorists in ways that are timely and effective and that also protect the liberties of Americans," the president said in a statement.


Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman John Rockefeller of West Virginia broke ranks with many fellow Democrats in pushing to immunize phone companies. Yet he criticized Bush for starting the spy program without congressional or court approval.

"Anger over the president's program should not prevent us from addressing the real problems that the president has created," Rockefeller said.

He warned that without immunity some private firms may decline to help protect the nation.

Opponents, including civil liberties groups, complained that the measure's protections of privacy rights were inadequate and its immunity unwarranted.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, voted no, saying: "I believe that the White House and any companies who broke the law must be held accountable."

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requires that the government receive the approval of a secret FISA court to conduct surveillance in the United States of suspected foreign enemy targets.

But after Sept. 11, Bush authorized warrantless surveillance of communications between people in the United States and others overseas if one had suspected terrorist ties. (Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Xavier Briand)

Source: Reuters North American News Service



BNJS said...

hey, im from derry in the north of Ireland of londonderry in northern ireland as some would call it,
growing up i took it for granted that people hating each other because of their religion was ok, you opened my eyes, i know now that my country is not normal and has had its share of shit,
i'd like to thank you for opening my eyes, my anger is a gift, and i will try to use it to better myself and those around me,
i am travelling to portugal in july to see you live as it has always been a drwam of mine, thank you for helping me.

milho said...

Hi Tom I am of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Please do a show in my country, once. The RATM has many fans here

Unknown said...


looking forward to seeing you guys in Oxegen, Ireland, thought I'd missed the opportunity to see you play live before I died! Dave R..(old man of 30)

Check out Irelands anti-establishment folk music legend, good lyrics if you can understand the Dublin accent. Got some nice chords too: Damien Dempsey,Patience:

Patience, give me some of that sweet patience, Lord,
I will keep my eye on my goal...

I take a few slugs on the kisser
I'm comin back at ya, ya know I'm gonna catch ya
Cos you know I got no breaks
It doesn't matter how long that it takes
My luck I'm gonna make...

Well I've exchanged the spear and the sword
For words and melody
Oh what a felony
How the record company pushes this McDonalds music
An aural lobotomy
For those who choose it
Corporations pumpin all this money into pop
To keep the real singers far away from the top
So folks are never told what these corporations do
Fuckin up the planet, exploiting me and you

Patience, give me some of that patience, Lord,
I will keep my eye on my goal

From my room in Donaghmede
I'm 'bout to kick all your asses
Stick your pink champagne and fuck your backstage passes
A warrior comin down the mountain at ya
A woodkern springin from the trees to catch ya,
I'm lickin my wounds in the wilderness
Prayin for the warmth of the sun's kiss
My time will come
Your race is run
The throne's rightly mine
You greedy swine.

facundo said...


young brother said...

Your work has been a much-needed influence on the generation that was destined to fight against the new world order. There is an amazing amount of evidence that George W Bush is the biblical Antichrist. I would be very honored if you would glance at my blog and look through that view of current events. You would probably be most interested in the post titled "The Writing on the Wall" which deals with prophecy in modern music. Unfortunately, I did not include any rage quotes in the post, but your band certainly falls in line with the spirit described in that post. Thank you for caring, for acting, and for writing amazing music (with Rage, as well as Audioslave).

young brother said...

Here is the link to that post I mentioned:


Travylen@hotmail.com said...

Hey Tom!
I'm from Sweden, and me and some friends finds you REALLY awesome, you should come visiting Stockholm some time and have a concert, we'll definitely be there, with all the rest of your fans!

Take care, man.

(Had to register on Google-blogs just to write to you!)

nate1798 said...

You guys are needed in the music scene in a very bad way. I grew up listening to you guys and you guys were very influential in the way your music made me want to look into things for myself. Because of you guys I try to look at the bigger picture not just in politics or or globalization and some of the other topics you present in your music but in everything. I try to understand the other side of the coin in my dealings with everyone my friends family favorite athletes musicians and so on. I try to make my decision's in life based on information that I have acquired for my self, and not base my life on what others have told me including you. Anyway the reason you guys are needed is because you guys have a large platform to deliver thought provocking music. All of the main stream music is crap it's mindless shit it's dumbing us down in rapid numbers. I am aware there are a lot of artist out there who have thought provocking music but the media has conveniently ignored these artist, artist such as Mos Def, Talieb, Krs One and others
You guys on the other hand are so big the media couldn't ignore you. You have a huge following and could bridge a gap between generation's by making younger folks aware of political issues that they wont see on fox news your music can encourage them to seek out information for themselves as you did for me and people of my generation. Anyway thank you for making music and touring the way you do I can only imagine how much sacrifice is involved with your life style. To sum it up I guess Im just saying keep pushing forward as artist because the world need's you guys thanks.

Riotgrrrlcynic said...

I was reading an article by Clive Stafford Smith about music and torture. Yes, it is funny to joke about the agony of being stuck in a room and forced to listen boy bands, but music is seriously being used to as an element of psychological torture in the “war on terror”. It makes me sick to the pit of my stomach to contemplate that music, art, should be used for so malign a purpose.

Stafford Smith lists Rage Against the Machine as among the artists chosen for this function.

I'm no expert on intellectual property law, but surely this would count as an unauthorised use of material? Surely something can be done?

Unknown said...





bulletinman said...

I apperciate your passion for personal freedom. The Axis of Justice radio shows where outstanding, I miss the rebel jams and dangerous truths..

Fren├ętico said...

I am from Brazil, and my english is too bad. =/
But, you is the God Of Rock.