Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Here is a question no one is asking about this appalling case: Why are there secret courts in the USA? Isn't that contrary to the notion that the government derives it's authority from the governed? How are the governed to make good decisions when the government has secret courts that can do this to a company?

Where is the left on this? Those who have assumed the mantle of moral giants in the current PC culture surely must have an opinion on this?  They are certainly quick enough to decry the "greedy" corporations. Why aren't they looking at this and thinking: "That would be a very good reason for a company to need to make huge profits - to pay off secret fines when they refuse to violate the rights of their fellow citizens"?

How often is this occurring? We don't know. And we don't know, because the government, in having secret courts that can do this to companies, has cut the American citizenry, the same citizenry from whom they derive the authority to do this, out of the equation? No one asked me if secret courts were okay. And I would have said no had I been asked.

I am aware that there may be serious, serious security risks in doing away with such courts, but freedom isn't about being safe, it's about being free. There is no government so saintly that they can resist the urge to abuse such a system. Sunshine works better in the long run.

"Attorney Marc Zwillinger, who represented Yahoo before the secret court, wrote in a blog post that the government put “great pressure” on Yahoo to comply. Yahoo received the initial, classified order from the FISC demanding it turn over data on May 5, 2008. The FISC said Yahoo needed to decide that day whether it would comply or appeal. The NSA had already told the court a delay in getting information from Yahoo “could cause great harm to the United States.” The magnitude of the threatened fines may have reflected the NSA’s sense of urgency. Yahoo appealed to another secret court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, or FISC-R, which denied the appeal on May 9. At that point, Yahoo began turning over the info the government wanted.

There’s nothing unusual about a court threatening to fine a company that refuses to comply with a court order. What’s unique about the Yahoo case is the fines were threatened in secret and would have been paid in secret had Yahoo not turned over the information the government wanted. Since company executives were forbidden from disclosing anything about the case — including that the NSA’s request even existed — Yahoo could have ended up writing larger and larger checks that overwhelmed its profits, with no public notice at all."

Read the rest of this article here.

"Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;" ~Isaaiah 10:1

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