Concerning telecom immunity

Glenn Greenwald

Of all the creepy post-9/11 phrases to which we’ve been subjected (“The Patriot Act” – “Protecting the Homeland” – “enhanced interrogation techniques” – “Department of Homeland Security”), I think the creepiest and most Orwellian is the phrase “good patriotic corporate citizen,” used to describe companies which broke our laws because the President told them to. It’s now apparently a Patriotic Duty to obey the President even if he tells you to violate the law.

The accompanying claim that companies should never “second-guess” the “judgment of the President regarding what’s legal” — which I just heard from John Cornyn and Saxby Chambliss — is equally creepy, and is the crux of the authoritarian case for telecom immunity

Judge Dan Haywood in Judgment at Nuremberg

if the leaders of the Third Reich were sadistic monsters and maniacs – these events would have no more moral significance than an earthquake or other natural catastrophes. But this trial has shown that under the stress of a national crisis, men – even able and extraordinary men – can delude themselves into the commission of crimes and atrocities so vast and heinous as to stagger the imagination. No one who has sat through this trial can ever forget. The sterilization of men because of their political beliefs… The murder of children… How *easily* that can happen! There are those in our country today, too, who speak of the “protection” of the country. Of “survival”. The answer to that is: *survival as what*? A country isn’t a rock. And it isn’t an extension of one’s self. *It’s what it stands for, when standing for something is the most difficult!* Before the people of the world – let it now be noted in our decision here that this is what *we* stand for: *justice, truth… and the value of a single human being!

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