From the Green Party of the United States:
WASHINGTON, DC — The Green Party today called for a mass movement to demand the dismantling of the National Surveillance State created by the National Security Agency, CIA, and Justice Department with President Obama’s approval.
Greens also called for a halt to the prosecution of whistleblowers, including Pfc. Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, who complied with international laws to which the U.S. is signatory when they exposed war crimes, as well as government and corporate criminality in the U.S. and abroad, and for no action against whistleblower Edward Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald.
“President Obama and Congress members who are defending this kind of mass surveillance don’t understand that adversarial government that turns millions of Americans into potential enemies is the opposite of democracy, freedom, and the rule of law,” said Carl Romanelli, 2006 U.S. Senate candidate in Pennsylvania and member of Green Party’s International Committee.
“The Obama Administration has maintained and expanded the Bush Administration’s patent violations of our First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights. The key phrase in the 4th Amendment’s guarantee of freedom from search and seizure is ‘upon probable cause’ — which doesn’t permit a dragnet that intercepts and analyses the private phone communications and Internet activity of millions of Americans,” Mr. Romanelli added.
Greens said that the current massive violation of privacy and freedom was inevitable after the passage and renewal of the USA Patriot Act and Congress’s 2007 grant of immunity (with a yea vote from Sen. Obama) to telecomms that complied with warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens. The Green Party opposed both pieces of legislation.
“One of the most despicable aspects of the targeting of low-level whistleblowers — with the Obama White House invoking the 1917 Espionage Act more than all previous administrations combined — is that President Obama has refused to go after top-level Wall Street fraudsters who caused the 2008 economic crises, drug-money-laundering banks like HSBC, and Bush-Cheney officials who authorized torture and other war crimes,” said Mayor David Doonan (Green) of Greenwich, New York.
Greens said it was urgent that Americans take back the right to know what their government is up to, the right of a free and unrestricted press to investigate government actions, and the right to communicate on the phone and use the Internet without fear that their privacy will be breached.
“President Obama said that ‘congressional oversight was the American peoples’ best guarantee that they were not being spied on.’ Who is he kidding? Senators have complained of the NSA’s failure to provide them with accurate information on surveillance. Nor should we forget that in 2002 and 2003 bipartisan members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees went along with the manipulated intelligence that President Bush used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, and other members of Congress are playing a similar role now in their defense of the NSA’s mass surveillance. The only real oversight is public oversight, as the nation’s founders understood when they passed the First Amendment,” said Steve Welzer, Green candidate on the ballot for Governor of New Jersey (http://greenstevefornj.wordpress.com).
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied during a congressional hearing on March 12 when he answered no to Sen. Ron Wyden’s (D-Ore.) question “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” (Penalties for lying to Congress: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389×492578) Greens said that Mr. Clapper should resign or be fired by President Obama.
Green Party leaders said that the recent precipitation of revelations and new policies and legislation signals a threat to the U.S. as a republic founded on principles of freedom and law. These include:
- Revelations, by Edward Snowden and first appearing in The Guardian, that millions of Americans are under surveillance through a cooperative effort by the National Security Agency and telecomms under a top secret court order issued in April. The NSA has engaged in warrantless domestic data-mining since 2006 (http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/06/nsa-has-been-hoovering-your-phone-records-over-decade).
- Aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers who have exposed war crimes, malfeasance by public officials, and corporate criminality.
- The Justice Department’s surveillance of members of the press, including AP reporters and Fox reporter James Rosen, on the allegation that journalists reporting important news were violating the 1917 Espionage Act (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/05/news-corp-vs-fox-news.html).
- Surveillance, infiltration, disruption, and police actions against Americans engaged in peaceful political dissent, including members of the Occupy Movement (http://www.progressive.org/spying-on-ccupy-activists).
- President Obama’s claim that the White House has the authority, later sanctioned by Congress’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to order the extra-judicial assassination of U.S. citizens.
Green Party leaders expect more revelations of assaults on the U.S. Constitution, civil liberties, and privacy.
Greens said that Democratic and Republican policies and actions have been setting the stage for the current outrages during the past two decades: President Clinton’s authorization of training for civilian police forces in military tactics as part of the War on Drugs; passage of the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act; criminalization of demographic groups, especially Muslims and undocumented aliens; GuantÃ¡namo Bay Detention Camp, with many detainees still locked up and denied habeas corpus despite knowledge of their innocence; and the rise of a prison-industrial complex in the U.S. that now houses the highest proportion of citizens in the world, with private prisons and contractors drawing their profits by filling up cells — a financial incentive for incarcerating more and more Americans.
“U.S. agencies helped create terror threats like Al Qaeda in the 70s and 80s, installed repressive dictators in foreign countries, and established alliances with dangerous movements, most recently Libya and Syria. Then Americans are expected to surrender their rights for protection against blowback caused by these reckless policies,” said Carl Romanelli.
“Confirmation of America’s fears that the government is spying on us”
Shahid Buttar, Director of Civil Rights Enforcement, Justice Branch of the Green Shadow Cabinet, June 7, 2013
“No action should be taken against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden”
Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Director of Government Transparency and Accountability, and King Downing, Commission on Correctional Reform in the Green Shadow Cabinet, June 10, 2013
“Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America: Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us a chance to roll back what is tantamount to an ‘executive coup’ against the US constitution”
By Daniel Ellsberg, The Guardian, June 10, 2013
“Freedom Rider: The Snowden Litmus Test”
By Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report, June 12, 2013
“Put the NSA on trial: With potential perjury by top officials, and new questions about spying, let’s stop assuming everything is legal”
By David Sirota, Salon.com, June 11, 2013
“The Judicial Lynching of Bradley Manning”
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig, June 9, 2013
Green Shadow Cabinet: http://greenshadowcabinet.us