End the Surveillance State
Defend our heroes, the whistleblowers, and our freedoms under the Bill of Rights
Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning are unlikely heroes. They didn’t come from the left. They were young men who believed the propaganda that this country was based on a system of laws designed to protect freedom and democracy at home and abroad. Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning both voluntarily and idealistically joined the military/security state “to protect us” and “to promote a better world.”
The disconnect between their illusions and the harsh reality that the U.S. is run by a corporate, financial, military elite (the 1 percent) that aims to dominate the world for profit and power shook them to the core. They saw that their democracy rhetoric is just that—talk designed to pacify us to carry out their rule—and they had the moral courage to let the world know the truth.
Spying on lawful citizens is not new but it has escalated with new Orwellian technology, especially since 9/11 and under the Obama regime. Today, the government has the tools to gather and analyze private information on literally everyone. Tracking the entire global population gives them an unprecedented ability for control, repression, and disruption.
Some use “I have nothing to hide” as a rationale for passivity. This is what many people living under totalitarian regimes thought as they allowed the police state apparatus to be built. That is until they or their families became the targets. We have seen in the past that the government does not just look for criminals or “terrorists.” They monitor activists, critics and minorities. They go beyond electronic surveillance to entrap, defame, and jail dissidents and to disrupt and diminish organizations and movements that threaten them.
What is new is the extent of privatization and lack of any oversight. The funding and scope of the intelligence apparatus is totally secret and there are severe penalties for exposing these details. Seventy percent of the mammoth and secret intelligence budget goes to private contractors, unaccountable to the public. Private corporations play a huge role in waging war and intelligence gathering and they make giant profits from the taxpayers’ treasury. These recent revelations show how the government and unelected private warmakers work in concert, and in practice, are interchangeable.
While we hail Snowden, Manning, Assange and other truth tellers as heroes, the government vilifies and persecutes them. The government says they are criminals who aid U.S. enemies and put us in danger. In fact, massive secret and illegal government spying concurrent with unfettered warfare endangers us all.
What gives us hope is that in spite of the harsh vengeance the government metes out to whistleblowers, they still come forward to protect our right to know and to decide. Edward Snowden said “Citizens with a conscience are not going to ignore wrong-doing simply because they’ll be destroyed for it: the conscience forbids it. Instead, these draconian responses simply build better whistleblowers.”
Without whistleblowers who are willing to risk everything to expose the lies and criminal actions of the powers that be, we would be an uninformed and easily enslaved population. But simply exposing government wrongdoing is not enough. We, the people, must defend our brave heroes and fight back on all levels—with publicity, lawsuits, demands that Congress and the President end the Surveillance State, legislation to curb them, marching in the streets, and requiring that those engaging in criminal actions against the public interest are exposed and punished.
- Stop the persecution of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange and free Bradley Manning and other jailed whistleblowers and political prisoners!
- Support the ACLU lawsuit to stop the NSA surveillance and purge all records!
- Rescind the Patriot Act, indefinite detention and other laws and orders that violate the Bill of Rights!
- End the secrecy and shut down the FISA Court!
- Prosecute government officials, including President Obama, who engage in illegal acts to curtail our freedoms!
- Communication companies must protect the privacy of their consumers and stop giving data to the government!
- Support legislation to end secret spying and to declassify the documents and laws used to create the surveillance state and maintain secrecy!
- Hold public hearings to reveal the true extent of government surveillance!
—From UNAC via email, June 21, 2013
United National Antiwar Coalition
P.O. Box 123
Delmar, NY 12054