Speak Out Against NSA Surveillance!

Speech by Misty Rowan, Anti-War Committee member

4th Amendment Rally – Stand with Snowden!  No More Surveillance Protest
Hennepin County Government Center, June 12, 2013

Misty Rowan, of Anti-War Committee speaking at Human Rights Day protest (FightBack! News)

Hello, my name is Misty Rowan.  I am a member of the Anti-War Committee and once upon a time I slept under the stars here at People’s Plaza with Occupy Wall Street but today I am your average citizen and I am outraged by the recent discoveries about our government’s data collection.

I just have to say that I am shocked by this discovery.  The only thing more appalling than the amount of data and the scope of the surveillance is the response from the White House.  Instead of so much as fumbling through an apology they’ve said it’s all routine stuff, not to worry about it – no big deal.  Meanwhile, they are going to be hunting the people who told us down like dogs prosecuting them to the full extent of the law.  And all of it will be kept quiet (as much as that’s still possible) as a matter of national security.

Well you know what?  Our 4th Amendment rights are a matter of national security Mr. President.  I don’t feel safe in a country where the government is monitoring everything I say and do.  I refuse to accept this as the new terms and conditions of living in a nation that’s been ‘terrified’ for the last 12 years.  Enough is enough!

In the Anti-War Committee, we’ve known about the ugly turn this war on terror has taken for a few years now.  In 2010, the FBI raided our office and the homes of several of our members and others across the country, calling them to a Grand Jury in Chicago under investigation of material support for terrorism – just because we organize to end this war based on lies, and carried out against the will of the American people.  The Occupy Wall Street movement also learned of the conduct of these agencies and became familiar with the snitches, infiltrators, wire-tapping and raids.  But this (scandal) goes beyond the regular repression of political movement.  What we are talking about is every single person, every single phone number, every transaction.  It’s as if the entire country, in fact the world, is under investigation by the U.S. government.  People, you need to realize that this isn’t about terrorists anymore.  This is about you.  How your government is treating you – supposedly for your own good.

We need to realize that COINTELPRO is not a thing of the past.  It is not a history lesson learned!  What happened then, is that people found out about what was going on, and policy changed because people got upset.  The same thing has to happen here.

Now, the high tech gadgets of today’s information age may have changed the game, but what hasn’t changed is the expectation of a free democracy that our government should not be spying on us!  That without reasonable cause, a warrant signed by a judge, and proper oversight of these agencies – as spelled out for you by the 4th Amendment – that all this surveillance is illegal!

It is time for people to be outraged.  To demand that the surveillance state end and the power our government has given itself to invade our privacy be reigned back in. I agree with Edward Snowden when he said, “I don’t want to live in a country where this can happen.”  And I’d like to commend him for the action he’s taken to ignite a public discussion about our government’s dirty little secrets.  And Bradley Manning, as well, who is on trial right now for revealing the ugly truths about this ugly war.  He should be considered a hero instead he’s charged with “aiding the enemy.”

We need to demand transparency and accountability from our government.  The people who have lied – we have proof now that they’ve lied – should be fired and our rights – all of them – need to be restored.  That is the country I want to live it.  And it can only happen if we pressure Congress and the president to act within the law – not their secret court, special executive privilege law – the one laid out in the United States Constitution.  And we cannot rest until this happens!

Our civil rights are under attack.

What do we do?  STAND UP!  FIGHT BACK!