The EU must review its relations with the US after the espionage scandal
This petition had 26 supporters
In light of the following facts:
- The EU has in the past entrusted US authorities by accepting to share private data on its citizens (such as with the SWIFT system, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, with which there has been already a scandal of privacy violation by US authorities in 2006). This was a significant concession from the EU, made because the EU saw the US as an ally, and was made despite the opposition of civil society,
- Recent revelations show that the US (through its NSA agency) has been, at least since 2007, not only automatically listening to, reading and recording communications of EU citizens without suspicion of wrong-doing, but has also been spying on EU diplomats, including on EU soil, even inside EU headquarters in Brussels. They constitute proof that the US government has been spying on its EU allies, their citizens, and their diplomats, in violation of international treaties such as the 1961 Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations,
- After the initial revelations, not only the US officials didn't apologize for the scandal, showing no remorse or intent to put an end to this practice that violates several international agreements, they made statements revealing that their doctrine involves concerns about US citizens only (but even that is contradicted by the revelations), with absolutely no care for citizens of other countries, including allies such as the EU. The US president Barack Obama declared "we can't have 100% security and 100% privacy", not only completely missing the point but suggesting the only security he cares about is the US citizens': consequently, EU citizens are according to him to sacrifice their privacy for the good of US citizens only, without any advantage to themselves,
- Worse, US officials are starting a witch-hunt against the courageous and exceptionally gifted whistleblower who took the difficult decision to shed light on the US government's practice of mass espionage and investigative journalists who have covered the leak, showing here again how little the US doctrine cares for basic concerns for freedom of information and citizens' privacy, which are at the foundation of EU democracy,
- The EU has already sacrificed much in the name of US modern-crusade policies such as "the war on terror": EU countries that joined the war effort in Iraq based on "proof" by US intelligence agencies that there were Weapons of Mass Destruction that were going to be used against the West found out that this was a fabricated lie and that the motivations were purely ideological, if not personal and in the sole interest of a few US elite politicians and businessmen; unfortunately the EU citizens' lives lost, and their public money wasted, were already gone forever. The European Arrest Warrant, a US-surveillance-state-inspired tool designed to facilitate extraditions of "terror" suspects between EU states has been abused and is now one of the most hurting tools to the EU's reputation and basic democratic principles as it is used to persecute individuals such as journalist and freedom of speech activist Julian Assange, who sought refuge at a South American country's embassy in London, UK, to escape extradition to... the US (where a inquisition-style grand jury has already charged him, in secret) via Sweden, an EU member and a US ally that has extra-legally rendered two Egyptians to the US espionage agency the CIA who consequently subjected them to torture.
Continual naive cooperation with the US government is not in the EU's citizens' interest, and can and will be interpreted as opening the door to the return to a system similar to the one that saw the German Stasi spy on virtually anybody in the former DDR, with the two differences that the Stasi's resources were insignificant compared to the US government's, which can spy on any EU citizen who uses Internet communications, and the Stasi wasn't under the control of a foreign government,
- Consequently we urge the EU commission and EU governments, whose responsibility it is to make sure that EU citizens' rights are protected, to review and seriously scale back its cooperation with the United States wherever this involves the sharing of data relevant to EU citizens, especially when it might pertain to their privacy, in the wider sense of it.
- We also urge the EU commission and EU governments to unambiguously distance themselves from the US government's dangerous totalitarian crusade by considering ways to support non-EU citizens who are being unjustly persecuted and "punished" by US authorities for courageously upholding universal values and principles without which no society can pretend to keep the powerful in check and protect the weak. Such individuals include US army Pfc. Bradley Manning currently undergoing a shamefully punitive and unjust trial, ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden who is currently exploring possibilities of political asylum from Moscow, journalist and freedom of speech activist Julian Assange who has already sought asylum at a South American embassy in London as mentioned above (his case is reason enough to completely review the working and scope of the European Arrest Warrant), computer science researcher and freedom of speech activist Jacob Applebaum, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and unfortunately many others who have been fighting or resisting the US mass surveillance machine.
It is not a coincidence that most of the individuals cited above are US citizens: one of the lessons of History is that the most totalitarian governments showed the greatest motivation in going after their most distinguished citizens.
We believe we are at a time in History at which future generations will look back, and what they must see is that the EU as a whole but also as the sum of its individual states has taken the right and common decision to protect its own citizens as well as non-EU citizens against attacks of an unprecedented nature, and of irreversible effects on human privacy and dignity.
We ask you to act, to act clearly, and to act fast.
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