Petition to President of the United States
Pardon Edward Snowden
Mr. President: We ask that you pardon Edward Snowden. There is no question that the NSA was breaking the law in the surveillance of Americans without a warrant even though the Patriot Act provided it with a secret court, a secretive process to obtain a warrant and reduced the grounds to mere suspicion. The Second District Court Appeals so found (ACLU v. Clapper (Docket No. 14‐42‐cv). There is no question that in 1976 Congress established the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to ensure that the intelligence community was not using its surveillance powers on American citizens without warrants. There is no question that the director of the NSA, retired three-star General Keith Alexander, lied under oath before that Committee when he denied that the NSA was engaged in surveillance of Americans without a warrant. The government has tacitly approved of his lying under oath because he did not receive any punishment for what we who have signed below consider a grave offence. There is no question that General James Clapper, head of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the department entrusted with supervising the NSA, told the same lie under oath before that Senate Committee. The government has tacitly approved of his lying under oath because he did not receive any punishment for what we who have signed below consider a grave offence. There is no question that Mr. Snowden would not have received any protection if he had made a complaint under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act passed in 1998. It was carefully crafted to apply only to matters of 'urgent concern' but not to daily matters. It also provides no protection against retaliation or against any form of criminal prosecution if the complaint is leaked to the Department of Justice. Most likely, the NSA would have suppressed the complaint. There is no question that the NSA has, in the past, broken the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act by leaking details of the complaint by Thomas Drake and three others to the FBI for prosecution. The government dropped all 10 original serious charges on the eve of trial, but, although innocent, Drake was ruined career wise and now works at a low-level retail position. There is no question that the NSA was already intending to use its mass surveillance data to influence the political process as the FBI had done, for example, on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Snowden said his team was given the names of seven people, who were not related to any terrorist activity, and told to see if there was any evidence of their visiting porno sites. Given that the military is usually very conservative, that type of evidence will be used against the future political candidates who hold your values, Mr. President. There is also no question that Mr. Snowden acted as responsibly as possible in the situation given that he did not provide the data to WikiLeaks but to responsible journalists for vetting before release. Finally, there is no question that if Mr. Snowden returns to the U.S., He cannot get a fair trial. He will be charged under The Espionage Act of 1917, an archaic Act which does not provide any whistleblower defence. The only person who can help Mr Snowden avoid a serious prison term for his act of courage and personal sacrifice to the benefit of the American people is yourself, Mr. President. For the sake of the future of the Republic and its foundation principle, the Rule of Law, please pardon Edward Snowden. Thank you Mr. President!
Petition to Netspend Media Relations, PayPal Media Relations, Lisa Henken - NetSpend Customer Relations, Todd Robeson - The Bancorp
My Bank Is Censoring My Freedom Of Speech
I am the founder of an environmental activism and EPA watchdog group called SuperfundResearch.org, and a professional filmmaker that has worked with 2014 Grammy Nominees.SuperfundResearch.org takes on massive environmental campaigns in The US, from running public education campaigns about cancer clusters, to investigating and exposing corrupt EPA officials, to fighting oil companies that are using eminent domain to taking away hard working American's homes to build pipelines, to running a controversial data mining project where we use FOIA requests to obtain the document caches for all 1,328 EPA Superfund toxic waste sites in The US and work to publicly release over 500,000,000 pages of public records, for free. A few months ago I was out on the road conducting investigations into various toxic incidents, as charitable efforts, when I decided to take on Plains All American Pipeline, for taking homes away from Arkansas residents in order to build the Diamond Pipeline. Plains All American Pipeline is the company that caused the Santa Barbara Oil Spill, last year, another cause I worked on and fought for. A few days later, I went to use my debit card, a PayPal/Netspend/Bancorp debit account, and my access to my account had been revoked. I was told the next day that they had blocked access because I was using my account for "business purposes." However, I have not ever used my account for business purposes, not so much as a box of paperclips, and they had no evidence that I had done this, so they were forced to turn my account back on. Why my bank was looking over my shoulder, into my life, I'll never know. While I do have a fan page for SuperfundResearch.org, I also have a personal fan page which is not monetized, and neither of these pages generate a profit, as my environmental firm is entirely self funded. A week later I went to use my card and it was shut down, again. This time they told me that I would have to add the person who funds my work to my account, if I wanted to keep my account. This is the equivalent of being told your boss at your job needs to have access to your bank account, in order for you to receive a paycheck, which is absurd. When I protested, they, once again backpedaled, and told me that I was not allowed to use my account for "business." I pointed out that I had been using this same account, for three years with no issues, but it didn't matter. But, again, I am not using my account for business transactions, and never have. My expenses entailed hotel rooms, gas, food, and as a prolific US traveler, who has done five-hundred thousand miles of ground travel to over fifteen hundred cities, in the last five years, I am already on the road, in my personal life. It's an added bonus that this travel gives me the ability to also fight for the causes I believe in and not one bit of my journeys are a "business expense." When I pointed out that they needed proof that I was using the account for business they said, "Most normal Americans don't pay to promote Facebook, posts, so your bank considers this a business expense." My response was that Facebook, where my business partner is an employee, gives its employees ad spend to promote personal causes they care about, and this is not a considered a business expense. Many Americans use Facebook promoted posts to promote their personal ideals. In my case, it was very clear they were just looking for an excuse to shut me down, grabbing at every straw they could latch onto, as the reason. When this line of reasoning didn't work for them, they told me, very clearly, "If you use your account to promote another Facebook post, we will close it. Also, we are blocking your ability to receive funds from outside sources." When I complained about censoring my voice, and shutting off my flow of money, they sent me a piece of my contract with PayPal that said, "We reserve the right to close any account that is being used for purposes we don't agree with."When this happened, they cut me off from my funding. If I didn't have friends in Silicon Valley, I'd be homeless, right now. At the time this all happened, I was in a meth infested neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky, driving a thirty thousand dollar BMW, with over twenty-thousand dollars in cash on me, that I had to carry with me, in my guitar case, because that was the only way I could have access to cash to keep traveling. With my accounts blocked I was unable to rent hotel rooms, left to stay in places which were not safe for a person carrying so much cash and valuables. At one point I found myself staring out of tweeker hole in a set of grungy motel curtains, hoping the crack party in the parking lot, at 4am, didn't transition to looting me for fifty-thousand dollars. Finally, I was forced to stop fighting environmental causes, retreat, and find myself an emergency home on the East Coast, because I was thousands of miles away from my house in Oregon when this happened, and I was so worn down that I could not fight anymore. Not only did they silence me but the sudden move costed me twenty-thousand dollars, out of the money I use to educate communities about cancer clusters. I limped into my new home, barely able to stay afloat, and it's taken me over five months to recover from the damage they've caused. I'm OK, now, but I am still fighting to recover from everything that happened. My activism work was systematically shut down by corporate censorship. If I had to think back to a time in my life when I felt the most scared, it was when I was being dominated by my bank, left in a situation where I could have been easily robbed and killed. During that period of time, I thought a lot about what happened to Michael Jordan's father. He was killed when he pulled over to the side of the road, in a nice car, to get some sleep, and some nights, I did end up sleeping in my car. Apparently, to PayPal/NetSpend/Bancorp, protecting the bottom line of polluters and corrupt government officials was more important than my safety or rights as an American Citizen, and it has nothing to do with promoted Facebook posts, because I have been running campaigns for years, using this very same account. Yesterday, five months later, I made a phone call to find out where a deposit from the federal government had gone, because I had not received it. I was told that my bank had received the funds but they are withholding it from me, and I have had enough. I am being dominated by corruption because of my work, and as a US Citizen, I do not believe my bank has the right to repeatedly interfere with my life and freedom of speech, just to protect the CEO of Plains All American Pipeline, who sits on the board of the Texas Federal Reserve, corrupt EPA officials, or anyone else, for that matter. I believe everyone should sign this petition, in order to tell this bank that corporate censorship is not OK, that our Founding Fathers wrote the constitution to protect our freedom of speech, and that so viciously censoring an activist, jeopardizing his life in the process is, pretty much, the most anti-American thing a company can do, and it really sucks!Together, we can fight these giants. Together we can beat them. Together we can get justice and show these corporate slugs that it's going to take more than shutting down a bank account to silence this activist. Thank you for reading and thank you, in advance, for your generous support. If you strongly support this cause, please help get the word out by signing it and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter.MatthewFounder: www.superfundresearch.org
Petition to Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell
Protect Whistleblower Accused of Stealing Abused Animals
Amber Canavan is a college student with years of experience helping animals. Until recently, she had no criminal history and advocates for social justice for all. She was concerned about the foie gras industry’s mistreatment of ducks so a prosecutor says she went onto a farm in New York to see what was happening to the animals. When she reportedly rescued two terribly abused birds and gathered video evidence of cruelty in this industry, she was arrested and faces serious criminal charges. The film she collected during her visit was turned over to authorities, including the United States Department of Agriculture in an attempt to enforce animal welfare and food safety regulations. The farmer claims that two ducks went missing around the time that Amber was there, but it seems the real motivations behind the prosecution is that the evidence she obtained contradicts the pleasant imagery of the small farm they promote themselves as. At the behest of the owners of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Amber was charged with felony burglary and petit larceny for documenting injured and sickly animals, and for allegedly rescuing two ducks from one of the most notoriously cruel factory farms in the country. This February, she pled not guilty, and will be brought to trial as soon as this summer. This farm claims to sell cage free, "humanely" raised foie gras, but a decade's worth of undercover investigations have shown otherwise. Hudson Valley Foie Gras is the largest industrial duck force feeding operation in the country where tens of thousands of ducks languish in pens suspended over their own waste. Animals are force-fed several times a day when a worker shoves a long, rigid tube down their throats. As with any typical factory farm, she witnessed sick, dead and dying animals, many with untreated injuries. The ASPCA has taken the position that force feeding to produce foie gras violates Ag & Markets Code Section 353, prohibiting animal cruelty. Former New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation official Ward Stone has explained the extreme cruelty that goes into force feeding to make foie gras. He has examined ducks killed by force feeding at Hudson Valley Foie Gras and found that they "suffered tremendously." By charging her with burglary, District Attorney Farrell is trying to characterize this activist as a criminal, and she faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. This prosecution is designed to have a chilling effect on free speech and to encourage people to turn their backs when they see wrongdoing and animal suffering. Join us in saying no to animal cruelty and defend this brave whistleblower by asking Sullivan County District Attorney James Farrell to drop the outrageous charges of felony burglary and petit larceny against Amber.