Green Party to Congress: restore the rule of law after a decade of abuse of the Constitution‏


Green Party leaders challenge the new Congress to restore the rule of law after

a decade of constitutional violations and abuses of power by Presidents and other officials

Greens cite election theft, vote theft, torture, warrantless surveillance of US citizens, official lies and impunity, 'preemptive' military attacks, denied rights in DC and Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders challenged Democrats and Republicans in the 112th Congress, as well as President Obama, to end a decade of reckless violations of the US Constitution, international agreements, and other laws by the US government and begin a new era of respect for the rule of law.

"The new Congress began with a reading of the Constitution in the US House, but the document seems to be incomprehensible for many Representatives," said Muhammed Malik, co-chair of the Miami-Dade Green Party in Florida. "The protections enshrined in the constitutional amendments and Article Six's requirement that the US honor treaties are not subject to the whims of Presidents, State Departments, the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration, or any other government body. If we don't restore the rule of law now, we're in danger of seeing the end of the US as a republic and a free country."

Greens listed examples of official lawlessness and disregard for rights since 2000:

• The Obama Administration has maintained many of the Bush-Cheney abuses of the Constitution: denial of habeas corpus, detention of suspects for long periods without charges, persecution of whistleblowers, targeting of innocent Muslim and Arab individuals and organizations, and surveillance without warrant of US citizens. The Obama Justice Department has refused to investigate and prosecute Bush-Cheney officials for torture and other crimes -- including President Bush himself, who has boasted publicly of his approval for waterboarding.

Guantanamo and several 'black sites' remain open. The treatment of Khalid El-Masri (tortured under the US's extraordinary rendition program, later found to be innocent), PFC Bradley Manning (detained in solitary confinement but unconvicted for leaking classified material to Wikileaks: see Manning and Manning letter), and other prisoners reveals increasing disregard for laws against torture in the US Constitution and Geneva Conventions.

The Green Party of the United States endorsed impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) introduced articles of impeachment in December 2006, before joining the Green Party and becoming the 2008 Green presidential nominee.

• Military action outside of immediate self-defense is prohibited under international law, but the Bush Administration launched the invasion of Iraq based on the neocon doctrine of 'preemption,' which is now embraced by both Democrats and Republicans. Some members of Congress have urged a military assault on Iran based on the same doctrine.

• The US, under both Bush and Obama presidencies, has continued to politically support and fund Israel's brutal treatment of Palestinians, which violates scores of UN Security Council resolutions and amounts to war crimes under international law.

• The Wikileaks cables have exposed extralegal actions and official lies, including US airstrikes in Yemen (denied by President Obama), secret military operations in Pakistan, a secret agreement with Britain to allow US bases in the UK to stockpile cluster bombs, and bribery and illegal surveillance to undermine opposition to US climate change policies (FAIR).

"Exposure of wrong-doing by government officials, which often requires publication of secret documents, is the responsibility of the press in a free society. The claim that Julian Assange doesn't deserve First Amendment protections because he isn't a credentialed reporter is unfounded, since the First Amendment covers everyone, not just professional journalists," said Pat LaMarche, weekly columnist for Maine's largest daily newspaper, The Bangor Daily News and 2004 Green nominee for Vice President (GP-US release).

• Irregularities in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections disenfranchised thousands of US citizens, especially black, young, and low-income voters. The Supreme Court's patently biased Bush v. Gore decision (2000), which handed the presidency to George W. Bush, held that no national right to vote exists.

Greens led the effort in 2004 to expose and challenge election irregularities in Ohio and New Mexico. Although two Republican operatives were convicted in January 2007 of election tampering in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Congress has taken no action to protect voters' rights.

Greens have argued that Section 2 of the 14th Amendment requires punishment for states that "abridge" voting rights. In the wake of the 2004 election, Asa Gordon, chair of the DC Statehood Green Party's Electoral College Task Force, filed suit against the malapportionment of Electoral College votes under the US's winner-take-all election system, citing Section 2's penalty clause and the legacy of racial disenfranchisement in southern states.

On Jan. 4, the day before the first session of the 112th Congress, Mr. Gordon was granted an emergency presentation of arguments before US District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy challenging the seating of Representatives from southern states. Mr. Gordon's motion is currently pending. (More information and documents, or contact Asa Gordon at 202-635-7926)

• Whole populations of the US remain outside the US Constitution's coverage. The local laws of the District of Columbia are subject to Congress's control and veto power, regardless of the will of DC residents. Whether Democrats or Republicans have been in control, the White House and Congress have ignored the repeated requests by the citizens of the nation's capital, with its black majority, for full representation in Congress and statehood.

The US has also ignored demands by the people of Puerto Rico for self-determination and independence, ignoring protests against US Navy bomb detonations in Vieques, which have spread depleted uranium contamination, and unwanted laws and policies imposed on the island by the US government.

"The Green Party calls for the end of the colonial treatment of people living in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and others who've been denied self-determination and self-government," said Darryl! L.C. Moch, who serves on the steering committee of the DC Statehood Green Party. "We support statehood for DC. We support the 2005 draft resolution by the UN's Special Committee on Decolonization calling on the US to allow the Puerto Rican people to exercise fully their right to self-determination and independence. Bipartisan inaction on DC and Puerto RIco are an affront to the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the US's own equal protection laws. It's time to complete the unfinished business of the Civil Rights Movement and the national rights of US colonies."