Responding to reports that security officials within the Obama Administration held meetings with local authorities that led to a brutal national police crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street protests - including flagrant violations of freedom of the press - the Green Party’s Jill Stein called for a full investigation of the federal role. She urged that new federal guidelines be established to "prevent the lethal power of post-9/11 militarized security from being turned against the American people."
According to news reports, officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Homeland Security Agency advised mayors and other municipal officials regarding the use of harsh, military-style techniques against people in the OWS encampments. The Federal officials reportedly tutored the municipal officials on ways to find legal excuses for closing down the encampments, on the use of riot police and advanced weaponry, and on techniques for interfering with press coverage of the evictions.
Stein, who is seeking the Green Party nomination for President of the United States, issued the following statement:
“Militarization of crowd control and the employment of brutal tactics against unarmed civilians and press are strategies worthy of dictators, not representative government. These actions violate the constitutional right of citizens to assemble freely, speak freely, and be informed by a free press. In combination with the Patriot Act, these policies seriously threaten civil liberties that are the beating heart of American democracy"
"The explosive growth of the Homeland Security apparatus - now funded to the tune of $98 billion annually, and increasingly integrated into local police forces - has provided Washington the ability to orchestrate nationwide police actions against the public and the press. Urgent action is needed to ensure that the federal government cannot use the massive post 9/11anti-terror apparatus against the American people. Programs created under the pretext of protecting American freedoms must not be used to curtail those very freedoms.”
“Today I call upon Congress to launch an independent investigation of the role of our Federal security agencies in training, coordinating, funding or otherwise promoting efforts that violate the rights of citizens to assemble and to protest government policies. This investigation should be led by community leaders and by civil libertarians serving in law schools, on the bench, or with the bar, who are untainted by ties to either the Bush or Obama Administrations.”
“Such an investigation should be fully independent of the agencies whose actions are in question. This investigation should propose measures that can be taken to protect our freedoms against erosion by the massive new security apparatus now under control of the executive branch.”
“The President, as head of the executive branch, bears a responsibility to protect our citizens from infringement of their civil liberties. Should I become President, I would immediately issue an executive order to all federal agencies instructing them, in cases of peaceful assemblies of citizens, to oppose the use of militaristic assaults, intimidation, threats, or brutality. I would order the Department of Justice to stop conspiring against our people - and instead, work with the community to make sure that people’s rights are being respected. And I’d ask all agencies involved to ensure that the press is able to report on what happens, because the people have a right - and a need - to know.”