Today's Article
Lawmakers have
released such
'reports' before - only
for the public to later
discover they
nothing more than a
series of baseless
smear campaigns ...
The American Spark
U.S. House Smear Campaign of Edward Snowden Nothing New

By Cliff Montgomery - Sept. 24th, 2016

The current lack of transparency maintained by U.S. police forces - especially regarding its activities in and
around American black communities - has come to a head. These stark matters have filled the week with
discussions, movements, protests and riots. The
American Spark of course will cover these matters over the
next few days.

But today we wanted to mention one other very important thing that recently happened, a matter that flew
under the radar of most news outlets.

“A report by the House of Representatives intelligence committee ... heavily criticized [the] activities” of
whistleblower Edward Snowden, and claimed that “he was a disgruntled employee whose actions did nothing
more than help U.S. enemies,” according to an article released last week by
BBC News.

But U.S. lawmakers have released such ‘reports’ before - only for the public to later discover they’re nothing
more than a series of baseless smear campaigns ...

In 1938, breathless U.S. representatives created the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), in an
effort to expose “subversive” and “disloyal” activities performed by any private citizen, organization, or public
employee suspected of harboring “Communist” tendencies.

To put this group into proper perspective, consider that under the leadership of its first chairman - Rep. Martin
Dies of Texas - HUAC routinely screamed that the policies and actions of the Roosevelt Administration were
‘Un-American’ - even though the president was democratically elected and his policies were quite popular with
the majority of Americans.

In its early years, HUAC was sometimes informally called the Dies Committee.

The “examination techniques employed by HUAC served as the model upon which Senator Joseph McCarthy
would conduct his investigative hearings in the early 1950s,” point out scholars from George Washington

“Following Senator McCarthy’s censure, however, and his subsequent departure from the Senate,” adds the
university, “the American public grew increasingly wary of the ‘red-baiting’ techniques employed by HUAC and

In fact, it eventually became clear that the claims of people like Joseph McCarthy and those who served in
HUAC were routinely based on unsubstantiated and often reckless accusations. All of these baseless
accusations were delivered by congressional leaders ... and all in the name of ‘national security’.

Over time, even some legislators began pointing out just how dangerous those unfounded accusations were
for innocent American citizens.

In a speech delivered on June 1st, 1954,  Vermont Republican Senator Ralph Flanders openly compared
McCarthy to Hitler, declared that his ‘red-baiting’ had done little more than spread “division and confusion”
among the American people, and added that “were the Junior Senator from Wisconsin in the pay of the
Communists, he could not have done a better job for them.”

Below, the
American Spark offers portions of a passionate speech against congressional leaders spewing
baseless accusations against those who displease them, under the guise of ‘public safety’. This speech was
delivered on the House floor on January 23rd, 1940, by New York Representative Vito Marcantonio, and
perfectly sums up what is now at stake with the Snowden affair:

Mr. Speaker, this resolution [for the continuation of the Dies Committee] presents a very serious issue. It
presents the issue of guaranteeing the rights of dissident minorities. Destroy the constitutional rights of
minorities, particularly the rights of those minorities that you so vociferously condemn, and you are marching...
toward the destruction of democracy. This committee, under the guise of investigating subversive activities,
has done its utmost to abolish democratic rights in the United States.

It has failed to distinguish between illegal activities and constitutional activities. It has sought to destroy the
right to constitutional activities under the pretext of investigating illegal activities. The rights of minorities to
freedom of press, speech, and petition have been endangered as never before ...

Oh, I know that when my friend the gentleman from Alabama [Mr. Starnes] gets up here he will say, "I
subscribe to the doctrine of free speech." Let me say that what the Dies Committee has failed to recognize is
the fundamental principle of application. There is a great deal of difference between mere subscription and
application. I say that every dissident minority has the right to advocate, it has the right to organize, and it has
the right to propagandize. The Dies Committee has failed to recognize the difference between subversive and
constitutional. [...]

Until you establish that a person is guilty of conspiracy to violate [constitutionally valid] laws or to engage in
espionage or sabotage, I say that person has the right to advocate, and to do everything the Constitution
gives him the right to say, publish and do, whether he be a Communist, a Socialist, a Republican, a Democrat
or a Laborite.  (Applause)

Once you tamper with this principle, no matter under what pretext, once you undermine it, you undermine the
Constitution of the United States and deal a death blow to the fundamental principles upon which this country
is based.

Legislation such as this is not anything new. ....

Every time we have gone through a critical period, a real effort has been made to destroy the civil rights of the
American people by making an attack on the rights of dissident minorities. Our institutions can survive only
when we reaffirm the American tradition of greater freedom for the American people during periods of crisis.

In 1798 we passed the Alien and Sedition Acts. Thomas Jefferson was hounded and accused of being an
agent of a foreign country, France. The Alien and Sedition Acts, most similar in purpose with the activities of
the Dies Committee, were imposed on this country at that time. These laws were aimed at Jefferson and his
followers. Now everybody respects Thomas Jefferson. Even my great friend from Dutchess County [Mr.
Hamilton Fish] appeals to the Democrats in the name of Jefferson and calls them Jeffersonian Democrats
when he wants them on his side.

Let us see what Thomas Jefferson said with regard to that legislation which is the monstrous ancestor of the
type which you are putting over here today.

He charged that legislation was put over by a “war party.” We are before a war situation now.

He said that such laws were “merely an experiment on the American mind to see how far it would bear an
avowed violation of the Constitution.”

He further stated, referring to the Sedition Acts:

“These and successive acts of the same character, unless arrested at the threshold, necessarily drive these
States into revolution and blood, and will furnish new calumnies against republican government, and new
pretexts for those who wish it to be believed that man cannot be governed but by a rod of iron.”

The Sedition Acts were repealed by the American people, and the party that enacted them died.

During the [First] World War we had a repetition of this situation. We passed the espionage laws, and we had
the subsequent Palmer raids of which every American is ashamed today. No man was safe in his home. No
minority was safe. No labor leader or labor union, no organization was safe to conduct its activities - legal
activities guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

Let me quote what a great Republican - one whose memory we will always respect, one who, too, was
frequently in the minority, Senator Borah - said with regard to the espionage law when he opposed it in the
United States Senate on April 19, 1917:

“Without an unfettered press, without liberty of speech, all the outward forms and structures of free institutions
are a sham, a pretense, the sheerest mockery. If the press is not free, if speech is not independent and
untrammeled, if the mind is shackled or made impotent through fear, it makes no difference under what form
of government you live, you are a subject and not a citizen. Republics are not in and of themselves better than
other forms of government except insofar as they carry with them and guarantee to the citizens that liberty of
thought and action for which they were established.”

The espionage law of 1917 was repealed in disgust by the American people. [...]

Mr. Speaker, take away the rights of people whom you do not like, take away the constitutional rights of
dissident minorities, and you yourselves are engaging in un-American activities.

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