From Max Obuszewski, firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the Freedom Square occupation, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) decided to attempt to obtain a meeting with Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), to discuss perceived illegal and unconstitutional activities by his operatives. NCNR sent a letter, signed by thirty people from around the country, to Lt. Gen. Alexander requesting a meeting.
On October 9, approximately 25 people, most of them from the occupation of Freedom Square, went to the NSA in Fort Meade, Maryland with a copy of the letter. Representatives of the NSA Police said it was not possible to meet with the general. An NSA public relations officer told the group to leave Fort Meade, and that she would get back to Max Obuszewski on Tuesday with a response to the letter. Since activists have been unsuccessful for years in obtaining a meeting with the director of the NSA, it was decided to make an attempt to go to the guard station to press the concerns about the NSA spying, its involvement in the extra-judicial killing of U.S. citizens and the firing of Thomas Drake, an NSA whistleblower.
However, instead of getting a meeting with a person of some authority, fourteen people were arrested on the road heading towards the guard station.
Each of the arrested received three citations: “entering a military, naval or Coast Guard property,” “disturbances on protected property, “ and control of activities on protected property.” These are federal charges, and a court date is to be determined. After the 42 citations were issued, the activists took several group photographs and left Fort Meade.
The protesters are concerned about the NSA’s nvolvement in the illegal war andoccupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. This would include the illegal use of drones in Afghanistan and other countries, and the assassination of
U.S. citizens. Also there have been alarming revelations about the illegal wiretapping and wholesale collection of Americans’ phone records. When this was revealed by Russell Tice, he was fired. When Thomas Drake revealed an expensive boondoggle of a computer system, he
was targeted for being a whistleblower. In July, 2011, though, the legal case brought against him by the government collapsed.
The citizen activists who went to Fort Meade believe they have the right and responsibility to meet with National Security Agency officials to prevent further illegal activity. Those arrested have many years of doing direct action in dissent of our government’s illegal operations. Several were from Massachusetts, Beth Adams, Ellen Graves, John Langford and Paki Wieland; Tim Chadwick came from Pennsylvania; Joy First, Wisconsin; Chris Gaunt, Iowa; three from New Jersey–Carol Gay, Jules Orkin and Manijeh Saba; Malachy Kilbride, Virginia; and there were three Baltimore resisters–Ellen Barfield, Marilyn Carlisle and Max Obuszewski. The defendants look forward to
airing their grievances during a trial in a federal courtroom.