Actors Maggie Gyllenhaal and John Cusack, director Oliver Stone and others appear in a new video promoting a march in DC this weekend under the tagline “Stop Watching Us” – in opposition to government spying.
The video begins with the leaker of the “Pentagon Papers,” Daniel Ellsberg, and continues in a prolonged narration with each successive person in the frame building on the argument: Ordinary Americans are being surveilled at a level unprecedented in U.S. history.
“Every American is at risk of getting caught up in the NSA dragnet,” Oliver Stone says in his first segment.
John Cusak points out, correctly, that the intelligence agency’s data collection includes data of average Americans who are not suspects in any crime.
The video then alludes to former President Richard Nixon – although it does not claim in detail that staffers working for Nixon had engaged in the planting of secret recording devices inside offices of his rivals at the Democratic Party.
“It was wrong then, it’s wrong now,” Cusack adds. “The tools for surveillance have never been more powerful. And the threat to our civil liberties has never been greater.”
One can only imagine what must be going through the collective minds of Hollywood as they continue to watch the unfolding of the Obama presidency.
Incidentally, while some may argue that the reference to an “Obama” surveillance state is a partisan shot, consider the facts:
- When in history has the IRS been caught and/or accused of conducting a witch hunt based solely on the political persuasion of the organizations being harassed?
- When in history has the Justice Department singled out news organizations and individual reporters without warrant or probable cause?
- When in history has the NSA been caught and/or accused of tapping into text messages, phone calls, emails and social website communications of everyday Americans – with no suspicion of crime or wrong-doing on the part of those being surveilled?
The answer to all of the above questions is “never.”
As John Cusack – with whom I seldom agree – correctly observed, the threat to our civil liberties has never been greater.