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Green Party of California

Greens second call for immediate probe of California National Guard after emails disclose spying on anti-war groups at Capitol

GREEN PARTY OF CALIFORNIA NEWS RELEASE
For immediate release: Thursday, June 30, 2005

Contacts:
Cres Vellucci, State Press Office, 916-996-1970,
Beth Moore Haines, GPCA Spokesperson, 530-277-0610,
Sara Amir, GPCA Spokesperson, 310-270-7106,

SACRAMENTO (June 30, 2005) The Green Party of California today said it had "grave concerns" over the recent revelation that the California National Guard has admitted setting up a new unit to spy on California citizens especially those engaging in free speech activities in opposition to the war in Iraq.

The Greens called on the Legislature to start an immediate investigation, praising Sen. Joseph Dunn, D-Garden Grove, who Wednesday also said he wanted hearings.

In a published report in the San Jose Mercury-News Sunday, the Guard confessed confirmed by Guard upper-echelon emails that it had tracked at least one anti-war rally held on Mother's Day in May at the State Capitol that included Gold Star Families for Peace, Raging Grannies and CodePink.

In those emails, the Guard said its "folks" continued to "monitor" the rally, which included parents of American soldiers killed in Iraq. These kind of activities by the military tracking civilians' constitutionally-protected activities are illegal under the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the U.S. military from participating in domestic law enforcement.

"We have grave concerns that the First Amendment rights of Californians have been violated, in spirit and in practice by overzealous National Guard leaders. It's something our elected lawmakers in Sacramento should investigate immediately," said Tom Bolema, GPCA Coordinating Committee representative from Los Angeles.

Noting that the Guard exists to protect Californians in times of natural disasters, the Greens added that the Guard is already being misused because it is sending large numbers of its personnel to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"There is no place in a free society for military spying on its citizenry, especially those who are expressing their constitutionally-protected rights. The Guard has violated that trust, and we expect a full investigation," said Bolema.

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The Green Party of California
http://www.cagreens.org
P.O. Box 2828, Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437
gpca@greens.org