Freedom House - World Freedom Reports
United States of America

Since 1973 the non-governmental, nonpartisan organization Freedom House has issued annual independent reports (available at freedomhouse.org) on the state of freedom in the world. Every country is thoroughly analyzed and accorded a ranking of "Free," "Partly Free" or "Not Free" according to its respect for and promotion of civil liberties and political rights (their methodology is available at http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=35&year=2006).

From the beginning of this project the United States has consistently been ranked "1" (the highest level of Freedom as FH defines it). This ranking has not changed by even a half point despite the events of the last 7 years, including:

- clear evidence that the elections of 2000, 2002, and 2004 were stolen

- the severe erosion of civil liberties under the PATRIOT Acts, the Military Commissions Act, and the pending Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act

- illegal, widespread surveillance of US citizens to a degree never seen before

- Presidential and Vice-presidential claims to unheard-of degrees of authority and secrecy

- President Bush's extreme use of signing statements, executive orders, recess appointments and claims of executive privilege to do an end-run around the powers of Congress and the law

- clear evidence of massive corruption, fraud, and other criminal activity including human rights abuses, war crimes, and utter disdain for the Constitution by the White House

- the politicization of the Justice department to an extreme degree

- illegal disenfranchisement of voters according to race/ethnicity and political affiliations; and (in Virginia at least) the unconstitutional requiring of voters to sign loyalty pledges to candidates

- suspending of habeas corpus, due process and the Geneva Conventions

- economic terrorism leading to the erosion of the middle class and the undue power of the wealthy, including attacks on unionization

- stifling of free academic life (the case of Tariq Ramadan is but one example)

- stifling of secular/scientific freedom and life, to the point of political editing of scientific reports (especially regarding climate change)

- stifling of free speech and dissent, both via the above routes and more directly - the cases of the Women's Bridge team and of Nicole and Jeff Rank are but 2 examples; the threat to net neutrality is also part of this

- loss of true press freedom in the mass media via monopolies, economic threat, refusal of the authorities to hand over information as legally required and the intimidation/imprisonment of journalists (including Bilal Hussein)

- severe reprisals against those who 'speak truth to power' - for example the Plame case

- a Congress that, whether due to intimidation or its members' own greed and love of power, refuses to do the express will of the people, refuses to take its legally REQUIRED measures to defend the Constitution, and takes its main weapon (impeachment) "off the table," thereby betraying the people whom it is supposed to serve

- prolonged or indefinite involvement in wars the people no longer support, and which were started on the basis of lies; the threat of starting new wars; the extreme profiteering of the military-industrial complex

- blatant rewriting of history (Rove's claim that the WH was pushed into war by Congress being but the most recent example).

This, as any relatively informed citizen knows, is only a partial list of the abuses, crimes and corruptions that now shape American life. The government's refusal to even acknowledge the truth of climate change is also extremely worrisome, and amounts to holding the world hostage and only reflects on a larger scale its previous disdain for the victims of Katrina.

Yet Freedom House, despite noting "several problems in the United States" (http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=363&year=2007) has not altered its ranking of the USA at all, and fails to adequately address several of these issues in its analyses of the country. The USA thus appears to be far freer that it actually is for the majority of its citizens.

We feel this is morally wrong, and request that Freedom House prove itself to be the independent, trustworthy organization it holds itself to be.

We, the undersigned, call on Freedom House to revise its official freedom ranking of the United States from "Free" to "Partly Free" or "Not Free" in accordance with recent and current events. We ask that Freedom House uphold its commitment to independent reporting by showing the world the truth regarding conditions in the USA.

We do this with the hope that this truth will rouse the apathetic and open the eyes of those blinded by rhetoric and fantasy here and abroad, so that they speak out with us against the loss of our freedoms and moral vision.

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The Freedom House: Stop Pretending America is Free petition to Freedom House - World Freedom Reports was written by J Buell and is in the category Politics at GoPetition.