The Obama Administration’s Aggressive Quest to Punish Whistle Blower Damages U.S. International Relations

Statement of the Democratic Socialists of American National Political Committee

Edward Snowden’s revelations of the National Security Agency’s extraordinarily pervasive invasion of privacy rights should have triggered an equally far-reaching debate over the proper balance between our needs for liberty and for security.  We have already sacrificed too many of our precious democratic freedoms on the altar of a never ending “war on terrorism.” The very term “war” exaggerates the real level of threat that terrorism poses and enables our government to deploy the rhetoric of “war” to justify unnecessary restrictions on our civil liberties.

Instead the Obama administration has focused on a vindictive hunt to arrest and punish the whistleblower.  The Evo Morales plane incident demonstrates that the conduct of this frantic quest is damaging America’s international reputation as much as Snowden’s revelations that the NSA was spying on governments allied to the USA on matters not remotely related to security against terrorism.

Acting on an unfounded report that the diplomatic plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales was spiriting Edward Snowden to asylum caused several European governments allied to the USA to deny routine overflight and refueling rights, resulting in what President Morales called a virtual kidnapping. Several other elected Latin American leaders have joined Morales in denouncing these flagrant violations of international law and practice as imperialist and colonialist.  The French president has apologized, but not the leaders of Spain, Portugal, Italy or the USA.

The Obama administration is using every tool to cajole or threaten states from offering asylum to Edward Snowden, and employing every measure to block his safe passage out of the Moscow airport. In its judgment a whistleblower must be punished for the embarrassment he is causing the government by revealing the extent of its surveillance over potentially all of its citizens.  Foreign citizens and friendly governments are equally enmeshed in the net spun mainly by private contractors like Booz, Allen and Hamilton, but without even the scrap of constitutional protection that the fourth amendment should provide American citizens.

As one with a well-founded fear of political persecution in the USA, Edward Snowden has every right to seek asylum from a government that will accept his claim.  The excessively punitive and vindictive treatment of Bradley Manning clearly shows that Snowden is not likely to receive a timely, fair and impartial trial in the USA. And the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador or Venezuela have every right to offer him asylum.

We Americans are entitled to a full and honest debate about the fundamental requirements of democracy, liberty and security.  However with its crusade against Snowden and other whistleblowers the American government has lost all credibility as to its willingness to allow such a rational debate to go forward.  So long as the Obama administration is more invested in shooting the messenger than in addressing the issues Edward Snowden raised by his courageous actions, we think that a democratic state should offer him asylum, and the U.S. government should stop trying to block it.

Statement issued by the DSA NPC July 7, 2013.

DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

May 25, 2017
· 38 rsvps

Join DSA's Queer Socialists Working Group to discuss possible activities for the group and its proposed structure. 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT.

 

What Is DSA? Training Call

May 30, 2017
· 49 rsvps

If you're a new DSAer, have been on a new member call, but still have questions about DSA's core values/strategy/core work and how to express these ideas in an accessible way to the media, as well as to friends, family and others who might be interested in joining DSA, this call is for you. 

We will talk through the basics of DSA's political orientation and strategy for moving toward democratic socialism, and also have call participants practice discussing these issues with each other. By the end of the call you should feel much more comfortable thinking about and expressing what DSA does and what makes our organization/strategy unique. 8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT. 70 minutes.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 93 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 26 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

June 13, 2017
· 13 rsvps

Join Bill Barclay, Chicago DSA co-chair, and Peg Strobel, National Political Committee and Feminist Working Group co-chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement. 9:30 PM ET; 8:30 PM CT; 7:30 PM MT; 6:30 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Bill Barclay, chocolatehouse@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 7 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 5 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.