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.

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 79 rsvps

Join Philadelphia DSA veteran activist Michele Rossi to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 4-5:30pm ET, 3-4:30pm CT, 2-3:30pm MT, 1-2:30pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Talking About Socialism

May 02, 2017
· 37 rsvps

Practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table in public.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

This training is at 9:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Alaska, and 3:00pm Hawaii Time. Please RSVP.

Instructor:

Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

In Talking About Socialism you will learn to:

  • Have a quick response ready to go next time someone asks you about democratic socialism.
  • Create your own elevator pitch about democratic socialism and DSA.
  • Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism.
  • Think through the most important ideas you want to convey about democratic socialism.
  • Have a concise explanation of what DSA does, for your next DSA table, event or coalition meeting.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.
  • If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt <schmittaj@gmail.com> 608-335-6568.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 19 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.