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.