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.

Film Discussion: When Abortion Was Illegal

March 26, 2017
· 11 rsvps

Directed by Dorothy Fadiman, When Abortion Was Illegal (1992, nominated for an Academy Award, Best Documentary Short Subject) reveals through first-person accounts the experiences of women seeking abortion before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973. We are one Supreme Court nominee away from a return in many states to back-alley abortions. Join Amanda Williams, Executive Director of the Lilith Fund, to discuss challenges to reproductive justice and abortion access. (Lilith Fund funds abortions for women in need in the Central and South Texas area.) Learn about how to participate in April Bowl-A-Thons to raise funds for low-income women. View the film here for free before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

March 30, 2017
· 25 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  9:30 PM ET; 8:30 PM CT; 7:30 PM MT; 6:30 PM PT.

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 50 rsvps

Historian John D'Emilio's presentation will do 3 things: Provide a brief explanation of how sexual and gender identities have emerged; provide an overview of the progression of LGBT activism since its origins in the 1950s, highlighting key moments of change; and, finally, suggest what issues, from a democratic socialist perspective, deserve prioritizing now. John co-authored Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, which was quoted by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that ruled state sodomy laws unconstitutional. 1 pm ET; 12 pm CT; 11 am MT; 10 am 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 Peg Strobel, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 29 rsvps

Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But also check out the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT. Here's a blog post about PHIT.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

April 04, 2017
· 52 rsvps

Join Rahel Biru, NYC DSA co-chair, and Joseph Schwartz, DSA Vice-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 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 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 Joseph Schwartz, schwartzjoem@gmail.com.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Feminist Working Group

April 12, 2017
· 13 rsvps

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's and LGBTQ issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the elections.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

April 16, 2017
· 6 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 9 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.