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: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 37 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.

 

DSA New Member Orientation Call

October 10, 2017
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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 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 PM PT.

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

October 18, 2017
· 5 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? One hour. 9pm ET, 8pm CT, 7pm MT, 6pm PT.