It’s time to rally for Lt. Dan Choi.
Jane was with Dan in June when Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela George announced that on August 29, the government will put him on trial for protesting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell last November in front of the White House. To date, Dan has refused to accept the government’s plea deal.
For the first time in 94 years, using the same arcane law that Woodrow Wilson used to silence important women suffragists, the Obama administration will try to punish Dan for exercising his right to free speech in front of the White House.
That alone speaks volumes to the administration’s distaste for Dan’s vocal opposition to DADT. But recently, Dan got in touch to tell us about a startling new front in the government’s campaign against him.
Dan received a letter from a collection agency demanding he pay over $3,000 to the Department of Defense to compensate for the period of his enlistment he did not serve after being thrown out of the military for telling the truth about his sexual orientation.
What if Dan refuses to pay? (And in case you were wondering, he is refusing to pay). The collection agencies are threatening to seize his veterans disabilities checks, which Dan uses to treat his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from an incredibly challenging and heroic tour of duty in Iraq. Dan received a 50% disability rating from the military, meaning that on a scale of being 0% to 100% disabled, his injuries classified him as 50% disabled. By attacking Dan’s disability benefits, it’s hard to imagine how the government’s campaign against him could get much uglier.
Although I suppose it might not be so hard to imagine. These days, it seems the White House and military have put in place a zero tolerance policy against truth-telling and whistle-blowing. Just look to their treatment of Bradley Manning, Tim DeChristopher and Dan Choi to name a few.
Dan has served our country courageously, both through his service in Iraq and as a strong voice against our government’s policy of discrimination against the LGBT community. Without Dan, I believe we might still be fighting to repeal DADT.
Firedoglake is launching a campaign to support Dan against the government’s increasingly-worrisome attacks. Below is a copy of the email I sent to our list of activists, with links to sign on to the campaign. I encourage you to read it and join us as we fight for Dan.
PS: Dan asked to speak directly with our activists about his case and his thoughts on what we can do to help going forward. We’ll be sending out invites to a special conference call with Dan and his attorney in the next week or so, so if you sign up, keep an eye out for it. We only have capacity for 1,000 attendees, so don’t wait to RSVP when you get your invitation!
I have some troubling news about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell activist Lt. Dan Choi.
Dan currently faces up to 6 months in prison for protesting DADT in front of the White House. He will be the first person in nearly a century to be put on trial over an arcane law written for and last used to silence important women suffragists. But apparently that wasn’t enough for the Obama administration to vent their frustration with him.
Collection agencies are now demanding Dan pay over $3,000 to the Department of Defense to “make up” for the portion of his enlistment he did not serve after he was thrown out of the Army for disclosing his sexual orientation. That includes seizing his veterans disability checks that he depends on to treat his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his service in the Iraq War.
Firedoglake is standing with Dan to demand the White House and Department of Defense end their vindictive campaign against him. Sign our petition and we’ll deliver your signature to the court in Dan’s defense.
Stand with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell activist Lt. Dan Choi and oppose the White House and Department of Defense’s attempts to punish him. We’ll deliver your signatures to the court when Dan goes to trial later this month.
Dan has been the target of what seems to be an organized campaign by the White House and Department of Defense to punish him for his outspoken actions against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
President Obama’s use of an exceptionally harsh, obscure federal law from the early 1900′s to lock Dan away for up to 6 months is absurd enough. But the fact that Dan is now being threatened with the loss of his disability benefits raises the stakes significantly.
Dan suffers from PTSD from his honorable service in the Iraq War, and attacking his benefits for political retribution is not only irresponsible, but puts his health and well-being at risk.
Dan has honorably served our country, taken a bold stand against discrimination and faced exceptional risk for both– and as such, he deserves our support. Firedoglake will be there to support him in the coming weeks, including a conference call with activists to speak directly with Dan and his attorney about the case and what we can all do to help.
Sign on to our campaign to stand with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell activist Lt. Dan Choi and oppose the White House and Military’s campaign to silence and intimidate him. We’ll deliver signatures to the court when Dan goes to trial.
Both the White House and the Military have abused and ostracized the LGBT movement enough. It’s time to stand with Dan and expose their attempts to punish dissidents.
Digital Strategy Director
PS: To learn more about the White House’s campaign of persecution against Lt. Dan Choi, click here to read our Founder Jane Hamsher’s article at Firedoglake.com.