Birgitta Jonsdottir is a member of Iceland's parliament, representing the Pirate Party. She's also a well known and longtime activist and supporter of information freedom, Wikileaks and human rights, particularly for the Tibetan people. She, along with Julian Assange and others at Wikileaks, helped to produce the "Collateral Murder" video that shook the world.
This morning she tweeted the following:
~The extended text continues below the squiggle~
Is it an option for Edward Snowden to seek shelter in Iceland?http://birgitta.is
When it was brought to my attention that Snowden was looking to Iceland for political asylum, I offered to help figure out the legal options for such a request.
These are my findings: Snowden should not come to Iceland unless he will request and be granted citizenship by the Icelandic Parliament. Citizenship is the only legal protection that will shelter him from any demands of extradition to the USA. The ideal situation would be for Snowden to be granted a Icelandic passport as was the case with Bobby Fischer.
Seeking political asylum is a process that can take long time, and there are no guarantees granted against extradition while the process is ongoing. However since Snowden faces possible death sentence his case is stronger, for it is illegal to extradite a person who faces death sentence from Iceland. It is important to note that Iceland has a terrible track record when it comes to granting political asylum to people seeking shelter, as it is hardly never granted and thus a too dangerous path to be recommended for Snowden.
The new Interior minister, Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, has been very stern in her statements announcing that Snowden will not get any sort of special treatment for the Minister fears that if he will be granted asylum, Iceland might have to show humanitarianism in action by transforming its poor treatment towards asylum seekers who seek shelter in Iceland.
I was hoping that the new Prime Minster, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, would take the same leadership in this case as a former PM did in the case of Bobby Fischer, for it was a political decision to grant the Chess Master Icelandic citizenship and Icelandic passport while Fischer was in prison in Japan waiting to be extradited to the USA for playing chess in the wrong country. It is still not too late to show such leadership.
It is important to note that there has not been any formal requests for asylum from Snowden to the Icelandic government and thus impossible for them to respond with affirmative answer until such a request has been received.
I've heard as I am writing this that there are other countries that have offered to shelter this brave whistleblower. Snowden has done service to all of humanity by bringing to the public domain information that truly belongs there. It is ironic that Snowden is to be charged for spying by blowing the whistle on the fact that NSA is spying on everyone with much deeper probing into our personal lives then even Stasi could do. I am sorry that Iceland might not be an option. It would have made me exceptionally proud if it was.
The war on whistleblowers needs to stop. I see Manning, Brown, Hammond and so many others as political prisoners of the information revolution. If extradited to the USA, on the charges of espionage, Snowden’s fate might be death sentence. By not sheltering him those who reject to help him might have blood on their hands.
With Rebellious Joy
Poetician & a member of the Icelandic Parliament for the Pirate Party,
Chairperson of the International Modern Media Institution (IMMI)
Julian Assange also commented on Edward Snowden at Wikileaks:
Statement by Julian Assange after One Year in Ecuadorian Embassy
Saturday June 22nd, 15:00 GMT
It has now been a year since I entered this embassy and sought refuge from persecution.
As a result of that decision, I have been able to work in relative safety from a US espionage investigation.
But today, Edward Snowden’s ordeal is just beginning.
Two dangerous runaway processes have taken root in the last decade, with fatal consequences for democracy.
Government secrecy has been expanding on a terrific scale.
Simultaneously, human privacy has been secretly eradicated.
A few weeks ago, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on an ongoing program - involving the Obama administration, the intelligence community and the internet services giants - to spy on everyone in the world.
As if by clockwork, he has been charged with espionage by the Obama administration.
The US government is spying on each and every one of us, but it is Edward Snowden who is charged with espionage for tipping us off.
It is getting to the point where the mark of international distinction and service to humanity is no longer the Nobel Peace Prize, but an espionage indictment from the US Department of Justice.
Edward Snowden is the eighth leaker to be charged with espionage under this president.
Bradley Manning’s show trial enters its fourth week on Monday.
After a litany of wrongs done to him, the US government is trying to convict him of "aiding the enemy."
The word "traitor" has been thrown around a lot in recent days.
But who is really the traitor here?
Who was it who promised a generation "hope" and "change," only to betray those promises with dismal misery and stagnation?
Who took an oath to defend the US constitution, only to feed the invisible beast of secret law devouring it alive from the inside out?
Who is it that promised to preside over The Most Transparent Administration in history, only to crush whistleblower after whistleblower with the bootheel of espionage charges?
Who combined in his executive the powers of judge, jury and executioner, and claimed the jurisdiction of the entire earth on which to exercise those powers?
Who arrogates the power to spy on the entire earth - every single one of us - and when he is caught red handed, explains to us that "we’re going to have to make a choice."
Who is that person?
Let’s be very careful about who we call "traitor".
Edward Snowden is one of us.
Bradley Manning is one of us.
They are young, technically minded people from the generation that Barack Obama betrayed.
They are the generation that grew up on the internet, and were shaped by it.
The US government is always going to need intelligence analysts and systems administrators, and they are going to have to hire them from this generation and the ones that follow it.
One day, their generation will run the NSA, the CIA and the FBI.
This isn’t a phenomenon that is going away.
This is inevitable.
And by trying to crush these young whistleblowers with espionage charges, the US government is taking on a generation, and that is a battle it is going to lose.
This isn’t how to fix things.
The only way to fix things is this:
Change the policies.
Stop spying on the world.
Eradicate secret law.
Cease indefinite detention without trial.
Stop assassinating people.
Stop invading other countries and sending young Americans off to kill and be killed.
Stop the occupations, and discontinue the secret wars.
Stop eating the young: Edward Snowden, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, Aaron Swartz, Gottfrid Svartholm, Jacob Appelbaum, and Bradley Manning.
The charging of Edward Snowden is intended to intimidate any country that might be considering standing up for his rights.
That tactic must not be allowed to work.
The effort to find asylum for Edward Snowden must be intensified.
What brave country will stand up for him, and recognize his service to humanity?
Tell your governments to step forward.
Step forward and stand with Snowden.