NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The nomination came in the form of a letter from Stefan Svallfors, a sociology professor from Umeå University to the committee members. Svallfors said that the decision to give Snowden the prize would help the committee reclaim the credibility it lost after giving the prize to President Barack Obama in 2009.
The letter, which was published in the Swedish newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren can be read translated below:
Best committee members!
I suggest that the 2013 Peace Prize awarded to the American citizen Edward Snowden.
Edward Snowden has – in a heroic effort at great personal cost – revealed the existence and extent of the surveillance, the U.S. government devotes electronic communications worldwide. By putting light on this monitoring program – conducted in contravention of national laws and international agreements – Edward Snowden has helped to make the world a little bit better and safer.
Through his personal efforts, he has also shown that individuals can stand up for fundamental rights and freedoms. This example is important because since the Nuremberg trials in 1945 has been clear that the slogan “I was just following orders” is never claimed as an excuse for acts contrary to human rights and freedoms. Despite this, it is very rare that individual citizens having the insight of their personal responsibility and courage Edward Snowden shown in his revelation of the American surveillance program. For this reason, he is a highly affordable candidate.
The decision to award the 2013 prize to Edward Snowden would – in addition to being well justified in itself – also help to save the Nobel Peace Prize from the disrepute that incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award U.S. President Barack Obama 2009 award. It would show its willingness to stand up in defense of civil liberties and human rights, even when such a defense be viewed with disfavour by the world’s dominant military power.
Professor of Sociology at Umeå University
According to the website for the Nobel Peace Prize, only people from 7 distinct categories can nominate a person or organization for the prize. Svallfors is eligible to nominate because he is a professor of social sciences. The other types of people eligible to nominate are; members of national assemblies or governments, members of international courts, other Nobel Peace Prize laureates, board members of organizations that have been given the Nobel Peace Prize, active members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee and former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Edward Snowden is still in the Moscow airport where he has been for over two weeks awaiting safe passage to Latin America where he has been assured asylum. In a work just released by PBS Newshour, Snowden has been identified as the 11th whistleblower ever to be charged with the 1917 Espionage Act, 8 of whom were charged under the Obama administration.
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