Civil Liberties: Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2014 in a joint nomination by the Pirate MPs of Iceland and the Pirate MEPs of the European Parliament.
“Manning gave us an insight into the brutal reality of war and the two-facedness of political power. Snowden has revealed how states watch and control our information flows. Taken together, it’s a very strong image. That’s why we nominate these two together”, says Amelia Andersdotter, Member of European Parliament (Pirate).
“The revelations of Edward Snowden have, among other things, led to a large-scale inquiry into mass surveillance by the European Parliament. Making him a Peace Prize Laureate would be an additional way of saying that the democratic society stands behind his actions. Instead of giving the prize to powerholders, the Nobel Committee should give it to those who expose power”, says Christian Engström, Member of European Parliament (Pirate).
Full text of the nomination:
Dear Nomination Committee of the Nobel Peace Prize,
We wish to nominate two outstanding candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize of 2014. It is our firm belief that Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden have achieved and exceeded all the qualifications required to be worthy laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The nominees are both whistleblowers who have inspired change and encouraged public debate and policy changes that contributed to a more stable and peaceful world.
Chelsea Elizabeth Manning (born Bradley Edward Manning, December 17, 1987) is a soldier in the United States army who was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison in 2013 for releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, serious war crimes, and a lack of respect for the sovereignty of other democratic nations by the United States government in international dealings.
These revelations have fueled democratic uprisings around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalistic, academic, and intellectual scrutiny her actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on foreign and domestic policies of European nations, and, also contributed to the Obama Administration’s agreement to withdraw all U.S.troops from occupied Iraq.
The profound information that was revealed by this courageous whistleblower helped to foster public dialogue on the legitimacy, suitability, and relevancy of the military interventions carried out by US troops both Iraq and Afghanistan. The release of these documents led directly to calls demanding the full withdrawal of the military forces from these countries, as well as investigating committees on the treatment of detainees in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
The documents and information should never have been kept from public scrutiny, and the very fact that embedded journalists minimized or omitted facts in the field exacerbated the corruption of the information flow. The revelations – including video documentation of an incident in which American soldiers gunned down Reuters journalists in Iraq – have fueled a worldwide discussion about the overseas military engagements of the United States, civilian casualties of war and the rules of engagement. Citizens worldwide owe a great debt to the WikiLeaks whistleblower for shedding light on these issues.
Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American computer specialist, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, and former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who disclosed top secret NSA documents to several media outlets, initiating the NSA leaks, which reveal operational details of a global surveillance apparatus run by the NSA and other members of the Five Eyes alliance, along with numerous corporate and international partners.
He has, with great risk to his personal well-being and future, revealed the horrific scope of the global espionage network of the Anglo-American spy agencies. By releasing documents regarding the activities of clandestine agencies he has not only unveiled the global scale of mass surveillance which endanger a wide array of civil liberties (cornerstones of our liberties such as free speech and the right to privacy) but, he has also given the people of the world the necessary tools to counter the ever invasive path towards mass surveillance. Blatant violations to even the very basic human rights have been institutionalized by US government agencies while privacy has been classified in ALL the major international human rights charters and declarations.
The debate on mass surveillance cannot take place without the disclosure of the basic structures and methods of the corresponding secret spy programs. Citizens, researchers and politicians need insight into these methods to be able to weigh the social consequences and the possible resulting damage to the global society. Mass surveillance erodes the fundamentals of modern democracies; making local laws to protect privacy meaningless within its global scope. Snowden has shown us that journalists can no longer protect their sources, lawyers can’t protect their clients and doctors can’t protect their patients information. The concept of privacy has been redefined to complete exposure into no privacy. His actions have shown the rest of the world and its policy makers that joint global action needs to take place in order to reinstate constitutional rights of privacy for citizens which is completely essential to healthy democracies.
By leaking the documents to investigative journalists from independent media, Snowden has managed to carefully consider the balance between public interest and national security. By revising the source documents, he and his supporters avoided leaking highly sensitive information that might have put currently running operations and the people involved into danger.
Some might argue that Snowden acted against the law, however, mass secret surveillance is illegitimate as it undermines the sovereignty of the people over the state apparatus. It is very well known that at times of universal deceit just telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. When the state is acting outside the rule of law it is up to the citizens to report on such unlawfulness for the greater good of its peoples and principles for sustainability of the future.
Snowden and Manning courageously acted and as a result we have a more stable and peaceful world and far more of a possibility to develop/enact true democratic models.
We are nominating Manning and Snowden together because the courage of Manning inspired Snowden and both of them have inspired thousands of people all over the world to speak truth to power and demand transparency and accountability in their own societies.