Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Parliamentary Resolution On Condemning Torture by the CIA post 911

This is for the courageous whistleblower John Kiriakou. He was the first U.S. government official to confirm in December 2007 that waterboarding was used to interrogate Al Qaeda prisoners, which he described as torture. On October 22, 2012, Kiriakou pleaded guilty to disclosing classified information about a fellow CIA officer that connected the covert operative to a specific operation. He was the first person to pass classified information to a reporter, although the reporter did not publish the name of the operative.[6] He was sentenced to 30 months in prison on January 25, 2013, and served his term from February 28, 2013 until 3 February 2015 at the low-security Federal correctional facility in Loretto, Pennsylvania.[7]


14 members of the Icelandic Parliament out of 63 from all the minority parties joined me in co-sponsoring a proposal on condemning the horrendous torture conducted by the CIA post 911. 

I will speak for this proposal in the Icelandic Parliament today:

Proposal for a Parliamentary Resolution

On condemning torture carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States

Sponsors.: Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Árni Páll Árnason, Óttarr Proppé, Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, Össur Skarphéðinsson, Ögmundur Jónasson, Sigríður Ingibjörg Ingadóttir, Katrín Júlíusdóttir, Jón Þór Ólafsson, Brynhildur Pétursdóttir, Steinunn Þóra Árnadóttir, Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir, Róbert Marshall.


Alþingi condemns the harsh torture the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States has conducted as well as the US authorities for allowing it since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. 

Explanatory memorandum:
The United States' Senate recently published a report which exposes the brutal torture carried out under the authority of the CIA, of people who were detained in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In the report the brutal treatment of people of all ages, male and female, of various nationalities, is described. For instance, it is described how detainees were kept awake, up to a full week, sometimes in a standing position, sometimes with their arms chained above their head. Some detainees were given rectal rehydration, without medical necessity. This was carried out with excessive force, which in one instance lead to anal fissures, chronic haemorrhoids and symptomatic rectal prolapse. One detainee, Majid Khan, was administered an enema consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins which was pureed and force fed rectally. Gul Rahman was kept awake for two whole days. He was subjected to auditory overload in total darkness and isolation, made to endure cold showers and chained to a wall in a position that forced him to lie on the cold floor. Clothes had been taken away from him as punishment for being uncooperative and he only had a sweater on, naked below the waist. Due to this inhumane treatment, Gul Rahman died from hypothermia. Two detainees with broken legs, one with a sprained ankle and one with a prosthetic leg were chained in a standing position and kept awake until medical professionals concluded that they could no longer be kept standing. 

Torture is among the most serious crimes and has been so defined by the international community and in international law. In the UN's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which both Iceland and the United States are signatories to, it says in Article 7 that "[n]o one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Iceland and the United States are bound by the Covenant according to which torture is absolutely inexcusable in whatever circumstance and the international community has a great responsibility to prevent torture and to bring those to justice who are guilty of such crimes. 

The sponsors of this proposal consider it a matter of great urgency that this brutal treatment of people described in the report referred to above, is condemned around the world and call for Alþingi to react quickly to condemn these atrocities, formally and publicly. Alþingi has, in the 135th parliamentary session, condemned human rights violations and inhumane treatment of detainees in the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (see case 107 from tat parliamentary session 135). With this resolution it is proposed that such a condemnation be reiterated in light of new information that has come to light with the publication of the recent Senate report. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Democracy in the digital era

From my editorial at the New Internationalist Democracy in the digital era



Legal hacking

Prior to entering parliament, I had two main objectives. One: to involve the public in reshaping Iceland’s legal framework, through national referendums; through co-creation of a new constitution; and through making strong legal foundations for a new system.
Two: to transform Iceland into a safe haven for freedom of information, expression and transparency, with a strong focus on privacy as a cornerstone of democracy.
The information society has little to offer if the ways of communicating information relevant to the public are constantly under attack
Once elected, I went inside the system, to the heart of it, the legislative assembly, like a hacker, analysing its strengths and weaknesses.
My conclusion is that the rule of law is an illusion: the rules we vote on do not apply to all, and thus there is no rule of law. Laws should be considered universal and the same rule of law should apply to all, not only the 99%.
I now see most of our democracies as one dictatorship with 100 talking-heads on the neck of a corporate monster.
Looking at different models for how to humanize and modernize how we run our societies, I have come to the conclusion that there is currently no one model that fits all.
We need to experiment and study what works for each type of society, depending on the cultural backdrop of each.
Some amazing experiments are now being implemented with success little known to the world at large.
The first seeds of awareness were spread by Buckminster Fuller in his book No More Secondhand God, where he talked about direct democracy and telephonic voting as early as 1940. At last, we are at a stage where the technology for direct access to power is simple enough that citizens can start using it to form opinion and enforce political change in a genuine grassroots, bottom-up way.
New types of citizen engagement platforms are being created and used to form policy and participate in direct democracy, such as the Pirate Party Liquid Feedback4, Your Priorities5, DemocracyOS6 and WeGov7. There is resistance from those who control the current system but I believe it will be futile because people are creating a shadow form of governance, or rather self-governance. This is happening on the fringes still, but it is moving towards the centre at a steady speed.
We need more studies to see the pros and cons of active voting systems and liquid democracy models, with delegates rather than representatives, for example.
We need to do the opposite of what Russell Brand is advocating, we need to use our votes. Even if we don’t want to engage with the current broken system, we should not use that as an excuse for apathy. We should see it as an encouragement to engage in creating our own alternatives, our new co-created systems; to be creative about it and to connect. Connectivity is the key to a rapid change; but information in itself is meaningless if we don’t know how to decode it into wisdom.
- See more at: http://newint.org/features/2015/01/01/democracy-digital-era-keynote/#sthash.QMZSz00U.dpuf

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thank you Chelsea for changing the world

Today is the birthday of Chelsea Manning, she has a special place in my heart. She got a 35 years in prison for blowing the whistle on war crimes all over the world. She has already served 4 years in a military prison. She was tortured while waiting for trial. Despite all the wrongdoings that have been imposed on her, she is so strong and so incredibly compassionate in her clarity and wisdom for the reasons why she felt she had to blow the whistle. Please urge Obama to pardon her. No one has been held accountable for the crimes she exposed, the murders and the tortures but her, the whirlwind in the coalmine.

I will show this video tonight to honor her courage at a local theater: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0



If you want to support her, here is what she wishes for her birthday: http://www.chelseamanning.org/press/what-does-chelsea-want-for-her-birthday-this-week

and here is small token of gratitude from me to her, a letter i sent via the Amnesty International website, they promise to deliver the letters so go ahead, send her a little message of love and support:
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/ether/send-birthday-message-chelsea-manning?utm_source=TWITTER&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=20141217174327&utm_campaign=Freedom_of_expression&linkId=11209083




Dear Chelsea, there has not been a single day that has passed since I heard of your arrest that you have not been in my mind and heart. When i chose to co-produce the video that changed the world forever that you leaked to WikiLeaks, i knew my life would never be the same, but i did it, because people needed to see the true horror of war, and because i knew whomever the source was, (later I found out that it was you, you brave soul) that person put her live in great danger in order to tell the world about the crimes done in our names. I know you are strong, I will never forget you, and i hope someday that i will get permission to visit you in the prison. You are a beacon of hope in these times of changes, your courage has inspired so many, and you are a catalyst of transformation.


with rebellious joy
Birgitta Jonsdottir - poetician

here is a poem i wrote for you about you for you

Internal external crisis
cause deep earthquakes
pangs of awareness
penetrate
as for one perfect moment
the looking glass is clear

Sounds of screaming silence
when perspectives change
rushing in stillness
intent
to change
everything

Blinding light
awful truth
exposed
everything is changing

Hiding is over
only option left
to share

No glory is requested
humble justice
perhaps

Power is naked
for one moment in time
echoes through history
people saw
registered
everything has changed

Her voice is everywhere
in the truth she exposed
perverted justice
to lock her in a cell
in a body
for exposing
what's in plain sight













Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dear IPU lets not become some sort of Geopolitical Eurovision

My speech from the #IPU131 general assembly

Dear fellow members of IPU

I am proud to report that Iceland is still among the top nations in regard to gender equality according to various global indexes and reports. Iceland continues to be at the top of the overall rankings in The Global Gender Gap Index for the fifth consecutive year.

Iceland has made an effort to share its trials and errors in how to reach such an achievement for it has of course not always been the reality for women to be at equal footing with their male fellows in my country.

There is still un-equality in some areas and not so equal opportunities for high level responsibilities and it is still hard to juggle a career and family and of course there is always space for improvement.

Our world is becoming more complex and out of control every day. At times like these strong and healthy communities based on the values and structures of democracies are perhaps the best antidote to the slide towards totalitarianism and corpocracies. There is a growing distrust in representatives and the systems we have built around the people we serve, locally and globally. I was reading a thought provoking article titled “What's gone wrong with Democracy in the Economist recently, it analyzes why democracy as a form of running states is on the decline and I feel it is of uttermost importance that we here at the IPU address this without delay and find solutions we can all agree on and start of the course of implementing them. In this regard it's also important to acknowledge that there is not a formula of one size fits all for democracy. We need however to have a close look at the architecture of our political systems. Some of democracy’s most cherished institutions look outdated.

The main conclusions in the Economist are as follows:
More transparency,
More accountability,
No more promises to voters we know we can't keep.
More efficiency in how we run our establishments, specially our parliaments.
No more large corporate donors in the shadows
No more revolving doors
More distribution of power and space for experimentation for example use technology to implement a modern version of town-hall meetings to promote civic involvement and innovation.
Implement ways for technocracy and direct democracy to balance each other so democracy won't end up again in the hand of special-interest groups.

We all know that Democracy simply means the rule of the people. We are at cross roads in how to upgrade our systems for they have become too complex and inflexible. Too many people feel that they are no longer served by it despite taking part by paying their due through taxes and other forms of participation. Let us not forget that everyone of us here today are here because people from our communities pay taxes and have chosen us to look after their interests.

Dear esteemed colleges I want to urge you to make sure that we put to rest the persistent rumours that the IPU is useless and that we are not achieving anything by making real effort to show real results. Lets go beyond being an assembly of resolutions that never get implemented. And please lets not become some sort of Eurovision where geopolitics overshadow the common good we can do together no matter where we come from.


Finally I want to urge the IPU to accept as observers all the stateless states, from Somalialand, to Kurdistan, to the Tibetan government in Exile, to the Republic of West Papua and Azawad and all the rest. What is the harm in allowing us to learn from each other directly about the state of the state and the statelessness?

Monday, February 03, 2014

Nobel Peace Prize nomination for Manning & Snowden 2014


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 it's 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.  




Signatories:
Amelia Andersdotter, Pirate Party Sweden, Member of European Parliament 
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Party Chairperson for the Pirate Party Iceland, Member of Icelandic Parliament
Christian Engström, Pirate Party Sweden, Member of European Parliament
Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, Pirate Party Iceland, Member of Icelandic Parliament
Jón Þór Ólafsson, Pirate Party Iceland, Member of Icelandic Parliament

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What is the GRPO?

A journalist friend of mine is trying to get some answers from the Icelandic police in relation to a stated liaison between GRPO and the Iceland police. The USA embassy claims it doesnt know that the GRPO is (lol) and I want to ask the Icelandic police about this liaison at a meeting in the parliament. Would be very useful to know what this stands for. Cant find anything useful online, so forget about google. We need your help, if you know how to decode this.
D.  (S/NF) Iceland does not have an intelligence service. 
The National Security Unit (NSU) within the National 
Commissioner's Office handles threat information analysis. 
The NSU is comprised of three individuals.  The NSU is too 
small to undertake any type of intelligence gathering role 
and responds to threats as they arise, such as threats 
against Icelandic officials, demonstrations/protests, and 
"extremist" groups.  The NSU is not a tradecraft or covert 
group.  There are no terrorism-related examples, but the 
NSU's investigative and analytical capabilities have been 
demonstrated through operations in varying fields of law 
enforcement such as organized crime (OC), counterintelligence 
(CI), and counter-narcotics (CN).  GRPO maintains liaison 
with the NSU. 
 
E.  (SBU) Law enforcement agencies, including the NSU, have 
been very cooperative with US Embassy requests for 
information and support. 
 
Random Cables where the GRPO is mentioned to get some context:

“Two separate GRPO sources, one highly credible, have alleged that Patiño obtained and managed Venezuelan funds for Correa’s campaign. An uncorroborated report from a GRPO source indicated that Patiño also solicited funds from the FARC for Correa’s campaign,” the cable reads.
„On December 15-16, 2009, Treasury Department 
Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Intelligence and 
Analysis Howard Mendelsohn, along with GRPO officers and Treasury 
analysts, met with senior officials from the UAE's State Security 
Department (SSD) and Dubai's General Department of State Security 
(GDSS) to discuss suspected Taliban-related financial activity in 
the UAE.  Prior to these meetings, GRPO and Treasury passed to SSD 
and GDSS detailed information on the financing of the Taliban and 
other terrorist and extremist groups based in Afghanistan and 
Pakistan.“
„During the course of the two multi-hour intelligence 
exchange sessions, GRPO and Treasury analysts walked through the 
previously shared information suggesting that Taliban-related 
finance officials have visited the UAE in order to raise or move 
funds.“
„GRPO and Treasury analysts also shared 
names and phone numbers of multiple Taliban and Haqqani associates 
known either to reside in or travel to the UAE.“
„UAE security services were not familiar with the names of specific UAE-based LT members shared by GRPO and Treasury, but promised to follow up on 
the information.“
„On 06 November 2007, ARSOI coordinated 
with GRPO and scheduled a follow up interview of Subject 
detailed in RefTel who claimed to have information about the 
sale of uranium.  ARSOI began the interview and subsequently 
introduced the Subject to GRPO to answer detailed questions 
sent from GRPO headquarters.  GRPO will send detailed results 
of the interview via SepTel.“
„RSO and GRPO will continue coordinating efforts 
and wait for GRPO headquarters to determine if the 
information obtained during the interview merits additional 
contact with the Subject.“
„This National HUMINT Collection Directive (NHCD) is compliant with the National Intelligence Priorities Framework (NIPF), which was established in response to NSPD-26 of February 24, 2003. If needed, GRPO can provide further background on the NIPF and the use of NIPF abbreviations (shown in parentheses following each sub-issue below) in NHCDs.“
„Military and Security Issues 1) Critical Infrastructure Protection (INFR-4) 2) Military Structure and Capabilities (FMCC-4) 3) GRPO can provide text of this issue. 4) Health and Medical Developments (HLTH-4)“
„There are opportunities in the area of security cooperation, too. For starters, we know that Tunisia could be doing a better job in sharing intelligence with us about
TUNIS 00000492 005 OF 005
the threat of terrorism in North Africa. This was all too clear when, yet again, the GOT failed recently to share information with us in a timely fashion on a reported plot against US military personnel. GRPO has been taking steps to increase cooperation through liaison channels; while there has been progress, more is possible.“
„Tunisian cooperation in the intelligence arena has been uneven. On the positive side, we have some successful programs being run through GRPO. We also have good intelligence sharing on Tunisians who are outside the country. On the negative side, however, intelligence sharing on the threat inside Tunisia is thin, although it has improved somewhat in recent months. The improvements are probably in response to a commitment made by President Ben Ali to A/S Welch in February to cooperate on counterterrorism "without reservation."“

Friday, July 05, 2013

Snowden will not get citizenship in Iceland :(

I have been waiting for some time to get an official request from Edward Snowden in regard for application for Icelandic citizenship. Yesterday the request came, and me and members of 4 parties in the Icelandic parliament put forward a bill urging the parliament to process his request.

It is important to put current political situation in Iceland into perspective. We had election April 27th this year. After elections we always have summer parliament session. The newly elected government is very different from the last government that was elected in the wake of the financial collapse. This new government intentions is to bring us back to the same form of governing as we had before and lead us to the 3rd largest financial collapse in the history of the world. Non of the wisdom nor the attempts for democratic reform and more open society we gained just after the collapse will stick under the reign of this new governing.

Yesterday was the last day of summer parliament and thus utterly critical that we would be allowed to speak for the Snowden citizenship bill in order to move it to the General committee in order to be able to start fact gathering on behalf of the parliament so we could move this bill forward despite the parliament not being in session. The new speaker of the house denied our request to put the bill on the agenda yesterday. I put forward a motion for the parliament to vote for it to be spoken for. The entire majority said NO to this process, except for 5 who said neither yes or no. The entire minority supported the motion but that was not enough.

So it is with great grief I have to announce that Snowden will not be getting any form of shelter in Iceland because the current government doesnt even have enough spine for the parliament to discuss Snowden´s request. The parliament wont be coming together again until the 10th of September.


I hope we have set an example for other parliaments that remain is session this summer or gather sooner then ours to give Snowden citizenship for he has been made stateless by his own government for blowing the whistle on grave human rights violations by his and other governments against all of humanity. I am thankful towards the minority parties in Iceland for supporting the Pirate Party and of course Snowden in this attempt to help him. I and many others regard him as a hero and have deep respect for him for he has taken great personal risk in order to inform the rest of us about how those in power have lost control of their powerlust and violated their own constitutions against their own citizens. 

Mr Snowden your courage has been noted and there are millions of people from all backgrounds who honor the risks you have taken for us and we will stand tall with you. 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Will Snowden get Icelandic Citizenship any time soon?


Today all the members of the Icelandic Pirate Party and members from 3 other parties, including party chair of the Social Democrats and former Interior Minister put forward in the Icelandic Parliament a bill to urge the parliament to grant Edward J. Snowden citizenship. The parliament has finally received a request for citizenship from Mr Snowden and many of the parliamentarians believe it is their duty to offer Mr Snowden shelter for his USA passport has been stripped from him and has been left de-facto stateless by his own government. The parliamentarians and many Icelanders share the same concerns as Amnesty International that if extradited to the USA Mr Snowden could be at risk of ill-treatment and possibly a subject of torture. No one should be charged for disclosing information of human rights violations. Such disclosures are protected under the rights to information and freedom of expression. The current governmental parties did not have the guts to co-sponsor the bill, however they still have time to change their minds, since the parliament is heading into recess. The reason for the delay in putting forward the bill is that the parliament had not received a formal request from Snowden until today. It is impossible to predict if Snowden will be granted citizenship, this is more of a statement for the time being and an encouragement to the governmental parties to stand tall for human rights and by those that call upon our doors while faced with grave danger.

The following parties and members of parliament sponsored the bill of granting Snowden citizenship.

The Pirate Party, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Party Group Chair, Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, Jón Þór Ólafsson
The Left Greens, Ögmundur Jónasson, Interior Minister 2012 - 2013
Social Democrats, Helgi Hjörvar, Party Group Chair
Bright Future, Páll Valur Björnsson

Statement form Snowden the sponsors of the bill received tonight

July 4th 2013
To: The Icelandic Parliament

I want to extend my gratitude to the Icelandic parliament for
considering my request for Icelandic citizenship. I have been
left defacto-stateless by my own government after communicating with
the public. I appreciate that Iceland, a small but significant country
in the world community, shows such courage and commitment to its higher
laws and ideals. I am heartened to feel the support of the Icelandic
people whom I know have a long history of standing firm, even under
threats of aggression, when basic principles are at stake.


Edward Joseph Snowden





Monday, June 24, 2013

Is it an option for Edward Snowden to seek shelter in Iceland?



When it was brought to my attention that Edward 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

Birgitta Jonsdottir
Poetician & a member of the Icelandic Parliament for the Pirate Party,
Chairperson of the International Modern Media Institution (IMMI)
http://birgitta.is
http://immi.is

Sunday, May 19, 2013

is WhiteWashPost manufacturing consent (content) (again)? #NDAA


The truth must out, can someone post this exchange between Tangerine Bolen and Washington (whitehouse) post on reddit and please do share for it does indeed show like one of the plaintiffs in the NDAA case Chomsky wrote a whole book about, that manufacturing consent (content) has to stop and the only ppl that can stop it are you my friends.



Here is the exchange i was referring to: "So, I (Tangerine) emailed the Washington Post this morning about a piece written by their editorial board this week that contains two critical errors. One is this ongoing tendency in the mainstream media to conflate the AUMF and NDAA - simply functioning as the administration's mouthpiece on this front. The other is even worse - a patently false claim that the "substantial support" interpretation has been "backed by the courts". As some of you may know, "substantial support" is one of the primary terms over which we are suing - and over which we WON. The courts had not even addressed "substantial support" prior to our case - much less supported Bush's or Obama's interpretations of this rarely applied or debated term until 2012. 

I thought I would share the exchange I just had with WashPost.

Here's the piece (which actually proves our point, about the AUMF being too narrow for the government's purposes, which we believe led them to write Section 1021 of the NDAA): http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/congress-should-clarify-authorization-for-war/2013/05/15/73c3b28c-bd88-11e2-97d4-a479289a31f9_story.html

Here is the email exchange:

Subject: Serious misstatement of facts regarding AUMF in Editorial Board piece

Tangerine Bolen 
10:00 AM (2 hours ago)

to martin.baron 
Mr. Baron,

I'm a plaintiff in and coordinator for a case against the federal government over the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. Yesterday I caught a flagrant mistake in a piece by your editorial board regarding the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The piece is here: 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/congress-should-clarify-authorization-for-war/2013/05/15/73c3b28c-bd88-11e2-97d4-a479289a31f9_story.html

This piece has two very serious errors in it. Firstly, the authors conflate the AUMF and NDAA - something that has been an unfortunately common tendency in the media, and a seriously irresponsible one. (I will explain this further in a moment). The second glaring and even more disturbing error is found here:

"The law authorizes the president to use force against “those nations, organizations, or persons” responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington. The Bush and Obama administrations have been backed by the courts in interpreting that language to allow attacks on the Taliban and al-Qaeda as well as “substantial supporters” and “associated forces.”

The latter sentence is patently false Mr. Baron. "Substantial support" and "associated forces" were first challenged in court in our court case, Hedges v. Obama. (You can read about it and access all of our court documents here: www.stopNDAA.org). I am co-plaintiffs with former NYT war correspondent Chris Hedges, Dr. Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg and others. Moreover, the term "substantial support" was first introduced into the law in Section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA - the provision over which we are suing. It has no prior history and certainly has not been "backed by the courts" - not by a long shot.

In fact, the federal Judge in our case, Katherine Forrest, granted us first a temporary and then a permanent injunction against Section 1021, in part due to undefined language such as "substantial support" and "associated forces". We are currently awaiting the decision of the second-circuit court in Manhattan.

Throughout our lawsuit, the federal government has tried to claim that the powers of the AUMF and the NDAA are precisely the same. They are not. And a federal judge not only agreed that they are not, she excoriated the US government for its disturbing claims in court, its lack of a defense, and its very clear assault on both the first and fifth amendments with this provision. We were awarded a "facial" ruling - the strongest ruling any judge could have given us. I'm sorry, but this is completely contrary to the claim by your editorial board.

While the US government clearly appears to need to conflate the powers of the AUMF and NDAA, the AUMF provides for far narrower powers than what has suited their purposes - and the general thrust of your editorial supports that very fact. We have every reason to believe that the AUMF has been historically interpreted as the 2012 NDAA was written - over-broadly, and perhaps illegally, given what powers Congress actually granted the President in 2001. 

This constant conflation in the media of these two laws is egregious. It is supporting the US government's attempt to retroactively legalize and "codify" powers they were never, indeed, granted. Such lack of investigative reporting or simple discernment ensures that the pillars of our mainstream media function as mere mouthpieces to power. It contravenes everything you are supposed to be doing.

Disagreements over the thrust of that editorial aside (ie, how much power and precisely what kind should the President have to go after "emerging" terror groups), our lawsuit has threatened to expose the potentially illegal application of the AUMF, possibly for a decade. Not only has this fact gone unnoticed by your paper, but now your editorial board has inadvertently supported what I would call a very deliberate and strategic conflation of laws and terms. 

This is not at all ok. Please talk to my attorneys and issue a reprint of that piece with corrections. I would be happy to put you in touch with them, and also to give you a basic rundown of the incredulous things the government has claimed throughout our case (ie, even "war correspondents" can be indefinitely detained and that only advocacy and journalism efforts that are "independent" enough will be safe. "Independent" advocacy and journalism is undefined). I joined this case and organized all of our co-plaintiffs save for Mr. Hedges due to my work with WikiLeaks, as well as my hosting panel discussions and doing interviews with people and groups my government might consider unsavory.

We need your newspaper of record to report the actual facts - not the confusion that has been perpetuated by the administration, the DOJ or others intent on conflating terms and powers. This is absolutely critical if we are to restore and preserve a functioning democratic republic while we work to ensure our national security.

Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear back from you soon.


Tangerine Bolen
Plaintiff and Coordinator, Hedges v. Obama
www.stopNDAA.org

*********************

Baron, Martin D
10:17 AM (2 hours ago)

to Fred, me 
I'll forward this to our editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt. I oversee our news and features coverage, and have nothing to do with editorials.

Sincerely,

Martin Baron
Executive Editor
The Washington Post

***********************

Tangerine Bolen 
10:22 AM (2 hours ago)

to Martin 
Apologies for sending it in the wrong direction. Appreciate your forwarding it.

****************************************
From: Hiatt, Fred 
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2013 2:26 PM
To: Diehl, Jackson K
Subject: Fwd: Serious misstatement of facts regarding AUMF in Editorial Board piece

Over to you. I express no opinion on whether Tangerine Bolen could be a real person. 


Begin forwarded message:

From: "Baron, Martin D"
Date: May 17, 2013, 1:17:31 PM EDT
To: Tangerine Bolen
Cc: "Hiatt, Fred"
Subject: Re: Serious misstatement of facts regarding AUMF in Editorial Board piece

*******************************
Diehl, Jackson K
11:32 AM (1 hour ago)


Mr. Bolen,

Your allegation of factual errors in our editorial depends on the claim you are making in your lawsuit, which we, the Justice Department and other legal experts disagree with. In other words, what we have is a difference of opinion, not a factual error.

Regards

Jackson Diehl

*******************************

Tangerine Bolen 
12:20 PM (16 minutes ago)

Mr. Diehl,

Actually, no, this is not centered on a difference of opinion here, it is regarding a very specific factual error in that piece, claiming that the Bush and Obama administrations have been "backed by the courts" in the "substantial support" standard. That is patently false. The substantial support standard comes up for the first time in Hedges v. Obama, and we won. The court did NOT, in fact, back either administration on this front. Your piece is incorrect in both an historic and substantive nature with regard to "substantial" support being argued in court.

Per the difference of opinion regarding powers of the AUMF and NDAA, it is irresponsible for your paper to report it as anything but opinion, given that this is being argued in federal court and the government lost on the first round. To make any kind of authoritative claims alluding to the AUMF and NDAA as providing the same exact powers is not only contradictory, by your own admission in that editorial, but irresponsibly false reporting.

I am surprised by your response and dismayed by the snarky forwarding email from Mr. Hiatt. Of course I am a real person. Tangerine has been my nickname for 24 years and it is the name I go by. 

On all fronts, your paper's handling of this is inadequate. Your editorial is factually incorrect in the "backed by the courts" comment, and it needs to be addressed.

Is there someone else with whom I should speak about this? 

Please let me know.

Thanks,

Tangerine Bolen 

****************************
Ms. Bolen,

You are welcome to submit a letter to the editor. The address is letters@washpost.com. The letters editor is Michael Larabee.

I apologize for inadvertently forwarding you Mr. Hiatt’s light-hearted comment, which was not directed at you.

Jackson Diehl

*****************************
To: Jackson Diehl

Thanks, I appreciate the apology. While it's easy to make fun of a nickname, we are of course dealing with very serious matters here. Neither differences of opinion nor nicknames should obscure what I am sure is a mutual desire to report things factually and see a functioning balance of constitutional rights and national security.

I appreciate your time,

Tangerine"

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Bradley Manning Nobel Peace Prize Nomination 2013






February 1st 2013 the entire parliamentary group of The Movement in the Icelandic Parliament, the Pirates of the EU; representatives from the Swedish Pirate Party, the former Secretary of State in Tunisia for Sport & Youthnominated Private Bradley Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize. Following is the reasoning we sent to the committee explaining why we felt compelled to nominate Private Bradley Manning for this important recognition of an individual effort to have an impact for peace in our world. The lengthy personal statement to the pre-trial hearing February 28th by Bradley Manning in his own words validate that his motives were for the greater good of humankind.

Read his full statement 

Our letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee

Reykjavík, Iceland 1st of February 2013


Dear Norwegian Nobel Committee,

We have the great honour of nominating Private First Class Bradley Manning for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

Manning is a soldier in the United States army who stands accused of releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, 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 journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on the foreign and domestic policies of European nations, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S.troops from the occupation in Iraq.

Bradley Manning has been incarcerated for more then 1000 days by the U.S. Government. He spent over ten months of that time period in solitary confinement, conditions which expert worldwide have criticized as torturous. Juan Mendez, the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, has repeatedly requested and been denied a private meeting with Manning to assess his conditions.

The documents made public by WikiLeaks should never have been kept from public scrutiny. The revelations - including video documentation of an incident in which American soldiers gunned down Reuters journalists in Iraq - have helped to fuel a worldwide discussion about the overseas engagements of the United States, civilian casualties of war and rules of engagement. Citizens worldwide owe a great debt to the WikiLeaks whistleblower for shedding light on these issues, and so we urge the Committee to award this prestigious prize to accused whistleblower Bradley Manning.

We can already be reasonably certain that Bradley Manning will not have a fair trial as the head of State, the USA President Mr. Barack Obama, stated over a year ago on record that Manning is guilty.

Sincerely,

Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Member of Parliament for the Movement, Iceland
Christian Engström, Member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party, Sweden
Amelia Andersdottir, Member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party, Sweden
Margrét Tryggvadóttir, Member of Parliament for the Movement, Iceland
Þór Saari, Member of Parliament for the Movement, Iceland
Slim Amamou, former Secretary of State for Sport & Youth (2011), Tunisia


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Statement: Dreamworking WikiLeaks


I have been approached in the last few years by many great artists/writers/filmmakers who seek to tell the story of WikiLeaks extraordinary impact on the world at its peak in 2010/2011.

I have accepted to be part of many of these releases because I felt my voice in relation to the future of Freedom in Information, Expression and Speech and of course online Privacy needs to be included. I have often felt disappointed by how little focus is given, in the end result, to the important vision and work on behalf of the online tribe that is in constant struggle to ensure our online rights. Instead the projects tend to devolve into revolving about the persons involved, their drama and eccentric behavior. I guess that is what producers believe gets people interested in the story. I personally believe that people crave for a vision and some sort of solution to the threats that projects like WikiLeaks expose. I think people need and crave to understand what drives others to take risks in order to improve our world and set information free, that story is not told through ordinary personal drama.

The reason why I got involved with the Dreamworking WikiLeaks project was simple. I had a chance to bring more balance to it, since it is based on two books that are focused on the personal drama, the divorce of persons but not necessary ideology. There is a reason why I have not written a book about my times with WikiLeaks, for as interesting it is to expose how people behave under extreme circumstances, I find the impact of those circumstances way more important. Everyone seems to be wounded from collaborating together and I think that is unimportant in the long run. What WikiLeaks achieved at its peak was to send a ripple effect through the fabric of history and alter the way we see our world. That happened because of the vision and courage of many people, many whom will never have their face or name attached to the story by their own choice.


I chose to work with Dreamworks, because I believe there is a chance that I could impact its final outcome by offering balance. Thus I have suggested many changes that might or might not be included in relation to how Assange is written into it, for I felt it was heavily focused on eccentric and negative behavior. I was also deeply concerned about the Iran scene and to my great delight I discovered after various discussions with all the main stakeholders involved, that I was not alone about my worries and in the end it was written out. I also felt the name “The Man Who Sold the World” was iffy but I am pleased with the new name of the film, The 5th Estate”. This will be a fictional movie about an incredible time in our history that will hopefully provide an inspiration.

Everyone I have talked with in relation to the making of the film respect the work of WikiLeaks but do of course have a very unbalanced view of how it was since it is based on one perspective. The perspective of those that fell out with Assange. I know that Assange has been given a chance to offer his version of accounts and that is important to me. I hope the end result will be slightly closer to the reality of everyone, not just a few players as written in the version I got to see. In regard to my own person in the film, it is fictionalized in a way that is not at all pleasing to me and does no justice to the work I did while involved with WikiLeaks. But to be perfectly honest, I don't care. What I do care about is the overall message, spirit and story. The story of a project that changed the way we see our world. A project that is still changing the way our history is unfolding and a project that will always be remembered as titling the scales of power in our world in favor of the general public and its right to be informed. 


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Collateral Murder: the stills





I was the one that had the task of pulling out the stills from the video named Collateral Murder so that journalists could use it without delay online and in printed media. A friend suggested I should blow them up really big and hang them up in galleries. I think it would be a great fundraising event in order to help the Bradley Manning defense fund. I need help in order to find the best possible venue for this. Perhaps in more then one city. It would also get more attention on why Manning is still in prison and hopefully bring those that are responsible for these war crimes to justice. If you think you can help please write to birgitta@birgitta.is





here are links to the photos i am thinking of blowing up
http://www.collateralmurder.com/en/p-helicopter.html
http://www.collateralmurder.com/en/p-carnage.html
http://www.collateralmurder.com/en/p-shot.html




I have never done any task that has moved me so profoundly and deeply
I urge you to watch the video if you have not done so already: 
http://www.collateralmurder.com/en/index.html





here is what we wrote on the official webpage as an explanation of what it contains: 


Update: On July 6, 2010, Private Bradley Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst with the United States Army in Baghdad, was charged with disclosing this video (after allegedly speaking to an unfaithful journalist). The whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, has called Mr. Manning a 'hero'. He is currently imprisoned in Kuwait. The Apache crew and those behind the cover up depicted in the video have yet to be charged. To assist Private Manning, please see bradleymanning.org.
5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff.
Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.
The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.
After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own "Rules of Engagement".
Consequently, WikiLeaks has released the classified Rules of Engagement for 2006, 2007 and 2008, revealing these rules before, during, and after the killings.
WikiLeaks has released both the original 38 minutes video and a shorter version with an initial analysis. Subtitles have been added to both versions from the radio transmissions.
WikiLeaks obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. We have analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material. We have spoken to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.
WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves. In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war. Iraq is a very dangerous place for journalists: from 2003- 2009, 139 journalists were killed while doing their work.