Snowden Shortlisted for Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

Edward SnowdenwikimediaEdward Snowden, the patriot whose revelations about the massive extent of the privacy abuses of America's growing national security state continue to shock and dismay lovers of liberty, is on the shortlist of nominees to receive the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is “not just eavesdropping on all Americans and building the architecture for a police state in the U.S., it has created the largest set of mass surveillance programs in the history of the world,” testified Thomas A. Drake, a former senior executive at the NSA during a hearing of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee.

The Government Accountability Project's National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack read a statement from Snowden to the E.U. parliamentary committee: 

The surveillance of whole populations, rather than individuals, threatens to be the greatest human rights challenge of our time. (emphasis added) The success of economies in developed nations relies increasingly on their creative output, and if that success is to continue, we must remember that creativity is the product of curiosity, which in turn is the product of privacy.

A culture of secrecy has denied our societies the opportunity to determine the appropriate balance between the human right of privacy and the governmental interest in investigation. These are not decisions that should be made for a people, but only by the people after full, informed, and fearless debate. Yet public debate is not possible without public knowledge, and in my country, the cost for one in my position of returning public knowledge to public hands has been persecution and exile. If we are to enjoy such debates in the future, we cannot rely upon individual sacrifice. We must create better channels for people of conscience to inform not only trusted agents of government, but independent representatives of the public outside of government.

Previous Sakharov Prize laureates include Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Reporters Without Borders. For more background, see my post of why Snowden is right to stay in Russia.

Disclosure: Last month I made a small contribution to the Government Accountability Project.

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  • Jordan||

    Well, it's no Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Hugh Akston||

    He hasn't killed anybody yet.

  • Paul.||

    Neither had Obama. Now look at him.

  • seguin||

    Causation, my dear Hugh. First the Peace Prize, then the drone strikes.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I mentioned the other day that awarding him the Nobel would either be a slap in the face to Obama or a slap in the face to Snowden, depending in what esteem one holds the prize. But the million dollars would probably come in handy.

  • Falkland Comments||

    You either need to be a murderer or filmmaker to win a Nobel.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Right as a general rule; there are occasional exceptions. Actual hero Norman Borlaug is probably the most obvious. There's a guy who deserved the million bucks (or whatever he got at the time.)

  • Falkland Comments||

    GMOs - Hmm, I am increasingly skeptical of GMOs -- I am generally not a luddite but -- But I try to steer away from them.

    I much prefer the taste of heirloom foods anyway when I can get them.

  • Hugh Akston||

    They taste so much better with artisinal mayonnaise, don't they?

  • Falkland Comments||

    Are you deriding me for being willing to spend a little extra for good tasting food?

    If you like highly processed foods filled with high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colors I will defend your right to eat it. I will also defend the right of industrial factories to churn these foods out. I choose to avoid them when they can.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Relax dude. I was just playing on a running joke in these parts.

    Seriously though, what's to be 'skeptical' of regarding genetically modified food?

  • Falkland Comments||

    Sorry Hugh, I guess I didn't know there was a backstory to it.

  • Falkland Comments||

    As far as GMOs, I have seen comments by farmers and veterinarians that pigs, for example, are far less healthy when fed GMO feed.

    True, pigs are not humans but it does give me pause. Tests on drugs and such are often performed on animals, including pigs, before being tested on humans.

  • JW||

    I have seen comments by farmers and veterinarians that pigs, for example, are far less healthy when fed GMO feed.

    I'd give those exactly zero weight in terms of credibility. There is no way that can be considered objective, whatever GMO feed is supposed to be. Are the other, perceived healthier pigs being fed primitive maize?

    Real world results, that can be measured and quantified is what matters.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Funny, I've actually become less wary of GMO foods, largely because of what I've read here. (Ron Bailey has written a lot about them.) As the Wikipedia article on Borlaug noted, he may have saved close to a billion lives. If that's what GMO can do, God (or FSM, take your pick) Bless GMO.

  • Falkland Comments||

    Baked Penguin, I have read the Reason articles on GMOs and have also read articles elsewhere. I am willing to experiment in many ways, but not with my health, so GMOs are something I simply choose to avoid. I don't advocate banning them mind you. I will let the marketplace play out. But if I can avoid them I do. And the foods that have the "No GMO Project label" on them generally taste better in my experience also. So I get that benefit even if it is not inherently healthier, which it might be.

  • Zeb||

    Well, they do. I don't have any real reservations about GMOs. But heirloom varieties of things and artisanally created food generally are better tasting than mass market alternatives. Especially fresh meat and veg. Though if they could GM a tomato that can be transported and still tastes like something, I'd like that too.

  • Falkland Comments||

    "Though if they could GM a tomato that can be transported and still tastes like something, I'd like that too."

    One of the reasons GMO vegies are created in the first place is so they can live in poorer soil. Soil impacts taste to a great degree. The cardboard taste may be coming from poor soil quality.

  • ||

    The cardboard taste may be coming from poor soil quality.

    I read somewhere it was because they had bred most commercially available tomatoes to not develop chlorophyll in the fruit itself so they ripen to a more even color. The fruit photosynthesizing contributed to the development of flavor more than producers realized and now tomatoes taste like cardboard.

  • JW||

    Same thing happened to the red delicious apple. They bred new varieties for a redder, more even skin and now they taste like news pulp.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...see my post of why Snowden is right to stay in Russia.

    He's right because as bad as Russia is, the second he returned to America dirtbags like Obama, Peter King, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell would collude to see to it that Snowden never again saw the light of day.

  • Ron Bailey||

    FOE: ^ What I said.

  • RightNut||

    FOE?

  • Paul.||

    First of Etiquette.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    WRONG. Enemy. Nemesis. Adversary.

  • ||

    We are aware that is your role here.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So it is. That just means I could write for reason!

  • Hyperion||

    I could write for reason!

    Can we see your credentials, certifying that you are a cosmotarian?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I hate Obamacare but dislike making a show of it. Does that count?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If Snowden gets this prize, we'll have some new names for the Kill List.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Might be easier if they just start using a not kill list and cross people off from that.

  • AlmightyJB||

    That would be awesome. Wonder if it would get reported anywhere but here?

  • Hyperion||

    What? Blasphemy! He's a traitor, he made our leader look really stupid! Do you love your country? Are you a patriot? No one gets away with making our leader look really stupid! Well..., maybe Putin, but he has nukes, so that's different...

  • Falkland Comments||

    That's right! We are only allowed to criticize the leaders of OTHER countries and if they don't do what we say that gives the CIA a right to either stage a coup or assassinate them! And if that doesn't work its time for war!

  • Paul.||

    You know what else he's shortlisted for?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Miss Teen America?

  • Jeff||

    Hitler?

  • The Last American Hero||

    Maybe this is just the feds taking a page from the local police handbook - like when they send out flyers to people with outstanding warrants telling them they won a free TV and they just have to show up and present ID to receive their prize.

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