Two Norwegian Members of Parliament (MP) have nominated ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Citing his efforts to contribute to a "more stable and peaceful world order," Baard Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen have submitted a formal nomination to the Nobel Committee, signaling a growing international consensus towards the Snowden disclosures that began in June 2013.
"As the evidence continues to mount against the legality of the NSA's surveillance program, people everywhere are acknowledging the courage of Mr. Snowden's actions," stated Government Accountability Project (GAP) Executive Director Beatrice Edwards. "We remain hopeful the US government will reach the same conclusion as the rest of the world."
Nominations are open to members of national assemblies, previous laureates, professors, and members of international courts. Usually kept secret for five decades, the names of nominees are sometimes disclosed by their nominators. This year's winner will be announced on October 10, 2014.
The full text of the nomination letter reads as follows:
We hereby nominate Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize.
As former Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corigan-Maguire said, 'peace is more than simply the absence of war; it is the active creation of something better'. Our leaders are not merely actors on a global stage of preserving self-interest, they are also political leaders whom we need to trust, and hold accountable. Their responsibilities go beyond realpolitik and zero-sum games, their actions have real consequences for real people.
The new information technologies of the past few decades bring new possibilities for democratization, transparency and freedom of expression. But it also introduces new tools of oppression, surveillance, and espionage. Massive surveillance of ordinary people's communication, and targeted surveillance against allied leaders, is now possible on a scale that we wouldn't be able to imagine two or three decades ago. When democratic countries make widespread use of these possibilities without regard to people's rights to free expression, and the basic principles of the rule of law, they undermine their own legitimacy, and ability to effectively criticize and change the oppressive politics, massive surveillance, not to mention the censorship, of authoritarian regimes.
A peaceful world order depends on trust between nations and trust between people. Peace brokering would be impossible without a basic level of trust. International agreements on non-proliferation and disarmament would be impossible without a basic level of trust. And peaceful resolutions to emerging security threats would be impossible without a basic level of trust.
Edward Snowden has revealed the nature and technological prowess of modern surveillance. The level of sophistication and depth of surveillance that citizens all over the world are subject to, has stunned us, and stirred debate all over the world. By doing this, he has contributed critical knowledge about how modern surveillance and intelligence directed towards states and citizens is carried out.
There is no doubt that the actions of Edward Snowden may have damaged the security interests of several nations in the short term. We do not necessarily condone or support all of his disclosures. We are, however, convinced that the public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden's whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order. His actions have in effect led to the reintroduction of trust and transparency as a leading principle in global security policies. Its value can't be overestimated.
A country's legitimate need for reliable intelligence to preserve its own security, must always be balanced against the people's individual freedoms – and the global need for trust – as an integral condition for stability and peace. Edward Snowden has made a critical contribution to restoring this balance.
GAP champions government and corporate accountability and transparency by defending whistleblowers and advancing occupational free speech. Since its founding in 1977, GAP has helped in the effective exercise of conscience of over 5,000 whistleblowers.
Douglas Kim is External Relations Officer for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization.