Edvard Snowden got Bjørnson price
The Norwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expression (also called the Bjørnson Academy) has given the 31-year former security contractor Edward Snowden the Bjørnson Prize — named after Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832 – 1910), a Norwegian Nobel literature laureate — “for his work protecting privacy and for shining a critical light on US surveillance of its citizens and others.” The jury also believes there has been too little attention on the issue in Norway for the last two years since Snowden made the disclosure.
Snowden, a former analyst at the US National Security Agency (NSA), has lived in exile in Russia since 2013 after revealing mass spying programmes by the United States and its allies. The US administration has branded him a hacker and a traitor who endangered lives by revealing the extent of the NSA spying program. So the US has charged him with espionage and requires him to be extradited immediately. That’s the words from Uncle Sam (US) and Big brother. I think that the Norwegian government surely is deeply concern about what the US will tell them if Snowden was allowed to enter Norway for receiving the price in person on September 5. Just a phone call from Mr. president, maybe.
In a letter to Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H, right wing party) and Justice and Emergency Minister Anders Amundsen (FRP, even more right wing party) the academy asks Norway to give him the protection he needs to come to Norway to accept the award, without risking being extradited to the United States. And Norway’s justice ministry said it was up to immigration authorities, who indicated they would consider any entry request when and if they received one. BIG DEAL! We all know what that means: NO! I will be surprised if the contrary happens.
Meanwhile: The attorney Anatolij Kutsjerna for exiled US whistle-blower Edward Snowden has warned his client against traveling to Norway to accept a prize he won from the Norwegian academy advancing literature and freedom of expression. The risk of Snowden being turned over to US authorities while in Norway is viewed as too high.
Kutsjerna had noted during a local radio broadcast that Norway has an extradition treaty with the US, which already has revoked Snowden’s passport. Kutsjerna fears Snowden, who’s charged with leaking confidential information about the US’ controversial surveillance methods, therefore could be handed over to his American prosecutors.
Kutsjerna also noted that the current US-led corruption case around the international football association FIFA shows how much influence the US has over other countries. NRK reported that he therefore was advising Snowden not to take chances with his own security by travelling to Norway.
The entire situation around Snowden is highly political, not least in Norway after Snowden was named as this year’s winner of the Bjørnson Prize. Bjørnson, who died in 1910, was also known as a champion of human rights and for his campaigns against political persecution in several countries in Europe. But the Norwegian right wing government doesn’t regard what he said or championed as too important these days, I think. For them Bjørnson is just a symbol of nationalism. Norway – like most other countries – will as often before bow down to US pressure rather than lose a cent by angering them.
It’s typical Norwegian to be a nice dog in a string after the imperialists!
The chances of Edward Snowden coming to Norway are “close to zero,” according to one local peace researcher. PHOTO: Wikipedia Commons
Previous winners have mostly been authors and poets, including Turkish writer Yasar Kemal, with none so high-profile or internationally known as Snowden. The current president of the academy, Hege Newth Nouri, has already made it clear that in awarding the prize to Snowden, the academy is challenging the Norwegian government to guarantee his security while in Norway and defy any attempts by the US to demand his extradition. “It remains to be seen how brave Norway is,” Newth Nouri told newspaper Dagsavisen.