NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was met with a standing ovation in Swedish parliament this week when he was awarded the Right Livelihood award for his actions.
By Carey Wedler @ The Anti Media
According to The Guardian, he addressed the parliament via video conference and expressed no regret for the actions that led the US government to charge him with “espionage”:
“All the prices we’ve paid, all the sacrifices we made, I believe we would do again – I know I would.”
The climate in the room suggested that in the future, the ex-CIA contractor-who currently lives in Moscow-may gain asylum in the Scandinavian country.
Founder of the award, philanthropist Jakob von Uexküll, spoke to the legislative body and Snowden:
“So Mr Snowden, your Right Livelihood Award is waiting for you. We trust that Sweden will make it possible for you to collect your award here in Stockholm in person in the very near future.”
The room was filled with enthusiastic legislators from all parties in the country, hopefully implying that asylum is a possibility.
Snowden’s father, Lon, was also present, but did not accept the award out of expressed hope that Snowden may actually retrieve it himself:
“I am thankful for the support of the Right Livelihood award and the Swedish parliament. The award will remain here in expectation that some time – sooner or later – he will come to Stockholm to accept the award.”
Further, the awards jury lauded him
“for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights.”
Snowden fled the United States last year in anticipation of his leaks, which revealed the government’s violative mass surveilance programs.
Snowden approached numerous countries in search of asylum shortly after the news broke last year. He was met with little assistance. Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua offered, but European nations categorically refused. This is likely (though unspoken) because such governments fear the iron fist of the United States, with whom they are closely allied.
Snowden went from Hong Kong to Moscow, where he now lives with his girlfriend (as documented in Laura Poitras’ recent documentary, Citizenfour). His receipt of the award serves as recognition for his bravery and acknowledgment of the significance of his revelations.
The Right Livelihood Award calls itself the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize,’ distinguishing itself from the world-famous “peace” prize. The Nobel prize marred its reputation to many after honoring war-happy Barack Obama before he was even elected president. This is the same president who went on to expand the drone bombing program and is now pursuing Snowden for espionage. There is a growing campaign to revoke his award.
Regardless, as the Right Livelihood website explains, their award
“… is not an award for the world’s political, scientific or economic elite, but an award for the people and their work and struggles for a better future. The Laureates come from all walks of life: they are farmers, teachers, doctors, or simply, concerned citizens. Also, the Right Livelihood Award accepts proposals from everyone – not just from people of ‘high rank’!”
It is unknown when or if Sweden will offer the whistleblower asylum, but this appears to be a positive sign.