Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir talks asylum options for NSA whistleblower

Birgitta Jónsdóttir at a 2011 meeting on open government.

Birgitta Jónsdóttir is waiting for Edward Snowden to drop her a line.

The Icelandic Member of Parliament and Wikileaks supporter happens to be in San Francisco at the moment, working to raise awareness about the trial of Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning, and preparing for a speaking engagement this evening where she’ll appear alongside Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

Snowden, meanwhile, is presumed to be somewhere in Hong Kong – but as of the most recent media reports, his exact whereabouts were unknown (at least to reporters). Snowden is the 29-year-old former employee of intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, who came forward Sunday as the source responsible for leaking top-secret U.S. government documents to The Guardian (UK) and The Washington Post revealing a widespread digital surveillance program.

Jónsdóttir’s International Modern Media Institute issued a statement on June 9 vowing to “discuss the details of his asylum request” and to investigate the legal and security implications of the Iceland option.

“I have not gotten into contact with him,” Jónsdóttir said in a phone interview with the Bay Guardian this morning. “But … we have sent out the message that he can be in contact with us if he chooses, to let us know exactly what he wants.”

She added, “I’m quite concerned, because there are no direct flights to Iceland. … I’m just worried about the extradition process in other countries – if he needs to do a layover, or if we’re not quick enough to grant him asylum. And, frankly speaking, one of the parties in the government in Iceland is never going to agree to support it. So, it’s tricky.”

There may be better places for Snowden to seek asylum, Jónsdóttir added, but she and others are still investigating the possibilities. “I don’t know if Ecuador can take any more refugees from the political prisoners of the information age,” she said, referencing the country that granted Wikileaks founder Julian Assange political asylum, and has granted him residency in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for a year.

“But I really think emphasis in this case should be on all this heavy sentencing on … whistleblowers and people that are doing research and trying to bring information into the public domain," Jónsdóttir said. "I feel this is more like a witch hunt than the ordinary justice system,” she added, “if you look at the crimes they’re accused to have done, which in many people’s opinion, are not crimes at all.”

For now, it’s still too early to say where Snowden will ultimately wind up. “The ball is in his hands," Jónsdóttir said. "In the meantime, we will check out all the legalities and possibilities. We would obviously have to do it through secure ways. We have reached out to [journalist] Glenn [Greenwald] and James Ball, who has also been writing about this for The Guardian. And we’ll see if we get a message from him or if we can communicate directly. As soon as we have any information, we will make a statement.”


Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

He and Julian Assange are the courageous men of our time. I hope they have tampons in Iceland.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

During his interview, he hinted that he has a lot more information he could have revealed. He said he knew where every CIA station is, who staffs it, and what their mission is. He said that if he wanted to do harm to the US surveillance state, he could've shut down all intelligence operations in an afternoon. He said that wasn't his "intention."

But, if the US government is staffed by assholes like some of the trolls on this board, methinks they might just drive him to seek asylum... in Beijing. I'd love to see the looks on your cowardly troll faces if that happens. Better for them that they leave him the hell alone and let him go wherever he chooses.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

I don't know whether you are more sad than sick or the other way about.

Snowdon should get the chair.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

Snowden, in his interview, expressed concerns for his life, and the well being of his family due to the leaks. He isn't going to be left alone, and is worried that his death would solve many problems for his enemies.

Posted by Richmondman on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

should have thought of that before he betrayed his country.

So, the big question for him now is surely this. Does he feel safer in Russia or China? Or in the USA?

Do you feel lucky, punk?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

Or even charged so far?

I didn't think so. Armchair warriors like you make me sick.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 4:35 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

Leaving the US is not evidence of anything other than a desire to leave the US. It's not a crime nor is it evidence of criminal intent.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

where they think they cannot be extradited?

I don't really care either way, but all this talk about him being "brave" is a crock. He ran away before he copped to this.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

So you're wrong. Your entire assumption is wrong. Wrong, wrong, WRONG.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

harder for the US than most places, and there is little doubt that that is part of why Snowdon ran away to there rather than ran away elsewhere.

But the point is that he ran away.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

Dear Minister Birgitta Jónsdóttir

I would like to request political asylum in Iceland and seek your instruction.

I live in the United States and I've been blacklisted for my political activity regarding UCSB Mafia corruption and 9/11 TRUTH which I believe are connected. I've been criminally rendered unemployable and unemployed for the past 7.5 years. I'm almost broke.

After being mobbed, threatened, assaulted, terminated, smeared and sabotaged by unaccountable agents of Zionist-controlled UCSB Mafia, I was arrested on a bogus charge, jailed for ten days as a political prisoner and committed for twelve days as a political dissident (Soviet style) before being released when three psychiatrists unanimously agreed after extensive evaluation that I had no mental illness, no personality disorders and required no medication.

The official public charge against me was "threatening to bomb or injure property" but there was zero evidence and the secret charges contained in the evidence folder pursued by the exploited weakling prosecution were, "threatening to incite a strike for 9/11 TRUTH on the UCSB campus" and "threatening to accuse UCSB of crimes"; both surprisingly felonies. But I "threatened" nothing. I did righteously incite and I did righteously accuse; both legal. After nearly a year of trial preparation, UCSB Mafia unaccountably dismissed charges without prejudice days before the scheduled trial because they knew they would lose and be exposed in court as unaccountable criminal thugs.

I've been smeared, sabotaged, surveiled and harassed. If you Google me you'll see ample, often libelous, smearing reports of my arrest but no reports of the dismissal of charges against me.

I've never committed a crime but I'm at the end of my rope and would prefer avoiding the exit strategy I've developed as I'm sure many others would prefer me avoiding it although they don't know it yet.

I think I would be a valuable asset to Iceland as I was to the United States before being converted into a liability against my will by my once great and beloved nation that has forsaken TRUTH, JUSTICE and LIBERTY.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Please refer to my Facebook page for my background and contact information.

Neil Baker

Posted by GuestNeil Baker on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

Please investigate this immediately.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

Icelanders, including Birgitta Jónsdóttir, usually don't have surnames, and generally refer to each other by their first names, even formally. It's probably more correct to refer to this person as Birgitta in your reportage, since Jónsdóttir isn't her last name.

Isn't life interesting?

Posted by Hortencia on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

I read the link. Basically, the Telegraph is making a couple of (unsubstantiated) allegations, originating from the government and from Booz Allen, in order to try to discredit him. Gee? Ya think? Now why would they try to do that?

So these allegations consist of 3 main points:
1. Snowden's salary from Booz Allen was actually "about 40% less" than he claimed. Well, first of all... so what if he made only 120K instead of 200K? This proves exactly what? And note the weasel words... "from Booz Allen" - was there some supplemental income from the NSA maybe? And "about 40% less" means exactly how much? They don't really say. Perhaps the 200K figure included benefits and allowances, like certain trolls are wont to do when they talk about government salaries and want to inflate figures. Who knows. And really... who cares?
2. The house has been empty for a couple weeks. O-K. And this proves... what exactly?
3. The government says that PRISM isn't so bad. This is really my favorite. They say this is old news and ordinary citizens have nothing to worry about anyway. In other words, nothing to see here, move along. Um... no. We'll be the judge of that, thank you. I certainly didn't know about it. Are we surprised that the government is saying their spying isn't so bad? What do you expect them to say? "Ok, ok. You got us. We've set up an unconstitutional surveillance state where everyone can be monitored at any time. We weren't gonna say nuthin, but now that we've been caught red handed, we'll go ahead and resign first thing Monday morning and turn ourselves into federal court." ... afraid not.

Seriously, though. Maybe I'm wrong, but if this is the best they can come up with to discredit him, it sounds to me like he's legit.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 7:39 am

If Snowdon is "legit", as you claim, then why doesn't he return home to a hero's welcome?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 8:02 am

You should call her Birgitta, not Jónsdóttir. That's the way it is done there, with traditional Icelandic names. That's about all that is important in this article, probably.

The patronymic just says she is Jon's daughter -- which is sort of obvious, if you think really deeply for a second or two.

Go ahead, refer to her as Birgitta! Now, isn't that nice? Liberating; friendly. Perfectly proper, too. Whereas calling her Jónsdóttir is not proper. No. Not.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 2:11 pm