Snorre Valen, a member of the Norwegian parliament, has nominated WikiLeaks for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
In motivating his nomination, Mr Valen writes:
... many seek to redraw the map of information freedom with the emergence of institutions like Wikileaks. Political powers and institutions that ordinarily protect freedom of speech suddenly warn against the danger, the threat to security, yes even the “terrorism” that Wikileaks represent. In doing so, they fail in upholding democratic values and human rights. In fact, they contribute to the opposite. It is not, and should never be, the privilege of politicians to regulate which crimes the public should never be told about, and through which media those crimes become known.
Liu Xiabao was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his struggle for human rights, democracy and freedom of speech in China. Likewise: Wikileaks have contributed to the struggle for those very values globally, by exposing (among many other things) corruption, war crimes and torture – some times even conducted by allies of Norway. And most recently: By disclosing the economic arrangements by the presidential family in Tunisia, Wikileaks have made a small contribution to bringing down a 24-year-lasting dictatorship.
The Sydney Peace Foundation has announced that it will award a rare gold medal to WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange for his work on behalf of peace and justice worldwide. The Peace Medal, distinct from the foundation's annual Peace Prize, has been awarded to only three other individuals: the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and Japanese lay Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda.
Foundation director Stuart Rees said today:
"Peace from our point of view is really about justice, fairness and the attainment of human rights. ... Assange has championed people's right to know and has challenged the centuries-old tradition that governments are entitled to keep the public in a state of ignorance."
Prof Rees said Mr Assange's work was in the tradition of Tom Paine's Rights of Man and Daniel Ellsberg's Pentagon Papers - "challenging the old order of power in politics and in journalism".
"In the Paine, Ellsberg and Assange cases, those in power moved quickly to silence their critics even by perverting the course of justice."
Ekklesia asks for support for twenty-four year old medic Michael Lyons. On 17 December he lost his appeal to be allowed to leave the Royal Navy on grounds of conscience.
When he heard reports about civilian casualties, including children, he made an effort to find out more about the situation. ''I was unable to find a real, just and noble cause to go out but I still had a sense of duty to my country,'' he explained at his hearing.
Then WikiLeaks revelations alerted him to the fact that civilian casualties were far greater than had originally been reported. “'Examples included a convoy of marines tearing down a six-mile highway, firing at people with no discrimination.”
What is more, despite being a medic, he might not be allowed to treat everyone needing his help, and might even be called on to kill: “It seems from previous testimony and courses I've done that even going out as a medic with all good intention, if you're at a patrol base or forward operating base, it's likely you'll have to use your weapon and will have to turn civilians away who are in need of medical aid."
For those wondering why data previously in a system which allowed close to one million authorized users, currently in a world where the citizens of almost every country can view it, is being blocked only from the people serving in the military it concerns, this could be the reason. Please support Michael Lyons.