Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Former U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey endorses our arguments on a Swedish asylum for Snowden

In email the former U.S. senator sent to me:

“Edward Snowden acted correctly in exposing a massive program of spying on American citizens in violation of the U.S. Constitution”

By Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli

Former Senator Gordon Humphrey published in Politico his opinion on why Sweden should grant asylum to Edward Snowden ("Former Sen. Gordon Humphrey: Sweden should take Edward Snowden").

The rationale given in Politco reproduces main arguments contained in my document Why Sweden should consider asylum to Edward Snowden, known outside regular readers of Professorsblogg thanks to a Twitter done by WikiLeaks 7/14/13 about the post (see down below). The arguments in Professorsblogg and in Politico referred to a) the asylum-granting tradition of Sweden (observed particularly by past Swedish governments); b) the comparatively more favourable conditions Sweden may offer in terms of shorter distance and safer transportation from Moscow.

Politico 7/17/13: “Humphrey said Sweden would be the “ideal country” for the NSA leaker because it is only a one hour flight from the Russian border and “no overflight is necessary of countries likely to cooperate with the U.S. in forcing down an aircraft carrying Mr. Snowden to asylum.”

Professors blog 7/13/13: “The shortest distance & secure-route argument: There is also the logistics dimension of the problem, in the context of alleged perils of a long flight across Europa and the Atlantic. This problem is solved if travel will be done to “neighbouring” Sweden. Geographic realities are obvious in this line of reasoning.

In an email the ex-Senator sent to me on the 18 of July, he states,

"Congratulations on your well-reasoned arguments in favor of Sweden granting asylum to Edward Snowden.

For you information, I am a former Senator in the United States Congress, and I have recently and publicly stated, that Edward Snowden acted correctly in exposing a massive program of spying on American citizens in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
1s+2nd para GordonHumphrey email 18.7-2013


Importance of former Sen Humphrey's stance in the Swedish context

The article in Politico with the stance declared by a notable Republican politician and former U.S. Senator is very important in the context to rally support in the Swedish public (hence, towards the centre/right-wing coalition in the Swedish government) for the petitions we have made on asylum for Snowden.

In fact, the appeals for a Swedish asylum for Snowden have come from all the political spectra in Sweden. To the best of my knowledge, the very first appeal ("Give Snowden asylum, and call back Obama's Nobel Peace Prize", in Swedish) was authored by Anna Troberg, head of the Swedish Pirate Party. Interestingly in the context, another pioneer petition came from notablemembers of one of the ruling parties, The Liberals  (Folkpartiet). See Björn Brändewal’s declarations in Swedish Liberal Party at Kalmar requesting asylum for Edward Snowden. Interview in Professors Blogg 7/19/13.

Also, this is a human-rights issue beyond partisan politics. An illustration: Lars Ohly, a known left-of-centre profile and former leader of the Left Party (Vänster) has authored together with right-of-centre author Frederik Segerfelt an opinion article in Expressen 7/19/13 headed  “That is why Sweden should grant asylum to Snowden” (in Swedish). For his part, Swedish professor colleague Stefan Svallfors told me by the phone 7/23/13, that he has sent a letter to Cecilia Malmströn (former Swedish Minister for European Union Affairs and currently European Commissioner for Home Affairs in the Barroso Commission), asking her to advocate for an European asylum for Mr Snowden.

For my part, I am now sending a petition and documentation to Ms. Birgitta Ohlsson, Minister for European Union Affairs in the Swedish government. Soon to be published in Professorsblogg.


To the best of my knowledge, WikiLeaks would not have endorsed a Swedish alternative as a plausible asylum possibility for Snowden; If so,  their position it is fully understandable.

Nevertheless, Professorsblogg thanks WikiLeaks for the courtesy of making a twitter of the post containing my suggestion.

WL twitter profblgg ESnowden

I have in fact understanding for a dubbio-ragionevole [reasonable doubt] characterization about the odds of this option. That the current Swedish government controlled by Carl Bildt  would endorse such initiative (granting Snowden asylum), or that they would offer a serious solution for the London deadlock in the Assange “case”, are highly questionable.

This in the context of the unjustified treatment that some Swedish authorities have had on issues around a whistleblowing activity they wrongly perceive as "anti"-U.S."; and in particular, the unfounded accusations against the publishing anti-secret organization WikiLeaks, done by representatives of the Swedish Armed Forces on public television. In fact, WikiLeaks AND Mr Julian Assange were accused by Mr Mike Winnerstig, Deputy Director of Research at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (under the Swedish Ministry of Defence), of "blackmailing" Sweden (Sweden National Television, main news program Aktuellt 2/29/12). That on the base of the U.S. diplomatic cables published by WL. [See  Chapter "Plan “Z”, Phase 6: Swedish State Television explaining “why” WL should be viewed as detrimental for the “interests of our nation”: in Plan Z: the latest anti-Wikileaks national campaign in the Swedish media. Saving Minister C Bildt?

I have also wondered how come that this "beyond-partisan" support - although still incipient - which has been developed in Sweden towards Mr Snowden's whistleblowing, has never occurred in Sweden towards the whistleblowing associated with WikiLeaks. The anti-WikiLeaks stance in Sweden, often masked in attacks against the person of Mr Assange, has been compact, and also "beyond-partisan". Why? Most possible, I would believe,  because WikiLeaks exposed the wrong doings of Sweden's political elite and their secret commitments with U.S.

On the other hand, Sweden has strong legislation - World strongest, I believe -regarding protection for whistleblowing. This, together with a long and noble tradition as asylum nation, is enough motivation to pursue this campaign for a Swedish shelter to Mr Snowden. Swedish politics is now developing in a more progressive direction and it is highly unlikely that Mr Carl Bildt will retain power after September 2014. After that, who knows, perhaps Sweden will do WikiLeaks and Mr Assange justice, and will provide shelter also to their noble enterprise.

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