Saturday, July 04, 2015

Message for the People of Greece: Vote!

It is well fitting for the cradle of democracy to call for a national referendum on an issue that will impact the future of all citizens of Greece. A leadership that puts the destiny of the nation in her own hands is strong since it understands what democracy means at its core: The rule of the people. We urge all the people in Greece who have the right to vote to add their voice to this historical moment by voting for what they believe is right.

Many countries in the developing world have been put up against the wall by international creditors and their guardian, the IMF. The Troika is applying the same inhuman methods towards Greece. The austerity imposed in the last few years on Greece is unfair, unsustainable and impossible and not to be tolerated. As economists from around the world have empathized, the Greek economy collapsed, not the least because of those very austerity measures.

The EU & the IMF have overreached, don't listen to their fear mongering.

Dear people of Greece shape your future on your terms, we will support you no matter what you choose to do. 

Birgitta Jónsdóttir & Jón Þór Ólafsson, Members of Parliament in Iceland for the Pirate Party.

Here are some good articles and films on the issue of Greece

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

We the People, are the System

My speech from TEDx Reykjavík

The speech has been translated to various languages, thank you! 
МЫ — НАРОД, МЫ — СИСТЕМА - Russian
Noi, il Popolo, siamo il sistema - Italian

The 21st century will be the century of the common people – the century of you, of US.
We live in remarkable, transformative times. We have the library of Alexandria at our fingertips; all the recorded knowledge of the world is being digitized and made available through the Internet.

Meanwhile, our democratic models are hollow and crumbling at an alarming rate as we move further into a new era of complexity, technology and interconnectivity.

The ideologies of the old school of politics, media, monetary systems, education, corporations, and all known structures are in a state of transformation. They are crumbling. Now is the time for fundamental change on all fronts, we have to seize this moment. Because this is THE moment.

Our states are built around systems that are outdated, created in simpler times and for smaller societies. Today, those systems no longer serve the people but are simply self-serving.

The welfare state has been hollowed and is on the verge of collapse, often as a way to privatize it.  We are running out of planet and our current systems are unable to do anything about it.

Most of our democracies have become like a dictatorship with 100 talking-heads on the neck of a corporate body.

Draconian ‘anti-terrorism’ laws and secrecy have somehow become the new norm. Modern democracies have become a freaky mix of Brave New World and: ... 1984.

So, do you know what our digital persona is? It is made from content and meta data. 

Do you know what meta data and data retention is? 
I mean do you understand it on a deep level. 
Like you understand that you have a constitutional right to vote without anyone knowing who or what you voted for?  Like you understand that lawyers and their clients have the right to have conversations in private? Like you understand that 
what happens between you and your doctor should remain private? Like the communication between a source and a journalist should remain private? 

Data retention of your meta data basically means that you are butt naked in the system, 
your digital persona is for everyone who has enough power or capital to see, 
mock, poke at, sell, touch, manipulate and consume. 
Your digital persona has a digital shadow. 
It follows you everywhere you go and unlike your normal 
offline shadow it can be captured, changed, shared or sold.

If your walls are windows, would you draw the curtains when you sleep, have sex or go to the bathroom? Yes? Maybe? 
In your digital house, you simply don't have that choice. Encryption and legislation are the key to pull the curtains when you choose. 

We have never been as connected as we are today, as enabled to share real-time stories of success and failure. Therefore, our learning curve is steeper than ever before.

We are sharing, downloading, remixing and co-creating every day. Our digital person is expanding and our digital shadow ever growing. 

We are being manipulated every day into believing we are powerless, that there is nothing that can change these systems; but I am telling you; this is a lie.

You have the power to be a catalyst for change in our world. It has always been individuals
who change our world, not some external power, but individual power for good or for evil. 
Do you want others to be the power in your life, or do you want to accept the responsibility 
of claiming your power and use it by being a part of co-creating your society? 

This sense of social responsibility has somehow always been a part of my person, maybe because I was an outcast when I was a kid, the strange ugly duckling in my village that didn't fit in anywhere.  I was lucky, I learned very early on to be my personal alchemist and transform difficulty into strength.  I have accepted that I am some sort of a human guinea pig when it comes to system failure. 

It was human error that led to for example suicides of my beloved father and my husband both of whom vanished into the abyss of the Icelandic landscape of water and ice. How the system dealt with it was system error.

I chose to use these crisis as a transformative tool and through the death of my father,  who vanished, never to be found, on christmas eve 1987,  just after I turned twenty, 
I learned to value life and not only that, I learned to love myself and get off the path of self-destruction but most importantly I learned the true meaning of compassion. 

When my late husband vanished a few years later, I learned the hard way how to cope in 
extreme crisis, uncertainty and the fear of not knowing what will happen next. 
This has served me well during crisis times, internally or externally. 

I later learned that our collective systems express human behavior during times
of crisis. It is a fact that our systems are made from human values. 
We made them, we can undo them. 

What might seem impossible now, might be quite possible tomorrow 
because we are experiencing very rapid changes on all fronts. 
So I encourage you to start to make the blueprint for the future you want to live in.
Find that spark that will start a revolution in your heart.

Have you ever thought where the word Revolution comes from? I really like this word, 
it means change, it means evolving with love. How awesome is that? 
So why do you fear change, why are we so afraid of it? Everything is changing 
all the time in nature, yet we do everything in our power to make time still. 
Why are you so afraid? Why are we so afraid?

Perhaps because we have made everything so complex and grand. Perhaps 
it's time to return to more simple ways, more self sustainable ways. 
We can do that by learning from each other, by helping each other 
locally and globally and by remembering that we as individuals 
can change the world. Now is the time to step forward,
take on that challenge and be the change maker. 
Don’t expect others to do it, your time has arrived, 
to make a difference!

I took this step a few years ago, when I was temporary unemployed, 
a single parent with the simple goal of figuring out how I as an 
individual could help create a sustainable future for the next generations,
in times of great uncertainty after the financial crisis.

I have admit that I have never dreamt of being a leader, a politician, a parliamentarian, a minister, let alone the role of a Prime minister. My little Pirate party is currently polling as by the far, the biggest party in Iceland. We are all very humbled and frankly quite surprised. And at times of these it is good to remind me about the circle of power, I am a big fan of the circle. I co-created  the Pirate party power structure as a circle. The circle of community. 

I made the following pledge to myself: while I am in service I have to remember to listen to my heart, to listen to my intuition and to be impeccable with my word. And finally I must not care at all if I loose that place of power because it was never mine in the first place.

During the Job interview with the entire nation, when running for office, 
I made a promise to be the annoying mosquito in the tent, and that my friends, 
is a promise I have kept. Just ask my fellow parliamentarians :)

My main political objectives and vision took shape in a grassroots think-tank I was 
part of just after the financial meltdown in 2008, and during the work of the creation 
of the IMMI resolution, these objectives are thankfully at the heart of the Pirate Party 
core policy. 

Firstly: To involve the public in reshaping Iceland’s legal framework, 
through direct democracy and through co-creation of a new constitution for and 
by the people of Iceland; I was aware that we needed a new foundation or like I call it, 
new hardware in order to be able to make a clean system install. 

Secondly: To transform Iceland into a safe haven for freedom of information, expression and transparency, with a strong focus on digital privacy as a cornerstone of direct democracy. To create cutting edge 21st century legal framework. 

I guess one could say that I am some sort of a party startup person, because I have co-created two parties from nothing in the last six and a half years, with some really amazing diverse people. Both parties got voted into parliament. Once I was elected six years ago, I went inside the system, straight to the heart of it,  the legislative assembly, like a legal hacker, analyzing its strengths and 
weaknesses in order to find ways to improve the system.

I learned early on to follow my intuition as a poetician for it makes a lot more sense to me then the rivalry and manipulations of left or right ideology. The right and wrong ideology of the old world has simply outgrown itself. No longer do we have strong parliaments with a direct link between the general public and decision maker, perhaps we never did. We have so called professional politicians that are far removed from the reality most of us live in.

Most people have realized that left and right politics don't have any useful role anymore. The ideology of it is outdated. To create political movements based on common agenda of pressing issues of basic human rights and democratic reform is so important right now.

In order for the common people like us to co-create our society we have to have the democratic tools to do so. People need to get into parliaments to change the laws, so we all can have the power that is rightfully ours, to impact our society and apply real pressure on those in power to work for us, not the elite.

One of the aims of both the Civic Movement and the Pirate Party has been to inspire ordinary people to take on political responsibilities by stepping forward and take a leap into the unknown and of course be the mosquito in the tent and open the windows. 

Looking at different models for how to humanize and modernize how we run our societies, I have come to the conclusion that there is currently no one model that fits all and there never will be one size fits all. We need to experiment and study what works for each type of society, depending on the cultural backdrop.

There are some amazing direct democracy experiments being implemented with success all over the world. New types of citizen engagement platforms are being created and used to form policy and to facilitate direct democracy, such as the Pirate Party Liquid Feedback, D-Cent, Your Priorities, DemocracyOS and WeGov.

Technology enabling direct access to power is now become simple enough that citizens can start using it to form opinion and enforce political change in a genuine grassroots, bottom-up way. 

One of the most important task ahead is to help people become aware of that if they want to live in a real democracy they need to be part of it, to engage with it. That living in a democracy is work.

It is also vital that people start a discussion among their friends and families about what sort of future they want. If we, the citizens of Earth – do not have a clear vision of where we are heading, we will get nowhere. The 1% has a clear roadmap of where they are heading, which enables them to stay ahead of the rest of us. 

Some of the most amazing innovations and creativity in the history of humankind have emerged in conditions of extreme stress, such as the New Deal. As human beings we have now reached a stage where we have to evolve to the next level, or we will fail to deliver a sustainable world to the next generation. Please talk about how you would like the future to be, make a vision, share your vision with others, start with the person sitting next to you. 

If you need an inspiration then I find John Lennon's ‘Imagine’ to be a good roadmap.

The poetician in me will end this with a wake up call!

I have seen signs
the end of the world
as we know it
has begun

Don't panic
it might look terrifying
on the surface

Yet inside every
human being
a choice
to be a catalyst 

Earth is calling
Sky is calling
Science is calling
Creation is calling:

Wake up, wake up now

Transform your heart into 
a compassion machine

Now is the time
to yield to the call of growth
to the call of action

You are the change makers

Sleepers of all ages


wake up: NOW

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Is Iceland still a democracy?

The Icelandic Government chose to ignore their constitutional duty to get permission and consult with the national Parliament about the letter they sent the Foreign Affairs Minister to deliver on a secret mission to: Dear Edgars and Dear Commissioner Hahn about ending Iceland's EU bid. The thing is that the EU bid is based on a parliamentary resolution and the only way to cancel the resolution is to bring forward a new one and get it adopted via the parliament.

In order to clarify this attempt to bypass our democratic rule, the minority parties in the Icelandic parliament created a new letter explaining that the Government can't do this unless a new form of governance is now the rule in Iceland, and as far as I am concerned we are still a democracy, not a dictatorship.

Here is the letter we sent to Edgars and Hahn:

"The Government of 2009-2013 lodged an application to join the EU on the basis of a mandate given by the Althingi in a resolution of 16 July 2009, with the support of MPs from all political parties.
The accession process was slowed down two months before the elections in April 2013. The current Government then “paused” the accession process when it took office in May 2013 and stated that the process would not continue unless the people would decide so in a referendum. No such referendum has been held. The Government presented a proposal for a resolution mandating the withdrawal of the application to the Althingi in February 2014. In spite of its strong parliamentary majority, the Government could not get the proposal passed in the face of widespread public opposition and calls by more than 20% of the population for a referendum to be held. The proposal was debated in first reading, but not passed to second reading by the Foreign Affairs Committee.

As a result, the only mandate approved by the Althingi on the application remains the original mandate to apply for membership from 16 July 2009. The legal authority behind the application is therefore unchanged.

The letter by Foreign Minister Sveinsson of 12 March 2015 describing “the firm position of the Government that Iceland should not be regarded as a candidate country for EU membership“ has not been discussed with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Althingi, as is required by law for major foreign policy decisions. The letter has been kept secret from the public and not debated in the Icelandic Parliament. Therefore it cannot be considered to change the existing position of the Althingi from 16 July 2009 and can only be considered to be a description of the political position of the current government.

The parties of the opposition have different views regarding membership of the EU. However all four parties agree that the letter in question cannot change the status of Iceland vis-à-vis the EU in line with the long-standing principles of the European legal order respecting the primacy of formal Parliament resolutions over simple government statements and that it is only for the Althingi to decide to change that status."

So please ignore the embarrassment of the Icelandic ruling parties, they know what they are doing, but it still doesn't mean it is legal nor that is has any form of meaning except as a way to please a handful of powerful people within their own parties. 

Majority of the Icelandic people want to have a national referendum on if we should finish the bid so that when the vote for joining the EU or not will be executed, the YES or NO will be based on facts not speculations and those facts are not available unless the bidding process with its negotiations is over. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Parliamentary Resolution On Condemning Torture by the CIA post 911

This is for the courageous whistleblower John Kiriakou. He was the first U.S. government official to confirm in December 2007 that waterboarding was used to interrogate Al Qaeda prisoners, which he described as torture. On October 22, 2012, Kiriakou pleaded guilty to disclosing classified information about a fellow CIA officer that connected the covert operative to a specific operation. He was the first person to pass classified information to a reporter, although the reporter did not publish the name of the operative.[6] He was sentenced to 30 months in prison on January 25, 2013, and served his term from February 28, 2013 until 3 February 2015 at the low-security Federal correctional facility in Loretto, Pennsylvania.[7]

14 members of the Icelandic Parliament out of 63 from all the minority parties joined me in co-sponsoring a proposal on condemning the horrendous torture conducted by the CIA post 911. 

I will speak for this proposal in the Icelandic Parliament today:

Proposal for a Parliamentary Resolution

On condemning torture carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States

Sponsors.: Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Árni Páll Árnason, Óttarr Proppé, Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, Össur Skarphéðinsson, Ögmundur Jónasson, Sigríður Ingibjörg Ingadóttir, Katrín Júlíusdóttir, Jón Þór Ólafsson, Brynhildur Pétursdóttir, Steinunn Þóra Árnadóttir, Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir, Róbert Marshall.

Alþingi condemns the harsh torture the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States has conducted as well as the US authorities for allowing it since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. 

Explanatory memorandum:
The United States' Senate recently published a report which exposes the brutal torture carried out under the authority of the CIA, of people who were detained in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In the report the brutal treatment of people of all ages, male and female, of various nationalities, is described. For instance, it is described how detainees were kept awake, up to a full week, sometimes in a standing position, sometimes with their arms chained above their head. Some detainees were given rectal rehydration, without medical necessity. This was carried out with excessive force, which in one instance lead to anal fissures, chronic haemorrhoids and symptomatic rectal prolapse. One detainee, Majid Khan, was administered an enema consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins which was pureed and force fed rectally. Gul Rahman was kept awake for two whole days. He was subjected to auditory overload in total darkness and isolation, made to endure cold showers and chained to a wall in a position that forced him to lie on the cold floor. Clothes had been taken away from him as punishment for being uncooperative and he only had a sweater on, naked below the waist. Due to this inhumane treatment, Gul Rahman died from hypothermia. Two detainees with broken legs, one with a sprained ankle and one with a prosthetic leg were chained in a standing position and kept awake until medical professionals concluded that they could no longer be kept standing. 

Torture is among the most serious crimes and has been so defined by the international community and in international law. In the UN's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which both Iceland and the United States are signatories to, it says in Article 7 that "[n]o one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Iceland and the United States are bound by the Covenant according to which torture is absolutely inexcusable in whatever circumstance and the international community has a great responsibility to prevent torture and to bring those to justice who are guilty of such crimes. 

The sponsors of this proposal consider it a matter of great urgency that this brutal treatment of people described in the report referred to above, is condemned around the world and call for Alþingi to react quickly to condemn these atrocities, formally and publicly. Alþingi has, in the 135th parliamentary session, condemned human rights violations and inhumane treatment of detainees in the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (see case 107 from tat parliamentary session 135). With this resolution it is proposed that such a condemnation be reiterated in light of new information that has come to light with the publication of the recent Senate report. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Democracy in the digital era

From my editorial at the New Internationalist Democracy in the digital era

Legal hacking

Prior to entering parliament, I had two main objectives. One: to involve the public in reshaping Iceland’s legal framework, through national referendums; through co-creation of a new constitution; and through making strong legal foundations for a new system.
Two: to transform Iceland into a safe haven for freedom of information, expression and transparency, with a strong focus on privacy as a cornerstone of democracy.
The information society has little to offer if the ways of communicating information relevant to the public are constantly under attack
Once elected, I went inside the system, to the heart of it, the legislative assembly, like a hacker, analysing its strengths and weaknesses.
My conclusion is that the rule of law is an illusion: the rules we vote on do not apply to all, and thus there is no rule of law. Laws should be considered universal and the same rule of law should apply to all, not only the 99%.
I now see most of our democracies as one dictatorship with 100 talking-heads on the neck of a corporate monster.
Looking at different models for how to humanize and modernize how we run our societies, I have come to the conclusion that there is currently no one model that fits all.
We need to experiment and study what works for each type of society, depending on the cultural backdrop of each.
Some amazing experiments are now being implemented with success little known to the world at large.
The first seeds of awareness were spread by Buckminster Fuller in his book No More Secondhand God, where he talked about direct democracy and telephonic voting as early as 1940. At last, we are at a stage where the technology for direct access to power is simple enough that citizens can start using it to form opinion and enforce political change in a genuine grassroots, bottom-up way.
New types of citizen engagement platforms are being created and used to form policy and participate in direct democracy, such as the Pirate Party Liquid Feedback4, Your Priorities5, DemocracyOS6 and WeGov7. There is resistance from those who control the current system but I believe it will be futile because people are creating a shadow form of governance, or rather self-governance. This is happening on the fringes still, but it is moving towards the centre at a steady speed.
We need more studies to see the pros and cons of active voting systems and liquid democracy models, with delegates rather than representatives, for example.
We need to do the opposite of what Russell Brand is advocating, we need to use our votes. Even if we don’t want to engage with the current broken system, we should not use that as an excuse for apathy. We should see it as an encouragement to engage in creating our own alternatives, our new co-created systems; to be creative about it and to connect. Connectivity is the key to a rapid change; but information in itself is meaningless if we don’t know how to decode it into wisdom.
- See more at:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thank you Chelsea for changing the world

Today is the birthday of Chelsea Manning, she has a special place in my heart. She got a 35 years in prison for blowing the whistle on war crimes all over the world. She has already served 4 years in a military prison. She was tortured while waiting for trial. Despite all the wrongdoings that have been imposed on her, she is so strong and so incredibly compassionate in her clarity and wisdom for the reasons why she felt she had to blow the whistle. Please urge Obama to pardon her. No one has been held accountable for the crimes she exposed, the murders and the tortures but her, the whirlwind in the coalmine.

I will show this video tonight to honor her courage at a local theater:

If you want to support her, here is what she wishes for her birthday:

and here is small token of gratitude from me to her, a letter i sent via the Amnesty International website, they promise to deliver the letters so go ahead, send her a little message of love and support:

Dear Chelsea, there has not been a single day that has passed since I heard of your arrest that you have not been in my mind and heart. When i chose to co-produce the video that changed the world forever that you leaked to WikiLeaks, i knew my life would never be the same, but i did it, because people needed to see the true horror of war, and because i knew whomever the source was, (later I found out that it was you, you brave soul) that person put her live in great danger in order to tell the world about the crimes done in our names. I know you are strong, I will never forget you, and i hope someday that i will get permission to visit you in the prison. You are a beacon of hope in these times of changes, your courage has inspired so many, and you are a catalyst of transformation.

with rebellious joy
Birgitta Jonsdottir - poetician

here is a poem i wrote for you about you for you

Internal external crisis
cause deep earthquakes
pangs of awareness
as for one perfect moment
the looking glass is clear

Sounds of screaming silence
when perspectives change
rushing in stillness
to change

Blinding light
awful truth
everything is changing

Hiding is over
only option left
to share

No glory is requested
humble justice

Power is naked
for one moment in time
echoes through history
people saw
everything has changed

Her voice is everywhere
in the truth she exposed
perverted justice
to lock her in a cell
in a body
for exposing
what's in plain sight

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dear IPU lets not become some sort of Geopolitical Eurovision

My speech from the #IPU131 general assembly

Dear fellow members of IPU

I am proud to report that Iceland is still among the top nations in regard to gender equality according to various global indexes and reports. Iceland continues to be at the top of the overall rankings in The Global Gender Gap Index for the fifth consecutive year.

Iceland has made an effort to share its trials and errors in how to reach such an achievement for it has of course not always been the reality for women to be at equal footing with their male fellows in my country.

There is still un-equality in some areas and not so equal opportunities for high level responsibilities and it is still hard to juggle a career and family and of course there is always space for improvement.

Our world is becoming more complex and out of control every day. At times like these strong and healthy communities based on the values and structures of democracies are perhaps the best antidote to the slide towards totalitarianism and corpocracies. There is a growing distrust in representatives and the systems we have built around the people we serve, locally and globally. I was reading a thought provoking article titled “What's gone wrong with Democracy in the Economist recently, it analyzes why democracy as a form of running states is on the decline and I feel it is of uttermost importance that we here at the IPU address this without delay and find solutions we can all agree on and start of the course of implementing them. In this regard it's also important to acknowledge that there is not a formula of one size fits all for democracy. We need however to have a close look at the architecture of our political systems. Some of democracy’s most cherished institutions look outdated.

The main conclusions in the Economist are as follows:
More transparency,
More accountability,
No more promises to voters we know we can't keep.
More efficiency in how we run our establishments, specially our parliaments.
No more large corporate donors in the shadows
No more revolving doors
More distribution of power and space for experimentation for example use technology to implement a modern version of town-hall meetings to promote civic involvement and innovation.
Implement ways for technocracy and direct democracy to balance each other so democracy won't end up again in the hand of special-interest groups.

We all know that Democracy simply means the rule of the people. We are at cross roads in how to upgrade our systems for they have become too complex and inflexible. Too many people feel that they are no longer served by it despite taking part by paying their due through taxes and other forms of participation. Let us not forget that everyone of us here today are here because people from our communities pay taxes and have chosen us to look after their interests.

Dear esteemed colleges I want to urge you to make sure that we put to rest the persistent rumours that the IPU is useless and that we are not achieving anything by making real effort to show real results. Lets go beyond being an assembly of resolutions that never get implemented. And please lets not become some sort of Eurovision where geopolitics overshadow the common good we can do together no matter where we come from.

Finally I want to urge the IPU to accept as observers all the stateless states, from Somalialand, to Kurdistan, to the Tibetan government in Exile, to the Republic of West Papua and Azawad and all the rest. What is the harm in allowing us to learn from each other directly about the state of the state and the statelessness?

Monday, February 03, 2014

Nobel Peace Prize nomination for Manning & Snowden 2014

Dear Nomination Committee of the Nobel Peace Prize,
We wish to nominate two outstanding candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize of 2014. It is our firm belief that Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden have achieved and exceeded all the qualifications required to be worthy laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The nominees are both whistleblowers who have inspired change and encouraged public debate and policy changes that contributed to a more stable and peaceful world.
Chelsea Elizabeth Manning (born Bradley Edward Manning, December 17, 1987) is a soldier in the United States army who was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison in 2013 for releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, serious war crimes, and a lack of respect for the sovereignty of other democratic nations by the United States government in international dealings.
These revelations have fueled democratic uprisings around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalistic, academic, and intellectual scrutiny her actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on foreign and domestic policies of European nations, and, also contributed to the Obama Administration's agreement to withdraw all U.S.troops from occupied Iraq.
The profound information that was revealed by this courageous whistleblower helped to foster public dialogue on the legitimacy, suitability, and relevancy of the military interventions carried out by US troops both Iraq and Afghanistan. The release of these documents led directly to calls demanding the full withdrawal of the military forces from these countries, as well as investigating committees on the treatment of detainees in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
The documents and information should never have been kept from public scrutiny, and the very fact that embedded journalists minimized or omitted facts in the field exacerbated the corruption of the information flow. The revelations - including video documentation of an incident in which American soldiers gunned down Reuters journalists in Iraq - have fueled a worldwide discussion about the overseas military engagements of the United States, civilian casualties of war and the rules of engagement. Citizens worldwide owe a great debt to the WikiLeaks whistleblower for shedding light on these issues.

Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American computer specialist, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, and former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who disclosed top secret NSA documents to several media outlets, initiating the NSA leaks, which reveal operational details of a global surveillance apparatus run by the NSA and other members of the Five Eyes alliance, along with numerous corporate and international partners.
He has, with great risk to his personal well-being and future, revealed the horrific scope of the global espionage network of the Anglo-American spy agencies. By releasing documents regarding the activities of clandestine agencies he has not only unveiled the global scale of  mass surveillance which endanger a wide array of civil liberties (cornerstones of our liberties such as free speech and the right to privacy) but, he has also given the people of the world the necessary tools to counter the ever invasive path towards mass surveillance. Blatant violations to even the very basic human rights have been institutionalized by US government agencies while privacy has been classified in ALL the major international human rights charters and declarations.
The debate on mass surveillance cannot take place without the disclosure of the basic structures and methods of the corresponding secret spy programs. Citizens, researchers and politicians need insight into these methods to be able to weigh the social consequences and the possible resulting damage to the global society. Mass surveillance erodes the fundamentals of modern democracies; making local laws to protect privacy meaningless within it's global scope. Snowden has shown us that journalists can no longer protect their sources, lawyers can't protect their clients and doctors can't protect their patients information. The concept of privacy has been redefined to complete exposure into no privacy. His actions have shown the rest of the world and its policy makers that joint global action needs to take place in order to reinstate constitutional rights of privacy for citizens which is completely essential to healthy democracies. 
By leaking the documents to investigative journalists from independent media, Snowden has managed to carefully consider the balance between public interest and national security. By revising the source documents, he and his supporters avoided leaking highly sensitive information that might have put currently running operations and the people involved into danger.
Some might argue that Snowden acted against the law, however, mass secret surveillance is illegitimate as it undermines the sovereignty of the people over the state apparatus. It is very well known that at times of universal deceit just telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. When the state is acting outside the rule of law it is up to the citizens to report on such unlawfulness for the greater good of its peoples and principles for sustainability of the future. Snowden and Manning courageously acted and as a result we have a more stable and peaceful world and far more of a possibility to develop/enact true democratic models.

We are nominating Manning and Snowden together because the courage of Manning inspired Snowden and both of them have inspired thousands of people all over the world to speak truth to power and demand transparency and accountability in their own societies.  

Amelia Andersdotter, Pirate Party Sweden, Member of European Parliament 
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Party Chairperson for the Pirate Party Iceland, Member of Icelandic Parliament
Christian Engström, Pirate Party Sweden, Member of European Parliament
Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, Pirate Party Iceland, Member of Icelandic Parliament
Jón Þór Ólafsson, Pirate Party Iceland, Member of Icelandic Parliament

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What is the GRPO?

A journalist friend of mine is trying to get some answers from the Icelandic police in relation to a stated liaison between GRPO and the Iceland police. The USA embassy claims it doesnt know that the GRPO is (lol) and I want to ask the Icelandic police about this liaison at a meeting in the parliament. Would be very useful to know what this stands for. Cant find anything useful online, so forget about google. We need your help, if you know how to decode this.
D.  (S/NF) Iceland does not have an intelligence service. 
The National Security Unit (NSU) within the National 
Commissioner's Office handles threat information analysis. 
The NSU is comprised of three individuals.  The NSU is too 
small to undertake any type of intelligence gathering role 
and responds to threats as they arise, such as threats 
against Icelandic officials, demonstrations/protests, and 
"extremist" groups.  The NSU is not a tradecraft or covert 
group.  There are no terrorism-related examples, but the 
NSU's investigative and analytical capabilities have been 
demonstrated through operations in varying fields of law 
enforcement such as organized crime (OC), counterintelligence 
(CI), and counter-narcotics (CN).  GRPO maintains liaison 
with the NSU. 
E.  (SBU) Law enforcement agencies, including the NSU, have 
been very cooperative with US Embassy requests for 
information and support. 
Random Cables where the GRPO is mentioned to get some context:

“Two separate GRPO sources, one highly credible, have alleged that Patiño obtained and managed Venezuelan funds for Correa’s campaign. An uncorroborated report from a GRPO source indicated that Patiño also solicited funds from the FARC for Correa’s campaign,” the cable reads.
„On December 15-16, 2009, Treasury Department 
Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Intelligence and 
Analysis Howard Mendelsohn, along with GRPO officers and Treasury 
analysts, met with senior officials from the UAE's State Security 
Department (SSD) and Dubai's General Department of State Security 
(GDSS) to discuss suspected Taliban-related financial activity in 
the UAE.  Prior to these meetings, GRPO and Treasury passed to SSD 
and GDSS detailed information on the financing of the Taliban and 
other terrorist and extremist groups based in Afghanistan and 
„During the course of the two multi-hour intelligence 
exchange sessions, GRPO and Treasury analysts walked through the 
previously shared information suggesting that Taliban-related 
finance officials have visited the UAE in order to raise or move 
„GRPO and Treasury analysts also shared 
names and phone numbers of multiple Taliban and Haqqani associates 
known either to reside in or travel to the UAE.“
„UAE security services were not familiar with the names of specific UAE-based LT members shared by GRPO and Treasury, but promised to follow up on 
the information.“
„On 06 November 2007, ARSOI coordinated 
with GRPO and scheduled a follow up interview of Subject 
detailed in RefTel who claimed to have information about the 
sale of uranium.  ARSOI began the interview and subsequently 
introduced the Subject to GRPO to answer detailed questions 
sent from GRPO headquarters.  GRPO will send detailed results 
of the interview via SepTel.“
„RSO and GRPO will continue coordinating efforts 
and wait for GRPO headquarters to determine if the 
information obtained during the interview merits additional 
contact with the Subject.“
„This National HUMINT Collection Directive (NHCD) is compliant with the National Intelligence Priorities Framework (NIPF), which was established in response to NSPD-26 of February 24, 2003. If needed, GRPO can provide further background on the NIPF and the use of NIPF abbreviations (shown in parentheses following each sub-issue below) in NHCDs.“
„Military and Security Issues 1) Critical Infrastructure Protection (INFR-4) 2) Military Structure and Capabilities (FMCC-4) 3) GRPO can provide text of this issue. 4) Health and Medical Developments (HLTH-4)“
„There are opportunities in the area of security cooperation, too. For starters, we know that Tunisia could be doing a better job in sharing intelligence with us about
TUNIS 00000492 005 OF 005
the threat of terrorism in North Africa. This was all too clear when, yet again, the GOT failed recently to share information with us in a timely fashion on a reported plot against US military personnel. GRPO has been taking steps to increase cooperation through liaison channels; while there has been progress, more is possible.“
„Tunisian cooperation in the intelligence arena has been uneven. On the positive side, we have some successful programs being run through GRPO. We also have good intelligence sharing on Tunisians who are outside the country. On the negative side, however, intelligence sharing on the threat inside Tunisia is thin, although it has improved somewhat in recent months. The improvements are probably in response to a commitment made by President Ben Ali to A/S Welch in February to cooperate on counterterrorism "without reservation."“

Friday, July 05, 2013

Snowden will not get citizenship in Iceland :(

I have been waiting for some time to get an official request from Edward Snowden in regard for application for Icelandic citizenship. Yesterday the request came, and me and members of 4 parties in the Icelandic parliament put forward a bill urging the parliament to process his request.

It is important to put current political situation in Iceland into perspective. We had election April 27th this year. After elections we always have summer parliament session. The newly elected government is very different from the last government that was elected in the wake of the financial collapse. This new government intentions is to bring us back to the same form of governing as we had before and lead us to the 3rd largest financial collapse in the history of the world. Non of the wisdom nor the attempts for democratic reform and more open society we gained just after the collapse will stick under the reign of this new governing.

Yesterday was the last day of summer parliament and thus utterly critical that we would be allowed to speak for the Snowden citizenship bill in order to move it to the General committee in order to be able to start fact gathering on behalf of the parliament so we could move this bill forward despite the parliament not being in session. The new speaker of the house denied our request to put the bill on the agenda yesterday. I put forward a motion for the parliament to vote for it to be spoken for. The entire majority said NO to this process, except for 5 who said neither yes or no. The entire minority supported the motion but that was not enough.

So it is with great grief I have to announce that Snowden will not be getting any form of shelter in Iceland because the current government doesnt even have enough spine for the parliament to discuss Snowden´s request. The parliament wont be coming together again until the 10th of September.

I hope we have set an example for other parliaments that remain is session this summer or gather sooner then ours to give Snowden citizenship for he has been made stateless by his own government for blowing the whistle on grave human rights violations by his and other governments against all of humanity. I am thankful towards the minority parties in Iceland for supporting the Pirate Party and of course Snowden in this attempt to help him. I and many others regard him as a hero and have deep respect for him for he has taken great personal risk in order to inform the rest of us about how those in power have lost control of their powerlust and violated their own constitutions against their own citizens. 

Mr Snowden your courage has been noted and there are millions of people from all backgrounds who honor the risks you have taken for us and we will stand tall with you. 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Will Snowden get Icelandic Citizenship any time soon?

Today all the members of the Icelandic Pirate Party and members from 3 other parties, including party chair of the Social Democrats and former Interior Minister put forward in the Icelandic Parliament a bill to urge the parliament to grant Edward J. Snowden citizenship. The parliament has finally received a request for citizenship from Mr Snowden and many of the parliamentarians believe it is their duty to offer Mr Snowden shelter for his USA passport has been stripped from him and has been left de-facto stateless by his own government. The parliamentarians and many Icelanders share the same concerns as Amnesty International that if extradited to the USA Mr Snowden could be at risk of ill-treatment and possibly a subject of torture. No one should be charged for disclosing information of human rights violations. Such disclosures are protected under the rights to information and freedom of expression. The current governmental parties did not have the guts to co-sponsor the bill, however they still have time to change their minds, since the parliament is heading into recess. The reason for the delay in putting forward the bill is that the parliament had not received a formal request from Snowden until today. It is impossible to predict if Snowden will be granted citizenship, this is more of a statement for the time being and an encouragement to the governmental parties to stand tall for human rights and by those that call upon our doors while faced with grave danger.

The following parties and members of parliament sponsored the bill of granting Snowden citizenship.

The Pirate Party, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Party Group Chair, Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, Jón Þór Ólafsson
The Left Greens, Ögmundur Jónasson, Interior Minister 2012 - 2013
Social Democrats, Helgi Hjörvar, Party Group Chair
Bright Future, Páll Valur Björnsson

Statement form Snowden the sponsors of the bill received tonight

July 4th 2013
To: The Icelandic Parliament

I want to extend my gratitude to the Icelandic parliament for
considering my request for Icelandic citizenship. I have been
left defacto-stateless by my own government after communicating with
the public. I appreciate that Iceland, a small but significant country
in the world community, shows such courage and commitment to its higher
laws and ideals. I am heartened to feel the support of the Icelandic
people whom I know have a long history of standing firm, even under
threats of aggression, when basic principles are at stake.

Edward Joseph Snowden

Monday, June 24, 2013

Is it an option for Edward Snowden to seek shelter in Iceland?

When it was brought to my attention that Edward Snowden was looking to Iceland for political asylum, I offered to help figure out the legal options for such a request.

These are my findings: Snowden should not come to Iceland unless he will request and be granted citizenship by the Icelandic Parliament. Citizenship is the only legal protection that will shelter him from any demands of extradition to the USA. The ideal situation would be for Snowden to be granted a Icelandic passport as was the case with Bobby Fischer.

Seeking political asylum is a process that can take long time, and there are no guarantees granted against extradition while the process is ongoing. However since Snowden faces possible death sentence his case is stronger, for it is illegal to extradite a person who faces death sentence from Iceland. It is important to note that Iceland has a terrible track record when it comes to granting political asylum to people seeking shelter, as it is hardly never granted and thus a too dangerous path to be recommended for Snowden.

The new Interior minister, Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, has been very stern in her statements announcing that Snowden will not get any sort of special treatment for the Minister fears that if he will be granted asylum, Iceland might have to show humanitarianism in action by transforming its poor treatment towards asylum seekers who seek shelter in Iceland.

I was hoping that the new Prime Minster, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, would take the same leadership in this case as a former PM did in the case of Bobby Fischer, for it was a political decision to grant the Chess Master Icelandic citizenship and Icelandic passport while Fischer was in prison in Japan waiting to be extradited to the USA for playing chess in the wrong country. It is still not too late to show such leadership.

It is important to note that there has not been any formal requests for asylum from Snowden to the Icelandic government and thus impossible for them to respond with affirmative answer until such a request has been received.

I've heard as I am writing this that there are other countries that have offered to shelter this brave whistleblower. Snowden has done service to all of humanity by bringing to the public domain information that truly belongs there. It is ironic that Snowden is to be charged for spying by blowing the whistle on the fact that NSA is spying on everyone with much deeper probing into our personal lives then even Stasi could do. I am sorry that Iceland might not be an option. It would have made me exceptionally proud if it was.

The war on whistleblowers needs to stop. I see Manning, Brown, Hammond and so many others as political prisoners of the information revolution. If extradited to the USA, on the charges of espionage, Snowden’s fate might be death sentence. By not sheltering him those who reject to help him might have blood on their hands.

With Rebellious Joy

Birgitta Jonsdottir
Poetician & a member of the Icelandic Parliament for the Pirate Party,
Chairperson of the International Modern Media Institution (IMMI)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

is WhiteWashPost manufacturing consent (content) (again)? #NDAA

The truth must out, can someone post this exchange between Tangerine Bolen and Washington (whitehouse) post on reddit and please do share for it does indeed show like one of the plaintiffs in the NDAA case Chomsky wrote a whole book about, that manufacturing consent (content) has to stop and the only ppl that can stop it are you my friends.

Here is the exchange i was referring to: "So, I (Tangerine) emailed the Washington Post this morning about a piece written by their editorial board this week that contains two critical errors. One is this ongoing tendency in the mainstream media to conflate the AUMF and NDAA - simply functioning as the administration's mouthpiece on this front. The other is even worse - a patently false claim that the "substantial support" interpretation has been "backed by the courts". As some of you may know, "substantial support" is one of the primary terms over which we are suing - and over which we WON. The courts had not even addressed "substantial support" prior to our case - much less supported Bush's or Obama's interpretations of this rarely applied or debated term until 2012. 

I thought I would share the exchange I just had with WashPost.

Here's the piece (which actually proves our point, about the AUMF being too narrow for the government's purposes, which we believe led them to write Section 1021 of the NDAA):

Here is the email exchange:

Subject: Serious misstatement of facts regarding AUMF in Editorial Board piece

Tangerine Bolen 
10:00 AM (2 hours ago)

to martin.baron 
Mr. Baron,

I'm a plaintiff in and coordinator for a case against the federal government over the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. Yesterday I caught a flagrant mistake in a piece by your editorial board regarding the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The piece is here:

This piece has two very serious errors in it. Firstly, the authors conflate the AUMF and NDAA - something that has been an unfortunately common tendency in the media, and a seriously irresponsible one. (I will explain this further in a moment). The second glaring and even more disturbing error is found here:

"The law authorizes the president to use force against “those nations, organizations, or persons” responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington. The Bush and Obama administrations have been backed by the courts in interpreting that language to allow attacks on the Taliban and al-Qaeda as well as “substantial supporters” and “associated forces.”

The latter sentence is patently false Mr. Baron. "Substantial support" and "associated forces" were first challenged in court in our court case, Hedges v. Obama. (You can read about it and access all of our court documents here: I am co-plaintiffs with former NYT war correspondent Chris Hedges, Dr. Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg and others. Moreover, the term "substantial support" was first introduced into the law in Section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA - the provision over which we are suing. It has no prior history and certainly has not been "backed by the courts" - not by a long shot.

In fact, the federal Judge in our case, Katherine Forrest, granted us first a temporary and then a permanent injunction against Section 1021, in part due to undefined language such as "substantial support" and "associated forces". We are currently awaiting the decision of the second-circuit court in Manhattan.

Throughout our lawsuit, the federal government has tried to claim that the powers of the AUMF and the NDAA are precisely the same. They are not. And a federal judge not only agreed that they are not, she excoriated the US government for its disturbing claims in court, its lack of a defense, and its very clear assault on both the first and fifth amendments with this provision. We were awarded a "facial" ruling - the strongest ruling any judge could have given us. I'm sorry, but this is completely contrary to the claim by your editorial board.

While the US government clearly appears to need to conflate the powers of the AUMF and NDAA, the AUMF provides for far narrower powers than what has suited their purposes - and the general thrust of your editorial supports that very fact. We have every reason to believe that the AUMF has been historically interpreted as the 2012 NDAA was written - over-broadly, and perhaps illegally, given what powers Congress actually granted the President in 2001. 

This constant conflation in the media of these two laws is egregious. It is supporting the US government's attempt to retroactively legalize and "codify" powers they were never, indeed, granted. Such lack of investigative reporting or simple discernment ensures that the pillars of our mainstream media function as mere mouthpieces to power. It contravenes everything you are supposed to be doing.

Disagreements over the thrust of that editorial aside (ie, how much power and precisely what kind should the President have to go after "emerging" terror groups), our lawsuit has threatened to expose the potentially illegal application of the AUMF, possibly for a decade. Not only has this fact gone unnoticed by your paper, but now your editorial board has inadvertently supported what I would call a very deliberate and strategic conflation of laws and terms. 

This is not at all ok. Please talk to my attorneys and issue a reprint of that piece with corrections. I would be happy to put you in touch with them, and also to give you a basic rundown of the incredulous things the government has claimed throughout our case (ie, even "war correspondents" can be indefinitely detained and that only advocacy and journalism efforts that are "independent" enough will be safe. "Independent" advocacy and journalism is undefined). I joined this case and organized all of our co-plaintiffs save for Mr. Hedges due to my work with WikiLeaks, as well as my hosting panel discussions and doing interviews with people and groups my government might consider unsavory.

We need your newspaper of record to report the actual facts - not the confusion that has been perpetuated by the administration, the DOJ or others intent on conflating terms and powers. This is absolutely critical if we are to restore and preserve a functioning democratic republic while we work to ensure our national security.

Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear back from you soon.

Tangerine Bolen
Plaintiff and Coordinator, Hedges v. Obama


Baron, Martin D
10:17 AM (2 hours ago)

to Fred, me 
I'll forward this to our editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt. I oversee our news and features coverage, and have nothing to do with editorials.


Martin Baron
Executive Editor
The Washington Post


Tangerine Bolen 
10:22 AM (2 hours ago)

to Martin 
Apologies for sending it in the wrong direction. Appreciate your forwarding it.

From: Hiatt, Fred 
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2013 2:26 PM
To: Diehl, Jackson K
Subject: Fwd: Serious misstatement of facts regarding AUMF in Editorial Board piece

Over to you. I express no opinion on whether Tangerine Bolen could be a real person. 

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Baron, Martin D"
Date: May 17, 2013, 1:17:31 PM EDT
To: Tangerine Bolen
Cc: "Hiatt, Fred"
Subject: Re: Serious misstatement of facts regarding AUMF in Editorial Board piece

Diehl, Jackson K
11:32 AM (1 hour ago)

Mr. Bolen,

Your allegation of factual errors in our editorial depends on the claim you are making in your lawsuit, which we, the Justice Department and other legal experts disagree with. In other words, what we have is a difference of opinion, not a factual error.


Jackson Diehl


Tangerine Bolen 
12:20 PM (16 minutes ago)

Mr. Diehl,

Actually, no, this is not centered on a difference of opinion here, it is regarding a very specific factual error in that piece, claiming that the Bush and Obama administrations have been "backed by the courts" in the "substantial support" standard. That is patently false. The substantial support standard comes up for the first time in Hedges v. Obama, and we won. The court did NOT, in fact, back either administration on this front. Your piece is incorrect in both an historic and substantive nature with regard to "substantial" support being argued in court.

Per the difference of opinion regarding powers of the AUMF and NDAA, it is irresponsible for your paper to report it as anything but opinion, given that this is being argued in federal court and the government lost on the first round. To make any kind of authoritative claims alluding to the AUMF and NDAA as providing the same exact powers is not only contradictory, by your own admission in that editorial, but irresponsibly false reporting.

I am surprised by your response and dismayed by the snarky forwarding email from Mr. Hiatt. Of course I am a real person. Tangerine has been my nickname for 24 years and it is the name I go by. 

On all fronts, your paper's handling of this is inadequate. Your editorial is factually incorrect in the "backed by the courts" comment, and it needs to be addressed.

Is there someone else with whom I should speak about this? 

Please let me know.


Tangerine Bolen 

Ms. Bolen,

You are welcome to submit a letter to the editor. The address is The letters editor is Michael Larabee.

I apologize for inadvertently forwarding you Mr. Hiatt’s light-hearted comment, which was not directed at you.

Jackson Diehl

To: Jackson Diehl

Thanks, I appreciate the apology. While it's easy to make fun of a nickname, we are of course dealing with very serious matters here. Neither differences of opinion nor nicknames should obscure what I am sure is a mutual desire to report things factually and see a functioning balance of constitutional rights and national security.

I appreciate your time,