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Old June 10th 13, 08:00 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics
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Default For Bobby Fischer, WikiLeaks & NSA Leaker, Iceland Is Haven : The

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/...eland-is-haven

For Bobby Fischer, WikiLeaks & NSA Leaker, Iceland Is Haven

by MARK MEMMOTT
June 10, 201312:40 PM

Edward Snowden, the former CIA and Booz Allen computer security
technician who says he leaked information about National Security Agency
surveillance programs, has told the Guardian that he wants "to seek
asylum in a country with shared values."

"The nation that most encompasses this is Iceland," he added, during an
interview in Hong Kong, to which he has fled. "They stood up for people
over Internet freedom."

Snowden's comment about "Internet freedom" is almost surely a reference
to the help Iceland has given to WikiLeaks — the destination of choice
for leakers such as U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. That's an
organization that knows firsthand about seeking asylum. WikiLeaks
founder Julian Assange has been as he seeks to avoid extradition to
Sweden, where he's wanted for questioning in a case involving alleged
sexual assaults.

Iceland's most recent move that lent support to WikiLeaks was an April
Supreme Court decision that "ordered Valitor hf, the Icelandic partner
of MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc., to process card payments for [the]
anti-secrecy website ... within 15 days or face daily penalties,"
Bloomberg News says. So, as other nations have tried to put roadblocks
in WikiLeaks' way by cutting off its access to funds, Iceland has gone
the opposite direction.

In February, Digital Journal reported, Iceland's interior minister
ordered the deportation of FBI agents who had come to the nation —
without notice — to question a WikiLeaks associate. And Digital Journal
added that:

"Iceland has been a safe haven for WikiLeaks activity. The
Economist Intelligence Unit ranks the Nordic island nation of 320,000 as
the world's 2nd most democratic, after Norway, and Icelanders pride
themselves on their reputation for free speech. Wikileaks worked with
Icelandic lawmakers to draft the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative
(IMMI), a 'parliamentary resolution ... tasking the government with
implementing various protections' to create a safe haven for journalists
and to guarantee free speech in the digital age. The IMMI was passed by
a vote of 50-0 in June 2010."

The IMMI released a statement Sunday saying it would try to assist
Snowden. Calling him a "brave whistleblower who exposed these
clandestine projects for monitoring the world's population," the
organization said:

"We feel it is our duty to offer to assist and advise Mr. Snowden
to the greatest of our ability. We are currently attempting to get in
touch with Mr. Snowden to confirm that this is his will and discuss the
details of his asylum request. Our next step will be to assess the
security implications of asylum, as it is possible that Iceland may not
be the best location, depending on various questions regarding the legal
framework — all of these issues will be taken into account. We are
already working on detailing the legal protocols required to apply for
asylum, and will over the course of the week be seeking a meeting with
the newly appointed interior minister of Iceland, Mrs. Hanna Birna
Kristjánsdóttir, to discuss whether an asylum request can be processed
in a swift manner, should such an application be made."

Whether Snowden would be able to get to Iceland (or other possibly
asylum sites such as Ecuador or Venezuela), is very uncertain, though.
As NPR's Frank Langfitt reported in Morning Edition, there is an
extradition treaty between Hong Kong and the U.S. Former world chess
champion Bobby Fischer in March 2005 as he left Japan for Iceland, where
he lived out his final years.

Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer in March 2005 as he left Japan
for Iceland, where he lived out his final years.
Yuriko Nakao /Reuters /Landov

China's central government might intervene to say he can't be sent
elsewhere, but barring such action a request from the U.S. could mean
he'd be sent back to face prosecution.

Authorities in Hong Kong also may not allow Snowden to get to a place
where he could apply for asylum in Iceland. Krist*n Árnadóttir, the
Icelandic ambassador in Beijing, has reportedly said in an email to the
South China Morning Post that Snowden would need to be in Iceland to
make such an request.

But, Iceland has intervened before to convince a third country to let it
give safe haven to someone wanted in the U.S. — without first requiring
that the asylum-seeker get to its territory.

In 2004 and 2005, former chess champion Bobby Fischer spent nine months
in a Japanese prison. He was held there for trying to leave the country
without a valid passport. Meanwhile, the U.S. wanted to take Fischer
into custody because he had once played in a chess match in Yugoslavia —
allegedly violating U.N. sanctions then in place against that country.

Iceland gave Fischer citizenship. Japan decided that was where he should
go. Fischer died in Iceland in 2003.

Watch for more about Snowden, extradition law and the rules of asylum .
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