WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing website currently involved in a behind-the-scenes case of human rights issues with the US State Department, is among the nominees for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize and was called “a natural contender” for the prize.
Nominations for what is considered the world’s highest honor were accepted by the Norwegian Nobel Committee until February 1, even though panel members have the remainder of the month for making proposals.
Reuters reports Snorre Valen, Norwegian parliamentarian, has labeled WikiLeaks as “one of the most important contributors to freedom of speech and transparency” this century.
“By disclosing information about corruption, human rights abuses and war crimes, Wikileaks is a natural contender for the Nobel Peace Prize,” Valen added.
WikiLeaks, and its founder, Julian Assange, first gained the US government’s undivided attention last year when releasing a video, Collateral Murder, of US Apache helicopters mowing down innocent civilians, including two Reuters employees. In all, 12 victims lost their lives and two children were wounded in the attack. On the video’s voiceover, one can hear military personnel almost begging for the green light to attack.
Since that video release, Wikileaks has released the Afghan War Diaries and US diplomatic cables that many consider a deep embarrassment for the US government.
As a result, the Obama administration has been conducting an investigation in an attempt to bring Assange and his site to justice via the Espionage Act of 1917, actions that many consider might lead to America’s undoing.
Central to the Wikileaks controversy is Pvt. Bradley Manning, accused but not convicted of releasing thousands of documents to Wikileaks. As a result, Manning is currently being held in solitary confinement at Quantico in Virginia, although the military denies the solitary confinement label, preferring instead to call it MAX custody.
The five-member panel of the Norwegian Nobel Committee has refused to comment on Wikileaks’, or any other, nomination.