This surreal place here is the Blue Lagoon. A big lake of boiling white water in the middle of the Icelandic wilderness. And the likes of (in)famous whistleblower Edward Snowden might be loving the thought of ending up with their asses dipped in the soothing mineral waters.
But why? Why has Iceland become such a safe haven for "truth dissidents" and other mavericks? Why would the likes of Snowden (and Assange, to that matter) picture themselves dwelling in that God-forgotten piece of rock in the middle of the North Atlantic? Aren't they scared of the vicious elf infestation that has descended upon the island!?
Well, let's ask the maverick himself, then. "My predisposition is to seek asylum in a country with shared values. The nation that most encompasses this is Iceland. They stood up for people over internet freedom," Snowden once said.
Mind you, Iceland is actually the original HQ of Wikileaks and was also the new asylum home for chess genius then turned renegade Bobby Fischer. It's also one of the first countries to have a Pirate party whose primary point on the agenda is the total overhaul of copyright and intellectual rights legislation around the world.
So how the hell did Iceland develop this habit of flipping the bird to the establishment at every given opportunity?
Well, the economic troubles from a few years ago might be at the bottom of all this. The government was being pointed to as the main culprit (that, and a few greedy folks with lots of flowing capital who were eager to exploit the weaknesses of the system). So the inherent reaction against heavy government and demands for full transparency in governing and direct public participation in decision-making came quite naturally.
And free journalism (and yes, whistleblowing too) played a major role in removing the lid from the situation, and this naturally led to Iceland crafting the so called "journalism haven" statute for itself. And now it's regarded as the topmost country in terms of "journalism-friendliness". That's why not only Wikileaks, but a number of international news organizations were OK with the thought of moving their investigation HQs there. And Iceland has responded in kind: forcing a local company to proceed with the due payments to Wikileaks, and even deporting a few FBI agents who had landed on those shores to interrogate a Wikileaks guy.
Sure, the bright future Snowden may be picturing for himself and what is actually possible in reality are two entirely different things. He may be having some trouble getting out of Russia right now, but the premise remains.
And while we're still about people's expectations (as opposed to the actual state of affairs), here's a little poll for ya guys. Where do you think Snowden should end up eventually, if you were to have it your way?
Poll #1934662 Judging Snowden: GO!
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 18
Where should Edward Snowden end up?
|He's a traitor to the Fatherland. Period. His place is on the electric chair, plain and simple!|
|Letting him go sets a dangerous precedent. We should get him! All options on the table. Even drones.|
|He sure is a traitor, but let's get real here. He should be kept behind bars, perhaps in Gitmo.|
|Why not trade his freedom with the Russkies? Like, having them drop that anti-gay law or something? Or let go of Syria.|
|Let him rot in that shithole of a country. And eat the irony of being protected by Putin. Best. Punishmant. EvAR.|
|Just leave him be. What harm could he do now, anyway? It's not like more intel is gonna be funneled to him.|
|How about, ahem, *gasp* scale back the police state and introduce full disclosure in international affairs?|
|This poll is a trap(tm) and the OP should be ashamed of herself. I refuse to answer disingenuous questions!|