When he was 20, Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson released an album in Iceland, sung in Icelandic, with many of the words written by his father. Dýrð í dauðaþögn became the biggest-selling debut in Icelandic music history. A year or so later, he rerecorded that album in English under the name In The Silence, with translation help from John Grant — an American singer-songwriter (and Tiny Desk veteran) now living in Iceland.
Ásgeir’s voice is angelic and yearning, his songs simple and universal. At the Tiny Desk, his raw, slowed-down arrangements bring a sense of grace to what were already elegant songs. On piano, with simple guitar accompaniment from his childhood friend Julius Róbertsson, Ásgeir strips these spare tunes down even further, locating their essence in the process. It’s been a wonderful year for the singer: His U.S. tour is wrapping up on the West Coast, and many in the U.S. have discovered his music in 2014. If you haven’t done so yet, here’s your Ásgeir moment.—BOB BOILEN
“On That Day”
Producers: Bob Boilen, Maggie Starbard; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Colin Marshall, Maggie Starbard; Assistant Producer: Susan Hale Thomas; photo by Susan Hale Thomas/NPR
The other shoe drops: U.S. Charges Snowden With Espionage.
Federal prosecutors have filed a sealed criminal complaint against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a trove of documents about top-secret surveillance programs, and the United States has asked Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant, according to U.S. officials.
Snowden was charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property, the officials said.
This clears the way for Snowden to be extradited to the US from Hong Kong (if he’s still there), but Snowden could apply for asylum because the treaty has an exception for “political offenses.”
Or he could fly off to Iceland in a private jet, like a true working class hero.
The anti-secrecy group Wikileaks has held some discussions with officials in Iceland about providing asylum to Snowden. A businessman in Iceland has offered to fly Snowden on a chartered jet to his country if he is granted asylum there.
Glenn Greenwald, reacting to charges against Edward Snowden, calls President Barack Obama “vindictive.”
Hang on, folks. The first media reports are wrong again.
Here are links to the three charges in the complaint — please note that contrary to the headlines, Edward Snowden is not being specifically charged with espionage:
The charges: 1) Disclosure of classified info, 2) Gathering or transmitting defense info, 3) embezzling public money, property or records
Snowden is being charged under provisions of the Espionage Act, he’s not being charged with espionage. There is a specific espionage charge, and it’s not in the complaint: 10 USC § 906a - Art. 106a. Espionage.
Clarification: Even though they’re not specifically charges of espionage, two of the charges against Snowden do fall under the “Espionage and Censorship” chapters of the Espionage Act.
Tomorrow we’ll dive back into the rapids and face the increasingly crazed wingnut masses once again, but tonight it’s time for something beautiful.
Today the US Justice Department subpoenaed Twitter for the account information of an Icelandic politician who worked as a volunteer with Wikileaks and Julian Assange.
“I got the letter from Twitter a couple of hours ago, saying I got 10 days to stop it,” wrote Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament, in an e-mail. “Looking for legal ways to do it. Will be talking to lawyers from EFF tonight.”
EFF refers to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil liberties group in the United States.
On her Twitter feed, Jonsdottir said the government is seeking an archive of tweets she sent out since Nov. 1, 2009 as well as “personal information” for her account.
Josdottir told Threat Level that the request was filed by the Justice Department on December 14 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. This is the same jurisdiction where, according to previous press reports, a federal grand jury is investigating possible charges against Assange, with whom Jonsdottir has worked closely.
They’re looking for connections and evidence to prove that Bradley Manning and Julian Assange collaborated to steal the classified documents.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is suspected of leaking the Army video to WikiLeaks earlier this year. In chats with former hacker Adrian Lamo, who turned him in to authorities, Manning indicated that he had first contacted WikiLeaks sometime in late November 2009. This corresponds with the time period mentioned in the government’s request for Jonsdottir’s tweet history.
UPDATE at 1/7/11 6:14:31 pm:
Boing Boing has more: US subpoenas Twitter for accounts of two Wikileaks volunteers.
The U.S. Justice Department has apparently served Twitter with subpoenas related to a case involving Wikileaks and Bradley Manning. One of these involves Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament who has worked with WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
The other is Wikileaks volunteer Jake Appelbaum, according to a statement published by Appelbaum on Twitter today.
A Twitter spokesperson tells Boing Boing the company will not comment on specific legal requests, “But, to help users protect their rights, it’s our policy to notify users about law enforcement and governmental requests for their information, unless we are prevented by law from doing so. We outline this policy in our law enforcement guidelines.”
Tonight’s insanity break is an incredible video by Marc Szeglat of the Icelandic volcano with the jawbreaker name, Fimmfördurhals.
(Now that an erupting volcano has disrupted air traffic all over the world, I wonder if Bobby Jindal feels a little ashamed of saying, “Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington”?)
Michael Rubin visited Iceland, and stepped into the middle of a festival of anti-Americanism (and thinly veiled antisemitism): I Was an Icelandic “War Criminal.”
I looked forward to returning to Iceland. It had been seven years since I last lectured there, and I remembered it as a beautiful, rugged country, great for hiking and swimming. I was scheduled to deliver four lectures on Iran, Iraq, and transformative diplomacy at the Universities of Iceland and Reykjavik, and at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Keflavik.
This trip would not be so smooth. Word of trouble began to percolate in the morning of the first lecture. A local antiwar activist was demanding my arrest as a war criminal. My crimes were multifold: Writing an article blaming Saddam Hussein—not United Nations sanctions—for Iraqi deaths, and then advocating for Iraqi liberation. This made me responsible for “war-crimes and violating international law by indirectly causing the invasion of Iraq.” Like thousands of others, I had also worked at the Pentagon and volunteered for duty in Iraq. At each university lecture, protesters worked to disrupt my speech. Some were young students, and others were older retirees, members of a group calling itself, “The Movement for Active Democracy.” I was even accused of complicity in a cover-up of the 9/11 attacks. Among my crimes, the protesters pointed out, “[Rubin] is a Jew and a big supporter of Israel.” Guilty as charged. I do not apologize for my religion, and I am also a big supporter of India, Turkey, Taiwan, Mali, and other democracies. Iceland is a small country. Rather than ignore the incidents, both newspapers and television reported it. I was already in Finland when I got an e-mail informing me that the police commissioner dismissed the lawsuit.
The incident would be laughable if it did not foreshadow a growing phenomenon seeking to criminalize debate that is sweeping progressive, libertarian, and antiwar groups at home and abroad. Blogger Juan Cole, for example, a popular anti-Bush pundit, demanded the FBI investigate how Walid Phares “became the ‘terrorism analyst’ at MSNBC.” On June 1, 2004, blogger Laura Rozen lamented that someone she disagreed with was not the subject of an FBI investigation. On September 20, 2004, libertarian Justin Raimondo urged the FBI to “indict the Neocon War Party for treason.” Perhaps hyperbole, but it is dangerous to smear political opponents with death-penalty offenses.
But the most disturbing thing in this article is not the predictable behavior of Icelandic moonbats. It’s this revelation of a statement by Condoleezza Rice that got zero media attention:
Many U.S. diplomats—including those appointed to prominent portfolios by President Bush—advocate privately for U.S. inclusion in the International Criminal Court. Recently, the White House has reconsidered its position. Just three days before the Icelandic peace activists filed suit against me, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she would like to soften the U.S. position toward the International Criminal Court.
The idea that international bodies will be neutral or operate in the cause of justice is foolhardy and dangerous.