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WikiLeaks nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

OSLO, Norway — A Norwegian lawmaker has nominated WikiLeaks for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, saying Wednesday that its disclosures of classified documents promote world peace by holding governments accountable for their actions.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee keeps candidates secret for 50 years, but those with nomination rights sometimes make their picks known.

Snorre Valen, a 26-year-old legislator from Norway's Socialist Left Party, told the Associated Press he handed in his nomination in person on Tuesday, the last day to put forth candidates.

"I think it is important to raise a debate about freedom of expression and that truth is always the first casualty in war," he said. "WikiLeaks wants to make governments accountable for their actions, and that contributes to peace."

Valen also wrote on his blog that WikiLeaks had advanced the struggle for human rights, democracy and freedom of speech, just like last year's winner, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Valen cited disclosures of nepotism and corruption in Tunisia's presidential family, saying WikiLeaks "made a small contribution to bringing down" that regime.

The prize committee typically receives more than 200 nominations, so being nominated doesn't say anything about a candidate's chances of actually winning. And there's no way of knowing for sure that people who announce candidates actually submitted a legitimate nomination to the award committee.

Kristian Harpsviken, a leading Nobel-watcher and director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, said he didn't consider WikiLeaks a strong candidate for the $1.6 million award. Harpsviken keeps a list of "possible and confirmed nominations," based on public announcements and his own sources. His list includes WikiLeaks as well as Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of leaking material to the website.

The committee will announce the winner in October.

WikiLeaks nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 02/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 10:29pm]
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