One of the things that got the United States government all hot and bothered over Bradley Manning's transmission of government information to Wikileaks was the transparency organization's subsequent release of a video of American troops firing from an Apache helicopter on civilians in Iraq. Numerous adults were killed during the incident, including good samaritans rendering assistance and two Reuters journalists. Two children were badly wounded. This isn't the only element of Manning's activities that bent U.S. officials out of shape, but it definitely didn't leave them well-disposed toward the soldier, or toward Wikileaks activists like Birgitta Jonsdottir, who will soon travel to the United States to see if government officials have the stones to arrest her, especially now that she's a member of Iceland's parliament.
Of the video of the killing in Iraq, Time's Mark Thompson wrote in 2010:
[T]he videotape was ultimately confirmed as genuine by U.S. military officials. There was as much irritation inside the Pentagon at whoever leaked the videotape as there was for WikiLeaks' posting of it.
Writes Ed Pilkington in The Guardian:
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, the Icelandic MP and member of the WikiLeaks team that released secret footage of a US Apache helicopter attack on civilians in Iraq, is planning to visit America for the first time since the 'Collateral Murder' video was made public to express her support for Bradley Manning, the video's alleged source.
Jónsdóttir plans to travel to New York on 5 April to mark the third anniversary of the posting of the footage, one of the most dramatic WikiLeaks releases and one that helped put the website and its founder Julian Assange on the global map. She is making the journey even though she has been advised by the Icelandic government not to do so for fear of legal retribution from US authorities.
In keeping with Iceland's reputation for being just freaking weird, Jonsdottir represents a party called The Movement, "aiming for democratic reform beyond party politics of left and right." No, nobody really seems to know what that means. She's also a self-described "poetician." OK. But she was also a co-producer on the Collateral Murder video released by Wikileaks depicting the helicopter attack in Iraq. The incident sufficiently upset the powers-that-be that FBI agents went to Iceland to interrogate Wikileaks activists. According to Wikileaks:
Recently it has become public that the FBI had secretly sent eight agents to Iceland in 2011 in relation to the ongoing U.S. investigation of WikiLeaks. The Icelandic Minister of Interior, Ögmundur Jónasson, has confirmed this to the Icelandic press and furthermore stated that when he found out on August 25th 2011 that the aim of the visit was to interrogate an Icelandic citizen he ordered the local police to cease all co-operation with the FBI. He indicated that the FBI had left the country the day after.
In a joint statement Monday from the Icelandic Police Chief and the Prosecutor General it is revealed that the FBI agents, in fact, did not leave the country immediately and were conducting interrogation of an Icelandic subject for at least five days, without the presence of Icelandic police officers.
The U.S. Justice Department also tried to pry information about Jonsdottir out of Internet companies, including Twitter. FBI high-handedness has now become a bit of a kerfuffle in Iceland, and the subject of an official investigation.
Jonsdottir has supposedly received verbal assurances from the U.S. government that she won't be arrested if she visits the land of the free. She has also received warnings from her own government not to believe those verbal assurances. She'll find out, one way or the other, when she visits the United States this coming April to drum up support for Bradley Manning.
A short version of the Collateral Murder video is below. A longer version, along with other information, can be found at the Collateral Murder Website.