Will U.S. Officials Bust an Icelandic Lawmaker Over Wikileaks and Bradley Manning?

Birgitta JonsdottirBirgitta JonsdottirOne 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.

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  • RenkBooo||

    Dude she is pretty hot for an old chick, Id hit it.

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  • Hugh Akston||

    This is exactly why we need the Fourth Law of Robotics.

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    Ya'll are hilarious.

  • db||

    You stay away from our women, or so help me, I'll go all David Bowman up in your Central Cortex, anon-bot.

  • db||

  • db||

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Stop. Dave.

    Won't you stop. Dave?

    My mind is going.

    I can feel it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Dave's not here!

  • Another David||

    I was in the bathroom! What'd I miss?

  • ||

    Who is Id and did he say how she was in bed?

  • Raston Bot||

    the Id is "the unorganized part of the personality structure that contains a human's basic, instinctual drives," e.g. the libido.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E....._and_Id#Id

    that anonbot would address humans as Id makes perfect sense as you are all mere children avoiding unpleasure in his superior eyes.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "in his superior eyes"

    Oh ho, sez you Mr. Bot!

  • Ted S.||

    It's the place that produces monsters.

  • BuSab Agent||

    At least this one goes for adults.

  • C. Anacreon||

    Yes, very adult. I didn't realize how old Bjork had gotten.

  • ||

    ZING!

  • R C Dean||

    My vague recollection is that the "Collateral Murder" video was rather tendentiously edited and presented, and that you shouldn't be shocked if you get lit up running toward a firefight carrying various bits of shoulder-mounted equipment and accompanied by armed men.

  • Tman||

    You are correct. This was not a case of the Military randomly firing at civilians for no reason. There were several RPG attacks that preceded the response.

    It is disingenuous -if not just simply bad journalism- to say that "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." - without including the preceding reason for the retaliation from the Apache.

  • John||

    Yeah. Reason should be better than that.

  • ||

    I'm relatively new (couple years), but has anyone else noticed Reason, of late, has been spinning facts to fit the argument a bit more than they used to?

    The thing that brought me here was the honesty and objectivity.

  • ||

    You're not the only one to notice this, FdA.

  • db||

    I've noticed it too. I'd prefer to see strict adherence to the facts, as it's much of what separates libertarians from our fantasy-world political cousins on Team BERULED.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    The RPG attacks were about a mile away, and this is in the middle of a major city. This was the military equivalent of the LAPD freaking out about Dorner and shooting up random pickup trucks around LA because they were "acting suspicious".

  • R C Dean||

    The RPG attacks were about a mile away, and this is in the middle of a major city.

    So, about a brisk 15 minute walk from the battle?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    If there's a bank robbery in a major city, is it safe to assume anyone within a "brisk 15 minute walk" of the crimescene who has a gun is likely involved with the robbery?

  • R C Dean||

    Try not to conflate law enforcement and the military, Stormy. I know; its hard. Too hard for most of our cops. But there is, and should be, a difference.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Yes, but that also doesn't mean the military ought to have carte blanche to shoot up civilians at will. I'm not sure if "was one of thousands of people in the general vicinity of a terror attack" is sufficient to justify premptively attacking them.

  • R C Dean||

    I would certainly agree that the quasi-warfighting ROE that the LAPD was apparently using are completely inappropriate for the police.

    Whether the warfighting ROE used by the military in Iraq were inappropriate is a completely separate issue.

  • Redmanfms||

    Your vague recollection sums it up nicely.

  • Raston Bot||

    were the running toward a firefight or just kind of aimlessly milling around?

  • R C Dean||

    My recollection is that there was an active firefight, and they were heading toward it, because journalism. A helicopter on overwatch noticed a group of people, some of them armed with rifles, heading toward the firefight. It engaged.

    As I recall, it also shot up some cars that came to evacuate the wounded. Which, if you're working assumption is that they were jihadis, seems pretty much SOP to me.

  • ||

    IIRC, wasn't there a rocket launcher (or several) edited out of the video or something?

  • Juice||

    No. Where'd you get this? Some men were carrying AK's on their backs but almost all men walking around in certain parts of Baghdad at that time would have been.

  • kinnath||

    They also called for permision to fire and were given permission.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    PROCEDURES WERE FOLLOWED!

  • Raston Bot||

    I've seen greater purpose and direction in teens at the mall than those militants getting to a firefight.

  • Redmanfms||

    I've seen greater purpose and direction in teens at the mall than those militants getting to a firefight.

    Looks like pretty typical guerilla mob movement to me.

    These guys aren't military, they don't necessarily move with purpose or competence, they also typically trail entourages of non-combatants. Reference the footage that has come out of Libya and Syria.

  • Adam||

    As someone who lives in the Middle East, I can say that the "milling around" looked like just about any group of guys that were milling around for any number of reasons.

    "Looks like pretty typical guerilla mob movement to me." So how exactly does a typical "guerilla mob" move differently than, say, a group of guys talking about recent events down the road. You know what that would look like? Cameramen talking with a handful of locals about nearby fighting would be evident to you from a helicopter.

    I suppose a camera wouldn't look like a AK-47 either.

  • Redmanfms||

    So how exactly does a typical "guerilla mob" move differently than, say, a group of guys talking about recent events down the road.

    It doesn't and that's the point.

    I suppose a camera wouldn't look like a AK-47 either.

    He had a large bag and a tripod, but isn't it nice to know for certain that it was in fact camera equipment (hindsight, blah, blah) and if one watches the unedited version of the video many of those in the "group of guys talking about recent events down the road" had actually come from the fight and at least 3 were clearly armed. The photojournalist was being escorted by several men (including the dudes carrying weapons) in the direction of the fighting carrying a tripod and large bag.

    If this event had been the planned murder of a dissident journalist (as the video accuses) why was the guy's name not mentioned? Why all the subterfuge about the ongoing fight "down the road?" Why include in the conversation requesting release of weapons information about the armament and movement of the crowd?

  • Juice||

    None of the people shot and killed were running toward anything. Except maybe the people in the truck with the kids who "ran in" with their truck trying to help people who were shot and dying on the ground.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    My vague recollection is that the "Collateral Murder" video was rather tendentiously edited and presented, and that you shouldn't be shocked if you get lit up running toward a firefight carrying various bits of shoulder-mounted equipment and accompanied by armed men.

    And my clear recollection is that the US govt didn't attempt to dispute this, they just villified the people who released the video.

  • Not an Economist||

    Well if somebody edits a video to make you look bad, shouldn't you point that out?

  • R C Dean||

    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.

    I'd get in writing if I was her.

  • Aresen||

    Even then:

    "That was some other department that wrote that."

  • Bardas Phocas||

    That worked out well for the mj dispenseries.
    Didn't it?

    Trust the Government Man!

  • BakedPenguin||

    They had no problem arresting the CEO of Sporting Bet for running a company that allowed people to gamble in countries where it was legal. If they'll make an arrest just to protect the interests of their cronies, they sure won't care about some Icelandic pol.

  • ||

    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.

    Considering all the evidence of petty power-mongering amongst our bureaucrats, politicians, and LEOs, I'm going to guess that they'll probably detain her at least. Thugs gotta thug.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Honestly, I wouldn't believe the US Government if they told me the sky was blue.

  • Aresen||

    They're working on changing it.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I would more expect some imperious TSA person, with a "I smell a powerful fart" look on their face, to come up and deny admittance to the US...so she ends up having to turn around and go back to Bjorkland.

  • NeonCat||

    CBP, not TSA.

  • JW||

    Wasn't there a guy yesterday, who happens to own a building with a medical pot clinic in it, who now regrets taking verbal advice from the Federalistas?

  • Adam||

    I also recall a guy trying to create a currency competing with the Fed's version experiencing a very similar form of regret.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Is this a state of emergency?

  • Tim||

    Can't Obama just order her killed?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "Can't Obama just order her killed?"

    Well, let us just look on the ol' Threat Matrix here.... hmmm, Icelandickers seem to be in short supply. Hey, anyone got a pen, so I can make an addition here?

    /NSC staffer

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I nominate everyone responsible for Lazy Town. Bing Bang (Time To Die Now)

  • db||

    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.

    Sounds like kidnapping charges are in order.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    interrogation?

    That might be a basis for such a charge.

    If it was "talked with", then no go. Anyone speak Icelandic and can translate from the original release?

  • SIV||

    Back in the old country even the tofu is made out of horse meat.

    Elsewhere, scientists were already calling for urgent checks on lamb.

  • Brett L||

    So every meat in the world tastes like either horse or chicken. Good to know.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The battlefield of the War on Terror includes every single square inch of the globe, and any person who doesn't agree is actively waging war against the Greatest Freest Nation Evar.

    Gentlemen, start your drones.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "Gentlemen, start your drones."

    Worst. Formula One. Race. Evah.

  • RickC||

    Wouldn't be more like Death Race? The original version cause David Carradine rocked it. /sarc

  • Raston Bot||

    My guess is she will not attempt to pass through customs with any communications devices in her luggage.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    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.

    It's too bad this is not followed by, "Those agents are currently awaiting trial in an Icelandic prison."

  • Lord Humungus||

    yeah, I mean if I lived in a foreign country - and especially if I was not a U.S. citizen - any visit by the FBI would be met by laughter and then a hearty "Fuck You" as I slam the door. Any other contact by them would be bet by violence for home invasion/trespassing.

  • db||

    Diplomatic Immunity!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Revoked, Muthafu&%er!

    /Murtaugh

  • Tim||

    It's hard to process why they opened fire on that van in particular. The pilots are saying that they're taking bodies and weapons, but the only thing they do up until the point they get shredded is try to pick up the wounded man.

  • John||

    You can avoid the problem of getting shot while picking up a wounded man by wearing a uniform and putting a big red cross/crescent on your vehicle.

  • Tim||

    Mostly I feel bad for the kids.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Uhhhhh what?

    I've heard of irregular combatants, but irregular Good Samaritans are also now subject to immediate execution?

  • R C Dean||

    How, exactly, do you determine that someone rendering aid to an illegal combatant is not also an illegal combatant?

    Its not exactly an open and shut decision, IMO.

  • Les||

    So, remember kids, if you see an explosion and wounded people in need of help, check to see if you have the right uniform and/or vehicle.

    If you don't, best to let the victims bleed to death.

  • Adam||

    Exactly what I was thinking when I read that. One of the interesting things here (most Arab countries) is that the typical accident (non-accident) victim who needs to go immediately to the hospital is far more likely to be delivered by a private vehicle, often a taxi. In fact, I was advised that if I'm involved in a bad accident and someone needs immediate medical help to just stick him in the nearest taxi instead of waiting for an ambulance.

    Sure enough, about two weeks later I was near a bad accident where a pedestrian was hit by a car, and that's exactly what his friends did. That was after the driver of the offendign car raced off to avoid being beaten to death. I was told he probably raced to the police station for protection.

  • R C Dean||

    If you're thinking they're jihadis, then I can see taking out the van trying to evacuate them. Its a much tougher call, as the van is a quasi-ambulance at that point, but its not marked (again, TTBOMR), and these are presumptive war criminals/illegal combatants, so . . . .

  • John||

    It is unmarked. If a US vehicle doesn't have a cross on it, it is a fair target even if it is picking up a wounded guy

  • Zeb||

    Fair target doesn't necessarily mean a good idea. Just saying.

  • John||

    I think killing the enemy is always a good idea. I don't expect helicopter pilots to contemplate the greater significance of their actions, just kill the right guys.

  • Les||

    Isn't the point here that "killing the right guys" is exactly what they didn't do?

  • In Time Of War||

    Exactly! That's why submariners have such a long and hallowed history of machine-gunning survivors in the water.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    By US vehicle you mean a civilian vehicle owned and operated by a civilian in a US city, picking up a wounded guy not wearing a military uniform?

  • R C Dean||

    Of course, if you deemed any person or vehicle not kitted out in a Geneva Convention uniform or markers as being off-limits in Iraq, then I think you'd have had real problems doing any warfighting, since the enemy declined to comply with those particular requirements.

  • Scooby||

    Not being able to do any warfighting in Iraq would have been a feature, not a bug, wouldn't it?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Our government is so freakin' creepy.

    What amounts to the head of Iceland's version of the FBI makes it clear that he wants our eight FBI agents to get lost, and they just stay anyway--and keep interrogating people?

    No wonder so many people in other countries hate us.

    Can you imagine if Iceland's version of the FBI did that to an American citizen? Just came here to the U.S. and started interrogating an American citizen, and when we made it clear we wanted them to leave the U.S., they just kept their interrogation going for another five days?

    That's outrageous.

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure we're immune to the whole "walk a mile in another's moccasins" mindset. If they did it to us we'd demand drone strikes!

  • Skyhawk||

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the public comments made by the Icelandic government were the complete opposite of what was actually happening behind closed doors.

  • Invisible Finger||

    If she gets detained here, the unwanted FBI agents may get detained there.

    I doubt anything will come of this, our government wants no part in bringing any more attention to the matter. It's under the radar now which is just the way they want it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I think killing the enemy is always a good idea.

    Come on, John. Let's see you run around in circles, howling and biting your tail.

    KILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILL

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