The US overreaction to Wikileaks has damaged the country’s diplomatic standing with Iceland.
While we doubt that an empire as great and transient as the United States would give a monkey’s what Iceland thinks, it has been forced into a somewhat embarrassing position.
Desperate for a way to bend the law so that it can arrest Julian Assange on spying charges, the US has ordered its prosecutors to get information from Twitter.
Birgitta Birgitta Jonsdottir, an MP for the Movement in Iceland, revealed last week that the US justice department had asked Twitter to hand over her information.
While the US thinks that anyone who supports Wikileaks is a terrorist, in the real world the whistleblowing site is backed by some prominent liberals, including Jonsdottir.
One thing you do not do if you are a government is demand information on an elected official. Well you can, you just cannot do it through the courts and have to use your secret service. That is because it is called spying.
Not surprisingly, Iceland’s interior minister, Ogmundur Jonasson, told the Guardian that it is very serious that a foreign state, the United States, demands personal information of an Icelandic person,particularly an elected official.
“This is even more serious when put [in] perspective and concerns freedom of speech and people’s freedom in general,” he added. In otherwords the US can be seen as bullying other countries to tow its bizarre line on Free Speech.
Iceland’s foreign ministry has demanded a meeting with Luis Arreaga, the US ambassador to Reykjavík.
Jonsdottir is one of the site’s contributors whose communications are being investigated by US authorities.
A court order last week revealed that they are also seeking Twitter data from the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp and Bradley Manning, the US serviceman accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of sensitive government cables published by WikiLeaks.
The court issuing the subpoena said it had “reasonable grounds” to believe Twitter held information “relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation”.
Jónsdóttir is talking to lawyers at the Electronic Freedom Foundation and would attempt to stop the justice department’s move.
Users can send private messages on Twitter and the court order is also seeking details of source and destination internet protocol addresses used to access the accounts.