Tag: iceland

Pirates do well in Iceland

pirate-bayIceland’s Pirate Party has won ten seats in the nation’s 63-seat parliament which means that it is close to forming a rag-tag government with others holding similar views.

Píratar, to use the party’s Icelandic name, secured 14.5 percent of the vote. Since Píratar had three seats in the last Alþingi it has made some major strides.

The Independence Party, which has dominated Icelandic politics for decades, won 21 seats, two more than it did last time. However,  current coalition partner, the Progressive Party’s vote collapsed. Former Progressive Party prime minister Sigmundur Davið Gunnlaugsson resigned after being named in The Panama Papers.

Píratar’s chums, such as the Left-Green Movement scored 10 seats, Bright Future got four and the Social Democratic Alliance three.  If all those parties could form a coalition Píratar, they’d be five seats short of a majority.

Regeneration, a new party that recently splintered the Independence Party and took seven seats, has previously ruled out going into coalition with either the Independence or Progressive parties so they will probably sit by themselves sulking in the corner never invited to anyone’s party.

However, Regeneration also shares some Pirate values –  it’s pro-Europe, wants the nation to accept more refugees and favours a strong welfare and public health system.  It might change its mind if it gets a decent offer.

Iceland's government warns of Wikileaks vendetta

Iceland’s government has warned one of its MPs not to travel to the US because the Land of the Free is about to engage on some wholesale arrests of those involved with Wikileaks.

Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir says her lawyers have seen documents confirming that a grand jury investigation into Wikileaks’ whistleblowing is underway in the US.

Jónsdóttir co-produced a video, released by Wikileaks, showing United States soldiers shooting civilians in Baghdad from a helicopter.

She said that already the US Department of Justice (DoJ) tried to hack by legal means into her social media accounts without her knowledge.

Unfortunately Twitter’s legal team managed to unseal the DoJ’s secret document and provide  a chance to defend personal information in court from being used in a dragnet – for the first serious attacks on Wikileaks’ supporters and volunteers.

The speaker of the Icelandic parliament raised the issue at the International Parliamentarian Union (IPU) last year which backed her.

It said that it was concerned that the national and international legal framework concerning the use of electronic media, including social media, was not enough to provide sufficient guarantees to ensure respect for freedom of expression, access to information and the right to privacy.

Jónsdóttir has parliamentary immunity under Icelandic law when she carries out political activity. The US clearly ignored that.

She thinks that it is proof that Julian Assange is clearly not overreacting to his fear of possible extradition to the US.

She said that the fact that that her Twitter information sought was clearly material to establishing key facts related to an ongoing investigation.

During a second meeting at the Icelandic State Department to discuss my Twitter case Jónsdóttir got a message from the newly appointed US Ambassador Luis E Arreaga.

Ambassador Arreaga had been instructed by the US Department of Justice to tell Jónsdóttir that if she ever popped over to the land of the Free, the border agents would not get out their rubber hoses. She would not have to face an involuntary interrogation.

However the Icelandic State Department strongly advised her against travelling to the US, the Guardian reports.

Shortly after that her lawyers spotted at least two sealed grand jury documents relating to her when requesting access to all documents pertaining to her case.

The ironically acronymed WTF (the CIA’s WikiLeaks Task Force) has been building a case against Assange and others from Wikileaks for two years, she said.

There is no doubt that the US wants to get even with Wikileaks and Assange has every reason to worry about being extradited to the US, be it from Britain or Sweden, or any country that cannot or will not give him a guarantee against extradition.

She said the best possible answer to the current situation is for Sweden to provide similar guarantees. 

Iceland's government pushes for open source

The UK may be moving very slowly towards open source, but Iceland has put its foot on the pedal with a 12 month public sector plan.

All public administrations are now being encouraged to take the plunge and ditch proprietary software, Icelandic authorities have announced.  

Government ministries, the National Hospital and three of the largest public institutions in Iceland are already being heralded as examples of how others should increase the use of open source software.

Now a one year project is being launched to attract all public institutions to join in on efforts to introduce a wholesale migration.

The Icelandic government does not expect to have everyone on board in the course of the year, but hopes to “lay a solid foundation” for such a move.

This will involve creating greater collaboration between public sector and IT service providers, with a direct appeal to institutions.

In the UK, some plans have been put in place over the years to increase the use of open source software in the public sector.

Despite the Cabinet Office and a handful of others choosing open source for certain uses, it has proved difficult to break away from handing over cash for proprietary software.

Part of the problem has been a lack of cohesion on open standards, which has created difficulties in achieving the “level playing field” for open source that Francis Maude has called for in the past.

According to Gerry Gavigan at the Open Source Consortium, there are still significant barriers to the goal of open standards and open source software in the UK.

The government needs to “get on with open standards” he says, and to do this the benefits of open source need to be readdressed. 

This involves changing people’s perceptions to see open source as an “enabler” rather than just “Libre Office versus Microsoft Office”.  When this happens, the benefits of interoperability can be fully recognised.

“These are the issues that get missed,” Gavigan told TechEye. “It’s a bigger picture than the way it gets painted.”

As well as announcing that it will push towards open source, Gavigan believes that other nations have shown the benefits.

“George Osborne talked recently about the BRICs economies, they used open source software,” he said. “The BRIC economies support open standards and open source software, and Iceland supports open source software because it is looking for sources of growth.  It is trying to find ways of sorting out its economy.” 

While the UK may differ in many respects from Iceland and the BRIC nations, the government is intent on pushing for a return to growth. Gavigan believes that supporting open source is a lesson to be learnt from abroad.

“In the recent budget statement George Osborne pointed to the BRICs economies as models to be emulated – the conclusion is obvious,” he said.

Wikileaks hits new PR low

Whistleblowing site Wikileaks just scored a huge negative PR strike when it tried to capitalise on the slaying of a nine year old girl during a botched assassination on a US senator.

According to Wikileaks, the slaying was typical of the atmosphere in the US at the moment which was currently being taken out against Wikileaks boss Julian Assange.

You read it right. Wikileaks just took a tragedy and made it all about the persecution of poor Julian who is currently on bail awaiting extradition to Sweden on a charge which can be loosely described as “treating women like shit”.

The outfit moaned  that WikiLeaks staff and contributors have also been the target of unprecedented violent rhetoric by US prominent media personalities, including Sarah Palin, who urged the US administration to “Hunt down the WikiLeaks chief like the Taliban”.

It listed a few other loony politicians, including Mike Huckabee who called for the execution of WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange on his Fox News program last November. Then rounded off with Fox News commentator Bob Beckel, referring to Assange, publicly called for people to “illegally shoot the son of a bitch.”

Yeah ok we know all that. But at some point, Wikileaks decided to link the threat of persecution with the actual real tragedy of a nutter sticking very real bullets into children. This is a fairly tasteless and cynical thing to do.

Wikilinks has done some pretty good stuff. It should be presenting itself as a justifiable tool of the free press and free speech. Instead it is pushing itself as a paranoid tin foil hat wearing organisation which thinks that every disaster in the universe is all about how the US is picking on Julian.

What will happen next?

A bomb goes off in a mosque in Iraq, killing 60 people… Assange claims it is symbolic about how the US government wants to kill him in a terrorist prison.

Flooding in Australia? It is all a plot to undermine my country of birth claims Assange.

World War Two was a long running campaign to strangle Assange and Wikileaks before either was born.

It looks like the people who left Wikileaks because they wanted Assange to stand down were right. Wikileaks has become his image and that is completely paranoid and odious. As such it will lose a lot of support.  People spurn tin foil hat wearers in the same way they avoid those nutters on the street trying to sell you Jesus or ask you for a dollar for a cup of coffee.

 If someone is advising Wikileaks on their PR they should be fired, but I suspect, like many things to do with Wikileaks these days, it is all about Julian.

Iceland fumes about Wikileaks investigation

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.

Global history to change Sunday, 22.30 CET. Thanks to Wikileakywiki

Regular visitors to Spiegel Online, the website of German news magazine and Wikileaks collaborator Der Spiegel, will by now have noticed the frontpage and content of Monday’s issue is not yet up. The e-paper edition has also not yet been released. “For editorial reasons the e-paper edition of the new Spiegel 48/2010 is only available from Sunday, 22.30 pm“, subscribers are informed. CET stands for Central European Time, naturally.

This is highly unusual and, in light of the expected release, it seems rather safe to say the new edition’s content is embargoed until 22.30 CET, tomorrow, and will most probably deal with the tens of thousands of US diplomatic cables leaked to Wikileaks early this year.

Hilarious Clinton, the State Department and US ambassadors are either visiting or chatting with heads of states, ministers and the likes worldwide. In England, the US Ambassador even visited 10, Downing Street. According to reports, the cables will also unveil corruption of political leaders and officials in Afghanistan, alongside other nations.

In the UK, the government is also fretting the release of the US diplomatic cables. Wikileaks staffers twittered so-called D-notices had been issued to editors in the crumbling, once-was empire. These D-notices are basically a way of the government making it clear it would be rather cheesed off if newspapers and magazines would report on rather sensitive or potentially embarassing issues, so please don’t or we won’t be friends anymore.

As for Wikileaks, it claims the up- and coming leak will redefine global history. Seeing the Icelandic government has been contacted by officials, it will be interesting to see if the USA ever tried having a say in regards to Julian Assange, the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative and not only the Kaupthing bank disaster. Iceland is in a rather interesting geographic position in the upcoming race for Arctic treasure and certainly a country one thus doesn’t want to cheese off too much.

The grand hubbub is going to be a grand spectacle. It can be expected heads will roll here and there if corruption is indeed exposed. Whether exposing the USA’s diplomatic back office notes, memos and communications can change the world is another question entirely. It can be hoped that the US will not remain the only country receiving this treatment – Russia, Iran, China and other regimes deserve the same.

Sweden wants Julian Assange back for rape case interrogation

Wikileaks‘ founder Julian Assange, having just been rejected a residence permit, is being asked back to Sweden for questioning about a rape allegation. 

Assange, 39, insists that the allegations were a smear campaign to discredit both him and Wikileaks. Marianne Ny, Director of Prosecution, has told the Beeb that he must return. His detention is not being requested but Ny says she has had trouble tracking him down for questioning. “So far, we have not been able to meet with him to accomplish the interrogations,” she said.

The sexual molestation case was re-opened in September. Initially details were sketchy and it was suggested that the allegations, first appearing in a tabloid newspaper, Expressen, were bunk. The Guardian thought it had something to do with a personal dislike on Assange’s part for using condoms. 

Smear or not, the case has effectively turned Assange into celebrity gossip fodder. If it is a smear,  it has been successful in distracting the public from the weight of Wikileaks war leaks. Taking our tinfoil hats off for a moment, it could be, as most things tend to be, something far more mundane or something inbetween. 

Assange is reportedly going to plant his roots in the traditionally neutral Switzerland, while it appears operations for the site itself are moving to Iceland, where the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative grants protection to journalists and whistleblowers. 

Wikileaks sets up shop in Iceland

Whistleblowing website Wikileaks has reportedly registered a company in Iceland, reports Icenews. The company, called Sunshine Press Production, is located in an apartment building on a street called Klapparhlíð in the town of Mosfellsbæ, at the home address of one of the Icelandic members of the company’s board. Mosfellsbæ is right around the corner from Iceland’s capital Reykjavik.

Julian Assange will head the company. Filmmaker Ingi Ragnar Ingason and journalist Kristinn Hranfsson are additional members of the board. English journalism professor Gavin MacFadyen will be a deputy member of the board.

Assange has been feeling cornered lately by the USA and his home country Australia, stating on Swiss telly that he has been considering applying for asylum in Switzerland after his plans to get status as a permanent resident in Sweden fell through. He also referred to Iceland as the only other country where he could operate freely.

It seems likely Iceland will be Assange’s country of choice, especially since the country underwent a recent political transformation and passed the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), following the financial crisis that left Iceland in a desolate state.

IMMI is a law designed to protect journalists and whistleblowers, as well as keeping newspapers, news sites and TV stations safe from libel cases and prior restraint orders.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is fretting over the release of additional documents that were forwarded to Wikileaks. In addition, ZDNet‘s David Gewirtz recently exemplified a typically yankie inability to comprehend the world outside of the USA, while at the same time laying waste to the hacker ethic as written down by Steven Levy.

The European Parliament by contrast has called for an independent transatlantic inquiry to investigate the USA looking the other way during torture of prisoners in Iraq.

WikiLeaks rallies behind boss

Leaks coming from whistleblowing site Wikileaks seem to indicate that the staff want co-founder Julian Assange to keep his job.

While some, like Wikileaks member, Icelandic parliamentarian, Birgitta Jonsdottir, publicly called for Assange to step down,  others have said that she really wanted him out as a SpokesLeak.

Others have been contacting the media with a similar message.  They say that they want him to stay, provided he steps down from being the public face of Wikileaks.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s deep throat inside Wikileaks told it that Assange is not at threat of being kicked out.

However, ”a few people have floated the idea of him stepping down as the media spokesperson.”

Assange’s attempts to palm off two sex charges against him as a US government inspired smear campaign were seen as a PR own goal. He had been doing quite well until that point, keeping the world on tenterhooks about Wikileak’s release of AfganistanLeaks.

The Herald’s deep throat said that before the Swedish allegations Assange had been looking at possible new structures and roles for the not-for-profit organisation.

Amongst the statements about Assange was the use of a new term “transparency journalism”. This is apparently when a journalist tells a “true story” and then backs it up by publishing source documents. It seems then that Wikileaks wants to start interpreting the documents it is getting  probably using VolunteerHacks.

Wikileaks turns on its founder for being Australian

Whistle blowing site Wikileaks is imploding and is calling for its founder, Julian Assange step down for the crime of being a classic Aussie. .

We have already reported how Wikileaks as moving to get rid of its gounder over sex allegations.  But a member of Iceland’s parliament and prominent WikiLeaks organiser Birgitta Jonsdottir has told The Daily Beast  that she did not believe Assange’s claims that the allegations of rape and molestation made against him were part of a US-backed smear campaign.

She said that this is a situation that has clearly gotten out of hand and Assange’s personal matters should have nothing to do with Wikileaks.

Jonsdottir, who speaks Swedish, has looked at the Swedish police records and disputed Assange’s claim that the allegations were politically motivated. However she thinks that everything is probably due to a cultural misunderstanding.

Apparently, while Assange is brilliant he is not so hot on social skills.”He’s a classic Aussie in the sense that he’s a bit of a male chauvinist,” Jonsdottir said, being a classic Icelander.

Jonsdottir told him to sort out his legal mess and let some other people carry the torch. Another Wikileaks organiser, speaking on condition that they remained anonymous, said that Assange’s insistence on staying in charge of the site was creating “a mess for everyone”.

Wikileaks workers were so miffed that they had temporarily shutdown the website a number of days ago. It was a case of the techies telling Assange to rethink his situation.