Iceland summons top US diplomat over WikiLeaks dust-up
The U.S. charge d’affaires in Iceland was summoned to the country’s foreign ministry over the leak of documents to website WikiLeaks, a foreign ministry spokeswoman claimed Tuesday.
“He was asked to come here yesterday (Monday) and he came the same day,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Urdur Gunnarsdottir said of charge d’affaires Sam Watson, who in the absence of a US ambassador to Iceland is the highest ranking US diplomat in the country.
Watson was asked to come to the foreign ministry to receive a formal objection from the ministry’s director concerning the leak of profiles of high-ranking Icelandic officials to website WikiLeaks.org.
The profiles, of Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson, and Icelandic ambassador to the US Albert Jonsson, were briefing documents destined to US officials visiting Iceland.
The documents, marked confidential, appeared on WikiLeaks Monday and contain information such as biographical notes about the officials, descriptions of their personalities and working styles and milestones in their political careers.
“This is the second time such a thing happens and this means that people are becoming more cautious in the relationship with other foreign services who behave like this,” Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson told daily Frettabladid Tuesday.
He was referring to a February 18 leak on WikiLeaks of the details of conversations between high ranking Icelandic officials and US and British diplomats about the Icesave dispute.
WikiLeaks has in recent weeks complained of spying and harassment by the Pentagon, alleging that U.S. State Department employees traveling under diplomatic cover tailed the Web site’s employees, one of whom was briefly detained.
The whistleblower site said it is planning to release a video that reveals what the U.S. “cover-up” of an incident in which numerous civilians and journalists were murdered in an airstrike, according to a recent media advisory.
The video will be released on April 5 at the National Press Club, the group said.
WikiLeaks also recently published a document drafted by a Central Intelligence Agency thinktank that proposes ways to manipulate European public opinion on the Afghan war, seeking to change French and German attitudes in particular.
The document doesn’t propose any direct methods by which the CIA could achieve this — there are no references to planting propaganda in the press, for example — but it does lay out what it sees as the key talking points to changing hearts and minds on the war. Among its proposals, the policy paper suggests playing up the plight of Afghan women to French audiences, as the French public has shown concern for women’s rights in Afghanistan.
For the German audience, the document suggests a measure of fear-mongering about the possible fallout of NATO failure in Afghanistan. “GermanyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s exposure to terrorism, opium, and refugees might help to make the war more salient to skeptics,” the document asserts.
“The need for independent leaks and whistle-blowing exposures is particularly acute now because, at exactly the same time that investigative journalism has collapsed, public and private efforts to manipulate public opinion have proliferated,” Glenn Greenwald wrote in a recent piece about how the United States and other governments plot to destroy WikiLeaks. “This is exemplified by the type of public opinion management campaign detailed by the above-referenced CIAÃ‚Â Report, theÃ‚Â Pentagon’s TVÃ‚Â propaganda program exposed in 2008, and the ways in which private interests covertly pay and control supposedly ‘independent political commentators’ to participate in our public debates and shape public opinion.”