Iceland

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Group.png Iceland   SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Iceland (orthographic projection).svg
Flag of Iceland.svg
LocationNordics, Northern Europe, Europe
LeaderIceland/Prime Minister
Typenation state
Interest ofThorolfur Gudnason
Member ofNATO, OECD, UN
SubpageIceland/Ambassador
Iceland/Member of Parliament
Iceland/President
Iceland/Prime Minister
Isolated island nation off the north west coast of Europe. Part of the Nordics.

Iceland is an island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, with a population of 356,991 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. The city and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active.

Until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture. Industrialization of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity, and Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. It became a part of the European Economic Area in 1994; this further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance, biotechnology, and manufacturing.

Financial crimes pursued

Between 2008 and December 2015, a total of 26 bankers were sentenced to a combined 74 years in prison in Iceland.[1][2] After that the island aimed at creating better circumstances for journalistic freedom, in terms of reporting and whistleblower activity.[3]

Eugenics

Due to abortion, down syndrome has been eradicated.[4]

Vaccination during COVID has been some of the quickest in the world.

Deep state

Local deep politician Bjarni Benediktsson of the Independence Party

The deep state section is in large degree based on a 2015 article by Atli Þór Fanndal.[5]

The political party most closely part to the deep state is the Independence Party. Bjarni Benediktsson was Icelandic Prime Minster for most of the 1960s. He died in office from a fire which also killed his wife and grandson.

The security and secret police of the Icelandic authorities, which operated for decades during the Cold War, was founded shortly before the Second World War.

In 1963, the newspaper Þjóðviljinn wrote about how the American embassy kept a card file, also stating that the embassy has in its service a group of people, domestic and foreign, "who gossip about the private affairs and opinions of every person in the country", mostly referring to the Independence Party.

Keflavík Airport

The military base at Keflavík Airport was extremely important to the American authorities during the Cold War.

Files on women during World War 2

Jóhanna Knudsen, policewoman and head of the youth control, spied on almost a thousand women during the war.The intelligence was extensive and organized, but information was collected about women who were considered fraternizing with foreign, mostly British, soldiers. The National Archives got access to Jóhanna's data in 1961, but on the condition that access to it would not be opened for the next half century, that is in 2011. Jóhanna recorded information about women in ten books, and the information came from many sources, not least from the then police chief's secret agent and one particular police officer. Her report was used to establish a work asylum where the victims of the campaign were housed.[5]

U.S. Confidential informants

Editor-in-chief and confidential informer to the U.S embassy Styrmir Gunnarsson in 2017.

Documents from the presidency of Henry Kissinger were made public that revealed the extent to which the American authorities went in collecting information during the Cold War.

The Kissinger files include a document from the American ambassador to Iceland, from 1974, where it is described how two journalists get into a car with the representative of the US authorities and share with him confidential information that they had been entrusted with by virtue of their work as journalists. There is uncertainty about the formation of a government due to the recent elections. The journalists' names are Björn Bjarnason, news director at Vísi, and Styrmir Gunnarsson, editor of Morgunblaðinn. They are not afraid to share information from confidential conversations with named politicians, sources who requested anonymity. Björn and Styrmir also visited the military base at Keflavík Airport.[5]

Styrmir reported in his book Í kaldu stríði that for almost a decade he has been spying on Icelandic communists on behalf of Morgunblaðin and the Independence Party. Styrmir says in the book that talking about "spying" is calling it too much. This was information gathering and he never had any doubts that he did the right thing by doing this work. However, it is stated that he knew that a copy of his reports, in addition to being used for news writing in Morgunblaðin, went straight to Bjarna Benediktsson, Minister of Justice and later Prime Minister, and Geir Hallgrímsson, Mayor and later Prime Minister. [5]

Although Styrmir downplays the intelligence, it cannot be denied that it is generally considered news that the leadership of the country's largest political force has received reports, we wrote in the middle of the night and followed secret sources in left-wing organizations. "However, the big question was the relationship I believed to be with the American embassy, ​​but I had no sure knowledge of such cooperation with representatives of another nation," says Styrmir in the book. "Had that been the case, weren't we doing the same thing we accused the communists of because of their connection with the Soviet embassy? From our point of view there was a fundamental difference between us were fighting for freedom and democracy and against dictatorship and oppression." Although Styrmir makes an attempt here to downplay his knowledge, it should be noted that today there are actually few unanswered questions in the question he himself poses.[5]

Enemies of the State

The book Enemies of the state (Óvinir Ríksins) by Guðna Th. Jóhannesson discussed the authorities' surveillance, among other things the phones of politicians and labor activists were tapped by the security services. An investigation was called for in the Althing, but it was not done. "It seems that the rulers have lost all control and have lost respect for the rules of democracy and privacy," said Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, then chairperson of the Samfylking on the matter in parliament.[5]

In the book, it is stated that the phones of eight to ten members of parliament were tapped, but Ingibjörg mentions it separately, as well as pointing out that some of the bugs were actually done only for tactical political advantage. "It seems to me, when you look at these issues, that it is as if the Independence Party did not consider that it had a temporary mandate from the voters when it was in government, but that the Independence Party itself had a formal or institutionalized power due to how often it was a member of the government and that it actually abused the government's power..This is a black mark on the nation's history, honorable president, which must be disclosed. The truth in these cases must be revealed in order to close this chapter in the nation's history," she said in December 2006.

Earlier in the year, Björn Bjarnason, then Minister of Justice, commented on the case. "It is especially strange to listen to the old socialists and members of the People's Alliance talk as if they are completely taken aback by wiretapping. However, they hammered on the fact that in those years, the government was always tapping phones. If they were surprised by anything in the report, it would probably be that there are six exchanges and that they are precisely specified, as well as that there is, of course, a court ruling behind each authorization," Björn wrote about the case on his website.

Just a few months earlier in 2006, the American authorities had released a number of documents that demonstrated their intelligence gathering in this country; including with the help of a young man named Björn who later sat in the chair of the Minister of Justice and talked down the need for an investigation into the actions of the authorities.

Spying on Halldór Laxness

Nobel Prize winner Halldór Laxness in 1955.

For half a century, only one of Halldór Laxness's books was published in the American market, despite the fact that he received the Nobel Prize for his contribution to literature in 1955. The American literary critic Chay Lemoine argued in 2007 that Laxness's career in the United States had been systematically destroyed, because of his leftist political views, by the local authorities. He then claimed that the Icelandic authorities had worked closely with the American authorities and that the goal had been to destroy Laxness's reputation in Iceland and in the United States.[5]

Further support was given to Lemoine's accusations in 2011, when filmmaker Halldór Þorgeirsson cited secret documents of the American authorities, where it was reported that in the 1960s Bjarni Benediktsson requested the help of the American authorities in destroying Laxness's reputation. It is pointed out that Bjarni's request came around the same time as the Nuclear Station was written. In the book, Laxness discusses the British and American occupation of Iceland and is extremely critical of the Icelandic authorities' decision to allow the construction of a military base in the country. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, was involved. "From the few documents that the CIA has not denied me access to, it can be clearly seen that the intelligence service had someone in Iceland to gather information about the political situation and communist activities. As a result, it is certain that they have followed Halldór because of his views," said Lemoine.

Halldór Guðmundsson, writer and CEO of Harpa, wrote a biography of Halldór Laxness and was awarded the Icelandic Literature Prize. In an interview with DV regarding the newspaper's coverage of the actions of the authorities against Laxness, Halldór says that the news does not surprise him. However, he says he is surprised why the intelligence service still refuses to hand over the data. Halldór brought evidence of a collusion between the Icelandic and American governments to bring the Nobel Prize winner to his knees.[5]

The spy network in Reykjavík

During the last half of the 20th century, the Independence Party aimed to have trustees in all companies in the capital with more than ten employees, who monitored people's opinions. This is stated in the biography of Guðna Th. Jóhannesson about the life of Gunnar Thoroddsen, a book is based on Gunnar's diary entries. It also states that in the 1960s the party had nearly 400 representatives who monitored the citizens.

Guðna's book tells about the preparations for the local elections in 1958. Before them, Hermann Jónasson's government had lobbied for changes to the electoral law. The changes included, among other things, that the representatives of the political parties could no longer monitor who had exercised their right to vote at the polling station. The Independence Party had to change their "electoral machine" under the strong leadership of Baldvins Tryggvason and publisher Birgir Kjaran. On page 260 of the book it says: "The great party machine was essentially unchanged: Reykjavík was divided into 120 districts, and there were usually 5-10 representatives in each of them (a total of 654 in early 1957). They recorded the political opinions of their neighbors and that information was entered into files in the party's headquarters. Baldvin and Birgir were so enthusiastic that they knew almost all the representatives by name and even remembered their phone numbers.[5]

Borrowing British agents provocateurs

British police agent provocateurMark Kennedy/Mark Stone was borrowed by Icelandic authorities to undermine the credibility of the environmental protectionist movement.

The British newspaper the Guardian reported in 2011 that a British police officer named Mark Kennedy/Mark Stone had been spying on environmentalists for years by pretending to be one of them. The case caused a great uproar in Britain and was seen as a clear example of how far the British authorities are willing to go in spying on their own citizens. Mark Kennedy was involved in the Saving Iceland movement, which strongly protested the construction of Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Plant. It was then revealed that he had encouraged militant protest actions and thus played a part in undermining the credibility of the environmental protectionist movement.[5]

Icelandic police authorities have always denied any knowledge of Kennedy. However, the organization Saving Iceland has never believed it and has actually demonstrated otherwise by publishing a photo of two Icelandic policemen fighting with Mark Kennedy. In a statement, police said the photo was not of Mark Kennedy but of another man. That explanation is not plausible as there are quite a few photos of Kennedy, including photos of him wearing the same clothes.[5]

Commercial spying

In 2005, a committee under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice published a report on the division of labor between the police and private guard and security services, which states that there are known cases where a private party has invited companies, professions and individuals to take care of personal intelligence, to invade privacy by "shadowing" people, photographing and eavesdropping in order to collect and communicate to the client sensitive information about people and their activities, about commercial and industrial interests as well as about official activities that concern the health and safety of the public," says the report. Concerns are expressed about this; "That information can, in the culpable hands of a client or the 'spy' himself, lead to oppression and/or other abuse by virtue of knowledge that the victim considers harmful to spread". The committee then proposes that; "a law must be enacted that prohibits private spying and that there are heavy penalties for breaking such a ban, as the profit in such activity can be so great, or the oppression associated with it, that illegal spying takes little risk with trivial fines". Björn Bjarnason, who decades earlier had fed information to the American authorities, was the Minister of Justice when the report was prepared.[5]

China's industrial espionage in Iceland

American authorities believe that the Chinese are engaged in industrial espionage in this country. This is stated in embassy documents published by Wikileaks in 2010. "It is believed that the Chinese are engaged in industrial espionage in the field of genetic analysis and medical research in Iceland," says one of the published documents.

The document, dated February 27, 2009, is marked "secret" and copies sent to the CIA, the FBI and the military's intelligence service, the DIA. In a document from the same year, the Americans believe that the Chinese "continue" industrial espionage in Iceland, on the one hand through conventional espionage and on the other hand, with technical equipment, which may include wiretapping and spying on the Internet, for example hacking into data banks.[5]

It is also stated that Russia monitors Chinese espionage, but it is pointed out that the deputy ambassador of Russia in Reykjavík, Valery I. Biryukov, is considered an expert on Chinese affairs. He previously worked in China for the Soviet Foreign Service.

The newspaper Fréttablaðið made the case a topic of discussion. "The Chinese government is believed to be engaged in extensive industrial espionage around the world. Western experts have estimated that up to a million people are on their side to steal trade secrets, but the Russians are the second most efficient at industrial espionage, with hundreds of thousands of spies." On the part of the Chinese embassy, ​​there were few answers regarding the matter. The embassy only referred to the US embassy when asked if there was any evidence to support the allegations.[5]

Special surveillance during 2008-2011 protests

The police chief in the capital area was forced to hand over the report of Geir Jón Þórisson, former chief of police, which discusses police actions due to protests from 2008-2011. The report confirms that the police collects information about people's political opinions and uses that information when assessing the need to supervise individuals. This was denied by the police chief in Reykjavík, among other things, at a meeting of the Constitutional and Supervisory Committee regarding the case. However, the report speaks for itself. "Quite harsh measures were expected from some protesters. Ideally, it was anarchists and a group of 50 to 100 people who followed them. It was decided to get plain-clothed students from the Police Academy to be among the protesters to see if there was something going on that called for police action," the report says.[5]

Weblinks


 

Groups Headquartered Here

GroupStartEndDescription
Central Bank of IcelandThe central bank of Iceland
Kaupthing Bank19829 October 2008Icelandic bank where the government did not guarantee for assets in branches abroad.
University of Iceland1911The national Icelandic university.

 

Citizens of Iceland on Wikispooks

TitleBornDiedDescription
Bjarni Benediktsson30 April 190810 July 1970Main responsible for Iceland joining NATO in 1949, against significant opposition, and for giving the United States Air Force a lease on Keflavík Airport. Prime Minister of Iceland for most of the 1960s. Died in 1970 from a fire soon after his 4th Bilderberg
Einar Benediktsson30 JLIcelandic hih ranking diplomat who attended the 1986 Bilderberg as Ambassador to NATO.
Björn Bjarnason14 November 1944Icelandic politician, heavy Bilderberg habit. Informant to US intelligence about his Icelandic politics.
Elias Davidsson23 January 19417 April 2022
Thorolfur Gudnason28 October 1953Chief Epidemiologist of the Icelandic Directorate of Health since 2015.
Geir Hallgrímsson16 December 19251 September 1990Prime Minister of Iceland, Bilderberg Steering Committee
David Oddsson17 January 1948Six time Bilderberger Icelandic politician
Jon Sigurdsson23 August 1946Icelandic politician
Hörður Sigurgestsson2 June 193822 April 2019
Gunnar Thoroddsen29 December 191025 September 1983Prime Minister of Iceland, single Bilderberger


References