Archive for June, 2010

Jun 30 2010
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Iceland’s Post-Collapse Trial


Iceland’s first post-collapse trial continued yesterday. Nine participants of the ‘Cutlery Uprising’ face charges of ‘endangering the autonomy of parliament.’

In relation to the events surrounding Iceland’s economic collapse of 2008, nine Icelandic citizens stood in court yesterday. Each face up to sixteen years imprisonment. Yet they weren’t the politicians, bankers and businessmen who landed the country with a crippling €50 billion debt. Quite the opposite, actually.

The Reykjavik Nine (RVK9) are a gaggle of Icelanders who legally entered their Parliament to demand their politicians resign; one month and half before their government stood down. They each face charges of endangering parliament’s ‘autonomy’.

In April this year a parliamentary report was published which singled out the ‘gross negligence’ of seven high-power individuals responsible for crippling the islands economy. Said Johanna Sigurdardottir, the countries new prime minister, ‘The private banks failed, the supervisory system failed, the politics failed, the administration failed, the media failed, and the ideology of an unregulated free market utterly failed.’

Ironically, the counter-establishment protesters are the ones who have been charged. Read More

Jun 29 2010
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A Spade is a Spade, Repression is Repression


Ólafur Páll Sigurdsson

Environmental network Saving Iceland declares full solidarity with the Reykjavik Nine defendants (RVK9), who face between one and sixteen years in prison for exercising their democratic right to peacefully protest against a disgraced parliament, on 8 December 2008.

These nine people have been picked out of the thousands whose protests brought down the previous government, whose corruption and ineptitude was responsible for the historical crisis Icelandic society is still being torn up by. This same government has now been confirmed by the Special Investigation Committee report (SIC – an apt acronym) as instrumental in the abuse that lead to the complete crash of the Icelandic economy; and as a major force in the severe corruption, democracy deficit and ethical crisis which have since emerged as the underlying reasons for the total failure of Icelandic democracy.

Criminalizing political opponents, even those who use non-violent civil disobedience, is an old diversion tactic used by states worldwide. This act of political repression is in glaring contradiction to the sanctimonious declarations of ‘shouldering responsibility’ and ‘taking heed of lessons’ paid by the parties responsible for the crisis. Icelanders should take seriously the systematic abuse of power which has been uncovered in the Icelandic establishment. Read More

Jun 09 2010

The Chinese Invasion


ÞeystareykirHe Guoqiang, party secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Chinese Communist Party, is visiting Iceland along with a delegation of business personale. They will be meeting with the country´s president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, prime minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and the foreign minister, Össur Skarphéðinsson, along with the heads of certain companies they´re interested in cooperating with.

On the 9th of June, he and his delegation attended a meeting with heads of Landsvirkjun (National Power Company) where a letter of intent was signed on behalf of Landsvirkjun on one side, one of China´s biggest contracting companies, China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE) and the government owned Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank) on the other. The letter regards participation on tender offers to harness energy in Iceland. The letter does not commit any of these partners to any deals, but Landsvirkjun claims the letter displays their interest in doing business with these partners and CWE´s interest in bidding on the Búðarhálsdam project, with Exim Bank willing to finance some of CWE´s projects for Landsvirkjun. Read More

Jun 09 2010
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The Impact of Heavy Industry Whitewashed – The Report of the Special Investigation Commission


Wilderness under attackThis article originally appeared in the June issue of the independent newsmagasine Róstur.

The Whitewash report, or “Investigative report of the Special Investigation Commission”  made by the Special Investigation Comission (SIC) on orders from Alþingi (The Icelandic Parliament) under the pretence of investigating “the prelude to and cause of the crash of the Icelandic banks and related events”, which also is the subtitle of the report, has been disected by the media and heavily discussed on public forums for the last couple of months. The major medias and other groups of interest have been busy covering it chapter by chapter, drawing out the main conclusions of each part into few sentances to make it easily accessable to their readers. But not all of the chapters are getting equal coverage. Most of the focus has been on selected chapters relating to indictable actions and negligence on behalf of government and bank officials in the run-up to the collapse, the processes of the privatisation policy, especially towards the banks, and the loan books and other financial documentation revealed by the report. In that way, the major medias and other public opinionmakers are, like always, backing up the authorities in their defence of the current political system. All coverage about the report is directed towards these few selected parts, scapegoating a few people from the pre-crash financial sector along with expendable and retired politicians to spare the rest. This has resulted in a black-out of all discussion about the most important and revealing parts of the report, namely the parts about the economic impact of the industrialisation policy. Read More