WikiLeaks condemns FBI’s interrogation in Iceland

February 26, 2013

WikiLeaks released the statement below on February 7 in response to revelations the FBI had sent agents to interrogate a young man in Iceland over WikiLeaks’ activities – even after the Icelandic government ordered the agents to leave.

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Recently it has become public that the FBI had secretly sent eight agents to Iceland in 2011 in relation to the ongoing investigation of WikiLeaks. Icelandic Minister of Interior Ogmundur Jonasson has confirmed this to the Icelandic press and furthermore stated that when he found out on August 25 2011 that the aim of the visit was to interrogate an Icelandic citizen he ordered the local police to cease all cooperation with the FBI. He indicated that the FBI had left the country the day after.

In a joint statement on February 4 from the Icelandic police chief and the prosecutor general it is revealed that the FBI agents, in fact, did not leave the country immediately and were conducting interrogation of an Icelandic subject for at least five days, without the presence of Icelandic police officers.

The person in question was an 18-year-old individual who had offered his assistance to WikiLeaks as a volunteer. For a period of some months, he did manage several minor tasks for the organisation as one of hundreds of volunteers all over the world assisting the organisation. Many of them have visited Julian Assange as did the person in question in the summer of 2011.

A Canadian volunteer contacted the young Icelander with the idea of raising funds for WikiLeaks with online sales of T-shirts, coffee mugs and other merchandise. It later emerged that the Icelander deceived the Canadian volunteer into believing that he was WikiLeaks staff in order to have the funds transferred to his personal account instead of the organisations. When confronted, he admitted the wrongdoing.

Because of requests from people close to him and his young age he was offered the opportunity to repay the stolen funds, which amounted to about US$50,000. When it became clear he would not honour the agreement the matter was reported to the Icelandic Police.

WikiLeaks has learned that the police have finished the investigation and that the matter has been sent to the police prosecutor. It has also been reported that the police are processing charges of embezzlement against the individual pertaining to a number of other organisations within Iceland unrelated to WikiLeaks. It has materialised that the individual has engaged in gross misrepresentations of different types to obtain benefit from a range of parties.

We will not identify him by name in light of information that he has recently received institutional medical treatment.

In light of the relentless ongoing persecution of US authorities against WikiLeaks it is not surprising that the FBI would try to abuse this troubled young man and involve him in some manner in the attempt to prosecute WikiLeaks staff. It is an indication of the great length these entities are willing to go that they will disrespect the sovereignty of other nations in their endeavor. There is strong indication that the FBI used a combination of coercion and payments to pressure the young man to co-operate.

Further background here.

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