Without a clear “plan” there’s no need for “justification,” Assange’s loaded characterization of the report’s undoubtedly true claims that a rogues gallery of states—North Korea, China, and Russia among them—had spoken ill of or blocked WikiLeaks’ site by the time of the report’s production in 2008, or the “further justification” he says is represented by the report’s anodyne and accurate catalogue of DoD documents that WikiLeaks has posted.
Last week, when writing about WikiLeaks’ latest claims, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald made similar claims about that report’s contents, while relaying Assange’s charges about the teenager’s interrogation before encouraging readers to donate to the site. Gawker’s Adrian Chen relayed Assange’s statement as well, with some caution as to its credibility.
While WikiLeaks is not one and the same as the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, the working group pushing for the journalism-friendly legal changes, the two groups are linked. According to Smári McCarthy, a spokesperson for the initiative who works with the Icelandic Digital Freedoms Society, the idea for the legislative package emerged after Assange and a WikiLeaks colleague proposed something like it in a keynote address delivered at a Society-sponsored conference that discussed, among other topics, the role of the Icelandic media in the run-up to the nation’s severe financial crisis.
Assange is listed as an advisor and a suggested interviewee on the IMMI Web site’s contact section. He has given many interviews to foreign media on the legislative project.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, an Icelandic parliamentarian first elected in 2009 as part of a grassroots movement that arose from protests around the financial crisis, is a key backer of the Media Initiative. She is not worried that Assange’s claims of surveillance on Icelandic soil will do anything to discredit or impede the furtherance of the Initiative’s goals.
“It’s been extremely valuable to have someone like him help pushing it,” she says. “In Iceland, WikiLeaks and the IMMI is not as closely related as in international media.”
“I think he’s afraid that the Americans are on to him and are following him,” says Ingólfur of RUV. “I’m guessing when you run WikiLeaks you become slightly paranoid.”