A group of Icelanders have got together and made a website www.indefence.is that criticises British PM Gordon Brown for having used (or abused…) anti-terror legislation to freeze Icelandic assets.
The website’s key message is the simple and not entirely unreasonable “Icelanders are not terrorists”. The title tag of the website is “Darling I’m not a terrorist”, which is a dig at British Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) Alistair Darling.
In the first 12 hours of the website’s existence, 20,000 Icelanders had signed the on-line petition (that’s 7% of the population!). Bear in mind that Iceland has one of the highest rates of internet use in the world with around 84% of Icelanders using the web.
The website also contains a series of “postcards” which are in effect photos of ordinary Icelanders with signs saying things like “I am not a terrorist Mr Brown” and “Who are you calling a terrorist? Look what you’ve done!”.
Anyone who has been following the financial crisis will know that Mr Brown has justified his freezing of Icelandic assets on the grounds that the Icelandic government was not doing enough to prevent its struggling banks from collapsing and taking with them the deposits of thousands of British investors.
No-one would argue that Iceland had a problem with its banks; they had foreign liabilities of $100 billion in a country with a GDP of only $14 billion. But using anti-terror legislation against a peaceful Nordic country that doesn’t even have an army? It does sound a bit far-fetched and certainly not the purpose for which the legislation was created.
It will be interesting to see how far this web campaign gets, in particular:
- How many Icelanders sign the petition
- What media coverage the website gets outside of Iceland, particularly in the UK
- Whether any NGOs/human rights activists or opposition politicians in the UK take up the case of the clearly mis-labelled Icelandic people
- Whether any lawyers work out how Iceland can sue Gordon Brown for defamation of national character