Birgitta Jónsdóttir, the Icelandic MP and WikiLeaks member, who first released the "Collateral Murder" video showing US war crimes in Iraq, is planning a trip to the US, despite legal threats.
Despite the fact that she might face potential legal retribution from US authorities over the release of the infamous "Collateral Murder" video by her nearly three years ago, Jónsdóttir wishes to express her public support for Bradley Manning. Manning, who is allegedly the video's first source, is currently standing trial for treason.
The classified video, showing a US Apache helicopter slaughtering 8 civilians in Iraq, including two Reuters correspondents whose cameras were mistaken for weapons, was dubbed "Collateral Murder." This video was also instrumental in starting a witch-hunt against WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.
Jónsdóttir was one of a group of WikiLeaks volunteers who gathered in Iceland in early 2010 to help Assange prepare the footage of the US airstrike in Baghdad on July 12, 2007. She researched details of the footage so that it could be annotated and also selected stills for distribution to the media.
Despite a strong warning from Reykjavík of possible legal repercussions, Jónsdóttir plans to arrive in the US on April 5. She says that her trip, coinciding with the third anniversary of the release of the video, is her way of saying that she refuses to live in fear.
She told the Guardian, “I don't want to live in the shadows. I don't think I've done anything illegal or that I'm an enemy of the US state, but if they think I've committed a crime, I want to know.”
While plans for the trip are not currently widespread in the media, the following was seen in Jónsdóttir's Twitter feed on Tuesday morning:
Twitter feed of Birgitta Jónsdóttir.
Jónsdóttir is also planning a photo exhibit of the stills that she extracted from the footage during her visits to New York and Los Angeles, and hopes to take this exhibition across the US, prior to Manning's trial.
She told the media, “It's deeply troubling to me that he is the only one suffering the consequences – none of the people responsible for the war crimes in the video have been held accountable.”
Since she released the video, the US Government has tried repeatedly to gain access to Jónsdóttir's private information. Twitter was forced to release her user data in 2011, after receiving a subpoena from Washington, demanding personal data dating back to 2009.
After Jónsdóttir released the video, Manning was arrested as the suspected source for both the video and a huge cache of diplomatic cables that were leaked to Assange and WikiLeaks. Manning is now facing 22 counts of breaching national security and faces the possibility of life in prison with no chance of parole.
At the beginning of February, Digital Journal reported that Iceland had in August 2011 refused to cooperate with an FBI investigation into WikiLeaks. The Icelandic interior minister "made it clear that people interviewed or interrogated in Iceland should be interrogated by Icelandic police."
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