No Evidence Of Wrongdoing In US Embassy Surveillance Case

Published December 8, 2011

The state prosecutor’s office has concluded that the US embassy in Iceland broke no Icelandic laws when conducting a Surveillance Detection Unit (SDU) that aroused controversy last year.
Last November, the US embassy admitted engaging in SDUs in Iceland. An SDU is essentially extending security surveillance from beyond the building of the embassy itself and into the neighbourhood around it. A Norwegian blogger added to this explanation in more detail, saying in part “the SDU will be stationed outside the embassy, working in plain clothes and will do its best not to be noticed or seen as having anything to do with the embassy. The members will normally be recruited from police or military intelligence, and are usually very experienced in their chosen field. They will actively follow, photograph, videotape and monitor persons that they deem to be deserving of that treatment.”
Embassy spokesperson Laura Gritz emphasised though that SDUs are “neither secret nor spying. It is not used against a host country or its citizens. It is simply to watch for suspicious activity within the vicinity of the embassy and its employees.” US Ambassador to Iceland Luis E. Arreaga-Rodas reiterated this, explaining on the news show Kastljósið that the US has no reason to spy on Icelanders, as the US and Iceland are friends. He added that the SDU is just a security measure, designed to save lives, focused exclusively on suspicious activity.
Nonetheless, the Ministry of Justice refered the matter to the state prosecutor for review. Vísir now reports that the state prosecutor has found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the US embassy.
The state prosecutor said that there was furthermore nothing to indicate that embassy employees, or anyone the embassy hired, broke any Icelandic laws in conducting SDUs. As such, the office found no need to pursue the matter further, and the case has been dropped.



News
Last McDonald’s Burger Sold In Iceland Unchanged After 6 Years

Last McDonald’s Burger Sold In Iceland Unchanged After 6 Years

by

The last cheeseburger sold in Iceland in 2009 remains unchanged after 6 years, reports MBL.is. The only notable difference seems to be that the meat patty is a slightly lighter colour than before. A year after the economic meltdown in Iceland, McDonald’s announced it would be closing up shop and on the last day it was open Icelander Hjör­tur Smára­son bought the last Mc­Don­ald’s cheeseburger in the coun­try. Deciding he would preserve it, Hjörtur kept the burger and fries in a plas­tic bag for 3 years dur­ing which time it remained un­touched by time or decay. “I had heard some­thing

News
Fact: Doctor Who Loves Icelandic Beer

Fact: Doctor Who Loves Icelandic Beer

by

Former Doctor Who, Christopher Eccleston, has expressed his love for Icelandic beer in an interview with Breaking News. Eccleston, who appears in the moody new crime drama Fortitude which was shot in Iceland, said the cast harvested their own fortitude during filming with the help of a stiff drink. “I was a naughty elf in the bar on Fortitude, but I wasn’t a naughty elf [on set]” said Eccleston. “[The bar] had some great beers – Icelandic beers – and we all tried the local stuff. There are some serious drinkers in Iceland, and some serious drinkers in the cast

News
Storm Traps Over 200 People In Gas Station

Storm Traps Over 200 People In Gas Station

by

More than 200 people are stuck in Staðarskáli gas station in Northwest Iceland due to a large storm which closed Holtavörðuheiði road, reports Vísir. Around 80 people have been offered a place to sleep at the local school, Reykjaskóli, and some families have managed to get lodgings at a local hotel. Even so, more than 200 people will remain in the gas station overnight until snow ploughs can clear the road sufficiently to allow drivers to get behind the wheel again. Although the gas station grill closed at 11 pm last night, the station plans to stay open in case

News
Here’s What You Need to Know About Dropping Oil Prices and Drekasvæðið

Here’s What You Need to Know About Dropping Oil Prices and Drekasvæðið

by

Lately it seems that people are getting more and more concerned about the dropping price of oil. This is perhaps less obvious to those of us buying petrol in Iceland, but some Icelanders are questioning whether the search for oil in Drekasvæðið (the ‘Dreka’ or ‘Dragon’ region to the northeast of Iceland)  should continue with crude prices down 55% since June. It seems logical that if the price is dropping there is no reason to look for more resources, but as with most things, it is a little more complicated than that. In December, OPEC met to discuss what should

News
PHOTOS: Reykjavík International Games: Archery

PHOTOS: Reykjavík International Games: Archery

by

The Reykjavík International Games are being held January 16 – 25, and the Archery competition took place on January 17 & 18. The qualification round consisted of FITA triple 40 cm targets for Compound bows and Recurve bows. Archery has always been the sexier cousin of target shooting—rich with history and drama. Also, it isn’t mentioned enough, if you accidentally shoot your friend with anything lethal, a bow and arrow is the most comical. For more information, check out the website: www.rig.is See Also: Reykjavík International Games Swimming (photo gallery)       Reykjavík International Games: Figure Skating (photo gallery)

News
PHOTOS: Karate at Reykjavík International Games

PHOTOS: Karate at Reykjavík International Games

by

The Reykjavík International Games are being held January 16 – 25, and the Karate competition took place on January 17, which included individual categories for both Kata and Kumite. Kata is a choreographed exhibition of skill, whereas Kumite is unrehearsed sparring. Emma Lucraft from England won women’s kata, which is maybe not a surprise as she holds the eleventh place in the Karate world rankings, whereas Elías Snorrason from the Reykjavík Karate Club took the men’s title. Similarly, Viktorija Rezajeva from Latvia, 28th place in the world rankings, won women’s kumite competition, and Lonni Boulesnane from France came in first place in the men’s

Show Me More!