So, the Special Investigative Commission dropped their report last week on the events leading up to Shitstorm Bank-Collapse 2008. Needless to say, everyone who got name dropped in it gave themselves a high-five and everyone left out went home crying like emo kids! No, not really.
Unsurprisingly, those named in it immediately began passing the buck around like a beer-bong at a frat house. Former MPs have come out making last-ditch apologies and shedding crocodile tears. The Independence Party’s vice-chair and Minister of Education resigned due to severe allegations against her husband in the report. Former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde, in office at the time of the collapse, is accused of negligence in the report and flippantly disagreed with this claim, stating in a press conference that the banks are solely to blame.
In addition to the SIC report, a second report by a task force on ethical issues was released at the same time. Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is criticized in it for his actions in the events leading up to October 2008. In particular, the report states that the president was involved in the orchestration of the ‘outvasion’ and arrogantly promoted Icelandic business supremacy based on patriotism and heritage. It also notes that the president’s travels abroad between 2002 and 2008 heavily reflect Icelandic foreign investments.
The president has denied many of the claims and gone on record saying that the report is full of inaccuracies regarding the presidential office. On the other hand, he has praised the rest of the SIC report sections that do not mention the president (uhm, himself) or his office at all.
Strangely, the president has gone on to use the report as a defense for statements he made on the BBC regarding IMPENDING VOLCANIC DOOM (via the eruption of Katla). Somehow believing himself to be an expert on the topic, despite having no geological or volcanological certification, Grímsson told the British channel that it wasn’t a matter of if Katla will erupt, but when. He then went on to say that the international community should begin preparing itself for this occasion.
While it is probably true that a Katla eruption will indeed cause mass disruption and generally become a great nuisance, there are surely more appropriate ways of alerting the international community. Indeed, immediately following the broadcast of the interview, a sudden wave cancellations for trips to Iceland occured.
Iceland’s tourism industry reacted very strongly and outspokenly towards the president’s statements, calling them irresponsible and purely speculative. In fact, as the geologists monitoring the current eruption have consistently said, it is impossible to truly accurately predict volcanic activity of any sort. Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir, director of tourism, was quoted as saying “The way the president spoke is not in the spirit of what we have emphasized, which is to provide objective information and to let scientists comment on matters related to earth science.”.
In response to this additional criticism against him, Grímsson defended his right to discuss the eruption of Katla as an impending occurrence, saying, “One of the main lessons from the Special Investigative Commission report is that we have to discuss potential threats.”
Not only does the logic seem flawed, but it’s pretty damn ballsy of a guy who is so quick to call out a report on its lies about his own character to then use the same document as an excuse for spewing biased conjecture as facts. The consequences of his statements could result in severe losses for the tourism industry this summer, one of the few, if not the only industry in Iceland that has actually experienced growth since the banking crash.
For a president who won’t accept responsibility for his part in his country’s economic downfall, denies the need for reform of the presidential office and refuses to resign, it’s not so surprising that he also has complete disregard for the protection of his nation’s viable industries and scientific integrity. Might I suggest a stiff shot of shut-the-fuck-up?