Whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks has accused the US government of spying on the organisation and its staff – and Icelandic authorities of colluding.
In an article posted on the site today, editor Julian Assange says the spying includes “covert following, photographing, filming and the overt detention and questioning of a WikiLeaks volunteer in Iceland on Monday night”.
Assange says he believes the surveillance relates to a film to be released at the US national Press Club on April 5. The film exposes a US massacre in Afghanistan on May 7 last year under the command of general David Petraeus, which left nearly 100 civilians dead.
Other possible triggers, he says, are the release of a US intelligence report on how to try and marginalize WikiLeaks, the publication of a cable from the US Embassy in Reykjavik over loan guarantees, and pending releases on the collapse of the Icelandic banks.
“We have discovered half a dozen attempts at covert surveillance in Reykjavik both by native English speakers and Icelanders. On the occasions where these individuals were approached, they ran away,” says Assange.
“One had marked police equipment and the license plates for another suspicious vehicle track back to the Icelandic private VIP bodyguard firm Terr. What does that mean? We don’t know.”
Assange says that one volunteer – a minor – was picked up and held by Icelandic police overnight without charge, and shown covert photos of Assange.
He’s worried: recent tweets include: “If anything happens to us, you know why: it is our Apr 5 film. And you know who is responsible.” He says he’s asked the authorities in Iceland and the US for an explanation.