Assange attended US embassy party in Iceland

Dec 13, 2010
Tim Edwards

WikiLeaks chief was already wanted by US when he played the daring ‘prank’

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange attended a cocktail party at the US embassy in Reykjavik, where he chatted with the ambassador to Iceland, as a “prank” last year it has emerged.

Assange had frequently been compared to the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel - before the British police finally caught up with him last week. But the extent of his derring-do has only now been revealed by Icelandic MP and former WikiLeaks volunteer Birgitta Jonsdottir.

"[Assange] certainly had fun at the party. He went as my guest. I said it would be a bit of a prank to take him and see if they knew who he was. I don't think they had any idea," she told the Daily Telegraph.

WikiLeaks was already notorious in US government circles by December 2009, the month of the US ambassador Sam Watson’s reception in Reykjavik. In 2007, Assange had leaked a training manual for US soldiers at the internment camp in Guantanamo Bay and during the 2008 presidential election, Sarah Palin’s emails were published.

By December 2009, Assange had received the US embassy cables, the Iraq war logs, a video of US helicopter pilots mowing down innocent Iraqis, and documents relating to the Afghanistan war, all of which were subsequently published on WikiLeaks. 

Although he had already upset the US Assange was the toast of Iceland at the time of the party, having published a secret report relating to the 2008 collapse of the country’s banks on WikiLeaks.
It was against this background that Assange apparently thought it would be amusing to go into the lion’s den. On the day of the ambassador’s reception, he didn’t even bother to wait for Jonsdottir before heading over to the US embassy.

Jonsdottir explains: "The irony was that I went to collect him from his guesthouse and couldn't find him, so just went back to work and didn't even go myself.

"I found out later he'd just decided to go on his own and got in by saying he was my guest. He said he'd spent a long time talking to Mr Watson."

For Assange, the conversation must have been an absolute hoot – among the US embassy cables he had in his possession were a batch from the US embassy in Reykjavik.

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