Dr. Gudni Th. Johannesson, Associate Professor of History, and Dr. Hannes H. Gissurarson, Professor of Politics, will give lectures at a meeting held by RNH and the Icelandic Association of Political Scientists Wednesday 14 January 2015, at Haskolatorg, Room HT-101, at 12 to 13. They will discuss new evidence on the 2008 bank collapse in Iceland. Professor Johannesson has studied and analysed secret documents made available by the Wikileaks initiative, especially about the activities of the US Embassy in Reykjavik prior to and during the bank collapse. He has also recently received confidential documents from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office by invoking the Freedom of Information Act. In a paper in the autumn edition of the Icelandic history journal Saga he argues that this new evidence may throw more light on aspects of the bank collapse, for example the attempt, before the collapse, to obtain a loan from Russia and a much-debated television interview with Central Bank of Iceland Governor David Oddsson Tuesday 7 October 2008.
Professor Gissurarson has led a research project at the Institute of Social Research at the University of Iceland, with the support of the Icelandic Ministry of Finance, on foreign factors in the Icelandic bank collapse, not least the refusal by central banks in the US, UK and Europe to make currency swap deals with the Central Bank of Iceland, the closure of the British banks owned by Icelanders in the midst of the financial crisis, and the use by the British Labour government of the Anti-Terrorism Law against Iceland. As a part of this project, Professor Gissurarson has interviewed many leading politicans and bankers, including Alistair Darling, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer during the crisis. Dr. Eirikur Bergmann, the author of a recent book in English on the Icelandic bank collapse, will comment on the two lectures, after which there will be a discussion with participation from the floor.
The meeting will be moderated by Eva Heida Onnudottir, President of the Icelandic Association of Political Scientists. The meeting forms a part of the joint project by RNH and AECR, the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists, on “Europe, Iceland and the future of Capitalism”. Admission is free and all are welcome.