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Iceland's MunnyKids, Russian Loans, Offshore Laundries, Contrailed Skies, Ancient Cults and Maybe a Sheik or Two

Sailing from sunshine into shadows...somehow symbolic

When I found this street art in an alley by my house I was bummed that the bow was shadowed, and that the branches added a stormy sense of unease to the otherwise adventurous image. But then it occurred to me how perfect the symbolism was for the bit I'm about to share, written to day, and posted sans links on my Facebook wall

What follows has been years in the considering, but this week's ridiculousness and sense of just-controlled panicky chaos from the 'ruling' parties here in Iceland brought it all home for me in a nicely wrapped bundle, ready to be typed and published and shared with the world at large. It's not the writing style most of my frequent visitors are used to, but it's as much me as anything else I've shared here on Iceland Eyes.

Iceland 2008: Our MunnyBoys (and girls too?) are still gambling at the Big Kids table, betting long and hard and fast and we're proud of them!* And even though respected rags like The Guardian had begun asking exactly where some of that cash being tossed about came from (could it perhapsies be Russian mafia dough?) no one really cares! They're on a winning streak, until they're not. In early days October,
the house of cards collapses, and all the cocaine and champagne in the world can't make it go back to how it was. Eyes go glassy. The party's over.

The banks fail and though in the ensuing years we've gotten all sorts of credit for having 'let them,' no one could have stopped the freefall, in retrospect looking suspiciously like a controlled demolition. Were we set up to implode for a soft takeover? It's been proposed.

But here, on the streets, in the towns, faces blanche. National shock-sobriety freezes everyone in their tracks, barely able to wonder what the fokk to do next.

A confused populace wonders if we should be busting out the Rosetta Stone and learning the Cyrillic alphabet. Putin approves it, so does our PM. Can we trust these guys? Are we sold?

The story gets press-legs and runs around the major media outlets for a month or so, then disappears. Contemporary sources say it never happened.

By late November our bankster-loving and much-despised to-our-chagrin-legitimately-elected overlords formally accept $2.7 billion from the IMF, forcing us to publicly declare, on our knees, who our new masters are. We've been owned.

But soon, by January 2009, people are losing their homes, getting laid off by the ton, and we're pissed. We get out our loudspeakers, pots and pans, and gather pallets for burning. We chant in front of our dollhouse-sized Parliament in the freezing cold and bang our metals together, and light bonfires throughout long nights until the gamblers, who've staked our very gramma's pension and lost, creep back into their holes to plot their next coup. Some of us naively think we've won.

Fast forward to 2015. 

ColdWar.20 is in full fury, a war of infobits, of words, of downed planes and proxy soldiers. It's a Hand-of-God kind of war, the battlefield being the entire planet as mapped out like a game of Risk. Everyone's involved, or can be if they've got thumbs to type with and a twit feed. The duped world populace has settled into knowing that international munnies are shifting endlessly, bits and digits, forever never reaching the account balance field of the banking app on their gadget. The audible sighs of all those who've given up hope cause the clouds to form in strange undulations, and the night skies begin to light up noctilucent as the frequency shifts to Highly Edgy for the 7 billion souls on earth.

But Iceland's doing fine. We pay off our IMF loan in full, unheard of in the annals of usury.

 The MunnyBoys&Girls are stoked. Unknown to the masses, kept busy finding new and innovative ways to suck at the tourism teat, they've socked away all the loot they could last-minute online transfer just before the fail, korter í hrun, in warm islands, to lay there and incubate, to grow slowly with interest as the plot to make it magically double thickens. They rub their hands together in suppressed glee. The locals choose to have no or little clue.

But war is war, and a close look at a Risk board or any old map will show you just what fat and juicy little gulf stream-warmed island, too remote for migrants to cross into, but close enough for a weekend getaway, floats right there in between the conflicting parties. Lush fishing grounds surround it, with a tantalizing hint of undersea oil fields to boot. Some say there's even diamonds in them thar hills. Water, and plenty of it, running freely hot and cold. Electricity at the cheap. Stunning rhyolite hills and waterfalls. Beautiful men and fertile women with just the right amount of sass to keep it interesting. And on top of it all, location, location, location.

One day the population of cousins littering the edges of this magical, top-ten destination island read in the papers that the US navy is coming back to babysit our space again (one of the prices Iceland paid to receive $44 million in post-WWII Marshall Plan cash.) We go huh? and our shiny MunnyKids say they'd never been told a thing! The US says no more, falls suspiciously silent, but in the next days armed forces jets fly overhead leaving contrails in massive striped formations above our capital city, and the astute understand that whether or not those kids in office had been feigning ignorance, it didn't matter. Even with all of our stun-guns, billy clubs and mace gathered in the same space, we could never out-force the occidental power flexing its muscle in our skies. Owned again.

Or were we? In light of the Panama Papers, here's what I'd like to propose:

Some certain somebodies did take the Russian munnies, investing it and/or squirrling it away for a day when no one would notice it had ever existed. Maybe even the Mighty Putin himself had for a while there forgotten that he'd ever tried to help a fellow European nation through tough times way back when, and, being a busy man, had never noticed that some of the sleazier members of our island population had pawed at and pocketed the dough, wink wink.**

Or maybe it was pure gangster munny, not unheard of in this day and age. Maybe there were sheiks involved, again. Whatever went down, whoever loaned out the money, has not forgotten that they did. Maybe independent Iceland, seemingly so easily able to squirm away from owing anybody a gaddam thing all these years, isn't really so free at all. Maybe the next-gen suited-up punks from our local power families, who we elected back into office to manage us, actually sold their souls for an eastern-style black-market buck, with the intention of setting up our homeland financial system to make that munny double up in offshore accounts, as advised to by mysterious backroom parties. Then they'd feed the circling loansharks, take a tidy profit themselves, and everyone'd be happy, blessbless.

So to buy time to make their munny moves in order to pay back the Russians or sheiks from Arabia or shady high rollers of no specific nationality, they have to coyly put off any new American presence on our soil, at least for now.*** Everyone knows it looks far better to be a concubine of the States than admit you've gone down totting on an Eastern Mobster, but even the MunnyBunch understand that you can't serve two masters. One would have to wait while the other was gotten off, takk very much, ok?

Enter the Panama Papers revelations. It being a Cold War, and war being what it is, the disgruntled and rebuffed Western Power took our MunnyBoys down. The partly Rockefeller and Soros-owned ICIJ tapped into the current restless Iceland zeitgeist by revealing our pudgy PM, already heavily disliked for many moons, as a fraud, complete with a well-drawn headline illustration of him with a "who me?" mug next to some of the men the propaganda-run western world is told to despise the most. Our local baby-rich kids played their hand too long, possibly begging behind closed doors for just a bit more time before being reoccupied by our US masters, who, it turns out, never went so very far away at all...
But no, I'm sure this is just the plot for my next novel, seeping into my conscience, my seething writers mind, whiff by bit. I guess I'll just write it down as pure speculative fiction. I hope you enjoyed the ride.


* Once again, the glory of writing: while trying to find the linked 2005 speech by the Icelandic President, I discovered that the Walbrook Club where he gave this speech is located on one of the most historic and powerful plots of land in London. Not only is it where the Bank of London sits, but is also the Roman worship site of the very ancient Old God Mithras, whose all-male cult built a temple around 250AD, later excavated at Walbrook Street after WWII

** In this article from Oct. 2008, just microseconds after the crash, the writer ponders why Iceland would look to Russia for a bailout when it's part of NATO? Indeed! He gathers some great quotes to shore up the tantalizing theory that there were wome serious shenanigans going down.
*** Here's another fascinating article, this one on how the US secretly debated stashing some nukes in Iceland. Fun times!  

A post script: my cousin, who's been in the world of finance in the UK wrote this comment on Facebook: "Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction... I've certainly heard speculation of Icelandic idiots being used for Russian money laundering. This from guys working in the City." 

And in a new development, Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir has just this evening been appointed as the new Foreign Affairs Minister. As a former employee of the IMF in Washington DC, this fits disturbingly well into my little narrative.

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