One of the more interesting aspects of the Black Report is that it is such an easy read. Many people here feared that it would be filled with jargon and legalese, but that’s not the case at all. It’s written in language clearly aimed at the man in the street, and peppered with lots of direct quotes by people who were questioned by the Special Investigation Commission.
One such direct quote that has attracted a fair bit of attention around here is one from Foreign Minister Össur Skarphéðinsson. He’s describing an incident where there was a meeting between execs at Landsbanki and Glitnir to discuss a possible merger between the banks – to try to prevent them from going under. Össur tells the Commission:
[The Landsbanki people] came to present something to us, some great offer. And he [Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson] sat there in his snazzy outfit, this bigtime salesman, selling something that revolved around them getting Glitnir for free and all kinds of other things and the entire foreign currency reserve and some kind of “guarantee” on top of that. And Halldór Kristjánsson [former Landsbanki CEO] sat there sort of like this beaten-down dog and wasn’t really responding. And then the meeting was over, Sigurjón was there [Árnason, Landsbanki’s other CEO and Icesave mastermind], there were snúðar [like big cinnamon buns] on the tables, cut in two, big snúðar. So Sigurjón has a sizeable mouth and is a big man, and when they had gone out and it was just him who was left, he took half a snúð, stuffed it in his face, and from beneath the snúður shot out this sentence: “This is never going to work. This is never going to work.” And then this hand with a gold watch came and yanked him out.
Now, you’ll be happy to know that Icelanders are not just swallowing the entire contents of the Black Report whole. We may have been that gullible once, but no more. We’re investigating. Looking into things, making sure they really hold up.
Case in point. A good Icelander has taken it upon himself to test whether it is actually possible to stuff a snúður into your mouth while uttering the words: Ég hef enga trú á þessu [“this is never going to work” or, if you prefer the literal translation, “I have no faith in this.”]
First, checking to see if it’s actually possible to stuff half a snúður into your mouth:
Ok – NOT.
Then how about one-quarter of a snúður, while saying Ég hef enga trú á þessu:
Err … maybe. But you would really need to have a sizeable mouth.