The full story of the rape charges against Julian Assange of Wikileaks, a possible covert op

Summary:  Here’s the chronology for the Wikileaks rape incident, based on the little we know so far.  It’s necessary since journalists seldom can assemble data to tell a coherent story.  Esp when the story suggests (nothing more than suggests) a US disinformation operation.  Links to other posts in this series appear at the end.

Contents

  1. Chronology and details of the story
  2. Rumors
  3. Sources.  Where to go for more information
  4. Other posts about Information Operations

(1)  The Story

Here are the details of this story, using english-language public sources.  Probably most but not all of it is accurate.  We may never know more than these bare facts. Especially if the story gets buried by waves of rumors and complex allegations.

Saturday, 14 August — Alleged incident between Julian Assange and Ms A, who had attended speeches by Assange.

Tuesday, 17 August — Alleged incident with Ms. W, who had also attended speeches by Assange (no mention if they were the same speeches).

“… each reported a separate non-consensual incident of a similar character in which Assange allegedly had sex with them without using a condom. … before going to the police, both women asked Assange to have a health check to reassure them, and that Assange declined to do so. Ms W is said to have visited a hospital on Thursday before going to the police.”  {Guardian}

Their attorney, Claes Borgstrom, says the women are aprox 25 and 35 years old.   The details of the crime remain vague.  Did Assange force sex after refusal to use a condom?  Nor is is their an explanation as to why Ms W went to the hospital.  Injuries?  STD tests? 

Statement by Ms A to the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet:

“I believed her information immediately because I had a similar experience myself,” she said. “The other woman wanted to report a rape, I gave my statement as a support statement to her story and to support her.” {Telegraph}

… said she was not frightened of Assange and that he was not violent. She said she had only ever alleged sexual molestation, not rape, and added: “In both cases, what started out as voluntary sex subsequently developed into an assault. The other woman wanted to report rape. I gave my story as testimony to her story and to support her. We stand by the information. … responsibility for what happened to me and the other girl lies with a man who has a twisted attitude to women and a problem with taking ‘no’ for an answer.””  {Guardian}

How did the two women meet?   No explanation so far for this key detail; see section 2 “rumors” for one explanation.  From the Telegraph account of the Atonbladet interview with Ms A, she says that Ms W approached her.  Ms A then “agreed to attend a police interview to lay the charges and make a complaint of her own.”

Friday, August 20 — Both women go to the police.  Police refer the case to the on-call prosecutor, Maria Haljebo Kjellstrand.  She said:

“The information I was give was so convincing that I took my decision. I was given an account by the police that I thought was enough to issue an arrest. I do not regret my decision in any way.”  {Telegraph}

From CNN, describing a statement posted Monday on the Sweden Prosecution Authority’s website:

The fear that Assange might leave Sweden was apparently what provoked the warrant last week.   The prosecutor “decided that Julian Assange was to be arrested” based on information that police gave her over the phone, a typical procedure. “The prosecutor was also made aware that the individual concerned was a foreign national and that he was about to leave the country … that there was a risk that he would have time to leave the country before authorities had time to interrogate him. There was also a risk that he could have interfered with the investigation.”

Soemtime Friday night the Swedish newspaper Expressen contacted Prosecutor Kjellstrand.  The news media show little curiousity as to how the Expressen staff so quickly learned of this.

Normally, the Swedish Prosecution Authority do not publish the names of persons suspected of crime. The authority did not in this case initiate publication. Late on Friday night, a Swedish newspaper got hold of information concerning Mr Assange’s arrest. When interviewed, the duty prosecutor confirmed the facts presented. {Statement on the Swedish prosecutor’s website}

Adopting the the innocence of  children, the news media quickly flashed the accusations around the world (AP, Reuters).  But then events went off the rails.  A senior prosecutor took over the case and quickly cancelled the arrest warrant.

The decision to appoint Eva Finné as prosecutor in charge was made on Saturday. Under most circumstances the duty prosecutors on Monday morning hand over all weekend matters to different prosecutors who will be in fully charge of the investigations. Very serious crimes or matters with a large media cover could, however, be handed over earlier – to lessen the burden on the duty prosecutors, who have to deal with all matters reported by the Police. The matter concerning Mr Assange was judged as such a matter.

… On Staturday afternoon chief prosecutor Eva Finné came to the desicion that Julian Assange could no longer be suspected of rape. Considering that, Assange is no longer arrested in his absence.

When Ms Finné became in charge of the matter on Saturday, she had more information than the first prosecutor had on Friday night. Decisions on coercive measures, like arrest, should constantly be re-evaluated during an investigation and must always be based on the actual information.  {Statement on the Swedish prosecutor’s website}

That same weekend the women (jointly?) retained prominent (i.e., expensive) attorney Claes Borgstrom, who met with them Monday.  He was Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman (JämO) from 2000 to 2007.   In 2008 he was appointed as the Social Democrats’ spokesperson on gender issues.  He’s earning his fee by keeping the heat on Assange.  He said:

“What I can say is that these are two Swedish women who have had two experiences completely independent of one another. They are not friends from before, but these events were connected with Assange’s tour in Sweden.”  {CNN}

What will happen next?

Eva Finné will thouroghly consider all facts in the matter and continue to lead the investigation the forthcoming week. At the moment it is not possible to estimate when more information can be given or which decisions will be made. Information will be published as soon as possible.  {Statement on the Swedish prosecutor’s website}

(2)  Rumors

The older of the two women is rumored to be Anna Ardin (see her photo here).  Politically active  and radical feminist.  The rumors fly around the Internet.

From “Plotting Doubted in WikiLeaks Case“, New York Times, 23 August:

But one of Mr. Assange’s close friends in Sweden, who said he had discussed the case in detail with Mr. Assange and one of the women, said he was “absolutely sure” that what was involved were personal animosities and grievances that flowed out of brief relationships Mr. Assange had with the women. 

The man, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the issues, said that the volatile mix that led to the two women’s seeking criminal charges against Mr. Assange involved his celebrity in Sweden and the ill feelings that erupted when the two women discovered they had been competing for his attentions.  “This wasn’t anything to do with the Pentagon,” he said. “It was just a personal matter between three people that got out of hand.”

Many media gurus confidently assert that the women’s relations with Assange show no Agency involvement (e.g., this at Reason magazine).  After all, covert ops only employ nuns to take down their targets.  Using vindictive girlfriends would be unfair.

(3)  For more information

Sources for this post:

  1. Wikileaks rape claim woman ‘experienced unwelcome advances’“, Telegraph, 22 August 2010 — A weird headline to describe involentary sex without a condom.
  2. Prosecutors may decide today on charges against WikiLeaks founder“, Guardian, 24 August 2010
  3. Lawyer for alleged victims in Assange case denies Pentagon involvement“, CNN, 24 August 2010
  4. Statement in English on the Swedish prosecutor’s office, undated

For more information about Wikileaks:

  1. Wikileaks.org—An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?“, document on Wikileaks, alledgedly from US Army Counterintelligence, 18 March 2008 — Scary reading; bad news for the people running Wikileaks
  2. Fact-free accusations about WikiLeaks“, Glenn Greenwald, 24 August 2010 — He shows that there’s no evidence that Wikileaks have resulted in any dealths (not even the US government alledges that). They probably cannot be successfully prosecuted for espionage, as the US does not have an Official Secrets Act.

Other posts in this series:

(1)  Sad news about the CIA — Underestimating the skill of the government at covert ops?
(3)  Update to the Wikeleaks rape story, and why it’s important – If a covert op, it’s working.
(4)  New and strange developments in the prosecution of Julian Assange (Wikileaks) — New but not more enlightening.

Also — see these FM reference pages:

(4a)  Posts on the FM site about US info ops run against us

  1. News from the Front: America’s military has mastered 4GW!, 2 September 2007
  2. 4GW at work in a community near you, 19 October 2007
  3. The media discover info ops, with outrage!, 22 April 2008
  4. Successful info ops, but who are the targets?, 1 May 2008
  5. “Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable”, 8 June 2008 – About Debkafile
  6. Does reading Debkafile make us smarter, or dumber?, 15 June 2008
  7. Psywar, a core skill of the US Military (used most often on us), 26 November 2008
  8. Concrete evidence of government info ops against us, but it’s OK because we are sheep, 2 December 2008
  9. Iran’s getting the bomb, or so we’re told. Can they fool us twice?, 16 February 2009 
  10. DoD confesses that they whitewashed revelations about an info op run against us, 12 July 2009

For the full list see the FM reference page Information & disinformation, the new media & the old.

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