Wikileaks' Julian Assange "not a rapist" -- CIA smears?

By Richi Jennings. August 23, 2010.

Julian Assange, figurehead of the shadowy Wikileaks organization, was last week accused of being a rapist in Sweden. Oddly, the leaked charges were confirmed by the Swedish prosecutor, but then quickly dropped. Assange denies rape, accusing the CIA of smearing him; others point the finger at "jilted lover" Anna Ardin. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers try to work out what's going on.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention see and hear sorting algorithms...

John Oates digs into his nosebag:

An arrest warrant was issued ... Friday night, then withdrawn on Saturday. Two women ... made the claims about two separate incidents to Swedish police. ... Prosecutors are still investigating molestation charges.


Assange [said] he had no direct evidence of [CIA] involvement but had been warned 11 August by Australian intelligence services to expect such a slander campaign. ... He learnt of the allegations when he saw them on TV ... in northern Sweden.

Robert Fox adds cunning background:

For some time it had been suggested that the secretive and itinerant Assange ... was considering setting up base in Sweden. ... Then, last week, Sweden's public prosecutor said it would be bringing a charge of rape against Assange ... within a matter of hours, the Swedish authorities announced they would not be bringing the rape prosecution, though it's possible they are holding the molestation charge.


The timing of all this raises suspicions that there are American influences ... behind the scenes. The prosecution story appeared just as Assange was making it clear that Wikileaks was about to release a further 15,000 classified US documents. ... But the US federal posse ... seems destined to fail. The CIA ... cannot hope to be dominating lords of cyberspace.

Mark Hosenball adds fuel to the fire:

The lurid on-again/off-again allegations are bound to fuel the already rampant paranoia of both WikiLeaks supporters and Assange himself, a nomadic figure who associates say is difficult to locate and contact at the best of times.

 News reports said ... he was also going to apply for a publishing license that would grant WikiLeaks, which uses computer servers in Sweden, some sort of special immunity under Swedish whistle-blower-protection laws.

Zenophon "zennie62" Abraham asks questions:

What's fishy about that story is if the women actually knew who Julian was, thus "fearing his power," which is a joke of a claim, and knew what his controversial Wikileaks issue was about, why would they seek to file a false report of rape, especially since he up against the U.S Government?


Under the circumstances,  because they're not named and did not file an official report, its fair to ask if the women were connected to the CIA?


Charging someone with rape is a serious issue. ... Anyone who abuses the legal process to make a false claim should be punished.

And Casual Observer, likewise:

So far, the explanations offered by the Prosecution Authority do not even begin to explain an apparent failure to follow their own policies. ... Why didn't the Authority simply issue a "no-comment / ongoing investigation" statement rather than confirming that Assange was indeed the subject of investigation?


The act of confirming an identity and making it public is no less a violation of policy than announcing Assange's name outright. ... If the Prosecution Authority is being truthful that it did not leak Assange's name as part of a false smear effort, who did?

ZealotZebra elaborates from Sweden:

Rape is always treated with the highest degree of suspicion in Sweden. That means that the Prosecutors Office by law had no other choice but to issue a warrant. ... The earlier prosecutor, Maria Häljebo Kjellstrand, was replaced by chief prosecutor Eva Finné. ... It is standard that they hand over their cases to other prosecutors.


According to Finné she had access to more information ... and therefore said there was no evidence of rape. The arrest warrant on Assange was cancelled but the lesser charge of "Sexuellt ofredande" remains. "Sexuellt ofredande" has been translated into molestation, which is more or less correct. "Ofredande" can mean just about anything that severely compromises the integrity of another.

But Nicholas John Mead wonders if a conspiracy theory is overblown:

One of the women that ... alleges Assange molested her [is] 30 year old Anna Ardin. ... It’s quite possible this is a smear plot but it if is, it’s been pretty badly executed so far.


It's likely that Assange’s movements were being tracked constantly by secret service agents ... when they caught him having sex, smelled a chance to frame him.


Ardin specializes in women’s rights as part of her work. She would have known the legal process intimately when it comes to reporting rape cases. ... Her knowledge of the legal procedure when it comes to reporting rape in Sweden meant she knew ... [about] a legal loophole that makes it possible to make a false accusation with no fear of recriminations for wasting police time or making false accusations.

  But Torbjörn Jerlerup thickens the plot:

It is very clear that Swedish nazis were the first ... to claim that Anna Ardin ... is one of the women. ... Rightwing groups have for some time been very angry at the ... Broderskapsrörelsen, that has started to work with Swedish Muslims.


Swedish rightwing groups and nazis indicated well before last week, that they were to start some kind of campaign. ... Anna Ardin has witten many positive articles about Islam on her blog ... and has been a public opponent of Sverigedemokraterna, a rightwing party anti-Muslim party, that probably will enter the parliament this year. ... She has been much hated for this.


Everyone has the right to be ”innocent until proven guilty”, Anna Ardin too! Please remember that!

Meanwhile, trust Adrian Chen
to ask the important questions:

Does Julian Assange really get as much action as this episode suggests? ... According to one of Assange's accusers, his position as an enigmatic, globe-trotting whistleblower affords him a level of attention from women usually reserved for rock bands and professional athletes.
It appears Julian Assange has that of which few nerds even dare to dream: Swedish groupies. Women go wild for radical transparency.

And Finally...
What different sorting algorithms sound like
[hat tip: Phillip Pi]
Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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