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Assange Affair: Prosecutors Leak to Media Again

After giving their solemn promise. US military blog smells rat in second woman's story.


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STOCKHOLM (Radsoft) — Swedish authorities gave their solemn promise no further details of the Assange affair would leak to the media - then they leaked everything anyway.

It's no wonder Julian Assange is calling the Swedish justice system 'a complete circus'.

Interrogation

Julian Assange, accompanied by his lawyer Leif Silbersky, met with the Swedish authorities on Monday to discuss the charge of molestation (ofredande). Much of the conversation centred around Julian Assange's insistence on getting a guarantee from the Swedes that there would be no further leaks to the media. He specifically named the tabloid Expressen in the conversation.

Assange's lawyer Leif Silbersky admonished his client to answer the questions posed - which Assange eventually did, but not before getting the authorities to offer their personal guarantees none of what was said would leak to the media.

The authorities gave in and gave their 'guarantee' - then went right out and violated it anyway, leaking to no less than the tabloid Expressen.

Assange called it 'a complete circus', adding that he was losing confidence in the Swedish justice system.

New Rape Charges

Claes Borgström, who represents the plaintiffs and has through partner Thomas Bodström a direct line to the White House, appealed the earlier decision of head prosecutor Eva Finné to reduce and eliminate charges to the Utvecklingscentrum, a legal body on the west coast involved in research into expanding definitions of crimes. Chief prosecutor there Marianne Ny reopened all previous charges, adding sexual coercion and sexual harassment as well.

Ny said her decision was based on 'new information' that had arrived at her office 'late Monday' - most likely the interrogation protocol with Julian Assange from the meeting the same day.

And although Julian Assange had been given a solemn promise nothing would be leaked, it was leaked - and to Expressen to boot who published proof of the leak with full details online today.

Condoms

The entire Assange affair seems to revolve around the use of condoms. Or lack thereof. Or perhaps the hysterical claim someone would deliberately put a hole in one.

This holds for both complaints leveled against the WikiLeaks founder and frontman.

T20

T20, the epithet used in the Swedish blogosphere to describe the younger of the girls, is now suspected (on as yet loose grounds) of being behind a coordinated smear campaign against Julian Assange, with the older girl, referred to online as 'the most hated woman in the world', as an unwitting accomplice and dupe.

Two 'Exclusive' Interviews

Both Expressen and Aftonbladet interviewed Assange yesterday but Aftonbladet deferred with publishing the entire interview until today. There wasn't much to the interview. Expressen chose instead to publish a video of their own 'exclusive' interview.

Both tabloids claimed their interviews were 'exclusive'. Such is tabloid journalism.

Expressen's 'Exclusive' Interview

Following is Expressen's 'exclusive' interview which took place on the streets of Stockholm yesterday. It requires Flash. It will most likely have a half minute ad to lead it off. (If you're lucky you'll see Mads Mikkelsen - 'Le Chiffre' from Casino Royale.)

Aftonbladet's 'Exclusive' Interview

Aftonbladet's 'exclusive' interview was published in part yesterday, with the 'full interview' due out today. The 'full interview' adds little to what was already published. Aftonbladet added the following in preface:

This case is about Julian Assange taking off a condom when he had sex with one of the women.

JA: I say the same thing I've said all along. I've not done anything with those two women which hasn't been completely consensual from both sides.

AB: But why then does the prosecutor open up the case again?
JA: I don't know. I've not been allowed to know what I'm accused of.

AB: Have you made either of them a victim of a sex crime?
JA: As I said, it was all consensual.

AB: But why would the women lie?
JA: I haven't seen the accusations yet and therefore don't even know they've lied.

AB: It's now been a week and a half since you were first arrested in absentia for rape. How have things been during this time?
JA: I've had better weeks. Journalists from all over the world ring up all the time. But of course this is not in itself unusual.

AB: What do you think of the behaviour of the prosecutors?
JA: This is a complete circus. No one has asked me or my solicitor for my version. It was first when I was interrogated on Monday that I learned what the 'molestation' was about.
JA: I'm very upset. And on my way to lose confidence in the Swedish judicial system.

AB: What did the police ask?
JA: A few questions of an intimate character. A great part of the interrogation went to my wanting guaranties the information wouldn't be turned over to the media. I explained I was critical to how it was leaked in the beginning.

AB: Did you get any guaranties?
JA: Yes. And I trust the interrogators.

AB: Did they ask about your relationship in general with this woman?
JA: No, they weren't interested in that type of information. I asked them to look at my cellphone to corroborate my version of timelines for various meetings and such. But they said 'no thanks'.

AB: How much does this situation damage you and WikiLeaks?
JA: It disturbs me and the organisation a great deal. We have a lot to do and this wastes a lot of energy.
JA: I've experienced many personal attacks. But this has been the most difficult to deal with.

AB: Your answers are very professional and deal with how the situation influences your work. How does it feel for you as a human being?
JA: I don't want to appear as a victim.

AB: But this must have affected you.
JA: I've slept too little, but it's always like that. I'm working all the time. This might sound ridiculous, but I've become very careful about what I say. I'm afraid to say something that's going to make me look like a sex maniac.

AB: You've said previously that you believe you're the victim of a smear campaign.
JA: I still think so. The only question is who is behind it. I have no proof, only circumstantial evidence.

AB: Evidence of what?
JA: What I can say is that I've been given qualified warnings about conspiracies. Drugs or child pornography that would have been planted. Honey traps.
JA: There's something strange about this case. The future will show if it's a conspiracy or if the prosecutors are incompetent.

AB: Maybe you should have been careful, considering these warnings?
JA: I thought I was.

AB: I think it smells like a spy novel with these conspiracy theories.
JA: Then you are naive.

AB: You run the risk of being arrested again. Are you going to leave Sweden?
JA: I have work waiting in other countries but I've chosen to remain in Sweden to clear this up. I don't really know what I'm going to do now.

The New Leak

After giving Julian Assange their solemn promise nothing further would leak to the media, and after getting Julian Assange's version of the events concerning the charge of molestation, the Swedish authorities turned around and leaked it all again - to no less than Expressen, the tabloid Julian Assange told them he was particularly worried about.

This should cause a worldwide sensation but probably won't. This should cause a full investigation of the prosecutor's office and the police department but probably won't. Such is the 'duck pond' known as Sweden.

Expressen proudly published proof of the leak today along with the interrogation protocol with Julian Assange from Monday - the precise information the Swedish authorities promised Julian Assange would not be leaked.

Following is the scan of the interrogation protocol Expressen published as proof. A translation is provided along with other remarks by the tabloid. (FL = förhörsledare, leader of the interrogation; FV = probably förhörsvikarie, assistant interrogator or someone from the familjvåldsenheten, if there is such a thing; LS/Adv = Leif Silbersky, Julian Assange's advokat - lawyer.)


FL: That she rejected a sexual advance from you?
JA: Yes, sometimes but not in a way that was significant. No, not something that would not be normal.

FL: Then we return to the first night. Did you...
JA: Yes.

FL: Now I'll ask [FV] if you have something you want to discuss.
FV: No.

FL: Leif, something you want to... ?
LS: I have a few questions.
FL: OK.

LS: At what time of day did you and [Ardin] have [sex], the approximate time?
JA: Late at night and early in the morning.

LS: What would you say, what time approximately? Three, four, five?
JA: Between 23:00 and 05:00.

LS: OK. Was there any alcohol?
JA: No.

LS: Neither of you?
JA: Yes, I don't remember that I should have drunk any greater amount. We can have had wine at dinner. But it was not an evening where we drank a lot.

'And That's It?'

Expressen filled in other details of the interrogation.

The interrogation with Julian Assange was conducted on Monday at 17:43 by an investigator with the family violence group of the Stockholm police. Assange's solicitor Leif Silbersky was present.

The molestation charge was about Assange having sex without a condom with Anna Ardin. According to Expressen's famous anonymous sources, she has accused Assange of deliberately making a hole in a condom and then having sex with her.

Leif Silbersky reacted spontaneously when he heard this.

'And that's it?'

Assange answered concisely after a while.

'It's not true.'

But then Assange became suspicious and wanted to know if what he said during the interrogation would be turned over to the media. He asked specifically if Expressen would be given access to the interrogation.

Leif Silbersky then interrupted and told Assange:

'You have to defend yourself by giving your version. For otherwise if it comes out that you didn't answer, then the prosecutor has to go to the court with it.'

'OK', said Assange. But first he wanted to know how much of his version he has to tell them. He has a private conversation with Silbersky.

And in the end Assange answered the questions of the interrogators.

He admitted that he and Ardin had sex the night between Friday 13 August and Saturday morning 14 August and insisted he used a condom.

Police: 'And that was once or was it several times?'
Assange: 'Several times.'
Police: 'And you used a condom the first time?'
Assange: 'Yes.'

When asked the followup question if condoms were used on all occasions, Assange answered 'yes'.

The interrogator then brought up a special event, the details of which are secret. But from the police's question it's clear the woman saw something that made her suspicious, that Assange could still have had unprotected sex with her.

According to the interrogation, she was to have asked him a direct question about it. Assange admitted she asked him.

'And we didn't discuss it any more, whatsoever, not at all', says Assange.

The interrogation concluded at 18:37 after Assange told the police that he on Friday had heard 'a lot of unbelievable lies' about himself but that he hadn't believed anyone had planned to go to the police.

Back to T20

Most speculation - sometimes bordering on the hysteric - about a CIA smear campaign has centred about the older (and superficially weirder) Anna Ardin with her outspoken views of radical feminism, male dominance through rape, the seven step revenge programme, and so forth. T20 - aka Sofia Wilén - has been seen as an unwitting dupe in the affair.

But now, partly through the research of a few retired generals in the US, the focus is changing and people are realising they perhaps missed some important points in their tinfoil argumentation.

  • It was Wilén who engineered the charge of rape - not Ardin.
  • It was Wilén who contacted Ardin and not the other way around.
  • The Mail Online also claim to have a copy of her interrogation protocol.

Wilén also contacted Ardin's organisation to get an invite, sat in the front row taking pictures throughout the event, hung out afterwards to meet Assange, got an invite to tag along to lunch, flirted with him in the restaurant, assisted him in several ways - bought underground and commuter tickets - and suggested they go to a hotel room.

Wilén's CV also suggests a lot of time spent abroad - in the US (New York) and Paris amongst other locations. And Wilén has, since the event, closed down her online presence - her website, other contact information.

All of which is pure tinfoil of course - but reputable minds are increasingly looking into the matter.

Kelley Vlahos writes at the Antiwar Blog today about the increasing momentum in the Assange/WikiLeaks media smear (especially in the US) and then points to the 'estimable' Jim Fallows 'who could never be accused of flying off on crackpot theories or spreading rumours to fill space' who published an interesting piece the day before entitled 'Wikileaks, Assange, and the Strange Swedish Accusations'. This piece in turn cites the reputable US military blog Fabius Maximus.

It is worth reading in order the series of posts on the Fabius Maximus site - from earliest to latest here, here, here, and here - making the case that the 'official' story of the rape accusations against Assange is too strange and coincidence-ridden to be easily believable.

'But what about Woman B?' asks Vlahos. 'An ex-CIA source of mine says the agency employed the paid use of honeypots to trap targets all the time. While on the face it looks like Assange tangled with the wrong woman (Woman A) and some seriously elastic Swedish sex laws, there is no reason to automatically discount the strange coincidences raised by Fabius Maximus and others. If we are going to look at Woman A's motives, why not focus on Woman B's strange story as something more complex than just a geek groupie with a crush?'

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