Assange Rape Defense Underscores Shameful Swedish, U.S. Tactics

 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last week refuted the dubious rape prosecution Sweden began against him in August 2010.

Julian Assange IndicterAssange’s written response on Dec. 7, with his first detailed defense, underscores the disgraceful procedures used by Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom, as well as the complicity of mainstream media outlets that primarily published biased accounts.

With the zeal and arrogance of a police state, Sweden has repeatedly violated due process under a veneer of legal and human rights rhetoric.

Sweden's use of sexual misconduct allegations to capture Assange stems from a coordinated reprisal by the three governments for his WikiLeaks publication in 2010 of leaks that included some 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables and “The Afghan Diaries,” a trove of 80,000 documents.

Hillary ClintonThese materials exposed diplomatic hypocrisy (including regarding Sweden's ostensible "neutrality"), suspected war crimes, and cover-up by Sweden and NATO members.

Our defense here of Assange centers on all-important procedural fairness issues, not necessarily his personal behavior while he was in bed with the complainants. Nor is our defense an endorsement of WikiLeaks and the anti-secrecy platform's wholesale release of sensitive documents, including those designed to hurt Hillary Clinton and Democrats in the recent U.S. elections.

Those are more complicated issues than the procedures Sweden used for fact-finding on the rape investigation, as we told RT America host Ed Schultz during a cable TV interview on Dec. 7.

I was invited to provide perspective on Assange's first detailed, public response in legal proceedings to the rape allegation. The New York Times reported the basics earlier that day in WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Denies Rape in Detailed Account of Encounter.

Anna Ardin and Sofia WilenOur focus on due process includes the right to confront witnesses, including the two shown above, before an impartial tribunal in a public proceeding. That is a bedrock of truth-finding, freedom, law-and-order, and many other core human rights values ingrained for centuries in American and English law.

The end does not justify the means, in other words. If Sweden and allied nations want to capture and prosecute Assange for WikiLeaks they should comply with relevant law, and not engage in the legal charade that's occurred for more than six years at vast expense, including to the reputations of the perpetrating nations.

Yet the discussion below — summarizing major developments since we first helped break stories in 2010 showing secret political and intelligence ties behind this witchhunt — contains plenty of material for those who enjoy spy thriller material drawn from real life, and not merely legal abstractions like "due process."

CIA LogoIt's not coincidental that The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo hit novel and film series by the late Steig Larsson was set in Sweden's hacking community, or that "James Bond" novel writer Ian Fleming in real life had been a top British intelligence official and later European news editor for the North American Newspaper Alliance, a British intelligence front that pretended to operate as a legitimate news organization.

Earlier this year, as example from the Assange case, a prominent left-wing Swedish journalist who had been attacking Assange, Martin Fredriksson, was exposed as a secret asset of Säpo, Sweden's CIA-affiliated intelligence service, as we reported here.

In 2010, we helped break the Huffington Post story headlined Rove Suspected In Swedish-U.S. Political Prosecution of WikiLeaks. It revealed that former Bush White House advisor Karl Rove served in 2010 as a key advisor to Sweden’s conservative governing party at a time when Rove was advocating on Fox News that authorities execute Assange even before any government had filed any formal charges against him.

As of today, Assange still has not been publicly charged with any crime anywhere in the world, although reports have surfaced that American prosecutors obtained a still-sealed indictment against him on espionage charges related to WikiLeaks.

As for disclosure to the public, Sweden merely says it wants Assange's presence for further questioning about alleged sexual misconduct.

Assange has refused to travel to Sweden for further questions (beyond those he answered in 2010) because he fears Sweden would end the sex case charade soon after his arrival and then extradite him to the United States, where he might be imprisoned for life or even executed. Swedish authorities have pooh-poohed that threat but Sweden's track record in such cases, including this, provides no assurance.

The Beginning: A Speaking Trip To Stockholm

In 2010, the Australian-born Assange was visiting Sweden on a trip featuring a talk in Stockholm. He held celebrity status because WikiLeaks disclosures that year of leaked documents challenged not just war-makers, their financiers, and diplomats but a larger power structure of media, parliaments, courts and other watchdog institutions that were failing to expose government secrets and hold wrongdoers accountable.

PayPal blocked WikiLeaks accounts, making Assange's travel difficult. That rendered Assange vulnerable and more dependent than normal on the kindness of strangers during his trip to Sweden to try to set up servers that might be safe from NATO pressures. Sweden maintained an official stance of neutrality during much of the Cold War but also deep connections between the country's leading institutions and those of other Western nations.

On the trip, a politically active conference manager, “AA,” and then a seeming fan of Assange, “SW,” separately invited Assange to sleep in their beds on different nights of his stay.

"AA," reputedly once employed at the Swedish embassy in Washington, DC, said at first that Assange could use her bed while she was away, but then returned home unexpectedly, and had sexual relations with him. That was according to accounts from authorities leaked to the public in 2010 and this week's Assange description, which was reported by the New York Times on Dec. 7 in WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Denies Rape in Detailed Account of Encounter. By Assange's account, she boasted afterward on social media to friends of their relationship.

Assange identifies the two women by their initials “AA” and “SW.” This usage to protect privacy is similar to that used by nearly all mainstream publications, which decline to publish the names of accusers in sex-related allegations without their permission.

But we identify them here, using the same logic as best-selling feminist author Naomi Wolf, a longtime volunteer in support of rape victims. Six years ago, Wolf wrote commentaries that included her Julian Assange's sex-crime accusers deserve to be named and J'Accuse. An additional complicating factor in this case is the potential roles of intelligence operatives that clouds the accusations and process in important ways described below.

Finally, we have the extraordinary situation in which one of the most pro-Assange treatments of the case in any American print publication came last February in New York's Observer newspaper, whose publisher is none other than Jared Kushner, son-in-law of then GOP presidential contender Donald Trump.

Reporter Celia Farber's story Exclusive New Docs Throw Doubt on Julian Assange Rape Charges in Stockholm poses these questions: Was it rape? Was it somewhere in the “grey zone?”

The answers lie embedded in a 98-page crime report signed by Swedish authorities on August 26, 2010, the contents of which have been touched upon in various press reports—but never fully clarified. First, one must be familiar not only with the Swedish language, but also “Sweden,” which does not refer to the land mass east of Norway, and north of Denmark, so much as to a constructed society obsessed with the elimination of risk. Sweden has both the most expansive rape laws (which extend all the way to marital bed nagging), as well as the highest number of reported rapes in the world.

Fumbling, bleak and unromantic — yes, the 98-page report details the emotional arc of the women, and often reads more like a dime-store novel than a crime report: “Julian looked at Sofia with a bemused expression. She got the feeling he did not feel that she, in her bright pink cashmere sweater, belonged among all these journalists dressed in grey.”

Neither woman ever claimed, initially, that she was “raped” by Mr. Assange — rape being våldtäkt in Swedish, but both spoke of the sex being unpleasant. They both concealed their distaste for how it had transpired — that’s usually what women do. In the case of Ms. Ardin, she kept him as a houseguest for six nights after the incident, and even threw a crayfish party for him. In the case of Ms. Wilen, she and Mr. Assange, after a night of sex, joked about the broken condom, and his promise that if she got pregnant he would move to Sweden, pay off her student loans, and they “could name the baby Afghanistan.”

She then went out and bought the two of them breakfast oats and orange juice. (Ian Fleming would never have allowed any of this.)

Assange Defense Statement

Returning to the Assange statement this week:

Swedish flag“I went to Sweden on 11 August 2010,” Assange wrote near the beginning of his official statement. He wrote it at Ecuador’s London embassy, where he has been confined since July 2012 as a political asylum refugee under threat of extradition to Sweden.

“During my stay,” Assange continued, “I met a woman (hereinafter called ‘SW’). On the evening of 16 August, 2010 she invited me to her home. During the night and in the morning we had consensual sexual intercourse on several occasions.” He stated that she “made it very clear that she wanted to have sexual intercourse with me.” Assange said they parted amicably.

“I, therefore,” Assange wrote, “could not believe my eyes when five days later I saw a headline in a Swedish tabloid that I was suspected of a crime and arrested in my absence. I immediately made myself available to the Swedish authorities to clarify any questions that might exist, although I had no obligation to do so.”

Sweden Drops Probe In 2010, Then Ramps Up With New Prosecutor

Eva Finne“That same day (21 August 2010),” Assange’s statement continued, “the Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm, Eva Finné (shown in a file photo), dropped the arrest warrant against me and within days would close the preliminary investigation with the finding that no crime whatsoever had been committed against the woman “SW” (who is the subject of this procedure). I drew the conclusion that, other than the worldwide damage to my reputation caused by millions of web pages saying that I was 'wanted for rape,' my life, in this respect, would return to normal.”

In this case, Swedish authorities had relied heavily at the outset on a private lawyer running for political office that fall, Claes Borgström, to assemble evidence and assist the women "AA" and "SW" in their statements to officials.

Swedish higher-ups promptly replaced Finné with Marianne Ny, who obtained an alert from Interpol for an international manhunt to find Assange for further questioning, and persuaded British authorities to hold Assange after he surrendered to UK authorities.

Marianne NyNy (shown in an official photo) implausibly argued for more than five years until her retirement this year that Sweden could not question Assange in London.

Sweden, with the cooperation of the United Kingdom, has relentlessly pursued Assange since then through the courts and otherwise while never actually questioning him until proceedings last month through Ecuador's officials.

Sweden has never filed criminal charges against Assange, surely a unique situation in which rape and sex trafficking hurt millions around the world each year. Beyond that lack of enforcement against clear-cut criminals, there exists a well-documented history that spy agencies from major nations, including Western democracies, have used prostitutes and other "honeytraps" since almost the beginning of recorded history to obtain intelligence from targets, or otherwise smear, blackmail and entrap the unwary. 

Assange’s statement last week consisted of 120 numbered paragraphs that present his side of the story. Its publication infuriated Swedish authorities, who have used the past six years to smear Assange by leaking statements before any indictment to portray Assange as a vicious sex criminal.

The complainants and their statements have several mysterious elements. A 2014 column Where in the world is Sofia Wilén? reported, for example, that she has been missing without a trace since shortly after the 2010 events.

Sweden's Secret Courts

Julian Assange in graphic by The IndicterIn terms of procedure, Sweden’s court system operates in secret for such trials and with no jury. Compared to American trials, the Swedish system provides minimal disclosure to the public about confrontations over evidence before judges reach a verdict.

Therefore, Assange (shown in a graphic by the Europe-based human rights publication The Indicter) would not necessarily have a chance to tell his side of the story in an effective public manner if he were ever brought to trial. That's especially so because key elements of the Swedish and NATO power structure and media have a track record of smearing him viciously, as The Indicter, among others, has often reported.

In Britain, Assange was held first in solitary confinement, then under house arrest on bail, and since the summer of 2012 as a political asylum refugee in Ecuador's embassy in London. He has been unable to leave the embassy because he fears that extradition to Sweden would mean his prompt rendition to the United States to face still-secret charges.

A vice president of Statfor, a private security firm well-connected to U.S. intelligence, reported to colleagues in 2011 that U.S. authorities had obtained a secret indictment against Assange, as reported by the late Rolling Stone correspondent Michael Hastings in WikiLeaks Stratfor Emails: A Secret Indictment Against Julian Assange?

Sweden and the United Kingdom have spent vast amounts of money in the prosecution and round-the-clock monitoring of the embassy until 2015 in order to seize Assange if he tries to sneak out of Ecuador's embassy.

While the UK has spent lavishly in hopes of delivering Assange to Sweden, British authorities have failed for years to investigate tips about what has become known as the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal. While authorities dilly-dallied and cited lack of funds to investigate, an estimated 1,400 children were sexually abused and otherwise tortured in the town of Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, predominantly by gangs of British-Pakistani men.

Aside from allocation of resource issues, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) ruled in February of this year that Assange’s confinement and related treatment constituted unlawful detention under international law.

Hillary ClintonSweden, the United States and United Kingdom remain unmoved while a vibrant protest movement has rallied around Assange. Protesters include leakers and hackers targeting his persecutors and Swedish dissidents outraged at their country’s violation of human rights in deference to U.S. and Swedish power structures.

WikiLeaks Strikes At Clinton, Democratic Party

In apparent response to the Clinton-Obama behind-the-scenes role with Sweden at the genesis of the prosecution, WikiLeaks unleashed late in this year’s U.S. presidential elections a torrent of leaked documents from the Democratic National Committee and elsewhere.

These created highly adverse news coverage for presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (shown in her official photo as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013), her longtime friend and top campaign aide John Podesta, who has been pilloried for both minor embarrassments and what appears to be a hoked-up sex scandal called “pizzagate.”

WikiLeaks disclosures also forced the resignation in disgrace from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) of its chair, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (FL) after WikiLeaks revelations showed that she and top DNC staffers tilted the primary process towards Clinton. The Wasserman-Schultz interim successor at the DNC was CNN political commentator Donna Brazile. But WikiLeaks disclosures that Brazile had leaked CNN debate questions to Clinton backers prompted CNN to oust Brazile from her lucrative CNN post.

The targeting of the Clinton campaign and its supporters by WikiLeaks doubtless stems from Clinton’s role as Secretary of State when she was part of the Obama administration’s all-out effort secretly to capture and indict Assange for WikiLeaks disclosures. An initial obstacle was the legal difficulty of extraditing Assange from the United Kingdom directly to the United States, which has more favorable extradition arrangements with Sweden.

Alec RossAssange’s statement this week described many such U.S. initiatives to put him in prison like former U.S. Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning, who is now serving a 35-year sentence on spy charges after making leaked photos publicly available to demonstrate war cries. Manning remains in solitary confinement and under other harsh conditions.

Nearly all U.S. investigative measures against Assange remain secret. But author Guy J. Sims reported in his 2012 book Julian Assange in Sweden: What really happened  that Clinton senior advisor Alec Ross (shown in a file photo) dined with a Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt on Sept. 4, 2010, right after the time when Sweden’s prosecutor Finné was being replaced with Ny, who became an implacable enemy of Assange.

Bildt has denied reports in major Swedish newspapers and in documents hacked by WikiLeaks that he has been an asset of the CIA since the 1970s.

Carl Bildt and Condi RiceBildt, shown in a photo with Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was Swedish foreign minister from 2006 to 2014 and previously served as both prime minister and leader of the Moderate Party (which, despite its name, is the nation's most important conservative party). It was the Moderate Party whose leader used Republican Karl Rove as an advisor in 2010, the same year Rove advocated on Fox News that authorities execute Assange just as he was preparing to visit Sweden.

The hatred of leakers is thus bipartisan, but it was the Democrats and Hillary Clinton who have held the power of the U.S. government over Assange in recent years.

Pervasive NATO, CIA, Säpo Influences

The allegations that the United States controlled such a major Swedish leader as Bildt are just a small part of pervasive U.S. influence over such key Swedish institutions as its parliament, courts, media and military suggested by emerging evidence in the Assange case. 

So even when WikiLeaks partnered with a few major outlets such as the New York Times and Der Spiegel to release information six years ago, those outlets soon turned on Assange, particularly after Swedish authorities leaked information that he was being accused of sexual misconduct by the two women, Anna Arden and Sofia Wilén via their attorney Claes Borgström.

Some news reports characterized the attorney as a near-fanatical pro-feminist in Sweden's political gender wars. But few reports noted such other relevant details as his campaign for political office in legislative elections in the fall of 2010. Another omission from the media has been comparison of the vastly different role regarding complaints that he as a private attorney held in the Swedish criminal system compared to American private attorneys, who must defer almost entirely to public officials for any criminal investigation of disputes.

In this instance, the evidence is far from clear that the two women have been aggressively seeking prosecution, particularly on the most serious charge of rape. There is a Facebook support site for them, but there is no sign it proceeds with their involvement and other details from their perspective have been sparse.

Instead, the big push may well be from authorities and a politically connected law firm, Borgström and Bodström.

Martin Fredriksson WikimediaWe reported in 2010 that Thomas Bodström, Borgström's partner, while previously serving as Sweden's Minister of Justice, secretly complied with a CIA request in 2001 to send two political asylum refugees to their native Egypt, where they were tortured as suspected terrorists. The Swedish Wire published our 2011 report on this, Partner at Swedish law firm counseling WikiLeaks boss' accusers helped in CIA torture rendition. Bodström, a best-selling spy thriller author, is shown in a file photo giving a political speech.

The pattern continues. One of our columns earlier this year was headlined Noted Swedish Journalist, Assange Critic Exposed As Säpo Agent, with a subtitle, "Secret police agency cash for a journalist."

We reported further: A prize-winning Swedish journalist noted for his left-wing, pro-NATO and anti-WikiLeaks commentary was revealed early this year to have been a paid agent of Säpo, his nation's security service. Martin Fredriksson, shown in a file photo and winner of a major investigative reporting prize in 2014 for his work exposing right-wing groups opposed to NATO, had been secretly paid for years by Säpo, the Swedish Security Service, according to news reports based on his own admissions.

In deep intrigue resembling that of a spy novel, Fredriksson's story undermines conventional wisdom on both sides of the Atlantic that journalists work independently from power centers, including government agencies.

That is also the complacent view of many Swedish citizens, writes retired Swedish medical school professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli. He leads a group called Swedish Doctors for Human Dr. Marcello Ferrade de Noli, Jennifer Robinson and Julian AssangeRights, and founded an online human rights magazine, The Indicter, that has been fiercely supportive of Assange.

The professor is shown with Assange and the latter's then-attorney Jennifer Robinson in London during Assange's long and unsuccessful fight in the British courts to prevent extradition to Sweden for further questioning on the sexual misconduct charges.

De Noli, himself a political torture victim in his native Chile, has criticized Sweden's complacency in the face of legal outrages against Assange, as reported in The “Duck Pond” Theses: Explaining Swedish journalism and the anti-Assange smear campaign.

The Political 'Rape Case' Investigation

Following these perspectives showing the close cooperation of Swedish and other Western political, court and intelligence services in seeking to capture Assange, we now return to the gross unfairness of rape case Sweden has been pursuing, leading to last week's news regarding Assange's written response to Sweden's demand for additional details.

Part of this requires attention to the motivations and credibility of the complainants, insensitive and politically incorrect as it might seem to American audiences that have almost never read anything about those topics in the anti-Assange slant that overwhelmingly dominates the traditional news media.

WikiLeaks, by making its hacked or leaked disclosures available directly to the public via the Internet, directly threatens the traditional role of corporate-controlled outlets in acting as information gatekeepers on what the public can learn about secret foreign-affairs, military, and intelligence-related material. New media were hardly better, as Assange noted a 2012 book that described his meeting with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and the close interactions that such new media companies as Google have with government officials like Hillary Clinton whose secrets are undermined by WikiLeaks disclosures.

We now examine the stories of the two women. This is important since the impact of their testimony and any cross-examination would not be aired publicly at trial under Sweden's procedures. There is special importance if such a serious charge as rape is used to keep Assange under confinement far longer than any typical defendant, and especially if the charge has been trumped up to get him to Sweden for rendition to the United States to face possible life imprisonment or execution under secret charges.

As noted above, best-selling author Naomi Wolf (shown in a file photo) took an eloquent and courageous stand on these points in late 2010 and early 2011 in columns published in Naomi Wolf Facebookliberal outlets that brought her considerable complaints from other feminists.

But events continue to vindicate her words.

“Never in twenty-three years of reporting on and supporting victims of sexual assault around the world,” she wrote in J’Accuse: Sweden, Britain, and Interpol Insult Rape Victims Worldwide, published by the Huffington Post in 2010, "have I ever heard of a case of a man sought by two nations, and held in solitary confinement without bail in advance of being questioned — for any alleged rape, even the most brutal or easily proven.

She continued: "In terms of a case involving the kinds of ambiguities and complexities of the alleged victims’ complaints — sex that began consensually that allegedly became non-consensual when dispute arose around a condom — please find me, anywhere in the world, another man in prison today without bail on charges of anything comparable.”

She next called for naming the complainants Arden and Wilén as the appropriate journalistic and indeed feminist way to treat such a case, as noted above in Julian Assange's sex-crime accusers deserve to be named.

Wolf withstood angry push-back by other feminists who were outraged that she did not automatically endorse the female complainants and prosecution. In the spirit of a more universal commitment to justice, Wolf proceeded to publish in New York City's "News from Underground" a harsh assessment of the entire investigation, Eight BIG PROBLEMS with the “case” against Assange, which she subtitled "Something Rotten in the State of Sweden."

Six years later, her voice stands as a clarion call for a rule of law that is now reinforced by additional evidence and commentary, plus Assange’s own timeline, rendered while he remains in cramped quarters in Ecuador’s London embassy as a political asylum seeker under confinement for most of the past six years without ever being formally charged by Sweden with a crime.

Olol Palme, late prime minister of Sweden 1968 photo via WikimediaMuch of that work has been undertaken by Professor de Noli, who has doubtless angered many in the establishment of his adopted country Sweden by a repeated focus on Sweden's legal and journalistic mistreatment of Assange. Much of his writing appears in an English-language civil rights webzine The Indicter (on whose editorial board I serve) and via the advocacy of Swedish Medical Doctors for Human Rights, a group he founded.

The historical treatments sometimes place the Assange prosecution in the context of the still-mysterious 1986 assassination of left-leaning Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, who had angered military and intelligence interests by opposing the Vietnam War.

Progressive and human rights commentators thus treat the assassination of Palme, shown in a file photo with a black border, much as their American counterparts treat the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy even though authorities maintain in each instance that a lone maniac performed the killings with no accomplices. For example, The Indicter last year published a column headlined Olof Palme and Julian Assange subjected in Sweden to same hate campaign by the same political forces and with the same purpose: to defend U.S. geopolitical interests

Another such cultural influence has been the late novelist Steig Larsson (shown in a file photo), who died in 2004 just after his 50th birthday. He was a Swedish journalist who researched right-wing extremism, experiences he drew upon for his breakthrough Stieg Larssonfirst novel and film, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

It and two sequels, all published after Larsson's death, chronicled the gripping adventures of fictional heroes Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant and much-abused computer hacker, and  journalist Mikael Blomkvist, her friend. Together, they researched the activities of sinister Swedish fascists and their allies, who lurked behind respectable fronts in Sweden.

The kind of murder, terror and intrigue fueling hit spy novels and movies inevitably exceeds that in real life, at least as far as most of us can read in the newspapers or reliably know.

Nonetheless, certain parallels, such as the absence of law-and-order when the stakes are high enough, become apparent between real life and the world of the hacker Salander and her journalism friend Blomkvst, as one of Sweden's major newspapers, Svenska Dagbladet (SVD), wrote earlier this year in a story headlined, When the real Salander sold out to Sapo.

Craig Murray, a former British ambassador for the United Kingdom to Uzbekistan, delivered a harsh verdict on Sweden's treatment of Assange in his column, Why I am Convinced that Anna Ardin is a Liar. This was originally published in 2012 and updated to 2016 "because the mainstream media have ensured very few people know the detail of the 'case' against Assange.

"The UN Working Group ruled that Assange ought never to have been arrested in the UK in the first place because there is no case, and no genuine investigation," continued Murray (shown in a file photo). "Read this and you will know why."

Craig Murray former UK Ambassador"The other thing not widely understood," said Murray, "is there is NO JURY in a rape trial in Sweden and it is a SECRET TRIAL. All of the evidence, all of the witnesses, are heard in secret. No public, no jury, no media. The only public part is the charging and the verdict. There is a judge and two advisers directly appointed by political parties. So you never would get to understand how plainly the case is a stitch-up."

"There are so many inconsistencies in Anna Ardin’s accusation of sexual assault against Julian Assange. But the key question which leaps out at me – and which strangely I have not seen asked anywhere else – is this: Why did Anna Ardin not warn Sofia Wilen?"

We must leave to other documents and venues the intimate details of the trysts. These details are central to the range of possibilities, including whether the two women were simply the victims as implied by Swedish authorities and leaked newspaper stories, or whether other agendas were in play after or even before their encounters with Assange.

At least some evidence exists, both from Assange's statement and independently, that both women were proud at certain points of their separate romantic encounters with Assange. And if intelligence agencies tried to pressure useful testimony from witnesses to smear an enemy of spooks it would hardly be the first time.

We leave to last one of the most intriguing news reports, interesting in part because it arose through a collective of IT consultants and not through the regular media.

In early 2014, Rixstep Industry Watch published, Where in the world is Sofia Wilén?

"Who knows where she's come from or where she's gone to now? " continued the column's headline. The text continued:

It's been over three years since anyone's heard from or seen Sofia Wilén, the individual behind the embassy stalemate for Julian Assange.

Elisabeth Massi-Fritz via Twitter photoSofia turned up on several occasions for interrogations with the police, always assisted by her attorney Claes Borgström, but it's not known if she turned up in person or was merely interrogated by telephone as many of the other witnesses. Sofia recently changed attorneys, expressing dissatisfaction with Claes Borgström.

Sofia's new attorney Elisabeth Massi Fritz (shown in her Twitter photo) came out with guns blazing but chiefly made a mess of things, forging and fudging official documents, and revealing a weakness for unprofessional bombast.

But since then all's been quiet. Sofia's no longer in Swedish public records. Her official address changed shortly after the events of August 2010, and since then no one's been able to find her. Although it's possible she simply got her personal details hidden by the tax authority, too many people connected with her have — just as she did back in 2010 — scrubbed their Internet presence.

It was the thoroughness of this 'web scrubbing' that made people wonder. Her website was completely gone by 27 August, the only date for which the Wayback machine has anything at all, a mere week after her visit to the Stockholm Klara police station.

What's Next?                        

Barack Obama Hillary WH patio 7_29-13.jpg

Assange's defense statement last week is just one of the reasons he remains in the news.

The WikiLeaks release of documents damaging to Democrats in the recent U.S. federal election campaign prompted Ecuador to cut off his Internet access at the embassy, as reported in Ecuador's sly strategy behind its treatment of Julian Assange. Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, Assange's patron in the asylum invitation, is prevented by term-limits from campaigning for re-election in next February's voting. The successor government might not prove so willing to house Assange in the embassy's tight quarters in London against the wishes of leading Western democracies.

Even more dramatically, President-elect Trump's administration is likely to be torn between factions. One is repulsed by the WikiLeaks culture of leaks and disclosure. The other includes those grateful for Assange's help in helping embarrass and at times demonize Clinton (shown with President Obama in a 2013 White House photo) and other Democrats during the campaign. WikiLeaks disclosures included some that have been used by others to create such fake news as the "pizzagate" scandal falsely alleging that prominent Democrats used non-existent abandoned subway tunnels underneath a pizza restaurant to sexually abuse and otherwise torture children.

The traditional news media in the West for the most part seem poised to keeping treating WikiLeaks as a competitive threat and a villain. That's particularly apparent because Assange's election campaign leaks can be linked to trending news campaigns the fights against so-called "fake news" and against Russian propaganda, as reported in recent days. These include blockbuster leaks from the CIA, such as the Washington Post story Obama orders review of Russian hacking during elections.

Hostility from presidents, prosecutors, intelligence agencies, and the media are powerful reasons to be believe Assange will continue to need political asylum as protection from, initially, a Swedish court system and media shown to be remarkably autocratic and secretive.

But even an informed public, whether in the United States or Sweden, tends to have little influence over so many formidable institutions committed to imprisoning one person. Readers here may not be able to stop the crusade against Assange, or even want to stop it because his actions have offended many, whatever his actions involving the long-missing Wilén (who appears, based on still-limited knowledge, to be the complainant in the "rape" charge, not Arden).

One thing I hope we have achieved here it is to provide enough facts to show that the prosecution procedures in the sex case inquiry have been disgraceful. And if authorities on two continents could pursue such a reckless and unfair procedure in such a high-profile case without fear of exposure how many similar cases are unfolding in this way? 

Your enhanced vigilance as readers in answering that kind of question in your own localities and elsewhere may prove to be one of the ultimate values in this re-examination of the Assange case, whatever his own fate.

 
 
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Article Republications

The Fifth Estate (Asia-Pacific-based), Assange Rape Defense Underscores Shameful Swedish, U.S. Tactics, Dec. 13, 2014.

The Indicter (Europe-based), Assange Defense Underscores Shameful Swedish, U.S. Tactics, Dec. 12, 2014.

 

Related News Coverage (Reverse chronology order by publication date)

Update

The Indicter, New Analysis of Swedish Police Report Confirms Julian Assange’s Version in Sweden’s case, Celia Farber, Jan. 3, 2017. Author and investigative reporter Celia Farber concludes that the police reports  confirm Julian Assange’s testimony, as given to the prosecutor in her questioning conducted at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. It  has also been established that the crucial allegations against Mr Julian Assange, as have appeared in the Swedish and international media were constructed by the police and were not what the complainants really said or wished to achieve.

The IndicterIt has been discovered that it was the police, or the prosecutor’s office, which unlawfully and/or unethically leaked the “allegations” to the evening paper Expressen, which is clearly known for its declared NATO sympathies. Regrettably, but also predictably, this was an opportunity for Western mainstream media to create a scandal around the founder of WikiLeaks. Likewise, it was an occasion used by the MSM to insidiously attack the organization that had partly exposed the corruption of the governments they represent, and partly surpassed them in journalistic efficacy and objectivity.

But it was more than purely vendetta-time; it was a well-articulated campaign which started that day in August 2010 when – according to the Snowden documents– the US government asked the countries participating in the military occupation of Afghanistan under US command to prosecute Julian Assange. Sweden obeyed; others cooperated.

Nevertheless, the Afghan Logs and the Iraq Logs exposed by WikiLeaks remained published. The WikiLeaks founder did not surrender. The Assange case, already politically in its origins, turned into a spiral of increasing geopolitical dimensions.

Our position has always been that the above-described political aspect has always been present in the ‘Assange case’ and we could hardly be – in principle – interested in furthering a discussion on details pertaining the intimacy of Mr Assange or of other people around the constructed ‘legal case.’

Daily Mail, Ex-British ambassador who is now a WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Clinton emails; they were handed over to him at a D.C. park by an intermediary for 'disgusted' Democratic whistleblowers, Alana Goodman, Dec. 14, 2016. A Wikileaks envoy today claims he personally received Clinton campaign emails in Washington D.C. after they were leaked by 'disgusted' whisteblowers - and not hacked by Russia. Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a close associate of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, told Dailymail.com that he flew to Washington, D.C. for a clandestine hand-off with one of the email sources in September. [See Mr. Murray Goes to Washington,]

Craig Murray former UK Ambassador'Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,' said Murray (shown in a file photo) in an interview with Dailymail.com on Tuesday. 'The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.'

His account contradicts directly the version of how thousands of Democratic emails were published before the election being advanced by U.S. intelligence.

Murray is a controversial figure who was removed from his post as a British ambassador amid allegations of misconduct. He was cleared of those but left the diplomatic service in acrimony. His links to Wikileaks are well known and while his account is likely to be seen as both unprovable and possibly biased, it is also the first intervention by Wikileaks since reports surfaced last week that the CIA believed Russia hacked the Clinton emails to help hand the election to Donald Trump.

Murray's claims about the origins of the Clinton campaign emails comes as U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly confident that Russian hackers infiltrated both the Democratic National Committee and the email account of top Clinton aide John Podesta. In Podesta's case, his account appeared to have been compromised through a basic 'phishing' scheme, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

U.S. intelligence officials have reportedly told members of Congress during classified briefings that they believe Russians passed the documents on to Wikileaks as part of an influence operation to swing the election in favor of Donald Trump.

He said the leakers were motivated by 'disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.' Murray said he retrieved the package from a source during a clandestine meeting in a wooded area near American University, in northwest D.C. He said the individual he met with was not the original person who obtained the information, but an intermediary.

John Podesta WikiLeaks Emails logo

WikiLeaks graphic illustrating its series of stolen emails damaging Clinton Presidential Campaign chairman John Podesta, prompting vicious false attacks on him and some say a cause for election defeat

New York Times, Russian Hacks, How Moscow Aimed a Perfect Weapon at the U.S. Election, Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger, Scott Shane, Dec. 13, 2016. 

FBI logoWhen Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk. His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.

The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.

It was the cryptic first sign of a cyberespionage and information-warfare campaign devised to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, the first such attempt by a foreign power in American history. What started as an information-gathering operation, intelligence officials believe, ultimately morphed into an effort to harm one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and tip the election to her opponent, Donald J. Trump.

An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.

The D.N.C.’s fumbling encounter with the F.B.I. meant the best chance to halt the Russian intrusion was lost. The failure to grasp the scope of the attacks undercut efforts to minimize their impact. And the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

The low-key approach of the F.B.I. meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee’s network for nearly seven months before top D.N.C. officials were alerted to the attack and hired cyberexperts to protect their systems.

In the meantime, the hackers moved on to targets outside the D.N.C., including Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, whose private email account was hacked months later. Even Mr. Podesta, a savvy Washington insider who had written a 2014 report on cyberprivacy for President Obama, did not truly understand the gravity of the hacking.

CraigMurray.com, The CIA’s Absence of Conviction, Craig Murray, Dec. 11, 2016. Author and human rights activist Craig Murray is a former British diplomat. I have watched incredulous as the CIA’s blatant lie has Craig Murray former UK Ambassadorgrown and grown as a media story – blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatsoever to substantiate it. There is no Russian involvement in the leaks of emails showing Clinton’s corruption. Yes this rubbish has been the lead today in the Washington Post in the US and the Guardian here, and was the lead item on the BBC main news. I suspect it is leading the American broadcasts also.

A little simple logic demolishes the CIA’s claims. The CIA claim they “know the individuals” involved. Yet under Obama the USA has been absolutely ruthless in its persecution of whistleblowers, and its pursuit of foreign hackers through extradition. We are supposed to believe that in the most vital instance imaginable, an attempt by a foreign power to destabilise a US election, even though the CIA knows who the individuals are, nobody is going to be arrested or extradited, or (if in Russia) made subject to yet more banking and other restrictions against Russian individuals? Plainly it stinks. The anonymous source claims of “We know who it was, it was the Russians” are beneath contempt.

As Julian Assange has made crystal clear, the leaks did not come from the Russians. As I have explained countless times, they are not hacks, they are insider leaks – there is a major difference between the two. And it should be said again and again, that if Hillary Clinton had not connived with the DNC to fix the primary schedule to disadvantage Bernie, if she had not received advance notice of live debate questions to use against Bernie, if she had not accepted massive donations to the Clinton foundation and family members in return for foreign policy influence, if she had not failed to distance herself from some very weird and troubling people, then none of this would have happened.

The continued ability of the mainstream media to claim the leaks lost Clinton the election because of “Russia,” while still never acknowledging the truths the leaks reveal, is Kafkaesque.

I had a call from a Guardian journalist this afternoon. The astonishing result was that for three hours, an article was accessible through the Guardian front page which actually included the truth among the CIA hype.  But only three hours. While the article was not taken down, the home page links to it vanished and it was replaced by a ludicrous one repeating the mad CIA allegations against Russia and now claiming – incredibly – that the CIA believe the FBI is deliberately blocking the information on Russian collusion. Presumably this totally nutty theory, that Putin is somehow now controlling the FBI, is meant to answer my obvious objection that, if the CIA know who it is, why haven’t they arrested somebody. That bit of course would be the job of the FBI, who those desperate to annul the election now wish us to believe are the KGB.

It is terrible that the prime conduit for this paranoid nonsense is a once great newspaper, the Washington Post, which far from investigating executive power, now is a sounding board for totally evidence-free anonymous source briefing of utter bullshit from the executive.

Now both Julian Assange and I have stated definitively the leak does not come from Russia. Do we credibly have access? Yes, very obviously. Very, very few people can be said to definitely have access to the source of the leak. The people saying it is not Russia are those who do have access. After access, you consider truthfulness. Do Julian Assange and I have a reputation for truthfulness? Well in 10 years not one of the tens of thousands of documents WikiLeaks has released has had its authenticity successfully challenged. As for me, I have a reputation for inconvenient truth telling.

The worst thing about all this is that it is aimed at promoting further conflict with Russia. This puts everyone in danger for the sake of more profits for the arms and security industries – including of course bigger budgets for the CIA. As thankfully the four year agony of Aleppo comes swiftly to a close today, the Saudi and US armed and trained ISIS forces counter by moving to retake Palmyra. This game kills people, on a massive scale, and goes on and on.

Washington Post, Obama orders review of Russian hacking during elections, Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller, Dec. 9, 2016. President Obama said he wanted the report before he left office, according to homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, who did not commit to making the report public. In October, the intelligence community accused Moscow of seeking to interfere in the election through the hacking of “political organizations.” 

CIA LogoThe CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter. Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

The Obama administration has been debating for months how to respond to the alleged Russian intrusions, with White House officials concerned about escalating tensions with Moscow and being accused of trying to boost Clinton’s campaign. Trump has consistently dismissed the intelligence community’s findings about Russian hacking. “I don’t believe they interfered” in the election, he told Time magazine this week. The hacking, he said, “could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has said in a television interview that the “Russian government is not the source.”

The Hill, WikiLeaks claims Obama hacking probe is investigating WikiLeaks, Katie Bo Williams, Dec. 9, 2016. Anti-secrecy platform WikiLeaks on Friday claimed President Obama’s probe into Russian interference in the U.S. election was an investigation into WikiLeaks itself. “CNN: Obama orders report into WikiLeaks timed for release just prior to Trump presidency,” the group tweeted, linking to a CNN report about the hacking review that does not mention WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks throughout the election published troves of hacked documents believed to have been stolen by Russia. It has vociferously denied any links to Moscow.

New York Times, WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Denies Rape in Detailed Account of Encounter, Dan Bilefsky, Dec. 7, 2016. Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, offered his most detailed and public account on Wednesday of events that led to a rape accusation against him in Sweden, saying he was innocent and had engaged in “consensual and enjoyable sex” with the accuser.

Julian Assange 2014Last month, questions prepared by Swedish prosecutors were posed to Mr. Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy, where he has been living since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over the rape accusation. The questions were asked by an Ecuadorean prosecutor under an agreement made by the two countries in August.

But in a move that is likely to irk Swedish prosecutors, whom Mr. Assange has denounced for forcing him to remain confined in the embassy for the past six years, the WikiLeaks founder on Wednesday released the answers he gave during the interview. In the 19-page statement, which reads alternately like a legal defense brief and an emotional airing of personal grievances, he writes that he is “entirely innocent” and had engaged in “consensual and enjoyable” sex with the woman who accused him of rape.

WikiLeaks has courted controversy by publishing confidential and damaging information from the United States and other countries. During the American presidential election, WikiLeaks came under renewed scrutiny for distributing hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, and Mr. Assange acknowledged that he was timing their release to do maximum harm to the White House prospects of Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Assange, 45, an Australian, has refused to go to Sweden to face the rape accusation for fear, he says, of being extradited to the United States and being jailed for life, even though the Swedish authorities have sought to allay such concerns. No formal charges have been filed against him.

In the statement detailing his account of his relationship with his accuser, referred to as “SW,” whom he met in August 2010, Mr. Assange railed against the Swedish authorities, saying that he had been forced to endure “six years of unlawful, politicized detention without charge.”

Guardian, Julian Assange defies Swedish prosecutors by releasing rape statement, David Crouch, Dec. 7, 2016. WikiLeaks founder publishes answers he gave during questioning in Ecuador’s London embassy over rape allegationJulian Assange has thumbed his nose at Swedish investigators, who he says have robbed him of his freedom for six years, by releasing the answers he gave to them under questioning in Ecuador’s London embassy last month.

The decision to issue the statement, which contains for the first time a detailed account by the WikiLeaks founder of his encounter with a woman in August 2010 who made rape allegations against him, marks a fresh twist in a case in which Assange claims an early leak of information from the Swedish police has shaped opinion.

Ars Technica, Lauri Love faces hacking trial in US after UK signs extradition order, Kelly Fiveash, Nov. 15, 2016. The UK's home secretary, Amber Rudd, has signed an extradition order agreeing that hacking suspect Lauri Love should face trial in the US. Love's family plan to appeal against the decision. The 31-year-old — who has Asperger's syndrome — faces up to 99 years in prison and fears for his own life, his lawyers have said. A home office spokesperson told Ars: "On Monday 14 November, the secretary of state, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed an order for Lauri Love’s extradition to the United States. Mr Love has been charged with various computer hacking offences, which included targeting US military and federal government agencies."

Rudd considered four so-called legal tests of the Extradition Act 2003: whether Love is at risk of the death penalty; whether specialty arrangements are in place; whether Love has previously been extradited from another country to the UK, thereby requiring consent from that country; and whether Love was previously transferred to the UK by the International Criminal Court.

However, the home secretary concluded that none of these issues applied to Love. The extradition comes after more than 100 MPs recently penned a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to prevent Love's extradition to the US on the grounds that the hacking suspect's case is similar to that of British citizen Gary McKinnon, whose extradition to the US was blocked in 2012 by then Home Secretary Theresa May.

The Indicter, Controversy over WikiLeaks Podesta Emails Opens a Debate for Future Journalism, Nozomi Hayase, Nov. 3, 2016. In its 10th years of existence, WikiLeaks has been at the center of controversy. Ever since its global debut with the 2010 Apache helicopter gun-sight video depicting the killing of civilians in Baghdad, the whistleblowing site has consistently exposed the naked power of empire for the world to see. As a result, the organization has been subject to relentless retaliation. With banking blockades, a secret grand jury and constant character assassination of its founder Julian Assange, who remains arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy, the U.S. government’s efforts to divert public attention from evidence of its own crimes have quickly escalated into a war on the First Amendment.

The IndicterWikiLeaks’ publications influenced the outcome of a Kenyan election and played a role in instigating the Icelandic revolution. Now, by means of email leaks, they began informing U.S. voters of the real working of Corporate America’s tradition of lesser-evil politics.

After the DNC email leaks that led to the resignation of top DNC officials, WikiLeaks has intensified its activity. Since October 7, they began publishing emails from the private account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta. The archive contained transcripts of Clinton’s paid Goldman Sachs speeches that show her two faces and total disconnect from the middle class. It also revealed her private remarks dismissing climate activists. As usual, the leaks have been condemned by the status quo and Clinton loyalists. This time, a narrative that ‘Vladimir Putin was meddling in the election’ was used to discredit their publication, with the mainstream media creating an echo chamber of McCarthy-era style hysteria.

Now, while the beam of transparency is focused on U.S. rigged contest for power, WikiLeaks is once again in the eye of media storms. Some criticize what they perceive as a politically driven information dump and question whether WikiLeaks has gone too far. This new sensation around WikiLeaks is now opening up a debate for all to examine the role of journalism and at the same time gives us an opportunity to understand how the organization’s efforts to open governments is changing the media landscape.

Criticism toward WikiLeaks latest publication also emerged from those who share similar values. The NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who once described WikiLeaks as fearless journalism that they “run towards the risks everyone else runs away from,” weighed in after release of the DNC emails this summer: "Democratizing information has never been more vital, and @Wikileaks has helped. But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake."

Now, renowned author and journalist Naomi Klein joined in this critique. In a recent interview with Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept (funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar), Klein expressed her view that the publication of the Podesta emails is not in the same category as the Pentagon papers and previous publications by WikiLeaks, such as chapters on the TPP trade agreements. Despite her acknowledging valuable and newsworthy stories in this material, she noted how indiscriminate publication of someone’s personal exchanges bring grave threat to privacy. The crux of the criticism revolves around different views on redaction, which has been debated in past years between Assange and Greenwald, who has been an advocate for WikiLeaks.

Foreign Policy via Chicago Tribune, Ecuador's sly strategy behind its treatment of Julian Assange, Elias Groll, Oct. 21, 2016. Julian Assange might be forgiven for feeling paranoid. Shortly after WikiLeaks posted a transcript of a speech delivered by Hillary Clinton to Goldman Sachs, his internet access at Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has lived since 2012, went down. A few days later, a British bank suspended the bank accounts of RT, the Russian state-backed news outlet that has enthusiastically reported on WikiLeaks' recent publications.

Assange immediately claimed that shadowy forces were acting against the WikiLeaks founder, and accused the U.S. government in a tweet of leaning on Ecuador to shut down his internet. Washington immediately denied the claim.

Denying Assange internet access amounted to something of a slap on the wrist of Ecuador's moody boarder. But it also shows Quito's acknowledgment that a shifting political and economic environment in Ecuador has turned Assange into a serious liability. Despite losing internet access, Assange has continued his furious pace of publishing. On Wednesday, WikiLeaks released another batch of emails apparently belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

And Ecuador has not completely abandoned Assange. In its statement, Ecuador's foreign ministry reiterated “its intention to safeguard his life and physical integrity until he reaches a safe place.” Next year, Ecuadoreans head to the polls to select a new president — and Rafael Correa will not be on the ballot. The government's favored candidate is viewed as a more conciliatory figure than Correa.

In short, Ecuador has accomplished a neat diplomatic trick. It can say it has acted to rein in Assange, while also continuing to shelter him. Perhaps that will build some goodwill with its most important economic partner even as it allows the cypherpunk's work to continue.

CraigMurray.org, Mr. Murray Goes to Washington, Craig Murray, Sept. 15, 2016. After a 16,000 person petition to the State Department and letter writing and lobbying including by Jeremy Corbyn, Roger Waters and Daniel Ellsberg, I have been granted a 10-year US visa. I will be going to Washington in a week to have the great honor to chair the presentation of the Sam Adams Award to John Kiriakou – the CIA agent who blew the whistle on waterboarding, and was jailed for it as part of the disgraceful Obama/Clinton War on Whistleblowers. I shall also be speaking at the World Beyond War conference at American University on the subject of peaceful conflict resolution.

Justice Integrity Project, Noted Swedish Journalist, Assange Critic Exposed As Sapo Agent, Andrew Kreig, March 20, 2016.

The IndicterThe Indicter, Paid agent of Swedish security services implicated in second disinformation campaign against Assange, Marcello Ferrada de Noli (shown in a file photo), March 13, 2016. In the first part of this series, The Indicter exposed that a former paid agent of Sweden’s Security Police had intervened with Amnesty Sweden (the Swedish section of Amnesty International), directly dictating its negative stance towards Julian Assange.

In this article, I analyze whether Swedish government security agents, or ‘former agents,’ have been further involved in a disinformation campaign against the founder of WikiLeaks and its whistleblower publishing. An important source here is the activity of Researchgruppen (aka Research Group), the journalist-collective organization led by Martin Fredriksson, a former paid agent of the Swedish Security Police – or, as it’s better known by its Swedish acronym, SÄPO.

Marcello Ferrada de NoliResearchgruppen is an organization founded by Martin Fredriksson (shown in a portrait via Wikimedia) and others in 2010 (while he was still a paid agent of SÄPO) that claims to target extreme right-wing or right-conservative parties, organizations that, however, all share a staunch opposition to the incorporation of Sweden into NATO. Researchgruppen has also received support and assignments from Expressen, one of the main Swedish evening newspapers, well-known for leading an earlier campaign against WikiLeaks and Assange.

The "My Special Interests" programs are podcasts in which the ex-SÄPO agent and guests – occasionally including other collaborators working as SÄPO agents, besides Fredriksson – share opinions on topics built around the political and geopolitical stances of Researchgruppen. Many of these stances are, in fact, very similar to the views held by prominent Swedish politicians who have been exposed by WikiLeaks as having provided information to U.S. intelligence services, such as in the case of former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.

A prominent characteristic of the podcasts is their harsh criticism of Julian Assange, combined with a fierce anti-Russian bias – particularly targeting Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. The podcasts – so far 22 programs have been produced – are each about one hour long.

The Indicter, Former paid agent of Swedish Security Police dictated Amnesty Sweden’s stance against Assange, Marcello Ferrada de Noli, (Chairman of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights), March 6, 2016. The IndicterSvenska Dagbladet (SVD), one of Sweden’s leading newspapers, has now revealed that a well-known journalist and ‘left activist’ – who, among other things, exerted considerable influence with Amnesty International Sweden – was a paid agent of Sweden’s Security Police (SÄPO).

The government security agent, Martin Fredriksson, was mainly active during the years that former Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was dictating Sweden’s foreign policy, when the “Assange Affair” was widely publicized on the home page of Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to statements Fredriksson posted on Twitter, his “work” at SÄPO covered different periods between 2004 and 2010, the year Sweden opened its ‘investigation’ against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The Swedish media establishment awarded this SÄPO secret agent its highest investigative journalism prize, ‘Guldspaden’ (Golden Spade), in 2014. The rationale on which the award was given to Fredriksson referred precisely to the work he had implemented as a paid agent of Sweden’s Secret Police.

Svenska Dagbladet (SVD) (Swedish daily newspaper), When the real Salander sold out to Sapo, Sam Sundberg, March 2, 2016. (Translated by Google, with JIP editorial revisions). One of the more nationally famous left activists, Martin Fredriksson, released this day a bomb in social media. In a groovy Twitter, he reveals that he was for many years a paid Sapo informant during a time when he has been active in the Antifascist Action and Research Group.

Martin Fredriksson WikimediaFredriksson (shown in a file photo) is best known as co-founder in the journalist community of the Research Group, which conducted an extensive digging job of the right-wing's digital activities. In cooperation with the Expressen and Aftonbladet newspapers, he revealed the anonymous authors of racist sites Exposed, Free Times and Avpixlat and hateful writers on the web forum Flashback.

For a collaboration with Expressen, Fredriksson, along with five colleagues in the Research Group, has been awarded the guldspaden, one of Sweden's greatest prizes for investigative journalism. He has also worked as a researcher for Robert Aschberg TV show "Insider."

During the 2000s, Fredriksson spied on the extreme right as a part of the left group Antifascist Action Intelligence. In other words, he is one of those who had the best insight into the activity on both the political front flanks of the past decade. By his own account, it was only the investigations of violent right-wing that he handed over to the Security Service. But it is clear from the comments in social media that even his former allies now shivering.

In the activist groups where Martin Fredriksson thrived, there is a general revulsion against the idea of collaborating with the security police, but also a nervousness that Fredriksson may have leaked information about their own activities. Several of Fredriksson's old colleagues have now hurried to distance themselves from him, including the Research Group. On their website ,they write that SAPO-cooperation took place before the group was formed. But that is not consistent with Fredriksson's own Twitter confession, in which he writes that the second period of the collaboration occurred in 2009 - 2010. The Research Group was formed in autumn 2009.

Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde asks on Twitter openly why he should trust that Fredriksson has not leaked chat logs to the Security Service. (Fredriksson was also active in the early Piracy Bay effort) and follows up with an allusion to the saying "Golare has no buddies."

"Golare etc. Good luck with the loneliness. "

According to Martin Fredriksson, this is why he describes himself as a former Security Service agent, saying he wants to do away with his past and get a more normal life: "I am transparent about this and tell you now, even though I did not directly profit from it."

It is true that he hardly makes up with friends with this, he says. On the other hand, he is writing a book about its history: The thrilling documentary thriller about the struggle between violence left and right violence, and when the real Salander sold out to SAPO. With the right agent (a literary one), it will be a bestseller.

The Indicter, Olof Palme and Julian Assange subjected in Sweden to same hate campaign by the same political forces and with the same purpose: to defend U.S. geopolitical interests, Marcello Ferrada de Noli, The IndicterMarch edition (released Feb. 28, 2016). Today, the 28th of February 2016, the world is mourning the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Olof Palme, the honorable PM of Sweden. The Swedish media and a variety of early authorities and representatives of Sweden’s power and cultural elites have been during the last weeks unanimous on this: The assassination took place in the frame of a hate campaign against him, and where Olof Palme (shown in a file photo) was constantly subjected to libelous personal attacks.

Olol Palme, late prime minister of Sweden 1968 photo via WikimediaHowever, what that media and politicians who professed frank animosity against Palme’s anti-imperialist stances do not say is that it was they who promoted and/or echoed such a hate campaign. Months ago, a politician of name Jörgen Olsen and belonging of the same organization as Carl Bildt and Ulf Adelsohn wrote in Facebook, “Palme was a repulsive person.” That is the terms used by former Social Minister Göran Haglund when referring to Assange.

Martin Klepke, a reporter formerly working at the Swedish newspaper Expressen, told in 2014 that he heard colleagues at his working place in Expressen discussing in serious terms whether Olof Palme “should go voluntarily or forced out by means of military power.” That was the time when Olof Palme had in unambiguous terms denounced the bombing of Hanoi civilian population by the U.S. and criticized the occupation war in Vietnam.

Nevertheless, the Swedish police disregarded eyewitness reports from the very same evening of the murder of Palme, which identified a U.S. agent at the time working for Pinochet’s infamous DINA – the secret security agency set up to assassinate opposition leaders abroad. Olof Palme was the only foreign dignitary who was listed in the death list of Operation Condor, [a CIA assassination plan].

New York Observer, Exclusive New Docs Throw Doubt on Julian Assange Rape Charges in Stockholm, Celia Farber, Feb. 5, 2016 (Publisher: Jared Kushner). As UN rules Wikileaks founder was 'arbitrarily detained,' he stands accused by two Swedish women — is the whole thing just Nordic neurosis? Note: The regrettable invasion of privacy that follows is strictly for the purpose of clarification about the events that took place in Stockholm in 2010, which has led to a five-year legal quagmire between Sweden, the United Kingdom and Ecuador. The matter has kept Julian Assange in various degrees of custody since December of 2010, and has cost U.K. taxpayers over 13 million pounds to date.

Two Swedish women — Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen — had sex with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in Stockholm, in their respective apartments, in the month of August, 2010. He stands accused of three counts of sexual molestation and “unpeace” and one count of rape, by Swedish prosecutors, who initially dropped all charges against him, then revived them — just one of many inexplicable twists and turns in the gluey saga.

Was it rape? Was it somewhere in the “grey zone”?

Anna ArdinWhen Ms. Ardin (shown in a file photo) learned Mr. Assange had also slept with Ms. Wilen, and when he failed the golden rule of elemental post-coital communications, they locked arms and went to the police—not to charge him with rape, but to see if he could be compelled to take an HIV test, on a Saturday, in Stockholm.

The report contains several testimonies — Ms. Ardin, Ms. Wilen, two Swedish male journalists, Ms. Wilen’s ex boyfriend, brother, and several friends and colleagues of the two women. Finally, Mr. Assange himself. It closes with grainy photographs of a broken condom, as well as a condom tip — and the forensic analysis of experts from “Staten’s Kriminaltekniska Laboratorium” (The State’s Criminal Technological Laboratory) — offering forensic results about the exact conditions along the broken edge of the condom. (Ruled not to have been broken by an “instrument,” but to have failed by natural means.)

After the incidents for which he is wanted for questioning took place, in mid-August 2010, Mr. Assange remained in Sweden for five weeks, until September 27, during which time Swedish prosecutors once dropped the case altogether, only to re-open it days later. Prosecutor Marianne Ny was quoted in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter as having said: “Even if I’m wrong, I won’t give up.”

Mr. Assange was originally under arrest in absentia (but not charged) for four counts of sexual offense: one of unlawful coercion, two of molestation and one of rape. In August of 2015, all counts expired due to the statute of limitations, except for the rape charge, which will remain intact until 2020.

Rixstep Industry Watch, Where in the world is Sofia Wilén?  Staff report, Jan. 11, 2014. Who knows where she's come from or where she's gone to now?  It's been over three years since anyone's heard from or seen Sofia Wilén, the individual behind the embassy stalemate for Julian Assange. Assange stays in the Ecuador embassy in Knightsbridge, fearful he'll be shipped off to the U.S. if he sets foot outside to clear up the allegations.

Anna Ardin and Sofia WilenSofia turned up on several occasions for interrogations with the police, always assisted by her attorney Claes Borgström, but it's not known if she turned up in person or was merely interrogated by telephone as many of the other witnesses. Sofia recently changed attorneys, expressing dissatisfaction with Claes Borgström.

Sofia's new attorney Elisabeth Massi Fritz came out with guns blazing but chiefly made a mess of things, forging and fudging official documents, and revealing a weakness for unprofessional bombast.

But since then all's been quiet. Sofia's no longer in Swedish public records. Her official address changed shortly after the events of August 2010, and since then no one's been able to find her. Although it's possible she simply got her personal details hidden by the tax authority, too many people connected with her have, just as she did back in 2010, scrubbed their Internet presence.

It was the thoroughness of this 'web scrubbing' that made people wonder. Her website was completely gone by 27 August, the only date for which the Wayback machine has anything at all, a mere week after her visit to the Stockholm Klara police station [in 2010].

Rolling Stone, WikiLeaks Stratfor Emails: A Secret Indictment Against Julian Assange? Michael Hastings, Feb. 28, 2012. On January 26, 2011, Fred Burton, the vice president of Stratfor, a leading private intelligence firm which bills itself as a kind of shadow CIA, sent an excited email to his colleagues. "Text Not for Pub," he wrote. "We" – meaning the U.S. government – "have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect."

The news, if true, was a bombshell. At the time, the Justice Department was ramping up its investigation of Julian Assange, the founder of the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which over the past few years has released hundreds of thousands of sensitive government documents.

An indictment under the 1917 Espionage Act would be the most serious action taken to date against Assange, possibly paving the way for his extradition to the U.S. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods....The material contains privileged information about the US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks. There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange.

Carl BildtBusiness Insider, New WikiLeaks Drop Alleges That Sweden’s Foreign Minister Has Been a U.S. Spy, Adam Taylor, Feb. 22, 2012. WikiLeaks is said to be preparing a release that will allege Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt has been a US informant since the 1970s. The news was broken by Swedish newspaper Expressen, who have access to an internal Wikileaks memo.

The memo says that the allegations are supposedly based on a US diplomat's report, and will be politically explosive. "He will be forced to resign", one source told the paper. Bildt is alleged to have reported to Karl Rove, the former advisor to George W. Bush, in the document. Bildt (shown in a file photo) has publicly admitted he meets with Rove but in an informal manner.

However, the document reportedly reveals he has acted as an "informer" to the US government since 1973.
a best-selling spy thriller author, is shown in a file photo giving a political speech.

Professors Blogg, The “Duck Pond” Theses: Explaining Swedish journalism and the anti-Assange smear campaign, Marcello Ferrada de Noli (shown in a photo with with Assange and Assange counsel Jennifer Dr. Marcello Ferrade de Noli, Jennifer Robinson and Julian Assange Robinson), Dec. 1, 2011. The consolidation of ownership in the media results in a quite monolithic ideological perspective under which employed journalists produce news articles and columns.

Justice Integrity Project, Rove’s Swedish Connections: The Controversy And The Facts, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 14, 2011. My Huffington Post column in December describing links between Karl Rove and Sweden’s governing party continues to generate controversy. Sweden’s all-out effort to capture WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange illustrates how the Assange law enforcement scandal is similar to many Rove-style political prosecutions in the United States. Among the tell-tale signs are using the media to smear a defendant with pre-trial leaks. These foster an anti-defendant climate in the courts and public, helping to ensure that unfair court procedures will not generate effective protest by legislators, the media or general public.

Huffington Post, Spy vs. Spy As Hackers Square Off Over DC Dirty Tricks, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 11. 2011. The mainstream media are paying increasing attention to a shocking scandal arising from retribution by pro-WikiLeaks hackers against government contractors apparently trying to sell political dirty tricks services to hurt critics of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Bank of America.

Professors Blogg, Karl Rove, Sweden and the Eight Major Aberrations in the Police Sex Crime Reporting Process in the Assange Case, Naomi Wolf, Feb. 9, 2011. Best-selling author Naomi Wolf, shown at left, is Naomi Wolfthe author of eight books. Based on my 23 years of reporting on global rape law and my five years of supporting women at rape crisis centers and battered women's shelters, this case is not being treated as a normal rape or sexual assault case. [Published also in News from Underground, Blogosfären and Makthavare.]

Professors Blogg, Swedish PM Reinfeldt lies in London on Assange extradition, Marcello Vittorio Ferrada de Noli, Jan. 21, 2011. Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt told reporters Thursday that "Sweden's policy is not to extradite people to nations with the death penalty. But he said Sweden's courts, not its government, would decide that." This is utterly untrue. Everybody in Sweden with some insight in domestic political affairs, knows that the Swedish government has collaborated in the rendition of political prisoners labeled in the USA as terrorists to countries in which the death penalty is in use. Decisions of this kind taken in recent years by the Swedish government had absolutely nothing to do with the Swedish courts, which have been in the best case overruled or simply ─ like in the most notorious cases ─ not even engaged.

Justice Integrity Project, PM’s Biographer Sees Rove Influence in Swedish Politics, Andrew Kreig, Jan. 17, 2011. Brian Palmer of Uppsala University in Sweden provided an illuminating interview on my Washington Update radio show regarding the influence of Karl Rove on Swedish politics as an advisor to the governing Moderate Party. Palmer described why he co-authored a Swedish-language book about political parties were attracting voters, “George W. Reinfeldt: The art of making a political extreme makeover.” The book describes how Sweden’s political right, including Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, created an image of moderation, much as did U.S. President George W. Bush during his 2000 campaign.

Connecticut Watchdog, Partner at Firm Counseling Assange's Accusers Helped the CIA In Rendition for Torture, Andrew Kreig, Jan. 11, 2011. Best-selling spy thriller author Thomas BodstromThomas Bodström ─ an attorney whose firm represents the two Swedish women making the notorious sex charges against WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange ─ knows better than most people that truth is stranger than fiction.

Bodström is shown giving a lecture in a file photo. See also, Swedish Wire, Partner at Swedish law firm counseling WikiLeaks boss' accusers helped in CIA torture rendition, Jan. 20, 2011.

Guardian, Julian Assange's sex-crime accusers deserve to be named, Naomi Wolf, Jan. 5, 2011. The shielding of sex-crime accusers is a Victorian relic. Women Naomi Wolfare moral adults and should be treated as such. As Swedish prosecutors' sex-crime allegations against Julian Assange play out, one aspect of the case merits serious scrutiny. We know Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, by name. But his two accusers are consistently identified only as "Miss A" and "Miss W" in the media, and their images are blurred. In the UK it is against the law to name an accuser in a sex-crime case once a complaint has been made; elsewhere – in the US, and much of Europe – media convention demands that accusers get the same protection. This is bad law and bad policy. Motivated by good intentions, the outcome harms women.

The convention of shielding rape accusers is a relic of the Victorian era, when rape and other sex crimes were being codified in what descended to us as modern law. Rape was seen as "the fate worse than death", rendering women – supposed to be virgins until marriage – "damaged goods." The practice of not naming rape victims took hold for this reason.

Feminists have long argued that rape must be treated like any other crime. But in no other crime are accusers' identities hidden. Treating rape differently serves only to maintain its mischaracterisation as a "different" kind of crime, loaded with cultural baggage.

Finally, there is a profound moral issue here. Though children's identities should, of course, be shielded, women are not children. If one makes a serious criminal accusation, one must be treated as a moral adult. The importance of this is particularly clear in the Assange case, where public opinion matters far more than usual. Here, geopolitical state pressure, as well as the pressure of public attitudes about Assange, weigh unusually heavily. Can judicial decision-making be impartial when the accused is exposed to the glare of media scrutiny and attack by the US government, while his accusers remain hidden?

It is no one's business whom a victim of sex crime has had sex with previously, or what she was wearing when attacked. Laws exist to protect women from such inquiries. But some questions of motive and context, for both parties, are legitimate in any serious allegation.

Karl Rove Huffington Post, Rove Suspected In Swedish-U.S. Political Prosecution of WikiLeaks, Andrew Kreig, Dec. 19, 2010.

Guardian, 10 days in Sweden: the full allegations against Julian Assange, Nick Davies, Dec. 17, 2010. Unseen police documents provide the first complete account of the allegations against the WikiLeaks founder Documents seen by the Guardian reveal for the first time the full details of the allegations of rape and sexual assault that have led to extradition hearings against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.

The case against Assange, which has been the subject of intense speculation and dispute in mainstream media and on the internet, is laid out in police material held in Stockholm to which the Guardian received unauthorised access.

Assange, who was released on bail on Thursday, denies the Swedish allegations and has not formally been charged with any offense. The two Swedish women behind the charges have been accused by his supporters of making malicious complaints or being "honeytraps" in a wider conspiracy to discredit him. Assange's UK lawyer, Mark Stephens, attributed the allegations to "dark forces," saying: "The honeytrap has been sprung ... After what we've seen so far you can reasonably conclude this is part of a greater plan." The journalist John Pilger dismissed the case as a "political stunt" and in an interview with ABC news, Assange said Swedish prosecutors were withholding evidence which suggested he had been "set up."

However, unredacted statements held by prosecutors in Stockholm, along with interviews with some of the central characters, shed fresh light on the hotly disputed sequence of events that has become the center of a global storm.

Stephens has repeatedly complained that Assange has not been allowed to see the full allegations against him, but it is understood his Swedish defense team have copies of all the documents seen by the Guardian. He maintains that other potentially exculpatory evidence has not been made available to his team and may not have been seen by the Guardian.

The allegations center on a 10-day period after Assange flew into Stockholm on Wednesday, 11 August. One of the women, named in court as Miss A, told police that she had arranged Assange's trip to Sweden, and let him stay in her flat because she was due to be away. She returned early, on Friday 13 August, after which the pair went for a meal and then returned to her flat.

Her account to police, which Assange disputes, stated that he began stroking her leg as they drank tea, before he pulled off her clothes and snapped a necklace that she was wearing. According to her statement she "tried to put on some articles of clothing as it was going too quickly and uncomfortably but Assange ripped them off again." Miss A told police that she didn't want to go any further "but that it was too late to stop Assange as she had gone along with it so far," and so she allowed him to undress her.