The Times of India — Dec 9, 2010
The two Swedish women who have brought sex charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange boasted about their relationship with him days before going to police.
Based on information available on various websites quoting police and court files, and reports in the Swedish media, here’s an account of what happened.
The story goes back to August this year, when Assange was in Stockholm to speak at the invitation of Sweden’s Social Democratic Party.
The event organizer was 31-year-old Anna Ardin, press secretary of the Brotherhood Movement, which is an adjunct of the Social Democratic Party. Ardin, who has been described as a feminist, leftist and animal rights activist, previously worked at the Uppsala University, handling equality issues for the students’ union. (After pressing charges against Assange, she has been called a “CIA agent” on various blogs and Twitter. The internet is abuzz with conspiracy theories on how Assange was framed. Speculation about her ties to CIA is being fuelled by her alleged association with anti-Castro groups funded by the US.)
When Assange arrived in Stockholm on August 11, Ardin invited him to stay at her flat while she visited her family for a few days out in the country. Ardin returned home on August 13; she and Assange had sex that night. Both have admitted a condom was used and it broke. On August 20, Ardin would go to police alleging that Assange deliberately broke the condom during sex.
Ardin’s co-accuser, 26-year-old Sofia Wilen, an aspiring photographer, had sex with Assange on the evening of August 16 and again the following morning. The first time, a condom was used; the second time, there was no condom. On August 20, Wilen would go to police alleging that Assange had refused to wear a condom.
Assange insists that the sex with both women was consensual. After the sexual encounters, neither woman seemed to harbour any resentment against Assange. One of Assange’s lawyers has been quoted as saying: “The exact content of Wilen’s mobile phone texts is not yet known but their bragging and exculpatory character has been confirmed by Swedish prosecutors. Neither Wilen’s nor Ardin’s texts complain of rape.”
On August 14, the day following the night of “crime”, Assange delivered a 90-minute speech about how the first casualty of war is truth. Ardin was in attendance (as was Wilen) but showed no signs of the previous night’s “trauma”. The two women can be seen in a video of the conference. At 2 o’clock that night, while hosting a party in Assange’s honour at her flat, Ardin tweeted: “Sitting outside; nearly freezing; with the world’s coolest people; it’s pretty amazing.”
After going to police on August 20, she deleted the tweet. The post deleted fromannaardin.bloggy.se and twitter.com/annaardin can still be seen on this cached page. After sex with Assange on the morning of August 17, Wilen went out, and bought, then cooked breakfast – oatmeal and juice.
On August 18, Wilen called up Ardin and told her that she had unprotected sex with Assange. She said she was upset he didn’t use a condom and was afraid she might have contracted an STD or become pregnant. Ardin said she too had sex with Assange. On August 20, both women filed charges against him.
And an obscure Swedish law was invoked. It is sometimes called the “surprise sex” law. In essence, it holds that if a woman withdraws her consent at any point during intercourse, and the man continues, it becomes rape. This transition from consensual to non-consensual sex is what Assange is accused of. All this will have to be proved in the court — a Swedish one.
One thing, however, is certain: the word “rape” has come to stick to Assange’s name and his creation, WikiLeaks. A Google search for “wikileaks rape” returns 3.09 million results. But will this association deliver a blow to the idea that is WikiLeaks?
Just a day after the two women went to police to file charges against Assange, Nicholas John Mead, a British freelance journalist, wrote on his blog: “Whether this is an orchestrated smear campaign, just two very silly girls, or a genuine case of rape and harassment, the fact is that WikiLeaks is bigger than Assange as he I’m sure would be the first to admit. It, and other projects like it, cannot be stopped.”