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Cracks in the Mirror

Getting facts right is endemic to recording history. Spiegel still have an account of Assange in Sweden riddled with errors.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-cable-guy-julian-assange-becomes-us-s-public-enemy-no-1-a-733154-3.html

The Stockholm affair began in mid-August with an event held by an organisation tied to the Swedish Social Democrats.

True. The ‘Brotherhood’ aren’t often heard of, but they’ve been aligned with the Social Democrats.

Anna A, the organisation’s spokeswoman, had invited Assange, who stayed at her apartment in Stockholm.

The reason for this arrangement isn’t included, nor is it established who exactly invited Assange or how negotiations proceeded. Anna, a secretary in the organisation, was tasked with managing the visit, something she almost immediately turned over to Donald Boström.

The original idea was to put Assange up in a hotel. But hotels in Stockholm are obscenely expensive. Knowing that Anna would be out of town all week and would in fact return only on the morning of the talk, and knowing that Sweden’s Pirate Party agreed to house Assange from that day forward, everything seemed to be OK, and the ‘Brotherhood’ would save a lot of cash. It was also surmised that Assange would prefer such an arrangement, as it wouldn’t be as easy for the ‘bad people’ to find him.

But Anna also planned an ‘ambush’ on Assange, suddenly turning the key in her own door a day early. Even Johannes Wahlström, Assange’s inofficial liaison for the visit, was shocked to find Anna in the flat on Saturday morning – it had been his understanding that she wouldn’t be there, and immediately he feared the worst. And not that Anna and Assange would have sex, but that something else – something in the vicinity of a double-cross – was taking place.

It is undisputed that Assange and Anna A had sex with each other on the evening before the event.

True. A shocked Assange was invited out to dinner by Anna who said they could discuss their ‘unexpected’ situation (which of course Anna had not only expected but planned all along).

The next day, Assange gave a talk about the preceding Afghanistan leaks at the headquarters of the Swedish trade union association.

Yes. This was at the LO-borgen at Norra bantorget. LO is ‘Landsorganistionen’ and it’s indeed the Swedish trade union association. Coincidentally scandal lawyer Claes Borgström has offices at the back of the same building.

A young artist from a town near Stockholm named Sofia W, who had obtained accreditation for the event as a photographer and worshipped Assange, was in the audience.

Somewhat true, although calling Sofia an ‘artist’ is really stretching it. Her father is a photographer, and she seems to have had interest in pursuing photography as well, but her profession was working on an hourly wage as caretaker at a museum.

The word ‘worshipped’ might be a bit OT for Spiegel to use.

And ‘accreditation’? Sofia had no accreditation. The initial invite had said ‘prio press’ and Sofia was definitely not press. And her application for one of the severely limited number of seats seems to have come at least one day after the event was sold out, something that raised eyebrows even further.

It is also undisputed that Assange and Sofia W had sex that night and again the following morning, before Assange disappeared.

No, that is very disputed. Assange spent the afternoon with Sofia at her museum, but then left her to visit Johannes Wahlström, and from the flat of Johannes at metro station Zinkensdamm, he and Johannes went on to the hastily arranged crayfish party in the courtyard back of Anna’s flat on Tjurbergsgatan, where Anna proceeded to ‘show off Assange’ and even offered him for sex to her friend Kajsa Borgnäs.

Sofia and Assange were together first on 17 August, three days later.

And Assange didn’t ‘disappear’ anywhere.

Assange, she said, was not violent but had a strange attitude toward women and refused to accept ‘no’ for an answer.

This is comical with clumsiness approaching that of DDB. Anna never once said ‘no’ to Assange for anything, in any context, and in fact, according to Anna’s own later police testimony, certainly did not exhibit any ‘strange attitude’, unless of course that includes lack of experience with politically motivated sexual predators. A ‘struggle of limbs as one’s never seen’ might sum it up, but there was no ‘strange attitude’ on the part of Assange, and there was definitely no ‘no’ emanating from the lips of Anna.

The statements by the two women marked the beginning of a case rarely seen in Swedish legal history.

This is patently horrifically untrue. Obviously Stark and Rosenbach are very unfamiliar with Swedish legal history. Although how they could have missed the cases known as ‘da Costa’, ‘Thomas Quick’, and the ‘Astrid Lindgren doctor’ is inexcusable, especially when using the words ‘rarely seen’. The Swedish legal system is in turmoil today.

The case of Assange is not an exception but a high-profile instance of the rule.

Weeks later, the attorney for the two women managed to convince the prosecution to reopen its investigation of the rape allegation.

Not weeks later.

Claes Borgström, infamous for his part in the Quick scandal, was contacted the same weekend the police filed the complaint, and this because the prosecutor called in to clean up the mess, the highly respected Eva Finné, had closed the most crucial part of the investigation, told the perennially overeager inspector Mats Gehlin to keep his ‘hands off’ the closed case, and left the remaining minor accusation of ‘molestation’ until after the weekend.

The girls hadn’t known it was possible to reopen a case, so exactly why they had contacted Borgström isn’t known. But it wasn’t to reopen a closed investigation. Borgström instead offered this option to get one or both of the girls out of a perceived predicament.

Borgström applied to be legal counsel for the girls first thing Monday morning. (He was coincidentally also desperate to get the media off his case for the Quick scandal, and a high-profile case like Assange would certainly help.)

And even before he was officially approved, the inspector who’d been ordered ‘hands off’ was already feeding him confidential documents. (One of Borgström’s first tasks was to ‘pepper’ Sofia’s testimony, something he’s known in Stockholm for being very good at. The idea is to inject ‘key words’ to grab the attention of the prosecutor. Borgström is considered one of the best in town at this questionable practice.)

A new arrest warrant was issued in November and the Swedes began the search for Assange.

This is highly misleading. A new warrant was issued at 14:15 on 27 September, when it was known Assange was headed to the airport to fly to Berlin. But the warrant was kept secret, otherwise Assange wouldn’t have been allowed to leave the country.

This warrant waited in secret for use when Assange was, according to schedule, to return to Sweden in the first week of October for Stockolm’s ‘Afghanistan Week’.

It is also a matter of public record today that the new prosecutor, a friend of Claes Borgström, had planned to ambush Assange at his talk in Stockholm and have him led away in handcuffs, to the delight of newspaper photographers who’d already been alerted and were waiting on location.

Even Assange’s lawyer Björn Hurtig had been contacted in advance and told to please remain in his offices until later that evening, as the prosecutor Marianne Ny might end up having Assange in custody. This was later corroborated by Hurtig’s invoice to the public prosecutor and further by Marianne Ny’s assistant prosecutor Erika Leijnefors.

That’s what the ‘new warrant’ was about.

Finally, the Swedes never searched for Assange. Assange wasn’t in Sweden, so how did Stark and Rosenbach imagine the Swedes would search for him?

And no one else needed to search for Assange either. The media didn’t know where he was, as he was working on Cablegate and didn’t want to be disturbed. He was at Ellingham with the WikiLeaks team. And the moment Marianne Ny finally got the EAW right – not just a ‘revised version’, as Spiegel claim, as it took 4-5 attempts and an outside legal expert from the US to help her tick all the boxes correctly – Assange dutifully turned up at the police station.

The Spiegel account is woefully inaccurate and dangerously misleading.

It is now up to the courts to determine what exactly happened in those two nights.

Certainly not. Not the British courts at any rate. The British courts can only review the actual EAW. They may not judge the applicability of issuing the EAW itself.

Under the Swedish criminal code, a person who threatens to perform sexual acts is to be convicted of rape.

No. That’s ridiculous. If you don’t do something but only try to do something, it’s called ‘attempted’. Such a distinction dates back in almost all countries in the west almost 400 years.

Questionable Approach

Always striving for ‘balance’ rather than the more difficult ‘objectivity’ and finding the truth, Stark and Rosenbach now change tack.

What is questionable, however, is the approach taken by the Swedish investigating authorities. Assange made himself available for questioning in Sweden for four weeks, then left the country with the permission of the public prosecutor’s office and told Scotland Yard in Great Britain that he could be reached through her law firm, says Jennifer Robinson, Assange’s attorney.

True.

He also offered to be questioned at the Swedish Embassy in London or directly at Scotland Yard, she said.

True. He’s been doing that all along. What the orcs sent out to disparage Assange don’t want you to remember is that Assange understands it’s in his own personal interests and the interests of his organisation to clear this matter up as soon as possible.

That’s why he lingered on in Stockholm. After all, in ordinary police procedure, the suspect is interrogated as soon as possible. Marianne Ny may have hinted she prefers a different approach, but the legality of such an approach is questionable at the very best. And waiting several months before interviewing a suspect one once had under arrest is ridiculous and disingenuous.

Speaking ahead of Assange’s arrest on Tuesday, Robinson denied the rumours that her client had disappeared and was on the run.

Of course. Jennifer wasn’t about to break the law herself, and had no reason to do so. The death threats were very real. And it wasn’t just the odd right wing idiot in the US calling for the CIA to take care of Assange: it was the very real danger that some other anonymous weirdo might take a potshot. Assange was hidden for the sake of protection, but both Jennifer and the police knew where he was at all times.

If history teaches us anything, it teaches us that we must get the facts right before recording that history.