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Assange: 'I'm the only victim' in rape scandal

AFP/The Local · 8 Sep 2010, 15:27

Published: 08 Sep 2010 15:27 GMT+02:00

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"The only victim here is me," stressed the 39-year-old Australian spokesman of the whistleblower website notorious for having recently published nearly 77,000 classified US military documents about Afghanistan.

"These accusations are baseless, and the process by which they've come out is disturbing," Assange told AFP in a telephone interview, maintaining that he has decided to stay in Sweden to prove his innocence.

"This entire rape investigation has been conducted without my input," he lamented, pointing out that "no one has asked me any questions regarding the rape case. The police refuse to say if there is a warrant out for me or not."

"It's been two weeks now," added the lanky former hacker who has been at the heart of a media circus ever since a confusing muddle of rape charges against him were first filed, then withdrawn and then filed again.

It was late in the evening on August 20 that rape allegations from two women led a duty prosecutor to issue an arrest warrant for Assange.

Another prosecutor however abruptly withdrew the warrant the next day and cancelled the rape charges a few days later, only to see her decision appealed and the rape case reopened by yet another prosecutor.

Assange admitted to AFP that he had met both women in question, who according to their lawyer are both Swedish and aged between 25 and 35, saying "they were both at my press conference."

However, when asked whether he had had sex with either of the women, he refused to answer, saying it was "a private matter."

The whole case, he said, "is a clear set up by the people involved, the complainants and possibly the Expressen tabloid," which first broke the story just hours after the initial arrest warrant was issued.

"There is at different stages in the case personal vendettas, there is ideology, there is carreerism ... from the head prosecutor (Marianne Ny) of the most disgusting kind," he claimed.

The enigmatic Australian, who in the past has charged the allegations against him were part of a Washington-orchestrated "smear campaign" aimed at discrediting WikiLeaks, was Tuesday more cautious about handing out blame beyond Sweden's borders.

US intelligence services "are probably very happy now," he said, adding however that "mentioning their involvement is for now only speculation."

"And there's also circumstantial evidence that there is political involvement but not clear evidence," he added.

Assange said his website now had "two reliable intelligence sources that state that Swedish intelligence was approached last month by the United States and told that Sweden must not be a safe-haven for WikiLeaks."

Regardless of who is behind the allegations, he acknowledged the criminal case against him had caused significant damage to his organisation, which is preparing to publish another 15,000 classified US military documents about the war in Afghanistan and to again draw the ire of the Pentagon.

Assange, who shortly before the rape allegations first emerged had said WikiLeaks would release the new, even more controversial batch of documents within a few weeks, refused to say Tuesday when he thought they would be published.

"The Swedish case has caused delays, significant delays in all of our projects. It's been an enormous disruption," he said.

Story continues below…

That does not mean the website is putting its leaking activities on hold.

"We have upcoming releases relating to financial fraud, the banking industry and war crimes," Assange confided.

But due to the Swedish charges, the WikiLeaks founder himself has been forced to withdraw from most of the websites activities and reduce his spokesperson role to a minimum.

"An allegation has been reported all around the world. It's at present on six million websites," he pointed out, adding that "in fact one in twenty websites mentioning the word rape also mentioned my name."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:50 September 8, 2010 by dwb5555
So its the USA , "complainants and possibly the Expressen tabloid" fault. How about the easter bunny, santa claus, and tooth fairy?
15:58 September 8, 2010 by Tutu
There is something suspicious about this Assange. He is the one preaching righteouness and does not practice it. He is exposing other people's secrets but hiding his own. Has he forgotten that those who live in glass house dont throw stones. If he has decided to make a living in exposing people's flaws, he should expect the affected people to get back at him.

He has a criminal record of hacking into governmental websites in his home country. Why does he wants to move to sweden, if he is not hiding something.

He was reported to have accessed various computers belonging to an Australian university, Canadian telecommunications company Nortel,[2] and other organisations via modem[7] to test their security flaws; he later pleaded guilty to 24 charges of hacking and was released on bond for good conduct after being fined AU$2100. from wikipedia

Is it now the US intelligence fault that he stayed in the lady's place. The issue is in the public court of law. I am appealing to someone to RAPILEAKS what actually happened between him and the women. His own people are loosing confidence in him now.
16:05 September 8, 2010 by jesseblu
I find it odd that someone with a 'clean' record (rape) suddenly becomes a serial rappist. It's rather a big leap from hacking to rape.
16:11 September 8, 2010 by Adele

Why does he want to move to Sweden? He has stated before and made it very obvious he has moved to Sweden and become a journalist for Aftonbladet to take advantage of Sweden's extremely strong laws in protecting journalistic sources. He has also never denied being a former hacker, so all of your info on that is hardly damning.

He never said it was US intelligence's fault that he "stayed at the lady's place", that is completely missing the point.

As much as I doubt he is guilty in this case (as jesseblu points out), even if he is, it hardly reflects on the ultimate mission and legitimacy of Wikileaks anyway, unless the US manages to extradite him from Sweden due to his being convicted here.

And your point about this being in a court of law - well exactly. So how about we stick with the general democratic legal right of innocent until proven guilty? Unfortunately for Assange, as he rightly asserts, he has not been given this fundamental right and has already been tried and found guilty by the media, 6 million search results, and people like you, regardless of the outcome of any investigation.
16:33 September 8, 2010 by dwb5555

Where and when did someone say he was guilty? It always seems that people read into the story what they want to and not what is written.

And come on he has been doing the blame game since the charges were file. Even his own son has said that he is not very good with dealing with people. (this is not to say he is a rappist just he is not good at dealing with people) I don't want you to read what is not written.

And where did @Tutu say he was serial rappist, all he did was present the fact about this man.

So again stop seeing what you want to see and actually read what is written.
17:14 September 8, 2010 by Rick Methven
"So again stop seeing what you want to see and actually read what is written"

OK so I read what you wrote and have a question

Is being a 'rappist' a criminal offence?
17:38 September 8, 2010 by procrustes
Smears work--just read the comments.

If this were a serious case, a) it would never have been leaked, b) police would quietly gather their information, c) when they felt they had a case he would have been either questioned or charged, d) his name, even after being charged, would never have been released until after he was found guilty.

I'm not an expert in Swedish law (far from it), but I do know a smear when I see one. Either the police and prosecutors are totally incompetent and should be relieved of their responsibilities immediately, or it was a deliberate smear campaign and the prosecutors should be relieved of their duties. Either way, if Sweden's law establishment is non-political/serious, the prosecutors should be "sparked".
17:47 September 8, 2010 by dwb5555
@Rick Methven

Are you sure you can read? Why ask a silly question?

To answer your question, yes.
18:04 September 8, 2010 by miau
@procrustes - agree, agree, agree.

I can only imagine what the late, great comedian Bill Hicks would have to say on this, in his characteristic sardonic and sarcastic tone: "Oh gee, WikiLeaks releases more than 90,000 confidential military documents that expose the war crimes in Afghanistan, and three weeks later the authorities issue an arrest warrant for the head of WikiLeaks on rape charges. What a coincidence!"

How can anyone deny Washington was pissed at the release of these documents and would seek to prevent/pressure WikiLeaks from releasing more, using, dare I add here, any means possible?
18:39 September 8, 2010 by eZee.se

Whats your point? your post is first but does not make much sense.


He does not expose "peoples flaws" he exposes the dirty secrets that organizations and governments are SUPPOSED to tell us, their citizens--- but dont.

Not not like Wikileaks reports on who is the latest who banged Paris Hilton, for that you have the tabloids.

He does not have to expose his personal life as he too does not owe the people anything (unlike financial institutions and governments) - if you want that, again, tabloids or maybe TMZ or Parezhilton would be your cup of tea.

So he hacked before, probably to again reveal the dirty secrets that are supposed to be publicly available, got caught, and paid his dues - the big deal is?????

"Is it now the US intelligence fault that he stayed in the lady's place. "

Citation needed, or you just pulled that bit out of your behind.

"Why does he wants to move to sweden, if he is not hiding something. "

Go to Rinkeby and ask the same question - thats how silly that statement is.

Looks like smear campaigns still work - very very well.
18:44 September 8, 2010 by Capey
@Tutu, and


May I suggest you update yourselves with what JA's son actually said, and what WikiLeaks insiders actually said?

see http://www.lemma.org/?p-192

and http://www.topnews.in/law/No plans to remove WikiLeaks founder Assange, say insiders.

Thank you
19:02 September 8, 2010 by Adele

do you not think that having your name come up as a rapist in 6 million search results, your name being associated with the word "rape" in every major news outlet and people such as @Tutu saying things like "I am appealing to someone to RAPILEAKS what actually happened between him and the women. His own people are loosing confidence in him now" constantly doesn't constitute being guilty in most people's minds who haven't actually looked into the details of the case?

Maybe you should read what is actually being said yourself.
19:04 September 8, 2010 by Taxalien
Of course it is not a smear or anything of that sort.

...meanwhile the police strike at file shares that use the same hosting company as wikileaks...

Just a coincidence. Of course.
19:05 September 8, 2010 by Audrian
Miau has made a good point.

This man is standing for our rights to know the hidden secrets of American imperialism and its allies. If the Swedish government or its spy agency is involved it has to be exposed. A help is needed here.

Wikileak should post the remaining documents for all to see. Others should take the example to expose criminal activities of our governments.
20:29 September 8, 2010 by Nomark
Adele - I also think its terrible that he has been named. Both he and the alleged victims ought to enjoy anonymity. However, you mention that people "who haven't looked into the details of the case" may think him guilty. Can I remind you that *you* also don't know what went on. The press reports are very limited and hint at what they think is the alleged offence, not much more.

Taxalien - since you named and smeared one of the complainants on a related thread, I don't think you're in a strong moral position to complain about the treatment of Assange. Like Adele (and all of us), you don't know what went on.

Audrian - you make an admirable cry for the remaining documents to be posted. How do you know that publishing them won't endanger innocent Afghan lives ? Did you check them yourself before issuing your cry for their release ?
21:22 September 8, 2010 by Uncle

Say, will you eat your entire wardrobe, if he breaks down and admits that he actually violently raped a girl? Like, will you say that it was probably girl's fail, or that she was planted by CIA to him? Or what?

Is it not possible that he raped her WHILE he was copying the classified files? Couldn't he do it on a break between hacking into Pentagon computers and stealing personal credit card numbers? Like - on a lunch break? Would it work?
00:24 September 9, 2010 by Puffin
Very strange way that this case is being handled - he is named and shamed in the media - yet 2 weeks on he hasn't even been interviewed by police/prosecution let alone been taken into custody
01:17 September 9, 2010 by Nomark
He has been interviewed by the police albeit regarding the "molestation" accusations anyway.

However, I agree with you it is strange that he has not been interviewed regarding the rape allegations. Its deeply unfair to let these accusations hang in the air for so long. However, I don't think strange = conspiracy. In such situations incompetence is usually a more accurate explanation. Relevant people in the prosecutors office are probably on holiday/sick leave and evidence reports need to be written and studied osv.
01:42 September 9, 2010 by eddie123
isn't it the case that investigations take 30-90 days in sweden?
01:54 September 9, 2010 by Nomark
They can take some time. However, these are exceptional circumstances.

Common sense (not something public authorities tend to have) would suggest that they would commit more resources to this case, not least since they've received some bad press (fairly or unfairly) for the way the nature of the allegations changed in the early days.
08:09 September 9, 2010 by thebittertruth
The authorities handling the Assange Case are highly competent in terms of PR. By doing very little in terms of revealing information they know that the Media will pick on the threads and send speculations rife. The fact that we all here are making comments in addition to the over 6 million internet hits on Assange and rape is a huge PR victory for the authorities whose motivations is surely to spiral a smear campaign without they themselves ever being the main actors.
08:33 September 9, 2010 by Nomark
Please provide evidence that this is a plot to discredit him.
10:29 September 9, 2010 by Audrian

What I read about CIA and its destructive roles in the world spooks me. It is too much of a coincidence that a person who is exposing the dirty tricks of the US is also a rapist. TI think the probability of this coincidence happening is too low. I have no interest to support Assange; it is what he represents that interest me.
12:10 September 9, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
It is extremely disturbing than one prosecutor would decide to press charges, another withdraw them, then the first one reinstate them. That sounds both disfunctional and suspicious.
13:00 September 9, 2010 by Nomark
Audrian - Correlation does not prove causation.

- Can you please outline the steps of your calculation of this low probability of this being a coincidence ?

rufus - I don't think its necessarily dysfunctional that allegations (not charges) are changed as more evidence and different legal opinion becomes available. Or do you have further details, not available to the rest of us, concerning what went on that show that the process was irregular ?
13:31 September 9, 2010 by Audrian

The total number of rappist in a country is probably < 100 per year in Australia. The probablity that one of them Assange is
13:48 September 9, 2010 by Nomark
Audrian, that's not really how probabilities work. Its kind of complicated.Not understanding that its complicated and playing silly numbers games has led to idiots gambling their money away and (more seriously) people being sent to prison unjustly. For example, the case of the woman who had several children suffer cot death. The cot death probability is tiny therefore two cot deaths must be murder (so the court thought). In reality, the probability of cot deaths are not independent probabilities and the woman was rightly released on appeal.

Another example could be the case of someone accused by different women of a sexual assault. Surely two accusations of similar offences must mean a greater chance of him being guilty. After all, the probability that one accusation could be spurious is large. But the probability of two being spurious must be small and he's likely guilty......

However, playing such games is futile because there are too many things we don't know. That's why the "probability he is...." is never a good argument to make. Good arguments are evidence-based and not coincidence-based. Many legal systems are in fact very restrictive about not allowing this type of "coincidence evidence" to be used in any trials of someone accused of a specific offence.
17:09 September 9, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
@ Nomark- By charges, I mean a legal filing by a prosecutor, not a mere allegation, which anyone can make.

If I understand what happened (and maybe I don't), charges were filed by one prosecutor, withdrawn by another, then filed again by the first. That seems like disfuntional behavior.

Either there is ample evidence to charge (criminally) a person or not. It's not something to be taken lightly, or play politics with. Mind you, I'm not saying that happened, just that it is odd and gives one pause, moreso in a case like this one.

Additionally, criminal statutes tend to be very clear about what constitutes criminal conduct. That two competent prosecutors would disagree whether an act is criminal seems unlikely. Perhaps the degree of crimiality, as in homicide, but not whether an act is criminal or not.
20:49 September 9, 2010 by Nomark
The rape allegation (and warrant) was laid down and then picked up again but the "molestation" allegation was always present. Both prosecutors agreed that criminality had allegedly taken place.

Its perhaps not surprising that the rape charges should be raised and then dropped and then lifted again.) as more witness statements were made and evidence studied. But then again, nobody really knows what's going on. The prosecutors office really have to move fast on this. Its grossly unfair on everyone involved now that they have all lost their anonymity.
09:36 September 10, 2010 by cogito
So the Assange nutjob is now playing the victim card. Too rich....
15:05 September 10, 2010 by adamm
Dear morons (you know who you are)...

In the United States, rape is a big deal and by associating this man with rape they have destroyed much of his legitimacy in people's eyes. Elections aren't that far away. Elections require that someone has not leaked many sensitive documents. Documents released by an (alleged) rapist are not to be trusted. See? It doesn't matter if he is guilty or not. The case will eventually disappear, but for now, in the eyes of many crazy people (who also coincidentally hold the right to vote) he can't be trusted.
15:28 September 10, 2010 by Nomark
Your logic is a little flawed. Regarding the credibility of documents released by an alleged rapist, I doubt anybody would question the veracity of such documents. After all, any manipulation or fabrication could be proven with reference to the original documents.

Also, you write that the "case will eventually disappear". Where is the evidence for this ? You have absolutely no idea if he is innocent or guilty.

On balance, your analysis seems to be about as watertight as a sieve.
17:46 September 10, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
Anonymity, I've been instructed, is a cornerstone of the Swedish criminal justice system. But I've noticed how in some cases, the identities of alleged perpetrators become immediately known, while in most cases they don't.

Fairly recently a German woman charged with murder had her identity widely circulated in the press. Maybe in both cases because they are foreigners?
19:30 September 10, 2010 by Nomark
I think there's something in that. There may well be a feeling in the media that the protections offered by Swedish law and by accepted media standards don't somehow apply to foreigners who allegedly commit crime in Sweden. Then again, I can think of a number of cases where the alleged culprit is referred as "a foreigner, who comes from xxx", with no further information given.

I think it would anyway have been difficult for JA to have kept his anonymity - he is famous and newspapers have well places sources to give them precisely this type of info. This is all the more reason to throw extra resources at the case and bring it to a conclusion one way or another.
20:05 September 10, 2010 by mojofat
"In the United States, rape is a big deal"...

Riiiiight...just ask Kobe Bryant, Roman Polanski, Ben Roethlisberger...hmmm, need I go on?

I know there are some who, in their eyes, Mr. Assange can do no wrong and the U.S. can do no right; however, at what point do the conspiracy theories completely twist in the wind? I'm not suggesting Mr. Assange is guilty, but I haven't heard anything at all that would suggest he's innocent much less that he was set up. Just b/c he's a digital information freedom fighter doesn't mean he's morally pure and incapable of crossing a line. Consider for a moment that perhaps there is merit to the charges...these women must feel like pariahs.

I think the one thing everyone can agree on though is that the swedish law enforcement have completely bungled this, so it may be impossible to ever have an untainted judgement rendered.
22:46 September 10, 2010 by Nomark
They certainly bungled the PR. However, I've no idea if they bungled the process. For example, the system contains checks and balances with a senior prosecutor quite rightly reviewing the fast decisions of the duty prosecutor and changing them if necessary. Similarly, if new information comes to light, this could also necessitate a change. To the outside world this can look like flip-flopping but may well just be the normal way of working albeit under the watchful eyes of a critical media. Then again, the events of the past few weeks may also be due to incompetence. I don't know enough about the Swedish judicial process to have an informed opinion. More information will almost certainly be forthcoming in the coming weeks. Hopefully, we can all find out what really went on during the investigation.

Regarding your comment on the women feeling like pariahs, one of them, whose identity is now well known in hyperspace, has been labelled as "the most hated woman on the internet" on various blogs. A nice way to treat a possible rape victim I don't think.
01:15 September 11, 2010 by grantike
one nosy lad just wake up in the morning and start nosing what is not his business.why do i want to know the content of a classified fie.maybe am ignorant or maybe not.now people are becoming nosy in his business he calls it PRIVATE.all those files he is exposing ARE called TOP SECRET OR SAY CLASSIFIED in better words SUPER PRIVATE .now he wants to stay in Sweden and continue to nose around.hell no to assange the so-called rapist or whatever his name is.i just hope is guilty and extradited to the US PERIOD.
20:41 October 18, 2010 by Toonie
One un- nosy Swedish lad woke up one morning in 1937 and went into work where his boss told him they had to sack the Jewish clerk because some guy from Germany said they'd no longer do business with a company that employed Jews. And Swedish iron ore and steel exports had gone up 9 times in the last ten years, and the country was booming. Why mess with good fortune?

So because he was un-nosy Sensson he sacked the Jewish guy and went on minding his own business and thanked his Lutheran stars that Sweden was a 'sensible' country where people did what they were told. It made for a quiet, comfortable life.

Seventy years later a nosy guy woke up and made the mistake of imagining that Sweden was the way it marketed itself to the rest of the world.
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