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Sweden Defends Wiki Sex Case About-Face 454

Posted by samzenpus
from the our-bad dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "Mistake? We didn't make a mistake. That's what Swedish prosecutors said Sunday as they defended their handling of a rape allegation against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The Swedish Prosecution Authority said the prosecutor who issued the arrest warrant Friday did not make a mistake, even though a higher-ranked prosecutor withdrew the warrant the next day. A spokesperson for the Authority said: 'The prosecutor who took over the case yesterday had more information, and that is why she made a different assessment than the on-call prosecutor.' Assange, who was in Sweden seeking legal protection for the site as it prepares to leak more Afghan war documents, told a Swedish tabloid newspaper, 'I don't know who's behind this but we have been warned that for example the Pentagon plans to use dirty tricks to spoil things for us.'" We covered the warrant being issued and withdrawn yesterday.
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Sweden Defends Wiki Sex Case About-Face

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  • Foreshadowing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cosm (1072588) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (3msoceht)> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:31PM (#33332772)
    They will get him. Eventually. I hope not, but I believe they will. Through defamation, assassination (character or otherwise), I just want to forecast now, that as a pessimist / realists / tinfoil hat wearer, they will get him.
    • Re:Foreshadowing. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jedi Alec (258881) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:35PM (#33332814)

      At this stage it's going to take one hell of a trick to pull that off though. Assange's opponents don't have all that much credibility left, so even if someone does have major legitimate dirt on the guy it's gonna be a heck of a job getting public opinion on their side.

      • by bsDaemon (87307) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:39PM (#33332840)

        Maybe they can put it on WikiLeaks. That'll show him!

      • Re:Foreshadowing. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:42PM (#33332856)

        Yeah, just like there isn't anybody left to believe Obama is a muslim, or wasn't born in the US.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's not a question of credibility, that is irrelevant, it does not matter. What matters is whether by what they do to him, whether credible or not, it discourages others from choosing to doing the same as him. That is what is essential, and is precisely why I think they will assassinate him, and I do not mean "character". This is also why Pvt Manning continues to be held incommunicado at the special torture facility in Kuwait.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You don't need public opinion to put a bullet behind his ear, leave him in a dark alley and way away. If they want him quiet, they'll get what they want.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Ihmhi (1206036)

          He won't be found in a dark alley. He won't be found at all unless they botch something.

      • Re:Foreshadowing. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by blhack (921171) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @02:56PM (#33333446)

        You give the public way, way, way too much credibility. I'm sitting in a coffee shop right now surrounded by about 20 people, if you had to guess, how many of them do you think know who Julian Assange is? Know what wikileaks is even? Know that Sweden incorrectly accused him of rape at the behest of the Obama Administration as an attempt to discredit him?

        None? 1, maybe?

        All it's going to take is a "raid" on his home where they find child pornography on one of his computers. He will go to jail for the rest of his life and, from that point forward, everything that comes from wikileaks will be something that came from "that organization that distributes kiddie porn".

        Yes, the Swedes messed this up, badly, but the overwhelming majority of people don't even know that it happened, and even the majority of them don't realize that wikileaks is a lot more than Julian Assange. Despite this, he will be discredited and, with him, wikileaks will go away. /sad

        • Great cover, though. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by 6Yankee (597075) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:02PM (#33333488)

          All it's going to take is a "raid" on his home where they find child pornography on one of his computers. He will go to jail for the rest of his life and, from that point forward, everything that comes from wikileaks will be something that came from "that organization that distributes kiddie porn".

          On the other hand, if you were going to distribute CP in a big way, what better cover for all that infrastructure than a white-knight expose-the-evil site? They come after you for the CP, and conspiracy theorists the world over kick up a stink about cover-ups. Who's to say this "Insurance" file isn't actually a huge stack of CP that's being decrypted by paedophiles the world over as we speak?

          Personally, I think that's all a bit tinfoil-hat, but it's always possible.

        • Re:Foreshadowing. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by xaxa (988988) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:52PM (#33335702)

          You give the public way, way, way too much credibility. I'm sitting in a coffee shop right now surrounded by about 20 people, if you had to guess, how many of them do you think know who Julian Assange is? Know what wikileaks is even?

          It's been front page news in the UK in the last few days (there's a picture [foxnews.com] of the Guardian's front page in the Fox News article).

          It's currently on the front page of the websites of the Guardian, Independent, BBC, Times, Daily Mail and Telegraph -- that's all the major UK news papers except the Sun, which won't report on Assange until he's sleeping with Victoria Beckham.

          The American news sites I checked have quite different stories and headlines. Is the US government behind all the anti-Wikileaks headlines I see?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by moortak (1273582)
          I really don't get why everyone assumes a frame up job would have to originate with the US. Wikileaks has pissed off a lot of people with enough resources to cause trouble. Some of the people they have exposed have just as bad a record on how they deal with enemies and I'm sure can spot an opening when everyone is assuming the US.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rawler (1005089)

        Last I heard, he is still prosecuted for sexual harassment.

        Personally, I think it's a disgrace that newspapers publish names in a case like this. Swedish press tradition around legal cases is innocent until proven guilty, meaning that only after being convicted are people named in press. In this case, however, I guess the promise of selling more papers was irresistable

        Or maybe they just think it's what WikiLeaks would have done.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ihmhi (1206036)

        I understand the whole "be brave, show your face in public" thing, but pretty much everyone who has done that has been shot at (and killed many times).

        Surely a man with Assange's assets and techincal prowess can telecommute from somewhere safe. The same technology that protects Wikileaks (tor, VPNs, crypto, etc.) means he can stay holed up in a cheateau somewhere unbeknownst to all but a handful of people and continue to get the message out.

        I guess he finds it more important to show his face in public (and

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Frosty Piss (770223)

        Assange's opponents don't have all that much credibility left

        My friend, your assessment is based on your personal associations with people that think like you, and your reading list of like-minded web sites and publications.

        But, guess what? The sad fact is that there are MANY people who *DO* support "the war" and do not think as you do. Many more than you realize. There is a *significant* number of Americans and non-Americans that are completely "on-board" and consider this WikiLeaks dude a sociopathic danger to freedom and apple pie.

        By *assuming* the majority bel

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Suki I (1546431)
      I am not jumping on the exotic CIA plot against him bandwagon yet. At least not for this incident. Are his accusers keeping quiet, like they should if this is a for real investigation/accusation? Guess they would do that too if it was a setup. If they are just making it up to get famous, look for the media blitz.
    • by elucido (870205) * on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:50PM (#33332924)

      Very similar to this http://www.stopthechamber.com/ [stopthechamber.com] where the amount of money in rewards which lead to the arrest and conviction of Julian Assange will reach into the millions, or tens of millions, and once that happens it's only a matter of time before somebody accuses him of something. Or maybe they don't have to accuse him of anything, there are enough laws and enough ways to entrap people that anybody can be taken out if enough informants agree to take them out.

      Confidential informants working in teams can entrap or find evidence on anybody. If the money is big enough and the government agrees to look the other way on the quality of the information, they could get him for some esoteric unknown law that he probably doesnt even know hes breaking and never heard of. And once hes arrested it's all over.

    • Re:Foreshadowing. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cutterman (789191) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @02:39PM (#33333342)

      "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."
      Cardinal Richelieu

      • Come on folks... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Frosty Piss (770223)

        The arrest warrant also mentioned a molestation charge, but molestation -- which is not limited to child victims in Sweden -- is not a crime punishable by jail time. Rosander told TV4 Assange is still under investigation for molestation.

        Remember Hans Reiser? As I recall, many here initially said there was no way he did it. But he did. The Wikileaks dude is ***STILL*** under investigation for "molestation", they just don't need to pick him up for it yet. Just because he has POLITICS that you agree with does not mean he isn't a sex creep.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by poity (465672)

          Just because he has POLITICS that you agree with does not mean he isn't a sex creep.

          ooo, that's part is going to get you modded troll when the left-leaning mods get here. I completely agree with your sentiment however, that people are too quick to place themselves on either side of the matter when evidence is severely lacking. The correct stance to take is of course that Assange is innocent with regard to rape/molestation until conclusive evidence to the contrary is provided. Likewise, the USA is innocent with regard to whatever crime is implied by the story tags (currently: flaseflag, bla

        • Re:Come on folks... (Score:5, Informative)

          by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday August 23, 2010 @11:21AM (#33341784)

          The better comparison is Scott Ritter. Weapons inspector, major Bush embarrassment. He was picked up in 2001 for suspicions of arranging a meeting for underage sex with an undercover cop posing as a young girl. He wasn't charged which to me seems kind of odd since there aren't too many good explanations for showing up at a sting like that. Whatever. The documents were sealed and not public record. They were leaked anonymously when he started becoming a pain in the Bushie behind.

          Of course, the dumb shit went and got caught again in 2009. Just goes to show that being an expert in a given field does not mean you won't make stupid mistakes in some other area. People do fall for the trick of discrediting the messenger if they don't like the message. Your least favorite person at work tells you there's a mistake in the budget numbers, you may as well see if she's right.

    • Donate (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @02:55PM (#33333438) Homepage Journal

      Well, then, it's time to start donating lots of money to wikileaks. Fight money with money. There is a lot of big talk talk about ideals here so it's time to back that up with action.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FriendlyLurker (50431)

        Well, then, it's time to start donating lots of money to wikileaks. Fight money with money. There is a lot of big talk talk about ideals here so it's time to back that up with action.

        This valid remark got marked Troll? Really??! I hope the meta moderators are on their toes for this story...

  • by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:34PM (#33332800) Journal

    I wish I had his skill and his balls. He, at least, is going some way to watching the watchers.

    And if there are any times that attention whoring is absolutely warranted, it is now.

    I just hope he's not David Kelly'd.

    Before I go, let me just accuse every /. commenter below me in this article of rape. I hope you judge Assange for the accusations against him as you'd hope people treat mine against you.

    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:46PM (#33332888) Journal

      >>>let me just accuse every /. commenter below me in this article of rape

      Worse: Accuse them of child rape. Even if you are found "not guilty" you'll still be treated as a pariah. We need to stop assuming someone is guilty upon mere accusation, and instead assume they are innocent until the Lords have proved their case.

      • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmail. c o m> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:56PM (#33332982) Homepage

        Sorry. In this day and age of hyper-feminist(and yes it is womens groups who are at fault for this), with any and all hits of anything relating to rape, child rape, pedophilia, child abuse, etc. You're already screwed, because the law has already decided in various countries that you have the hint of guilt, you're already guilty. Leaving in some cases may not even counter your accuser, because they're required to be protected to the fullest, even from questioning.

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:07PM (#33333514) Journal

          >>>yes it is womens groups who are at fault for this

          I know a woman who has changed her mind on child-related crimes. Her husband was "hit on" by a high schooler who later pressed charges, and now the guy is on a sex offender list for the rest of his life even though, legally, he did nothing wrong. Now she's saying the sex list should only be for violent offenders, where she used to demand "everyone" who touched a minor should be on the list.

          It's funny how people change their tune when they become the victims of their previous paranoia.

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      I am here to judge.

      Apparently you are not the only one who want's 'his balls'. There are a few interested parties, I believe most want it on a platter.

  • Not a mistake? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by loteck (533317) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:37PM (#33332826) Homepage
    If a man can be publicly accused of rape, a warrant issued for his arrest, and his name splashed all over the international media PRIOR to you being 100% sure you want to bring him in on those charges, then I would say something is seriously wrong with your system of justice.
    • Re:Not a mistake? (Score:5, Informative)

      by funkatron (912521) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:43PM (#33332862)
      The statement only says that the bureaucrats did their job according to the protocol. Changing the justice system is not something they can do, you need to buy politicians for that.
    • Re:Not a mistake? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:50PM (#33332926)

      You might want to read up on the pirate bay trial, if you really want an insight in how well the system here works. There have been plenty of fucked up cases before that, but it's unusually well covered in English. It's pretty much par of the course though when things get political or when prestige gets involved.

      TL;DR: You have no idea how fucked up the system really is, and you don't want to know, just remember the next time you hear about how fantastic we are that we're really a banana monarchy under cover, without bananas.

    • Re:Not a mistake? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Zironic (1112127) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:54PM (#33332960)

      Warrants are public, there's not much the justice system can do really to prevent international media from splashing it up if they want to.

      • Re:Not a mistake? (Score:4, Informative)

        by loteck (533317) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:33PM (#33334286) Homepage
        Which is why they should be damn sure of their accusations before they issued the warrant, otherwise they may end up causing irreparable harm to the victim of the false accusation. If there is a process for reviewing a lower-prosecutor's decision to issue a warrant, that process should be completed PRIOR to the issuance of the warrant.
      • Re:Not a mistake? (Score:5, Informative)

        by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:24PM (#33335498) Journal

        Warrants are public

        No in Sweden they aren't.

        But somehow in this particular case the information found its way to the media and the police felt compelled to immediately confirm it instead of doing what they should have according to Swedish law, refusing to comment on the identity of the person accused.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Securityemo (1407943)
      No, you got it backwards. He was brought in on what was apparently judged to be good grounds, and then the case got dismissed by a higher-ranking/more experienced persecutor. It just happened in a very short span of time - and we don't have the details on what the girls said. From what has been released, it seems they went to the police and asked them "Hey, we did this and this with this guy/he did this and this with us - would this be rape?"
      Maybe they just got fazed due to the strangeness of it all, and
    • Re:Not a mistake? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kidbro (80868) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:44PM (#33333844)

      This is nonsense. There is nothing wrong with the justice system. They did not "publicly accuse" anybody of anything. They did exactly what they should do in this case. Two women contacted the police and informed them of a crime that had been committed. They needed to speak to the accused, and since it's a matter of a foreign citizen that is expected to leave the country soon, they chose consider him "anhållen i sin frånvaro", something that has somewhat wrongly been translated to "arrested", as that's the closest counterpart in English speaking nations. This, they did in order to give the police authority to actually detain him long enough for an interrogation.

      The "publicly accusing", "name splashed over international media" and whatnot is the work of media, and has absolutely nothing to do with the justice system.

      What would you have them do? Ignore the accusations? Interrogate the witnesses more thoroughly so the suspect had plenty of time to leave the country? Keep in mind that ill treatment (e.g. harsh interrogation shortly after the crime) of rape victims is not something that's particularly popular around here (for good reasons).

      For the record, I am convinced that Assange isn't guilty (although I believe the whole thing is the result of a pair of very confused women, rather than a military conspiracy), but I honestly don't see how a justice system would become better by ignoring self proclaimed victims reporting crime to the police...

  • Where did this allegation come from, really? Sweden's justice system ought to come clean and let us know what source precipated these charges. The timing is so incredibly suspicious, if government authorities really are using such incredibly dirty tricks to silence a whistleblower, then they need to be exposed. That's what Wikileaks is all about.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xnpu (963139)
      Indeed. I assume that false accusations are illegal under Swedish law. Why aren't we seeing the names of the people that actually committed the crime here.
      • It is punished by death according to the Codex Hammurabi.

        I think wikileaks should be governed by a secret society, like the Illimunati, they had interesting pseudonymes.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Zironic (1112127)

        It has to be provable false, which is almost impossible to do with this sort of crime.

      • No Names Allowed (Score:4, Informative)

        by andersh (229403) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @02:21PM (#33333202)

        It is not in the Scandinavian justice tradition to name accusers, victims or indeed criminals. Warrants are usually not public unless they have no other means of locating the suspect. Assange has no address.

        We don't believe in scapegoating.

      • by andersh (229403) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @02:33PM (#33333298)

        Oh, and they are not "criminals" [the accusers] never claimed rape, they actually asked police for clarification if the alleged "actions" were criminal!

        Under Swedish law false accusations of rape would most likely have lead to one year in prison, these accusations were less clear and the prosecutor would be looking for more information from Assange.

        You see that's the beauty of the charges, they're not likely to lead to punishment for the accusers, the only damage would be to Assange's good name and standing. He could try for damages, but what would that help his name? It's perfect [for the people looking to smear him]!

  • On-Call Prosecutor?! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:40PM (#33332844) Journal

    I'm not sure I'd want to stake my future on a country where justice is so swift they have to maintain 24 hour prosecutorial coverage...

  • by Securityemo (1407943) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @02:50PM (#33333402) Journal
    Aljazeera interview with Assange: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2010/08/2010822135529927326.html [aljazeera.net] Apparently, he was forewarned by Australian intelligence?
  • by 6350' (936630) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:13PM (#33333562)
    In other news, Julian Assange gets parking ticket, blames vast Pentagon conspiracy to sully his name!
  • by Krahar (1655029) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:21PM (#33333636)
    It's now absolutely clear that no rape occurred here, but imagine a real rape case. If two women credibly claim to have been raped in the span of last week by the same named person, then most definitely the suspect must be apprehended immediately in the event that those two rapes really did occur, that the suspect is the guilty party, and that he is going to do it again. That cannot be postponed pending further investigation since there is clearly a risk that another rape is imminent. If then a few hours later it turns out for some reason that clearly the suspect could not have been doing what the women claim, then the arrest order can be canceled. None of this is then a mistake by the police or the prosecutor.

    Of course with just an accusation to go on, the name of the suspect should not be circulating in the press with an accusation of rape, at the very most it should be known that the police want to talk to him immediately for some unspecified-but-serious reason. In this case the police claim that the press found out about the arrest order on their own somehow, but that the police confirmed the information when asked. It was a mistake to confirm the information, and if the press somehow found out about it from the police, that was a mistake as well. Both are serious mistakes.

    We do not have the information to know whether or not the arrest order was a mistake. We do have the information to say that the Swedish state fucked up royally by confirming the arrest order to the press. It is unknown to me if the fuck-up is due to people in the police not knowing how to say "no comment", or if it is due to Swedish laws. Lots of countries' laws do not protect the identity of people who have done nothing but been accused.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Torodung (31985)

      Interesting. So the police "leaked" sensitive details improperly to the press, which then improperly published/distributed the information before the full story was ready for publication?

      There's a lesson in irony to be learned there.

      --
      Toro

  • OTOH (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:32PM (#33333736)
    This could easily go the other way. What if the accuser was a plant for Wikileaks. Everyone sympathizes with Assuage, conspiracy theories run a muck and suddenly leaking classified material is heralded by more of the mainstream. You know, as opposed to the usual crowd.
  • Intresting facts (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:39PM (#33334332)

    The woman that accused Julian Assange has been identified on flashbackforum as Anna Ardin [twitter.com] press secretary for the christians in the socialist party [googleusercontent.com] in Sweden. She has previously been an active radical feminist and author of articles on how to use the legal system to get revenge on people [googleusercontent.com]. She has also identified The Swedish Pirate party as a "problem we have to deal with [newsmill.se]" She waited several days to report this until the "on call" prosecutor Maria Häljebo Kjellstrand was on duty.

    • Re:Intresting facts (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ZigiSamblak (745960) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:53PM (#33337034)
      I have a hunch the other woman involved may be http://twitter.com/kristenvanster [twitter.com], they were both tweeting about inviting him to Sweden a week ago.
    • Re:Intresting facts (Score:5, Informative)

      by 49152 (690909) on Monday August 23, 2010 @01:46AM (#33337584)

      BZZZZTTT WRONG!

      and author of articles on how to use the legal system to get revenge on people [googleusercontent.com].

      Did you use Google language tools or something to get at that conclusion?

      I am not Swedish but as a Norwegian with a very similar language (to me Swedish seems more like a strange dialect of my own language) I can read and understand swedish pretty well.

      The link is not about how to use the legal system to get revenge on people, in fact the legal system, police, prosecutors or lawyers is not even mentioned in the article. Neither does she suggest making false charges or anything similar. The only use of the Swedish equivalent for "legal" (läglig) is to say that your revenge must be legal, making false charges is not legal in Sweden and may in fact be punished with jail time.

      The article is more about how to be systematic when you planning your revenge by listing your ideas and ranking them by probability of success and that your revenge should be comparative to the offense you want revenge for.

      At worst the article is childish and a sign of some underlying psychic instability or immaturity in this woman. The worst thing she suggest as an idea for revenge is to make sure your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend gets a lunatic on his/her tail. That is at least of very questionable ethics and may perhaps be illegal depending on how you go about doing it, but she gives no details at all about how to accomplish such an act. In fact she is very vague on ideas for revenge at all.

      I have no idea about the rest of your claims, they may very well be true.

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