Wikileaks leader Julian Assange implied that the rape and molestation charges against him in Sweden were part of a global conspiracy. But a fringe-left accuser identified in the Swedish media hardly seems like a CIA plant.
Meet Anna Ardin, the political secretary and press officer of the Swedish "Brotherhood Movement," a group of Christians from the Social Democratic Party controversial for inviting anti-Semitic speakers to the country. Another of their invited speakers: Assange, who lectured on the group's behalf in Stockholm this month right before he was hit with sex charges from two different women, charges ultimately dismissed by Swedish police and derided by Assange as "dirty tricks." Ardin appears to have helped coordinate Assange's travel around the country; in addition to arranging the Stockholm event, she reportedly tried to arrange places for Assange to stay through her Twitter account (she has apparently since deleted the tweets and has locked her WordPress blog).
The Swedish business news site Newzglobe today identified Ardin and quoted a Brotherhood official saying she was on sick leave from the organization. Ardin's name has also been tossed around in the Swedish blogosphere with increasing hostility: one writer wondered if the "radical feminist" was "the world's most hated woman right now." The backlash against the former university research assistant is fueled not only by the police backing down from the charges against Assange but also by a seven step guide Ardin published in January to "legal revenge" that involves, in one example, sabotaging a victim's sexual relationships.
Then there was the quote from an unnamed accuser in the tabloid Aftonbladet, clearing Assange of forcing himself on anyone: "It is quite wrong that we were afraid of him. He is not violent and I do not feel threatened by him.... The responsibility for what happened to me and the other girl lies with a man who had attitude problems with women." The issue may have had to do with Assange's willingness (or lack thereof) to use condoms, according to the Guardian.
None of this is to say Ardin's charges against Assange are unfounded; rape is one thing, molestation something else. If anything, Ardin's outing tends to undercut Assange's conspiracy theory that one of his accusers is a major figure on Sweden's left fringe, freewheelingly indiscreet on her personal blog and, until her charges, an enthusiastic promoter of Assange's visit to the country. Of course, to the famously anxious Assange, seeming like an unlikely CIA plant may just make Ardin all the more perfect to be one in the first place.