Naming Anna Ardin on Newsnight 183


Anna Ardin herself went to the media, under her own name, as long as two years ago to publicise her allegations against Assange. From the New York Times, 25 August 2010:

Anna Ardin, 31, has told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that the complaints were “not orchestrated by the Pentagon” but prompted by “a man who has a twisted attitude toward women and a problem taking no for an answer.”

The furore that I “revealed” her name on Newsnight is a pathetic spasm of false indignation by establishment supporters.

A google search on “Anna Ardin” reveals 193,000 articles, virtually all relating to her sexual allegation against Julian Assange. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation last week broadcast nationwide a documentary investigating Ms Ardin’s allegations and not only naming her repeatedly, but showing several photographs of her and Assange together; it is a documentary everybody interested should watch. Literally thousands of newspapers and magazines all over the world have named her, including the New York Times and the Times of India, aside from those near 200,000 internet entries. The Twittersphere numbers are astronomical.

Gavin Esler, Joan Smith and I all knew her name – what special rights do we three enjoy that entitle us to know that, but would intend to debar the viewers from knowing that? I am willing to bet that virtually all those tweeting and pretending outrage that I named Ms Ardin, already themselves knew her name. They just somehow think nobody else should be allowed to. There is virtually nobody in Sweden – which is after all where she lives – who does not know her name. It is a cause celebre there.

If what I did was illegal, as is being claimed, then somebody had better come and arrest me. As however there are no legal proceedings on this issue in the UK and no prospect of a prosecution here, I know of no lawful reason I should not have named her. I suspect that the number of Newsnight viewers who heard the name for the first time is very small indeed. It might, of course, give some a tool to research further for themselves the facts of the case. That would be very useful indeed.

As for the interview, I was sorry that Aaronovitch was not there (as I had been told he would be) as I might have been more robust – I felt rather constrained arguing with Joan Smith as I generally like and respect her. Strangely enough, as I did the interview I was much less worried about it than I was on subsequently hearing it, because I did not realise the extent my microphone had been turned down compared to Gavin’s and Joan’s when they were speaking across me – which was most of the time I was speaking. It would be interesting if someone with the patience could tot up how many seconds I had speaking with nobody speaking over me, compared to Joan.

To sum up, I was insufficiently assertive and allowed myself to be shouted down, than which I really should know better. But I did succeed in getting over the fact, with examples, that whistleblowers are routinely fitted up with unrelated charges. And all the manufactured fury at my naming Anna Ardin might well lead people to research her claims and behaviour, which would be a good thing. So I am reasonably relaxed.

UPDATE

I have just found the transcript of the Australian Broadcasting Company’s documentary on the Ardin claims against Assange. This is genuine and painstaking investigative journalism from the flagship and long-established “Four corners” programme and shows a glaring contrast between the British and Australian Broadcasting Company approach. The BBC won’t even allow you to mention Ardin’s name, let alone question her story or her motives. The ABC does a full investigation and comes up with some extremely important facts.

It is also interesting that ABC interview Ardin’s own lawyer, as well as Assange’s, and neither shows any concern at the repeated use of Ardin’s name in the interview, of a piece with the fact that it has frequently appeared in the Swedish media.

The documentary is entitled “Sex, Lies and Julian Assange.” This extract starts about twenty minutes in. Click on the title for the full thing. Another interviewee, politician Rick Falkvinge, is obviously extremely conscious of what he may and may not say legally while extradition proceedings are in train, but again appears to have no problem with the interviewer using Anna Ardin’s name.

What is such a big issue for the BBC, and the politically correct media twitterers of London, is apparently not an issue for those in Sweden most closely connected to the case.

ANDREW FOWLER: At the heart of the matter is whether the Swedish judicial authorities will treat him fairly. Certainly, events so far provide a disturbing picture of Swedish justice. Using facts agreed between the defence and prosecution and other verified information, we have pieced together what happened during those crucial three weeks in August.

On August 11th, 2010, Assange arrived in Sweden to attend a conference organised by the Swedish Brotherhood – a branch of the Social Democratic Party. He was offered Anna Ardin’s apartment while she was away, but Ardin returned home a day early on Friday the 13th. She invited Assange to stay the night, and they had sex. She would later tell police Assange had violently pinned her down and ignored her requests to use a condom. Assange denies this.

The following day, Assange addressed the conference with Ardin at his side. Later that afternoon Ardin organised the Swedish equivalent of a top-notch barbeque – a Crayfish Party. She posted a Twitter message. “Julian wants to go to a crayfish party. Anyone have a couple of available seats tonight or tomorrow?”

The crayfish party was held that night in a court yard off her apartment. It went on until the early hours of the morning. Ardin tweeted at 2am: “Sitting outdoors at 02:00 and hardly freezing with the world’s coolest, smartest people! It’s amazing!”

A guest at the party would later tell Swedish Police the event was a very hearty evening. When he offered to put Assange up at his apartment, Ardin replied, “He can stay with me.”

In the past 24 hours, Ardin had worked closely with Assange, had sex with him, organised a crayfish party on his behalf – and, according to one witness, turned down alternate accommodation for him. It is during this same period that police will later investigate whether Assange coerced and sexually molested Anna Ardin.

PER E. SAMUELSON: Well, if you send text messages like that, “I’ve just spent some time with the coolest people in the world”, the night after you then say you were raped – I mean you shouldn’t write such text messages if you had been raped by that person the night before.

ANDREW FOWLER: Your client described Julian Assange as a “cool man”. I think, one of the “coolest men in the world” that she’d had in her bed.

CLAES BORGSTROM: I will argue in court. I have of course arguments concerning exactly what you’re talking about now, but I will not tell any media of how I am going to represent the women in in court. I’m sorry.

ANDREW FOWLER: But can you see how that looks as though…

CLAES BORGSTROM: Yes, of course I can.

ANDREW FOWLER: …it’s a fit up. It looks as though they are in fact setting him up.

CLAES BORGSTROM: I’m quite aware of that.

ANDREW FOWLER: Sunday August 15th – the next day. Assange attended a dinner party at Stockholm’s Glenfiddich restaurant, organised by pirate party founder Rick Falkvinge.

RICK FALKVINGE: I think a lot of people at the… at the table had meatballs. I think Julian might have been one of them. Now, Swedish meatballs that, that’s a little bit like mum’s apple pie in Sweden – as in, you can call my wife ugly, you can kick my dog, but the instant you say something bad about my mother’s meatballs I’m going to take it personal.

ANDREW FOWLER: Also at the dinner was Anna Ardin.

(to Rick Falkvinge) So, just to get this straight: Julian Assange arrived with Anna Ardin and he left with Anna Ardin.

RICK FALKVINGE: Yep.

ANDREW FOWLER: What was their behaviour like towards each other?

RICK FALKVINGE: Well, I was discussing mainly with Julian and the… again I can’t go into too much detail here, but it was at least a very professional dinner. There were two high level organisations, both intent on changing the world behaving professionally.

ANDREW FOWLER: The fact that Anna Ardin accompanied Julian Assange through this dinner and left with him – what does that say to you?

RICK FALKVINGE: Well that’s going into speculating on merits of extradition, and I can’t really do that. I think that be… you’re presenting an objective fact, as did I, and if people want to read something into that that’s obviously ripe for doing so, but I can’t spell it out.

ANDREW FOWLER: Four Corners has obtained a photograph, lodged with police investigators, from that evening. Anna Ardin is on the left. Afterwards, Assange would again spend the night at her apartment.

The following day, August the 16th, Assange had sex with Sophia Wilen at her apartment. According to police records, Ardin was aware that he had slept with Sophia. A witness told police he contacted Anna Ardin looking for Assange. She texted back: “He’s not here. He’s planned to have sex with the cashmere girl every evening, but not made it. Maybe he finally found time yesterday?” That same day, the witness asked Ardin, “Is it cool he’s living there? Do you want, like, for me to fix something else?” According to the witness she replied: “He doesn’t, like, sleep at nights so that’s a bit difficult. So he has a bit of difficulty taking care of his hygiene. But it’s ok if he lives with me, it’s no problem.”

Three days later on August 20th, Wilen, accompanied by Ardin went to the Klara police station in central Stockholm to seek advice about whether Assange could be forced to take an STD test. Ardin had gone along primarily to support Wilen. Sometime during Wilen’s questioning the police announced to Ardin and Wilen that Assange was to be arrested and questioned about possible rape and molestation. Wilen became so distraught she refused to give any more testimony and refused to sign what had been taken down.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: The circumstances leading up to the issue of the arrest warrant gave cause for grave concern for Julian about the procedures that were adopted in the investigation. We have to remember that when the announcement was put out that he would be subject to a warrant, one of the complainants was upset by that, and later said that she felt railroaded by the police.

KARIN ROSANDER, SWEDISH PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE: Well what happened is what was that the duty prosecutor got a phone call from the police and the duty prosecutor decided that he should be arrested.

ANDREW FOWLER: And what happened?

KARIN ROSANDER: He was arrested in his absence, but he… they never got in… got in contact with him so, but he was arrested in his absence. It’s a technical… technical thing in Sweden, Swedish law, yeah.

ANDREW FOWLER: The Prosecutor’s Office might not have contacted Assange but within hours they let the whole of Sweden know what was going on – leaking to the Expressen Tabloid the statements of Ardin and Wilen. The newspaper front page read: “Assange hunted for rape in Sweden”.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Julian wakes up the following morning to read the newspapers to hear that he’s wanted for double rape and he’s absolutely shocked.

THOMAS MATTSSON: Two of our reporters had information about Julian Assange, and we also had a confirmation from the prosecutor which confirmed on record that there was a police investigation against Julian Assange.

ANDREW FOWLER: It was now the case took a strange twist. Within 24 hours, a more senior prosecutor dismissed the rape allegations, leaving only the lesser accusation of molestation. Assange willingly went to the police on August 30th and made a statement.

During the interview he expressed his fears that anything he said would end up in the tabloid newspaper Expressen. The interviewing police officer said: “I’m not going to leak anything.” The interview was leaked.

PER E. SAMUELSON: Why did you leak his name to a tabloid paper? How… how can you drop the case and reopen the case and how can you… how can you not say that he waited for five weeks in Sweden voluntarily to participate in the investigation? Why do you have to arrest him? Why do you have to keep him in handcuffs? Why can’t you conduct this in a proper manner? The rest of the world sees it, but Sweden unfortunately doesn’t.

ANDREW FOWLER: It is perhaps understandable that Assange had doubts he would receive fair treatment from the Swedish authorities. On September 15th, the prosecutor told Assange he was permitted to leave Sweden. Assange, back in England, would later offer to return within a month. The Swedish Authorities said too late – a second warrant had already been issued for his arrest.

ANDREW FOWLER: He says that he left the country and then was prepared to come back at any time. Is that your understanding?

CLAES BORGSTROM: I don’t believe that.

ANDREW FOWLER: He says that he was prepared to come back in October but the prosecutor wanted him back earlier.

CLAES BORGSTROM: I don’t know. I don’t believe he wanted to he was he wanted to come freely back to Sweden. I don’t think so.

ANDREW FOWLER: Can you understand that the Australian people may not understand how somebody can be accused in their absence when they haven’t even been interviewed, then have that rape case dropped, the arrest warrant removed and then have it re-instituted, all in the space of a few days?

KARIN ROSANDER: Yeah I can very well understand the confusion and, and, I… that is very difficult to understand, well, exactly how it works.

ANDREW FOWLER: Well you call it confusing, it’s… it may be slightly more than that.

KARIN ROSANDER: Well that’s the way it works here in Sweden so, well… but I can understand the confusion, definitely

.


183 thoughts on “Naming Anna Ardin on Newsnight

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  • Ben Franklin

    The duration of the interview was what, 7 minutes and change? It should be obvious to anyone that the subject matter should cover 10 or 11 minutes. (heh)

    Is there any doubt the Meedia has no interest in the facts, just the sensationalism.

    Give the People what they want; American idol. Just enough to titillate.

  • KK

    With due respect, Craig: your defence can be summed up as, others have named her, so what’s the big deal if I followed? I am not going to question your motives, but defending what you did – and adducing the excuse that her name’s widely known – is truly appalling. You had absolutely no right to name her. I did not know her name – and I have reported from Belarus about Assange. I was prepared to overlook it when you uttered her name: a slip of the tongue, perhaps. But to see you defend it – to see you, in effect, hold her culpable – is deeply disappointing. There’s no grand conspiracy against you here. You should just apologise.

  • Andy (@NCCLols)

    The difference is that you were on Newsnight on a significant UK TV station.

    Total wrong, I’m horrified you’re still defending your stupidity.

    Issue a serious apology asap

  • Jives

    Don’t worry about it Craig.People are not nearly as foolish as these little media-mafias think they are.It doesn’t matter if you tot up sentence numbers or relative decibel differentials the people are wise to the score.Today we witnessed The Grauniad and Newsnight looking like the pathetic propagandist fools that they are.Their lack of depth,balance and integrity is but another step in their inevtiable self-caused obsolescence.They have become a pardoy,a joke to any halfway intelligent citizen.

  • Ben Franklin

    “With due respect, Craig: your defence can be summed up as, others have named her, so what’s the big deal if I followed? I am not going to question your motives, but defending what you did – and adducing the excuse that her name’s widely known – is truly appalling. You had absolutely no right to name her. I did not know her name – and I have reported from Belarus about Assange. I was prepared to overlook it when you uttered her name: a slip of the tongue, perhaps. But to see you defend it – to see you, in effect, hold her culpable – is deeply disappointing. There’s no grand conspiracy against you here. You should just apologise.”

    Sorry. I don’t get it. Ardin is now a public figure, but it wasn’t Craig who outed her. Your squeamish regard for her privacy is admirable, in the vacuum of innocence, but out of place in this case.

  • craig Post author

    Andy

    The difference to what? The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is not significant? Nor the New York Times, nor the Times of India? Was it, incidentally, the first time you yourself had seen the name? I should be most surprised – please answer that, I am not being rhetorical.

    The problem is you believe a genuine judicial process is going on, and normal rules should be followed. I believe this is a stitch-up, there is no impartial process and we have to break normal rules to prevent an innocent man being framed.

  • Jives

    KK,

    “With due respect, Craig: your defence can be summed up as, others have named her, so what’s the big deal if I followed? I am not going to question your motives, but defending what you did – and adducing the excuse that her name’s widely known – is truly appalling. You had absolutely no right to name her. I did not know her name – and I have reported from Belarus about Assange. I was prepared to overlook it when you uttered her name: a slip of the tongue, perhaps. But to see you defend it – to see you, in effect, hold her culpable – is deeply disappointing. There’s no grand conspiracy against you here. You should just apologise.2

    So silly.Get a grip KK.Any monkey with a Google search could find her name in 5 seconds.Stop playing the disingenuous fool.The cat’s been out the bag for a long time.Get real and stop being so prissy.

  • Leonard Young

    I thought you were being deliberately measured Craig, in order not to appear sensational or too emotional. I thought that was a good approach until Esler began interrupting you and “putting you on edge”. I think you have no need to chide yourself at all. What came over to the viewer – any viewer – was that you were making reasonable points and were hardly allowed to get a word in edgeways.

    Joan Smith was equally dishonest since she knows perfectly well the background to the case.

    I was fuming with Esler. He must have known that since the case was actually not sub-judice in any sense that would be applicable to the UK, and the fact that Ardin’s name had been discussed on Australian TV and all over the ‘net in addition to the Swedish defence AND prosecuting team having also acknowledged the name when mentioned by interviewers for various broadcasters, he was censoring you on an entirely spurious point.

    By the way I thought your Speech outside the Embassy was brilliant. Chin up!

  • Jives

    Andy,

    You’re fucking joking right? Or at least i hope you are.Her name’s been all over the datasphere for many months.Stop playing the Outraged Of Oswestry card and get with the multi-dimensional reality of the information age.

  • Jives

    Thatcrab.

    “Whooo saaid Jehovaah?”

    You did and it made no fucking sense whatsoever.I guess it’s pub closing time somewhere in the world.

  • Leonard Young

    KK: “I did not know her name – and I have reported from Belarus about Assange. I was prepared to overlook it when you uttered her name: a slip of the tongue, perhaps. But to see you defend it – to see you, in effect, hold her culpable – is deeply disappointing.”

    What? You are a journalist who has reported on this and you DIDN’T know the woman’s name? What else “didn’t you know” that half the world does, and you call yourself a reporter?

  • Jives

    Thatcrab and Craig,

    Sincere apologies chaps,aint seen the movie.It’s just that there’s been so many bampots on here lately i assumed another random troll.

  • Jives

    Still taking the corroding coin Alan i see? It’ll never be enough to cover what you’ve lost.

  • thatcrab

    np Jives
    Yay! if i did nothin else for once Craig got me!

    It was right to stick there too, it drew out the farce – if ever it needs to be on BBC Newsnight.

  • Chris Jones

    Andy wrote: “The difference is that you were on Newsnight on a significant UK TV station.Total wrong, I’m horrified you’re still defending your stupidity.
    Issue a serious apology asap”

    Andy, Newsnight and British state tv has descended into a comical farce. Regardless of the ins and outs of this case,they have absolutely no moral or ethical ground left to stand on whatsoever. They very well know this and are running scared,as they should be, because they have no legitimacy left from which to defend or attack any moral position.A spotty 15 year old teenager on a cheap laptop in his bedroom in Oswestry has as much if not more moral authority than these corrupted people

  • Jives

    Thatcrab,

    Yeah i’ve seen bits of it never the entirety.I feel obliged now to watch it all thus to atone for my earlier ignorance :.)

  • Nextus

    I thought Craig’s performance was so measured and understated that he exposed the emotive agenda of both Smith and Esler. Yet he also managed to plant a PR bomb. This furore over his name-dropping will give the story wings throughout the blogosphere and even the mainstream meeja. Which is no bad thing. It was entirely lawful – at most he perhaps infringed a politicised internal embargo at the Beeb. Yet the bleating and spinning of right-wing bloggers and editors will turn the spotlight onto Craig Murray, which will attract more casual readers to this very blog. Craig can then set out the hyperinanity of the stitch-up in his usual cogent manner. Accordingly, the next blog entries should be phrased with care and packed with potent myth-busters for maximum impact. It’s a fair bet they’ll start to propagate one way or another.

  • Lindi

    ‘And all the manufactured fury’ ‘might well lead people to research’

    It is, indeed, all ‘grist to the mill’ of the uncovering of Truth, which, being more nuanced than can possibly emerge in any combative (and stupidly brief) ‘debate’, inevitably and necessarily spills and is teased out in chaotic ways.

    EVERYTHING which keeps Julian, WikiLeaks, this case, in the public eye and debate is a further safeguard (amongst other things of Julian himself), a further step away from that dangerous lack of public scrutiny that the powers that be rely on, and takes us further away from that burying of the huge issues which are the whole backdrop and context.

    It is almost impossible for injustice and lies (especially in ‘high places’) to be exposed, without there being an ‘incarnation’ of the effects of them in someone’s life – and this, as well as the revelations they bring us, is what whistleblowers flesh out for us.

    They become iconic to the issues they confront in their own suffering, and this doubles what they do for us and the effects of their truth telling. This is so in CRAIG’S life and travails which have served to bring horrific and endemic injustice to the attention of many, AND WHICH GO ON DOING SO.

    Likewise the far reaching revelations of the Afghan and Iraq War Logs, the Collateral Murder video, the State Dept Cables etc continue to reverberate and are opened up to more and more people through the PROTRACTED travails of BRADLEY MANNING and JULIAN ASSANGE.

    It all TAKES TIME, and we wouldn’t remember a thing if it didn’t…

  • Lindi

    From the ‘Sketch’ Andy McSmith – the Independent

    ‘what CANNOT BE DISPUTED (!) is that two women who trusted and admired him enough to go to bed with him were put through experiences horrible enough to cause them to complain to the authorities.’ my caps and (!)

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/the-sketch-he-tried-to-appear-churchillian-but-ended-up-more-john-inmanian-8061661.html

    don’t think anyone’s taking sub-judice very seriously in this case…

  • Chris2

    What is inexcusable is the conspiracy to conceal the name of the woman, clearly a CIA freelance asset if not a salaried agent, who is providing this veneer of pseudo legality to the campaign to punish Assange.
    This woman consorts with fascists and cooperates with the US government, acting as a provocateur, in its blockade of Cuba. She works with terrorists responsible for the killing of air line passengers, hotel employees and tourists. And she has been paid for such work.
    How can her role in the current nonsense be credible to sensible, informed people? Who can doubt that she is acting dishonestly, insincerely? And that in doing so she does immense damage to real victims of rape?
    Far from being a “victim” or possibly a victim, she is clearly culpable of being an accomplice in crimes the victims of which would regard, if they are still alive, her claims of having been abused as outlandish and disingenuous.

  • J Esteves

    @KK: What I saw as truly appaling: a brutish mob reaction of moral
    panicky outrage and character assassination directed at Craig Murray,
    not without some shepherding from some who should know better *and* know
    better [ e.g.,
    https://twitter.com/jamesrbuk/status/237670310294462464 ].

    Given the context, @KK, this is an utterly void “moral” issue
    where even the “excuse” label reeks of hypocrisy and intellectual
    dishonesty. Is Newsnight supposed to be an entertainment show for
    some isolated high security penal colony? Is TV discourse in a journalistic context supposed to be
    ‘properly’ insulated from reality (and vice-versa) by mindlessly following, a la lettre,
    arbitrary rules picked up in some fashionable new Debrett’s guide? Or is there still hope
    for common sense and a no-nonsense code of ethics?

    Is it so hard to understand that something which is a valid
    concern in other contexts is in this case nothing more than a pretext
    for fingerpointing? Is it, by the way, hard to understand why it is
    so *regardless* of any opinions one may have on the facts and on the
    women involved? If not, is this then yet another instance of the rise
    of the newfangled “right not to be offended”?

    With due respect and the benefit of doubt, @KK, it’s somewhat
    surprising that someone who has “reported about Assange” is seeing the
    name “Anna Ardin” for the first time. Not surprising though, for
    those whose world views are mostly based on a TV diet. Not surprising
    they’re also unaware of how Craig Murray has been denouncing murder,
    mutilation and, yes, rape — many victims of which may remain
    adequately anonymous forever, while many of the guilty pose for
    posterity in events of perfect etiquette and political correction.

    Being an outsider, there’s of course the chance that I’m simply out of
    touch with the current moral values of Britannia. Time to buy one of
    those Debrett’s guides, I suppose. Or just stick to the BBC.

  • anon

    It’s worth mentioning that Anna Ardin is not an alleged rape victim. The only allegation of rape pertains to the other complainant, SW – who refused to sign the police report after she realized that her attempt to compel Assange to take an STD test was being interpreted as a rape complaint by the police,

    All of the allegations having to do with Ardin are sexual misconduct allegations.

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