A number of mainstream media attacks on me today. Astonishingly, not a single one admits that Anna Ardin gave media interviews accusing Assange and put her own name in the public domain. Despite the fact I spent most of yesterday being interviewed by journalists and repeating that point over and over again.
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.”
So Ardin went very very public herself. 190,000 internet articles – a great many from major mainstream media – and 10 million mentions on twitter and two years later, I use her name on Newsnight and am attacked for “revealing it”.
Fortunately the public recognise a fake campaign of indignation when they see one. Where the mainstream media have online comment threads, they are overwhelmingly supportive of me. Even in the Daily Mail! They have a voting system on their comments and the results are very interesting.
The Headline of that piece is “Former Ambassador Sparks Anger”. It would better have been “Former Ambassador Sparks Overwhelming Agreement from our Readers”.
The Telegraph makes a claim that I was censured by the Swedish Prosecutor’s office, out of a statement in which they did not mention me at all. They rather make the perfectly reasonable point that they would prefer people, in general, not to name victims of crime. The Telegraph failed to ask the Swedish prosecutor what they thought of Anna Ardin having already named herself all over the Swedish media. They also failed to ask them why the Swedish Prosecutor’s office themselves two years ago leaked the allegations against Julian Assange to the Swedish media, and thus the world.
You may be surprised to know that I regard the Telegraph in general as one of the few places real journalism can still be found. I am therefore genuinely disappointed and surprised that they do not mention the key fact that Anna Ardin revealed herself in statements to the Swedish media, a point which I explained to their journalist repeatedly yesterday afternoon. They also say that I “alleged” that the BBC repeatedly named Ms Diallo, the accuser in the DSK rape case, while the case was still ongoing, as though there could be any doubt about the truth of the matter.
A couple of pieces from the blogosphere. My favourite piece is this very considered one from James Kelly, which makes some very valuable points.
But the all-time prize goes to Carl Gardner, former junior government lawyer and now the go to right wing “legal expert” brought out by the BBC and the Guardian. In his blog “Head of Legal” (Gardner has never been head of anything), Gardner argues that what I said was not illegal, but that we need a new law to stop me saying it!
Yes! Absolutely! What this country lacks is enough laws to stop people bloody well saying things! I feel Mr Gardner is going with the zeitgeist here.