WikiLeaks sex scandal deepens as estranged son enters the fray
August 30, 2010
Police statements made by the women involved in the sex scandal engulfing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange raise questions over Assange's claims that the charges against him were a Pentagon-initiated smear campaign.
Assange's statements that he was warned to expect the smears by "Australian intelligence" have also been called into question by Australian intelligence agencies.
Meanwhile, Assange's 20-year-old estranged son, Daniel, appears to have queried his dad's claims about the alleged "dirty tricks" campaign, and wrote in a Facebook posting that he "does have a way of making a lot of female enemies", the New York Post reported.
Earlier this month, Assange, from Melbourne, was facing charges of rape and molestation over a recent trip to Stockholm, Sweden. The rape charges have since been dropped by Swedish prosecutors but the molestation accusation is still outstanding.
British newspaper the Daily Mail has obtained a copy of the police statements made by the two women at the centre of the claims. These indicate that Assange had consensual sex with the women but was reported to police after he refused to use a condom or, later, take an STD test.
One, Anna Ardin, who helped bring Assange to Sweden for a speaking engagement, allegedly let Assange stay in her one-bedroom flat in Stockholm. They went out to dinner and, according to a "police source" quoted in the Daily Mail, "when they got back they had sexual relations, but there was a problem with the condom - it had split".
"She seemed to think that he had done this deliberately but he insisted that it was an accident."
Ardin has told a Swedish newspaper that Assange had "a twisted attitude towards women and a problem with taking 'no' for an answer". She denied the complaints were orchestrated by the Pentagon.
The other woman, described only as Woman B, met Assange the next day at the conference organised by Ardin. She had become obsessed with him following a litany of online news reports on Assange's leaking of thousands of confidential documents pertaining to the war in Afghanistan.
According to her police statement, the woman was later invited out for lunch with Assange and his entourage. She said she asked Assange if the food he was eating - cheese served on Swedish crispbread - was good and he began to feed her.
Assange then said he needed a charger for his laptop and the woman said in her statement that she eagerly obliged. She said she paid for his travel card for the metro because he said he didn't have any money and the pair went shopping.
Later that night they allegedly saw a short film about the ocean called Deep Sea and moved to the back row of the cinema after becoming amorous.
A few days later Assange allegedly met Woman B again and the pair agreed to spend the evening in her flat.
She said in her statement that he spent the 45-minute journey to her home tweeting and texting on his mobile phone and reading stories about himself. She complained that "he paid more attention to the computer than to me".
She said when they arrived at the flat the passion and attraction had worn off. The Daily Mail said most of what happened next had been blacked out of the police statement but the paper quoted a "source" as saying Assange had sex with her without a condom, despite her insistence that he wear one.
The pair ate breakfast together the next morning, the police statement said, and parted amicably soon after. He allegedly told the woman he would call her but did not and didn't answer her calls.
Woman B then called Ardin and the pair realised they had both been victims of Assange's charm. They feared STDs and pregnancy and after Assange allegedly refused to take an STD test, the women went to police.
A warrant for Assange's arrest was issued but, after the matter received significant media coverage around the world, a senior prosecutor decided there was no evidence of rape.
Last week, Assange said the claims against him were part of a Pentagon smear campaign. He told Al-Jazeera that "Australian intelligence" warned him to expect such "dirty tricks".
It has been assumed that this meant he was warned by Australian intelligence agencies but a spokesman for the Department of Defence said "Defence Intelligence agencies have not had any contact with Mr Assange, any associates of Mr Assange, or any person or entity that has an interest in Mr Assange's personal affairs".
ASIO said "for reasons of security and confidentiality ASIO does not comment on individuals or groups with whom ASIO has or has not had contact with".
The police statements appear to discount Assange's claims of a Pentagon smear campaign.
In a Facebook posting, Assange's son Daniel, who lives in Melbourne, said it would be "interesting to see whether this is the result of a government plot or personal grudges". But in a blog post written after the New York Post reported his Facebook comments, Daniel said his online comments "were very tongue-in-cheek and never intended to be made public like this".
Last week, The New York Times reported one of Assange's close friends in Sweden saying that he was "absolutely sure" that what was involved were "personal animosities and grievances" that flowed out of brief relationships Assange had with the women.
Swedish prosecutors are expected to interview Assange this week on the lesser molestation accusations.
Newsweek has reported that there is internal dissatisfaction with the way Assange has handled the scandal. It reported a source saying that WikiLeaks activists were "privately concerned that Assange has continued to spread allegations of dirty tricks and hint at conspiracies against him without justification".
The publication said people affiliated with WikiLeaks were already brainstorming whether there might be a way to persuade Assange to step down.