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“Four Corners”, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation current affairs program, this week broadcast what amounted to an exposé of the frame-up of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange on allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden. Assange remains inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, seeking political asylum from the threat of being removed to Sweden, which would in turn facilitate extradition to the US.
Supporters of WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange gather outside the Ecuador Embassy in central London (Reuters)
When Julian Assange arrived in Sweden in August 2010 he was greeted like a conquering hero. But within weeks there was a warrant out for his arrest and he was being investigated for rape and sexual molestation. Today he is taking sanctuary in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, arguing he won't receive justice if he's taken to Sweden and that US authorities are building a case for his extradition.
Next, Four Corners reporter Andrew Fowler examines in detail what happened in those crucial weeks while Julian Assange was in Sweden. What was the nature of his relationship with the two women who claim he assaulted them? And what did they tell police that led the authorities to seek his arrest?
"I will not tell any media how I am going to represent the women in court." Lawyer for Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilén
Both Assange and his supporters believe the attempt by authorities to force his return to Sweden is simply the first step in a plan to see him extradited to the United States.
"Sweden has frankly always been the United States' lapdog and it's not a matter we're particularly proud of." Assange supporter
"The US has nothing to do with the issue here, it's simply a matter between the UK and Sweden." Jeffrey L. Bleich, US Ambassador to Australia
Four Corners looks at claims the United States is working hard to unearth evidence that would lead to a charge of "conspiracy to commit espionage" being made against Assange - which in turn would be used in his extradition from Sweden. The program also documents the harassment experienced by Assange's supporters across the globe - including his Australian lawyer - and the FBI's attempts to convince some to give evidence against him.
"Sex, Lies and Julian Assange", reported by Andrew Fowler and presented by Kerry O'Brien, goes to air on Monday 23rd July at 8.30pm on ABC1. It is replayed on Tuesday 24th July at 11.35pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 at 8.00pm Saturday, ABC iview and at 4 Corners.
Transcript and full broadcast at: http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2012/07/19/35492...0.htm
There are links to separate vid interviews at the link above but they don't seem to be working at present.
Australian TV program exposes Assange frame-up
... The program provided substantial evidence that the allegations against him were false and politically motivated. The unproven accusations were used to blacken his name in Sweden and around the world, and counter the widespread public support that he and WikiLeaks had won for courageously exposing the crimes and machinations of the US and other powers.
Reported by Andrew Fowler, the program recounts that when Assange arrived in Sweden on August 11, he was offered accommodation at the apartment of Anna Ardin. She was meant to be away, but returned on the evening of August 13. That night she had consensual sex with Assange, who continued to stay in the apartment until August 18—five days after the occasion on which the Swedish authorities later alleged Assange had used force against her.
In fact, Ardin several times insisted that Assange stay, rejecting offers from others to have the WikiLeaks’ chief stay with them. On the two nights following the supposed assault, Ardin arranged a crayfish barbecue for Assange and attended a dinner party by his side. During the crayfish party, she had tweeted: “Sitting outdoors at 02:00 and hardly freezing with the world’s coolest, smartest people! It’s amazing!” Later she told a friend she had a “wild weekend” with him.
On August 16, with Ardin’s knowledge, Assange travelled out of town to spend a night with a second young woman, Sofia Wilen. The following day, the two women began exchanging emails. Ultimately, four days later, on August 20, Ardin and Wilen went to a Stockholm police station to see if they could compel Assange to take a sexual health test.
Instead, the police declared that Assange was to be arrested and questioned about possible rape and molestation. Wilen became so distraught at this that she refused to give any more testimony or sign what had been taken down.
That same night, a prosecutor issued a warrant for Assange’s arrest. The prosecutor’s office did not contact Assange. Instead, within hours, it leaked to the tabloid newspaper Expressen the statements made by the two women. The newspaper’s front page read: “Assange hunted for rape in Sweden.”
This was just the first evidence of high-level collusion, involving the police, the prosecutor’s office and the media, to destroy Assange’s reputation.
Within 24 hours of the arrest warrant, there was a further twist. A more senior prosecutor dismissed the rape allegations, leaving only the lesser accusation of molestation. Assange voluntarily went to the police on August 30 and made a statement. During the interview he expressed his fears that whatever he said would end up in the Expressen. The interviewing police officer said: “I’m not going to leak anything.” The interview was nevertheless leaked.
Assange was still not charged with any offence—a fact that remains to this day. Instead, he was assured by the prosecutor that he was free to leave the country while an inquiry continued, an assurance that was later dramatically reversed.
The only conclusion one can draw is that Assange was either deliberately set-up, or that the women later came under significant pressure to testify against him. The current allegations by the two women against Assange are unclear. Their lawyer, Claes Borgstrom, refused to disclose any details of their case. When “Four Corners” suggested to him: “It looks as though they are in fact setting him up,” he replied defensively: “I’m quite aware of that.” ...