From our friends at the BBC…
Swedish prosecutors have defended their decision to issue then withdraw an arrest warrant against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on rape charges.
The chief prosecutor had received additional information that led her to withdraw the charge, they said.
Mr Assange said the incident could still damage Wikileaks.
The 39-year-old, whose site recently released secret US military documents on the war in Afghanistan, said he had been warned to expect “dirty tricks”.
Swedish prosecutors said on Saturday that although they were dropping the rape allegation, they were still investigating a separate allegation of molestation.
Mr Assange dismissed the allegations soon after they emerged, saying that their timing was “deeply disturbing”.
In his comments to Aftonbladet, he said: “I don’t know who’s behind this but we have been warned that for example the Pentagon plans to use dirty tricks to spoil things for us.”
“I have also been warned about sex traps.”
US authorities have strongly criticised the decision by Wikileaks to post more than 75,000 war logs online, saying it could endanger the lives of US soldiers and Afghan civilians.
They have not commented on the Swedish allegations.
It does to be noted that Sweden has a very low evidential threshold for Rape prosecution (As discussed in this episode of “Europe Today”, also on the BBC.) so it’s entirely possible that this whole thing is one big misunderstanding.
It is also, needless to say, also entirely possible that this was an insanely botched attempt to smear Assange and if so, the agent involved deserves to be chewed out by his station chief and shipped to a listening post in Outer Mongolia. Because, seriously…A rape charge..this soon after the biggest document dump since the Pentagon Papers? You might as well had the words “COVERT-OP” in bright pink neon over Assange’s head! As it stands, unless you’ve got photos of Assange standing over a dead body, wearing John Doe’s strap-on of death from “Seven”, anything you throw at him is going to stink of ratfucking. (A more complete account is provided by Scott Horton at Harper’s. H/T to AmericaBlog.)
The reaction to the Afghanistan Document leak has ranged from official dismissals to calls for his murder at the hands of Navy SEALS. To those in the Government looking for payback against Assange, let me just ask an impertinent question.
What the hell did you expect?
Since 9/11, the security apparatus of this country has grown a thousand fold and sadly, The Obama Administration has done little to reverse the trend. (Indeed, the ACLU has recently criticized Obama for possibly establishing a “new normal” in the area of civil rights.)
Did you think people would accept that?
Did you really not think that some would rise up and fight this trend?
Many years ago, a director for play I was acting in told me perhaps the smartest thing I’ve ever heard and it’s become one of the guiding principles of how I try to behave as a human being.
Everything in life is a fair exchange.
If you take something, you also give something of similar value. You lend a friend your Blu-Ray of “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, you should expect him to let you borrow his copy of “Duck, You Sucker”. You pay taxes to a government, you expect them to make sure the roads are paved and that your food and drinking water is safe to consume. That is how the world is suppose to to work.
You have demanded that you have the right, to tap our phones, read our E-mails. And yet, you continue to hide information that allows us to make informed decisions about what kind of policies are carried out in our name.
That is not balance.
What Assange is trying to do is balance out the information ecosystem. He is attempting to restore the exchange to a fair level.
And if you murder or imprison him, a hundred more like him will take his place.
Balance is the natural order of the Universe and you have tampered with that but sooner or later, it will be set right.