Yesterday as the jail door slammed behind Wikileaks boss Julian Assange the world split between those who want him jailed for treason and those who think he is a victim of a CIA plot to discredit him.
‘Evidence’ emerged that one of the women who made the accusation of sexual assault against Assange had “links to the CIA” and there was a rumour that the US government was going to try to extradite Assange on treason charges.
Many in the IT press were shocked that Assange was remanded in custody pending his appeal against extradition, and this formed the basis of the plot allegations.
What many do not understand was that the moment that the Assange turned himself in, he was going to be jailed. I have sat in countless UK bail applications in my years as a hack. They all turn out to be a very dull checklist of qualifications that magistrates or Judges have to go through.
You rarely get bail in the UK if you do not have ties to the area that you have been arrested in. You would need an address for that and staying at the home of a business associate is not enough. Assange’s address on the charge sheet, if it exists at all, would be foreign or “no fixed abode”.
Lawyers attempting to get NFA people bail hardly ever succeed. The logic is that if the arrested person does not have an address, it is better that we give him one.
Neither will you get bail if there is a chance that you will not turn up for your next court date. This one is harder to assess. Often this is tied to whether or not the case is serious enough to want to avoid. Murder cases are always locked up. Sex cases are sometimes serious enough too. With all the pressure on him and few cares about where he was arrested Assange could easily do a runner.
So when Assange appeared before Senior District Judge Howard Riddle he would have found the boxes filled. Riddle said there were substantial grounds to believe Assenge could abscond if granted bail, the charges were serious and Assange had comparatively weak community ties in Britain. If Riddle had let Assange go, he would have set a legal precedent on bail which was never going to happen. As far as British Justice goes there is no need to wear a tin foil hat.
So what about the “links to the CIA” charge that has been levelled at one of his accessors?
Anna Ardin’s links to Cuba were posted on several websites Tuesday after Assange surrendered in London to answer a warrant issued for his arrest by Sweden.
Ardin works in Sweden’s Uppsala University visited Cuba about four times between 2002 and 2006 as a representative of Swedish social democrats.
Ardin has written for Asignaturas Cubanas, a Cuban exile magazine published in Sweden, and her 2007 master’s thesis at Uppsala University had the catchy title”The Cuban multi-party system. Is the democratic alternative really democratic and an alternative after the Castro regime?”
Two left-of-center websites also alleged that she was close to Cuban exile author Carlos Alberto Montaner and the Ladies in White, female relatives of Cuban political prisoners. One website claims that Montaner has links with the CIA. The links are tentative, the CIA backs a lot of anti-Castro groups it does not mean that they are all populated by its agents.
Even if that were the case, Montaner can’t remember ever having met Ardin and the Ladies in White are certain that they haven’t.
So what we are left with is a link between Ardin and the CIA which is more distant than her connection to Kevin Bacon.
Going through the Web II comments from readers about Ardin’s connection, and the court case it seems that the moment you suggest that Assange might have just been a dickhead and treated too women badly, you will be rounded upon for drinking the CIA cool aid and that the whole thing was an obvious honey trap.
It is based on Assange’s own idea that somehow Wikileaks could not function without him and that he had no chance of winning a case in court because the forces of darkness were all stacked against him.
As it turns out Wikileaks would function a lot better without him. Him staying on after the sex scandal was made public was a terrible mistake which cost the organisation manpower and skills. If he was so innocent he should have turned himself into a martyr, stood down from Wikileaks, gone to court, been acquitted and returned. However, Assange has consistently run away from doing anything like this.
As far as the wheels of Justice are concerned two women have called him a sex pest. It is fairly likely that if that is true then other women will suffer in similar circumstances therefore it is important that he be tried. If he is not a sex pest he will go free. If he is then he has to learn that his attitude to women sucks and it does not matter how he is saving the free world by releasing documents he needs to be a better human.
Some of the comments on Web II sites about the alleged crimes are particularly disturbing. They are written mostly by men who claim that it is not really rape. The assumption is that is OK to have sex with a woman even when she says no “because she said yes to start with”. It is a dark assumption that, despite the rise of feminism, appears to have never been challenged.
Either way it is an assumption which should be tested in court without allegations of CIA conspiracy. The Wheels of Justice are so far turning without such emotion with everything being done by the book.