In the world of espionage, many types of assets are used. A target’s friend might be targeted for blackmail or a spy agency might introduce assets to targets in order to glean information or create compromising situations. This sort of activity happens all of the time in the clandestine world, whether it is military, diplomatic or economic in dimension. One of the more famous cases was the CIA’s Operation Midnight Climax.
Midnight Climax involved various San Francisco safe-houses (whorehouses), in which prostitutes on the CIA’s payroll lured unsuspecting johns back to the whorehouses where they were then dosed with LSD. CIA officials stood behind one-way glass to observe the effects of the drugs.
While the CIA was ostensibly researching mind-control, they were utilizing and refining the art of sexual blackmail for political purposes. The practice of using sexual blackmail is widely acknowledged in the world of espionage and the asset is rather humorously called a “honeypot.” (Any fan of James Bond knows well this type of asset, and it’s not just limited to the realm of fiction.)
Many countries utilize the honeypot, even relative newcomers to the tradecraft. For instance, a recently leaked M15 document covered by The London Times had this to say about Chinese intelligence services:
“‘China has occasionally attempted sexual entrapment to target senior British political figures. Two years ago an aide to Gordon Brown had his BlackBerry phone stolen after being picked up by a Chinese woman who had approached him in a Shanghai hotel disco… [They] have been known to exploit vulnerabilities such as sexual relationships and illegal activities to pressurise individuals to co-operate with them’…”
Enter Anna Ardin, who—according to Disinfo.com (quoting a Counterpunch piece by Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett)—has ties to the CIA. First, a little biographical detail on the accuser. Ardin is variously described as a leftist, a feminist, a radical groupie and works as a gender-equity official at Uppsala Unversity in Sweden. And she knew Julian Assange before the August 14th encounter.
According to Gawker:
“Ardin appears to have helped coordinate Assange’s travel around the country; in addition to arranging the Stockholm event, she reportedly tried to arrange places for Assange to stay through her Twitter account (she has apparently since deleted the tweets and has locked her WordPress blog).”
James D. Caitlain, the Melbourne barrister who represented Assange in London, had this to say about Ardin:
“The women here are near to and over 30 and have international experience, some of it working in Swedish government embassies. There is no suggestion of drugs nor identity concealment. Far from it. Both women boasted of their celebrity connection to Assange after the events that they would now see him destroyed for….
The phenomena of social networking through via Internet and mobile phones constrains Swedish authorities from augmenting the evidence against Assange because it would look even less credible in the face of tweets by Anna Ardin and SMS texts by Sofia Wilen boasting of their respective conquests after the crimes.
In the case of Ardin, it is clear that she has thrown a party in Assange’s honour at her flat after the “crime” and tweeted to her followers that she is “with the world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing!” Go on the Internet and see for yourself. That Ardin has sought unsuccessfully to delete these exculpatory tweets from the public record should be a matter of grave concern. That she has published on the Internet a guide on how to get revenge on cheating boyfriends ever graver. The exact content of Wilen’s mobile phone texts is not yet known but their bragging and exculpatory character has been confirmed by Swedish prosecutors. Niether Wilen’s nor Ardin’s texts complain of rape.”
Why would Ardin be tweeting so enthusiastically a day after the sexual encounter with Assange and then went about deleting them days later? Maybe—giving Ardin the benefit of the doubt—she was something of a groupie and had the jilted-lover complex. Knowing Assange wasn’t planning on a relationship, she decided to hit him where it hurts. Maybe she went about the days after the August 14th encounter in a glee-filled form of denial or shock.
But, it must occur to any reasonable individual that there is a high probability that intelligence officers (Swedish perhaps, in conjunction with the CIA) might have identified and perhaps approached Ardin after the encounter and before her August 20th complaint against Assange.
But what of her supposed connections to the CIA? According to Counterpunch, apparently Ardin is connected through a Swedish anti-Castro group to one Carlos Alberto Montaner, a man with ties to the CIA, as well as Luis Posada Carriles by way of the anti-Castro feminist group Las Damas de Blanco (funded by the U.S. government). Carriles, incidentally, was involved in activities ranging from the Bay of Pigs to the Iran-Contra Affair and the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner which killed 73 people.
As with everything in the world of espionage, connections are difficult to prove but always worth consideration. Espionage exists in a looking-glass world where nothing is as it seems. A world that we cannot possibly imagine and that we are taught not to question for national security purposes. A world where a leftist-feminist can be manipulated into distorting public opinion of Julian Assange. Or where a woman–like many FBI agents in the 60s counterculture, for instance–transforms herself into a leftist-feminist in order to infiltrate radical groups.
As Israel Shamir notes: “For a smear that really sticks, you need to get it from an ex-apostle. An accusation by a Caiaphas does not impress. If you are targeting a leftist, hire leftists.”
Things are not as they seem.
(Editor’s note: Death and Taxes has named Julian Assange ‘Man of the Year’ well in advance of the rumors about Time’s possible cover. Take a read, and let us know your thoughts on WikiLeaks.)