Anna Ardin, CIA honeytrap?
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Given that Assange is viewed with distinct hostility by the US government for WikiLeaks’ recent release of diplomatic cables showing US and international officials’ words and misdeeds — including an apparent identity-theft plot aimed at the United Nations — we cannot fail to ask: Is Ardin working in conjuction with the CIA to entrap Assange as part of a plan to destroy or discredit WikiLeaks?
This is not so easy to answer.
In Ardin’s defense, “links” to the CIA could probably be discovered for virtually any American by someone trying hard enough to find them. In fact, I could be considered “linked” to the agency myself: For nearly two decades, starting in 1983, I played chess regularly with a millionaire California real estate developer who often travelled to the Middle East and Africa. Eventually, he let drop that he and his wife had done some information-gathering during those trips on behalf of the agency. So there you have it: I am linked to the CIA.
However, there are varying degrees of linkage, and it appears that Ardin’s connections run wider and deeper than mere casual social acquaintance with an informal intelligence-gatherer. And it is hardly unprecedented in recent history for governments to set “honeypot” traps, using attractive women as bait to compromise and discredit their critics: Vladimir Putin, for example, is suspected of being behind the filmed encounter between dissident Viktor Shenderovich and model-cum-covert agent Katya Gerasimova, who has also been instrumental in similar stings against other Putin adversaries.
Ultimately, there is not yet enough evidence on hand to convict Ardin of entrapping Assange; nor is there enough to clear her. This is an aspect of WikiLeaks’ travails that will bear watching.
Meanwhile, the accusations against Assange have so pervaded the media, including the internet, that his attorneys note that 20 percent of current stories about rape mention his name and 90 percent of current stories on Assange mention rape. And almost every story about WikiLeaks prominently features Assange’s name and likeness: In the public datasphere, Assange virtually is WikiLeaks.
Putting this together, we may infer that the media, owned by the ruling elites that WikiLeaks has offended, would like the public to associate the words “WikiLeaks” and “rape.” This is a perfect example of an ad hominem fallacy: discrediting by association, using a flawed or vulnerable messenger to cast suspicion upon the message.
What we must therefore keep firmly in mind is that, even if Assange should be found guilty on the most incontrovertible of evidence, that makes Assange a criminal; it does not mean that WikiLeaks itself is criminal or ceases to be a good idea and a valuable resource for investigative journalists.