Karl Rove, Sweden, and the Eight Major Aberrations in the Police Sex Crime Reporting Process in the Assange Case
by Naomi Wolf
Now that excellent reporting from Andrew Kreig of the Justice Integrity Project has confirmed Karl Rove’s role as an advisor to the government of of Sweden which is pursuing Julian Assange on sexual misconduct charges, it is important to see the many aberrations in the processing of the sexual misconduct complaints against Assange.
Dr. Brian Palmer of Uppsala University in Sweden explained on Kreig’s radio show Jan 13 that Karl Rove has been working directly as an advisor to the governing Moderate Party. Kreig also reported in Connecticut Watchdog that the Assange’s accusers’ lawyer is a partner in a law firm, Borgström and Bodström, whose other name partner, Thomas Bodström, is a former Swedish Minister of Justice. In that office, Bodström helped the US break international and Swedish law by approving a 2001 CIA rendition request that Sweden let the CIA fly two asylum-seekers from Sweden to Egypt, where they were tortured– which is against Sweden’s position of neutrality.
This background makes it necessary to publicize the weird aberrations in the police’s and prosecutors’ handling of these complaints, which are obvious to anyone who has worked supporting women who have been raped or sexually assaulted and gone through the police process.
Based on my 23 years of reporting on global rape law and my five years of supporting women at rape crisis centers and battered women’s shelters through the legal system in the US and in Europe, this case is not being treated as a normal rape or sexual assault case, and the new details of the police transcript confirm my position further. Assange’s lawyers, and the UK court hearing the extradition issue today, is unlikely to be familiar with the normal standards for rape and sexual assault complaints. The Assange transcript is not a transcript of reports of sexual assault like the transcripts of assaults of the dozens of victims whom I have supported in my years working with victims of sex crimes. Here is why.
1) POLICE NEVER PURSUE COMPLAINTS IN WHICH THERE IS NO INDICATION OF
LACK OF CONSENT.
In police reports of sex crimes, there is ordinarily some indication of lack of consent or else compliance because there is a perceived or real threat of force. Don’t take my word for it: look at any other police reports in ANY country in the West, including Sweden. Ask Sweden to produce ANY other police report in which any action was taken in a situation in which there is no stated lack of consent or threat of force. Police simply won’t take action on a complaint if there is no indication at all of a lack of consent or else of consent in the face of fear of violence.
The Assange transcripts, in contrast to any typical sex crime report, is a set of transcripts in which neither of the women have indicated a lack of consent. There is one case of in which Miss W asserts that she was asleep – in which case it is indeed illegal to have sex with her – but her deleted tweets show that she was not asleep, and subsequent discussion indicates consent. This transcript, with no stated indication of a lack of consent, is an utter aberration in normal police processing of sex crime complaints.
There are other major aberrations in the processing of this case, which any rape victim advocate will recognize.
2) POLICE DO NOT ALLOW TWO WOMEN REPORT AN ACCUSATION ABOUT ONE
The transcripts indicate that the police processed the two accusers’ complaints together. All leaks to the media present the two women’s narratives together. The two women themselves reported that they went to the police and gave their testimonies together. This is completely unheard-of in sex crime reporting procedures, it violates law and process, and the burden should be on Clare Mongomery, QC or Marianne Ny to produce a single other example of this being permitted, EVER. Never, never, never will two alleged victims be allowed by police to come in to a precinct and tell their stories together, even or especially if the stories are about one man.
This indeed is a great frustration to those who advocate for rape victims. You can have seven alleged victims all reporting about the same man – even confirming methods and tactics — and none will be permitted to tell their stories together. It doesn’t matter if they coordinated in advance with one another as the Assange accusers did or if they are close friends and came in together for moral support — the police simply will not take their complaints together or even in the same room.
Their wishes won’t matter: the women will be separated, given separate interview times and even locations, separate case officers, and their cases will be processed completely separately in separate confidential paperwork. The prosecutor, rather than being able to draw on both women’s testimony at the same time, as Marianne Ny is doing, will actually have to struggle to get the judge to even allow a second or additional accusation or evidence into one case from another case. Usually other such evidence will NOT be allowed.
Under normal procedures, if the prosecutor were even willing to take a case in which there was no stated lack of consent in the reports, Miss A would still have her case processed by itself, and then Miss W’s case would proceed by itself — with absolutely no easy ability for the prosecutor to draw from one set of testimony to the next. The reason for this is sound — it is to keep testimony from contaminating separate trials — but it is a source of great frustration to
prosecutors and rape advocates, let alone victims. The dual testimonies taken in this case are utterly atypical and against all Western and especially Swedish rape law practice and policy.
3) PROSECUTORS NEVER LET TWO ALLEGED VICTIMS HAVE THE SAME
Both women are being advised, as we saw above, by the same high-powered, politically connected lawyer. That would never happen under normal circumstances because the prosecutor would not permit the risk of losing the case because of contamination of evidence and the risk of the judge objecting to possible coaching or shared testimony in the context of a shared attorney.
Why would the Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, allow such a thing in this case? Perhaps – bearing in mind the threat that Assange will be extradited by the US government to the US once he is in Sweden — because she does not expect ever to have a real trial in Sweden, let alone have to have to try to win one.
4) POLICE NEVER EVER TAKE TESTIMONY FROM FORMER BOYFRIENDS.
In the Miss. A. transcript is a truly bizarre aberration, the report of a former boyfriend of “Miss A.’ who testified to police that she always used a condom in her relationship with him. Anyone who supports rape victims through the reporting process is feeling the top of her head lift off from this wildly atypical and actually illegal inclusion of an alleged victim’s former sex partner’s in the complaint.
There is rape shield law in Sweden as throughout Europe that PREVENTS anyone not involved in the case to say anything, positive or negative, to police about the previous sexual habits of the complainant. No matter how much a former or current boyfriend would want to testify to police about his girlfriends’ sex practices — even if the woman complaining at the police precinct about an alleged assault strongly wished her former boyfriend or current boyfriend or even her husband to testify in support of her with this information—the police will, properly, refuse to hear it; not allow it to be said or entered into the record; not record it.
The only reason for Police to include the unprecedented and illegal testimony of a former boyfriend about Miss. A’s assiduous use of condoms with him would conceivably be to generate a context in media coverage in which Miss A’s dispute with Assange about the condom would gain traction in a context in which characteristically it would be completely disregarded by police.
This inclusion would necessitate the okay from much higher in the criminal justice food chain because – after two decades of successful feminist agitation on this issue — it now is so contrary to law and policy for sex crime reports to include any information at all from former lovers about the sex life of the alleged victim.
Naomi Wolf speaking at Brooklyn Law School, January 29, 2009. Photo: Wikipedia
5) A LAWYER NEVER TYPICALLY TAKES ON TWO ALLEGED RAPE VICTIMS OF THE SAME MAN AS CLIENTS.
A high-powered attorney — or any attorney would never allow him or herself to represent two women claiming to have been victimized by the same man, for the reasons above: the second woman’s testimony could be weaker than the first’s, thus weakening his or her chances of success in court and also risking that a judge will object to cross-contamination of the women’s stories. Why would a layer weaken his chances thus of his clients’ victories in court? Again, keeping in mind the threat of extradition to the US in this case, he might do so because he does not expect them actually ever to go to trial.
6) A RAPE VICTIM NEVER USES A CORPORATE ATTORNEY.
Typically, if a woman needs a lawyer in addition to the prosecutor who is pursuing her case (as in the Swedish system) she will be advised by rape advocates, the prosecutor and the police to use a criminal attorney — someone who handles rape cases or other kinds of assault, who is familiar with the judges and the courts in these cases. She will never hire a high-powered corporate attorney who does not specialize in these cases or work with the local court that would be hearing her sex crime case if it ever got to trial. Given that a law firm such as this one charges about four hundred euros an hour, and a typical rape case takes eight months to a year to get through the courts – given that legal advice will cost tens of thousands of euros, which young women victims usually do not have access to – it is reasonable to ask: who is paying the legal bills?
7) A RAPE VICTIM IS NEVER ENCOURAGED TO MAKE ANY KIND OFCONTACT WITH HER ASSAILANT AND SHE MAY NEVER USE POLICE TO COMPEL HER ALLEGED ASSAILANT TO TAKE MEDICAL TESTS.
The two women went to police to ask if they could get Assange to take an HIV test. Sources close to the investigation confirm that indeed Assange was asked by police to take an HIV test, which came back negative. This is utterly unheard of and against law and standard sex crime policy.
Under ordinary procedures, the women’s wishes for the alleged assailant to take medical tests would be completely discouraged by rape advocates and completely deterred and disregarded by police.
First, the State normally has no power to compel a man who has not been convicted, let alone formally charged, to take any medical tests whatsoever. Rape victims usually fear STD’s or AIDS infection, naturally enough, and the normal police and prosecutiorial guidance is for them to take their own battery of tests – you don’t need the man’s test results to know if you have contracted a disease– and victims are advise to stay well away from him and not to contact him. Indeed normal rape kit processing, including in Sweden, includes such tests for the alleged victim as a matter of course, partly to help avoid any contact between the victim and the assailant outside legal channels.
The inclusion in rape kits of HIV and STD tests by police makes the narrative that the women need the police in order to ‘get Assange tested’ implausible and unnecessary, as well as a violation of normal law and procedure, unless the actual goal is to find some way to get him back to Sweden for extradition. The police never act as a medical go-between in this question.
There is one case in the US in which a man has been convicted AFTER giving AID to another partner (in this case another man) and the women in a case such as this could have that option to have Assange tested, under normal circumstances, only after they had been infected with AIDS and only if they then charged Assange then with infecting them — but not, again frustratingly to rape victims and advocates, before there is any medical consequence to them that they can prove. Plus, that — the hypothetical HIV infection — under normal police processing would have to be their charge, not sex assault, in order to achieve that outcome of an HIV test, which in this case it is not.
The Police do not act as medical mediators for STD testing,, since rapists are dangerous and vindictive. Victims are NEVER advised to manage, even with police guidance, any further communication with them that is not through formal judicial channels.
8) POLICE ANDS PROSECUTORS PRETTY MUCH NEVER LEAK POLICE TRANSCRIPTS DURING AN ACTIVE INVESTIGATION BECAUSE THEY FACE PUNISHMENT FOR DOING SO.
The full transcripts of the women’s police complaints have been leaked to the US media. The only people who have access to these are police, prosecutors and the attorneys. Often, frustratingly, rape victims themselves cannot get their own full set of records related to their cases. In normal circumstances, there would be an investigation of the police who had access to the documents, and the prosecutors, for the same reasons described above — the risk of contamination of evidence and derailing of a trial.
Police and prosecutors who leak these confidential documents face serious penalties and lawyers who do so can be disbarred. In this case, no one is being investigated or facing any professional consequences. The only way such a leak could have happened from police or prosecutors is if there was a signal from above that they could and should do so with impunity.
Major aberrations in normal sex crime reporting and investigating procedures, all possible only if directed from much much higher up the political chain. Highest up the political food chain is a leadership being advised by Karl Rove — who was party to crimes such as rendition and torture that Wikileaks addresses, and that further Wikileaks revelations may well reveal.
These eight bizarre aberrations, which led me from the first, as an advocate for rape victims with many years of experience helping victims who are going through a similar process as Miss W and Miss A, to raise an alarm about the falsified and entirely unusual nature of these procedures, are even more dramatically obvious with the release of the police records. Prosecutors, intelligence services and perhaps even Karl Rove are counting on general ignoranve of normal rape reporting procedures to conceal the strange nature of this record.
The political background – and the fact that Assange was under surveillance by Swedish and US intelligence services in Sweden even before he ever went home with Miss W or Miss A, is all important to consider in light of the serious consequences of the hearings taking place in Britain now.
Other posts on Assange & Wikileaks in Professors blogg:
Labels Wikileaks, J Assange, Assange, yttrandehefrihet, feminism tryckfrihet, transperans, wikileaks, T Bordström, Borgström, intressant,
Media 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 7, 8, 9