Just as Assange was sought in an international manhunt by Interpol, the blond, 30-something Swedish feminist and political activist Anna Ardin is being hunted and stalked, in effect, on the Internet -- although her whereabouts are unknown.
In the warp-speed pursuit of her, complete with translation mix-ups and disinformation, she's either a CIA "honeytrap," a freaky radical feminist lying about Assange or, as the Global Post put it today, "the most hated woman online."
A report Thursday that she had moved to the Palestinian West Bank to work with an outreach group called the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) was debunked today by program coordinator Pauline Nunu, who said Ardin had canceled her trip. But she said she did not know where Ardin was.
"I think she's suffering," Nunu told AOL News today on the telephone from Jerusalem. "She's disappointed because she wanted to come and she underwent 10 days of training in Sweden. But because of what's going on in Sweden, she's postponing it to a later date."
In the past week, the backlash against Ardin increased. Her name, address and contact details are being posted and tweeted all over the Internet as bloggers urge members of the notorious 4chan hacker community to hit her blog and Twitter site. The other accuser, an aspiring photographer of 27, is younger and lacks the controversial political connections and online writings that have put Ardin in the spotlight.
Ardin's current Twitter site features a seductive profile picture of Sharon Stone and some new tweets cheering on the hackers going after MasterCard and Visa. It's not clear whether her site has been hacked, but if not, the photo of Stone seems like an odd choice.
Ardin's lawyer, Claes Borgstrom, declined to comment today but said earlier this week that both women were having a "tough time" in the face of so much notoriety and criticism.
Even well-known feminists like Naomi Wolf, Naomi Klein and the European group Women Against Rape have publicly questioned the sexual assault claims.
Wolf wrote a satirical piece for the Huffington Post defending Assange by saying he had been arrested by the "world's dating police."
Klein wrote on Twitter: "Rape is being used in the #Assange prosecution in the same way that women's freedom was used to invade Afghanistan. Wake up!"
AOL News is using Ardin's name for the first time although it's been widely available, along with that of the other accuser, on the Internet since the scandal broke in August. But since the arrest of Assange on Monday, mainstream media from MSNBC to CBS News have identified her.
Ardin helped organize a lecture that Assange gave in Sweden in mid-August, and Assange stayed at her apartment, where they were said to have had sex several times. The other accuser, a fan of Assange, came to the seminar and also had sex with him later at her apartment. Many of the details were recounted in a Daily Mail article in August about the police report.
The two women didn't know each other until the other accuser called Ardin up after Assange had left and they discovered he had slept with both of them.
Both women have been criticized because the four allegations against Assange, one of which includes rape, were lodged despite what the police report indicates began as consensual sex in both cases.
The cases revolve around issues like a broken condom, not using a condom and having sex with one of the women while she was asleep. The women did not report the allegations to police until six days after the first incident.
Ardin describes herself on her blog as "a political scientist, communicator, entrepreneur and freelance writer with special knowledge in faith and politics, equality matters, feminism and Latin America."
She makes an inviting target, especially because of her involvement in radical feminism as a research assistant at Uppsala University, where one of the country's most controversial feminists, Eva Lundgren, is a professor.
A seven-step guide to getting "legal revenge" was posted on her blog (since deleted) and was immediately picked up by the blogosphere. So were reports that she'd been thrown out of Cuba a few years ago for subversive activities that conspiracy theorists decided must point to a CIA connection.
But Ardin's master's thesis on Cuban politics is still available on her blog, and she appears to have a history of social activism that's taken her from other areas of Latin America to Gaza in recent years.
Ardin spent 10 days training in the Swedish branch and was set to undergo another 10 days of training in Jerusalem before she decided to cancel her trip, Nunu said.
"You learn teamwork and how to live with the people, some of whom are harassed by the settlers," Nunu said. "But we are totally non-confrontational in what we do."