Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, has shaken the Washington D.C. bureaucracy to its core with embarrassing revelations -- from illicit contacts with Fidel Castro to State Department plans to steal credit card numbers from top United Nations officials. Then Assange was shaken to his well, you know what, when sexy Scandianvian scholar Anna Ardin accused him of rape. So it's natural every conspiracy theorist with two tinfoil hats to rub together is claiming Ardin is a spook.
But did she really work for the CIA while working on a thesis in Miami?
"[Ardin] linked to notorious CIA operative!" screams blog The Raw Story.
"Wikileaks accuser: 'I'm a CIA Agent'," says another called Dateline Zero.
The evidence? A 2006 paper Ardin researched in Miami and Havana, in which she interviewed a bevy of anti-Castro activists -- or were they CIA plants?
Alas, Riptide has read the thesis, checked out her Miami sources, and decided she's no spy.
In June 2006, Ardin, then a student at Uppsala University, traveled to Havana. Her goal: figuring out what role opposition groups in Cuba might play if Castro's regime fell.
Her Cuban guide, cited by sites like CounterPunch.com as evidence of nefarious spy connections, was "subversive" Ladies in White leader Miriam Leiva.
Hate to break it to you, Interwebs, but the Ladies in White aren't a sketchy fringe group, at least not in Miami. Thousands of the group's supporters -- led by the decidedly un-spooky Gloria Estefan -- flooded Calle Ocho earlier this year in solidarity with dissidents.
Two weeks after arriving in Havana, Castro's goons threw Ardin into a "hot room," questioned her for hours, and then told her to beat it, according to her thesis. That's believable.
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In Miami, Ardin continued her research in December. Siro del Castillo -- an exile tied to the Partido Democratico Cristiano -- tells Riptide that, indeed, he remembers Ardin visiting a party conference. And her finished thesis reads like a well-researched, legit work of scholarship.
In other words: Her story, at least in the Magic City, checks out.