August 21st, 2010
08:38 AM ET

Is Assange the target of a U.S. smear campaign?

[Update 11:30 a.m.] Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange is "no longer wanted" and "is not suspected of rape," Chief Prosecutor Eva Finne said in a statement published by the Swedish prosecutor's website Saturday.

[Original post] Reports of criminal accusations against  WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange brought instant suspicion of a U.S. government-led smear campaign.

Assange, a citizen of Australia, has been accused in Sweden of rape and molestation, or harassment, the Swedish tabloid Expressen reported.

Read a rough Google translation of the Expressen report.

WikiLeaks recently published tens of thousands of U.S. documents related to the war in Afghanistan and has said it is preparing to publish another batch of 15,000 documents soon.

"We were warned to expect 'dirty tricks.' Now we have the first one," WikiLeaks' Twitter page said Saturday.

Blogger Alexander Higgins said the U.S. government "has truly grown into an Orwellian Big Brother regime."

According to the London-based tech blog Thinq, Assange "has become the focus of a smear campaign in what appears to be [an] effort to pile pressure on the whistle-blower ahead of the expected publication of thousands more classified US military documents. The documents are likely to lift the lid on more atrocities committed by forces in Afghanistan in the polluted name of freedom."

The publication OneIndia called the report "a suspicious development that seems to be a smear campaign against Assange."

Twitter user Deanzoz remarked, "Assange charged with rape. Pretty unusual approach from the CIA – they usually just shoot people in the head."

However, some think the accusations could be legitimate.

A commenter called Chips on the Somethingawful forum wrote: "If it's a smear, it's a superb smear given how simple and compelling it is and how creepy Julian Assange is."

Follow this developing story at

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Crime • Google • National security • Sweden • Twitter • WikiLeaks
soundoff (340 Responses)
  1. Edward

    Not surprisingly from Arizona. Are you in a militia as well?

    August 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LouAZ

    No, no militia. I'm a Vietnam Vet though. When do my checks get deposited ?

    August 21, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Evan

    CNN (Mallory?): You call this a news report, really? You have a counter-accusation from the accused, against a government he's already shown hostility to. You then follow up with a few un-supported blogger soundbites and one totally unknown commenter on a blog! A commenter! With those kind of standards you could write any story you like! Has journalism really fallen so far at CNN?

    August 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alcatraz80

    Yes, he is. Anyone who doesn't bow to the will of the American government can easily find themselves in this category.

    August 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Keisu

    It wouldn't be difficult to arrange a smear campaign, and not have it traced back. On the other hand, it would be an obvious thing to do. But because it's so easy to arrange, I'm not convinced, one way or another it was arranged by CIA. The only thing I'm fairly positive of is that the charge against Mr Assange were groundless, I don't believe Swedish justice system would take the matter lightly, and drop it.

    August 21, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    The U.S. government is so completely out of touch with its own people. Its agendas, its methods, its philosophies are not shared by the majority of us. It's to the point where the U.S. government sees its own people as nothing more than a slave labor force to bankroll its own objectives, and really isn't trying to further what we want: freedom, research, financial independence, peace, and fun.

    August 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. coder

    Government(s) – mainly ours, will either setup Assange, as in this case – or they'll arrange for him to commit suicide or have an accident... Truly pathetic what governments do in the name of 'governing' .....

    August 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • KidCreole

      Well, code, we can only hope and pray they are successful.

      August 23, 2010 at 6:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. Reckall

    I guess that, from now onwards, Assange can rob a liquor store armed with a pencil and withou wearing a mask, and get away with it...

    August 21, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ldsmom02

    This is a set up unfortunately. I don't agree with what he is doing, but what is being done to him is worse. Trumped up charges conveniently manifesting themselves at a most opportune time.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. pkfops

    Can't the CIA do anything right?

    August 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Treehunter

    Why do they bother phrasing this headline as a question?

    August 21, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. pepsicoke

    >However, some think the accusations could be legitimate.
    >A commenter called Chips on the Somethingawful forum wrote: "If it's a smear, it's a superb smear given how simple and compelling it is and how creepy Julian Assange is."

    Absolutely pathetic, CNN, even for your effort at "blog" journalism, which you seem to think means "sensational". You're quoting from an internet forum? Has your company's name even lost brand credibility for your own writers?

    August 21, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Michael

    This incidence just shows how inexperience Leon Panetta is when it comes to intelligence.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Coach Lew

    Is he being singled out, I hope so. He should be hung for what he is trying to do to the U.S. Military. Of course I'm sure he is a Mama's Pansy Boy that never got dirty as a child and probably has numerous Gay buddies. He doesn't look like he has a gut one in his puny little milky white body. So is he being singled out, more than he knows. If I were him I wouldn't even come out of my house for at least a year and I would definitely watch what I ate or drank. He deserves the label of a "TRAITOR". Don't forget that a cigarette light has all the power rquired.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chris

    This is what its come to, people attempt to arrest anyone who tells the truth- no matter how dangerous and unnerving the truth happens to be.

    I've never went to his website, and I never will. However, I've changed my views towards this man because of what is happening to him.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
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