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

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

    didn't type "arrest of false charges"

    August 21, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. watch out

    A smear campaign? Either he did it or he didn't. I think those Afghans whose lives he put in jepardoy are looking for more than a smear campaign. Some Afghans believe an eye for an eye and if he caused thier deaths, beware

    August 21, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • boy, she'll chew you up

      Are you saying that zombie Afghans will put Mr. Assange in jepardoy? Or however it is you spell jeopardy?

      August 22, 2010 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Johnathan

    just wait until we find out how these molestation charges came up and if there is any evidence before assuming anything. Even if the accusation is baseless and he is innocent it seems odd that the U.S or any part of the government would do anything that would damage their reputation and be exposed so easily. It also happened it Sweden, maybe someone from Sweden dislikes the guy or what he is doing and did it independently?

    August 21, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Frank, Athens, OH

    SomethingAwful? Really, CNN? You're going to SomethingAwful to get comments for the story? What is wrong with you guys. What's next, are you going to post arguments on Reddit?

    August 21, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lloyd Cata

    Ethical Standards & The Truth

    Ethical standards has 'nothing' to do with the reason or need for an organization such as WikiLeaks, and to depict the US Pentagon as some example of ethics, when the wholesale destruction of societies can be ordered by their political masters is clearly nonsense. Are we to live under some ethical fiction of revisionist thinking that now justifies the invasion of Iraq?

    If publishing The Truth could have prevented the US invasion of Iraq, and WikiLeaks or indeed anyone had threatened to expose that Truth, is there any reason to believe the US Government would not try to silence that exposure and hunt down those trying to prevent the war? We know what happened to several who tried, i.e. Ms. Plame and Mr. Wilson.

    No....if WikiLeaks has any standards, which should not be ascribed or compared to others, it should be to the best of its ability to publish that which is hidden. People don't really hide lies, they 'tell lies'. What is hidden is the Truth, and when the people are given that truth it is "their responsibility" to apply Ethical Standards to that information.

    Sometimes The Truth is painful, but any attempt to apply "ethical standards" to its exposure is the principle excuse for cover-up and corruption. Then it is that lies and deception become the standard, and ethics becomes a 'talking point' for ivory towered pundits.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. oneStarman - Walla Walla, WA

    CIA BLACK OPS has gotten way too sloppy. I fear the top levels have had their arms filled too long with Heroin that they started flying back when it was coming from the Golden Triangle during the Vietnam and now control 80% of the world supply out of Afghanistan.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Keith1952

    We have a government capable of the worst. In fact most of the dirty tricks have been made legal in the last few years. Heaven help Wiki-l;eaks and keep them going so they can continue to expose the truth.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • NSturtevant


      August 21, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ralphie

    This is an old CIA trick – release damning information "OMG!! the Sandinistas are importing MIGS!!". Yeah, sure. Let the news media run with it and you know they will retract it slowly or on the back pages. They have done this SO MANY TIMES!! But it works because too many people, especially Americans, are not inclined to dig for background information.

    How many are inclined to look further into all the killings of Afghan civilians by US/"NATO" forces. The late Daniel Schorr once opined that too many people in the USA are only interested in AMERICAN deaths – and that's what the news media emphasizes. Wake up Americans! and try to get some background on our grasping foreign policy that goes beyond sound bites. Entertain the thought of actually conversing with people from other countries.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. none needed

    Why is there a "rough google translation"? Doesn't CNN have enough resources to get a real translation!

    August 21, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yes, but...

      ...only if the translator is on Twitter.

      August 22, 2010 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. James

    Can we expect CNN to actually investigate who in the government ordered this? Or will we see them pretend the whole thing never happened at the earliest time possible. Hmmmm...CNN new organization, or merely part of the propaganda wing of the New Zionist government of the United States?

    August 22, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • CNN

      CNN not new organization, CNN old organization. CNN 1980 start. Learn check fact.

      August 22, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. rob

    JAJAJAJAJA this was the same tactic done against Scott Ritter. If you're going to badmouth the US government, you better cut your penis off just to be safe lol

    August 22, 2010 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. David Sketchley

    This smear shows what a filthy, disgusting country the US is.

    August 22, 2010 at 4:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. AnotherEuropean

    "All of you who automatically blame the USA for something for which there is no evidence, against a guy who hates the US, should consider living somewhere else. We, the US are the greatest force for good that has ever existed, and you don't get that. Please, go somewhere else, and have a good life."

    NSturtevant's comment just says every thing about Americans:-)

    August 22, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. sk

    "Is Assange the target of a US smear campaign?" Hey. Is the pope Catholic?

    August 22, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. Zhu Bajie

    "to put our troops in harms way he should be shot for treason."

    I agree! Trial and firing squad for Bush and his cabinet!

    August 22, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14