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. AceScanner

    I vote smear. Thanks, CNN, for helping the government stifle the free exchange of information.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    CNN, if you're going to write commentary don't link it to the front page like its real news.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      And just to be clear, I'm talking about this blog post.

      August 21, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • moon4yavin

      dude, it's too late for all of that. news=showbiz. there is no line anymore. except a democratic anonymous organization such as Wikileaks where reality is exposed. this guy is probably sitting on information that could destroy potential 2012 candidates. the war leaks are nothing. for goodness sakes there were no weapons of mass destruction and here we are 10 years later about to leave.

      August 21, 2010 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. Daniel J. Lavigne

    It is unfortunate that America's governing party has sunk so low.

    Worse, what about the future shame that the women who laid these charges will suffer as the truth comes out?

    How about the deaths of yet more innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan as America's sociopaths in uniform continue to "pre-emptively" shoot anyone they wish . . with scant regard for purported "Rules of Engagment"? BAH!

    The Fool
    As An Armed
    And Uniformed Coward
    Has A Special Name
    He Is Known As "Soldier"

    Copyright. November 27, 1997 Daniel J. Lavigne

    August 21, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith1952

      As a soldier and the father of a Marine I don't agree with you. If the soldiers are acting with less than honor the problem is a war that is wrong, not a soldier that is wrong. It is obvious that you have never served your country or you are not from the US, either way there are ways to protest our involvement without insulting the people that are serving their country. Instead you might assign the blame where it belongs, on the corrupt politicians and war mongers that run our country.

      Your poetry is crap.

      August 21, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Agrajag

    I doubt very much that this guy goes anywhere alone, and someone in his position is not likely to head down to the nearest bar every night to get bizzy with the ladies.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jan Tervonen

    according to Mr. Assange was supposed to have his first column published in Swedish tabloid Aftobladet tomorrow – now that plan is on hold.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. Fred54

    Mossadegh 1953 redux...

    August 21, 2010 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. nick p.

    that was quick! what a coincidence, right?! this is about as fishy as it gets! instant revenge! lets see if sweeden has the guts to clear him against US wishes!

    August 21, 2010 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Tari Torch Sweeney - Shaker Heights, OH

      It seems to me that the Swedish government must have some complicity in this...I cannot imagine that they just decided to do this....

      August 21, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. kaye

    wag the dog!

    August 21, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. moon4yavin

    agreed. this is valerie plame all over again. how dare they screw with the only thing left that resembles 1950s journalism....the facts, facts that can't be bought. long live wikileaks!!

    August 21, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. gladimnotamerican

    Total smear campaign from the pentagon, US administration and probably the media to some degree.
    I believe he provides valuable intel that otherwise the public would never know.
    These accusations are standard to either make the person look like a monster or crazy. Obviously the pentagon
    wants him to shut up.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. None Given

    At this point, because Assange is the CIA's peaceful public enemy number one (how dare a man in a FREE country defame the US govt so effectively!!!... only Iranians are allowed to hate us for our illegal wars!), I won't be ready to believe ANY evidence presented against him. Maybe the Swedish prosecutor is doing his job in good faith. Hell, he would HAVE to act on reasonable testimony and evidence. But the CIA can manufacture ANYTHING. Including DNA evidence. Why the hell would a man who is so hyper aware of the fact that he has to do EVERYTHING by the rules to avoid getting stung do something this stupid?

    August 21, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Eliot Spitzer.

      August 21, 2010 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. Andersson

    The current administration is conducting a deplorable campaign against a man who have stood up and defended liberty and truth, during a time when most politicians have actively tried to infringe man's right to these. I should emphasis that I do not believe this is a case involving corruptive police officers – as I Swede I am perfectly aware of our great justice system. Nonetheless, I suspect the two women, whom have accused Julian, may have some connection with the American intelligence (which evidently will be difficult, if not impossible to display). We need to have confidence in the Swedish justice system and that truth always will prevail; even though it may appear as if US has successfully targeted one of the great defenders of our "inalienable rights".

    August 21, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. MToffgrid

    apparently the people that run our government are some of the most corrupt and immoral folks on the planet and do not represent the American people. This is obviously what those in our governemnt do when you reveal their secrets and lies to the world. So the message to the world again is, "don't cross us or we'll get even". No wonder a lot of the world thinks of the USA as a beligerant war-like empire. We are, especially the far right and left, pretty much the evil empire.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. OrangeCat46

    I would sincerely be surprised if this wasn't a setup, or at least a false accusation. I am reluctant to blame any great conspiracy, because it's more likely some lone loon, but it's not impossible.

    I almost can't believe somebody would be so dumb as to try that though. But then I look at FoxNews, and realize what kind of idiots are out there.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chips

    Chips here – my quote was chopped a bit, so I thought I should say that although i think there's something off about julian assange, it's more likely given what we know that this is a smear. I'm just saying that it's a good smear that'll gain traction, which it has as it seems to have spread to the front page of every western news agency.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
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