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. kaye

    all the idiots are in washington....on both sides of the aisle!

    August 21, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. Name*Kim

    Do you believe the US government is behind this? Let the facts come out first. Use your head. Maybe it is a golddigger who wants his money. It happens here all the time to high power executives.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • drsolo

      What money?

      August 21, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brian

    I wonder how PFC Manning feels knowing he's going to spend the rest of his natural life in prison and the man which manipulated him into releasing classified information has reached semi-celebrity status. While Manning is in his cell, Assange will more than likely be making dinner plans, scheduling interviews, and soaking up all the attention his ego handle. Manning learned a tough lesson: everyone, to include the government will use you to no end. He'll be nothing more than an afterthought to Assange, the US, and the world in a few years.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Nobody manipulated Brad Manning. People are manipulated into dying for a war started on lies all the time. Thousands are. None of them except Manning (if he did, still has a trial to prove it first) made a move that would end the war. I have greater respect for soldiers of peace than dead soldiers of war.

      August 21, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Dave, you're a moron. Manning was clearly manipulated. You need to read more about this story. Soldiers of peace and dead Soldiers of war - are you f'ing serious. Go back to weaving your hemp bracelets.

      August 21, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith1952

      And, whose fault is that? He will only be an after thought if you don't demand justice; I guess you believe in the fairy tale of American justice. Our system has nothing to do with Truth and Justice or the people who stand up and do the right thing would be redeemed when the truth came out. It just doesn't happen that way, so this unfortunate patriot who exposed the United States Military to the truth will probably spend the rest of his life in prison. He is the true patriot and has given his life for a higher cause.

      The truth is only dangerous to Tyrants. Yesterday’s intelligence in the theater of war is just old news it is no longer intelligence. He may have exposed a few Afghanistan spies but that really doesn’t matter because we will expose them and abandon them as soon as they are no longer valuable to our war effort.

      August 21, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tommy

    I would rather have read something that didn't rush to publication using google translation and random comments from somethingawful forums. Blogs are great, but not when they just repeat speculation from other blogs and such.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. saintsinner

    CNN thank you reporting the possibility, now please do your job and bring us the truth. You will be subject to this kind of treatment if you don't help the American people fight this evil propaganda.Americans aren't stupid we have just been asleep for a while. Now we are waking up in droves.This is definitely a fake charge in my eyes.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jay

    I'm pleased to see the author interviewed "Chips" from the SomethingAwful message boards for this article, sources of such quality leave no doubt in my mind that this is the high quality journalism I expect from CNN.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Could you please explain your attack on Chips without acknowledging he posted, stating he was misquoted, before you posted?

      August 21, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Deep Throat

    Real women would have to surface or will they be protected from the bright light? Accusations will have to be shared with us, right? Imagine hired agents, women, seducing the guy.Deep cover agents. Then, all alone in a room, it becomes her word against his. Jury's tend to believe the woman because guys are all out-of-control testosterone animals. To be sure to get him, not one but two accusations.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. saintsinner

    If they are willing to risk Americans for lies what is wrong with risking them for the truth. Either way they are at risk.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. jessia

    Yeah, right, and monkeys fly out of my butt.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Jessica, what are you disputing?

      1. That the charges are sound?
      2. That the charges are manufactured?

      August 21, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Agent StanSmith

    A comment on a forum on SomethingAweful was your source for a counterpoint? Thats some classy journalism.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. None Given

    @Jay SPOT ON! LOL. I was thinking the same thing.

    Why would Assange do this in a time when he has to be hyper-vigilant about everything he does and everyone following him and every possible trap set for him by the CIA?!?!?! Maybe they lured him into a room with their spies. LOL. Whatever. CIA=dirty crooks. Liars. Thieves.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Deep Throat

    If you've ever been to Stockholm and have seen the handsome tall beauties, any red-blooded unmarried (some married) guy could be seduced into a bit of carnal knowledge. Just because he's under scrutiny, doesn't require him to be a celibate priest. He's still human.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. fabio

    What really worries me here: Do these guys (CIA,Government) really believe the American public is stupid enough to believe such a story?The rest of the world does not,that's for sure.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      After 8 years of Bush and the rise of Sarah Palin, the CIA knows with absolute certainty that the American people are stupid enough to believe this story.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Please don't stereotype.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      Hugo – A stereotype is a commonly held public belief about specific social groups or types of individuals.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      TJ, the American public (also the rest of the world) is not monolithic. Not all Americans believe the same thing. Some Americans are socially very conservative. Others are anarchists. Some Americans want a Mosque near the 9/11 site in NYC. Other Americans do not. Some Americans like Obama. Others do not.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jan Tervonen

    WikiLeaks official statement:

    August 21, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Thank you for posting the link.

      Again leads me to question why the CIA would have framed Mr. Assange. They called him the founder and one of the spokespeople. They didn't call him their boss. So, how does framing Mr. Assange get the CIA anything that they want? If anything, I expect making a martyr will backfire.

      If I'm making a validity mistake, will someone please point it out?

      August 21, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. gafearme

    Shame on US government for using the oldest, dirtiest trick in the book. The world is watching and we are losing more credibility because of this. People from every corner of the world can easily smell something fishy about this. Smear campaign? Please, who is really being smeared by this???

    August 21, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      If this is a smear campaign that will harm the U.S.'s credibility, how can you be certain that it wasn't setup as a dirty trick by an enemy of the U.S.?

      August 21, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
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