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. AmericanSheep

    Sadly most idiots in America will believe these ridiculous charges. Most Americans believe Saddam Hussein had something to with 911.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      "Sadly most idiots in America will believe these ridiculous charges."

      How so? You haven't established that most idiots in America will learn of the ridiculous charges before they got dropped.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 8 more

    8 more dead American in Afghanistan this week, and Wikileaks had nothing to do with any of their deaths. Media silent.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      Yes. According the Pentagon, the deaths of thousands of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan – prior to Wikileaks leak – didn't qualify as blood on the hands of the US government (i.e., We The People).

      August 21, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. toddiuszho

    I cannot believe CNN cited SomethingAwful in a serious news story. Don't get me wrong. I love SomethingAwful in its own terms. But this is sloppy journalism.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Nord

    After reviewing the article and the source article, I am convinced this is complete BS.
    Two women against that guy? Maybe it all got mistranslated and THEY did it to HIM.
    Sweden is a very forward-thinking country and their justice system is pretty good, but if the women stick by their BS stories, Assange can look forward to the comforts of Sweden's progressive corrections system.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Valrog

    Why was my post not published?

    August 21, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. Phillip Bias

    Of course he is now a target
    And i would not be surprised if he had an accident real soon

    August 21, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. Phillip Bias

    The Obamanation strikes again

    August 21, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. ARS

    CNN why are you posting unverified reports? This whole story is a frightening display of bad journalism all around. As a major publication... you have to do better than this, otherwise people will stop believing anything you write.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Too late. I don't believe anything in the US media unless there is no possible doubt of its authenticity. We live in Orwell's new world and the media is oart of the machine.

      August 21, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. jones

    – 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."

    Top-notch reporting. Dude from comments section's opinion is very important. Nice work CNN. You sicken me.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • tcaudilllg

      Agreed, Jones. Absolutely Julian needs all of our support at this crucial moment. We have a choice to move our civilization forward, or step back at the behest of psychotic madmen.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. tadpole

    Lets see just how looney the far left can be now. Watch them all jump to the defense of a rapist for chrissake. Loons.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Surthurfurd

      The Far Left and Far Right are exactly the same.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • scott p

      You are a tool. You believe all the lies that you are told.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. Surthurfurd

    In the realm of public opinion; facts are intermingled with bias, opinion, and hearsay. There are many who would find profit in smearing Julian Assange. There are also many who find profit in smearing the US. There are women who profit off of telling lies about being attacked because it gets attention. There are reporters who find profit in scandal no matter who it is about.

    The best access to truth comes when competing agents force each other to settle on noting the truth. In this believing one side is innately dangerous. Seek to distill truth from what is commonly agreed upon.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • QuietBystander

      Lots of rational comments on this thread. Lots of naive or willfully ignorant comments as well. But this is by far the most insightful. Thanks for providing guidance to all those who are forming opinions, regardless of what they should conclude.

      Unfortunately most people will disregard your advice since they are seeking not truth or optimal outcomes but simply whatever supports their instantly-formed, reactionary opinions and whatever seems best for themselves.

      August 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Deb

    I smell a rat .... not a very bright one... but a nonetheless.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. hoho

    Of course he is! So I guess CNN didn't learn anything from the Breitbart fiasco? Responsible "news" outlets don't run stories based on unsubstantiated rumors!

    I guess that leaves CNN out...

    August 21, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. Wayne

    Looks like the CIA has been busy.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  15. scott p

    The Man is out to get him for blowing his cover on the war. He exposed the U.S. killing 100,000 afghans for oil and natural gas profit. All wars are about the same thing, acquiring natural resources for corporate profit at the expense of human life. Go against the system and the system takes you down.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
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