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. Kevin

    THIS IS NOT FOX NEWS. It is not professional to post a heading as a question like this one. Fox does this all the time. "Is Obama a Muslim?" "Was Obama born in Africa?" It doesn't matter if the question is completely baseless, simply by leading an article with a question implies that it has merit. Now, in this case I believe that it probably does. However, report the news and let us decide what is and what is not the truth. This article is dangerously close to Fox (made up) news.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. alleygator

    Don't know why everyone seems to be blaming the CIA for the smear campaign . . . more likely it's someone like Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, or other neoconservatives whose image in history stands to be tarnished by the revelations.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. Robert C

    WOW! You people blame everything on the US... let me explain this to you.. if the US wanted this guy gone he would be "hit by a bus" as someone suggested. The last thing the US would want to do is something that brings him more attention and give him and his followers more credibility like this event will. It also allows him time to cause more harm. I'd bet he did it, he thought he was untouchable, and he might be right because so many people will assume its a "smear" that he could do anything and just say its a fabrication against him...

    August 21, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. PacerLJ35

    Everyone is immediately assuming it's a set up by the US government...folks, realize that the Swedish government is a neutral state, not aligned with NATO or any other pro-US organization.

    It may very well be a set-up...but how would you all feel if the real truth was this guy actually did something criminal and you let him get away with it because he used the "US government conspiracy" nonsense as a cover?

    Me, personally...I'd rather just let Sweden's justice system work itself out. Assange isn't an angel or hero above the law. He's a human just like us, and prone to doing stupid human things. Look at all the "great" people in history, many of them cheated or committed sins in their past too.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • frazzled

      finally, some sanity in this discussion

      August 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. The Sheep-le are Getting Fleeced

    When will Mr. WikiLeaks tell us about the **EIGHT** banks that crashed in the U.S. on Friday?

    It must be a secret because CNN hasn't told us yet (however, it's the #1 story in the country where I live–interesting how the news media works....)

    August 21, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • marc

      Really? Please do tell

      August 21, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Average American

    I would rather hear about his family slowly tortured to death on the news, before they do the same to him. I think he would enjoy bending over and picking up soap in front of everybody in prison..

    August 21, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • alleygator

      The voice of experience?

      August 21, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. Average American

    oBAMA will bomb iran within 9 months.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Marko

    Sweden is not known to be a CIA proxy. The Swedes are careful to bring charges and accusations on someone w/o basis. If he did do it(which isnt a stretch given his creepy nature) then he should go to prison.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • fabio

      Sorry Marko,you got that wrong.If two women,paid by the U.S., accuse him at a Swedish Police Station,then of course the Swedish Police has to check the allegations.This is not a question of being a U.S. proxy.

      August 21, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. Matt

    This is so typical of the USA. They commit crimes against humanity, and then commit more crimes to try and cover them up, or discredit those who expose them.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kenny

    Hey DUDE,

    How does it feel to have your dirty laundry laid out in the public for a change?

    August 21, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. What might be the case

    I see 3 possible things:

    1- He framed by the CIA/NSA or an other victim of Wikileaks
    2- He is framed by persons(The womens that accused him) wanting attention in media, and /or seeking either to obtain money or status. (=sociopathic)
    3- He actually did it...

    However much the debate has been so far on either 1 is true or not (Which is naturally the most "fun" to discus due to conspiracy theoretics ... We must not rule out that these accusations have been put forward by "sociopathic" individuals..

    Being from Norway I know Sweden has a fair legal system with 0% corruption so things will eventually come to surface... he will not vanish from the face of the earth either ... however, if he does... well CIA/NSA are involved... however, for me anywhay it seems unlikely...

    As much I am tempted to believe the CIA or NSA (Etc) has made these accusations, my gut feeling is this is done by a disturbed individual.

    Oslo, Norway

    August 21, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. nugsters

    US has sunk so low, shame on you Obama, continuing the bogyman scenario. Islam, Iran, wikckileak. keep going we believe you America.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris Taylor

      Obama isn't necessarily the culprit, the press wast us to believe that our president some how has unlimited power to preform any act he wants, when he is at the mercy of people with huge sums of money. Watch "Frontline: Obama's Deal"
      this will put into perspective just how little power the president really has.

      Corporations have all the power in today's society, and in this case they are all of a sociopathic nature.

      August 21, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. CNNJunkie12

    Assange is such a clever fox. This is great publicity for his website.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mon

    Press on Julian

    August 21, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chris Taylor

    The story in Sweden was form a gutter press, next thing you know they are going to say he had an alien baby. IN the light of what is going on this is to obvious, Slander is loosing its effect on the people. IF ANY ONE HAS DOUBTS WATCH THE MOVIE "WAR MADE EASY" I refuse to react irrationaly to these accusations and the trash that spout them.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
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