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. eggy

    sound like Jullian got wikileaked. people who live in glass houses should not throw stones

    August 21, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. Assasino

    Well. if pentagon goes out and says "we will do everything in out power to take wikileaks down" in public. and a few weeks later this happens.. i dont think calling people who suspects this is a smear campain "conspiracy theorists" is ok.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. Amy, FL

    This country is going to hell, we became such as mediocre nation!

    August 21, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. babbles

    Skipping the mess about the allegations, I wonder why CNN did journalistic research at the Somethingawful forums?


    August 21, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. jeremy

    Has "news" devolved so far that citing SomethingAweful forum users and random twitter users is now considered credible journalism? this article is disgusting for that reason alone.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. d

    He should be treated like any one who slabs our country in the back. He should be tried for treason, and convicted for it

    August 21, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • alleygator

      How is the revelation of factual information a threat to America? The success of self-government depends on an informed populace. As far as trying him for treason, Assange is a citizen of Australia. Quite frankly, your willful ignorance makes you a sorry excuse for an American.

      August 21, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. aatami

    Ha! Looks like Uncle Sam/Big Brother is reverting to the old tried and true book of Nixon's Difty Tricks. You know they must be scared about something.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. ender wigginout

    Julian does not seem the type to lead with his penis. his brain is his weapon.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • abbydelabbey

      something our government does not do -

      August 21, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. Aaron

    Complete set-up and complete BS. At least this guy has the balls to tell people the truth since the government does nothing but lie to us. The only reason they think this information could be dangerous is because they are trying to hide how many civilians and children have been killed since this pointless war started. I support Wikileaks 100%, even if information is damaging we the people have the right to know, just as everyone around the world. Maybe ignorant people will get the hint; we constantly resort to war and this is where it gets us. We already lost soldiers than victims in the 911 attacks and we've probably killed just as many innocent people overseas. Wake up America

    August 21, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • alleygator

      Amen, bro.

      August 21, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. abbydelabbey

    Why do I suspect the US government in being involved in this?

    August 21, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Thozzmaniac

      Probably because Obama is the President.
      Don't ya think?

      August 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mark Harrin

    "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.""

    This exit statement by the blogger doesn't make any sense. The quote made by the tweeter doesn't say that he believes the charges are legitimate. Rather, he's acknowledging that if it is a smear campaign, it's a well developed one based on the reality that the Assange does otherwise come off a bit creepy. The blogger should fix this at once as it seems like an attempt to make readers believe that there may be some credibility that this isn't a setup. Nobody believes these charges, or the basis leading up to them rather, are real. Nobody.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. don

    It took long enough! Absolutely NO basis for the charges!

    August 21, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. Christopher

    Of course he's the target of a smear campaign. Was anyone actually fooled by this crap?

    August 21, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Thozzmaniac

      Obama fools nobody..

      August 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. johnnyhouse

    What is the difference in what he is trying to do? He wanted to be in the news he is in it.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      There is a very big difference. Assange and Manning are trying to expose war crimes committed by the US military, and the USA is trying desperately to cover them up, and discredit the sources of such info.

      August 21, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. Stu

    Shades of Stieg Larrson and the Millennium series. Does anyone else see the parallels? 🙂

    August 21, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
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