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)


    August 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hugo

    aatami, Nixon, AFAIK, is dead. The defense has to involve a someone who made a decision since the first leak. I believe a valid defense is possible. I just haven't seen it yet.

    As for the "So if..." I'll ignore that except to say the premise is false.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jane Doe

    Smear campaign? Most definitely. We're watching the beginnings of a revolution ... a few brave individuals standing up for what is so clearly wrong. When a country declares an illegal war to enrich certain industries and then covers up war crimes and attempts to destroy those who expose the crimes ... this can only continue for so long in a technologically advanced society. This is about war crimes and not about destroying a person's character with lies and accusations.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TD

    The irony here is that everyone is assuming that the US government is behind these charges. It would have been just as easy for one of Assange's minions to be behind this as it would be for the US government, and in both cases, the end result would be accusations against the US government. It's also possible that some other 3rd party was behind the charges, again with the same effect.

    August 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Good point.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mikefrombend

    Of course it's a smear campaign, anyone who refuses to see the reality of the situation that the U.S. government does not like you or I to know what it actually is doing in the name of our National Security. The Government will destroy anyone or group it deems not of it's liking and will persecute then prosecute to the fullest extent of it's CURRENT policy, or created law to effect. My Government IS... My Enemy. Having served in this Nations Military Forces many years ago, I have seen how we treat our own. But Congress still thinks it should be involved in Baseball? IMPEACH THEM ALL.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      "But Congress still thinks it should be involved in Baseball?"

      What specifically do you propose?

      August 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. KS

    Time to issue arrest warrants against those that caused the first one to be issued (assuming, as is likely, this was/is a smear campaign)

    August 21, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brent

    I can't imagine why anyone would think this was a smear campaign... after all. DUH!

    August 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ted Farmer

    It's now comes out the charges have been dropped. Pretty much removes any doubt it was a smear campaign.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Aman Preet Singh

    CHANGE .... My Foot. Only Votes..

    August 21, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Himself

    Hmmmmmm,,, why now?

    August 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Himself

    Poor guy,,,,, now he will get involved in a fatal traffic accident. (with him as the fatality, of course)

    August 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. justen

    I believe the US is trying to smear the Wikileaks head because they can't get him to cow down to their demands–just like they couldn't get Hussein to cower in fear either–and the US government does not like it when people are not afraid. So what do they do–they try to instill fear, they try to smear, they try every dirty little thing they can do to make you afraid, to keep you living in fear and to smear you–because they know that a people in fear are MUCH easier to control.

    I would sooner trust a criminal than I would the US government or any branch thereof.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ashamed

    I am saddened and insulted that our government thinks we're all so ignorant that we don't know that this was their way to 'get back at him' for unveiling truths. I mean...come on.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hey CNN

    You're really quoting SomethingAwful Forum members? You want to interview people's grandparents while you're at it?

    August 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Spencer

    It is so annoying to be reading what one expects to be serious journalism and then have to read a bunch of quotes from random bloggers. Once I thought that blogs were just regurgitating up opinions based what the real news outlets were reporting. Now CNN is reporting on what the blogs are regurgitating. Apparently the news cycles runs more efficiently without any real news reporting at all. Everyone just reports what everyone else is saying about what everyone else is saying.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
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