It's been a strange weekend in the saga of WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing site that published damning details of the war in Afghanistan earlier this month. On Friday morning, Swedish authorities issued an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, the site's founder, on rape charges. Just a few hours later, it rescinded the warrant, claiming "new information" had cleared Assange of rape charges. The Australian activist is still being investigated, however, for the lesser charge of molestation. Assange is currently based in Sweden, and implied on WikiLeaks' Twitter account that the accusations were part of a calculated smear campaign. Does Assange have good reason to be suspicious? (Listen to Assange make his claim)
This vicious smear campaign will not work: In times past the C.I.A. would just "assassinate and murder" those who undermined them, says Nicholas John Mead at his blog. These days, they have to "find other ways of 'subtly' smearing them in the public eye." But WikiLeaks is far bigger than its founder. No amount of "dirty tricks, black ops and even assassinations" can stop the "popular revolution [Assange] has unleashed."
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Would the C.I.A. really orchestrate such an inept smear? Given how difficult rape charges are to prove "even under the best of circumstances," they would seem an "odd vehicle" for such dirty tricks, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. Maybe the C.I.A. just wanted a "pretext to haul Assange in" so they could extradite him to the U.S, but it all seems rather far-fetched that Sweden would participate.
"WikiLeaks tool wanted in Sweden on rape charge..."
Allegations help Assange more than they hinder him: These accusations seem like the "synopsis of a Stieg Larsson novel," says Toby Harnden at The Daily Telegraph. But, whether orchestrated or not, they have allowed Assange to "fuel the myth that envelops him" — that he is a courageous truth-seeker battling the "shadowy forces" out to get him. In reality though, he is merely a "highly political campaigner."
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