WikiLeaks's Julian Assange Accused [Update: Then Cleared] of Rape, Calls It "Dirty Trick"

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The Obama administration, along with countless other pundits, is furious with WikiLeaks over the publishing of tens of thousands of classified military documents a few months back. (You can check out the behind-the-scenes story here.) That's resulted so far mostly in attacks in the press, going after WikiLeaks and its enigmatic Australian leader, Julian Assange, for the supposed irresponsibility in publishing such documents.

But the attacks on WikiLeaks took an unexpected twist this weekend when an "on-call" Swedish prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, under suspicion of rape. That warrant was withdrawn less than 24 hours later, after a supervisor had taken a look at it and decided there was not enough evidence to support it.

Says Karin Rosander, spokeswoman for the authority, to the Associated Press: "The prosecutor who took over the case yesterday had more information, and that is why she made a different assessment than the on-call prosecutor."

Rosander also claimed that there was "absolutely nothing" to suggest an error had been made by either the on-call prosecutor or his supervisor, which seems a bit strange. Assange remains under suspicion of "molestation," a charge much more broad in Sweden than here in North America—it can refer to milder acts we might term sexual harassment.

Assange and WikiLeaks, as is their wont, are not taking this lying down. On Twitter and in blog posts, both the organization and its founder are attacking the warrant, calling it entirely baseless and perhaps even a sign of something far more disturbing.

Assange, quoted in a Swedish tabloid, said: "I don't know who's behind this but we have been warned that for example the Pentagon plans to use dirty tricks to spoil things for us." WikiLeaks's official Twitter account echoed the remarks, saying "We were told to expect 'dirty tricks.' Now we have the first one." WikiLeaks has not expanded on the theory that the Pentagon is behind the accusation.

A Swedish watchdog group called RO has swiftly come to Assange's defense, filing a complaint against the on-call prosecutor with the appropriate authorities.

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in Brooklyn (no link for that one—you'll have to do the legwork yourself).

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  • Brandy Timms

    I think there is something to this we just have to sit back and see how things turn out.

  • Jason

    Pretty obvious that it was the Pentagon... that's what they do to try to discredit anyone who challenges them. Look at that poor guy in the UK... the Pentagon "invent" a company and front it to try to get foreign companies to try to sell to it... in this case batteries... no mention of Iran then the guy gets slammed for brokering a battery deal.... and yes the Pentagon company was a front for a company entrapping others to show that the "mighty" USA are getting tough with companies trying to make a living with no interest in Iran at all......scandalous, pathetic, dictatorial... not exactly spreading democracy or showing the world how to do it!!