Dirty Tricks

The smear campaign targeting Julian Assange and WikiLeaks isn’t very subtle, nor is it very effective. First the Pentagon refuses Assange’s request to vet the tens of thousands of secret files WikiLeaks put online, expunging material that might cost American or Afghan lives – and then turns around and declares Assange and his organization have “blood on their hands.” In a similar act of self-refutation, they announce there will be no negotiations with the WikiLeakers, and then denounce WikiLeaks’ American lawyer for not keeping a 10 a.m. appointment to … negotiate.

All this was preceded by a smear campaign against Pfc. Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old intelligence analyst suspected of leaking the “Collateral Murder” video, posted by WikiLeaks (Manning is also suspected of leaking the Afghan logs database, consisting of some 75,000 internal US Army communications, the so-called Afghan war logs). A whispering campaign was launched which targeted Manning’s sexuality: links to his Facebook page detailing his opposition to “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” were accompanied by wildly speculative assertions that he might be a transsexual. Then it was asserted that his alleged boyfriend is a drag queen – an odd relationship for a transsexual to have, but then I don’t keep up with these things.

In any case, the campaign against Assange has taken the same turn – in the direction of Kraft-Ebbing – with the bizarre arrest warrant issued by a Swedish prosecutor against the WikiLeaks founder on charges of rape and molestation. The rape charge was revoked less than 24 hours later, with the explanation that an “on call” prosecutor had filed the original charges based on incomplete evidence, while the regular prosecutor was able to obtain more information and revoke the warrant. The charges of “molestation,” we are told, are still being investigated.

The source of these charges is two anonymous women, one in her twenties and the other in her thirties, whose story is very murky. According to the Telegraph,

“One of the two women behind the charges yesterday told a Swedish newspaper that the women who alleged rape had been a stranger who had also attended speeches by Mr. Assange. The woman had approached her and she had agreed to attend a police interview to lay the charges and make a complaint of her own.

“’I believed her information immediately because I had a similar experience myself,’ she said. ‘The other woman wanted to report a rape, I gave my statement as a support statement to her story and to support her.’”

Sisterly solidarity in the Pentagon’s cause: just one of the many ways Western feminism is useful in the selling of the Afghan war (that recent Time magazine cover is another example). Looks like the War Party is aiming its propaganda at a targeted demographic: it’s all so very professional.

And not a bit credible. The big problem for the Smear Brigade, quite aside from the swift retraction of the rape charges, is this story stinks to high heaven. So these two women just happened to meet up at one of Assange’s lectures, and – in the course of casual conversation – realized they’d both been raped by this monster. I don’t know how many rape victims attend lectures by their assaulters, but the number is probably very low. More indications the whole thing is a set up: the Guardian reports that “the preliminary allegation, made on the Friday night, and not further investigated at that stage, was apparently leaked by police to a tabloid in Stockholm, which published dramatic claims on Saturday morning that Assange was to be arrested.”

The police leaked all by their lonesome selves, with no prodding either from Swedish or American intelligence services – who naturally knew nothing of any of this. And anyone who believes otherwise is a “conspiracy theorist,” as one of the women put it:

“In her [Aftonbladet] interview, she dismissed the idea, seized on by many conspiracy theorists that ‘dirty tricks’ lay behind the rape allegations, because of WikiLeaks’ defiance of the US government. She said: ‘The charges against Assange are of course not orchestrated by the Pentagon.’”

Oh, of course not: why, it’s pure coincidence that these charges have appeared just at the moment when US government prosecutors are looking for ways to nail him.

In the same interview, Assange’s anonymous accuser averred “that she had never intended Assange to be charged with rape. She was quoted as saying: ‘It is quite wrong that we were afraid of him. He is not violent and I do not feel threatened by him.’… She said each had had voluntary relations with Assange: ‘The responsibility for what happened to me and the other girl lies with a man who had attitude problems with women.’ Sources close to the woman said today that issues arose during the relationships about Assange’s willingness to use condoms.”

The story, you see, is no longer about WikiLeaks, the Afghan logs, war crimes committed by the US under cover of darkness, or the US government’s frantic efforts to cover them up – it’s now about Assange’s sexual habits, and Manning’s, too.

So why am I so certain this is what Assange says it is: a coordinated effort by Washington to smear and discredit him?

Because it’s all so very American, i.e. sex-obsessed. In what other country would their spooks exhibit such an unhealthy interest in the erotic routines of their quarry? The combination of voyeurism and puritanism is a national characteristic: this smear campaign has “Made in America” stamped all over it.

It’s a new low for the War Party, even by their debased standards, but not really all that surprising. A debased empire reveals its character in little things, and large: the lies they spin are perfervid projections of their own decadent appetites, sprung from the depths of a culture that resembles Rome in full decline.

Against this kind of moral depravity, there can be only one weapon: relentless opposition and exposure. And that’s what we do, here at Antiwar.com: but we can’t continue to do it without your help.

For over a decade, we’ve stood fast at the ramparts, fighting an enemy that has unlimited resources and no moral compass. We were among the first to rise to Bradley Manning’s defense, and have been in the forefront of the campaign to defend WikiLeaks against attack from the US government and its shills. Yet we are struggling to survive, financially: we must make our fundraising goal this time in order to keep going – and the going, let me tell you, has been rough.

Yes, we’re in a recession, and times are tough, but I’m asking my readers – some of whom may have already given – to reach deep in their pockets. The alternative is making huge cutbacks – and, inevitably, closing up shop. After all these years, and at a time when the need for Antiwar.com has never been greater, to call our end “untimely” would truly be an understatement of massive proportions.

Please – give as much as you can, and give it today. Because the cause of peace – and of truth, in the face of so many disgusting lies – is that important.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is editor-at-large at Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].