ABC News | AFP | 22/08/2010 | 5:17pm IST
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says in an interview published today that he believes the Pentagon could be behind a rape accusation against him that was later dropped by Swedish prosecutors. The Aftonbladet newspaper has quoted Mr Assange as saying that he does not know who is “hiding behind” the claims, which comes amid a stand-off with Washington over the website’s publication of secret Afghan war documents. But he says that he has been warned previously that groups such as the Pentagon “could use dirty tricks” to destroy the whistleblower site – adding that he has been warned against sexual scandals in particular.
Swedish prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Assange on Saturday (local time) over an allegation of rape but abruptly cancelled it hours later, saying that he was now “not suspected of rape” and was no longer wanted for questioning. The prosecution service said that an investigation into a separate molestation charge remained open. The 39-year-old Australian, the WikiLeaks website and his aides have strongly denied all the claims.
But Mr Assange has told Aftonbladet that despite the lifting of the warrant, his enemies will still use the claims to damage WikiLeaks, which is set to publish thousands more secret papers about the war in Afghanistan in coming weeks.