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Pentagon out to 'destroy' Wikileaks, founder says

Assange strikes back

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday accused the Pentagon of setting out to destroy the whistleblower website and struck back at news organizations that he said bought in to the smear campaign.

Speaking to an audience in London, the 39-year-old defended the decision to release some 77,000 classified documents related to the US war in Afghanistan. The Pentagon, and some critics, have alleged the leak endangered the lives of civilians there by publicly identifying individuals who were cooperating with the military.

“I need to express the seriousness of the attack against this media organization,” he said according to the AFP. “The Pentagon has demanded... that we destroy, totally destroy, our previous publications, including that Afghan publication. The Pentagon is trying to get up an espionage case and destroy our organization.”

The Pentagon has warned that Assange may release an additional 15,000 documents that are even more explosive than the first batch. The status of those plans is unclear.

Assange denied Wikileaks endangered innocent people.

“We do not have a goal of innocent people being harmed,” he said using language that at times sounded similar to generals who defend their actions when they generate collateral damage. “We have precisely the opposite goal.” He said Wikileaks took a “harm reduction approach” in vetting the documents that were leaked.

He also attacked The Huffington Post and Wired.com for articles that scrutinized finances and internal power struggles within the Wikileaks organization, according to the Associated Press. ®

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