WikiLeaks says It Won't be Threatened by Pentagon

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Associated Press

WikiLeaks says It Won't be Threatened by Pentagon

by
Keith Moore

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gives a seminar at the Swedish Trade Union Confederation headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, Saturday Aug. 14, 2010. WikiLeaks will publish 15,000 documents from the Afghan war within weeks, Assange told reporters in Stockholm, saying "We proceed cautiously and safely with this material." although U.S. Pentagon says the information would be more damaging to security and risk more lives.(AP Photo / Bertil Ericson / SCANPIX)

STOCKHOLM — WikiLeaks will publish its remaining 15,000 Afghan war
documents within a month, despite warnings from the U.S. government, the
organization's founder said Saturday.

The Pentagon has said that
secret information will be even more damaging to security and risk more
lives than WikiLeaks' initial release of some 76,000 war documents.

"This
organization will not be threatened by the Pentagon or any other
group," Assange told reporters in Stockholm. "We proceed cautiously and
safely with this material."

In an interview with The Associated
Press, he said that if U.S. defense officials want to be seen as
promoting democracy then they "must protect what the United States'
founders considered to be their central value, which is freedom of the
press."

"For the Pentagon to be making threatening demands for
censorship of a press organization is a cause for concern, not just for
the press but for the Pentagon itself," the Australian added.

He
said WikiLeaks was about halfway though a "line-by-line review" of the
15,000 documents and that "innocent parties who are under reasonable
threat" would be redacted from the material.

"It should be
approximately two weeks before that process is complete," Assange told
AP. "There will then be a journalistic review, so you're talking two
weeks to a month."

Wikileaks would be working with media partners in releasing the remaining documents, he said, but declined to name them.

The
first files in WikiLeaks' "Afghan War Diary" laid bare classified
military documents covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010.
The release angered U.S. officials, energized critics of the NATO-led
campaign, and drew the attention of the Taliban, which has promised to
use the material to track down people it considers traitors.

That
has aroused the concern of several human rights group operating in
Afghanistan and the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without
Borders, which has accused WikiLeaks of recklessness. Jean-Francois
Julliard, the group's secretary-general, said Thursday that WikiLeaks
showed "incredible irresponsibility" when posting the documents online.

WikiLeaks describes itself as a public service organization for whistleblowers, journalists and activists.

"There
are no easy choices for our organization," Assange said. "We have a
duty to the people most directly affected by this material, the people
of Afghanistan and the course of this war which is killing hundreds
every week. We have a duty to the broader historical record and its
accuracy and its integrity. And we have a duty to our sources to try and
protect them where we can."

Assange told the AP that while no
country has taken steps to shut down WikiLeaks, some have been gathering
intelligence on the organization.

"There has been extensive
surveillance in Australia, there has been surveillance in the United
Kingdom, there has been the detainment of one of our volunteers who
entered the United States a week and a half ago. But he was released
after four hours," Assange said. He didn't give details of that
incident.

In addition to speaking at a seminar, Assange was in
Sweden to investigate claims that the website was not covered by laws
protecting anonymous sources in the Scandinavian country.

Assange
confirmed that WikiLeaks passes information through Belgium and Sweden
to take advantage of press freedom laws there. But some experts say the
site doesn't have the publishing certificate needed for full protection
in Sweden.

Assange said two Swedish publications had offered their
publication certificates to WikiLeaks, "but we will soon be registering
our own this week."

He declined to disclose what other countries house WikiLeaks' technical infrastructure.

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