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Assange to media: You're 'next'

Assange to media: You're 'next'
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks to the world media outside the Royal Courts of Justice after being bailed by a British judge in London, Dec. 16, 2010. UPI/Hugo Philpott | License Photo

NEW YORK, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, during a U.S. cable TV interview, warned other media organizations they face attacks on their journalistic independence.

Assange, an Australian under house arrest in England, where he has been booked on several sex charges facing him in Sweden, said on MSNBC's "The Dylan Ratigan Show" criticism directed at his online whistle-blower Web site is intended to "split us off in the mind of the public from those 'good' traditions of the United States, protecting the rights of the press to publish, to split us off from the support of the press in the United States, the support of journalists."

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"Some of those journalists have fallen for that," he said. "And why? Because they're worried that they're going to be next."

Assange said some U.S. media critics of WikiLeaks "believe that if they sell us out, if they say, well, he's not really a journalist, they can have the U.S. -- have the Washington authorities target us and destroy us and somehow steer clear of the crossfire, which they worry will -- will scatter out through all journalists."

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"But I have a message to them," he said. "They're going to be next."

Responding to claims by some U.S. political figures -- including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. -- that he is a high-tech terrorist, Assange said if there were any evidence to support such a claim, the authorities would be prosecuting him "immediately."

"So it's clear that whoever the terrorists are here, it's not us," he said. "But we see constant threats from … Republicans in the Senate trying to make ... a name for themselves, the people like Sarah Palin, top shock jocks on Fox and, unfortunately, some members, also, of the Democratic Party, calling for my assassination, calling for the illegal kidnapping of my staff.

"That is incitement to commit murder. That is an offense."

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