No plans to remove WikiLeaks founder Assange, say insiders

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Sydney, Sept.8 (ANI): Wikileaks founder Julian Assange isn't under pressure to step down as the head of the organisation.

An insider has challenged such claims, which are being bandied about due to his well-publicised rape charges in Sweden.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the secretive website is preparing to release a second tranche of confidential US intelligence files about the war in Afghanistan, and their unconfirmed reports of an internal struggle erupting over the position of Assange, who is both spokesman and editor-in-chief.

The person, who requested anonymity, told the Sydney Morning Herald: "There's no discussion of a founder getting chopped. No one wants Assange to step down from his role as editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, though "a few people have floated the idea of him stepping down as the media spokesperson."

Meanwhile, WikLeaks member, Icelandic parliamentarian, Birgitta Jonsdottir, has publicly called for Assange to step down as spokesman several days ago.

"I have strongly urged him to focus on the legalities that he's dealing with and let some other people carry the torch," Ms Jonsdottir told US website, The Daily Beast.

Assange has been the focus of an international storm of controversy since WikiLeaks released a massive file of classified US war documents, with critics saying the release has endangered the lives of Coalition soldiers and their Afghan allies.

Then, in mid August, Assange was charged with rape following sexual encounters with two Swedish women.

Assange declared the charges "baseless and disturbing" and said they were part of a "smear campaign" by WikiLeaks detractors.

The rape charges were withdrawn several days later, but then reinstated. (ANI)

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