WikiLeaks founder Assange fights calls to step down

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New York, Sept.9 (ANI): WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is fighting off calls to step down from the secretive site's administrators.

Assange, the subject of a rape investigation in Sweden, has come under attack in the last week both from a prominent WikiLeaks spokeswoman, who is a member of Iceland's parliament, and an anonymous but vocal group that calls themselves "the WikiLeaks Insiders."

According to Fox News, they have argued that Assange's public persona overshadows the site's mission, and have suggested that he step down.

Assange, in an exclusive interview with FoxNews.com, swung back at his critics on Wednesday and said he has no intention of resigning.

"Birgitta Jonsdottir (of Iceland) is not a WikiLeaks organizer," Assange said.

He added: "I haven't spoken to her for months, and first spoke to her in late 2009. She is a full-time politician and single mother in Iceland."

Jonsdottir, described by Wikipedia as a spokeswoman for WikiLeaks, told The Daily Beast last week that Assange-who has been the public face of WikiLeaks following its recent release of thousands of pages of confidential Pentagon documents -- had become a lightning rod for controversy even before the rape accusations.

The WikiLeaks Insiders, meanwhile, have been equally strident in their attacks on Assange.

They have been posting messages since June to Cryptome, another document-leaking site that is arguably in competition with WikiLeaks.

On Monday, the group voiced their support for Jonsdottir's comments-and endorsed her as a new leader of WikiLeaks.

On Wednesday, Assange cried foul, assailing the Insiders' anonymous assaults, which have led to numerous articles describing infighting at WikiLeaks.

"A provable outside smear campaign, a fraud from top to bottom,designed to destroy our effectiveness, by discrediting our leadership, splitting us off from our supporters and donation base -- the central pillars of any effective organization," he told Fox News. (ANI)

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