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Assange Calls on Allies to Gather in "Friends of Wikileaks" Chapters

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, June 15 2010

Wikileaks editor in chief Julian Assange (Photo by Esther Dyson.)

Identifying himself as Wikileaks' editor in chief, Julian Assange has sent a note to his email list under the header, "WikiLeaks may be under attack."

With significant pressure on the organization coming from multiple directions, from Wired.com's engagement in the situation to, reportedly, interest on the part of the Pentagon in talking with Assange, Wikileaks is looking for significant back up. Financial support and legal aide are, writes Assange, much needed, and links to online payment services PayPal and Moneybooks are provided alongside information on contributing through the Wau Holland Foundation, named for a famous German hacker.

But Assange is also looking for supporters to form local "Friends of WikiLeaks" chapters to help build out the Wikileaks mission across the globe.

"To try and deal with our growth and the current difficult situation, we want to get you to work together with our other supporters to set up a 'Friends of WikiLeaks' group in your area," writes Assange. "We have multiple supporters in most countries and would like to see them be a strong and independent force."

Assange states that he has in his possession video footage of "a massacre that took place in Afghanistan last year at Garani." But as for the U.S. diplomatic cables allegedly leaked to Wikileaks by a U.S. Army analyst, Assange cites the specific number of documents often mentioned in the case -- 260,000 -- and then denies possessing such a cache. "We have denied the allegation, but the US government is acting as if the allegation is true and we do have a lot of other material that exposes human rights abuses by the United States government. "

The full email from Assange is after the jump.

WikiLeaks may be under attack.  You were generous enough to write to us, but we have not had the labor resources to respond. 

Your support is important to us. Please read all of this email to understand what is going on. We apologize for not getting back to you before. It is not through any lack of interest on our part, but an enforced lack of resources. 

One of our alleged sources, a young US intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, has been detained and shipped to a US military prison in Kuwait, where he is being held without trail. Mr. Manning is alleged to have acted according to his conscious and leaked to us the Collateral Murder video and the video of a massacre that took place in Afghanistan last year at Garani. 

The Garani massacre, which we are still working on, killed over 100 people, mostly children. 

Mr. Manning allegedly also sent us 260,000 classified US Department cables, reporting on the actions of US Embassy's engaging in abusive actions all over the world. We have denied the allegation, but the US government is acting as if the allegation is true and we do have a lot of other material that exposes human rights abuses by the United States government. 

Mr. Manning was allegedly exposed after talking to an unrelated "journalist" who then worked with the US government to detain him. 

Some background on the Manning case:

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/06/11/transcript-daniel-ellsberg-says-he-fears-us-might-assasinate-wikileaks-founder/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_Manning http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/leak/ http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/wikileaks-chat/ http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/state-department-anxious/ http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2010/06/143011.htm 

[ note that there are some questions about the Wired reportage, see: http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/13/video-wikileaks-foun.html#comment-809677

WikiLeaks a small organization going through enormous growth and operating in an adverserial, high-security environment which can make communication time consuming and the acquisition of new staff and volunteers, also difficult since they require high levels of trust. 

To try and deal with our growth and the current difficult situation, we want to get you to work together with our other supporters to set up a "Friends of WikiLeaks" group in your area. We have multiple supporters in most countries and would like to see them be a strong and independent force.  

Please write to friends@sunshinepress.org if you are interested in helping with Friends of WikiLeaks in your area. You will receive further instructions. 

We also have significant unexpected legal costs (for example flying a legal team to Kuwait, video production. Collateral Murder production costs were $50,000 all up). 

Any financial contributions will be of IMMEDIATE assistance. 

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Special:Support 

Please donate and tell the world that you have done so. Encourage all your friends to follow the example you set, after all, courage is contagious. 

Julian Assange
Editor in Chief
WIKILEAKS

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