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WikiLeaks founder blasts ex-Harper aide's murderous 'incitement'

In this Oct. 23, 2010 file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, speaks during a news conference in London.

Lennart Preiss/AP/Lennart Preiss/AP

The man behind WikiLeaks says that a former adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper should be charged with "incitement to commit murder."

Julian Assange made the remark in an online interview with The Guardian newspaper on Friday. He had been asked to respond to Tom Flanagan, who quipped this week that Mr. Assange should be assassinated and that "Obama should put out a contract."

Mr. Assange's reply? "It is correct that Mr. Flanagan and the others seriously making these statements should be charged with incitement to commit murder," he said.

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Washington is reeling this week from WikiLeaks' unprecedented and ongoing data dump of 250,000 secret State Department cables.

These documents disclose the frank views of U.S. diplomats on subjects such as growing Russian autocracy, Afghan graft and Canada's "inferiority complex" - and are proving to be a massive embarrassment for the United States and officials around the world.

Various right-wing critics have called for swift justice for Mr. Assange in recent days. Former Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin, for example, urged that Mr. Assange, an Australian national, be "hunted down."

Mr. Flanagan, a political-science professor at the University of Calgary, was one of the first to call for a state-sponsored assassination. He quickly expressed regret for the remark he first made on CBC Tuesday.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Office has distanced itself from Mr. Flanagan, saying he doesn't speak for the government.

Mr. Assange continues to cast his work as a world-shaking force for freedom and democracy.

"For the past four years, one of our goals has been to lionize the source who take the real risks in nearly every journalistic disclosure," he told The Guardian. "If indeed it is the case, as alleged by the Pentagon, that the young soldier - Bradley Manning - is behind some of our recent disclosures, then he is without doubt an unparalleled hero."

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Meantime, various online cat-and-mouse games are playing out.

Hacker attacks and political pressure have forced the WikiLeaks site to move away from various U.S. Internet hosts; but many mirror sites remain.

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