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WikiLeaks Preparing To Release Video Of Afghan Air Strike, Site's Founder Says

In an email message to his supporters, obtained by The Daily Beast, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, says he is preparing to post a classified video of an air strike on an Afghan village.

According to reporter Philip Shenon, the incident is "believed to be the most lethal combat strike in Afghanistan -- in terms of civilian deaths -- since the United States invaded the country."

In April, WikiLeaks decrypted and released a video, shot from an Apache helicopter, that showed the killing of a group of Iraqis, including two Reuters employees.

Last week, Wired's Threat Level blog reported the Pentagon had arrested Specialist Bradley Manning, "an Army intelligence analyst who boasted of giving classified U.S. combat video and hundreds of thousands of State Department records to whistleblower site WikiLeaks."

In a chat with hacker Adrian Lamo, Manning bragged he was in possession of some 260,000 secret State Department memos, or "cables."

According to Shenon, who spoke with NPR's Deborah Amos this morning, "the fear is, within the U.S. government, that Assange is sitting in some dark room somewhere in the world at this moment, orchestrating the release of those 260,000 cables."

Since the release of "Collateral Murder," the video from the Apache helicopter, and Manning's subsequent arrest, the WikiLeaks founder has gone into hiding.

According to Shenon, Assange cancelled a speaking engagement at the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in Las Vegas, and has been communicating through email and Twitter.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Gura
Based in New York, David Gura is a correspondent on NPR's business desk. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and he regularly guest hosts 1A, a co-production of NPR and WAMU.
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