By Gautham Nagesh - 01/13/11 08:08 PM EST
WikiLeaks is denouncing the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security committee for calling for an embargo on the group.
Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, accused Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the panel's chairman, of seeking an embargo "on the truth" with his call for a ban on WikiLeaks from doing business in the U.S.
"King wants to put a Cuban style trade embargo around the truth—forced on US citizens at the point of a gun," Assange said in a release dated Jan. 12.
Assange called WikiLeaks, which has released thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic documents, a "publishing organization" and insisted the site has not hurt anyone with its publications.
"It is time to cut through the bluster. There is no allegation by the U.S. government or any other party, that WikiLeaks has hurt anyone, at any time during its four-year publishing history, as a result of anything it has published," Assange added. "Very few news organizations can say as much."
King wrote to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Wednesday asking him to add WikiLeaks and Assange to a list banning U.S. companies from conducting business with them.
"The U.S. government simply cannot continue its ineffective piecemeal
approach of responding in the aftermath of Wikileaks’ damage. The
Administration must act to disrupt the Wikileaks enterprise," King said.
"The U.S. government should be making every effort to strangle the viability of Assange’s organization.”
Several payment processing firms including Paypal, Visa and Mastercard have already cut off their business relationships with the site, reportedly due to pressure from U.S. officials. Those sites were targeted by the hacker group Anonymous in a series of retributive attacks dubbed "Operation Payback."
Assange appeared to offer a threat to King in his statement.
"WikiLeaks has 'terrorized' politicians from Kenya to Kansas over the last four years. Quite a few have lost office as a result," Assange said. "That doesn’t mean we are 'terrorists'—it means we doing our job. We intend to 'terrorize' Peter King, Hillary Clinton, corrupt CEOs and all the rest for many years to come, because that is what the people of the world demand."
Assange and his site have been the target of steadily increasing political pressure thanks to their publication of hundreds of classified diplomatic cables, some of which have proven embarrassing to the U.S.
The WikiLeaks founder is currently under house arrest in London and awaiting potential extradition to Sweden on allegations of rape and molestation. Assange has denied the charges and suggested they are politically motivated.