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WikiLeaks rival to launch next week

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could soon find himself under attack from an unlikely source, with reports WikiLeaks ''defectors'' are planning to launch a rival whistleblower site as early as next week.

Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports that disillusioned former WikiLeaks operators, including Mr Assange's former right-hand man, Daniel Domschelt-Berg, also known as Daniel Schmitt, have for some time been planning would-be rival Openleaks. The site is apparently slated to launch next Monday.

While Openleaks will reportedly pursue a similar goal to WikiLeaks, the new site will not host leaked documents, instead acting as a middleman between whistleblowers and those who wish to obtain leaked materials.

In a series of interviews with Dagens Nyheter, those behind the rival site indicated Mr Assange's ''autocratic'' leadership style was a determining factor in their decision to split from the infamous whistleblower site.

''As a short-term goal, this is about completing the technical infrastructure and ensuring that the organization continues to be democratically governed by all its members, rather than limited to one group or individual,'' one insider said.

Purportedly in an attempt to avoid the kind of political pressure currently faced by WikiLeaks, Openleaks will be ''without a political agenda except from the dissemination of information to the media, the public, non-profit organizations, trade- and union organizations and other participating groups.'' All responsibility for leaked materials will sit with the whistleblower and those who choose to publish the material, one source said.

Spats and personality conflicts within WikiLeaks are nothing new - media outlets have in recent days seized on comments made by Mr Assange following his suspension of Mr Domschelt-Berg from WikiLeaks in August.

''I am the heart and soul of this organisation, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organiser, financier and all the rest. If you have a problem with me, piss off,'' he reportedly said.

In a chat transcript provided to Wired in September, Mr Domschelt-Berg questioned Mr Assange's leadership of WikiLeaks following the release of documents relating to the Iraq War. In response, Mr Assange suspended his former spokesman, ''effective immediately''. Mr Domschelt-Berg resigned a few days later and reportedly began work on Openleaks soon after.

The internal divisions at WikiLeaks mirror the suspected disintegration of command structures at ''hacker'' group Anonymous, who in recent days have waged impromptu online attacks on sites they claim oppose WikiLeaks. Dutch police have arrested a 16-year-old male who they claim admitted to taking part in the cyber attacks. Mr Assange  remains in a British jail pending extradition proceedings relating to alleged sex offences in Sweden.

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