Who is terrorizing who here?
The WikiLeaks Twitter account has just posted a press release calling for American politicians and media personalities to stop advocating the assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Along with this release comes a handy website, PeopleOKWithMurderingAssange dot com, that gives startling quotations along with the name of the speaker. Each quotation is followed by a link showing the greater context of the often violent and disturbing words.
The site shows a new name and quotation every time you refresh the page; so far, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and many others, including government and military figures, radio hosts, newspaper columnists and TV news reporters, are featured on the site…
Calling for the murder, execution or assassination of Assange has become a popular piece of rhetoric among right-wing American conservatives since the organization began its distribution of a large body of U.S. diplomatic cables.
One example from political blogger John Hawkins reads, “Julian Assange is not an American citizen and he has no constitutional rights. So, there’s no reason that the CIA can’t kill him. Moreover, ask yourself a simple question: If Julian Assange is shot in the head tomorrow or if his car is blown up when he turns the key, what message do you think that would send about releasing sensitive American data?”
Statements such as these have prompted a response from WikiLeaks, whose “staff and contributors have… been the target of unprecedented violent rhetoric by U.S. prominent media personalities,” according to the release.
In this statement, Assange is quoted as follows:
“No organization anywhere in the world is a more devoted advocate of free speech than Wikileaks but when senior politicians and attention seeking media commentators call for specific individuals or groups of people to be killed they should be charged with incitement — to murder. Those who call for an act of murder deserve as significant share of the guilt as those raising a gun to pull the trigger…
“We call on U.S. authorities and others to protect the rule of law by aggressively prosecuting these and similar incitements to kill. A civil nation of laws can not have prominent members of society constantly calling for the murder and assassination of other individuals or groups.”
Assange is currently on bail and under house arrest in the UK.
That’s the news on this topic; here’s our opinion: Regardless of our or anyone’s feelings about Assange’s and WikiLeaks’ work, we have always felt the extremist call to arms against a private citizen — any private citizen — is absolutely wrong. Certainly Assange should face and is facing legal investigation for his actions; however, incitement to murder falls so far outside the realm of due process as to make many of these statements from politicians and media figures morally reprehensible as well as legally questionable.
We are, as is the rest of the world, waiting and wondering what the fate of Julian Assange will be — and hoping no one with access to the man himself takes any of these incitements seriously.