Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Andrei Julian Assange jumps on "vitriolic political discourse" bandwagon

People have grown bored with wikileaks - it was titillating for a while but even Julian Assange's problems with Swedish law have grown stale.

So in a sorry effort to drum up sympathy Mr Assange issues a press release

WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange said: "No organisation 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."

“WikiLeaks has many young staff, volunteers and supporters in the same geographic vicinity as these the broadcast or circulation of these incitements to kill. We have also seen mentally unstable people travel from the US and other counties to other locations. Consequently we have to engage in extreme security measures.”

“We call on US 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.”

Wikileaks and its buzz are going down the same road as chatter rings, remember them?

6 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

Incitement to violence isn't a good look, and Assange managed to get more than an average number of people thinking out loud.

However, the problem in this current situation is that no-one actually called for the death of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Political death (losing the election) is different than calling for a taking of a life.

In Assange's efforts to drum up sympathy for his situation, he should be aware that hanging some-one else doesn't make his world any safer.

scrubone said...

I sort of agree with him, but the trouble is I think he and I would be talking about different people completely.

Which is sort of the problem here.

Psycho Milt said...

Actually, I suspect Assange has these people on his mind right now. I don't doubt they aren't the same people you're thinking of, Scrubone.

ZenTiger said...

Again though, what Rush said is still different than saying something like "I urge all people to kill him"

Rush said: "Back in the old days when men were men and countries were countries, this guy would die of lead poisoning from a bullet in the brain."

That isn't a death threat, it's a wistful reflection on the good old days, where men were men and enemies goose-stepped.

Sarah Palin said he should be pursued with the same urgency as the Taleban. This can easily be understood in the context of the potential for the WikiLeaks to lead to the death of US friendlies in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pursued, caught and brought to justice for what seems to many, obvious reasons.

There was a media commentator who said Assange should be "illegally murdered". That is incitement.

I think any debate on incitement laws would need to simply restrict such statements by public officials, government staff and politicians. The incitement would have to be explicit, not implied, as saying anything can imply anything else to a nut-job.

But Saying nothing can imply something to a nut-job, such as Catherine Phelp.

Equally, the media needs to enforce standards of professionalism.

Members of the media making death threats or calling for others to murder need to be hauled before whatever professional body is responsible for ethical behaviour.

That wouldn't stop citizens calling for the death of Robert Mugabe or a particular Imam who is calling for the death of some-one else, etc.

So, in summary, I remain unconvinced that we actually need "incitement" laws.

We may need "specific death threat laws" that would only restrict state officials from mis-using their influence.

And whatever we can do to put pressure on the media and celebrities to clean up their act, the better. That already happens to some extent.

Paul Henry? Andy Haden? The public called for their execution just for making contentious comments.

ZenTiger said...

Oops, Catherine Philp.

MathewK said...

"WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange said: "No organisation..." ...... oh look the grass growing, wow, just wow!

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