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Jonah Goldberg Curses Darkness, Lights Match, Sets Self On Fire

| 9 Comments

...and calls for Assange to be assassinated.

One nice thing about being an amateur commentator is that I can simply go dark when I think I've got nothing to say. Professionals have to step to the plate, and occasionally spectacular misfires result.

Today is Goldberg's turn.
So again, I ask: Why wasn't Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?

It's a serious question.
He then goes on to make the Flashman case (institutional incompetence, not hypercompetence, is the rule) and then to explain that the fallout from killing such a public figure would be too severe to manage.

He concludes:
That's fine. And it's the law. I don't expect the U.S. government to kill Assange, but I do expect them to try to stop him. As of now, the plan seems to be to do nothing at all.
Now there's a much better post buried in there, which is a variant of the "if we're living in such a fascist state why aren't you in a gulag?" argument I make to people like Glenn Greenwald and my more hysterical friends.

But the plain reading of Jonah's words is that he'd be quite happy if Assange showed up facedown in his bathtub one morning.

And as frustrated as I am with Assange's bullshit, and as deeply as I'd like to see him in handcuffs in front of a judge, that's kind of - scratch that - that's completely outrageous.

Here's hoping Jonah is smart enough and gets wise enough counsel to follow this right up with a "My bad, I was on deadline and just had a small brain melt."

If not...well, if not I'm kinda worried.
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9 Comments

My interpretation is that he's saying that everyone talks about the CIA/NSA as if they're all-powerful and able to operate unrestricted, and if they truly were, then Assange would be dead. However, not only are they limited in their actions by capabilities, law, and publicity, we're not even doing anything that WOULD be a reasonable action. So, yeah, I see it as the "gulag" argument, just maybe stated a bit too straight-faced.

Wow, Jonah way off the reservation on that one. Would it matter to him if Assange were an American citizen? We've already got enough of a conundrum going around killing people who are trying to kill us to start offing people just because we don't like their activities that aren't related to strapping bombs onto people and things. That is indeed a slippery slope. Why not assassinate the news anchors that cover Wikileaks? Off Brian Williams and send a message?

For as long as professional intelligence services have existed, people like Assange have been turning up dead in their bathtubs - covertly, without legal authority, "off the meter".

If our policy is different, nobody has really explained how. Nor am I confident that top officials have some kind of clear understanding of the issue. Witness Holder's recent astonishment (or pretense of astonishment) at the idea that Osama bin Laden might be taken alive.

One slightly serious point is that the newfangled "gadfly NGOs" always go after the US and other soft, western European or Anglospherian targets. They avoid the Russians, the Chinese, the Saudis, or others who are more likely to make them dead.

When Wikileaks posts a doc dump from the FSB, the Iranians, or the Pakistani military or security outfits, I'll be impressed. Until then, they're no more courageous than "artists" who stick crucifixes into urine.

I really did not read that as a call for an assassination, but as a call to figure out how to shut the guy down.

And the plain simple reason that no one is really doing much about Assange is that the costs outweigh the benefits. I don't want to minimize the offense, and I would prefer to see him extradited and in chains just on principle-- he is putting individuals at risk. But he's not putting national security at risk, because he doesn't have the documents to do that. The type of document he'd need to do that aren't transmitted on the network that Manning had access to. (And you'll note that Manning is in custody awaiting court martial with some serious penalties in front of him.)

Blowing an assassination team on Assange isn't worth it.

I think that a much more interesting question is why Assange hasn't had any Iraqis come after him. The idea that pre-muslim tribal habits including revenge killings are the reason we get so much bad behavior in the muslim world (a leftist narrative) would dictate that Assange would have Shia strike teams after him for blood revenge for getting their relatives killed. But so far as I can tell, nobody has done that. Maybe there's a a fault in that predictive model for muslims. But the idea that all muslims have compliant imams ready and willing to drop a fatwa on the smallest provocation would seem to be in similar trouble.

So why is Julian Assange and the wikileaks team unmolested by those muslims who have suffered at their hands? I'm glad it's the case. I just don't see a widespread model of arab/muslim behavior that explains it well.

TM: Separate two groups out from the group of Shia Muslims at large: Those injured (even in their own minds) by Assange, and those with global reach.

I conjecture that the intersection of those groups is really very small. It is seriously not simple to put together a continent-hopping death squad, which is the reason why those who can do it use those suads with great discrimination.

Seems simple to me. Afghans and Pakistanis who have family members killed as a result of their exposure on Wikileaks should be given an information package re: Mr. Assange, who he was, his role in their family members' death, his current country of residence, and a picture.

Mr. Assange should be informed that this will happen, and be given a short briefing re: local cultural practices. He can then spend his life thinking about how to deal with those he has harmed.

This seems eminently fair to me. If you're going to kill people, as a private citizen, you should deal with the fallout.

Joe nails it. There's always a way. In fact, I'm not even sure it's necessary to actually do this. Just imply that it might or could be done. Just doing that would put the brakes on the practice.

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