In the wake of the recent Tucson shootings – which saw six dead and 18 injured – WikiLeaks has called for prominent US media personalities to be held accountable for inciting violence.
In typical balls-out fashion, the activist organisation offered its condolences to the victims of the shooting, while at the same time aligning the incident with its campaign on sister site, PeopleOKWithMurderingAssange.com, to name and shame public figures using violent rhetoric against founder Julian Assange.
The victims of the Tucson shooting included intended target, Democrat representative Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a bullet through her brain at point-blank range.
Tucson Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, leading the investigation into the spree, said that “vitriolic rhetoric” designed to “inflame the public on a daily basis … has [an] impact on people, especially who are unbalanced personalities to begin with.”
Dupik also observed that officials and media personalities using their public platforms to incite violence “have to consider that they have some responsibility when incidents like this occur and may occur in the future.”
WikiLeaks staff and contributors are no strangers to threats by US media personalities. Former Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, urged the US administration to “Hunt down the WikiLeaks chief like the Taliban”, while US shock-jock, Rush Limbaugh, recommended: “Give [Fox News President Roger] Ailes the order and [then] there is no Assange… and there will be no fingerprints on it.”
In response to the varied and colourful threats, 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.”
Who are the PeopleOKWithMurderingAssange.com
“Julian Assange is a cyber terrorist in wartime, he’s guilty of sabotage, espionage, crimes against humanity — he should be killed, but we won’t do that.” Ralph Peters, US Army Lieutenant Colonel and author
“A dead man can’t leak stuff…This guy’s a traitor, he’s treasonous, and he has broken every law of the United States. And I’m not for the death penalty, so…there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch.” Bob Beckel, Fox News commentator
“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?” John Hawkins, Far right blogger
“Folks like Julian Assange should be targeted as terrorists. They should be captured and kept in Guantanamo Bay, or killed.” Steve Gill, Right-wing Nashville radio host
“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.” Rush Limbaugh, Right-wing radio host