TIME reporter jokingly calls for Assange’s murder by drone

Unlike some on the left, I don’t feel the need to justify or explain every action of Julian Assange.

The idea that the Swedish authorities would be more willing to extradite him to the US seems rather implausible, as does the idea that the sex crime allegations being made against him have been fabricated by the CIA. Is the US establishment really so threatened by Wikileaks as to go to such lengths?

Apparently so. Here’s TIME’s Michael Grunwald:


Michael Grunwald writes for Time Magazine and the Boston Glob,e and Washington Post before that. His work includes a book length defense of Obama’s economic policies.

While it is easy to dismiss Grunwald as a ‘Limbuagh of the Left’, his tweet (since deleted) provides a teachable moment about the problems of both the wiretap state and drone strike foreign policy: The security benefits are unprovable but the corruption of the political establishment is real.

Drone strikes don’t provide protection against terrorism because drone strikes are terrorism. And so is dropping bombs on civilian areas from military jets, for that matter. But knowing not to make such inconvenient comparisons is an essential qualification for getting ahead in the beltway establishment. And nobody, whether establishment or not should ever suggest that committing acts of terrorism abroad might encourage terrorist attacks against US targets.

During the cold war, US foreign policy degenerated into using the covert power of the NSA and CIA to prop up notorious dictatorships who were deemed to be on ‘our side’. Nothing frightens the establishment half as much as the idea that events might not be under their control. So Iran’s democracy was replaced by a brutal dictatorship and the same medicine was repeated wherever there was a risk of democracy breaking out until Nixon’s 1973 coup in Chile, the Watergate scandal and the Church Committee brought the CIA back under control.

Forty years later, the lessons of Church have been forgotten, and the US is once again playing the old game of taking sides in foreign civil wars. Only this time the tool of choice is the drone strike.

The contours of the Yemeni political crisis are not hard to grasp: The oil has run out, imports now exceed exports. In another ten years the water will be gone as well. And when that happens, the dictatorship that the US drone strikes are designed to support will be gone. A policy of targeted assassinations can only be effective when the underlying problem is people. The underlying problem in Yemen is that a country with a population of 23 million is close to having exhausted its natural resources.

Julian Assange (photo by Espen Moe)

Julian Assange (photo by Espen Moe)

Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. A drone strike on Assange would kill many Londoners who have nothing to do with Assange or Ecuador. It would be an act of war against the UK and Ecuador. The civilian consequences would be all over CNN and the Web. It is obvious that a drone strike in London would be a disaster rather than the magic wand Grunwald’s tweet suggests.

The disastrous impacts of drone strikes in the more remote parts of the world are less obvious and less immediate to Westerners than drone strikes in London. But ignoring those drone strikes, like the Grunwalds of the establishment appear to do, does not make them go away.

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22 Responses to “TIME reporter jokingly calls for Assange’s murder by drone”

  1. deano says:

    This isnt the first time. Bob Beckel & his cronies on the FOX “Follow the money” panel called for him to be taken out in 2010> inciting murder??
    Alex Gibney’s doco “we steal secrets” has a title that immediately implies Wikileaks is spying, & painted Assange as an enemy of the state. His rape allegations were originally dropped in Sweden only to be mysteriously re-opened by a prosecutor that is personally involved with an alleged victim.
    Assange has offered to be interviewed in the Ecuadorian Embassy but they are refusing to , in an effort to get him out of sovereign, safe ground.
    Sounds a lot like events in Syria :> Assad is willing to hand over any chemical weapons, yet the rebels are refusing to accept this as a gesture of good faith.
    The US is most threatened by the TRUTH. Manning, Snowden,Elseberg, Assange & Mckinnon( UK hacker of NASA files that found-non-terrestial officers) are the real enemy because they can expose the truth through documentation!!
    OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD is real & alive & stronger than ever……………………….

  2. mirror says:

    Thanks Myrdin. Helped me articulate some things in my head.

  3. karmanot says:

    I’m in that enemies of my enemies are allies mode.

  4. Indigo says:

    You’re a little ahead of me on that one, I’m not ready to say that. However . . . I have some understanding of that position even lthough I resist joining forces with the Conservatives over that issue.

  5. karmanot says:


  6. karmanot says:

    It’s time for impeachment.

  7. karmanot says:

    Barbarians at the gate are ‘inside’ the Beltway.

  8. Edina Ward says:

    I agree. And it is true that some joke are half meant.
    Hotel Amenity

  9. Badgerite says:

    Julian Assange has a bit of a history with the Times. They basically disagree as to something they say he said which he denies he said. What he was reported to have said was that the fact that the information he wanted the Times to publish, which included the names of Afghans who had assisted or talked to US troops, might result in the death of US informants was acceptable because they were “collaborators and deserved to die”. That is what Times people say he said and he denies it. There is no love lost there. But I don’t think they would kill him.

  10. dula says:

    Assange is a great uniter. Neoliberals were already joined at the hip with neocons on economic issues and now Assange has brought them together on foreign policy and the security state. Wow, he’s a miracle worker. Who would have thought that Democrats and Republicans would ever grow together so conveniently for the 1%?

  11. Bill_Perdue says:

    The criminality of Obama in ordering the racist murders of Anwar al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, ‘Abd al-Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi and Jude Mohammed, and the racist murders of civilians in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan are part of the deliberate creation of an American police state.

  12. News Nag says:

    I think the interesting thing about the Time magazine jackoff is that he’s secretly humiliated to be a Village media suckup who hasn’t practiced one-tenth actual journalism in his entire career that Assange (no hero of mine whatsoever but grateful for his contribution) has practiced in the last few years. So the drone thing was a subconscious attempt to bury the evidence of his journalistic incompetence and general suckupitude, and cause Time magazine jackoff can’t actual competition.

  13. News Nag says:

    Yes, Time is for non-thinkers who don’t want to grapple with the gravitas of cable news.

  14. News Nag says:

    That Time magazine reporter was just hoping that Obama would take out Assange to bury the evidence that Time magazine guy was just a Village media suck-up who has never practiced one-tenth the journalism in his entire career that Assange had practiced in the last few years. Not that Assange isn’t just a superficial know-nothing sophist dick who stumbled into performing a valuable service, because, well, because that’s what he is.

  15. Monoceros Forth says:

    I have supped full with horrors.
    Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts

    Cannot once start me.

    Just another gift to us from the “War on Terror”: political discourse has become coarsened and debased, possibly irreparably, to the point that such things as assassination and torture are casual subjects, breezily considered.

  16. Indigo says:

    “It would be an act of war.” Really? You mean like forcing the president of Bolivia’s plane out of the air? This administration has no problem with that. I honestly feel that it’s almost time for us to start speaking up loudly about such transgressions oozing out of the White House.

  17. Naja pallida says:

    I think it’s about time that we just admit that while sometimes amazingly useful in connecting people, the fast majority of content that is on Twitter is just brain farts.

  18. nicho says:

    Is the US establishment really so threatened by Wikileaks as to go to such lengths?

    Short answer: Yes.

    Long answer: Yessssssssssss.

  19. nicho says:

    When I was studying counseling, we were taught to pay close attention to what people “joke” about. People very often couch interesting things about themselves in their jokes.

  20. DrDignity says:

    Time Magazine is hardly worth reading as it’s getting more like People everyday. More corporate apologia for non-thinkers to pass the time waiting to check their groceries out at the market.

  21. leathersmith says:

    so, we’ve gotten past the old polonium in the tip of an umbrella?

  22. usagi says:

    I don’t think he was joking at all. The “I was just joking” defense is the first line of retreat for a privileged asshat who got caught saying something meant to stay among friends that gets out.

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