Freedom Attacked: Mitch McConnell Labels Julian Assange A Terrorist

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was on Meet The Press today where he managed to take the rhetoric on Wikileaks and Julian Assanage to whole new level, by labeling Assange a terrorist. McConnell said, “I think the man is a high-tech terrorist. He’s done an enormous damage to our country.”

Here is the video from NBC:

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When asked about the Wikileaks controversy by host David Gregory, McConnell said, “I think the man is a high-tech terrorist. He’s done an enormous… He’s done an enormous damage to our country, and I think he needs to be prosecuted to the, the fullest extent of the law; and if that becomes a problem, we need to change the law. I think it’s done enormous damage to our country and, and to our relationships with our allies around the world.”

McConnell’s language should send a shiver down the spine of anyone who believes in government transparency, or the right of the people to know what their government is doing. Assange is no terrorist. Dumping documents is not an act of terrorism. The American people are not terrified because some State Department cables were released to the public. Quite honestly, the information that was released was not all that earth shaking. Most of the info in those cables was already out there, or it confirmed much of what was already suspected.

In post-9/11 America, the word terrorist invokes the images of Osama Bin Laden and planes flying into buildings. No matter how hard the right tries they can’t transform Julian Assange into Osama Bin Laden. George W. Bush may be gone, but his exploitation of the fear invoking buzzword “terrorist” is alive and well. Assange committed no crime. Bradley Manning, the soldier who provided the documents to Wikileaks, is in custody and has been charged with the unauthorized use and disclosure of US classified information.

The definition of the term terrorist that Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Sarah Palin subscribe to is a bigger threat to freedom in the United States than Julian Asssange could ever be. Painting Assange as the villain is an attempt to shift responsibility for this leak away from where it really belongs. Bradley Manning and the United States government itself are the parties truly responsible for the leak. If the government wants to prevent these leaks then they need to reassess their information collection system and their criteria for access to the information.

By blaming Assange, the US government is sweeping a security problem under the rug. If Assange could get classified documents, how hard do you think it for other governments to acquire information? When disseminating information becomes an act of terrorism, our freedoms are truly in peril. While I think the latest leak was more of an irresponsible publicity stunt than attempt to inform the public, releasing the information does not make Julian Assange a terrorist.

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15 Replies to “Freedom Attacked: Mitch McConnell Labels Julian Assange A Terrorist”

  1. I knew it was going to piss me off when I read the headline. (good choice of wording)
    McConnell engages in Republican rhetoric not in actual thoughts. Perhaps saying Bush Tax Cuts to the rich are terrorism or saying Unemployment Benefit Denial is terrorism would get his attention. None of them, including Assange are terrorism or terrorist activities, but all have the same sort of glorified listen me, I’m saying something BS.
    America definitely has a problem with it’s politicians and the things that spew out of their mouths. I’m not sure that it’s not becoming a global problem based upon the number of accounts similar to McConnell’s that you see in the news lately.
    For Mr. McConnell’s information, you don’t stop leaks by going after the ones told, you stop it by increasing your security procedures, dumb ass. (that felt good to throw in)

  2. Mitch Ole buddy, Julian didnt do the damage to our country. The people who performed the acts that Julian was nice enough to expose for us did the damage. And you are part of the damage thats being done to us now. Please retire. And take McCain with you

    I had not considered that if Julian can get these documents then anyone can. Think about it, how many governments already knew a great deal of the stuff in theses cables?

  3. Mitch McConnell is a dumb-ass parading around as an expert on things. That did feel good:-) I’ve never been able to stand listening to him or Barney Frank, though I like what Barney stands for- I just hate his voice. I know, that’s stupid, but it’s still true. Mitch is annoying to look at, listen to and he stands for hypocrisy and bullcrap 24/7.

  4. Jason, by “freedom” they mean totalitarian government run by white people. Just FYI. I think you got confused and thought this was America for a second.

  5. As someone who grew up in Northern Ireland in the 70’s & 80’s I feel like both laughing and crying at America’s ongoing use of the word terrorism to describe anything you dont like the sound of. You should be ashamed of some of your elected leaders and your news outlets.

  6. Let me go ahead and point something out here.

    “…. I think he needs to be prosecuted to the, the fullest extent of the law; and if that becomes a problem, we need to change the law.”

    Now let me narrow that down even a bit more.

    “….we need to change the law.”

    Really? Really??

    Politicians don’t like what you have going on even though its perfectly legal? Well, no problem we’ll just make something up to charge you with.

    The real terrorists are the dudes going on TV calling everyone and their new kitten a terrorist. Way to try to scare the hell out of the people you’re supposed to be representing just to advance your own agenda.

    Check out these couple of definitions off dictionary.com, specifically #2 :

    ter·ror·ist
       /ˈtɛrərɪst/ Show Spelled[ter-er-ist]
    –noun
    1.
    a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates terrorism.
    2.
    a person who terrorizes or frightens others.

    It’s people like this that give American voters a bad name. This guy actually won an election at some point.

    Mitch McConnell, I am disappoint. You should be better than this.

  7. Looking for responses….

    1) Publishing information that is illegally obtained only promotes more people to procure and share similar confidential documents. Is WikiLeaks promoting illegal behavior?

    2) WikiLeaks also operates on the principle of “protecting the source”, but if the source is a criminal, is WikiLeaks protecting or harboring a criminal?

    3) The US cables published and all cables to come are the property of the US, and have been stolen. WikiLeaks is not the criminal stealing the documents, but when something is stolen it should be returned to there owner. It’s what we calls ethics.

    4) The US government has many safeguards in place to protect their information, but no system is full-proof. They can have a 1,000,000 different preventative measures in place but it only take 1,000,001 for the system to be insecure.

    Whether or not Assange is a terrorist is irrelevant, he will not be prosecuted on these basis with any success. He can and will be prosecuted for knowingly releasing stolen goods, soliciting donations for the release of these stolen goods, and harboring a criminal, by the US government. (The documents were initially released on US servers)

    In the future, I think WikiLeaks anonymous document drop has to be scrutinized for validity, safety, and legality. Do not shut it down, but question what is being published.

    To Julian Assange, you have issues. Regarding your post on Australian citizenship…To think that Australia doesn’t consider you a citizen is stupid, but Australia, just as the US and other allies, has an obligation to protect information in the world community. We wouldn’t want your personal information stolen and released, such as health, finances, or personal opinions about others.

    I believe Julian Assange should be prosecuted to the fullest extent in the place he resides.

    – US Citizen

  8. Unfortunately, there are a few faults with your argument.

    1) WikiLeaks is not promoting illegal behavior in the context of the law. As long as Assange is not paying individuals to obtain illegal documents, then his actions are not illegal. his publication of these documents is no different than the Guardian or the New York Times’ republication of the documents (which by your reasoning also promotes ‘illegal’ activity). When the New York Times published the Pentagon Papers (classified government documents), their actions were protected as constitutional.

    2) Harboring criminals refers to physically giving house to individuals who have evaded a legal sentence and whom the government is actively looking for. If the United States government independently found one of the ‘sources’ and prosecuted him, and were Assange a US citizen, they could subpeona Assange and force him to testify. However, Assange is not a US citizen. Also, to my knowledge anonymous submissions are possible – but I’m not one hundred percent sure.

    3) No physical files were stolen. The United States government is not missing any documents. There is nothing to be returned.

    Also, Assange is not a United States citizen and even though he started wikileaks prosecuting him is different than prosecuting the wikileaks organization. He is not a subject of United States law and cannot be held by the laws of a country he does not reside in. If the United States really views what he’s doing as so terrible and dangerous, then he is an enemy of the state and the United States should treat him with the same lawlessness with which we treat terrorists.

    Obviously the US would never do this because we fundamentally look at europeans differently than we do middle-eastern muslims, but it is contradictory to me what different legal protections we extend to them, when neither of them are protected by or responsible to United States law.

  9. Thanks for your response, I’ve elaborated a bit, but still hold the same general stance as my first post.

    1) I understand your argument that Assange and WikiLeaks are not performing illegal acts through the act of publishing and I agree; however, I do address what their responsibility should be in point 3, “what we call ethics”. By the way, the Pentagon Papers were officially put into the library of congress for public viewing before they were completely released, I have not seen this with the Cables, I’ll be waiting. That said, WikiLeaks and Assange are still encouraging people (via anonymous document drop, etc.) to release US classified documents which by US law is illegal and many US allies will agree under their respective law and extradition practices.

    2) While I understand “harboring” by the law is interpreted as providing physical shelter from the law, harboring in a broader sense and in my use of the word doesn’t just mean physical sheltering. I am arguing that Assange and WikiLeaks are protecting criminals that steal information and it is reckless for them to not help put an end to what these criminals are doing. There are laws against helping criminals and these in my opinion should be applied to Assange and WikiLeaks. This would be up to the specific jury/judge to decide.

    3) Intellectual property (IP) is a form of property that is not tangible. Just as any company tries to protect their IP, the US government must do the same. However, these documents were either in paper or electronic form which makes them physical objects that are stolen. Assange and his cohorts should have notified the US government upon receiving them, especially when marked classified. By the way, “steal” means to take without permission, it doesn’t indicate that something is missing. (ie- I can steal your pride and you may never know.)

    While I understand Assange is not in the US and therefore cannot be prosecuted under US law, he can be prosecuted “in the place he resides.” (last line) Another possibility is extradition.

    5) To address the article on one more point, law can be changed and often has been changed as a result of a single incident, civil rights, wars, etc. This case may be no exception. I am not saying change the way we prosecute someone (unlike what McConnell said to try him as a terrorist), but if someone doesn’t have the ethical boundary to not do something then a law should be imposed. While ethics is a fine line, I think we can agree using stolen property is unethical.

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