Professor Tom Flanagan: Glib about Murdering Julian Assange

Last night, on CBC News, University of Calgary political scientist Tom Flanagan, a former key adviser to Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, said that he wished Julian Assange would be assassinated and “disappeared,” joining a growing list of North American, right wing, commentators and politicians calling for the same, and doing so at the same time as they do. This not too surprising, since Flanagan is himself an American import, brought in by fellow Americans in Calgary. Today, probably after an avalanche of email, and after walls of text denouncing Flanagan appeared in almost every social network site, he issued a weak pseudo-apology: “I regret that I made a glib comment about a serious issue….If Mr. Assange is arrested on the recently announced Interpol warrant, I hope [he] receives a fair trial and due process of law.” Those who sat in on the same panel, chuckled. One, Scott Reid, a former Liberal adviser to former prime minister Paul Martin said Flanagan was being “his usual colourful and provocative self ” and was “obviously talking tongue in cheek.” Obviously? Not at all. Reid continued his defense of extremism:  “Not for a second did I think he was suggesting seriously that someone’s life be put at risk. He’s a great guy with strong opinions. Not a mean guy with lunatic opinions.”

Actually, he is a pretty mean guy, with a long track record of lunatic opinions. A noted anti-Aboriginal writer who would like to see Canada’s First Nations divided up into private property that can be bought and sold (see also First Nations, Second Thoughts), is a right wing American chicken hawk draft dodger who took advantage of Canada during the Vietnam War. One might expect that someone so averse to going to war might be just a little anti-war and anti-militarist. One might expect that, of someone who is not a coward and opportunist, but who is instead intellectually honest and self-respecting–but that’s not Flanagan: “I’m feeling very manly today, Evan,” is what he said from behind his desk in a CBC studio, as an excuse for his asinine call to murder.

This “scholar” is one who believes in shooting messengers. His first reaction, when unable to confront the truth, is to murder those spreading it. This “scholar” is also one to rush to conclusions about the contents of the cables being released via Wikileaks (they were actually leaked by an American inside the national security establishment, not by Julian Assange)–when in actuality only about 290 cables of a rough total of 250,000+ cables have been released. That’s about 0.001%. The reality is that this release will create many big headline-grabbing bursts over many weeks, months, and perhaps years to come. No need to wait though, Flanagan has everything pinned down already, given the fiber optic cable connection between his head and the State Department. As Flanagan, like his fellow drooling idiots south of the border, tries to trivialize the documents as merely “titillating,” it’s this fact that bothers Flanagan the most: that the authorities have lost authority. The message of the leak is the leak itself. Having lost legitimacy and credibility, Flanagan like his bosses in the U.S. resorts to the other side of the Weberian equation: coercion. This “scholar” cannot handle the truth, and wishes the rest of us never knew it, using violence if necessary. What is it with the University of Calgary that it has become such a den of fools?