Whoa! Canada

laurel l. russwurm's political musings

Unspeakable: Tom Flanagan and #WikiLeaks

with 15 comments

Canadian Flag
Once a nation honored for our commitment to peacekeeping, today Canada’s international reputation is in tatters thanks to Tom Flanagan.
EVERY Canadian needs to see this CBC interview video clip. You can watch it on YouTube:

Or watch the OGG conversion I’ve made for Gnu/Linux users and anyone else who doesn’t use Flash:
http://russwurm.org/hostess/Unspeakable.ogv.

Tom Flanagan, described by Wikipedia as a “political scientist”, a man who previously served as Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s Chief of Staff, characterized by the Walrus as The Man Behind Stephen Harper, is currently employed as a Professor by the University of Calgary. Far from being a media novice, Flanagan has run federal political campaigns.

Yet this week Professor Flanagan said the unspeakable live on air in the CBC’s Power & Politics interview.

Canadian Flag droops in shame

“I think Assange should be assassinated, actually, [laughs], I think Obama should put out a contract or maybe use a drone or something.”

—Professor Tom Flanagan, CBC’s Power & Politics interview, November 30th, 2010

CBC Interviewer Evan Solomon tried very hard to give Professor Flanagan the opportunity to backpedal, but instead of retracting or making light of his statement, Flanagan reiterated it:

“I woudn’t be unhappy if Assange disappeared.”

—Professor Tom Flanagan, CBC’s Power & Politics interview, November 30th, 2010

It is one thing for ordinary citizens to discuss the pros and cons of the #Cablegate issue, or even to think this is a reasonable response to #WikiLeaks. It is quite something else for a man with such close connections to the Canadian Government to advocate assassination.

This from a man saying that WikiLeaks is irresponsible. But what Wikileaks does is bring government and corporate malfeasance under public scrutiny. Professor Flanagan advocated assassination as a valid method for government to handle opposition. Not a method I would connect with democratic government.

Wikipedia on Tom Flanagan:

Flanagan is often described as a member of the “Calgary School,” which is a small group of conservatively inclined professors at the University of Calgary, including Barry Cooper, David Bercuson, F.L. (Ted) Morton, and Rainer Knopff.[18] He is also a Senior Fellow of the Fraser Institute and a founder and former president of Civitas, a national conservative discussion society in Canada.

Terrorists assassinate people with opposing viewpoints.

Julian Assange speaking at podium at New Media Days 2009

Who is Julian Assange?

Julian Assange is a man on Time Magazine’s shortlist for “Person of the Year” because of his dedication to the concept of government transparency. He created the WikiLeaks website.

What is Wikileaks?

WikiLeaks is a website that publishes “leaked” documents, making the “secret” information available to anyone who cares to read the information online.

Wikileaks makes information that governments want suppressed available to citizens. WikiLeaks publishes information that is “leaked” by concerned citizens with access to this information. Citizens concerned by paths and actions their governments are taking. Government Policies that are being undertaken in secret.

democracy?

I believe that the reason for making these things known is to allow the public the opportunity to form an opinion. Perhaps I am naïve, but I think that is eminently reasonable in a democratic nation. Transparency and dissent must exist in a democracy. If they don’t, democracy hasn’t got a prayer.

Tom Flanagan is/was an unelected Canadian power broker who may or may not have the ear of the Canadian Government. As an ordinary Canadian I have no way of knowing. What I do know is that he is employed to impart his wisdom to some of Canada’s brightest young minds at the University of Calgary.

history?

His statements are not only overwhelmingly arrogant, they embody “above the law” thinking.

I would think that someone who actually teaches political science at the university level would have at least a nodding acquaintance with the cautionary tale of Thomas Becket, and appreciate the danger of anyone in public life making such statements. That was, after all, one of the classic political gaffes in recorded history.

Clearly, the public outcry following these irresponsible statements was enough to convince Professor Flanagan to recant. And today he

regrets his “glib comment”

CBC: Flanagan regrets WikiLeaks assassination remark

But because of Tom Flanagan’s strong ties with the Canadian government, his words and statements ring with far more authority than that of the average Canadian history professor. His words taint Canada’s international reputation.

At the very least, this calls for strong government censure. Perhaps even criminal charges. Does Canada actually support assassinating whistle blowers?

The Canadian Government must speak up.

As a Canadian I am appalled.

a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves

You can subscribe to the Wikileaks feed on Identi.ca wikileaks2, or folloe @wikileakson Twitter.

The WikiLeaks website has been suffering problems,possibly friom huge traffic, possibly from a DDoS attacks.
You can also attempt to access Cablegate cables directly, but of course that site is also having problems.

Keep trying.



Credits:
Julian Assange at New Media Days 2009 Photo by New Media Days / Peter Erichsen
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (cc-by-sa)
Canadian Flag CC-by lothlaurien.ca

OGG conversion via TinyOgg

NOTE: The original video I linked to has been taken down; so I’ve replaced it with another copy of the same.

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15 Responses

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  1. Everyone who believes in freedom of speech,as a base of Democracy can
    donate Wikileaks. It is that simple.

    Calgarian

    December 2, 2010 at 3:20 am

  2. Tom Flanagan should be immediately dismissed. This remark taints Canada, Alberta, University of Calgary and all Canadians. I personally am outraged that a Canadian professor could sink to the lows set by some of the crazies south of the border. Let’s keep insanity in the USA.

    richard

    December 2, 2010 at 9:40 am

  3. […] Unspeakable: Tom Flanagan and #WikiLeaks Once a nation honored for our commitment to peacekeeping, today Canada’s international reputation is in tatters thanks to Tom Flanagan. […]

  4. Tom Flanagan should be immediately banned from politics and from teaching at university!
    He’s kind of terrorist minded person!

    Sam

    December 2, 2010 at 3:25 pm

  5. As an Australian, I have to say you are absolutely right about Flanagan tainting Canada’s reputation.

    This man is allegedly a political scientist. You would think he would understand the concept of democracy and the rule of law. Yet he advocates extra-judicial assassination as a political technique.

    He, and I am afraid to say, Canada should feel deeply ashamed.

    Jon Seymour

    December 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm

  6. […] can’t get over the fact that Tom Flanagan didn’t understand suggesting assassination was […]

  7. Thanks for blogging this. Tom Flanagan’s remarks were reprehensible, and should be taken seriously by the police.

    Mary Kosta

    December 6, 2010 at 7:05 pm

  8. UPDATE: Today The Vancouver Sun reports:

    Complaint filed over call to assassinate WikiLeaks founder

    Laurel L. Russwurm

    December 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm

  9. It is correct that Mr. Flanagan and the others seriously making these statements should be charged with incitement to commit murder

    Als

    December 7, 2010 at 9:42 am

  10. […] Actions’ and human rights abuses. It is neither unreasonable or alarmist to believe that Tom Flanagan was absolutely serious in calling for the assassination of Julian Assange. Living in a world where […]

  11. Tom Flanagan should go to jail for making a comment like that on national television. He is guilty of instigating violence against another human being on the basis of……what exactly? Has Assange been tried and found guilty of anything yet? Answer: NO.

    Inciting murder is a criminal offense under the laws of Canada and he should be forced to face a judge in court.

    duart maclean

    December 31, 2010 at 2:09 pm

  12. […] The busiest day of the year was December 2nd with 237 views. The most popular post that day was Unspeakable: Tom Flanagan and #WikiLeaks. […]

  13. Totally agree with Duart Maclean’s comments
    “Tom Flanagan should go to jail for making a comment like that on national television. He is guilty of instigating violence against another human being on the basis of……what exactly? Has Assange been tried and found guilty of anything yet? Answer: NO.

    Inciting murder is a criminal offense under the laws of Canada and he should be forced to face a judge in court.”

    Narotam Lathia

    February 17, 2011 at 6:34 am

    • I do to. The problem is that the Canadian legal system isn’t willing to apply the law equally.

      I find this profoundly disturbing.

      Laurel L. Russwurm

      February 17, 2011 at 10:18 am

  14. Am writing a thesis on Public Trust in WikiLeaks, the Media and the Government and need to know what your opinions are. The online survey is multiple choice and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Please follow the link: http://www.kwiksurveys.com/?s=ILLLML_9669e09d. Would be great if you would encourage others to do the survey also.

    griffithinsider

    April 18, 2011 at 9:13 pm


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