In a press release, WikiLeaks has blamed Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and other conservatives for the Tucson shootings, and called for them to be prosecuted for “incitement.” It is not clear why WikiLeaks thinks people like Huckabee had anything to do with the shootings. Even Sarah Palin has said nothing that would constitute incitement, much less illegal incitement under the U.S. Supreme Court’s governing First Amendment rulings in Hess v. Indiana and Brandenburg v. Ohio.
As a columnist notes at Slate, “crosshairs and bull's-eyes have been an accepted part of the graphical lexicon when it comes to political debates,” and are not incitement to violence, any more than other commonplace political words like “targeting, attacking, destroying, blasting, crushing,” and “burying” are. The rhetoric of American politicians like Sarah Palin is bland and mild by international and historical standards. As David Brooks notes, there is “no evidence” that the shooter was influenced in any way by conservatives like Sarah Palin, and claims to the contrary are simply “vicious charges made by people who claimed to be criticizing viciousness.”
The contempt for civil liberties and human rights manifested in WikiLeaks’ recent press release is not an isolated example.
Earlier, WikiLeaks fueled repression in Zimbabwe, giving that country’s blood-stained dictator confidential information on that country’s democratic opposition. As we noted, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s purported devotion to transparency is selective, and is “guided by antipathy for America,” which Assange, like Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, views as an imperialistic, colonial, “authoritarian conspiracy.” Mugabe is the one of the world’s great monsters. He has transformed Zimbabwe, once a prosperous breadbasket, into a starving nation. The families of dissidents have been tortured and murdered, orphans have been beaten simply because they are orphans, and schools have been turned into torture chambers.
Liberal journalists continue to milk the Tucson shootings for political gain. Jacob Weisberg falsely claimed that conservatives must have “made the Gifford shooting more likely,” because the shooter, Jared Loughner, didn’t like the government, and conservatives don’t either. (Even though one of the shooter's favorite books was the Communist Manifesto). But that is laughably bad logic. Conservatives object only to a bigger federal government, not to society’s non-governmental institutions, and do not object to the very existence of the government. There is no similarity between the shooter’s nihilism – the shooter hated seemingly everything about society, not just the government – and conservatives’ opposition to an expanded national government.
“these types of unbalanced, violent loners who spout conspiracy theories and sometimes resort to violence are lumped in with the right because of their anti-government streak. This is a mistake. Loughner was devoted to distancing himself from reality. He wanted to create his own reality, and anything that represented authority – whether concrete or abstract – and that threatened his dreams became suspect. Thus language, religion, government, currency – all the building blocks of society and of reality as most of us accept it – became things that Loughner wanted to destroy, remake, control.”