Wikileaks urges Time death-list spot for Assange
Questionable anti-assassination tactic
Wikileaks is calling for supporters to vote for its founder Julian Assange as Time magazine's "Person of the Year™".
In terms of news coverage generated in the last 12 months, he's certainly a contender.
The Afghanistan and Iraq documents got global exposure, as did the fate of their alleged leaker, Private Bradley Manning. Assange's ongoing personal adventures in the Swedish criminal justice system and difficult relationships with Wikileaks colleagues have drawn almost as much attention.
However, a brief reading of history might give the Wikileakers cause to rethink their reasoning in campaigning for the Time gong.
"Protect Wikileaks from assassination or extradition: VOTE for Julian as Time Person of the Year," the whistleblowing site's official Twitter account urges today.
John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, King Faisal Al Saud and Anwar Sadat would have good reason to disagree with Wikileaks, had they not all been assassinated after they appeared on the cover of the Man of the Year™ issue (as then was).
Franklin Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr, Charles de Gaulle, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Pope John Paul II might also testify that the title does not deter would-be assassins.
It's surely fair to say on this evidence that, if anything, being a Time Person of the Year™ makes individuals much, much more likely to be assassinated, not less*. Therefore is there another reason Wikileaks, or perhaps Assange himself, would like the award?
For now he's trailing in third behind Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Lady Gaga, author of the EP The Fame Monster. ®
*This is bad news for us all. In 2006, inspired by Web 2.0 hype, Time declared that "You" were the Person of the Year™, so watch your back.