The Flanagan Slip


Arriving at precisely the moment the quite probable hand of Mossad has been discerned murdering Iranian scientists in, as they say, broad daylight on the streets of Tehran, Tom Flanagan’s call for the assassination of Julian Assange is remarkable only for the lathered and laboured shock with which it has been received. If you doubt there is already an ad-hoc CIA cell at some point between prophase and telophase, just in case, you haven’t been paying much attention to real-world geopolitics. Julian Assange is a wanted man, and the people by whom he is wanted have much more than Mr. Flanagan’s meagre ounces to put behind the shove.

I am not suggesting that Assange will die soon under suspicious conditions. Application of the rule of law will suffice to undo him. But if he were to be dealt with in the manner of, let’s say, a General René Schneider or a Ngo Dinh Diem, it would not be, by definition, an unprecedented demise. I say this in full seriousness, having studied the matter for decades. Tom Flanagan may have spoken in poor taste, but even so his principal error was to have fancied himself someone in a position to make the pronouncement. In this error he has merely shown himself to be self-important. Either that, or he really was trying to be funny — which, again, exposes a shortcoming. In either case, anyone who followed his performance as the man who would bring Preston Manning to power (at the time he was taking his alpha male cues from chimpanzee politics: I am not making this up) knew these things about him already.

All of this constitutes my own laboured way of saying we ought to leave the man alone. He has done nothing but say a wrong-headed, unfortunate, and hateful thing. But then, he’s been doing that for a very long time.

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