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Time magazine writer under fire for startling tweet about Julian Assange

Michael Grunwald can't wait for the WikiLeaks founder to be killed by a drone.


Fernando Alfonso III


Posted on Aug 18, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 8:52 am CDT

Time magazine senior national correspondent Michael Grunwald has received a handful of death threats following a tweet he sent claiming he looked forward to writing “a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.”

Grunwald sent the tweet Saturday, and it has since sparked a tremendous backlash from the Anonymous community and WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing organization Assange founded.

We have written to TIME magazine to ask for Michael Grunwald’s resignation

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 18, 2013

Grunwald has since deleted the controversial tweet and apologized profusely calling the message “dumb.”


Grunwald’s mea culpa hasn’t stopped the Twitter community from calling for his head on a spit.

@MikeGrunwald @juhasaarinen Hopefully someone will take you out with a meat grinder

— Bear_Code (@webwildink) August 17, 2013

@MikeGrunwald Hey Michael Grunwald, I say you should be killed by a an Obama-Drone you shill and troll. What do you think about that?

— Stanley Hutchinson (@StanleyHutchins) August 18, 2013

Since late Saturday night, the hashtag #BoycottTime has been tweeted 170 times, according to statistics from Topsy.

Since 2010, WikiLeaks has released secret government documents on the war in Iraq and the Syrian government. The organization worked with PFC Bradley Manning in 2009 to release more than 700,000 classified military documents.

WikiLeaks has also been working with National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to release statements on his behalf and help him find asylum.

Assange has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy for more than a year to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges.

Under Obama, the increased use of drone strikes abroad has become a lightning rod of controversy. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there has been, in Pakistan alone, 320 strikes since Obama took office. Reports indicate that drones kill 50 civilians for every one militant.

When the president acknowledges four deaths of U.S. citizens, but not 4,000 deaths of non-Americans, he signals to the world a callous and discriminatory disregard for human life,” the Guardian’s Naureen Shah reported. “Perhaps only a fraction of these 4,000 deaths were unlawful. But acknowledging and investigating these deaths is a matter of dignity and justice – for the survivors of strikes, their communities and their countrymen.”

The vitriol against Grunwald spilled over into Reddit’s r/worldnews forum, where his tweet has collected more than 3,000 comments.

“No take backs, motherfucker,” zerch commented. “No one ever said take backs were on the table.”

Photo by thinkanonymous/Flickr

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*First Published: Aug 18, 2013, 1:22 pm CDT