Government officials afraid of a full-body scan of their words should resign, says LP Chair

WASHINGTON – While Democratic and Republican politicians outdo each other with calls for the prosecution and even execution of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange for providing information to various news media, Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle says that free speech and freedom of the press must be supported unconditionally. Hinkle released the following statement today:

“In 1787, as the U.S. Constitution was being written, Thomas Jefferson wrote, ‘Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.’ His recognition of the critical need for a free press led him and others to demand a Bill of Rights, where freedom of speech and freedom of the press were listed in the very first amendment to the Constitution.

“In 2010, Democratic and Republican politicians alike are trying to destroy this precious liberty. The Obama Administration, which has already invoked the ‘state secrets’ claim in court more than any administration in history, has arrested Army Private Bradley Manning, alleging that he copied and leaked various documents, and is holding him in solitary confinement pending a military trial. Meanwhile, Republican presidential hopefuls are falling over themselves seeing who can sound the toughest. Mike Huckabee says that anything less than execution of the leaker is too kind. Newt Gingrich wants Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, declared an ‘enemy combatant’ so that he can be denied all due process. And Sarah Palin wants Assange hunted down like Osama bin Laden (perhaps missing the irony that bin Laden has not been caught)…

Full commentary by Mark Hinkle, Chair of The Libertarian Party, @

2 thoughts on “Government officials afraid of a full-body scan of their words should resign, says LP Chair

  1. paulie

    Excellent press release. I’m glad the LP has finally taken an official stance on this issue. Hope to see lots of LP blog posts about it as well, as we saw with the TSA.

    IMO supporting WikiLeaks and opposing the TSA should be top LP agenda items right now.

    I’m back to not reading IPR comments for the time being; 415-690-6352 if you wish to discuss.

    College Park, MD

  2. Starchild

    What paulie said — anti-TSA and pro-WikiLeaks! Both of these issues represent key tests of government power against civil liberties, one related to the First Amendment protections of freedom and speech and of the press, the other related to the Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable search and seizure. These protections should belong to all people in the world.

    I recently wrote a proposed resolution for the Libertarian Party of San Francisco on the WikiLeaks issue, and sent it to members of the Libertarian National Committee and other email lists, offering it as sample wording others could use in crafting resolutions for their own bodies to pass on the topic:

    * * *

    WHEREAS WikiLeaks has provided an invaluable service to the cause of free speech and to helping keep governments and other institutions
    accountable to the people of the world; and

    WHEREAS numerous politicians and other public figures in the U.S. have called WikiLeaks founder and Australian citizen Julian Assange a
    a traitor (treason being punishable by the death penalty in the U.S.) and even in some cases for him to be assassinated; and

    WHEREAS it is possible that if Julian Assange is extradited to Sweden, he could be extradited from there to the United States; and

    WHEREAS the sex charges for which Julian Assange is wanted by Swedish authorities appear to be baseless, yet have been pursued in an
    unusually urgent and forceful manner by said authorities, in what can only be a result of Assange’s role in WikiLeaks;

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Libertarian Party of San Francisco calls on the British authorities who have arrested Julian Assange and currently have not released him in Britain despite bail being granted and posted, to immediately stop all judicial proceedings against him, and refuse to extradite him to Sweden, the United States, or any other country.

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Libertarian Party of San Francisco thanks Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, as well as their sources including U.S. Army private first class Bradley Manning, for exposing what congressman Ron Paul called “the delusional foreign policy” of the U.S. government, and revealing government secrets wrongfully withheld from the American people.

    * * *

    Not sure whether this had anything to do with Mark Hinkle’s press release — he wrote me to ask whether the WikiLeaks protest I mentioned happening in San Francisco was still happening given that he’d heard Assange was out on bail.

    I heard nothing back from any other LNC members except for alternates Carl Vassar (who enthusiastically endorsed it in a “reply all” to the LNC members I had written) and Andy Wolf, who inquired how I thought such a resolution would be received by the national membership and adding, “I will reserve judgment on whether to thank Assange until I better understand why he is releasing this information. It is unfortunate that so many people are focusing on him, whether as a martyr or a pariah, while the discussion should be about the substance of the information. I think it plays into the hands of the establishment — they want to distract us because it reduces their accountability. And unless someone can explain to me the crime that Assange or WikiLeaks committed and that a US court has jurisdiction over him or his company, extradition makes no sense; I agree with Mr. Hinkle’s statement that publishing documents provided by a government agent and embarrassing public officials are not crimes. Liberty should no know borders.”

    I believe the WikiLeaks issue as clear-cut a libertarian issue as any facing us.

    I don’t feel I need to know the WikiLeaks founder’s motives in order to appreciate the pro-freedom impact of his actions. Just about the only scenario I can think of under which I would not be grateful were if WikiLeaks turned out to be simply a massive disinformation campaign, with the leaks being generally false information released at the direction of government authorities themselves. Given the responses of those authorities to date however, I think we can pretty much rule that possibility out!

    I told Andy I would welcome additional scrutiny of the leaked data’s content, and that I thought this would make a good subject for another LP press release.

    But I’m not unhappy with the way most of the media has recently been covering the story by focusing on Assange. WikiLeaks was known to me many months before I ever heard of Julian Assange, and I think the focus only started shifting from the content of the leaks to him personally when it became clear that he and his organization could be in jeopardy.

    At that point, it seems to me that paying attention to him was a right and proper journalistic decision, because government attempts to go after the head of an important media outlet and put that outlet out of business for leaking their secrets and embarrassing them are not only extremely newsworthy, but arguably no less embarrassing to government than the original leaks. Having your crimes revealed is one thing; trying to cover them up, and silence those who exposed you, takes it to another level. That’s what got Nixon removed from office.

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