BURNET, Texas (Dec. 15) – The reactions from American politicians and elected officials regarding the latest WikiLeaks publication of classified U.S. documents poses a greater threat to liberty than anything in the documents themselves, R. Lee Wrights, a libertarian writer and potential 2012 Libertarian presidential nominee said in a statement today.
“The greatest threat to our liberty comes not from anything published by WikiLeaks, but from the irresponsible, irrational and hysterical comments from politicians and government officials,” Wrights said. He noted that Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, has been called a terrorist, an enemy combatant, and a traitor.
“Such characterizations are much worse than merely being inaccurate and irresponsible,” Wrights said. “They are chilling and sobering assertions, since President Obama has claimed the U.S. has the authority to kill anyone they label an ‘enemy combatant,” Wrights said. “In other words, the government’s war on civil liberty has no frontline or boundaries. Anyone who is labeled an enemy is a target.”
“Government has become deadly because those who possess it demonstrate an appalling arrogance. American leaders who in effect are claiming that the United States can punish anyone who disagrees with or opposes American foreign policy and uncovers anything embarrassing about the way U.S. diplomats operate,” Wrights continued.
“Once again the very people who have taken an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution attest by their words that they are either ignorant of that document, or have contempt for the limitations the Constitution places on their power,” Wrights said.
“Calling Assange a traitor, for example, is one of the more incredulous comments that’s been made, since he’s an Australian citizen living in Sweden,” Wrights said. He said that Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution, which defines treason applies only to U.S. citizens.
“Another ludicrous comment is the suggestion by some Congressional so-called leaders for a bill to punish WikiLeaks, disregarding the Constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws enumerated in Article I Section 9,” Wrights said.
“All this is a smokescreen, designed to cover up, obfuscate and obscure revelations about the lies and deceits perpetrated by the U.S. government in pursing an interventionist foreign policy,” Wrights said. “Those of us who lived through the Vietnam War recall this tactic all too well.”
“There’s been no evidence or proof presented that the information contained in these leaked documents has resulted in the death of anyone, let alone any American, or caused any direct harm to American security,” Wrights said. He noted that none of the information released had high classification and that most of it appears only to have been classified in order to avoid embarrassment.
“Besides being embarrassing to American diplomats, the bulk of the information released has simply confirmed what was already widely reported,” Wrights noted. “This includes the fact that the Saudi Arabian government is a principle supporter and financier of al-Qaida, and that there was no al-Qaida in Iraq before we invaded that country.”
Wrights said that one of the most interesting documents he’s seen is a report by Dan Lawson, deputy political counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. Lawson’s analysis of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was that despite his “professed allegiance to socialism,” Chavez “lacks any consistent ideology” but relies on “an increasingly authoritarian playbook” to stay in power.
“In the authoritarian playbook Lawson outlines, some points struck me as eerily familiar to our own government,” Wrights said. “They include centralization of power, polarizing society along political and class lines, hyping the existence of external and internal enemies and promoting chest-thumping nationalism.”
“Perhaps this document was classified because it hit to close to home. It is little wonder that the current administration wants these documents to disappear. Government prefers the cloak of darkness to the illumination of information.”
Wrights concluded by observing, “Sadly, it appears those controlling government are willing to kill in order to keep their petty little embarrassments hidden from the people they are supposed to represent.”
Wrights is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 should be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. He has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.
The 52-year old writer and political activist was born in Winston Salem, N.C. and now lives in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.