Wednesday, March 18, 2009
republished from the LPMO website .
For Immediate Release
March 15, 2009
Contact: Mike Ferguson, Missouri Libertarian Party Spokesperson at 816.695.1425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missouri Libertarian Party Condemns Missouri Highway Patrol Training Document as Political Profiling
Internal MIAC “Strategic Report” implies Libertarian Party members and other political activists could be members of “the militia movement”
Columbia, MO Mar. 15 — The Missouri Libertarian Party, the third-largest political party in the state, issued the following statement regarding a “Strategic Report” issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) on February 22nd, which became known to the public late last week:
An internal document designed for law enforcement education purposes inaccurately and dangerously implies that among the indicators of possible involvement in extremist, militant militia activity is support for the Libertarian Party. This memo and its findings are potentially dangerous to both the people of Missouri and to our system of free political speech.
The memo claims that membership in, among other groups, the Libertarian Party and/or the display of what it calls “political paraphernalia” in support of the party or its 2008 presidential nominee (former US Congressman Bob Barr) could be an indicator that someone is involved in a “militant militia”.
“Not only is this assertion baseless, it is outrageous and very dangerous,” stated Missouri LP spokesman Mike Ferguson, who was also the national field director for the Barr presidential campaign in 2008. “it is also misleading. Libertarians oppose the violence, racism and extremism of the ‘militant militia’ that MIAC expresses concern about. Anyone who understands basic libertarian thought knows we adamantly oppose any violence for political purposes.”
The memo purports to outline “trends” in extremist militia activity and claims those involved in such activity “…commonly associate with 3rd party political groups.” It went on to claim that militia members are “usually supporters of” Bob Barr, another third party candidate and Republican Ron Paul. While the report claims to be a memo about trends in militia activity, no specific evidence is offered to support the claim.
“The evidence is not offered because it is not there,” explained Ferguson, “the claims amount to political profiling. If support for a legitimate political party might lead the police to worry that you are a violent extremist, you are less likely to become involved in our political process. This incorrect document has the potential to stifle political free speech that opposes the two larger political parties’ policies. This is dangerous for anyone who wants to be part of our political and social discourse.”
The Missouri Libertarian Party is asking for meetings with Missouri State Highway Patrol Col. James Keathley, MIAC Director Van Godsey, Department of Public Safety Director John Britt and Governor Jay Nixon to correct the misinformation. The party also demands that the potentially libelous statements about the Libertarian Party and Bob Barr are removed from the training document and calls for a public apology from those responsible for the irresponsible MIAC “strategic memo.”