The Manchester Free Press

Friday • July 12 • 2024

Vol.XVI • No.XXVIII

Manchester, N.H.

The Conservatarian Exchange Podcast #177

The Liberty Block - Sat, 2023-10-28 21:45 +0000

New Speaker of the House elected today; does it matter who leads the republicans, if they are not going to use the power of the purse in mid-November? Should the republicans do anything that would endanger their prospects in 2024? Is there still a possibility Trump could lose the primaries? Will those who reportedly flipped on Trump (Jenna Ellis, Mark Meadows) hurt him legally?

The post The Conservatarian Exchange Podcast #177 appeared first on The Liberty Block.

Defend The Guard Bill Deadlocked In Committee, Will Have House Vote

The Liberty Block - Sat, 2023-10-28 21:25 +0000

After being retained from last year’s session, the ‘Defend The Guard’ legislation finally had its public hearing in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. On Wednesday, legislators and members of the public packed the room to testify before the House Committee on State-Federal Relations & Veterans’ Affairs on House Bill 229. Nearly everyone in the room was in support of the bill, which simply called for an end to the deployment of New Hampshire Guard members to fight foreign wars without a congressional declaration of war.

The post Defend The Guard Bill Deadlocked In Committee, Will Have House Vote appeared first on The Liberty Block.

Litigating the Shire Society

Free Keene - Fri, 2023-10-27 08:34 +0000

Twelve years ago I blogged on this website a criminal court case in Cheshire County, NH involving a military veteran turned independent journalist named Jason Talley.  Mr. Talley had become ensnared in contempt of court and disorderly conduct charges after he dared commit the dastardly crime of mere possession of a recording device in a New Hampshire court facility.

Ultimately, after months of litigation, the case was won in Mr. Tally’s favor due to a technical “error” committed by the prosecution.  In my humble opinion this “error” was intentionally committed to protect the New Hampshire Judiciary from having to publicly defend their egregious conduct.

What “egregious conduct” you ask?  The court order that Mr. Talley was accused of violating was put in place after another activist, Ademo Freeman, was arrested for “threatening” the Keene District Court Presiding Judge Edward Burke.  This interaction was caught on video and contained absolutely no threat.  What followed were administrative court orders restricting the Federal and State Constitution so that cameras could not be possessed in court facilities.

You see the misconduct here?  Judge Burke breaks the law that forbids making false claims to law enforcement officers and then supervisory judges in the New Hampshire Judiciary restrict people’s freedoms as a result.

A crime or misconduct committed by a state employee cannot give justification to the government to restrict the freedom of those who are not in government.  Not unless there are two classes of men.  This is what they did.

Why is this misconduct relevant today?  Well…  it is a black-and-white example of how individuals in government employment are able to break the law with impunity and then cover for each other when they’re caught.  I personally notified the Attorney Generals Office, the Legislature, and the Judicial Conduct Committee.  To my knowledge no one ever was held accountable.

I would have far less of a problem with this misconduct if the government was not going after peaceful friends of mine for victimless offenses, fining them, and then using that money to pay their own salaries.

In New Hampshire there are three existing government systems: The Federal Government, The New Hampshire Government, and the Shire Society.  Two are recognized as sovereign, the third is not.  I seek to change this.

I intend on representing a Shire Society member who is targeted by the State for victimless crime prosecution.  I am not a Shire Society member as my allegiance is to the New Hampshire and Federal Constitutions, but when the State prosecutes a Shire Society member for victimless crimes and uses those fines to pay the salaries of judges who are not subject to the same rules, we have two classes of men…  and that is prohibited by Part I, Article 10 of the New Hampshire Constitution.

Every New Hampshire law enforcement officer, judge, and lawmaker is duty bound like me to uphold the Right of Revolution…  and I intend on doing that by fighting for the Shire Society being a revolutionary government system.

We’ll see how it goes.  Stay tuned!

If you work in New Hampshire government and are wondering why I’m about to come after you like this, this is why.

Freedom’s the answer…  so what is the question? ????

Joint Recommendations Gold Standard – October 26, 2023

N.H. Liberty Alliance - Mon, 2023-10-23 23:13 +0000

(white) goldstandard-10-26-23-J.pdf
(gold) goldstandard-10-26-23-J-y.pdf

The post Joint Recommendations Gold Standard – October 26, 2023 appeared first on NH Liberty Alliance.

Legislation Could Trigger New Hampshire Secession Before 2030

The Liberty Block - Mon, 2023-10-23 16:24 +0000

Legislation filed by Representative Jason Gerhard (R-Northfield) would place a question on the ballot for the voters of New Hampshire. If approved by two thirds of voters, the New Hampshire Constitution would be amended to say that the state will declare independence if the federal government accrues a debt of $40 trillion. As of 10/13, the US debt is $33.5 trillion. In 2020, the debt was under $27 trillion. 

The post Legislation Could Trigger New Hampshire Secession Before 2030 appeared first on The Liberty Block.

PAC Refill Fundraiser

N.H. Liberty Alliance - Mon, 2023-10-23 02:59 +0000

It’s time once again to refill our PAC so we can continue supporting the ever-growing ranks of New Hampshire pro-liberty Representatives and Senators!
Similar to last year, we will be holding a fundraising event at Vine 32 in Bedford on Monday, November 27. Capacity is limited, so buy your tickets (each of which is a PAC contribution) now!

And if you can’t attend but have the means to help us prepare for what are sure to be challenging elections, please consider donating to the PAC.

The post PAC Refill Fundraiser appeared first on NH Liberty Alliance.

SECOND State Secession Bill Filed In New Hampshire Legislature

Free Keene - Fri, 2023-10-20 17:29 +0000

Crowd of Revolutionaries Gathers to Read and Sign the new Declaration of Independence.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – For the first time in the state’s recorded history, legislators in the New Hampshire House of Representatives have filed two bills aimed at giving voters the opportunity to vote on whether or not New Hampshire will peacefully secede from the United States of America.

State Representative Matthew Santonastaso (R – Cheshire 18) has sponsored a groundbreaking new bill that will force the creation of a Secession Study Committee in the Granite State. This comes on the heels of a bill filed recently by State Rep. Jason Gerhard (R – Merrimack 25) that if passed, would allow voters to amend the New Hampshire Constitution, declaring that the state will secede from the United States should the national debt reach a staggering $40 trillion.

The Secession Study Committee, as envisioned by the bill, won’t just be a cursory look into New Hampshire declaring its peaceful independence from the United States. It will delve into understanding the multifaceted implications, the potential benefits, and the challenges that New Hampshire might face if it were to consider seceding from the Union. This initiative underscores the urgency and importance of having a well-informed discussion on the subject.

Representative Santonastaso stated,“Given the current challenges at the federal level and potential unforeseen changes in the national landscape, it’s essential to study the feasibility of an independent New Hampshire. This effort is not about neglecting our shared history; it’s about proactive planning and ensuring our state shall persist under any circumstance.”

Carla Gericke, President Emeritus of New Hampshire’s Free State Project, weighed in on the matter, stating “The increase in the number of New Hampshireites, and now our legislators, who support peacefully exiting the Union, is indicative of the Biden admin’s complete and utter failure to represent the interests of our state. The federal government have nobody to thank but themselves for the inevitable result – more and more of us want to choose freedom.”

Matt Sabourin dit Choinière, the chairman of the New Hampshire Independence Political Action Committee, commented “The purpose of these bills is to get the tough questions relating to independence out on the table, and then get some answers to the public, it’s basically an outline for future grand national strategy. My father always said growing up that if a private business were to operate the same way as the government, they’d be locked in prison. It’s time to fire D.C.”

In the state’s 2022 legislative session, the House rejected a proposal that would give voters the opportunity to amend the New Hampshire constitution, allowing the state to peacefully declare independence from the United States. While opponents of New Hampshire’s secessionist movement have historically argued that the federal government is a net positive or at the least can be molded into one, proponents have argued that the federal government is too far gone – citing issues such as inflation, ongoing wars abroad, and healthcare. New Hampshire is one of approximately 25 states that pays more in taxes to the federal government than they receive in federal funding.

Once introduced, both bills will move to committee for further discussion and review. If passed, the Secession Study Committee would be comprised of members from both the House and Senate, as well as experts in economics, law, and governance. Their findings would be presented to the state legislature for consideration.

For the full press release see: https://nhipac.org/2023/10/18/684/

The Conservatarian Exchange Podcast #176

The Liberty Block - Thu, 2023-10-19 23:52 +0000

The ongoing war in Gaza; what should Israel do? Would any country take Gazans in? Why does the world not care about Armenians being displaced by Azerbaijan? The election for Speaker of the House; are RINO’s blocking any conservative from winning that post? Is the inability to elect a new speaker bad for the republicans? Should the Freedom Caucus demand that the whole party stand for conservative principles? Biden wants $100 billion for Ukraine and Israel—where does the money come from?

The post The Conservatarian Exchange Podcast #176 appeared first on The Liberty Block.

SECOND State Secession Bill Filed In New Hampshire Legislature

NHexit.US - Thu, 2023-10-19 05:21 +0000

NEW HAMPSHIRE – For the first time in the state’s recorded history, legislators in the New Hampshire House of Representatives have filed two bills aimed at giving voters the opportunity to vote on whether or not New Hampshire will peacefully secede from the United States of America.

State Representative Matthew Santonastaso (R – Cheshire 18) has sponsored a groundbreaking new bill that will force the creation of a Secession Study Committee in the Granite State. This comes on the heels of a bill filed recently by State Rep. Jason Gerhard (R – Merrimack 25) that if passed, would allow voters to amend the New Hampshire Constitution, declaring that the state will secede from the United States should the national debt reach a staggering $40 trillion.

The Secession Study Committee, as envisioned by the bill, won’t just be a cursory look into New Hampshire declaring its peaceful independence from the United States. It will delve into understanding the multifaceted implications, the potential benefits, and the challenges that New Hampshire might face if it were to consider seceding from the Union. This initiative underscores the urgency and importance of having a well-informed discussion on the subject.

Representative Santonastaso stated,“Given the current challenges at the federal level and potential unforeseen changes in the national landscape, it’s essential to study the feasibility of an independent New Hampshire. This effort is not about neglecting our shared history; it’s about proactive planning and ensuring our state shall persist under any circumstance.”

Carla Gericke, President Emeritus of New Hampshire’s Free State Project, weighed in on the matter, stating “The increase in the number of New Hampshireites, and now our legislators, who support peacefully exiting the Union, is indicative of the Biden admin’s complete and utter failure to represent the interests of our state. The federal government have nobody to thank but themselves for the inevitable result – more and more of us want to choose freedom.”

Matt Sabourin dit Choinière, the chairman of the New Hampshire Independence Political Action Committee, commented “The purpose of these bills is to get the tough questions relating to independence out on the table, and then get some answers to the public, it’s basically an outline for future grand national strategy. My father always said growing up that if a private business were to operate the same way as the government, they’d be locked in prison. It’s time to fire D.C.”

In the state’s 2022 legislative session, the House rejected a proposal that would give voters the opportunity to amend the New Hampshire constitution, allowing the state to peacefully declare independence from the United States. While opponents of New Hampshire’s secessionist movement have historically argued that the federal government is a net positive or at the least can be molded into one, proponents have argued that the federal government is too far gone – citing issues such as inflation, ongoing wars abroad, and healthcare. New Hampshire is one of approximately 25 states that pays more in taxes to the federal government than they receive in federal funding.

Once introduced, both bills will move to committee for further discussion and review. If passed, the Secession Study Committee would be comprised of members from both the House and Senate, as well as experts in economics, law, and governance. Their findings would be presented to the state legislature for consideration.

For the full press release see: https://nhipac.org/2023/10/18/684/

Alu Partners With Liberty Narrators, Publishes 4 Audio-Books!

The Liberty Block - Wed, 2023-10-18 19:13 +0000

Over the past few months, Alu Axelman has turned three of his nine books into audio-books. One of the most frequent requests involves making the books available on audio for those who prefer to listen rather than read. Alu has found three excellent narrators, two of which are members of the New Hampshire liberty community. 

The post Alu Partners With Liberty Narrators, Publishes 4 Audio-Books! appeared first on The Liberty Block.

The Conservatarian Exchange Podcast #175

The Liberty Block - Tue, 2023-10-17 06:09 +0000

Hamas’ attack on Israel and its ramifications; was there any inside involvement on any level? the failure of intelligence is nearly inexplicable; Israel not having 2A protections; will the left ever change their stances in Islamism or 2A? is it in the interest of the current administration to have fighting or a war against Iran so they can make it harder to vote in the next election? Are the hostages retrievable, even the American hostages? How many pro-Iranians are in the current administration?

The post The Conservatarian Exchange Podcast #175 appeared first on The Liberty Block.

Legislation Could Trigger New Hampshire Secession Before 2030

The Liberty Block - Fri, 2023-10-13 20:36 +0000

Legislation filed by Representative Jason Gerhard (R-Northfield) would place a question on the ballot for the voters of New Hampshire. If approved by two thirds of voters, the New Hampshire Constitution would be amended to say that the state will declare independence if the federal government accrues a debt of $40 trillion. As of 10/13, the US debt is $33.5 trillion. In 2020, the debt was under $27 trillion. 

The post Legislation Could Trigger New Hampshire Secession Before 2030 appeared first on The Liberty Block.

The Conservatarian Exchange Podcast #174

The Liberty Block - Sat, 2023-10-07 18:45 +0000

McCarthy losing the speakership; Voltaire: “In this country it is thought necessary to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others”; should Trump become speaker? sould trump accept such an offer? Ian Freeman of Free Talk Live (NH) being sentenced to 8 years in federal prison for selling bitcoin; the trial against Trump in NYC. Newsom’s appointment of a Senator who doesn’t live in California; RFK running as an independent and how it will affect the election; Mike opines that Biden will not be the nominee; the Eds disagree;

The post The Conservatarian Exchange Podcast #174 appeared first on The Liberty Block.

Writing To Caged Activist Ian Freeman At The Merrimack County Spiritual Retreat

Free Keene - Fri, 2023-10-06 04:32 +0000

Ian Giving Speech On The History Of The FBI’s Attack On Free Staters

First of all, if you haven’t read my write-up on the history of the FBI’s attack on liberty in New Hampshire and how one agents serious grudge has resulted in millions of dollars wasted and 3 targeted attacks on one man Ian Freeman, his radio show Free Talk Live, and ultimately the Free State Project’s libertarian migration movement check that out first, and then come back here when you are done. Also, check out TheCrypto6.com for video coverage, how to access links to articles, news coverage, and Free Talk Live coverage of the case, documentaries, and more.

Now I’m imagining you are here because you want to know how you can write to Ian Freeman. His current status is he’s being held at the Merrimack County Spiritual Retreat until at least his next court appearance where the defense and prosecutor will hash out what restitution will be stolen from Ian Freeman and… presumably others given that Ian has taken a vow of poverty and retains few possessions let alone any valuables. To be clear, most people don’t know this as Ian is a very humble individual and I’ve NEVER heard him speak about this semi-private decision publicly. However I feel this is as good a time as any to point this out given his current situation.

Now the state has kidnapped and caged many members of our community over the years, but this time it’s different. The amount of cage time is almost unprecedented outside of one other amazing activist and now a state rep Jason Gerhard (for those who don’t know Jason partook in anti-tax activism and spent 12+ years in federal prison for it).

So here is what we’re going to do. We’re going to write Ian Freeman at every opportunity. Send him print outs of things you find interesting that he can read. Send him letters about what is happening around New Hampshire. Let him know what the media is saying about his sentence. Let him know what we’re doing and how we are doing. Have you been pushing for New Hampshire independence? Has there been progress in that arena? Let Ian know! It’s not likely he’ll be able to read about this stuff in the mainstream media.

Mailing address:

[inmates’s name]
314 Daniel Webster Hwy
Boscawen, NH 03303

No inmate number is required, just the inmates name (Ian Freeman) at the jail’s address. Things to note: No crayon, altered paper, laminated paper, polaroids, staples, or paper clips are allowed and your mail may get rejected if any of this is true. We recommend typing your letter or writing with a black or blue pen to avoid having your mail being returned. What constitutes crayon may include colored pencil.

Be sure to number your correspondence with “Letter number #” at the top of each page as well as page # like this “Letter number 2 Page 3 of 6” so that the person you are writing to knows what order letters came in and for that matter if a letter or page doesn’t arrive in tact.

As always, assume that everything is going to be read, not all your mail may get received, and any response may not get returned to you.

And one last thing… Ian’t not actually the only caged activist in prison right now. We shouldn’t forget that Aria is also serving an 18 month sentence for selling Bitcoin as well. She is another of the Crypto6. You can find out how to write to her at https://www.ariadimezzo.com/

The Crypto6: Ian Freeman Sentenced To 8 Years On Paperwork Violation For Selling Bitcoin & The Inside Story Of What Actually Happened

Free Keene - Wed, 2023-10-04 20:15 +0000

Around ~250 supporters turned out for Ian’s sentencing hearing between day 1 & 2 with some amount of overlap

Sadly many folks with an ulterior motive and those otherwise misinformed keep repeating the lies of the prosecution and mainstream media. I’m going to try and straighten out fact from fiction as the one person whose quite literally stood next to Ian Freeman and watched each and every little aspect since before the arrests in 2021 over the dastardly crime of not getting a permission slip to sell bitcoin. Let me start at the beginning though with some history lessons about the origins of the Shire Free Church and and the governments effort to squash the Free State Project as this case was never really about Ian selling Bitcoin or scammers as the prosecution would like you to believe.

Ian has been a key participant in the Free State Project and larger migration movement of libertarians to New Hampshire. The Free State Project aims to concentrate libertarians and like-minded individuals in New Hampshire for the purposes of securing liberty in our lifetime.

https://www.freedomdecrypted.com/public_html/other-content/ian-sentencing-video-freekeene/ian-sentencing-day-video-w-court-ruling-small4.mp4

Ian’s sentencing speech read aloud by Captain Kickass, pre-sentence protest, and reaction from supporters after conviction + special edition of Free Talk Live; If you’d like to support those supporting the Crypto6 consider purchasing the Crypto6 music created by our very own Captain Kickass : https://captainkickass.com/

 

 

In the early days of the Free State Project early movers were asked why they moved and 2/3rd of them responded with Ian Freeman, Free Talk Live, or something connected to Ian. If there was ever a super activist it was Ian Freeman. Ian has been a non-stop super activist since moving to New Hampshire over a decade ago. He co-founded a talk show called Free Talk Live that gives anybody and everybody the opportunity to speak about anything they like on a nationally syndicated radio show. This however is just one of many activities Ian is active in. From reporting on abusive state actors to filming boring hearings at the state house. From protests to running for office Ian has done, Ian has organized it, and Ian has even committed acts of civil disobedience in face of cage time to protest unjust laws harming peaceful people. Ian even co-founded a church in 2010 for all the philosophically principled libertarian activists moving to New Hampshire! The church, the Shire Free Church was never going to be an ordinary church with steeple however. It was and is an interfaith church where the only requirement to partake is that you are an advocate of peace.

We take this mission of advocacy very seriously. Everyone who moves to New Hampshire for the Free State Project has signed a statement of intent and advocates for peaceful solutions to solve problems rather than violence or threats thereof. Often although not always violence is done through or in the name of the state. Many don’t likely understand what a libertarian actually is and confuse political messages by people claiming to be libertarian while not being libertarian with actual libertarians. Actual libertarians believe in something called the non-aggression principle. In simple terms it’s the idea that violence should only ever be used as a last resort and in self defense. Personally I like to describe it being just shy of a pacifist philosophy. When someone advocates for war, I object. When someone advocates to solve a social problem through the legislature I object. In order for a law to be legitimate in my eyes a party with a valid claim must be the victim of violence. Outlawing guns does not involve a victim. A party with a gunshot wound probably involves a victim of violence. Outlawing the former does not follow libertarian philosophy. Outlawing the later outside self defense does. Taxing John at the point of a gun is violent and the laws illegitimate. Asking John to make a voluntary contribution to help someone in need on the other hand is perfectly acceptable and admirable.

This advocacy for peace and criticism of law enforcement and governance by the way of a gun has never sat well with the bureaucrats and government employees and it’s even resulted in a decade long grudge between a particular federal employee Phil Christiana and a particular free state project leader Ian Freeman. In fact Ian gave a talk on the background of FBI’s attack on free staters and the connection to FBI agent Phil Christiana at the Porcupine Freedom Festival in 2022.

While the first issues between agent Phil Christiana and free staters began prior to Ian Freeman joining the Free State Project it was Ian Freeman that really ticked off Phil Christiana. Phil Christiana appears to see Ian as his enemy having led not 1, not 2, but 3 FBI investigations into taking Ian out. The first that I’m aware of occurred in 2012 with the arrest of Free Talk Live co-host Rich Paul. At the time Ian Freeman had taken the initiative to create an activist center and apparently Phil Christiana really hated this. The feds setup an undercover sting operation in an effort to rope in Rich Paul (he changed his name for political reasons to ‘Nobody’, and is the same co-host arrested in the Crypto6 case) with the intent of using Rich to get at Ian Freeman. Rich was brought to the local Keene police station and waiting inside was an FBI agent. That FBI agent told Rich that he had two choices. He could face prosecution or go wear a wire into the Keene activist center. Long story short- Rich refused, took it to trial, risked 100+ years in a cage, and ended up losing at least legally speaking. Despite the max he could have gotten he spent one year in a cage for this.

 

 

In 2016 the FBI once again were up to no good. An agent made a false swearifcation two weeks after a co-founder co-host of Free Talk Live criticized the FBI for distributing child pornography. It was not only disturbing, but hypocritical as the FBI regularly explains the ban on child pornography distribution as being to protect the children. By that logic the FBI was literally harming the children it was claiming to protect. This criticism came about a year after the FBI raided actual pedophiles or at least to the extent that they were telling the truth as the raids were based on tainted warrants. In any event the false affidavit that led to a raid was intended to take out Ian Freeman and Free Talk Live by way of slander through the media. Despite this 2016 raid on Free Talk Live’s studio and hit on Ian’s reputation Phil Christiana failed to take out either Ian Freeman or Free Talk Live. About 7 of 200 radio stations stopped airing Free Talk Live in response to the raid. Despite no arrests and no evidence the feds smeared Ian’s name all over the newspapers. Ian and others who had electronics stolen from the studio have been forced to sue the FBI to get their equipment returned. It’s only been in the last year or so that the FBI has had to give up and return the equipment as no crime was ever committed. They have however tried to drag the return of Ian’s devices out in furtherance of their goals of taking Ian out by way of leaving a question mark in peoples minds as to the extremely disturbing insinuation. While Ian may think optimistically about the judge in his Crypto6 case I don’t. During the sentencing hearing for Crypto6 co-defendant Renee Spinella Judge Joseph Laplante directed the prosecution to pursue fraudulent charges against Ian for despicable crimes that even the prosecution responded had been investigated and had no merit.

The Shire Free Churches Vending Machines Warned Users About Potential Scammers And The Various Ways They May Get Tricked Into Buying Bitcoin

In 2016 they raided over non-existent despicable content that didn’t exist based on a fraudulent affidavit. According to the prosecutor immediately following the March 2021 Crypto6 arrests she stated that the Crypto6 investigation began in March of 2016. If you can do the math this was immediately following the failed attempt at taking Ian out via a raid over content that alluded to crimes that never occurred. In 2021 after a 5-year investigation the FBI raided again this time over the bastardly crime of selling Bitcoin. The prosecution may now be claiming it was about scammers or money laundering. However that isn’t how it started, and during sentencing the prosecution admitted as much. The feds didn’t have a case. They didn’t know of any victims relating to Ian Freeman or the Shire Free Church. After spending millions of dollars on round the clock surveillance of Free Talk Live’s studio, tailing co-hosts vehicles for months on end, and infiltrating the libertarian porcupine freedom festival what did they know? They knew Ian was on the board of the Shire Free Church, that Ian and the church were selling Bitcoin for charity. This was never a secret. The vending machines had been well advertised in the newspapers and on popular online sites tracking where users can find a Bitcoin vending machine. The vending machines even warned unattended purchasers about the risks of online scammers and to never send Bitcoin to someone they did not know. This is no different than what retailers do for pre-paid card products.

 

2017 Photo Of The Shire Free Churches First Vending Machine Available For General Public Access Getting Some Publicity In The Local Paper

 

Ian even warned everyone including customers that transacted off of LocalBitcoin including via his Telegram profile of scammers

Ian even warned users in his social media profiles that he would NEVER ask anyone to send him crypto of any kind. A common scamming tactic is to impersonate other users in an effort to trick friends into sending crypto.

Ian didn’t sell crypto for profit, the Shire Free Church sold it for charity AND because Ian firmly believes whether you do or not that spreading crypto undermines government induced violence. Ian and the rest of us are advocating for a peaceful voluntary society in the courts, in the state house, and on the radio. It sounds kinda crazy if you don’t have an understanding of currency and the history of money or the context in which this preaching occurs. And remember this is merely one outreach effort of the church. Before dollars existed notes were issued to people who physically deposited their gold with banks. The promissory notes could then be handed in and the bank would give you your gold. In time people began trading those promissory notes directly for goods and services rather than exchanging actual gold. The United States created a currency and that currency was a standardization of the promissory notes that had previously been issued by private banks. This made it even more convenient as now you didn’t have to trade your TD bank promissory notes for a Bank Of America promissory note when you traveled outside the reach of TD Banks. After World War II the United States even convinced- or bullied may be a more appropriate term here the rest of the world to adopt the US dollar as the world reserve currency. This is all currencies were tied to the US dollar and the US dollar could then be exchanged for gold held by the United States. Now everyone was dependent on the dollar to buy and sell things between foreign countries. In 1971 the US ended this convertibility.

Bitcoin was started as a means of escaping banks and supporting violent governments, not as a tool for investors, even if admittedly it’s been the best investment in all of human history thus far

No longer could you get your gold out. Some countries did try to forcefully repatriate their countries gold reserves. Long story short the United States eliminated the ability to get your gold out of their vaults, the thing that actually has value. You might now be wondering why did they do that? Well, the United States was at war and by eliminating this convertibility the could print dollars and tax or steal from anyone who held US dollars. This funded the wars occurring at the time and the United States remains on this system today. In recent years (depending on what system you use to do the calculation) US dollar holders lost as much as 18% of their dollars value, or in other terms gold had they merely been safekeeping it for you. If you disagree with funding violence spreading Bitcoin or crypto more generally is one way to minimize your participation in government committed atrocities. You may have seen the drop Bitcoin, not bombs stickers, and this is at the heart of why principled libertarians became interested in Bitcoin before “investors” got on board.

Now I’m sure people are yelling, but the The Shire Free Church was fake! Because that is what the perpetrators of the real fraud have said. They have said it was setup disingenuously to attract scammers too. Well, I hate to break it to you, but the Shire Free Church dates back to 2010. 6 years before the first vending machines were installed in publicly accessible places or Bitcoin sold online. The Church was not that different than a TV ministry that preaches its values, but in this case had real people in the physical and local world community in New Hampshire too. A government informant was even married by the Shire Free Church’s minister Mark Edge at the Porcupine Freedom Festival in 2018. Many others have also been married by the Shire Free Church. The humorous thing here is Melanie Neighbors both claimed on the stand that the church was fake while then being questioned about why she would have had a fake church marry her. She had no good response to that.

 

 

Shire Free Church Minister Mark Edge Officiates The Marriage Of Fed Informant Melanie Neighbours. Take particular note of the religious clothing the minister is wearing. It says bitcoin, not bombs which is a reference to the immorality of using US dollars. US dollars are what we call fiat currency, or my preference is dirty fiat. It means government money of which has no backing. This is you can’t redeem your dollar for a certain amount of gold and the US government prints more and more dollars to fund war efforts. The printing of these dollars results in inflation and the loss of dollar holders purchasing power. Members of the Shire Free Church and particularly those most devoted resist the use of dollars whether it be through use of Bitcoin other cryptocurrencies or Goldbacks (Goldbacks are a currency containing actual gold).

The Shire Free Church was founded by group of people and has over the past 13 years had many different outreach projects. It’s not just a front to sell Bitcoin. The church was funded initially by donations by different people. The donation of a single person that was not Ian included a 100 BTC Casascius Bar. It’s hard to even calculate what that is worth today as so few are left unredeemed and the value isn’t just in the 100 Bitcoin. However, that alone over the last 13 years meant the church had enough reserves to last it at least 40 years assuming that the value kept going up or the church otherwise invested it. Yes, churches, and non-profits have investments, and they also have employees. Ian however did not receive a salary and what most people don’t know is he long ago took a vow of poverty. His minimal existence is sustained by the church. He has one bedroom in one of the churches two properties. He drives a church vehicle that is also used for other church activities. This is a vehicle that was purchased used for what I believe was less than $10,000 at the time. That’s it! This is the guy that people are vehemently attacking based on lies that he profited from the sale of Bitcoin. He never had a need. He donated two properties to the church in 2010, before taking a vow of poverty. The one property is today over-valued at under $300,000 and the other is a mixed use property with a small convenience store on it and a house that is harder to estimate, but maybe also in the $200-300,000 range. The property has not had a successful enterprise on it in at least a few decades, but the church has given several small businesses and minority entrepreneurs over the decade an opportunity to get into the game and at least try to make something of it. According to the experts that testified Ian may not owe any taxes, and the IRS’s website says neither churches nor ministers must file a return. The gist of it is a minister of a church is only required to file if they have a job working at Mc Donalds on the side. The essentials can be covered by the church. Ian devoted his life to his ministry. While he does not currently hold a paying job he has had employment in the past working at K-mart and was previously employed in the radio business. In fact after Ian’s 2021 arrest he was given a prestigious freedom of speech award by talk radio’s premiere industry publication. He has also previously received other awards including one for being the most outspoken advocate for freedom by the Free State Project.

 

The Two Church Owned Properties

 

Do you think having a privacy policy makes you someone who caters to scammers? I’d hope not. Your bank has one of these. Do you really think a money laundering business would advertise that they require ID? Of course not. Would an individual that the prosecutors are claiming to be, and at least to this degree are right a genius really have used Telegram, but than not deleted their conversations with victims? Would they have run Linux and then not made the disk read-only despite having created educational videos on Tails? Tails is an operating system designed to provide anonymity to users for those unaware. Ian didn’t create “secret chats” as Telegram calls them to securely communicate using end-to-end encryption with anyone the government is disingenuously calling a victim. In fact, the government attempted to imply that Telegram was used to hide a crime when no efforts were taken to do so. While Telegram by default has encryption it’s not end-to-end and no more secure than the platform utilized primarily to sell Bitcoin. What was the reason? I didn’t ask, but it’s obvious to anyone whose ever sold anything on eBay. Platforms like these charge fees. By taking a purchase off a platform you save on the fees. This usually works fine so long as you have a history with a buyer. These are the instances where Ian took some sales off of localbitcoin where the church normally sold Bitcoin.

Another lie that has been repeated and perpetrated by false prosecutorial claims was that Ian charged “exorbitant fees” to exchange proceeds from fraudsters’ romance and other scams into Bitcoin, which was really the church, and those fees they claimed he charged for Bitcoin were 10-21%. This is wrong. It’s an outright lie and manipulation. The church may have charged as much as 21% at some point to a first time customer under some circumstance. However all the victims in this case paid 10%, not 21%. These are competitive rates for online peer to peer platforms within the time frame  alleged and for the methods of payments used (which each have different costs associated with them). For selling crypto the church actually charged as little as 5% and its vending machines typically had the lowest rates for purchasing Bitcoin anywhere. The first time I purchased Bitcoin from the churches vending machine I paid an 8% fee. This is as low as I believe the vending machines themselves ever got. The prosecutor claimed that these fees were evidence that that Ian catered to scammers. It’s not the case given that they were in line with the industry norms. The church didn’t operate a Bitcoin exchange as the government claims. The church operated 1-4 vending machines with a new vending machine coming online about once a year. The church also sold Bitcoin on localbitcoin, but the fees varied and were determined by the market and costs associated with different methods. Vending machine rates differ but are typically (yes, FINCEN registered) around 8-20% and there was only one example of another vending machine operator charging 8% that I’ve ever encountered. Bitcoin exchanges are a high volume operation and have different costs associated with them. This is why they can offer 1-2% fees, but this can also be misleading as often exchanges lie to you. They don’t sell you Bitcoin. They sell you IOUs for Bitcoin. In other words if you send IOUs from one user to another on the same exchange it doesn’t cost anything more because you aren’t actually sending Bitcoin. But if you withdraw your IOUS and exchange them for actual Bitcoin to a wallet you control off the exchange or for a fiat currency these exchanges will charge another percentage fee on top of this 1-2% advertised rate.

Other disturbing aspects about the case is the basis for which the prosecutor considered a transaction to be suspicious. The prosecutor asked how Ian could possibly have overlooked the fact one guy was black. The government says that Ian should have filed a report on it (even though he couldn’t as the church wasn’t a money transmitter under the law). People who are over 60 are also suspicious apparently as well people from other countries or maybe it’s just countries that are predominantly not of Caucasian or of European dissent. It frankly wasn’t clear how far this guys bigotry extended. Meanwhile Ian regularly helped business owners and others at no charge as well as folks on the older side with their crypto questions. A number of business owners testified to this. One lady regular came and comes to our Keene Decentralized Currency Meetups. She was the oldest person to testify at 79 years old during the trial. Many other businesses were setup to accept crypto by Ian- and not once did he ask for money. Ian didn’t do cryptocurrency activism for profit. He did it for religious reasons. He believes in peace and anything to that end he supports. Speaking of which Ian wasn’t selling just Bitcoin as a fundraiser for the church. The church also sold goldbacks which are a form of ‘real money’. What that means is that the currency isn’t backed by gold. It is gold. To Ian it’s not about making money. He was already wealthy prior to founding the church and rather than retire like some people in our community he took a vow of poverty and disposed of his assets. He now works focuses full time on various outreach efforts to that end.

Let’s talk about some of these other outreach efforts for a moment that have nothing to do with Bitcoin. The government admits that most Bitcoin sold went back into buying Bitcoin. They never claimed it went to fund luxury cars, mansions, or his personal benefit. They may have said it was his personal gain, but no evidence of this existed that they could point to. No, not at all, but I can tell you where the money went that didn’t return to the pool to purchase more Bitcoin. It went to charitable causes in Keene and to people around the world.

The church funded the construction of a mosque for a persecuted religious minority in Keene. The space was donated by the church and about 20 muslim families one of which was from India even testified to that end. He did not know much about the Shire Free Church other than that the church had funded the construction of the mosque and that his family partook in the mosques services, but none-the-less, the church was focused on its mission of spreading peace and helping people in need. The government then had the gall to insult the man asking if the mosque was just another front for Bitcoin. The man responded that he didn’t know anything about Bitcoin although acknowledged his Indian Curry Restaurant accepted Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies even though he didn’t know much about it and needed a lot of help with it. Something else which he said was that Ian was always extremely helpful with Bitcoin and promoting his business. When he was asked if Ian charged for this he said no. He also said he was extremely appreciative of Ian and all that Ian had done to drive traffic to his struggling restaurant. This was also said by a number of other witnesses that were brought in to counter the governments slander.

Another instance of the churches outreach efforts included funding for an orphanage in Uganda. What is truly disingenuous and nefarious is the feds denial of a mans visa who could otherwise have come to the United States to testify on Ian’s behalf about orphanage he helped build with the Shire Free Churches funding and support. This was one of the larger financial contributions to charitable causes that the church made and its members helped raise additional funds for.

Some Of The People Involved In The Uganda Orphanage The Shire Free Church Made Possible

The church has also attempted to acquire and donate property to a local homeless shelter. What almost no one else is aware of besides me, Ian, and maybe couple of others is that the FBI interfered in the effort to acquire and donate a portion of a property to the homeless shelter. The property consisted of two attached buildings and one of them would have been donated to the shelter had the shelter not backed away in fear of the consequences as the result of government meddling. It was not the church or Ian that were fake, or at fault for under-performing if you were to somehow try and argue that, but the government’s own intimidation of charitable organizations that the church was attempting to work with.

The church also helped many people in the community who were of lower income with below market rate rents. Some of these families had members with drug addiction issues and other mental health problems. Other members of the church would routinely volunteer to drive some of these individuals around. One family lacked a car. Neither mom nor dad could drive and were dependent on the church and its members for rides to and from grocery stores and even getting to and from work. On numerous occasions I personally drove one mother who had been separated for the sake of the kids to and from work while she was attempting to beat a terrible drug addiction. Both sides had mental health issues, but at least dad was employed and able to take care of the kids with some amount of outside assistance. Dad eventually was able to get on some form of government assistance and is now running his own business and licensed.

Before the building was converted to a mosque other church members assisted in cleaning it out. This volunteer work was grueling. The house had previously been used by a family who had fled the state. Their drug addictions were severe and despite having garbage pickup service paid for by a good samaritan they would never put the garbage outside for pickup. Instead of using the service they started using the basement as a dumping ground for their trash. This resulted in a house full of bed bugs, rodents, and physical deterioration of the property. It took a slew of volunteers to help clean it out. If only I wouldn’t embarrass one of the volunteers who did the dirtiest of the deeds I’d include a picture here of him that I have stripping down to his undies and being scrubbed down outside the home (no worries, it’s not weird, it is someone very close to me). It was that disgusting. It’s unclear if those bedbugs were ever fully eliminated. It’s been at least a good handful of years and despite this there was a bedbug infestation that was recently discovered by new tenants. Keep in mind the church immediately took appropriate action to remediate the situation once it was brought to attention.

During the sentencing hearing at least one of the media outlets seemed to describe supporters as disturbing as if we were giving a scammer a “standing ovation when he entered the room”. In reality we were supporting an innocent man fighting against thugs who were defrauding the public and using violence against a man who went above and beyond to stop scams and educate people about safe and proper use of Bitcoin. Not just as an investment, but as a means of transacting business. Bitcoin is not just a means of spreading peace, but while we may have peaceful objectives it’s actually a means of helping people escape an actually nefarious system. Bitcoin was created in response to the 2008 financial collapse when the banks took peoples homes after knowingly issuing subprime loans that borrowers would not be able to pay back when interest rates rose. Bitcoin enables users to be their own bank. One need not procure the services of highly regulated and immoral financial institutions to conduct transactions at a distance. These financial institutions have been ordered by bureaucrats with regulatory authority to ban classes of people from protesters to workers in the legal sex trade. From Justin Trudeau ordering bank account seizures during the truckers protest in Canada to US bureaucrats cutting off access to unauthorized entrants to essential banking services. Sometimes these acts just push up the cost of sending money back home, but at other times it’s it’s a complete financial nightmare for people who haven’t even been in a completely legal industry for 20 years. Protecting vulnerable people is a lofty goal, but it’s not morally acceptable to lock people up, use violence against, and lie about individuals did under the guise of fighting crime. It’s not morally OK to exploit and use people as scapegoats to send a message either.

At the end of the day Ian was convicted of something he did not do. Fortunately all of the significant charges including money laundering were tossed for lack of evidence before sentencing or dropped prior to the trial. The jury didn’t have evidence upon which to come to a verdict of guilty as the evidence presented actually proved his innocence. He turned down the undercover IRS agents ask to buy Bitcoin and would not sell to him once he knew the agent was pretending to be a drug dealer. Ultimately 20 of the 27 trumped up charges were dropped or otherwise tossed. What remains must now be appealed post-sentencing.

Some points to note about how the judge and audience are being misled. One victims letter that was read to the court included that a scammer directed her to wire money to the church and sent $300,000 “wiping out her life’s savings”. This isn’t correct. She may have been ripped off for $300,000, but the church didn’t see that money. The scammers would direct their victims to purchase various amounts of Bitcoin from different sellers. The church did receive some repeat business, but ultimately these amounts were a small percentage of the funds lost. Ian would utilize commercial phone books to lookup and call buyers in an effort to avoid calling someone merely pretending to be the buyer. Through this method he was able to confirm that the buyers of Bitcoin from the church understood that they were buying Bitcoin and were not being scammed. The problem ultimately was that scammers aren’t all dumb. Some are actually very intelligent and were successful at convincing their victims to lie about their purchases. At one point Ian even asked a women if she had ever met her husband. This was not because he suspected her of being a victim necessarily, but merely because he was trying to catch any potential scammer off guard. While offensive in nature he carefully asked the question blaming the law as to why he was asking it, still to some offense. To make a long story short she lied and said she had. If she had said she had never met her husband Ian may have been able to have persuaded her not to buy Bitcoin for a lover she had never met in person. Remember that it was not just the church that victims would buy bitcoin from, so even had he refused to sell to her she would not have been left unvictimized short of Ian having been able to convince her of the mistake she was making.

One of the most interesting parts of the sentencing was that a supposed victim read a letter for the audience that stated she had bought her bitcoin at a vending machine in the state of Florida. The Shire Free Church never operated a vending machine outside the state of New Hampshire. This was not testimony, but it demonstrates that these women were being coached and providing unreliable testimony. These so-called victims were convinced by the prosecution that Ian was somehow involved in their victimization despite it being the farthest thing from the truth. “if only Ian had registered” was the logic, despite that not making an iota of a difference given the churches know your customer regime was stronger than that of any bank these victims used to wire funds to the church in the first place.

There was one other disturbing thing I overheard from a conversation between a Sentinel reporter and a government employee. The government employee was OK’ing the writers story. Whether this was suggestive that he was working hand in hand or otherwise seeking approval it didn’t appear to be honest journalism. The media for the most part failed to get the whole story or fairly report the story although I believe the reporting for the Sentinel on this sentencing story despite this incident was not as terrible as I’ve seen it on other articles they’ve  written about the Crypto6. At least some effort appeared to be made to give the resemblance of fair reporting whether or not it actually was.

The government brought in a lot of sob stories about elderly women being victims. In reality it wasn’t all women, and they weren’t all elderly. About 20% of the victims were young and no older than the judge, prosecutors, and lawyers, and some were men. The victims were that of third party perpetrators and the government admitted during the trial that Ian did NOT scam anyone or know of the scammers at the time these victims were being scammed. They attempted to frame it as if he knew the people buying Bitcoin were victims of scammers by carefully cutting audio from episodes of Free Talk Live where the scams were discussed post-discovery. Prior to discovery Ian did not know any of these victims at trial were being victimized by a third party scammer. These so-called victims had lied to the banks which were used to wire the money to the church. The banks didn’t have any effective KYC- procedures either that worked 100% of the time. A credit union lady testified they don’t have to cut off individual transactions even. Know your customer procedures were followed by Ian religiously. Know your customer procedures are not created by the government, but rather by the financial institutions licensed to transmit money or otherwise those operating banks. KYC is not required unless you are moving money on behalf of another from one location to another or from one person to another. The church never transmitted anything. The church sold Bitcoin and only sold Bitcoin from it’s own wallet raising money for charity. No financial gain occurred as it relates to Ian Freeman.

Ultimately the lawyers who advised the church prior to the 2021 arrest were correct on the requirements and whether the church had to register with the regulatory agency FINCEN. The lawyers that advised the church had a deep understanding of what Bitcoin was. The judge on the other hand couldn’t fathom what Bitcoin was. In his decision he actually revealed that he thought the blockchain was a real life breathing human being. The church in practice only ever sold its own Bitcoin though and did not move money on behalf of others like walmart does or a bank does or an actual exchange does. The church didn’t need to register as a money transmitter for this and other reasons, but the ignorance of the judge resulted in a conviction on the money transmitter charge anyway. The other aspect of why the church wasn’t required to register came down to the fact the church wasn’t doing it for profit. A person selling Bitcoin without a profit or markup for instance or a church doing it for charity isn’t included in the law. I believe that the defense preserved the issue for appeal so it could get overturned on appeal. Unfortunately it’s more than likely Ian will serve out his sentence prior to the appeal meaning that while he may get found not guilty of all the charges later he’ll still have served his sentence.

For now the remaining convictions that will need to be appealed include the follow: Operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business, conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and attempts to evade or defeat tax in the years 2016 through 2019.

For that Ian has been sentenced to 8 years for what amounted to a paperwork violation. The good news is this is more than half of the minimum sentence for the charges he’s been convicted of. In practical terms the estimate for his release with “good time” under a new law is 4 ½ to 5 years. And sadly yes he has not been allowed to remain free on appeal as the judge had previously stated was likely. This is probably because he threw out the money laundering charge prior to sentence and it was the lack of evidence for the knowledge component of the money laundering statute that the judge thought would be successful on appeal. So, the good news is he’ll be back. The bad news is it probably won’t be before his appeal is concluded or his sentence is completed. Judge Laplante also sentenced Ian to two years of supervised release, ordered him to pay a court fine of $40,000, and ordered forfeiture and restitution to be decided at a future hearing. Stay tuned to Free Keene for continuation of this story and others. And remember, Ian may be held up for a bit, but the Free State Project, Free Talk Live, and the church live on. We should be ecstatic as our community is thriving with record numbers of new movers every year, more and more government violence in New Hampshire being eliminated,  and those advocating violence being done away with in favor of peaceful liberty minded individuals. For that I am very thankful! So lets keep up the good work.

 

A Locally Organized Bitcoin Pizza Day Photo Celebrating The Day That Bitcoin Was First Used A Currency, NOT Just Some Investment Vehicle Or Scammer Tool

Crypto Six Sentencing Statement

Free Keene - Tue, 2023-10-03 18:00 +0000

It’s been two-and-a-half years since the outrageous raid against half-a-dozen peaceful advocates of cryptocurrency here in New Hampshire, now known as “The Crypto Six“. Sadly, federal court rules prohibit any kind of recording of court proceedings, so I’m sharing with you the text of what I intend to read in court prior to the judge issuing his sentence on my now seven victimless crime convictions, as he tossed one of the worst two convictions out a couple of weeks ago. Here it is:

I appreciate the opportunity to speak here today. I hope you can appreciate that I’m in a bit of an awkward position. Normally apologies and acceptance of responsibility are expected from a defendant at a sentencing hearing. I have been convicted on all eight counts I faced in trial by a jury of twelve other human beings. Since that time, this court has thankfully overturned my wrongful conviction on the money laundering count. We are going to be appealing the remaining seven convictions on the basis that the prosecution never proved a single one of them. So, I can’t apologize for those things, as I do not believe I broke the law. Regardless, the jury found me guilty despite the defects in the prosecutors’ case, so there is something in their opinion to be acknowledged. I don’t know if they didn’t like me or didn’t believe me, but they thought I deserved to be found guilty – and I have to accept that there was some reason they did that, whether I like it or not.

There is something I do want to apologize for however, and that is that I failed to detect and prevent 100% of scam victims from using my services. For that, I am sorry. To the extent that my screening and know-your-customer procedures failed to alert me and the victims to what was happening to them, I take full responsibility for my failure and would like to request the court direct any fine toward the scammers’ victims, instead of the government.

In their recent sentencing memorandum, the prosecution accused me of never having a real job. The truth is, I’ve worked several years at K-Mart and several at multiple radio stations, including several working for Clear Channel Communications, now known as iHeartRadio. That is where I began my now nationally syndicated talk radio program in 2002, that they insultingly call a “hobby”, simply because its revenue is down from its previous heights. They act as though I could be heard on over 170 radio stations nationwide without any history in the industry or having ever lifted a finger. They obviously know nothing about entrepreneurship and the countless hours I have invested in building and maintaining the studio, calling radio stations to get them to carry our show, running our website and online presence, and then actually performing the show three hours a night, several days every week, which I have done for two decades of my life. My show is my life’s work, and it’s completely unnecessary to their case to belittle it. We have been honored by TALKERS Magazine, the top industry publication, with inclusion into their “Heavy Hundred” for over a decade. It’s a list of the most influential talk show hosts in America. This year we ranked at number 25. TALKERS also awarded me with their coveted “Freedom of Speech Award” in 2022, an annual award that has gone to approximately 30 talk hosts in the last few decades including Rush Limbaugh.

The have also insulted my religion and my church, simply because they don’t understand it, or pretend not to. While we don’t utilize a traditional religious meeting space, we did provide one, free of charge, to the local Muslim community, as our witness Mohammed Ali testified. This is because the Shire Free Church, like the Unitarian Universalists, is an interfaith church. Our ministers in Keene conduct their ministry via broadcast media, as many television and radio churches have done for decades. Our church has donated to multiple charities including the Hundred Nights Homeless shelter, Liberty in North Korea, and were instrumental in building an orphanage in Uganda. Multiple local business owners testified under oath and via written letter, that I provided all my cryptocurrency consulting services to them free of charge, as this was also part of my church mission. Despite the prosecutors’ claims that I’m the only minister, we actually have multiple and they have presided over multiple weddings, including the very witness they had falsely testify that the church isn’t real. Despite the prosecutors’ claim that the Church only existed to confuse banks, the Shire Free Church was founded a year prior to my inspiration to launch our first vending machine in Keene, and three years before my first localbitcoins sale.

However, the most insulting part about the case against me is the idea that I was conspiring with fraudsters to assist them in their evil deeds. The prosecutors’ case attempted to have it both ways – on one hand they said advertising that I respected privacy was an invitation to criminals, but then they showed some of the detailed requirements I put buyers through to verify their identities and alert them to what they were buying and how. What they did not show the jury was my list of questions I had developed to ask people prior to selling them bitcoin. The questions specifically identified different types of scams and required the buyer to confirm they were not being victimized.

It’s worth pointing out that my procedure was more in depth than any of the banks who also sent away the scam victims’ life savings, yet the bank tellers and managers were not arrested.

Unfortunately, it took me some time to develop these procedures as I learned slowly of the different types of scams. There was no how-to-manual to read when I started this and initially I was the direct target of the scammers, who used my bank info to pay credit card bills or car payments. Since the banks never told me why they were closing my accounts, it kept me in the dark much longer about what was happening to a small percentage of my buyers.

The prosecution suggested during trial that the only reason I had identification procedures in place was to protect my bank accounts. While that is one reason, it’s not the only reason. The other reason is because I don’t want people to be taken advantage of. As a libertarian voluntarist, I am firmly against fraud and would never want to be a part of it. Indeed, my perfect seller ratings on localbitcoins.com were proof of my reputation for honesty. Eventually, my mission expanded beyond spreading bitcoin to include to never let a scammer get through my screening.

Sadly, no matter how strict I became or how many hoops I put in place for buyers to jump, I could not catch them all, as I learned with the case of Patrick Brown, who testified at the trial. Mr Brown said under oath that I only asked him one question when we talked on the phone prior to selling him bitcoin. However, by that time I had developed the series of questions I mentioned earlier, which included asking him if there was a third party putting him up to this and if he was under duress. He assured me he was buying the bitcoins for investment purposes on his own volition. So I sold it to him, and then he came back for a few more buys. I thought he was a satisfied, repeat customer until his bank tried to pull back one of his wires from my account. I reached out to Patrick, whose number I still have in my phone, to try to find out what happened, and eventually heard from Detective Allen Snoddy from Travis County Sheriffs. I spent a half hour on the phone with Detective Snoddy and provided any information I could to help him with his investigation, and Detective Snoddy explained to me what had happened to Mr. Brown. That’s when I learned that he WAS under duress as the scammers were threatening him and pretending to be federal government agents. It was in my conversation with Detective Snoddy that I learned Patrick Brown lied to me to get me to sell him bitcoin.

The other witnesses in the case, I had no idea were victims of scams, and I didn’t find out they had been victimized until I saw their names and stories in the discovery for this case. Karla Cino had purchased many times from me over longer than a year. She represented herself to me as a successful real estate agent who was buying for herself and eventually selling to others. I didn’t know until the trial that she’d been working with a scammer for half-a-decade and was herself acting as a money transmitter for the scammer. She kept those details from me. The same was true about Nancy Triestram – she revealed at trial she was actually working with her scammer and moved money at his behest, while keeping me in the dark. Dannela Varel was a sophisticated financial advisor by trade, but even she was fooled by a scammer. What I learned was the scammers are so persuasive, they will get their victims to lie and do anything necessary to get through my requirements – it didn’t matter how strict I was or how many questions I asked. I was also the victim of the scammers, who had their victims lie to get through my security – putting me unknowingly in the position of taking the fall for their crimes.

One more example of the dishonesty of the victims in this case came to light since the previous sentencing hearing, where Karen Miller read her letter to the court. In it, she admitted having bought bitcoin from me with other people’s money that the scammer had his victims send to Karen. Karen never told me this. Like Patrick Brown, I still have her cell phone number in my phone, as I had spoken to her more than once to make sure she was a consenting buyer, as she purchased from me multiple times. She appeared to be a wealthy businesswoman buying bitcoin for investment and business purposes. I met Karen through Rebecca Viar, who I considered to be a good customer. Karen Miller assured me in my first phone call with her that she knew Rebecca Viar personally. This turned out to be a lie. Thanks to the most recent letter filed by the prosecution from Pam Hamilton Campbell, we know Karen Miller was willing to tell lies to get what she and the scammer wanted from me, and others. In her letter, Pam Campbell stated Karen Miller “posed on the phone to me as the scammer’s sister… she and I spoke on the phone several times. She assured me that, as his sister, she was also sending him money to help him out of his situation. I would never have sent him money – $753,251 out of the kindness of my heart, had she not compelled me using the unconscionable methods via emotional blackmail, perpetrated to commit this crime.” I want to be clear, I don’t think Karen Miller was knowingly part of this scam. However, she was under this man’s spell and was willing to lie to help him. She lied to Pam Campbell to get her to send Karen money and she lied to me to get me to accept it. However, she never told me she was using other people’s money. This is yet another example of how I was tricked by the scam victims. Now these poor people think their scammer has been caught and is facing punishment, when in reality whoever “Jerry Harmon” is is still out there, probably still running the same scam and using one of the thousands of other bitcoin sellers on the peer-to-peer sites.

I am sorry those people were taken advantage of and that I couldn’t stop them all. I did stop plenty of them, however. While the prosecutors focused on a few dozen scam victims who bought bitcoin through me, they objected to me showing my user feedback on localbitcoins. This is because the only negative feedback I had was from likely scammers who were mad that my requirements were too onerous. Between my account, Renee’s, and Nobody’s accounts, we had thousands of buyers and 100% positive feedback. In addition to stopping scam victims from buying from me in the first place, my procedures were able to stop multiple scams in-process, including an elderly Doctor from Alabama who we worked with the police to get his $4,000 back to him, a young stockbroker from New York City who nearly lost $5,000, and Paul Niwa’s elderly mother Yoshino, who I saved from losing $11,000 and went through many hoops to get her the money back after the bank closed our account. The idea that I was somehow in support of scammers or tolerant of them is negated by the fact that I worked to get people their money back and worked with law enforcement on multiple occasions. Were I a part of the scam, there would be no reason to return Mrs Niwa’s money, as it was already in our bank account.

Further, the church already had plenty of bitcoins years prior to selling them, so the idea that this was all about making money from scammers is absurd – this was all about getting people to adopt bitcoins, which is why despite the prosecution’s claims of high rates, our vending machines were priced lower than any other in the region.

The prosecution would have you believe that charging 10% on localbitcoins is outrageous compared to the below 1% rate that exchanges would charge, and therefore only scammers would apply. They say this while ignoring the testimony of their own witness, Chris Rietmann who said that my prices were in line with the markets we were in and while ignoring the thousands of satisfied customers we had on that site over the years. Even prosecution’s own numbers admit only a small portion of our buyers were victims of scams. Clearly there is a demand for the personal service we provided. Further, the centralized exchanges can’t stop the scammers either. Their onboarding procedure is completely automated – there is no personal phone interview – and involves the customer handing over their social security number and their ID. Scammers can easily have their victims, who we know are willing to lie to buy bitcoin, jump through the exchange hoops. However, the exchanges have their government paperwork, so they are not facing criminal charges, just like the banks aren’t facing charges for wiring away the victims’ life savings.

Despite the prosecution’s assertions, simply advertising that one respects privacy is not an invitation to scammers, especially when paired with the ID and security requirements I had. Privacy is a right enshrined in the New Hampshire constitution’s Bill of Rights and was placed there by a supermajority of the voters in 2018, so clearly privacy is popular and not a criminal act or an unspoken conspiracy.

Their case for conspiracy to money launder was innuendo – suggesting I should have known scams were happening simply because a portion of my buyers were of retirement age. The prosecutors claim cash is a “red flag”, but people who appreciate privacy also appreciate cash. The desire for privacy is not a crime nor evidence for suspicion. Further, poor grammar on the internet is common – many people of all ages who might speak fine in real life are constantly cutting corners in their internet communications. Though third party trades are riskier, I required ID from all parties involved and even made phone calls to ask probing questions of the buyer’s agents, though the government’s witnesses didn’t recall the extent of my questions.

Assisting scams would have meant major frustration for me as unhappy buyers always led to a bank account being closed. A customer pulling back a wire also meant I would become the scammer’s victim, as I would have already sent the bitcoin and there is no way to reverse a bitcoin transaction like one can a bank transfer. There is simply no reason I would have wanted these difficulties to happen more often and working with scammers or trying to attract them, would have ensured it happened more often than it did.

In order to prove the count of money laundering conspiracy with the scammers, they would have to prove willful blindness, as no other evidence was presented. To prove willful blindness they had to prove I consciously and deliberately avoided learning facts in question. Given I had a rigorous set of Know Your Customer requirements in place, it was clear I was trying to catch and prevent scammers. Further, I had assisted law enforcement in their investigations of those scammers. Additionally when I was able to detect a scam in progress, I was able to stop the transaction and worked to get the funds back to the scam victim, as was testified to by Paul Niwa. I was able to interdict multiple scams and make the victims whole. This is the opposite of willful blindness – this is willfully trying to stop scammers and protect my buyers.

As a longtime advocate for jury nullification, I’m well aware that juries also have the power to do what could be called “reverse jury nullification”, and convict someone who wasn’t proven guilty by the evidence. Perhaps that is what happened in this case. However, before you render your sentence, there are some important factors to consider.

The real shocking revelation from the testimony in this case was the complete lack of interest on the part of the FBI in catching or even investigating the actual scammers. On cross, Patrick Brown admitted the FBI never asked a single question about what happened to the roughly $900,000 he sent to other people or places at the behest of the scammer – $900,000 that did not go into any of my accounts. Mr. Brown stated that they never inquired about the scammer at all and had no interest in what happened to the bulk of his life savings. Karla Cino, similarly, said she’d be happy to talk to the FBI about her scammer who she admitted she was still in touch with as of the week before appearing at trial. She also said the FBI had never asked her to help provide any information about him or put them in touch with him.

I hope you will consider this very carefully in your sentence. The fact that the FBI had zero interest in catching or investigating the scammers themselves reveals the truth about this case. It was brought in bad faith. Another example of this is when the FBI first approached my ex girlfriend Renee and her then-fiancee Andy in 2018 to question them about working with me selling bitcoin, they already could have brought charges for “money transmission”, and perhaps some others, but they did not. In fact, since they didn’t charge Renee, Andy, or me at the time, we figured it was more proof we weren’t doing anything illegal and they were just on a fishing expedition hoping to find something. If you’ll recall, I was operating on my attorney Seth Hipple’s guidance letter explaining why what we were doing did not require a money transmitter license at either the state or federal level.

Throughout the case, they have acted as though this prosecution was about saving elderly victims from scammers, but if that were true, why not arrest me in 2018? Why did they wait three more years? They kept spending taxpayer dollars on investigating me with 24 hour a day surveillance and letting me continue to sell bitcoin to many hundreds more people. If this was about enforcing the law, they’d have arrested me in 2018. They also don’t actually care about the scam victims – that’s why they never asked Patrick Brown or Karla Cino anything about their scammers. They wanted to arrest a high-visibility bitcoin advocate and seller and use the maximum amount of force and intensity to take me down to show everyone what happens when you don’t ask their permission to sell bitcoin.

However, the idea that a government license matters in regards to stopping scammers is disingenuous. We learned through the witness testimony that every single one of these scam victims first went to their bank and authorized the bank tellers to send out hundreds of thousands of dollars via wire transfer in order to buy bitcoin for their scammers. It didn’t matter that the banks are registered money transmitters – they sent away these peoples’ life savings. My know your customer procedures were even more in-depth than the bankers but the scam victims lied to me like they lied to the bankers. What did it matter if the banks filled out a SAR or CTR on the transfer? They still sent the wires, because in the end, you do what the customer wants, after you’ve done your best to alert them to possible scams. It wasn’t the SARs or CTRs that alerted the FBI to the victims who testified in this case – it was my own KYC files from my laptop. Based on what I saw in discovery, the FBI had zero awareness of most of the scam victims until they started contacting the people they found in my files.

The government estimates that the scam victims lost several million dollars to their scammers via buying bitcoin from me. However, that number is the total they lost to the scammer. An average of about 10-15% went to me and my friends – the rest of it is in the scammers’ possession. Though the prosecution likes to bring up the 21% number, that was only for first-time buyers because they were the highest risk, and I subjected them to in-depth KYC requirements. Most of the regular buyers that turned out to be victims were at a 10% commission, because to me they were good, satisfied, regular buyers.

As we learned at trial, Karla Cino lost $100,000 of her own money early on in her several year long relationship with her scammer, and then she began assisting him by receiving funds from his other victims – years before opening her first trades with me. So in some of the victims’ cases, they weren’t even sending their own money, making it hard to know their own personal loss via trades with me, if any at all.

Though they are now again saying I’m a flight risk, the prosecution previously went from saying I was a threat to the community to have me wrongfully denied bail for 69 days all the way to consenting to dropping location monitoring and computer monitoring prior to trial. It’s clear I am not a threat to anyone and I can obey various restrictions, including home incarceration, without being a burden on the Probation department.

I’ve already lived under pre-and-post trial restrictions for over two years in addition to the 69 days I spent behind bars. If I have to go back to a cell as part of the sentence, my radio show and our over 170 AM&FM radio stations will be unnecessarily harmed. My co-hosts will do their best to keep things going in my absence, but no one knows the studio equipment like I do. A prison sentence for me may be the death sentence for my 20-year-old radio program. I also have a wife, Bonnie, who I love very much and my absence would harm her greatly.

While I have my criticisms of the justice system in this country, I know it is made of individuals and throughout this process, you have shown yourself to be thoughtful, fair, and willing to change your mind. Thank you for that.

How To Double The Number of Free Staters In One Simple Step

The Liberty Block - Sat, 2023-09-30 21:45 +0000

“Liberty in our lifetime“ – for Free Staters this is not just an empty slogan. It is the rallying cry we listened to and took to heart before we uprooted our lives, packed the moving van, and started driving to New Hampshire. It encapsulates more than just a political strategy, it demonstrates hope. The hope that we do not have to descend into the darkness of totalitarianism, but have a fighting chance against the forces of deceit and communism.

The post How To Double The Number of Free Staters In One Simple Step appeared first on The Liberty Block.

The Conservatarian Exchange Podcast #173

The Liberty Block - Sat, 2023-09-30 20:16 +0000

Daniel Jupp speaks about his new book on Bill Gates (Gates of Hell: Why Bill Gates Is the Most Dangerous Man in the World); Ed M. commented that at times “malice and stupidity merge”; the court ruling against Trump in NY; the Menendez indictment; the relaxing of the dress code in the Senate for Fetterman; what happened to the fighter plane in South Carolina? Biden marching with striking UAW; will the government shut down (and should there be a more realistic word for this? h/t Mike P.)

The post The Conservatarian Exchange Podcast #173 appeared first on The Liberty Block.

NH: Civil disobedience expected as Feds sentence local Bitcoiner Oct 2

Free Keene - Sat, 2023-09-30 18:19 +0000

Who: Free Talk Live’s Ian Freeman faces years in prison, NHexit.com and friends to protest. If you’re against both Federal overstep and violent revolution…you’re invited.
What: Demonstration, sentencing, possible “camera disobedience” and arrests.
Where: Outside Federal Courthouse / 55 Pleasant St. / Concord, NH
When: 8:30a.m. Mon Oct 2, 2023 – His final sentencing is scheduled for 90 minutes later in the same building.
Why: The occupiers of New Hampshire have prosecuted the local talk show host for Bitcoin-related “crimes” which are arguably victimless and arguably not even crimes. They forbid filming the sentencing process and recently arrested State Rep Jason Gerhard for trying to do so. More activists are expected (though not certain) to challenge the recording ban Oct. 2 and risk arrest.

Background/Details/Updates:
https://forum.shiresociety.com/t/join-nhexit-com-to-protest-fed-prosecution-of-crypto-six-oct-2-concord-nh/13646

Dave Ridley
NHexit.com

O’Keefe Academy: Ethics

The Liberty Block - Fri, 2023-09-29 19:27 +0000

We are in! A week late from the original start date but we now have access to the course. A day after posting my article “WTF OMG”, asking why the course had not started on the scheduled date, I got a follow notification on Instagram from the one and only James O'Keefe himself! A promising start.

The post O’Keefe Academy: Ethics appeared first on The Liberty Block.

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