Massive crowd watching speakers at BLM event in Keene.
Finally, average people are showing concern for police violence! It only took thousands of innocent bodies piled up over many years and countless millions of peaceful people arrested for victimless crimes before enough people got mad enough to do something. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis cops who brazenly choked him to death for several minutes while being recorded on video as Floyd tried to plead with the gang of killers and alert them that he could not breathe.
However, what happened to Floyd was the spark that lit a flame – literally, with large numbers of people coming out from their homes to join in protests demanding police accountability and railing against police violence, which is used more often against blacks, but affects all of the human race. The protestors even torched the Minneapolis third precinct station after police abandoned the property after days of protests outside, which was an amazing victory and was refreshing to see the people’s understandable anger targeted where it was actually deserved.
KPD’s Cristina Paterno and Cheshire Sheriff Eli Rivera hear you, but will they listen and change?
Sadly, some protests have also been sullied by violence committed against people and the destruction of private property in many cities. The destruction of innocent-owned private property has been significant and tragic. However, New Hampshire has thankfully avoided these losses, likely because people here are much more free to defend their property from attackers, with weapons if necessary. The people who are targeting private property are unwelcome among the peaceful protestors and are likely a mix of police acting as agents-provocateur and opportunists who are looking to destroy and/or steal.
Today in Keene, several hundred people gathered in Central Square at 4pm today for a Black Lives Matter protest that rivaled the BLM event from Manchester, NH on Saturday. After nearly fifteen years in Keene, I’ve never seen anything this big in Central Square, ever. Today’s event was probably 4-5 times larger than the biggest 420 rallies in Central Square more than a decade ago.
Large crowd in Keene kneels, fist up.
The honking from drivers was nearly non-stop including multiple large trucks and tractor trailers laying on their horns to cheers from the excited crowd. Keene’s police chief Steven Russo and Cheshire County’s sheriff Eli Rivera were both present in the heart of the park holding signs saying, “We hear you” and taking pictures with people. To their credit, this was a smart move. By physically joining the protestors, the police acting like humans can diffuse anger and deescalate tensions. However, talk is cheap, and “hearing” isn’t the same as “listening”, and it’s certainly not actually changing their behavior.
Will the Keene police stop arresting peaceful people for victimless crimes? It’s the insane war on drugs and other prohibitions that have resulted in people of all shapes and sizes and colors being attacked, imprisoned, and murdered by police nationwide for decades. Keene’s police have made a myriad of drug busts and assisted the DEA in raiding a popular local head shop on Main Street several years ago. A stroll through past posts at Keene Cop Block shows just a fraction of the lives the local police have ruined in the name of their authoritarian prohibitions. Are they going to now see how they harmed their brothers and sisters, issue an apology, change their ways and send back the BEARCAT armored tank to its manufacturer?
I sure hope so, for their sake, but then again, I’m an optimist.
This week NH 2020 republican candidate for governor, “Nobody” paid another visit to the state house and testified on a couple of bills. One, SB754, would add dental coverage to Medicaid and the other, SB758, was going to be a ban on Kratom. At least, until the bill’s sponsor saw the huge crowd that had turned out to oppose prohibition and put in an amendment to the bill that changed it into a regulation bill instead.
A standing-room-only crowd showed up to the NH state house on Tuesday to testify against a bill that would ban Kratom, SM758, only to discover that at the senator who submitted the bill changed it at the last minute into a bill that would instead regulate Kratom. It was a sneaky move on the senator’s part, as it flipped the energy in the room. Most of the average folks who’d taken time off to come out and speak against the potential prohibition of Kratom were then relieved that it was now a regulatory bill, without understanding that regulations are also bad for freedom and will hurt the industry.
If you’re not familiar, Kratom is a plant in the coffee family that has helped people break additions to opiates and has helped others with pain relief, while for others it helps them with productivity.
Along the way, whether as part of the libertarian migration to New Hampshire or later as part of a group of despicable NAZIs and other assorted white nationalist types, Cantwell has always been a polarizing figure and has caused schisms and drama withing whatever movement he put himself. This is one of the factors that leads people to believe that Cantwell himself is a federal agent. Having spent many hours with him over the years, I don’t believe he is a federal agent.
One thing’s for sure, Cantwell did do a lot of talking to federal agents in the last few years, and he allegedly even admitted to them having sent the messages he’s now been charged with sending via the Telegram chat app. The FBI raided his house last month on two felony charges, one of “Exortionate Interstate Communications” and one of “Threatening Interstate Communications”. Here’s the two-page indictment. In it, Cantwell is accused of sending the following message to someone over Telegram: “So if you don’t want me to come and fuck your wife in front of your kids, then you should make yourself scarce Give me Vic, it’s your only out.”
The feds are arguing that this is a rape threat. Beyond the fact that Cantwell didn’t say he would rape the woman, a little background and context is important to know. According to testimony at the detention hearing in federal court in Concord NH, the as-yet unrevealed “victim” in this case never complained to the feds about the message, but he did post it publicly online where a federal agent on the West Coast spotted it. The supposed victim is allegedly a member of an internet hate group called “Bowl Patrol”. The group is named as such because they worship the sicko church shooter Dylan Roof and he apparently had a bowl haircut. A Manchester police officer who works closely with the FBI testified that the “Bowl Patrol” was targeting Cantwell’s podcast phone lines with awful calls and allegedly hacked Cantwell’s website. That led Cantwell to attempt to discover their identities and to the chat where he threatened to have sex with the man’s wife if he didn’t give up the identity of the “Bowl Patrol” leader, “Vic”.
Chris in Simpler Times, Acting as Security for the Hallowkeene Dance Party in 2014.
Cantwell’s racist views are despicable, but the “Bowl Patrol” people may be worse, if that’s possible. Either way, it’s just white hate group members fighting with each other. If they are busy infighting, they can’t be out doing publicly awful things. Rather than just let the white supremacists have their internet spats, the FBI used the fact that Cantwell trash-talked someone on the internet – free speech – to charge him with felonies for which he faces up to 25 years in prison.
That’s twenty-five years for the level of trash-talking that goes on all across the internet, every day. Cantwell’s persecution here is an attack against freedom of speech and also served as an excuse to take his computers, flash drives, guns, and drugs. There’s no doubt that he has a ton of bad karma out there waiting for him for the things he’s said and done, but that doesn’t mean he belongs in prison. Yes, he’s a rude guy with a big mouth and terrible, disgusting ideas, and that’s why he’s a perfect target for a government attack on freedom of speech.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
In 2020, first they came for the “Crying NAZI”. I don’t agree with what he says, but I will defend his right to say it. Cantwell is a target because not only does he have views that good people will detest, he’s also detested by people who hold similar views to his. Not one single supporter was at his bail hearing. He may still have a small fan club on the internet, but according to the federal government, he doesn’t have much money in the bank.
However, Cantwell does know about cryptocurrency and internet privacy tools like Signal and Telegram. The agent who testified, Brett Fernald, explained that Cantwell used bitcoin and that bitcoin could be used to hide money and was anonymous. Though that’s not true – bitcoin is completely trackable. It’s Monero that’s a privacy coin. Anyway, according to the robed woman called a “magistrate judge”, Andrea K Johnstone, in a nine-page detention order, Cantwell’s computer knowledge is one reason he can’t be allowed out of a cage even with severe restrictions like gps tracking and even being disallowed from the internet, to which the defense was readily willing to agree.
The feds also argued at the hearing that Cantwell can’t be relied on to make it to court and cited the fact that he was drunk while on bail in Virginia, despite the fact that he never missed a single court appearance. When Cantwell was informed he was wanted on a warrant for his actions in Charlottesville in 2017 he took a week to turn himself in. Cantwell’s public defender pointed out that he wanted to acquire an attorney before turning himself in, which he did do. However because Cantwell didn’t IMMEDIATELY turn himself in, the prosecutors submitted that was a reason he wouldn’t show up to court.
Political Prisoner, Christopher Cantwell
Though Cantwell says he was acting in self-defense in the Charlottesville fights, he took a plea deal on assault and battery charges and that was brought up as evidence of why he’s a supposed danger to the community. That’s despite the fact that Chris has since kept to himself and his apartment in Keene since 2017 and that prior to that he was not known for any violent acts.
Further, they made him out to be meth-crazed lunatic. He may be a lunatic in his beliefs, and who knows what role his meth use several years ago had in forming his current racist mindset, but he’s been off the meth for a long time. A drug screening when he was arrested in January only showed cannabis use, according to the evidence in the case.
During the hearing, Johnstone, overruled every one of the defense’s objections and in her detention order agreed with the prosecution’s ridiculous assertions that Cantwell is somehow a danger to the community. In the order, She cited also his legal possession of over a dozen various guns, including one found inside an unlocked case magnetically attached underneath his car. Johnstone even parrots the prosecution’s point that somehow this was a danger to the school across the street from his apartment.
The guns, alleged threats, drugs, bail violation, plea deals to violent crimes, were all cited by Johnstone as factors, but most critically it seemed that it was Cantwell’s knowledge about internet secrecy techniques that is really keeping him behind bars. Johnstone wrote, citing another case on the matter, US v Savader:
given the defendant’s demonstrated facility with computer technology, it would be all but impossible to fashion terms and conditions that would eliminate defendant’s access to… certain electronic files that could be used to threaten victims
Now the case moves to trial, ostensibly set for April. The federal government has already spent likely tens of thousands of dollars on the court hearings alone, not to mention who knows how much more money on investigating Cantwell over years. After all that money and effort, some internet trash-talk between despicable people is all they have to go after him on. If Cantwell is convicted here, he’ll be a proverbial canary in the coal mine. The federal government would like to get a conviction here so there’s a precedent set for prosecuting people who say ugly things. Who will be targeted next? Maybe some trash-talking teens on an Xbox or Playstation online video game?
If you’d like an in-depth discussion of my experience attending the detention hearings, please listen to this episode of Free Talk Live. This link will start you where the topic comes up. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on Chris Cantwell, political prisoner. #FreeCantwell
It’s a plant. Holding it should not result in jail.
Three years after cannabis possession by adults in New Hampshire was first decriminalized, there’s another bipartisan house bill in play this session that will go even further. I recently reported here on HB 1648 when NH 2020 gubernatorial candidate “Nobody” and I went to testify at the house committee hearing for the bill. Of all the speakers at the hearing, only one person spoke against it. Not even the police bothered to send a speaker to speak against the bill – it was an amazing hearing.
HB 1648 is a really good cannabis decrim bill that improves on the one passed in 2017 that made possession of under 3/4ths of an ounce of flower and under 5 grams of concentrate a violation instead of a misdemeanor. If it passes this year, HB 1648 will eliminate any penalty for people over 21 possessing those amounts. It will no longer be something police can act on at all. The bill, significantly, also allows adults to grow their own cannabis at home.
The bill is not perfect, of course, as I pointed out during my testimony in the two-hour long hearing. It still treats people under 21 like children by retaining violation-level penalties for people between 18 and 21, and also penalizes people under 18 for possession by forcing them into the juvenile system. That’s not fair or right. Also, the limits on the amounts that would be legal to possess are too low. That said, it’s a major step in the right direction and does it without creating a taxing and regulatory structure. Also, please note my summary of the bill is based on its text as-introduced. It was passed with an amendment that is currently not available to read online.
Hardcore civil disobedient activists who came out in the rain for 4/20/2019!
Next, the bill heads to the NH senate and its sponsors already include one democrat and one republican state senator, so hopefully that bodes well for its chances. We know that the current republican governor, Chris Sununu signed the first cannabis decrim bill in 2017 but has opposed legalization. That he opposes legalization is actually a good thing however, as all of the legalization bills so far have included regulations and taxes on cannabis. People who want freedom support ending prohibition but should not support taxing and regulating cannabis. Cannabis should be free to grow, sell, and possess without any penalty and that includes having to beg permission from the state gang to offer it to others.
While the decriminalization bill doesn’t decrim sales of cannabis, it is still a big step away from reducing the harm done to adults by the insane war on drugs and allows people over 21 to possess it without fear of police assault. Hopefully the governor will support this continued decriminalization of this amazing plant. If not, hopefully the NH senate will also pass it with a veto-proof margin. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.
After a decade of attending various cannabis legalization and decriminalization hearings at the Concord state house, this week’s hearing for HB-1648 was refreshing. HB 1648 is a really good cannabis decrim bill that goes even further than the one that passed in 2017 that made possession of under 3/4ths of an ounce of flower and under 5 grams of concentrate a violation instead of a misdemeanor. If it passes this year, HB 1648 will eliminate any penalty for people over 21 possessing those amounts. It will no longer be something police can act on at all.
The bill is not perfect, of course, as I point out during my testimony in the two-hour long hearing. It still treats people under 21 like children by retaining violation-level penalties for people between 18 and 21, and also penalizes people under 18 for possession by forcing them into the juvenile system. That’s not fair or right. Also, the limits on the amounts that would be legal to possess are too low. That said, it’s a major step in the right direction and does it without creating a taxing and regulatory structure.
The real shocker at the public hearing this week was the lack of any police presence. Having attended these cannabis hearings over more than a decade, this is the first time where the police not only did not speak against the bill, but weren’t even there watching. The chiefs of police association did sign the blue sheet against the bill, and were the only ones to sign against it. All other signatures were for the bill. Plus, of all the various people who spoke, there was only one who spoke against it, the woman from prohibitionist busybody group “New Futures”. All the other voices were in favor of the bill passing.
Nobody told the house Criminal Justice panel that rather than punishing people under eighteen by putting them into the harsh juvenile system if they are caught with cannabis, the most the state agents should do is call their parents. He said further, “The idea that kids should be subject to more criminal liability than adults kind of flies in the face of reason, when you think about it. I mean, we’re going to attach a criminal penalty to your behavior because your mind is not well enough formed yet to make decisions that have a lasting impact. Well, don’t you think it’s possible that taking criminal sanction against somebody has a lasting impact on their life? Maybe they shouldn’t be bound to that by a decision they make so young.”