Detained at US Customs for Three Hours, Devices Unconstitutionally Searched

Patch from CBP uniforms.

Patch from CBP uniforms.

After having a wonderful time at Anarchapulco 2019, I was looking forward to coming back to New Hampshire. After being gone a total of twelve days, it felt like too long. Mexico was fun, but I missed “the Shire“. I’d scheduled a red eye flight back to the US via JFK airport and would arrive at JFK not long after 5am. This is generally a good time to speed through customs as the airport is pretty empty of passengers so the lines are very short.

Indeed, there was no line whatsoever in the main intake room with the Orwellian police state kiosks that demand ID and take your photograph, printing out a slip that you’re then expected to take to a Customs and Border Protection agent at a booth. There was only one person in the line at the booth in front of me. Despite having smooth sailing the previous year, this year was very different. After checking my ID, the initial CBP agent told me to report to a room off to the left, aka “secondary”.

After years of reporting on my talk radio program about the unconstitutional device searches going on at CBP checkpoints, I finally became part of the statistics. I was to have my devices searched in secret – or have them confiscated. According to the AP, CBP conducted searches of 29,000 devices in 2017, up from 18,400 in 2016, a 57% increase from the previous year! The Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing over it but the border device search policy has been infringing on travelers’ privacy for over a decade.

CBP’s argument is basically that you don’t have rights at the border and they can search whatever they want. Though their policy was recently updated to clarify they supposedly can’t search your online accounts via your phone, how would you really know? Even though they’re supposed to put your phone in airplane mode when they search it, they are allowed to search it in secret, where you can’t observe. That means they can image your phone, plant something on it, and access your accounts, or they could follow their rules and not do those things. You have no idea.

In my case, I went into “secondary”, located off to the side of the main intake area. It was a dismal room with institutional lighting and a bunch of CBP officers sitting behind a counter that stretched the length of the room. Given the time of day, there weren’t many victims of the CBP’s aggression sitting in the several rows of chairs, but there were a handful. All of them with brown skin, waiting around to be “served” by one of the officious, uniformed CBP bureaucrats shuffling about. As each new victim entered the room and sat down, inevitably the victim would pull out their phone in an attempt to kill the time and would be shouted at by a bureaucrat: “no phones!”. No cell phone signs that looked like they were printed 15 years ago had been posted all over the room. For a group of bureaucrats with camera systems everywhere, they sure are awful concerned about pictures being taken of their drab, boring office.

Actual photo from CBP of the area I was held - you can see one of the no cell phones signs.

Actual photo from CBP of the area I was held – you can see one of the no cell phones signs.

Anyway, after waiting for a bit, an overweight Asian female officer called me up and had some questions about my name, like why I changed it. I told her, “I wanted to.” I understand that due to CBP refusing to respect rights at the border, you’re expected to answer questions about your identity and your travel, but beyond that scope you are not obligated to answer questions. She had me go sit back down for more waiting. Eventually an “Officer Uzzi”, also a portly New Yorker male-type, called me up to his counter. We were to go back to the table in the back hallway for a search. Uzzi acted like he’d be able to get this taken care of as quickly as possible. I knew better than to believe him. I’d gone into the office at about 5:30am and though there was no clock on the wall, it was taking a while and I suspected I’d miss my connecting flight to Boston despite it being at 8:00am.

After Uzzi pawed through my backpack and checked bag they’d had the Delta crew retrieve for them, it came time for the device search. At this point, from the reporting we’ve done on the issue on Free Talk Live, I know that you can choose to refuse to allow them to search the devices, but if you do, they will confiscate them. Whether you can ever get them back is another question. So, since most people don’t want to have to buy a new phone and laptop every time they come back into the U.S. and leaving them at home is probably not an option, CBP knows people are stuck in a place where 99.9% of their victims will hand over their devices for the unconstitutional search. (more…)

Ron Paul’s No Chicken – Speaks at Anarchapulco Despite Recent Murder

Ron Paul and Ian Freeman wearing a Pho Keene Great hat.

Ron Paul and Ian Freeman wearing a Pho Keene Great hat.

Hello from the second night of the fifth annual Anarchapulco in Acapulco, Mexico! It’s my third year broadcasting my talk show from the event, which I last year said had surpassed Porcfest as the must-attend annual liberty event.

Unfortunately, this year’s event received quite a bit of bad press in the couple weeks prior. A self-proclaimed anarchist, John Galton was shot to death. Galton had been living in the area after allegedly escaping prosecution for cannabis “crimes” by the US Federal gang. Despite the murder having nothing to do with Anarchapulco as Galton was co-organizer of a different and now-canceled event called Anarchaforko, Anarchapulco was targeted by the media anyway.

No one knows the real story behind the murder. Various theories abound. Was the murder an inside job, a cartel killing, or something else? Would Anarchapulco founder Jeff Berwick be gunned down during his own event? This had the liberty community buzzing away before Anarchapulco 2019 began. Would the speakers show up? Would the attendees? I even heard that some craven busybodies had been contacting speakers and encouraging them to cancel.

Anarchapulco 2019 Logo

Anarchapulco 2019 Logo

Turns out, the event is a major success, with excellent attendance, likely more than last year, which was a sellout. This year the organizers rented the entire resort and it seems to have been worth it. They’re already planning for 2020.

That said, it is likely some attendees chose to stay home due to fear. According to one participant, Anarchapulco tickets were allegedly being offered for sale before the event at a very low price on some facebook group. There was discussion by some over what, if any, extra security would be provided. This, despite no credible threat being made against the event.

It’s true that some speakers didn’t make it either, but that happens at any convention, especially one the size and complexity of Anarchapulco, where there are several stages operating simultaneously. It’s inevitable cancellations will occur. Shit happens.

The real test was Dr. Ron Paul, who was scheduled to speak this evening as the event keynote. If he didn’t show, I think the tone of the event would have shifted to depressed and negative from excited and positive.

Lyn Ulbricht chats with Ron Paul at Anarchapulco 2019

Lyn Ulbricht chats with Ron Paul at Anarchapulco 2019

Not only did Ron Paul show up and give a great, uplifting speech, he came in the front like a boss, rather than slipping in the back, and spent plenty of time with his fans on his leisurely pace to the main event stage. He stopped many times for long periods to chat and pose for photos. Afterwards, there was a special dinner with Dr. Paul and he hung around to spend even more time with regular event attendees both before and after the dinner, in different parts of the hotel. We just kept seeing him over and over posing with people for photos. It was great.

There’s a reason Ron Paul is a libertarian hero and people flock to see him speak. He has always stood for his beliefs, whether in D.C., Texas, or in Acapulco. He’s never backed down.

When some suggested we at Free Talk Live not attend at all and even my co-host Mark Edge proffered we hide away broadcasting in a green room, I said no way. I don’t live in fear. I’m glad and honored to have Ron Paul at my side – literally.

Thanks for coming to Anarchapulco 2019, Ron. You rock.

Free Talk Live Host Gets Hair Dyed for Charity!

With the help of Free Talk Live‘s generous listeners and the Shire Free Church, we successfully raising over $30,000 to buy some land to be used by a Ugandan orphanage! As an incentive, FTL host Mark Edge had promised he’d get his hair dyed. Here’s a time-lapse video of the active parts of the 2.5 hour salon visit (I cut out a lot of the waiting around). You can learn more about the fundraiser and orphanage at http://hope.freetalklive.com

Special thanks to the cryptocurrency-accepting Moda Suo Studio Hair Salon in Keene, NH!

Dash Force News’ Podcast Interviews Me About DASH Acceptance in New Hampshire

Dash Force News Covers NH Cryptocurrency Activism

Dash Force News Logo

Yesterday while attending the TALKERS 2018 conference in Manhattan, I stepped away for an hour to be a guest on the DASH Force News’ “Three Amigos Podcast” to discuss the amazing success we’ve had getting business owners to accept cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and DASH at retail point-of-sale here in New Hampshire.

In addition, we also discussed Forkfest, the active NH Freedom Migration, and the advertising proposal I made this week to get DASH to renew their sponsorship of Free Talk Live, my national talk radio show. Plus, I announced the public beta of a very cool website where you can create printable DASH tips you can leave with servers at restaurants or give to whoever you want to introduce to cryptocurrency! It’s called cryptotip.org and it’s exclusive to DASH at this time. If you love DASH, you should give it a try and feel free to let me know what you think!

Thanks so much to the DASH Force News crew for the opportunity. Here’s the full interview:

NH-Based Libertarian Talk Radio Show Moves Up to #27 on National “Heavy Hundred”

"Free Talk Live" Moves up to #27 on the TALKERS "Heavy Hundred" for 2018!

“Free Talk Live” Moves up to #27 on the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” for 2018!

Keene, New Hampshire-based nationally syndicated talk radio show Free Talk Live has done it again! We’ve moved up higher on the list of the “Heavy Hundred” most important talk shows from #29 in 2017 to #27 on the 2018 rankings. Our first appearance on the list was in 2009, and we’ve been moving up year after year.

Originally founded in 2002, and syndicated in 2004, Free Talk Live is the only nationally syndicated radio show on the list that is delivering a principled, voluntaryist, pro-peace, pro-cryptocurrency message every night. We also hit another record recently, crossing over 185 radio affiliates on AM and FM from coast-to-coast.

It’s an honor to have TALKERS Magazine recognize what we’re doing here. Thank you to publisher Michael Harrison and the rest of the TALKERS crew for including us again.

Of course, we never could have done it without the direct support of our listeners via the Free Talk Live AMP program, where people who support what we do for $5 per month. Thank you for listening and for your support!