Melanie Neighbours On Witness Stand
Today was a very sad day. I heard from what I considered a good friend turn on another good friend during day 5’s Crypto6 trial. While I knew Melanie Neighbours had some misgivings I had never imagined that she would actively work against Ian Freeman let alone lie- or at least mislead a jury on the witness stand.
Shortly after the March 2021 raid we communicated a number of times and I said to her there were two things I thought she should do in regard to her situation. One was not lie even if it was to Ian’s detriment. Ian Freeman could take care of himself I said, and two, don’t do anything to incriminate yourself or even remotely appear to be partaking in any activity that might be perceived as not-kosher.
Alas- she seems to have at least broken one of these pieces of advice. Why? Over a stupid squabble? Some insignificant issue she perceived to exist? Well, unfortunately yes. There was a question as to whether or not a mistake was made in certifying Ian’s assets vs the Shire Free Churches assets and what was little more than a minor oversight she turned into a flaming drama fest on the stand. As a bookkeeper she certified Ian as having ~3 million dollars in assets of one kind or another.
Not everyone whose taken the stand to testify for the prosecution has done everything perfectly. Being questioned by a prosecutor or lawyer can be quite nerve wracking after all! One witness who should have been favorable to the defense (though forced to testify against Ian Freeman) let (however unintentionally) the prosecutor lead her to a mistaken answer. That was correctly fixed by the defense re-asking the question differently. No hard feelings. It happens. The damage could be huge, but the defense fixed it. We’re all human.
This? This is going to take a lot more time to heal. That said Ian Freeman’s got one of the biggest hearts and I bet he’d even forgive you despite this attack. Maybe there is more to the story I’m not seeing still. Maybe this was the plan all along. I’m going to hope it really was just a squabble over some irrelevant detail, because the alternative is you are the biggest piece of shit Melanie. If you were working for the feds all along you are lower than low and I will NEVER forgive you. Feds don’t deserve forgiveness. Anyone else… even the most depraved human beings I can forgive, but NOT people who create a living out of others misery.
I’ll end on a positive note. The Crypto6 protest went great! ~16 people came out to the trial today and ~50 turned up to our little protest outside the federal courthouse in Concord. The video(s) I recorded are below.
In a recent post here at Free Keene, Chris Waid presented his notes from the sentencing hearing for Nobody as a, “Big win for Mr. Nobody“. This is ridiculous spin. For those who didn’t hear the news, my co-defendant Nobody was recently sentenced to “time served” of approximately six months in jail as well as $2,100 in fines and fees, a forfeiture of $10,000, and two years’ probation. He had taken a plea to one count of “wire fraud”, despite not having defrauded anyone. Like the other Crypto Six defendants, he was intimidated into a plea deal by the threat of further charges.
Whether or not he took the plea and even if he went to trial and “won” on every count – as Aria and I are hoping to do – it would not be a “win”. As Mark Stevens put it in his book, “Adventures in Legal Land“, whenever you are targeted by the state, it is a loss. Even if you “win” and defeat the charges, you still lose your time. You still lose your ability to focus on things that are actually important to you instead of focusing on a criminal trial and the stress of bail conditions and the government’s axe hanging over your head. Basically, when they bring charges against you, you are going to lose – the only question is how much?
In Nobody’s case, he went through a horribly and unnecessarily violent pre-dawn raid on his home, spent several months behind bars, most of a year on restrictive bail conditions, and now is having his personal finances decimated. He has nearly nothing left after paying their extractions, is now a federal felon for life, and is still under multiple probation restrictions for two years. All of this damage has been brought upon him simply because, as he described it, he was convicted of, “contempt of bank”. It’s great that he doesn’t have to go back to prison, but this is not a win.
In other Crypto Six news, the remaining two defendants, Aria DiMezzo and me, have had motions filed by our defense attorneys, including a motion to dismiss the “money transmitter” charges, a motion to block the prosecution from using blockchain analysis experts, and a notice of a “public authority defense”. The hearing on these motions is set for September 1st at 9:30am at Concord Federal District Court Church.
Nobody is out on bail!
Nearly six months after his arrest in an insanely destructive 6am raid back in March, longtime Free Keene blogger Nobody has finally been granted bail. The judge in his case suggested that Nobody, who changed his name from Rich Paul to run for Mayor in 2019 then Governor in 2020, was being held illegally.
As was the case with my bail conditions, the federal “magistrate judge” denied Nobody’s bail initially and the defense had to appeal that “de novo” to the actual judge in the case, Joseph Normand Laplante. Laplante also happens to be the chief judge for the entire Federal District Church Court. Thus far Laplante has been much more reasonable than the magistrates, though the bail restrictions on the Crypto Six have varied wildly.
For instance, Aria DiMezzo is highly restricted on what websites she can visit and must ask permission from her probation officer to go to any sites that are outside her limited “whitelist”. However she has no restrictions on drug use. In contrast, I am able to go to any website except for sites for buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrency, am on home confinement, and am subject to random drug testing. I am allowed to use alcohol, though I prefer not to.
No co-defendants are allowed to speak with each other, though after filing motions with the court to remove the contact restriction between us, Aria and I were granted an exception by Laplante for the purposes of being able to perform and run our nationally syndicated radio show, “Free Talk Live“. I have a long list of people in addition to my co-defendants with whom I am prohibited from speaking. This includes my longtime co-host and co-minister in the Shire Free Church, Mark Edgington. As part of his bail, Nobody is also prohibited from speaking with the same list of people. Aria has no such restriction.
At the de novo bail hearing, unlike the magistrate, Laplante didn’t seem concerned with Nobody’s statements on the recorded jail phone that seemed to be in favor of shooting police. He agreed with the defense that Nobody’s comments were just blowing off steam as Nobody was frustrated by the outrageous arrest and subsequent caging. Despite Laplante’s voiced opinion about Nobody’s lack of dangerousness, in a frustrating concession to the prosecution, he has restricted Nobody’s freedom of speech and prohibited him from making any public statements on media or at protest events. Here’s the relevant portion from page six of Nobody’s bail conditions:
The BEARCAT bashed in Nobody’s front door.
- Defendant shall refrain from the use of any social media platform to make any publicly viewable posts…
- Defendant shall refrain from public speaking engagements on radio, television, or podcasts, and shall also refrain from “taking the mic” at public rallies or public events.
It was stated during the bail hearing that the concern was not that Nobody himself would commit violence but that he might influence listeners or followers to do so. So now he has no freedom of speech. This despite an accused person supposedly being allowed to be “at liberty” prior to trial. Does the first amendment not apply to people on bail? Strangely, he had more free speech inside the cage at the Merrimack County Spiritual Retreat where he was held the last several months. Nobody could, and did, call in to Free Talk Live on more than one occasion – so long as Aria or I were not on the show. Now he is specifically prohibited from any audio or tv appearances. He had also, while in jail, begun a newsletter for his church. Will he even be able to continue it?
Federal District Church Court
Arguably, the restrictions as-written don’t prohibit his newsletter or perhaps even blogging. However I wouldn’t blame him if he chose not to rather than risk a post to Free Keene being considered “social media”, violating bail and getting locked back up. Hopefully his attorneys will be fighting to get his right to free speech respected again. On the positive side, he’s not restricted on travel and can leave his home without permission from his federal handler.
So much for freedom of speech. That said, I’m glad Nobody’s finally out.
Stay tuned here to Free Keene and listen to Free Talk Live for the latest on Nobody and the rest of the Crypto Six.
Johnny Hurley was 40-years-old when he was gunned-down by a stranger who had taken an oath to protect others. Johnny’s death cannot be undone. But it can be learned from.
This weekend, the Free Keene YouTube channel received a “strike” for “harmful or dangerous content” and is frozen to any new uploads for a week. Why? Apparently a :15 promo uploaded in 2011 triggered someone – or some newly-running algorithm – and needs to be taken down!
LBRY – Content Freedom
The supposedly offensive promo has a limited amount of footage that could possibly be objectionable. Was it the scenes of two men being arrested? A photo of a massive 420 rally in Central Square in 2009? A man speaking into a megaphone? A photo of a band playing or people playing a card game in Railroad Square? A large group of people standing around the “Welcome to New Hampshire” sign at the Vermont border? The 4:20 pumpkin?
Two days prior to this strike, another decade-old :15 promo was allegedly found objectionable, this one featuring then-libertarian Penn Jillette saying he should move to Keene to join the Free Staters. I appealed the finding, and YouTube reversed it, once again allowing the video to be played. So, when the subsequent takedown happened this weekend, I also appealed it, asking in my appeal where the supposed “harmful or dangerous” content was. They upheld their decision to block the short promo video and give the account a “strike”. Of course, they declined to state exactly what it was in those scant fifteen seconds that was so offensive.
The strike would have been a warning, but the account had recently received a warning in late February when YouTube removed a video promoting the new White Rose Society for violating their “medical misinformation” policy. So, that’s two videos taken down within a few weeks, hence the strike and now the account is not allowed to have uploads or live streams, among other things, for a week.
Luckily, we’ve been cultivating our exit plan from YouTube for years.
In 2018 Free Keene was among the first to join the “YouTube Partner Program” that automatically syncs our YouTube uploads to the decentralized blockchain-based media protocol, LBRY. We’ve promoted LBRY multiple times as they have successfully protected our videos that YouTube has deleted over the years.
Now, YouTube has increased its rate of finding things it doesn’t like about our videos. It may not be long before our entire channel is taken down. If you haven’t looked seriously at LBRY yet, now is the time to do it. In 2020, they launched Odysee, a video platform built on LBRY. I’ve created a handy url to take you right to the Free Keene channel on Odysee: video.freekeene.com. Unlike YouTube, LBRY/Odysee has no strikes and videos cannot be taken down. It’s true content freedom, and blockchain-powered. You can get the LBRY app or just follow our channel on Odysee.
From now on, this :30 migrate-to-LBRY promo will play at the end of every upload I am able to make to YouTube before they shut us down completely:
Carl Watner, longtime proponent of voluntaryism, has passed away. He was 72 years young. He will be missed. And his efforts will live on through those of us seeking complete liberty.
Who was Carl Watner?
According to OpenlyVoluntary.com, Watner was:
an American author and historian of libertarian studies, and a voluntaryist. He has written articles for Reason magazine, the Libertarian Forum, Mises Institute and the Journal of Libertarian Studies. Although use of the label “voluntaryist” waned after the death of Auberon Herbert in 1906, its use was renewed in 1982, when George H. Smith, Wendy McElroy, and Carl Watner began publishing The Voluntaryist magazine.
That newsletter, The Voluntaryist, was published continuously since October 1982. For almost four decades Watner, a family man who ran a business in South Carolina, made time to share ideas he believed would foster human flourishing. He also wrote and edited a bevy of books, and is credited with tracking-down and making again accessible the seminal essay by Lysander Spooner, Vices Are Not Crimes.
Watner excelled at communicating a clear, consistent, strike-the-root message. Indeed, in no uncertain terms, Wendy McElroy wrote on her blog that Watner “was the primary hand in founding the modern Voluntaryist movement in the early 1980s.” She continues: