11/15/22 Crypto6 Evidentiary Hearing
After almost 7 years of waiting we’ve finally got a trial date! So mark your calendar and put your employer on notice that you’ll need a few weeks off as there is finally a solid date for the trial: December 6th, 2022. Address: U.S. District Court, 55 Pleasant St, Concord, NH 03301. Time yet to be known. Bring a valid state issued ID (real ID and passport not required) to ensure entrance to court house, no cameras/phones.
Early 2013 interaction between Phil Christiana and free staters
For those who haven’t been paying attention and wondering what the Crypto6 case is all about here is a bit of the backstory. In March of 2021 56 FBI agents, half a dozen three letter agencies, and dozens of other law enforcement officials raided the Bitcoin Embassy, the Shire Free Church, Free Talk Live’s studio, a half dozen homes of so-called co-conspirators among other locations over the bastardly crime of selling crypto.
Somewhat closer to reality the story actually dates back decades and surrounds a single FBI agent with a political grudge against libertarians, free staters, and the Free State Project’s libertarian migration to New Hampshire. To shorten the backstory a bit further after a decade of attempting to take Ian Freeman out and three FBI investigations later FBI agent Phil Christiana finally thinks he has a case he can make stick against his primary political opponent Ian Freeman. You see Ian Freeman is a significant figure in libertarian circles and was responsible for many early movers partaking in the Free State Project’s migration. Some would even credit him with the success of the Free State Project itself. Ian’s activism in New Hampshire dates back about ~16 years now and has been a thorn in the side of Phil Christiana and the federal government for nearly as long. With a majorly syndicated libertarian run radio show Ian has enabled public criticism of government, government agencies, and officials with a show called Free Talk Live broadcasting on about ~200 radio stations nationwide. During this time Ian & co-hosts have promoted the Free State Project and cryptocurrency as a path to peace and freedom. Something dirty agents just don’t like.
The most recent hearing was significant in deciding many issues. The hearing started with a ‘daubert motion’ which is a motion discussed outside the presence of a jury to exclude the testimony of expert witnesses that do not possess the requisite level of expertise or otherwise used questionable methods to obtain data. In this case one of the defendant’s objectives was to exclude an expert that headed the blockchain forensics unit of the FBI and claimed to be an expert on blockchain analysis.
The prosecution granted Ian Freeman’s lawyer Mark Sisti a pre-hearing interview with the prosecution’s blockchain expert and key witness in the case Erin Montgomery. In that interview it came to light that Erin Montgomery has never been qualified as an expert witness before any court. Mark Sisti proceeded to argue that blockchain analysis was not a scientifically validated process sufficient to pass muster at trial. While it has been utilized in other cases to obtain search warrants and the like the standards for use at trial are far greater. In order to utilize blockchain analysis at trial the tools and processes would need to be open to peer review and the results be duplicable by outside experts.
Moving the New Hampshire renaissance forward: Should we do something Medici Florence did?
Image: Petar Miloševi? Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0
Most New Hampshire independence activists are libertarians, and most seem to favor adopting a neutral foreign policy similar to that of 20th Century Switzerland. What is something we can do *now* to create more buzz and pull the state in that direction? By “we,” in this context I don’t mean the unwieldy NH government. Rather, the question is “what is something just a dozen or so New Hampshire activists could do to enhance the prospect of eventual neutrality? How do we immediately start “acting like a nation-state?” And what is within our power along these lines?
Here’s the best thing I could think of this week, based on historical precedent. Around the year 1500, one tiny nation led Europe out of the Dark Ages with a scientific and cultural Renaissance that shook the globe: It was the city-state of Florence in Italy. But as the arts and sciences leapt forward over the following centuries…politics in the West “advanced” much more slowly. You could argue that, politically, humanity is still almost in the Dark Ages. Sometimes civic transparency or liberty moves forward, sometimes backward…but things are not obviously better for liberty than they were a century ago.
As in the 1500 era, one tiny state has stepped forward to try and change this and create a renaissance. But this time it is a civic renaissance which we hope will compliment and enhance the world’s art and tech advances. Through its existing, relatively inclusive system…New Hampshire has become one of the freest places in the world and pro-liberty activists from around the planet have already migrated here by thousands. Meanwhile, the state has reduced its budgets in a time of double-digit inflation and become (or at least remained) the safest and most prosperous place in America. Next, liberty activists envision a gradual (sometimes interrupted) trend toward transparency, lower taxes and slow decentralization of power in the New Hampshire governing system. That is our careful renaissance.
During the 16th Century, Medici rulers in Florence invited governments from as far away as India to join in a great celebration of *their* Renaissance. What if we were to do something similar for *ours?* The Medici showcased the spectacular architecture and inventions they had commissioned, but what do we have to showcase? The answer is probably “Porcupine Festival with bus tours.”
PorcFest is an annual camping event which offers a perfect view of New Hampshire’s comely White Mountains but also the option of staying in motels. It’s usually sold out, and attendance tends to be around 3,000. Sometimes called “the libertarian Burning Man,” PorcFest showcases freedom itself: In contrast with the Nevada festival, government police are almost never present, drugs, guns and illegal commerce are welcome, assault rifles openly displayed. Depending on the year you can usually find devout Muslims and Israeli expats, Satanists and Christian Evangelicals, Ukrainians and Russians…all attending contentedly side by side. Housewives deliver unlicensed haircuts and live-stream the crime; children sell alcohol, illegal gambling tables spring up seemingly at random, and (late bloomer of the 20-year-old event) safely-practiced prostitution is reportedly easing its way into the mix.
Like the Woodstock festival of 1969, PorcFest has a ridiculously low incidence of harmful crime. Surely I’m missing something, but the worst event I can think of was a drunk driver who hurt no one and quickly generated a successful response from private security and our media outlets.
Forty-two percent of New Hampshirites favor a referendum on leaving the Union, according to SurveyUSA’s poll in mid-2022. And a Estonian-style “declaration of independence” went before the full NH State House the same year. But at PorcFest the numbers are much higher than 42 percent; the event usually includes a secession conference with regular appearances and visits by independence leaders from across the continent.
What if, like old Florence, we were to boost our status by sending PorcFest-secession-conference invitations to every national government in the world? Of course, attendees could also enjoy the weeklong event and join bus tours to other parts of the state.
The mere act of evenhandedly sending these invitations would be a tentative deed of neutrality. It would mean reaching out to Iran, North Korea and the Taliban (much as Ron Paul envisioned) while also requesting the presence of U.S. allies. It would be a chance for estranged nations to interact with these United States in a different way from “John Bolton.” It might “be the change we want to see in the world,” altering the current tone of international relations a bit with its re-introduction of Swiss-style neutrality. Unlike the Medici in Florence, we Ron Paul types don’t fully govern New Hampshire. But we do constitute a powerful faction here, and if the trend continues….we will eventually be the government here. Like the Medici before they fully achieved power in Florence, New Hampshire independence activists and libertarians may be group of people you want to know if you’re a foreign diplomat.
My brainstorm would be that for PorcFest 2023 we could email every national government in the world with such an invitation. For redundancy we would want to aim the invite at two different email addresses for each nation, and we would need to define what constitutes a national government. My tentative suggestion would be to include any national government that currently is recognized as such by at least one “UN member state.” For example this would include Kosovo in former Yugoslavia (U.S.-recognized but controversial) and Donetsk near the Russia-Ukraine border (Russia-recognized but also controversial). The list probably would not currently include ISIS diplomats, since it appears the group is not recognized by any UN member state. It would presumably include them in the future if that changes, and in the unlikely event they actually made it to New Hampshire we would have our chance to raise concerns about their behavior and show them a different path.
Although it would be tempting to send invitations in the native language of each recipient, this probably could not be done for all nations at this early stage. All the invitations would probably need to go out in English so that each nation is treated as equally as possible.
Disadvantages of this “invitation plan.”
1) There’s no way to guarantee the good behavior of any visitor to PorcFest. If we were to invite someone and they did something bad while in the U.S., that could be used as an excuse to harm NH liberty. Or there could be Washington-backed trickery.
2) Beijing, if it paid attention at all, would view this obviously neutral act as a provocation. Taiwan is recognized by some UN member states and would, like the CCP, need to be invited. Beijing hates anything that looks like recognizing Taiwan. But ultimately that is on Beijing. The Swiss did things that Germany viewed as provocations in 1940, but Switzerland needed to do them to remain neutral. Beijing could alternately see this invitation as an opportunity to peaceably tweak Washington’s nose. The neutrality of the porcupine has charms to match its quills.
3) The invitations might all be ignored; perhaps we are not big enough yet.
4) We’re diplomatic beginners and would make diplomatic mistakes. But that very process should make us better prepared for independence. Any Slovenian will probably tell you how important that is and how much “not being ready” cost them in ’91.
5) D.C. would perhaps try to block some nations from sending representatives…but this is likely more of an advantage than a problem. When D.C. uses its power, it usually gets weaker…and we get the publicity we seek. The lapdog presstitutes can be relied on to whine that we are being too evenhanded with some cleric at Tehran. Blocked passports might still let us have a publicity stunt on the Canadian border or in international waters…”North Korean diplomat meets U.S. dissidents off coast of restless New England province.”
6) As I understand it: During the War of 1812, New England representatives pushed for independence and met with the otherwise hostile British government. This perceived “separate peace” approach was considered backstabbing by some and is thought to have contributed to the demise of the Federalist faction in America. The groups which replaced it were arguably more authoritarian. By implementing the invitation plan….would we be making the same “mistake” in the same place?
7) Some effort might be required to determine whether outreach of this type is lawful. It seems unlikely that there is a law against individuals openly communicating with a foreign government, but if there is…it would be an opportunity for civil disobedience in front of a Federal compound. It would create both dangers and benefits which would have to be weighed before deciding what to do.
8) We’d need to invite U.S. diplomats, which would give them an excuse to legitimately be there. But D.C. is probably there anyway.
At present the main obstacle to carrying out the invitation plan is a logistical one. I don’t see myself being able to send out 500-odd invitations and perform follow-up activities by myself. Probably it would require about five of us to get started. So: I’m requesting four volunteers…regardless of your location. If they are forthcoming before November 1, 2022 (and there are no compelling arguments against this plan) we can start moving forward. If sufficient volunteers fail to materialize, that means this scheme is premature or flawed in some way. It would probably go back-burner for for a while. If you’d like to participate, respond in the comments section below…here at FreeKeene.com. No registration is required.
Listening to a Marcus Ruis Evans Calexit discussion gave me an idea. If you don’t like the idea (and in some ways I don’t)…it may give you a better idea. Spell it out! Anyway, Evans was talking about how California was pursing its own foreign policy in some ways.
What if , instead of creating a bill that tries to make NH independent across the board…we had legislation that built just one piece of independence infrastructure? For example… what if NH created its own (unpaid) ambassador to the U.N.? This could be an elected statewide position. Historically, NH governors have sometimes acted to undermine Washington’s authority (Lynch vs. Real ID, Sununu vs. Fed gun laws). So it’s not wildly speculative to imagine an NH ambassador articulating some independent foreign policy or questioning UN/US actions at NYC. They might be blown off by the UN establishment, but probably some nations get tired of the answers they receive from D.C.’s UN ambassador. They might like the chance to approach a different UN ambassador from America. This would undermine D.C’s bloodthirsty authority. It might also be an opportunity for NH to take a foreign policy line which makes it less hated by the world than Washington is. There is an historical precedent there too…in 1999 Montenegro (while still part of Yugoslavia) was able to use its dissenting foreign policy and independence drive for the purpose of pressuring D.C. not to bomb it. D.C. was bombing neighboring Serbia at the time and did bomb the Montenegrins, but it bought the Yugo-province good press and may have saved some lives.
There is a problem that some nations have when they are first created… “para-statism.” They become a para-state…independent sort of but not recognized by the UN or a sufficient number of other nations. Examples include Kosovo or (as of September 2022) parts of eastern Ukraine. Having our own UN ambassador earlier than usual might help head off this problem. Would she also perhaps be the only elected ambassador there…and would this perhaps draw positive attention to her?
One downside here is that the actions of such an ambassador now could taint NH efforts at neutrality later. This wouldn’t be a person like you and me. At first it would likely be more of a Chris Sununu or John Lynch…in other words a politician too close to Washington. But creating this position would probably make NH more of a nation than she is today and making it an elected position should further disperse power at Concord.
The point here is not so much to push this specific idea but rather the idea of legislation which would give us some trapping or capability which is associated with independence. As with all legislation, this should be done in some way that does not cost taxpayers anything.
What are other options along these lines? What else does Switzerland or Costa Rica have which we lack?
How about our own official currency? Our own one-woman state department? Our own Herbert Hoover 1915? Hoover used his official neutral status to coordinate Belgium relief during the German occupation. What if we had our own Raoul Wallenberg type position? A Swedish businessman/diplomat…Wallenberg toured Nazi-controlled areas with Berlin’s agreement and also was able to save lives.
These are the only liberty-friendly options I can think of. What are other things people think we need but which we would lose by leaving the empire? If legislators refused to create such a position… is there some smaller NH entity or faction which might? How about an NH GOP representative to the UN? Or an NHLA ambassador there?
….but he still beats the independence-friendly candidate at Winchester.
Image below is thumbnail only.
On Thursday July 28th judge Joseph N. Laplante concluded the sentencing hearing for Crypto6’s Mr Nobody with a ruling to the maximum degree possible in his favor, and below is a run down of the defenses, prosecutors, and judges thoughts and arguments.
For more detail of what happened and a bit of a backstory on the sentencing check out Freedom Decrypted episode 170 where we covered the pre-sentencing motions that went into the variance granted (or in other words the request to reduce the sentence below that typically authorized by the sentencing guidelines).
The notes from the sentencing hearing are as follows:
– Mr Nobody is pleading guilty to a single count of wire fraud
Judge opens with a speech on the sentencing guidelines being the guiding force behind determining the sentence, but are not a hard rule to be followed, and he can sentence Mr Nobody outside of the guidelines.
There is a sealed pre-sentencing report that was created by the court of which came to 26 pages in length. Unfortunately due to certain information contained within it is sealed, but this is for Mr Nobody’s benefit and it may be that this report can be released by him and/or released by him with appropriate sections redacted. While this may not be relevant to Mr Nobody’s sentencing report the type of information that can be included includes information such as histories of mental illness that would be inappropriate to release to the public. Our opportunity as the public therefore to be outraged by the malicious, manipulative, or outright lies contained in it must therefore be reserved till a later date.
Possible outcome based on sentencing guidelines and guilty plea:
The guidelines recommend:
– 10 to 16 months imprisonment
– 2 to 5 years of supervised release
– A fine of $2,000 to $1 million dollars (more…)
Here are some suggested win-win steps that Kyiv, Moscow or Washington should take to shut down the Russo-Ukrainian war. These steps are designed to initially be taken by just one government so that they can be taken NOW. Each of these moves would “succeed even if they fail” and would stand a good chance of moving the conflict toward an honorable ceasefire.
Now that they have had some successes against the Russian government…Washington or Kyiv should make a tiny humanitarian gesture or other conciliatory gesture aimed at sparking a response-in-kind. For instance, a small-scale prisoner release or slight reduction in some sanction that only hurts the people. This should be videotaped and done with much fanfare. It should involve an implicit request for the enemy to reciprocate, in some tiny popular way. If Moscow fails to reciprocate, this will enrage the world further and strengthen Kyiv or Washington’s positions. And the gesture can always be repeated in some new form until it works. If Moscow does reciprocate, that opens the door for Kyiv or Washington to make a new, larger ameliorative gesture and so on. The goal should be an “escalating” series of conciliatory gestures until the shooting is much reduced. Each side should gain a benefit each step of the way regardless of how the other side reacts.
Moscow, for its part, should not wait for western governments to do this. It should propose and implement a small unilateral ameliorative gesture of its own, also well publicized. Western media censorship of Moscow’s statements…is becoming a serious problem, however. They can always call FreeTalkLive.com and reach 200,000 people!
This idea of “escalating humanitarian gestures” is a long shot, at least coming from a not-very-important-person like me. But back channels may have saved the world during the Cuban crisis. Maybe this will inspire someone more influential to try a back channel of their own or forward this simple idea.
Moscow has proven it can wreak enormous damage and is willing to do so when you move your empire too close to Russia. Various territories are now its to lose, and the sooner the fighting stops the less chance it loses them all…or loses everything in a cloud of ICBM’s.
Ukraine has already proven it can fight in the best traditions of Estonia’s war of independence and Finland’s Winter War. The West and/or Ukraine could easily aim for objectives similar to those which the Finns successfully achieved, during their solo war with Moscow in 1940: Capture the world’s imagination, be its heroes, put up a stunning fight, but limit and end the war in a negotiated settlement which gives Moscow enough ground to bury its dead. Finland’s Winter War was technically a draw, but it put Finland on the map as a place not to mess with and drew a line against USSR expansion. Ukraine is already on the path to accomplishing this, if it can just figure out how, when and where to stop.
These are not pro-freedom objectives par se, but they would end the war (and perhaps the nuclear exchange likelihood) without appeasement. No one today would argue that the Finns “appeased” Moscow; they disemboweled its army as Ukraine is now doing.
Once the shooting stops, or at least is dramatically reduced, the long path toward toward Ukrainian healing and world progress can continue.