Edward Snowden Speaks at NH Liberty Forum 2016

The 2016 New Hampshire Liberty Forum, held this past weekend at the Radisson Hotel in snowdennhlf2016Manchester, was the usual gathering of hundreds of libertarians and anarchists for the annual conference. Different this year was the headlining event, drawing the largest crowd of the forum, and featuring a speaker who was occupying the opposite side of the globe. Broadcasting into the parlor via a live video feed was Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower famed for revealing the details of government surveillance operations targeting humans situated both within and without the borders of the United States.

In the approximately fifty minutes that Snowden was linked into the room, he was interviewed by Reason’s Nick Gillespie on a variety of topics from Snowden’s perspective on current events, the United States presidential race, ideological inspirations, and potential paths for the future.

Strangely, an announcement was made before the event requesting that all unofficial filming be suspended. In the interests of objective journalism, I ensured that an audio device was running for the duration of the event, which resulted in poor audio quality compared to what could have been captured without the restriction. Illustrated with images captured by multiple sources from the event, enjoy this presentation of Edward Snowden’s appearance before the audience of the 2016 NH Liberty Forum.

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AKPF #1: Refugess

This week’s installment of the AKPF #1 local access series, ‘Refugess‘ features fresh footage from the dolanwall_ntrump1capitol area of New Hampshire. Images, speeches, and verbal conflict illustrate this episode as we get an on the ground look experience from the December 05 2015 Stand With Refugees rally sponsored by numerous pro-peace and human rights organizations. All of the footage featured can be viewed in its raw form at the new Free Concord Raw YouTube channel. Additional videos from the event are also available at the AFSCNH YouTube channel.

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AKPF #1: BarnStorm

barnie007Presidential season is in full swing — and what better way to celebrate than by indulging in the latest episode of AKPF #1? In this week’s installment, ‘BarnStorm‘, we tour the vile underbelly of modern political figure’s social media ventures. Primarily focusing on Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump (also known as Barnie Sandlers and Dolan Tramp), we are also treated to appearances by lesser candidates such as a metal version of Ben Carson and DWP. Stay tuned to the very end for a sneak preview of the newest colorful coins in circulation.

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NH Court Reiterates Legality of Robin Hooding

by Ian Freeman

It has been a long road, but thanks to free speech attorney Jon Meyer and judge John C Kissinger of the Cheshire superior court, Keene’s Robin Hooders are again victorious! Nearly two years ago, the same court dismissed the two cases brought against the charitable meter-feeders, alleging we were “threatening, intimidating, and harassing” their parking enforcement officers and demanding a 50ft floating, constitution-free buffer zone to protect them.

The city appealed to the NH supreme court which ultimately upheld the superior court’s dismissal except for one part. They affirmed the lower court’s ruling to dismiss based on free speech grounds, but said the superior court needed to look at the request for the “buffer zone” injunction separately from the allegations of “tortious interference”, “civil conspiracy”, “negligence”, and the demand for financial compensation, all of which the city failed to prove to the court’s satisfaction.rhulAR-150609085

Thankfully, the superior court agreed with attorney Meyer’s arguments and denied the city’s request for any injunction against us whatsoever! This effectively kills their case, unless they decide to continue spending ridiculous amounts of taxpayer money to appeal this latest failure to the NH supreme court.

The city, which had originally wanted a 50 foot floating buffer zone around each enforcer that would prevent all speech and recording by the Robin Hooders, had whittled that down over the 2.5 years this has been in court to a 5-10ft zone that would only be temporary and only if the parking enforcer requested said distance from the Robin Hooder. Mind you, we generally do not wish to be so close to them — it’s best to fill meters at a greater distance, so as to have enough time to fill the meter and leave the Robin Hood calling card on the windshield, BEFORE the parking enforcer catches up to us and gets ahead. That would mean she could successfully write a ticket if she gets ahead, so having distance is my goal, but the enforcer is constantly trying to close that gap, so sometimes we do get within ten feet. That would mean that such an injunction (besides being unconstitutional) would also prevent us from Robin Hooding, as anytime the enforcer managed to close the gap, we’d be subject to arrest for “contempt of court”.

In a fifteen-page order issued on 11/20, Kissinger writes of the city’s request for injunction:

The Court cannot conceive of any more narrow or alternative relief that would provide any meaningful protection to the PEOs without running afoul of the Respondents’ First Amendment rights…the government interests here are not sufficient to warrant an infringement on the Respondents’ First Amendment rights. Any injunction requiring a buffer zone of any meaningful distance would require a significant change in the method used by the Respondents to disseminate their protected speech.

So, despite the city’s interests in their parking enforcement continuing unabated, their significantly-reduced proposal for injunction is still beyond what is constitutionally permissible, and further, the court could not think of any lesser restrictions that would pass constitutional muster.

Kissinger, in his conclusion, does remind the city that if Robin Hooders’ conduct is rising to the level of violating criminal statutes, that they can bring such charges. Of course, the reason they never have brought criminal harassment or assault charges is because Robin Hooders are peaceful. There is zero evidence of “harassing, threatening, or intimidating” — the claims the city has long libeled us with throughout this lawsuit.

Sheriff of NottinghamIn a classic case of projection, the people in this who are actually harassing, threatening, and intimidating others are the parking enforcers. They harass, threaten, and intimidate the good motorists of Keene six days a week by giving them threatening tickets for just trying to do some business downtown. Those tickets threaten, intimidate, and harass their victims into paying their fines so as to avoid the threat of having their car stolen. Talk about intimidation! This is why Robin Hood of Keene exists — we are here to save people from having to deal with the city’s threats. That’s always been the primary motivation, at least for me. I certainly don’t speak for everyone.

If the parking enforcers don’t like being called out for their threatening, intimidating, and harassing behavior, they should get jobs in the productive economy. Until the city council ends the parking department and turns over the spaces to downtown businesses to decide how to administer, per market forces, Robin Hooding will continue to rescue peaceful motorists from the threats of the city government.

The city has 30 days to appeal this latest failure.

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AKPF #1 Production Relocates, New Episodes Coming 11/30

It is with great enthusiasm that the production crew of the controversial AKPF #1 television announces big news for the series that shook the city of Keene’s foundation. While episodes had previously been predominantly filmed and based around the Cheshire county area, new episodes to begin airing on Cheshire TV November 30th will be produced in the state capitol of Concord. This production move will ensure that more globally relevant, akpf_censored1buniversally reciprocal content will be infused into the program, as series director Garret Ean and his uncredited assistant producer draw from a much larger pool of content from the heart of Shire.

As copywrong fascists continue their attack on free information sharing through youtube and other censored distribution outlets, public access television remains one of the few outlets individuals have for unrestricted self-expression in both audio and video format. For this reason, the producers also are proud to announce the show’s impending arrival on the airwaves of Concord TV. A schedule for airings on the capitol area’s public access station will be released as details are squared away with representatives of the station.

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Plea Deal Rejected, Trial Pending for Owners of Phat Stuff

by James Cleaveland
01 Nov 2015

The Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) raid on local Keene smoke shop Phat Stuff in May 2014 resulted in a criminal indictment against Phat Stuff Masked_Man_Uhaulowners Panos and Katie Eliopoulos in February 2015 for Conspiracy to Offer Drug Paraphernalia for Sale (21 USC 846 and 21 USC 863) and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering (18 USC 1956).  In a motion filed on October 5, 2015, it was revealed federal prosecutors had offered Panos a deal where he would plead guilty to some lesser charge in exchange for the government dropping the case against his wife Katie.  Although Panos initially accepted the deal, he has since changed his mind and the beleaguered Keene business owners will be going to trial on January 20, 2016 at the federal courthouse in Concord.

Contrary to what was implied in the media, Phat Stuff and its owners were not criminally charged with selling synthetic cannabinoids or any other controlled substance.  In the companion civil asset forfeiture case for Phat Stuff,  USA v. $695.00 US Currency et al, the complaint alleges that on August 9, 2013 an undercover informant for the DEA purchased the synthetic cannabinoid known as PB-22 from the Keene store.  The sale of PB-22 was not made illegal by the DEA until February 10, 2014 when the agency placed the compound on Schedule I by administrative order.  Phat Stuff stopped selling PB-22 prior to September 27, 2013 to comply with a Keene city ordinance forbidding its sale.  Since the constitution specifically forbids ex post facto laws, Phat Stuff and its owners could not be prosecuted for the sale and distribution of a controlled substance.  That left the government with the charges of selling drug paraphernalia, conspiracy, and money laundering.

Under federal law 21 USC 863, “drug paraphernalia” is defined as:

“…  any equipment, product, or material of any kind which is primarily intended or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, concealing, producing, processing, preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance, possession of which is unlawful …”

A tobacco “water pipe” and a marijuana “bong” are physically the same item and differ only in their intended use.  Selling a water pipe is legal; selling a bong is not.  To convict under 21 USC 863, the Government must show that the defendants personally sold, offered for sale, or made something that they should have reasonably known would be used in some way with illegal drugs.  There are several allegations the defense will have to explain:

  1. On September 23, 2013, a Phat Stuff employee sold a glass pipe to a DEA informant who claimed he needed a replacement “because the police took his.” (Oops!)
  2. On April 17, 2014, a Phat Stuff employee sold a glass pipe and a drug detox kit to an undercover police officer. (Double oops!)
  3. On April 17, 2014, a Phat Stuff employee sold a chillum, pipe cleaner labeled “420”, and a safe disguised to look like a cigarette lighter to another undercover officer. (Really, super-duper oops!)

Setting aside the usual libertarian objections to the war on drugs, a jury of normal people (i.e. people educated in the government indoctrination camps that are public schools, where children are taught that drugs are wrong; that people who use and sell them should go to jshort536ba91e9c409.imagejail; and that jurors must obey the judge and find a defendant guilty of breaking the law, even if the juror believes the law is unjust) is going to conclude that Phat Stuff was selling drug paraphernalia.  I would bet money on it — except I will not because of my strong religious belief against going to prison for illegal gambling in New Hampshire.  So as a friendly reminder to all business owners, if somebody comes into your store and buys a can of soda because they are thirsty, that is fine.  If somebody comes into your store and buys a can of soda because they are thirsty, and the customer casually mentions that after drinking the soda they plan to smoke crack cocaine out of the empty can, you should refuse the sale unless you want to risk federal prison time.

The conspiracy law 21 USC 846 will also be used against Panos and Katie.  A conspiracy exists when:

  1. There is an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime and
  2. There is at least one overt act in furtherance of that crime

Under the conspiracy laws, all parties are equally responsible for the whole crime.  So if your friend says to you “Hey, I didn’t report all my income on my tax return that I am about to file.  Can you drive me to the post office so I can mail it in?” you will be in big trouble if you let him put one foot into your car.  According to the federal government, your friend is committing several felonies (tax evasion, false statements on a tax return, and mail fraud for starters) and you knowingly agreed to help him by driving him to the post office, an act in furtherance of the conspiracy.  Congratulations, you will be found guilty of conspiracy to commit tax evasion, conspiracy to make false statements on a tax return, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and the conspiracy laws make you just as guilty as your friend.

The government will argue the Phat Stuff store employees knew or should have known they were selling drug paraphernalia.  That means the Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) can indict those employees.  You can be reasonably sure that in exchange for their “cooperation” the AUSA will grant them immunity from DEAchalknotwelcomeprosecution.  “Cooperation” in this case translates to “You better tell us what we want to hear, or else!”  With the employees’ freedom as a bargaining chip, the AUSA can get pretty much any witness to say anything desired.  The story the AUSA wants to hear is that Panos and Katie knew their pipes were being purchased by potheads and that the money from the sales were being deposited into the bank, which brings us to the more serious — and lucrative for the government — charge of money laundering.

Money laundering was a crime created by Congress to supposedly deal with Swiss bankers accepting large suitcases of cash from violent drug lords.  Since the bankers were not actually dealing drugs, the Department of Justice argued, a new law was needed to prosecute bankers who accepted drug money to deter them from doing business with kingpins.  Congress’s answer was the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986, part of which is codified in 18 USC 1956.  The law states, among other things:

…  Whoever, knowing that the property involved in a financial transaction represents the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity, conducts or attempts to conduct such a financial transaction which in fact involves the proceeds of specified unlawful activity … with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity … shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.”

The prosecution will argue that the sales from Phat Stuff are the proceeds of unlawful activity (sale of drug paraphernalia) and by depositing that money into their business checking account and paying the store’s bills, Panos and Katie intended to promote the further sale of drug paraphernalia.

deaphatstuffloading_truckMoney laundering is the toxic nuclear waste of financial crimes.  Any money tainted by “criminal activity” as defined by the government can be seized.  Anything that tainted money touches becomes tainted and can be seized.  Because Panos and Katie deposited the store’s sales into their TD business checking account, the government seized all of the money in the account.  Since some of that money was used to make payments on their Ford F250 truck, the government seized the truck.  Had they used the money to pay the mortgage on a home, the home would be seized.  In all, the government seized and will get to keep:  $15,209 in cash, a truck, and everything that was not nailed down in the store.  Thus a law that was passed to stop Swiss bankers and violent drug kingpins is now being used against two Keene business owners — all because they sold some glass pipes, a safe, and some cutely labeled cleaning product to the DEA.

The deck is stacked in the prosecution’s favor.  Jurors in federal court are prohibited from knowing about jury nullification or the potential sentence the defendants will get if they render a guilty verdict.  The federal rules of evidence are complicated and spending $50,000 or $100,000 to mount even a basic defense with a private lawyer is not unusual in federal court.  Defendants that fight and go to trial will face a longer prison sentence if they lose, which is almost 90 percent of the time with federal jury trials.  That is why over 90 percent of federal defendants plead guilty rather than fight.  If by some miracle the jury sees through the government’s case and acquits the defendants on all criminal charges, Panos and Katie will still be left with a huge legal bill.  Remember that compared to these two small business owners, the US Attorney’s Office has a practically unlimited budget to wage war thanks to the federal government’s ability to tax citizens through an army of people with guns.  Heads, the government wins and keeps the money; tails, the defendants win and the defense lawyers get to keep the money.  Either way, Panos and Katie lose.

Should the jury return a verdict of guilty, the US Marshals will be allowed to destroy all the glass pipes, bongs, etc. that were seized in the raid or they may be sold at government auction.  “Wait, how is it if Phat Stuff sells me a glass water pipe it constitutes conspiracy to sell drug paraphernalia, but if the government sells me that exact same pipe, the one they seized from Phat Stuff, it does not constitute the sale of drug paraphernalia?”  The answer lies in the legal principle that government lawmakers and lawyers refer to as “Shut up, war on drugs, and do what we say or else!”  Basically this principle says that if Panos and Katie do not plead guilty and let the government keep their property, the Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) can file a superseding indictment with another dozen felony charges, thereby creating a real possibility of Panos and Katie spending decades in prison if convicted.  The United States Code (USC) is over 100,000 printed pages, so there are three felonies a day for each American in there somewhere, including those who sell glass water pipes in Keene.

I am sure that Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Davis, who is handling this case, would love to hear from you about how much you support her use of prosecutorial discretion and our tax dollars to try to put Panos and Katie in prison:

Jennifer C. Davis
Assistant U.S. Attorney
53 Pleasant Street, 4th Floor
Concord, N.H. 03301
jennifer.davis@usdoj.gov
(603) 225-1552

Please remember that Jennifer has powerful friends with guns and she can convene a grand jury to have you indicted, especially if you are a ham sandwich, so you might want to keep that in mind when contacting her.  Happy writing!

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Will Sniperfest Continue in 2015?

It has been one year since the 2014 Keene Pumpkin Festival and subsequent riot which spilled into the streets through the following morning. While snipers perched above the festivities for the second year in a row, no one was aware at the time that the riots would spell the end of PumpkinFest as a downtown Keene tradition. This saturday, the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey as well as the city of Laconia will be hosting their own independent Pumpkinfests. With few places to position snipers at the fairgrounds, unless special towers are brought in, there will likely not be such a militarized presence there. The situation in Laconia is more likely to host police with rifles, as also the organizer of previous Keene Pumpkinfests, ‘Let It Shine’ is also coordinating this year’s Laconia event. Snipers-New-Hampshire-Poster4172180532

In the time since last year’s chaos, I had since discovered two different articles hosted by the Blaze and Vocativ which feature content from facebook posts I had made that day. While I was unsure whether or not I had in fact captured an image of someone pointing a firearm in my direction, upon seeing the image as presented in the Vocativ piece, it appears to very clearly be a rifle aimed at the are where I was filming from (which was a heavily populated area at the time).

Laconia police are likely stocked up on riot gear as part of their preparation for the motorcycle weekend sponsored there each year. With luck, the relocated festival won’t deteriorate into a glass bottle war, and riot squads will not make an appearance.

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