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“Freedom Lovers” Being Targeted by NH City Council and Police; Requesting Combat Truck to Stop “Terrorism”
by Ezra Van Auken
For “Free Staters”, a group of non-political and political agorist libertarians and free-marketers, seeing the town of Concord, New Hampshire’s police seek federal grant money for a BearCat truck is no where to be found on their bucket lists. To give you the rundown, “Free Staters” are affiliated with the Free State Project, which was introduced in 2001 as a way for libertarian-types to find common ground with their inner politic. The idea for FSP is to move 20,000 libertarians into the Granite State for government reform and the ideal self-governing state.
Unfortunately, as is the course for any task, problems arise. Late last year, the city of Concord authorized Concord PD to apply for grant money, which totaled $260,000, and would be used for a BearCat SWAT G3 tactical truck. When police officials were questioned as to why the expensive and larger addition to the police force would be needed, police Sgt. Michael Pearl said the Dept. of Homeland Security program “falls under domestic terrorism, which is situations that we deal with.”
Since the city council voted unanimously to apply for federal funding through the Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit, there has been plenty of opposition to the proposed idea. The American Civil Liberties Union of NH has raised a flag to Concord’s attempt at putting their hands on a BearCat as well as the FSP, Occupy New Hampshire and Sovereign Citizens. However, the raising of their flags would only get higher as more information came out about how exactly the city council and police applied for the truck.
Following the passage of the grant application, the NHCLU found that the application itself gave false testimony as to “why” the militarized vehicle was needed. Unannounced to the FSP or any other civil liberties groups, the Concord PD cited the FSP, Occupy New Hampshire and Sovereign Citizens as reasons for needing the BearCat, calling the organizations a “real” threat and domestic terrorist groups. The application stated, “Outside of officially organized groups, several homegrown clusters that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies.”
The deliberate bashing of Free Staters only drew a response that brought more light onto the overall issue.
FSP President Carla Gericke responded to the claims of being remotely aligned with terrorism, explaining in a press release that FSP members live by the non-aggression principle. Gericke reminded the city council and police department in the statement that on the FSP website it clearly states that individuals looking to initiate violence is unwelcome. The FSP President then pointed out that these revelations didn’t come about because of transparency but rather an ACLU information request, which shined light on the request.
Ending the letter to government officials who used FSP as fallback and a worrisome excuse for purchasing a tank, Gericke demanded a written letter of apology from both the City and CPD, which includes the following statements: “The Free State Project is not a domestic terrorist organization,” and “Free Staters do not pose ‘daily challenges’ to the Concord Police Department.”” A letter of recognition and apology has yet to be received by FSP President Gericke.
The State Weekly contacted Gericke, asking, “Why do you think Concord police would call the Free State Project anything close to a terrorist organization?” Gericke replied that there are several reasons in mind, the first one being the fact council members and law enforcement didn’t think they would get caught. “They didn’t think that information would go public so I think that they exaggerated and overstated their position because that’s what they believe the DHS wants to see,” adding that obviously that didn’t happen.
Offering more insight, Gericke mentioned the words of a public official in Keene, NH who said the only reason officials put falsified information onto requests is because it works. The State Weekly also asked, “At this point, is the FSP trying to do anything to bring some mutuality between Free Staters and those who are calling Free Staters terroristic threats?” The FSP President replied, “I plan to go testify and meet with these people on August 12th when they have their open hearing. I definitely think that’s something down the line we need to look at.”
Gericke reminded TSW multiple times that the Free Staters are non-violent individuals who live their lives by those very principles. In addition, Gericke called the claims fraudulent.
Asking the FSP President if the BearCat mishap between public officials and Free Staters could possibly become worse with targeting by law enforcement, Gericke denied that thought. “I’ll just refer you to the police chief John Duval’s words from the Concord Monitor,” placing into mind that since the police department and city council’s application has been public, many of the things said about Free Staters by public officials have been toned down – showing some weariness for trying to wiggle past the spotlight.
Gericke pointed out that the application compared to the interview by the Concord Monitor is two different requests. The FSP President explained that in the application, Concord police ask for a specific vehicle, which is categorized for combat scenarios. Contradicting that report and what Duval has advocated for, the police chief told the Concord Mointor that the vehicle they were looking to purchase was for rescue missions. “He backpedaled,” Gericke said.
“Ultimately what we’re discovering is brains beat BearCats.” The FSP President will be in contact with The State Weekly after the public hearing on August 12th.