People gathered from across the globe to discuss practical ways to expand social and economic liberties. The conference also provided an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the Free Stater community in New Hampshire, where 20,000 libertarians are now moving.
Nick Gillespie of Reason TV interviewed Snowden live via Google Hangouts. Snowden was greeted by audience members holding masks bearing his likeness - this homage was received with a wide smile from Snowden in Russia.
During the 50 minute talk, Snowden covered several topics, including the recent revelations by Apple that the FBI has requested a “back door” to enable law enforcement authorities to access encrypted data on endpoint devices. Snowden also addressed a question submitted by Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, who has been sentenced to double life in prison without the possibility of parole. The question was: “Do you think the NSA could have been involved with the Silk Road investigation?” Watch the interview to hear Snowden’s stunning answer.
Liberty Forum has become a place where whistleblowers can tell their stories. In 2014, Thomas Drake, former senior executive of the NSA and decorated U.S. Air Force and Navy veteran, spoke out about being accused under the Espionage Act of mishandling government documents. Although Drake eventually plead guilty to one misdemeanor count for exceeding "authorized use of a computer," all ten original charges were dropped. In his defense, Drake stated he refused to "plea bargain with the truth." Jesselyn Radack, who has served as Edward Snowden's attorney, called Drake's actions "civil disobedience." You can watch the panel discussion, "The Social and Civic Importance of Whistleblowing," with Thomas Drake, national security and human rights lawyer Jesselyn Radack, now of Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR) at ExposeFacts, Trevor Timm of Freedom of the Press Foundation, and Devon Chaffee, executive director of New Hampshire's Civil Liberties Union.
This year, in addition to the historic talk by Edward Snowden, drone technician Cian Westmoreland was Liberty Forum's closing speaker. Westmoreland is one of 4 former U.S. Air Force service members to claim targeted drone killings and remote-control bombings fuel the very terrorism the government says it is trying to destroy. In a 2015 interview with Democracy Now, Westmoreland said: "I’m saying it wasn’t all enemies. It was civilians, as well." Westmoreland's talk on Sunday was an emotional appeal to seek better solutions to indiscriminate drone bombings. When an audience member called out: "Skynet is coming!" Westmoreland replied: "Skynet is here."
The Free State Project is a 501c3 nonprofit that educates people about the advantages of smaller government and the advantages of moving to New Hampshire as part of the FSP, where, according to the Statement of Intent, movers will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of individuals’ rights to life, liberty and property. The work of creating and sustaining such a society in New Hampshire is the job of residents, including project participants, not the Free State Project itself.
The FSP does not endorse any specific changes to government or strategies to achieve them. The FSP does not take positions on issues, candidates, legislation, places to move within New Hampshire, tactics or methods of action. The one stipulation the FSP does make is that people who promote violence, racial hatred, or bigotry are not welcome.
Carla Gericke (JD, MFA) is an advocate of liberty specializing in localized voluntarism, self-determination, and how responsible human action can lead to peace and prosperity. She is president emeritus of the Free State Project, and lives in New Hampshire with thousands of fellow freedom fighters. In 2014, Carla won a landmark court case affirming the 1st Amendment right to film police encounters. She has appeared on WMUR, CNN, and Fox News, been featured in GQ and Playboy, been quoted in The Economist, and has discussed libertarianism on the BBC. She has visited more than 40 countries, hiked to the base camp of the 10th highest mountain in the world, lost a shoe in a taxi more than once, had her passport stolen in Goa, got kidnapped in Vietnam, and has noshed on more “mystery meat” street food than she cares to admit. Carla once spent an entire summer while working as in-house counsel at Logitech eating tuna fish sandwiches with Doug Engelbart (the Mother Of All Demos dude), she worked on Apple’s acquisition of Steve Job’s NeXT, and bought her first Bitcoin for $6. Carla co-hosts the Told You So podcast, and co-chairs Manch Talk TV. She serves on several non-profit boards, follows a Keto lifestyle (read about her transformation), practices yoga and shooting, and plays a mean game of Scrabble. Carla enjoys cooking, gardening, painting, reading, and watching documentary films. She has twice run for New Hampshire state Senate, garnering 42% of the vote in 2018 against an 11-term incumbent, and believes in 2020, third time will be the charm! Carla’s first book, The Ecstatic Pessimist, a collection of award-winning short stories, flashes fiction pieces, speeches, and essays about the Free State Project is now available on Kindle with the paperback coming out soon! Carla is organizing PorcFest, The Throwback! Buy your $25 tickets today and join us in the White Mountains, June 22-28.