The Internet is the Liberty Tree of the 90's
Note: The original version of this was written in 1992 and ran in the Arlington Volunteers newsletter of the Virginian Patriots for Perot, which later became one of the publications seeking to expose the abuses of Perot's appointed henchmen, rewritten after the Raid and lawsuit by a nasty cult that deserves more public attention and articulated outrage - The Scientologists
If we do not define the Internet, it will be defined for us...
What follows is my view, after just celebrating my first year upon the "Internet", with a 9:30 AM raid upon my home, as US Marshals stood idlely by, when employee's and officers of the cult of $cientology pawed through my personal belongings, seized my computer, modem, scanner, spare computer parts, keyboard, monitor, mouse & more than 400 diskettes & backup tapes, on Saturday August 12th at 9:30 AM, 1995, by means of a civil writ for search and seizure. [ pictures of raid in progress from video tape ]
N.B. The background music for this page should be Dire Straits "Telegraph Road".
What follows is some little known history in which to frame, these recent events...
Go back in time to before the American revolution for independence....There were small communities, hamlets,villages -- there was a sense of community -- a quality in short supply in today's world.
At or near the center of town, oft-times at `the fork in the road' was often a large tree, typically an Elm, (this was of course before Dutch Elm disease nearly wiped them out), which served the community's need as bulletin board, public notice board, newspaper, and legal notice section of the contemporary urban newspaper.
If there was to be a barn-raising, a citizen would post a written notice upon the tree. When an official decree or warrant, was wished to be known by all, a copy would be posted upon that tree. When a citizen had a complaint or petition, or perhaps, just news from a letter from England, the information was posted to that tree.
It was the first information system of the colonies.
As an activist in the early Perot Petition drive, and as editor and publisher of "The Arlington Volunteer's Newsletter", which for a few issued was the `official' `Perot' Newsletter for Virginia, I noted the spontaneous awakening amongst citizenry to take action to make government accountable to `the people'.
Wondering what the future would hold, I looked to the past o find a similar time of `awakening'. I turned to the Public Library system, and researched, here in Arlington Virginia as well as in Savannah, Georgia, various accounts of pre-Revolutionary America in search of parallels to what I was witnessing in the present, in order to gain insight into what might occur next and how to preserve and nourish this awakening of citizenry to the true responsibility of government to represent the body of the people, as opposed to interests with money, influence and power. I hoped to keep this awakening in motion despite the mismanagement and heavy handed tactics of Mr. Perot's organization.
What I found....The Sons of Liberty & John Wilkes
In many descriptions of the early years prior to the American Revolution, I found references to secretive groups called "Sons of Liberty", which spontaneously, and independently organized throughout the colonies, in response to abuses to liberty by agents of the Crown.. I did extensive keyword searches for `Sons of Liberty', and what follows are my findings and how it relates to the Internet today, and the events concerning the cult of $cientology in particular.
The 'Sons of Liberty' were a secret society, with many members of influence, one of whom was Paul Revere, in Boston. The Boston Sons of Liberty would meet in the `Long Room' above a tavern called `The Dragon', which had a copperplate of a dragon on its sign out front, that had turned, as copper does, green with age and corrosion, and was known to its patrons as "the Green Dragon". It was in this long room, above the Green Dragon, that the various protests and demonstrations in Boston were planned, including the throwing some tea in Boston Harbor.
John Hancock, shipper, and rum smuggler, was the financier, an who at the direction of Boston's tax collector, Samuel Adams, financed the protests and activities of the early Patriots. The `hero' of the Sons of Liberty, was a Member of the British minority party at the time, one John Wilkes, son of a distiller, who published a political rag called `The North Briton'
His newsletter was a barb in the side of the king as well as his lackey in Parliament, Lord Bute. In the 45th issue of this newsletter, John Wilkes, said that "A man is a sovereign unto himself, and (thus) may only be ruled by his own consent"
John Wilkes was most popular, with the people, and was elected Lord Mayor of London at one point. He was the champion of the Colonies in England, and could be considered the first `populist'. The phrase "sons of Liberty' was first used by a member of the minority party who had fought side by side with the colonists in the French & Indian War, in defense of some onerous action by the majority party, and knew the tenacity and determination of the colonists, and said something similar to " Do not underestimate these `sons of liberty' in America.."
Reading these populist writings, in his home north of London, in the early 1760's, that said that elected officials should truly represent the interests of `the body of the people', was a man named Thomas Pain.
When Thomas Pain came to America, and began his writings, he signed his name with a flourish that was misunderstood by the Americans to be an `e', and tiring of correcting people, he began for the sake of brevity, to call himself Thomas `Paine'.
A hundred years later, one newspaper account at the time said that the man who shot President Lincoln, jumped from the balcony onto the stage, and yelled his name (a moniker) "John Wilkes Bute", which was interpreted to have something to do with John Wilkes and Lord Bute. A reporter got it wrong, and now history calls him `Booth...'
This was fascinating, as well as puzzling, that so little of this story of the roots of liberty are taught in the American Public School system...I consider this `lost knowledge'. Knowledge I now feel is essential for the maintenance of that Liberty that our forefathers sought in coming to this `New World'.The Sons of Liberty begin to dedicate Trees of Liberty
It was these trees, used by citizenry, for communication, that became the subject of near-reverence, and dedication in the name of Liberty. Silas Downer, member of the Sons of Liberty of Rhode Island, said the following, at a dedication of a Tree of Liberty, in 1766. It is this dedication ceremony, which brought me the understanding of what `Liberty' truly is. Note well the line containing the phrase `under trees and in the wilderness', it was this line that made me realize, what `Liberty' really means.
At a dedication of a Tree of Liberty in 1766...Silas Downer said:
"We do therefore, in the name and
of all the true SONS of LIBERTY in America,
Great Britain, Corsica, Ireland or wheresoever
they are dispersed throughout the world, dedicate
and solemnly devote this tree to be a
TREE of LIBERTY.----May all our councils and
deliberations under its venerable branches be
guided by wisdome, and directed to the support
and maintenance of that liberty, which our
forefathers sought out and found under trees and
and in the wilderness. ---May it long flourish, and may
the SONS of LIBERTY often repair hither, to confirm
and strengthen each other. --When they
look towards the sacred ELM, may they be
penetrated with a sense of duty to themselves,
their country, and their posterity:--And may they,
like the house of David, grow stronger and stronger,
while their enemies, like the house of Saul,
grow weaker and weaker. AMEN
The stamp tax was a cleverly designed tax, that required that a `stamp' be purchased, and affixed to all documents, newspapers, bills of laden, court decrees, and posters etc. It was a nominal tax, but one of its intents, was to end `anonymous' postings upon these trees at the center of communities, and to suppress criticism of the government.
This tax was never allowed to be implemented, as it was the resulting uproar that ensued throughout the colonies, that created The Sons of Liberty -- as coopers, smithies, cabinet makers, men who worked with their hands, joined together, in small groups, independently, to oppose despotic, tyrannical rule..
Local, community posting trees, were quickly dedicated by citizenry, with much fanfare and ceremony, as TREES of LIBERTY, and festooned with imagery, -
A boot, with a devil effigy climbing out, was the symbol for Lord Bute, - the King's agent in the House of Commons, who led the effort to tax and discipline the `Colonies' in opposition to minority leader and `populist', John Wilkes, the champion of the Americans.The number `45', in celebration of the 45th issue of John Wilkes North Briton.
The phrase "Liberty & Property", used by John Wilkes, was chanted by crowds in, while protesting his imprisonment in England for his outspoken statements about the inalienable rights of man.
A tarred and feathered effigy of the local `Stamp Tax collector'
And "Long Live John Wilkes"...
Along with various exhortations to rally citizenry against whatever incendiary actions the Crown was pursuing at the time. Which brings us back to today, on the Internet. And who shall rule it.
The worldwide Internet, is merely a way for citizenry from far flung physical locations, to form, 'virtual Communities,' around `Trees' called mailing lists and newsgroups. If a citizen does not like a particular community of ideas, he may effortlessly and instantly move, at the touch of a keyboard. If a citizen, considers a particular poster's ideas offensive, he may choose to not read them, automatically....If a citizen desires to discuss any particular subject, - if enough interest exists to justify a new newsgroup, he may create one under which to discuss it. If you don't like what a particular soapbox orator in the town common is saying you may walk away, or you may chose to argue, or perhaps jeer...
However, when any individual or group, tears these posters from this virtual tree of liberty, or seeks to censor, harass or prosecute those who post upon this tree, this is an affront to the Freedom, Liberty and the constitutional guarantees our Founding Fathers felt important enough to attempt to chisel in stone by including them in the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights.
Including but not limited to:
Free Assembly, (upon a newsgroup or mailing list of choice),
Free Speech, separation of Church and State, the rights against unreasonable search and seizure, and the right to petition anyone for redress of grievances
It is also my opinion, as the authority for government and law devolve from the authority of the body of the people, then is follows the public interest should be considered senior to any fine points of copyright law.
Actions such as above, should be considered the gravest threat to Liberty, and it was these same threats, two hundred and thirty some years ago, that produced the American Revolution.
"The Internet is the Liberty Tree of the 90's." Arnaldo Lerma
"we shall either define the Internet or it shall be defined for us"
Postscript - 6 Sept 1995
When dealing with Internet issues, keep in mind, you are dealing with groups of citizenry, gathering, " under trees and in the wilderness " (the wilderness that is the Internet at this time), to discuss topics of mutual interest. You are dealing with communities, small city-states, of like minded citizens.
Anyone who does not approve of some of these groups must be reminded why our forefathers chose to come to this land.
If a `Church' can seize a citizens property, for whatever reason, including posting a public record to the side of a virtual`tree' of liberty...then it is time for netizens of the world to unite to protect this new, powerful, evolving medium-and to take action NOW.
We must not cut down these trees.
Those that disapprove of a particular tree must not be allowed to cut it down. The end of the forest begins with the first tree felled.
He may, however, start a group under his own tree, as any time.
This is the Internet.
Humbly placed into the public domain, for the common good,
"I'd prefer to die speaking my mind than live fearing to speake"
"Secrets are the mortar,
binding bricks of lies together,
into prisons for the mind"
The Washington Post wrote a story about this raid, which ran the next weekend -
for which they were added to the lawsuit against me, by an amended filing, and sued also..... Go here
Go to the Lerma's Main Anti Scientology website
Go to the Persecution page
Our Founding Fathers
who wrote The Declaration of Independence
and the The United States Constitution,
wrote that they intended us to have a government:
"of the people, by the people and for the people"
of the money, by the money and for the money!
It is time for you to be more involved with what is going on around you