FSP Demands Apology for "Domestic Terrorism" Claims in Tank Grant Application
The Concord NH Police Department has made false and misleading statements in the above cited grant application for $258,024 in federal funds from the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to receive a Lenco Bearcat armored vehicle, hereinafter the “Tank.”
The DHS grant application states: “The State of New Hampshire’s experience with terrorism slants primarily towards the domestic type. We are fortunate that our State has not been victimized from a mass casualty event from an international terrorism strike however on the domestic front, the threat is real and here. Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges. Outside of officially organized groups, several homegrown clusters that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies.”
As president of the Free State Project (“FSP”), a NH-based non-profit organization with the sole mission of attracting 20,000 pro-freedom people to the Granite State, I am alarmed and appalled at the cleverly worded insinuation that the FSP is a domestic terrorist threat, or that “Free Staters” are “active and present daily challenges” to the Concord Police Department.
Individuals who sign up for the FSP generally subscribe to the non-aggression principle, an ethical stance which asserts that "aggression" is inherently illegitimate. "Aggression" is defined as the initiation of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property. Our website specifically states: "Anyone who promotes violence, racial hatred, or bigotry is not welcome."
Sadly, the DHS grant application only came to light through an ACLU public records request, and not as a result of transparent governance. Launched earlier this year, the ACLU program, “The Militarization of Policing in America,” with the slogan “Towns Don’t Need Tanks,” aims to determine the extent to which local police departments are now using federally subsidized military technology and war-like tactics in their communities.
From the ACLU’s March 6, 2013 press release: "’Equipping state and local law enforcement with military weapons and vehicles, military tactical training, and actual military assistance to conduct traditional law enforcement erodes civil liberties and encourages increasingly aggressive policing...’ said Kara Dansky, senior counsel for the ACLU's Center for Justice.”
I concur. In the same way the tenor of policing changed when “peace officers” became “law enforcement officers,” no good can come from tanks in small, peaceful communities. In fact, the secrecy of the DHS grant application and the false and misleading allegations therein are prima facie examples of the erosion of civil liberties and aggressive policing referred to by the ACLU.
The New Hampshire Constitution states: “All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good.” To discriminate against “Free Staters” for their pro-liberty, pro-peace, small government ideological beliefs, and to defame an organization in the manner set forth in the DHS grant is unconscionable, and unconstitutional.
On behalf of FSP participants, I hereby respectfully demand:
- A retraction and amendment of the grant application to remove all references to “Free Staters.” You are reminded that a condition of receipt of the grant’s funding is: “Funding may be suspended or terminated for filing a false certification in this application or other reports or document as part of this program.”
- An itemized list by calendar day of the “daily challenges” presented by “Free Staters” to the CPD. Please list individuals, not a class of people.
- 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 copy of this letter will be posted on the Free State Project’s website, and distributed to our media contacts. Your immediate attention to this important matter is appreciated.
Yours in peace and liberty,
President, Free State Project
This letter was sent via email and USPS mail on August 2, 2013 to: Thomas Aspell (Concord City Manager), John Duval (Concord Police Chief), Brian LeBrun (Concord Deputy City Manager) with the reference: "False and Misleading Concord Bearcat DHS Grant Application CFDA #97.067" with cc to Devon Chaffee, Executive Director, NHCLU. Copy of City of Concord Bearcat Grant Application.
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