From braintree!news.sprintlink.net!news.dgsys.com!DGS.dgsys.com!alerma Thu Oct 5 10:54:38 1995
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (alerma)
Subject: The Liberty Tree - PLEASE REPOST
Date: 4 Oct 1995 18:00:06 GMT
Organization: Digital Gateway Systems
Keywords: liberty,John Wilkes,internet
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2]
Dear Netizens, 4 Oct 1995
During the occassional moments, when I feel the struggle
may be too much to bear, I read this 'screed' again...It helps
me keep the big picture in mind, that my purpose is to
eradicate those who profit from the tryanny of man.
Please feel free to place this upon web pages, and reprint
as needed and please (italic) support the FACTNet defense fund,
I hereby place this in the public domain...
Now available there is the full transcript from the Oct 8
hearing in colorado in Judge Kane's courtroom, RTC vs FACTNet.
Liberty & Property!
A director for FACTNet
"I'd prefer to die speaking my mind than live fearing to speak"
(note this is an ever so slightly edited and updated version
of the previous postings of this document dedicated to the
power of the human spirit...)
(This repost is dedicated to Bob Minton, 10K match contributer
to the FACTNet defense fund)
The Internet is the Liberty Tree of the 90's
If we do not define the Internet, it will be defined for us...
"Cyberspace", "Internet", "newsgroups", "hackers", ....
Welcome to the internet, a new technology growing at
times at 20% per month in size. Much is being written
describing the perils and adventures awaiting mankind in the
years to come, and more importantly, what controls, if any,
should be imposed, and by whom they should be administered.
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 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,
by means of a civil writ for search and seizure.
What follows is some little known history in which to frame,
these recent events...
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..
Near the center of town, oft-times at 'the fork in the road' was
a large tree, typically an Elm which served as the community's
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, that he wished to share
with his neighbors, that information was posted to the tree.
This was the first information system of the colonies.
The Perot Movement
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
to 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 learn 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.
I discover 'The Sons of Liberty' & 'John Wilkes'
In descriptions of the 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 conclusions on how it
relates to the Internet today.
The 'Sons of Liberty' were a secret society, with many
members of influence, who wished not to be known, one of the
famous kown members was, Paul Revere, in Boston. The
Boston Sons of Liberty used to 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 became 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 of some tea in
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. Samuel Adams was also an organized for the Sons of
John Wilkes first 'Populist', father of the Sons of Liberty
The 'hero' of the Sons of Liberty, was a Member of the British
minority party at the time, one John Wilkes, son of distiller,
who published a political rag called 'The Penny Advertiser'.
His newsletter was a barb in the side of the
king and his man 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 in defense of some onerous
action by the majority party, who had fought side by side with
the colonists in the French & Indian War, and knew the
tenacity and determination of the colonists, and said something
similar to " Do not underestimate these 'sons of liberty' in
America.." The phrase, no doubt, caught the fancy of those
Americans most concerned with Liberty.
Reading these populist writings, by John Wilkes, 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, the man who shot President
Lincoln, reportedly, jumped from the balcony onto the stage,
and yelled his name (a moniker) "John Wilkes Bute", a
reporter got it wrong, and now history calls him Booth...
he was saying 'Bute'.
This was fascinating, as well as puzzling, that so little
of this story of the roots of liberty are taught in the American
School systems...I consider this 'lost knowledge'. Knowledge I
now consider essential for 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 full 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 'America' and 'Liberty' were really about.
At a dedication of a Tree of Liberty in 1766...Silas Downer
"We do therefore, in the name and behalf
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 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
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
It was a nominal tax, but one of its intents, was to
end 'anonymous' postings upon these trees at the center of
communities, to suppress criticism of the government. To
stifle free speech...
This tax was never allowed to be implemented, as it was the
uproar that ensured 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 tyrannical rule by a despotic
Local, community, posting trees, were dedicated
by citizenry, with much pomp, 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 populist, John Wilkes, the
champion of the Americans' cause.
The number 45, in celebration of the 45th issue of John Wilkes
The phrase "Liberty & Property", used by John Wilkes, and
chanted by crowds in support of Mr. Wilkes, 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" as well as other less properly
Along with various exhortations to rally citizenry against
whatever incendiary actions the Crown was pursuing at the
Which brings us back to today, on the internet.
And who shall rule it.
I consider the worldwide Internet, to be merely a way for
citizenry from far flung physical locations, to form, 'virtual
Communities', around 'Trees' called mailing lists and
newsgroups, and Web pages. 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
in which to discuss it.
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, in my opinion
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 of America.
Including but not limited to:
(upon a newsgroup or mailing list of choice),
separation of Church and State,
and Free association.
and the rights against unreasonable search and seizure
It is also my opinion,, that as the final authority for
government and the law devolves from the body of the people,
then is follows that public interest should be considered senior
to any fine points 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 the American Revolution was the
"The Internet is the Liberty Tree of the 90's." Arnaldo Lerma
Paraphrased for our times:
A dedication of the internet as a Tree of Liberty
"We do therefore, in the name and behalf of all true SONS of
LIBERTY throughout the world, wherever they are dispersed,
dedicate and solemnly devote the INTERNET to be a TREE of
May all our councils and deliberations on its many nodes be
guided by wisdome, and directed to the support and
maintenance of that liberty, which our forefathers sought out
and found under trees and in the wilderness.
May it long flourish, and may the SONS of LIBERTY often
go hither, to confirm and strengthen each other -- When they
look toward the sacred INTERNET , may they be penetrated
with a sense of duty to themselves, their country, and their
Arnaldo Lerma 1995 & Silas Downer 1766
"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 citzenery, 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
Anyone who does not approve of some of these groups must
be reminded why our forefathers chose to come to this land.
We must not cut down these trees.
They should be considerdered as sanctuaries for sacred
testimony of freedom.
Those that disapprove of a particular tree must not be
allowed to cut it down. The end of the forest of liberty begins
with the first tree felled.
This is the internet, the liberty tree of the 90ís.
Arnaldo Lerma 1995