ISIL’s 2003 World Conference — Vilnius, Lithuania

ISIL’s 2003 World Conference – Vilnius, Lithuania – A Triumphant Emergencefrom Tyranny by Vincent H. Miller   Marshall Bruce Evoy Memorial award winner Jaroslav Romanchuk and Elena Rakova (both from Belarus) pose in front of the historic Trakai Castle (former capital of Lithuania).      In spite of a spate of violent conflicts, terrorism, and sundry other temporary setbacks on the world stage, many positive trends continue to quietly develop in numerous spots around the globe, and the movement for liberty marches inexorably on.      Nowhere was this more evident than in Lithuania, the site for ISIL’s 22nd world conference, which was held from July 6th through the 10th 2003 in the capital city of Vilnius.      At this remarkable event we sat shoulder to shoulder with the architects of a free Lithuania – along with people like Yuri Maltsev, who had been on the team drafting Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika.      Not so many years ago, many of the people at this conference would have been looking at each other over rifle sights. Times have changed indeed. A Fascinating Historical Background      During the 20th century the people of Lithuania were ground under the tyrannical heels of both Nazi and Soviet occupations. One third of their total population of three-million people were annihilated, with almost all of the 100,000 members of the Jewish community being slaughtered by the Nazis. Many of the people we met during our visit could relate personal tragedies of how members of their families had been murdered by Nazis. Others had been tortured and murdered by the KGB or exiled to Siberian slave/death camps.      Just prior to the ISIL conference, a small group of us toured the charming Old Town section of Vilnius, and along the way made a visit to the KGB museum. This museum had been an actual KGB compound, …

ISIL Puerto Vallarta Conference Spurs Movement Growth

Advancing Liberty In Latin America ISIL Puerto Vallarta Conference Spurs Movement Growth – by Vince Miller – ISIL’s world conference was held this year (2002) from July 28 to Aug 1 at the luxurious La Jolla de Mismaloya hotel in the Pacific Coast resort of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Mexico and Latin America in general (with the exception of Chile) over the past decades have produced seemingly unending spectacles of economic chaos, grinding poverty and massive political corruption. Not an area where one would pin much hope for a libertarian renaissance. But a libertarian movement has been emerging in the region, and the goal of this year’s ISIL world conference was to strengthen the network and inspire an acceleration of its growth. As you will read, these goals were met, indeed our expectations were exceeded. We assembled many of the titans of a powerful radical libertarian movement for change in Latin America: Manuel Ayau, founder of the free-market Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala; Roberto Salinas León, vice president of Mexico’s TV Azteca (the second largest television network in Latin America); Ricardo Valenzuela, a former Mexican banker who is in the process of forming a libertarian political party in Mexico; and Venezuela’s Alberto Mansueti who has just formed “La Salida” (The Way Out) think-tank. And of course there were Enrique Ghersi, ISIL’s Rep in Peru, co-author of the famous El Otro Sendero (The Other Path) book on underground economies, and ISIL Argentina Rep Martin Krause (Dean of ESEADE grad school of business administration in Buenos Aries) – both giants in the emerging classical-liberal movement in Latin America. With such powerful intellects and high spirits – all with a passionate sense of moral purpose, one got the feeling they were sitting in on a meeting of the “Founding Fathers” of a new era …

Dictatorship at Your Doorstep: Why “Anti-Terrorism” Laws Threaten You

by James R. Elwood & Jarret B. Wollstein May 2002 “I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people, and the West in general, into an unbearable hell and a choking life.” Osama bin Laden, October, 2001 (quoted in NewsMax.com 2/1/02) At 5 am in the morning on September 12, 2001 – less than one day after the 9/11 Attack – a half-dozen heavily-armed federal agents raided the home of Dr. Al-Hazmi in San Antonio, Texas. Without any search warrant, the agents ransacked his home, while his wife and young children (6 & 8) were held at gunpoint. Then – without being charged with any crime – Dr. Al-Hazmi was shackled and thrown naked into a freezing cold FBI holding cell. Even his eyeglasses and bronchitis medicine were taken away. Next, Al-Hazmi was flown to a New York prison, where he says he was repeatedly beaten while the FBI interrogated him. One week later, he was finally allowed to talk to an attorney and learned the reason for his arrest: Dr. Al-Hazmi’s name (the “Smith” of the Middle East) is similar to that of two 9/11 hijackers, and he had booked flights through Travelocity.com, which some 9/11 hijackers (along with a few million other people) had used. On September 24th – 12 days after he was arrested, Dr. Al-Hazmi was released – without his belongings and without even an apology from the FBI. He says he may now have to quit his job and leave the U.S. because his co-workers no longer trust him. (Source: “Justice Kept In the Dark,” Newsweek,12-10-01, p. 41.) Since September 11th, over 2,000 people, including many U.S. citizens, have been imprisoned by the FBI and police in the name of “fighting terrorism.” Only two of them …

Ending Our Drug Nightmare: A Humane Solution That Will Make Our Streets Safe

    by Jarret B. Wollstein America is living through a drug nightmare. Up to 80% of street assaults, murders and burglaries are drug-related. Drug gangs have spread their power to every city and town. Many police have been corrupted, courts are overcrowded, and prisons are bursting at the seams. The lure of big drug profits is turning children into pushers and cops into crooks. Every year the War on Drugs escalates. More money is spent, more drugs are seized and penalties for drug use become more severe. Yet illegal drugs are still plentiful. There’s a simple reason why America is not winning the War on Drugs. We have been fighting the wrong enemy. We have been told that the cause of our drug nightmare is drug sellers and users. The real cause is drug criminalization. Prohibition Revisited This is not the first time the US government has tried to save Americans from themselves. In 1919, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited the manufacture of alcoholic beverages. Suddenly honest, responsible Americans who just wanted a drink, were turned into criminals. Respectable bars became underground speakeasies, and legitimate liquor manufacturers were replaced by criminal bootleggers. Gang shoot-outs became common. There was massive bribery of police and judges. Criminals who made illegal booze paid little attention to quality, and some consumers went blind or died from tainted products. Eventually politicians were forced to admit the futility of trying to legislate morality. Liquor was harmful – but liquor prohibition was even worse. In 1933, Prohibition was repealed. Violence and the Social Costs of Drugs Today, liquor is legal and there are no longer any shoot-outs over kegs of beer or barrels of gin. But today the disastrous consequences of alcohol prohibition are being repeated with drug prohibition. Before President Reagan declared all-out War …

Seven Great Ways to Protect Your Privacy & Freedom

by Jarret Wollstein   Ron Paul – the only true libertarian in Congress – gives this answer to the question, “What is the relationship of privacy to freedom?” “Privacy is freedom. Leave us alone!” Unfortunately, Paul is one of the few politicians who truly understands or cares about protecting your privacy.   Why You Need To Protect Your Privacy The last few years have witnessed an all-out assault on your personal and financial privacy. Credit-reporting agencies, schools, Internet marketers, medical clearing-houses, and dozens of other private organizations all now maintain detailed records on us. However, by far the worst offender has been the U.S. government. In just the last few years, the government has:   Authorized the FBI, NSA and other agencies to intercept your e-mail, phone calls, and faxes, and keep track of your Internet surfing, without search warrants or other protections.  Quietly implemented “Know Your Customer” bank regulations which force your bank to spy on you and turn you in to police and the IRS for “suspicious transactions.”  Introduced scanners at US international airports which display your naked image to attendants (justified as a “non-intrusive” way of searching for guns and drugs).  Launched an all-out war on offshore tax havens ordering them to end bank secrecy and turn over records on US citizens or face a cut-off of all dealings with US banks and financial institutions. President Clinton even threatened military attack!  Forced employers to get government permission for all new hires, giving government a de facto veto over whether or not you can be hired!  Forced hospitals and doctors to turn over all private medical records, under penalty of fines, imprisonment, seizure of assets, and taking away doctor’s medical licenses.  Stepped up confiscation of assets without trial, through hundreds of new federal and state civil asset forfeiture …

Juries: A History of Jury Nullification

“If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states, then that juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen’s safeguard of liberty.” (1788) (2 Elliots Debates, 94, Bancroft, History of the Constitution, 267) “Jury nullification of law,” as it is sometimes called, is a traditional right that was rigorously defended by America’s Founding Fathers. Those great men, Patriots all, intended the jury to serve as a final safeguard – a test that laws must pass before gaining sufficient popular authority for enforcement. Thus the Constitution provides five separate tribunals with veto power – representatives, senate, executive, judges – and finally juries. Each enactment of law must pass all these hurdles before it gains the authority to punish those who may choose to violate it. Thomas Jefferson said, “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” From Magna Carta To Edward Bushell The power of the jury to judge the justice of the law and to hold laws invalid by a finding of “not guilty” for any law a juror felt was unjust or oppressive, dates back to the Magna Carta, in 1215. At the time of the Magna Carta, King John could pass any law any time he pleased. Judges and executive officers, appointed and removed at his whim, were little more than servants of the King. The oppression became so great that the nation rose up against the ruler, and the barons of England compelled their king to pledge that he would not punish a freeman for a violation of the law without the consent of his peers. King John violently protested …

The Hidden War On Your Privacy

How government secretly spies on you, your children and your finances . . . and uses that information to control you. by Jarret B. Wollstein There is a hidden war on your privacy. If you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t realize how closely you are being watched and how easily your life could be destroyed by this secret war. And who is the enemy? Although private investigators, big companies, and other snoops are threats to your privacy, by far the biggest threat comes from the very people we entrust to protect our privacy and freedom: the high-level bureaucrats and politicians who control government. Government at all levels now has scores of computer files on each of us, giving authorities the potential to track – and eventually control – our lives from birth until death. Information is being collected by the IRS, FBI, local police, public schools, and hospitals. It’s all available to the government to use as they see fit. We are also increasingly encouraged and manipulated to spy on each other. Virtually every regulatory and police agency – from Health and Human Services to the IRS – now has a toll-free “tip line” you can call to turn in your neighbor, your doctor, your boss, or your spouse. Hospitals and doctors are required to report parents to police for normal injuries to children that even 10 years ago wouldn’t have merited a second look. School DARE and WAVE programs (discussed below) encourage children to turn in their parents and each other to police. The net result is that legal rights and protections for our privacy and freedom of action that took hundreds of years to create, are being quietly wiped out in a single generation. Here are a few examples of the hidden war on your privacy:   …

The Causes of Aggression

by Jarret B. Wollstein We live in a world which often seems more violent with every passing day. Terrorist bombings, school-yard massacres, war, and atrocities fill news headlines. At times it even seems that humanity has a collective death wish. Human aggression has been blamed on many things, including broken homes, poverty, racism, inequality, chemical imbalances in the brain, toy guns, TV violence, sexual repression, sexual freedom, overpopulation, alienation, bad genes, and original sin. However, virtually all of these potential causes have one thing in common: Unfulfilled Human Needs and Desires Human needs and desires are endless. Virtually all of us would like to have fancy homes, social status in our community, the ability to eat all we want without getting fat, sex whenever we want it, perpetual health, unconditional love, and the ability to live until we’re 200. Most of us will enjoy few of these things. Fortunately, most people are realistic and sane enough not to turn to violence to deal with their frustrations. However, self-control sometimes breaks down – resulting in aggressions ranging from petty theft – to the Columbine massacre – to the mass killing fields of Cambodia. What causes people and societies to turn to aggression? Throughout history there have been five key factors: neurosis, desperation, envy, greed, and collectivism. Neurosis Neurosis consists of irrational thoughts and acts that cause significant harm to one’s self or others. But what causes neurosis? The humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow gave a great answer. He argued that the standard for proper human behavior should not be some statistical average of how people actually behave, but rather how the best, happiest, most productive, most creative, and most fulfilled human beings act – people such as Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein. In other words, Maslow argues that the standard for mental health …

The Swiss Cantonal System: A Model democracy

by Frances Kendall In this, the first of the “ISIL Solutions” series, we examine the “Swiss model” of government – a highly-decentralized system which Swiss economist Robert Nef more accurately describes as an “ongoing experiment” than a “model.” The concepts of devolution of power, local autonomy, and participatory democracy have produced the world’s most peaceful and prosperous country. Of course, Switzerland, with its compulsory military service, state controlled monetary system, railroad and telephone services, and taxation, is not a pure libertarian society – but for those interested in reining in out-of-control governments in other parts of the world, there are large parts of the Swiss cantonal system that are worthy of emulation. The word “democracy” is derived from the Greek words for people (demos) and power (kratos). Inherent in the concept is the idea that ordinary people should keep control of the decisions that effect their lives. In an ideal democracy, the power of those who govern is limited by safeguards that ensure that citizens can prevent their elected leaders from abusing their powers. – Switzerland – Switzerland is considered by many to be the most democratic country in the world. It is also one of the world’s most successful nations in economic terms. The Swiss people have the highest per-capita incomes in the world, and Switzerland is consistently rated among the top ten nations in terms of quality of life. The key to Swiss success is not to be found in natural resources (which are in extremely short supply); nor does it lie in the temperament of its 6.4 million people, who are essentially no different from the Germans, Italians and French in the remainder of Europe. It lies rather in Switzerland’s political institutions, which ensure that ordinary citizens are involved in political decision-making, and that no one interest …

New Declaration of Independence

NEW DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE by Vincent H. Miller & Jarret B. Wollstein Two hundred years ago our ancestors signed a document which forever changed the course of history: the Declaration of Independence. That document severed the bonds of Colonial America to a tyrannical king and parliament in England, and established for the first time a society based on the principle of the rule of law and limited government. The result was a glorious 200+ years which witnessed the greatest achievements, the highest standard of living, and the greatest levels of individual freedom in human history. But, bit by bit, the principles which made this country great have been forgotten – to the point where the uncontrolled growth of government now threatens to totally destroy our liberty and our prosperity. Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and the other signers of the original Declaration of Independence were well aware of that danger. That’s why they made these observations about the nature of man and government, which are as valid today as the day they were written: WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient …