Terrorist or Hero? An Interview with the 'Rosa Parks of Monetary Liberty'

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare

 

 
 

An Interview
with the u201CRosa Parks of Monetary Liberty,u201D Bernard von NotHaus

I’d
like to invite you, Dear Reader, to participate in a brief thought
experiment with me. Read the following statement, then shutter your
vision for a moment and imagine in your mind’s eye what this scene
and the person described therein would have looked like.

Statement:
I just completed an interview with a known terrorist. Our government
recognizes him as a clear and present danger to the security of
the United States itself. He has been tried and convicted in US
federal court, and is awaiting sentencing into the federal penal
system. It is possible he could spend the rest of his life behind
bars.

What
did your terrorist look like? What crimes did he commit? How deeply
does he endanger the United States? Do you feel safer with him locked
up?

Now
I am not a betting man, but if I were, I would be willing to wager
your terrorist had a thick, black beard. He probably spoke a different
language than you do and he may even have been adorned with subtle
religious accoutrements. His deep, brown-black eyes likely betrayed
a seething hatred for America and all things sheltered beneath the
Stars and Stripes. He’d kill you in an instant, if he only had the
chance, out of a genuine u201Chatred of your freedoms…u201D

Okay,
now take that image in your mind, and compare it to the picture
of the real person to which I refer below. Let’s see how close the
two resemble each other….

Bernard von NotHaus

Terrorist?
Bernard von NotHaus

Are
you terrified yet? Quaking in your boots? No? Well, you should be
— but for reasons very different from what the government is suggesting…
more on that below.

The
man pictured above is named Bernard von NotHaus, a friendly and
engaging man who is the former Mintmaster at the Royal Hawaiian
Mint, and later the creator of the Liberty Dollar, a free market,
commodity-backed, private currency used in bartering between some
250,000 Americans in communities all across the States. And, according
to the US government, that is where the roots of this u201Cterroristu201D
begin…

You
see for some reason, the idea of conducting barter via a private
currency which actually maintains its purchasing power seemed like
a good idea to the hundreds of thousands of people which began using
the Liberty Dollar. In contrast to Federal Reserve notes — a paper
currency backed by nothing other than the u201Cfull faith and credit
of the US governmentu201D (and we’ve seen how u201Cironcladu201D that is, with
the recent downgrade of US creditworthiness, and a persistent u201Cnegativeu201D
outlook) — the Liberty Dollar was backed by precious metals, allowing
the holder to redeem his certificates for metal at any time of his
choosing.

While
most Americans using Federal Reserve notes see prices rise year
after year, diminishing their FRN’s effective purchasing power,
those bartering with Liberty Dollars would spend just as much for
a gallon of gas now as ten years in the future — if not considerably
less. Hmm… if you had a choice between money that continuously
loses its value versus one that maintains, if not gains in value,
which would you choose?

Most
people are not aware that the US Constitution is very explicit in
this matter. Article I, Section 8 states:

u201CNo
State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender
in Payment of Debts.u201D

The
Founders’ knew all too well the calamitous dangers associated with
fiat currencies, thanks to their financial experiences during the
Revolution and throughout the time of the Articles of Confederation.
But this wisdom was eventually lost, first with the institution
of an unconstitutional central bank in 1913, and then when President
Nixon removed the last remnants of a gold backing to the US dollar
in 1971.

When
a currency is backed by nothing but promises, that just is not enough
to prevent the corrupting influences of man from simply printing
more money when the need arises. And the more new money that is
printed, the less each individual bill of fiat cash is worth. Prices
rise in order to account for the diminished value of each new note
in circulation, forcing each citizen to continually try to earn
larger and larger sums of money, just to keep pace with inflation.
If an American cannot consistently increase his wages, his standard
of living will decline.

Bernard
von NotHaus was not unique in recognizing this surreptitious destruction
of the American People’s wealth, via erosion of their purchasing
power. He was unique, however, in deciding to take direct action
against it. In creating the Liberty Dollar, Bernard did far more
than simply provide people with a private, sound money alternative
to Federal Reserve notes. In essence he created an existential threat
to the private central banking cartel ensconced in the heart of
the federal government. And they would not react kindly to this
threat…

2003 Silver Liberty Dollars

2003
Silver Liberty Dollars

In
post-9/11 America, civil liberties are perhaps the only things being
eroded away faster than the fiat dollar’s purchasing power. With
the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the pronouncement
of numerous draconian Executive Orders, and enactment of the Patriot
Act (an Orwellian name if ever the was one), nearly anyone can be
declared a terrorist, and as such can expect to find the full weight
and force of the federal government arrayed against him. For Bernard,
the full weight and force of the federal government began to make
itself known when the Liberty Dollar offices were raided by armed
agents of the FBI and Secret Service on November 14, 2007.

Over
eight tons of precious metals — the money backing all Liberty Dollar
certificates — were confiscated by the federal government and he
was indicted in May of 2009, on a litany of fraud and counterfeiting
charges. On March 18, 2011, Bernard was convicted in federal court
and now faces up to fifteen years in prison — all for trying to
provide a Constitutional monetary alternative to a system which
clearly wants no such choice to ever again exist.

I
spoke to Bernard briefly between staggered doctors’ and dentists’
appointments, as he made all preparations he could before being
sent u201Cup the riveru201D for who knows how long. By his positive attitude
and jocular quips, one might never guess that he was talking to
a man who might potentially spend the rest of his life behind bars.
But to hear him recount the fascinating odyssey that has led him
to this point, it becomes immediately clear that Bernard is a man
who has dutifully chosen to put his own life and freedom on the
line so that others’ liberty might still persist.

Bernard
has been called by some the u201CRosa Parks of Monetary Freedom,u201D and
no doubt that is a fitting moniker. Rosa Parks had the courage to
stand up to the face of naked governmental and societal injustice,
and we as Americans are all the beneficiaries of her courage and
commitment. May the same be held true with Bernard von NotHaus,
that his sacrifice and dedication to freedom may eventually help
form the foundation of a reinstated system of Constitutional money
and rebirth of the American Republic.

Interview:

Scott
Ledd: I’m pleased to be able to talk to you now, it’s a great honor
for me.

Bernard
von NotHaus: Well, thanks, but you know we’re all in this together,
I just happen to be the point person right now.

SL:
I know it, but it’s incredibly brave, what you have done. You are
at the tip of the spear and I hope that we can, like you said, work
towards creating a better tomorrow. We sure need one.

BVNH:
Yeah, well, at lot of it hinges upon money, because when the money
goes bad, everything else goes bad. When I had my epiphany on September
11, 1974, I spelled out in my economics
research paper the interrelationship between economic, political,
and social systems, and when you take the value out of one of those,
like the monetary system, well then you have a loss of equal value
in the social and political systems, and I think we are seeing this
now.

SL:
I think you’re absolutely right, we’re seeing this played out on
a daily basis now; it’s happening so fast.

BVNH:
Yeah well it’s been a while since September 11, 1974… I don’t
know where you were then but that’s almost 40 years ago for me.

SL:
The last that I researched, the average time for a fiat money system
is approximately 29 years or so, so this one is past due.

BVNH:
Yeah I saw some articles about that too, recently. I know someone
ran the average time for a fiat system, it was something like 20-30
years.

SL: So we have
really been on borrowed time with this one, and of course now we’re
seeing the death throes of it and it is just a complete disaster.
I just wish more people could understand what was going on. If they
understood what was happening to them, as you know Henry Ford said:
“It’s a good thing Americans don’t understand their banking system,
for if they did there would be a revolution by tomorrow morning.”

BVNH: Yep,
that’s what Henry said… but the problem is that people really
just don’t care and they have been “educated” not to care about
the monetary system: that it’s boring, it’s difficult to understand,
we need to have high minded people like “Greenscum” and Bernanke
to do things like this (and don’t forget Volcker, there’s the whole
cast of them). The thing is that people have been educated or miseducated
or brainwashed into believing that this is wayyyy too complicated
for regular people to understand and that we need to let PhD economists
guide us along in terms of what’s right… and that’s all bull.

SL:
I agree with you. Inherently people have to be able to understand,
at least in their own life, that if there’s more money going out
than coming in, they are going to ultimately end up in major trouble.
So the weird thing is, how does that inherent understanding you
would have for yourself — where is that disconnect, that if you
apply that to the government or the banking system, that it’s somehow
magically different?

BVNH:
Well the thing is the government is very good at hiring the “brightest”
and most glib people around and you’ve probably heard this phrase:
“What’s with the national debt? Why should we worry, we just owe
it to ourselves, why should we even be concerned about that?” And
not so bad as that, when I was on tour, people would say “We don’t
need a value-based currency, we can go out and buy gold and silver
with US dollars now.” I mean that it is so utterly brain dead, because
they miss the whole point: the reason we need to have a gold and
silver based currency is to bring discipline to the financial system
so the government can’t go out and do all sorts of bad things. I’ll
throw out there 9-11 and the wars, and the list starts at Ruby Ridge,
and it ends at your doorstep, and well, it ended at my doorstep
when they came knocking. So the thing is that people don’t understand
these things; they’ve been misled and miseducated, and the government
is very good at doing this.

SL:
Well, I understand your background and where you are coming from
with this. Would you be able to give a little bit more biographic
info of how you came to your understandings and ultimately how you
came to create the Liberty Dollar?

BVNH:
Sure. The thing is I don’t have a background in this field whatsoever
at all. I’m very proud to say I only took one course in economics
in college, and it was on Saturday morning — Tuesday, Thursday and
Saturday at 8 o’clock. Now I don’t know what your college experience
was like, but I’ll tell ya, on Saturday morning at 8 o’clock, the
last thing I wanted to do was go to economics class. And the guy
was BORING to death, I mean he was just terrible, and to make matters
worse, he knew nobody wanted to come on Saturday morning at 8 o’clock
so he gave a pop quiz that constituted 50% of your grade. So a lot
of people would come just to take the pop quiz at exactly 8 o’clock
on the money, every Saturday morning. In any case, this was my only
exposure that I had to economics, and I really hated it. I hated
the professor, I hated Saturday morning, I hated everything about
it, because to me everything about it, it was just absolutely terrible
— I think I got one of my rare C’s in that class. So anyway, I had
a bad attitude about economics, but then I had my epiphany on September
11, 1974, which really was fantastic in the sense that it opened
me up to not so much economics, but it opened me up to the world
of money and how exciting it is and the cause and effect of money…

SL:
September 11, 1974, is that the day it became legal to buy gold
again?

BVNH:
No it wasn’t, this was the year before that. It became legal on
January 1st, 1975.

SL:
So what was the actual epiphany event? Why September 11, what happened?

BVNH:
I wrote an economic research paper entitled “To Know Value” and
it opened me to realize that the physical manifestation of gold
is nothing more than the physical manifestation of value itself,
a spiritual one — there’s a strong interrelation between spiritual
values and physical values exemplified by gold in that economic
research paper — which is actually included as an appendix in the
book I wrote in 2003, 29 years later. Anyway I wrote that and it
became the basis of where I went with this, I got involved in gold
and silver markets, distributed a lot of gold and silver to people,
friends of mine, in Ahualoa, a little area on the Big Island [of
Hawaii]. It's a pretty remote place. I was living in a little house
without electricity, lived there for three years, grew up in the
gold market, moved over to Oahu and started the Royal Hawaiian Mint,
did that for 25 years and retired in 1998, launched the Liberty
Dollar as my philanthropic, nonprofit entity to awaken Americans
to two things: 1) to the dangers of fiat currency, and 2) to the
solution to fiat currency was of course the Liberty Dollar. So I
retired, I moved to the mainland and I was on tour for the next
ten years until I was arrested in 2009.

SL:
And when you would go on tour, you would go to colleges, convention
centers, anywhere you would be able to talk and try to explain this
to people?

BVNH:
Oh yes, right. As the Liberty Dollar became better known, I was
invited to participate in a variety of forums — as a matter of fact,
I was the keynote speaker for the Liberty Forum, I believe that
was 2008, maybe 2006, but anyway I was the keynote speaker there
— so yes, I did a lot of phone calls, conference calls, meetings,
we held Liberty Dollar University (we had 15 of those across the
United States) and the organization just grew and multiplied as
more people heard about it. And of course as the price of silver
went up, more and more people started paying attention. When we
got started, silver was in the $4 to $5 range, so how things have
changed, right?

SL:
Going on ten times as much now.

BVNH:
Yes, amazing, huh?

SL:
Yes and I’m afraid this is just the tip of the iceberg…

BVNH:
Well maybe it’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of people getting
informed and taking action too, because it’s really only through
people’s action where we will find a solution, and that is what
distinguishes the Liberty Dollar from any of the others. And you
know there a lot of organizations out there, and a lot of them are
not worth a damn. A lot of them just suck you dry of money, making
you feel good, and deceiving you into thinking you are doing something.
The Liberty Dollar was not one of those organizations, this was
a grassroots, bottom-up, activist organization putting our money
where our mouth was, and doing a damn good job of it, and attracting
a lot of really quality people in terms of doing this, because we
were DOING something, we weren’t talking about it. First thing I
told to Ed Griffin, who became a good friend of mine, is “the last
thing we need is another damn book about the problem!” I mean, I
like “Creature [From Jekyll Island]” I think “Creature” is a great
book, he did that in 1995 so, I couldn’t fault Ed for that because
it was good book, a legendary book in our movement, but as time
went on, I realized that we don’t need any more books. And of course
when it comes to the Federal Reserve, there’s an awful lot of books
out there; in my library, I bet I’ve got 200 books if I’ve got any
on the Federal Reserve. And we don’t need any more books, we need
action, and that’s what the Liberty Dollar did, it gave people a
way to take action. Our catch phrase was you want to “make money,
do good, and have fun,” and people really responded to that.

2006 Liberty Dollar Silver Certificate

What
Paper Notes Backed by Precious Metals Still Look Like

SL:
Yeah well it’s kinda amazing to people when they start to realize
that it’s a pretty simple thing to do, to get back into a sound
money system by buying at the very least some sort of precious metals,
taking your money out of the banking system that is completely corrupt.
It simultaneously allows you to protect yourself while collapsing
their corrupt system; there’s really nothing easier you could do.

BVNH: Well,
yes, in that regard, it’s pretty damn easy, take your money down
and buy some gold and silver. But that doesn’t do anything towards
actually creating a value-based monetary system. That turned out
to be a lot more difficult and a lot more thoughtful, on my part
anyway — and maybe I’m just slow — but I worked on it and researched
it and read a lot of Austrian economics of course, but I mean a
lot of other stuff too — Murray Rothbard was a good old favorite
of mine, I like Murray, he was a character, I just wish I had a
chance to meet him — but the bottom line is that it was really,
really difficult, from my point of view, to come up with a free
market currency — the world’s first free market currency — that
was 100% backed by a commodity which is very volatile in terms of
prices. We were starting a $5 and I knew that it could certainly
go a lot higher, and of course it was a lot higher — it was $50
back in 1979, 1980 — so how do you accommodate wild, volatile price
swings like that and base a value-based currency on a commodity
which is so volatile? It was difficult to, as I say, be a monetary
architect: to actually come up with the model. And as a matter of
fact, that’s what I’m writing about right now, which is how that
happened, and how I designed the Liberty Dollar to withstand those
swings because as you know when the Liberty Dollar came out, it
was $5, so it was a $10 base, then it went to a $20 base, then it
went to a $50 base. This didn’t happen, this econometric price structure
did not happen overnight, because I didn’t have a model, there was
nobody around to help me — plus I was stuck out there on an island
in the middle of the ocean (actually, that was good, because I didn’t
have any negative influences, and I didn’t have anybody trying to
tell me what to do, if I didn’t like their idea). But that’s how
that came about, it was not simple — 23 years of designing and developing
actually — before I launched it on October 1st, 1998.

SL:
So I actually just watched an interview with a Mexican citizen named
Mr. Price…

BVNH:
Oh yeah, Hugo.

SL:
Yes and he’s been leading a charge to get silver reintroduced as
a peso, but not with any actual peso amount minted on the coin,
but that it does just circulate…

BVNH:
Can I give you my opinion?

SL:
Certainly.

BVNH:
Hugo is a well-intending guy, but his system is never gonna fly.

SL:
And why is that?

BVNH:
Because he doesn’t have a denomination on it, is the first reason,
and second, it has to be run through the central bank of Mexico.
These are the people who gave us the problem; these are not going
to be the people who will give us the solution. And I really slam
Hugo because, for all of his money — he’s a billionaire! — do you
think that if he was really serious about doing something other
than just “ego-ing out” that he could have spent — I spent $3 Million
and guess what? we had the Liberty Dollar, which is the most successful,
most vocal, most active organization PERIOD, in terms of presenting
a positive solution — if Hugo was serious, he should put his money
where his mouth is. I’m sorry, I don’t have any respect for Hugo,
because he could have done, should have done, and I’m waiting for
him to do something more than fly in his private jet, and show up
at this conference, and fly in his private jet and show up at that
conference. Hey, that doesn’t get it, I’m sorry.

SL:
Well I think that’s the big distinction, because…

BVNH:
…I don’t have a private jet!

SL:
(laughing) Well, that. And I think you summed it up: he is obviously
ridiculously well-to-do, has so many resources at his availability,
but I guess he only wanted to go so far, so as not to upset the
apple cart.

BVNH:
Well not only that, when he first came out, he said he was the first
person to develop a free-market currency. I emailed “Hugo, you missed
by 8 years, Jack.” (laughing) Don’t give me this line of crap, just
go and google “libertydollar.org.” Don’t make that claim because
that claim is false and it brings dishonor to what you are trying
to do — which is good, what he’s trying to do — but he really hasn’t,
he talks the talk but he doesn’t walk the walk. I can tell you after
I was arrested and after I… was convicted, Hugo, you know he doesn’t
wanna do what I’m doing. He’s too lily white. I know Hugo, I stay
on top of all the different currency models.

SL: The main
reason I mentioned him is that it seemed his idea was more simple
in the sense that, because he didn’t put the actual amount on the
coin… ultimately at least I heard him say, he’d like to get to
the point back to where you could buy stuff in pesos or you could
buy stuff in these rounds of silver, which are an ounce, and ultimately
bring money back to the understanding of money being ounces of metal…
How did you come up with the way to deal with the underlying volatility
of the commodity backing the Liberty Dollar?

BVNH:
I don’t think we have the time to answer that… that’s a long story.
Not that I don’t want to tell you the story, but you’ve only got
so long to do this interview… it took 23 years of research, design,
and development for the Liberty Dollar, and you already know that
it moved up from the $10 base, to the $20 base, to the $50 base.
It is a very disciplined econometric system and guess what? It worked.
Just look at the numbers, millions of Liberty Dollars are out there
in circulation. That’s without any advertising, without any marketing,
just two ladies sitting in an office…. what do you think Hugo
could do? I do this driving around in my fat-ass Cadillac… what
do you think Hugo could do in his private jet?? I mean, my god!

SL:
So, in specific relation to the Constitution, Article I, Section
8 says Congress shall have the power to coin money, regulate the
value thereof (with the emphasis being COIN money) and then Article
I, Section 10 says no State shall coin money, again COINing money;
it says no State shall emit bills of credit — which is basically
a paper, fiat dollar — or make anything but gold and silver coin
a tender in payment of debts. So how do you interpret these lines
of the Constitution with respect to the Liberty Dollar?

BVNH:
Well, you know, in the first section.. Article I, Section 8, it
says the government can coin money. Well they’re using the word
u201Ccoinu201D as a verb, and so they can mint money and that’s good, but
they don’t say that Congress has the EXCLUSIVE power to do that.
If you go and you look at Article I, you’ll see that there are two
other sections where the word “exclusive” is used in Article I,
so it proves that the Founders were not adverse to using the word
exclusive when they wanted to. They used it twice in the same Article
I, so if they wanted to give the government exclusive rights, they
would have, but they didn’t. And how could they? Because at that
time the Piece of Eight and the Russian Ruble, and the [Spanish]
Peseta, and gee, there were so many other different currencies that
were being used in the colonies and then in the States at that time,
so the reality was that they didn’t have exclusive right. Banks
can’t do it, banks that are creatures of the State; the States couldn’t
do it because of Section 10; ok, so what that means is that we can
fall back on the 10th Amendment. The 10th Amendment says those powers
that are not reserved for the federal government, or prohibited
to the States, are the right of the People! Well dammit, the last
time I looked in the mirror, I’m a People!

SL:
(laughing) Right, the 9th and 10th Amendments are very clear on
this.

BVNH:
They are very clear on that. So the thing is, there was no exclusive
power given, and I felt a patriotic urge to exercise my right in
the Republic. You know the thing that distinguishes our country
is that it is a republican form of government — anything that is
not outlawed or specifically barred or regulated by the [Constitution]
is LEGAL. So this was not barred or specifically prohibited at all.
And so it was absolutely legal for me to coin my own money if I
so chose, because I am an individual, dammit! And I’m pretty individualistic
about it!

SL:
I think you’re right… and I don’t just think you are right, anybody
that can read the Constitution knows you’re right.

BVNH:
Yeah, and hopefully the Court will agree with you, and agree with
me, but my two… attorneys, who did a really piss poor job, when
my one attorney wrote the motion for a new trial, he refused to
put the “exclusive clause” in his 71-page motion — 71 pages and
he still couldn’t fit it in there! As a matter of fact, two days
before the deadline, he refused to put it in there. So the following
day, I busted my buns and I was at the courthouse window at 3:59
(it closes at 4 o’clock). I was there at 3:59 on the last day that
I could file an addendum to his motion, that brought up the exclusive
clause. And then I fired his ass. So now I’m a pro se litigate.

SL:
And your second attorney, did you get another one right after that?

BVNH:
No I had two at the same time and I fired both.

SL:
So did the exclusivity clause finally sneak in, or no?

BVNH:
Oh yeah, it’s going forward to the appeal, its definitely in there,
but what’s interesting is that it was also brought up by the two
amicus attorneys — two appellate attorneys who wrote the amicus
briefs — and they brought up that point quite well, as a matter
of fact. And that was without me even asking them. I didn’t participate
in the amicus brief, because although I was the subject to the amicus
brief, I was not the client, the client was GATA. They were actually
doing it for GATA; they didn’t interview me, they never even called
me, they went ahead and did it as they thought best, and they did
a hell of a good job.

SL:
Well again, you read the Constitution, it’s quite clear, and you
also can’t put the TV on without seeing ads for coins that have
been minted by the Franklin Mint —

BVNH:
Nope — no, no, no, no. I gotta correct you there. There is no…
Franklin Mint never did any coins except for foreign governments.
A COIN is something issued by the government. That’s why I could
never do a coin, that’s why we never called the Liberty Dollar a
coin, and we never allowed people to call them coins because they’re
NOT coins. They can’t be coins because, guess what? I’m not the
government. Nor would I EVER want to be the government — I don’t
know how you feel about government, but I’m not really happy about
them… So we never did any coins, Franklin Mint never did any US
coins, nobody is doing anything like what the Liberty Dollar did.
Nobody put denominations, or as we morphed it into, MSRP, on any
pieces of gold and silver out there.

2008 Liberty Dollars with MSRP

2008
Liberty Dollars with MSRP

SL:
So then, that’s why the Liberty Dollar was targeted specifically
by the government, because —

BVNH:
No, no, no — it was not. It was not targeted because we used the
dollar sign. It wasn’t targeted for any of those reasons. It was
targeted purely on political grounds. They were scared. I just kept
always laughing about it, to be honest with you… hey, look, [I'm]
a happy-go-lucky surfer from Hawaii, and the government is going
to be scared of me?? I mean, give me a break. And don’t think anything
scares this god damned government — and I use that phrase specifically.

SL:
But obviously, it’s because essentially you… you are a person
who is telling the People the emperor is not wearing any clothes.

BVNH:
Right.

SL:
As long as everyone goes on believing that he is [clothed], and
they are afraid to say otherwise, then everything still works. But
you were one to stand up and say, “Look, this is not real,” and
of course that’s why they were terrified.

BVNH: I don’t
know, terrified may be stretching it, but yes, they were obviously
concerned enough to launch into the investigation and indictment
and arrest and trial. The trial… I should have won the trial hands
down, but the attorneys did just a god awful job. Now it remains
to be rectified in the appellate court, but yes, I think what they
were afraid of — if they were afraid of anything — they were afraid
of the idea and they were also afraid of the competition. Just look
at it. In eight years while “Bushwhack” was in office, we went from
$10 base to a $50 base. That means that the Liberty Dollar appreciated
500%. In that same time frame the US dollar lost 50%. So the difference
between where the US dollar went and where the Liberty Dollar was
was a 1000% difference. My god! If I had a competitor beating me
by a 1000% difference, and I had the power of the court and the
power of the gun, well then, I don’t know, maybe I’d be corrupt
enough to use those powers. Obviously the government has those powers
and has corruptly used those powers, and has convicted me.

SL: So, specifically,
can you go into what happened that day? Lately a lot of things have
been in the news, now we’re seeing federal agents coming and raiding
Amish farmers because they’re selling unpasteurized milk; Gibson
Guitars just the other day was raided because they didn’t select
the appropriate type of wood for some of their guitars. Can you
actually describe the scene on November 14, 2007, when the FBI and
the Secret Service raided your establishment?

BVNH: Actually,
I’d like to, but I’m gonna have to ad lib, because I wasn’t there.
I was out on my speaking tour. I only went to the office two or
three times a year. I was never at the office — why would I want
to be hanging out at the office? I mean Evansville, Indiana is a
nice small town area but, listen, I got bigger fish to fry. I gotta
be out there on the circuit, talking to people, meeting with people,
stirring up things. So yeah, I never even sold any Liberty Dollars;
of course I motivated a lot of people who did own a lot of Liberty
Dollars. You know that in a three-day period, we distributed over
a quarter of a million Liberty Dollars, in three days. So no, I
wasn’t there, but Sarah did call me while the FBI was there, and
they bagged everything except for the carpet and some of the second-hand
desks that we had at the office. Of course they ordered her to open
the safe, and they’ve got the guns, so she opened the safe and they
took everything out, I mean EVERYTHING, of course they went to Sunshine
[Mint] and they confiscated about nine tons of gold and silver there,
and they actually hit six different places in four different States
on November 14, 2007.

SL:
Wow.

BVNH:
Yeah, “Wow” would be an apt description.

SL:
I can only imagine. And then from there, the indictment, the trial,
and then ultimately the conviction. And then in the post-trial discussion,
US Attorney Anne Tompkins described what you were doing with the
Liberty Dollar as “a unique form of domestic terrorism that’s trying
to undermine the legitimate currency of this country.”

BVNH:
Can you imagine that? They built me into a “unique terrorist.” And
you know why they built me into an u201Cuniqueu201D terrorist, don’t you?

SL:
The Patriot Act?

BVNH:
Well, no, it has to do with the crime of being a terrorist. You
see, every statute for terrorism requires violence. No violence
on my part… for them to build me into a terrorist, when there
was no violence means they are lying. Now I know this is gonna shock
you, the fact that the federal government would flat out lie…

SL:
Well that’s why I bring up the Patriot Act, because of the terrible
provisions in there, essentially anyone that’s labeled a terrorist
— and it’s down to the President essentially saying if the person
is or is not. If they’re labelled as such, now they can be prosecuted
under the Patriot Act as well. Are you concerned about that, as
hopefully your conviction is overturned? Do you think they will
come back at you again with the Patriot Act this time?

BVNH:
You know, that’s all conjecture, I have no idea. What I’m really
concerned about is the way the government is trying to use my case
as a gross door-opener to Gibson Guitars and the Amish and you know
the world is beginning to see this trickle out, who knows where
this will be a year from now, two years from now, five years from
now… I mean it used to be illegal to confiscate people’s property,
look at what’s happening now: last year they did something like
5.7 Billion DOLLARS in confiscations! It used to be ZERO! So the
government gets their foot in the door, and then they drive a tank
through it. This is what I’m really, really concerned about. I mean
I may make light of being a domestic terrorist, but if they can
brand me a domestic terrorist and confiscate all my materials, and
then expand into confiscating other people’s materials, and then
go after Gibson Guitars and so many other different people… they
can go after you, they can go after everybody, we could all be “terrorists.”
That’s really the big concern.

Feds Raid Sound Money, Natural Foods, Guitar Makers, the Amish--Who's Next?

Feds
Raid Sound Money, Natural Foods, Guitar Makers, the Amish… Who's
Next?

SL:
As you say, that really sums it up, that essentially all the mechanisms
are in place — and we’ve seen it now happening time and time again
— where essentially any person can be labeled a terrorist and then
have the full weight of the federal government come down upon them.
This is something that is so far removed from what the Founders
could possibly have ever conceived of, it’s atrocious.

BVNH:
Well I think the Founders probably did conceive of it, that’s why
they made the Constitution as ironclad as possible, and of course
the populace was concerned of it too, and that's why there was such
a push in terms of the Bill of Rights. You know nobody else has
a Bill of Rights, nobody in Europe… Germany doesn’t have a Bill
of Rights, England doesn’t have a Bill of Rights, nobody else has
a Bill of Rights. You know, the United States is very unique, and
that is in the Bill of Rights and the fact that one third of the
population is armed… nobody’s armed in Canada, nobody’s armed
in England, nobody’s armed in Germany, it’s amazing, the United
States is a really stand alone class act.

SL:
At least it has been… and let’s hope that it able to persist in
this way, but with these types of things coming down against you,
it’s going to be very difficult for other people to be able to avoid
the same types of things coming down onto them. So I hope that more
and more people are able to learn from this, see what’s going on
and wake up, and do what they can to wake others up.

BVNH:
Well I think it’s noble, but I think in reality people are gonna
be more scared than they ever were because of my conviction. Most
people are cowards.

SL:
Speaking of your conviction, what is the status of your sentencing
and the appeal? How much time could you serve, and what is the likelihood
of getting this conviction overturned?

BVNH:
Who knows? All those questions, wonderful questions… there are
no answers to any of them. I mean, the answer is I could get sentenced
up to 15 years, so it could be anything from a year to 15 or something
like that. Appeal can’t happen until I’ve been sentenced.

SL:
Do you have a better defense team or someone that’s able to help
with your defense this time around?

BVNH:
There is no defense, I already lost.

SL:
I guess I should say for your future court dealings, for the appeal.

BVNH:
The attorneys who wrote the amicus brief are appellate attorneys
and they want to do my appeal. That’s already been squared away.
I’m just waiting to be sentenced right now. I’m waiting for the
judge to rule on a post-trial motion, that’s what I’m waiting on.

SL:
Alright Bernard, if people would like to learn more about the Liberty
Dollar, where can they go for information on it?

BVNH:
Google “Liberty Dollar.” The website is down, we had to take the
website down, and if they want to stay in touch with the Liberty
Dollar, they should sign up for my monthly newsletter. I’ve written
a monthly chronicle as a history of the Liberty Dollar, ever since
day one, October 1, 1998. Every month I write a newsletter, I do
an update in there about the legal happenings every month. It’s
free and we email it to you. All they have to do is go to: www.libertydollarnews.org
and sign up. If they go there, they’ll also see all of the newsletters,
alerts, and notifications since the time of the raid, posted on
that same website.

SL:
Okay, and that one is still up and running?

BVNH:
Yeah, because that is freedom of speech, I still have freedom of
speech; I’m convicted but I still have freedom of speech, I’m still
doing this interview. So yeah, I cannot sell Liberty Dollars, I
can’t market Liberty Dollars, and as you notice I’m not telling
you or anyone to buy any Liberty Dollars, right?

SL:
Right.

BVNH:
So I can talk about the trial. There’s been no gag order about the
trial, so I write the newsletter and it goes out to about 25,000
people every month.

SL:
One last question, specifically for the Liberty Dollar as it is:
I saw that CoinWorld was trying to determine the status of what
it is, as far as the Feds are concerned, and essentially they’re
saying now that it is “contraband.” What about the people who participated
in the Liberty Dollar? They have a claim on those dollars with government,
don’t they?

BVNH:
They have a claim on the certificates. People who have paper or
digital certificates have a bonafide claim on the silver and the
gold that backs it up. Now if it becomes contraband, then the government
would return the market value. In other words, if they own ten one-ounce
Liberty Dollars, then they would get 10 times the market price of
the silver on settlement day, probably mailed to them. Hopefully
they are going to get their silver back; the good thing is that
the money is in silver, so it keeps appreciating, even though it’s
in bad hands right now.

SL:
Right. And well that’s the trick, isn’t it? Conceivably they will
have to do a class-action lawsuit to get it pried out of the government’s
hands.

BVNH:
Oh yes, they will have to fight for it unless I win on appeal.

SL:
It’s just a disaster.

BVNH:
It is a disaster, I agree, I agree. That’s why I’m still staying
plugged in and doing everything possible to get that silver back
for the people who trusted in the Liberty Dollar. They deserve to
get their property back. The government has acknowledged that the
paper certificates and in fact the digital certificates are legal,
so they have every basis to get their property back. It may take
some time — silver might be a couple hundred dollars an ounce —
but they will get their property back… or the fair market value.

SL:
Bernard, I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your time for speaking
with us. You’ve been called the Rosa Parks of monetary freedom and
Constitutional money, and I think that’s pretty accurate and I really
salute you.

BVNH:
Actually that was two different people, Alex Jones said that just
recently on an interview, which I thought that was pretty cool,
but actually before he said that rather impromptuitively, Judy Shelton
— a PhD economist whom I do like and I do respect — she called me
the u201CRosa Parks of monetary policy.u201D I thought that was very cool.

SL:
I salute you for that, and I thoroughly agree with them both. It
takes a lot of guts —

BVNH:
I’m not much into policy, but monetary freedom, yeah… Monetary
Liberty, that might even be best.

SL:
And that’s it, you touched on it — that’s something I came to realize
myself, and the Scuttledd project is really about that. The three
different areas of focus are the politics,
philosophy
and economics
of freedom. In the past, I was like you in that I had initially
discounted economics. I focused on the politics of freedom, the
philosophies underlying it, but I didn’t understand the economics
of freedom, until several years back I started to understand it
was the CRUCIAL component: if you can’t have monetary freedom, then
that gives way to the state ultimately growing up so powerful that
it is going to deprive you of your other liberties.

The Rosa Parks of Monetary Liberty

The
Rosa Parks of Monetary Liberty

BVNH: There
you go, you got it. Without your right to have money that holds
its value, all else just fails because you don’t have any real money.
And that’s what they’re doing — they are robbing us blind.

SL:
They’re robbing us blind. Bernard, thanks so much for your time
and all that you’ve done.

BVNH:
Thank you for the interview.

December 26, 2011

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare
  • LRC Blog

  • LRC Podcasts