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NH: Man Without I.D. Vows to Board Flight or be Jailed

DadaOrwell

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From NHfree.com
Man Without I.D. Vows to Board Flight or be Jailed

Manchester, NH
May 21, 2005

Inspired by New Hampshire's "outlaw manicurist," another Granite Stater is stepping forward to peacefully defy license-related laws. Thirty-five-year old Russell Kanning of Keene has announced he will approach a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at Manchester airport on June 11 and refuse to cooperate with the requirement to show ID. "I will either board the plane without I.D. or be arrested," he says. "In a free country you do not need government permission to travel."

Kanning has a ticket to Philadelphia and, if allowed to travel there, plans to celebrate by visiting Independence Hall.

Two months after the September 11th attacks, the Aviation Security Act federalized airport security nationwide and granted new police powers to the TSA. Now, an ID is mandatory to travel by commercial aircraft, passengers must travel alone past security checkpoints, and random full-body searches in public are considered normal.

Kanning stresses that he will not resist arrest or do anything that might be perceived as physically threatening. He says this act of nonviolent resistance will follow the model laid down by Gandhi, who used peaceful noncooperation to expel the British from India. "We will tell them everything we're going to do ahead of time. We are not going to disrupt the operation of the airport," he says.

Kanning says the parallels with Gandhi's situation go further than a shared belief in nonviolence. "In South Africa (where Gandhi's protests began), Indians had to have special I.D...so it's very similar that way, and he wanted to burn it...He was appealing to that same basic idea that we have rights to not have to have paperwork to be able to move freely."

Earlier this month another Gandhi admirer, Mike Fisher of Newmarket, used the Mahatma's techniques to protest business licensing. After announcing he would perform an unlicensed manicure in front of the state licensing offices, he carried out his promise, earned a brief trip to jail and received heavy regional media coverage for his viewpoint.

Kanning says Gandhi's and Fisher's examples inspired him to take similar action against the growing "surveillance state." He believes the Real ID amendment passed by the Senate this month will make things even worse. But he says it's important to stay positive. "The goal is we want to get to the point where we can travel without having to have paperwork so, this is the beginning of that. We see light at the end of the tunnel. "

Currently the plan is for Kanning to approach the security checkpoint at 12:30 PM. Journalists and supporters will want to be there by noon.

Summary:

What: Civil disobedience against ID requirements under federalized airport security.
Where: Manchester Airport in New Hampshire (exact spot to be determined)
When: Saturday, June 11 @ noon
Who: Russell Kanning of Keene, NH, supporters from NHfree.com
Why: To draw attention to the recent and continuing loss of privacy and freedom due to federalized airport security and National ID.
How: By approaching a TSA checkpoint with a ticket but no ID, refusing to show ID, and refusing to cooperate with the law until arrested or allowed to board the plane.
Contacts: You can find out more and post questions to the discussion boards at NHfree.com
 

ludahai

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I support less intrusive government, but I can't go along with this, nor can I go along with the comparison to Gandhi in South Africa.

1. There is a true security threat on airplanes. I don't think the right measures are being taken, but I have no problem with efforts to try to verify the identity of someone boarding a plane. It isn't a matter of permission to travel, it is a matter of a legitimate security concern. The government isn't saying who can and who can't travel (unless there is a legitimate reason to stop you - i.e. you are on a watch list), they just want to be sure you are who the ticket says you are. Next, you will argue that people shouldn't have to show their id when they vote.

2. The comparison to Gandhi is not valid. Gandhi was protesting a requirement thrust upon Indian residents of South Africa that Whites did not have to meet. That was a clear case of discrimination. You can't say that here. This isn't something that Blacks have to do, but Whites don't. This is equal treatment, not analagous at all to the situation Gandhi faced in South Africa before his return to India.
 

DadaOrwell

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From the Portsmouth Herald today: http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/05252005/news/44083.htm

Free Staters plan protest and yet another arrest

By Elizabeth Dinan

Since his arrest for conducting a public manicure without a license, Free Stater Mike Fisher plans to stay out of trouble until his court-ordered, one-year of good behavior expires. In the meantime, the Newmarket activist is announcing that the Free State Project’s next planned public act of disobedience will be a federal case.

The Free State Project publicist announced that on June 11, Keene resident Russell Kanning will travel to Manchester Airport and refuse to cooperate with federal law requiring a show of identification.

Like Fisher, he also plans to get arrested. And he said he "has no idea" what the federal consequences will be.

"No one really knows what the rules are in that world," said Kanning, an accountant who moved from Wyoming to participate in the New Hampshire-based Free State Project.

The FSP has a goal of luring 20,000 libertarian-minded people to the Granite State to fight government laws and regulations, while creating a Free State state.

At last count, the FSP population count was reportedly 6,000.

Kanning’s plan calls for buying a plane ticket to Philadelphia, with a goal of visiting Independence Hall, but without ever showing identification to TSA authorities. His inspirations, he said, are Ghandi and Fisher.

Fisher was arrested April 9 for staging a public manicure, without the required state license, in front of the Manchester office of the state Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics, the board that governs nail salons. His act of civil disobedience, disguised as a manicure, was conducted to protect what he believes is over-regulation by government on citizens and small businesses.

Fisher was arrested and spent the night in jail.

The person whose nails he filed is Kanning’s wife.

"Hopefully there will be a pile of people up there," said Kanning. "We’re hoping other people will follow and do similar things so they don’t remember who started it all."
 

DadaOrwell

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There is a guy at FreeRepublic.com who was talking about this issue and I think does a better job than I can of articulating this issue:

"We don't need to turn into a surveillance state to maintain security.

In fact, we fought a Cold War against a foe with hydrogen bombs, enough chem/bioweapons to kill everything on Earth, and an active program of infiltrating spies and saboteurs into the U.S. WITHOUT requiring ID to fly.

Wear your chains lightly."

- eno_ (FreeRepublic.com participant)
 

DadaOrwell

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From Concord Monitor 6/5/05
http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/06052005/news/46059.htm

Libertarians push limits of law

By Daniel Barrick
Concord Monitor

CONCORD - This Saturday, Russell Kanning will attempt to board a flight from Manchester to Philadelphia, carrying nothing but a Bible and a copy of the Declaration of Independence. He doesn’t expect to get very far.
In what he calls an act of civil disobedience, Kanning, a 35-year-old accountant from Keene and a staunch libertarian, will refuse to show identification to airline officials or submit to a security search. But even if he’s barred from his flight, Kanning hopes his actions will highlight what he considers overly burdensome state intrusion.

"They’re not going to be happy I’m doing this," Kanning said. "But people shouldn’t have to go through all the hassles we have to go through. They just want to control us."

Kanning’s performance at Manchester Airport will be the latest in a series of public protests that libertarians here and elsewhere are using to promote their belief in individual freedom and limited government.

Last month, a Newmarket man spent a night in jail after he filed a friend’s fingernails without a license from the state cosmetology board. The man, Mike Fisher, made sure to reap maximum publicity for the stunt, telling police, state officials, and local news outlets about his plans ahead of time. Unlicensed manicuring is a misdemeanor in New Hampshire.

"Normally, we would like to handle this kind of situation with a warning," said Lt. Jay Brown of the Concord Police Department, which handled Fisher’s arrest. "But this individual was asked to stop and when he did not stop, we arrested him."

Other planned demonstrations include starting a private mail service, to call attention to the federal government’s monopoly on first-class mail delivery, and selling bottles of liquor, in defiance of state liquor laws. A crew of libertarians in Kentucky plans to serve alcohol to an underage military veteran next month, letting local police know ahead of time for maximum exposure.

"Libertarians have spent so much time complaining about government, but civil disobedience is a path to actually fixing things," Kanning said. "Who knows what this might inspire?"

But enthusiasm for such public displays isn’t shared throughout New Hampshire’s libertarian community. Some libertarians dismiss protesters like Kanning and Fisher as publicity hounds who risk turning people off with their stunts.

"This kind of protesting is non-productive, counter-productive, and in my opinion is quite sophomoric and egotistical in its approach," said Don Gorman, a former libertarian state representative from Deerfield. "Individuals can pursue the cause of liberty as they see fit, but the way to accomplish those goals is by working with the establishment."

Increasingly visible protests come as libertarians of all stripes seek a more prominent platform in New Hampshire. The Free State Project earned national headlines last year when its members settled on New Hampshire as the setting for its experiment in coordinated pro-liberty living. The project’s leaders hope to move 20,000 like-minded libertarians to the state in the next few years, fostering an environment of limited government. They say hundreds have already made the move.

New Hampshire "is really where it’s happening," said Fisher, who moved to the state a year ago as part of the Free State Project. "We’ve all come here to take part in this. More and more, we are starting to translate our ideas into reality, and people aren’t going to be able to ignore it anymore."

John Babiarz, chairman of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party, said such an approach represented a generational shift in libertarian thinking.

"A decade ago, we tried to make changes by lobbying politicians and talking to people, and we got nowhere," Babiarz said. "The newer breed of younger people are making the same arguments, but instead of through the State House, they’re doing it in public by creating a public spectacle. As long as it’s done peacefully, it makes for great political theater and it brings the issue into the news."

Like all political parties, Babiarz said, the Libertarian Party includes both purists and pragmatists. The two sides may disagree over tactics while still sharing the same goals.

Critics in the movement say libertarians can have a bigger impact by working with the existing power structures. Gorman, for example, leads tours of the State House for libertarians who want to see government from the inside. He encourages his students to meet their local representatives, observe the lobbying process and submit their own legislation. He said he’s already grooming potential candidates for next year’s elections.

Staged protests might make sense in oppressive police states, Gorman said. But in New Hampshire, the relatively relaxed political environment make such displays unnecessary.

"This is not a closed society where it’s difficult to reach your elected official, as it is in a lot of states," Gorman said. "If you want to talk to the governor, walk into the chamber at the next council meeting and do it."

His advice for frustrated libertarians: "Your first job is to be a good citizen. Get involved in the Boy Scouts, in local boards and committees, in the volunteer fire department. Seek political office, if you like, and bring your philosophy into the realm of government."

Such advice holds little attraction for Kanning. He claims not to have paid federal income tax since 1998 and drives without a valid driver’s license because he thinks it’s a nuisance. He’s considering burning his Social Security card. The idea of speaking before the Legislature disgusts him.

"I wish there weren’t things like government because they just get in the way of us living our lives," he said. "I don’t want to have to deal with it at all."
 

DadaOrwell

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From NHfree.com
Keene, New Hampshire
6/6/05

FBI questions Keene I.D. refusenik

Two FBI agents from the Boston division paid a visit to Russell Kanning's house in Keene today, about two weeks after he announced he would seek to board a Manchester airline flight with no I.D.

The 35-year-old libertarian activist wasn't home but rather cheerfully agreed to meet up with the agents at his workplace. Special Agents Phil Christiana and Mark Alford spent about an hour interviewing him around 2PM on Monday, June 6.

"They were really friendly," he says, "they obviously weren't there to arrest me...The thing they were most concerned about was whether I was actually going to stay non-violent." Kanning says the answer to that is "yes."

"There's nothing those guys can do to me at the airport that would make me use violence."

He says the agents seemed to relax somewhat and left after coming to the conclusion that he is not a physical threat and also that he cannot be deterred from his act of civil disobedience. They did spend time lecturing him on national security issues and told him "flying is not a right."

"My impression after talking to them is that the likelihood of them breaking into my house or doing something like that is small."

Kanning also told the agents he has not paid Income Taxes since '98.
 
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