From the December 2007 Idaho Observer:
The FEDerales vs. the Liberty Dollar
The FEDerales vs. the Liberty Dollar
The federal raid on the Liberty Dollar Nov. 15, 2007, and the brief public outcry at such wanton theft by "the authorities," has hit even the mainstream press. Several million dollars of mostly silver and gold coins were taken, along with the entire office infrastructure, database, coin dies and equipment of the Liberty Dollar operation. The U.S. Federales and the Fiat Empire which fuels them reduced the Liberty Dollar to an empty warehouse—literally.
This amazing, emerging story continues to unravel, as the onion of truth is peeled.
By Hari Heath
What was the Liberty Dollar? We could say it was a brilliantly conceived and executed plan to return America to value one dollar at a time with accurate, beautiful coins, paper warehouse receipt money and eDollars, a digitally traded, silver based eCurrency. A website, marketing materials, manuals and handbooks and an ever-expanding organization was in operation for nearly a decade. Bernard von Nothaus, the "Monetary Architect" for NORFED, as it was originally named, took an idea and turned it into a 20 million "dollar" plus success story.
The Idea came from G. Edward Griffin’s book, The Creature from Jekyll Island. Therein, Griffin proposed a formula to convert the Federal Reserve fiat money back to the lawful dollars mandated by the Constitution. The formula, in simple terms, considered the amount of FED money circulating at the time (1993) and the available U.S. silver supply. It would take over two hundred 1993 FED dollars, converted back into one real American silver dollar, to return America to its original inflation proof, positive economy.
This, of course, will never happen under our current form of "government" and the privately owned "FED" which finances it. So von Nothaus took on the project and the rest is now, literally, history.
ALD—The formative years
Starting in 1998, NORFED issued the American Liberty Dollar (ALD) one-ounce pure silver coins with a $10 face value and high quality paper warehouse receipt money backed by an ounce of silver.
From there, the organization grew with other coin sizes and denominations. The paper currency featured micro printing of text from the Constitution and Bill of Rights around their border. Numerous other security features resulted in a beautiful, secure warehouse receipt backed by silver, which was held in a vault at Sunshine Mint in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho—at least it was until the Federales' forfeiture action last month stole over 2 million FED dollars worth of silver and gold from the vault.
Eventually, the digital Liberty Dollars, also backed by silver, were added so you could pay bills electronically by transferring real wealth online. The transaction costs were equal to the current cost of a first class postage stamp. Anyone could open an account, up to $10,000 per account, and transfer wealth by email to anyone, anywhere who already had or would open an eLiberty Dollar account.
The growth of the Liberty Dollar required a larger, more regional basis of operations than the single NORFED office was providing. The Regional Currency Officer (RCO) plan was implemented so qualified individuals could obtain a Liberty Dollar franchise over a particular region if they met certain criteria and agreed to perform certain duties and follow an RCO Code of Ethics.
Since the goal of NORFED was to replace the constantly-devaluing fiat FED dollar with an inflation-proof currency, a formula was designed to compensate for the rise in silver prices relative to the FED dollar. The ALD, with its intrinsic silver value, will naturally increase in value when contrasted to the FED dollar, which continues to be printed and borrowed into oblivion. A "move up" or "crossover" formula was developed for when the silver spot price increased to a level near the ALD’s current silver base value. Thresholds were established for $20, $50, $100, $250 and $500 ALD silver base value "crossovers." Using the formula, the ALD "moved up" to the $20 Silver Base on Thanksgiving Day, 2005. The present rise in silver’s FED dollar value was getting close to the trigger point for the $50 Silver Base "crossover," but had not yet met the criteria in the formula.
To help promote and support the Liberty Dollar, NORFED began Liberty Dollar University (LDU), an ongoing series of seminars held around the country. LDU provided a direct educational opportunity for attendees to learn exactly what the ALD is and how it could become the "Liberty Dollar Solution" to the Federal Reserve fraud.
NORFED also produced custom coins including the Aspen Dollar, California Bear, Chambersburg Dollar, Chiropractic Dollar, Evansville Dollar, Gilles Dollar, the Hawaii Dala, the Peace Dollar and the coin that may have got the Federales so agitated, the Ron Paul Dollar.
Twenty-one million. According to von Nothaus, there were over 21 million dollars, face value, of Liberty Dollars in circulation. Twenty-million were in the coin form, the remainder in warehouse receipts and Digital Liberties. Von Nothaus also reported there were approximately 100,000 users of Liberty Currency. Was there a legal problem with such use?
Claudia Dickens, spokeswoman for the U.S. Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving & Printing, stated that, according to the Treasury, The Liberty Dollar is legitimate. "There’s nothing illegal about this," Dickens said after the Treasury Department’s legal team reviewed the currency. "As long as it doesn’t say legal tender, there’s nothing wrong with it."
Not counterfeit. "It’s not counterfeit money," said Ron Legan, Special Agent in charge of the Seattle, Washington, Secret Service field office. Having investigated this regulatory matter closely, he concluded, "We determined there wasn’t a federal currency violation." Andrew Williams, a spokesman for the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C. stated, "There is no law that says goods and services must be paid for with Federal Reserve notes. Parties entering into a transaction can establish any medium of exchange that is agreed upon."
Art Rolnick, the director of research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis said, "If these (NORFED) people want to issue their own money, so be it. It will be interesting to see what the public thinks."
It has been said, there are 10 sides to every story and this is one side of the Liberty Dollar story—the formative years. As we peel back the onion of truth, what else emerges? If "there wasn’t a federal currency violation" and "there’s nothing wrong with it," why did the Federales raid the Liberty Dollar, steal everything and shut down the operation?
It began when the U.S. Attorneys Office from the Western District of North Carolina requested a legal analysis from the Department of Treasury of the Liberty Dollar as it relates to Title 18 U.S.C. Section 486. Prosecutors from the Department of Justice (sic) "determined" that the ALD coinage was in violation of that section. In coordination, the U.S. Mint issued a "media release" to put "NORFED, NORFED members, and the general public on notice" that the Liberty Dollar coinage was "found" to be in violation.
Of course executive branch "determinations" and "media releases" are not the way for government to lawfully conduct business. Undaunted by any obligation of due process, administrative procedure or consideration that the judicial branch might still have some role in government, the U.S. Mint sent a letter to all NORFED RCOs, which some considered threatening. The letter essentially stated that further use and delivery of silver or gold ALDs was a federal crime punishable by fines and a felony jail term.
Von Nothaus and a team of attorneys had already done considerable research on the currency laws during the formation of NORFED, including Section 486, and had reached an entirely different conclusion than the DOJ.
In the face of the federal threat that continuing their previously "legitimate" business was now "determined" to be a federal crime, the Liberty Dollar did two things. NORFED, an acronym for the National Organization to Repeal the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Codes, was disbanded and Liberty Services, Inc., was formed to replace it. This was an effort to dump the political baggage inherent with an organization whose name implies the attempt to "undermine" the economic and tax structures presently operating the nation.
The second thing von Nothaus and the Liberty Dollar did was sue the Secretary of the Treasury, the U.S. Attorney General and the Director of the U.S. Mint in a federal Declaratory Judgment action. The original complaint requested "that the Court declare that the manufacture and distribution of the gold and silver Liberty Dollar medallions by the plaintiff and other persons who receive the medallions are not in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 486 provided they are not represented as ‘legal tender,’ ‘coin’ or ‘current money.’ Plaintiff von Nothaus further requests that the Court declare that the Liberty Dollar is a private, voluntary barter currency."
The lawsuit also seeks a permanent injunction, barring the defendants from publicly or privately declaring that the Liberty Dollar is an illegal currency.
The lawsuit is still pending. The government’s response is a Motion to Dismiss with all the usual twisted logic and legalistic distortions U.S Attorneys are paid well to perform. The details can be reviewed at www.libertydollar.org.
Meanwhile, an affidavit and warrant, which originated in North Carolina, through the magic of multi jurisdictional federalism, led to raids in Indiana and Idaho. The Federales took everything—literally—but, interestingly, there were no arrests in this felony level "violation" of U.S. Code. If this was a drug bust, the perpetrators would be off to jail and lucky to make bail. A month later, as of this writing, there still have been no arrests. Why? Is it because there isn’t any real basis to get a conviction at trial?
The offenses claimed as authority for raiding the Liberty Dollar organization’s property are money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud. The affidavit by FBI Special Agent Andrew F. Romagnuolo of Asheville, North Carolina, mentions the "violation" of section 486 "uttering coins of gold, silver or other metal" and the section 489 "making or possessing likeness of coins" and "conspiracy," but the associated warrant for the seizures does not mention these "violations."
What was the real purpose of the raid on the Liberty Dollar? Romagnuolo’s affidavit begins with perhaps the core of the government’s issue with NORFED: "As the organization’s name implies, the goal of NORFED is to undermine the United States government’s financial systems by the issuance of non-governmental competing currency for the purpose of repealing the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Code."
But how can $21 million in mostly silver coinage, issued from a small office in Indiana run by three women, "undermine the United States government’s financial system," which by now, is probably measured in the quadrillion$?
The frightened feds
Was the prospect of the pending $50 "move up" frightening to the feds as the FED dollar continues in a global meltdown?
The North Carolina FBI investigation focused on the Asheville RCO, William Kevin Innes.
• Were the feds or society as a whole really threatened by a man in an older Volvo sedan who "transported" barter currency from his suburban home to patriot meetings, peddling silver in parking lots and the local food co-op, as Romagnuolo’s affidavit detailed?
• Are the arrests and prosecutions on hold because all 100,000 ALD users are guilty if any are guilty, as the statute reads, and the DOJ can barely handle their present 500 IRS prosecutions a year?
• Was the real threat, which prompted the Federales raid, the recent shipment of over two tons of Ron Paul Dollars to the Indiana office for distribution? Did Sunshine Mint, which primarily contracts with the U.S. government, tip off the FBI to the shipment?
• Can we imagine the political impact that tons of shiny new coins of real money, featuring a genuine candidate, circulating in commerce would have?
• Does such political potential strike fear in the hearts of the bureaucratic behemoths, who shudder at the prospect of a president dedicated to finite government, limited by the Constitution?
Where is the criminality? Where was the due process? When the threatening letter from the U.S. Mint failed to have the chilling effect that was intended, was the raid designed to take that chilling effect to the next level, including any future copycat barter currency?
In trying to understand this layer of the onion of truth, remember the difference between civil society and the law of the jungle: Governments enforce just laws; Pirates just take stuff.
Agent Romagnuolo attempts to create the impression of criminality in his affidavit. He correctly states that a current $20 ALD warehouse receipt is backed by an ounce of silver, but he then goes to kitco.com and finds that, as of 11/08/07, the spot price of silver was $15.34, leaving a $4.66 value shortfall for the warehouse receipt or eDollar. On this basis, Romagnuolo claims "The ALD currency is not ‘100% backed by silver,’ as advertised."
Agent Romagnuolo fails to comprehend that the warehouse receipt or eDollar claims it is 100 percent backed with an ounce of silver, not the amount of Federal Reserve Notes that an ounce of silver will buy on any given day. Although he details the "move up" later in his affidavit, he neglects to inform the judge that, at $15.34 per ounce, the move up to the $50 silver base will soon occur if all the criteria in the move up formula are met.
His "value shortfall" will soon become value added, as the ALD "moves up," while the privately issued Federal Reserve Note continues to devalue domestically and globally through the inherent inflationary nature of fiat money.
Real criminality. If Agent Romagnuolo really wants to investigate a true "value shortfall" crime he could look into the "short" silver futures trade on the COMEX division of New York Mercantile Exchange where traders have sold on paper, 250,000 ounces of silver they don’t have—and can never get—because there are reportedly only 300,000 ounces of silver presently mined above ground. When the "short" silver paper gets called to match the real thing, that will be a "value shortfall" of criminal proportions.
Agent Romagnuolo also claims, "The marketing system NORFED operates to sell the currency into circulation is a multi-level marketing [MLM] scheme."
This is either a false or deceptive accusation, depending on the definition of an MLM scheme. Unlike Amway and similar products that have a pyramidal sales structure, the ALD is not an MLM.
To become a Liberty Associate costs $250—$50 goes to the Liberty Dollar organization and a $100 referral fee goes to the Liberty Associate, under which the new Liberty Associate signed up. The new Liberty Associate receives $100 face value of ALD coins and warehouse receipts. But that is the end of the transaction. There is no "multi level" commission structure. There is no pyramidal tier structure. If they choose to, the new Liberty Associate is now eligible to sign up another new Liberty associate, and receive a $100 referral fee. They are also eligible to purchase ALDs at the discounted Associate rate.
Agent Romagnuolo also tried to assail the "move up point" set by NORFED, where the base value of the ALD doubled over two years ago. As silver prices reached and remained above $7.50 per ounce the $10 ALD base changed to a $20 base, per the formula that was published well in advance. Agent Romagnuolo stated, "Thus the face value of the entire currency was doubled without changing the holdings at all. The other effect of the ‘move up’ was a tremendous increase in profits for NORFED, RCOs and Associates."
If this is a crime, then what is Wall Street doing every weekday?
Agent Romagnuolo then details what he calls "THE NORFED PROFIT SCHEME":
"Once the spot silver price is determined, a ‘minting fee’ is added; a ‘shipping fee’ is added; and NORFED’s profit is added. These fees and profits are referred to by NORFED as ‘Fabrication and Overhead.’ This new price is called the ‘RCO rate.’ This is the rate for which an RCO may purchase Liberty Dollars from NORFED."
The "Associate rate" typically splits the difference between the RCO rate and the face value of the ALD. Liberty Merchants could purchase ALD at the Associate rate. All others must pay the face value to buy Liberty Dollars.
We could just leave the story here, as many have done. It’s a classic good guys vs. bad guys tale. But that’s not the whole truth. We have more onion left.
Edgar J. Steele recently published his "Nickel Rant"(www.conspiracypenpal.com) entitled BernieBucks. He makes several salient points:
"Two years ago, at the Silver Summit conference in Coeur d’Alene, just as silver’s spot was passing $9, good ol’ Bernie and I had an extended conversation in which (among a great many other things) he tried to get me to become one of his reps. My cost for his 1-oz silver coins? $19. Good ol’ Bernie refused to answer my repeated question about what happened to the $10 difference.
"I confess the news that ‘Mr. Von Not Haus was in the process of revaluating it (the ALD) at $50 a piece’ when the Feds shut him down recently disturbs me even more than his bump from $10 to $20 back when silver began its meteoric rise from below $5 per ounce.
"Lessee now: $50 less today’s spot price for 1 ounce of silver ($14.30), less the cost of minting (50 cents per coin, per a quote I got from Sunshine Mining, Bernie’s supplier, for quantities of 1,000 or more), leaves ... $35.20. Let’s say that good ol’ Bernie sells them to you, his valued dealer, for $45, a bigger discount than he offered me two years ago - why, that leaves Bern with ... $30.20 profit per coin. So much for Bernie’s recent claim of not being in it for the bucks—and FRN bucks, at that, which is the currency in which good ol’ Bernie demands that he be paid (after all, he’s no sucker)."
I suspect that Steele’s numbers are a little bit off or don’t exactly follow the ALD formulas, but they’re not that far off and they do illustrate his point, so we’ll let him continue:
"While we’re on the topic of the ever-shifting face value (in FRNs, no less) of BernieBucks, let me point out that the gravamen of fiat currency is that it’s worth simply is dictated by its issuer—by fiat, that is. So ‘splain me sumpin’ agin (to phrase it in a way that us Idahun hill folk can understand): Why is it that ALDs, even those made of silver or gold, aren’t a fiat currency?
"If BernieBucks had been issued as a selfless act of civil disobedience, which is how Bernie today likes to depict his actions, I’d support him wholeheartedly, but his intent clearly was to siphon off your hard-earned savings into his own pockets (ironically, in the form of Federal Reserve Notes, don’t forget), while giving you something that is worth no more than any common silver "round" (1-ounce bullion coin worth spot plus 50 cents)."
NORFED does decree the value of the ALDs it issues. But a common component of the definition for fiat money is that it has no intrinsic value; only that which is declared by decree.
There is a substantial profit margin with ALDs. The profitability is intended to "support" the organizational structure of the supposedly "educational" entity, NORFED. It also motivates RCOs, Associates and Liberty Merchants to promote and use ALDs. Lawyers, for instance, make a profit just talking to you if they are on your retainer. Profitability is the core of American enterprise.
But is Steele correct? Is it an altruistic enterprise or a profit center—with Bernie at the center? Steele has another point to make:
"Just whose fight is this, anyway? Bernie asks for donations to finance HIS fight. Bernie suggests HIS customers file a class-action suit against the USA, NOT Bernie. Bernie states that the government owes his customers, not himself. Was his stuff wrongfully taken? Sure. Why is it our job to get it back for him?"
Von Nothaus, from his latest email release, may have an answer for Steele’s questions:
"Wait! It is not quite that simple with the Liberty Dollar. You see, I considered this dirty, stinking government trick when I designed and developed the Warehouse Receipt (WR) program. And although I didn’t think they would really be this bad or simply ignorant… there is no doubt now. For that reason I am not the signatory on the Warehouse Receipt. Nor could I sign the WR because I am not the Warehouse Official. I don’t even work for the warehouse. Remember the warehouse is totally independent and the official issuer of the warehouse receipt. NORFED, Liberty Services, myself, everybody who uses them are simply distributors of the receipts."
Why would the class action suit be against the government? Who is the proper party? Shouldn’t the Warehouse Official and their insurer be the defendants?
Who actually issued the warehouse receipts and who has the responsibility to ensure that they are fulfilled? Has anyone ever redeemed their warehouse receipts by going to the Sunshine Mint? My understanding is that either the NORFED office or an RCO is the party who redeems them. Is Bernie the proper party to be named defendant in such a lawsuit? Bernie continues:
"But the worst news is ‘economic’persecution.’ Now we have to fight for your property… with nothing because they took everything in the raid. If we hadn’t received some donations to get a new computer, we wouldn’t even be able to send out this cry for help. This is very serious!"
Does the "we" who have to fight include Bernie? Can we believe that something as well thought out as the Liberty Dollar had to rely on donations to get a computer? With an imminent threat from government action, was there really no contingency plan? More from Bernie:
"The Search/Seizure Warrantswere for property at specific addresses. The property they seized at Sunshine backed the legal, signed Warehouse Receipts. That property was, and still is, owned by the bearers of the warehouse receipts and the digital Liberty Dollar holders. That is your property that they are trying to steal!
So in all fairness, I don’t think Agent Andy and the FBI who raided the warehouse at Sunshine Mint know what they are doing. Yes, they can certainly be more damaging than a village idiot, but they may not know much more. It is obvious that they don’t understand how a warehouse receipt program works. Except for my personal account at Sunshine, none of the confiscated material at Sunshine Mint was my property. It was YOURS!
"Now! Are you going to let the US government steal your property?!
Click HERE to sign up for the Class Action Lawsuit."
When you click "HERE" you aren’t told who the law firm is that will represent the case. There’s no example of a complaint or statement of the case. The only thing "HERE" is an opportunity to fill out an online form with your personal info and hit send. Where does this go? What else did Agent Andy tell Bernie? What is the deal? Why are there no arrests yet? Is there something else going on "HERE?"
Bernie’s latest scheme? Arrest Dollars. Send in your ALD or buy some from him that he just happens to have left over and for ten dollars each (FRNs) he will stamp a small mintmark and a set of handcuffs. And the name for Bernie’s new enterprise? Liberty Numismatics, at the same Indiana address. Cha ching, cha ching, I wish I could swing a hammer on a punch for $10 a whack!
Crisis in confidence
Rich Jocius in Chicago was one of the most ardent and active supporters of NORFED from its early days; his personalized license plate was "NORFED1." As the $20 move up was about to happen two years ago, an advertised opportunity for liberty associates to double their money, Jocius did what many NORFED supporters did then, he placed a large order.
Jocius pooled with people in his area and put together a $13,000 order. The large order was received by NORFED and shipped FedEX by Sunshine Mint. The box requiring a signature upon delivery was not checked. So, the FedEx driver apparently just left the shipment of silver on the sidewalk outside the chainlink fence of Jocius' yard on a working-class residential street in Cicero, Illinois. The package was stolen.
When Jocius informed Bernie, his response was akin to, "Gee, tough luck, Rich."
The shipping insurance wouldn’t cover the loss. Sunshine Mint wouldn’t cover the error in lax shipping. NORFED wouldn’t honor the order from one of their most loyal and supportive customers. IO editor Don Harkins, a liberty associate and friends with both Bernie and Jocius, attempted to mediate the dispute honorably—to no avail.
Though the botched transaction clearly originated with Sunshine's error in not requiring a signature upon delivery, Bernie refused to press Sunshine to replace the stolen silver and refused to compensate Jocius for the loss.
Bernie, in fact, got very nasty and profane over the incident. In Harkins' mind, this created a crisis in confidence of the highest order and he withdrew his participation and support of Bernie and NORFED as of April 28, 2006. "It is my opinion that, when push comes to shove, Bernard has more allegiance to Sunshine than he does his customers," Harkins said and added, "We are aware of at least one other similarly delivered shipment but a theft was avoided because the recipient's son just happened to see the package soon after the Fed Ex driver had left it where it could have easily been stolen."
In order to pay his investors back, Jocius mortgaged his home. Nearly two years later, Jocius did receive "compensation" of about $6,000 from Bernie.
But it doesn’t end there. In a sensitive, in-house manner, Harkins informed a few select RCOs as to what had happened. They chose to do nothing. What does this say about the integrity of those at the core of NORFED, including the RCOs?
The real numbers
Steele needs a little correcting before we look into some other numbers. If spot silver were $9, as Steele mentioned, NORFED would add a $3 "minting fee" and the result would be the RCO rate of $12 for a $20 face value ALD. Splitting the difference between the RCO rate and face value would result in an Associate rate of $16, not the $19 Steele mentioned. Shipping costs would also be added if the purchase came from NORFED and not a local RCO.
Steele’s math on the pending $50 ALD move up is also a little off. The "move up" would occur when the 30-day running average for silver on kitco.com reached $16 and stayed there for another 30 days. Steele uses the $14.30 spot price from the day of his article. At this writing silver is under $14 an ounce. Steele’s numbers, therefore, are a few dollars off, but his basic point is valid.
Steele also mentioned that the Sunshine Mint quoted him 50 cents to mint coins, per thousand piece run. Does that $500 mint fee include creating the dies and the artistry in designing the coinage? How long do dies last? NORFED raised the "minting fee" to $3 after the $20 "move up." How much of the remaining $2.50 legitimately goes to the creator of the product and the maintenance of the operation? How much is pure profit? We can’t find out the answer to that question now, because the FBI stole the books and Bernie doesn't talk about it.
But we can guess. If there were $20 million plus in $20 ALDs circulating in commerce, that is approximately 1 million coins. At $2.50 each to NORFED that’s $2.5 million. Divide that by 10 years of operation and we have an average of $250,000 per year. That may not be an unreasonable amount for the conduct of a business with four to six workers, a building to rent, a website and a 1-800 number stamped on a million coins. Add $50 for every Associate member, or $150 if they signed up directly To NORFED; add RCO fees and yes, there should have been some room for profit.
The FBI has been snooping into NORFED’s bank accounts and finances since at least as far back as 2002, as Agent Romagnuolo’s affidavit details. It’s hard to get an accurate picture from his numbers, since they are either cumulative totals over several years, or they combine several entities that shouldn’t be. For example, in 2005, NORFED made wire transfers to Bernard von Nothaus AND Sunshine Mint in an amount exceeding one million dollars. This was the largest amount mentioned in the affidavit, but how much went to whom? Was this an FBI trick to make Bernie look bad to the judge, when NORFED probably did buy a million dollars worth of coins from the mint in 2005 AND wire Bernie a little cash? None of NORFED’s numbers from the FBI snoops looked unreasonable to me.
Uttering—the core issue
The core of the controversy between the feds and the Liberty Dollar centers on Title 18 U.S.C. Section 486, "Uttering coins of gold, silver or other metal":
"Whoever, except as authorized by law, makes or utters or passes, or attempts to utter or pass, any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metals, intended for use as current money, whether in the resemblance of coins of the United States or of foreign countries, or of original design, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."
The Constitution provides two relevant clauses from Article One, Section Eight, empowering Congress:
"To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
"To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;..."
Section 486 was an exercise of congressional power to punish counterfeiting. The intent and authority of this law, when it was first passed in 1864, was limited to counterfeiting, but the current language is broad and leads to other conclusions, such as the DOJ’s "determination" regarding the Liberty Dollar.
"Intended for use as current money" and "or of original design" are two phrases that could apply to the Liberty Dollar, but exceed the scope and authority to punish counterfeiting. If the "or of original design" phrase were struck, it would return back to its lawful purpose of punishing counterfeiting. Original designs, by their very nature, are not counterfeit.
Guerilla Liberty Coin?
One thing that can be learned from the Federales raid is that they only got what was in the NORFED office and in "secure storage" at Sunshine Mint. Putting your wealth in a bank safety deposit box or holding "paper" silver certificates are just an invitation for theft and fraud by government and financial institutions.
There are still 20 million or so ALDs in the hands of the people. That was the U.S. Mint’s original job—put a recognizable, accurate form of coin money directly in the hands of the people—inflation proof currency for American commerce.
The centralized, organized NORFED model was one way to return to the Constitution’s "coin money" mandate for the American economy. But there are several other options.
"Guerilla" coins could be stamped out by ingenious Americans and "spent" into circulation. "Do the drop" with your own personal coinage. I’m not sure how practical it would be, but the many reloaders in this country could build special dies to fit their existing equipment and stamp out coins instead of bullets.
One could avoid the legal pitfalls of Section 486 with unusual coin shapes and sizes, and creative artwork distinctly different from U.S. coins, and by not using a "dollar" denomination. Your coin could specify weight and purity and become your personal barter currency. It might even turn into a business.
Another option is Steele’s latest Nickel Rant, The New Dollar: "The New Dollar does not entail egregious profits going to individuals. Nor does it require any new distribution network. Nor does it carry any special overhead or minting charges; just a small commission for acquiring it from existing suppliers, spread throughout America, all of whom have a plentiful inventory right now. What’s more, we can use the New Dollar forthrightly, without fear of doing anything illegal, as it is legal tender right now, without any special edict from government…And here’s the kicker: The New Dollar arguably has the potential for saving us tons in both sales and income taxes."
Steele’s "New Dollar" is the old dollar—the original silver dollar from the U.S. Mint. He presents a compelling case to return it to service in what would be a barter currency, or as he calls it the "aboveground economy." His rant is nearly the size of this article so I’ll leave the details to you for further study on his website (Conspiracypenpal.com).
What we do know about the Liberty Dollar is that the onion aspect of it is still peeling and the Liberty Dollar’s civil suit against the government is still pending. Criminal indictments may also be pending but Bernie reported Dec. 14, 2007, that the feds are already moving to auction the evidence.
Was NORFED a bona fide operation? Were we duped into a scam? Those of us who supported NORFED wanted to believe in the Liberty Dollar. It was a beautiful solution-in-action that had a 10-year run.
Unfortunately, the lack of integrity at the top of the Liberty Dollar organization continued on down to those at the RCO level, all of whom have now been trumped by the massive disintegrity of the FED-funded Federales—unconstitutional creatures still masquerading as agents of lawful government.
Barring some miracle of reincarnation, the Liberty Dollar now appears to be dead.
The format still exists for anyone else to pick up and run with. The federal currency law issues have presented themselves and can be designed around. The flailing FED dollar, emerging awareness of the FED system and the coming economic unrest, makes such a project ripe.