Spot journalism captured by an activist at the “Morpheus Titania” arrest – Ignore/Ridicule/Fight/Lose: Anti-Bitcoin SWAT teams – like the one shown below in Arizona – are an opportunity to build a bigger movement.
When a Fed special weapons team arrived at Thomas Costanzo’s dwelling in Mesa, Arizona… the respected but rebellious Bitcoin trader was reportedly not home. That’s because a different policy enforcement team had arrested him during the attempted commission of an innocuous exchange.
A friend reports that Costanzo, popularly known by his nickname “Morpheus Titania,” was supposed to meet with a customer, one he had probably developed on LocalBitcoins.com. The site, a sort of crypto-Craigslist, facilitates in-person exchanges of bitcoins and altcoins. According to the Phoenix New Times, the home raid sought evidence that Morpheus was engaged in an unlicensed money transmitting business. Once inside, the bait-and-switch crew reportedly found several dozen rounds of ammunition and determined he was barred from owning them because of a different victimless conviction, and used that as an excuse to imprison him on April 20th. He’s still detained as of this writing.
The arrest sent shock waves through the “crypto-community” but perhaps smaller shock waves than it should have. Authorities factor into their planning an initial bout of negative publicity surrounding such a key victimless crime arrest. They also expect to see opposition to it fade. Fading, it is… and some crypto-enthusiasts are worried.
“If we don’t defend him adequately, the whole bitcoin private transaction business is going to come under fire,” says a self-described friend of Morpheus. Calling in to Free Talk Live, identifying himself only as “Bob in Acapulco” the activist calls this arrest a line in the sand moment. If that’s what it is, then the next step to manning the line is making sure we have a condensed and informative list of our options to fight back. Here it is.
1) Re-establish Titania’s Twitter pipeline. His arrest means there hasn’t been any activity there since April. If he still want to communicate with the public, presumably he can give one or more of you access to the page and post to it through you. Someone who is already a known quantity or trusted by him should probably make contact and follow his instructions for getting the page back into action. Here is his Twitter page.
2) Write him, send him a book or help fund his commissary account, if it still needs funding. Here are instructions for doing these tasks.
3) Establish a “Free Morpheus” Facebook group. Actually never mind; this I’ve gone ahead and handled this myself.
But the activity will need to come from you.
4) Spread the word about Morpheus’ situation, particularly any recent updates or abuses you learn of. The Freedom’s Phoenix page is a good place to find those. Remember, an arrest is a tragedy for the arrestee… but it can help the movement he belongs to. This is an opportunity to increase the buzz surrounding crypto. The more of that there is, the more it defeats Morpheus’ tormentors and their fragile fiat dollar.
5) Visit him if you’re in the area. The Freedom’s Phoenix page has instructions. Guess it has a lot of things!
6) Donate to his defense. This link appears to be one way. It’s reportedly part of his website. This could be improved by adding an option to accept altcoins.
7) Peaceably Demonstrate. Get video. Upload it. Though the facility holding him might be the ideal place for that, any Federal outpost will do… An embassy might be even better. You’re not powerless, even if you’re in Romania or Hong Kong.
8) Speaking of that Freedom’s Phoenix link that seems to be in half the action items… it’s not only a great source of semi-raw info, it’s still being updated as of July. Keep an eye on it.
9) Complain to perps and politicians. Claire Wolfe is right that this is probably less useful than Letters-to-Editor, etc. But if you live in a one-party-consent state and *call* to a one-party-consent state, you can easily record and publicize the conversations. Article 78 makes it easy with U.S. Senators, and the Freedom’s Phoenix link lists all the implicated copshops.
10) If you are beginning to worry about your own safety as a Bitcoiner, then the following option won’t help Morpheus much, but it might save you. Move to New Hampshire. The Phoenix area is fortunate in that it does have an active liberty community with a decently loud voice. But though it’s not fully free yet, this kind of arrest is a bigger deal when it happens in the “free state.” An NH Morpheus is less isolated, less likely to face charges, and more likely to trigger the kinds of action requested above. The details, if you haven’t already read them backward and forward, are at the Free State Project.
11) Use the comment section or FB group to add action items to this list and provide us updates or corrections if appropriate.
The clock is ticking, and this infection has already spread… seeming to initially vindicate the predictions of Bob in Acapulco. Morpheus associate, Peter Steinmetz, literally a brain scientist, was the next known victim. He was subsequently indicted for allegedly operating an unlicensed Bitcoin exchange.
But our struggle is not just about the right to make – and create – money. It’s about determining whether the future of humanity is Switzerland or Venezuela. In crypto, we have the tech to make it Switzerland. But do we have the civic will? Can we make attacks on victimless Bitcoiners as much of an act of political suicide as attacks on Apple or soccer moms have become?
So far the Morpheus arrest and follow-up may be going as planned, following the script that Washington operatives gamed out in advance. It’s your job to peaceably make this misdeed – and the ones which are to come – go at least a little “backfire.” Please… to your stations!
Image from Wikimedia Commons.