“Freeman on the land, also known as FMOTL, FOTL, Footle or simply freeman, is a form of pseudolegal woo in various English-speaking countries,”says a Wiki, continuing: “Freemen believe they can opt out of being governed, and that what normal people understand to be ‘laws’ are merely a form of ‘contract’ that applies only if people consent to it.
“Freemen hold that we are all subject to a massive international legal conspiracy perpetrated for the profit of the elites, but you can hack the system if you just use the right right form of words this fact will be accepted,”
“Freemen believe they can declare themselves independent of government jurisdiction using the concept of “lawful rebellion”: that all statute law is contractual and therefore only applicable if an individual consents to it.
“They assert that what everyone else regards as ‘the law’ doesn’t apply to them as they have not consented to a contract with the state, even going so far as to claim they have a lawful right to refuse arrest if they do not consent. They insist that the government is a corporation, are obsessed with maritime law, and call themselves things like ‘John of the family Smith.’
“Essentially, they’re hilarious and somewhat less threatening sovereign citizens.
But, “No freeman arguments have ever succeeded in court,” the Wiki stresses, adding,
“Some have even explicitly ruled that the term ‘freeman on the land’ has no legal significance when the argument is raised.
“Actually using the arguments gets people into worse trouble, including fines, asset seizures, contempt convictions and criminal records. However, this doesn’t stop freemen from claiming that it works.”
Now, “An anti-government movement known as Freeman on the Land has become a “major policing problem” in several provinces, according to a threat assessment by Canada’s spy officials,”
Freeman on the Land has become a “major policing problem” in several provinces, according to a threat assessment by Canada’s spy officials.
The report by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service lists Freeman members among “domestic extremists” who associate with issue-based causes, such as environmentalism, anti-capitalism, anti-globalization and far-right racism.
Its adherents fall on both the left and right wings of the political spectrum, but “at the core” of the movement is the belief that “government operates outside of its legal jurisdiction and therefore Freeman members do not recognize the authority of national, provincial, or municipal laws, policies or regulations,” says the report, titled Canada: Biannual Update on Terrorist and Extremist Threats, which was prepared in April and released under federal access-to-information laws.
“Freeman members now constitute a major policing problem in several provinces and have occasionally engaged in acts of violence against the police,” the report states.
In various videos posted online, supporters of the Freeman movement in Canada – including outspoken advocate Robert Menard – reject any association with violent extremism and insist they are “peaceful and loving.”
Law enforcement officials are not convinced.
A national RCMP spokeswoman said Friday that the force is working with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to develop materials for front-line officers to increase their awareness and understanding of the Freeman movement and its followers.
“Individuals associated to this movement are a concern because some followers advocate violence to promote their views and this may involve violence toward police officers,” Sgt. Julie Gagnon said in an email. “There are officer safety concerns when dealing with followers of this movement during routine police interaction.”
Last month, the Anti-Defamation League published a report that described the so-called “sovereign citizen movement” as “one of the most problematic domestic extremist movements in the United States,” attracting mostly middle-aged or older men who are financially stressed, angry at government regulation or who want “something for nothing.”
The report cited the 2010 shooting deaths of two West Memphis, Ark., police officers during a traffic stop. The suspects, a father and son who were later killed in a s shippedhootout with police, belonged to the sovereign citizen movement.
Earlier this year, a Nova Scotia jury convicted a man of uttering a threat to kill police officers and for multiple firearms offences. Court records state that Daren McCormick, a Freeman on the Land follower, told an officer that he could outdraw police and that if a police cruiser ever pulled up in his yard, he’d kill the officers. When police moved to arrest him the following day, they found him with a loaded .44-calibre revolver in a holster strapped to his hip.
McCormick asserted that the doctrines of Freeman on the Land free him from the Criminal Code, including its gun laws, and that he was free to carry a gun even to go grocery shopping, according to the records. He also claimed his right to travel highways without a licence or registration.
Last year, RCMP officials in B.C. issued a bulletin to officers urging them to be cautious when dealing with suspected Freemen because of their belief in the right to use force in defence of their land, property and family.
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