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Thread: Next-level bugfuck conspiralunacy - coming to a billboard near you!

  1. #1
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    Default Next-level bugfuck conspiralunacy - coming to a billboard near you!

    OK, what the fuck is all this about:



    The mystery of the 'legal name fraud' billboards

    Scores of posters have appeared around the UK warning of "legal name fraud". What does this mean and who is paying for the adverts?
    The message is spelled out in bold capital letters. "LEGAL NAME FRAUD," it says. Then below: "THE TRUTH." And finally: "IT'S ILLEGAL TO USE A LEGAL NAME."
    The first time I saw the 10ft by 20ft billboard near my flat in Kilburn, north-west London, I stopped and stared, completely baffled. What was a legal name, exactly? Surely to say it was illegal was an obvious contradiction? And who on earth was behind the advert?
    I'm not the only one to have been left puzzled. A quick Google search revealed similar posters have appeared in Birmingham, Dundee, Essex,Gloucester, Grimsby, Guildford, Lincoln, Liverpool, Plymouth, Reading, Southport, Teesside and Truro, and in each the local press has reacted with varying levels of bemusement.
    A Facebook page dedicated to posting photos of the billboards includes dozens more. Another website has more than 120 images of "legal name fraud" posters.
    But no-one seems to know what message these adverts are actually attempting to get across.
    A further web search took me to a site called legalnamefraud.com, which outlines a theory that when your birth was registered, a legal entity - your legal name - was created. But the legal entity "Jane Smith" is distinct from the actual physical person Jane Smith, the website says.
    When your parents registered your birth on the certificate, it insists, they unknowingly gave the Crown Corporation ownership of your name. "Simply thus, all legal names are owned by the Crown, and therefore using a legal name without their written permission is fraud."

    Does this interpretation of the law have any validity? "Absolutely not. Absolutely none at all," says barrister, law blogger and lecturer Carl Gardner says. "It's a kind of brew of pseudo-legal ideas. It's the equivalent of thinking Harry Potter is science."
    The website includes numerous quotes by "Kate of Gaia" as well as articles and videos by her. It links to another website, which gives her full name as Kate Renee Thompson and provides a Canadian email address.
    Gardner says legalnamefraud.com's arguments are similar to those of the "Freemen-on-the-Land" movement - a group of individuals who argue they are bound by laws only if they consent to them, often in the hope of escaping debts and criminal charges - and the related "Sovereign Citizen" movement. In 2012 a Canadian judge issued a 192-page judgement dismissing Freemen-style arguments.
    The same year, Keith William Thomson - who, it was reported, preferred the name Katherine - from Guelph, Ontario, was described as a a "self-proclaimed" Freeman following an appearance in a Canadian court. In 2010 Thompson reportedly used a Freeman-style defence when charged with a parking offence.
    When I emailed Kate of Gaia, she replied asking to be addressed as "JANE DOE-755" and urged me to "google legal name fraud and read the essays like millions of others did....be a real journalist vs. a talking B-B.C. talking pair-rot" (sic). She didn't reply to my enquiry about who funded the billboard posters.
    A search on Whois.net, which lists the registered owners of websites, doesn't reveal any information about legalnamefraud.com. On the similarly named legalnamefraud.org, however, the owner is listed as "Dohm Teewatt" at an address in Quebec, Canada. A Dohm Teewatt Twitter page includes lots of posts about "legal name fraud". An email address is also provided by Whois.net, but when I sent it a message I received a reply from a "D-ohm T-Wat" consisting of nothing more than Kate of Gaia's email address.
    None of this means that Kate of Gaia paid for the billboards - which potentially cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. It's also not clear why they appear across the UK when she appears to be based in Canada.
    There are several videos on YouTube about the billboards, including one made in January in which a man with a north-of-England accent says there are "definitely another couple of hundred on the way".

    Other videos narrated by the same voice appear to have been shot in Lancashire, including one which identifies the town as Preston. Although the voice appears not to belong to "Kate of Gaia", the videos were posted using the name Jane Doe-755, suggesting at least some level of co-operation. Another video posted by Jane Doe-755 appears to be narrated by an English woman.
    The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) confirmed to me that it had received seven complaints about the posters on the basis that they were ambiguous or misleading.
    "Some questioned whether it would lead law-abiding people into thinking they've committed fraud or a crime by having a name," a spokesman said.
    However, the ASA said it did not consider there were grounds for further investigation. While it acknowledged the advert "may appear somewhat confusing to consumers and it wasn't initially clear what it was for or what it means", its message "was not particularly harmful, misleading or likely to cause widespread offence, and unlikely to cause consumers confusion regarding their own name".
    For this reason, the ASA had not made contact with the advertiser and cannot shed any light on their identity.
    I also drew a blank when I rang Primesight, which owns many of the billboards. A spokeswoman told me that client confidentiality prevented her from disclosing who had paid for the advertising space or how much they had been charged.
    Regardless of who funded it, the campaign has won attention for a hitherto fringe theory. David Allen Green, the legal commentator and solicitor at Preiskel & Co LLP who blogs as Jack of Kent, says it is "complete tosh" and warns people against relying on it in court.
    He adds: "It is nothing about law, and it is not harmless. Taking this daftness seriously can be legally dangerous. If people try to use such things to avoid their legal obligations they can end up with county court judgments or even criminal convictions. You may as well walk into court with a t-shirt saying 'I am an idiot'."
    Next time I pass that billboard near my flat, I won't feel any less perplexed.
    Anyone seen one of these? It just sounds utterly nuts. I've been conditioned into assuming things like this are either 'viral' ad campaigns for films, TV shows, video games or whatever, attempts at conceptual art or shit po-mo Banksy-esque 'jokes'. But in the former case there is no indication whatsoever of any product being promoted, and if it's someone's idea of a gag or piece of art, they must be spending a substantial fraction of a million quid on it, as the article points out.

    So just rich nutters being rich nutters, then?
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  2. #2
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    Yeah there was one on Stamford Hill. I heard they are by someone with a big inheritance and mental health problems.

    The freeman stuff is quite pernicious - I seem to remember some of this shit happening around the fringes of Occupy?

    All easily disproved in court though, you'd think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    Yeah there was one on Stamford Hill. I heard they are by someone with a big inheritance and mental health problems.
    I was going to say, how does someone that unhinged make that much money in the first place? But an inheritance (or equivalently, big lottery win or similar) could explain that.

    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    The freeman stuff is quite pernicious - I seem to remember some of this shit happening around the fringes of Occupy?
    Yeah, I'd feel very sorry for anyone naive or unintelligent enough to stride into a magistrate's court with their chest puffed out and think that spouting this rubbish is going to provide them with a Get Out Of Jail Free card.
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    Pretty funny ilx thread about freemen

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    Pretty funny ilx thread about freemen
    I'd like to see that, got a link?
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  6. #6
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    Pfffft.

    Mark Bond of Norfolk, England, was arrested in 2010 for non-payment of tax, despite handing police a "notice of intent" stating that he was no longer a UK citizen. He told police that the notice had already been delivered to the Queen and the prime minister. He told the local paper: "Today I asked the judge to walk into the court under common law and not commercial law. If I had entered under commercial law it would prove that I accepted its law. I was denied my rights to go in there." He was sentenced to three months custody, suspended on condition that he pay off the debt at 20 a week.
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

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