The Redemption Movement / Sovereign Citizens / Killing Your Strawman

The following is a mish-mash of thoughts I have collected across the past two and a half months of corresponding with my friend from college, WW. These concepts – the Redemption Movement and the Strawman – fall under a broader category of tax conspiracy arguments.

We began exchanging emails starting in June 2014, after I talked with JZ about reconnecting with WW. WW was sentenced on June 13th, 2013, to 15 years in prison following his role in an armed robbery. The first few emails were friendly: I inquired about his wellbeing and the state of his confinement, and he assured me that conditions were quite good. He mentioned on June 15th, 2014, that he had been doing “legal work”. On June 21st, he offered to send me “some rather enlightening reading material”.

WW turned me onto the Redemption Movement and the dual concepts of the Sovereign Citizen and the Strawman in an email dated July 2nd, 2014, when he asked me to search for an article entitled “Meet Your Strawman”.

He sent along a packet of documents: he called them legal readings. I was interested in the material, but skeptical from the start. The concepts demanded examination, and WW’s investment of time and energy into obtaining and sharing these materials led me to pore through them at depth.

I started with the strawman theory.

I watched this video on YouTube, entitled “Meet Your Strawman!”

The Strawman Theory holds that a fictional entity (strawman) is created for each citizen upon birth by issuance of the birth certificate. Proponents of the ‘theory’ believe that it is possible to redeem the strawman and to separate it from the flesh and blood human being.

Here is a bullshit article from a site that tries to pass bullshit off as the truth:

Your straw man (Strawman) is an artificial person created by law at the of your birth, the inscription of an ALL-CAPITAL LETTERS NAME on your birth certificate/document, which is a document of title and a negotiable instrument. Your lawful, Christian name of birthright was replaced with a legal, corporate name of deceit and fraud. Your name in upper and lower case letters (Jane Mary Doe) has been answering when the legal person, your name in ALL-CAPTIAL LETTERS (JANE MARY DOE), is addressed, and therefore the two have been recognized as being one and the same. When, you Jane Mary Doe, the lawful being distinguish yourself as another party than the legal person, the two will be separated.

Source: Your straw man [Strawman] is an artificial person

The Wikipedia entry on tax protestor conspiracy arguments has a portion dedicated to failed attempts at making the capital letters argument in courts of law:

Such an argument was made by Eddie Ray Kahn, a co-defendant of Wesley Snipes in the latter’s high-profile tax evasion case. Kahn “made several missteps and peculiar motions. For example, he sought to be immediately freed because the indictment lists his name in all capital letters, and he claimed U.S. attorneys have no jurisdiction because Florida supposedly was never ceded to the federal government”. The court denied these motions.

Source: Wikipedia: Tax protestor conspiracy arguments – Capital letters argument

There is an article on RationalWiki devoted to debunking the Strawman Theory (RationalWiki: Strawman Theory)

It became clear to me that WW was serious about pursuing redemption through these means. I tried in vain to point out to him that the Strawman Theory was wrong on many accounts. For example, the names on both of our Oklahoma birth certificates does not appear in all capital letters. This alone should have given him pause to consider whether he was wasting his time and energy by consuming pseudo-legal literature.

I quickly came to the conclusion that the redemption movement was based upon spurious arguments that could only arise from a deliberate misreading of the legal texts that it holds sacred.

Among the documents oft-cited by believers of the redemption movement:

House Joint Resolution 192 (HJR 192)

– One common fixation is the US’s departure from the gold standard in 1933 and alleged bankruptcy of the United States government as ‘proved’ by HJR 192, also referred to in literature as Public Law 73-10. Go back to the source document and try to lay claim to the bankruptcy of the US government. Or to the government’s willingness to eliminate your mortgage payment.

26 U.S. Code § 163 – (Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute: 26 U.S. Code § 163 – Interest)

– Strawman theory advocates point to 163(h)(3)(B)(ii) as proof that there exists a Treasury Direct Account (TDA) for each citizen for $1,000,000 by taking a section of the U.S. Code on itemized deductions used in calculating taxable income out of context

Further reading on the Strawman Theory

Don’t Fall for this Strawman Scam

The Sovereign Citizen Movement (Wikipedia: Sovereign Citizen Movement)

Arising from the Strawman Theory is the belief that it is possible for citizens to gain sovereignty, thereby making them exempt from common law.

The FBI is clear in its stance on the sovereign citizen movement. Promoters of the sovereign citizen movement are domestic terrorists, clogging up the legal system with frivolous filings. (FBI: Domestic Terrorism – The Sovereign Citizen Movement)

The Redemption Movement (Wikipedia: Redemption Movement)

Redemptionists are closely affiliated to the strawman theory and the sovereign citizen movement. They believe that individuals can kill their strawman and gain access to the TDA by filing UCC-1.

The FBI offers a note about Redemption / Strawman / Bond Fraud in its notes on common fraud schemes ( – Redemption / Strawman / Bond Fraud)

The Southern Poverty Law Center covered the Redemption Movement in its Winter 2008 Intelligence Report, issue 108:

What redemption promoters sell — through hundreds of pricey books, tapes, CD-ROMs, Web sites and interminably dull seminars saturated with quasi-legalistic mumbo-jumbo — is a cockamamie version of U.S. history in which the federal government has enslaved its citizens by using them as collateral against foreign debt.

The government, they argue, is financially bankrupt, and the Uniform Commercial Code (or UCC, which in real life governs commercial transactions) is actually the supreme law of the land. Importantly, any document to which your name is affixed in all capital letters is not legally binding, the redemptionists say. Corrupt judges and lawyers know all this, but they all have been sworn to secrecy.

Luckily, add the salesmen, there is a way out.

Source: SPLC – New Multi-Million Dollar Scam Takes off in Antigovernment Circles

Houston-based defense lawyer Mark Bennett has written a succinct post on the Redemption Movement, Redemption Theory vs. Reality.

Individuals and Organizations Spreading Disinformation

Winston Shrout – Solutions in Commerce
Omega-17 LLC
Craig Perine and Joseph John Raglan of Complete Administrative Services (now defunct)
a bevy of other websites…

Individuals Spreading Factual Information

There are individuals who have devoted time to a careful understanding of the legal texts that Redemption Movement writers reference. Perhaps the best (that I know of so far) is Larry Becraft. Here is a link to Destroyed Arguments on his website, relevant material for anyone who has been considering the legitimacy of the Redemption Movement