1997-05-19 - Jim Bell goes to Jail–We should avoid raidable, physical meetings

Header Data

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
To: Alan Olsen <cypherpunks@algebra.com
Message Hash: c4d67991ff8b7673e65d4659781c1299e2b3dd26e444cfafbb803d45e9932ea6
Message ID: <v0300780aafa58a56a692@[]>
Reply To: <>
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-19 04:18:46 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 12:18:46 +0800

Raw message

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 12:18:46 +0800
To: Alan Olsen <cypherpunks@algebra.com
Subject: Jim Bell goes to Jail--We should avoid raidable, physical meetings
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-ID: <v0300780aafa58a56a692@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

(I seriously suggest we stop holding _physical_ Cypherpunks meetings for
the foreseeable future. A gathering of anarchists, crypto exporters, and
information terrorists like ourselves is too tempting a target for a
publicized raid, with cameras rolling, to show the threat of the Four
Horsemen of the Infocalypse. I for one don't plan to attend any physical
meetings for a while at least. Going armed to a Cypherpunks meeting in
preparation for a raid is not a cool thing.)

At 6:55 PM -0800 5/18/97, Alan Olsen wrote:
>- From the Oregonian Sunday edition May 18, 1997 page D-10:

(As an interesting aside, interesting to me, I recall May 18th as being the
anniversary of the Mount St. Helens detonation, back in 1980. I was living
in Hillsboro, Oregon back then, just west of Portland. I didn't hear the
detonation, but I saw the massively thick black column of ash/smoke going
up into the clouds. And I witnessed some of the later eruptions on clearer
days. And my yard was covered with about 2 inches of ash, some of which I
took in to my lab to measure for radioactivity levels.)

>IRS agents arrest Vancouver man who called for killing federal workers
>* James D. Bell, who wrote the 10-part essay, "Assassination Politics," faces
>charges of interfering with a U.S. officer
>By John Painter Jr.
>of the Oregonian staff
>VANCOUVER - A Vancouver man who has written about assassination of government
>officials and whose home was raided in April has been arrested by IRS agents
>on charges of interfering with a federal officer.

(much elided)

I was initially "unsurprised" by the search of Jim's house. Not necessarily
because I thought his AP writings warranted a search, but because the
(putative) list of local IRS agents, combined with their initial reactions
to his admittedly controversial writings might lead these and other IRS to
reasonably fear that they were somehow being targetted for assassination.

However, I'm quite surprised things have progressed to the point of an
arrest. Unless Jim was "much further along" in developing AP than any of us
have given him credit for, especially given the gaps in things like digital
money for the actual AP system to ever work!, I think a prosecution will

I don't know any of the facts about any physical attacks being
contemplated, such as the "stink bombs" (!) mentioned later in the article,
etc. What I know is that these attacks, even if hypothesized, have nothing
directly, legally to do with the AP essay. (Yes, I know that writings can
go to motive, state of mind, etc. I just don't think theoretical essays
about AP have much to do with claims of stink bombs sent to IRS offices.)

>Federal agents since have focused on a Bell theory that carbon fibers could
>used to sabotage computer hard drives, thus disabling them.  East confirmed
>Bell's interest in using carbon fibers as a "computer killer" but dismissed
>as a "goofball idea."

Indeed, one of Jim's many goofball ideas floated on the Cypherpunks list
and, presumably, elsewhere. So? In our discussions of TEMPEST, sabotage of
computers in general, etc., there have been many such goofball ideas.

(Some "INFOWAR" pro-government propagandists/researchers have even
collected tidy research grants for studying things like HERF guns and
conductive fiber atacks on computers. If Bell is implicated because of an
interest in using conductive fibers to short out computers and disk drives,
might as well jail all those doing work on just such things. Or does the
government only allow such work, and such speculation, if DARPA and DIA are
paying the bills? Wouldn't surprise me in the least.)

>Jeff Gordon, a Portland-based IRS special investigator, said he discovered
>"Assassination Politics" among items seized when IRS agents took Bell's 1986
>Honda for unpaid back taxes in February.  Bell denied the car was his.  An
>tally of the items inside the car included a document about a "trial" by the
>Multnomah County Common Law Court in January of several IRS agents, a federal
>magistrate in Portland, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and an IRS
>commissioner, Margaret Richardson.

The fascists are running scared.

Lock and load.

(Also, I suggest _physical_ Cypherpunks meetings not be held for the
foreseeable future. I know I plan to skip them all. A gathering of "reputed
information terrorists, who have openly discussed assassination markets, C4
explosives, and the destabilization of democratic governments" would be too
ripe a target for clowns like Reno, Freeh, and Kallstrom.)

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."