1997-07-21 - R.I.P Jim Bell

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From: Mike Duvos <enoch@zipcon.net>
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Message Hash: 2e38a01471d4bc315a58fa687e1c329d7a178b09fce866c4d661e619558b3771
Message ID: <19970721220322.4472.qmail@zipcon.net>
Reply To: <>
UTC Datetime: 1997-07-21 22:26:30 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 06:26:30 +0800

Raw message

From: Mike Duvos <enoch@zipcon.net>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 06:26:30 +0800
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Subject: R.I.P Jim Bell
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-ID: <19970721220322.4472.qmail@zipcon.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Duncan Frissell <frissell@panix.com> writes:

 > I'll be curious to see what kind of deal he got.  It had
 > better be an awfully good one (say "time served").  If not
 > he was as dumb as toast.

Let's hope it was not the "8 years" I heard on the evening news,
although I didn't catch whether that was just a possible
sentence, or the results of the plea bargain negotiations.

 > He had a perfect chance to rake the Feds over the
 > coals and try nasty disfavored defenses like
 > Selective Prosecution.  Hard to win that one but
 > he had as good a case as any one I've seen for
 > that defense.  At the most, he would have gotten a
 > short sentence if convicted.  Big deal.

Perhaps.  But he would have been tried in the media, and would
probably have been transformed into "Terrorist Jim Bell" at the
hands of the spin masters.  In the end, even if he won in court,
he would have been about as popular as OJ, and the entire
population of America would have learned to live their lives in
constant fear of smelly organic chemicals and nickel-plated
carbon fibers. Parents would be mail-ordering carbon fiber test
kits to use in their childrens' rooms.

 > Since he was apparently not doing a great deal with his
 > life in any case, he could have used it for some good.  Make
 > the Feds spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on him and
 > tie up their resources.

I would certainly try to make any such harrassment of me as
expensive as possible for those engaging in it.  On the other
hand, Bell does have living relatives, which makes unilateral
nose-thumbing at the state apparatus more risky.

 > Prison is no punishment for those who like to read and write.

Being bossed around by assholes is always annoying, regardless of
ones academic interests.

 > In these political cases where the Feds are clearly
 > overreaching, those who don't plead do much better than
 > those who do.  This is the reverse of the situation in
 > normal criminal cases.

Tell that to Robert "ream me again, please" Thomas of Amateur
Action BBS fame, who wasn't even accused of being a potential
terrorist, much less of trying to overthrow the entire

 > Don't plead in political cases.  It's stupid.

Don't plead in political cases like Steve Jackson Games, PROMIS,
Operation Sun Devil, etc...  On the other hand, if you are
accused of being one of the actual Four Horsemen, and the feds
are holding press conferences on every channel with inflammatory
voice-over editorials describing the alleged contents of your
dwelling, some capitulation to the Barbarians may be necessary.

There are a number of adages which apply to this situation,
amongst them...

    Don't get involved in fights you can't win.

    When you aim for the King, shoot to kill.

    The goal of war is not to die for your country, but to make
    sure the enemy dies for theirs. 


Enumerating Bell's violations of these common sense principles is
left as an exercise to the reader. 

     Mike Duvos         $    PGP 2.6 Public Key available     $
     enoch@zipcon.com   $    via Finger                       $
         {Free Cypherpunk Political Prisoner Jim Bell}