1997-10-04 - Re: Stronghold 1/2

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From: dlv@bwalk.dm.com (Dr.Dimitri Vulis KOTM)
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Message Hash: 985eb746c8e4dfb7e723eeb47b29bcc9a803db038f3aeeca48c166d68ac11065
Message ID: <6e32De9w165w@bwalk.dm.com>
Reply To: <ed27d264358016b98eb8830bc6b4b0cb@anon.efga.org>
UTC Datetime: 1997-10-04 15:27:41 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 4 Oct 1997 23:27:41 +0800

Raw message

From: dlv@bwalk.dm.com (Dr.Dimitri Vulis KOTM)
Date: Sat, 4 Oct 1997 23:27:41 +0800
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Subject: Re: Stronghold 1/2
In-Reply-To: <ed27d264358016b98eb8830bc6b4b0cb@anon.efga.org>
Message-ID: <6e32De9w165w@bwalk.dm.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

I sent this large article out a while back, and apparently it never showed
up on the mailing list. Perhaps it was too large I'll re-send it again in
two smaller chunks.

This article includes several long quotes.  I urge anyone still interested
in the C2Net/StrongHold thread to read the whole thing.  I don't expect to
need to contribute to this thread again.

The "anonymous" C2Net shill (easily recognizable) wrote:
>C2Net was wrong to censor the cypherpunks list in the guise of moderation.
>It was wrong to send threatening letters to people who claimed its
>products were weak.

"Moderation" is a misnomer. C2Net engaged in outright fraud by providing
a list which C2Net claimed would contain the articles rejected by the
C2Net moderator, then censoring articles from both the censored and the
uncensored lists. At least one of my articles (not the one about Stronghold;
the one quoting the threatening letter from C2net's lawyers) didn't make
it even to the "unedited" list.

I immediately recognized the "anonymous" shill's hysterical posting style
(repeatedly calling me a "liar" and a closet homosexual, making numerous
references to my ethnicity and visa status (incorrectly)). Do you happen to
remember C2Net's "marketing director" who tried to create the nym "Locutus"
via the remailers, and blew his cover because he couldn't change his style?

>The burden of proof in claiming that there is a weakness in someone's
>security product is on those making the claim.

Nope. The burden of proof is on the vendor selling the product.
In this case, the vendor is unwilling or unable to present any
evidence of the product's security, so it threatens the
security experts who question the product.

>If anyone really does believe that C2Net's products have backdoors or
>weaknesses, why don't they present them?

Because C2net's lawyers have been harrassing those who did - plenty
of their threats are quoted below.

Somebody wrote, and I suspect that it wasn't cc'd to the list,
so I'll skip the name:
>Are you able to tell some one privately what's wrong with it ??

I'm very sorry, but I'd rather not...

Somebody else wrote (my headers are a mess; I apologize profusely
if I'm quoting private e-mail to the list. which I suspect I'm doing)
>I'm pretty curious, because threatening individuals with lawsuits
>for questioning the quality of a product seems like an act of
>desperation.  It also seems like it wouldn't hold up in court
>for a minute.

I agree that this is the behavior one would expect from a vendor that has any
confidence at all in its product or in its ability to answer questions about
its product in an uncensored discussion.

>Imagine if McDonalds tried to sue someone that said big macs suck.
>The judge would throw out the case after a good belly laugh.

As a matter of fact, McDonald's did sue some folks in the U.K. (where libel
laws are even weirder than in the U.S.) who were basically saying that
hamburgers aren't healthy. The defendants won just recently. One of the
problems with the U.S. legal system that you can be on the defending end
of a totally meritless suit, and still not recover your legal fees when the
suit is laughed out of court.

C2Net's harrassment included calling my home and threatening my mother-in-law;
threatening to seize all my computers as part of the "discovery process"; etc
(check out some of their threats below). Since I have nothing to gain by
publicizing the truth about them, I'd rather not deal with these creeps.

Jeff Barber <jeffb@issl.atl.hp.com> wrote:
>> Lucky is lying: the censored articles were also filtered from the list which
>> was billed as being unfiltered.
>This is revisionist history.  I can't recall any intimation at the
>time that any messages were filtered from the unfiltered list.

If you can't recall, I'm quoting a bunch of stuff below. At least one of
my articles, the one quoting the threatening letter from C2net's lawyers,
didn't make it even to the "unedited" list.

The "anonymous" C2net shill further wrote:
>While it is true that Dmitri is a proven liar in the grand tradtion
>of the Soviet Union (shout a lie long enough and loud enough and
>eventually some people will start to believe it), and a pathological
>homophobic bigot (who secretly enjoys sucking cock but wears womens
>clothing to disguise himself),

C2Net's shill called me a liar about a dozen times, yet hasn't presented any
evidence of me ever lying. On the other hand, C2net's claim that I'm a closet
homosexual is an outright lie, typical of Sameer Parekh and his employees.

>Of course, by that time Dmitri had so little reputation capital that
>Gilmore patched Majordomo so it wouldn't even respect a subscription
>request for him.

This is correct: John Gilmore tried to censor me from this mailing list. As
the result, I'm still here, John Gilmore no longer runs this list, and John
Gilmore's "reputation capital" is extremely negative. C2net's shill seems to
approve of Gilmore's actions, demonstrating once again that he he is employed
by a dishonest and dishonorable organization.

>Ultimately, Dmitri's allegations of weaknesses in Stronghold, true or
>not, are totally irrelevant.  Without mathematical proof of a weakness,
>he simply cannot be believed to ever be telling the truth.  So, if
>C2 said to him in private e-mail, "if you call Sameer a cocksucker one
>more time, we'll slap a libel suit across your emigrant ass, take back
>your green card, deport you and tell Russia that you called Yeltsin a
>cocksucker," well, I can understand why he shut up.

Hmm, I turned in my green card about 12 years ago, when I got naturalized...

For what it's worth, Sameer is an Arab, and we all know the old Arab proverb:
"Women for sons, boys for pleasure, but goats for sheer extasy." However
C2net's barratrous threats were not transmitted by e-mail and had nothing to
do with Sameer's alleged sexual preferences. Rather, I received 5 or 6
threatening phone calls at home from Janet M. Craycroft. Also the following
threatening letter was served on me (on a weekend!)

]Gray Cary Ware
]  Frieidenrich
]A professional corporation
]Attorneys at Law                                      Janet M. Craycroft
]400 Hamilton Avenue                          Direct Dial: (415) 833-2297
]Palo Alto, CA 94301-1826                   Internet: JCRAYCROFT@GCWF.COM
]Tel (415) 328-6561
]Fax (415) 327-3699                                          Our File No.
]                                                                 9999999
]                          January 21, 1997
]Mr. Dimitri Vulis
]6767 Burns Street, #4K
]Forest Hills, New York 11375-3555
]                 Re:   Internet Postings on Cypherpunks@toad.com
]Dear Mr. Vulis:
]     This firm represents C2Net, a California Corporation.  It has come to our attention
]that you are publishing false, defamatory statements about C2Net and its products.
]Specifically, we direct your attention to your January 30, 1997 Internet posting to the
]Cypherpunks@toad.com mailing list which you entitled "Security alert!!!"  (A copy of this e-
]mail is enclosed.)
]     As you are undoubtedly already aware, Stronghold is a web server that protects
]Internet traffic encryption.  Stronghold is not a "backdoor" to steal credit card numbers.  The
]statements contained in your e-mail directly cast aspersions upon C2Net's product and
]business which will not be tolerated.  Dr. Vulis, at a minimum, your e-mail exposes you to
]civil liability for defamation, tortious interference with business relations, interntional
]interference with contractual relations and permits C2Net to seek compensatory damages as
]well as punitive damages against you personally.
]   C2Net has authorized this firm to take all action necessary to put an immediate stop to
]your actions and conduct as described above, as well as any other conduct or actions
]undertaken by you which might prove to be harmful to C2Net.  Such authorization includes
]the filing of a lawsuit against you to obtain injunctive relief as well as compensatory and
]punitive damages.
]   Given the seriousness of this matter, we insist that you stop disseminating the January
]30 e-mail or any version of such e-mail.  If you continue to publish defamatory statements
]about C2Net and its products, we will pursue all remedies against you.  So that there is no
]misunderstanding, please confirm in writing by february 4, 1997, that you will agree not to
]further disseminate the January 30 e-mail or versions of such e-mail.
]   Should you have any questions, please contact me or have your attorney contact me.
]                                                  Very truly yours,
]                                                  GRAY CARY WARE & FREIDENRICH
]                                                  A Professional Corporation
]                                                  [Signature]
]                                                  Janet M. Craycroft

The letter pretty much speaks for itself.  Let me just point out that
1) I never claimed that "Stronghold is a backdoor", which makes no
sense, 2) Sameer Parekh inists on addressing me as "Mr." because he's
a college dropout extremely envious of anyone educated better than him.

>So, don't hold your breath waiting for a repost of previous lies
>from our dear Kook of the Fucking Century.

Yep - since there have been no "previous lies", a repost is impossible.

But here are a few list articles from the time of the "C2Net moderation
experiment". For those who aren't award, Sandy Sandfart is the marketing guy
at C2Net who was trying to "moderate" this mailing list.

Sandy Sandfart posted the following lie (note the date):

]Date: Fri, 7 Feb 1997 11:26:27 -0800 (PST)
]From: Sandy Sandfort <sandfort@crl.com>
]To: Mike Duvos <mpd@netcom.com>
]Cc: cypherpunks@toad.com
]Subject: Re: My messages not appearing on either of the lists?
]In-Reply-To: <199702071636.IAA26298@netcom19.netcom.com>
]Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.970207112428.25330B-100000@crl.crl.com>
]Sender: owner-cypherpunks@toad.com
]                          SANDY SANDFORT
] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
]On Fri, 7 Feb 1997, Mike Duvos wrote:
]> ...Messages apparently do not get moderated in the order in
]> which they are received...
]All messages are filtered and posted in the order in which I
]receive them.
] S a n d y

To which Tim May wrote (and Sandy spiked this article, and many others):

]Message-Id: <v03007803af21536e1a68@[]>
]In-Reply-To: <e90q2D50w165w@bwalk.dm.com>
]References: <v03007801af20611fe990@[]>
]Date: Fri, 7 Feb 1997 13:59:23 -0800
]To: cypherpunks@toad.com
]From: "Timothy C. May" <tcmay@got.net>
]Subject: More on the Stronghold Charge
]Cc: dlv@bwalk.dm.com (Dr.Dimitri Vulis KOTM)
]Vulis has sent me private mail, which I won't quote here because of the
]usual netiquette standards that private mail not be quoted (though it's
]legal to do so). He asserts that a few weeks ago he sent criticisms of
]Stronghold out to the Cypherpunks list, and the criticisms did not appear
]on any of the distributed lists.
]He claims he then received communications from C2Net of a legal nature,
]threatening him with legal action. I'll let Vulis elaborate if he wishes,
]as I don't know the situation. And I encourage him to do so, for more than
]one reason.
]As I just replied to "Against Moderation" on, I would like to see these
]articles which were suppressed. Please repost them to the list, and copy me
]to ensure that I get them.
]If this claim is true, that Sandy blocked criticism of Stronghold from
]reaching either the Main list (bad enough), or from even going out at all
]on the Flames list (reprehensible), then this is an extremely serious
]If the claim is true that Sandy used articles sent to the Cypherpunks list,
]but never distributed to the list, as the basis by the company which
]employs him of legal threats of any kind, then this is even more than just
]"extremely serious."
]I would like to hear more from Vulis, and copies of any such articles, and
]of course would like to hear Sandy's version of things.
]This is too serious a charge not to resolve.
]--Tim May
]Just say "No" to "Big Brother Inside"
]We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, I know that that ain't allowed.
]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."

]Date: 8 Feb 1997 04:31:15 -0000
]Message-Id: <19970208043115.2364.qmail@anon.lcs.mit.edu>
]From: Against Moderation <antimod@nym.alias.net>
]Subject: The Frightening Dangers of Moderation
]To: cypherpunks@toad.com
]Cc: tcmay@got.net
]Precedence: bulk
]Well, folks, tonight I have witnessed the frightening dangers of
]moderation and censorship first-hand, and would like to tell you what
]has happened.  I think there is an important lesson to be learned from
]these incidents.
]Before I explain what has happened, I want to make one thing
]absolutely clear.  Though I've thought the moderation of cypherpunks
]was a terrible idea from the start and am even more convinced of it
]now, I don't assign any blame to Sandy.  I believe he offered to
]moderate the list with the best of intentions, and I sincerely
]appreciate his efforts to try to revive what was once a fantastic
]mailing list, even if in my opinion those efforts have backfired.
]Sandy has been a valuable advocate of cypherpunk beliefs and a lively
]contributor to cypherpunks list for a long time.  Though the
]moderation experiment has resulted in some terrible consequences, we
]can't blame him for what has happened.  If the events I have witnessed
]tonight occured with such a high-standing member of the cypherpunks
]community in charge, the cause of them can only be the very nature of
]moderation and censorship.  I don't think any of us could have done
]much better in Sandy's shoes.
]Now, what happened tonight?  As some of you may recall, a month or so
]ago I vehemently argued against the elimination of the
]cypherpunks-unedited mailingt list.  Some people (though no one
]associated with toad.com) were claiming that 3 mailing lists might be
]too much load, and that having cypherpunks and cypherpunks-flames
]would be enough.  I argued that not only would the delay of waiting
]for a decision put alternate cypherpunks moderators at a disadvantage,
]it would make it farm more difficult to convince people of the
]moderator's honesty as there would be no guarantee that messages made
]it to either list.  Fortunately, cypherpunks-unedited did get created
](it seems no one "in charge" ever intended not to create it).
]Well, as it turns out, a number of messages have made it neither to
]cypherpunks nor to cypherpunks-flames.  Making matters worse, however,
]not only are certain messages being suppressed from both lists, but
]even messages mentioning that fact get suppressed from both the
]cypherpunks and the cypherpunks-flames lists!
]Here's exactly what happened.  I was beginning to believe that Dmitri
]Vulis had sent an (admitedly objectionable) message to the cypherpunks
]mailing list, but that the message had gone to neither the cypherpunks
]nor the cypherpunks-flames lists.  Since I was under the impression
]that every article was supposed to go to one list or the other, and
]many people probably still believe that, I mentioned this somewhat
]startling fact on the cypherpunks mailing list, I believe in response
]to a post by Tim May on the same subject.
]Tim replied (in a message Cc'ed to cypherpunks--though I don't think
]it went anywhere but to -unedited), asking me in the message, "Can you
]send to the list, with a copy to me, the articles CENSOREDCENSOREDCENS
]OREDCENSOREDCENSORE?"  I therefore went back through my mail archives
]and found a copy of the message that I believed had gone to neither
]mailing list.  I sent it to Tim and to cypherpunks.  I prepended a few
]paragraphs in which I asked people to confirm that the message had
]gone to neither mailing list.  Among other things in those paragraphs,
]I stated that Vulis's message was "verifiably false".  It was clear
]from the context that I was forwarding this message to ask people
]which lists it had gone to, not because I believed the content to be
]correct or even at all convincing or interesting.  That message I
]sent, quoting Vulis's, immediately follows this message, after the
]line '========'.
]Then, tonight, I received a message from Sandy, which I include below
]a second '========' marker.  In that letter, Sandy had explicitly
]aknowledged not only that he had sent Vulis's letter to neither
]mailing list, but that he wouldn't send my letter to either mailing
]list, either!  He claimed that he couldn't forward Vulis's message
]because it was libel, and accused me of committing libel simply by
]quoting Vulis's message, even though I explicitly stated that Vulis's
]message was verifiably false.
]Well, this travesty must exposed, even if I can't make known all the
]details for fear of libel charges.  I am therefore forwarding
]everything I can to the cypherpunks mailing list, for all to see.  As
]you can see, Vulis made unfounded and incorrect charges that a
]particular system contained a security hole.  Believe me, if I could
]get into the details of the case I could convince you easily that his
]claim is not true.  However, since even quoting that claim apparently
]opens me up to charges of libel, I can't give you the details.  Thus,
]I have censored (by overriting original text with the letters
]CENSORED) any portion of quoted messages that might give you an
]indication of what system Vulis actually claimed had a security hole.
]This censorship should not, however, affect my main point, and the
]lesson that I hope we can all take away from this.  When it comes down
]to it, the details of this case do not matter.  What does matter is
]that even when the "good guys" attempt benign censorship, it can have
]frighteningly far-reaching effects on people's ability to discuss
]otherwise reasonable topics such as the mechanics of the cypherpunks
]list.  I generally dislike censorship and moderation, but the
]consequences of the cypherpunks experiment have gone far beyond
]anything I could have imagined.
]In closing, let me reiterate that I don't think most of this is
]Sandy's, John's, or anyone else's fault.  Given the knowledge I have
]of this case, I believe Sandy has unwittingly found himself ensnarled
]in a nasty legal situation where, for fear of legal reprisal he must
]block articles that he has a moral obligation to send to
]cypherpunks-flames.  I certainly don't envy his position.
][To moderator Sandy:  I believe we must get the content of this
]message to the main cypherpunks mailing list.  I have done everything
]I can to ensure that the message contains no libel.  If, for some
]reason, you still can't send it on to the main cypherpunks mailing
]list, can you please tell me specifically which parts cause problems.
]I will the CENSOR them out and try again.  This message contains
]important, highly relevant information for the cypherpunks community.
]Please help me do what it takes to get it accepted by the moderation
]process.  Thanks.]
]Date: Fri, 7 Feb 1997 16:45:31 -0800 (PST)
]From: Sandy Sandfort <sandfort@crl.com>
]To: Against Moderation <antimod@nym.alias.net>
]Subject: Re: Is Sandy really censoring criticisms of CENSOREDCENSOREDCENSORE?
]In-Reply-To: <19970207220720.15530.qmail@anon.lcs.mit.edu>
]                          SANDY SANDFORT
] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
]On 7 Feb 1997, Against Moderation wrote:
]> What I object to more strongly and think is wrong is the
]> fact that it went to *neither* list.
]Unfortunately, it's not as simple as that.  As soon as I can
]arrange it with John, I am going to stop moderating the list.
]In the interim, I *will not* be sending your post onto either
]the Flames or the Moderated lists.  This is done for legal
]reason.  As it is, you have already published a libel on the
]unedited list by repeating Dimitri's libel.  This exposes you to
]legal liability, but as an anonymous poster, you are somewhat
]insulated from the consequences of your act.
]If you would like to PRIVATELY discuss this matter with me, I
]would not mind going into more detail with you.  Suffice it to
]say, I any re-publication by me of Dimitri's libel would expose
]John and myself to legal liability and could also act to
]insulate Dimitri from liability as a result of CENSOREDCENSOREDCE
]Take care,
] S a n d y

[to be continued]


Dr.Dimitri Vulis KOTM
Brighton Beach Boardwalk BBS, Forest Hills, N.Y.: +1-718-261-2013, 14.4Kbps