The Real Bell Issue / Re: Bell, etc

Tim May tcmay at
Tue Aug 19 16:12:06 PDT 1997

At 2:56 PM -0700 8/19/97, Duncan Frissell wrote:
>At 11:21 AM 8/19/97 -0700, Tim May wrote:
>>So, I disagree with Duncan's apparent point that it's too bad the Bell case
>>didn't go to trial. I'm convinced Bell would have been convicted on most or
>>all charges. Hardly a test case for anything important.
>But the charges were minor stuff.  Under the Federal sentencing guidelines he
>wouldn't have gotten much if convicted.  And I think that he had a good
>defense to some of the charges.  Selective prosecution and no crime for
>example.  The collecting of the names and addresses of government employees
>is not clearly illegal.  In some cases, it is public information and he could
>argue that he intended to organize demonstrations against them.  It is also

I dont' believe the "collecting the names..." point made it into the final
charges, but I could be wrong. My recollection is that the three main
charges were: using multiple phony SS numbers to evade taxes, failure to
file and pay taxes in the required manner, and the stink bomb charges.  Nor
did any of the things about poisoning water supplies or dropping carbon
fibers down airshafts make it into the final charges, that I recall.

>From my reading, by limiting the scope to the points above the Feds had a
pretty strong case. As to whether Bell could claim he was being prosecuted
because of his views, I'll get to that below.

>not clear how they found out about the stink bomb.  That could possibly have
>been challanged.

There is the testimony of one of his former friends that Bell claimed he
had stinkbombed a lawyer he didn't like a few years back, apparently using
the same mercaptin used (it appears) in the recent case. And didn't Alan
Olsen say on this list that Jim had talked about such stinkbombs? It seems
reasonable that a jury would believe Bell had ordered mercaptin, had told
others he had used it in the past, and that an attack on a Portland IRS
office followed his altercation over taxes with them by a few weeks. Were I
on the jury, I think I'd think he did it.

But, hey, maybe "jury nullification" could get him off.

>The charges were fuzzy and minor.  Those sorts of things make them easy for a
>strong advocate to ridicule in court.  Clearly a waste of the taxpayer's
>money.  Their nature smells of political prosecution.  Another line of

No doubt a Gerry Spence could do this, but his court-appointed lawyer was
most likely oblivious to such tactics, and was anxious to plead him out. As
we all saw in the McVeigh case, court appointed lawyers really are not
working for their putative clients.

My bigger fear, and no doubt Jim will someday read this and perhaps take
umbrage at my comments here, is that this several-month "debriefing" period
is where the Feds are collecting as much incriminating information against
some of us as they can, perhaps with an eye toward hitting various of us
with RICO charges, sedition, etc.

(Now _this_ would be a high-risk tactic for the Feds to take, as we who are
charged might fight back hard, and actually win. Depends on the climate. If
they link us to supplying strong crypto to various freedom fighters, and to
money launderers (remember Anguilla), etc., then maybe a jury would
convict. Not on sedition, perhaps, as this is hard to prove, but on RICO

>He could have been aggressive and fought instead of wimping out.  Lots of
>people have faced much more serious crimes and won.  It's not like Jim had
>anything better to do.
>In such cases, an aggressive show of strength of character is best.  Weakness
>invites oppression.  A rule that you - Tim - seem to follow in general too.

Well, Bell was about as extreme and aggressive as one can get...and yet....

If I were to be arrested and held without bail--perhaps because of the
"arms cache" and "chemicals" the news media would breathlessly report--I
rather suspect my aggressiveness would fall on deaf ears.

--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 at  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."

More information about the cypherpunks-legacy mailing list